Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Three Keys to Creating an Extraordinary Relationship

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Click here to read my English Usage blogs.

While love can make us soar to new and giddy heights, it can also bring us to our knees. Love can be difficult, daunting, and more often than we wish, devastatingly painful. Ram Dass, one of my favorite Buddhist teachers who speaks truths with both lightheartedness and great compassion, has said that relationship is the hardest yoga of all. So maybe we shouldn’t think any more highly of a monk meditating on a mountaintop than we do of ourselves for having the courage to struggle with loving another human being.

Most of us have secretly believed, at one time or another (or frequently), that if we just changed partners, it would be SO much easier. And we may be right. The problem is that our hearts don’t always know if letting go is the answer or is simply an avoidance strategy. What if we pick the same person/problems in a new disguise? What if our partner is right and we’re the problem?

When couples come to counseling, they want to know what I think: Are they better off apart? Is the relationship worth salvaging? Will it get better? How much better? Will it ever be good enough? Relatively pain free? Do they even dare hope for happiness? When will they know when they’re “there”?

Even with 27 years of experience as a relationship coach, I am terrible at predicting the future of relationships. I worked with one couple who I would have bet wouldn’t last another six weeks past our first session. Ten years later, they still write me holiday cards with photos of them with their growing brood, their smiles real and joyful. They always write something that gives me way too much credit for their happiness. I laugh, mostly at myself and how wrong I secretly was about their chances.

Another couple, who seemed to have only minor issues, left their third (and final) session grateful, holding hands, reassuring each other of their mutual respect and love. The next I heard, only a few months later, one of them was living with a new partner. Like many of their friends, I murmured to myself, They seemed so good together.

USA Today, in an interview I did for them, gave me the title of relationship expert. I chuckle at that. Is there really such a thing? What are the qualifications for such an exalted title? Should expert status be conferred by statistics? Is it how many couples I have worked with who have stayed together? Or maybe how many couples I have helped split amicably, avoiding costly attorneys’ fees? Or should someone be dubbed a relationship expert who is a good predictor of a couple’s chances?

We have such high expectations of relationship: We want to feel loved, safe, heard, respected, supported, beautiful/handsome/sexy, and…we are inevitably disappointed when our partner isn’t a deep enough reservoir. Should we give up and move on? Can we do better? Will learning tools or increasing our self-awareness really help?

If there are tricks or theories or strategies or paradigms or sociological studies, how do you know which one(s) to pick or whom to trust? A numerologist will give you one set of parameters for finding and keeping your “perfect” partner; an astrologist, another paradigm; a psychologist, a third set of compatibility factors. A Buddhist guide might help you see relationship through the lens of karma. The psychic has spirit guides, tea leaves, or your palm at his/her disposal. Most of us take the smorgasbord approach: We try a little of this, a little of that, hoping to cobble together our own paradigm for success in relationship.

So, as USA Today’s relationship expert and, more truthfully, humble observer of hundreds of couples, let me add another morsel to your plate with my three keys to creating an extraordinary relationship. I believe that these are the “must have” tools that will help you find your way back to trust, intimacy, and friendship.

Jane’s Three Keys to Creating an Extraordinary Relationship

1. Ask open-ended questions. When people tell me what makes them feel most loved, they’ll mention roses, sex, cards, candlelight dinners, long walks, back rubs—all the usual stuff. They never mention being listened to. But I’ve found that it’s the act of love that is most appreciated, melts even the most cynical heart, and is a more potent aphrodisiac than chocolate or flowers.

2. Provide a safe haven. You know that Allstate insurance commercial with the two hands cupped together, palms up? When the chips are down for your partner, be that. Don’t judge or give advice; just gently hold their precious spirit in your hands. This is as close to unconditional love as one adult can ever offer another.

3. Offer truth, not just mere honesty. You may be honest if you tell your partner, “You were an inconsiderate boor” or “You’re an idiot.” Honesty can be hurtful to a relationship because it can contain judgments and assumptions. The difference between honesty and truth is that truth is nonjudgmental. I can say in truth, “I am really angry that you talked about my weight loss struggles in front of our friends. It felt humiliating.” When I teach couples this distinction, they sometimes argue that the truth sounds so much scarier because of the vulnerability required. I say, “Exactly! How do you expect to have intimacy without vulnerability?” It’s a choice—a courageous one. Truth is a form of love. When we are willing to tell the truth and hear it, we let our partner know that we are risking everything for the sake of the highest good of the relationship.

In my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, I offer many more tools that will minimize your pain and maximize the intimacy and joy in your relationship. But these three may be enough to get you out of your relationship rut and back to remembering why you were attracted to each other in the first place. Here’s to your courage, your vulnerability, and your compassionate intention!

Announcements

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

Spotting a UOF

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

(For my English usage blog, click here.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Announcements

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

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

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

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

About Jane Straus
Jane is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, www.stopenduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, www.grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Empowering vs. Enabling

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Click here to read my English usage blogs.

Dear Jane,
What is the difference between empowering and enabling someone?

I’ve struggled with this in my own life. I want to be compassionate, but how can I know whether I am helping or when I am supporting someone in believing they’re helpless? How do I combine a belief that we are 100% responsible for our thoughts and behaviors at the same time that I increase my awareness of our interdependence?

A few years ago a family came to live with us. They had been evicted from their apartment and because our eight-year-old daughters were friends, when the knock on the door came, we opened up, not just our door, but our hearts. They stayed with us for three months rent free…until at 6:30 one morning, the police banged on our door, arresting the mom for parole violation and theft. Two weeks later a credit card bill arrived totaling $3000+ on a card we had never used and that we thought was still in our desk drawer.

Some details I left out of that story: I knew something was amiss when I was shown the mom’s “ankle bracelet,” her house arrest monitor. On the first day of their stay, she admitted that she had embezzled $32,000 from her employer. She and her husband also admitted that they had defrauded their roommate, making her think that they had used her rent to pay the landlord when they had actually kept it.

So what did I do with this information? I counseled them; I fed them; I drove their daughter to school and events; I cooked for them. Clearly, I was enabling, not empowering, them. Why couldn’t I see that?

I have a habit of assuming the best in people. In other words, I’m gullible. But sometimes seeing something in someone that they don’t see in themselves can bring out the best in them. Hasn’t someone seeing something in you ever made you believe in yourself more?
I also cared very much about their little girl and couldn’t imagine throwing her out into the streets for the sins of her parents.

So, yes, I was an enabler. Yes, I was foolish and disillusioned for a while. I admit fully that I not only didn’t empower her parents; in fact, I made it possible for them to commit further crimes. I could have done more by insisting on their helping more around the house or getting a job or getting drug counseling. But I’m pretty sure that insisting would have made them feel too exposed, and they would have left looking for their next suckers. If I didn’t care about their little girl, this would have been just fine.

Empowering vs. enabling is often distinguished by how people receive our help. When people want to be empowered, not enabled, they don’t ask for pity; they ask for clarity. They don’t give excuses; they overcome obstacles. They show a willingness to change their thoughts and strategies. They take responsibility for their actions. They don’t try to get away with things; they want to get out of their ruts in order to thrive.

Because life is complicated, I still don’t always know ahead of time how my help will be received or if I’m being foolish, throwing away money or energy. I can always hope that good intentions will sow their seeds, even if I can’t know where they’ve been planted or when they will germinate. Maybe, just maybe, this little girl, basking in some unconditional love and living in a safe and secure environment for even a short time will help her not re-create her parents’ life. That little girl is now 15. She still calls us. That feels great. I’ll live with being a fool.

Join Jane at Club Med in Cancun
June 21-28, 2008.
I will be teaching a new, exciting program on Creating Abundance everywhere in your life.
More about this in next week’s e-newsletter.

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.

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.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Friday, October 12th, 2007
 
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Dear Jane,
Although I am a loyal, caring person in relationship, I can hardly find a bird of the same feathers to flock with. What can I do besides pray?

Sometimes we choose our relationships for reasons we’re not aware of consciously. For example, do you find that you have chosen a partner who is in some way like one of your parents? This can be great if you felt loved and nurtured. But if you didn’t always feel that growing up, you may still pick someone who unconsciously reminds you of that parent, not because you are masochistic, but because your spirit is trying to find someone now to help heal your past.

So maybe your mind wants a loyal, caring love, but you have been unknowingly seeking something else to try to heal past suffering. What can you do about this?

1. Home in on the lessons you have been learning from your less-than-loyal relationship. Whom does your last relationship (or relationships) remind you of? How did you handle the hurt you felt as a child? How have you handled the hurt as an adult? If you could “do over” your last relationship, what would you do differently?
2. Don’t take other people’s behaviors personally. They’re doing what they do from their own past programming, including their self-judgments, fears, and limiting beliefs. (Just like you.) If a partner betrays your confidence, for example, it is something in him/her that would allow for that. The less you personalize, the less you will feel victimized.
3. Don’t ignore signs and indicators. If you meet someone who tells you that they’ve cheated on a relationship and you think it will be different with you, it may be that you have an unconscious need to learn some painful lessons. If you want a conscious relationship, you have to work to be conscious yourself. Ask more questions. Check inside if you really feel trusting. Pay attention to your intuition.
4. Check inside to see if you’re looking to be right about how relationships are untrustworthy or not good enough. We often try to be right to protect ourselves from future hurt at the expense of current happiness. Being right can come at the expense of intimacy.
5. Make sure you are like the person you want to attract. If you have ever been uncaring or disloyal, don’t pretend to be “holier than thou.” Admit your trespasses to yourself and make amends to anyone you have hurt or betrayed. This clearing of your slate will invite a new, higher-level relationship.

Announcements

Recovery from the Inside Out

Jane has been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for folks whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, www.StopEnduring.com. If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. Contact me at Jane@janestraus.com. My gratitude to my dear friend, Patte McDowell, for donating her air miles.

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

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.

Perceiving in High Definition

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Our limiting beliefs magnify and distort our perceptions, hindering us from seeing possibilities that someone else may. We miss out on opportunities that we never knew existed, all because of a tendency to see in black and white. For example, if your partner criticizes you, you may think, “He doesn’t love me.” However, the truth may be that he is afraid of being vulnerable and sharing what’s really going on.

Our guardian voice, the one that tells us to “duck and cover,” blows up our worst fears, reminding us of some painful past event such as past rejection, and then convinces us that this situation is exactly like that one.

Why? As I write about in Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, the guardian voice’s job is to protect us from hurt, embarrassment, confusion, and rejection. However, to do this, it oversimplifies, dividing the world into good and bad, right and wrong, safe or dangerous, win or lose, friend or foe. The guardian voice can’t tolerate nuances or it will have fallen down on the job.

How can we quiet our guardian voice if it’s so persistent? We can listen to our spirit’s voice, the voice within that can perceive beyond black and white fear-based thinking, the voice that tells us to take a breath before playing out our knee-jerk reactions. Our spirit’s voice is the one that says there is probably more to this situation than meets the eye. It is the wise voice that says, “Maybe this perceived enemy is just scared. Maybe handling this person’s fears and my own will grant us more understanding.”

The spirit’s voice is the voice of the Teacher in Classroom Earth, not the Judge in Courtroom Earth. It doesn’t look for guilt or blame; it strives for compassion, peace, dignity, and respect.

To hear your spirit’s voice, first trust that it is there. Maybe it’s a mere whisper because your guardian voice has been drowning it out. Then do what the wise do: Follow what it says. Keep listening for it and your spirit will get louder, your heart will open more, and you will experience the crisp, bright, and vivid clarity of HD perception.

Learn more about how to live your extraordinary life by going to StopEnduring.com. There you can read excerpts from Jane Straus’s book, Enough Is Enough!, view her seminars and TV interviews, listen to her radio interviews, make an appointment for a personal coaching session, purchase the book, or sign up for her free newsletter.

Creating Abundance Through Trust

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Dear Jane,
I know I have fears about money which probably keep me from having more money. But how do I break this vicious cycle?

How do we trust enough to trust? It’s a koan or at least a dilemma. My friend James told me how he recently worked with his fears and limiting beliefs around money.

For six years he had been “at a loss”—literally, unable to figure out why he was living in poverty while everyone around him seemed to manifest abundance so easily. A few weeks ago, he decided to stop asking why and started to simply “walk the walk” of abundance. It started with his awareness that he was out of integrity with himself and his church. His church asks its members to agree to tithe 10% of their earnings to charity. Although he had made the agreement, he had been skimping, telling himself that he didn’t have enough money for food or rent so how could he possibly give 10%?

When he confronted this, he made a decision to tithe 10% anyway, even if it meant going hungry. He made one other behavioral change to stop reinforcing his fear of lack. He stopped letting his gas tank get dangerously close to empty or even running out of gas. From the moment he stopped letting the fear of lack control him, his business began to boom. Within two weeks, he was booked with work for the next three months and has since given the overflow to other contractors.

So how do we trust enough to trust God/the Universe? This is where faith and “working in concert” come in. Faith means allowing God/the Universe to provide even though we can’t know ahead of time how things will work out. Faith is trusting, even with our fears and limiting beliefs. Working in concert means not sabotaging God/the Universe through behaviors that reinforce our fears and limiting beliefs. As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, working in concert means acting as if—as if we have perfect faith, as if it will all work out, as if we can help ourselves and others even when we don’t see how.

This is what James did by tithing and by filling up his gas tank. He behaved as if his fears and limiting beliefs didn’t have to be true or run the show anymore. I acknowledge James for his hard-won mastery of trust. He is an inspiration to me and I hope to you as well.

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.