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Stuck in a power struggle with yourself?

iStock_000005889385XSmallAs a coach and counsellor, I’m privileged to work with some wonderful high-powered businessmen (and -women). Yet the men, particularly, often resist their power so strongly that it can sometimes be hard to break through. They’re used to being in charge and to making things work. After all, for better or for worse, they’ve been running the world for millennia. But if things are not working in their business, they tend to attribute it to some external factor—the market, the economy, the poor work ethic, the wrong location, the workers, the competition, etc. They tell me: Olga, you don’t understand this business. I’ve been running this company for 30 years and I know how these things work.

And I say to them: Well, you’ve been running your body for 55 years and it’s not bringing you what you want; how well do you know how it works?

I’ve been around the block, Olga, and this is how it works in this industry. People just don’t

But it’s not about those people, out there. It’s about what’s going on inside; it’s about the power of you and your subconscious, and whether that power is switched on or off. It’s about whether that power is being channelled into external sinkholes or into the true inner drivers of your life.

But you don’t know how hard I’ve worked, how many times I’ve tried to fix this… you just don’t understand everything I’ve done.

True. I don’t. But I don’t need to, because I know the power of you—how it gets switched off, what it takes to switch it on, why we resist it so much, and how we can prove to ourselves that there’s an easier way to win. I don’t need to know the story of your life to know what’s going on; whatever’s happening in your life right now is story enough.

Yes, but…

I’ve been there, done that—argued with all the ‘evidence’ that life presents, and resisted the deeper truth, again and again and again. I’ve been masterful at resisting the power of me, and I know the symptoms of self-denial.

There’s a basic goodness and strength in men that pushes them to want to achieve things, to perform well and to make things work. (Of course, there’s sometimes a teeny weeny bit of ego, as well…) But while men can readily acknowledge the power of their business, as something they have created, they often discount the power of themselves, which is something that they are. And while it might sometimes seem as if I’m criticizing their approach by focusing on what’s going on inside them, I’m actually paying them the greatest compliment possible. I’m directing them to explore a power that will leave all their sophisticated business strategies in the shade.

We all have it, of course—not just men—and it’s a power that overrides market forces, the economy and whatever other factors may seem to be deciding our fate. Recognizing and understanding that power represents such a radical shift that it’s often too big a leap for some to make. Circumstances are so convincing, dramatic and distracting that we can’t see how some indefinable force inside us could possibly cancel out all the ‘evidence’ of our apparent inability to turn things around—to get the partner of our dreams, to save our business, to heal our relationships, or to break long-standing cycles of debt or defeat.

Yet if we resist an exploration of this power, we’re resisting ourselves. If we resist an expression of this power, we’re resisting success. If we insist on believing in the power of external forces, we’re resisting the easy route to getting what we want.

In all the strategizing, financial planning, market research and other due diligence that hard-working businessmen undergo, it can be hard to see an easy route. But if we switch our focus from external events to our internal dynamics, we discover a much greater force that can work in our favour.

I sometimes encourage men (especially those who work even harder when things stall) to take time out to just sit and meditate—to allow inspiration and answers to come to them, and to demonstrate the trust and confidence that they don’t always feel, deep down. But many of them are quick to set me straight: Olga, meditation doesn’t work for me. And I don’t have time for it; I’ve got to save my business, make money, protect my employees…

If we resist meditation, we’re resisting a connection with our self—the source of all our answers. And if meditation ‘doesn’t work’, it’s the connection with self that’s been scrambled.

We all have the power to be masterfully ‘manifestatious’. Our bodies and minds are the systems through which we live our lives—the medium through which we process who we think we are, how we think life works, and what we believe is possible. It’s not about finding a savvy business plan to outsmart the competition, or using clever marketing strategies to attract lots of paying clients. It’s about recognizing that you are the system, and then working to ensure that that system is operating powerfully—with solid self-worth, positive intent, healthy dynamics, clear boundaries, wholesome integrity, honest self-expression, sound values, and a loving validation of who you are, without manipulation, disrespect or contrivance, and without compromising or over-extending yourself in the hope of a payoff.

So, men, take a bow for all that you’ve achieved …and take a break to let in all that’s trying to reach you. You deserve it and it’s time to let things be easy. Any negative circumstances are simply pushing you to take charge in a new and masterful way, from the inside out.

Forget about tapping into the grid; get connected to the power in you and you’ll have no more power failures in your life. You’ll have power to pass on to others—and rocket fuel to spare.

Is fear the story of your life?

28/05/2013 2 comments

Caveman and t-rexOnce upon a time, we lived in caves. We also lived in fear. We were hunters, but we were also prey, vulnerable to attack from nasty, brutish beasties. Outside our caves (and sometimes also in them), life was scary, unpredictable and full of unknowns. We learned to lie low, to reduce our exposure to danger; we learned to be stealthy to avoid being eaten alive; we learned to understand our predators so that we could outwit them; and we learned to hide, as being visible could mean big trouble.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century… and we have traded caves for boxes in the sky; we’ve traded loin cloths for suits, clubs for cellphones, and grunts for smooth talking. But we still live in fear – fear of competition, fear of not being good enough and fear of not being loved. We’re afraid to be ourselves, to stand up for what we believe in and to do outrageous things. We’re afraid to be fully seen for who we are, even though (in fact, because) we crave visibility and acceptance. We’re afraid of rejection and of not being liked, which makes us needy, distorts our sense of self, and leads to compromises that bring us more of what we don’t want.

We may wish to blame our parents, our parents’ parents, or even our prudish Victorian ancestors for our inhibitions – and for all the disappointments that result; yet these fears have existed in us since the first hairy beast – and the first human being – roamed the Earth (and, back then, there may not have been much difference between the two). We are safer now than at any other time in history, yet our fears have not diminished accordingly. Instead, they have been channelled into a much more insidious – yet equally life-depleting – context. They are fuelled by low self-worth, by a sense of unacceptability and by the idea that we’re innately sinful and imperfect, constantly in need of improvement, redemption and forgiveness.

But where does this impetus come from? The answer is religion, although religion is not the answer to anything else at all. Whether you are religious or not, you have been shaped, distorted and diminished by religious influence. Even if you consciously reject all religious constructs, they have had an impact on almost every culture on Earth, filtering down to you through your parents, teachers, politicians and presidents, while seeping into the morals, laws and constitution of almost every ‘civilized’ nation.

Religion has disconnected us from our own ‘hotline’ to God/the universe and our own power, just as effectively as rubber-soled shoes have insulated us from our electrical connection with the Earth. We no more need a religious framework to connect with our all-powerful, co-creative, spiritual selves than we need a cable to connect us to the Earth’s energies. Existing as human beings is enough, as is standing barefoot on the grass.

Our natural flow of power and energy has been distorted by generations of programming. As a result of self-appointed religious intermediaries, and the manmade rules and regulations that they promote, we have surrendered our autonomy as innately worthy, creative and masterful beings.

But there is nothing wrong with us. In reality, the only thing we need to ‘fix’ is the layers of negative programming and conditioning that have scrambled our connections – with our self and with our power to create the lives we want.

Removing these layers of low self-worth sets us free to clearly see the truth – and to apply the universal laws that enable us to thrive and love life. Like taking off our shoes and walking barefoot along the beach, it reconnects us with the Earth and with the life-giving energies that fuel our body, mind and spirit. But if we always have our shoes on, we are no longer grounded in the earth, and the ‘charge’ from cellphones, wi-fi and countless electrical appliances can overwhelm the body, creating sickness, inflammation or stress. Similarly, without emotionally, mentally and spiritually grounding ourselves in the truth of our mastery, we fall prey to the unfounded fears of our forefathers. But just because they succumbed to religious oppression, way back when they risked being burned at the stake, doesn’t mean we have to.

So kick those shoes off and get re-connected with the earth, and with your innate goodness and ‘godness’. Look around you and see just how truly safe, loved and cared-for you are – by nature, by your own creative self-sufficiency and by the universal energy that fuels us all. Whatever fears you have originated in your mind. And if you can change your mind, you can do anything.

It’s for the birds…

We could learn a thing or two from birds—the feathered variety. They’re up at the crack of dawn every day, singing their little hearts out, and never worrying about where the next worm is coming from. They’re not moody and they don’t get depressed when it’s raining. (I’ve never seen a bird sulk—have you?) They add value to any natural environment, with zero negative impact. They stick together and they trust in nature’s rhythms. They’re true to themselves and they fly where their inner guidance takes them.

Humans, on the other hand, tend to be filled with self-doubt and insecurity—despite all our resources, skills and creativity. We have difficulty trusting ourselves or the natural order of things. We mask our fears, put on a brave front, and do whatever we can to impress others, in the hope that they’ll find us acceptable.

In life as in business, this insecurity cramps our style. It hinders our authenticity and the power that comes from being naturally, quirkily ourselves. In striving to make ourselves acceptable, we actually diminish our value. If we lack strong, healthy self-acceptance—as so many of us do, due to early negative programming or insensitive upbringing—we don’t believe we’re worthy of love, success or approval. As a result, we make compromises in the hope that others will like or accept us. We say yes when we really want to say no; we over-extend ourselves in our work because we want to prove our value; and we go along with what others want, to avoid conflict, disharmony or rejection.

Yet to be powerful in business and relationships, we need a strong sense of identity, healthy self-worth and the ability to embody our personal values in everyday life. Now, more than ever before, we’re being called upon to say what we mean, mean what we say, and practise social, moral and emotional integrity. When we do, we make a powerful impact. In the midst of all the hype and hard sell, authenticity is as refreshing as a cool shower on a blisteringly hot summer’s day.

The only thing that stops us from being more powerfully authentic is the fear of rejection. We’ll do almost anything to avoid that. But catering to this insecurity often brings us the very rejection we fear, whereas being brazenly authentic makes us attractively compelling. When we dare to be ourselves, to speak our minds and to express how we truly feel, we become magnets for good stuff.

Being authentic not only breaks long-standing cycles of conformity; it also gets people’s attention, as well as their respect and admiration. I’ve experienced this in my own work and life. When I say what I think/feel (despite anticipated negative reactions), I feel good about me—and that, in turn, generates some other positive outcome that matches the healthy self-worth I’ve demonstrated by being true to myself.

Finding true success and fulfillment is all about practising the very qualities that are so often missing in our early conditioning—respect, honesty and the ability to communicate with presence and transparency. These qualities are often missing in our business dealings too, as we’ve all been programmed to cater to the needs and expectations of others, rather than trusting in the value of our unique insights and contribution.

If you want to thrive in business or in love, dare to express what you really think; be proactive, rather than catering to existing circumstances or market forces; follow your instincts and find your voice, even if it means disagreeing with the boss; let go of the need to be accepted by others and focus instead on being true to you—the person you’ve got to live with for the rest of your life. Only when you give yourself the approval, acceptance and respect you’ve been seeking from others, can you really take off and fly.