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The 6 Stages to Plan on When You Want to Change

Way back in 1977, while I was graduating from Simmons College (and wondering how the heck I was going to get a job using what I’d learned), James Prochaska and his colleagues at the University of Rhode Island were developing a revolutionary new theory about how people change. It was called the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), which proposed that people who successfully change their behavior pass through six stages.

* Precontemplation (not ready): You don’t intend to take action anytime soon. You may not even know what the problem is.

* Contemplation (getting ready): You become aware of the problem and start to weigh the pros and cons of changing your behavior.

* Preparation (ready): You intend to take action in the immediate future. You make a plan to change and start taking small steps toward the change.

* Action: You are now making modifications in your behavior.

* Maintenance: You have successfully changed and you’re working to prevent relapse.

* Termination (this stage is optional; not everyone attains it): You are no longer tempted by your former behavior and don’t even consider returning to it.

While Prochaska et. al. focused mainly on how to help people modify unhealthy habits, such as smoking and overeating, his model of change can also apply to the world of business.

Here’s an example of these stages in action:

Stephanie hired me because she was in the process of starting her own marketing firm. She was still working full-time at her day job and spending close to another 40 hours a week building her own company. Understandably, she was getting tired. But she couldn’t begin to consider quitting her old job until she could support herself and her family with her new one.

Stephanie was in the precontemplation stage: she had the feeling something was amiss, but she didn’t know what to do about it.

I gave Stephanie the assignment to imagine what her life and her workday would look like when she could focus exclusively on her new business. How did her behavior represent her values? Was she able to be her authentic self in the new role?

By visualizing what it might be like to focus all her energy on her new business, Stephanie entered the contemplation stage. She had begun to assess the benefits (and the risks) of taking this big step in her career.

Next, I asked Stephanie to figure out what had to happen before she could leave her full-time job. Our following session was devoted to reviewing her vision and creating steps to get her there, including a timeline. With that, Stephanie moved into the preparation stage: she was now ready to move into action.

What I’ve learned from reviewing Prochaska’s model and working with my clients is that there’s a process and an order to change. The actions you need to take depend on what stage you are at in the process. There’s a time to mull over an idea, a time to address whether the change is possible by exploring the pros and cons and reaching out to others for input, a time to put a stake in the ground by committing to dates, and a time to move into action.

As you work toward your goals that require change this year, consider: Where are you in the process? If you can’t make a decision about what to do, maybe the pros of changing don’t outweigh the cons: the pain of staying put has not yet become worse than the discomfort of change. Perhaps the time isn’t quite right. Sometimes you have to go backward a step or two in the process. Sometimes you just have to leap across that barrier.

You can take a more mindful approach to change by being aware of where you are within the process of change, and using that knowledge to support you.

5 Ways Business Owners Can Overcome Their Fears

Fear is a powerful instinct, one that colors many of our decisions whether we’re aware of it or not. Think about it: how often are you influenced, or even paralyzed, by your fears of what could go wrong? Yet some people have figured out how to use fear to their advantage, to harness fear’s energy to help them get things done. How can you be one of those people? Below are five ideas to help you move away from fear and toward action.

1 – Reframe. What’s important is not what happens to you, but how you view it. Frequently our fears are based not on reality, but on a story we’ve made up about something that happened in the past. You had an unpleasant experience, you drew some conclusions about it, and now you have a negative belief about that event. Any time a similar situation comes up, you automatically shrink from it. What if you look for other possible ways to tell that story? Or even re-tell the story and have it end with a positive outcome?

2 – Remove the unknown. Fear was causing my client Maxine, an environmental consultant, to drag her feet on getting an important proposal out the door. During our coaching meeting, I asked her, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Maxine thought for a moment. “Well, the worst would be that after putting all this work into the proposal, the prospect rejects it.” And the best thing that could happen? “The company agrees to the proposal, and I get to work on a project I’ve wanted for years!” Looking at the potential upsides and downsides made Maxine realize the possible rewards for getting her proposal finished far outweighed the risks.

3 – Record it. Stefan woke at 2:30 a.m. racked with anxiety about a problem with the month’s financial numbers. As he watched the clock turn to 3 a.m., he remembered what I’d told him to do whenever his mind starts going on endless loop. He turned on the light, picked up pen and paper, and wrote down all the thoughts in his head. When he was done, he fell asleep knowing he had some good ideas about how to fix the situation (and that he’d remember them!). Writing down your worries lets you quit traveling the same mental pathways over and over and take control of the situation.

4 – Reposition yourself. Instead of slumping and making yourself appear smaller, stand up straight, hold your head up, and look people in the eye. Believe it or not, placing yourself in a posture of confidence and power can actually affect your body chemistry and give you the boost you need to break out of your fear. Click here to watch a Ted talk on this subject by social psychologist Amy Cuddy.

5 – Remember to breathe. You’re standing at the podium and the butterflies in your stomach have just transformed into boulders. What do you do? According to communication expert Cheryl Dolan, deep belly breathing is the most powerful antidote to stage fright — or any other situation you perceive as threatening. “It slows your heart rate, focuses your mind, and instantly interrupts the fight-or-flight chemicals in your central nervous system, allowing you to be calm and responsive vs. reactive and anxious,” Dolan says.

Lastly, take a minute to consider how fear might spur you to become even more successful in your business. In a recent Success magazine interview, inventor and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil noted that some people are so afraid of failure that they don’t even try. He prefers to see failure as only a setback, part of a growth process that can then be built upon. He even has a special term for failure: success deferred.

Programming Your Mind For Success

Simply by meditating for just a short while every day you can drastically improve your health, lessen stress and find a far more profound and lasting happiness. What’s best, you do not actually have to spend years studying to accomplish meditation as this article will show you.

Once you discover how to quiet your mind, you will find your true self. It’s in this calmness where you come across inner tranquility. It’s in those tranquil moments when you are able to really switch your attention to your own inner body so that it may renew and refresh itself. This is just what meditation is able to do for us.

The benefits of meditating are already scientifically proven again and again. Meditation has been shown to improve health and wellbeing by promoting inner calm, assisting improve the immune system as well as helping in fighting diseases. Likewise, meditation is shown to be of special benefit to societal relationships. When we are calm, we make better listeners who’re more caring and whom others want to spend time around. As though that were not sufficient, meditation has even been shown to make people more efficient at work simply by making them much more mindful.

Make meditation a regular practice. If you truly want to reap the benefits of meditation, ensure that you do not do it as a one-time event. As much as possible, you should be in the position to meditate day-to-day. It doesn’t matter for how long (the suggestion is for as long as you can). The most important thing is you are able to do it right and routinely.

Through the use of Binaural beats you are able to assist train your mind to enter the deep mediative state that you need. Binaural beat technology was discovered in 1839 and it’s still studied even now simply because of its powerful outcomes. By playing binaural recordings, you can help your brain reach those lower frequencies and you can peacefully reach deep meditation states. The recordings are used with headphones to supply a pair of different sound streams to your ears (hence the phrase binaural). The mind actively works to combine the sounds which is able to change your brain waves.

Something to bear in mind is the fact that brainwave entrainment is a natural phenomenon that occurs when your brain falls into synchronization through an external stimulus, such as sound. Your mind changes from its dominant frequency to complement that of the stimulus frequency. It occurs by natural means everyday. We easily entrain our brains whenever we tune in to a piece of music or watch and listen to rainfall dropping in the window sill. By purposely utilizing binaural beats and isochronic tones to go in mediative states you’re merely supplying the mind with the stimulation it requires to get into that state.

Theres plenty of resources available on the net to help you enjoy and get started with your meditation practice. Rest assured that following a short period of time you’ll be experiencing and enjoying the benefits of this ancient practice. It’s important to keep it up. Devote some ‘you’ time each and every day. Very quickly you’ll be very glad you did. There are some wonderful audio mediations available online which can lead you into relaxed states. They could additionally aid in visualization techniques as a number of of them integrate lovely soundscapes. Enjoy your journey and happy meditations.

Are You An Expert Or A Thought Leader?

I remember when I first started my coaching business and the idea of saying I was an expert gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach. After all, who was I to say I was an expert? Wouldn’t that be bragging or worse – wouldn’t I be laughed at if I didn’t know the answer to a question?

These thoughts and feelings come up for many people when they begin their businesses. Yet it’s a necessary evil because having expert status has always been a cornerstone of your brand.

After all you don’t typically see commercials for “we kind of know what we’re doing” you see commercials for “we are the BEST at solving your problem.”

Positioning yourself as an expert is important because people want to work with service providers that deeply understand what they’re going through and can expertly guide them to a solution. They are going to hire the person they trust to take good care of them.

The problem is that when everyone is positioning themselves as experts it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out in the marketplace, and naturally a new echelon of expert as emerged – the thought leader.

A thought leader goes beyond expert status- they aren’t just sharing knowledge, they have a message to share and challenge the way you think about a subject.

It’s a term I’ve been hearing more and more over the last year. I’ve even been using it myself when I describe my ideal clients.

You see an expert possesses a special skill or knowledge in a particular area. They are a trusted adviser, they can do things for you, or tell you how to do things you couldn’t do yourself because you haven’t reached the same level of mastery.

A thought leader doesn’t just tell you something though, a thought leader helps you experience it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

A thought leader has so much expertise in their area that they have the confidence to challenge the status quo and introduce new paradigms. They demonstrate their mastery by stepping out of the box.

They have a mission and a message that they are passionate about sharing with the world.

If you want people to hire you to do something then being an expert is enough. If your goal is to effect change and inspire people to change the way they look at the world then positioning yourself as a thought leader is essential.

The Greatest Secret of Nature

Let’s Get Started…

I invite you to consider a great principle of Nature-a great natural force that manifests its activities in mental phenomena…which some have called Mind Power. This thought is based on the fundamental concept that in Nature exists a dynamic mental principle,”Mind Power”, which pervades all space, is in all things and manifests in a variety of forms, degrees and phases. This energy is freely available to everyone, just like the wind, and it responds to those mental operations known to us as desire, will and imagination. It may be difficult for you to grasp the concept of Mind Power right now, but it will become much clearer as these mysteries are uncovered and at last, exposed.

The truth is, the whole subject of Mind Power is nothing more than scientific claims for the principle of physical energy-does that mean Mind Power is identical with the physical energy of science? Is this phenomenon little more than a high form of mechanical or material energy? No! Mind power is very different from a blind, mechanical energy. It is a living, mental force which is behind the manifestations of physical energy and mechanical force. It is not the physical energy of science, but is more like a “Living Will” which is causing the physical energy to manifest.

Here’s an example to better illustrate the point:

You desire to move your hand-and it moves. Why? Because of the manifestation of the wonderful and mysterious force called “will” which is stored up within you, and which you have released to move the hand. You send a current of “nerve-force” which is really a manifestation of Mind Power or “Will-force” from your brain, along the nerves of the arm, which contacts the muscles of the arm and hand, and your desire is gratified. Your desire or “wish” set Mind Power into motion, which acted upon the material substance of your body and caused it to act. The result: By your Will, your hand moved. But what is flowing along the nerves to make contact? Is it electricity or magnetism? No again! …It is that subtle, mysterious thing called Mind Power… which is bound together with the Will.

For clarity, Will can be another name for Intent. Mind Power is an actual living force. It’s the force that makes plants, animals and even our bodies to grow,develop and evolve. Mind Power enables all living things to move and act. It is an existing, living, mental, acting force, manifesting sometimes with an astounding power, and sometimes with a delicate, subtle touch that is almost perceptible, and yet still accomplishes the desired outcome.

So the first step to realizing the truth about Mind Power is to understand that it already exists-within you, and every-where, as movements of consciousness… the divine ‘spark’ of action…of vibration… of creation. In fact Luther Burbank, a man who revolutionized our concept of “plant-life” in the early 1900’s said, “All my investigations have led me away from the idea of a dead material universe tossed about by various forces, to that of a universe which is absolutely all force, life, soul, thought, or whatever name we choose to call it.

Every atom, molecule, plant, animal or planet, is only an aggregation of organized unit forces held in place by stronger forces, thus holding them for a time latent, though teeming with inconceivable power. All life on our planet is, so to speak, just on the outer fringe of this infinite ocean of force. The universe is not half dead, but all alive.” Mind Power is openly available and ready to be consciously used by anyone willing and ready to use it. It’s here, for you, now. Most of the battle is already won by simply being aware of Mind Power, understanding what Mind Power truly is, and then learning to apply it using simple techniques to help you control it.

 

7 Effective Ways To Develop Intelligence

1. Quality Rest

Our body is designed so that a continuous activity quickly wears us out, and there is nothing we can do but fall down. To avoid this, insert breaks of 30 minutes to an hour while working. How can this affect the intelligence, you may ask? It’s simple. The brain is involved in any work, and so it also must rest fully. Everyone must have noticed at some point that if they did not sleep well or were very tired, they couldn’t concentrate on the business at hand. If you want to boost your intellectual capacity, start with sleeping at least 8 hours a day. If you are tired from work, relax for an hour. If you keep working without giving your body a rest, you can burn out and it will affect your health and mental abilities.

2. Throw Your TV Out

Most people relax in front of their TV after work, but there are alternative ways of quality rest. Watching TV hampers the development of intelligence because the TV is a tool for the government which programs our subconsciousness for the worse. If you want to be a smart and multi-faceted personality and think effectively, stop watching TV. It is better to enjoy a good movie on DVD. Read books on self-development, communicate with your loved ones, watch movies that you enjoy. All in all, if you want develop your intellect, give up TV.

3. Read Books

How to develop intelligence? Read clever and educational literature. Read the books of authors who are the best in their subject. Reading good literature, you will not only increase your intelligence, but also enrich your vocabulary, grammar, and expand your horizons.

4. Mind Games

If we do not train and develop our brain for a long time, it begins to degrade. To avoid this, train it. How can you do this? There are a lot of methods. The best ones are a game of chess, crossword puzzles, IQ tests, i. e. the activity that requires solving difficult problems. A person develops only when he or she uses a new level of his or her abilities. You should also begin to develop your memory which is an integral part of intelligence.

5. Your Physical Condition

Regular physical activity, sports and healthy food contribute to the development of human intelligence. The people who exercise regularly get large amounts of energy and endorphins, which has a positive effect on the brain and human intelligence. Monitor everything that enters your body. Our brain requires fatty acids to work effectively. Include fish dishes, vegetables, fruits and vitamins, especially B12, in your diet.

6. Harmful Substances

In order to have a developed intellect, reduce the bad habits that poison the body to a minimum. Those are alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical preparations (tablets, vaccines and so on). Discard the harmful substances once and for all, or at the very least reduce their intake. The effect will be noticeable immediately.

7. Meditate

The process of thinking helps the development of intelligence. When a person begins to think about something, be it an important decision or something else, his or her brain begins its natural work, and we must remember that to have a high intelligence, we need to train our brain constantly. The best and the right decisions are taken when a person is completely relaxed and calm. Relaxation and tranquility are activating means, which, along with our intuition, are crucial to success when taking decisions.

Depression – Can You Bring It To An End ?

Everybody gets sad once in a while. It’s normal to feel sad on a rainy day, get sentimental over a lost person, or feel lonely during really low moments of your life.

Once depression gets out of your hands, it can wreak destruction on your mental state and drive you to emotional lows. In the worst cases, depression can get you to the point that you might think about or even really choose to end your life. So if you think you’re experiencing extreme emotional lows, then you must do something about this.

But how would you know if it’s only a normal sadness or is it depression?

Depression shows some signs (symptoms): feeling sad without any apparent reason, getting mad at anything, everything, anyone, and everyone around you, thinking that your life has no purpose, feeling of failure, feeling that you’re not good enough for anything, always feeling tired, feeling that there is no more hope for solving your problems, – and the worst – feeling that you don’t deserve to live anymore.

These are some of the most common symptoms of depression. Recognizing these signs can help you to take action before it becomes more serious.

Knowing the root cause of these symptoms enhances the chances of recovery.

The reasons behind depression are always related with your state of mind, environment, and/or present circumstances. You may feel low if you are having issues at work, marriage or your financial balance. The process of resolving these problems may result in stress. And stress may cause physical symptoms: head aches, muscle aches, back aches. Emotional pain coupled with physical ills can really affect the way you view your life.

Depression can also be caused by bad experiences: the death of someone you love, loss of something significant, your kid having an accident, humiliating event at your workplace or school, traumatic environment at home. Some people manage to bypass easier unpleasant events, but some more sensitive persons are getting depressed and let these events to haunt them a long time.

The best way to treat depression is to think positively. Do like Herm Albright said: “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”;-). Thinking negatively about a problem would only aggravate the problem – or at least the way you see it. You must think: “This is the problem. So what? The sun will rise again tomorrow morning, anyway.” There is a solution to every problem, yours included. Sulking about the problem won’t do any good.

Unfortunately, not all people think that way. This is when depression shows it’s ugly face. You start thinking “I’m the unluckiest person alive. No one is there when I need help. It’s better to die than suffer all this miserable life…”

Do you think this way? If so, you need to go to a psychiatrist to ask for help. Various drugs can help you cope with depression. However, these medications treat not the actual cause of depression, but the symptoms. Complete recovery is only on your hands, but mostly on your ability to have a positive outlook in life. Of course this is much easier said than done. Asking for medication is not the first thing you must do when you go to a psychiatrist. The first thing you must ask your psychiatrist is help in developing a positive outlook and in controlling your depressive mood swings.

Depression is a serious disease. It causes emotional and mental breakdown, and it can result to suicide if left untreated. Depression should be diagnosed immediately. It is not a disorder that is easy to cure; but a depressive person must always remember: no one is alone in the world. Even if you live a very discreet and lonely life, there’s at least one person out there who cares for you. You’re a strong person. You’re not alone. Don’t let yourself lose the battle. Don’t let depression win. Keep your loved ones close to you and you will feel invincible.

Lucid dreaming for beginners

Lucid dreaming is a person’s ability to realize that they are dreaming, while in a dream. For first-timers, this is likely to happen when something out of the ordinary arises like soaring using your own wings or any time anything peculiar occurs. Many people, who have only begun lucid dreaming, get problems in the dream and awaken, while some could possibly continue with a dream for a long time.

While you are lucid dreaming, you may have some control on his or her dream. Research shows that lucid dreaming is possible and anybody can do it.

If you are enthusiastic about experiencing your own lucid dream, bear in mind that it takes time and practice to completely master this technique so it is essential that you do not quit. The below mentioned guidelines are typically utilized by many people to be able to design their dreams:

1. Develop dream recognition

The most efficient and also desired method of doing this is maintaining a dream journal. A lot of people may rely on their memory however it is rarely foolproof to do so. Maintain a dream diary with a pen close to you when you sleep. You can also use a tape recorder, a laptop or your mobile to note your dreams down.
It is ideal that you just note your dream down the instant you wake up, in twenty minutes, since the dream will get cloudier after a while.

Make a conscious effort to recall your dream before falling asleep
Before drifting off to sleep, keep telling yourself that you will remember whatever you will dream tonight. Say it to yourself frequently like a chant. Be sure you honestly attempt at recalling your dream instead of being too tough on yourself. Remember keeping calm is one of the key factors in lucid dreaming.

Once you wake up, rerun the dream as many times as possible in bed

Dream researchers have claimed that an individual may not remember his dream unless he wakes up in the course of one. In case you wake up at the time of a dream, you are not likely to remember it for much time. To exercise your dream recall, question every time you wake up at nighttime as well as in the morning as to what you had been dreaming about.

Remain in the same position in your bed and put a conscious attempt into recalling your dream before getting out of bed. If you are able to recall your dream, change your position with your eyes closed and attempt to recall other dreams. You remember a dream in a particular position quite possibly since you were having that dream in this particular position.

2. Reality check

Around five to 10 times a day, ask yourself if you happen to be dreaming. Look for items near you that could signal you could be in the real world. When you look at your hand in the the real world, you will see five fingers. In your dream, you may have one finger extra or one finger less, or the fingers may seem longer, smaller or unusual. Plug your nostrils with your fingertips and attempt to breathe from it. You may feel air pressure developing in your lungs, but in your dream, you may feel nothing.

You might have heard that your habits in real life and in your dreams often match. Therefore, when you get into the practice of reality checking in the real life, you will most definitely do it when you are dreaming and recognize that this may not be real life.

3. Identify the true characteristics of your dream

Tibetan Buddhists have already been doing this since the 8th century as a part of Dream Yoga. This may allow you to identify certain patterns in your dream which do not match the real world.

Begin to acknowledge the nature of reality is much like a dream. Inform your own self that you are awake within a dream, the meal you are eating is dream meal, the house you may be living is a dream house… every little thing has to be a dream. Once you cultivate lucidity in the real life, you may ready to help to make your own dream life more evident.

The Top 5 Classic Self-Help Books

Every year there are dozens of self-help books published in the US. Some are read and soon forgotten and eventually go out of print while others go on to become classics. A classic book is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy and has stood the test of time. This is a list of what I consider to be the best self-help book classics.

5. It Works by RHJ

Though not as well-known as the other books on this list, Roy Herbert Jarrett known as R. H. J. authored the little book entitled “IT Works!” published in 1926. “IT Works!” outlined a simple, workable procedure for obtaining one’s heart’s desires by focus of thought power. The simple, powerful procedure to obtain whatsoever one desires, by right thinking, has brought happiness and fulfillment to many as they learned how to focus their thoughts. Virtually all books on goal setting and mind control published since “It Works!” have followed the same basic ideas. And nothing exceeds imitation for proof of validity!

4. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon is a book by George Samuel Clason which gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. Through their experiences in business and managing household finance, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons in financial wisdom. Originally, a series of separate informational pamphlets distributed by banks and insurance companies, the pamphlets were bound together and published in book form in 1926. The most important idea in the book is this: “A part of all you earn is yours to keep” meaning you should save a tenth of all you make to invest, doing so will make you wealthy. Modern writers have adopted this idea most notably David L. Bach best known for his Automatic Millionaire Series of motivational financial books.

3. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

The Science of Getting Rich is a book written by the New Thought Movement writer Wallace D. Wattles and published in 1910 by the Elizabeth Towne Company. The book is still in print after 100 years. It was a major inspiration for Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book and film The Secret (2006). According to USA Today, the text is “divided into 17 short, straight-to-the-point chapters that explain how to overcome mental barriers, and how creation, not competition, is the hidden key to wealth attraction.” The Science of Getting Rich preceded similar financial success books such as The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel (1912) and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937). In the 100 years since its publication, it has gone through many editions, and remains in print from more than one publisher.

2. The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Not a book but a recording of a weekly pep talk given to Nightingales sales force, he owned an insurance agency at the time, The Strangest Secret, earned the first Gold Record for the spoken word, with sales exceeding 1 million copies. Nightingale, known as the ‘dean of personal development,’ reveals how he discovered and lived the secret to success. Nightingale partnered with Vic Conant to market the recording due to popular demand for it and is also credited with starting the self-help/personal development field.

1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Considered by many to be the greatest self-help book ever published, Hill’s Think and Grow Rich first published in 1937, is the end product of two decades of research conducted by Napoleon Hill. His research started when Andrew Carnegie (the steel tycoon who was then the richest man on earth) gave him the assignment of organizing a Philosophy of Personal Achievement. Hill, who was a poor journalist, armed with just an introductory letter from Carnegie, set out to interview over five hundred successful people including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, George Eastman, William Wrigley Jr. and Charles M. Schwab. Hill then revealed the priceless wisdom of his research in the form of the thirteen steps to success (in Think and Grow Rich) and the seventeen principles of success (in courses and lectures he conducted).