Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Think I Can. I Think I Can. Can I?


by: Michele Wahlder



I think I can. I think I can. Can I?

Your mental train ticket to self-empowerment

One

Clarify Current View – Where are you now- honestly?

Conscious awareness of your current view is the first step in becoming the best you can be. Getting clear about how your life aligns with your values, talents and unique gifts is vital to your happiness. You need to know where you are in order to learn where you want to go.

You can clarify your current view by completing a review of eight life areas. Be honest with yourself about how happy are you with your profession, finances, health and overall well-being, primary relationships, personal development, spirituality, environment, hobbies, etc.

Two

Connect with Your Highest Vision – Where do you want to be?

Example: A client of mine, a yoga instructor, decided she was happy teaching but wanted to contribute to the world on a larger level. She wasn’t happy with the quality of the yoga clothing that was accessible to her and her fellow yogis. Her vision was to design and create fun, hip and timeless yoga clothes using eco-conscious fabrics.

You have to get really clear about what you want. It is crucial that you connect to your highest vision of yourself because you can’t create it unless you are clear about what it looks like. If you don’t have a vision of where you want to go or what you want to be, you will most likely NOT get there. To quote Henrietta Klauser, “If you have a connection to what you want, take the next step and write it down.” If you don’t have any idea about what you want, or how you want to be in life to bring about greater happiness, begin looking through magazines and create a Vision Board/Collage of what attracts you. You may also want to consider getting an outside perspective from a friend or a professional coach. I take my clients through a guided imagery that gives them a glimpse of what their future could look like. There are also books that can help guide you. Just get help assessing your talents, divine gifts and abilities and then determine how you want to use them more fully in the world. We can’t help others as fully, if we are not aware of how we can best serve. So instead of thinking of it as selfish to engage in knowing yourself better, I would suggest you consider it selfish to hold back and not be the best you can be. Only in this way, can we help the world and others.

Three

Create Inspiring Goals – How will you get there?

Example: My client created a tiered plan of what needed to happen step by step – outer goal. All of this was influenced by her inner goal of keeping a measured pace and a balanced life. Her goal was to enjoy the process.

You have to create a plan and take specific actions to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. When most people write goals, they just write a list of action steps, usually external actions. I believe it is more powerful to have inner and outer goals. An outer goal is what you want. For instance, you might think, “I want a new house”. An inner goal is more focused on the how. How will a new home benefit me and my family? Will it offer more common gathering areas, a larger kitchen so that we can cook together, etc.? How can I appreciate what I have now until I get this home? How can I make this a joyful experience rather than a stressful one? If you can not be grateful for what you have now, then when you get a new home, it will only create very short-term happiness for you. Then, you will be focused on the next external illusion of happiness. For 2008, I suggest taking at least three of the life areas I mentioned earlier and jot down how you couldbenefit from living your highest vision in each area. Next, add action steps toward your desired achievements along with completion dates.

Four

Clear Obstacles – How will you remove obstacles in your way?

We all have dreams and visions for our life, but frankly, there are many things that can get in the way. The two most common obstacles I see with my clients are:

The inability to say NO— In order to bridge the gap from your current view to your highest vision, you have to make room for what “Could Be”. If your life is full and you want to add more of the things that are truly important in your life, you should start the change process by making room first. You must say no to some things in your life, so you can say yes to what is most important. You have to give up the destructive habits, behaviors and activities to make room for new ones.

A metaphor would be a water hose watering a flowering plant. The water in the hose is your life force and the flowering plant is what you are trying to grow in your life. If the water hose has leaks, it will not have enough water or life force/energy to reach its desired outcome or vision (to grow the plant into full bloom). Examples of leaks might include toxic friendships, unrealistic expectations, watching too much television, eating sugar, overspending, negative relational patterns with your spouse or working on an outdated job.

Example: A client’s obstacle here was that her 8- year-old daughter needed caring for and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to be a good mother plus jumpstart a successful, new business. We remedied this issue by getting clear on the proper definition of a good mother. Also, practically speaking, she needed help picking up her daughter from school. So she got her husband to assist her in this area so she would have time to create this new business.

Negative self-talk—Research shows we have approximately 50,000 internal messages we say to ourselves daily. We are constantly walking around having conversations with ourselves. And it is what we say that makes all the difference in the overall quality of our lives.

Example: I was once in Starbucks, and I watched this woman spill her coffee while reaching for a sugar packet and I heard her say out loud, “I’m so stupid. I can’t believe I did that.”

Now, I just happen to hear her, but this is an example of something you might say internally as well. You might think, “No big deal. I say things like this to myself all the time.” Well, IT IS A BIG DEAL as our subconscious hears these messages and acts on them as if they were real. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t want someone else saying to you.

Think of self-talk like mental fuel. Now, imagine filling your car with dirty water. We all know you wouldn’t get very far. Now, take that same car and fill it with high quality gasoline. You’ll most likely reach your destination. It is the same with people and the words we use. If the words are negative and toxic, we will sputter along with low energy and our performance suffers. If our words are positive and tender, we will feel confident, energized, encouraged and will most likely meet our goals faster and easier. Here are some key things to remember if you ever find yourself preparing to board the train of BAD self-talk:

B– stands for belittling self-talk. Stop telling yourself, “I am not good enough.” If your dream is to have a healthy self-confidence, which of the following examples is more likely to get your there:

A. “I’m so stupid. I can’t believe I did that.”

B. “Whoops, mistakes happen.”

Can you see how the Answer B is much kinder?

A – stands for awfulizing. Stop predicting a future filled with gloom and doom, and dwelling on scary thoughts. If you dream of obtaining a career you love, which of the following will move you closer to your vision:

A. “I did terribly on my interview, I’ll never find a job I like.”

B. “I will answer that question on past employment differently next time and I will ace it! I know I will one day have the job I love.”

Can you see how Answer B places you in the mindset of a successful job search?

D – stands for deceiving. This is when you deceive yourself into thinking you are a victim, and that other people are to blame for your circumstances. If we want a happy relationship which will of the below responses will aid in achieving this goal:

A. “If my spouse would only do more around the house, then I would be happy.”

B. “I can and will choose happiness today, no matter what my spouse does.”

Answer B is the right choice, wouldn’t you agree?

S – stands for shoulding – This is when you give yourself a lot of shoulds, musts, and ought tos, then beat yourself up for not living up to unrealistic standards. Say your dream is to be in top physical condition, which will further that:

A. “I should have eaten a salad for lunch instead of that big ol’ hamburger. I’m such a pig!”

B. “I could have eaten a salad, but I chose not to. Tomorrow I will make healthier choices.”

The second choice is so much more inspiring, don’t you think?

Five

Commit to Action – Are you willing to do what it takes?

The final step of the 5 C Process is to commit to action. How many times have we all made plans and never carried them out, or started off excited and lost motivation? No one ever does anything great alone. We all need encouragement and support from others including an accountability partner who is willing to help hold the vision of the person you want to be. In the previous example of my client, her biggest negative self-talk was how to be a good mom and a good business woman. Her thoughts were, “If I don’t pick up my child every day from school, I am a bad mother.” Instead, we replaced it with, “Picking up my child from school daily is not what makes me a good mother. I am, indeed, a fabulous mother.”

Here are the four action steps that have been proven to help you eliminate your negative self talk:

• Become aware of your negative messages –listen to voice in head

• Stop! You have to stop immediately if you find yourself dwelling on any negative thoughts

• Replace negative thoughts with a kinder alternatives

• Practice. It takes a commitment of time in order to turn a pattern of negative thinking into a more positive train of thought.

Teen Summer Camp Explains How Failure Leads To Success


by: Jim Hartley


Teens at our academic summer camp, SuperCamp, find out an important life lesson when we talk to them about how failure leads to success. Our failures provide us with valuable gifts—they give us the information we need to learn so that we can succeed next time.

The only path to success is stepping out of your comfort zone and being willing to risk. What keeps us from taking risks? The view that failure is a negative and the fear that failing will cause us shame and guilt. How would you act if you knew that failure is virtually your only path to success? We know this because nearly all successful people failed a lot. But they learned, tried a new way, and went on to succeed.

If you hear the word “failure,” what emotion does it evoke in you? Guilt? Shame? Inadequacy? Not a pretty picture. Failure is the label we stick on unsuccessful ventures. It’s practically synonymous with incompetence. The word alone brings up feelings of shame and humiliation.

When we fail, we automatically send ourselves bad messages. We discourage ourselves from trying again, because if we try we risk another failure. It’s true that when you give up trying, you don’t have to face failure anymore. But you’ll have close to zero chance of achieving success. In order to really succeed, you’ve got to be willing to fall on your face a few times.

You didn’t start out being afraid of failing or hating to fail. When you were tiny, failure didn’t weigh you down with emotional sludge. When you failed as a toddler learning to walk, you had a good cry then you stood up, dusted yourself off, and kept on going. But somewhere along the way you learned that trying and not succeeding was bad. That it meant trying was bad. That it meant you were bad.

Your failures by themselves aren’t so terrible, for the most part. It’s how you think about them that gives them the power to shut you down.

When you fail, you experience two types of consequences: internal and external. The external consequences are what happen in the world as a result of your failure. The internal consequences are what happen inside you: the emotional impact of your failure. That math exam you botched your sophomore year? The external consequences were a bad grade and maybe a stern lecture from your parents. The internal consequences were those persistent little demons that whispered, “You’re no good at math. You’re too stupid to do this.” The bad grade came and went—the little voices stayed.

Because our society views failure in a negative way, we learn to avoid trying new things. Instead of risking failure, we fall back into the comfort zone of the familiar, the tried and true. In order to avoid humiliation, we let fabulous opportunities pass us by. But if you’re going to harness the power that lies within your failures, you’ll have to change the way you think about them. Learn to see them for the gifts they are.

Failure is not just one possible path; it’s practically the only path to success. It’s necessary. It’s required. You can’t succeed without learning. And in order to learn, you have to risk failure. Learning doesn’t happen in an atmosphere of fear. Why not? Because fear shuts down the experimentation process. People don’t take risks when they’re afraid. They won’t try something new. And what is learning if not trying new things? You can’t succeed if you can’t grow. You can’t grow if you can’t learn. You can’t learn if you can’t fail.

Of course, there’s a huge difference between appropriate and inappropriate risk. Not all risks are of equal value; not all risks are worth taking. Deciding the value of a risk is a skill like any other. Weigh the rewards of each risk against its potential outcomes, and look at the circumstances in terms of its impact on your inner vision.

You have to risk failure in order to learn anything. Whether you fail or not, risk-taking alone is a powerful learning tool. But the actual experience of failing is the fastest way to learn. Failure vastly improves your odds of success, particularly in the long run, because it tells you what to do—and what not to do—next. When you diagnose your failures and figure out where you went wrong, you’re teaching yourself, literally by trial and error, how to go right. Failing is a great way to learn and grow.

Treat your failures as gifts. Whenever you fail, the universe has just handed you a piece of wisdom. Don’t let it go to waste. Mine it for all it’s worth. Ask yourself:

• What happened?

• What did I learn?

• What will I do differently next time?

“Life is a series of outcomes,” says Simone Carruthers, psychologist and business consultant. “Sometimes the outcome is what you want. Great. Figure out what you did right. Sometimes the outcome is what you don’t want. Great. Figure out what you did so you don’t do it again.”

The only time you’ve really failed is when you fail to learn from your mistakes.

Affirmations for FAILURE LEADS TO SUCCESS:

• I’m not afraid to make mistakes.

• When I make them, I take the time to learn from them.

• I believe failures are opportunities for growth.

“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” —Henry Ford

Difficult People: Harassing Neighbors


Dr. Mark Lauderdale


“My neighbors are harassing me. How do you deal with difficult people like these?”

The word “harassment” is a very broad term. For different people it can mean anything from neighbors who are verbally abusive and deflating your tires to people who are just plain nosey.

It’s a little like saying, “My dog is misbehaving”. You wouldn’t start right away by working on your dog’s “misbehavior” in general. You’d want to focus on the SPECIFIC forms of misbehavior that are causing a problem, such as jumping up on people, or barking too much, etc…

So, the first thing to do is to identify the specific type of harassing behavior that is causing the problem.

For the sake of discussion let’s say that your neighbors are frequently rude or disrespectful to you and your family. They use a "hit and run” form of verbal abuse.

The next thing to do is… talk to them? (I can already hear you saying, “I tried that and it didn’t work!”) Let me clear about this… NO!

The next thing to do has NOTHING to do with talking to them.

In fact, jumping into action too quickly is often where people go wrong right off the bat. It’s almost guaranteed that you will DO or SAY the wrong things, which just make things WORSE.

No, the next thing to do is IMAGINE… more specifically, to visualize the way you’d like things to be with your neighbor instead of the way things are. In other words, set your goal and visualize it.

You might want to turn them into friends or you might want to have infrequent but respectful interactions. That’s ok. Just be very clear about your goal – as long as it’s constructive.

So, let’s say that you don’t want to move away from the neighborhood and that what you REALLY want is for your neighbors to talk in a respectful way to you and your family.

Now, since THIS is what you really want, you should make a conscious decision that everything you say or do from now on will move things toward this outcome… and furthermore, that everything THEY say or do ALSO becomes an opportunity for you to take things closer to that outcome.

After you’ve imagined what a positive outcome might look like, you should then eliminate your anger, frustration and stress about the situation and feel calm, strong and confident about creating a positive change.

You can’t produce a positive outcome if you’re sitting on negative, angry or hostile feelings.

Armed with a feeling of confidence and determination to produce a positive outcome with the difficult person, start imagining what would happen if you were to meet with your neighbor… play out ANY scenarios that come into your mind.

There is not just ONE RIGHT WAY. You know your situation far better than I do and how your particular neighbor is likely to respond.

You might start off by paying them a visit and saying, “I noticed that you seemed unhappy about something when we last spoke, so I thought I’d come over and find out what it is that’s bugging you…”

It’s quite possible that they may not believe you and you may just get another rude response. But, you can persist… “Clearly something was bothering you and I’d really like to know what it is so that we can address the problem.”

You want to persist and be genuinely concerned and curious, so that your neighbor actually starts to feel that you are interested in what their issue is. Persist until you REALLY understand why they are feeling the way they are… even if their concern is based on misinformation or an immature way of seeing things.

Once you understand what their concern is (no matter how rudely they expressed it), you can then start to think of a solution that could address that concern. Of course, if you are addressing their genuine concern, then they will also become more receptive to a friendlier relationship without the disrespectful language.

If there is really no underlying issue that is bothering them, or at least none that they will divulge to you, and they persist with rude language, you can take the approach of paying them a visit each and every time a rude episode occurs… each time approaching them with the same calm and genuine curiosity about what it is that is bugging them.

The more rude they are, the more concerned and curious you can be. Of course, you would need to be able to do this calmly and confidently because pushing your buttons and getting you to react is what they are TRYING to do!

If you continue with repeated discussions over an extended period of time, never retaliating or getting drawn into an argument and always pursuing the issues in great detail, the act of being disrespectful towards you will start to become a bit of a nuisance to your neighbor who will think twice about being rude next time.

He’ll know that hurling another negative comment your way is just going to result in yet another long drawn out discussion in which the things that are bugging him will be put under the microscope for examination.

There are only two outcomes… Either your neighbor will eventually reveal what is really bugging him or her, which you can then address through some kind of win-win solution, or, they will change their tune and avoid being rude in order to avoid another discussion with you.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Horror, Gaming, Anime & Comic Conventions - They Are Not All The Same

by: June Williams




A very large number of people who have never attended a Sci-Fi convention have the idea that they are all about people standing in line to get autographs of actors while wearing Klingon makeup and costumes or pointed ears. I’m not saying that those stereotypes don’t exist but the Convention experience is much richer and diverse than you may have been led to believe. To get the best experience it is important first consider your interests and then match them to what conventions are available.

Conventions come in two primary flavors. Professional and fan run. Professional conventions should have actors who have appeared in genre television and films ready to sign autographs and have their photos taken with fans. Some of these conventions include the costs of autographs and photo sessions in the cost of admission others operate in more of an a la carte fashion.

Often genre conventions have previews of new shows and films, and usually an extensive dealer’s room where you can buy anything from jewelry, ornaments, t-shirts and action figures to full scale replicas and costumes...and more. While there are a number of professional promoters the best known and run are Chiller Theatre Expo, Creation Entertainment, Fed Con ( Germany ), Starland and Vulcon. Do expect things to be as advertised and run on time. Do not expect warm and fuzzy.

Warm and fuzzy is more the field of fan run conventions. Fans who get together to run conventions have a great deal of enthusiasm, but usually are run with a volunteer staff and can be a bit “bumpy” with organization of the activities. What you can expect? A movie room, anime room, gaming room, art show, dealer’s room, and various special interest group rooms and tables. It is a rare con that doesn’t have a dance and a masquerade. Many fan run conventions also have guests ranging from actors, authors, cartoonists, illustrators, scientists etc. You may also find workshops for writing, acting, art, costuming, make-up and special effects. It all varies from convention to convention and year to year. Older fan run conventions such as Aggie Con, Balticon, Bay Con, CONvergence, Dragon Con, ICON, Shore Leave, United Fan Con, Toronto Trek to name a few.

The following sections may help you in selecting the kind of convention you would enjoy the most. Don’t be afraid to try other sorts once you’ve sampled those that are in your comfort zone. Exploration can be fun:



LITERARY CONVENTIONS

Love to read speculative fiction? Do you have an interest in attending workshops on writing and publishing? Would you like to mingle with like-minded fans and meet professionals in the field such as authors, editors, illustrators and publishers? Then a literary convention would be the place you might enjoy most. Conventions such as World Science Fiction Convention (which is where the Hugo awards are announced), the World Fantasy Convention, World Horror Convention, Balticon, Philcon, Lunacon, Boskone, Readercon, Wiscon and Capclave are all reader friendly and while you may find the occasional filking group, men in kilts, swords and women in medieval garb I doubt that you’ll see many people dressed like the attendees of the convention seen in the movie Galaxy Quest. OK maybe one or two but they are a tiny minority.

• MEDIA CONVENTIONS

Media conventions are very much about television and film. Science Fiction & Fantasy or Horror & Paranormal guests abound. You may meet and hear behind the scenes stories of actors and illustrators, SFX experts and make-up artists and a host of media professionals. Many of the attendees may be wearing costumes. Depending on whether you are going to a “pro” con or a fan run con the rest will vary greatly. Parties are expected and encouraged. At a pro convention this will take the form of a banquet with the guests at a fee and/or a dance or cocktail party all for various prices. Fan run convention also may have a price attached to a banquet or “private” gathering with a particular celebrity or celebrities but they will also have fee free dances, masquerades, art shows, filking, sword demonstrations etc. Toronto Trek, Celebration, BotCon, Dragon Con , Comic-Con ( both Dragon Con and Comicon will appear under many categories)

GAMING CONVENTIONS

Gamers come in all shapes, sizes, ages, colors and ethnic backgrounds but they all have something in common. A love of games. Role playing, live, pen and paper, MMOG as well as video gamers and board gamers all have a lot of interactive fun at gaming conventions. You can meet game designers, try out new games that have yet to hit the general market, and play in tournaments for glory and prizes. Once an almost male-only pursuit, gaming now has a growing number of female enthusiasts Gaming has become so pervasive that it is now nearly socially acceptable to the mainstream public. Nearly.

There are giant conventions like GENCON and ORIGINS, where it is so crowded you may have trouble negotiating the exhibition halls due to the crowds. The upside is the great diversity and FREEBIES as there are so many gaming companies competing for your attention. Then there are the more intimate play intensive ones like Archon, CastleCon, Dragonflight Dreikonigsnacht (Twelfth Night), Festival of Dreams, HexaCon, KublaCon, MACE, MarsCon, Marmalade Dog, ShaunCon, Strategicon, The Once and Future Con, and many many more.

Keep in mind that many conventions other than pure gaming conventions have gaming tracks. If you like to game but want to do more than only game during the weekend you might look into some of the other cons with a strong gaming element.

ANIME CONVENTIONS

For the older generation anime seems so foreign, even unreachable. It shouldn’t be. Yes, anime and its siblings manga and ahem *cough* hentai are of Japanese origin but the striking visual styles and beauty, the characters and stories connect with westerners as well as audiences in the east. Because they are animations they can either be sub-titled or dubbed in the language of the country where it is being broadcast. In anime the stars are the illustrators, authors, and voice actors. At conventions you will find many of these sorts of guests as well as companies promoting their projects. You will also find some of the most imaginative of costumes created and worn by fans. At larger conventions you may find multiple rooms running films day and night. At smaller ones perhaps just one room will be devoted to showing their favorites. There are often panels discussing aspects of cosplay, fan fiction, video games, favorite voice actors, anime series or movies. As in literary conventions there are often workshops. These workshops are mostly how to draw manga, make computer animation, or how to become a voice actor. The dealers room will be filled with DVDs , software, graphic novel manga, art books, apparel, toys and exotic ( for us ) foods.

While the U.S. and Canada have the largest SF conventions in the world the largest Anime conventions are Lucca Comics & Games in Lucca Italy ( 85,000 ) , Japan Expo in Paris France ( 83,000 ) Salon del Manga in Barcelona Spain ( 63,000 ) and Romics in Rome Italy ( 50,000 ). The big guys in North America are Anime Expo Los Angeles California (41,000), Otakon Baltimore Maryland (23,000) and A-Kon Dallas Texas (14,500). Hey, size isn’t everything and some of the smallest might be the way to start if you have never been to a con before!!


HORROR CONVENTIONS

What a perfect place to let it all hang out (dating myself but who cares). Horror conventions revel in going over the top. Long live Elvira, Freddy Krueger, Jason, Dracula, Zacherley, Even the names of these conventions and expos are meant to be graphic illustrations of what you will find there. Chiller Theatre, Fangoria, Fright Night Film and Fantasy Fest, HorrorFind, HorrorHound Weekend, Spooky Empire. Nothing to subtle here. No sparing of the gore. It’s like the rollercoaster of genre conventions. If you have a strong stomach and a dark sense of humor you will have tons of fun. The dealer’s room, art show, video rooms all are in sync with the horror theme. Guests that reach back decades up to the present. Once again there is a chance to meet actors, artists and authors for autographs, photo shoots, and anecdotes. Attendees go wild with costumes and you can do so too even without a ton of money or a pile of cash. Try out your best monsterish clothes and make-up or come asa victim…or not. Costumes aren’t required, they are just fun. There is usually a monster mash even if that isn’t the name given. Some horror conventions invite guests that more about nostalgia than horror. Chiller Con is a good example of this. Some of their guests are Micky Dolenz from the Monkees, Ernest Borgnine , Lindsay Wagner, Brigitte Nielson, Katey Sagal (Married with Children), Stephen Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin, Barry Bostwick, Erin Murphy (Tabitha of Bewitched), Avery Brooks, Armin Shimmerman, Robert Picardo, Geri Reischel (Jan from The Brady Bunch), Susan Olsen (Cindy from The Brady Bunch),Joe Pantoliano,Richard Kiel ("Jaws" Moonraker), Lou Ferrigno, William B Davies (X-Files-Cancer Man), Stella Stevens, Frank Stallone, Ron Bumblefoot ( Guns N Roses ) and a host of others.

COMIC CONVENTION

When you think of a comic book convention you will probably think of a sea of old comic books, toys, Star Wars stuff, Star Trek stuff, action figures, collectible card games and magazines for sale and you would be right but that is only a part and an increasingly small part of the experience. You will find illustrators, authors, publishers and very often interesting workshops and panels that deal with every aspect of the industry past, present and future. There are the costume contingents that always show up at the larger conventions and some are so good that you could almost believe you were seeing superheroes and villains walk out of the pages and off the screen to meet you and be photographed. Some cons such as Dragon Con and Comic-Con began solely as comic conventions but grew to tremendous size, scope and diversity that they have transcended the genre that gave rise to them. Even those such as HEROES which remains focused on comics manages to have a number of other aspects and should be able to keep the whole family amused for the weekend. Comic conventions often have a lot of pop culture and nostalgia guests. So if you would like to see people like Creature, Parthenon and Fat Mama from Who wants to be a Superhero or maybe even Stan Lee himself, you might get your chance. How about James & Oliver Phelps who played the Weasley Twins in the Harry Potter movies ? Or perhaps Sean Astin or Billy Boyd and even Elijah Wood . From Heroes Hayden Paniterre and Masi Oka, or Ice-T…yes I said Ice-T AND his swimsuit-model wife Coco.

The bottom line is conventions are places where adults can go and play and slough off the average workday week . Have fun !!
 
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