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Going In Before Going Out


This morning, the lesson was about God having given me all of His powers.

The words in these lessons usually inspire the thought, really? Because if you asked me at some random point during the day whether I feel powerful, I  say “Are you kidding?! I feel anything BUT powerful!”

But this isn’t because I’m not powerful. It’s because I don’t FEEL powerful. The distinction is important.

Like many people, whether  I consider myself powerful or pretty or smart is based on what is happening outside myself. For example, a woman organizing a conference called me saying a friend suggested she call me because “Judy knows everyone.” Hearing that made me feel proud and powerful. Well if someone else says that it MUST be true.

Which is the problem.

First because people’s opinions vary. One day someone thinks you’re wonderful. The next day you say something, upset them and they think you’re horrible. Have you really changed that much?

No! But it’s crazy how I’m willing to allow my self-esteem hinge on the assessments of others.

Then things get really fun because I assume there must be a good reason for the other person’s assessment. I wonder what did I do? What did I say? Or what did I fail to do or say?

And if you’re like me, you dig even deeper and get down to what you believe is the TRUTH about yourself. And the TRUTH in my case is not a pretty picture.

Somewhere around the age of two or three I came up with the the idea that I didn’t deserve to exist and that was the TRUTH about me. Where this idea came from I can’t say for sure. I was raised in a loving, middle class family and I was never abused or mistreated.

But who can say what happens that gives a three-year old the idea that she doesn’t deserve to exist. The birth of a new sister, a look from a parent, being punished for something I didn’t think was wrong?

But small children know instinctively they need their parents and other adults to survive and tend to believe those adults are always right. Therefore, it is they who are somehow wrong when an adult is unhappy or angry.

The irony is we rarely re-examine those early ideas. Instead they get codified and reinforced as we add layers of adult reasons and beliefs until that belief becomes our reality.

In my case, the belief I don’t deserve to exist has turned into a whole nest of beliefs such as “I need to get everyone to like me.” “I must do everything perfectly.” “I must fit in.” “I must be the winner.”

It’s not surprising I’ve spent a lot of time feeing guilty, angry, and anxious. Guilty when I displease someone important. Angry when I go along with what someone else wants even though I don’t like what I’m doing. And anxious because I spend a lot of time alone without feedback at all and I’m always wondering and worrying about whether I’m “doing it right.” Even though “doing it right” hasn’t been much of a recipe for personal happiness in my case.

In my case the “antidote” has been to stop depending on what’s outside as an indicator of my right to exist and feel happy.

Every once in a while, this morning for example, I remember that before I try to do anything I believe will make me feel better about myself to first go within and find peace. And here’s something really cool: I always find peace! Always! If I can quiet my anxious thoughts just enough, I find peace and quiet.

And once I find the peace and quiet I notice how full my heart feels. The fullness is Love. Not hearts and flowers love. Divine, unconditional Love. The Love that is there no matter what I do, say, or think.

It is from the peace and love which is always present in my heart that I would now go into the world with. And this is a very different presence than the anxious “please tell me I have a right to exist” presence I would otherwise bring.


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An Interesting Twist on the Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

I’ve been doing quite an immersion in Martha Beck programs this week.

I’m listening to What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? Creating Your Perfect Career. The first class, The Dark Forest of Career Confusion, looks at how we tend to respond physically and emotionally when the career we’re pursuing doesn’t fit our “essential self.” The essential self is the “nature” part of ourselves…our hard wiring.

When our current work isn’t in alignment with our essential self, we can feel like imposters no matter how good we are in the work we’re doing.

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People are Not Resources


Someone once told me that they disliked the term, “human resources” because “people are not resources.”

I found that comment, “people are not resources” impossible to understand at the time because I was working for a large corporation in a management track position.  At the same time I couldn’t let it go. It was like one of those frustrating puzzles that you keep returning to in hopes of one day solving.

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Having an Open Heart in Business

We don’t usually put the idea of “having an open heart” together with business. Quite the opposite.

But that’s the only way I’d want to be in business. Two designs I created to keep me inspired.

This one inspired by a vintage store sign;



and this one which looks more like the “Yes! We’re Open” signs seen in most stores today:



If you own a business, do you try to have an open heart? What does “open-hearted” mean to you?



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Day 1: Clutter-Free Forever!


I promised myself that once I put together our tax-related documents and handed them to our accountant for filing, I’d begin the “Clutter-Free Forever” project in earnest.

Still, the title of this post fills me with a certain amount of apprehension because, I’ve been trying to clear clutter in my home and office for 15+ years. I’ve achieved success but inevitably, the clutter would creep in again.

This time, however, I’m using the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, as my guide. I expect to be more successful using this book because:

  1. It got rave reviews on from self-titled skeptics.
  2. Homes in Japan are significantly smaller than those in the U.S. and I’ve always admired the minimalist approach of having only what you need and no more.
  3. I love the author’s advice to keep only items which “spark joy.” I’ve tried so many different strategies to figure out what to keep or not keep and the idea “Does this spark joy” feels so straightforward and easy to implement.

I’m feeling apprehension because:

  1. The author counsels making “organizing an event” where I need to set aside large chunks of time to clean an entire room. This freaks me out because I have so much crap, I’m afraid it will take me months to truly dig through all my stuff.
  2. I have all this junk because I struggle with deciding whether to keep it or throw it out. I’m worried I’ll still find ways to “sneak around the “joy” or not rule.
  3. One of the things Ms. Kondo says is that keeping clutter is a distraction from the real problems I need to tackle in my life. I wonder if I’ll sabotage myself simply because I like having the excuse of “I can’t work on this yet because I have all these rooms to clean and organize.”

Nonetheless I’m moving forward and I’m just about done with Chapter 1: Why Can’t I Keep My House in Order?  I stopped reading at the section that begins “Make Tidying a Special Event Not a Daily Chore” because of my aforementioned anxiety. But I’m committed to finishing Chapter 1 by the end of the day tomorrow.

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New 30 Day Challenge: Dealing with Clothing Clutter

You would think after spending time on radical forgiveness that turning my attention to my overflowing closet would be going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

But I believe anything taking up my energy is worth looking at and I’m finding that I spend way too much time and money cleaning and organizing my wardrobe. Plus, I’m one of those stereotypical women who has a “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”

I need to do something and I’m devoting the next 30-days to taking action and dealing with the mess.

My plan of action is:

#1. Deal with the easy stuff first. Sell, donate, or toss all the clothes I’ve already decided no longer works for me.

#2. Go through the rest and see what else I can weed out. (This is the area I’ve always gotten stuck).

Be gentle with myself and remember a lot of useful stuff comes out of just going through the process.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about how I’ll decide what to sell versus what to donate. And the actions I’m taking.

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Day 30: Radical Forgiveness: The Imposter Syndrome

Boy Wearing Men's Dress Shoes and Suit

Today my plan was to use the Radical Self Acceptance process on the quality of introversion.

I often blame my introversion for holding me back from “greatness.” If I were only more outgoing and more motivated to “get out there” I would have been more successful, sooner.

Just as I began the process, an image popped into my mind that made me realize there was a bigger issue.

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Day 28: Radical Forgiveness: Radical Self-Acceptance


Up until pretty recently, the idea of loving or even accepting myself “as is” has been something I just couldn’t “grok.”

I grew up on the idea of “self-improvement.” That I was flawed. My flaws, by definition were fundamentally unacceptable, and my life’s work was changing all of those unacceptable elements into things I would like. So personal happiness and fulfillment is all about changing what I don’t like into what I do like so that I become a person I can like.

This all seems to make sense.
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Day 17: Radical Forgiveness – Sales and Self-Worth


Yesterday I wrote about how I have a tendency to want people to hire or buy from me. This is regardless of whether the person is a prospective customer or even makes sense to be a customer.

This is embarrassing because it’s so illogical and I also know it’s disrespectful and often inappropriate in the context of the relationship. There’s no better way to lose friends and irritate people than to turn every encounter into Let’s Make a Deal.

And no matter what I tell myself, the impulse stubbornly comes up.

To get at the bottom of this, I did a Self-Forgiveness Worksheet yesterday from the Radical Forgiveness program.

I learned something really interesting about this compulsion.

Like a lot of Baby Boomers, I was raised by Depression Baby parents. Although my parents both grew up in relative comfort, one grandfather was a successful salesman and the other ran a successful menswear store, they heard stories and saw evidence everywhere of how easy it was to go from comfort to poverty. They had close relatives who couldn’t find work and heard all the time what a “terrible thing it was when a man couldn’t find a job.”

So although they were comfortable, they constantly heard “be grateful because you’re lucky your father has a job.”

They also grew up with lots of stories about how even the most menial job was not only a JOB but it was a FOOT IN THE DOOR to show your employers what you were made of and make something of yourself.

When I was working for other people, for example, working in the corporate world, I usually felt successful when I had a job. Being employed meant someone thought I was valuable enough to be worth hiring. The desire that other people buy from me didn’t cross my mind.

When I started my coaching business, it seemed like the main way I could judge how well I was doing was by how successful I was when it came to enrolling clients.  So I began to equate my sense of self-worth and value based on whether or no someone wanted to buy something from me or wanted to hire me.

This is what I discovered as I did the self-forgiveness process.

Having seen this clearly helps me have a lot more compassion for myself because if this is one of the few ways I can find to feel good about who I am as a human being of course I’m going to constantly desire getting this kind of affirmation.

So this brings up some questions for me to contemplate (without any pressure to come up with answers):

  • What are other things from which I can find self-worth
  • How can I feel secure in my value as a person that aren’t dependent on what is outside my own control? This is because ultimately I have no control over other people nor do I have control over most events. My control ultimately comes down to my choices including how I choose to respond.
  • What would it take for me to truly believe in my intrinsic value (which would pretty much address point #2)

That last point is my dream, to feel so secure in my own self worth and the value of what I create through my work that I don’t require the approval of other people to feel fulfilled. It isn’t that I won’t love it when my work makes a difference for people and when I’m paid. But what I receive from other people makes things that much more sweet. It isn’t what I require to feel successful and good about myself.

I believe the answer is in me. I don’t see it right this moment. So for now I’m going to continue putting my energy into what is immediately in front of me.

Maybe one thing I could do is to do the self-forgiveness process on this very situation…to forgive myself for not knowing because I do feel like I’m failing somehow by my lack of direction. I also feel bad because it feels like I’m letting my family down as well.

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Adventures in Transition

I feel I’ve been “in transition” since last December when I realized I wasn’t sure what was next for my business and rather than force myself to choose something, anything to develop and monetize, I did nothing.

Prior to this, I always had projects “in queue” to work on. In fact I’ve consistently had clients to work with.

In some ways not pushing forward has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t like “sitting still.” I don’t like feeling as though nothing I’m doing is actually “counting” towards anything. Or if the things I’m doing are contributing, it’s not clear to me how they are making a difference.

Two things I’ve found challenging especially have been taking time to contemplate and doing things just because I enjoy doing them.

It’s challenging because there’s always stuff to do. When I woke up this morning, well actually just about every morning when I wake up, I feel anxiety and apprehension because I feel so unfocused!!

Again, I have plenty of things to do. De-cluttering my office and home is still a monster project. I could easily spend every minute today, tomorrow, and probably the next two months cleaning and organizing my office.

But what pulls at me is that I’m being a perfectionist and that my perfectionism is one of my ways to avoid quiet time and joy time.

I’ve also realized that although I talk a lot about having fun, and playing, I do very little of it.

I’m not even sure what I would actually do to just have fun!

The immediate prompting that came up for me after i wrote the sentence was “easy does it.” Meaning rather than making having fun being about spending a day on rollercoasters, could I spend an hour doing something I like?

“Taking it easy” is a new concept for me because most of the time when I commit to something I do with my whole body. I rarely dip my toe in to see if I like the water.

Another idea that has been on my mind this morning has been the notion that “life is happening.”

Because I know when I’m in transition, I tend to feel like my life is in some strange state of stasis while I’m waiting to have what I really want. It’s always been “when I finally …

  • have a boyfriend
  • have a “real” job
  • get married
  • have kids
  • buy a house
  • am making six-figures in my business
  • am an empty nester
  • etc, etc.

And it’s only after I’ve achieved the next thing that I can finally feel satisfied. I think this is one of the reasons transitions are so challenging for me.

At the same time, I’m finally beginning to realize that actually, no, life doesn’t go into any kind of stasis. That every minute that ticks by I’m one minute closer to my death.  I’m not writing that to be morbid. It’s the truth.

I also have come to accept that there may very well be no “afterlife” in which my consciousness continues on. At least not in the form of “Judy.” And that I’m not going to be in some celestial heaven gazing down lovingly on earth. Or perhaps working some kind of divine interference on the planet. I’m not going to be someone’s fairy godmother.

If my essential energy carries on in some fashion I don’t think my life here is going to mean much. I believe whatever meaning my life here has is created while I’m here. After I’m dead, that adventure is over and done.

I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that the universe is too vast a place and that what happens here is a very small mote in the grand scheme. Funny that I had to expand and grow as a person to finally begin to hold this point of view.

And it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong. I think it’s far better to look at this life as mattering as much as possible and not assuming I can coast or blow things off until I finally get a crack at a life that really matters.

I’m finding it challenging this morning to write a lot. There are days when I write thousands of words. But that’s probably because I’m writing from my mind and my mind is a chatterbox. I’m writing more from my heart this morning and my heart doesn’t use words much and when it does it uses words very sparingly and directly.

What my heart wants most is connection to other hearts. Meaningful connection with other hearts in which the Divine spark is shared and appreciated. When that happens that is the joy for me. That is the real satisfaction and pleasure for me. I’m glad I’ll be meeting with Karen and Lynn later today because I have that with them. I’m lucky to have people in my life in which I consistently get to experience that connection.

I think it’s also why I’ve grown so tired of email and social media connections on the Internet. Because there is the promise of that connection but it’s is very rarely present.

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