Posts Tagged ‘enduring’

Generation E: Help Your Children Stop Enduring Now!

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

We pour our hopes and dreams into our children from the moment they are born. We want them to fare better in life and grow up more secure and presumably happier than . . . than what? Than we are. But despite our best intentions, today’s children are fast becoming a generation of endurers raised by a generation of endurers. And everyone pays a steep price. Parents run the risk of passing their ever-striving-never-stopping tendencies on to the next generation. Call them Generation E—a whole generation of kids for whom enduring seems, if not natural, at least normal.

For many parents afraid for their children’s future, childhood has become a race to the finish line, the brass ring being college and a good career. Isn’t it ironic that, in pursuit of our children’s “success,” we sacrifice ourselves and them by driving them so hard? If the road we’re on together is plagued with stress, resentment, and fatigue, then perhaps it is a vicious circle and not a road at all.

As parents who truly have our children’s best interests at heart, we need to take a different approach. We can help our children stop enduring by practicing a new mantra: Enough is enough!

•Don’t over schedule. Offering children the very best doesn’t mean keeping them busy every moment, even with what we believe are enriching pastimes and enterprises. Nowadays, 12-year-old children are using the term ‘burnout,’ and the sad part is, they mean it! Cut back on the extracurricular activities. Let your child’s moods, energy level, learning style, personality, and interests dictate how many activities they pursue. Then put your own energy level and needs into the equation.

•It’s okay, even good, if kids get bored. Boredom is beneficial, if not imperative, to the growth, creativity, and confidence of children. When children have moments to dream up new ways to entertain themselves and each other, their imaginations are developed in ways a controlled learning environment can’t compete with.

•Teach your kids the difference between endurance and perseverance. True perseverance involves the spirit. When we persevere toward a goal, we are listening to that still small voice within. We are inspired, not drained; empowered, not victimized. When we are enduring, however, we hear only our fears. Our spirit is drowned out by this fear-driven voice that warns us to remain hyper vigilant, ultimately leading us to exhaustion—victims of our To Do lists, the demands of our jobs, and our failing mental and physical health. We exude fear and dread, not enthusiasm. Stuck in a rut, lost in fear, how can we expect to be able to help our kids discover their path?

Begin to discern this important distinction for yourself and you will be able to help your children persevere rather than endure. Children mimic what they see parents doing. So the most important way to stop their endurance in its tracks is to get out of the endurance cycle yourself. Do you feel you never have time to stop? Do you resent never having the time to do things your spirit longs for? Do you look forward to an imagined future time when you will feel happier/ more energetic/debt free? Do you feel resigned and unappreciated as a parent, in spite of all you do? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are enduring. Something needs to change—the sooner, the better.

•If you are enduring . . . It’s time to stop now. The primary source of endurance is fear. Are you worried about your children’s future so much that you can’t imagine taking a risk in your job or career, even for your own well being? Are you convinced that your child will not get into a good college if you don’t continue to sacrifice both your energy and your financial resources? Try not to let fear rule your life or theirs. Take a risk to live a more inspired life yourself so that this, and not powerlessness, is your legacy to your children. Live a life that is admirable by your own standards and your children will both notice your courage and want to emulate it.

•When they disappoint you, give time ins, not time outs. Next time your child doesn’t meet your expectations or misbehaves, don’t ground them or call a time out; provide a time in. Let them talk to you and you will learn more than you would have by closing the door on your communication. If we want our children to be honest with us, we have to make it safe for them to share with us. If we want them to take responsibility for their actions and their lives, what better way than to ask them to reflect on their behaviors and decide what appropriate steps they need to take next?

•Remember what is most important. Some of our worries about success and failure reflect our own need to prove ourselves worthy in our own and others’ eyes. But we want our children to know that they are inherently worthy, not for what they do, but for who they are. Remind them that they are so much more than the sum total of their successes and failures. And if you need to, remind yourself similarly.

Let your motivation to help your children come from your own spirit’s journey. Let yourself be a gauge of what feels inspiring and enriching. Ignore the fear-based need to charge ahead to the point of exhaustion. By learning to say Enough is enough!, together parents and children may just find life filled with more love, joy, and peace. We owe it to our children and to ourselves to shift our focus from fear for their success to just letting them blossom into the extraordinary beings their spirits already yearn for them to become.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

Insights on Bullying

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

If only the saying, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me were true. In reality, being judged, teased, or made fun of, that is, being bullied, can break one’s spirit and cause deep scars.

Children who are abused or ridiculed by their peers, siblings, even teachers or parents 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, they are apt to go into endurance mode. In Enough Is Enough, I offer this about the dangers of endurance: 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 the same day 365 times a year. Endurance is believing that your wishes, dreams, and goals don’t matter. Endurance is hopelessness, dread, and anxiety.

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 Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, becoming 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?

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 thriving.

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, Olivia, in another town, who had suffered from bullying at her middle school. Although the Buders had never met Olivia, they felt compassion and wanted to reach out. They began an e-mail campaign requesting other teenagers and anyone who had ever suffered from bullying to write to Olivia. Fast forward: After just a few months, thousands of letters had poured in from all over the world to support Olivia and her mother.

Olivia has come to believe that there are many good people in the world. In addition, truly eye-opening were the letters she received from bullies. What she and the Buder sisters learned from these bullies is that they are also victims of emotional or physical abuse themselves.

The story of these two girls making a difference in the life of a stranger and the lessons they all learned is now available as an inspiring book just published by HarperCollins called Letters to a Bullied Girl. If you have a child who has been bullied, if you know of someone suffering from bullying, or if you were EVER bullied, I encourage you to get this book, available at Amazon now.

Bullying is a cycle. To stop it, we must take it out of our collective closet, just as we have finally begun to do with sexual abuse and domestic violence. By opening our eyes to the symptoms of those who are being bullied—depression, self-destructive behaviors, frequent “accidents,” suicide threats, anxiety, poor performance at school, difficulty concentrating, drug abuse—we let those who are suffering know that they need not endure ridicule and abuse in silence. If you have the courage to ask, you may find that a child has the desire to share this secret with you. Few want to live with the secret of being bullied. Most think they have no other choice.

Most importantly, to stop the cycle of bullying, we must remember that anyone who bullies has likely been the target of bullying themselves. While we need to have zero tolerance for the behavior, we must reach out to the bullies, protect them from further abuse, and treat their emotional scars. As the writer 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 label bullies and simply punish them, and set up Classroom Earth where we open our hearts, remembering that harsh and hurtful behaviors are disguised cries for help.

The Buder sisters didn’t know what a difference they would make in one girl’s life and now, through the book, in possibly tens of thousands of lives. They were simply compelled to do something. Whatever compels you, trust it. You are bound to make a difference.

Announcements

Click here to read more about Jane’s popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, #15 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the spirituality category.

Dear Jane Podcasts
NEW! Listen to and Download Dear Jane Podcasts
I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
________________________________________
Jane’s Coaching and Training
For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.
To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential and improve their productivity and work relationships. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and often co-facilitates with industry-specific leaders who have chosen to mentor the next generation.
Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit JaneStraus.com for more information and testimonials.

Click here to read Jane’s article in USA Today on the lessons we can glean from celebrity breakups.
________________________________________
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Four Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary
#1 in Grammar

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online. Plus 161 Subscription Quizzes that can be done online with instant answers or downloaded and copied to your heart’s content! Only $29.95/year. Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies. Click to order

The True Measure of Abundance: An Extraordinary Life

Monday, March 17th, 2008

To read my English usage blogs, click here.

One of my clients used the expression, “earning a living,” and it struck me that this phrasing is so painfully close to saying “earning a life.” If we equate earning money with earning the right to live, we are likely to find ourselves in what I call Endurance (yes, with a capital E).

Endurance comes from a belief that we are worthy because of what we do, not for who we essentially are. Endurance looks like waking up in the morning depressed, anxious, and/or convinced that today will be as boring or stressful as the day before and that tomorrow will be no different. When we are Enduring, life is a vicious circle, where we chase after money in order to be happy, finding that there is never enough of either and that neither money nor happiness seem to last long enough.

The only way out of this vicious circle and onto our path is to question the authority of the fundamental belief that we are anything less than fully worthy of an extraordinary life. Not just a good life—an extraordinary one defined on our own terms. If you don’t feel that your life is already extraordinary, you’re not alone, which means you can find ample evidence that an extraordinary life is reserved for other people, perhaps the wealthy or the lucky or the talented.

I would like to invite you to question the authority of that belief right NOW. Be willing to take off your blinders and you will notice people in all walks of life and from all socioeconomic levels leading abundant, creative, fascinating, fulfilling lives. They may work hard but they are Persevering, not Enduring. How can you tell? They have a goal in mind that inspires their spirit, keeping them on course during the rough patches and the times when nothing seems to be going as planned.

When we Persevere, we are listening to and respecting our Spirit, the part of us that knows what our highest good is, what we are here to do or at least to do next. The result is the feeling that life itself is extraordinary and that all we have to do is tap into its abundance. The key is the willingness to discard the untruth that we are worthy of anything less. So no matter what you were told as a child about having to please others to be loved or approved of, let that go this instant. Choose to see the truth: you are a human being, not a human doing, and therefore worthy because you are here.

Some people are afraid that recognizing their inherent worthiness will stop them from striving to reach their goals; on the contrary, it will allow you to pay attention to what your deeper values are and to focus on ways to achieve the goals associated with those values. You will stop attending to the superficial and pay attention to what really matters. You will find your courage along the way, regardless of temporary setbacks. Most importantly, you will admire the one you see in the mirror. Wouldn’t that be extraordinary? Isn’t living an extraordinary life the truest measure of abundance?


Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:

Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?
Do I believe that money is love?
If you can’t answer both questions with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

About Jane Straus
Jane 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, www.stopenduring.com. 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, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Spotting a UOF

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

(For my English usage blog, click here.)

No, this title isn’t a typo. I am not writing about UFOs. A UOF, unlike a UFO, has had millions of confirmed sightings and can be easily spotted. It is the Uh Oh Factor: the fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs that stop us dead in our tracks, generally right before or right after we take a risk.

You know how your mind works: You apply for a job and you pump yourself up for the interview, telling yourself that you are the right person—perhaps the most qualified candidate—and that they’d be fools to pass you up. You remind yourself of how well you have performed in your current position and how undervalued you have been, which is why you deserve that new position.

But then you no sooner submit your résumé and that little voice starts whispering in your ear, “What if I don’t get the job? What if it means I have to travel more? What if I don’t like my new boss? What if I don’t like my new colleagues? What if they don’t like me? What if I have to work longer hours?” And the worst what if of all is the one with the F word, “What if I fail?” (This mindset works similarly with dating.)

All of our what ifs create the Uh Oh Factor: the negative thinking that reminds us of each of our character flaws, every painfully embarrassing moment from our past, every fear that’s woken us up at 2:00 A.M. bathed in sweat. This Uh Oh Factor (UOF), untended to, can instantly overpower our tenuous hold on our still-delicate affirmations.

The volume of our UOF will only go up if we try to ignore it. In short order, we will hear the voices within shouting, “You’re so full of yourself. Who were you to think you could land this job? You’re a fraud, a phony. They’ll see right through you.” Try to push these negative thoughts away and it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole: you have to be on high alert looking for where and how they’re going to pop up again if you’re going to defeat them.

So what can you do when the UOF begins to override your confidence? As Ram Dass, a wonderfully funny Buddhist teacher says, you can practice thinking of your Uh Oh thoughts—those neurotic fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs—as little schmos. Then, instead of trying to bar them from entry, which is futile anyway, invite them in for tea.

Imagine this scene: Three little schmos, looking like Snow White’s dwarves, come knocking at your door. Instead of hiding in the coat closet, you welcome them in, escorting them to the dining room table. Without any need for small talk, you say to the one on your right, “I recognize you. You’re the schmo who tells me I’m not good enough.” Then you turn to your left. “And you’re the schmo who catalogues the imperfections of my body.” Now you look across the table at another one who is returning your grin and say, “And you, you’re the schmo who reminds me of all my mistakes.” Then, with an inclusive sweep of your arm, you announce, “Thank you all for having tea with me.” You look at your watch and then continue, “But tea time is over because, after all, I am a busy person.” You see your little schmos to the door, although they are reluctant to go because you’ve been such a good listener. When they ask if they can come back, you let them know that they needn’t worry; certainly you’ll hear them next time they come knocking. You wave to them as they retreat and then close the door with a sigh of relief.

What you do next is remember to feel grateful that you have learned how to say hello and goodbye to your little schmos. Then you restate your affirmations, call on your support system to remind you of your best qualities, demonstrate behaviors that make you feel good about the person you see in the mirror, and take a leap of faith that these practices will not only keep you sane but will provide you with the courage to take the next risk that your spirit urges you towards.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the beautiful beach, delicious food, and luxurious setting while experiencing enriching programs by renowned self-help leaders, including a NEW program that I am offering:
Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:

Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?
Do I believe that money is love?
If you can’t answer both questions with a resounding YES!, then don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack.

Here’s another test of your abundance quotient:
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
There is a Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts. Three kinds of negative thoughts stop us from manifesting abundance:
• Fear
• Self-judgments
• Limiting beliefs

Any one of them can sabotage us, keep us stuck in a rut, stress us out, cause us confusion, or make us want to give up.
You will experience cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
Price: Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600)/$1000 for children under 18, which includes lodging, meals, airport transportation, and all programs. Check out this beautiful, newly renovated Club Med for yourself.
Contact Teresa Williamson at teresa@tangodiva.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane

About Jane Straus
Jane 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, www.stopenduring.com. 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, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

This is a modified version of a talk I gave at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco on February 2, 2008. My panel’s room was set up for 30 people and 150 showed up. The technicians scrambled to set up speakers in the hallway so the overflowing crowd could hear.

Down with Stress/Up with Thriving

I have a need for full confession here—call it my Jewish guilt—before I go on to give you advice about how to lower your stress and thrive more. At 23 years of age I had a stroke. At 48 I had a brain tumor. So although I’m not the poster child for handling stress or always being tuned in to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages of my mind/body/spirit, I have spent a good portion of my 27 years as a life coach seeking correlations between health and happiness for my clients as well as for myself.

First of all, stress is a catchall phrase and not so useful when we’re looking to thrive and create a more extraordinary life. Instead, I recommend asking yourself whether you are Enduring or Persevering. Both may feel stressful. But Enduring leads to the blahs and worse while Persevering leads to thriving. Here are just some of the symptoms of Endurance: anxiety, addiction, boredom, cynicism, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, illness, “Is that all there is?” lack of energy, procrastination, resentment, ruts, and “Why me, Lord?” If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, then I encourage you to consider that you are in some Endurance.

So how do we end up in Endurance and how do we get out of it? Most of us have an underlying belief, conscious or unconscious, in what I call The Big Lie. The Big Lie is that we think that we are not fully worthy. If we don’t believe we are fully worthy of thriving or having an extraordinary, abundant life, we will sabotage ourselves using three universal techniques:
• Stoking our fears
• Whipping ourselves with our self-judgments
• Gathering evidence for our limiting beliefs.

Example: Have you ever had a bad hair day? If so, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You wake up in the morning feeling ugly. That’s your self-judgment. So what do you do? Instead of picking out your nicest or sexiest outfit, you dress to be invisible. Why? Because you fear being noticed for how ugly you think you look. Then you leave home, go to work, and what happens? No one notices you. No one compliments you. And what does this do? It confirms your limiting belief that you are not attractive. This is just one example of the wisdom of the Buddhist saying that no enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts.

Here is my personal example of a bad hair day: I was 48 years old and had not yet written my book, Enough Is Enough! Why? I had stoked my fear that I would be rejected by publishers and the public. I had self-judgments that I wasn’t a good enough writer, even though I had written and sold over 100,000 copies of my Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and had edited for friends and colleagues for 30 years. And I had plenty of evidence that there were enough self-help books out there glutting the market already and that mine would get lost in the pile. What stoking my fear, whipping up my self-judgments, and gathering evidence for my limiting beliefs did was to keep me in endurance by perpetuating The Big Lie that I wasn’t worthy. My personal favorite symptoms of Endurance were boredom and resentment.

Then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. That, as we say, was my wake-up call. I asked myself, “If I don’t make it through the surgery, will I have any regrets?” The answer was a resounding yes. I had seven weeks between diagnosis and surgery, during which time I bargained with the Universe. Here was the deal I asked for: Let me live and come out of surgery coherent and I’ll write the book. I’ll even be willing to believe that I’m worthy of doing so. Gratefully, the Universe must have acquiesced so I started writing. Now writing a book is no stroll in the park, especially if you really care about your topic and audience. But the difference was that, once I decided to say boo back to my fears, stopped reminding myself of all my self-judgments, and began to question the authority of my limiting beliefs, I found that I was no longer Enduring; I was Persevering.

Writing the book was still stressful. I had to write late at night because I still had my commitment to my clients as well as to my young daughter and loving husband. I had an editor who sent back my work full of red ink on a daily basis. But it was different. Perseverance is energizing. It is a commitment to the process, regardless of any particular outcome. I found that I was willing to write the book not knowing if it would ever be published or read by another human being.

I think that the secret to thriving that also lowers your stress level is to counter The Big Lie by listening to your Spirit’s longings. Your spirit knows what really matters and it knows when you’re enduring rather than persevering.

So here are five things you can do right now to thrive more:
1. Make amends for past misdeeds and forgive yourself daily so that you can feel worthy of thriving.
2. Say boo back to at least one fear. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the commitment to persevere through it.
3. Allow yourself to be wrong about your self-judgments and limiting beliefs. Being right just keeps you enduring in survival mode.
4. Listen more closely to your spirit’s longings.
5. Model your behaviors after those you admire. Or, as one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.”

Announcements

On the Couch—A Unique Opportunity With Jane
Can You Really Find Insight/Resolution/Relief/Renewal in 15 minutes or less? Yes!
Sit with Jane for just a few minutes and she will help you:
get out of a rut
• release old pain
• make a life-changing decision
• discover your passion
• find clarity
• forgive yourself and others
• experience compassion
• thrive

Location: Nomadic Outfitters, 2426 California St. (at Fillmore), S.F., (415) 345-8338
Date/Time: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Price: Free! No appointment necessary. Drop in and talk with Jane, listen to others share, and/or shop. All donations go to hospice.

Handle Stress to Boost Immunity presented by Jane at the KCBS Health Fair in San Francisco with Keynote Speaker Dr. Mehmet Oz
I was honored to be invited as a panelist, along with Melina Jampolis, M.D., host of Fit TV’s Diet Doctor and author of The No Time to Lose Diet; and Dr. Jacob Leone, Naturopathic & Integrative Medicine Practitioner, to discuss Boosting Immunity: Nutrition, Supplements, and Stress. I promise to have the contents of my presentation available for you on my Web site shortly.

About Jane Straus
Jane 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, www.stopenduring.com. 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, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Life is like Coffee

Friday, January 18th, 2008

After writing last week about my friend Gio’s death, I felt that the following e-mail (paraphrased here), which has traveled the world, would be an appropriate follow up that we could all appreciate.

A group of friends got together to have coffee. The host set out the cups and brewed the coffee. Some of the cups were beautiful; some were plain. The host noticed that the nicer cups were chosen first.

What is the meaning of this vignette?

Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are tools that shape and contain Life, but the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of the life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee provided us.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

The richest person is not the one who has the most but the one who needs the least.

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, www.stopenduring.com. 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, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

10 Keys to an Extraordinary Life

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

When I am asked to summarize the essence of my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, I offer these ten keys. I hope they serve, on a daily basis, to help you create the extraordinary life you deserve.

TEN KEYS TO CREATING YOUR EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

1. Recognize that you are enduring.
Do you feel that you never have time to stop? Do you distract yourself with eating, working, volunteering, cleaning, etc.? Do you resent that you never have time to do the things your spirit longs for? Do you feel resigned rather than inspired? If you wake up most mornings feeling anxious, bored, or numb, looking forward to some imagined future time when you will feel happier – “when my children finally start school,” “when my bills are paid off,” “when I retire”-then you are enduring.

2. Release your self-judgments.
Your negative beliefs about yourself that are holding you back-you’re untalented, too fat, not smart enough, etc.- are probably rooted in your childhood. Why would you let your “inner seven-year-old” run your life? These judgments are real but they are only as true as you have believed them to be. Give yourself compassion for having carried the burden of your self-judgments. Replace them with affirmations and find new evidence to support your willingness to believe in them. Affirmations are as true as you allow them to be.

3. Question your limiting beliefs.
When you tenaciously hold on to the belief that the world works in one particular way (against you), or that there is only one right way to do something (and you are doing it wrong), or that your actions will inevitably result in a specific and predictable outcome (bad), you are strapping on blinders. Make a commitment to take off those blinders. It will take practice and patience to stay out of “limiting belief territory,” but eventually it will become second nature. You’ll quickly start to see that life no longer feels boring and predictable.

4. Drop your acts.
When you put on the armor of an act, you sacrifice your authenticity for protection. For instance, you think no one can hurt you if you’re tough enough…or that everyone will love you if you’re nice enough…or that everyone will respect you if you never admit to being wrong. Your acts will become your prison. Instead, give yourself joyful permission to become more of who you really are. You will feel free and you will find that who you are is much more interesting than any character you could possibly play.

5. Face down your fears.
What fear is keeping you from living your extraordinary life? Whatever it is—quitting your unfulfilling job, leaving an abusive marriage, telling the truth about your past—you must face it head on. Recognize that F.E.A.R. means “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Think of the worst-case scenario and see yourself living through it with dignity. Get support from others. Create an affirmation, such as, “I am now courageous.” Then, just do it. Remember that no matter what the momentary outcome of facing down your fear brings, your worth as a person is constant and never in question.

6. Free your feelings.
If you feel bored, you are probably ignoring or avoiding something. Make an effort to connect with your feelings. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Check in with your body. Do you feel any tightness or pain? Give that pain or tightness a name, such as fear, hurt, anger, resentment, sadness. If your body feels light and open, give that an emotional name such as joy, love, happiness. Whatever emotions you feel and name, just allow them to be. If they change, let that be. Let yourself be. Learn to honor your emotions. Give them an opportunity to inspire you.

7. Heal your anger and resentment.
When you can acknowledge that your resentments are fueled by your personal regrets, you free yourself to step out of the victim role. It is not that you are letting others off the hook for unkind or unfair behaviors; they are still responsible for their intentions and actions. But the moment you uncover your regrets, you are empowered to let go of resentment.

8. Forgive yourself.
Make a list of the wrongs you have done to others and to yourself. See them as results of survival strategies. Acknowledge the consequences of these strategies to yourself and others. Grieve for your losses and your mistakes. Make amends with yourself and others. Create an affirmation to replace the self-judgments that drove you to using your survival strategies. And remember to treat yourself the way you would want others to treat you.

9. Know, speak, and live your deepest truths.
Commit to being truthful in all you say and do. Realize that being truthful is not synonymous with being honest. Truth is a complex blend of honesty mixed with compassion and vulnerability. When you are “brutally honest,” you are expressing your judgment but not expressing your truth. Your spirit knows the difference between truth and honesty. When you express your highest thoughts and intentions, you are able to live a true life, not just an honest one.

10. Create your extraordinary life every day.
To live in your truth is to allow your spirit’s energy into every cell of your being and into every thought and action. Here’s what this means in everyday terms: When you tell the clerk at the grocery store checkout counter that she has given you too much change, you make truth and spirit matter more than money. When you hear gossip and don’t pass it along, you make truth and spirit matter more than your momentary desire to feel important. When you tell someone you love him or her, unsure of whether he or she will say it in return, you make truth and spirit matter more than your fear of rejection. Make these decisions every day. It takes courage and commitment to be your extraordinary self. You will be amply rewarded with a rich and fulfilling life.

Read excerpts from Jane’s popular book, Enough Is Enough!, watch and listen to her TV and radio interviews on various topics, and sign up for her free newsletter, order her book, or have Jane as your personal life coach by clicking on stopenduring.com.

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 StopEnduring.com 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.

Courtroom Earth v. Classroom Earth

Friday, October 6th, 2006
 
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In Enough Is Enough!, I talk about what it’s like to think of our environment as a courtroom v. a classroom and how to consciously choose hanging out in the latter. Yet, I’m finding just how habitual it is to forget that I have a choice of where to be.

Sometimes I’m in the Courtroom, acting as my own judge, jury (and executioner) and I don’t even realize it. What about you? Do you find yourself being driven, addicted to more and more evidence to prove that you are worthy? Then do you end up tired, resentful, frustrated, short tempered, with an even greater urge to control and do?

This is my trickiest survival strategy and where I end up enduring the most. It’s tricky because I don’t realize I’m in endurance until my symptoms cause me such great discomfort that I can’t help but notice. Even then, it’s not always easy to just put the brakes on. But I’m committed to doing so.

Here’s what “putting the brakes on” means to me today:
1. Reminding myself that I am worthy and deserving and so is everyone else.
2. Taking some deep breaths. I know this sounds so simple but, even as a breathwork teacher, I can forget to do this.
3. Taking a walk, calling a friend, walking my dog along the waterfront, playing a game with my daughter.
4. Asking for help. This is huge for me.

I think that the first remedy, reminding myself that I am worthy, is the most important. With this reminder, I find myself more willing to commit to the other three remedies, which leads me to thriving, not just surviving.

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, StopEnduring.com. 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, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

(Re)Kindling Your Passion for Your Work and Your Life

Friday, July 28th, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
I wake up every weekday morning dreading the upcoming day. I’ve got a good job and a loving family and should feel grateful. What’s wrong with me?

Most of us have woken up occasionally to a feeling of dread or anxiety, wishing we were facing a different day ahead of us. But if this is how you feel most mornings, wishing you had a different life, you are suffering from burnout. Burnout is the result of enduring for too long and is debilitating to your spirit. The good news is that it’s curable.

When you are in burnout, you may feel a whole host of symptoms, including:
• Depression
• Restlessness
• Anxiety
• Addiction
• Hopelessness
• Chronic illness or pain
• Lack of motivation
• Stuck in a rut
• Fantasizing having a different life or even being a different person

Then there are the additional, perhaps surprising, symptoms of burnout that deserve your attention:
• Cynicism – When you feel jaded about your work, your clients, your colleagues, or your contributions to others, you are experiencing one of the most serious symptoms of burnout. When we are excited about our lives, we don’t tend to feel cynical.
• Boredom – Having little interest in your work or your life can lead to running out of motivation entirely. You can delude yourself into thinking that you are bored because of the outside world. But prolonged boredom is a smokescreen to avoid facing the risks we need to take to feel more fulfilled.
• Confusion – Not being able to make up your mind can happen when you don’t give yourself the highest options to choose from. We must aim for what our spirit really aspires to in order to get clarity.
• Jealousy –Jealousy is what you feel when you think you can’t have or don’t deserve what someone else has. It’s a clue that you have a limiting belief that is keeping you in a rut. To overcome jealousy, we need to commit to ourselves to create a life that is remarkable on our own terms.
• Low Self-Esteem – If someone else thinks you’re great but you can’t feel it about yourself or you can’t take in compliments, it may be because you’re not doing what you really need to in order to thrive. Sometimes we have to practice thriving behaviors even before we believe we deserve to.
• Defensiveness – You will react most strongly to criticisms that mirror your own self-judgments. When you judge yourself, you automatically put yourself in a prison of endurance. Take note of the criticisms you pile on yourself every day. They probably sound something like, “I’m too fat/stupid/afraid/old to succeed/be happy/find a partner/make enough money.” There is an ancient Buddhist saying, “No enemy can harm us as much as our own thoughts.” Rather than defend ourselves, we can focus on self-encouragement rather than self-judgment.
• Impatience – When you are short with others, it is a clue that you’re unhappy with your life in some way. Maybe you think people talk too slowly, or you get road rage, or you jump on your partner or kids for slight infractions. It’s time to ask yourself if what you are really feeling impatient about is some aspect of your life. Are you tired of waiting for something better to happen? Impatience can work for us when we heed its message, which is to evaluate our circumstances and make new commitments to ourselves.
• Frustration – Annoyance with things that aren’t within your control is a symptom of deeper dissatisfactions. If so, quick fixes won’t work. Instead, address the root cause of your burnout, which is that your spirit is not being nurtured enough. Sometimes, when we are afraid of making changes, we will try to focus on the small stuff. But isn’t it better to act on our dreams and aspirations?

So once you recognize your symptoms of burnout and you are motivated to thrive, how do you “go for it”? Answer these questions honestly and follow the suggestions that you are drawn to:

Question: If you felt passion for your life or your work at one time but don’t feel it now, what has changed? What did you love about your work/life at one time? Suggestion: Perhaps you’ve changed and evolved. Perhaps what was true for you five or ten years ago is no longer current. Stop blaming yourself for any discontent. Instead, be respectful and check in with what your spirit longs for now.

Question: If you’ve never felt passion for your life or your work, why not?
Suggestion: Maybe you chose a profession or lifestyle based on others’ expectations instead of your own. Or maybe the work or life you chose was based on unrealistic fantasies. Prioritize your criteria for a satisfying life. What do you imagine would make you happy? Try out scenarios and see if they work for you. For example, if you like the outdoors, volunteer as a trail guide for a short stint. If you are artistic, become an apprentice to a graphics designer or take an art class.

Question: Do you feel at home in your environment or are you like a fish out of water?
Suggestion: Take a personality style assessment to find out if you are a Director, Promoter, Analyzer, or Supporter. A good life coach can help you interpret the results. Each style has its needs, wants, and most conducive environments for thriving. You deserve to have a life aligned with your style instead of fighting it.

Question: What self-judgments are keeping you from creating a more extraordinary life?
Suggestion: Respond to your self-judgment with an affirmation that you are willing to believe but do not yet hold as true. An affirmation can start with, “Although I have believed I’m too old to find a partner, I am now willing to create a loving relationship.” Affirmations are commitments to yourself that counter negative beliefs.

Question: What limiting beliefs are stopping you from living a richer life?
Suggestion: Limiting beliefs are often taught to us as children. We assume, from our child’s perspective, that they are true, so they often go untested. Examples of common limiting beliefs: “You can’t trust people. You can’t have what you want. No one is really happy. Your happiness doesn’t matter.” Think about what you have believed about the world that is self-defeating. Be willing to question your own authority or the authority of those who taught you these “facts.”

Question: Do you worry about what will happen to your significant relationships if you stop enduring and start manifesting your dreams?
Suggestion: There are consequences to making changes in your life. But if you hold yourself back out of fear, you may get what you are avoiding anyway. For example, if you fear that someone in your life will reject you if you make changes, aren’t you going to isolate more anyway if you become more miserable and fear driven? Our fears are based on the past and the future, not on the present. If you stay focused on what your spirit is telling you in the present, the company you will be keeping will be the company you want to keep. Why? Because you will have become the company you want to keep!

Question: Do you let obstacles like lack of money or possible failure stop you?
Suggestion: These obstacles present opportunities to persevere. Endurance is what you do when you are not listening to your spirit. Perseverance is what you do when you stay focused on your goals. Roadblocks can strengthen your resolve. You probably wouldn’t want what you want if it were too easy. Your spirit is drawn to challenges.

Question: Does fear in general hold you back?
Suggestion: Do one thing that requires courage and moves you toward one of your spirit’s aspirations. Maybe that means taking a class, getting a personal coach, applying for a job, reading a self-help book, or signing up with an internet dating service. Taking steps to address your fears will rightly build your self-esteem. Get support to meet your fears head on.

Question: Do you feel selfish when you even begin to focus on yourself this way?
Suggestion: Remember that energy rubs off on other people. If you are unhappy, burned out, feeling victimized by life, what do you really have to offer others? Committing to making your own life more remarkable is a gift that keeps on giving. You will be much more present and useful to others when you have said yes to fulfilling your own highest goals and aspirations.

It is time to say “Enough is enough!” to endurance, marking time, and burnout. Once you do, you may find that obstacles that once appeared insurmountable now fall away. When you commit to yourself, you are bound to:

• find resources to help you on your path
• carve out time that you didn’t know you had
• tweak something small that turns out to make an enormous difference
• have more fun than you imagined possible
• discover some hidden creativity
• inspire others

The decision to stop enduring and to (re)kindle your passion is an act of profound courage. But if you don’t want your epitaph to read, “Here lies ______. He/she finished everything on the To Do list,” then listen to yourself now. You are worthy of that and so is everyone who will benefit from your choosing to live a more extraordinary life.