Friday, October 21, 2011

What Personal Power Really Is

What does personal power mean to you? It’s something we all want more of, so maybe if we’re sure what it is, we’ll know where to go from there.

Personal Power can mean many things to us. Maybe you think it means better use of Law of Attraction, more money flowing more consistently in your direction, influence, self-confidence, and so forth; and, possibly, all of these and more. Whatever it means to you, what personal power really is, is as much a result as it is a means to desired results.

Here’s a nifty way to understand what personal power really is: Personal Power equals Effectiveness. And, we can do things that either expand or deplete how effective we are. I give you a few significant examples of each of these ways in a moment.

Something you may find helpful to keep in mind is that you can shift your focus from increasing your personal power to increasing your effectiveness. This applies to whatever personal power means to you. This perspective puts a different slant on how to expand your power; maybe this even makes it feel easier, doable, and less ambiguous. This pathway opens you to inspired ideas, and to pay attention to what works and creates improvements, rather than on what you judge as broken or on what you perceive as wrong with you.

Let’s look at ways you may deplete your effectiveness:

*Time, Energy, or Money is put towards something your heart really isn’t into.
*Make choices that are not in your best interest or are not appropriate for you.
*Thoughts, self-talk, and actions aren’t focused on desired results.
*Add steps that are not really needed to get desired results.
*Allow time-draining tasks then get used to engaging in time-draining activities.
*Focus is placed on too many goals or improvements at once, which results in being scattered or overwhelmed.
*Make disempowering choices, which makes making disempowering choices easier and easier, even if the results are undesired.
*Have a to-do list without priorities, direction, or purpose.
*Give time, energy, or money to anything that doesn’t provide a return in some measure, whether that’s of a spiritual, emotional, or tangible nature. This includes foods and beverages, people, volunteer work, studies, activities, etc.

Let’s look at ways you can enhance your effectiveness:

*Put time, energy, and money into what feels worthy to you and that your heart is into.
*Trust that consistent small improvements, rather than massive action, are more effective and lasting; understanding that the very thought of massive action may cause you to never get organized, much less get started.
*Plan and take some effective action every day.
*Recognize that although learning is an action and is effective, real effectiveness happens when you put what you learn into practice, and modify as needed.
*Exchange what slows or holds off desired results for what creates or moves toward desired results.

Although Personal Power can take many forms, three elements support it: time, energy, and money. When you deplete one, you deplete the other two. When you enhance one, you enhance the other two.

You have all the personal power you need. It’s a matter of directing it better and deliberately. Here’s how you can put this into practice: Pick an area of your life that you want to improve. Use the depleting and enhancing information offered here as a guide for one week. Look at ways you know are effective in a positive, productive way and use them. Try new ways on and see how they work, with no concept of failure involved, just research, testing, and assessment of results. Maybe pick one of the three elements to focus on: better time-usage choices, better choices that support your energy, or better money choices. Keep notes about how your actions on one element affect the other two. Notice how the three elements work as a team.

If you’re ready to increase your effectiveness, start at the inner level, especially with deliberately supportive self-talk and thinking; it will ripple outward into your life in ways you appreciate. Put improved effectiveness into practice, and enjoy feeling more personally powerful in your life.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer
This week’s State of Appreciation is live!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Belief, Faith, Knowing: What’s the Difference?

Others and I have used the words belief, faith, and knowing interchangeably, but I’ve realized there’s a difference. It’s important to use the right word to arrive at the desired state of mind.

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” In my experience, Knowing is fed by Faith, and Faith is fed by Belief. This means Belief is the first “rung” on that particular ladder. And that means you get to Knowing through the ability to believe in a particular way—and putting it into practice.


Desired Belief—the ability to believe something positive and in our favor—is tricky for many people. We’re so practiced with doubt and worry, that landing on Belief can be challenging. Belief has its own ladder; and this is why you have to be honest about which rung you can comfortably put your foot on, in order to climb it. Say you’ve struggled with weight for years. You may say you’re going to lose 50 pounds and keep it off, but not really believe it. However, you may be able to say and believe that you know how to lose two pounds a week and that you will do what it takes to make that improvement each week until you reach your desired weight, and maintain it.

A quick way to get into a Belief state is to feel, as a possibility, “Why not?!” Why not allow that your desired outcome could happen? It takes as much energy to believe it can’t or won’t happen as it does to believe it could; but could feels better and opens you to a greater chance of fulfillment. Here’s how a typical mental conversation might go: “It could happen, so why not?! Well, maybe I don’t deserve it.” Consider people who have what you might desire and whose deserve-quotient you might question. Does “deserve” really fit? No, it doesn’t. Deserve is an imposed perception, not a rule; and what you believe about what you deserve opens or blocks receiving. The creative energy doesn’t judge whether you deserve, it supplies what you believe.

Belief happens through repetition—positive or negative—mental, verbal, or repetitive actions. This is why we can fool ourselves and stay with the surface appearance rather than go deeper, where Universal Truth is found: We are what we think. Fortunately, we can decide to choose what we think; though, we may choose to ignore this truth and its inherent potential to influence life in our favor. We can also choose to improve what needs improvement at the outer level, which builds self-belief. “I believe I could improve this” is a good “lower rung” if “I will improve this” feels out of reach initially.

Belief that what happened in the past Is What Is, affects your power to believe in what’s possible now or in the future. Decide to stop letting the past prevent you from receiving your present and future. Here’s a tip that works: Each night, repeat three times to yourself: “As I sleep, I have one or more dreams that cause me to…” Work on only one desired result at a time; but you can ask to feel happy, confident, inspired, to be attuned to needed resources—whatever you feel would benefit you most at the moment. Keep it simple.


When we deliberately practice influencing what and how we believe, and do this in our favor—and make it a point to observe small and large evidences of this working, we build faith that what we believe influences what we receive and how we experience life.

Faith is the absence of doubt; but, how to do you get to that place? You can start with “Why not?!” and call up one or more memories of times you believed something good would happen in your favor—and it did. This deliberate way of thinking connects you with the feeling you had when something worked out, maybe the way you hoped and maybe in a way even better than you imagined—or even if that meant it didn’t work out, and that was in your favor, too. Faith comes from connecting to the feeling when your best interests were met and deciding to trust they’ll be met in your favor again… and again.


Knowing is an intuitive connection to the flow of creative energy. It’s when your desired result or experience is in harmony with the bigger picture—and you feel, with faith, that something wonderful on its way to you. I love these moments. Sometimes they seem to just happen, but most times it’s because I deliberately moved myself through belief and faith memories to stimulate the feeling of knowing that I’m part of—a participant in—something larger, and in partnership with the creative energy that always works in my favor, despite appearances at times. Sometimes I know something specific is on its way, and sometimes I just know something for my good is on its way.

At every present moment, we know only a part of the bigger picture. A state of Knowing feels easier to enter when you allow this as a fact; and because of past experiences, you release every thought or emotion except one: trust. The creative energy loves appreciation and it loves trust that puts you into a state of knowing that the energy works in your behalf at all times.

Just like the weight example in the Belief segment, you may need to start with one matter at a time rather than frustrating yourself by attempting to be in a state of belief, faith, and knowing at all times. Allow yourself to grow each of the three, as needed. This way of thinking—in order to reach these states of mind—is a practice; and those who feel them fully more often practice them more often.

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer
This week’s State of Appreciation is live!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Power of a Firm Decision

Whatever you believe is involved in improvement or success, the power of a decision is key. It will help if you understand what this really means.

A firm decision is one without discord, or one that transmutes any discord that makes an appearance. A firm decision is made and a knowing exists—that, without doubt, what’s been decided will happen, even if you have no idea how, at the start. A knowing, faith, or belief supports firm decisions to become reality. Without a firm decision and belief, all you have is a wish. A firm decision has power, a wish doesn’t. This is because a firm decision has a level of clarity and focus about a desired result, even if aspects are unknown and are discovered and managed along the way.

If you’ve ever found yourself struggling in any area of your life, which is very different from facing and meeting challenges, it’s because a firm decision has not been made. If you think of times when you made a firm decision to do something—anything at all—you did whatever it took for however long it took to get it done, whether that’s de-clutter your closet that took a weekend or complete a course of study that took years.

Everything begins with an idea. The idea to, say, clear out your closet seems to move straight into the action of doing the task. But, there is a middle step: the firm decision. Many firm decisions happen quickly. They are often so subtle you don’t even recognize them as what they are. Firm decisions move you from inspired idea to productive action. Reflect on the most recent time this happened for you, even if it was to refill your coffee cup, and you did. Allow yourself to feel what that middle step—firm decision—felt like for you, so you become familiar with it.

I watched a brief video about The Reality Architects. They mentioned an elderly woman who, for decades, has won every contest she’s entered. I asked myself what had to be in place, at her inner level, for this to be her reality. My answer was a firm decision with no discord. Discord is a contrast that points out one or more doubts exist. How many buy lottery tickets or enter contests with some discord whispering doubt in their minds, and either silently or aloud state, even before the action is taken, “I knew I wouldn’t win”? How many times do we make what we believe is a firm decision, yet have in our minds some doubt that we’ll succeed, instead of a steadfast commitment to do so?

The discord aspect needs our attention, doesn’t it? You’ve made firm decisions before, without discord; and you’ve experienced desired results. Discord does not mean a firm decision wasn’t made. It does show us bumps and potholes on the inner road that we need to smooth out. Inner discord can be lack of confidence, which can be assisted by increasing competence. It can be flawed self-beliefs about what you deserve, or what you should want or should not want in life. These flawed beliefs may have been given to you by your family, friends, religion, culture, and from anyone who has intersected with your life since you were born.

When results seem to take a long time to arrive—and we aren’t witnessing real progress along the way that demonstrates we are moving in the right direction—it’s a good time to check in on the firmness of the original decision. This is where the feeling that goes with a firm decision comes in: if you don’t have that recognizable “knowing” or “belief” feeling, you need to revisit your decision, your belief level, or why you made the decision you did.

A firm decision is fueled by determination, even when challenges appear. Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, uses the words—Definite Burning Desire. If you think about it, whether it’s to finally straighten a cluttered closet because the clutter has you exasperated or to pursue a certification or degree so you can practice something you feel passionate about, a definite, determined desire is there.

But, how many times, while growing up, did one or more people constructively instruct you about having a definite burning desire, what that might encompass, and what the rewards might be for acting on it? More than likely you were instructed to do what it took to fit into the mainstream, maybe even to be seen and not heard. If this has been your experience, it may have caused you to create to-do lists, but not Definite Burning Desires lists.

You may have heard “Name it and claim it,” but you may fear what others will think if you name and claim your definite burning desire, whether they’re still alive or not. You may even fear naming it, much less claiming it. The very idea may cause statements from the past to rush to mind like a storm wave onto the shore: Who do you think you are? What makes you think you’re so special? If you can’t do something right (perfectly the first time), don’t do it at all. Don’t risk it; go with a sure thing. That’s just stupid; no one will pay you for that! Why do you have to be different? What will people think? I’m sure you could add more statements you’ve heard from any number of people who didn’t know better than to repeat what they’d been told.

Sometimes, you make a firm decision, yet also find how you feel strengthens in firmness over time instead of feeling the “wallop of knowing” from the start you have at other times, like moving a dimmer light switch upward, gradually increasing the illumination. When this is your experience, you notice a shift in how you think about what you want and how determined you feel. You notice any discord that surfaces, but choose to focus more on what will work rather than what might not or hasn’t. Clarity about focused actions gradually sharpens as clarity about your desired result begins to take form. You seek more-specific information. You find that ideas about how to make your decision a reality increase in frequency—and in quality. You even begin to notice assistance coming to you from the universe, or whatever you call the creative source, through a variety of resources. You notice an increase in focused attention and a decrease in fretting.

A firm decision, even one that firms over time, is the “green light” to the creative source and to your own inner power source, to support you fully. A desired outcome realized is the result of a firm decision fueled by belief and unflinching determination. Could you benefit by putting this into practice more often… or right now?

Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer
This week’s State of Appreciation is live!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Is There A Special Trick for Law of Attraction?

Surely there is one technique that, if you knew it, would make Law of Attraction work every time. Do you believe that?

An ad for a Law of Attraction system arrived in my inbox and got my attention with its promise: a way to make LOA work every time. That promise gave me pause and prompted me to mull over my thoughts and experiences.

The school of thought is that LOA is always working. I accept this, particularly because I liken it to the hidden life force that operates our bodily systems like heartbeat, breathing, brainwaves, digestion, and so on. We don’t have to consciously manage these things; something else does this for us—in our best interest—so we can focus on other matters of living. And, if we decide to get involved with how our body functions, we can be deliberate about using our brain power, diet, exercise, meditation, how much sleep we get, and more.

So, the first thing I want to consider about the ad’s promise is Best Interest. To say you can make LOA work every time prompts several questions in my mind:
Will everything you request be in your best interest so that your soul aspect/expanded self has zero argument with the request?
Or, will you need to have a soul agreement in place that everything requested is to be considered in your best interest as a designated experience—no holds barred.
The ad’s promise must mean LOA will work every time you use it deliberately, and that you will be consistently, consciously deliberate. Otherwise, if we allow that LOA is at work all the time, we’d have to watch that we have absolute control over inner and outer conscious and subconscious feelings, thoughts, and words—which means no “oopsies” ever happen, as can take place when we’re angered or fearful, and negativity-attracting thoughts run amok.

I believe our LOA experiences are tailored to our unique selves and experiences to help us gain conscious awareness, especially about our interconnectedness with all in existence and with the conscious, intelligent creative energy—not just to get something we want or need. We do want to be able to be deliberate about it at times (like eating a certain way to improve digestion, etc.), which is why I suggest looking at your own experiences of LOA in your life, whether or not you choose to use a system.

It’s my opinion that Law of Attraction isn’t as much a technique as it is a label used for the result of a State of Being, which I’ll explain. And, that state isn’t lived in 24/7 (it would be tedious to consciously operate your bodily systems along with every other part of your life 24/7). But, it is a state we find happens naturally at times—without deliberate thought to be in that state—and at other times deliberately, when we apply conscious awareness and thought about something specific. The rest of the time, we do day-to-day life—having the experience of being a human with simplicities and complexities, challenges and wins, voids and fulfillment, frustration and accomplishment.

When LOA has been natural for me, what happened was I had a thought that was actually a decision more than a desire—with no discord attached to it. No massive amount of description and planning was engaged. In fact, it was more a general idea, concept, or image that came to mind for a very brief moment. No attachment to attainment was present because, as I said, it was decided on—a done deal, before its arrival—more than it was felt as a desire. I love these moments, but for me they just happen, with no conscious intrusion or influence on my part.

No energy of fear or need is attached to these natural moments either; and neither do I attempt to amp up faith or the absence of doubt—I’m just “one” with the decision. No time limit or “by this date” is involved. Arrival into my life of what is a decided desire has varied from minutes to years—however long it takes for the timing to be right for me—in my best interest.

And, the word “want” is used. It’s been said that the word “want” should be avoided because LOA will then work to keep you in a state of wanting. That hasn’t been my experience, because I’ve found it’s the energy supporting the word that influences what happens. When I said, “I want a lamp for that corner,” the word was imbued with the energy of a decision with no discord (the perfect lamp was found less than two hours later in the basement of my apartment building—and it was free to take).

When I’ve said “I want…,” and the energy was fear-based need, I had a very different experience. I think the need for deliberate times come my way to help me learn to apply what I described in my “natural” paragraph above, to matters that have sticky or entrenched fearful energy attached. The deliberate ones make me pay attention differently so I can figure out how to be in a natural state of being about something that’s held me in its grip in a negative or limiting way, which may require more than one “visit”.

I’ve also noticed the “deliberate” moments, when my energy is fear- or need-based, allow me to see that there isn’t one trick to use at these times, but it is a good time to see what works for me at a particular moment. Here are a few ways that work when I’m not feeling as “natural” about LOA as I would like:
Deciding to just let go, which often results in my laughing out loud at how ridiculous it can all seem or become at times, which definitely diffuses the energy so something better can happen—and does!
Taking a time-out from fretting to engage a walk, a good book or movie, or doing anything unrelated to where I’ve been focusing my anxious attention.

Do you see what those two bulleted items have in common? Letting go. It almost seems too easy. Letting go helps me move into a this-or-something-even-better frame of mind, which lets me slide into a more open, relaxed state of being—the LOA Natural State, you might call it—where “magic” happens.

Think back to times when LOA worked for you naturally, deliberately, or not at all. What was going on at the inner level when it worked effortlessly? What did you do or not do? What about when you felt you had to be deliberate (because you sure weren’t feeling “natural”)—what did you do that created results? And, what about when it didn’t work—did you later (even if much later) realize that your best interests were being attended to, perhaps in ways that amazed you (once you got over thoughts like “Why me?” and “I’m such a failure”)?

It amazes me to use this “rearview mirror” on my life to see that where I am in life at a particular moment is where I belong (like it or not, at times), and that if XYZ hadn’t happened, even if emotionally painful, I don’t know how I would have arrived where I belonged with the same cleverness the hidden life force employed. For me, this builds and expands trust in the hidden force that looks out for my best interests and the highest good of all involved, and assists or propels me, when I’m resistant, to my next destinations and life phases.

I don’t see LOA as something that fits into the “One size fits all” category. The one-size-fits-all items never fit the same, look the same, or perform the same—because we’re all different. Play with or try any system that grabs your fancy, but give some thought to what I’ve mentioned here.

The crux of what I ask you to consider is whether or not you’ve attuned to what your personal LOA experiences involve and feel like for you. You tap into true personal power if you grasp what this is for you as an individual and follow it—repeat and perhaps tweak—as needed. And that, my friend, is likely the most significant “trick” of Law of Attraction: you, your conscious awareness, and state of being drive it.

Practice makes progress.
This week’s State of Appreciation is live!