Affirmations


     The role of self-talk, that silent voice that speaks inside your head, makes a world of difference in your performance. It can be an amalgamation of a lot of voices you heard when you were younger, before you had the ability to evaluate the validity of what you heard. Untrained and uncontrolled self-talk can be very negative, criticizing and devaluing your efforts; perhaps even preventing action in the first place.

     Counteracting that self-talk and creating new patterns of thinking requires replacing the old commentary with the verbalization of success-oriented thoughts. To establish this fresh habit and ingrain new voices:

  1. Create a list of positive affirmations, and write them down. These need to be stated actively, and as if they had already occurred. An example might be, ‘I keep my closets neat and organized,’ or ‘I attract intelligent, kind people.’ This is what creates the cognitive dissonance, the perhaps subconscious recognition that what is said is not what actually exists. This discrepancy drives personal action to make what is said match reality.
  2. Repeating your dream drives your actions. The repetition makes you more aware of the goal, in effect keeping it in focus so you see unpredicted ways to progress toward it, patterning the mind to see what it might have overlooked before
  3. Read each affirmation, picturing how it would feel if it actually were in place. In a sense, you are rehearsing this new reality so it will not feel so strange as you gradually evolve into it. For instance, if your affirmation is, ‘I feel confident and assured speaking to a large number of people,’ you might picture yourself in front of a large auditorium full of people raptly listening to you speak and applauding what you have to say. Thus, in your mind, you practice success.
  4. Do this exercise twice daily. Sometimes, but rarely, it only takes one event because there is an associated incident so emotionally charged that the imprint occurs with a single experience. Sometimes it may take hundreds of repetitions.

What is your affirmation?

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Habit


Most of the time, I agree with Wayne Dyer—he passes on a lot of powerful information. However, one particular statement Dyer made in “The Power of Intention” disturbed me. He said that it was important to develop the mindset, “I want to feel good.” But the statement, “I want,” bothered me.

The correct use of the statement, “I need,” refers to the essentials in life…we need a certain amount of food, water, or clothing, depending on the temperature. We speak of people being “in need,” usually meaning that they are lacking what most would consider to be essentials. . .again—food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare.

We often use need incorrectly, as in, “I need new jeans,” or “I need to put a gazebo in my back yard.” A more accurate way to say it would be that “I want new jeans,” or “I want to put a gazebo in my back yard.” Yet, again, what are we saying?

When we say “want,” what is the implication?

I want new jeans or I want a gazebo means that these thing probably do not already exist among the things I have. I don’t need them, in the sense that my survival is not really dependent on whether I have them or not, but whether I need something, or whether I want it, I am expressing the fact (or perception) that I don’t have it.

I say perception because sometimes we say we want or need something we already have. I need something to eat may completely ignore a full refrigerator if there is not something there I feel like eating. I don’t have a thing to wear may be ignoring a full closet. I need friends may completely ignore the fact that I have more friends out there than I could begin to count.

Back to Dyer. To me, I want means I don’t have. If I don’t have, I am saying that I lack something. If I say, “I want to feel good,” does that mean, when I say it, that I don’t “feel good?” After all, it is something I want. I have placed it as something out there, not in the sphere of things I own.

I am careful about thinking I want. If what I want will not make a substantial difference in my life, I question spending the energy on the wanting. Wanting often only succeeds in reinforcing places in your life where you don’t have.

Wanting focuses on the holes in the fabric of your life, and not the threads—what is not there, instead of what is. If you fill every hole, you may keep the rain out, but you also will not be able to breathe. The saying goes, “You will never be rich enough, or thin enough?” There will always be someone richer or thinner.

Is your choice then, to be unsatisfied, in want, because you have decided that whatever you have or intend to achieve is not enough? By whose standards?

When you find yourself wanting, ask: Is what I want going to truly affect my life?

Or is wanting just a habit?

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Setting Your Goals


Where are you now? I don’t mean “in your office,” or “at home.” Are you on the path to where you want to be?

It’s like a road map. If you have the correct map, you can plot a route, and maybe a back-up plan if a bridge is out or your original way is blocked. You have a far better chance of getting there.

If my map shows the way to Maine, I can follow that map and drive like fury to get there, but if my goal is really California, and I’m using the “Maine” map, it’s not going to work.

If my map shows how to get from North Dakota to California, and I’m starting from Georgia, I still don’t have the correct map. I may be able to do it, but I can put a lot of effort into getting to North Dakota when I really don’t need to be there.

This is why it is important to understand where you are starting from.

So create your map…and figure you may have to stop at a couple of “hotels” along the way (sub-goals).

1) Writing down where you are gives you a starting point. If you have not written down where you are now, go back and do it.

2) Writing down a goal clarifies where you want to go. Studies have show that achievement is very dependent on having clear and specific goals, and on writing them down. While you are at it, set a target date.

3) Detailing the target, declaring it important enough to write, makes us more inclined to act on it, and more likely to see the opportunities that help reach that goal. What behavior is required? Who will do it? When will this occur? Where? How will it be measured?

This is not a completely conscious effort. As we clarify how the achievement of that goal will feel, as we make the image of where we want to be as real as possible, we purposely confuse our minds between the physical reality and our target reality. This is intentional. As we think on our objective, we see the opportunities to reach that goal, and resolve the cognitive dissonance, the difference between the two realities of now and the future that is in our mind.

4) If there is too much distance between your starting point so that you can see no way of even beginning toward your target, break the steps into bite-size chunks. (Your “hotel stops” along the way.) Maybe it seems like forever for you to get to that educational degree, but you can break it down by classes, rewarding yourself for the completion of smaller sub-goals, perhaps even a certain number of hours. (The hotel has a swimming pool or a nice restaurant.)

5) Ultimately the ending goal needs to be both challenging and attainable. Use short-range, attainable goals to stair-step your way up the mountain of a larger goal.

6) Use switch-backs; that is, don’t be afraid to alter your course along the way. If you falter, consider it only a stumble, not a dead end. There will be obstacles to getting to where you want to go

7) Knowing both where you started and where you are trying to end up, track your progress. (Where are you on that map?) When you know both where you started, and where you need to end up, you can chart your progress to see how far you have come as well as ensure that you do not lose sight of where you are going. You can also more clearly see the obstacles that are preventing you from progressing.

Reward yourself for the incremental progress you have made. Affirm your actions and continue to visualize your revised behavior.

9) Try to enlist others who are interested in making the same type of life-changes. (Travel companions)

10) Develop new goals just before the completion of a program to continue the energy of the striving process.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Where Are You Now?


The first step in developing an action plan to achieve a dream is to understand the starting point. Clearly understanding and defining this ‘right now’ position does two things:

– It gives you a benchmark to ultimately recognize how far you have come;

– It helps define the road you need to travel to get from ‘here’ to ‘there.’

Write your thoughts down objectively, document them, so that you clarify the details exactly. Examine your relationships, job or career, physical/mental health, finances, spiritual situation, education/intellectual growth, etc.

1 – What things about yourself do you like? What are your strengths? We are not taught to celebrate our strengths. In fact, when we are in school, we are told that we need to concentrate on our weaknesses. If our penmanship is bad, we need to work harder on that. The danger here is, when we get really good at something, we often forget whether we really like it or not. But what are your strengths? What makes you unique?

2 – What things about yourself do you not like? Weaknesses? Being able to recognize your weaknesses give you the power to change them. If you want to.

3 – What things about your life do you like? What things about your life do you not like? Bad environment? Wrong job? Wrong career? Don’t condemn yourself for your situation. But also, don’t blame your situation for your failures. Doing that means you are giving control over your life to something outside of yourself. Be selfish. Keep the control by recognizing the situation, but refusing to let it color your life.

4 – What things about yourself would you like to change? Decide what you really want, not what someone else tells you should be on your list of things to want. If the latest technological gadget does nothing for you, why spend your energy getting (buying) it? Determine what you really want.

5 – What things about your life would you like to change? This is not necessarily the same as things you do not like. Maybe you like drinking, but you know it is going to hurt you in the long run and is not a self-affirming behavior.

6 – What things have you already changed? Lost that 20 pounds? Moved away from a bad situation? Left a peer group that was damaging? How did you do it?

7 – What things, through no action on your part, have changed?

8 – How did you deal with the change?

9 – How did you feel after the change?

It can be very empowering to write down the changes you have made, to realize how far you have come.

Identifying your starting point helps you find the direction you need to go.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Esteem


One of the strongest feelings human beings have is fear. Whether it is fear of falling, of open spaces, of strangers, of ridicule, or of failure, fear defines our existence. Through fear, we learn to adapt our behavior, avoiding whatever it is that causes that uncomfortable feeling. Unfortunately, for too many of us, we let fear dictate our lives.

Fear of failing and fear of admitting errors paralyze our actions as surely as a tightening cord can strangle. If we have the courage to fail, and to openly admit our failures, we also open the opportunity to succeed.

How much effort does it take for us to hide what we have done wrong?

When we minimize the effort it takes to hide our imperfections, when we eliminate the shame or embarrassment we assign to our inevitable screw-ups, we free ourselves to move forward, to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. Do you know people who are so afraid of stepping outside their conventional and narrow comfort zone that they never accomplish anything? Maybe you are one of them.
1) How do you approach a difficulty? Is it a challenge or a threat?
2) Are you persistent in pursuit of set goals?
3) Do you focus on what you are trying to achieve?
4) Can you freely and realistically recognize the source of a failure?
5) Can you do it without blaming yourself or someone else?
6) Do you meet challenges with renewed vigor instead of shying away from them?
7) Do you recover quickly from a failure?
Or,
1) Do you fear a challenge since you are not sure of success?
2) Do you only half-heartedly commit to a goal to minimize losses?
3) Do you bail out quickly when it looks like something is not going to succeed?
4) Do you constantly evaluate your individual performance rather than keeping your eye on the accomplishment of the goal?
5) Do you look for all the things that could go wrong? (Remember, you have a better chance of hitting a target if you aim at it. Are you targeting success or failure?)
6) Do you chastise yourself for inadequacies? (Negative self-talk is a common crippler long after the voices of our teachers and our parents have ceased. Are you still playing those voices? Are you still criticizing yourself because you do it better than anyone else? Or so that you can ‘be the first’ in cutting yourself down?)
7) Do you recover slowly from a failure?
8) Do you whine to yourself, “That’s the way it always happens?”

Our effectiveness is surely affected by how we feel about our ability to resolve a given challenge. If we tie our shoes for 20 years or more, we hardly give that problem a second thought. Or perhaps we study birds for so many years that the first time we see a species in real life, we recognize it. Sometimes we see someone else succeed at something and figure that, if they can do a task, there is no reason we can’t also do it. Or someone tells us convincingly that we can do something. Admittedly, if we are physically or emotionally tired or sick, our effectiveness is less than optimal.

Giving in to our fears decreases the size of our comfort zone, whether we determine that it is not safe to travel to another country, to speak in front of large audiences, to eat strange foods, or even in to go outside our own home. Admittedly, concern about a certain activity may be appropriate. Maybe a particular country is caught up in a civil war, or a tanker carrying ammonia overturned on a nearby freeway. But an ongoing, persistent fear, one that controls your life, may keep you from achieving your dreams.

Sometimes we just plunk ourselves in the middle of something, like a non-swimmer thrown into a pool, flailing to keep from drowning, and hoping, in the process, to learn to swim. Of course, the other option is that we drown, or someone else jumps in to save us. Many have a long-lasting fear of water because of a similar experience; well-meaning though it may have been. Rescue is seldom a positive affirmation.

What fears are holding you back?
Why do you let them?
How does that fear and your response affect how you feel about yourself?
How do you manage failure? Is it affecting how you see yourself?
Does fear limit your willingness to risk?

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Ain’t It Awful


How many times do you hear some version of the “Ain’t it Awful” game? As long as we complain about a situation, as long as we recognize it, we feel as if our duty has been done. The “Ain’t it Awful Game” can be played forever because as long as it is being played, no resolution is formulated and no action taken. If the problem is fixed, the game can’t be played, because it ain’t awful anymore!

Stop for a second and really think about what was just said.

What in your life have you dismissed with “ain’t it awful”?

The mess in your linen closet? The pile of things by your back door?

The political status of your community?

The car that keeps breaking down at the most inopportune times?

Ain’t it awful?

Ask yourself how much energy you spend complaining about whatever it is, or hiding it, like the lady I knew who stored her dirty dishes in the oven so visitors would not see that she hadn’t washed them. For a long time.

If we really think about it, is this what we want? Is a fairy godmother poised beside the stage, ready to wave her magic wand and make events happen, things we don’t even have the courage to envision? We grow up being told there is a prince (or princess) coming to rescue us; that we might win the lottery and our problems will evaporate; that if we just stay good enough, long enough, our efforts will be rewarded. Too late, we realize the prince is never coming and those few who win the lottery don’t find monetary remuneration the solution to their unhappiness.

Are you using “Ain’t it Awful” as an easy way to avoid dealing with something?

What would happen if you took just one positive step toward changing that “awful” something?

Are you ready to do it?

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Value of Redundancy


It’s nice that visionaries developed the new ways of animation that brought us from King Kong to Jurassic Park. Our lives would not be the same if someone had not developed the computer chip, and the idea of the personal computer had not become a pervasive reality. But only a few of us are Steven Spielberg or Steven Jobs or Bill Gates.

Repeatedly, I made the assumption that an idea had to be completely new and original to have validity. There was no merit in redundancy. Then, I rethought that idea. And this was marvelously freeing.

Training in an unrelated area taught me that no system should have a single point of failure; that is, incapacitating one component should not cause the whole system to fail. Extending that to any area implies that having a backup may mean the difference between failure and success. Just as repetition creates a pattern (without repetition of a component or a number of components, there is no pattern), restating an idea may make the difference between understanding a concept or having it remain an amorphous cloud.

Good teachers know that. Expressing a concept one way may mean nothing to a particular student. It may be only by the repetition of that idea in a number of different ways that an idea may be comprehended. Each person may require the message in a different format. Some hear the idea, some read it; others have to actually do something physically to learn it.

That was perhaps my gift. I could not be the next Edison, inventing a light bulb. Or Einstein developing his theory of relativity. Maybe I’m not Stephen Hawking, creating a theory of the universe spoken through a voice synthesizer.

What did these individuals have that I didn’t?
1) Perseverance? I could do that.
2) A willingness to believe in oneself despite perceived failure? In spite of what society wanted to tell me? I had to think beyond history and reframe my experience. Maybe failures just meant I hadn’t succeeded. . .yet.
3) Ability to look beyond any handicap and use the underlying human capability to think? I already did that…

In reality, we don’t think of Edison as a failure for all the filaments that failed. Likewise, we don’t think of him as a failure because he didn’t develop the theory of relativity. Einstein is a success, not because he did badly in school, but almost because of it and what he did afterward. We don’t perceive of him as a failure because he didn’t invent the phonograph. And this is critical!

Too often, we criticize ourselves for what we cannot do, instead of recognizing and celebrating ourselves for what we can do. By filling our minds with our failures, we limit the development of our own capabilities, what we can do. We think of ourselves as less than, burying ourselves in an approved mantle of guilt.

We do not even believe that we can achieve something. And if we do not believe it ourselves:
1) How can we ever achieve it?
2) Who do we expect will propel us into believing it?
3) Who do we expect to energize us to do it?

Perhaps it is easier to think we can do nothing about a given situation than to work at changing it. If we excel, we are out of the ordinary, discounted for our success. The term “overnight success” does not recognize the hours, or even years, of required practice, nor does it acknowledge the failures and rejections the individual had to overcome.

When I work with résumé clients, I tell them they have to believe they can do the job before they can convince the person they are interviewing.

In what way are your beliefs holding you back?

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sandra Kischuk and Living Beyond Limits with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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