Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Succeeding in the New Millenium

In today's winner-take-all world, where 400 individuals have more wealth than the bottom half of US households combined (about 100 million households), and have rigged the system to take still more (you have to listen to my show at 6PM ET/3PM PT on Wednesday, 5/30, to hear more about this), the rest of us have to revise our definition of success away from the financial. Here's my take:
  • Be who you want to be - I'm talking character here, qualities, not labels. Do you want to be kind? loving? funny? patient? persevering? dignified? supportive of others? You choose the content of your character -- and act from that every single day.
  • Choose your life experience
    • Do what you choose to do - Act according to your choices of who you want to be. If your choice is to be honest, find ways to do that in every situation. If your choice is to be kind, find ways to do that. (And when those choices conflict, you get to set up your own hierarchy of values. For example, is it more important to be honest, or to be kind in a given situation?)
    • Choose work that you like - or at least that is in alignment with your values and abilities. The wisdom handed down through generations in my Jewish family is that you need an education,  because the one thing no one can take from you is what is inside your head. I would expand that to include any skill that is useful, whether it is law or medicine, or carpentry, plumbing, gardening, cutting hair, etc. It's important that you work with honor -- honestly and to the best of your abilities. 
    • Choose the people you'd like to be around - Do you want to be around others who want to be what you want to be? People who support you in being who you want to be?
    • Experience the stuff you don't choose in the way you choose - We can't consciously choose everything in our lives. No one chooses to lose a child. Hardly anyone chooses to have the company that employs them shut down. But we can choose how we react. Azim Khamisa chose to turn the tragedy of his son's random murder into an opportunity to teach thousands of young people about forgiveness. (To hear his amazing story, click here.)
    • Appreciate everything you do have - You get more of what you focus on - and appreciation is a form of focus. Appreciate your health, the wonderful people -- and the love -- in your life, the food you eat, the roof over your head. 
Being who you choose to be and having the life experience you choose - priceless. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

7 Ways to Help a Friend through a Bad Time

Recently a friend had a huge fight with her grown daughter -- and any woman knows that mother-daughter issues can seem insurmountable. I barely know the daughter, as I got to be friends with the mother after she'd gone off to college, so I really have no dog in this fight -- and I can only see the daughter's side clairvoyantly. But as a friend, it's my job to help my friend as best I can. So I thought about what I could do to help, and here's what I came up with (for simplicity, female pronouns/adjectives are understood to include both male and female):
  • Listen neutrally - Sometimes people just need to vent, that is, they need a shoulder to cry on. You can be that 'shoulder' really well by staying neutral yourself, and by doing Rogerian therapy. This is a fancy term for mirroring someone's body position and repeating their words back to them. For example, if your friend says, "I'm upset", you say, "I hear you're upset", or "I get that you're upset", or "You're upset about...?" or "What exactly is upsetting you?" The main point here is that you repeat their word, in this case, "upset". Do NOT substitute "angry" or "sad" or any other word -- this will change their experience, either to something inauthentic, or it will pop them out of any feeling at all.
  • Brainstorm actions she can take - After the emotion has been released, it's time for your friend to figure out what to do about the situation. You can take notes, or perhaps even offer ideas. Remember, you're just throwing ideas out there. It's important to be unattached to whether or not any of them (especially yours!) are ever put into action.
  • Do chores or run errands - Sometimes, in a crisis, especially one where someone is ill or physically harmed, the most help you can provide is with your hands and feet: picking up a prescription, watching the kids, cooking dinner, cleaning house, etc. All of those can be sanity savers.
  • Teach her ho'oponopono - This is a very simple exercise of holding someone's image in your mind, and then repeating, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you." For the background on ho'oponopono, as well as some amazing examples of its efficacy, listen to this interview with Marci Shimoff and this story from a listener who heard my interview with Marci.
  • Teach her to cut cords (or do it for her with her permission) - People send streamers of energy, called cords, to others. They can send positive energy (e.g., love) or negative energy (e.g., negative judgements). Sometimes they even use cords like vacuum cleaners, to suck energy out of others (the original energy vampires). You can ask to be shown where these cords are, and then cut them, attaching the free ends to white light.
  • Teach her to ground - It always helps to connect to Mother Earth. This is just a simple visualization, like growing roots from your feet into the center of the Earth, and then pulling up healing energy from Her.
  • Remind her of the power of prayer - If she believes in nonphysical beings (angels, guides, ancestors, fairies, God/Goddess, whatever) that can be of help, these should be enlisted. They might help -- and there's no harm in asking. At least your friend might feel comforted by the reminder that help is out there. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Staying sane in a 24/7 world

Shhh.... I have another business. It's a tiny little online business, with sales so far, in this, its first year, in the mid 3 figures. ;) Online businesses are supposed to be easy, right? Set it up, and it chugs away, as my partner in the business says, a ka-ching machine.

Not so much! It turns out that our market, CA real estate agents and brokers, is not hugely computer savvy. Many of our customers and potential customers want to talk to us before signing up, and many of our customers call us for help logging on, or re-logging on, having lost their user names or passwords. I am NOT the tech help, which is provided by our online host, another small company in Oregon, who works normal business hours, Monday - Friday, 8:30AM to 5PM.

Here's the problem: if they don't get an answer to their questions before they sign up, they just buy from someone else. If they don't get support whenever they want it, 24/7, they're angry.

And there are only two of us. Thank god it's not just me. Come to think of it, my 888-4-HOLLIS number rings 24/7, too, and if I don't answer when it rings, I lose that new customer, as well.

So how do you, a human being with normal needs for sleep and food and exercise and other bodily functions, do business in a 24/7 world?

Luckily, I have some lessons to fall back on from my Dad, who started his career in medicine as a pediatrician:
  • Get help in the form of technology - Way back in the early 1960s, before there were answering machines, my Dad had an answering service. The operators worked for many physicians, and were trained to ferret out what could wait till business hours, and what was probably an emergency. The operators always knew where my Dad was (remember, this was before cell phones, too), and were trained to take the patient's name and number and then call Dad if it seemed critical.
  • Get help in the form of other people - Eventually, my Dad had a partner, and they switched off weekends and holidays, so that at least every other weekend, my Dad could really relax, knowing the phone wouldn't ring.
  • Pick your business carefully - My Dad switched the kind of medicine he specialized in, from pediatrics, where kids get sick all the time, to allergies, where if the patient gets his autoimmune boosting injections and is careful in avoiding certain allergens, no emergencies should come up. Still, I learned very early to always have a book with me, because we never knew when dinner might be interrupted by Dad needing to head to the office or the hospital. 
Today, we are all reachable 24/7 on our smart phones, by cell, text and email. So the problem is not how to be reachable, but how to avoid being reached, so we can preserve our humanity, our sanity, and our relationships (interrupt a romantic dinner for a client text, anyone?), and still do business. In some way, though, the same rules apply:
  •  Get help in the form of technology - Set outgoing messages and autoresponders to answer with a pleasant message that includes what your normal business hours are, and what to do until then, like call emergency tech support.
  •  Get help in the form of other people - We still need partners, people to cover for us when we are on vacation or out of the country. The more people who can cover, the better -- this explains the rise of large physician groups, by the way.
  • Pick your business carefully - Do you want to be in a business where emergencies happen? Emergencies don't happen if you're a corporate trainer, for example. If you're in a business with emergencies, can you charge more, perhaps a LOT more, if those emergencies happen outside business hours, like plumbers do? 
  • Accept that you're going to lose some business -What price are your sanity, your humanity, and your relationships worth?
If you have any ideas about what else to do, post them here or email me -- I'd love to hear them!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Does Believing Something Different Mean You're Crazy?

I book my own guests for my for my radio show, "Your Life, Your Relationships". Because I’m a hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner, I know a lot of very talented healers, so some of my guests are friends.
Last week, I called a friend to be a guest on my show. This is someone I consider a real friend, not an acquaintance, as we were fairly deeply involved in each other’s lives at one point, even though that period was over a decade ago. She is someone I respect deeply, for her intelligence, knowledge, competence, clarity and kindness.
She said she wouldn’t appear on my show, because she’d heard an earlier show, in which I’d talked about star visitors (aka ETs), and she was afraid to be publicly associated with me. Her market is a corporate market, and she’s afraid that if she is even heard on a show where such things are discussed, then she’ll lose business. (Personally, I think she’s being a bit paranoid, but it’s her business and her life, so she gets to decide.) 
She did offer that if I were willing to promise not to talk about star visitors on the show she was on, then she’d come on the show. But since I book my guests a month in advance, and I plan the rest of the show days in advance, there was no way I could promise that. And in any case, why would I give a guest veto power over the content of the rest of the show?
To be fair, she was very polite, and said that she respected my choice to believe what I believe, and that I do actually believe it. She just didn’t want to be publicly associated with it. Clearly, though, she doesn’t believe what I believe.This is fine -- and if you, like my friend, don't believe me, please watch this video. It's what convinced me. Since then, of course, I've had my own experiences.
Hmmmm… this feels really familiar. What does this remind me of?
Oh, right, I’ve been through this before! Back when I began to open up my psychic abilities, this same thing happened. 
As I acknowledged what was going on with me, my fiance, my parents, most of my extended family, and most of my friends from Harvard Business School (HBS) thought I was nuts. (A big shout out here to my Princeton friends, who never thought that.)
Some, who cared about me, said they were worried about the direction I was taking. Others, many others, just disappeared from my life. 
The joke was on them, though. Many of them eventually called me for help. They wanted my clairvoyant take on the future, for themselves, their businesses or their loved ones.
The culture changed, too. In 2001, I was asked to be on an alumni panel looking into the future at HBS. In a standing-room-only lecture hall of about 100 people, about 1/3 clearly believed that I what I was talking about was real. Another 1/3 were on the fence. Only 1/3 were completely dismissive.
Why am I talking about this?
Because as you grow and change and open up to new information, the people (at least, some of the people) closest to you are going to make you wrong for it. It’s much easier to make you wrong than to examine their own beliefs. This is true whether the new beliefs are about the psychic, the political or something else.
They may want you to stay the same to keep you close to them. Or perhaps they have another agenda – perhaps they want to control you. There is a lot of disinformation out there (Fox News, anyone?), and anyone who dares to step outside the mainstream story (Al Queda, and only Al Queda, was responsible for 9/11, for example) is shunned at best, attacked at worst.
What should you do?
·      Know what you know – Own your own experience. You saw it, heard it, felt it – just because someone else didn’t doesn’t mean you were wrong. It just means they weren’t in your shoes. Did you know that a rainbow looks different depending on where you are standing? Someone standing a few feet away from you might not see the rainbow at all. All of reality is like this.
·      Be open to new information – and check it out. Again, there’s a lot of disinformation out there.
·      Do not let someone else’s disbelief talk you out of knowing what you know. Hear their disbelief as fear, because for most people, that's what it is. Open your heart, and allow them to be afraid. Everyone grows and changes, but some do it more slowly than others. Allow each person his/her process.
·      Listen for openings in other people. Maybe some are open to hearing about political lies, or the 99% movement, but not to anything about their intuition, or about ETs. Others may be willing to open up to their intuition, especially if you language it properly, but not to political lies, or ETs. 
·      Meet people where they are. If they’re open to hearing about political malfeasance, talk to them about that. If they’re open to hearing about intuition or angels or guides, talk to them about that. If they’re interested in science fiction, maybe they’re open to hearing about ETs.
Remember, you are not going to convince everyone! You may only move one person out of ten, and that person one tiny bit. But this is how public opinion changes, one person at a time, perhaps shifting just a bit. Why make yourself crazy, beating yourself up if you never seem to affect anyone? Accept that you are trying, and you are doing the best you can.
Remember also that you affect people three levels out in your networks – your friends’ friends’ friends. So if you only have 20 friends, and each of them only has 20 friends, you are still affecting 8000 people. If each of you has 100 friends, then that’s 1 million people. If each of you has 150 friends, then that’s 3.375 million people you affect.
Let’s look at it another way. The transcendental meditation (TM) people did some experiments to see what the effect of TM was on crime. What they learned was that the square root of 1% of the population of an area meditating was enough to lower the crime rate significantly.
The square root of 1% of earth’s population of 7 billion people is 8,367 people. So if your network, and each of your friend’s networks, is 21 people, then you have enough of a network to change the world, simply by changing yourself.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Are there atheists in foxholes?

There is an old line that 'there are no atheists in foxholes', where, presumably, one contemplates one's own mortality in the few spare moments available. Is it true?

Read this fascinating article to find out:

True believers