Archive for the ‘Dear Jane Podcasts’ Category

The Enlightenment Secret that Economists Know

Sunday, June 24th, 2007
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We’ve all been reading or at least hearing about The Secret, which teaches how “the laws of attraction” work. But over twenty years ago, my husband, who is an engineer and, therefore, data driven and logical, first introduced me to what I believe to be a bigger (and better) secret. It is what economists call Sunk Costs. I still think of it as one of the most enlightened concepts I’ve ever learned and I try to apply it daily in my thinking and actions. That’s why I spent pages on it in my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. When I define it, you will immediately get it. Yet it is one of the most challenging truths to embrace. Curious?

Sunk Costs essentially means that just because you have invested time, money, or energy into something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep investing more. While economists and scientists are trained to discard hypotheses that don’t pan out, most of us tend to cling to what we’re already doing, even when the evidence is overwhelming that we’re wasting our resources for insufficient returns. This is why Dr. Phil’s question, “How’s it workin’ for ya?” is always so pertinent.

Here is a typical scenario we all face in one form or another on a regular basis: You’ve bought a ticket to an expensive play for Saturday night. Your good friend, whose taste is very similar to yours, sees the play on Friday night and reports to you that it’s just awful. He tells you that it’s boring and silly, a total waste of time. Do you still go to the play the next night? If you’re like most people, you will tell yourself, “I don’t want to waste all that money I’ve spent on my ticket so I’ll go.”

But is this logical? Isn’t it more logical to think, “The money I’ve spent on the ticket is gone whether I go to the play or not. (Sunk Costs) Why waste my time being bored at the theatre when I could do something fun or just stay home and relax?” If you truly embrace the concept of Sunk Costs here, you’ll never feel another twinge of guilt or remorse about tearing up an unused ticket.

Maybe theatre tickets don’t make you ignore the truth about Sunk Costs. But have you ever dropped more quarters into a slot machine or continued to roll the die at the craps table because you’d already lost money so your luck just had to change? The casinos rely on us to hold onto this “make believe” logic. They are betting and winning on our inability to embrace Sunk Costs. They know that the more we spend, the more likely we are to irrationally keep trying to make up for it.

Here’s another example: Your child signed up for a week-long day camp that cost you a pretty penny. After two miserable days at camp, she comes home bored and uninspired, telling you she absolutely hates it and would rather stay home and do nothing. Some of us might try to convince our child that maybe the next day will get better. But what we’re really thinking is, “If she doesn’t go back, all that money I spent will be wasted.” Sunk Costs reminds us that whether she goes or stays, the money’s gone. So presuming you don’t need to pay for a babysitter or your child isn’t about to drive you crazy at home (a big presumption, perhaps, but you get the idea), your child staying home for the rest of the week is a logical and legitimate option.

You don’t gamble, you hate the theatre, and your children have always adored camp? Okay, then have you ever stayed in a relationship because you’d already invested so much of your heart and soul, not because it was actually working or even healthy? Did you ever convince yourself that the crumb you were being tossed was a full meal, telling yourself, “I’ve given so much of myself to him. Maybe he’s really going to change this time. I’ll give him one more chance”? If we hold the awareness of Sunk Costs, we may find it easier to let go a little sooner or without quite as much struggle.

As we enter the 21st century, we are being challenged to embrace the concept of Sunk Costs in a big way. We know now that global warming poses an imminent threat to our very existence. We can’t afford to believe the old hypothesis anymore: that using up resources at an increasing rate can always be absorbed by nature. Sunk Costs may be the key to our very salvation. As Melissa Etheridge sings, “Now I am throwing off the carelessness of youth, to listen to an inconvenient truth: that I need to move, I need to wake up, I need to change, I need to shake up…”

It’s time for Sunk Costs to become more than an obscure economic theory. It is too profound. It needs to be one of our guiding principles—one we meditate on daily to up the sanity quotient of our individual and collective lives. We can embrace the truth of Sunk Costs one day, one theatre ticket, one relationship, one consumer purchase at a time to help us let go of the absurd with grace and hope.

Read excerpts from Enough Is Enough!, watch Jane’s interviews on TV, listen to her on the radio, or talk to her about becoming your personal coach by visiting

Insights into Bullying

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007
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If only the saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me, were true. In reality, being judged harshly, being teased unmercifully, being made fun of for how we look or for who we are—being bullied—may break our spirit and cause deep and lasting scars.

Children who are abused, called names, or ridiculed by their parents, their siblings, their peers, or even their teachers can’t help but believe that there is truth behind the cutting words or angry slap. To a child, everything is personal. They are likely to blame themselves for causing others to hate them enough to hurt them. What happens from there?

When someone is bullied physically, emotionally, or spiritually, they are apt to go into Endurance mode. Endurance is when you wake up in the morning assuming today will be as emotionally painful as yesterday and the day before. Endurance means that you don’t experience 365 different days a year; you experience 1 day a year 365 times. Endurance is believing that your wishes, dreams, and goals don’t matter. Endurance is hopelessness, dread, and anxiety rolled into one. Those who have been bullied suffer from Endurance and are likely to develop a belief system that is severely limiting, self-judgmental, and fear-based. What are the symptoms of this suffering?

If a child doesn’t commit suicide, get strung out on drugs, or have a fatal “accident,” he or she often grows up exhibiting the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Like other PTSS sufferers, they/you may become distrustful, secretive, self-abusing, and sometimes even abusive towards others as a result of all their pent-up hurt, rage, and humiliation. So how can we stop the bullying? How can we help those who are being bullied or have been?

The good news is that bullying is finally receiving the attention it warrants. We are recognizing that bullying creates more bullying, is a trigger for depression, suicide, and drug abuse among teens, and often creates a lifetime of disorders that hinder people from living the extraordinary lives they deserve.

One story currently garnering major press began in my home town of Mill Valley, California, at my daughter’s school, Tamalpais High. Two sisters who attend the school, Emily and Sarah Buder, along with their mother Janet, read an article about a girl in another town, Olivia, who had suffered from the torture of bullying at her middle school. Although the Buders had never met Olivia, they felt compassion and a desire to help. They began an email campaign requesting other teenagers and anyone who had ever suffered from bullying to write to Olivia. Fast forward some months: Thousands and thousands of letters poured in from all over the world to support Olivia and her mother. As a result, today Olivia realizes she is not alone. She no longer feels the need to isolate. And she has come to believe that there are many good people in the world, people who care. She has even received letters from admitted bullies who have apologized and promised never to do it again, people who confessed that their bullying began years earlier when they were emotionally or physically abused themselves.

Bullying is a cycle we can stop as the Buder family, Olivia, and others are showing us. First, just as we have done with sexual abuse and molestation, we must take it out of our collective closet, shine the light on it, call it by its name, and let those who have experienced it know that they are not responsible for carrying shame. We must not turn the other cheek, ignore it, or tell those who are bullied that someday it will get better. This only teaches sufferers to endure loneliness, shame, humiliation, rage, and self-hate. Loneliness can become a habit. Shame can become a habit. Drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity can become habits—lifelong habits. By naming bullying we take away the power of the secret. We become islands in the stream for those who have suffered from bullying, safe havens where they can rest, release, and rebuild.

Secondly, we must open our eyes. We must commit to noticing not just the bullying behaviors but the symptoms of those who are being bullied. Anyone who is depressed, self-destructive, accident prone, suicidal, anxiety-ridden, doing poorly at work or in school, has difficulty concentrating, has low self-esteem, or has addictions may be suffering from bullying. If you have the courage to ask, you may find that they have the courage and the desire to share their secret with you. When I have had reason to be suspicious that a new client was sexually abused, I have often just asked straight out. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the response, “Oh, my God. How did you know? I’ve never told anyone, not even my _________ (therapist/husband/minister).” Few want to live with the secret of sexual abuse or of being bullied. Most think they have no other choice.

Thirdly, we must recognize that the act of bullying is a cry for help. We must stop seeing the situation in simplistic terms, categorizing people into perpetrators and victims. We must realize that anyone who bullies must have been subjected to bullying themselves. If we simply criminalize bullies, particularly teenagers who exhibit these disturbing behaviors, we will be missing thousands and thousands who need our help. The cycle of bullying will break when we reach out with compassion to everyone—bullies and bullied alike. This doesn’t mean that we should tolerate bullying. On the contrary, we should have zero tolerance for words and deeds that are hurtful—by others as well as by us.

Who among us hasn’t said something hurtful when we’ve been hurt or humiliated? Who among us doesn’t owe someone an apology for having uttered, in a moment of anger, a cutting remark, a harsh criticism, a mean-spirited “joke”? As Alexander Soltzenitzen wrote (slight paraphrase): “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take all the evil people and put them over there, then we wouldn’t have to deal with them. And all of us good people would stay right here. The problem is that the line separating good and evil cuts right through the human heart.”

Let’s get out of Courtroom Earth where we vilify others self-righteously, labeling them as bullies, and set up Classroom Earth where we can admit to our own mistakes and make it safe for others to do the same. Let’s make our personal amends so that it is not too much to ask others to do the same. Let’s open our hearts, remembering that all judgmental, harsh words and all hurtful behaviors are simply disguised cries for help.

Lastly, we can help heal ourselves and others suffering from abuse through self-expression such as poetry, literature, art, drama, and music. Teresa Rodriguez Williamson, San Francisco Woman of the Year, author of Fly Solo, and founder of the premiere women’s travel site,, was bullied when she was young. While still a child, she wrote this poem, which won the California State Writing Contest.


I have been faced with a cold
A cold unknown to man
Only to children
A cold of being left out
A cold of no love
A cold of no care
Feel it
And learn from it

In our family, community, our nation, and our world, let us feel, learn, and create the warm heartedness we all so deserve.

Jane Straus is the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life (Jossey-Bass, 2005 pub.). She is a frequent television and radio guest expert and writes columns for numerous magazines. She also has a life coaching practice for individuals and couples. You can read more about how to live an extraordinary life, view Jane’s TV and radio interviews, read excerpts from her book and articles, and find out how to book Jane as a keynote speaker for your next event by visiting

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Sunday, May 27th, 2007
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I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). One doctor says it’s a chemical or genetic problem. Another doctor says it’s psychological. What do you think? Is there anything other than drugs that I can do to stop?
–The Leaf Duster

Dear Leaf Duster,
I’m not sure how your OCD manifests, how crazy your behaviors drive you, or what drugs you’ve been offered, so I won’t try to take the place of your doctor here. On the emotional/spiritual level, however, your OCD might be a type of cover up. If you want to dust leaves because you are procrastinating about doing something that should be a higher priority, ask yourself, “Why don’t I want to do what should be important?” Are you afraid or perhaps bored? These are the two most common reasons for procrastinating.

When we procrastinate, we generally can’t just do nothing. That would make us feel guilty on top of feeling afraid or bored. Instead, we fill up our time and mental energy with something—hence, leaf dusting or its equivalent. So if you notice that your OCD is more intense these days, ask yourself if you’re thriving as much as you could be. Are you treating yourself as a worthy person, deserving of an extraordinary, enriched life? If you are not able to answer these questions with a resounding, enthusiastic “yes,” then your OCD may be your spirit’s way of letting you know that you’re in Endurance.

So even if you get the OCD treated with medication and therapy, which is certainly a legitimate option, I encourage you to listen for the message that your spirit may be trying to communicate to you. Maybe it’s time to take a risk to get more out of life. Maybe your spirit wants you to play more, or challenge yourself with a new career, or go back to school, or volunteer in your community, or dust off that easel in your attic. Pay attention for a moment to that still, small voice within and let it guide you towards your next adventure.

Although you may always have some level of OCD behavior, I’ve seen, over and over, how OCD can recede from the foreground into the background when people let go of their fears, treat themselves with self-respect, and commit to fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.

Go to to read excerpts from Jane Straus’s book, Enough Is Enough!, view her seminars and TV interviews, listen to her radio interviews, make an appointment for a personal coaching session, purchase the book, or sign up for her free newsletter.

Being True to our Word

Saturday, April 14th, 2007
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My 79-year-old mother received a letter from the Austrian Government a few weeks ago. You see, my mother, along with her family and many other Jews in Vienna, was forced to flee when the Nazis invaded in 1938. She was just 10 but she remembers clearly the name of the Nazi Commissar, Anton Kaiser, who stormed her family’s home and forced her father to sign over the deed to their apartment, her father’s life insurance policy, his business, and all his possessions. She remembers looking out the window and seeing her neighbors kneeled over on the ground. Unable to understand what she was seeing at the time, she later learned that the soldiers were forcing them to lick the sidewalk while urinating on them.

Fast forward to today and the letter…The Austrian government now acknowledges, 70 years later, that much of the art that hangs in their museums belongs to victims of the Holocaust. However, the government politely requests, as it has many times over the years when acknowledging that so much of what the government has today doesn’t actually belong to it, that my 79-year-old mother be patient while it sorts out “the logistics.” My mother has had one heart attack, one bout of cancer, and a host of other health problems. Many of her Holocaust survivor friends are sick or have died. Certainly, no one is left from her parents’ generation, whose homes, businesses, and all worldly goods were stolen. Many of that generation, if they escaped at all, died young–heartbroken, overworked, or both. My mother’s father, kicked out of his beloved Masonic Lodge for not paying his annual dues (his membership lapsed while he was in prison being beaten by the Nazis), emigrated to the U.S. but died at the age of 49, struggling to feed his family.

“Be patient.” “We’re trying.” “We’re doing the best we can.” How do you feel when you hear this from a company, a government agency, even a friend? It’s happened to you, no doubt. Your credit rating is wrong due to some technical glitch. You call to have it corrected. You go through all the proper channels but check a month later and your rating hasn’t inched up even a point. You call again. “It takes awhile,” you hear. You want to scream.

You are working on your computer and your internet connection goes down. You call your provider. The message says that if you have a problem, log onto the internet for help (which, of course, is a Catch 22 as this is the reason for your call to begin with) or hold for the next available assistant. The automated tape reminds you frequently that you have a choice of faster service by using the internet for assistance. By the time someone gets on the phone, you are ready to scream. You explain your problem and that you work from home so you need service as soon as possible. “Be patient.” “We’ll give you the first available appointment…next week.”

I’m sure you can imagine what it feels like for my mother and all the Jews of her generation to be told “be patient” at this point. Here’s why the Austrian government is stalling: Once my mother dies, the property and the life insurance reverts back to the Austrian government. There is no clause for survivors (my generation) to make a claim to our family’s property. “Be patient. “We’re doing the best we can” has a hollow ring to it.

Being impeccable with our words, making amends that are heartfelt—without excuses, without hedging our bets—constitutes the difference between a world of pain, grief, hurt, and suffering and a world filled with compassion, comfort, trust, and joy.

You are probably appalled at my mother’s story as I would be appalled at hearing many of your stories. But the question for all of us is, “Am I doing everything in my power to be trustworthy, to follow through with my commitments, to consider others’ feelings, to be fair and just?” If the answer is no, then make amends. Now. Today. Let’s not ask others to “be patient” while we gather our courage or heal our issues. We are only as good as our word. Let that word be trustworthy.

Jane Straus is a life coach, keynote speaker, media guest, and author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. Visit to read articles, view her TV interviews and seminars, purchase the book, or to find out about having Jane as your personal coach.

5 Keys to Healing Addictions

Sunday, April 1st, 2007
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How did I get into all this debt? In just these few words, posed all too often by clients, I can hear their shock, shame, frustration, and hopelessness. When we are in this terrible state, we can feel very alone and isolated. Yet left to our own devices, we will get worse, not better.

So here are 5 Keys to healing any addiction, whether it’s spending, drinking, cheating, lying, gambling, eating, or whatever else you have been overtaken by.

1. Realize what a slippery slope addiction is: It’s a lot easier to get into debt than to get out of it. This is because getting into debt doesn’t require a plan; in fact, it often requires unconsciously not planning. The same can be said for an addiction to food or any other addiction. It’s much easier to gain the weight than it is to lose it because gaining it means simply “going unconscious.”
2. Recognize the benefits you get from going unconscious: There are two short-term benefits to going unconscious using addictive behaviors: First, we get temporary relief from the pressure of having to take responsibility. Secondly, we get a temporary high from our addiction. The relief and the high are intertwined because the high offers a heightened sense of relief.
3. Reach out NOW: You obviously can’t maintain an addictive high permanently. When you do finally come down, it is a crash landing. Each time you experience the cycle of your addiction, you tend to feel worse and fall further, right? Consequences become ever more severe, including destitution, suicidal thoughts/depression, total loss of self-esteem, or poor health or even death. If you try to go it alone, you will probably let your shame run you. Shame isn’t a good motivator. Compassion is. Find a group or a competent coach or therapist to work with.
4. Stop lying to yourself: Quit telling yourself that if you had more money, you wouldn’t be in this much financial trouble. Or if you had better metabolism, you’d be thin. Or if you had a nicer mate, you wouldn’t be cheating. None of these excuses are true. If you continue to believe your excuses, you will lose more of your dignity and waste more of your precious life and energy. If you are in deeper and deeper debt, what is true is that you are addicted. Winning the lottery wouldn’t change that. After all, over 70% of people who win the lottery end up with as little or less than they had before they won. If you are drinking more and more, changing from “the hard stuff” to wine isn’t the cure. That’s like believing that smoking will cure a food addiction. Trading addictions isn’t healing addictions. It is a game your addictive mind will try to play but you can’t win at it.
5. “Tap” into healing: You are misusing money or food or sex or alcohol or drugs or TV to try to numb something. What memories, feelings, or situations trigger your addiction? Once you stop avoiding the core reason for your addictive behaviors and begin to get comfortable with feelings you once dreaded, you will feel less compulsion to behave addictively. There are so many valid options for healing addictions, including 12-step programs, therapy and coaching, acupuncture and other holistic approaches, even prayer for many people. In addition, I use EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, with my clients. EFT is a quick, efficient, yet powerful “tapping” method for releasing the anxiety and pain that trigger addictions.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to suffer tomorrow from your addictions just because you are suffering today. You are a worthy being who deserves to thrive and live your extraordinary life.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach and the author of the popular book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. To read her articles and excerpts from the book, watch her on TV, listen to her on radio, order Enough Is Enough, or to hire her as your life coach, visit

5 Keys to Abundance

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

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Print Version of Podcast

Are you really open to abundance in your life? Recently on Oprah, I heard a shocking statistic: Over 70% of people who experience a financial windfall from such strokes of luck as winning the lottery or inheriting a large sum of money tend to be back to where they were financially within just a few short years.

Most of us think this would never happen to us. Our thoughts probably run along the lines of, “If I won a million, two million, ten million dollars [take your pick], it would change my life forever. All my worries would be gone. I’d be happy.”

How can it be that what seems like an inevitable happy ending just doesn’t turn out to be true for such a large majority of people? Are those who come serendipitously into wealth dumber than we are? Are they all spendaholics, compulsive gamblers, inept business people, or at the very least so codependent that they can’t say “no” to family and friends who ask for handouts?

It’s true that many of us who are not used to handling large sums of money are inept with it. It’s also true that a lot of us are codependent enough to fall prey to wanting to be loved by giving everything we have. If we’re already doing that, we’ll probably do it more, not less, if given half a chance. And if some of us aren’t spendaholics now, like kids in a candy store, we certainly might become crazed with buying the first time we have a wad of cash in our hands. But even these shortcomings and lapses in judgment don’t explain the expected fate of 70% of us who would end up no better—and possibly worse emotionally due to shame—than before our sudden wealth.

Many of us don’t budget at all, claiming that there isn’t enough money to do so. We pretend we aren’t choosing to use up our available resources with the argument (while our debts mount), “I work hard for my money. I should get to enjoy it.” We fall deeper and deeper into debt, feel incredible stress, depression, and shame, and wind up having to work harder and longer. And still we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot arguing that we deserve to spend our money any way we want to. We treat ourselves like entitled brats, demanding that reality fit our fantasy. But underneath this façade of entitlement, we are deluded by what I call The Big Lie. More about that in a moment.

There is no one roadmap to creating abundance, just as there is no single roadmap to creating a loving relationship. To find a relationship, you can date online, join a club, hang out at your favorite pub, buy a dog, or ask friends to set you up. To make more money, you can find a better-paying job, go back to school, learn a new skill, ask for a raise, gamble, or play the lottery. Getting isn’t the biggest problem for most of us, whether it’s a relationship or money; the trick is to learn how to keep and build upon what we get.

Until we open up to abundance and become “spiritually fit” to receive, the truth is that we are just as likely to deplete our treasure chest the same way our neighbors do and just as likely to find ourselves continually short on cash and long on debt. So here are five keys to building, maintaining, and enjoying abundance:

1. Embrace the true meaning of abundance: Abundance is that which already exists. In an abundant state, we understand that we are dipping into an overflowing well. Abundance is everywhere. Equally, it is within us. We are abundant. We don’t have to seek abundance. We can say yes or no to this belief. It is up to us.
2. Stop using the world as a reflection of your worthiness: The Big Lie I mentioned earlier is the belief that we are unworthy. Most of us decide base our worthiness on outside barometers such as who likes us, what kind of house or car we have, how much money we make, how much education we have, or what clothes we wear. As long as we measure our worth based on outside factors, we our happiness is at the whim of others.
3. Practice worthiness as though it’s a skill: While some of us were born believing we were worthy, life experiences may have convinced us otherwise. To retrain our thoughts, we must change our behaviors. Ask yourself what you would be doing differently right now, today, tomorrow, next week, this year if you already believed you were entirely worthy. What behaviors and activities would you stop? Which ones would you start? Make a commitment to yourself to “fake it ’til you make it.” Practice your new behaviors until they become second nature, replacing the old habits you are shedding. Change your actions and your thoughts are sure to follow.
4. Recognize what your jealousy is telling you: Jealousy is what we experience when we don’t believe we will have (or deserve to have) what someone else has. Therefore, jealousy comes from a belief in lack. If we put the first three keys into active practice, our jealousy will dissolve into gratitude for that which already exists. Gratitude doesn’t mean that we become complacent. It means that we strive, not from fear and lack, but from the joy of thriving.
5. Be generous now: If you wait until you “have enough,” whatever that means to you, the message you are telling yourself is that there is lack within and around you. Abundance thinking is a leap of faith for many of us. Faith, by definition, is only validated once we have made the leap. My friend had promised to tithe to his church and then “cheated” because he was broke. One day of scarcity led to the next until he woke up one day and realized that he was not trusting abundance (or God) at all. He was waiting for proof. How could waiting for proof be an act of faith? That day he took a deep breath and emptied the change from his pockets into the church’s coffers. Immediately he felt the peace that goes along with keeping an agreement with oneself, no matter how difficult it is. He also felt strength in choosing to decide to have faith. Almost immediately, his phone began ringing off the hook with work offers. For him, this was wonderful evidence. But even more lovely, he didn’t even need the evidence at that point. Since he already trusted, he was less fearful about the ups and downs of business and felt more relaxed about experiencing abundance however it presented itself.

Will you get rich by practicing these five keys? Nobody knows what the Universe has in store for us. But you can begin to define rich in new ways that give you appreciation for the abundance that already exists. You are already a wealth of knowledge, support, energy, artistry, compassion, and ideas. How can you maximize and share your abundant wealth today?

5 Steps to Just Set Yourself Free

Monday, March 12th, 2007
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Just set yourself free. This line from a Paul Simon song beckons, doesn’t it? What if we could just set ourselves free? Well, we can if we know what imprisons us to begin with.

So often we tell ourselves that we would feel better if someone else in our lives changed, saw the light, or apologized. And, no doubt, we would feel better…at least until the next person came along and did us wrong. We can’t free ourselves from the prison of our hurt, fear, and resentment by waiting for others to transform. In truth, we owe it to ourselves to stop enduring and get happy now.

1. The first step is to recognize that everything begins with thought. To feel hurt, resentment, or fear, you had thoughts that triggered the feeling. It’s likely that these thoughts aren’t new to you. We tend to recycle painful thoughts because they are based on old beliefs and self-judgments. What self-judgments or beliefs are you recycling that are making you feel bad?

2. The second step is to realize that the person you wish would change is simply triggering your thoughts, not causing them! No one can make us feel bad about ourselves without our unconscious permission.

3. Be grateful–yes, grateful–that this person is such a great mirror. For better or worse, people reflect our beliefs about ourselves. Take advantage of what this person is bringing up for you.

4. Release your self-judgments and limiting beliefs. You can do this every day by practicing acting as if. Act as if you now respect and honor yourself. Act as if you are fully worthy and deserving of kindness and compassion. Act as if you are unconditionally loved by loving yourself unconditionally. Forgive yourself. Treat yourself well. This is how you will train yourself to see your self-judgments for what they are: blinders that keep you from seeing that you are so much more than your worst thoughts. You are enough. You are worthy, regardless of what you have believed and how you have behaved due to a false belief.

5. Remember this: The Jewish sage Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” Let’s add a corollary today: “What is hateful to you, do not do to yourself.” Just set yourself free.

To learn more about how to stop enduring and start living your extraordinary life, visit and read excerpts from Enough Is Enough! by Jane Straus. You can also listen to her teleseminars and watch interviews of Jane sharing her powerful work.

Creating A Wonderful Life

Friday, January 26th, 2007
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Question: I have a wonderful life, and truly feel blessed. It wasn’t always this way, as it took many years of challenges/struggles to get to this stage of my life. My biggest concern is at age 52 I would like to slow down a bit and have more time for activities that I am passionate about, whether it’s oil painting, golfing, or wanting to spend 6 months living in a foreign country or just playing hooky. However, making this a reality is a bit of a daunting task for me because of financial obligations that limit me both time-wise and money-wise. What do you suggest?

How to enjoy life more is one of those good problems to have in life; however, you may need to understand the emotional hurdles you have unconsciously set up so that you can jump over these and enjoy the next phase of your life. Here are 7 ideas to get clear about what’s really blocking you on your path:

1. How did you get to this moment? It’s possible that you never really imagined you’d want what you now want. Or maybe you didn’t think much about your personal future when you were busy raising a family or earning a living. Or maybe you didn’t believe you deserved “the good life” until now.
2. What would you have to give up to have what you say you want?
3. Are you honestly willing to do this?
4. How would your lifestyle change? Can you really picture yourself in this new life?
5. Does this feel too risky? It could be that fear—not time or money—is really what’s holding you back.
6. How does your self-image fit with your image as a painter, golfer, traveler, hooky player? Can you give yourself full permission to own those identities? If not, why not? Do you feel guilty for wanting these pleasures?
7. Create an affirmation to ensure that you will turn these desires into commitments. “I now recognize that I deserve to enjoy my life.” “I now actively engage in what I enjoy doing.” “I am willing to overcome any hurdles to creating a more enjoyable life.”

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation,, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at

Finding and Keeping Mr. or Ms. Right

Saturday, January 20th, 2007
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While some self-help books focus on strategies to get into a relationship, anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that they require tending or they die on the vine. So how can you stop wasting your time on romances that fizzle out? What really makes a romance blossom into a long-term commitment? Here are 5 key strategies to finding and nurturing Great Love:
1.Tell the truth. Truth and love are synonymous. But be careful because telling the truth is not the same as being honest. Honesty may contain judgments, such as, “I think you’re narrow minded for saying you wouldn’t marry a Republican.” Truth is more vulnerable and does not contain judgment. Restated, the truth might be, “When you say you would never marry a Republican, I feel hurt and scared. I’m afraid that if I disagree with you politically, you will leave, regardless of the other great things about our relationship.”
If you don’t feel safe telling the truth about your past, your personality, or your quirks to your new relationship, tell your partner that you need to keep some things private still. But don’t massage the truth, don’t go into an act, and don’t lie. Remember, it’s hard to regain trust that’s been broken.
If you’ve lied to someone you’re involved with, don’t spend one more day torturing yourself with the shame, guilt, and fear that’s inside of you. No matter how afraid you are that you will be rejected or abandoned, clear the air without excuses. (The only exception to this advice is if you have reason to believe that telling the truth will endanger you physically. If this is the case, get professional help.)
Truth is sexy. Truth is passionate. Truth is intimate. Truth is love.
2. Be the love you want to receive. We all want love, loyalty, intimacy, respect, compassion, and friendship. But to deserve it, we need to offer those same things to our partner. And we need to offer them generously. An open heart is much more inviting and accessible than a protected one.
3. Become your partner’s safe haven. Becoming a safe harbor for someone is one of the greatest gifts we can offer and is very much appreciated. Allow your partner to express feelings, even negative ones, without rushing to judgment or trying to fix him/her. Feelings don’t need fixing anyway.
4. Fight fair. This is the hardest prescription on the list for many people as we’ve learned bad and sometimes destructive habits. If you can admit right now that you don’t know how to fight in such a way that you end up closer rather than more estranged, then get help. Hire a life coach or therapist or read books on conscious, loving communications (including my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life). The sooner you become adept at this skill, the less resentment your relationship will build. Fighting well is cleansing and makes make-up sex even better!
5. Make a list of the 10 Things That Make You Feel Most Loved. Ask your partner to do the same. You may be surprised to hear each other’s lists. They often don’t match. Keep your partner’s list and look at it every day. If your partner loves to receive roses, then don’t send irises, even if they’re on your list of favorites.
In Enough Is Enough!, I talk about how I feel loved when my husband remembers that I like yellow mustard, not Dijon. We’re all quirky in what makes us feel loved. Honor your partner’s list and you will build a strong foundation that will get you through the hard times.
Does this seem like a lot of work? It is! But you will definitely reap the benefits. Even if the romantic relationship you’re in currently isn’t the one you will be in forever, all this practice will prepare you for Mr./Ms. Right as well as prepare you to become Mr./Ms. Right.

For more on living your extraordinary life in every way, please visit Jane Straus’s web site, Read her articles, watch video excerpts of her seminars, listen to her free teleseminars, schedule a private coaching session, book Jane for a keynote, and order Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life.

How to Overcome Procrastination

Friday, January 19th, 2007
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Why can’t I ever finish anything? Why do I procrastinate so much?

Most of us think we are simply lazy when we procrastinate. But the truth is that the cause of most procrastination isn’t laziness; it’s fear. We may be afraid that the task at hand is overwhelming or we may be afraid of failing at it. These are the two biggest fears that tend to keep us in approach/avoidance mode.

Here are five key ways to get past your resistance and get “it” done, whatever the “it” is:

1. Chunk it down. Find small ways to work on a project for a limited amount of time. Sharpen some pencils. Clean up your desk. Read some background material. Write one paragraph. Make one phone call. Look up one piece of information. Eat one healthy meal instead of snacking on junk food.
2. Reward yourself immediately for accomplishing something towards your goal. If you only reward yourself for completing something that feels huge, you are setting yourself up for feeling like a failure all along the way. Make sure your reward isn’t counterproductive. For example, if you want to become fit or lose weight, don’t reward yourself with chocolate cake. Instead, take time off for a walk or to watch a movie.
3. Set a new goal that is reasonable, attainable, and rewardable. Now you’re ready for the next step. If you committed to 15 minutes in Step 1, commit to 30 minutes this time. You may find that your ability to stick with a project increases as you get more invested in it.
4. Make a commitment to someone else that you will do what you say you want to do. Committing to others is a way of ensuring that we are answerable for our promises. Most of us find it easier to keep commitments to others than to ourselves.
5. Create an affirmation. It can be something like, “I now keep my commitments.” I now achieve my goals.” “I finish what I start.” “I no longer let fear stop me.” Affirmations are positive thoughts you are willing to begin believing for your highest good.

Commit to this five-step plan and you will have achieved what you set out to do and build your self-esteem in the process.

For more on living your extraordinary life in every way, please visit Jane Straus’s web site, Read her articles, watch video excerpts of her seminars, listen to her free teleseminars, schedule a private coaching session, book Jane for a keynote, and order Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life.