24. Managing Your Abilities

24. Managing Your Abilities

  • Through years of profiling individuals, I have witnessed countless transformations in peoples’ lives. These transformations have often begun with pain, confusion or deep-seated frustration. By the time the process of introducing clients to themselves was completed, they were hopeful and excited about what their lives could become. The positive, frequently dramatic turn-around in people is the predictable result of becoming aware, acting on it, and growing proficient at managing their attributes.
  • I want you, the reader, to experience the powerful impact of utilizing your natural abilities in harmony to create a better, fuller life. I wish you to experience the personal joy of remembering who you are and the hope that comes in realizing who you were created to be.
  • You will encounter difficulties if you simply assume that natural law will bring success without intelligent effort on your part. If you bury your natural abilities under ignorance and apathy, you’ll reap a mediocre life. The harvest will be confusion, frustration, and living in reaction to your circumstances. Now is the defining moment for you to decide to take the path toward a better you.
  • I am blessed to know a woman named Carolyn. She reminds me of the silent screen star, Mary Pickford…tiny in stature, but a giant of a woman. Carolyn is a wonderful combination of fragility and strength. When I first encountered her, she was in enormous personal and business debt, on the verge of losing to her circumstances. As we spoke, I emphasized that she could leverage her innate nature and utilize her strong points to overcome the many obstacles she faced. I gave her a strategy for the present and hope for the future…making it clear that she must permit herself to be human and that she needed to celebrate each and every victory, however small. Transformation is such a bigger-than-life process that at times it seems unreal. Within a few years, she was free of debt, had paid her back taxes, and was able to fund her retirement portfolio. Her life still exhibits her sweetness and fragility, but she has embraced stability and gained strength. No matter what our physical stature, we all have an inner giant that needs championing, direction and celebration.
  • Once you set goals that match your heart’s desires and set yourself to pursue them using your new awareness, you’ll be unstoppable.
  • I absolutely believe that, and I encourage you to take stock of where you are in your life and what you want. Take the time to reflect on it! I’m a serious advocate of taking a personal day off with no agenda…other than self-examination. Am I moving toward my natural desires and goals, or am I being derailed in my pursuit of them? Too often, people ignore or suspend personal goals while they pursue an agenda someone else has set for them. I’ve witnessed individuals sincerely try to thriveaccording tosomeone else’s agenda for decades. The common threads for all of them have been failure to take stock of who they are and losing touch with what truly motivates them. Inventorying who you are is essential to remembering who you are. And acting on that awareness is the key to engineering your true success and significance.
    • When trying to clarify complicated areas of your life, look for the specific roadblock and question it. Ask unconventional questions without an agenda other than clarity and truth. I’ve had much success with clients in determining the highest and best use of their time by using this simple exercise: Divide a piece of paper into four equal columns. In Column 1, list all the tasks you do; in Column 2, using a scale from 1- 10 with 10 being highest, mark your level of confidence and competence for each task; in Column 3, again using a scale from 1- 10, mark your level of enjoyment for each task; in Column 4, put the total of Columns 2 and 3 for each task. Remember, enjoyment equates to rewards; rewards equate to enthusiasm; and enthusiasm equates to success. Examine what you’ve clarified. Use a highlighter pen to highlight anything that has a total of 14 or higher. Anything highlighted is the beginning of your new job description. These are tasks you’re good at AND enjoy as well. Now, take the unhighlighted areas and figure out how you can outsource, negotiate or delegate those tasks. This exercise can be applied in any profession, from homemaker to CEO. Regardless of complexity, there are always ways to clarify and overcome the obstacles you face in life.
    • Discerning points of conflict. Have you ever noticed that there can be no real winner when you pick a fight with yourself? You merely frustrate and paralyze yourself. This is one type of conflict point, internal. There are at least three major kinds of conflict points:

 

  • internal conflict, caused when one of your abilities clashes with another of your abilities;
  • a clash between your abilities and the abilities of someone else;
  • conflict that occurs when your environment clashes with your innate abilities.
    • Internal Conflict. Can you imagine Mother Theresa duking it out with Frank Sinatra? Well, that’s what happens when Nurturer and Free Spirit attributes fight for dominance in the same person. This internal wrestling goes on continuously when it is left unresolved. That’s why it’s essential to begin the ability management process by establishing awareness and leveraging that newfound awareness to adjudicate the conflict. The more aware of yourself you are, the better your self-parenting skills will be. No one ability will always prevail. You have to develop the sophistication to decide when your Free Spirit should take the lead and when your Nurturer should take the lead
    • Jeff, a client who had both Justice and Performer abilities, was frustrated by internal conflicts. Unmanaged, these two abilities cancelled each other. He desired the serious impact that his Justice ability provided and the enjoyment his Performer ability brought him. But, in a sense, they hated each other and opposed each other. His energy was being consumed by his inner battle. When I reviewed his profile, I brought him to a new level of awareness about his conflict. Jeff learned to consciously delineate between Justice and Performer. His Justice couldn’t always be right, and his Performer couldn’t always be validated by response…but he could harness and focus his energy to find an appropriate place for both. Recently, he participated in a 400-mile bike ride for charity. His Justice enjoyed the serious impact of raising $20,000 for charity. His Performer enjoyed being celebrated for the accomplishment. He and all those around him benefited when he used these abilities in harmony instead of in opposition to each other.
    • The Suit of Armor Syndrome. To some degree, virtually everyone has what I call “the suit of armor syndrome.” They appear to be wearing a titanium suit of armor from head to toe. Viewed from the front, their aura of strength seems impenetrable…but turned around, seen from the back, they’re butt-naked. They’re really wearing only half a suit of armor.
    • For example, as an Olympian and Pioneer, the person in the armor can be a strong leader. However, add the Performer attribute, and that individual can be extremely sensitive to the responsiveness of others. So you have this impressive, protective armor that people see and a vulnerable backside that most people don’t see. The armored side makes others nervous or fearful or respectful. Most pretend that this vulnerability doesn’t exist. This is a touchy issue. Our profiling can help you in business and life so that your strong side is respected and your sensitive side is honored and protected.
    • When your abilities clash with someone else’s. I get many requests to review the profiles of couples together. That brings to mind Jerry and his wife Kim. When I first met with them, they’d resigned themselves to a long-standing stalemate in their marriage. They felt hopeless about finding any breakthrough or solution. They welcomed my shared insights and addressed the conflict points in their relationship, sore spots that had haunted them for thirty years. Jerry was Global and Pragmatic; Kim was Specific and Aesthetic.Historically, Kim felt invisible because Jerry lived in his own head, dreaming the big dreams. He loved her with his actions, not his words. Kim needed to be loved with his words. Jerry was frustrated. He felt he was wrestling an invisible octopus when he tried to clarify her hurt and feelings of being overwhelmed.
    • At their normal level of interaction at the breakfast table, Jerry would hide behind his newspaper, being globally disengaged. Meanwhile, Kim carried on a monologue from the kitchen, being specifically engaged. Jerry believed that being physically present at breakfast with his wife demonstrated his commitment to the relationship. Kim saw it as Jerry eating at a diner with a familiar waitress to whom he only gave lip service. Kim sincerely desired a shared experience of connection and intimacy. Their lack of effective interplay created a chasm between them that over the years had filled with regret, anger and resentment.
    • Each profile is dramatic by itself, and even more so when combined with another. During our consultation, I gave them a simple exercise…an intellectual and experiential process to help them discover the truth about themselves in relation to each other’s profile. They enthusiastically accepted their assignment, not knowing what they were about to experience. The exercise was: Have a Monday morning meeting to both get on the same page and to review practical logistics which Jerry would appreciate. Kim, feeling in tune with her husband, could start her week off being acknowledged and validated. Jerry could also benefit by the hope this meeting generated. It could help him achieve his bigger-picture goals while assuaging Kim’s desire to address their day-to-day problems.
    • A week passed, and I received an enthusiastic call from Jerry. He shared the events of their first Monday morning meeting. Jerry and Kim went out to breakfast. The main topic was Kim’s upcoming trip. Jerry caringly reviewed everything he felt Kim needed for her trip…the cost of travel, spending money, total logistics. His Global attribute was proud of being able to land long enough to focus on the details. But he was in for a surprise.
    • When they used the “mirror-back” technique I shared with them, requiring Kim to re-state what had been discussed, she tearfully told Jerry what she’d heard. She heard him say that she was lazy, irresponsible and stupid because he took over the details, placed an emphasis on the money, and seemed to think she couldn’t handle the logistics by herself.
    • To describe Jerry as dumbfounded would be an understatement. He suddenly comprehended the ramifications of their two different perspectives colliding. Because of our previous conversation, instead of being furious and irritated, he re-clarified his loving intent. Kim felt reassured by the time and the obvious genuine effort he spent to validate her with his words. The experience unified them and gave them enthusiastic hope for the rest of their relationship.
    • When your abilities clash with someone else’s, try to clarify the real issues by using the mirror-back technique. It is a terrific aid to achieving harmony in your relationships.
    • Conflict between your abilities and your environment. The third type ofconflict occurs when our natural abilities clash with our environment. This can be dramatic or subtle. An exceptionally dynamic client approached me with a story from his past, wondering how to build from his predicament. He was an entrepreneur with the Olympian attribute and a big problem: he was bored. The problem was subtle, and he hadn’t noticed it. He’d been extraordinarily successful in his industry and had mastered the challenges. Nothing new or invigorating confronted him, so he decided to become involved in a completely uncharted industry. He had no background in that area of business, and, within six months, he lost 2.5 million dollars and undermined his successful, established business irrevocably.
    • When I reviewed his profile, I pointed out to him that boredom plus his natural desire for challenge engineered his business failure. I also shared with him that he was designed to leverage insights and asked him what insights he could gain from this expensive lesson. He committed himself to a process of learning and applying what he learned to establish a core business while engaging in complementary challenges. He learned that, when bored, he could engage in competitive sports. This stimulated his desires for challenges and mastery without undermining his business foundation. Within a few years, he turned his 2.5 million dollar lesson into a 40 million dollar company.
    • The lesson is: when bored with their conveyor belt, Olympians tend to throw a wrench into the machinery to watch the pretty sparks fly. And, building from scratch is an alternative for them, but not the best alternative.
    • The effects of positive and negative nurture. We all have experienced both positive and negative nurture. Parents, siblings, institutions and organizations can honor, promote and champion who we are naturally designed to be or they can oppress and stifle it. Based on certain attributes and styles…especially Aesthetic, Integrity and Impress…some people are prone to give their power over to their negative nurture. It can be like trying to find their true selves in the mirrors of a carnival fun-house; they see odd and disturbing images provided by the distorting mirrors of their negative nurture. The process of over-owning negative nurture creates a liquid sense of self. Our process helps solidify people’s true selves and move them toward their true significance.
    • Here’s a painful-but-helpful question for parents to consider: Am I trying to wear my children down to get them to fulfill my agenda and to value what I value? This applies to any child of any age. For example, if you’re a Justice mother with a free-spirited son, you need to accept that he will always value freedom over integrity. No amount of motivating, convincing or nagging will ever change that. Rather, it will push him away and alienate him. If the mother can manage her strong desire for Integrity and love her son the way he needs to be loved, with flexibility and freedom, he’ll be more receptive to her uprightness.
    • Pragmatics seldom experience damage from the negative words and experiences of their nurturers. They can sometimes be damaged by the actions of others, occasionally resulting in a poor image of themselves. The Pragmatic characteristic generally mirrors and is tempered by the person’s other abilities. For Pragmatics with Integrity in their profile, the negative action lingers and echoes longer within them. For Olympian Pragmatics, negative nurture might spur them to action. However, for an excellence-focused Pragmatic, it could cause ongoing humiliation.
    • How to manage predatory, toxic or negative-nurture situations. By now, you’ve probably inventoried the predators that make you toxic. Next, inventory your environments to determine if those predators exist in an active or inactive state. Toxic situations such as overwhelming debt, and toxic individuals, perhaps your mother-in-law or difficult boss, can be predators. If you determine that there is significant toxicity in your environment, get ready to fight or take flight. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of taking your power back. Or you may need to set up a plan to eventually remove yourself from that environment. Or you may be able to re-engineer your environment. If you decide to leave, it’s important that you’re empowered and that it’s not simply retreating. Learn whatever the lesson is in this. Otherwise, you’ll just engineer the same circumstances and duplicate the environment over and over.
    • I recall that a client approached me in a severely broken state. Just about every area of her life was in upheaval. Her husband was abusive and oppressive; she was drowning in debt; and one of her children had been seriously injured. So she had a toxic individual and a toxic environment to deal with. Her circumstances were extraordinary; therefore, the homework I gave her was extensive. The first thing I addressed was the mistreatment by her husband…a core issue.He viewed her as stupid, lazy and second-best. I confronted her with the truth about herself…both her co-dependency and her strengths. She was a good businesswoman who enjoyed helping people and seeing movement and growth around her. But by trying to control things that were out of her control, she had become an over-protective mother to her kids. I encouraged her to take her power back from her husband, set boundaries, and tell him, “No counseling, no marriage.” She learned to inventory her movement and growth in her business and to celebrate the littlevictories. I also gave her some specifics on how to effectively talk to her Creator about her fear issues.
    • The next time I saw her, several months later, she’d lost 35 pounds, reduced her debt, and her business was thriving. She had separated from her husband, but was in counseling with him. Her sense of self was solidified. She was finally allowing herself to have fun and experience the simple joys that were there all along.
    • My Mom. I have to tell you about my mother who has a splendid profile. She is designed to be sensitive and nurturing, yet competitive. My Mom was born three years after the death of her sister, Sadie, who was only four years old when she died. Sadie was “a little lady”, to quote my grandparents. My Mom was a tomboy. She enjoyed competing in the female version of the Gaelic game, hurling. She roller-skated until her skates broke when she was 13 years old. And she was devastated when her father gave her a ladylike watch to replace the broken roller skates.
    • Mom didn’t learn to drive until she was fifty. She took up golf at the same age. My grandmother passed away during that period, and it was only then that my mother began to find her own voice…and to become aware of who she was designed to be. My mother now thrives by competing at her golf club, socializing with her friends, speaking to other groups, and representing the state junior girls’ golf team. She now has her own car and drives wherever she wants. All this since she started growing into herself at fifty.
    • Mom couldn’t compete with a departed sister, although she tried by apologizing for who she was and by attempting to be something she was not designed to be. My mother is a driven, heartfelt, passionate woman. She was not appreciated or validated for who she was by her mother. Although I am sure my grandmother loved her, in her grief she always longed for the daughter she lost. The message my Mom got was that she wasn’t acceptable or lovable simply for herself.
    • Generational sin is the passing down of bent and broken patterns or bent and broken behavior from one generation to the next. If you have been negatively affected by your nurture, you can break the pattern and experience wholeness for yourself. And you can pass on healthier patterns to your own children.
    • Schools, corporations, and other organizations can also honor and encourage their students, employees and members to live out their design or they can criticize and discourage them. The free-spirited, independent child and the introspective, artistic child are especially at risk. As parents, you can help your children find their voice in their environments and institutions and act as their strongest advocates.
    • Goals and Motivation. During the goal-writing sessions at our seminars, people react in different dramatic ways. Some cry. Some excuse themselves because they’re overcome with emotion. Others become so excited they can barely contain themselves. And some quietly re-ignite their fire to begin focusing on their next level of significance. The one thing you will not see is any of them looking over each other’s shoulders, trying to copy their neighbor’s deep-seated passions and desires. As odd as that sounds, in life we can end up doing just that by following the latest craze.
    • Losing weight is a goal many share, but it has to be fed by individual desire. As I began appearing more frequently in the public eye, my own desire to lose weight was spurred by the realization that I wasn’t a good physical representative of my own beliefs. I’d joke with people that I wanted to lose weight because I didn’t want to be lowered onto stage by crane to talk about balance, wholeness, success and significance. As with all humor, there was an element of truth in it. I was internally motivated to lose weight because I realized being overweight would lessen my credibility, dilute my message of transformation, and reduce the impact of my life’s work. Because I’m synergistic and gregarious, I involved several health-care professionals in my effort. Doctors, nutritionists and personal trainers provided me the expertise, consistency and accountability I needed. The other essential ingredient was time…to make sure this would be a life-style change and not some generic quick-fix.
    • Anything you do to transform your lifestyle requires time to take root. We impatiently want to expedite our own growth, but our innate abilities are organic. In our impatience, we may unconsciously force something unnaturally and engineer unforeseen problems.
    • I had to cultivate patience. It has taken me four years, three gyms, a marathon, and the consistent coaching of trained professionals to achieve a 27% body-fat loss and lose 80 pounds. When you look for quick fixes based on infomercials promising major changes in 90 days, you engineer ultimate failure. There is no easy way. When you inventory the Why, the How becomes apparent.
    • I noticed a trend after the goal-writing sessions at our seminars: people approached me with frustration and embarrassment. Apologetically, they would share that they didn’t get it. No bells rang. They felt left out because others around them were delighted with the passion and detail of their goals. While some people were fired up, others went away dejected.
    • When we motivate the everyman with uniform goal-setting, we get dramatically polarized results. Creating real goals for yourself has to come from how you see your world and how you are individually motivated to move and grow. Remember, a Specific person has a lens that can vividly see the ladybug crawl across the leaf. A Global person has a telescopic lens that can see the debris in the rings of Saturn. Goal writing must be modified for each. Specific persons can describe their ideal day and week, that is, idealize their present and then project that out into the future. They then can list in detail the time, energy and resources required to make it happen.
    • Although Global persons have no problem visualizing a dream, they can become frustrated with the details of accomplishing that dream. They become hopeless because they feel their dream is on the other side of the Grand Canyon…visible but unreachable. When championing a Global individual to write a goal, I simply reverse the order requested of the Specific individual. Individuals with Global perspective need to start with their long-term goal and work backward, creating the series of sequential mini-goals required to get there. That way, they can sustain their hope for success. They see that what they’re doing today moves them closer to their dream for the future.
    • Writing goals to your natural design is the best way to sustain long-term success and significance.
    • Truth Statements. When we interview clients, we listen for patterns revealing their core motivations. We take these patterns and turn them into what we term “truth statements”. I’ve developed a system whereby we mirror back the truth statements to the client so the client can own them as affirmations. The truth statements are essentially reminders of who they are, what motivates them, and what direction they need to go. Next, we ask them to create detailed goals based on their truth statements.
    • For example, a friend of mine, ToddNordstrom, is a Nurturer. One of his truth statements is: I am encouraged when Imake an impact in the lives of others. As he became successful financially and made progress toward achieving his health and lifestyle goals, he revisited his truth statements for next-level goals. When he came back to his core truth statement about impacting the lives of others, he established new relevant goals. On Tuesday nights, he works with an organization that provides support services for children who’ve been placed in protective care. He helps these kids with homework, playswith them and encourages them. One summer, he realized the children would have no new shoes, clothes or supplies for school, increasing their self-consciousness. So he established the goal of sponsoring a fundraising event in his sphere of influence. It generated thousands of dollars to help the kids and has become an annual event. It is a beautiful thing to watch someone do what they were created for and witness the impact it has on other lives.
    • When I hear people cry for what they desire, they can be convincing, passionate, articulate. At face value, I hear their yearning, but I look to see if there’s any movement behind the passion. As I’ve said before, a wish is a goal without legs.
    • I have a creative friend, Alton Hitchcock, who is a writer, director and actor. For years, he talkedabout moving to Hollywood, but put no legs to his talk. Then he experienced a series of events that brought him to the end of himself. He utilized this as a pressure point to muster the do-or-die, now-or-never courage to move. He went to Hollywood, found a job that gave him time to attend classes, to network, and to join the right guilds and unions. Whether he becomes the next Hitchcock or Brando is secondary; he’s pursuing his dream. And he is healthier and happier than he has ever been. He’s also inspiring others to find the courage to move toward their dreams.
    • Most people have trouble granting themselves permission to pursue their dreams. They think of themselves as procrastinators. In reality, they’re probably not. They are usually ambivalent about reaching the goal and the quality of the end result. The majority of us need positive or negative pressure to move forward.
    • Writing exercise. What happens if I do not accomplish this goal?We’reencouraged by our inspirational teachers to dream big. We often shroud our goals in the billowy white clouds of fantasy, almost in a nirvana-like bliss. In reality, we are much more motivated by negative pressure points than by positive pressure points. I love the dream of producing an inspiring book for many to read. However, the pressure point to finish the manuscript wasn’t positive. It was negative. The truth is, my distributors gave me an ultimatum. There would be massive delays if I didn’t meet deadlines and the project might be scrapped. My dream needed to be couched in a worst-case scenario to pressure the perfectionist in me. I effectively negotiated with my abilities, using negative pressure points.
    • The awfulness of missing the opportunity to do something is often far worse than moving through the fear of doing it. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to walk through the fires of fear. It’s best to first experience the fear by writing than in tangible reality. The use of writing helps people realize their fear and prepare to manage any projected roadblocks. What would happen if you didn’t actualize your goal? How would you feel? How would it impact your family, friends and colleagues? How would youview yourself? How would others perceive you? There is enough motivation in these simple questions to move mountains. Write your answers down on paper. Writing about your life and how it relates to your environment and those around you is the mainspring of your impetus to move in the direction your goals.
    • Goals in the five circles of life: The balancing act. Our world is essentially comprised of five areas, each with intake and output: Spiritual, Family and Friends, Vocation, Financial, and Personal. We need to establish goals in all of these areas.
    • It is both stimulating and daunting to realize that we require continuous reworking andmaintenance. It calls to mind the little Dutch boy and the sea wall; as soon as he plugged one hole, another leak would spring up. If we regard the five circles of life as plates to keep spinning, we can’t neglect a single plate, or it will fall. Then, while we replace and respin the fallen plate, the others may fall. If we over-focus on any one area, weengineer the breakdown of other areas of our lives and knock ourselves off-balance.
    • While my business was going well because I put a great deal of time into it, I neglected my health to the point of obesity. So I had to learn how to handle my business AND cultivate a healthy lifestyle at the same time. After accomplishing this and enjoying it as a personal victory, I then became aware of next-level challenges, specifically in the spiritual area. That sparked my desire to impact more and more people…and give them the means to move toward the truth about themselves. Every day, no matter what, I was motivated to work on my business, work out at the gym, and get on my computer to write. The next-level perspective prompted me to consciously and deliberately wiggle forward by incorporating all five areas into my everyday life. Simply being aware of how to show up in these critical life areas is the springboard to everything else. It propels us to have an ongoing conversation with ourselves; to inventory these areas and consciously move toward wholeness, balance, success and significance. It would be foolish for me to focus exclusively on one area and let the others suffer. I could publish a book and remain obese or live at the gym and never write a book. Neither would represent the balanced, highest use of my time.
    • One of the sweetest clients I’ve ever encountered was a woman who came to me sobbing. She had suffered years of frustration over her infertility; all the solutions she’d tried had failed. Of course, I told her this wasn’t an area I knew much about. But the entire time she spoke, I couldn’t believe how uptight and tense she was. I shared two observations with her. Firstly, I couldn’t imagine any fertility method working for her in her current state because she was physiologically and psychologically frazzled. Secondly, I noted that she had all but abandoned every other area of her life. I startled her with the homework I gave her: to work on the other areas of her life and to be intimate with her husband for the joy of it…not as part of a frantic agenda. Her husband was the first to celebrate the noticeable difference in her attitude and focus. It prompted him to examine areas of neglect in his own life. Since reclaiming herself, she has put aside her drivenness to conceive, gained peace of mind about the fertility issue, and is investigating adoption possibilities. The pressure she feels to have a child is now appropriate, not oppressive or obsessive.
    • It is important to acknowledge and celebrate movement or victories in each of these key areas of your life. If you are a business person, don’t fall into the trap of celebrating only business growth. If you have a quiet month or quarter, you could become disheartened over the lack of growth. Remember to celebrate family and friends, your personal progress, and the other areas as well. Rewarding yourself continues the process of awareness and momentum.
    • Meaningful R&R. Transformation occurs when you begin to function with your innate abilities at their best. And these new-found experiences reinforce your owning of your natural abilities. The epidemic problem of burnout stems from people ignoring their natural reward systems. Natural rewards fuel your enthusiasm and strengthen you against burnout. They also go a long way in helping you recover from previous burnout. When it comes to work, most of us are like long-distance runners who finish one marathon only to immediately begin preparing for the next race. Whatever happened to the lap of honor celebrating theachievement and absorbing the joy of completion, excellence or victory? Although we have mundane, generic celebrations such as TGIF happy hours or Wednesday (Hump Day) acknowledgments, these are shallow, hollow and de-motivating contrivances. Hump Day implies we don’t look for any joy during our work week. And TGIFcelebrations infer that the only potential for fun is the weekend. No wonder people hold their emotional breath, delaying and suspending enthusiastic pursuits, becoming disorientated and fatigued. Over time, this pattern develops into a more severe loss of perspective.
    • My clients have had a great deal of success by implementing the following tips:

    Take a day off every week, no matter what. For those who love structure it can be the same day every week. For those who like flexibility it can be any day. And don’t fill this day off with Honey-Do chores…preferably none. The same goes for checking your voice mail and e-mails at the office. These things can easily destroy the rhythm and success of a personal day. A friend of mine developed a routine with his young son. He gave the son his pager to turn off and put in the trunk of the car so they could spend uninterrupted time together. Just as we take off our clothes when we retire for the night, we can find ways to tell ourselves we’re shifting gears. What gear-shifting mechanism do you use?

    Give yourself something to look forward to during the week. A weekend ahead, book an evening with a spouse or a friend or plan time alone for yourself. Enjoy the anticipation of an upcoming fun event. Although most people appreciate spontaneity, it is hard toorchestrate good times last minute because of other people’s busy schedules. Sports events, theatre or concerts provide a great way to relax and enjoy life. Enjoyed with close friends, they offer opportunities to surround the event with dinner and discussion. These can be the best of times, keeping you connected to friends you might not see otherwise. Consider season tickets to establish a regularity in your scheduling. Creating pre-established dates for time with yourself and loved ones is stabilizing and affirming. It allows you to be human.

    Celebrate professional movement andgrowth with personal rewards. When you inventory the milestones, victories and growth in your life, how do you celebrate them? How do you celebrate time away from your work? Effective rewards can be as simple as a bubble bath, massage or facial…or as exotic as a travel vacation, car, jewelry or new home. The size of the reward needs to be in proportion to the accomplishment. The possibilities are endless. The point is that you have to create, establish and experience those rewards as an ongoing reality in your life.

    • Defeating the Monster. People do not like to discuss their debt. Because most are not forthcoming about their predicament, I gently try to determine their debt status by asking: On a scale of one to ten, ten being most oppressive, what number would you say applies to you regarding debt. Their response determines what my next step will be. If they answer high on the oppressive scale, then I begin the awareness step in this critical area. If their answer is low, either they’re not willing to tell me, or they’re not oppressed by it, and I go to the next level of discovery with their profile.
    • One of my closest friends has had an overabundance of tragedy in her life. She shared something with me that has forever changed how I see finances and made it an important area to address with clients. Of all her difficulties, she was most concerned about the debt she amassed while she was physically unable to work. She taught me that the greatest terror for people regarding finances is the loss of human dignity. That was what haunted her.
    • I wonder how many people harbor this secret terror? I think the majority of us are threatened by the shame of it. Human dignity is the skin we wrap our self-esteem in.
    • On a subconscious level, we censor our terror by not talking about our debt. When people are willing to share this area of vulnerability, I point out the insidiously corrosive effects of debt. Financial debt is a monster living in our basement. We feed the monster with parts of ourselves…our joy, focus, enthusiasm and ultimately our humanity. One of my chief concerns is to help people take back their power from this financial monster.
    • The monster doesn’t have to be your current debt. It can be the haunting memory of a previous situation, or debt from the previous generation. All can be equally toxic. The depression of the 1930s is still real in many people’s minds. If you were ever previously in debt, re-examine yourself to see if the child within you is reacting to circumstances, rather than your adult self negotiating an appropriate response. In this area especially, celebrate the smallest of victories. As debt is one of our principle terrors, so should overcoming it be one of our principle joys!
    • Movement is reinforced by a celebration of triumph. Whether you are Pragmatic or Aesthetic, you need some form of acknowledgement for moving forward. Celebration of your victories in life goes hand-in-hand with generating energy and enthusiasm for next-level growth.
    • Noises Off! Passing a gas station when you’re on empty is not wise, yet we do it all the time with our humanity when it cries out for the fuel of renewal. Analytical and Introspective people need to cultivate quiet times to think things through on a daily basis. Even five to ten minutes first thing in the morning can help. If you have a hectic day, drive home in silence to permit yourself to process properly. I suggest journaling as another way to gain clarity and perspective.
    • Step back and consider the OPEN-24-HOURS-A-DAY world of convenience stores, news every hour, never-ending Late Shows, Tonight Shows, and Late, Late shows. All ofour amenities and conveniences and entertainments have engineered a hidden danger. Beyond stimulation to the point of insomnia, we have altered our natural rhythm so drastically that we’ve given up the time to sit and think. In agrarian times, we finished the day when the sun did. We spent our evenings sitting around the fireplace, reflecting or talking. In Ireland, we often experienced power outages. A memory I hold dear is one night when the power went out right after supper. We got out the candles and lit them, then got out a battery-operated tape recorder and put on our own varietyshow. The whole family participated. We ached from laughing. We delighted in the ingenuity of our fellow family members. But once the lights came on, we returned to our familiar pattern of watching television. I have observed through my clients that we turn on stimulus when we turn to TV or electronic entertainments…and we turn off creativity and perspective.
    • I give a homework assignment to News junkies: Go on a 24-hour fast from the News. Totally abstain, just to experience different stimuli. Listening for and to something different can heighten your creativity in overcoming obstacles and open up new perspectives. The challenge is to incorporate creativity and fresh perspective so you retain a solid sense of self in the midst of all the clamoring stimuli.
    • Contentment and progress. How can you achieve a high level of contentment with your current circumstances while wiggling toward your goals and aspirations?
    • Stability is essential. Shaping an environment for your humanity without stabilizing the important areas of your world is like building a greenhouse on quicksand. And, stability is unique to each individual. I need my finances stabilized before I am willing to even look at next-level challenges, and usually I take on only one challenge at a time. My friend requires no financial security to launch into new ventures.
    • When we over-focus on stability, however, we can sacrifice creativity and growth to maintain the level of security we possess currently. We become unwilling to move, fearing we will lose what we have. We need to think of stability as a springboard to higher levels of success and significance. Remember, the most effective means of dealing with fear is movement.
    • Change is something we all resist. We each have our individual comfort zone. Iregard the concept of comfort zone somewhat differently than most. I believe that people seek to become comfortable in their discomfort zone by trying to build around areas that they realize require attention. The child in us locks the bogeyman behind a door instead of facing him. In my own case, although many areas of my life were going well, I longed to write a book that would help others. Even though I was comfortable in my life, I felt a sense of incompleteness. The discomfort came from my unfulfilled desire towrite this book. Moving toward this goal required me to step out of my routine and confront my fears, to make myself vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism. Working through a fear is not a one-timeendeavor. It is a continuing conversation with ourselves as we move through painful growth and exercise our power over that fear. We must become practiced at these conversations in order to keep moving forward. We continually move on to address the next-level roadblock or fear. In the process, we become practiced enough that movement becomes a source of stabilizing confidence.
    • The way forward. I find that those who are best at saying No, in many articulate ways, are also the most afraid of losing their stability. One client who was stuck in almostevery area of his life consistently lamented his circumstances. However, when working with me on ways to move forward, he was very verbal about why my recommendations wouldn’t work and uncharacteristically silent when it came to volunteering solutions. In reality, he was secretly enjoying the security of familiar roadblocks. Even though he was uncomfortable, he opted to remain where he was.
    • There is an anecdote that is quite pertinent here. It’s the story of a man who was caught in a flood. As hesat on the roof of his house surrounded by raging waters, he prayed to God to rescue him. A man with a canoe came by to help him. He politely declined explaining that God would rescue him. Later, a man with a life raft offered assistance. Once again the roof-sitter refused the offer, saying that he was sure God would rescue him. As the floodwaters peaked, the stranded man saw a helicopterhovering above him. Rescuers lowered a rope, but again he refused, resolutely declaring his faith that God would save him. Later that night, he drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God why He hadn’t saved him. And God said, “I sent you a canoe, a raft and a helicopter!” I’vehad some clients who stayed stuck on their own roofs and hostile to a helping hand.
    • Another way to manage your abilities is by identifying what your abilitiesspecifically need. (See Diagram # on page 000.) If you’re destabilized in any area(s) of your life, a effective management technique is to inject additional stability into another area to compensate, at least during the transition from instability to victory. For example, if Frank is in debt, he may be working to generate extra income, save and pay off the debt. This transpires as a process, not an event. So, during this process, Frank can become overwhelmed with fear, doubt and toxic self-conversation. What if he went to weekly church services to build up his faith or enrolled in a class on managing personal finances? Either or both would enhance his creativity, spiritual well-being, practical education, confidence and social support.
    • Another case in point: Sean is a gentle, caring soul, stuck in his life. He’s chosen stabilizing his world over moving in his world. He lives in a basement apartment, has two part-time jobs, is in no significant relationships and lives a lonely, unfulfilled existence. He is handsome, well-educated, hard-working and intelligent. Over the years, I’ve shared with him the gifts layingdormant in his profile. It’s accurate to say that he purposefully refuses to unwrap and use them. The tragedy for him is that he might leave this planet without making his mark on it. Thetragedy for others is that we’re robbed of his potential. Stability is comforting and essential in our lives, but toxic when we make it our life’s pursuit.
    • On the back of a burro. In America, I’ve noted many times how the big and brash and lionized are rewarded. I believe it’s one of the reasons why America is such a potentsociety. However, it cuts both ways; many people feel suppressed because they believe they can only move forward in huge leaps. My clients experience a slower subtle-but-powerfulshift when they learn to wiggle forward. They’re not usually equipped to jump the Grand Canyon in a rocket-sled! Most must strap their goal to the back of a burro and carefully go down one side of the Grand Canyon and up the other. The patient way across is do-able, believable and safer. We can celebrate the small steps while leveraging time to cover a lot of ground.
    • We cause paralysis when we try to force our abilities and goals to make unreasonable leaps. Our burro stiffens his legs and won’t budge. Analytical, Global, and Meticulous peopleare more likely to experience this. Paralysis compounds our censorship and sustains our hopelessness, oppression and depression. The universal treatment for paralysis ismovement; what kind of movement depends on the type of paralysis. The major and most identifiable are analysis paralysis, emotional paralysis and excellence paralysis. Analysis paralysis is simply non-movement from getting caught in your own head, over-examining and over-thinking. Thinkers and dreamers often analyze a situation over and over, looking for the absolute rather than the optimal solution. Why? The only absolutes I’ve ever found are truth, death and gravity. There is no such thing as an absolute parent, spouse or solution. Optimal solutions are the best you can do in real time with available resources andenergy. Learning to choose the optimal over the absolute will gift you with continual movement and next-level growth.
    • Excellence paralysis comes from visualizing movement to a standard of excellence beyond yourself and your capabilities. This is in comparison to your own internal expectations and the perceivedexpectations of those who know you…family, friends, clients. Perfectionists and those with Integrity or Meticulous abilities can fall easy victims to this type of paralysis. The preventative begins with identifying for whom you’re doing a task. If it’s for yourself, relax and realize that unfinished creations must be part of your landscape. If it’s for someone else, identify specifically what they need from you and serve them specifically to meet that need. The management point is: execute totheir standards, not yours. Chances are they won’t notice and therefore won’t appreciate your extra effort…and, tragically, you’ll set them up to disappoint you. The child in you can abandon itself to the fear of less-than-excellence and choose no action over possible criticism, judgment and scrutiny. That child will calm down after it goes through the mill a few times and realizes the world didn’t end and its fears did not manifest.
    • Emotional paralysis is the quietest form. We are all familiar with the numbing, shocking paralysis that occurs when someone goes through a great trauma. A person in shock is devoid of emotion.Here, I’m referring to silent, undramatic trauma; the gradual subconscious erosion that comes from negative nurture. The repetitive historical pattern prevents us from moving forward. For example, a response-driven boy is told by a teacher that he is self-centered, and the teacher conveys disappointment in him. The boy grows up to be a man who passionately desires to perform for others, but his conflict keeps him from moving at all in the direction of his natural design. The emotions create a reaction sopunishing that the person wants to avoid repeating the experience at all costs…even at the expense of burying his true self. Journaling will help to empower and re-establish true perspective, especially the left-handed journaling exercise on page 000. However, it is imperative for anyone in this situation to cultivate safe relationships where they can verbalize their feelings, share with others, clarify and experience validating perspectives. I am amazed at what people think is normal.Until they verbalize their historical experiences, they gain little awareness that their environment and nurture may have been contrary to their true design.Simply put, sharing vulnerability with a safe person can only benefit you.(See Journaling Exercises on pages 000 to 000.)
    • Keep moving. Keep celebrating. And take inventory of your life and impact. When I first attended church, I would listen to the message and automatically think of everyone in my life and how they could benefit from it. This provided me with a convenient way out for my sub-conscious…I didn’t have to own themessage for myself in my world. Taking inventory of your life and your impact on your world as a continuing task on your personal checklist is crucial. Take personal ownership for your life and the gifts you’ve been given. Reward yourself when you do this; it will make the next inventory even more enjoyable and rewarding.
    • MAP out your movement. MAP is an acronym for Make Action Plan. People are motivated by structure, substantive milestones, and documenting of experiences. When you write down the specific action steps required to reach a goal, you are far more likely to actualize that goal. For example, my goal is to be fit. What type of gym do I want? What is my target date to sign up for gymmembership? What am I looking for in a trainer? What is my target date to start working with a trainer? By when will I consult a nutrition doctor? How soon can I implement my new food management plan? When you track your movements, you are subconsciously taking the goal seriously and giving more weight to the steps to realize those goals. You can transform the goal from a whimsical dream to an achievable process if you create a MAP for that goal to become a reality.
    • The journey from survival to stability to success to significance. Danny Kaye said there’s a difference between being childish and childlike. Take a childlike view of your journey while moving through it. Unfortunately, many people have a childish view of their journey. It’s childish and foolish to believe that if we could win the lottery, we’d have it made. The lottery doesn’tautomatically guarantee success, significance, and completeness. The adult part of you has to understand that your journey is multi-dimensional. When we watch or read biographies of famous people, we are often baffled by what happens to them. Famous people can become lonely and isolated; brilliant people can do great harm to themselves. If someone has been blessed in one area of life, it doesn’t automatically transfer success to the other areas. Karen Carpenter, Kurt Cobain, John Belushi, Marilyn Monroe, and many others have demonstrated that in the most dramatic way. We can learn from their glittering lives and unfortunate ends. It’s a natural part of the process to be rich in one areaof your life and poor in another. The key is to be content with what is good in your life as you initiate the process of survival, stability, success and significance in a neglected part of your life. In this way, you enjoy your present circumstances while expending the energy and enthusiasm to pursue the next challenge along your journey. Our lives are delicate, intricate and miraculous. If we decide to regard our complex journey as our schoolroom and playroom, we can be learning in one area while we enjoy success in another. Embarking on a balanced journey requires our awareness of how we move and the direction of our destination.
    • Be willing to glean the wisdom of others. When we try on new clothes, we stand in front of a three-way mirror. The mirror directly ahead shows us what we normally see; the two side-paneled mirrors offer us different perspectives, showing us what others see. We learn more about ourselves when we incorporate others’ views. Here’s an example of how I tap into the wisdom of others. When I make a presentation, I ask trusted friends for their perspectives. One shares vivid insights with me and tells me how I impacted the audience. Another monitors my emotional output and tells me if I was passionate enough for the audience to own what I had to share. Yet, another friend comments about the bigger-picture implications. I refine my message for my next speaking engagement, or for the long run, based on their comments. Wisdom comes from gleaning what others see and applying it to our lives. Learn to optimally utilize your own abilities by tapping into and utilizing the abilities of others. It will greatly expand your opportunities for success. Think of their abilities and wisdom as a library that you can use for your betterment. And remember, others appreciate being asked for their wisdom and advice.
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