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Throwing Your Life Away July 30, 2007

Filed under: Life — sarah @ 10:24 am

Life comes one to a customer. We’re all in the middle of a one-time event. We get one shot to do it right. When it’s over, it’s over. No rehearsals, no retakes.

Why, then, do we so casually throw our lives away?

How do we do that? We give our life away by living it according to somebody else’s plan.

Perhaps a parent. Friend. Teacher. It could be just about anybody.

Rather than maximizing our unique set of talents, personality and intelligence, we allow the opinions of others to tell us who and what we are. Usually to our detriment since somebody else’s view of life fits them, not us.

We’re each custom-created by God with the talents, personality and intelligence to do what God put us on earth to do. Our job is to determine what gifts God gave us and then use them to achieve our purpose.

So, let’s think about this. If we’re each custom-made, then we’re each unique. Some are uniquer than others, you may have noticed, but nobody’s supposed to be a clone. Or even a copy. God’s about the custom-made, not clones or second-best copies.

If God intends for us to be unique, then trying to make us look, think or act like somebody else is wrong. Sure, we may look a lot like Mom, have characteristics inherited from Dad and even share some opinions with others, but put all those pieces together, and they spell “unique.”

Those who try to try to direct us down the wrong path may have innocent intentions. They may even think their efforts are admirable. Perhaps it’s their misguided effort to help. Or it may simply be an unthinking attempt to relive their lives through us.

Or their intentions can be callous. They spot advantage in manipulating us to fit their purposes. Selfish people don’t give a hoot about any collateral damage we suffer.

We all know how it goes. Parents insist their children, however unsuited or unwilling, follow in their footsteps. “Friends” prefer we serve their desires and plans rather than move toward our own “If you were really a friend, you would . . . ” or “if you really loved me, you would . . . ”

This is not unfamiliar territory.

Here’s what we can take to the bank: If the plans of others contradict what God put in us, they are the wrong size and wrong style. They may be right for somebody else, but they don’t fit us. It’s the old square-peg-in-a-round-hole conundrum. If we go along, we’ll end up regretting that we didn’t live life differently.

So, what to do? The simple-to-say, hard-to-do answer is to quit marching to the beat of somebody else’s drummer.

Isn’t it a little late to change? Well, it’s either now, later or never. Later will be harder. Never is unthinkable.

As the saying goes, seize the day. Whatever our age, we can change. Yes, younger is easier, but as long as we’re breathing, there’s hope.

Most days we’ll only change a little, but if we persevere, the changes will become apparent–and finally, astonishing.

And we won’t have to reach 80 still worried about “fitting in.”

By Bette Dowdell

 

Do You Need Others’ Approval? July 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 10:29 am

“At work, every time I have to speak at meetings, I get so stressed.”

“I’m taking a class and I’m always afraid to raise my hand and ask a question.”

“I’m fine one to one, but as soon as I get into a group, I’m so tense I can hardly stand it.”

“I’m totally relaxed with my women friends, but as soon as I’m with a guy I like, I can’t be myself.”

Each of these people are anxious and stressed because they want to get approval and avoid disapproval. What are they telling themselves that is causing their anxiety?

“Oh God, I better not forget what I want to say and make a fool of myself.”

“The teacher might think the question I want to ask is a dumb one.”

“If I say the wrong thing no one will like me.”

“I better not say something completely stupid.”

Each of these people are telling themselves things that are causing anxiety, and underneath these self-judgmental statements is a deeper belief:

“If I say or do something wrong or stupid, they won’t like me and that means I am not okay.”

The need for approval and the fear of disapproval comes from the belief that others are responsible for your worth. If they like you, you are okay, and if they don’t like you, you are not okay.

If you are a person who seeks others’ approval, then you have made others responsible for sense of worth.

Imagine that you have a child, and instead of loving this child, you keep giving the child away to others to define. You keep saying to this child, “You better do it right because you if they don’t like you, then you are not okay.” The result would be that the child would feel very insecure and unlovable, because you kept giving him or her away to others for approval.

When you make others responsible for your sense of worth, you are doing the same thing on the inner level – giving away your own inner child. Instead of defining your own worth, you are making others responsible for this.

This is a very hard way to live. You have to constantly try to figure out what someone else wants of you to get approval and avoid disapproval. Your good and bad feelings are dependent upon how you look and how you perform, so you have to be constantly on your toes.

What if you were to take on the responsibility of defining your own worth? How would you go about doing this?

One of the problems in defining your own worth is that you may have been programmed to see yourself through the eyes of your parents, teachers, siblings and peers. If, when you were growing up, you got judged, criticized, rejected or ridiculed, you may have incorporated others’ images of you into your own mind. So you can’t define your own worth and lovability from your wounded self – your programmed ego mind. You need to define yourself through the eyes of love, not the eyes of judgment.

Start with imagining an older, wiser part of you, or imagine a person from your childhood who really loved you. Imagine that you can see yourself as a child through the eyes of this other person or through the older part of you. What do you see? Can you see your innocence, your lovingness, your sense of wonder, your creativity, your aliveness? Open to seeing who you are in your essence – your true Self.

If you were to practice seeing who you really are – not who you are in your wounded programmed self, but who you are in your essence Self – you would start to value your own beautiful essence. As you value your essence, you would start to treat yourself in kinder, more loving ways.

The more you practice doing this, the better you will feel about yourself and the less you will seek approval from others. In time and with practice, you will find yourself feeling so much happier and more peaceful!

By Margaret Paul

 

7 Tips For Mixing With Positive People

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 10:22 am

You want to change your life and be more successful but you’re living in a world where you are immersed in negativity. Your friends are negative about your desires to succeed and don’t support you. You need to find ways to spend more time with positive people who will help you to achieve your goals. Here are a few personal development tips to do just that…

The people you associate with will influence your thoughts and decisions to a great extent. Your future is created in your mind through the decisions you are taking today. Your level of success, your level of income in the future is directly related to the people you mix with today.

If you mix with mainly negative people, or people who pour cold water on your ideas for changing and improving your life, your motivation and drive to make those changes will suffer.

If you want to be more successful then you need to spend more time with supportive people who have already achieved what you want and less time with the naysayers that are already in your life. Try these personal development tips in your life:

1. Stop associating with negative people. There are probably several people in your life who are very negative. If you carry on associating with these people all you are going to get is more negativity every time you meet them. Stop meeting with them.

2. Minimise the impact of people you have to live with. It may not be possible to stop meeting everyone in your life – you may have a very negative boss or a negative life partner for instance. Find ways to minimise the impact of these people.

3. Choose your friends carefully. Look for positive people who have some of the characteristics that you want to acquire. Spend as much time as you can with them, learning how they do what they do, why they do it, what’s important to them and how they decide to do what they do.

4. Find a support group that you can join. For example the world of weight loss has many such support groups. Do some research, is there a group that can help you with your goals? A good support group is very effective at immersing you in a positive environment with like minded people.

5. Find a mentor or coach who can become an “unreasonable friend”. Someone who will challenge you and keep you on track for your goals and who will always be there with a positive attitude for you.

6. Read books, listen to tapes and watch videos by successful people. You can turn your car into a haven of positive thinking as you drive around by listening to tapes from positive thinkers.

7. Use your imagination. Napoleon Hill, one of the great success experts imagined that he was sitting at a table with 9 wise figures from history – his
“invisible councillors”. He did this every night, drawing on their knowledge to develop his own.

With these 7 tips you can choose to change the company that you keep. You can start associating with positive people who are going to help you with your personal development and success. Remember the quote from Zig Ziglar: “You can’t fly with the eagles, if you continue to scratch with the turkeys”.

By Kevin John

 

Connecting With Your Higher Self July 26, 2007

Filed under: Life — sarah @ 10:20 am

When you want to listen to a particular radio station, you tune your radio to that station, tuning in to a particular frequency. Same when you want to watch a particular show on TV. It is the frequency you tune into that determines what you hear and what you see.

Our brains operate in very much the same way, except that we have only two stations we can tune into – the ego station and the higher-self station.

The ego station is the station that originates in the programmed mind, which contains all our limiting beliefs that create our fears. The ego station is our wounded self, our false self – the protected self we learned to be as we were growing up and needed to find ways to have control over getting love, avoiding pain, and feeling safe. Our ego wounded self is a closed circuit – it operates on old information that we acquired as we were growing up, information that is no longer relevant or even true. It is not open to new information. It is not open to truth.

The higher-self station is the station that taps into the unlimited information from the universe – information that is beyond the programmed mind. The higher-self station taps into the Source of truth that is always here to guide us in our highest good.

How do you tune your frequency to your higher-self station?

We have all been given a “dial” that either tunes us to the low frequency of our ego station, or to the high frequency of our higher-self station. This dial is our INTENT.

We have only two intents to choose from:

* The intent to get love and avoid pain with some form of controlling behavior

* The intent to learn about loving ourselves and others

The intent to have control over getting love and avoiding pain lowers our frequency and keeps us stuck in our limited mind – our ego mind. When we choose this intent/frequency, we are stuck thinking the thoughts – the lies – and taking the unloving actions, that create fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, stress, anger, jealousy, resentment, and so on. The ego frequency is the frequency of being a victim. We choose this frequency when we choose the intent to have control over getting love and avoiding pain.

At any moment, we can change our minds and choose the intent to learn – about what is in our highest good and the highest of all. We can choose to learn about our ego mind rather than stay stuck in it. The moment we choose the intent to learn about love, we raise our frequency and are able to access the higher-self station. This is like moving out of the limitations of our personal computer and into the Internet – only better. While some of the information on the Internet is true and some is not, all of the information we receive from the higher-self station is true – it comes from the Source of Truth.

The only thing that stops us from choosing the higher-self station is our addiction to control. The ego mind wants control over our feelings, over others’ feelings and actions, and over the outcome of things. When your desire for control is greater than your desire to be loving to yourself and others, and greater than your desire to live in truth, you will remain stuck in the ego station.

The ego station tells us that we can have control over things that we actually have no control over – others and outcomes. While we can have some control over our feelings with various addictions, this only leads to greater unhappiness. Our feelings are an inner guidance system, letting us know when we are on track or off track in our thinking and behavior, so suppressing them with addictions only lead to more pain.

You will discover great joy when you choose the intent to learn about loving yourself and others and access the incredible information that is yours when you are tuned into your higher-self station.

ByMargaret Paul

 

Work Smarter Not Faster for Maximum Efficiency July 25, 2007

Filed under: Life — sarah @ 10:18 am

With our busy lives and mounting responsibilities we think that the faster we work, or the harder we work, the more we will accomplish. While this sounds good in theory, it is just not true. When we try to work faster, we may lose focus and this results in taking longer to complete a project. The following tips will help you to work smarter and accomplish more without having to work faster.

* The most important thing to remember is that you do not have a million things to do: you have one thing to do at a time.
* Prioritize your goals. Then make a list of steps that you need to take to reach those goals. Make sure that each step or action on your list is vitally important to reaching that goal.
* Set aside work that can be done at home. Take that work home and work on it at night. Just make sure that you save some time for yourself and your family.
* Do your most important projects in your peak energy times. Everyone has a time of day in which they work better. Identify this time and schedule your most important projects then focus on what matters most and less on staying caught up.
* Use an appointment calendar and avoid letting people just drop in. If people do drop in for something important, see if you can put them in your appointment schedule at a later time.
* Resist the urge to multi task. Trying to do too many things at once just results in a loss of concentration and getting off track.
* Get rid of distractions. Close you email program and your instant messages. You can live without them for the time it takes you to accomplish something on your task list.
* Start each project by asking yourself “Just what do I need to accomplish here?” This question will help you focus and allow you to map out steps to finish the project in the fastest time possible.
* Set a standard for the outcome of each project and stop when you reach that standard. Far too much time is wasted trying to achieve perfection.
* Admit when you are overloaded and seek help when needed. You do no one any favors by keeping an excessive work load that cannot be completed in a timely manner. If you need help ask for it or ask for an extension on a deadline.
* Use email and direct voice messaging as much as possible to communicate throughout the day.
* Use email instead of phone conversations to help insure clarity. You will have the details in black and white instead of trying to remember a phone conversation.
* Go to work 30 to 60 minutes earlier so that you have quiet time to devote to important projects. This will also give you time to plan your day and gather any necessary documents or information that you might need.

These tips will help you to become more efficient without having to work faster or harder. The person who works smarter will be the person that moves ahead in any business.

By Shafir Ahmad

 

Learn to Love Your Job—7½ Secrets for Living a Life You Love July 24, 2007

Filed under: Life — sarah @ 10:17 am

You’ve no doubt run into that strange species, the “workis contentis” — it can be found in almost every organization. They’re the creatures who arrive at work every day with a smile on their faces, raring to tackle any challenge that crosses their desk. They sit in an office, just as you do. They receive a paycheck, just as you. But something about them is so radically different.

THEY ACTUALLY LOVE THEIR JOB!

You can see it in the way they walk; you can see it in their daily activities and you can certainly see it in their productivity and the quality of their work. Why do they thrive while others languish? The difference is they have found a way to live the life they love. And guess what? You can learn to do the same.

Here are 7½ secrets to living a life you love:

1. Be true to your purpose. Take time to identify your strengths and passions. What makes your heart beat faster, your eyes light up with enthusiasm? Do you thrive as a leader? A listener? An encourager? An innovator? An implementer? Complete the following statement: “My purpose in life is…” Once you are able to align your passions with your daily activities, your productivity and level of fulfillment at work will soar.

2. Talk it over. Have an honest conversation with your supervisor and co-workers. Host a discussion about the organization’s mission and vision. Is it possible you have not fully understood the real purpose and importance of your job? Once you recognize how your talents and skills add value to the organization, you may quickly regain respect for your work and feel a renewed sense of purpose.

3. Reestablish written priorities and boundaries for your life. If you truly want to live a life you love you must first determine which parts of life you value most. What is most important to you? Is it your family, health, financial security, faith, hobbies, and so forth? When was the last time you sat down and created a written list of your priorities? Often we allow some parts of our life to squeeze out our favorite activities. Making a written list will help you reestablish priorities that, while important to you, have somehow fallen by the wayside.

4. Reclaim your day. How much of your time each day is spent on accomplishment and productivity? How much time is wasted on unproductive matters? Time to make another list: write down all of the projects you need to complete, then rank each numerically according to its importance. Focus on the tasks that really matter. Simple time management strategies will allow you to feel a greater sense of accomplishment and control, which in turn help you love your job.

5. Do what you like and delegate what you don’t like. This boils down to focusing on your strengths. No one is good at everything; we are all born with individual talents. Spend your work day doing what you love and your job won’t even feel like “work.” If you work on a team, have open conversations about how the members can cooperate and collaborate to share responsibilities based on the individuals’ strengths. Try to determine how each person can be most valuable to the achievement of the team’s and the organization’s overall objectives.

6. Clean it up. Disorganization is one of the biggest causes of dissatisfaction at work and at home. Clutter contributes greatly to stress. If you spend many minutes or even hours each day locating documents, files, e-mails and so on, your productivity will suffer. Clutter translates to being out of control; it makes you feel defeated before you even start. Make it a top priority to deal with everything that crosses your desk—either deal with it, file it or toss it. Believe it—all that mess stands between you and a better work experience.

7. Make a decision to embrace change. When was the last time you mastered a new skill? Consider going back to school or taking a training course. The more you know the more valuable you will become, not only to your company but in your own heart as well. If you want to reignite your passion for work, raise the bar on what you expect of yourself. Arrive at the office 15 minutes early to give yourself time to read professional journals and trade magazines to keep up with what is going on in your business. When you read about a superstar in your industry, contact him or her. Create and maintain a network of people with whom you can exchange information and advice. Find out who is on the cutting edge in your industry and ask him or her to be your mentor. Consider becoming a mentor to someone just starting out in your business.

7½. Appreciate what you’ve got. Create one more list: write down 10 things you actually love about your job. Think back to your first day at your company. What were you most excited about? How can you recapture that enthusiasm? Your job may not be perfect, but like much of life, it’s all about what you make of it. Focus on the positive and try to change the negative.

The moral of the story? When you love life first, you will love everything that comes with it—including your job.

By Allyson Lewis

 

How To Be Successful At Interviews July 23, 2007

Filed under: Tips — sarah @ 10:12 am

The key to success is to treat the interview as a project, for which you must gather information, make decisions on feasibility, set objectives, identify the resources needed, draw up a plan of action, and manage the project carefully through to closure. In simple terms, you must be professionally prepared for the interview, in order to have the optimum chance of success.

Here is list of actions that you should carry out in order to be fully prepared. Gather information about the recruiting organisation (this includes your present employer if it is an internal interview): before you decide whether to attend the interview, it is essential that you gather information about the organisation and analyse this. You need information on its recent and forecast performance, the condition of the business sector in which it operates, and the post that it is offering. If the organisation and sector are healthy, and the post looks secure and has potential, then you can move on to the next stage. If your findings are negative then it is almost certain that the best decision would be to reject the opportunity. You need to gather information about the condition of yourself, looking at how your personal and career plans are progressing, focusing on how the prospects in your current job match with your personal and career objectives, and then how the new post could help you to achieve those objectives.

Decide to attend or not to attend the interview. You need to make an objective decision as to whether taking up this new post is the right decision for you, at this time. Armed with the information that you gathered earlier, you can assess the merits of being appointed to the new post, against staying in your current post, albeit perhaps until a more appropriate opportunity arises, and make your decision confidently. It is, of course, tempting to apply for a job which appears to offer a higher salary, more responsibility, more status, and new directions, and if this is so appealing that you are confident that you can adjust your development plans to match it, and be happy with that decision, then yes, attend the interview and perform to the best of your ability. However, be warned that the interviewers may well reject you because it will become obvious to them that the position they are offering is not a natural fit with your career to date, and worse, they may well ask you how this new opportunity fits with your future personal development plans, and be disappointed with your unconvincing response.

Gather details of the job itself. You need as much information as you can gather about the nature of the job, the role, responsibilities, reporting relationships, location of the workplace, working conditions, and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays, and corporate policies and procedures that apply to the position. Some of this information will be given to you in the information pack sent to you by the interviewing organisation, or department, but often, sadly, the quality of information sent out is poor. Most professional organisations will have HR departments that will answer your questions on these issues, or pass you on to the appropriate line manager.

Research the interview format: you need to do some basic but essential research on the practicalities of the interview. Again, some of this information will be sent to you. You should be clear about: how to get to the organisation and the specific interview location (don’t rely on asking for this information when you arrive, as this adds to the stress of the occasion); who is on the interview panel (their titles will give you important clues as to their relationships to the post); what format the interview will take (there is nothing worse than arriving expecting a traditional face-to-face interview and finding that it is a day-long series of tests, group activities, and interviews).

Timing of arrival. Make sure that you arrive in good time, allowing time to tidy your physical appearance after your journey, and sufficient time to become calm before the actual interview.

Your appearance. Do not make the mistake of thinking that it is only your history, qualifications, skills, and knowledge that will win you the job. Most other candidates will have similar attributes, so you need to make an impression, to look professional, smart, and appropriate for the post. In many cases, there will have been a previous holder of the post that the interviewers may be using, albeit subconsciously, as a benchmark. You can’t guess what the interviewers want, or don’t want, in terms of physical appearance and personality, but don’t for one second believe anyone that tells you this doesn’t matter (it shouldn’t, perhaps, in certain circumstances, but you are being invited into their world, and they will be looking for someone who they will be comfortable with (even if the role requires you to be an aggressive change-agent). Yes, in some countries there is legislation that says the job should be offered to the most appropriate person, regardless of appearance, but in real life this isn’t what happens. The answer to this dilemma is to research the culture of the organisation that you are joining, so that you are aware of how people, in positions similar to the one you are being interviewed for, dress and behave, and you can comment on or ask questions about this during the interview. However, don’t go to the interview in jeans and t-shirt, even if that’s the day to day standard. You need to look as professional, as serious about obtaining the job, as possible. For men, that almost certainly means a business suit, or jacket and trousers, with or without tie. For women, a business suit or business outfit. For both sexes, smart-casual can be acceptable, if, but only if, it is that type of environment. In most situations, for most posts on offer to professionals, specialists, managers, experts, consultants, a business outfit is expected at the interview, even if, after appointment, they would never again expect you to come to work in anything remotely as formal.

Your approach: in a word – think positively. You are offering your talents, your experience, your time, effort, and energies, to this organisation, and you need to give the impression that you would be a valuable asset that they would be foolish to reject. This doesn’t mean being aggressive, over enthusiastic, pompous, or pretentious, but it does mean showing the interviewers that you are a confident, assertive, pro-active, flexible, professional who would perform successfully if appointed.

Prepare for, and practice answering, the interview questions: think about questions that you are likely to be asked. Brainstorm this with a colleague, friend, or partner, and practice answering. Practice using the interview questions to strengthen your argument that you are the best person for the job. For example, you will be almost certainly be asked about your experience and qualifications, even though this will be shown in your CV. Your response should be phrased in such a way that you relate your experience, knowledge, and qualifications, to the role and responsibilities of the new post, showing how these existing attributes will give you the confidence and skills to successfully handle the tasks that lie ahead. With luck you will not be asked questions such as – What do you think are the main benefits that you could bring to this job, if appointed? However, it still happens, so you must be prepared for them. Again, practice responding in a way which links your experience and existing skills to the demands of the new role. If you are asked – What would you say are your biggest strengths and worst weaknesses? then talk mostly about your strengths, giving examples of how these have been effectively used, and be very, very careful talking about your alleged weaknesses. Choose a relatively harmless weakness that could be interpreted as a strength, such as being over-zealous about quality criteria being met, or insisting on deadlines being met which can upset some team members. Don’t, under any circumstances, negatively criticise your present or past employers, or colleagues. Even if the organisation that you work for is known to have faults or bad practices, don’t criticise it or any personnel within it. This is almost always a fatal mistake. You will almost always be asked some questions about the interviewing organisation. Again, use these as an opportunity to show you have researched the organisation, but also to explore what the organisation is planning (at least in the area that you will be working in), and-or what they are expecting of you. For example, you could mention new markets that the organisation has recently entered and ask if that will impact on the post that you are being interviewed for. If you are asked about hobbies and interests, don’t give a list of twenty, keep it simple and don’t try to impress with esoteric hobbies that you don’t actually have. Imagine saying that you enjoy watching French films and then being asked a question about this, in French, by one of the interviewers who is fluent in the language!

Questions asked by you. Most interviews will close with the interviewee being asked if they have any questions to ask. The answer should always be – Yes. Have two questions ready, and either ask these or ask one of them and one that has arisen because something raised in the interview. Make sure that your questions are ones that reinforce your suitability for the post. You could, for example, ask questions about personal development opportunities, explaining, briefly, what you feel would be a potentially useful development activity (of benefit to you and to the organisation) if you were to be offered the post (this should be an area that you have considered whilst researching the organisation and the job itself).

General behaviour: remember, you are being assessed at all times, possibly from when you enter the building and approach the receptionist, certainly from the moment you walk into the interview room to the moment you leave. You must be as natural and relaxed, physically and mentally, as possible, but also professional, polite, and courteous. Never argue, unless you have been given a direct instruction to give your opposing views. Be alert, show an interest in each interviewer as the ask questions, and answer directly to that person, but occasionally look at the others during your answer. In answering questions, don’t be evasive, be confident, and use your answers to demonstrate how you would make a good match for the position on offer.

Final words: as the interview ends, thank the interviewers for their time and questions. Say that you would be very pleased if appointed to the job and that you look forward to hearing from them. Even if you have doubts at that moment, this is a courteous and wise way to end the interview – you may later decide that you would like the job and if you have appeared negative as the interview ended you will have reduced your chances considerably.

In summary, the key to being successful at an interview is to treat it as a project that needs to be planned and executed in as professional a manner as possible. Changing jobs, moving into a new position, changing organisations, changing the direction of your career, perhaps moving into a different business sector, leaving behind friends and colleagues, meeting, working with, managing, new colleagues, is a major change in your life. The interview is your doorway into a new world, into the next stage of your personal development. It is a major event, a major opportunity, and must be treated as one.

By CJ Williams