Posts Tagged ‘spirit’

Decisions, Decisions!

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Click here to read my English Usage blogs.

Should I take this job or that one? This one offers security but is boring and has little room for advancement; that one offers a chance to grow but carries economic risks.
Should I get this car or that one? This car gets better gas mileage; that one is more fun to drive but has fewer seats.
Should I buy a home or rent? Housing prices may still drop so maybe it’s better to keep renting; but if I buy now, will the tax break offset the higher price?
Should I try to get pregnant now or wait? My relationship with my husband is wobbly so maybe we should wait; but my clock is ticking, and what if I can’t conceive later?

Decisions, decisions! We face choices—big and small—constantly. Even the decision between two good things, such as a vacation in the sun or one on the ski slopes, can cause us anxiety. How do we decide how to decide?

Most of us poll our family or friends. After all, they know us and will probably have some good pros and cons to offer us. But have you ever listened to their valuable advice, nodding your head in agreement, then walked away feeling just as confused or undecided as before? Why is it that some decisions are so hard to make?

Indecisiveness is sometimes a clue that we’re not considering the right criteria. For example, if you’re choosing a car, instead of starting with the sticker price or the fuel economy, you might want to ask yourself what it is you want to experience. Are you looking for fun? Is status important? Do you want to reduce your carbon footprint? Do you want to drive on all the school field trips? Do you want the safest car, short of a military tank, because you have a teenager about to get her driver’s license? By asking what you want to experience, you give the message to yourself that you are worthy.
When you remind yourself that you are worthy of choosing according to your own intrinsic criteria, clarity is sometimes instantaneous. You may say to yourself, “Of course, this is what I wanted all along. Why did I make it so hard for myself?” Maybe all you had to do was clear out the other “voices in your head”—the ones that said “I shouldn’t want this.” “This is too nice for me.” “Others will judge me for wanting this.” “I don’t deserve this.”

However, even using your own criteria for deciding, you may still feel confused. Why? Because your mind and spirit may be arguing so effectively that you can’t tell who’s who. If you want to know what your spirit wants, here’s a quick exercise: Close your eyes and imagine a traffic light. Then think about one of your alternative choices. Quickly, what color do you see: green or red? Now think about the other choice. Quickly again, what color do you see? Green is your spirit’s choice. (Yes, it’s possible that your spirit will see green with more than one alternative because it may be fine with more than one choice.)

What if your spirit didn’t see green with any of your choices? Then maybe it’s time to look into more options. We can get caught up in either/or thinking: I can pick this car or that one, this job or that one. Maybe there are more alternatives that you haven’t even considered that would result in a green light. Don’t limit yourself prematurely, especially with self-talk like, “I would never…” I worked with a single woman in her mid-thirties who said, “I would never have children without a mate.” She also told me, “I would never marry a man who already has children.” Well, by the time she was forty and still single, she was questioning her strong stances. By forty-two, she had adopted two children and couldn’t imagine her life any other way. At forty-three, she met a man through her single-parent support group and guess what? She’s now married raising four children. When I last saw her, she laughed as she told me, “Jane, at 35 I thought I had to play it smart. I know now that all I had to do was listen to what I really wanted and things would work out.”

Things do tend to work out when we promise ourselves that we won’t regret our decisions as long as we honor our criteria, come from worthiness, and listen to our spirit.

Announcements

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

Dear Jane Podcasts
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I’ve got 32 podcasts available for listening so enjoy!
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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.

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

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

The Words of the Buddha in Action

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

The Buddha said, “If you knew what I know about the power of generosity, you would not let a single meal go by without sharing it.”

Last October, I made a promise to the people in New Orleans that I would keep their needs in the forefront. Then Kim Nance, Assistant Principal of James Weldon Johnson Elementary School, called me when she read that I was offering free copies of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation to New Orleans public schools. I asked her what else she needed to help her 400 schoolchildren, their families, and her teachers. She asked tentatively, “Do you really want to know?”

As sad as it was for me to hear her incredulity, my resolve to bring attention to these kids’ plight strengthened as Kim spoke. She told me about her preschoolers who, after having “accidents,” had to sit the rest of the day, embarrassed and smelly, in their soiled clothing. Gratefully, a social worker took money out of her own salary to buy extra clothing for these young children.

Then Kim’s tone changed as she proudly shared that her school’s girls just won their first basketball tournament but had nowhere to display their trophy. When I asked, “What else?” she described having to shout through a bullhorn at assemblies because the school has no microphone or amplifier. And the cafeteria, where assemblies are held (There is no auditorium.), doesn’t have tables or chairs, forcing families who come to watch their children perform in a play, poetry reading, or musical event to stand.

Kim, who lost her own home in Katrina, aches for these children, many of whom are living in overcrowded conditions (15 to an apartment with one bathroom!) or homeless under freeways, often with distant relatives or even strangers. Like war victims, these young children are suffering from post-traumatic stress. Kim says that what will heal them is what heals any of us: to know that they matter and that people care about them enough to help.

Kim has this to tell us:
Reaching out to us softens the jarring, daily experiences that our students and teachers suffer just to work and learn. By donating, you are giving our students the belief that they are valued. Your efforts help me to exhale a little and your contributions are allowing us to do what all teachers and administrators desire to do—teach our students. Thank you!

So if you feel compelled to help donate for needed supplies to Kim’s school, call Robin Fox at SchoolOutfitters.com, 1-866-619-5320. Just tell her how much you want to put on your credit card for supplies for James Weldon Johnson Elementary School. She will keep a list of donors that will go both to me and to the school. In a few weeks, I will publish what I trust will be a long list of donors’ names in this newsletter.

Supplies Requested Supplies Donated Still Needed
500 folding chairs ($11.95 each) 200 chairs 300 chairs
1 trophy case 1 trophy case
7 lg. rectangular tables ($85 each) 7 tables
Chair dollies ($287 ea.) 1 dolly (holds 84 chairs) 6 dollies
PA system PA system

I wrote this poem today as an ode to the children of New Orleans.

Note to Self

Words matter
With their power to soothe or batter
But so do actions
Not done in small fractions
I pray for the courage not to ration
My compassion

What do I want at the end of my story
Except to know I’ve lived out my glory?
Able to look in the mirror and tip my hat
Not having wasted time on tit for tat

The hokey pokey says it true
For me and maybe for you
You put your left foot out, not just your toe
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about
Don’t you know

Announcements

“Coffee Talk”: A Fundraising Event for James Weldon Johnson Elementary School

Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 10:00 AM, Northpoint Cafe, 1250 Bridgeway, Sausalito
Remember Lucy in Charlie Brown? She put up a sign offering “Advice: 5 Cents”
Well, the price for that sage advice has just been lowered by a nickel!
Sip your latte and have an Aha! FREE (Donations for Johnson Elementary School gratefully accepted) with popular Life Coaches and Bestselling Authors Jane Straus (Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life) and Diane Conway (What Would You Do If You Had No Fear? Living Your Dreams While Quakin’ in Your Boots).
Talk with Jane or Diane about whatever concern/issue/decision is foremost in your mind. Be ready to get a new perspective, be inspired, share a laugh, find your courage, or let go of an old, painful thought—before your coffee gets cold! Take this opportunity to declare what you would do if you had no fear. Then be ready for results!

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.

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 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.

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.

Being the Light, not Shining the Light

Monday, September 10th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
I’ve done a lot of healing work and want to help others, but I sometimes get discouraged. I think, “What can I, as one person, do to make the world better? I’m not Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa or some brave whistle blower.” I guess I’m overwhelmed. How can I get over this hurdle?

We are not beings apart. We are not made to ignore suffering in the world. As we tend to our own wounds with compassion, we are naturally drawn to reaching out to help others. So what stops us from giving more of ourselves?

Our guardian self, which I talk about in my book, Enough Is Enough!, keeps us playing small by convincing us we are powerless and comparing us unfavorably to our heroes. Why? Because the job of the guardian self is to help us avoid disappointment and pain. And it’s true that when we open our hearts and reach out, we will experience others’ pain.

But what happens if we don’t reach out? The only alternative is to shut down, imprison our spirit, and spend the rest of our days making excuses for our fears.

The last words of the Buddha were, “Be a lamp unto yourself; make of yourself a light.” Not “carry a lantern”; be the light. Your spirit has boundless energy and bottomless compassion. It longs to express your values and aspirations. It longs to give. As your numbness dissolves, your spirit’s voice is rising above your guardian self’s chatter asking, “How can I help?”

In his inaugural speech, Nelson Mandela calls for us to see ourselves as the powerful beings we already are:

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us,
it is in everyone,
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people
Permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

One final thought: You cannot notice in someone else what does not exist within you. If you experience admiration for Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa, it is not because they are different, but because your spirit resonates with theirs.

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.

Telling the Truth About an Affair

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
 
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Years ago, I had an affair with my friend’s husband. The sexual relationship was short-lived because we both felt terrible. He’s remained faithful to her since and she and I are still close. You seem to recommend telling the truth no matter what. But wouldn’t confessing to her just be hurtful in this case? When should a secret stay a secret? I wrestle with this every day.

If you’re wrestling with this, it’s probably because you feel “two-faced” and have been unable to find relief. There’s good reason that secrets gnaw on people of conscience. It’s because lying “for someone else’s sake” is suspect. It’s more likely that you and her husband made a pact of secrecy out of your own fears and wants, not from caring for her well being. If you had really been considering her, you wouldn’t have acted on your attraction to begin with, right?

The question is: Do you have the right to decide what’s good for another person when you’ve betrayed them? Defining “good” is tricky because you and her husband are attached to what “good” looks like, which is how it affects you and her husband. “Good” to you means maintaining the status quo. If you told, you would decide that it was a “good” decision only if she were understanding, forgiving, or at least willing to continue both her marriage and her friendship with you. You see, the lens through which you judge whether the truth is “good” to tell is going to have filters on it that bias you.

What if she’s angry and hurt? What if she wants nothing more to do with you? What if she files for divorce? Because you and her husband are attached to maintaining everything as is, if these were the outcomes, you would probably judge telling her as a big mistake.

Yet, who are we to know what truths someone needs to find out or how they should deal with them? Maybe the truth about your affair would validate a nagging sense of betrayal she has already felt. Maybe she would be happier “moving on.” Maybe this information would allow her to explore and heal other wounds around betrayal and secrets. Maybe she has secrets of her own that she has been afraid to tell and this would help release her from her prison of fear.

So should you tell? My answer is that I don’t think you have the right to withhold the truth. Your secrecy is further betrayal and it is based on your wants and fears, not on her needs. You are covering up one deceit with another and attaching lofty principles to convince yourself that your continued deceit is noble and that you and her husband are the only ones carrying the burden of the secret.

But our secrets don’t just run and ruin us; they run and ruin others’ lives as well as I discuss in my book, Enough is Enough!. In over 25 years of private practice as a life coach, I’ve never heard one client who’s heard the truth about a partner’s affair say that they wish that they hadn’t been told. Everyone’s spirit suffers from secrets and betrayal because guilt creates separation. In perhaps dozens of ways, her husband has not been able to share himself with her since having an affair with you. And how has it impacted your friendship? How have you pulled away or hidden from her because of your guilt? How have you been emotionally unavailable to her?

The truth requires courage. When you tell her the truth, you need to find the courage to let go of trying to control her reactions or the outcome. You need to find the courage to grieve the potential loss of this friendship as well as the loss of your friendship with her husband. You need to have great courage to allow for what she needs rather than for your need to preserve her image of you.

The next part of your healing journey will then be about feeling the deep remorse that underlies your guilt and forgiving yourself for causing this kind of suffering to your own and someone else’s spirit. As you forgive yourself, make a commitment to your own spirit to always choose truth over fear.

Visit StopEnduring.com to read articles and excerpts from Jane Straus’s popular book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life; watch Jane on TV; listen to her radio interviews; and share your most personal secrets anonymously.

How to Find Clarity in a Confusing World

Monday, March 26th, 2007

We can become confused when our two inner voices, the Guardian and the Spirit, clash. Our Guardian is there to protect us from potential harm, both real and imagined. Ideally, our Guardian keeps us from getting into the car to drive home after a night of drinking; or it warns us, “There’s something a little off about that person…let’s avoid him.”

Ensuring our survival keeps our Guardian very busy. The problem is that the Guardian can get stuck on a loud, attention-getting frequency (Watch out! Don’t open your heart!), seeing danger in every situation and around every curve. In fear for our very survival, the Guardian can shout down the Spirit. When it does, we will get confused, wondering why we’re in endurance, feeling bored, lethargic, cynical, or hopeless.

I was a classic example of this “shout down” strategy by my Guardian and didn’t even realize it. Before being diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003, I had a list of reasons why I couldn’t write Enough Is Enough! I convinced myself that with a fulltime life-coaching practice and a young child to raise, who had time to write a book? Interestingly enough, however, once I was told that I might not survive the brain surgery or that I might not have all my faculties afterwards, suddenly those reasons seemed more like excuses.

I tried not to beat myself up with self-judgments like coward. After all, my Guardian was just trying to help me avoid my fears of rejection and of not being good enough. It took a wake-up call for my Spirit to speak up. When I pulled through the surgery unscathed, I was able to “miraculously” find time to write. What I realize from this experience is this: If we listen to our Guardian voice only, we will end up stuck in confusion and endurance. If we are willing to pay closer attention to what our Spirit has to say, we will find our way out of our ruts and onto the road less traveled, a road that leads to the surprising and the extraordinary.

Jane Straus is the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. Visit stopenduring.com to read more articles, preview her seminars, order the book, or have her as your personal coach.

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.

How to Know When You Are Fulfilled

Friday, December 22nd, 2006
 
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Dear Jane,
How can I figure out whether I am doing what makes me happy? What are some of the symptoms of unhappiness, or must I wait for a life-threatening situation?

I wrote Enough Is Enough! to help others avoid having to go through a life-threatening situation in order to wake up to your spirit’s calling.

If you are having to ask yourself if you are happy, then you probably aren’t. Perhaps you haven’t yet had the satisfaction that goes with fulfilling your spirit’s purpose, so you don’t know what benchmark to compare your feelings with.

The symptoms of endurance or a less-than-thriving life are discussed in depth in my book. I will give you a short list here that you should find helpful:
Anxiety, addiction, depression, cynicism, hopelessness, helplessness, boredom, frustration, resentment, endless To Do lists, ruts, listlessness…the list goes on and on!

The most important thing you can do is to pay attention. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, don’t ignore yourself. You deserve to create a thriving, extraordinary life. Remember, others in your life will benefit also. As one bumper sticker says, “Become the person your dog thinks you are.” This is a way of saying that you owe it to yourself to like the reflection you see in the mirror. Time is precious and so is your spirit. Begin today!

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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