Evolutionary Professional Blog
You must be genuinely coming from assisting them in creating the life they want. You must not appear attached--and hopefully you do the intra-personal work to actually BE unattached. Otherwise you will seem desperate. And in romance, politics, and in business, desperation is not an aphrodisiac.
Whatever the truth of your situation and concerns, you must act as if you do not need them to sign anything. The best way to do that is to put your concerns out of your head, and focus on theirs and theirs alone for at least the time you are together. They are not paying your bills.
You are in service of them. Continue to help people attain what they envision for themselves, and you will eventually have everything you could want--including spiritual fulfillment
The organizing principle and the effective method is simple: you are not trading time for money--you are not really selling a service. What you are selling the prospective client on is their vision for how their life could and will be. If they achieved their stated desired goals working with you, what would that be worth? It is probably priceless. It is certainly worth more than your fees. And that is why I refuse to discuss my rates for services before we meet. If I tell them a number--whether it is $30 or $300 dollars it means nothing. I do not know what they want in full yet--and neither do they until they meet and I ask extensive question--they do not really know what I do as I have not explained it yet. And last I heard there was no "going rate" for an Evolutionary Guide except the one I am currently charging. They certainly have not considered what that would make possible and what it is worth. I have yet to meet someone after nearly 200 clients that has considered it before I inquire specifically.
Not only do the numbers mean nothing at early stages of the process--worse, they are comparing it, in their mind, to commodities they could buy with that amount of money. Are they "worth" the same? Of course not. You can not get more love in your life and connectedness and intimacy by paying a car lease, or buying groceries, or a new suit. You can not improve your embodiment of your spirituality by buying a second house.
Yet that is what we encourage them to do by telling them a number up front.
The outcome is inevitable. They start to price shop.
If you truly want to be of service to them in improving their lives, it is irresponsible of you to discuss money or rates before you meet, AND at the appropriate place during that meeting; near the end of that exploratory session. After they have met you, after you have inquired about their desires and outcomes in full. After you have then explained what your approach is--and how it can assist them in getting what they want. You are not selling there--you are just demonstrating competence and establishing unimpeachable credibility. And finally, after you have addressed any questions they have about the process or your offering, but before they see the agreement and your rates.
It is this approach that has me with a consistently full business of one-on-one clients [over 20 a week] and a 98% success rate of converting prospects to clients.
With the one-one-one clients it is my general policy to only renew them under special circumstances. I am not just renewing them. That means I go through this process at least 3 or 4 times a month with a virtual stranger. It works. And I want you to be able to have that kind of confidence in your results--and to turn your practice into a business so that you can live a financially prosperous life as a result of your spiritual principles and living a purpose filled life. Rather than in spite of or in conflict with your spiritual life.
In nearly 5 years of being in this business full time, I have never once had this backfire on me--no one has ever declined to meet me for an exploratory as a result of this policy. I have twice had people in which were not financially qualified, but they were not financially qualified for anyone. And that is the risk I am willing to take for the benefits of this approach.
So HOW do you use this organizing principle?
- Have a firm and unshakable resolve to not discuss your rates. Put it in your FAQ and declare it to the world on your web site. Then, keep your word about it
- Discuss rates only at the appropriate time--after they say what it would make possible in their life, and right before they are handed the agreement
- Use these formulations to ask that question:
- "If you had XYZ, what would that possible in your life?
- "Once we achieve all of that together in this program, what would that open up for you in
- Your relationships
- Your emotional life
- Your professional life?
Get three or 4 out. Unless they go to something universal and spiritual that brings tears to their eyes--in which case, stop right there, it will not get any better than that. Also--be transparent. I usually add, "and that is the context you hold, and the value you are weighing this agreement against".
The more you hear the mind-blowing answers people give, the less you are fearful about raising your rates for new clients--and finally getting paid what you are worth; getting paid more in alignment with the differences you are making in their lives.
Of course, this is one small component of the larger structures you will need to have in place to become more effective at new client acquisition, but it is an important one. I look forward to sharing more with you and being your Guide as you turn your practice into a business in the 21st Century Marketplace.
Mistake: Having only 1 stream of prospectsMost coaches and solo-preneurs rely on word of mouth. Word of mouth is critical. In the 21st Century marketplace there are hyper-empowered and talkative people. This is good for you. However, it is not enough. Make a decision now to take control--to be the locus of responsibility--for the success of your business. While word of mouth is critical, it is only one of at least three prospect streams the successful solo-preneur must establish for themselves. What are those three? Solution:
- Formalized referral systems [two of them]
- Speaking engagements and free evening talks
- Word of mouth
- An affiliate program with a percentage or fee for referrals
- Write a referral clause into your client contract--requiring two if the client is happy with your services. While you do not want to be heavy handed about this, it does set their intention and focus their awareness on a more formal approach to referrals
- Make it explicit in your marketing AND in your introductory remarks that you are there for two reasons:
- to provide value to their lives--first and foremost
- to expose people to and offer an introduction to your services
- Consider this a great backup and occasional unexpected icing on the cake when those unintentional or random referrals occur. And occur they will.
Mistake: Failure to leverage contact points and the opportunity they holdSolution: many
- Consider any contact point you have with a prospect [be it an initial session, an email, or a phone call] an opportunity for you to leverage them beyond their current limitations emotionally or mentally--an opportunity for your to expand their world. An opportunity for you to be of service.
- Do not give "free initial coaching sessions"
- Many coaches and many prospects think it is beneficial to give away services or to experience the practitioner directly. I have never found this to be effective in a prosperous business. If you want to turn your practice into a business then offer a complimentary exploratory session--and consider it an information gathering session for you and a sales presentation for the prospect. Let them get a sense of you, but do not give them free coaching. You are not part of a buffet. You want them to commit to a more fulfilling experience. A full 3 course meal. Be sure to show them the menu and explain the dishes and presentation--be sure to demonstrate your competence, but be careful you are making sure your contact point is leveraged to its full potential--for their sake in finally having a better life--and for yours in creating a sustainable and prosperous business.
- Have them make a decision one way or the other in that exploratory session. If you let them "think about it" then they will get less and less clear on what you presented, and therefore less and less clear on what it will make possible in their lives and their fear and limitations kick in. The very habit patters of the mind that they are coming to you to resolve take over. It is your duty to guide them to a choice in that session. Yes and no are both fine answers--but require an answer. I will often ask a prospect who wants to "think about it" if that is the thing that stops them elsewhere in their lives. That is usually all I have to say in those situations for them to sign the agreement in front of them.
- Be respectful with their experience--set context--and make sure when you chat with them on the phone for the purpose of setting up the exploratory session that they are aware of the process--that they know you will clarify what they want, then explain your approach, and then if it is a fit--have them review a contract. Those contact points are critical for your guidance of the client to changing their lives.
- When a client sends you an email raving about your contribution--or when they acknowledge you verbally communicating the difference you have made for them--ask them if you can quote them. Turn that acknowledgment into a testimonial for your marketing materials.
Mistake: Considering Your Service a CommodityThere is a reason I do not publish my rates. My services are not a commodity on the shelf to be price-shopped. And no one else does what I do, really. And consider that you offer something unique that no one else does. In discovering that you will not only feel better about your "fees", but you will also have take the first step in being able to communicate the value of your services to your clients and prospects in such a way that your fees seems insignificant and nearly irrelevant when measured against the value your service will bring to their lives. And really--just between you and me--do you really feel that a number, no matter how reasonable or how unreasonable it may seem communicates the scope and richness of the difference your service can provide in their lives? Unless you have nothing unique to offer--you do your prospects a disservice by buying into their mindset that they can price shop. I have never lost an opportunity or had a client not want to work with me as a result of this approach. In fact, it is one of the secrets of my success--selling from vision and value and having the money be a formality--but an afterthought.
Mistake #7: Did I say 6?
I guess there is at least one more: "Healing" that which you need to resolve in your self and in your own life by healing othersI am going to say something harsh here and say that I consider it unethical--yes, "unethical" for coaches, therapist, or "healers" to work on the same issues with clients that they have not resolved within themselves. While you may still be able to provide solutions--at least be honest with your client that you have not handled it in your own life. And make a choice now to only provide services that you feel competent, resolved with, and apply to your self in your own life. If you are a relationship coach--have a great relationship. If you are a coach around self-esteem, have a well developed ego [in the positive and healthy sense]. If you are an addict who is still smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, do not counsel others on that. Do not look to heal your wounds through the wounds of others. There is a danger of projection, and even more so--how can you charge someone to solve something you have been unable to demonstrate as being solved in your own life? I hope this article helps you in your desire for sustainable prosperity. Read, listen, learn, and thrive.
It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do--yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well--that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.
There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons--and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a "practice".
The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 in a couple of weeks.
A Lack of Integral Thinking: "Money and Spirituality are in Conflict"
For some, "capitalism" is a bad word. Which makes sense. "Capitalism" was a phrase coined by the biggest enemy of the free market and free enterprise to ever live--Karl Marx. Yet, we keep that inaccurate and pejorative moniker. We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad--and then this meme was punctuated by the evils of capitalism laid out by a failed mathematician who had no foresight into the services industry--never mind respect for private property and Natural Law and was therefore essentially a thief on a grand scale. Even though with the rise of capitalism in the mid-1800s, our standard of living has more than trebled, never mind that our life expectancy has doubled in a short time as a result...it...is...bad.
While there was a a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.
Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head--and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.
The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a "for profit" environment--that is to live a purpose-filled life--but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work--being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and to constantly be of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another's life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange. It takes a lack of attachment to "closing that deal" and being more focused on service and "opening relationships"--and much more.
Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life--and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.
By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.
Lack of Skill: Sales and Marketing
We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people--that is, people who want to "close a deal" rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.
I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives--leverage them beyond their limitations--I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking--the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.
Therefore--if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty--yes, your duty--to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.
You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.
While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales person first--that is you must be able to enroll others in a vision--to live your purpose and prosper.
Error in Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages
One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. "Well, I have tried this and I have tried that...", [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].
The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:
- Tool Gathering/Education
Practical Steps to Emotional FreedomYour practice, if you want to develop choice, facility, and ultimately, personal freedom and mastery over your own subjective experience, is the following: Make a decision right now to take 100% responsibility for your subjective experience. Every bit of it. Your interpretations, your feelings, your emotions, your beliefs—accept that 100% of your subjective experience is generated by…you. This will give you power and access to choice and freedom. It is also a spiritual and emotional truth with over 2600 years of testing, verification, and validation. There are certainly things you will have to give up, self-righteousness and blame being to two big ones, but you have to decide if you want to be right, or be happy. If you want to be happy and free from the emotional matrix of self-generated misery...make the decision now. Having made that decision, then:
- Notice when you are agitated
- Notice how you are characterizing the events [is it descriptive, scientific, or is it a judgment or characterization?]
- Ask yourself what other possible interpretations there are [generate at least three alternative interpretations, making at least one fun] this will build in interpretive flexibility and assist you in taking on multiple perspectives--a critical faculty to build for your personal evolution
- Ask yourself what you know—scientifically, descriptively—and what you are making up or imagining—and separate the two
- Verify your interpretations directly with the party involved
- I am _________.
- People are _________.
- The world is _________.
- I will never _________.
- They always _________.
- Men [are] _________.
- Women [are] _________.
- Finish the sentence in writing as many times as possible within 90 or 120 second—that is, 1.5 or 2 minutes.
- No less than 10 completions, no more than 20 is a useful range
- All answers are acceptable; no filtering, no reframing, no changing of any answers
- Let it flow—that is try to complete the exercise as much as possible without thinking about the answers.
- If they start to get “strange” or unexpected, you are on the right track.
- If they are all happy and shiny, redo the exercise focusing on the shadow side
“We do not respond to reality. We respond to our internal representation of reality.”—NLP Presupposition
“Mind precedes everything. All that you are is a result of what you have thought.”—Buddhist PrinciplePeople of great wisdom and insight in both the East and West agree. Our emotional experience has little or nothing to do with external reality. Oh sure—there are plenty of people, events, situations, and injustices that are easy targets for blame. Bad things happen. And while, often people’s lives are the sum total of their choices, often bad things happen to good people through no action or fault of their own. And less dramatically, unpleasant and undeserved things may happen. Only a fool would dispute that. Events occur. That we cannot change. What we do have tremendous choice over is our experience of those events. And yet, take 5 people and have something negative happen to them and they will all react, respond, and characterize it differently—if even slightly. They will have five different emotional experiences.
What is the difference that makes the difference?One of my favorite examples is when someone does not call when they said they would or we expect them to. Or perhaps they are late or a no-show to some meeting or appointment. When we finally hear from them, how often are they blamed for our negative emotional experience? We say things like, “you made me worry”, or “I was about to call the hospital,” or something of that nature. Perhaps we are relieved when we hear form them. Perhaps we are angry. Perhaps we are both in succession. I love that—“you made me worry”. As if the person forced us to fantasize negative things. The responsible thing to say when we were upset by a lack of information is something like, “I was worried because I lacked facility with my interpretations.” Whether we are conscious of them or not, all of our emotions are a result of our internal maps of reality or our internal representations. How emotionally free are you? To answer that answer this question: how well do you accept or respond to unexpected events—and events that violate your expectations? Here is a simple equation to ponder:
X + Y = EWhere X is the event, Y is your interpretation of the event, and E is the resulting emotion. We have little choice over events. We can interpret them any number of ways. And we usually do—however we usually do it in a negative and disempowering way. That would be bad enough, but we do not stop there, do we? No. We then generalize it out and create a belief about ourselves, people, the world, etc. spreading the madness allowing it to be come one of the filters through which we view the world. To make matters even worse, we do not sort events looking for how they are different than our belief; we look for evidence to buttress it so we feel validated and our small ego gets some satisfaction. Our belief then becomes a conviction. Gather enough “evidence” and it becomes simply the way the world is, or people are. That is, it becomes the truth. Sadly, [for them] most people would rather be right than be accurate. That is, they come to conclusions and then sort for evidence that proves that they are “right” often ignoring evidence to the contrary—actually not even noticing it. Far better to look for how your belief may be inaccurate. Better still, to gather evidence and come to a conclusion after all the information is in. Even better still is to avoid creating global beliefs about anything and any one.
Anger and Stress are Immuno-SupressiveThe person who is hurt the most by our lack of facility is our self. There is a greater and greater volume of research to validate the long-held understanding that negative emotions are a drain on your physical resources negatively impacting health and well being; that positive emotions are uplifting and create greater physical health and well being. I recommend The Molecules of Emotion as a good start.
Practical Steps to Emotional Freedom...
My questions are what if the receptionist says that the decision maker doesn’t take incoming calls, you can only reach him by email or leaving a message with me? Also, if the decision maker says there not interested in a sales call, what do you do?Good questions Michael. There is always a way. Maybe you need to dial another extension and play Columbo and say you were trying to reach so-and-so [decision maker]. You could also ask: what do I need to do to be interesting enough for him/her to take the call? If the decision maker says they are not interested in a sales call then you need to tailor your opening line. What would they be interested in? For instance: "If I could show you how to save 20% on lead generation, would that be interesting to you? Great. Do you have 15 minutes to discuss that?" It is implied you are making a sales call--and you have generated interest and received permission. Thanks Michael. Keep those listener questions coming!
Taking ResponsibilityThe more you take responsibility—for your emotions, your actions, your life the more you build self-esteem. It is not the person who upset you, it is that you became triggered—or that you lost facility. It is not that the cost of living is too high; it is that you are not generating enough income. It is not that someone treats you poorly; it is that you are ineffective at drawing appropriate boundaries. The locus of responsibility—and therefore power—is within you. Nothing is external. To blame someone is to give them tremendous power over you. When you forgo blame in favor of responsibility, you give up comfort, but you reap tremendous rewards—gaining power and building self-esteem. Sadly, I have even experienced people whose ego structure [development of self-esteem] is so insufficient that they will severely distort facts to make themselves look better—all unconsciously. That is, they are not even aware they are doing it. Their ego is so small and fragile it can not include possibilities that do not put them in the most positive light. They also cannot hear feedback. They take things personally that take great leaps of irrationality to do so. They will also have trouble telling the truth of their experience—they are too fearful. And they have a strong -- and at times desperate -- need for approval and acknowledgment from others.They are in egoic hell. Fortunately, the solution is simple. Not easy, but simple. And the more you do it the easier it gets and it is the only sure fire way to build your rational self-esteem; taking responsibility for your part in all things inter-personal. Seeing and examining your part—and ignoring the part the other person had to play in it. Blame serves no one. Responsibility gives you tremendous power.
“Do you want to be on the results side of the equation, or the excuses side of the equation? –Christopher HowardLet’s leave that for now and move to identification. When you identify with an aspect of your experience: possessions, reputation, job, relationship, etc. you will experience extreme fear and perhaps panic if you think it may be taken from you or lost. You will then make choices and take actions out of a fight-or-flight state. Likewise, if it actually is taken from you or lost to you, you will experience loss, perhaps confusion, pain, at times even grief. Often depression and despair are not far behind. Both of these emotional experiences: fear and loss are clear indicators of identification; a case of mistaken identity. Who you truly are is that which is experiencing all of that. Pure awareness. The Witness.
The ultimate spiritual practice is dis-identifying from that which you think is you.”—Ken WilberTaking a step back, let’s look at this in more practical terms. The Witness is simply another perceptual position. As we discussed in the Rapport Module, there are at least 3 that you want to become facile in navigating: self, other, observer; or first, second, and third person perceptual positions. Witness is akin to an associated observer. I like to think of the first three as concentric circles, and the Witness as an intersecting circle that crosses all three. Mastery of this and the other perceptual positions will allow you to experience massive internal facility, emotional freedom, and the ability to relate to and understand many and multiple perspectives—even if you do not agree with them. You will have a greater scope of resources emotionally. You will have greater flexibility mentally. You will bounce back from unexpected events far more rapidly, and you will react less and less and respond more and more. Ultimately, you will foster the kind of flexibility and fluidity necessary for the 21st Century Marketplace and frankly, be happier, physically healthier, and more productive. Your clients and prospects will sense the difference—even if they lack the linguistic structures to navigate it or explain it—and that will translate to results for you. So that is what it is and why it is important, and what it makes possible…but how, Jason? How? You have to learn the set of skills that will allow you to observe your experience. That is: to have your experience without your experience having you. Just as in learning a new language, immersion is best at first if you are serious about learning the skill. There is a practice that I recommend. As in all things I recommend to you, I have either done it, am doing it, or practice it continually. I have experienced this particular immersion six times now. It is a meditative practice that has been working for the purpose of teaching witnessing faculties for 2,500 years now. No matter your religion, spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, you will reap many benefits and those around you will take notice. And soon you will realize how critical a skill it is indeed and how positive its results can be. Find out more about scheduling this kind of immersion for yourself HERE. And then you will truly be an Evolutionary professional.
What is “Spiritual”? Given the current state of the world, I had best define “spiritual” for our purposes here. Typically when someone says spiritual, they mean one of two things:
1. An experience involving some epiphany or outside god or goddess. 2. The revealing of the highest or deepest within each of usI do not mean the first. Nor do I mean something religious. I do not mean prayer, the lighting of incense, or the saying of some rite or ritual. I am not here to condemn those things—they are just not what I mean. What I mean is dis-identifying from that which you think is you and retreating into that which you truly are—pure awareness. Consciousness. The Witness. Let’s further examine this together.
“Know thyself.”—The Oracle of DelphiIn the professional domain: have you ever felt “rejected” by a prospect? Ever taken something personally in the business context? Have you ever felt dejected, depressed, or defeated as a result of some interaction or a failure to open the relationship as you had intended? Have you ever obsessed over that client you knew was not quite a fit for you or your organization? Have you ever lied about the results you were producing to make yourself look better? Have you ever been intentionally vague for the same purpose? Have you ever lost a job and were thrust into a period of confusion and depression? In the personal domain: have you ever stayed in a relationship after you were clear it did not serve you? out of fear of the social implications? Or out of fear of being alone? Or out of a fear of being uncertain who you would be without him/her in your life? Have you ever been afraid to tell the truth about your self or some aspect of your life, not for the wise practical reasons, but out of a fear of rejection? Have you ever considered suicide over the loss of a large sum of money, a relationship, or a major loss of social reputation? Or stayed in a marriage that was abusive for your familial “obligations”? Have you ever been upset because someone forgot your name? Or mispronounced it? Or could not remember meeting you? Maybe you answered yes to some of these, one of these, all of them, or some variation on the theme not listed here for the sake of expediency. These are all a function of two things [and usually both]:
1. Low self-esteem; an underdeveloped ego 2. Identification with that which is not youSelf-esteem I have written about before, and will continue to do so. Just a few quick thoughts here, now: Self-esteem is so necessary and so misunderstood. So misrepresented in popular psychology today. In fact, I often use the phrasing “esteem for the self” with my clients to set what I mean apart from popularized “self-esteem”. One common misconception is that someone else can be “bad” for your self-esteem. It is not the person that is bad for your self-esteem; it is your volitional choice to stay with them that is “bad” for it. We could go on and on deconstructing the misconceptions, but that is for another time. There is only one sure way to build self-esteem...
And if you like it: Comment Digg it Review it in iTunes And create upward spirals for us all! Cross-Posted at Personal Life Media.
Be sure to read Part 1 here.
Awareness is the Gateway
As always it starts with awareness. Most people are not even aware they talk to themselves. In fact, there are likely some of you reading this, saying to yourselves inside your head right now, “what voice in my head? What’s this guy talking about? I don’t talk to myself!” Others are aware of their thoughts and internal dialogue, but judge it, beating themselves up for negative self-talk. If ever there was an ironic twist to missing the point that would be it. Imagine that your unconscious mind is the five-year-old who is listening to every word you say as if it is Holy Scripture. Would you talk to yourself the same way? Once you develop awareness, then you must develop your facility with perceptual positions. It is only from the Observer position of that of Witness that you can give yourself clean feedback, and shift your thoughts to one of resource.
1. Practice awareness [meta-cognition] 2. Develop facility with perceptual position 3. Add positive and resourceful phrases and imaginings
To fully experience the power of intentional self-hypnosis, I recommend the following practice. Do it daily. Do it morning and night. Do it intentionally until it becomes the new habit pattern of your mind such that when you adjust your rear-view mirror, when you walk down the street, when you are about to go into a meeting, what is happening habitually and “naturally” is you are hearing positive thoughts and seeing positive images. And…you are aware of it all the while.
1. Pick 3 sentences you need to hear, believe, or accept. 2. Look in the mirror. As you do, pick one eye to stare into. 3. Say each sentence 5 times using second person language as if you are talking to the you “over there” 4. Notice how it feels [any resistance, incongruence or conflict, relief, joy, etc.Some examples are:
- You will achieve all you desire
- You are on track
- You will enjoy a long life and vibrant health
- You can do anything
- You are loved [or safe, etc.]
- You’re awareness is becoming more and more acute
Optimizing Your Results
Use only positive language. Notice I did not say, “do not use negation” or “do not use negative language”. That is because the unconscious mind does not understand negation. If I say, “do not think of a pink elephant, with yellow polka dots, and a small palm tree growing out of its head”, what do you imagine? At best it is a two-step process, so always use positive language. One common mistake is to say things like: You will not fail You will overcome this illness I will not be rejected Etc. While these may seem like positive messages, the focus for your unconscious mind is on the problem; failure, illness, rejection. A simple way to train your mind to use positive language is to ask, “what do I want instead?” Some people ask, “Why pick just one eye?” You cannot look in both eyes simultaneously with a direct gaze. If you switch back and forth, uncertain or unable to choose just one, that is also less direct. A direct gaze is more powerful and more hypnotic. The suggestions go in more easily and deeper. Try it all three ways, you should feel a tangible difference when choosing just one and gazing directly. If you do this daily, it will become a habit. Your self-talk—your internal dialogue—will become more and more positive. Self-doubt will melt away more and more. And you will find yourself being hopeful, optimistic, and engaged in positive self-hypnosis as if it were second nature. You will reap the benefits and experience the results. Cross posted @ Personal Life Media
The truth is, we are in a state of hypnotic trance more than we are out of it.That is the good news. Once you notice it, and have enough facility to intervene in the process, it becomes a tremendously powerful opportunity to harness the power of your mind. Once you notice it, you can be more respectful of other people’s experience and avoid adding anything negative. The truth is, we are directing each other’s experience all the time. We are hypnotizing each other all the time. Are you adding beauty and joy? Or are we directing people to their internal struggles or pain out of ignorance and “empathy”? One of my favorite jokes to play in a partially full elevator is to look at the floor, placing both my hands on the side of my head, slapping lightly while say, “Shut up. All of you shut up!” What fun. However, there is an unfortunate kernel of truth in this joke for most of us. Recent studies have indicated that over 77% of our self-talk or internal dialogue is negative. This is a stunning number. That is also an average from largely untrained minds.
You Notice What You Think AboutThe Law of Attraction has been one of the mainstays of personal development since its inception. That is, that we are likely to get what we focus on. Like a search engine, we put something in it, hit return, and we get ranked results. Our mind goes looking for what we often unintentionally tasked it with. And yet, we are often telling ourselves and our minds things that are negative, will not help us realize our potential, and will not serve our ultimate happiness. There is a resurgent interest and focus on this Law as a result of the movie The Secret. There is no magic to this. When we set our intention or focus on something, our reticular activator goes into action. A part of our mind and biology left over from hunter gatherer years. Some common examples:
- You decide on a new car you like and want to purchase; suddenly you see that model everywhere
- You make a decision to start a new business venture, and you overhear a stranger at a restaurant who may be helpful
- You make a commitment to a change in your life change and within the next week you see and/or hear multiple marketing messages offering solutions to the very problem you have decided to overcome
"There is no such thing as failure--only feedback for course correction."It is rumored that a missile is of course over 90% of the time. That the purpose of its guidance systems are to constantly course correct, course correct, course correct. Most of the time, with an effective guidance system, we know that even given that necessity for course correction, the missile hits its intended target with a reasonably high level of accuracy.
You are that missile.Just imagine if scientists, upon the first major failure of the Unites States' manned moon missions looked at the fire, balled up their papers in front of them and with a great wail, shreaked "We are such a failure! We better not try to explore space! It is God's realm--not meant for man!" Actually you can bet some of the general public did. Thankfully, the general public does not reside at Mission Control in Houston. Your job is to be a scientist of results, communication, and your own experience. To be fascinated by it. To have it, but not to be so in it, that it has you. Have your experience, but do not allow your experience to have you. What this means is that you are experimenting, noticing your results, gathering feedback, trying again, and again, and again.
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -- Thomas EdisonThere are many skills necessary for mastery of the internal navigation of your subjective experience. However, one of the major components is self-esteem. As previously discussed in Evolutionary Sales, it is your immune system for life and for results. It will give you the ability to look at your results practically, and adjust. Rather than taking it personally and making it mean something about your very worth and value in the world. Be a scientist of subjective experience. A scientist of results. Ask not "is it possible or not", but rather, "what do I need to do to achieve the result I desire; what do I need to learn, acquire, do, be", etc., etc., ad infinitum. Your mastery is an asymptote. You will master your mastery and then realize that there are such subtleties that you have only begun.-- And then you have reached an integral level of evolution and the game of development and personal evolution becomes a fun game indeed. Cross posted at Personal Life Media.
As I mentioned in an earlier episode of Evolutionary Sales, it is impossible to over-estimate the importance of Self-Esteem, or as I prefer to say: "esteem for the self".
Why would I assert it is impossible to over-estimate the importance of Self-Esteem?
Its viability is your immune system for life--and the antidote to most of your day-to-day emotional and interpersonal struggles and challenges. Whether you take things too personally, fail to rebound from rejection quickly enough, have nagging self-doubts, seek validation, or question your ability to create the life you want...it could be considered a self-esteem issue. In fact, whether it is true or not, it would be useful to consider all upset as sourced in self-esteem or insufficient ego development.
Self-esteem is one of the most important, yet most overused and misunderstood concepts in popular psychology today.
What Self-Esteem Is and Is Not Nathaniel Branden, PhD Copyright © 1997, Nathaniel Branden, All Rights Reserved This article is adapted from “The Art of Living Consciously” (Simon & Schuster, 1997). Four decades ago, when I began lecturing on self-esteem, the challenge was to persuade people that the subject was worthy of study. Almost no one was talking or writing about self-esteem in those days. Today, almost everyone seems to be talking about self-esteem, and the danger is that the idea may become trivialized. And yet, of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. Having written on this theme in a series of books, I want, in this short article, to address the issue of what self-esteem is, what it depends on, and what are some of the most prevalent misconceptions about it. Self-esteem is an experience. It is a particular way of experiencing the self. It is a good deal more than a mere feeling—this must be stressed. It involves emotional, evaluative, and cognitive components. It also entails certain action dispositions: to move toward life rather than away from it; to move toward consciousness rather than away from it; to treat facts with respect rather than denial; to operate self-responsibly rather than the opposite. A Definition To begin with a definition: Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment—happiness—are right and natural for us. The survival-value of such confidence is obvious; so is the danger when it is missing. Self-esteem is not the euphoria or buoyancy that may be temporarily induced by a drug, a compliment, or a love affair. It is not an illusion or hallucination. If it is not grounded in reality, if it is not built over time through the appropriate operation of mind, it is not self-esteem. The root of our need for self-esteem is the need for a consciousness to learn to trust itself. And the root of the need to learn such trust is the fact that consciousness is volitional: we have the choice to think or not to think. We control the switch that turns consciousness brighter or dimmer. We are not rational—that is, reality-focused—automatically. This means that whether we learn to operate our mind in such a way as to make ourselves appropriate to life is ultimately a function of our choices. Do we strive for consciousness or for its opposite? For rationality or its opposite? For coherence and clarity or their opposite? For truth or its opposite? Building Self-Esteem In “The Six Pillars of Self Esteem,” I examine the six practices that I have found to be essential for the nurturing and sustaining of healthy self-esteem: the practice of living consciously, of self-acceptance, of self-responsibility, of self-assertiveness, of purposefulness, and of integrity. I will briefly define what each of these practices means: The practice of living consciously: respect for facts; being present to what we are doing while are doing it; seeking and being eagerly open to any information, knowledge, or feedback that bears on our interests, values, goals, and projects; seeking to understand not only the world external to self but also our inner world, so that we do not out of self-blindness. The practice of self-acceptance: the willingness to own, experience, and take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and actions, without evasion, denial, or disowning—and also without self-repudiation; giving oneself permission to think one’s thoughts, experience one’s emotions, and look at one’s actions without necessarily liking, endorsing, or condoning them; the virtue of realism applied to the self. The practice of self-responsibility: realizing that we are the author of our choices and actions; that each one us is responsible for life and well-being and for the attainment of our goals; that if we need the cooperation of other people to achieve our goals, we must offer values in exchange; and that question is not “Who’s to blame?” but always “What needs to be done?” (“What do I need to do?”) The practice of self-assertiveness: being authentic in our dealings with others; treating our values and persons with decent respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval; the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways in appropriate contexts. The practice of living purposefully: identifying our short-term and long-term goals or purposes and the actions needed to attain them (formulating an action-plan); organizing behavior in the service of those goals; monitoring action to be sure we stay on track; and paying attention to outcome so as to recognize if and when we need to go back to the drawing-board. The practice of personal integrity: living with congruence between what we know, what we profess, and what we do; telling the truth, honoring our commitments, exemplifying in action the values we profess to admire. What all these practices have in common is respect for reality. They all entail at their core a set of mental operations (which, naturally, have consequences in the external world). When we seek to align ourselves with reality as best we understand it, we nurture and support our self-esteem. When, either out of fear or desire, we seek escape from reality, we undermine our self-esteem. No other issue is more important or basic than our cognitive relationship to reality—meaning: to that which exists. A consciousness cannot trust itself if, in the face of discomfiting facts, it has a policy of preferring blindness to sight. A person cannot experience self-respect who too often, in action, betrays consciousness, knowledge, and conviction—that is, who operates without integrity. Thus, if we are mindful in this area, we see that self-esteem is not a free gift of nature. It has to be cultivated, has to be earned. It cannot be acquired by blowing oneself a kiss in the mirror and saying, “Good morning, Perfect.” It cannot be attained by being showered with praise. Nor by sexual conquests. Nor by material acquisitions. Nor by the scholastic or career achievements of one’s children. Nor by a hypnotist planting the thought that one is wonderful. Nor by allowing young people to believe they are better students than they really are and know more than they really know; faking reality is not a path to mental health or authentic self-assurance. However, just as people dream of attaining effortless wealth, so they dream of attaining effortless self-esteem—and unfortunately the marketplace is full of panderers to this longing. People can be inspired, stimulated, or coached to live more consciously, practice greater self-acceptance, operate more self-responsibly, function more self-assertively, live more purposefully, and bring a higher level of personal integrity into their life—but the task of generating and sustaining these practices falls on each of us alone. “If I bring a higher level of awareness to my self-esteem, I see that mine is the responsibility of nurturing it.” No one—not our parents, nor our friends, nor our lover, nor our psychotherapist, nor our support group—can “give” us self-esteem. If and when we fully grasp this, that is an act of “waking up.” Misconceptions about Self-Esteem When we do not understand the principles suggested above, we tend to seek self-esteem where it cannot be found—and, if we are in “the self-esteem movement,” to communicate our misunderstandings to others. Teachers who embrace the idea that self-esteem is important without adequately grasping its roots may announce (to quote one such teacher) that “self-esteem comes primarily from one’s peers.” Or (quoting many others): “Children should not be graded for mastery of a subject because it may be hurtful to their self-esteem.” Or (quoting still others): “Self-esteem is best nurtured by selfless (!) service to the community.” In the “recovery movement” and from so-called spiritual leaders in general one may receive a different message: “Stop struggling to achieve self-esteem. Turn your problems over to God. Realize that you are a child of God—and that is all you need to have self-esteem.” Consider what this implies if taken literally. We don’t need to live consciously. We don’t need to act self-responsibly. We don’t need to have integrity. All we have to do is surrender responsibility to God and effortless self-esteem is guaranteed to us. This is not a helpful message to convey to people. Nor is it true. Yet another misconception—very different from those I have just discussed—is the belief that the measure of our personal worth is our external achievements. This is an understandable error to make but it is an error nonetheless. We admire achievements, in ourselves and in others, and it is natural and appropriate to do so. But this is not the same thing as saying that our achievements are the measure or grounds of our self-esteem. The root of our self-esteem is not our achievements per se but those internally generated practices that make it possible for us to achieve. How much we will achieve in the world is not fully in our control. An economic depression can temporarily put us out of work. A depression cannot take away the resourcefulness that will allow us sooner or later to find another or go into business for ourselves. “Resourcefulness” is not an achievement in the world (although it may result in that); it is an action in consciousness—and it is here that self-esteem is generated. To clarify further the importance of understanding what self-esteem is and is not, I want to comment on a recent research report that has gained a great deal of attention in the media and has been used to challenge the value of self-esteem. By way of preamble let me say that one of the most depressing aspects of so many discussions of self-esteem today is the absence of any reference to the importance of thinking or respect for reality. Too often, consciousness or rationality are not judged to be relevant, since they are not raised as considerations. The notion seems to be that any positive feeling about the self, however arrived at and regardless of its grounds, equals “self-esteem.” We encounter this assumption in a much publicized research paper by Roy F. Baumeister, Joseph M. Boden, and Laura Smart, entitled “Relation of Threatened Egotism to Violence and Aggression: The Dark Side of High Self-Esteem,” published in the “Psychological Review” (1996, Vol. 103, 5-33). In it the authors write: Conventional wisdom has regarded low self-esteem as an important cause of violence, but the opposite view is theoretically viable. An interdisciplinary review of evidence about aggression, crime, and violence contradicted the view that low self-esteem is an important cause. Instead, violence appears to be most commonly a result of threatened egotism—that is, highly favorable views of self that are disputed by some person or circumstance. Inflated, unstable, or tentative beliefs in the self’s superiority may be most prone to encountering threats and hence to causing violence. The mediating process may involve directing anger outward as a way of avoiding a downward revision of the self-concept. The article contains more astonishing statements than it is possible to quote, but here are a few representative examples: “In our view, the benefits of favorable self-opinions accrue primarily to the self, and they are if anything a burden and potential problem to everyone else.” “By self-esteem we mean simply a favorable global evaluation of oneself. The term self-esteem has acquired highly positive connotations, but it has simple synonyms the connotations of which are more mixed, including … egotism, arrogance … conceitedness, narcissism, and sense of superiority, which share the fundamental meaning of favorable self-evaluation.” “[W]e propose that the major cause of violence is high self-esteem combined with an ego threat [which is caused by someone challenging your self-evaluation].” “Apparently, then, alcohol generally helps create a state of high self-esteem.” Observe, first of all, that there is nothing in the authors’ idea of self-esteem that would allow one to distinguish between an individual whose self-esteem is rooted in the practices of living consciously, self-responsibility, and personal integrity—that is, one whose self-esteem is rooted in reality—and one whose “self-esteem” consists of grandiosity, fantasies of superiority, exaggerated notions of one’s accomplishments, megalomania, and “favorable global self-evaluations” induced by drugs and alcohol. No definition of self-esteem or piece of research that obliterates a distinction of this fundamentality can make any claim to scientific legitimacy. It leaves reality out of its analysis. One does not need to be a trained psychologist to know that some people with low self-esteem strive to compensate for their deficit by boasting, arrogance, and conceited behavior. What educated person does not know about compensatory defense mechanisms? Self-esteem is not manifested in the neurosis we call narcissism—or in megalomania. One has to have a strange notion of the concept to equate in self-esteem the trail-blazing scientist or entrepreneur, moved by intellectual self-trust and a passion to discover or achieve, and the terrorist who must sustain his “high self-evaluation” with periodic fixes of torture and murder. To offer both types as instances of “high self-esteem” is to empty the term of any useable meaning. An important purpose of fresh thinking is to provide us with new and valuable distinctions that will allow us to navigate more effectively through reality. What is the purpose of “thinking” that destroys distinctions already known to us that are of life-and-death importance? It is tempting to comment on this report in greater detail because it contains so many instances of specious reasoning. However, such a discussion would not be relevant here, since my intention is only to show the importance of a precise understanding of self-esteem and also to show what can happen when consciousness and reality are omitted from the investigation. So I will conclude with one last observation. In an interview given to a journalist, one of the researchers (Roy F. Baumeister), explaining his opposition to the goal of raising people’s self-esteem, is quoted as saying: “Ask yourself: If everybody were 50 percent more conceited, would the world be a better place?”  The implication is clearly that self-esteem and conceit are the same thing—both undesirable. Webster defines conceit as an exaggerated [therefore in defiance of facts] opinion of oneself and one’s merits. No, the world would not be a better place if everybody were 50 percent more conceited. But would the world be a better place if everybody had earned a 50 percent higher level of self-esteem, by living consciously, responsibly, and with integrity? Yes, it would—enormously. Awareness of What Affects Our Self-Esteem Self-esteem reflects our deepest vision of our competence and worth. Sometimes this vision is our most closely guarded secret, even from ourselves, as when we try to compensate for our deficiencies with what I call pseudo-self-esteem—a pretense at a self-confidence and self-respect we do not actually feel. Nothing is more common than the effort to protect self-esteem not with consciousness but with unconsciousness—with denial and evasion—which only results in a further deterioration of self-esteem. Indeed a good deal of the behavior we call “neurotic” can be best understood as a misguided effort to protect self-esteem by means which in fact are undermining. Whether or not we admit it, there is a level at which all of us know that the issue of our self-esteem is of the most burning importance. Evidence for this observation is the defensiveness with which insecure people may respond when their errors are pointed out. Or the extraordinary feats of avoidance and self-deception people can exhibit with regard to gross acts of unconsciousness and irresponsibility. Or the foolish and pathetic ways people sometimes try to prop up their egos by the wealth or prestige of their spouse, the make of their automobile, or the fame of their dress designer, or by the exclusiveness of their golf club. In more recent times, as the subject of self-esteem has gained increasing attention, one way of masking one’s problems in this area is with the angry denial that self-esteem is significant (or desirable). Not all the values with which people may attempt to support a pseudo-self-esteem are foolish or irrational. Productive work, for instance, is certainly a value to be admired, but if one tries to compensate for a deficient self-esteem by becoming a workaholic one is in a battle one can never win—nothing will ever feel like “enough.” Kindness and compassion are undeniably virtues, and they are part of what it means to lead a moral life, but they are no substitutes for consciousness, independence, self-responsibility, and integrity—and when this is not understood they are often used as disguised means to buy “love” and perhaps even a sense of moral superiority: “I’m more kind and compassionate than you’ll ever be and if I weren’t so humble I’d tell you so.” One of the great challenges to our practice of living consciously is to pay attention to what in fact nurtures our self-esteem or deteriorates it. The reality may be very different from our beliefs. We may, for example, get a very pleasant “hit” from someone’s compliment, and we may tell ourselves that when we win people’s approval we have self-esteem, but then, if we are adequately conscious, we may notice that the pleasant feeling fades rather quickly and that we seem to be insatiable and never fully satisfied—and this may direct us to wonder if we have thought deeply enough about the sources of genuine self-approval. Or we may notice that when we give our conscientious best to a task, or face a difficult truth with courage, or take responsibility for our actions, or speak up when we know that that is what the situation warrants, or refuse to betray our convictions, or persevere even when persevering is not easy—our self-esteem rises. We may also notice that if and when we do the opposite, self-esteem falls. But of course all such observations imply that we have chosen to be conscious. In the world of the future, children will be taught the basic dynamics of self-esteem and the power of living consciously and self-responsibly. They will be taught what self-esteem is, why it is important, and what it depends on. They will learn to distinguish between authentic self-esteem and pseudo-self-esteem. They will be guided to acquire this knowledge because it will have become apparent to virtually everyone that the ability to think (and to learn and to respond confidently to change) is our basic means of survival—and that it cannot be faked. The purpose of school is to prepare young people for the challenges of adult life. They will need this understanding to be adaptive to an information age in which self-esteem has acquired such urgency. In a fiercely competitive global economy—with every kind of change happening faster and faster—there is little market for unconsciousness, passivity, or self-doubt. In the language of business, low self-esteem and underdeveloped mindfulness puts one at a competitive disadvantage. However, neither teachers in general nor teachers of self-esteem in particular can do their jobs properly—or communicate the importance of their work—until they themselves understand the intimate linkage that exists between the six practices described above, self-esteem, and appropriate adaptation to reality. “The world of the future” begins with this understanding.
Do yourself a favor and go and purchase The Six Pillars of Self Esteem and read the book in the next two weeks...
Then read it twice a year for the rest of your life. Like anything else, you will experience it differently each time you read it--as you will be deeper, you will be ready for things you are not ready to hear currently, and you will see a different aspect of it each time you read it, especially as you add more aspects of yourself to your life--and reveal more of yourself in all contexts of your life.
This is true of all information; books, audio products, workshops, etc. As I have said before, "repetition is the mother of integration" for more reasons than three.
- A compressed sense of time
- A case of mistaken identity
- An evaluation that is a confusion of logical levels
- we have extreme fear about losing something
- we experience extreme misery or despair of one of these things is taken from us or we “lose” it
- we experience shame if it is jeopardized by our behaviors
- Develop emotional awareness; notice when you are in the shame
- Develop perceptual flexibility; step out and notice your emotional state thereby dis-identifying from it [NOT disassociating, but rather dis-identifying]
- Expand your focus to include other positive representations of your behavior, and consciously expand your unconscious sense of time
- Remind yourself that whoever you think you are [behaviors, etc.] you are more than that.
- As always ask yourself: “how am I responsible” and “what can I learn?”
- Add resources and imagine yourself behaving with these additional resources in the future
- Indicator of a crossed boundary
- How am I responsible
- What can I learn or gain from this that will allow me to release the anger completely?