Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

What Would You Do If You Had No Fear?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Click here for my English Usage blogs.

What Would You Do If You Had No Fear?

“What would you do if you had no fear?” This is the intriguing question that my friend, author Diane Conway, posed to people. Their answers inspired her to write a book of the same name. Her question inspires me to stop often during the day to ask this of myself. Even when I don’t realize that I’m fearful, I find the question useful because fear has many symptoms and disguises.

When I am afraid but don’t realize it, I can feel everything from sleepy to nervous, antsy to dull, wanting to procrastinate or burying myself in minutiae. One way I can recognize that F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) is running the show is by reflecting on this simple yet invaluable question.

For instance, I had a meeting in Los Angeles the other day where the stakes felt high. As I entered the high-rise building elevator, avoiding my reflection in the brilliantly shined chrome, my stomach fluttered and my heart began to pound. Excitement? Anxiety? Both?

Regardless, it was certainly a good time to ask myself, “What would I do if I had no fear?” The answer came to me quickly: I would reveal more about my ideas and goals rather than hold back and wait to be sure I was safe. By the time the elevator doors parted, I felt more decisive and prepared for whatever lay in store for me. Interestingly, instead of focusing on the myriad of “what if’s” that could derail the project, I felt present and found myself enjoying rather than enduring the meeting. Although I don’t yet know the outcome of that meeting, I am relishing the “afterglow” we all get when we face fear with courage.

When last week my 15-year-old daughter came to me to talk about some hurt feelings following a conversation with a friend, I asked her gently, “What would you do right now if you had no fear?” Her sobs subsided and with renewed strength in her voice, she said, “I would call her and ask her what’s going on.” That one magic question empowered her to find her own wisdom. All she needed from me was some TLC and maybe a little cheer leading.

Not letting fear stand in our way is something most of us need to learn repeatedly. Even though I have lived through a brain tumor, I can still get caught up in the day-to-day “what if’s” that generate fear. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I give keys for saying “boo” back to fear. This is not a one-time event; courage requires ongoing vigilance…and no excuses.

So thank you, Diane, for posing the question that all of us deserve to ask ourselves. And thank you to my family, friends, and clients who, every day, show me how to respond to this question with courage, vulnerability, and truth.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the luxury of a hassle-free, all-inclusive stay (food, drinks, lodging, and transportation from Cancun airport) at this newly renovated Club Med. PLUS experience transformational seminars and one-on-one coaching sessions with famous, top-notch personal-growth speakers and bestselling authors—at no extra charge!
I am offering a NEW program specially designed to enhance your experience at Club Med:
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?
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
Don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack. 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.
I will give you cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to experience the abundance that already exists in your life and manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
All-Inclusive Price (except airfare): Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600) / $1000 for children under 18. Your Club Med Vacation includes: 1. world-class accommodations featuring CD players, mini fridges, televisions and much more 2. full open bar 3. endless gourmet buffets and a variety of all-day dining options 4. transportation to and from Cancun airport 5. all programs 6. one-on-one consultations with the presenters. You may also sign up directly with Club Med for exciting excursions. You must book before April 23 to secure this reduced rate. Contact Teresa Williamson @ 650-759-1005, media@podium-pr.com or Raha @ 925-915-1515 soon as there are a limited number of reservations available.
Additional seminars from other transformational speakers and best-selling authors:

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
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.
________________________________________
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.

What’s New:
• 60 additional pages at the same low price
• More quizzes
• Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
Click to order
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

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

Fake It Till You Make It?

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Click here to view my English usage blogs.

A friend sent me an e-mail after reading my blog last week about AHAs. In the blog, I shared seven realizations, including: Whatever I judge myself for, others will pick up on it, whether I try to hide it or not. So I may as well stop wasting my energy pretending anything.
She expressed confusion because she is also familiar with AA’s philosophy of “Fake it till you make it.” She wondered how I reconcile “faking it” with being genuine.
I think that intention gets us through this perceived dilemma. If we’re doing anything out of fear, it is bound to backfire on us eventually. When we create acts because we’re afraid of failure, embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, or abandonment, we’re always looking over our shoulder, keeping our fingers crossed that our act will “work,” i.e., get us the approval, respect, or love we are seeking. Inevitably, however, we find that the world mirrors our true beliefs about ourselves anyway. All that effort turns out to be a setup for frustration and eventual hopelessness.

“Fake it till you make it” isn’t about putting on an act out of fear; it is about having the courage and perseverance to practice new, uncomfortable, yet empowering behaviors that are self-respectful and self-loving with the intention of becoming the person we want to be. “Faking it” in this way takes tremendous determination because we’re stretching beyond our comfort zone of thoughts and behaviors that have kept us safe but confined. This kind of change requires an act of faith—often of the leaping variety.

If we act out of fear, “fake it till you make it” becomes just another excuse for being inauthentic. Based on an intention to be our best self, however, this same behavior will help us awaken.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the luxury of a hassle-free, all-inclusive stay (food, drinks, lodging, and transportation from Cancun airport) at this newly renovated Club Med. PLUS experience transformational seminars and one-on-one coaching sessions with famous, top-notch personal-growth speakers and bestselling authors—at no extra charge!
I am offering a NEW program specially designed to enhance your experience at Club Med:
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?
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
Don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack. 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.
I will give you cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to experience the abundance that already exists in your life and manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
All-Inclusive Price (except airfare): Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600) / $1000 for children under 18. Your Club Med Vacation includes: 1. world-class accommodations featuring CD players, mini fridges, televisions and much more 2. full open bar 3. endless gourmet buffets and a variety of all-day dining options 4. transportation to and from Cancun airport 5. all programs 6. one-on-one consultations with the presenters. You may also sign up directly with Club Med for exciting excursions. You must book before April 23 to secure this reduced rate. Contact Teresa Williamson @ 650-759-1005, media@podium-pr.com or Raha @ 925-915-1515 soon as there are a limited number of reservations available.
Additional seminars from other transformational speakers and best-selling authors:

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
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.
________________________________________
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.

What’s New:
• 60 additional pages at the same low price
• More quizzes
• Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
Click to order
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. Click to order

AHAs!

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Click here view my English usage blogs.

I love those rare and often serendipitous moments when I see something in a new way for the first time. I wish that I could plan them but I guess, by definition, an AHA! has to come to us. Perhaps the most we can do to facilitate them is to remain open and not ignore them when they are jumping up and down waving their arms in front of us to pay attention.

One of my most memorable AHAs! came during my first personal growth seminar. The program had started on a Friday night and by late Saturday afternoon, I was tired, antsy, and cynical, muttering complaints under my breath about everything from the temperature of the room to the workshop leaders’ over inflated sense of purpose and drama. I judged the seminar to be a cheap imitation of EST, precursor to Landmark’s Forum and the seminar that anyone who was “in the scene” in the San Francisco Bay Area was taking back in 1982. Why hadn’t I signed up for the “real thing”? I had two reasons (excuses): First, I had heard that you weren’t free to go to the bathroom at EST seminars. If you had to go, it meant that you were trying to distract yourself from “getting it.” Having had numerous infections that had scarred my bladder, I wasn’t willing to prove anything to anyone about my lofty intentions if the pressure was on, so to speak. Secondly, my close friend was doing this seminar because her boyfriend had just done it and raved about it. I was willing to be dragged along to just about anything that mixed psychology and spirituality as long as I could go to the bathroom (or leave). Her boyfriend assured us that the doors to the seminar room would not be locked or guarded.

Saturday afternoon was now becoming Saturday evening and, while I had enjoyed the experience so far, I hadn’t felt that engaged. As I squirmed in my metal chair and offered a dramatic yawn (hint, hint), I heard one of the seminar assistants announce the next process. “For the next hour, one by one you will get up and walk to the middle of the stage. Everyone in the audience will shout out their judgments of you. You will not answer or speak. Just stand there until the room gets quiet again. Then sit down.”

What the @#&%*!? Who gives anyone the right to judge me? I can’t yell mine out at anyone else. They’ll hate me and say worse things back to me. I didn’t sign up for this. What good could possibly come from this ridiculous exercise? These people are full of @%#@&*!

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t really very open to an AHA! in that moment. Sometimes they arrive via two by fours, not magic wands, I guess. I sat frozen in panic, the sweat trickling down my armpits. I thought about getting up and walking out, reminding myself that since I had paid for this seminar, I had the freedom to leave it at any time. Remembering that I had a choice calmed me ever so slightly as the first brave soul walked up onto the stage for his haranguing. At first, no one said anything to him. In fact, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop in the room. The silence was broken by one of the assistants, who shouted some insult that made me wince. I couldn’t look at my fellow participant’s face, imagining the humiliation this barb had caused. Another assistant barked something. Then a participant chimed in. Traitor, I thought. If you hadn’t played into their hands, this would be over sooner rather than later. Suddenly, to my horror, shouts pierced the air from all directions. I kept my eyes on the floor for as long as I could stand it. When I did look up at the participant who was being forced to endure this agony, I was shocked to see him smiling. What is he, a masochist? A minute later the shouts subsided. As he walked off the stage, he said, “That was unbelievably liberating. Thank you.”

This didn’t compute. He had just been verbally abused by people who, minutes earlier, had pretended to be comrades. Why didn’t he feel betrayed? I knew I would if/when it got to be my turn. Which it eventually did…

I tried to hide my shaking knees as I took a deep breath, readying myself for the onslaught of insults. I didn’t want to look anyone in the eye just in case I started crying or my cheeks flushed. So I stared at the red light on the big coffeepot in the back of the room. By now, having warmed up to whatever this exercise was supposed to teach us, everyone began giving me their best shots fast and furiously. I noticed that when people talked over each other, I was annoyed. In spite of myself, I wanted to hear their thoughts and opinions about me. Some of them were pretty far out there. Others were downright funny to me. Others were inspired or witty, even if they didn’t feel particularly “true.” I realized that some people were attacking me with judgments I might have yelled at them if I’d been participating (which I hadn’t).

After a couple of minutes, I thought, I can handle this. It’s not so bad.Then the room quieted down. Each time that had happened before my turn, the seminar leader would say his one and only judgment. I was actually looking forward to whatever insight he thought he might have. I looked at him. He smiled slowly, meeting my gaze, and said gently, “One too many chocolates, Jane?”

Before I had a chance to think, I burst into tears. No, you don’t need to reread what he said. And it wasn’t the way he said it either. It hit me below the belt because it mirrored the biggest judgment I had on myself: I hated my body and shamed myself constantly for it. Yet I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t even really overweight. In fact, I was in pretty good shape. How did he know how I felt about my body? I had spent so much energy staying fit and trying to come across confidently. If a stranger could see through me so easily, what was the use?

AHA! I couldn’t put that moment of enlightened understanding into words right away. I just knew it was profound and that something in me had changed forever. In fact, I’ve spent the last twenty-six years teaching, coaching, giving speeches, and writing about it. If I distill it into one cogent thought, it is what the Buddhists said so wisely centuries ago: No enemy can harm us as much as our own worst thoughts.

There are implications of this realization that are still being revealed to me today. Some of them include:
1. If someone’s judgment hurts or offends me, it is ONLY because it is mirroring a judgment I already have about myself.
2. Whatever I judge myself for, others will pick up on it, whether I try to hide it or not. So I may as well stop wasting my energy pretending anything.
3. Changing the outer me is fine but healing the inner me is necessary for true transformation.
4. Judging myself hurts my Self. The Self is too precious to abuse.
5. I have the power and obligation to choose what I think about myself. No one else’s rejection of me could possibly impact me as much as my own rejection.
6. If I want others to love me, my end of the bargain is to both think and behave in self-loving ways.
7. I am free to take risks as well as make mistakes when I no longer depend on others’ perceptions or approval.

I wrote in Enough Is Enough! that all our judgments are real yet none of them are true. I hope that this has even deeper meaning than ever for you.
Namaste.

Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the luxury of a hassle-free, all-inclusive stay (food, drinks, lodging, and transportation from Cancun airport) at this newly renovated Club Med. PLUS experience transformational seminars and one-on-one coaching sessions with famous, top-notch personal-growth speakers and bestselling authors—at no extra charge!
I am offering a NEW program specially designed to enhance your experience at Club Med:
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?
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
Don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack. 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.
I will give you cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to experience the abundance that already exists in your life and manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
All-Inclusive Price (except airfare): Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600) / $1000 for children under 18. Your Club Med Vacation includes: 1. world-class accommodations featuring CD players, mini fridges, televisions and much more 2. full open bar 3. endless gourmet buffets and a variety of all-day dining options 4. transportation to and from Cancun airport 5. all programs 6. one-on-one consultations with the presenters. You may also sign up directly with Club Med for exciting excursions. You must book before April 23 to secure this reduced rate. Contact Teresa Williamson @ 650-759-1005, media@podium-pr.com or Raha @ 925-915-1515 soon as there are a limited number of reservations available.
Additional seminars from other transformational speakers and best-selling authors:

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
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.
________________________________________
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.

What’s New:
• 60 additional pages at the same low price
• More quizzes
• Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
Click to order
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. Click to order

Ten Thoughts to Invite Surprising Changes

Monday, April 21st, 2008

(Click here to read my English usage blogs.)

Sometimes it seems that there is no getting away from personal growth, even when I consciously attempt to distract myself. Today, I was googling one thing, which led to another and another, before stumbling upon Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. I remember learning about this in college physics, but it never occurred to me then that what Heisenberg discovered has such profound implications outside of scientific circles. Now, after all these years, I think that this Principle deserves no small amount of awe.
Essentially, Heisenberg determined that the mere observation of a particle causes it to then move in an unpredictable manner. I started relating this to us. After all, aren’t we a bundle of particles? Do we, by simply observing ourselves and each other, alter our paths in surprising ways?
If observing my thoughts changes my subsequent actions, then I might want to be more thoughtful about what I think. So I came up with a list of Ten Thoughts to Invite Surprising Changes to my own bundle of particles.
1. Do what matters most and let go of the outcome.
2. Be truthful, not just honest. Truth contains compassion.
3. Your Self is a renewable resource. Share it.
4. Find meaning in the smallest of things to notice what is truly great.
5. Affirm all children. Remember that everyone was once a child.
6. Recognize and remember fear’s many disguises: anger, hate, resentment, boredom, cynicism.
7. Forgive yourself by admitting your mistakes, making amends, and granting yourself compassion. Do this often.
8. Try amazing things. The world isn’t served by your laying low.
9. Love is more than a feeling; it is a choice.
10. Be the person your dog thinks you are. (taken from a bumper sticker)
Feel free to send me your list of Thoughts to Invite Surprising changes. They don’t have to be original, just meaningful to you.
________________________________________
Announcements

Create Your Abundant Life With Jane
at Club Med in Cancun!
June 21-28, 2008
Enjoy the luxury of a hassle-free, all-inclusive stay (food, drinks, lodging, and transportation from Cancun airport) at this newly renovated Club Med. PLUS experience transformational seminars and one-on-one coaching sessions with famous, top-notch personal-growth speakers and bestselling authors—at no extra charge!
I am offering a NEW program specially designed to enhance your experience at Club Med:
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?
Do you feel that you don’t have enough:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Love
• Intimacy
• Fun
• Self-esteem
• Inspiration, or
• Direction
Don’t waste any more of your life suffering in lack. 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.
I will give you cutting-edge strategies and intriguing processes so that you will begin immediately to experience the abundance that already exists in your life and manifest your spirit’s deepest desires.
All-Inclusive Price (except airfare): Get your Friend of Jane discount $1999 (regular price $2600) / $1000 for children under 18. Your Club Med Vacation includes: 1. world-class accommodations featuring CD players, mini fridges, televisions and much more 2. full open bar 3. endless gourmet buffets and a variety of all-day dining options 4. transportation to and from Cancun airport 5. all programs 6. one-on-one consultations with the presenters. You may also sign up directly with Club Med for exciting excursions. You must book before April 23 to secure this reduced rate. Contact Teresa Williamson @ 650-759-1005, media@podium-pr.com or Raha @ 925-915-1515 soon as there are a limited number of reservations available.
Additional seminars from other transformational speakers and best-selling authors:

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
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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.
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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation 10th Edition
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An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, home-school families, editors, writers, & proofreaders. Click here to see the contents of the book online.

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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.

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.

Helping New Orleans Recover

Sunday, November 25th, 2007
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 760

This is one of those times that I wish I were a poet—even just a decent one—because New Orleans deserves to be described with more powerful imagery than I can offer.

I took the six-day trip not knowing what to expect. I had never been to the city or even to the south. Whenever I mentioned that I would be going, people who had been there before Katrina would get a gleam in their eyes and an instant smile would spread across their faces. So I knew that New Orleans was special. What I didn’t know was that it would steal my heart.

I arrived in New Orleans at midnight on a balmy evening. Sequestered a number of miles from the city in a motel close to the airport, I had no hint of what I would soon witness. I could have been anywhere in the U.S. I thought, This isn’t so bad. Maybe the recovery work is finally in full swing.

Janet Bruno-Small, my contact (and now friend) who lured me to New Orleans, picked me up the next morning and drove me to her lovely jewelry store on Magazine Street, part of what is known as “The Sliver on the River” because it is above sea level. Everything looked fine to my untrained eye. “Just wait until we tour later. You’ll see,” Janet warned amicably. “Katrina did a lot of damage here but the levee breaks didn’t affect us.”

She had to work for a while so I decided to stroll down Magazine Street, with its beautiful architecture and upscale, cute shops that reminded me of Carmel, a picturesque, pricey seaside town in California. I took my video camera just in case I saw “something.” As I left the store, Janet said, “Close the door behind you and be careful out there.” I was struck by both parts of that statement because it was a sunny Friday at noon. But I simply shrugged my shoulders and closed the door as requested, hearing the lock click shut behind me.

I walked next door to a rug gallery and introduced myself as Janet’s friend to Michael, a longtime employee and native of New Orleans. I asked him to tell me about his experience of Katrina as I recorded him with my video camera. He told me that his house was damaged but livable; however, his relatives didn’t fare as well. For months, there were fourteen people living in his home. It was crowded, not just physically but emotionally. The fallout was that he and his sister were now estranged and his wife was refusing to spend Thanksgiving (just days away) with her. He didn’t know what he was going to do. He kept a brave smile as he told me about his hardships, but just underneath, his sadness was all too apparent.

After leaving the rug shop, I turned the corner and was struck by the contrast of what I saw: houses boarded up with black, spray-painted X’s, symbols or numbers in each quadrant. On one house was painted a date in one quadrant and the words dead dog in another. I continued to walk, noticing very few cars and no other pedestrians. The road was uneven with potholes. Anywhere else, these serious dips and cracks would have been surrounded with gates and flagged with warnings for motorists to go around.

When I returned to Janet’s store, I had to knock on the door to be buzzed in. “How do you get customers this way?” I asked naively. Janet stopped her work and looked up at me. “We don’t. Tourists don’t come here anymore. They don’t want to know how bad things are, how dangerous it is here, so they hang out in the French Quarter where the doors to shops stay open and private security patrols the area. We’ve had to pay for private security too.” Janet’s face was getting paler as she educated me. She also looked embarrassed somehow, not for herself I realized, but for the city she loves. The lawlessness and violence that permeate the city—a result of unchecked poverty, lack of resources, and sheer and utter governmental neglect—reminds one that our civility is only as deep as our failsafe mechanisms that are in place before disaster strikes.

Janet took me to a nearby colorful and eccentric café called Winnie’s. It looked well loved but had a For Sale sign on the door, a sad reminder of the economic hardship still driving the middle class out of New Orleans. After ordering what turned out to be the best Portobello mushroom and cheese sandwich I’ve ever tasted, I turned on my video camera and started asking questions. Winnie, a flamboyant native perhaps in his late forties, was ready to talk. He gave a steady stream of examples of hardship, frustration, and graft: It took him three days to get the fire department to shut off a leaking hydrant across the street. When he called his local fire station, he heard a recording that the number was now private. A private number for a local station? “What if you had an emergency?” He laughed bitterly, “You’re on your own, darlin’!”

Winnie spoke into the camera about the financial burdens: He and his partner David had to clean up their restaurant alone after Katrina, including dragging their refrigerator and freezer onto the street and dumping all their food. The storm water had gotten inside, causing maggot growth and a stench that was unbearable. This was the same story for hundreds of thousands of citizens. At one point, New Orleans had 400,000 refrigerators and freezers littering the streets, waiting to be hauled off by authorities, who would drain the Freon and then send them to the dump. Lined up end to end, the appliances would have stretched from New Orleans to Chicago (so I’m told).

David, who had been too shy to be filmed earlier, now chimed in about needing to get a new roof, like everyone else in the city. “It would have cost $2500 before Katrina. Now the contractors wanted $12,000. Why? Because they could! And just how could we pay for that with no customers, no business, and no water for three months? And now the utility company wants us to make up for its losses. Our electric bill is so high we can’t keep our doors open.”

I asked them both, still recording their responses, “What can people outside of New Orleans do to help? What should we know?” They both just shook their heads, just as Michael in the rug shop had. I asked these same questions of more than a dozen people and got the same blank stare. After a few more days in New Orleans, I came to understand that look. All of them, to a great extent, felt ignored, forgotten, and invisible. Many had been abandoned by their own families. All of them were abandoned by the government. “We’re on our own here,” was a common refrain. The question they all ask themselves is, “Am I a fool for staying?”

Until I toured the city later that day and the next, including the infamous Ninth Ward, I didn’t understand how bad things still were. The media don’t keep New Orleans in the headlines so our attention goes elsewhere. It shouldn’t.

That afternoon and the next day, I traveled for hours through neighborhoods and saw mile after mile of boarded-up buildings, cement slabs, weeds, broken levees, piles of debris, and an occasional front step where a house once stood. No cars, no kids playing, no life. I could hear the wind where I should have heard voices and other signs of life. New Orleans looks like a war zone. Today. Still.

Katrina was an equal opportunity disaster but the aftermath is not. The ones who had insurance could afford to leave or rebuild. The middle class are left struggling to salvage their livelihoods and homes. The poor are camped out in front of City Hall, or in FEMA trailers, or in homes with no running water or electricity—to this day. Some have received money for low-income housing. But there is no low-income housing in New Orleans. There are no city services, no infrastructure. One can drive for miles without seeing an open grocery store, gas station, hospital, or fire station.

Real estate prices have escalated as a result of low supply and high demand, forcing a continuing exodus, which hurts the remaining shopkeepers and tax base. The mayor of New Orleans, while pleading for people to return, has moved his own family to Atlanta.

As with a war, the hardest hit are the children, particularly poor children. The new vice principal of a local elementary school called me after I returned from my trip. She had heard that I was offering to donate 150 copies of my Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and she was hoping they were still available. “You don’t know what it’s like for these kids, Jane,” Vice Principal Kim started. “They’re just starting now to talk about what happened. Most of them were at the Superdome. Many of them don’t live with either parent anymore. They’re living with neighbors, cousins, grandparents. And the adults in their lives are depressed. We’re all depressed. The kids are too. I want to help them. But how? No one is coming here to tell us what to do for them and their families. We’ve got to do something. I wanted your books because maybe it would help them to write about their trauma. Do you think that’s a good idea?” Before I could answer, Kim apologized with, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be talking your ear off.” “Yes, yes, you should,” I said quickly, trying to reassure her as I felt my own helplessness creep up. “It sounds like you need mental health professionals. Maybe I can help get some folks to you.” Kim sighed with momentary relief at just the idea. “That would be great. That would be wonderful.”

Kim’s appreciation for any small act of kindness was typical of my experience while there. I counseled individuals anywhere I was asked to go: garages, cafes, houses, city parks. Everyone I sat with was shocked and honored that I had shown up just to help them. I kept telling them that I was the one who was honored to be of service. I confessed that I had thought for two years about helping somehow and had felt immobilized. I had considered Habitat for Humanity but was useless with a hammer.

It wasn’t until I met up with Janet through a mutual friend in September that I realized that my counseling and seminar skills might be beneficial. I think I was hooked when she told me that after she evacuated, she was watching the news and saw that patients were stuck in one of the local hospitals. Janet took it upon herself to hire a private helicopter to rescue those people from certain death. By the way, Janet has multiple sclerosis and uses a walker. If Janet could take responsibility to rescue strangers at her own expense, certainly I could do something.

After listening to people’s stories, I came to understand that Katrina didn’t cause all their problems, but she did manage to bring to the surface every underlying issue that had lain dormant. I learned that they had the same needs and opportunities for healing and personal growth as we all do. So during my weekend in New Orleans, I held my Enough Is Enough! seminar for some of Janet’s friends and acquaintances at the downtown W Hotel. The participants were so grateful that I did this with them. But as much as they appreciated the work, I suspect that the real highlight of their day was this: In mid-afternoon while they were on a break, I ordered a couple of trays of cookies and chocolate truffles. When they walked back in the room and saw the treats, a couple of them burst into tears, taking my hands, whispering their thanks.

So what can you do to help? Anything. Just show up. Bring cookies. Bring an open heart and an open mind. Be a good listener. Share whatever skills you possess. Someone will use them. You’ll be scooped up quickly by outstretched, loving arms. In New Orleans, there is great hardship but there is also an abundance of hospitality.

Here are just a few ideas:

*Call a public school and ask what they need. Kim Nance at James Weldon Johnson Elementary School is waiting to hear from mental health professionals and health professionals: (504) 861-7718.

*Acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists—the word will spread quickly that you’re on your way.

*If you can’t go, send textbooks.

*Get one of your local schools to become a “sister school.”

*Buy your holiday gifts from local merchants. Many of them have Web sites. Janet’s jewelry store is Mon Coeur: www.moncoeurneworleans.com. Janet gives a tremendous amount to the community through her business, so your support helps many others get back on their feet. Besides, her jewelry is beautiful.

*Support Habitat for Humanity, which is helping to build a lovely enclave for displaced musicians.

*Bring your children there for Spring Break so they have an opportunity to pitch in.

*Regardless of your religious beliefs, support the church organizations still handing out food and providing shelter.

*Send this blog to everyone on your e-mail list. There is such power in numbers.

Our politics and opinions about the city’s future don’t matter. What matters is the care of each other’s hearts and spirits and that is easier to provide than what we have been taught to believe. This was my lesson from New Orleans. I’m going back. Care to join me?

ANNOUNCEMENT

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
I will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. I will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

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.

Finding Time for What Really Matters

Monday, August 27th, 2007
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 352

Starting to work for personal change is exciting but after a while, it feels like life interrupts and there’s not enough time/energy to do what needs to be done. What are some of the ways people who have been successful keep up with their plans for the long haul?

Years ago, one of my spiritual teachers said, “We always do what is most important.” In my mind, I argued against that, but I’ve thought about it a lot over the years and learned something important about myself and about human nature.

The truth is that we aren’t always honest about what we are making important. So when we say we want to do something but we don’t have time, we need to question what we are really valuing.

For years I proclaimed that I wanted to write a spiritual, self-help book that would provide whatever wisdom I had gleaned in my 20-plus years as a life coach and personal growth seminar leader. Yet I couldn’t seem to find the time even to make an outline.

Then in January of 2003, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Needless to say, this was a wake-up call that compelled me to do a deep personal inventory. If this brain tumor was cancerous or I lost my faculties because of the surgery, would I have any regrets in my life? The answer was a loud “Yes!” I knew I had copped out about writing the book.

But why? I really did want to write it so why hadn’t I? I had to find what my overriding priority had been if I wanted to “find the time” now. And the saying, “No time like the present” seemed more obvious than ever before. I discovered that my real priority had been to avoid fear and rejection. I had feared that I wasn’t a good enough writer, that no publisher would want the book, and that there would be no audience for it. I also feared some of my family’s disapproval of my thoughts. Once I was honest with myself and realized that there truly is “No time like the present,” I shifted my priorities.

Suddenly, where I had no time before, I was now able to carve out time. Where fear had blocked me, ideas now began to flow. Writing Enough Is Enough! was hard work and often ego bruising but, because I had been honest with myself, it got written, was welcomed by a publisher, and is a tangible object I use to propel me through my other fears.

With Enough Is Enough! birthed and out in the world, I had to face my next writing demon: As a teenager, I said I wanted to write the Great American Novel. Over the years, in fits and starts, I had scribbled ideas, dialogue, and even chapters. But it was all collecting dust until I again faced the truth that I had been prioritizing my fears over my spiritual longing.

I’ve spent the last two years working diligently, learning the craft, taking in experts’ critiques, and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. Last week I sent my manuscript, titled Touched, to my literary agent. I’ll let you know what she thinks.

So don’t fool yourself with your excuses. It’s a setup for regret. I was fortunate to get a second chance. Use NOW as your chance to prioritize your spirit over your fears. No doubt, you will find yourself living a more extraordinary life.

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. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and thrive.

Contact Jane directly at Jane@janestraus.com to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit StopEnduring.com for more information and testimonials.

Jane Straus is the author of the popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! See her TV interviews, read her articles, and order the book by visiting StopEnduring.com.

It’s a B*tch Being Conscious

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
 
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Do you ever feel that it takes more work, more out of you emotionally, to live a conscious life than it did to live less-than-consciously? Many years ago I had a T-shirt made with the saying, It’s A Bitch Being Conscious. I wore it on the first day of my Journey Into Ecstasy workshop intensive because I could count on it to evoke instant, knowing laughter from all the participants.

So why do we do it? Why do we keep working on ourselves when it takes so much effort, when we’d sometimes rather be zoned out, pour a cold one, light up a joint or cigarette, or grab the remote? Why do we put ourselves through seeming torture for no guaranteed rewards, sometimes paying a hefty price for the privilege of doing so? Are we just masochists disguised as seekers and healers? Is ignorance perhaps, if not the best policy, at least a better one than relentless self-examination? Who is it that said that the unexamined life is not worth living? A lot of people might disagree.

I know that I’m supposed to answer these rhetorical, “teaser” questions for you in this paragraph. I’m supposed to justify and validate all your hard work, the money you spend on coaching, therapy, workshops, and books, the courage you’ve mustered to face your demons. But you know, I don’t know why anyone does it.

When my coaching clients express how hard this work sometimes is all I can do is smile, agree, and cheerlead. I say things like, “Doesn’t clarity feel better than confusion?” “Doesn’t feeling your emotions feel better than walking around numb?” Sometimes they give in and admit that they like living in an aware and awakened state. Sometimes they give me the look that lets me know I’m skating on thin ice, that their answer just might be a resounding “No!” if I weren’t so chipper.

I can relate. I like the temporary high that blaming and playing the victim provide so well. Blaming feeds my ego and playing the victim allows me to relinquish responsibility for my life. Who wouldn’t say, “Bring it on!”

But once the high leaves, I’m stuck with all my hangover symptoms: depression, lower self-esteem, helplessness, and hopelessness. I wake up and see in the mirror someone who traded the excitement of possibility for the drudgery of inevitability, someone who is stuck in a rut, reading from a very boring script, complaining often and loudly. I see someone who, while familiar, is less than admirable.

Kicking and screaming, or at least whining, I stop the chatter and remind that face in the mirror what the goal of consciousness is: happiness. I tell myself that I am more than the sum of my fears, self-judgments, and limiting beliefs. I quiet the chatter long enough to hear my spirit’s whispers. And when I persevere, I do occasionally stumble onto great and unexpected joy. More often, I find myself feeling at least a small measure of peace. I’m grateful for that. Is it all worth it? I guess each of us needs to answer that question for ourselves.

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.