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Monday, July 28, 2014

Overcoming Negative Thoughts: Great Possibilities brings Self-Doubt and Insecurity

Susan J Meyerott, artist

'Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and our clarity of purpose.'  Brene Brown

Big Dreams Always Produces Self-Doubt and Insecurity

What or who has caught your attention lately filling you with excitement as well as self-doubt and insecurity?

Perhaps you asked for a raise; started a new job, entrepreneurial venture, or commissioned art project. Or perhaps it's a love interest that has you twitter-patted.

Anything worth achieving, or any relationship worth developing, comes with a triple challenge that pushes you to both act and procrastinate at the same time —the nervous excitement driving the interest, along with its partners—self-doubt and insecurity.

If you let them, your negative thoughts and musings will easily overpower your excitement that motivates you to act--leaving you to quietly quiver and do nothing instead.

BIG dreams and great possibilities bring great insecurities. And the more you want something the greater your self-doubt. This is true for all great dreamers, leaders and lovers.

It is this lack of self-confidence fueled by the fear of being vulnerable and exposed that stops you from dreaming and acting with courage.

Susan J Meyerott, artist

Uncovering the Secret Fear: I'm Not Worthy

Let's face it--we all like to appear worthy, strong and in control of our lives and the thought of being vulnerable and exposed is frightening. What's behind that fear? It is the niggling thought 'I'm not good enough'.

Make no mistake--the negative thoughts behind your need to retreat and hide in moments of self-doubt and vulnerability are: I'm not good enough; I'm not worthy; I'm imperfect; or there's something wrong with me. 

You may try to deny feeling shame from yourself as it doesn't fit your strong, in-control self image.  Yet at the moment you adamantly deny feeling vulnerable you isolate and retreat from others.

Think about it:

Who likes admitting they got laid off and are now struggling to find a new job?

Or how about facing the public embarrassment of putting your heart into applying for a position you're perfect for only to have the job given to someone else (even if you were a close second)? 

Or how about wanting to ask someone for a date or being rebuffed when you attempt to step further into a relationship for making you feel vulnerable and exposed?

Each of these situations makes even the heartiest of us squirm in insecurity and self-doubt and sends us into hiding not only from others but ourselves.

The Fear of Disconnection

According to Brene Brown, author of 'The Gifts of Imperfection', shame is the fear of disconnection--we think there is something so shameful about us that if people really knew us they would reject us--so we keep our mouth shut and stay invisible.

The problem is this keeps us from being seen, heard, and known by others. Through our secret negative thoughts we bring on the very thing we fear--a feeling of disconnection and distance from others. And it stops us in our tracks.

How to Live with Courage and Confidence 

How can we be the hearty, resilient people that we are and not let the fear of our imperfections over-ride our desire to pursue our interests?

As Brown says, "Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and our clarity of purpose." 

In other words, we must publicly and consciously own and engage with our own vulnerability instead of hiding it in shame. (Basically--get over yourself!)

Reinterpret how you view self-doubt and insecurity

Make friends with your soft underbelly. To tame your shame and its negative influence on your actions begin by consciously acknowledging your humanness to yourself then to a trusted confidant.

When you acknowledge your negative thoughts as natural consequences of stepping into your life you give yourself choice and opportunity. 

'It always feels dangerous to be seen, to be heard and to be known. It is also thrilling.'

To step into your life and achieve your heart's desire you must experience, then walk past, the fear of not being worthy or good enough. 

'Choose to see this moment of fear as your 'dangerous opportunity' and consciously chose to step out of the danger into the opportunity.'

Break through your hiding place

Sit in your vulnerability. Acknowledge the pain and discomfort openly and honestly. Let yourself see the truth.


All great beginnings start with strong emotions that drive you to act. Think of your e-motions as energy-in-motion. Learn to put all e-motion--both positive and negative--to work for you.

Starting Points

Choose to view your insecurity and self-doubt as a starting points, not stopping points. They make you stop and take notice of what you want. And they help you take the time to consider if this is the direction you really want to pursue or if you want to change directions.

 'Do you feel compelled to take action or are you merely curious about the possibilities? Do you have the strength of conviction to pursue it? Is your desire strong enough to move you past your self-doubt and insecurity?'

Artist: Susan J Meyerott

"It all starts with Desire. If you are going to start some sort of improvement effort you must want to do it. Without personal motivation to take any step into the unknown, no matter how small, there is no possibility for success. Curiosity is sufficient but if it’s “just a good idea” that you don’t personally care about, stop wasting your time and those around you by considering it any further."                            Len Schlesinger and Charlie Kiefer, Harvard Business Review Blog

Choose to Be Seen, Choose to Connect

Practice finding your courage in your moments of insecurity and decide to show yourself instead of to hide. The more consciously you practice this, the better you'll get at stepping into the opportunities that are always present in your life.

In 'Four Steps to Authentic Communication' Robert Holden shares a Zulu greeting so simple and direct it's worthy of practicing it in your head even if it unnerves you too much to say out loud. When you come into the presence of another person face one another, look directly into each other's eyes and say 'I'm here to be seen'. The other person replies, 'I see you'.

Choose to be seen and choose to connect. Practice stepping out into your life, knowing you have value and wealth inside you worthy of sharing. 

'Your vulnerability and imperfections are what make you lovable and human. Choose to use them to your advantage.'

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Upbeat People: Six Secrets to Being Optimistic in the Face of Difficulties

Write on your heart that every day is the best day of the year....

'Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them; let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.' Rabindranath Tagore

Lost Your Resiliency Lately?

  • Are you isolated and feeling discouraged about your circumstances? Have you lost something or someone important in your life?
  • Does it sometimes feel like you'll never get that job or relationship that seems to come so freely to others?

Life brings plenty of challenges to stop us in our tracks and leave us feeling discouraged. 

Susan J Meyerott, artist
Everyone--even optimistic, upbeat people get sad, discouraged, lonely, and fearful. The difference is upbeat people know how to pull themselves out of the doldrums sooner.

How Do They Do It?

What are the secrets of upbeat people? Why are they able to maintain optimism in the face of difficult situations and exhibit resiliency in stressful situations? What do upbeat people do differently to bounce back?

The Secrets to Staying Upbeat

Upbeat people have faith in their ability to create their future. Through taking action they show themselves they are empowered to direct their lives--even when they're down.

Upbeat people understand the key to being empowered-- Knowing they have choices and acting on those choices. They always have one more action to take and one more card up their sleeve. This gives them power and a resilient attitude.

For upbeat people, their patience and persistence ultimately leads to payoffs. As long as we have options we can act on, we can move past disappointment and discouragement. 

Susan J Meyerott, Artist

From Discouraged to Determined to Delighted

If you watch upbeat people carefully when they're in a difficult moment, you'll see them artfully wiggle out of being stuck. It isn't necessarily a conscious action; it's just a natural reaction to being stuck. They don't like it, so they step beyond it.

I got a call from a young friend who was discouraged that a job she thought she was going to get fell through. When she didn't get the call she was expecting, she went back to the restaurant to check on the status of her application and was told they gave the job to someone else. Discouraged, she called to talk. I listened.

 As she talked, she described what happened and acknowledged her disappointment. As I listened I witnessed her transition from being discouraged to planning her next step. Once she consciously named what happened and how she felt about it her eyes were clearly fixed back on the goal--to get a job. By the time she was finished talking she had gone from discouraged to determined.

"I'm going to drop off 20 more resumes today," she said.

The next day she called me to say the first place she walked into hired her on the spot.  She had regained her power and gone from discouraged to determined to delighted by taking action.

"I like the owner, my co-workers and the customers!"

Sometimes You're Just One Step Away

This upbeat young woman was literally one step away from getting a job. By persisting after she was discouraged she bounced back and empowered herself to take the next step.

Like this woman, upbeat people continue to step into life despite failure, obstacles, and getting hurt. The message is--sometimes that job or relationship is coming with the next step-- so keep taking action in a direction that leads to accomplishing your goal even when you have continuously failed.

'Upbeat people continue to step into life despite failure, obstacles, and getting hurt. This is the key to their maintaining hope--knowing that job or relationship may be coming with the very next step which keeps them taking action that leads to accomplishing their goal even when they've continuously failed.'

Susan J Meyerott, Artist

Six Steps to Becoming Upbeat After Getting Discouraged

1. Acknowledge your feelings and what happened
--then move past your moment of discouragement into a plan for taking the next step.

2. Find your questions and step into life to discover the answers. What are the problems you're trying to solve? What are your current life questions? What's the problem, and what do you want to do about it? Where are your options? What do you choose to do?

If you're lonely and want to be in a relationship, put time into studying what other people do to meet and be available for an opportunity. 

Where are you living? Where are you working? What do you spend your free time doing? When you examine your current life do you see opportunities to meet people through those activities or in those places, or do you need to rearrange your time and life?

3. Use distraction--sometimes when things just aren't going your way, you can 'act as if' at that moment of loneliness or discouragement. Go do something else--exercise, take a class, visit a friend--and act as if you really want to engage in this distraction to give your mind and heart a rest.

4. Stay connected--call friends to talk through your current situation; join groups with similar interests, get involved in a cause--put your energies into caring about others.

5. Stay well-nourished, well-rested, and active—even when you don't feel like it.

6. Learn to laugh at your troubles

As Will Rogers said, "If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old."

Life is often challenging, and sometimes downright hard. Become an upbeat person-- accept the realities of life, and find a way to create pockets of hope through your actions.

'Live as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.' John O'Donahue

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Avoiding the Enemies to Happiness--New Book from Grant Soosalu

Do you ever...

  • Feel unhappy, down and lacking in zest and vitality?
  • Find yourself blocked from achieving your goals?
  • Lack the motivation you desire in your life?
  • Feel there is something missing?
  • Want to connect with the deeper part of yourself?

 Would you like to get more out of life? Gain greater levels of joy, happiness and meaning?

Grant Soosalu's new book, Avoiding the Enemies to Happiness addresses these issues while providing us with a fresh perspective on the value of seeking happiness and showing us how to remove the enemies getting in our way of achieving it.

Author and fellow blogger, Grant Soosalu is a wise man. I met him over the internet years ago when I stumbled onto his 'Enhancing My Life' blog. I found him to be upbeat and wise--clearly someone I could learn from. We share many interests in common, including making the world a better place to live in. So when he sent me an introduction to his new book I had to pass it on to you.

What's So Great about being Happy?

I love what Grant has to say about why he was compelled to write Avoiding the Enemies to Happiness--and why happiness is important to all of us:

"Research on happiness shows that happiness increases levels of Creativity and Productivity. It makes people more open to information and to connection with others. Happier people tend to focus on higher callings, on deeper purpose and meaning in their lives and from this they get flashes of insight and brilliance that can make such a difference to our world and our lives. Research also shows that happy people are more likely to be Compassionate. Happiness leads to pro-social behavior. Happy people like to help others, it makes them feel good in a positive feedback loop."

"So the more happiness we bring to people’s lives (and our own lives), the more we support the Highest Expressions of the human spirit. Happiness is like a powerful fuel for bringing people alive. And unfortunately there are insidious enemies to human happiness! Enemies that destroy your joy and meaning in life. And therefore enemies to the highest expression of you!" 

Wanting to Be Happy Not a Selfish Quest

I don't know about you...but this gets at the very core of why it is important for me to avoid the enemies of happiness. I want to be creative, productive, compassionate and fully alive. I want to have the energy and passion to do good in the world around me. 

Being happy isn't just a selfish quest--it is a way of being that allows us to be fully available to the world to achieve good things. It is a worthwhile quest to learn how to tap into the things that make you happy and how to avoid the things getting in the way.

Where to Find out More about Avoiding the Enemies to Happiness 

To purchase or learn more about the book, visit

Grant is offering a 2 for 1 special on the book when you order directly from through July 12, 2014. 

About the Author

Grant Soosalu is an international Trainer, Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach with extensive backgrounds in Organizational Change, Training and Leadership Development. He has advanced degrees and certifications in Psychology, Positive Psychology, Applied Physics, Computer Engineering and System Development. He is a qualified Total Quality Management (TQM) Trainer, and has achieved Master Practitioner Certification in the behavioral sciences of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Advanced Behavioral Modeling. More recently Grant was awarded a Graduate Coaching Diploma in the newly emerging field of Authentic Happiness Coaching.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Conflict and Misunderstandings--What You Understood me to Say vs What I Intended

Susan J Meyerott, Artist
"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." S.I. Hiyakawa

How does Communication Turn Ugly so Fast When Your Intentions are so Good?

Do you have days when despite your best intentions to communicate clearly and respectfully with someone you find difficult, your words set the other person off and everything 'goes to Hell in a hand-basket'? I do. 

And while I may start with the best of intentions (see my halo and wings?), the seemingly intentional twisting of my words  by the other person quickly leads me to wicked thoughts and the worst of intentions (a sharp-tongued, fire-breathing angel-turned-evil spirit inside--muhaha). 

If you examine yourself closely, like me, you'll discover your evolved, mature self and your immature, reactive self fighting it out inside. 

Your mature self has learned to act calmly, set positive intentions--and hold its tongue; your immature self reacts and has the potential to come out swinging when threatened--calling people poo-poo heads and plotting childish revenge. Why is that?

People we perceive as difficult have the capacity to make us feel threatened and out of control which shifts us into our reptilian (fight or flight) brain. 

When we're caught off-guard in a communication-gone-bad with a difficult person, we revert to a more primitive, reactive way of dealing with the world as a means of protecting ourselves against the perceived threat.

Regaining Our Composure After a Mess Erupts

The question, is how do we engage our evolved self to more quickly find our way through a quickly disintegrating muddled mess with a difficult person--and prevent our reactive self from turning a bad situation worse? 

Sure, you could choose to sit in your self-righteous anger--nursing your negative thoughts and feeling smug about your rightness and the other person's wrongness--but that doesn't serve you or the situation in the long-run.

It's not easy to recover from hurt and indignant feelings to get back on a more positive course of action--but you are the only one who experiences your inner world. Why would you want to let the negative people guide your thoughts and your actions?

Check Your Perceptions

To call on your mature self to help you through difficult interactions you need to manage how you view the person and the situation.  

When we think of someone as a 'difficult person' rather than 'a person we have difficulty with' we set ourselves up to expect them to be difficult--and brace ourselves for negative interactions.

Understand you are the creator of your own perceptions, thoughts and feelings making up your inner world. You choose whether it is positive or negative--heavenly or hellish as the Samurai learns in the following story.

Susan J Meyerott, Artist
How We Create Our Personal Hell--Or Heaven

Pema Chodron in her book--Awakening Loving-Kindness--tells the story of a Samurai visiting a wise man to ask about the nature of Heaven and Hell. 

The wise man proceeds to berate and belittle the Samurai--calling him names and saying he is not worthy of this knowledge. The Samurai gets angrier and angrier and in a fit of rage, raises his sword and is about to cut off the man's head, when the wise man says, "That is HELL".

In an instant, the Samurai understands and sees he has created his own Hell in which his anger, resentment, and rage took him to the brink of killing this man. In a flash of understanding he drops his sword and begins to sob. The wise man says, " And that is HEAVEN".

Susan J Meyerott, Artist

What Are You Primed To Hear?

Every moment we make decisions about which path to take in response to life's challenges--including the negative reactions of others.  

We are all primed to listen and pay attention in a positive or negative way based on how we've trained ourselves. 

Sometimes people are primed to misunderstand and feel threatened causing them to listen for slights, criticism or blame. This can intensify when cliques have formed at work or in the family, creating us against them factions.

Once someone's feelings get hurt--and avoidance sets in--you can end up in a never-ending cycle of misunderstanding and hurt feelings, criticism and blame, and talking about rather than talking to the other person which ultimately leads to more factions, taking sides, and bad mouthing. 

Although you may strive to communicate in a positive manner to a person 'dug in' it may not be received that way because the person is already primed to hear what you say as negative--and vice versa

Artist: Susan J Meyerott

The Bottom-line: Choose How You Want to Behave Regardless

So what can you do when the other person is primed to hear anything you say as negative and threatening? 

Choose how you want to behave regardless of how the other person behaves. 

Check your intentions, stay the course, keep your eyes on your life goals, and commit to working from your mature self.

Decide how YOU want to be--and how you want to live your life--and let that be your guide for moving forward. 

Not everyone is going to like you--and you will have people in your life who are difficult to deal with. The question always comes back to how do you want to live your life and how do you wish to behave?

So after you get over feeling indignant and hurt about the twisting of your words and intentions--redirect your attention by asking yourself: 
  • What do you want to build or create in your life?
  • What actions do you want to commit to despite obstacles and misunderstandings?
  • What attitudes do you want to live with? When you look inside, do you carry more negative, than positive thoughts or more positive than negative thoughts?
  • How are you training yourself to listen?

'Always do right; this will gratify some and astonish the rest.'  Mark Twain

Road-map to Repair Relationship after Miscommunication

Susan J Meyerott

*Special thanks to Lee for sending me Pema Chodron's website. As always--perfect story; perfect timing.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.