Archive for Brain Power for Success & Well-being


People do what works!

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I love that quote of Dr. Phil’s.   It takes me out of self blame and smacking myself upside the head. So if I am looking at  a  self defeating behavior or  some negative self-talk, I can gently ask myself “How is  this working? What IS the hidden payoff here?”

Even  the most negative patterns have a hidden payoff. They are an attempt to  do SOMETHING for us that is positive. Try asking yourself, “What does this behavior actually get me?” “What is the payoff?”    If you’re working with your child aspects or “parts”  you can ask a particular part like your sulky three year old, “What are you trying to do for me (and use her name)?”   or “Oh, self-defeating habit, what ARE you trying to get that you think would be good for me?”

Be curious, be wlling to be surprised.

Hint: 9 times out of 10, what the habit is trying to do for you is to keep you safe and in your  comfort zone.  (Even when the comfort zone is no longer comfortable! We tend to stick with what we know even when it’s not so good, just because it’s familiar).   Other side of the coin: usually the habit is a way to stay small, invisible, under the radar or avoid success.

Perverse, isn’it? Why would we want to stay small or avoid success?   Seems irrational and like we are working against ourselves.   Yet  at a deeper level, it all makes sense.   I’ll explore that mystery more in the next post.

But back to the hidden payoff.   First you  discover what it is, or what need it’s trying to get met for you.   Then  you can see  how to meet this need yourself or get it met.  What would be supportive and help you move forward with self -love?  If the need is safety, start looking for ways to create more safety in your life—talking to a friend or coach, seeking a group, learning techniques like Sedona method or EFT to manage your emotions better, reducing stress through exercise, meditation, diet, supplements, etc.

What are you doing that really works for you, and what are you doing that is working but only to keep you safe?


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In the last post I invited you to take a look at your  inner self-talk.   How is that going?  Did  you discover anything new or surprising about how you think and speak about yourself?     Most people are quite  hard on themselves and may not consciously realize they are immersed in a stream of self-criticism all day long.

If you are one of those people–don’t add another layer of negativity by beating yourself up about being self critical!    That’s just wrong, my friend.

Here’s a  technique that’s been  helpful for me and for my clients.   One of my trainings was in Gestalt Therapy (the Wildflowers Center for Compassionate Body Centered Gestalt therapy in New Jersey).   We  learned how to  dialogue with different parts of ourselves—the hurt child, the inner wise adult, the rebellious teenager, and with our   “shadow”—fears, angers and other parts of ourselves that we disown.

Each “part” or aspect of our self needs to be included and validated.   Each part has a voice with a message, telling us what we need.   If we don’t listen to the voice, eventually it will either get very loud and take over, or go underground and turn into an illness, a depression or some other kind of negative experience.   The bottom line is that when we reject a part of ourselves, sooner or later it will cause a problem.

This can show up  in almost any way, but common signs are  procrastination, avoiding putting yourself out there, being unwilling to set limits with a client, depression, irritability, mood swings or some other form of resistance (pick your favorite flavor!).

Where are you in resistance or struggling? What task, or part of your business is more difficult for you?   Chances are there’s at least one, and possibly several parts of yourself that are stuck and need to be heard.

I can, and would love to help you.   Feel free to contact me to learn more about how I could assist you.

Meantime, try these  ideas for working on your own with your critical voices and shadow parts.   An excellent book is called  Embracing Your Inner Critic, by Hal and Sidra Stone. It will teach you  how to work with your Inner Critic, your judging voices AND other voices that also want to be heard.  Another great resource is  a guided meditation called Overcoming the Self -Destruct, by Sanaya Roman.  ( In this meditation you imagine sitting at the center of an “inner council” meeting where all your parts get to speak, and then you explore how they can all work together towards a common goal or desire.

Be forewarned that this work is not comfortable and can be challenging, especially if you tend to be self critical.   Go gently with yourself.  In a culture of perfectionism and “you are not enough” it’s quite a stretch to learn to  be this welcoming and accepting of yourself.   If this kind of work is new for you, or you want to go deeper and need the right support,  I suggest finding an experienced guide–me, another coach, therapist or healer.    Besides working with you with these issues, I’d love to empower you by showing how to  do this work on your own.

Jump in and experiment.   Have  fun meeting your parts and dialoguing with them, and let me know how it goes.

An easy way to  do this is by asking yourself when you get up, or during the day if you are getting stuck or bogged down, “What do I need right now? What part of me needs attention, and what does she   (this part) need?”.   Enjoy the discovery and the healing, and don’t hesitate to ask if you need additional support!


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How resilient are you?   How well do you bounce back from a business slowdown, or when you put out an offer and it doesn’t fly?   In these shifting, accelerating and uncertain times, resilience is critical for everyone and especially business owners.   It’s become a buzzword in the corporate world and in   organizational psychology.

Of course solopreneurs and small business owners have always had to be more resilient and flexible and this can actually be an advantage we have over big companies, and these days we need more resilience than ever.   What makes a critical difference when you need to regroup, learn from your experience, adapt to new conditions and get going again, is the story you tell yourself about what happened, and what you say about yourself.

Our self-image, and the way we talk to and treat ourselves was mostly formed when we were very young—up to the age of 7.   These ways of thinking and acting, which we learned from parents, her family members, caregivers, or our early teachers, get programmed into our subconscious mind in the early years.   These beliefs and patterns then become automatic—like a tape loop that plays over and over inside you.   What that means is that you can still be living out the beliefs you formed in infancy and childhood.   They might even go back to prenatal times or your birth process.   So if you had a difficult birth you might have concluded that “Life is a struggle” or “Life is harsh”.   Later on, if your parents favored a sibling, or had too many children to give you the love and attention you needed, you might have decided that   “What I need is not important” or “I can’t get the attention I need”.   Can you see how such beliefs could affect your profitability, your ability to get good help or even attract clients?

If you had a choice–and you do–would you rather run your business from your mature adult self or from your infant or neglected 3 year old self?   You can learn to interrupt these unconscious negative patterns and replace them. You CAN change your self talk, and there are many ways to do this.

There are healing systems   that directly address these patterns, such as hypnotherapy or EFT.   A very effective method, not as well known as these others, is called Accelerated Belief Clearing (ABC).   ABC work is an evolution of a system called Resonance Repatterning and it helps to identify and change old programming very quickly and effectively.   There are also ways to learn supportive self-talk through on your own.   That’s what I’ll be focusing on over the next 31 days, during the Ultimate Blog Challenge I’m participating in, organized by Michelle Shaeffer and Michele Scism.

I look forward to sharing these simple and empowering techniques with you!  The first step is awareness, so get your journal or open a new file on your computer, and over the next few days, ask yourself, “How do I think about, or speak to myself about problems in my business? What do I tell myself when business slows down, or new clients don’t come back?”   Feel free to share what you discover.

PS If you’re into blogging, come join us in the 31 Day Ultimate Blog Challenge!   It began July 1 but you can still join and it’s free!


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Who’s really running the show?

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It must be you…right?  After all, this is your business, and you’re owner, chief cook and bottle washer!

But are you operating your business from your mature adult self, or some child aspect?   Are you using your higher level “command” functions–your cerebral hemispheres–or is your reptilian brain, your “fight or flight” instinct in charge?

Speaking with a client the other day who has a year old business, her money fears were coming up big-time, including a fear that she would repeat a past business failure, run out of money, and end up as a homeless person.   As we talked, it was clear that the financial fears were bordering on panic…and she agreed with me that being in a place of panic and overwhelm is not the energy that will easily attract customers and money.    

In business–and in any part of our lives–any kind of fear or potentially threatening situation can “trigger” us into a reactive, reptilian brain response.   Once we are triggered, we are in fear, and our nervous system, even our organs begin to shut down…and so we are not able to think clearly or be in a creative, problem solving mode.   This is NOT an empowered place for good decision making and taking constructive action.   We need our reptilian brain and survival instincts–they are not bad or wrong–but they are mostly for helping us escape from physical danger, or to help us avoid people that can be a threat to us.   This part of our intelligence is NOT wired for executive decision making and considering various alternatives.

The sole function of our  reptilian brain –the oldest and least-evolved part of our brain–is to ensure that we stay alive.     The classic reptilian brain responses are  “fight” or aggresive response, the “flight” or avoidance response, the “immobilized” or passive response.    

Why is it  important to understand these responses and to realize that the stresses and fears in our daily lives and in our business can trigger them?    Being triggered will completely block you from  seeing what is going on, and dealing with it constructively.   Being triggered  means you are in reaction and cannot find creative solutions or take action.  

With practice, you can learn the signs of being triggered and know your own typical “style” of reactiveness, so  that when  you find yourself in  your trigger pattern, you can  address the reaction right  away instead of losing hours, days, weeks or even months being stuck in it.  

How can you tell if you are triggered?   The   “fight” response can lead to feeling  anxious and restless, irritable, can’t sleep, feeling  defensive and on edge, a kind of “road rage” feeling even if you are not driving.   If you are having a strong reaction to a technology glitch or you get really uprset by  let’s say, a client unsubscribing from yoru email list or canceling an appointment.  

Signs of the “flight” response are usually some form of checking out..trouble focusing,  feeling sleepy or foggy headed, wanting to run away to a tropical island, or you start thinking about jump starting your old corporate career.   If you suddenly stop returning phone calls and just want to withdraw.     Other ways you might be unconsciously trying to  “flee” : numbing out or  sedating your nervous system with carbs, sweets, salty or fried foods, or get lost surfing the web for hours, supposedly in the name of research.

The third set of signals to watch out for are the immobilization response, where you essentialy get frozen, and feel unable to act, like the weaker dog “playing dead” to the more powerful one, so he won’t be attacked.   This is where you refuse to look at your bills for weeks or months, you sit in front of the computer staring blankly at it, and you don’t execute any of your plans.  

So, get to know your reptilian brain responses, and the kind of things that tend to trigger you, so that you manage your business and your life from a more empowered, emotionally balanced place, where you listen to, but aren’t ruled by your survival instincts.       If the reptilian brain issues often put you into anxiety and overwhelm, if you have a lot of earlier trauma in your life, then you may also consider  doing some coaching and repatterning work with me to clear these tendencies at a deep level.  

Won’t it feel great to have your most evolved intelligence and creative problem solver in charge of your business?

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