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Recognizing Opportunities

Excerpted from: If Success Is a Game, These are the Rules,

And written by: Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

There are two kinds of opportunities in life: the glaring obvious ones and the hidden ones. The obvious ones are things like the promotion for the job you have been seeking, a marriage proposal from the person you love and want to spend your life with, or an apartment offered in the city where you have always dreamed of living. There are obvious opportunities that you can’t miss, because they are delivered to you in neon lights.

The second type of opportunity is not obvious and requires that you look beneath the surface. These are the ones you need to root around a bit to find. For instance, when your company merges with another and new positions are available. Perhaps you hear in passing that a business you are interested in is opening a branch office in a city close to your home. A friend invites you to go whitewater rafting on a river you have never seen. These opportunities require a little more exploration and excavation. These are the ones that make you say “Hmm. Maybe…”

The universe is constantly in flux. Change is a constant. Changes can occur in your private life or far away on the front page of the newspaper. With every change that occurs around you, an opportunity is presented. Usually it is buried beneath the surface, but if you are willing, you can excavate it.

Dave worked as an editor at a feature magazine. He liked what he did but wished he had more time to pursue his primary love, which was writing. One afternoon his boss called him into his office and handed him a story about a local true crime case with some fascinating twists and turns and asked him to research it. Dave took the story back to his desk and was immediately engrossed. As he worked on the story, he kept getting a needling feeling that this was a doorway to some sort of opportunity for him.

Dave didn’t sleep a wink that night. He tossed and turned as he wrestled with his thoughts. In the morning, as he was brushing his teeth, the message came through to him loud and clear: He wanted to contact the people involved in the story and write a book about it. It was an incredible tale, and he knew he could do an excellent job with a book. He knew he had the talent to do this, and since he kept up with true-crime books, he was fairly certain that it would be a marketable project.

Dave went to his boss the next day and told him of his plans. His boss supported the decision, although it would mean Dave would have to take an unpaid leave of absence. Within three months, Dave found a publisher for the book and is not spending all his time doing what he loves to do: writing.

This was one of those opportunities that did not come delivered on a silver platter. No one said to Dave, “Would you like to write a book about this story?” nor did anyone hold up a sign that said, “You should write a book about this.” It took a willingness on Dave’s part to peer beneath the surface of his everyday life and find an opportunity amid the daily events.

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The Anatomy of Choice and Decision

Excerpted from: Transformational Life Coaching, and written by: Cherie Carter‐Scott, Ph.D. and Lynn U. Stewart

The definition of choice is “to select freely from a series of alternatives that which you want.” A decision, on the other hand, is “a conclusion or a determination about something that is based on rational, logical, and reasonable facts and information.” Choices are intuitive, are driven by preferences, are satisfying to the self, feel right, and can stretch you outside your comfort zone. Decisions are rational, are driven by expectations, appease others, are often justified with reasons and explanations, and don’t necessarily require a stretch.

When we compare decisions and choices, we see that a decision is rational, where a choice is intuitive. A decision is logical and reasonable, while a choice feels right on a gut level. A decision can be explained by reasons, where a choice is based on personal preference. A decision is driven by external expectations, where a choice is driven by intrinsic proclivity. A decision appeases others, where a choice is satisfying to the self. A decision is comfortable, while a choice can be uncomfortable.

Conditions for making a choice are: There is either a statement of dissatisfaction with the status quo, or there is an expression of desire for something different from what currently exists. The person examines what he or she feels about the situation, explores what he or she ideally wants. The various options are reviewed, preferences are articulated, and the person selects the most desirable option. Finally, the person commits to his or her choice. Choices are intrinsically initiated and are all about making changes. When this progression is followed, the person making the choice experiences satisfaction and fulfillment.

The conditions for making a decision look like this: There is a situation that requires resolution. The person examines his or her expectations and the ramifications and consequences of each option. A decision is made based on those criteria or the “shoulds.” The outcome often results in reservations rather than a clear commitment, and the person deciding may end up feeling less than satisfied with the outcome.

Research has demonstrated that following one’s preferences leads to more long‐range and fulfilling outcomes. People who tend to operate cognitively are usually more comfortable making decisions. People who operate affectively (from their emotions) are more comfortable making choices. Both types of people are capable of making both decisions and choices; however, many people hesitate to make either one. The question that most coaches must face is why people are indecisive.

If you like what you’ve read and would like to read more, visit www.drcherie.com/books.php to purchase a copy of Transformational Life Coaching today!

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The Power of Wanting

Excerpted from: If Success Is a Game, These Are the Rules,

and written by: Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

When you want something – really want it – there is an internal hit that goes off inside you that responds “yes.” That impulse is as strong when you are five years old reaching for a toy as it is when you are fifty reaching for your dream home. The energy that is unleashed in that moment of desire creates one of the most powerful and magnetic forces in the universe.

When I was 21 years old, my then-husband and I knew we wanted to backpack around the Hawaiian Islands after graduation. We both deeply wanted to take this trip, to explore the raw and astonishing wonders of Hawaii that no tour bus could ever reach. We wanted to give ourselves the chance to live off only that which we could carry on our backs, to connect with the greater world of nature. Real life was upon us, and we wanted to pause and take a moment to have an experience like this before turning our attention to careers and the business of building a life.

I wanted this adventure so much that I would have done almost anything to make it happen. Despite limited funds and the disdain and protests of some family members, Bill and I strapped on our backpacks and went. The three months we spent exploring hidden caves, meeting indigenous people and learning about the ancient customs, eating fruit we picked with our own hands, and swimming in secluded grottos remains one of my most precious memories. The success of making that trip a reality was among the sweetest I have ever known, I doubt, however, that it would have happened if we had operated from a sense of “it would be nice to backpack in the Hawaiian Islands, wouldn’t it?”

Think of a moment, sometime in your life that you knew with every fiber of your being that you wanted something. It could be a particular trip, or a specific relationship, or even a piece of your grandmother’s famous cheesecake. Would you have moved the heavens to attain your wish?

Wanting is a deep desire that emanates from within you. It defies reason, logic, and rational thought. An undeniable feeling, yearning for something special emerges as a flash of how things might be. Fleeting albeit, the feeling is clearly undeniable. Whether the impulse is to redecorate your bathroom, take a trip, or close a deal, “wants” are moments of inner truth. They are the secrets of the soul.

Wants whisper without license. Out of a hidden place, a want will blurt the dare-not-say secret tucked away from view. Flashes of desire might create adverse effects because a “want” will push you to risk. Wants ask you to move out of your comfort zone and do something different. A ticket to a new adventure, wants are sure to bring both challenge and change.

Want vs. Need

My friend Adrienne once remarked how much she liked a particular pen I own. It is a special ergonomically designed pen that makes writing by hand more comfortable, and it’s therefore slightly more expensive than ordinary ones. When I suggested to Adrienne that she get one of these pens, since she, as a journalist, often writes by hand, she recoiled and said, “but I don’t need it.”

“Yes,” I said, “but do you want it? I know you don’t need it, but I asked about wanting. What happens to your wants?”

Adrienne had no response other than the one she had been programmed to give her entire life: if she doesn’t need something, then she can’t have it. Her “wants” are disqualified as extraneous, unnecessary and superfluous.

Many people, like Adrienne, operate from a place of need. Getting their needs as opposed to their wants met is drilled into their psyches from a very early age. Somewhere along the line, they received the subtle but corrosive message that wanting is selfish, unnecessary, indulgent and frivolous. As a result, they come to believe that they should only fill their lives with those things that they need. Because “wants” to them, are extraneous luxuries that they somehow came to believe they did not deserve, they feel intense guilt whenever they allow themselves to fulfill their desires. As a result, when they do experience feelings of desire, in order to avoid the guilt feelings, they either deprive themselves, or convince themselves that they actually need what they want. They rationalize their want and turn it into a need in order to justify getting it.

The basic difference between a want and a need is that needs come from a place of insufficiency, whereas wants come from a place of sufficiency. When we need something there is a distinct absence. When we want something, we reach for something to augment or complement what we already have. Needs, of course, must be met for basic survival. But wants, also, must be met when appropriate for the sake of your happiness.

When you know what you want, and you give yourself permission to have it thereby fulfilling your desire, there is a release of delight and power that validates you as a person. This validation nourishes your self-trust, your self-confidence, your intuition, your basic belief in yourself. This reinforcement affirms your identity, your inner knowing and your reality. Each time this cycle occurs, it strengthens your authentic self.

This does not mean that you have free license to behave in unethical, immoral or illegal ways simply because you “want” something. It doesn’t mean that your desires can operate freely without any checks, balances or consequences. It does mean that within the parameters of the legal system, the cultural mores and intending to do the right thing, honoring your true wants will reinforce your belief in yourself. Assuming your desires are not harmful to yourself or anyone else, and that they are aligned with good intention, there is no reason why you should have to deny yourself the feeling of wanting something. Nor should you deny yourself the opportunity to go out there and succeed in getting it.

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Challenging Mediocrity

Excerpted from: If Success Is a Game, These are the Rules,

And written by: Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

There is a point of view that claims “Life is not a bowl of cherries” and, as the classic Rolling Stones song says, “you can’t always get what you want.” It is a whole paradigm that people buy into as a way to accept mediocrity in their lives and rationalize not striving for more.

That paradigm is in direct opposition to three basic assumptions I Have about people and their ability to succeed:

1. People have their own answers within themselves regarding what will make them happy.

2. They possess the personal power to cause those inner answers to become reality.

3. Anyone can have life be the way they want it.

These three assumptions, when held up against the negative paradigm, can feel either empowering or intimidating, depending on what you believe you deserve and which set of assumptions you operate from.

Whichever basis you come from affects the filter through which you perceive reality. If you subscribe to the negative, that is what you’ll get. Argue for your limitations and eventually they will win. If you subscribe to the positive assumptions, however, you have a far greater capacity to catapult yourself higher toward your natural place up in the stars.

You can deem yourself successful whether you get the bowl of cherries or convince yourself you are content with just the pits. The real question, however, is: Will you be fulfilled by a bowl of pits?

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If Holidays are a Game, These are the Rules: Ten Rules to Make the Holidays Fun!

Ten Rules to Make the Holidays Fun!
by: Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

Rule #1
You will be sent invitations

You will be invited to family events, parties, and functions. You may want to attend all of them, some or them, or none of them. What is important is that you dig a little deeper and determine what is attracting you to the events and what is causing you to draw back. In each event there will be pros and cons, both in terms of people, places, and potential occurrences. If you anticipate what might happen in advance and map out a strategy to successfully deal with potential difficulties, it will help ensure that things will go smoothly, and possibly be fun and fulfilling! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) When I think of (X) event, I feel___________
2) The reason I feel this way is because____________
3) I am concerned that __________might happen

The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint what your reservations, concerns, or fears are and in so doing you can create strategies to ensure that your concerns are not manifested.

Now answer these questions:
1) In order to deal with this concern, I must_______________
2) I can ask these people _____________for support
3) I can do ______________ to take care of myself and manage stress

Rule #2
You will be offered food

You will be offered food in various forms over the holidays. Some of the food will be welcomed and relished. Other types of food might be a temptation for you. Still other food groups might sabotage your overall health and eating plan and cause you to have a Negattack. Before you accept invitations, have a meeting with yourself and establish your game plan. Determine what are your: “Yes” categories, your “Maybe” and “One Bite” categories, and your “No go” areas. Make an agreement with yourself regarding all three categories, put it in writing, and sign it. Then before you go to any holiday event, read this document. If you feel seriously at risk, take a copy of it with you in your purse or pocket so that in case you get amnesia you can refer to what you previously chose and committed. You can have a “delicious experience,” but if you spend the rest of the night (or week) beating yourself up for what you ate, it just isn’t worth the rift created between you and you! Anticipate, plan, set yourself up for success and then finally, cause it to happen.

Rule #3
You will encounter people from your past

During the holidays you encounter people whom you love from the past and regret that you rarely get to see them. You also will encounter people whom you know you will see yet wish you could avoid them. People whom you did not anticipate seeing could easily throw you off center with their presence freezing you in your tracks. The first group of people is not a problem because they warm your heart and give you a wonderful feeling. The second group you can plan for because they always show up at annual events. The third group is the potential high-risk group. This group includes those to whom you have a high emotional reaction. Here are some steps you can take…
1) List anyone who might make you uncomfortable
2) Write out what you might say to them so you are not caught off guard
3) Determine what you want to do if you encounter one of those people so that your evening is not derailed
4) Acknowledge yourself for any and all strides toward functional behavior!

Rule #4
You will need to manage expectations

An expectation is the anticipation of something happening, based on past experiences; the expectation provides ideas and images of probable, possible, and also desired outcomes.

People will have expectations of you and you will also have expectations of others. This is normal and happens everyday. If you have shed ten pounds in the last six months, you might have a relative approach you and say, “You are looking so skinny! We must feed you, you’ll waste away to nothing!” You need to be prepared to respond to that statement, without slapping the person or inhaling a slice of pie. If a friend says, “I heard about your divorce. So sorry to hear about that, but we all knew it wouldn’t work out. It was never meant to be!” Think of possible responses that won’t alienate the friend. You could say, I feel the same way about your husband but this might not be so user-friendly. Anticipating what people might say prevents you from standing in front of the pumpkin pie speechless.

Rule #5
Stress is an option

Being stressed over the holidays is a definite option. If you simply go with the flow, count on being stressed. Holidays bring with them the challenge of managing multiple tasks and getting everything accomplished without feeling burdened or worn out. Cards, cooking, parties, decorating, gifting, shopping, and getting dressed up are all part of the holiday experience. They can be fun or burdensome. If you take the holidays in little bite size pieces, a little each day, so that you don’t overwhelm yourself, you will be able to manage better. Plan out what you will do when. Carve out appointments with yourself on your calendar or agenda and book in the activities. Watch out pressuring yourself to get everything done in the time allotted. Pressure during the holidays is not helpful. Take each activity, choose it, and make it fun!

Rule #6
Comparing yourself to others can be a trap

Julie is thinner. Megan has whiter teeth. John has a better wardrobe. Tony has a much cooler car. You can always find someone who has something better than you. There is no challenge to the comparison game. You can spend all your time noticing people who are better off or worse off. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to do that. Around the holidays this tendency can become totally out of control. There will always be a better host or hostess. There will always be someone who buys better gifts. There will always be someone who makes better stuffing or a tastier turkey. The opportunity here is to determine if you want to appreciate others for their level of excellence and learn from them rather than feel insufficient and diminished in their shadow. The choice is completely up to you. The holidays will be much more enjoyable if you can use the brilliance of other to inspire you rather than depress you. This holiday season use your journal to appreciate what you experience and not what you can do to improve. If looking down on others is your proclivity, then see if you can use your talents to teach, coach, or nurture their greatness.

Rule #7
Perfectionism can rob you of your joy

If you are “Perfectionistic,” you could actually ruin your holidays. Perfectionism means that you must be perfect in every way and there is no room for human error or mistakes. The pressure to be perfect can limit your experience of joy and satisfaction. Doing everything perfectly is not realistic and it is riddled with shades of insecurity. If you do everything perfectly it means that you close the gap for anyone to criticize you. It means that you cannot learn anything since perfection is the top of the line. It also means that if you don’t achieve perfection that you will beat your self mercilessly for not being the best at everything. To overcome perfectionism, you must give yourself permission to be human, to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes. If you can give yourself permission to be an imperfect human then your holidays will have the possibility of being much more fun than perfect.

Rule #8
Financial restrictions can make you feel small

You may be on a limited budget. In times of financial challenge you come to the realization that you need to change some of your spending habits from the past. What can you give that is a part of you? What can you offer that represents your creativity and generosity of spirit? What can you share that will express your caring without causing you financial stress? Consider making something for friends and family. If you bake, consider cookies or special nut breads. If you work with your hands, perhaps beaded items might be perfect. If you communicate well, perhaps a poem or short story might bring a smile and a warm feeling. When you give of yourself people appreciate the time, the thought, and the intention behind the gift that rarely comes with a store bought item. Remember that the greatest gift you can give to another is your love and that comes directly from the heart. Open your heart and let it speak with the words of love.

Rule #9
If you get stuck in the past you could miss the present

You may have hurts or wounds from the past as most people do. Perhaps you are spending this holiday season without a loved one who has always been present in years gone by. Suppressing the feelings doesn’t make them go away. Overriding them is not a solution either. If you are experiencing loss, tell the truth about the pain you experience. Then after you tell the truth allow your creativity to dictate some options to transcending the loss, or emptiness. You might wrestle with this because the memories keep drawing you back to familiar memories. Hang in there and persevere. You can overcome this. Focus on what would give you joy. Often focusing on giving to others gets our attention off of ourselves. Volunteering to feed hungry people, going to hospitals to distribute gifts, visiting a nursery or orphanage will allow you to give energy to those who are much more alone than you are. Ask yourself what would enable you to feel great about yourself and then just do it. You’ll be glad that you did.

Rule #10
Receiving graciously is an art form

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone always gave the right gifts? Yes, but we don’t live in a perfect world. People often give what they want to receive. They give what will get the job done with minimum stress. They recycle something that was previously given to them. As a result you receive something that you can’t even imagine exists on the planet. At moments like this you want to be gracious and grateful for the gift that says, “I tried even if I didn’t succeed.” At these times consider yourself as a “gift terminal.” Upon receiving something that you will never use or wear you can well imagine a person who will delight in the very same gift. In January there are “White Elephant Parties” that are given to exchange gifts that were mistakenly given to the wrong person. If you are not invited to one of these events, then throw your own party. Gather together all of the “mistakenly received” gifts and recycle them so that they finally reach the right person. Receiving graciously is a talent that requires that you look beyond the material gift to the intention of the person who is giving it. Connect with the intent and you will be filled with gratitude!

The holidays can go either way. They can be wonderful or difficult. To make sure that the holidays are precious times to be remembered for years to come you must do some preparation in anticipation of what might possibly happen. You must manage yourself and your expectations. You must deal with the unforeseen. If you do all of these things, you will have truly wonderful holidays that you will treasure forever!

Phone: (800) 321-6342 • www.drcherie.com • info@themms.com

©MMS Institute, LLC 2011

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Home

As I traveled these past couple weeks, I couldn’t help but reflect on what home is to me, where it is located, and what must be there to make me feel at peace. This is the conclusion I’ve drawn… home is…

A place you come from and return to, an anchor point.
A place where you drop roots, and find the courage to sprout wings.
A place of safety, where you can be who you are and express yourself.
Comfortable in your skin, at ease, and peaceful…without fear.

For some, home is an address, the place where they receive their mail… a structure, a piece of land, the location of personal treasures. It might be a “nest” where you place all of those special “twigs” that resonate to you…the reflection of all your personal preferences, comforts, and delights. Reminders of happy moments in your past, conveniences, things that make life easier, more fun, and less stress.

Home may be where a special someone is located, or a special location somewhere in nature…or it could be precious moments when you feel connected to a higher source. Home may be located in your heart, the feeling of being close, protected, and intimate.

Reflect on home, what it means to you, what it takes to create it, and what your own personal recipe for “Home” entails. Where is home for you? What does home mean to you? When you move your home, what does it take for you to truly feel at home? What must you do to recreate that feeling? Do you know?

Define what home means for you, and then be deliberate about creating that experience for you and those around you. This holiday season, create rituals of home that will remembered for years to come.

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Mindful Choices

We all have choices. Even if we think we have no options, we always have subtle choices like how to treat strangers. The choice of how to interact with friends, the environment, and even ourselves are all options over which we can exercise our choice to avoid, neglect, reject, abuse, honor, or cherish. These choices can be applied to our relationships with family, friends, and work associates, to the way we treat our possessions, or to the way we interact with the Earth…which is our home. The choices we make may seem inconsequential, as if they only affect ourselves, however, every choice we make has a ripple effect and creates far-reaching consequences that impact not only those in close proximity to us, but also those who will follow in our footsteps…future generations…whom we will never even meet.

Like the existential question, “If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, does it make noise?” the question, “If your actions affect a person from the future, does it matter and should you care?” Everyday we can observe people littering city streets, tossing plastic cups or cigarettes from car windows, or discarding soft drink cans on remote mountain trails. It may offend our aesthetics, assault our values, or irritate our ethics, but we have little control over people who don’t see the point or simply just don’t care.

Conventional wisdom says that you will do unto others what was previously done to you. So if you were respected, you will know what that feels like, and you will in turn respect others. If you have been abused, you will in turn abuse others. The pattern of behavior from recipient to perpetrator is one that belies any conscious choice. With awareness comes the opportunity to choose. People can be held accountable for their actions by coming to terms with their past, choosing a different course, and by doing so, alter their future. If we hold this to be true, then we must ask ourselves the question, “What will it take for us to stop abusing our dear mother, our precious Earth upon which we live?”

Singapore succeeded in creating a litter-free environment by imposing stringent consequences on those who abuse the privileges. It worked in Singapore and when you walk the streets you notice how clean and litter-free the environment is. One can lament the fact that sanctions need to be imposed to enforce a standard, but some people interpret “freedom” as their right to clutter and leave unsightly messes. Should the government act like a parent disciplining unruly children? Should there be consequences to damaging our environment?

We live our lives discarding, disposing, and dumping unwanted, unnecessary, and undesirable items. We often think of the Earth as the universally forgiving receptacle that can and will receive all of our discards and reintegrate them into the texture of her skin. She is expected to simply take whatever we “dish out” without objecting, complaining, or retaliating. She is “supposed” to be the all-loving, long-suffering, benevolent mother who loves her children unconditionally. It is interesting to consider that cigarette butts can take up to 12 years to decompose, plastic bags up to 20 years, aluminum cans up to 100 years to degrade, glass bottles 1 million years, and plastic bottles may never ever decompose or biodegrade. Does this mean that we are creating “planet garbage” and ultimate will need to find another place to live? Sustainabie disposal of any product requires that its wastes return to the earth and are able to biodegrade. Crude oil, for example, will biodegrade in its natural state, but once it is turned into plastic, it becomes an unsustainable non-integratable problem. Is there anyone responsible to approve of products that can and should ultimately biodegrade? The answer is, “No.” That is not a high enough priority…yet.

Littering may be the least crime to the environment, what about those corporations that intentionally pollute our water, land, and air? You could argue that the government and the EPA are responsible to ensure that our natural resources are protected, but what about those government agencies that can be bought with corporate funds for the price of campaign contributions? What about the coal slurry in Appalachia (60 minutes April 12) that created an environmental travesty and was summarily ignored by the EPA?

At the beginning of this year I had the opportunity to visit Viet Nam. We visited the Cuchi Tunnels where the Viet Namese lived to survive the attacks of the superpower. During our tour we were shown a crater caused by a bomb dropped from a plane. I couldn’t help but think that this is not the way to treat our mother. I am not focusing on the four million Viet Namese people whom we killed in the name of freedom, I am merely concentrating on the damage one bomb does to our planet. Sometimes I think that earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, torrential rains, and other natural disasters are the result of Mother Earth saying, “Stop hurting me! If you don’t, I will stop you by showing you who you are dealing with.” The next time you hear about a natural disaster, consider the Earth speaking up, talking back, and standing up for herself in the only way she knows.

The documentary film, “The Fog of War” won the 2004 best documentary film at the Academy Awards. The film is Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under two presidents, Kennedy and Johnson, telling his side of the story, something no other secretary of defense has ever done before. McNamara is also the first person in history to bring together both sides (in 1997) of a war (Vietnam), and try to discover what could have been avoided or learned from those 15 years of bloodshed. Perhaps the film is motivated by his conscience, suffering, or enlightened hindsight, but regardless of what motivated him to make the film, it is an act of courage. He poses the question, “What makes it immoral if you lose the war and moral if you win?” He proposes that “There is something beyond oneself” and he explores responsibility, ethics, and values. He addresses God and spirituality in almost a soul-searching manner. Then later in the film, he addresses the US bombing and burning to death 100,000 Japanese civilians: men, women and children in one night. McNamara’s reflections and thought-provoking questions invite us to examine our beliefs and behaviors.

Do we have the capacity to change the way we resolve conflicts? Do we humans possess the consciousness and capability using diplomacy and negotiating skills, to consider a world that doesn’t always resort to killing to conquer, gain territory, land, power, economic superiority, or to dominate others? So far we have demonstrated our intelligence, creativity, ability, and power to design and implement technological advances in every field except human consciousness, environmental choices, and waging global peace. Why are we so primitive when it comes to caring for our planet and each other?

It takes 9 months to create a baby and one split-second bullet to destroy that life forever. It comes back to exercising our choices. We all have options and choices even when we believe we have none. Even if your personal power comes down to casting one solitary vote for a person who represents your values, consider that power seriously.

Consider being mindful in all your actions. We do have options and choices. Making conscious choices about depositing refuse in the proper receptacle, purchasing products from environmentally conscious companies, recycling whenever possible, and teaching your children how to care for themselves, each other, and our Mother Earth will cause a positive ripple effect. There are hundreds of little acts that you can do everyday to ensure that our Earth is respected, cared for, and honored for future generations whom we will never meet. Ask what you are willing to do to make the difference.

Be mindful of your choices, all of them, and remember…voting counts!

©Motivation Management Holdings, Ltd. 2009

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Are You a Negaholic?

Are you a Negaholic? Answer this series of questions to find out…
1. Do you sometimes have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning?

2. Do you sometimes focus on all the times you blew it and things didn’t work out?

3. Do you often find yourself expecting the worst so as not to be disappointed?

4. Do you sometimes observe yourself feeling anxious when you hear good news in anticipation of the bad that will surely follow?

5. When asked “What do you want?” do you frequently answer “I don’t know”?

6. Do you often hear yourself saying “It doesn’t matter” when you are asked what you want?

7. Do you often find yourself citing your mistakes, blunders, mishaps, and boo-boos in your past as justification for not taking another risk?

8. When imagining a big goal, do you hear the voices in your head saying “You can’t do that…” “You’d never be able to…”?

9. Do you have difficulty being enthusiastic about your “to-do” list?

10. Do you frequently find fault with little things you do?

11. Do you hear yourself putting yourself down re: what you wear, how you walk, what you say?

12. Do you have lists of things you have never accomplished that you use against yourself?

13. Do you have difficulty celebrating your accomplishments?

14. When you start to imagine your goals, do you hear “Who do you think you are?” in your head?

15. When friends compliment you, do you brush it off, dismiss it, or look for an ulterior motive?

16. When you look in the mirror do you often count the gray hairs and wrinkles?

DO YOU THINK YOU COULD EVER…

17. Have the dream home you want?

18. Have the ideal relationship you want?

19. Make the amount of money you want?

20. Have the body you want?

21. Have a job that you enjoy, which is satisfying and rewarding?

DO YOU FREQUENTLY GET ANGRY AT YOURSELF…

22. For spending too much/or being a cheapskate

23. For eating too much

24. For drinking too much

25. For wasting time?

DO YOU FREQUENTLY FEEL…

26. Angry at yourself or others

27. Anxious in general or in specific

28. Confused about what to do

29. Depressed about anything or nothing

30. Hesitant

31. Impatient

32. Insecure

33. Lonely

34. Regretful

35. Unhappy

36. Unloved

37. Worried?

DO YOU SELDOM FEEL…

38. Calm

39. Capable

40. Certain

41. Competent

42. Confident

43. Enthusiastic

44. Happy

45. Joyful

46. Lovable

47. Optimistic

48. Powerful

49. Satisfied?

50. Do you constantly work and strive but rarely experience completion and satisfaction?

ARE YOU A NEGAHOLIC?

Scoring Page

In order to determine the degree to which you are addicted to negaholism, score yourself on the negaholic questionnaire:

– Give yourself 2 points for every “YES” answer between #1 – 15

– Give yourself 2 points for every “NO” answer between #16 – 21

– Give yourself 2 points for every “YES” answer between #22 – 50

Now total your score and find yourself on the scale below.

If your score is:

0 Congratulate yourself for having a high self-image, high self-esteem, and being well on your way to a healthy, full life.

1 -24 A mild case of negaholism. You have very little to worry about. With some affirmations, positive reinforcement, and pats on the back from yourself and loved ones, you will do just fine.

25-40 You have tendencies toward negaholism. It probably runs in your family. If addressed now, you could nip it in the bud. Left unattended, it could grow into something extremely detrimental to your mental health. A consciousness-raising group, a self-esteem workshop, therapy, or self-help groups would be advised. Also read one positive image book per quarter to get yourself on the right track.

41-60 You need to take your condition seriously. Without proper care and attention you will become a certified negaholic. You need some form of positive input each week to turn this condition around. A chart on the wall with stickers and stars, journal writing, listening to audio self-help, positive image tapes in your car or before going to bed, one self-help book per month, and ten daily written acknowledgements will help cure this advanced condition.

61-80 You are in the danger zone. No longer can you cover up, take things in stride, or hope it will all clear up when you lose the weight, get the job, land the relationship, or move to the right place. Face facts: You are seriously addicted, and you need to come to terms with it. You emotionally beat yourself up mercilessly. There is hope, though – you are not a lost cause. The first step is to acknowledge that you are a negaholic and that you will do what it takes to arrest this addiction.

81-100 You are a confirmed negaholic! You need to declare yourself a negaholic, and take daily measures to arrest this addiction. The addiction has grown to be bigger than you. The negativity is so subtle that you hardly even notice it; it pervades your thoughts and feelings. You need an external program in which to detoxify yourself from the negative demon within. Read this book and take action! Start immediately! A new life is waiting for you now – a positive self image is in your future.

©Motivation Management Holdings, Ltd. 2009

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Finding Serenity in a Stressful World

Someone said that technology was supposed to make life easier, and in a perfect world, it actually can! The challenge is dealing with viruses, worms, spam, upgrades, forgotten passwords, products that are sold without de-bugging, and sketchy return policies. The challenge is not only technology, but having expectations that are repeatedly unfulfilled. I answered my phone yesterday, and the voice at the other end said, “You actually answered your own phone…I’m amazed that I’m not speaking to a machine!” Standing on long lines, waiting on “hold,” trying to get a sales person’s attention while they talk on the phone, trying to buy something on line that has an endless loop, and the list of irritations goes on and on.

The pace of the world has accelerated. There is good news and not-so-good news to each technological achievement. The good news is that we are now wireless…unless you can’t locate the signal. The good news is that we have cell phones, unless you are in a “bad cell” area, “Can you hear me now?” The good news is that we have e-mail and are in constant communication, and the bad news is that every day anonymous e-mails ask if we want to enlarge random body parts that we may not even have!

If you are an easygoing person, you just let these new millennia challenges roll off your back, and get a good laugh out of the cells, spam and lack of customer service. If, on the other hand, you are more of a results-oriented type-A, control personality, you tend to become stressed at the frustrations rather than entertained.

Let’s assume that you are the type of person who actually believes that products have a need to deliver what they promise. Even though this is an old-fashioned concept, it certainly would be nice if it were true even some of the time. Perhaps you think that salespeople should smile, be knowledgeable and courteous. You may even think that service people should be able to solve problems related to the products they support. You may be anachronistic, or behind the times, but more often than not, the world we live in today doesn’t always match with our vision of how things should be. The real question is how do you cope with a world that over promises and under delivers? How do you manage your stress levels when minor irritations, frequent frustrations, and unfulfilled expectations rob you of your good humor?

The simple answer is to adjust your expectations. That is good advice, but before you adjust you must notice that your happiness quotient is at risk. You must become aware that you are not as joyful as you once were or might be. Then rather than blaming your mood on those random circumstances, you might look a little deeper at the factors that are behind the irritations, frustrations, and expectations. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do you have a high need for control?

Do you hope for a time when everything is working?

Do you let little things get to you?

Do you attach your joy factor to your level of accomplishment?

Do you wish problems could be resolved easily and quickly?

Do you let the “To Do’s” weigh you down?
If you answered, “Yes” to three or more of the above questions, then you could be setting yourself up for a series of bad days. There is a way out of this dilemma, but it requires some due diligence. If you are ready to admit that you want to take the steps, then read on, hope is on the way.
1. If you notice that your joy factor is suffering, ask yourself, “When was I last in a good mood?” Think back to the last time you felt joyful.

2. Then ask yourself what robbed you of your joy? Take a minute and jot down all the joy robbers without judging their validity.

3. Take the “joy robbers” one-at-a-time, and ask yourself “What can I do about this?” If you determine action steps, then mark them on a reasonable timeline. If you don’t, then see who you know who can do something to move the problem closer toward solution. If you think of a person, call or e-mail him or her and ask the necessary questions.

4. If you can’t do anything about the item, and you can’t think of anyone who can help you, consider releasing the item and letting it go.

5. Take each day as a moment in time. Whether your definition of a day is 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours, remember that it is a finite amount of time.

6. Invite yourself to set reasonable and attainable goals that you can, in fact, accomplish. Make sure the list is do-able given the appointments that you have scheduled.

7. Put your energy into causing those goals you have set for yourself.

8. Each evening acknowledge all progress, even if it is not the ultimate realization of your tasks. Then realistically set new “To Do’s” for the next day.

9. Ask for support, assistance, guidance, help, and wisdom from possible sources all in your life.

10. Validate, validate, validate all progress, movement, and effort expended. Then, let go! What you can’t get done will not really matter so much in the long run. No tasks left undone are worth taking yourself to task. Your relationship with yourself is more important than any “To Do.” The way you talk to yourself is critical to your overall well-being and joy factor. Be kind, gentle, and compassionate when you don’t live up to your expectations. Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship there is because it is the central template from which all others are formed.

The serenity prayer that is said in Alcoholics Anonymous says it simply, and if we can remember it every day, especially when we set the bar too high, it will reduce the stress of daily life.

“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…Courage to change the things I can… and wisdom to know the difference…”

Let go of the need to be perfect, and let yourself be the person that you are!

©Motivation Management Holdings, Ltd. 2009

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A Mother’s Many Roles

WANTED: Patient, dedicated woman to donate her body for the development, nurturing, guidance, and care of a new person. Must be capable of extreme multitasking. Duties include loving, supporting, encouraging self-esteem, mentoring, guidance counseling, and tutoring . Domestic skills required include but are not limited to: cleaning, cooking, laundry, ironing, sewing, nursing, chauffeuring (or the ability to manage someone else doing all of these tasks). Expectations must include sharing joys and disappointments, celebrating all firsts and rites of passage, imparting wisdom at appropriate moments, and disciplining when appropriate. Applicant must be tender, tough, wise, playful, eager to teach and learn, comforting, compassionate, worthy of respect, unafraid of getting hands dirty, and above all, flexible. Perfectionists need not apply.

Does this sound like a job you might like to apply for? Well, congratulations! As a mother, you’re already hired!

Whether you run a Fortune 500 company, mastermind the greatest website in the cyber universe, or minister to the dying in developing countries, being a mother is still the most challenging job you will ever have. It is tough work, demands huge amounts of your time, attention, energy, and patience, and is rarely what you anticipated. The good news, however, is that it also yields the greatest joys imaginable.

As a mother, you will play many roles. The following is a short list of some of the ones you will most likely fulfill in the course of your child’s life:

Caretaker

Nurse

Chauffeur

Protector

Teacher

Short-order cook

Wardrobe consultant

Disciplinarian

Tutor

Videographer

Cheerleader

Social secretary

Seamstress/costume designer

Life organizer

Referee

Confidant

Life guide

Mentor

Friend

Many women must add the role of “income earner” or “financial supporter” to the list, which of course makes the job that much more complicated.

Ultimately, a mother’s purpose is to assure that her baby becomes a fully functional, mature adult. This includes ensuring that this little person is healthy, happy, clean, loved, safe, secure, provided for, nourished, stimulated, nurtured, well cared for, exposed to opportunities, and able to grow in a positive, healthy, and productive manner. All the roles you play are the means to this specific goal.

Raising a child requires many skills and will at times demand everything you have to give. Thankfully, though, you probably won’t have to use all your skills simultaneously (unless you have triplets, and that’s a whole other story). One day will require tolerance while the next calls for sharing a triumph. One day is about creating fun, and the next is about negotiating chores. At times you will be the shoulder they cry on and other moments you will be the person who sets limits or reprimands. One year might require endless hours of care taking when your child suffers from an extended illness, while another year might be all about showing up for important life passages. It’s really all about being flexible and paying attention to what is required from you at the time.

If you like what you’ve read, visit www.drcherie.com and click on the “books” link to purchase a copy of my book, The Gift of Motherhood.

©Motivation Management Holdings, Ltd. 2009