As one of my clients reminded me, it’s important to get clear on what success means to you. Otherwise, you’re going to be chasing somebody else’s dream, not following your own.
Here’s how she turned her back on the conventional view of success, and the two questions that can help you define it for yourself:
So don’t just listen to the next “guru” who says—
You need to make a certain amount each month to be successful.
Or build a following of tens of thousands of people on FB.
Or write a book.
Or launch an online program.
Or anything else.
Get clear on what “success” looks like for you.
What you truly want.
To figure that out, ask yourself two questions:
What do you want your life to look like? Do you want to speak to thousands around the world? Make a ton of money? Work less and spend more time with family? Or something else?
What kind of legacy do you want to leave? Do you want to set your family up financially to follow their dreams? Train a small group in a method you’ve created so it lives on after you’re gone? Or . . .
Clients have come to me to release blocks to knowing what they want. Once a block was gone, they could go after what they wanted. (Their version of success.)
But let’s be clear—Tapping freed them up to know their own heart and mind.
I didn’t tell them what they wanted. Or how to be “successful.”
They decided for themselves.
You get to do that too.
So don’t let anyone else tell you what success is.
Not even me. 😉
I firmly believe that, the more you follow what calls to your own heart, the more of an impact you will have.
Whatever that impact is meant to be.
That’s how you become the leader you’re meant to be.
That’s the leader the world needs now.
And that’s true success.
I’d love to know what success looks like for you. Please shoot me a message or email me at Nancy@UnblockResults.com. Tell me what calls to your heart.
Here’s a series of videos I recorded on Facebook Live about the top subconscious blocks that might be holding you back from having more money. There’s a lot of content here, so feel free to watch any that call to you.
(And check out the four different ways my hair is responding to the new order of things. I think it’s protesting not getting cut!)
In this video, you’ll hear about the two biggest subconscious messages I’ve found that have kept my clients (and me) from improving our financial situation.
Here’s one that sets out an extremely common way you can “inherit” a money block, an interesting way a business owner might inherit a money block from a family member, and a truly strange way a family can pass down a money block. (I’ve had all three.)
Then there’s the one about how a money block can lead to pain or illness. I let you in on the most likely subconscious money message that leads to your body getting in the way.
And in this one, see if you recognize a belief in yourself that making money is hard. If so, that will get in the way of creating the kind of financial situation that you want.
(The subconscious message at play here is actually the same as the one in the previous video, but it shows up in a different way.)
These are some of the kinds of blocks I released in my Money Blocks Solution with EFT/Tapping last time I offered it.
The Money Blocks Solution is starting up again this week with its new and improved name. (The Money Blocks BlockBuster Group is so 2019!)
So if you’re ready to release your own blocks to having and keeping the kind of money you want, help is here!
If lack of self-confidence is keeping you from going after the life you want, you have to meet Julie. She’s a smart woman with a mission to change the world.
When she began working with me, Julie was just starting her business providing Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) to children on the Autism Spectrum and their families. RDI helps children on the spectrum form personal relationships, develop the ability to think flexibly and improve their quality of life.
Julie was just finishing intensive training to be certified in using RDI. She knew it worked. She knew she could improve the lives of children and their families enormously. But she wasn’t getting her business out into the world. She was questioning herself, afraid to ask for money, and allowing herself to be stopped by fear. She was holding herself back.
So we got to work. Now she is able to speak about what she does much more naturally, without the fear. She is making connections that will help her reach more people. And she has clients starting with her.
As we worked together, the changes in her were so noticeable they even turned her husband from a skeptic about this weird EFT stuff I do into a fan who was happy to take over childcare whenever she had a session with me!
Julie gives a lot of credit for all these changes to doing EFT/Tapping with me. In fact, I’ll toot my own horn here and quote Julie, who said: “You have to work with Nancy to get past the blocks that have been holding you back. I think where I am now would not be possible without my work with Nancy.”
Watch the video to hear from Julie herself.
I’m so impressed by Julie. She has worked so hard and is finally poised to make a huge difference for so many people. You Go Girl!
When you’re ready to stop procrastinating and create the life you are meant to live, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
Over the last two months I’ve only done things that were essential, like taking care of my eleven year old and meeting with current clients. I haven’t done much of anything else in my business like marketing, networking, or creating these videos, even though those things are very important to me. Instead, I’ve rested, puttered about, and cleaned up the kitchen.
But it wasn’t procrastination.
Watch the video to find out what it was, and when it’s right to step away from your To Do list entirely.
You’ll find there are times in life when you need to stop what you’re doing to celebrate, grieve, or put all your focus on an emergency. When that happens, don’t try to guilt yourself into working anyway. Just promise yourself you will get back to your goals when you’re ready. And be gentle on yourself until then.
Watch the video to find out more.
Of course, if you really are procrastinating and you’re ready to stop so you can create the life you are meant to live, email me. We’ll set up a call to talk about what’s going on with you and see if I can help.
Today I want to give you a way to figure out whether your have a common block which can completely derail your progress. I’ll also give you a way to defuse it.
Although this block is common, it often manages to go unrecognized in most people since it only shows up when they start to make—and actually see—real progress towards their goals. That’s when it starts driving them to sabotage the progress they are making, which can be completely confusing as well as frustrating.
Why would anyone sabotage their own efforts just when they are starting to see some success?
Actually, it makes perfect sense that someone would sabotage themselves when they are starting to see improvement if the block they have is a fear of letting go of how they think of themselves. Take my client “Dominic,” an independent consultant who has a history of cycling back and forth between periods of expanding his client list and backing off from his business and letting it shrivel. He’s even been known to take a job in an entirely different field during a period where he is stepping away from his business. He truly loves what he does and wants to build a thriving practice, so we’ve been knocking down the internal blocks that get him off track.
After making some initial progress on his blocks, we decided to tackle his backlog of paperwork. Dominic had been letting his billing slide, which was doing a number on his cash flow. We made a plan, breaking down the project into several steps, then putting the steps on his calendar. We also made a plan for him get the billing done on a weekly basis going forward. What had seemed an insurmountable problem turned into something he could catch up on within a few days, then easily take care of after that. Dominic must have felt great, right?
Wrong. When I asked him how he was feeling, Dominic said with surprise in his voice that he was feeling “a little anxious.” As I asked more questions, he admitted that he didn’t know what it would be like to have his business running smoothly. He was a “flake.” Everybody knew that, including him. Who would he be when his business was thriving? He wouldn’t be that flake anymore. So who would he be?
Fear of losing…everything
When we have been holding a picture in our mind for a long time of who we are, anything that threatens to replace that picture can feel dangerous, even if on the surface we really want the change. It can seem to us, on some deeper level, that who we are will die if we change too much—even if we think the change is for the good. That’s extreme language, I know, but that’s how this block makes us feel. Then we will do anything, even sabotage what we want most in life, to avoid that frightening feeling.
Of course, we know that becoming more successful in our business or job will not make us die. But simply knowing that on an intellectual level does not change the emotional reaction we have to the “threat” to our self-image. And those emotions get triggered if we take a significant step towards change.
So if you notice that you start out full of good intentions on a new effort to move forward in your job or business, but pull back whenever you start to make progress, you may have this emotional block. If you have a pattern of doing something to screw up what had been off to a good start, you may have this block. Perhaps you just have a feeling that this might be a problem for you. If you have any of these indications, try this experiment.
What do you see when you visualize change, in detail?
Close your eyes. See yourself as more successful than you already are—maybe you are one more rung up the corporate ladder, or your business has a wait list of clients clamoring to hire you. Whatever you’ve been telling yourself is your next big goal, imagine you have achieved it and it’s effortless now. What do you look like? What does your workplace look like? Picture what you do during the day. Are you busy in important meetings? Traveling and giving presentations? Do you have more direct reports or people working for you? Who do you talk with and how do you interact with each other?
I assume that you will have more income. What are you doing with it? Imagine what it feels like to have more than you need to pay the bills, pay off all your debts, be able to go on more exotic vacations, pay for education, move to a bigger house, or donate more to your favorite charities—whatever you would do with the increase.
Now hear in your mind what the important people in your life are saying to you about your newfound success, whether that is your spouse, family members, clients, co-workers, bosses, or friends. Include important people from your past (your soccer coach, first wife, and brother you haven’t talked to in years). Don’t forget to “talk” to people who have died. Next, imagine what those same people are really thinking. Some of their thoughts will be the same as what they say to you, but some will be different.
If I’ve missed anything, be sure you put it into your picture. The goal is to really imagine all the aspects of your success. When you’ve spent some time getting a complete picture of this success and what it will change in your life, check out how you are feeling about it. You might expect to feel happy, excited, hopeful, even relieved, and you probably will feel some of those emotions. But if anything negative came up—like nervousness, worry, fear, heaviness, sadness, or overwhelm—some part of you is probably trying to avoid the loss of the “old” you.
Getting a negative feeling from inside yourself while visualizing your dreams coming true? Yep, you’ve got the block we’re talking about here.
Three simple steps to end the self-sabotage
One way to get around this block is to set aside time every day to do exactly what you just did. Visualize yourself as this more successful you, going through your day with all the perks of the success. You really only need to do this a few minutes at a time. But to make this work, you need to do three other things:
First, if negative things come into your visualization, like your boss yells at you, or you screw up and tick off your clients, or you are working too many hours, correct that part of the visualization. Visualize it again, but this time visualize the way you really want it to turn out (even if you have your boss acting out of character). After all, this is supposed to be the success you want, so see it that way.
Second, while visualizing, put each of your thumbs on the side of the index finger next to it and rub gently in slow circles near the base of the fingernail. This is a relaxation technique that will help you let go of the negative emotions that come up when you are visualizing your own success. This is key, since those negative emotions are the ones that are driving you to sabotage yourself when success starts to loom on the horizon.
Keep doing this exercise for a few minutes each day until the new you feels comfortable, and there are no more negative emotions connected to seeing yourself as successful.
We usually think that, to change how we think of ourselves, first we have to change what we do. It’s counterintuitive to think we have to change how we think of ourselves in order to change what we do, but that is exactly how you will get past this particular block.
So if you’ve discovered you have this block—you’re thinking of yourself as less successful than you want to be—it’s time to get started changing your thoughts. Until you do, it’s going to be nearly impossible to change what you are doing.
I’m back! I took a few weeks off to follow Stephen Covey’s advice to “sharpen the saw” (and maybe get a little downtime in to increase my creativity), and now I feel ready to get back to work in a big way. While I was away, I spent some time re-reading an oldie but goodie, Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism. In his book, Seligman points to research that shows that, for the most part, pessimists get bad results and optimists get good results in their achievements, mood, health, and (possibly) longer life.
The book is full of great information that you can use to improve many areas of your life. I’m just going to focus here on how you can use his research to improve your work, but feel free to get your own copy of his book to get all the benefits his approach offers. Since this is important, and Seligman has a lot to say, I’m going to describe it over several articles.
In this post we’ll look at what optimism can do for you, when you should use an optimistic approach and when you should choose a more cautious, pessimistic style. Optimism can be very powerful and overcome a lot of self-imposed blocks to your success, but you wouldn’t want to use it in every situation. Sometimes a touch of pessimism is called for.
First, What an Optimistic Approach Can Do For You
When a negative event happens, big or small—maybe the boss frowns at you, a client ends the relationship, you get fired—everyone feels at least momentarily helpless. For someone with an optimistic explanatory style, it hurts, but the feeling goes away relatively quickly and they can get on with creating the life and work they want. For someone with a more pessimistic explanatory style, that helpless feeling can go on a long time, leaving them stuck right where they are. So how we explain what happens to us determines how helpless or energized we become, which affects what we do, which in turn affects what we achieve.
Let’s see how this works. Imagine your boss tells you that your work on that last report was not up to her expectations. If you are a pessimist, you think things like “I’m no good at this,” or “Bosses always shoot you down,” or “I never get anything right.” This way of thinking saps your energy, leaving you with a feeling of Why Bother. If you are no good, you never get anything right, and your boss will always shoot down your efforts, there is no point to even trying. So you lose motivation, put in less effort at work and the next thing you know your reviews go downhill and you’re stuck in a dead-end job (or are out of work!).
Now let’s look at what happens if you use a more optimistic explanation for what happened. You feel bad, of course, but soon you start telling yourself things like “I’ve been worrying about Mom’s health lately, so I probably wasn’t as focused as I could have been,” or “This project was really rushed and I just didn’t have time to do it right,” or “I really didn’t understand what my role was and so I screwed it up.” With explanations like that, you shake off the pain of the moment and start making plans to do better next time, tell your boss what you need to fix the situation, or find a new job that is a better fit for you. You don’t feel helpless for long, and you have the energy you need to take action to succeed.
So the optimists go on to clear things up with their bosses, do better on the next project, learn new skills, apply for that interesting job, and get promoted. The pessimists sit back and tell themselves there’s no point, so those positive career moves elude them. Another way of saying this is that the optimist persists in the face of challenges; the pessimist doesn’t. This means that pessimists fail more often, even when they could have succeeded.
You can see how an optimistic style could also propel a small business owner beyond her more pessimistic competitor. Say they both lose an important customer. Ms. Optimist thinks “I didn’t give him enough attention over the past month,” or “The local economy took a hit that made it hard for him to buy from me now, but I just have to find a way to hang on until the upswing happens and clients like him can come back,” or “Sometimes I lose one for reasons I can’t control, but what I provide is useful so I can always bring in more customers.”
Compare her motivation and energy level after the loss of her customer to Mr. Pessimist, who says “I’m such a loser,” or “The economy is in the tank and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Ms. O looks for ways to improve what she offers and how she gets the message out to potential customers; Mr. P hunkers down and waits for the ax to fall. Who’s going to succeed?
The Value of Pessimism
This is not to say that pessimism doesn’t have it’s place. There are definitely advantages to using pessimism in certain situations. It would seem that pessimists tend to have a better grasp on reality. Optimists see what could be; pessimists see what is. Therefore, pessimists are by and large more accurate, particularly in situations where there are unexpected and frequent disasters.
Pessimists also tend to be more cautious. While an optimist thinks that things will work out, the pessimist buys insurance just in case. Pessimists save more money for a rainy day. They avoid danger.
So a touch of pessimism belongs in every career and every life at times. The trick is figuring out when to use a pessimistic approach and when to use an optimistic one.
When to Use Optimism versus Pessimism
Here are some guidelines for when to use an optimistic approach and when to be more pessimistic in your work.
In a situation where you want to achieve, like selling, getting a promotion, or being chosen to work on a high profile project.
If you need to keep up your morale, like cold calling or networking.
Where you want to lead or inspire people.
Where creativity is needed.
Where the cost of failure is low, like applying for a job.
If you are planning for a risky or uncertain future.
When counseling others whose future is not rosy, say, in a yearly review with an underperformer.
Where physical safety is at issue.
Where the cost of failure is high.
Let’s look at that last bullet-point more closely, because it is really the crux of your decision. If the cost of failure is high, you should use a pessimistic approach. Seligman gives examples of the pilot deciding whether to de-ice the plane again or the partygoer who needs to decide whether to drive or take a taxi home. Accidents and death are high costs to pay for failure. Choose caution and pessimism in those situations.
There are many situations where the costs of failure may feel high, but in fact are quite low. Consider the salesman who has to decide whether to make another call where he may be rejected; the independent professional who is considering offering a new service; the executive who has hit a ceiling at her current employer who is thinking about using (or building) her network to look for a new position. While rejection feels bad, it doesn’t really kill you. For that reason, all of the people in these and similar situations should choose an optimistic approach.
Seligman also lists jobs that require an optimistic approach and those that need a more pessimistic one. Here they are. Only optimists need apply for:
Presenting and Acting
Highly competitive jobs
Mild pessimists, or cautious types with a keen sense of reality, do well in “‘low-defeat jobs, jobs with low turnover, jobs that call for specific technical skills in low-pressure settings.” Seligman’s examples are:
Design and safety engineering
Technical and cost estimating
Financial control and accounting
Law (but not litigation)
Personnel and industrial-relations management.
Of course, even a job that calls for a realistic approach will have times where an optimistic approach is called for. Think of an accountant. He needs to be a realist with the numbers but use a positive approach when motivating his team. Or when he needs to bring in new clients. So even if your career falls squarely into the pessimist camp, realize that there are times to be optimistic. Flexibility will be your friend.
Here’s the best news of all. You don’t have to be born an optimist to get the benefits of an optimistic approach. You can learn how to use an optimistic explanatory style, then apply it whenever you choose.
In my next article I’ll detail the elements that go into an optimistic explanatory style. It’s not just putting on rose-colored glasses! There are three specific ways of looking at events, particularly negative events, that help you move forward with energy and motivation. Next week I’ll explain what those three ways are. After that I’ll show you Seligman’s specific techniques for changing a pessimistic explanatory style to an optimistic style.
Nancy Linnerooth has been helping professionals, executives and business owners for well over a decade to get rid of their internal blocks so they can meet their career and business goals.
These internal blocks often show up as repeating patterns of behavior that undercut what they’re trying to accomplish, like procrastinating; avoiding public speaking, cold calling and networking; choking in interviews; and becoming overwhelmed and losing focus.
Nancy comes to the world of coaching with a diverse background as a practicing psychotherapist of many years and a recovering attorney who got her JD from Harvard Law School. So she understands the demands of working in a high-pressured, high-stakes world.
Using any of those techniques alone can get you moving on things you have been avoiding, but when you combine them you can create a new habit fairly easily, which is a great way to become more productive. I’ve had clients use these steps to do everything from finishing projects they hated to exercising regularly. Feel free to try them on anything you want to make a regular part of your day.
Willpower Is Rarely Enough
The rule of thumb I’ve heard is that to turn a behavior into a habit you need to think about the behavior and actually do it every day for three to four weeks. If you are trying to change a bad habit into a good one, say diving right into working on your current deliverables instead of your usual habit of reading the news for an hour when you get to work, it is going to take three times that, or two to three months. And since you only have a limited amount of willpower, you usually use that up long before you’ve established a new habit, let alone replaced an old one.
So the trick is to get yourself to do your new behavior consistently without having to draw much on your willpower. The way to do that is to use the human default setting we all have of doing what we perceive to be easiest in a way that is to your advantage
That’s where the three techniques come in.
Let’s say you are a service professional running your own business. You want to create a marketing campaign based on different bundles of your services. Every day you say “I’m going to work on that campaign today,” and at the end of every day you find that you were too busy with other things to get around to working on it. Having a good idea and trying to motivate yourself through willpower is not enough to put in all the work to make it happen. You need to create a habit of working on your project every day instead. Here’s how.
Step 1. Find the Time-wasters and Make Them More Difficult
First, as I explained in the first post in this series, figure out what you are currently spending your time on. Is it browsing your usual web sites? Or checking, reading and answering your email every ten minutes? Whatever it is you are spending too much time on, you need to make it more difficult to do those things. The key to this step is to add to the level of effort you will have to put in to start in on a time-waster. It doesn’t have to be a lot of effort, either. A few extra clicks of the mouse can be enough to keep you from automatically falling into the old habit of wasting time.
If you realized that you check your email about twenty times a day, you would need to make that harder to do. This is a really big time sink as not only does it take more time overall to check your email numerous times rather than going through your email once or twice per day, each time you check your email you lose the thread of what you had been working on. It takes additional time to get back into the flow of what you were working on before the email interruption. If you could just stop checking email all those times, you would have far more time to work on your system.
So put in extra steps you’ll need to get through before you can access your email, such as closing it every time after you use it, putting the application inside a folder several folders deep on your desktop, all of which you would have to open to get to it, and/or making it require a password from you before it will open. Keep adding steps until it is more of a pain to open the email than it is worth. At this point, you will easily choose to do something else rather than mindlessly check your email over and over. (Of course, since you probably do need to check and respond to your email, put it on your calendar for specific times during the day so that you only check it once in the morning and once at the end of the day, or once an hour, or whatever schedule makes sense for your business while minimizing distraction.)
Step 2. Make It As Easy As Possible to Do the Behavior You Want to Make a Habit
This step (which I described in the second post in this series) is the opposite of the first one. Since we tend to default to doing whatever is easiest to do, make your new “habit” as easy as you possibly can to start.
Say you’ve jotted down some notes about the different things you do with your clients, which you need to sort through to figure out the steps of your new marketing campaign. You keep the file with the notes in your file drawer, which you have to get up from your desk and walk seven steps to get to. If you are having an issue with procrastination, that’s seven steps too many! Flip it around. Put the file in the middle of your desk as you leave the night before you are going to work on it. That way, to do anything the next day you will have to physically move the file. That way the part of your brain that defaults to doing the easiest thing just might decide that it’s easier to work on your system than do anything else.
If that is not enough to get you started, look for other things you can do to make getting started on your project easier. For example, if you leave your computer on overnight then open up the draft of your important project before you leave the night before and leave it in front of everything else on your screen so you don’t have to do a thing to get started on it other than wake up your computer. Remember, an extra step doesn’t have to be difficult in any way to persuade your brain to look for something easier. It just needs to take a tiny amount of additional effort and time. So get rid of those steps.
Step 3. Establish Rules For Yourself—Make All Your Choices Beforehand
Finally, because every time we make a choice—even a simple one—our focus and persistence go down, make all the choices you can about how you will work on your project the day before. (I described this “choice energy” brain drain problem in more detail in the third post in this series.) When will you work on it? For how long? Will you begin with the big picture or get into the details? What will you do first? Second? You don’t need to plan everything out for the entire project, just what you will do the next day. As you make your choices, write them down. Leave the plan in front of you on your desk or desktop for the next day. That way, all you need to do is implement your plan tomorrow.
Your plan for working on your system might look something like:
i. Start at 10 am.
ii. Read through notes.
iii. Create outline of steps in order.
iv. If there is additional time, start writing description of first step.
v. End at noon.
Now when you get into your office the next day, you don’t have to make so many choices about how to work on your system that you give up and go to something simpler on your To Do list before you’ve even started.
A really powerful way to make a choice in advance is to set a rule like “I will write five pages every day” or “ On Friday I will block out one hour on my calendar every day of the next week to work on my project.” When you set a rule, you only have to make the choice the one time you make it rather than every day.
There are two tips I’ve come across that may make your rules more effective. The first is that doing something at the same time every day will make it easier to establish the behavior as a habit. A rule using this tip might look like “Every workday I will work on my system from ten to noon.” The second tip is to only allow yourself to do something you always do (e.g., get a cup of coffee, or check email) after you’ve done the behavior you want to establish as a habit.
After you’ve established your habit (whether that takes three weeks or twelve) you can start to ease up on your rule. Of course, if your habit starts to slip, go back to the rule, but it is more likely that you will just carry on with your activity because that behavior will have become the easy, default action.
So it’s time. Decide what you want to establish as a habit. Add steps to the time-wasters that might get in your way. Take away the steps it takes to start your new habit every day. Make a written plan the day before setting out what you will do. Make a rule for how you will work, if that will help. These steps should lower the amount of willpower it takes to do what you want to so that you are much more likely to actually follow through on your activity every day until it becomes a real habit.
If you do all of these steps and you still find yourself avoiding what you know you want and need to do, you may have a more deep-seated reason for your procrastination. If you think that may be the case, give me a call. We can talk about what we might do together to get you past your block.