All Revved Up...

Where ya goin? Why you headed there? 

No matter how much we flounder, we always have choices. There are endless possibilities of places we can go. Deciding where to go and how to get there can overwhelm the most ambitious among us. Maybe it’s a fear of making a mistake? Perhaps it’s unnerving to consider our full potential?

As Marianne Williamson wrote in “A Course in Miracles” (1992),

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

In order to live our full potential, we must first come to know WHO we really are and how we can best reveal our gifts and value to the world: Our own PIPELINE OF AWESOME. We have to get clear on WHO we are before we can figure out anything else.

Because it serves all of us for everyone to open up their pipeline of awesome, I invite you to follow this link to discover a hidden truth about yourself that will make all the difference in how you work, play, and love. If you know you can be more aligned, more successful, and more satisfied - take the Hidden Code Quiz designed by my colleague Linda Albright to uncover your hidden secret weapon (that’s right under your nose.) 

Until you find your missing ingredient, you’re in conflict with the powerful forces in your life and won’t get where you want to go. When you line up, you’ll enjoy unlimited influence & opportunity, and make perfect, powerful decisions.

Along with figuring out WHO we are, we have to determine our WHY.  In keeping with opening up my own pipeline of awesome, I recently published the story of how I rose up from the pain of my past in my book, “Little Landslides.” It’s unlike any of my other four books. Why? Exactly. It addressed my “WHY,” the reason I do what I do in the way that I do it.

Shortly after its publication, I began meeting with the folks at B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse) to see how we could partner together to heal more people and prevent more trauma from happening in the first place. For those of you who haven’t heard about this passionate group of protectors, their purpose is to foster a sense of safety in victims of child abuse by accompanying them to court to rise up against their abusers.

Can you imagine being a child abuse victim and walking into court to speak out against the person who hurt you? How terrified and confused would you be? In walks B.A.C.A., looking badass and protecting you just by standing there, knowing that there’s an adult who’s got your back.

I fell in love with this group of angels in leather from jump because we connected at a core level: How?

In recognizing that victims create more victims. Every minute that we retell our victim story to ourselves, to others, in word and in deed, we deepen our trauma bond to that experience. When others don’t stand with and for us, and when we don’t stand for ourselves, we play those old tapes until it’s the only sound we hear.

I want more for you than that.

You are not your experiences.

You are your decisions,

and those decisions rest on your perception of yourself and others.

Invite me to speak to your organization about the choices we have about our perceptions, our experiences, our power. When people recognize their own power and influence, we rid ourselves of the victim tape that threatens collaboration, productivity, and smooth working relationships.

Curious about B.A.C.A.? Prepare to be moved when you watch this video.

Don't Bail Just Yet...

Dear Dr. B,

As you know, I've recently started pursuing the career of my dreams, one that is synergistic with my gifts, interests, and fully aligned with my goal of having a life well lived. This all sounds fun and perfect until I tell you the bad news: All sorts of things have been going wrong. I get a client, I lose a client. I'm promised an opportunity just to have it fall through. I feel like I'm two steps forward and a million steps back almost every single day. Is the Universe telling me that I should be throwing in the towel? Should I call it quits and just go back to my humdrum, uninspiring life?

~ About to Jump Ship

Dear About to Jump Ship,

Your letter touched such incredibly familiar places in my own experience that I just had to make a video to respond to your plight. I want you to be able to play it over and over again when you're feeling doubt. And, please reach out to me in a few weeks with a dear colleague of mine (Linda Albright) is launching a life-changing personal assessment tool that will transform they way you experience your path, challenges, and opportunities! 

And, well, the short answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Here's an inspiring quote for you to ponder....

"Aim to live in this world without the world living inside of you, because when a boat sits on water it sails perfectly, but when the water enters inside the boat, it sinks." ~ Imam Ali

Click the link below to view the video....

Facing down challenges!

You got this!

Peace,

Dr. B

Who's Holding Your Whip?

Dear Dr. B,

A friend of mine recommended that I check out your work and when I saw your photos I knew I was meant to find you. I figure that a woman holding a whip and smiling knows a thing or two about power. That’s my struggle right now: Understanding how I can be more powerful in my own life. I’m hiding in the shadows, being supportive of those around me but not really having anything to call my own, including opinions. Growing up, power was a dirty word so I don’t know how to handle even the concept of it. Can you please help me understand how I can fix this?

~ Sheepish in Seattle

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Sheepish in Seattle,

I’m so glad you found me!

Power is one of my favorite subjects for a whole host of reasons.

You’re so right about power having negative connotations. It’s developed a bad reputation because it’s often been abused by those who have possessed it. Power, like many resources, can be addicting to obtain, typically for all the wrong reasons. Personally, those of us who have had someone in a position of power take advantage of us (which, come on, is most of us in one way or another) both desire power and can be nothing short of repulsed by it. For a five-letter word, it’s a pretty loaded one.    

Now, for a moment, ponder this: What if you had a lot of power and you used it benevolently? Wouldn’t that be fabulous? What if the causes and conversations you most valued could be positively influenced because of you? How would that change the world for the better? If all of us stood in the full glory of our personal power and used it for good, what a wonderful world it would be.

If more of us claimed more power we could make such differences in the lives of others and leave a positive footprint on our world.

Why do we avoid it, aside from the negative connotations?

I could write a book about this (Wait! What a good idea!) but I’ll just tackle one really big piece of the puzzle right now.  

Wanting to fit in.

As humans, we need to belong to a social order or, from an evolutionary perspective, we perish. We need others. tend to find ourselves Wanting the approval of others, no matter what the cost. When we step into our power, using our voice to be authentically us, we take the risk of being rejected by others. Maybe they won’t like us? Maybe they won’t agree with our choices? The more bold we are, the greater the risk. That’s placing your power in the hands of others, often without them being prepared for that responsibility. Most people are just trying to make it through their day, not even aware of their effect on you, yet you might be handing them your future. Whhhyyyyyyy?

We’re really just afraid of our own potential. Of standing out because we have a unique gift that might be loud. As Marianne Williamson writes,

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Marianne. Thank you.

What relationships might shift if you used your voice more? What ones might falter? Are you ready to receive those outcomes? I want you to stand fully in your power, to use your voice for good, so I’ve got your back. Who else in your life has it? Who has been encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone? Start to build your inner circle now, seek encouragement and support from them.

And, of course call me. As a seasoned member of the Badass Brigade, I’ll be in your corner from here on out.

Peace,

~ Dr. B

Panic at the Desk-O

Dear Dr. B,

I'm miserable. I am working 60 plus hours a week, stressing out over every email, project, and conversation. My most direct boss is one of my biggest fans but there is some political nightmare going on in the organization and I'm being targeted. Every day I come to work, waiting for the ax to fall and for me to lose my job. I feel no reward for all of the hard work I'm putting in. My boss says he's powerless to do anything given the way that our organization is structured with the multiple reporting relationships and panic that seems to have taken over our company, with lawsuits looming and reorganizations a clear threat. What do I do? 

~ Panic at the Desk-O

~~~~~~~~~

Dear Panic at the Desk-O,

I wish this was uncommon, but, unfortunately for a whole segment of our population, it’s not. Work is crazier than most asylums, because at least THEY have full-time counselors…and drugs. I found your question very telling, since the answer is right there in the text.

You’re miserable.

To quote Jim Rohn, “If you don’t like how things are, change it. You’re not a tree.”

Why on Earth are you still in that job? Do they treat you well? Do they treat other people well? Are they playing fair?

Bottom line: Do you TRUST them?

If the answer to that is “no” (which I can predict it is), get out. Quit. Go. Find a place that deserves your unique talents, work ethic, attitude, and leadership acumen. You are not this job. You need it far less than you think you do. When you think that this is the last job on the planet, you hand over all of your power. Take a drive into an industrial park and look at all of the offices. Those all have jobs that maybe you could do. Think about that. There are a ton of businesses who would feel fortunate to have you. Stop being miserable. Stop being treated like a commodity. Show some self-respect or no one is going to treat you with much.

You must endure what you tolerate, my friend. Stop it. Just stop it.

In the (short, I hope) meantime, if they fire you (or give you the option to resign), call an attorney to make sure your rights are protected, then THANK them. Thank them for doing for you what you refused to do for yourself: Getting you out of that hellhole.

Bless and release.

NEXT!

Peace,

Dr. B

In Cubicle HELL

Dear Dr. B,

Please help!!

I have a coworker who completely gets on my nerves. We work in cubicles so there is very little privacy. She talks on the phone like she’s on stage without a microphone: LOUD. She has a persistent cough that makes me jump. She also does this tapping thing like she’s playing drums with her pen on her desk. What the…?? And I have nothing against being sociable, but she has people hanging out at the edge of our shared cubicle wall all the time, laughing and joking about work- and non-work-related things. It’s so distracting!

What am I supposed to do? I’ll sound petty if I complain about her popularity, and no one else seems aggravated so she’ll end up hating just me for my honesty. I really need this job so I can’t risk losing it but if she doesn’t stop this behavior I’m going to lose my mind instead.

In Cubicle Hell

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear In Cubicle Hell,

Cubicles were designed for cost savings and collaboration but they often produce the opposite. Productivity can be severely compromised (read: profit reduction) and cubicle mates can end up wanting to toss each other off the proverbial (and not-so-proverbial) roof. What’s an employee to do?

First, let’s have a little talk about control, shall we?

If you’ve ever attended one of my talks or read any of my books, you know that more than Janet Jackson even, I’m ALL about CONTROL. Who has it and who wants it.

Here’s a quick review:

You are in control of three things – your thoughts, your emotions, your actions.

Other people are in control of three things – THEIR thoughts, THEIR emotions, and THEIR actions.

So, to solve this problem, we need to get you to focus on what YOU can do to fix this, not what THEY can do to fix this.

I truly wish I had a magic wand that would make the annoyances, personality challenges, not to mention all the downright evil out there blissfully disappear, but it just ain’t possible. The only change that you can control is the change inside of YOU.

I know, I know, that’s a large, chalky pill to swallow. But it’s legit. 

Now, in order for you to actually listen to a damn thing I’m about to say, I have to tell you some encouraging news first: If you’re in control of YOU you’ll be better positioned to INFLUENCE them. Influence is control “lite.” It’s as close to control as you’re ever going to get but it’s effective only when you’re in charge of YOU.

Ready to approach this from the vantage point of what YOU can control?  AWESOME!

I heard that the issues you’re having with your coworker are:

She’s loud on the phone

She’s social (loud, distracting) with others

She coughs and taps (more noise).

Bottom line: She’s making noise above your level of tolerance. If I could interview you, I’d ask you if you’ve experienced this elsewhere in your life and what you’ve done to manage it. I’d also ask if this has gotten worse over time, either from her end (she’s gotten noisier) or yours (you’ve gotten more annoyed). I’d also inquire if you’re under a new level of stress at work or at home that might be bringing this to a head. So, ponder these questions because you might uncover something useful that could put more control options in your lap.

Here are some suggestions to address the noise issue:

Start using noise-canceling headphones. Be sure to alert people who might come by your cubicle that you’re doing this and set up a way for them to get your attention that isn’t verbal. Think hearing-impaired devices like lights, physical movement, etc.

Talk with her about your own volume. Tell her that you’ve noticed that you have gotten lackadaisical about the noise you’re making and you wanted to let her know that you’re working on it. Ask her to do the same so you two can make the environment better for everyone. See what I did there? I let YOU own the problem to reduce her defensiveness. If your spouse told you that you were fat, you’d be incensed. If instead he said how fat he was feeling and asked you to start a new food and fitness regimen with him to support your collective good health, you’d likely be a lot more amenable.

Practice meditation. Your stress level over the noise is most likely, in part, due to your focus on it and your overall stress level. When you’re stressed, the little things set you off. If you can reduce your own stress, you won’t get as irritated with the little things she’s doing. You’ve vilified her which makes every little thing she does sound like nails on a chalkboard (you’re welcome for that reference). Taking time to meditate, to relax, will allow the things she’s doing not to get you all riled up. Her pencil tapping is most likely stress on her part, so feel free to share with her your own calming practices. There’s even an app for that: Buddify, Calm, and Headspace rise to the top of the list of most recommended apps (for Android and iPhone).

Talking with your coworker. I know you wanted to avoid this but open, honest communication is really useful. She probably has zero clue that you’re frustrated with her. As a result, don’t lead with your irritation. Lead with talking about your stress and challenges focusing. Request her help in doing better with those things by creating fewer distractions for you. Let her know, gently, what those distractions are. Start with the biggest and easiest ones to correct: Loud talking on the phone and with visitors. Leave out the coughing and pencil tapping (could be hard to correct).

I hope this helps!

Peace,

Dr. B

Stressed to Perfection

Dear Dr. B,

There is so much stress and drama at my office. Management is harping on the tiniest of mistakes when the larger organization is falling apart. I’m getting caught in the crossfire and I’m walking around on eggshells, waiting for other shoe to drop. My stress is through the roof and it’s really taking a toll on me. Every time my boss calls a meeting, I feel overwhelmed, wondering what he’s going to find this time. People who are doing a good job but aren’t part of the “network” get targeted and take the fall for the truly incompetent. I’m working crazy hours and I know it’s going to catch up to me. I’m going to make a mistake and then what? What do I do? 

~ Stressed to Perfection

 

Dear Stressed to Perfection,

That sounds like a shitty way to live. I have some survival tactics for you, of course, but I have to ask the question that’s as obvious as the nose on my face: Why are you still working there? I know it’s hard to start a job search. I know change can be difficult. I know that the devil you know can feel better than the devil you don’t. I know that you hate to give up and admit defeat. But, Stressed, this defeat doesn’t sound like it’s yours. Have you done your level best every day? If so, it’s time to assess what more you think you can do there (is there really anything?). And then, my friend, move on. It’s often hard for us as humans to do that. To give up. To throw in the towel. We stay committed to things (or people) until we’re set to be committed. That’s no bueno. Since I’m in the advice business, here’s my survival advice until such time as you walk out the doors and don’t walk back in:

Get active in your job search. There are other jobs and companies that would be blessed to find your kind of passion, fortitude, and competence. Seek them out. 

Focus on self-care. How much are you exercising? How healthy are your food choices? When was the last time you took a day off? Pick one good thing you can do to show yourself some love and do that. Right now. Then pick another. Repeat. Building your strength and focusing on you is your best use of your energy. You’ve been focusing on Crazytown and that ain’t good.

Find your power. The first two pieces of advice were really all about this, to be honest, but I couldn’t start with this or you might have stopped reading before you got here. You are the only one in charge of your power but you’ve somehow forgotten that along the way. You’re handing over your power here by letting this situation define you. Stop that. When you’re surrounded by crazy you can feel as though you’re crazy, but that doesn’t make you crazy. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths before you enter or exit any room, meeting, start a project, take a call, etc. Imagine yourself in your happy place. What can you see? Smell? Feel? Now, when you’re interacting with the other inhabitants of Crazytown, imagine that they are behind plexiglass, like in a zoo exhibit. You’re in your happy place, they aren’t. You’re watching them like we watch the monkeys at the zoo, without becoming a monkey because we are on the other side of the glass. Observe what’s happening, but don’t become what’s happening. That’s where your power resides and where stress can’t find you. 

Call me if you need support. You’re not alone, not out here where the peace and the power is. 

~ Dr. B

New Years Resolutions that Stick

Dear Dr. B,

It’s 2017 but I’m still stuck in 2016. I had a crappy holiday, realizing how off track my life is these days. I always feel like I’m coming up short wherever I turn and I just don’t know what to do to make 2017 any different. Work, home, health…you name it and it’s a mess. I’m heading into the New Year making resolutions that I’m confident will never stick.

Can you help?

~ Stuck

 

Dear Stuck,

You’re not alone. If I had a nickel for every time someone presented this problem, I’d make Warren Buffet look poor. The answer is buried in the problem itself: You are where you are based on a series of decisions you’ve made, responses you’ve had, and perceptions you’ve held about yourself and the world. 

So, how do you fix where you are? Decisions. A series of decisions that head you in another direction. That’s how pivots happen and pivots, by definition, change everything. You know better than anyone what decisions have led you to this moment in time, so you know best which ones might need to be revisited. For the purposes of this quick and dirty response, I’m going to keep it simple with a quick list of things to DO and things NOT to DO as you make shifts in 2017.  

DO:

State your commitments in terms of “more” versus “less.” More of things vs. less of things (focus on action, not resisting action). More fruits vs. fewer sweets. More proactive vs. less lazy. 

Define yourself as you’d like to be. Things like: I am flexible. I am patient. I am kind. I am fit. 

Instead of trying to tackle 2017 all at once, target Q1.  

Be accountable – to yourself and others. Tell people what you plan to do. Write down your new commitments and post them where you can see them every day.

DO NOT:

Expect perfection. You’re human, you’re going to make mistakes, come up short. Being harsh with yourself won’t increase the likelihood of your success. 

Expect immediate results. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t change your life that fast either. One step, one day, at a time. 

Forget to reward yourself for every little bit of progress. When you make a positive decision, seeing yourself doing something that looks like a pivot, congratulate yourself with a hearty, “Go, YOU!” Celebrate your progress, remembering that hard work really does pay off. And living a life you’re joyous about it worth it. 

If you need an accountability partner, or if you want to dig into the decisions you’ve made and are continuing to make, reach out. I’d be happy to support you as you create the 2017 that awaits you. 

Peace,

Dr. B

You Voted for WHO???!!

Hi Dr. B,

This problem is very personal (and confidential) and I hope you will be able to offer some guidance.

Here’s the issue: I have a good friend who doesn’t like who I supported in the election. That, in and of itself, isn’t a problem. I embrace differing opinions. However, she says horrible things on Facebook about people who didn’t vote for her candidate. So far, I have been ignoring it because I don’t want to cause a rift between us and I’m trying to take the high road.  But, I must admit, the anger and bitter words have taken me by surprise and the daily onslaught of insults is wearing me down. It’s been very painful. I try to separate the person from the hateful words and just move forward.

Any advice on how to handle this?

~ Caught in the Election Fallout

 

Dear Caught in the Election Fallout,

Thanks so much for writing and for presenting this issue. It's pretty common, unfortunately. This election was very emotional on a lot of levels for a lot of people and it's straining relationships long term. In this case, this conflict is pretty common, unfortunately. This election was very emotional on a lot of levels for a lot of people and it's straining relationships long term.

I can feel your exhaustion and hurt coming through your note and I hope my response softens your experience a bit. When someone you love is hurting you it’s hard to move through and past that. In any conflict, I always recommend starting with some self-care, validating your own experience so that you can feel some compassion. The election is over and you want to move forward, with your friend. You’re feeling attacked by her and that feels crappy, to say the least.  

In order to attempt to solve this dilemma, let’s start looking at this from her point of view.  

This election was particularly divisive for a lot of reasons and has left a residue of emotion in its wake. Unlike a sports team win, which is typically only celebrated temporarily, the winning and losing sides of this election will live through it for four years. When you’re feeling passionately either for or against a certain candidate, it’s very difficult to let go of those emotions, especially if that person wins and will have some influence over your life in the coming years. Your friend is most likely stuck in that space.

One of the things I reflected on after this election was that most voters were motivated by fear. Fear of their rights being compromised, fear of their resources being diminished, fear of their livelihood being threatened, fear of their way of life being changed. When you are motivated by fear and then all of those things appear to be truly threatened because the person who you were fearful of (their policies and/or their person) is now in a position of power to make those things a reality.

That’s a very scary place to be.

When animals are scared, they are inclined to lash out. Fear does that to the nervous system, pushing a reaction in equal measure. Your friend is fearful and is lashing out. I know the attacks seem personal, and perhaps they are in some form. She may feel deceived by those she trusted to protect her against these things she fears. Now she’s turning that fear into its sister emotion: Anger. Anger can be immensely useful in pushing us to respond to a situation in a passionate manner. It can also blind us to the damage that we may be causing in that pursuit.

Our nation is divided on so many levels in so many ways. We can do small and large things to affect the journey that awaits. For many of us, the healing is going to have to take place within our own little corners of the world first.

How can you facilitate the healing? Reach out to your friend, not via text or email: in person, the old-fashioned way. Tell her you care about her and value her friendship and you can see that she’s angry. Hear her out. Probe for the pain that she’s feeling. Anger comes from fear and pain, remember? Find out how to help her channel her fears into something useful, something that she feels like she can control.

I honestly don’t know if your friendship can survive this election as it’s taken many casualties the world over already. But if it has any chance of persisting, compassion will need to be the foundation.

Offer some and maybe, just maybe, you’ll experience a shift.

Peace,

Dr. B