Posts Tagged ‘low self esteem’

Making Your “Habitat” Humane

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

As you read this, I am probably ensconced in a chair at my neighborhood café listening to strangers tell me about their concerns. (See my Coffee Talk announcement in last week’s blog.) In some fashion, I am likely to be asking them, “What risks are you avoiding taking that might very well make you happier?” Together, we will examine whatever fears, self-judgments, or limiting beliefs are holding them back, keeping them in Courtroom Earth instead of letting them enjoy hanging out in Classroom Earth.

Courtroom Earth is where we tell ourselves I can’t; I shouldn’t; I’ll fail; I’ll get rejected; No one will love me if…; I’m too…; I’m not enough. In Courtroom Earth, we are always on trial, just waiting for a “guilty” verdict. It is a place where we redouble our efforts to avoid humiliation or failure. It is a place of suspicion, doubt, second guessing, watchfulness, and hesitation. The feelings we experience in Courtroom Earth are boredom, cynicism, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, or depression—the symptoms of Endurance that I write about in Enough Is Enough. It is in Courtroom Earth that we procrastinate, blame, and ridicule (mostly ourselves). How can we exit the Courtroom and start hanging out in the Classroom?

First, we have to know that Classroom Earth is worth risking changing our thoughts for. I’d like to entice you to the Classroom, where you don’t have to pretend to be perfect or to know all the answers. You are expected to learn by trial and error. You are encouraged to ask questions. You may re-do projects to get more practice. You are not threatened with repercussions or governed by fear but are motivated by curiosity, hope, and challenge. You are supported in contemplating questions that you may never be able to answer. With an open mind and an open heart, you get to discover who you are today, and nobody expects you to be exactly the same person you were yesterday.

So who creates this wonderful environment? You guessed it: We do! We create it by moving through our fears of rejection and doing “it” anyway, whatever “it” is. We create it by letting go of our self-judgments and replacing them with affirmations. We create it by questioning our own authority when it comes to beliefs that keep us isolated, lonely, or tight. Choosing to hang out in Classroom Earth is worth taking these risks, don’t you think?

Announcements:

Update on Raising Funds for the School in New Orleans

Your outpouring of generosity continues to be phenomenal. So that we can tally up the total and get the supplies shipped to J. W. Johnson Elementary School, please call in your donation by the end of the day, Friday, April 18. (See last week’s blog for list of items.) To help Robin of SchoolOutfitters.com process your order efficiently, please provide your credit card #, expiration date, 3-digit code on the back, PLUS your billing name, address, and phone number. Or you may mail a check to SchoolOutfitters. Here’s all the information you need:
School Outfitters
P.O. Box 141231
Cincinnati, OH 45250
1-866-619-5320
1-866-619-4320 (fax)
robin.fox@schooloutfitters.com
http://www.schooloutfitters.com

In next week’s newsletter, I will let you know the list of supplies that, together, we purchased for the school.

Kim Nance, the assistant principal, wrote this to us this week: After experiencing a hardship, we need reminders that there are kind people like your readers in our country. It’s been so important for our students to feel that people do have compassionate hearts.

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!
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!

What if you discovered, while on vacation, that your limiting beliefs were not true?

How do you know if you have limiting beliefs around abundance?
Just ask yourself:
Do I believe that abundance is that which already exists?

If you can’t answer that question 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.
Luminaries Joining Jane as Presenters:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.

Joe Polish: From “Real World” to “Real Money”

Joe Polish is the founder and President of Piranha Marketing, Inc. Considered to be one of the most effective direct-response marketing experts in the world, Joe made his name teaching other entrepreneurs the marketing techniques and business strategies that came directly from his own “real world” work experiences. Joe Polish is a business strategy consultant and marketing expert who has helped thousands of entrepreneurs become successful. And during your week at Club Med, he will teach you his secrets to success.

Greta Remington: Innovative Thinking for Growth

What is the next “big idea” for your company? How do you know which ideas to pursue? Based on the greatest creative minds in history and the most innovative companies of today, Greta’s proven methodology for identifying market opportunities has generated millions in incremental revenue for her clients from the Fortune 500 to start-ups. Greta will teach you her step by step methodology for improving your innovative thinking and creating actionable ideas to grow your business.

Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515

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 StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition Now Available

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. If you buy the book through Amazon, please write a customer review. Reviews are immensely helpful at letting other consumers know that The Blue Book is a valuable resource.

When Opportunity Knocks…

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

…or as we say in California, when the Universe says “Yes!” Have you ever gotten exactly what you wished for and then, moments later, felt your stomach tighten, your heart race, your mind screaming the admonishment, “What have I done?!”

Why is it sometimes more comfortable wanting something than actually manifesting it? Recently, I worked with a couple who very much wanted to take a cruise. They had two children, a mortgage, and jobs that didn’t allow for a lot of luxuries. But they saved their pennies and then spotted a great deal on the exact cruise they had been longing to take. Without hesitation, they reserved their room. Minutes after doing so, they looked at each other in horror. The “what ifs” flooded in. “What if one of us gets seasick—or all of us? What if the kids are bored? What if the weather isn’t good and we have to stay inside our tiny room? What if the house needs an emergency repair and we can’t pay for it because we spent it all on the cruise? What did we just do?!”

This reaction to “pulling the trigger” is referred to by realtors and auto sales people as “buyers’ remorse.” It is characterized by a sudden emotional shift from elation to panic to regret, usually accompanied by the thought, “I’m a fool.” Why do we go through this kind of torture at a time when we could be enjoying ourselves?

One possibility, of course, is that we really could be making an unwise decision. But this certainly isn’t the only reason for beating ourselves up moments after getting what we have worked for or longed for. The other possibility is that we don’t really believe we deserve the cruise, the job, the car, the house—the relationship.

Two nights before my wedding twenty years ago, I had a sudden meltdown. My soon-to-be husband was baffled as I sat on the couch and cried, wondering if maybe I didn’t really want to marry him. But confused as he was, he realized that something else was at work when I blubbered, “If you knew who I really was, you wouldn’t want to marry me.”

What had bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness was the belief that I didn’t deserve him, that I was “damaged goods,” a “broken cookie,” the sum total of a somewhat sordid sexual past that included being molested and then behaving promiscuously. When I read in the newspaper last year about the “Runaway Bride,” I thought, “That could have been me 20 years ago.” (Of course, I don’t know her story but you get my point.)

My almost-husband, in the face of my “unworthiness,” consoled me with words that were sweet and kind, reminding me that he knew my history and that he didn’t define me by my past. I had to either take in what he was saying or be right about being unworthy and then call off the wedding. Well, the outcome is obvious but the lesson remains with me to this day.

Whenever I wish for something now, I ask myself if I have any lingering doubts about my worthiness. If I do, I try to work on this before booking the vacation, sending my latest manuscript to my agent, or pitching my great idea for a TV show to network executives. What I notice is that the issue of worthiness doesn’t necessarily have a price tag. Even small pleasures like a manicure can bring up the issue of worthiness.

So the next time you find yourself sucking in your breath after doing something loving, challenging, exciting, or healing for yourself, ask yourself if you are doubting your worthiness. If so, back yourself up from the edge of this cliff by practicing affirmations and rejecting limiting beliefs. Remind yourself that you are not a product of others’ judgments of you or simply the sum total of your past mistakes. You, like me, are worthy of self-care, compassion, and companionship.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life NOW!

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?

If you can’t answer that question 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.
Luminaries Joining Jane as Presenters:

Cameron Johnson: You Call the Shots

Maybe you’ve watched Cameron on the Big Give with Oprah – now meet him in person. Cameron is recognized as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the world. Over the last eight years, Cameron has given hundreds of speeches worldwide. Cameron is also the author of the international bestselling book, “You Call the Shots.” Cameron will inspire you with his story and motivate you to the next level of success.

Teresa Rodriguez Williamson: Build Your Personal Mission Statement

Teresa is the creator and founder of TangoDiva.com—a worldwide online social network and travel magazine for women. She is also the author of “FLY SOLO: The 50 Best Places on Earth for a Girl to Travel Alone.” She has appeared on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspaper articles around the world. Teresa will teach you how to create and build a mission statement that can guide you to success.

Chet Holmes: How to Double Your Sales

Super Strategist of the Fortune 500, Chet Holmes had more than 60 of the Fortune 500 as clients, taking his place as America’s top marketing executive, trainer, strategic consultant, and motivation expert. He is the author of the NO.1 bestselling book, “The Ultimate Sales Machine.” Chet will teach you how to double your sales – no matter what your business is.

Stephen Pierce: The Art of More

For many, Stephen Pierce’s name is synonymous with success. Recognized as one of the world’s leading Internet marketers and Business Optimization Strategists, Pierce wears several hats when it comes to his businesses. He will teach you how to expand your business in a competitive world.

Spike Humer: Consciously Creating Your Future

Dedicated to the passionate pursuit of creating joy, excellence, and positive abundance in life, health, relationships, and business throughout the world. He will help you create a clear and compelling vision for your life.

Contact Teresa Williamson at media@podium-pr.com for more information and to register. Put in your Subject Line: Club Med w/Jane Or call Teresa @ 650-759-1005 or Raha @ 925-915-1515

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 StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition Now Available

Amazon’s #1 Bestseller in Three Categories!
#1 in Reading
#1 in Lesson Planning
#1 in Vocabulary

An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. If you buy the book through Amazon, please write a customer review. Reviews are immensely helpful at letting other consumers know that The Blue Book is a valuable resource.

What’s New:

* 60 additional pages at the same low price
* More quizzes
* Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words

View entire contents online

* Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
* Grammar Rules
* Punctuation & Capitalization
* Rules for Writing Numbers
* More than Two Dozen FREE Quizzes in interactive format with answers

Discounts available for schools, bookstores, and multiple copies.

To view my English usage blogs, click here.

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.

Strengthening Your Self-Esteem

Monday, January 1st, 2007
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 128

Dear Jane,
How can I strengthen my so low self-esteem?

In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I talk about The Big Lie, which is the mistaken belief that we are unworthy. As long as we believe this lie, we will behave accordingly, encouraging others to also believe this lie. This is how a lie eventually takes on the appearance of truth.

First and foremost, you need to take responsibility for raising your self-esteem. If you rely solely on others, you are neglecting your own spirit and inviting others to do the same. Self-esteem is part of our spirit. It requires consistent attention and nurturing. Begin by writing your answers to the following questions:
1. What are some of my good qualities?
2. How have I been helpful to others?
3. What talents do I possess?

These will help remind you of your worthiness. The next step is to act on the answers. If you are a compassionate person, you may want to volunteer with an organization that could use your inherent kindness. If you are artistic, you can teach others, take a class, or make time every day to do your art.

In addition to acting on your qualities and talents, do an affirmation. I write in the book about creating powerful affirmations that will work for you. Here are some tips:
1. Create your affirmation in present time.
2. Write it down and post it someplace prominent like your bathroom mirror.
3. Say it daily and often.
4. Be willing to believe that it will become true when you stop defending The Big Lie.

You can increase your self-esteem. The only thing in the way is a belief that you don’t deserve to. You do deserve to. And, guess what? Everyone in your life will benefit from your commitment to yourself.
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.

How to Commit to Yourself

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Dear Jane,
How do you commit to yourself as steadfastly as you commit to others?

When we are more committed to others’ well-being or happiness than to our own, we are suffering from low self-worth. Often, people who overcommit to others feel ashamed to even have needs or wants, accusing themselves of selfishness at every turn.

However, the flip side of this self-scorn is a buildup of resentment towards others. This resentment often overflows and spills out at the oddest moments, surprising not just the receiver but the giver.

The first thing you can do is recognize that this does not have to be an either/or world. Giving openheartedly to yourself does not have to exclude being generous with others. In fact, the more kindness and compassion we offer ourselves, the more kindness and compassion we have available for others.

So begin by questioning the authority of this either/or belief system. Be open to experiencing a life of both/and. “I can be both committed to myself and committed to others.” You will find lots of tips and some amazing stories in Enough Is Enough! to help you make this transition. And I promise that your life will begin to feel more extraordinary.

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.

Being Yourself

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Dear Jane,
Why can’t I be myself? I’m always afraid that I’m not good enough, that I have to cater to others first, that nothing I feel, do, or believe measures up. I don’t think it comes from how others see me; it comes from inside me, and I can’t figure out why.

Even if it comes from others, you’re right that these thoughts originate within you. Who is this self that you are so afraid doesn’t measure up to your standards? Do you look at a baby and even think to say, “You don’t measure up”? How are you any different from that little, perfect being? When could your perfection have diminished?

You are in an illusion that you are telling yourself for some reason—probably a reason so old you can’t even remember when you began to tell yourself that you are unworthy. Perhaps you inherited this belief from your parents.

What you must do now, for your precious spirit’s sake, is question authority—especially yours! Ask yourself, “How does it serve me to hold onto this self-judgment and limiting belief?” Every harsh judgment we place on ourselves is an attempt to keep us safe somehow—safe from further rejection or abandonment usually. This is how people pleasing becomes such a habit-forming behavior.

I encourage you to read Chapter 4 of Enough Is Enough! “Drop Your Acts: Become Who You Already Are.” Until we are authentic, we cannot feel loved because if others don’t know us, how can they love us? There’s no “us” there to love. You can change your life in an instant by changing just one thought or one behavior today. This is vital work for your spirit.

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
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 178

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.