Amazon’s Top 20 Hot New Releases

Dear Friends,

I’m pleased to announce that my latest book, “Miracles, Momentum and Manifestation: Breakdown to Breakthrough” successfully launched on October 29th and has reached the Top 20 (#12) among Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Self-Help Self-Esteem Category! In this powerful Anthology, eight women courageously share our stories of triumph over some of life’s most debilitating circumstances. Yes, miracles still happen for those who believe!

‪#‎MiraclesBook‬

M3 Cover

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Why the Butt-Naked Truth Pisses Us Off

Dear Friends,

According to a famous Buddhist quote, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”  Yet, at some point in our lives we’ve all been in possession of some morsel of truth that we’ve chosen not to divulge because we were uncertain how it would be received, interpreted or used against us by others.

History has produced abundant maxims regarding truth.  For example, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes is, “This above all: to thine own self be true… thou canst not then be false to any man.”  Former English Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill remarked, Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” Celebrated author Maxim Gorky argued, To speak the truth is the most difficult of all arts, for in its ‘pure’ form, not connected with the interests of individuals, groups, classes, or nations….”  English writer and poet Walter Savage Landor mused, “Truth, like the juice of the poppy, in small quantities, calms men; in larger, heats and irritates them, and is attended by fatal consequences in its excess.” And feminist Gloria Steinem is well-known for her pithy quip, “The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off” (which just so happens to be the inspiration for this article).  

What is Truth?

Scientifically, truth is based on evidence or reason. Nonetheless, one can argue that truth is a subjective term that is based on individual feelings, opinions and experiences.  Whether you view it from a scientific or subjective position, there is a fundamental truth that lies at the core of each human being that cannot be escaped or ignored in our attempt to reach higher ground.

While truth is considered by some a path to freedom, it is by no means a linear path. There are many confusing and conflicting hairpin turns along the way.  Because it can threaten our very sense of reality, it’s not surprising that many people would rather evade truth and cling to self-constructed illusions. 

Reasons We Bury the Truth

Telling the truth can produce tremendous discomfort, not to mention its inherent – real or perceived – consequences.  Here are three reasons why we prefer to bury the truth: 

1.  Inner Conflict.  Inner conflict is a psychological struggle.  When truth invites us to examine aspects of ourselves and challenge our beliefs, assumptions and ideologies, it creates an internal war that leaves us with difficult choices, wondering which path to take.  Oftentimes, we choose the path of least resistance.

2.  Escape.  Not having to face the truth means we can ignore – at least temporarily – our problems.  We can continue to operate within a false realm of reality to avoid dealing with unpleasant people, events and situations.

3.  Fear.  Facing the truth is a scary thing that has the potential of taking us places we’d rather not go.  Fundamentally, we all have insecurities about who we are, how we present to others, and what we are capable of achieving.  Yet, we have an idealized self and live our lives based on that idealization.  The revelations of truth can quickly deconstruct any false notions or appearances that we are trying to uphold.  To uncover the truth of our core being would unravel the defenses we have stitched together to protect our vulnerabilities.

Using Anger as a Mask

We have elaborate ways of hiding the truth.  Our reasons are varied and not always understood.  Yet, regardless of our chosen defenses, the emotion that we most openly and frequently express when confronted with truth is: anger.   This is because anger is considered a normal, human emotion that is easy to identify with.  It’s also a powerful emotion, ranging in intensity that keeps others at a distance when we’re feeling most vulnerable.

Evading the truth is emotionally, psychologically, and physically damaging.  While introspection can be a painful and uncomfortable process, there is no long-term escape from internal truth.  Facing your truth is the first step in self-accountability and self-improvement.  Whatever that truth is and once you own it, you will feel better about yourself, enjoy a more meaningful existence, and walk more confidently in your life’s purpose.

Until Next Time,

Mary

5 Reasons Why We Judge

Dear Friends,

How often have you passed judgment about someone or have had someone pass judgment about you?  Either way, a judgmental attitude says more about us than those that we judge. 

To judge is to form an opinion or draw a conclusion about another.  In theory, judgment comes after carefully weighing evidence and testing assumptions.  However, it’s easy to blind ourselves to our own evil, because when we judge others, it puts us in a position of pseudo power.  Yet, we can’t rely on our own judgment when our psyche is out of focus.  Why do we judge others?

Low Self-Esteem.  Self-esteem is an intimate experience that resides at the core of our being.  Low self-esteem is an emotional impairment in which we devalue our own worth.  This unfavorable impression reflects a lack of confidence in ourselves and a fundamental belief that others are better than we are.

Self-Righteousness.  Self-righteousness is a narrow-minded conviction of being morally superior to others.  Through feelings of self-righteousness, we believe that our own moral standards and behaviors are perfect.

Emotional Insecurity.  People who are emotionally insecure perceive the world as a hostile, unpredictable and dangerous place where others are always out to get them.  This perception triggers a general uneasiness, resulting in a breakdown in the individual’s overall emotional stability.

Jealousy and Envy.  While these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference.  Jealousy is being anxiously suspicious of having something taken away from us.  Envy is holding a grudge against someone because we want what they have.  Both are damaging to the soul.

Prejudice.  To be prejudice is to prejudge.  Prejudice stems from our preconceived unfavorable opinions and beliefs about people that are neither fact- nor experience-based.  Whether it’s racism, sexism, classism, ageism, nationalism, sectarianism or any other ‘ism,’ prejudice negatively affects our world view, attitudes and behaviors.

Overcoming a Critical Spirit

Finding fault with others is easy, because our expectations lead us to judgment.  However, instead of making us feel better about ourselves, judging others binds us to our own selfish interests and shortcomings.  

Overcoming a lifetime of conditioning takes time and hard work. Because we’re so close to ourselves, we often lose objectivity and fail to see the obvious.  Nonetheless, there is light inside our dark, closed off spaces.  To find that light, we must engage in deep self-reflection and begin recognizing and nurturing our own value, since it all begins with self.  How we see others is one thing, but how we see ourselves is everything.

Until Next Time,

Mary

 

Bouncing Back from Brokenness

Dear Friends,

In my profession as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, people generally don’t call on me unless they’re either headed for — or in — a full-blown crisis.  After receiving such a call from a potential client this week, it got me thinking about the deeper meaning of life’s challenges and how we can navigate them.

Are you experiencing a state of brokenness that has sent you into a downward spiral?

  • Being fired from a job
  • Long-term unemployment
  • A severed relationship
  • A debilitating illness
  • A life-changing accident
  • The death of a loved one
  • A business start-up that never took off
  • An opportunity that fell flat
  • A broken promise
  • Incarceration
  • A failing grade
  • Fill in the _______

Sometimes, we may feel that life has thrown us into the deepest end of the ocean, expecting us to swim back to the shores of safety without a life preserver.  This may result in feelings of bitterness, resentment, anxiety, frustration, depression, and/or isolation.  However, life’s challenges are inevitable and create opportunities for learning and growth… if we are willing to focus on the value, rather than the venom.

If you are in need of a little (or a lot of) inspiration, here are some ways to help shake off despair and climb out of your well-worn rut.

Break the cycle of negativity. Reacting to adversity in a dysfunctional manner such as denial, addiction, distortion, repression, or other numbing behavior only magnifies the situation, which can make matters worse. Negativity feeds a continuous cycle of destruction that keeps you stuck, so find ways to enhance your quality of life. Whether it’s meditating, changing your daily routine, learning something new, spending time with family or friends, or getting outside to enjoy nature, do something that will create a shift in your thoughts and actions.

Find the lesson. With every challenge comes a lesson to be learned.  The sooner you accept the lesson and learn from it, the sooner you can graduate to the next phase of your life.  To find the lesson, ask yourself “What is this situation here to teach me? Then listen for the answer.

Surround yourself with support.  During challenging times, we all need the comfort and wisdom of a strong social support system. This is anyone that you can trust for sound advice, counsel and emotional support.  Having a confidant who understands what you’re going through without sitting in judgment can help alleviate raw emotion, so that you’re better able to deal with the situation.

Give thanks. While life may not be the way you want it at this moment, you are still here. Know that the Universe has a larger plan for you, and what you’re going through is a part of that plan to help you reach higher ground.

Be realistic. There’s an old song entitled, Trouble Don’t Last Always. Just as the seasons change, so do the cycles of life.  Use the wisdom of nature to persevere and grow through life’s inevitable highs and lows.

Brokenness is the starting point for rebuilding. For many, it’s the only way to experience healing, restoration and the deeper meaning of life.  Without brokenness, we’re likely to remain in a state of self-sufficiency, living on the periphery of life never acknowledging a power greater than ourselves.

In closing, I echo the words of M. Scott Peck, M.D., author of the timeless classic The Road Less Traveled: “The truth is that our finest moments are likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

Until Next Time,

Mary

5 Aspects of Self-Discovery

Dear Friends,

Who are you?  What are you most passionate about?  What are your unique characteristics?  What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?  What do you most want to be remembered for?  In what ways are you sometimes misunderstood? What childhood beliefs still impact you today? What is unfinished in your life?  Answering these and other thought-provoking questions require you to engage in a process called self-discovery.

The Journey of Self-Discovery

Self-discovery is a journey or pilgrimage in which we seek to heighten our awareness of self.  It takes courage to examine the innermost parts of our being; but we must be willing to work through any pain and discomfort to create change and experience life more fully.

If you want to manifest the best of who you are destined to be, self-discovery is key.  The following aspects of self-discovery can help you to explore, understand and navigate your values, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, assumptions and overall worldview.

Aspects of Self-Discovery

1. Self-reflection.  This involves our capacity to engage in introspection to learn more about our fundamental nature and purpose. Use the following questions to promote self-reflection:

  • Who am I?
  • Who am I listening to and why?
  • What am I tolerating?
  • How and where am I committing my time and energy?
  • If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?
  • What am I doing today to help improve my life tomorrow?

2.  Self-trust.  This refers to the confidence we have in ourselves.  Our personal integrity depends upon our ability to trust ourselves.  To develop self-trust, stay connected and maintain a good relationship with yourself by:  (1) clarifying your values; (2) identifying and embracing your unique qualities; (3) listening with your heart; (4) seeing yourself from others’ point of view; (5) setting realistic goals and achieving them; (6) learning from your mistakes; and (7) making time for regular self-renewal.

3.  Self-sacrifice.  This is the ability to forego personal interests for the greater good and is one of the most important traits of influential leadership.  Excessive giving can create internal resentment, so self-sacrifice does not mean scrapping all of your interests.  It means balancing your interests in ways that will positively impact humankind (e.g., volunteerism, charitable giving, random acts of kindness or any other altruistic behaviors).

4.  Self-fulfillment.  Becoming self-actualized can be a lengthy process in terms of unlocking your greatest potential.  If you feel stagnant, overworked and under-appreciated, you can employ techniques to overcome challenges and put yourself on the path to self-fulfillment by:  (1) becoming more self-aware; (2) creating a mantra to foster inner motivation; (3) identifying an aspect of yourself that you would like to enhance; (4) visualizing yourself reaching your fullest potential; and (5) building a strong community of support.

5.  Self-transformation.  This evolution of consciousness is achieved when we question our very existence and quality of life.  It involves getting clear about and setting intentions around how we choose to think, feel and behave.  In doing so, we create change by manifesting our lives according to what feels most authentic to ourselves.

The process of self-discovery is a powerful continuous improvement exercise.  Use it as an opportunity to understand your past, appreciate your present, and create your future.

Until Next Time,

Mary

Are You Hanging with Chickens or Soaring with Eagles?

Dear Friends,

When clients ask me how they can differentiate themselves from the competition and add increased value, I like to use the “birds of a feather” axiom.  If you want to make a fresh start and revolutionize your future, read on.

As you consider ways to differentiate yourself, consider the differences between the chicken and the eagle. Chickens cluster in flocks at ground level, and among their population a pecking order exists. This pecking order seldom changes because weaker chickens lack the courage to confront stronger ones. While chickens have sophisticated social skills, they’re fearful of the unfamiliar, so play it safe and stick with what they know. Chickens produce for a few years, then they either become unproductive, or die.

Eagles, on the other hand, are spectacular birds that represent power and success. Their eyes are keen and always alert for opportunities. Unlike chickens, eagles build their nests on high. They continue to build year after year until their nests are as much as nine feet high. From this vantage point, they’re able to see the big picture. Eagles soar on the currents of the wind, reaching great heights above the earth in peaceful solitude.

The chicken and the eagle are both birds, but they approach life differently. Like the majestic eagle, you must rise above ground level to sharpen your vision, so you’re not influenced by negativity and impossibility. So what are you going to do… hang with the chickens, or soar with the eagles?

Until Next Time,

Mary

5 Ways to Increase Your Market Value

Dear Friends,

In the midst of difficult times, it’s easy to become disenchanted or overcome by fear to the point of stagnation. Maybe you’re wondering if you will have a job tomorrow. Maybe you’re feeling uninspired and unmotivated after being in the same rut for a long time. Maybe you’re standing at a crossroads pondering what to do with the rest of your life. Whatever your circumstances, it’s important to understand that during uncertain economic times you are compensated for the value that you bring to the organization. To deliver that value, you must create the conditions that will evoke greater possibilities.

Repositioning for Greater Success

If you do not have a measurable response to the question, “Why should we hire you, or keep you employed?” perhaps it’s time to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack by increasing your market value. Here are five ways to strategically position yourself for greater success:

1. Reassess your value proposition. Your value proposition describes what you produce in terms of tangible business results. A value proposition grows out of need. So think of yourself as a provider of solutions that satisfy or address unmet needs, key inefficiencies or significant performance gaps. Make the competition irrelevant by identifying innovative ways to cut costs, enhance revenue, improve performance and efficiency or increase quality. This establishes a clear distinction between you and others in a way that draws interest and support and expands opportunities.

2. Take action over the things which you can control. Dwelling on things you cannot control breeds anger, resentment, anxiety, frustration and depression. These feelings, in turn, lead to manipulative behaviors. Stop squandering your health, integrity and productivity and shift your attention to those things that are within your control. You can control your thoughts, attitudes, choices, actions and contributions. Train your mind to self-correct by asking yourself, “What aspect(s) of this situation can I control?” Then develop a viable plan of action.

3. Rebuild your capabilities. Rather than defining yourself by your title or job, emphasize your capabilities and transferable skills. If you’re unemployed, your job is under siege or you’re preparing for your next job, turn crisis into opportunity by rebuilding your capabilities for long-term growth: disassemble your sphere of comfort; design a strategy to propel you to the next level; apply enough pressure to stretch the outer limits of your thinking; align your strengths to address critical and challenging needs; cut yourself some slack because progress takes time; install an entrepreneurial mindset to create continuous opportunity; calibrate your internal compass to keep you on track; grind any distractions, unreasonable goals and expectations; prime your passion to withstand any doubts; supply sufficient effort to exceed specifications; and test your complete system. Now you’re ready to launch yourself towards new endeavors!

4. Manage your expectations. While it’s important to maintain a vision of the future, managing your expectations is a key part of framing your success. This does not mean lowering your expectations, having realistic guidelines. Our expectations are usually based on what we want to happen, which may not be the best course of action. Expectations can alter your sense of reality, so take an honest look at your situation before exploring options. Be open to new ways of thinking and learning and take proactive steps to achieve your desired outcomes.

5. Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Energy flows where attention goes and whatever you consistently think about expands. Focusing on what you don’t want or have creates a downward spiral of negativity and despair. Gratitude keeps you centered, turns chaos into clarity and unlocks the fullness of life. Acknowledge the people and things in your life that bring about joy and empowerment. Reflect on the ways that you’ve achieved success (by your own definition). Stay focused on what really matters and view change as an opportunity for personal and professional transformation. Seek the hidden value in every situation… and stop sweating the small stuff!

Onward and Upward

Life is full of choices and opportunities, if we have the courage to seek them. Starting today, consider yourself a brand. Seize each moment by expanding your focus and taking responsibility for your challenges and successes, one building block at a time.

Until Next Time,

Mary