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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Twitter-patted? Tension is who you think you SHOULD be~Relaxation is WHO YOU ARE

'Tension is who you think you should be~Relaxation is who you are.'
Chinese Proverb

Tension is who you think you should be

Think back over the last week. What caused you tension? How did it relate to who you think you should be? Did you apply for or get a new job? Are you considering a change in your relationship status? Are you starting or finishing college? Are you considering a major life change such as becoming a parent, starting a business, retiring or buying a home?
We do it to ourselves—tie ourselves up in knots when embarking on a new direction, job or relationship. We get hyped and twitter-patted as we anticipate other's as well as our own expectations. Secretly, we fear we'll regret our choices, or fall flat on our faces as we attempt to navigate the future.
With the excitement of stepping out in a new direction comes the anxiety of living up to our own expectations. We want to do good, create a good life, and engage in meaningful and fulfilling work. But we worry.
To calm the out-of-control beast within, we need to tame the tension so we use our heightened energy to propel us forward without allowing it to tip us over into overwhelmed mode.

'A violent wind does not last for a whole morning; 
a sudden rain does not last for the whole day.'
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Tension is useful when you tame it and name it
We all wage our private battle of bringing together where we currently are with where we want ourselves to be. The battle creating tension isn't the issue. It's what we choose to do with it.

Too often we think tension = bad and relaxation = good. The truth is, used properly, they're both good.

Tension will wear your body down if you fail to pay attention to it. But when you pay attention, you raise your awareness of what's causing the discrepancy between where you are and where you want to be, and you free yourself up to make conscious choices about how to effectively deal with the tension.

'In the dew of little things the heart finds it's morning and is refreshed.'  Rumi 

Relaxation is who you are

Stop, look and listen to yourself. It doesn't take much to calm yourself and make a better use of the natural tension created by your desire to grow and move forward with life. Look for little ways to ease the tension while still harnessing the energy to propel you forward. 
πŸ’œ Take one small step toward your new direction to ease the tension.
πŸ’œ Take one moment to revel in your good fortune.
πŸ’œ Take one nap to relax.
πŸ’œ Take one moment to enjoy a cup of tea and contemplate your next step.
πŸ’œ Take one moment to think about nothing.

Stepping into a new phase of life can be intense. Give yourself time to ease into it. Show up, do your best, and find a way to relax into it. Above all else, be yourself.

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For more than 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life easier than ever before.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Speak Up! How to Get the Quiet Colleague to Talk to You

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said.  Anonymous
Do you show up to meetings hoping for lively dialogue but despite your best efforts to pose great questions and stimulate discussion you produce nothing but veiled eyes and blank stares? Do you feel you're pulling teeth trying to get your less-than-talkative co-workers to speak up? 

If your more forceful efforts to get introverted colleagues to talk have failed, try using a gentler approach to open them up.

Gentleness Achieves what Force Cannot

Know what drives introverts. Introverts aren't shy. They simply don't like to speak before they've carefully considered what they think and want to say. The fastest way to get them to share their thoughts is to give them time to think before you ask them to speak.

Let time work for you. The worst thing you can do if you want introverts to talk is to put them on the spot—ask a question and expect an immediate reply. Don't wait until you're in meetings to ask questions. Give introverts time to mull over and process information in depth. Prior to meeting send out lists of questions or issues that need to be addressed . Or have them submit their own questions or issues ahead of the meeting. Ask everyone to think about the issues and come prepared to discuss.

Shhhsh...Silence is Golden

Get comfortable with silence. When you're faced with a moment of silence in a meeting, let it be. Don't try to fill all the empty spaces by talking. Show respect for more introverted colleagues by giving them time to think in silence. When you leave an opening, your quiet co-workers are more likely to speak up.

Practice the 3-minute test. If your habit of always filling lulls in the conversation is strong, get in the practice of giving others three minutes to talk before you speak again.

Give everyone time to talk in small groups. If keeping quiet this long makes you nervous, set up the topic of discussion for meeting members to deliberate in pairs for five minutes and walk out of the room for that period of time. This gives everyone in the group an opportunity to speak up.

Surprise!--that quiet colleague is an extravert. You may be surprised to discover some of those quiet colleagues who fail to speak up in your meetings are actually extraverts. Extraverts aren't shy either--so what makes these more gregarious coworkers hold their tongue? You haven't made it safe for them to speak up. Just like introverts, extraverts need a safe environment to join in the conversation and share their ideas.

Small group discussion works for extraverts too. Extraverts may not feel safe jumping into the discussion in their preferred manner of thinking as they talk. Extraverts are the ones who want to engage in a dialogue to figure out what they think—they work best by bouncing their ideas off others. You need to make it safe for extraverts to speak up without already having their ideas fully formed.

Small group discussions are good for everyone. Not only do small group discussions stimulate fruitful talk from the introverts in the group they make room for the extraverts to jump in and freely play with their ideas too.

'An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.'      Walter Bagehot

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For more than 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life 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, sign up for free e-mail subscription.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Change Your Attitude towards Life from Hard and Inflexible to Strong and Supple

Are You on Your Way to Living or Dying?

Men are born soft and supple; dead they are stiff and hard. Plants are born 
tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible 
is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. 
The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.

Lao Tzu

If the mind is flexible, the world is flexible.

Sakyong Mipham

Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.

Lao Tzu

Your own positive future begins in this moment. 
All you have is right now. Every goal is possible from here.

Lao Tzu

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For more than 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life easier than ever before.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mindfulness: Deep Listening Heals

'Take a walk at night. 
Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.'

Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening Composer

Deep Listening: What is it?
Pauline Oliveros, the composer who championed ‘Deep Listening,’ died this year at 84. Although I'd been intrigued by the practice of listening deeply for 25 years I never really thought about how 'deep listening' came about. It just seemed to always be present.
I was first introduced to the use of sound therapy for healing and also deep listening in the early 1990's when I began to explore it in my own life.  
I remember the moment I first learned about deep listening from my dear friend, Karen King, who had just attended yet one more 10 hour workshop to expand her mind. As we sat in a Mexican Restaurant, sipping on Margaritas, I asked her to tell me about the course she had been attending, to which she replied, 'It's all about listening deeply.
We sat silently looking into each other's eyes--neither of us wanting to be the first to speak after that deep thought until we both burst out laughing. 

In a forever contest to be the wisest, each of us wanted to be the one to do the deepest listening.....yet our ability to see through our mutual game and laugh at ourselves won out as always. 

Deep listening isn't about looking serious, wise and calm to others. It's about sitting still within yourself to better access acceptance, stillness, and being without judgment.  In this deep listening state healing--and even laughter--can take place for you and the recipients of your listening.

Listener Heal Thy Self: Listening to Sounds in the Distance 

One of the ways I've learned to use deep listening for healing myself is to 'listen to sounds in the distance'. 
When I stumbled on this idea I'd been pondering how a sweet sound--like a bird singing--could become a cacophony of noise to the listener if it got too close and you couldn't get away from it. I discovered if I shifted my attention to listening deeply to sounds in the distance, the further away I listened, the more noise became 'the calming sound of silence'.  

Listening to sounds in the distance soon became a regular practice for me when out for a walk. This simple deep listening practice calms my mind each and every time.

Listening is a process that puts you in a state of flow and as such automatically removes you from the over-analyzing frame of mind that creates the noise in your head. The next time the noise in your head gets too loud and you feel you can't get away from the stress of it, try projecting your listening far away. 

A wise man once said nothing....

Deep Listening: Healing and Calming Others

This year, while catching up with friends I learned about a program they were volunteering with called The Listening Post. Program Volunteers make themselves available to sit with--and listen to--people who are marginalized, isolated and alone. They listen to the downtrodden without trying to fix anything. It is the ultimate 'deep listening to heal' program.  You show up to be with people and simply listen.

The Listening Post

'The Listening Post provides active, non-interventionist listening to those who are marginalized, isolated and alone in the Ashland community. It is an offering of the hospitality of presence. It is not an intent to impose any beliefs, provide counseling, advise, rescue or fix. Such listening empowers, validates, affirms, comforts and assists others in attaining a sense of wholeness.'

Close Your Mouth and Listen with Your Eyes and Ears

This compassionate deep listening without intervening can be used with your friends and family as well. 

Too often we fail to truly listen to those around us who are feeling isolated and alone, choosing to move into a fix-the-problem mode instead. 

What people need most when they're hurting is to be listened to--to be heard. Nothing speaks more loudly that you care about someone than a closed mouth and open ears.

πŸ’™ Who do you know that could use a good listening ear?  Why not give the gift of deep listening--or listening from a distance? Whether in person, in email, or by phone--your just being present to listen while someone else vents is the most compassionate gift you can give.

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For more than 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life 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, sign up for free e-mail subscription.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Face You Show to Others: Are You a Judger or Perceiver?

The Face We Show to Others

How Do I Look to You?

Years ago as I was chatting with a small group of friends about who we were and how we were perceived by one another when the conversation turned in my direction. 

'You don't show your feelings,' one friend announced. Immediately the rest looked at me and chimed in, 'That's true--you don't.'

'For example, what are you feeling right now?' another asked.

'Interested', I replied.

'Interested isn't a feeling.' Everyone shook their head in agreement. 'So what are you really feeling right now?'

'Interested,' I replied with a smile.

It's All Interesting.....

I'm a Lonely Little 'Perceiver' in a 'Judger' Patch

What was so interesting to me that day was although all of us conversing were 'feelersI was the sole 'perceiver' in a group of 'judgers'. And while I would qualify for what I call one of the 'squishy of all squishy' feeler types I didn't look like a softie to this group of feeler-judgers

How can this be? The answer can be found in the definition of Judger and Perceiver--two descriptive terms originating out of the Myers-Briggs Typing System that point toward our orientation to life in the outer world and therefore how we appear to others.

Can Judgers and Perceivers be Friends?

Judgers and Perceivers are quite different in how we prefer life to unfold. So the question is can Judgers and Perceivers get along--and learn to appreciate one another? 

The answer is YES if we choose to understand ourselves and learn to deal compassionately with one another. Below is a primer on understanding the Judgers and Perceivers in your life, along with a few tips for crossing the lifestyle divide.

Perception determines what we see in a situation;
Judgment determines what we decide to do.

We all use our perception to collect information and judgment 
to come to conclusions. The question is where will we do each?

The Face We Show to Others

J-P Preference Defines How We Prefer to be in the Outer World

Although we all collect information (perceive) as we scan our environment and we all make decisions (judgments) about what we we encounter in our world--where and when we usually do both is determined by our preferences for dealing with the world around us. 
The J-P preference--or judger-perceiver preference defines our preferred way of being in the outer world when we're 'extraverting'. This applies to introverts and extraverts alike. It is 'the face we show to others' and it describes how we prefer to be in the world.
Whether you're a Perceiver or Judger will determine how you appear to others--as 'open' or 'closed'.

When extraverting Judgers move toward closure (i.e. coming to conclusions and making decisions) and Perceivers move toward collecting more information (i.e. staying open and being inquisitive).

Judgers show their preferred way of judging in the outer world--either thinking or feeling. They look like exclamation points as they move toward closure and being decisive in public.

Perceivers show their preferred way of perceiving in the outer world--either sensing or intuiting. They look like question marks as they move toward openness and inquisitiveness in public.

We Use the Opposite Inside
What Happens Inside?

Whatever we show on the outside--judging or perceiving--we use the opposite inside. On the inside (behind the eyes) Judgers use their preferred way of perceiving and Perceivers use their preferred way of judging. 

For example, I as an Extraverted Intuitior Feeler Perceiver (ENFP) use my intuition in the outer world, looking inquisitive and 'interested' and save my feelings for my inner world. So although I am 'quite a heart-felt squishy' person you don't necessarily see that when relating to me. 

When introverting (introverts and extraverts alike): Judgers 'open up' to consider more information and Perceivers 'close down' to come to conclusions. Perceivers--who use judging in their private world--have less need to control the outer environment than Judgers as they are more orderly inside.

How do you Appear--
Decisive and Orderly or Inquisitive and Adaptable?

How Judgers and Perceivers Approach Life

When relating to others in the outer world, Judgers present as people who plan life in a more controlled, decisive and orderly manner, while Perceivers present as curious and adaptable people who take a more open, free-flowing and flexible approach to life.

Perceivers are the ones asking all the questions and re-opening issues. 

Judgers are the ones quickly deciding and sticking to their guns.

Meet the Judgers 

Judgers Prefer a Planned Life

Whether Feelers or Thinkers, Judgers prefer to live life in a planned and structured manner. They take their responsibilities seriously. When dealing in the outer world they're decisive, self-regimented and purposeful--and prefer to move quickly to a decision. They prefer to plan their work and downtime, and once set, they want to stick to the plan. 

Judgers prefer to work in a scheduled and structured workplace--and will begin laying a plan for weekend time-off by mid-week. They put responsibilities before pleasure, thus choose careers that allow them to be responsible at work and provide for their families.

Just the facts, Ma'm 

When starting new activities Judgers prefer to learn just the essentials of what's needed. They are more product-oriented than process-oriented. Once they have a plan of action they focus on completing the activity. They find great satisfaction making decisions and finishing projects. 

In a job search Judgers lay out a plan and want the plan to work NOW. They can become frustrated and discouraged when it doesn't work out as planned immediately.

Comfort in Schedules and Timeliness

Judgers believe in deadlines and schedules--both at work and at home. They prefer a more compartmentalized life--with a clear separation of work and home. A to-do-list to check off completed items is a must. Their idea of 'on-time' is arriving 15 minutes early. 

Judger Managers: Set real deadlines and expect you to meet them on-time. 

Show Respect: If you want to show respect to a Judger, show up on time and meet deadlines.

Meet the Perceivers

Perceivers Prefer to Live More Spontaneously 

Those of us who are Perceivers, whether sensors or intuitors, prefer to live life in a more spontaneous and enjoyable manner. When engaging in the outer world we are curious, flexible and adaptable. We are the 'enjoyers of life' who prefer to go with the flow while constantly exploring our environment.

Tell Me Everything.....

Perceivers are Life Explorers who Don't Want to Miss Anything!

When starting new projects or meeting new people Perceivers like to learn everything about the project or person--asking lots of questions and staying open to new pieces of information, and often delaying decisions until all the pieces of information have naturally fallen into place in their head.

Perceivers prefer a workplace that is flexible and evolving. We love startup companies where we can brainstorm and explore multiple options before settling down to a fixed way of doing business. We often get out of the job or business if it gets to be too fixed in it's ways. We want room to explore.

Comfort in Flexibility and Timelessness

Time: A Perceiver's view of time is more flexible. We are more process-oriented than product-oriented. We can get caught up in what we're exploring and lose track of time. We are more comfortable with a schedule that is 'ish' rather than sharp, as in, 5ish...or some time after 5 is okay.

Perceiver Manager: May set a deadline that is earlier than required. That way there is built in flexibility for employees who need more time to complete the job while still allowing the Manager and team to responsibly complete the job.

Show Respect: If you want to be respectful to a Perceiver, give them room to be flexible and appreciate their adaptability. 

Perceivers Enjoy what they Do

Work is Enjoyable

As we must enjoy what we do, Perceivers choose careers based on what they enjoy. Sometimes this is confusing to 'responsible' Judgers who perceive fun-loving Perceivers as being irresponsible. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A Perceiver doesn't have difficulty being responsible because we always find a way to enjoy what we must do. 

How to Make Peace with Each Other

Tips for Getting Judgers to Stay Open and Perceivers to Decide

The exact same approach used to help a Judger open up will work to get a Perceiver to close down--give them time to think about an issue alone and their brain will work off-line to open up or come to the proper conclusion. 

Want to get a Judger to stay open to a different decision? Take decision making off the table in a meeting or conversation (where a Judger is quick to decide). Instead of asking for a decision in the moment, provide a written request and state you don't want a decision now. Set a time to come back to discuss. 

Removing the decision making in public increases the probability the Judger will open up when considering it (inside her head) and also allows an orderly, scheduled, deadline for deciding.

Want to get a Perceiver to made a decision more quickly? Perceivers close down collecting information and let their brains work off-line when they're inside their heads. 

Begin with 'exploratory meetings' to examine the issues rather than meetings where decisions are made. Instruct the Perceiver to consider the options and come back to the next scheduled meeting with a plan or decision. 

A Judger's Path to a More Balanced Life and Maturity

Reach into a Perceiver's mindset: Consciously and deliberately practice being flexible, adaptable, and open.

'If the mind is flexible, the world is flexible.' 

Sakyong Mipham

'It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive 
but those who can best manage change.' 
Leon C. Megginson
'Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. 
Truth is outside of all patterns.'
Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

A Perceiver's Path to a More Balanced Life and Maturity

Reach into a Judger's mindsetConsciously and deliberately practice finishing and moving to closure; choosing a path and following through to the finish.

'Actions are the seed of fate (your) deeds grow into destiny.' 

Harry S Truman

'Whenever you have taken up work in hand, you must see it to the finish. That is the ultimate secret of success. Never, never, never give up! '
Dada Vaswani

'With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, 
as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on 
to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds.' 

Abraham Lincoln

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For more than 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life 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, sign up for free e-mail subscription.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Upbeat People: Six Secrets to Regaining Optimism and Hope in the Face of Difficulties


'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?

πŸ’™ Are you isolated and feeling discouraged about your current circumstances? Have you lost something or someone important in your life? 

πŸ’™ Does it sometimes feel like you'll never get that job, income, 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. But be of good cheer--you have everything within you to handle whatever life throws at you. You have the ability to regain your optimism and hope in the face of difficulties.

πŸ’“ 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.πŸ’—

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

πŸ’™ 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. 

πŸ’™ 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.

πŸ’™ 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. 

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.

πŸ’— '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.' πŸ’—

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?

πŸ’™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. Take a step--any step to increase the probability you'll meet like-minded people.

πŸ’™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 or to gain new employment opportunities through those activities or in those places, or do you need to rearrange your time and life? Can you explore opportunities closer to home or do you need to look elsewhere? 

πŸ’™Ask: What actions can I take to show myself I have options? If I was to do something completely different to move toward my goals and desires, what active step could I take?

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 trusted family or 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 35 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 letting go and moving forward with life 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, sign up for free e-mail subscription.