Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peak Performance: Emotional Fitness and Emotional Energy

In sports psychology, peak performance includes many components: physical fitness, emotional skills and mental focus are among the top.

I often think emotional skills are treated as the too-distant cousin at the wedding of physical fitness and mental skills. Everyone talks about the physical and mental aspects of performance. I used to be a Wellness Director at a University, and the administration thought that by simply offering fitness classes we could keep the faculty and staff happy. What people needed was a sense of being valued, a feeling that they were cared for by the administration, they wanted some "feeling" kinds of things. I know this because they told me. In my consulting room with athletes, what is it every single client brings up? -- their distressing feelings about their performance, sometimes feelings about their coach and undue pressure, or feelings about their inability to do what they absolutely know they have the talent to do.

I know - the world of emotional healing is my deal. I've been doing this work for 23 years. You could imagine that I'm the one that elicits them talking about emotional ability or their present lack of it. But it's not how it happens. They just start expressing their distress to me from the minute they sit down.

I just worked with a very talented gymnast. She's on full scholarship at a very prestigious east coast university. She's the one on the team given the hardest skills to perform. Level E skills are what Olympic gymnasts perform, which she is not. You can't go any higher in difficulty. This one particular move, the Yaeger, is really tough. She's done it well she estimates 50 or more times. But over her sophomore year she has struggled big time to complete it successfully. This is a move that, when not completed well, finds you flat on your belly on the mat from the high bar of the uneven parallel bars. Ouch! It hurts physically, and drains your energy, not to mention your confidence.

What's the emotional side of her sports performance problems? There is the intense desire to please an unpleasable coach, the fear instilled by the coach threatening to take her scholarship away, the fear of disappointing her parents . . .there are a lot of things going on. It's hard for a young junior in college who has always been the darling of the gymnastics world and had supportive and encouraging coaches to now be living for over 4 hours every day with a coach who uses threats and lack of encouragement as a method of coaching. Combine that with this young athlete's mechanism of working to please people her whole life and you have a situation that spells disaster for her ability to perform what she could normally perfom very well. These emotions of fear, lack of self confidence, worry, needing to please or else "I am not worthwhile," feeling "I'm never good enough" (very easy for a gymnast to feel) are creating havoc for this talented, dedicated, very hard working athlete. She said to me with tears in her eyes, " I'm just not enjoying this; I'm not having fun. And I love gymnastics."

Here is what Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz ( The Power of Full Engagement, page 72) say about the role of emotions in peak performance for athletes (or anyone).
In order to perform at our best we must access pleasant and positive emotions: enjoyment, challenge, adventure and opportunity. Emotions that arise out of threat or deficit -- fear, frustration, anger, sadness -- have a decidedly toxic feel to them and are associated with the release of specific stress hormones, most notably cortisol. From our perspective, emotional intelligence is simply the capacity to manage emotions skillfully in the service of high positive energy and full engagement. In practical terms, the key “muscles” or competencies that fuel positive emotions are self-confidence, self-control (self-regulation), social skills (interpersonal effectiveness) and empathy. Smaller, supportive “muscles” include patience, openness, trust and enjoyment.

Please don't ever sell short the importance of emotional healing, emotional energy, and emotional skills when it comes to sports psychology and peak performance for athletes. It is woven into every thread of the fabric of a talented athlete being successful, having a long career, and feeling their sport has developed them intrapersonally and interpersonally. My hat goes off to every competitive athlete. I am honored and thankful to work with them.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Conquering Stage Fright for Musicians with Emotional Freedom Technique

Stage fright is a special challenge for musicians and singers, as well as others who perform in front of audiences. There are a wide range of challenges, from simple jitters to debilitating stage fright.

There is plenty to worry about: dry mouth and shaking hands to begin with. And what about that difficult passage, what about forgetting entire passages, what about hitting the high notes? And what happens if we have to deal with all of these worries in the context of an important singing or instrumental audition? Or if we’re playing or singing before musicians with intimidating credentials? There is a method that can erase these blocks so you can shine with your peak performance.

When stage fright hits, fear grips our muscles, tendons and ligaments - and music cannot flow when the body tightens What’s driving that physical response and fueling that fear are our anxious thoughts and inner beliefs, many of which we don’t even know we have, since over 95% of our thoughts are unconscious.

We remember past failures (“I know I’ll blow this again”) and wonder about our talents and capabilities; in the middle of a song or a sonata, we realize that we may be rejected; or we may never get to the stage because we believe we have to be flawless and impress others in order to even perform.

And have I mentioned the fear of success?

All in all, this can be a lot to deal with.

Music teachers carefully prepare their students musically. Most have heard their students perform seamlessly in practice sessions, yet continue to watch some of them botch their performances because of anxieties they feel powerless to conquer.

One remedy that is becoming widely used among performers is Emotional Freedom Technique - EFT. Emotional Freedom Technique was introduced in 1995 by Gary Craig, a Stanford educated engineer who was struck by psychological research showing that, despite treatment, people with performance anxiety did not show significant improvement.

Based on the ancient principles of acupuncture, EFT is a simple tapping procedure that gently realigns the body’s energy system. The process is easy to learn and excellent results have been documented by people all over the world. ( see and additional resources on my website;

Conventional approaches tend to focus on one’s memories or other mental processes only, ignoring the body’s energy system. The premise behind EFT is that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system. When a pianist, for example, entertains thoughts such as “I don’t know this song well enough,” or “I always get nervous before competitions,” the negative thought starts a series of reactions. Chemicals from the hypothalamus flood into the cells and these chemicals are experienced as emotions - fear, self-doubt and the like. The resulting muscle tension interferes with the musician’s ability to perform.

There are a myriad of physical results from limiting beliefs that powerfully affect the beauty and strength of one’s sound. This is easy to see in symptoms like “butterflies” in the stomach, sweaty palms, the throat becoming dry, fingers getting tense and anxiety creating memory lapses. Our conscious and unconscious thoughts create a powerful biological dynamic, determining whether a performance soars, is “good enough” or just plain goes south.

With EFT treatment, the musician focuses on the negative thought or emotion while simultaneously tapping on basic acupuncture points on the face, collarbone, under arm and wrists. This stimulation is paired with having the client mentally engage a troubling feeling, thought, or image. When a person thinks about a troubling situation, brain-imaging techniques reveal that signals are sent to various regions of the brain. The signals sent by tapping energy points on the skin, and the signals generated by engaging a mental problem, interact in a manner that reduces and eliminates symptoms.

In preparation for her New York City audition, my client, a very talented opera singer, used EFT to clear the paralysis that had always kept her from practicing before important auditions. Tapping on specific points ( see “How does EFT work” on while focusing on the negative statements she was telling herself about practicing, created a significant shift in her mental outlook about practicing. After applying EFT she awoke to a day of easy and productive practicing, something she had not been able to accomplish for over a week. “I wanted to sing! . . . the act of practicing felt natural and easy!”

A little tweaking of our thought processes makes a vast difference in how we bring our music out into the world. Emotional Freedom Technique has proven to be a highly effective tool for erasing performers’ self doubt and physical tensions while tapping into their most superior talents. Let the music begin!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weight Loss: Permanent and Powerful. - Making Peace with Food and Your Emotions

Weight loss methods become more important as our nation proliferates diet gimmicks that cost lots of money and don't deliver permanent solutions. Perhaps more importantly, they most often cost the buoyed self esteem of the dieter once they "go off" and the pounds come back rapidly.

This kind of sucker weight loss system has been a thorn in my side for decades now. I've experienced it up close personally and professionally. But there is a solution and it offers you permanent weight loss.
The solution to people continually gaining weight back after dieting contains several considerations:

1. Do you really want to lose weight? Yes or No? If no, you can stop reading and talking about wanting it. Spare yourself the agony of the unaccomplished desire, not to mention the anguish of guilt. Eat and be merry!

2. If #1 doesn't sound promising, find out how you can authentically want to lose weight.

3. Resist the temptation of diet books, diet programs, even well-designed nutritionist-recommended programs if they do not contain a proven method of helping you manage your emotions without the aid of food.

4. Resist any "program" that is led by someone who does not have total freedom around all foods and ever mentions feeling "guilty" about eating certain foods or calls certain foods "bad."

5. Develop emotional neutrality around all foods; ice cream is the same as broccoli in your emotional world.

6. Clear emotional baggage that causes you to eat when you really wanted something more nourishing.

7. Hone your ability to identify what you really need in the moment [of your discomfort] - It's usually not food.

8. Learn respect for your body and it's ability to tell you when you're hungry and when you need some other specific thing to quench your desire.

If you've been dieting for a long time it's easy to want a "quick fix." Being overweight and the process you use to get there is very painful. But if you've been dieting off and on since high school or college and now you are in your 40's, 50's - well, you get the point. You have a long history of dieting and the beliefs you've honed so well. I have never, in over 22 years of working with many different kinds of people, seen such a fierce, terrorized loyalty to a set of rules that are so destructive.

I hope you'll consider a different approach to your weight loss and weight management. Your well-being depends on it. You, too, can enjoy the freedom to eat and the freedom not to! Having a slender body; being comfortable in your body is a true delight you deserve!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wild Weight Loss - Will it last?

Weight Loss is always a "hot" topic. Rush Limbaugh lost 90 pounds in the last 6 months! Weight loss - it's on every cover of nearly every single popular magazine. Even some content rich magazines will still include weight loss articles sure to be on the cover for increasing sales. While we obsessively put weight loss on everyone's lips and reading material, we are becoming a nation of exponential obesity. There is something amiss when we are so focused on weight loss and becoming fatter in the process. I have plenty of thoughts about what's amiss. It's not just opinion, but based on 22 years of working with people who struggle with this pervasive issue. What's the deal that we can't get weight loss right?

Let's look first at what is applauded as "weight loss." Only a few days ago, the news was all over the fact that Rush Limbaugh has lost 90 pounds in the last 6 months. Yes, 90 pounds in 6 months. Scary! How does one lose 3.5 pounds per week for 6 months in a row? Again, it's scary. Ask any nutritionist, in-the-know eating disorders therapist or doctor and you will hear a resounding voice of this not being a good idea medically or psychologically. And to boot, there is no exercise included in this diet of Mr. Limbaugh's. The "Quick Weight Loss Program" will, no doubt, be inundated with people looking for that quick fix to their weight problem. They will make a lot of money.

This diet has several key ingredients; starvation, structure, supplements and support. It's missing exercise and sustainability. Doesn't sound bad, does it? But sustainability is a big deal. I sat with a client in my office only last week - she came to see me in a total panic after she had spent the last year losing 104 pounds.(I had not met her until she came to me in her panic). She had been down to 135 pounds, 20 pounds below what her goal weight was to be on Weight Watchers. Now she weighed 155, had been eating/binging for a month, and was in literal terror about feeling consumed and out of control with eating. It was so sad to see her terror. She had no freedom around food, and any "slip" whatsoever from her spartan choices and amounts sent her into a full force binge.

This is what happens 99% of the time - and the portion of the diet that no one talks about. People talk about the success of their diets. "Yes, I lost 104 pounds!" But the next stage of the diet is the binging, the weight gain, and the subsequent piling on of guilt and shame. The diet is the faulty factor, not the person. But the person is always amassing more portions of guilt and shame. Then it starts over. "I'm fat, I must diet and do it harder."

Why mention weight loss in a blog on performance? Because appropriate weight is essential to top performance as an athlete, a stage performer, or to anyone wishing optimal health. I have a particular passion for working with weight loss, having taught classes for over 20 years to help people free themselves from their ineffective, harmful patterns with food and their emotional traps with overeating. I've seen the diet cycle up close and it never changes. If you have emotional issues that are unresolved and use food to get you through life, those emotional issues don't go away, just underground while you're on the diet. I repeat, the "loss" part is just one portion of the diet cycle. It's only one portion.

If the emotional or addictive tendencies with food are not resolved, the person, no matter if they've lost 20 or 90 pounds, will eventually have to come "off" the diet. The only other choice is to become an addict - a dieting addict. I'm concerned for Mr. Limbaugh - he's revealed his addictions in the past. This just may be his newest one. And I feel sad for all the well-meaning people sold a bill of goods about diets and weight loss.

The answer? Doing the smarter, harder work - learning how to deal with anxiety without the aid of food. Discovering, identifying what the anxieties really are and knocking them out of the body. Learning how to literally neutralize the cravings that occur from years of habitual ways of thinking and behaving around food. There's a lot of intention involved in not getting swept down the path of dieting. My wish - to give everyone I can the courage and hope that there are ways to do this work that lead to total freedom around all foods. The freedom to eat is the freedom not to. Choice and freedom, no guilt, no obsession with calories --- freedom. That is permanent weight loss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Renewal and Restoration

I've been writing a series on Managing Energy as the key to high performance and personal renewal. And I realize more acutely how it takes constant practice when trying to achieve a new behavior pattern. Regarding getting more sleep, I had great success, and then another late night. But the difference is to realize that progress is often very cyclical. I wasn't back sliding, I just had several nights of more sleep than I normally would have!

Tomorrow I go on vacation for a week and that is truly a time of restoration for me. It's a different kind of "vacation" - no walking the beach and sitting in the quiet reading books, all of which I love. I'll be back in my old stomping grounds, Missoula, Montana, visiting a gazillion good friends. These close, loving relationships bring me such a sense of renewal and restoration. They provide much needed energy. The power of the heart and connection feeds me. I will actually be seeing a couple clients, and seeing a packed "agenda" of friends from all my 23 years of living in this beautiful, quiet little mountain town. I'm going to visit my former house, where the deer gather every evening. I'll stay with a couple different friends, and we'll probably stay up late talking about life and catching up with the large and minute portions of the meaning we find in our lives.

These carved, spacious opportunities to sit back and share with friends are what I most cherish. Aside from the silent form of journaling, I find the out-loud sharing to be the most rewarding, nourishing form of hearing and listening to my life. Most often, you don't know how you really are feeling and thinking about the evolution of your days until you hear yourself speak it out loud spontaneously. And friends will reflect it all back to you, with an eye to who you are that is particular to them.

Lately I've been experimenting with one more thing --- thinking before I articulate a comment or story; is this really true? Does this deserve to be said? Can I be willing to stop using extraneous words and just let the truth stand? It will be interesting to apply this to my sharings over the coming week. This paring to the essential seems part of my own restoration. It might just be a gift to others also.

Wishing you renewal and restoration in the blessed, heartfelt connections with those you love, enjoy, like, find stimulating, and celebrate the true nature of you!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Managing Your Energy for Peak Performance - Part IV

Peak Performance: Rest!

Authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz introduce how rest plays a major role in maximizing performance.
"This concept of maximizing performance by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest was first advanced by Flavius Philostratus (A.D. 170-245), who wrote training manuals for Greek athletes. Russian sports scientists resurrected the concept in the 1960s and began applying it with stunning success to their Olympic athletes. Today, "work-rest" ratios lie at the heart of periodization, a training method used by elite athletes throughout the world."

The basic concept hasn't changed since it was advanced nearly two thousand years ago. After a period of activity, our bodies must replenish fundamental biochemical sources of energy. "Compensation" occurs during this rest phase and the energy expended is recovered. When you increase the intensity of your training or performance demand, it's necessary ( not suggested, but necessary!) to commensurately increase your amount of energy renewal.

"Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy."

How and when are you resting? Do you know the keys to getting the most of high energy performance?

As you know, I've been experimenting the last week with drinking more water and going to bed at an earlier time. The blog immediately preceding this one gives feedback on how it's going!

Today is Sunday, a good day to focus on the rest periods that Loehr and Schwartz recommend for peak performance. My internal observations have been fascinating. First, just knowing that I'm going to take a break in 90 minutes makes it easier to stay focused on my task at hand. I've been able to begin and sustain the energy, looking forward to my new found 20 minute break! Other than a Mac computer class from noon-1:00, I had not scheduled any specific time to get my day's agenda completed. I chose not to visit a church today, since I did have a large amount of things to accomplish before leaving on vacation.

Old patterns have included some very unproductive days of not "starting" because I had a long list of tasks and "all day" to get them done. Many times, all day turned into all day not getting things done and also not playing!

It's been a great day! I've been able to start tasks; stick with them; take a 20' break even when the task was not done; go back to the task easily; finish it; take another break and really enjoy the freedom of these breaks! I'm happy with my day! I'm liking these experiments. The rest periods are energizing me to really get some needed work done. They are giving me great energy in the fun anticipation of breaks and freedom to see what I might create in them. Who knows! I might even be in bed by 10:00 pm tonight! Now that is behavior change to create more productive and satisfying energy in my life. Please join me! Let me know how it's going!

Managing Your Energy for Peak Performance - Part III

Feedback on Energy Experiment – Water, Sleeping, Emotional Freedom Technique -----

I really am learning from Loehr’s and Schwartz’s advice. They know their stuff. As you may or may not know about my experiment since the July 12 blog, I selected drinking more water and getting more sleep as the two baby steps I’d focus on to improve my production energy. Drinking more water helps significantly! Getting to bed earlier is bringing up some challenges! How is this important to you? Read on!

Drinking more water definitely helps! It’s working! My last blog of July 17 addressed my challenges with going to bed at an earlier hour and some thoughts about unconscious blocks to doing so. For now, let me report I actually went to bed at 10:30 pm last night – one and a half hours earlier than my typical very earliest midnight! I was giddily shocked. I do believe it was the EFT tapping I did on the aspects listed in my July 17 blog that helped me to very easily just go to bed. However, I didn’t tap on an unidentified aspect; the desire to plan my next day and tinker with some projects while in bed! So . . . it was 12:30 after all when I turned out the light.

What is important for you in this? Two things: One is that the effectiveness of EFT was what got me into bed by 10:30 in the first place. Normally, it would have been 12:30-1:30 am. Secondly, is the concept of baby steps. In former days, I would have chalked the whole thing up as a miserable failure since I didn’t turn the lights out until 12:30. My experimenting with new behaviors would have come to a screeching halt. With embracing the freedom and compassion of baby steps, I could acknowledge that getting into bed by 10:30 was huge progress for me. That acknowledgment felt great; a "way to go!" pat on the back. Normally I would have turned on a movie or Saturday Night Live or turned my computer on to get some necessary correspondence done. I didn’t do any of that, which is behavior change I want! My feel-good pat on the back is poised to allow me to go to bed earlier again.

I’ll apply some EFT on my “hard drive." I can clear the need to take those project files to bed. I can tap on the “North Dakota” habits in me where working sunup to sundown is just normal behavior. I’ve been doing that since seventh grade. Time to let it go. Time to take those rest breaks, be even more productive and have more fun. I'm already having more fun! Now that’s a combination I can live with!

Below segment excerpted from The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, page 71:

Physical Energy: Bear in Mind

• Physical Energy is the fundamental source of fuel in life.
• Physical energy is derived from the interaction between oxygen and glucose.
• The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating.
• Eating five to six low-calorie, highly nutritious meals a day ensures a steady resupply of glucose and essential nutrients.
• Drinking sixty-four ounces of water daily is a key factor in the effective management of physical energy.
• Most human beings require seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
• Going to bed early and waking up early help to optimize performance.
• Interval training is more effective than steady-state exercise in building physical capacity and in teaching people how to recover more efficiently.
• To sustain full engagement, we must take a recovery break every 90 to 120 minutes

Friday, July 17, 2009

Manage Your Energy for Peak Performance - Part II

Part II: Resistance- "You Can't Tell Me What to Do!"

(Part I – July 12, 2009)

If you’ve joined me on my experiment to get more personal energy into my life, bravo and welcome! I’m wondering how it’s going for you in the last several days. Remember, baby steps! I’ve most often been an all-or-none person, which can make major changes difficult, if not impossible. I know these baby steps are going to really set us up for some good success.

In my last blog of July 12, my personal choice of baby step changes was to drink more water and get more sleep. I’m not getting hung up on the “64 oz.” per day recommendation, so because of that feeling of freedom, I think I am getting 64 oz. or more a day. Freedom is an important element in making change. If we tell ourselves we should get 64 oz. of water a day, the funniest thing happens in the unconscious (sooner or later) – resistance.

I watch it every day with my clients and with myself. I use EFT with clients to address the resistance which basically says “you can’t tell me what to do!”

The “you can’t tell me what to do!” is all unconscious. Remember, 96.4% of our thoughts and actions are controlled by the unconscious – the mind we are not aware of! The conscious mind, which controls a measly 3.6% of our thoughts and behaviors says, “I really want to drink more water.” (Excuse me while I go get some water.)

Here’s what I love about EFT. It can be used to completely dismantle and eliminate the resistance; the force against the “should” and the "should" itself. Most people call this sabotage and wonder why they keep setting themselves up for failure. I’m not a fan of the word sabotage for these instances. It suggests that somehow you are consciously doing something to trip yourself up. I disagree. More accurately, you are a victim to the power of your unconscious attachments, need for safety and many other factors. Here’s an example: (please use this to examine your own wish and the blocks that may arise for you).

I say I want to get more sleep. I really do need to get more sleep. But I don't do it. I’ve even worked on this with a business coach years ago. We were shooting for me to get in bed by 10:45. I think over the course of two years I did it once! Even when I really want to get more sleep so I could feel more rested and be more productive in my work and play day, I just plain resist going to bed. And right here, as you are my witness, I’m vowing to tap (use EFT) on my resistance to going to bed earlier. There are many aspects to my resistance. One, I’ve always been a night person, even as a child. Who would I be if I behaved differently? Clients often will say things like, “How will I know it’s me if I don’t carry this badge of resentment or hurt on my sleeve?” We become identified by certain things, certain habits of behavior. It is who we think we are. My habit of staying up until midnight or 1:00 am just doesn’t cut it anymore, but it just feels like it is who I am. It’s what I do. It used to work well! I need to download an update.

I’m also going to tap on these additional aspects that occur to me just sitting here thinking about the “desire”:
1. I have to stay up late to get enough relaxed, down time.
2. I love the night time and I’ll miss it too much
3. I don’t get enough done during the day so I need my later hours to get more done – I can’t sacrifice that time
4. I’ve always worked, written, done my best thinking at night so I must continue.
5. I used to watch Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” with my father nearly every night as a child. These are fond memories and I’m “hooked” into them.

If I use EFT and tap, one at a time, on these aspects, I know I will get clarity and clearing on the blocks that don’t serve me. I will discern what’s true and what’s no longer true! I realize already that I don’t get that much work done late at night like I did when I was younger. I’m tired, productivity is low. I’d be much further ahead going to bed, waking up refreshed, getting to the office earlier, leaving the office earlier at the end of the day, and having more fun, free time in the evenings. Tapping is the key element to allowing this clearing to happen naturally, freely.

And the neat thing about tapping is that after the obvious (conscious) blocks to my goal are cleared, the unconscious ones (previously unknown to me) come popping up. It often is an exclamation of discovery on my client’s part. “Gosh, I didn’t know that was in there!” People are thrilled to identify these blocks and to clear them. They clear easily, once we see what they are!

Once I recognize the blocks to my going to bed earlier, the very things that say, “No I won’t go to bed earlier. You can’t make me and I don’t want to!” - well, then, and only then, do I stand a chance of going to bed earlier happening freely and naturally. You will find this happening with EFT – I actually can promise you that. Remember, without tapping and clearing these unconscious blocks, it’s just a desire, a good intention with a 96.4% block to happening!

I’m looking forward to tapping now that I’ve committed to you that I will! I’ll keep you posted! And remember – baby steps! I hope to hear what you’ve selected from the July 12 blog to have a more energetic, productive, satisfied day!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Manage Your Energy for Peak Performance

Manage Your Energy for Peak Performance and Personal Renewal

The book, The Power of Full Engagement, by authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, is about getting more energy. Who couldn’t use a bit more energy? Obviously we are looking for it. Check out the plethora of "Energy Drinks" on the market now. I don't think caffeine and chemicals are what the doctor ordered for true, sustainable energy. Since we are in the age of renewable energy, why not take a serious look at how to materialize more energy into our personal lives? Loehr and Schwartz make a clear case that managing energy, not time, is the key to peak performance and personal renewal.

They write about three basics: health, happiness and balance. Their sound advice is the same for athletes, workers, and CEO’s.

“You learn how to stay focused, stick to a routine and eat right. We learned from these athletes you needed a certain kind of energy to perform well,” says Schwartz.

I’ll be writing a series based on Loehr and Schwartz’s book, The Power of Full Engagement. To be honest, I’ve had this book for nearly five years. I look at the cover all the time, knowing it has very important lessons for me (and others). I peak into the text now and then, but have never really committed myself to an action phase. Sound familiar? Right now in my life, having had major change and routine disruption to the max, I’m not managing my own energy properly and I’m getting tired. How about you? Are you tired? Are you feeling physically vital, spiritually fed, emotionally and socially connected, mentally focused? If you, like me, have some “less-than-yes” answers, let’s do this!

What can I say that might possibly get you on board with me in joining this new energy experiment? Here’s what I know – see how it is going for you. My life is good. I have many loving people in my life; I golf with a fantastic group of women every Wednesday evening (and being on green grass really does something for me!); I just attended a really fun jazz event at City Park with a new friend and the atmosphere was a delicious taste of summer ease; my work is exciting and going very well; I have the sweetest gray cat, Jack, on the planet; I enjoy great office suite mates and the weather in Denver is amazing. Expressing gratitude is a very powerful energy boost! This is definitely a must on any energy boosting prescription.

Here is what I also know – see how it is going for you. I’m spending the majority of my days (and evenings) working, thinking about work, planning my work; I’m not getting enough sleep – an age old behavior of mine; I’ve developed some new habit of “down time” with CNN; I’m not feeling rested upon waking; I am mostly separated from the stimulation of intellectual and social conversation since moving to a new city; and I am missing the joy and energy of exercising daily that I consistently had in my life and has been gone since a knee problem six months ago. Phew! That is a lot of energy disruption!

I’m “fine” but it’s not good enough. I want energy and balance and satisfaction in a life well lived. So – I’m on board. I hope you will join me. We can learn and experiment together in applying Loehr and Schwartz’s sage advice in all the areas of life to achieve The Power of Full Engagement.

Here are a few things from their book to bear in mind regarding Physical Energy. Take small, baby steps with me. Let’s set this up for success. Consider 1 or 2 things and do them. See how it goes. I’d love to hear from you! Maybe with you doing this with me I’ll get back to where I was accustomed to living – with physical vitality, spiritual aliveness, mental focus and social/emotional connection! Sounds good, yes?

Below segment excerpted from The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, page 71:

Physical Energy: Bear in Mind
• Physical Energy is the fundamental source of fuel in life.
• Physical energy is derived from the interaction between oxygen and glucose.
• The two most important regulators of physical energy are breathing and eating.
• Eating five to six low-calorie, highly nutritious meals a day ensures a steady resupply of glucose and essential nutrients.
• Drinking sixty-four ounces of water daily is a key factor in the effective management of physical energy.
• Most human beings require seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
• Going to bed early and waking up early help to optimize performance.
• Interval training is more effective than steady-state exercise in building physical capacity and in teaching people how to recover more efficiently.
• To sustain full engagement, we must take a recovery break every 90 to 120 minutes.

Yes, I will repeat that one! We must take a recovery break every 90 to 120 minutes to sustain full engagement!

For these next two weeks, I'm picking the water and getting more than 5-6 hours of sleep per night. Remember, baby steps! I'll let you know how it goes. I hope to hear from you too! Here's to your energetic and more productive, satisfied day!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Performance Anxiety - Getting Free!

The businessman who gets nervous every time he has to give his 30 second elevator speech (yes, there are many); the talented tennis player who feels self-conscious walking onto the court (yes there are many); the gifted violinist who is sure people won't like her performance (just ask her instructor of this prevalence!). These are the people who have the talents to really excel in their passions. And, yes, there are so many people suffering from performance anxiety and not able to share their gifts with ease and satisfaction.

Aaron Beck, a pioneer in the area of "Evaluation Anxiety," described the basic anxiety of performing in front of an audience; of being evaluated. For a lot of performers, no matter if it's business, athletics, or music, the nervous biological disturbances come down to some basic concerns:

1) Will they like me/approve of me?

2) Will they like/approve of my performance? (Often individuals can confuse their own worth with the worth of their performance.)

3) Will I perform "well-enough" to meet my own standards and those of others? Will I perform "well enough" to feel proud and make others proud of me? And conversely, will I avoid embarrassment from others' judgment and my own judgment?

I continue to be amazed, even after 22 years as a practitioner working with a wide variety of people, that we all really want to please people. But it is clear, ALWAYS, that we are our own worst critics. The main person that is nearly impossible to please is us. I work with individuals so they can be pleased with themselves. Sounds simple enough, huh? Oh contraire. There are a host of experiences, beliefs, and blocked emotions all compacted within the physiology of the cell structure. In essence, this blockage can not allow the individual to feel good, let alone “good enough.” It seems to be the core issue to clear -- the rest falls easily in line once we clear these blocking beliefs that create all the self doubt about being good enough.

The "will I be good enough?" is usually expressed by clients as "I'll never be good enough." There is a wide array of experiences that have deeply ingrained this belief into my client's system. But take heart. This belief can and does move out. I see it over and over, often quickly. It's why I love Emotional Freedom Technique as my major tool. It gets this core belief out of the cells' physiology. I see the client beginning to KNOW they are good enough for the performance. And they are. They excel.

The 30 minute elevator speech is given with more enthusiasm and confidence. It is even re-written, since the businessman feels a new sense of himself and what he offers. The tennis player loses her self-consciousness because the evaluation and performance anxiety is gone. The body is calm, self assured, and she is focused and prepared. The violinist has prepared with an absence of pressure. The rehearsals are free and flowing, the fingers move with ease. Many say, after using EFT, "My hands feel really good! I know that sounds weird, but my hands and fingers feel free and really good!" Yes, that's what getting rid of performance anxiety is all about -- getting it out of the physiology of your body. Out of your cells! Possessing the freedom to do your best and feel good about it. Now that's a good thing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Peak Performance in Sports Performance!

The Roger Federer, Andy Roddick final of the 2009 Wimbledon was, indeed, a display of peak performance in sports performance! Did you see it? Amazing or awesome is not a strong enough word to describe the level of play of Federer and Roddick. The fifth set went 15-13 (no tiebreaker at Wimbledon). It was unbelievable. Anyone could have won that match. They both won that match. But Roddick lost. And Roger Federer surpassed the all time record for the most Grand Slams ever won in tennis history.

The agony of defeat on Andy Roddick's face was deservedly intense. He played his heart out, never losing focus over the course of an extremely intense, long match. He kept firing winners, down the backhand line -- executing defense and offense nearly flawlessly. He had Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player of all time, in his reach the entire match. Federer cold not break him. He was "this close." And he lost.

Agonizing. How do you recoup from this kind of loss? How do you do it quickly and efficiently? How do you get so smart that you notice every possible subtle tail end of that loss that may affect your future play?

Here is my advice to Andy Roddick - and any athlete that has suffered a major loss. Use EFT to clear your entire physiology (remember emotions come from chemicals that have lodged in the cell receptor sites). Clear the chemicals of the disappointment of loss from every cell. Clear every emotion from that excruciating review of the match where you might be saying, "if only I had done that differently, or . . . " Clear every emotion from that difficult loss from your chemistry so that all your practicing and future matches are completely clear of any blockage. This is crucial. You do not need to be hearing John McEnroe speak about, "He's just not playing the same since his 2009 defeat at Wimbledon." "He doesn't seem to have that same fire ever since his tough loss on '09..."

EFT can clear every subtle but powerful blocking emotion and belief. Disappointment, anguish, hurt, exhaustion, "came up short," "why didn't I win?," "lost my chance" . . . the unconscious will make up what seems silly to a professional athlete and grown man. But believe me, it will. And EFT can clear it so that the next matches are free of any negative blocking disturbances. The next practices and matches can be full of the same and even greater sense of vigor, optimism, confidence, assuredness, "in the zone" ability.

Carry on Andy! And congratulations Roger! What a gift to watch the exquisite purity of athletic ability and competition. Thank you for such a splendid display of powerful performance!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Michael Jackson - Gone Too Soon

I've been watching the news of Michael Jackson's death non-stop for a week now. I was-am-a huge fan of Michael Jackson. His magical dancing kept me in awe. The purity of his voice shimmered just like his white glove when he sang "Have You Seen my Childhood?" and "Gone Too Soon." I used to sing "Gone Too Soon" outdoors when no one was around. The lyrics and melody and quality of singing touch me deeply. He wrote it when Princess Diana died. Every word rings true for his life spirit and death.

"Like a comet blazing through the evening sky ... gone too soon...."
"Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight. Here one day, gone one night... gone too soon."

Michael Jackson was amazing - his talent unquestionable. But perhaps the quality most alluring of all was his tender heart. We will never know the truth of all his more questioned actions. But when you hear Michael talk about his love for children around the world, and when you hear his friends and family express their admiration and love for his heart you have to wonder. could it be his heart that was overlooked amidst all the amazement at his talent? His heart, perhaps, too tender for the trappings of his constructed world.

Dear Michael, Thank you. I hear you singing with amazing clarity and heart, "Gone Too Soon." Indeed, Michael.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Afraid of your drives?

I was having lunch today with a young man in his 30’s ( that used to sound old, but now it’s young!). He brought up The Secret as he was asking me about EFT and how I use it with golfers. He is an avid golfer and expressed that each time he walks up to the tee box he is fearful that he will slice the ball. Wow, talk about a set- up for slicing the ball! He has been trying to “talk himself into” just using positive thoughts that he will hit the ball straight and powerfully. He focuses on these thoughts. It sounds good, doesn’t it?

The Secret is a favorite book of many – and I, too, enjoy the book and have loved the many contributors and their wisdom for years. I do find in my experience working with people, and with myself, that there is one big ingredient missing in The Secret. It is one thing to say “change your thoughts and change your reality.” And I know that this is, indeed, what happens. Reality and your sense of peace and happiness does shift once the negative thought shifts to a positive. The trick is in how you truly get that thought to shift.

Trying to convince yourself of anything when you really don’t believe in it is never going to work. Let’s not forget that the subconscious mind controls 96% of our behavior and thoughts. So when the subconscious mind is rehearsing fear about slicing the ball, and that fear is literally a chemical in your cell receptor sites, you can rehearse all you want about hitting the ball straight and powerfully. It is not going to fly!

The beauty of EFT is that you address the NEGATIVE THOUGHT which causes the disturbance in the body’s energy system. When I use EFT with a golfer like this, we tap on the very thought he wants to shove back in the closet and pretend doesn’t exist. When this golfer insists on using his conscious mind to talk himself into “ I am hitting the ball straight and powerfully” the subconscious mind will be saying, “ yeah, go ahead, say what you want. I still know you can’t do it and you’ll slice the ball!” That is how the subconscious mind works. It believes what it believes, until the fear or any other negativity is literally removed from the body’s energy system. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Maybe it sounds crazy to you, but ask yourself – how has it worked for you, really, to just be using positive thinking to rid yourself of chronic problems that you really want gone?

I am biased. I have seen EFT do amazing things over and over. I still hear clients say, “That is amazing!” 95% of clients use those very words. The reason it is amazing is that it is addressing the negativity that is stored physiologically in the body’s energy system; in the body’s cell receptor sites. So when this golfer is willing to do EFT- to tap on, “Even though I’m afraid I will slice the ball every time I walk up to the tee . . . ” - he will experience amazing results in his fear going down by the mere fact of tapping on the acupressure points and saying some things I put into the equation. As his fear becomes zero, which usually happens quite rapidly, THEN WE CAN tap on, “ I see myself driving the ball straight and powerfully.” “I can feel my body turning in full rotation as I drive the ball with strength and accuracy” and other positive statements to really anchor his ability to do just what he wants.

We want what we want ( straight, powerful drives off the tee) and interestingly enough, the way to get it is not what we thought. Allowing yourself to see what the negative thinking is and applying EFT to those negative thoughts may just be your most powerful way to get what you want – a lower golf score and more pleasure doing it! Happy golfing!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Weight Loss: The Missing Ingredient

Weight Loss: the Missing Ingredient

There’s more to weight loss than exercise and proper nutrition. Ask any fitness trainer worth their salt. They ponder why people just don’t “stick with it.” Most people who struggle with cycles of weight gain and loss have very chronic and complicated relationships with food. No amount of great fitness training and nutrition education is going to clear up the client’s inner demons of thoughts and emotions about food and their bodies. I’ve watched it for decades.

• Food is my best friend; always there in time of need.
• Food is my worst enemy; always haunting me, always grabbing hold of me, taunting me.
• Fat can be my protection from anything I need protection from.
• Overeating calms my frightening feelings, my anxiety, boredom, loneliness . . . [you name it]
• Well, I “blew it” for today, so I might as well eat all I can. Tomorrow it’s “back on the program.” (Those Last Suppers add up!)

Overeaters will out-eat whatever exercise program they’re on if they don’t address the missing ingredient. This crucial ingredient is learning to handle difficult moments without the aid of food. It is eliminating food cravings and seeing all foods as equally satisfying psychologically and emotionally. They must learn to be truly free around all foods. “It’s important to enjoy the freedom to eat and the freedom not to eat!”

Bernadette Hunter, MS, is a licensed professional counselor and EFT Performance Specialist, with over two decades of experience helping compulsive eaters and dieters clear the obstacles to permanent weight loss. Bernadette employs the energy psychology tool of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as seen on TLC’s I Can Make You Thin. She offers EFT demonstrations to groups and you can also learn about EFT and Bernadette through her website at

Got Niche?

Lots of marketing professionals – good marketing professionals- have advised me that I must pick a niche for my work. Maybe someday I’ll follow their advice. Everything they say makes sense. It takes 3 years to get known in 1 market; 3 markets take 9 years. “You pick Bernadette. Do you have 9 years? People don’t know who to refer to you, and you’ll never get rich and famous.”

Well, for now, I continue to enjoy working with athletes, performing artists and business professionals. I like delivering my highest spiritual, clinical, intuitive, most humorous and loving self to this wide variety of amazing clients. They are: addicted, abusing food to calm themselves, full of rage, grief, just fired from their jobs, have cancer, are post-cancer, want more success in business. They are opera singers wanting to make it big, golfers looking for better drives and putts, tennis players yearning for a consistent power serve, Parkinson’s patients who know there is a better way to find relief from their symptoms. Many experience chronic emotional and physical pain from accidents, migraine headaches, insomnia. They are filled with old grudges, fears, and hurts that block their writing, their art, their every form of dancing in life. They are seeking the joy of knowing their true, highest, most powerful selves. They come in so many forms - all human, all lovely, all looking for healing, success, freedom.

So for now I’m just an EFT Performance Specialist – and all these people somehow find me. I’m glad they do. Yup, maybe someday I’ll listen to the marketing pros. Right now, I’m busy helping and being witness to my clients making profound changes. They get results mixed with self- acceptance and love. I think it’s a great combination! It’s niche-enough for now.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The biggest “problem” with our golf games is not that we hit bad shots. The problem is that we think we are bad for having hit them. It’s when we tie our very self esteem into our performance or our shots that deeper inner problems begin to arise, and we begin to lose a piece (peace?) of who we really are … quoted from "Spirit of Golf" Thought of the Day.

When we begin to get hard on ourselves for our bad shot, our bodies record this negative energy - and the problems really begin. You've heard it about the greatest - "His game seems to be unraveling." I played golf twice this weekend. And though I'm not a competitive golfer by the stretch of anyone's imagination, I used to be very competitive in many other sports. I can't afford to get uptight about golf - it's much too complicated a sport for that! And if you want to really excell at golf, you can't afford to get uptight- period! Just think of that word, "uptight." If our thoughts after a poor shot are ones of denigration, or even too much disappointment, they signal the distress directly to every muscle, ligament, tendon. . . You won't be in the flow when you are tight. I've been using my favorite energy technique before, and on the way to, the golf course, incorporating the thought of "expecting nothing" - putting my mind in neutral. It is working quite well. It does not take anything away from wanting to do well. But it takes away all pressure, all expectation, all castigation of missed shots or downright awful drives! "Oh well!" My body stays at neutral. I'm enjoying myself. And I'm not defined by how poorly I play or even by how well I play! Try it. You will play to your optimal ability and enjoy yourself more than ever. I am!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Following your heart is good science

“Use your head!”

Most of us have been encouraged, actually trained, to think our way through most situations . . . perhaps even scolded into the idea that we should stop feeling so much and use our noggins more.

Thinking, of course, has its place. I love to read and ponder what Socrates, Plato, Nietzsche have to say about the truth of mankind. But we’ve revered thinking to the point where we have lost one of the most fundamental truths: To be our most powerful, productive and human selves, we must have our hearts and our brains in literal harmony. Science now proves this to be actual fact.

Research has now found that the heart is the largest generator of electrical and magnetic energies in the body. The heart produces the largest rhythmic electromagnetic field of any of the body’s organs. The heart’s electrical field is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the electrical activity generated by the brain. Additionally, the magnetic field produced by the heart is 5,000 times greater than that produced by the brain.

What does this mean? We’ve been conditioned as a mind-dominated culture to believe that the touch-feely world of feelings and emotions are inappropriate and ineffective. In truth, the most powerful source of our inner power lies in the heart and in our ability to experience and manage our emotions.

In my performance practice, it is always a variety of emotional elements that need clearing and clarifying in order for the brain to then begin seeing and acting from a clear, logical perspective.

The singers have rehearsed, and rehearsed
The athletes have their skills honed.
The public speakers know their material and are passionate about their message . . .

But it is the heart’s magnetic field of some unresolved emotional component of fear or self-doubt or some little old memory of it going south that keeps their system from delivering their most powerful performance. Once the emotional component is brought into clarity, the heart and brain come into alignment and there is no stopping the talent coming out of them full force!

My advice to you? Go out of your mind!

Finding the places in the heart that hold you back has immense rewards. Often these blocks are little niggling feelings that you don’t even know you have that are keeping you from your heart’s desire. What is your heart’s desire? You will find the answer in your heart, not your brain. But your brain can get you there, when it is in harmony (literal electromagnetic harmony) with your heart.

Use the most powerful generator of energy in your body to reach your highest aspirations and dreams – your heart.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Music – The Voice of Angels

Music is the voice of angels.

The bedtime lullaby your mother sang. The rock song you listened to in college.
The hymn sung at your parent’s funeral. A lifetime of music surrounds us.

Think back to whatever music was playing at your 8th grade dance—mine was "Crimson and Clover," while dancing with Greg Gebeke. Maybe you have a favorite hymn or Christmas song that still brings warm, tender memories.I remember with such delight the 4-part harmonies my sisters and I sang while riding in the car to Aunt Rhoda’s house as children. It has been over 40 years since I’ve sung it, but yes, I still can feel the whole song and hear the first line, “White choral bells upon a slender stalk, Lilies of the Valley deck my garden walk. Oh don’t you see how you can make them ring, that will only happen when the fairies sing!"

Yes, music is the voice of the angels. It speaks to our souls. It comforts, motivates, disturbs, uplifts. It enlivens, takes us to the depths of contemplation and reflection, causes us to dance deliriously, and brings memories into sharp focus.

Make sure you are listening to the music – the music that stirs your soul. Make sure you are listening to your own music in your soul. That is the voice of angels for you. We can all use more angels around us and through us, and music is a perfect way to do so.

Keep the music playing!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Trick to Those Tricky New Year's Promises

So how are the New Year’s resolutions coming along?
You know . . .

- Eating “better”
- Upping your exercise regime to get to the next level
- Getting rid of your stage fright so you can go for the audition
- Taking some yoga to reduce stress and lengthen those muscles
- Developing a new spiritual practice, or getting back to the
practice you found meaningful
- Renew friendships that have slid away in the midst of a busy life
If your resolutions are still believable you are probably well on your way to attracting the things that you desire.

How’s it going? What’s in the way? One thing that sounds simple, and is most essential, is to actually believe you can do it. Pick one resolution. For the elite athlete, one is very focused on the time splits of her next triathlon; the golfer envisions each golf stroke having just the angle and mental clarity needed to land just where his intention takes it. Intention is everything. Believing in the intention is everything.

Pick one of your resolutions and fill it with intention. Remember why you want this. It always helps me to write things down. If you know whether you are a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, then use that mode to help cement your intention. I’m visual so I write it down – on colored paper that really pleases me. With colored ink that really gives me pleasure. Believe it before you take any action. Suspend your judgment and protests and practice believing it.

What will it look like to have accomplished this? What will you look like? What will you feel like? What will you be saying about yourself to yourself? – to others? What will others be saying about you now that you have accomplished your resolution. Get into it! You don’t need to know any rocket science here – imagine, visualize, write it all down, imagine and visualize it again. How does your body feel?

Have you noticed how your mindset has either brought you closer to or pushed you further away from that which you desire? Notice where you get hung up. Write those statements down. These are the blocking beliefs. You have just identified the beliefs that will sabotage you – but they don’t have to. There are ways to get rid of the blocking beliefs – to actually change the beliefs from negative to positive. For now, just know that. They are only beliefs, not fact. Many people realize they think their resolutions are just out of reach, but they are not. It’s just the blocking belief that’s in the way.

Think back over your life to the times you have really used resolve (resolution) to accomplish some pretty neat stuff, in fact, very important things. Let yourself be inspired by your ability! Keep going back to your intention, cement your intention, practice belief in your intention, visualize it happening! You just might surprise yourself!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Living Your Passion

Every rule in the book can be broken except one: Be who you are and become all you were meant to be.
-- Sidney Harris

People interested in peak performance know that the first and foremost consideration for clarity is this - are you pursuing your deepest passion? Are you heeding the still small voice that gives you the same clear message year after year about what you are to be doing and yearn to be doing?

All too often, many of us trade our passion for what seems to be the sensible thing to do. "Be sensible." We do what we think we should and lose our aliveness. We worry that what we want is beyond our reach, that we're not smart enough, we don't have the right schooling, that what we want sounds silly and our friends and family will certainly not agree. These false beliefs have seeped into the pores and cells of each and every client I've seen over the last 23 years. And these clients are usually the brightest and best. But the self-doubts, the fears, and the prescriptions of others to keep yourself in your place have taken their toll.

We must know and trust that if our still small voice is urging us to do something, the universe will support us when we take action. Let me repeat that - when you know and trust what your inner wisdom tells you is your calling, the universe will absolutely support you in this endeavor. Everything lines up, for it is the thing you are here to do. Listen to your inner voice - it rings clear and its telling you the truth!

Jean Houston's study of 55 of the most creative people in the U.S. revealed interesting commonalities. Each was familiar with their interior world and believed its ideas and images could spark their projects - and followed its urgings.

Know you are here for a purpose. It's important. This purpose serves the world and serves you - with passion, joy, enthusiasm, meaning and power. People often say that when they think about their life, their deepest desire is to have made a contribution; to have made a meaningful difference in others' lives . . . and to not die with their music still in them.

Choose to honor what's in your heart by following its lead. The only other choice is to set limits. Limits create dull, passionless lives. Ask yourself, "What do I love to do? What brings me joy? What do I have fun doing? Joseph Campbell said, "When you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a track that has been there all the time waiting for you." I like that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peak Performance - Shine in 2009 !

I watched the Golden Globes tonight. Yup, I'm a junkie for those shows. I'm not sure why. It's so not cool to say you like to watch "stars," but I do. I like to see the awards shows. I like to see beautiful people. They are dressed in their finery and everyone appears to be in good moods and friendly with their colleagues. But you know what impresses me the most each and every time I see an awards show? - How utterly grateful and thrilled they are to have won. Really, I'm not kidding.

There is an amazement and sincere uttering of thankfulness that is very touching to me. It tells me they are really not that much different from "the rest of us." (Okay, a whole lot more beautiful, but . . .) Kate Winslet won two Golden Globes tonight. She was so moved and thankful while accepting the first for her starring role in "The Reader." (I was fortunate to see it just last night- amazing movie, I'm still thinking about her role today and will for weeks). Her second Golden Globe came for "Revolutionary Road" with Leonardo DiCaprio. She was dumbstruck - she was shaking - she was "beside herself" - and in it all she was just so amazingly thankful to be singled out as such a "winner." And with the thankfulness for being recognized was the equally compelling need to express gratitude to all the people that helped contribute to the best expression of her talent. - the directors, her co-stars, the crews, the make-up artists . . .

Most of us see movie stars as somehow very different from us. But they aren't "too cool" to not need recognition for a job well done. We all need that recognition. And we all need deep gratitude in our lives. We need to know we are bringing forth the best in ourselves and in others. It's important to tell our co-workers, our families, and yes, even our competitors when they have done a good job. It's important to express our gratitude for their help in our journey to be the best we can be. It helps everyone rise to a new level.

I'm a Performance Specialist with athletes, performing artists and business professionals. I love the entire area of Peak Performance. And it's all about winning - winning your personal best. Getting your own award for giving your best performance ever. It's a thrill! And it's a thrill because we are, each one of us, working at the very thing that is our deep passion. Our art, whatever it may be, comes from a part of our soul that has to be expressed. We thrive when we are giving our best performance. We light up! And yes, we sometimes even gush, even if for most of us, it might be in the privacy of our own hearts. Whatever your passion, my wish for you in this New Year, is that you pursue it with your whole self. Go for it! It was given to you to express to the world. Please don't die with your music still in you! This is your year.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Recession - Abundance Supercharge - Part II

My last blog spoke to how we can "catch" negativity from all the doom and gloom talk about our country’s recession. Contagion of negativity is powerful. Just listen to any 4 year old (sometimes your own!) and you wonder where in the world they came up with that! (Of course with a positive environment, kids will say the greatest positive things!)

In the last blog, as you read the list of negative responses people have to our economic downturn, I asked you to notice what happened to your body and your mood. Most people will notice slumped shoulders, a heavy feeling in their body, and a sense of feeling "down," "overwhelmed," "unmotivated," "tired," ---all part of an overall lower vibration in your entire energy system. These are certainly not the sensations and energy moods that arm you for smart, strategic, motivated action! That low vibratory energy will never help you reach your highest athletic goals, create your most beautiful music, or motivate you to new levels of business sales.

You can drown in negativity or use this recession as an opportunity. The environment is ripe to learn and practice many powerful tools to keep your personal and environmental vibration UP! I'm not just talking about some simple "talk yourself into a good mood." I'm talking about availing yourself of some of the best cutting edge technologies that will literally raise your body's vibratory power. Each cell in your body can be released of negativity and you can experience a positivity and motivation that you did not think possible.

I'm partial to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). By learning this very simple energy psychology tool, you can take matters into your own hands - literally. EFT rids the body of negative emotion caused by negative thoughts that block your ability to take forward moving action. By using your own fingertips to tap on certain acupuncture points while simultaneously verbalizing the negative statements that concern you, the body begins to come to a "neutral" place – the block dissolves and you are left with accelerated internal resources for action. To read specific information on how EFT works, go to my website, and click on "What is EFT" and "How EFT Works."

Here is another simple, effective exercise you can use when you find yourself worried or in a low energy place.

***** Breathe in deeply through your nose, open your mouth with the back of your throat relaxed and sound out "Ahh" as you exhale. Practice this right now several times. Notice the change! You've changed your vibration. Sighing like this allows us to get out of our head. It allows a movement from head to heart. It gives us a higher, more loving vibration. This kind of sighing moves us from negative, fear-based vicious-thought cycles to higher, more loving vibration.

I recommend doing this breathing technique as often as possible throughout the day. It, along with using Emotional Freedom Technique on a regular basis, will supercharge your heart, your whole vibrational field and equip you to move through our recession with abundance and power.

Recession - Time for an Abundance Supercharge

It's easy to get discouraged. Just listen to news of our economic downturn, the inflamed conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip, war continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . and read your personal financial papers to seal the deal. It's way too easy to get discouraged. But we really can't afford that. That is the thing we most cannot afford!

What's your best defense to our country's economic downturn? You might have noticed that some people like to talk about it a lot. And no doubt, it's "real." (I finally did glance at a monthly financial report of my investments - aargh, I worked really hard and gave up a lot so I could save that money!) But here is the crucial moment. What do I do now that I see those lower numbers?

1. Get scared or panic

2. Worry about how I'm going to have enough money for retirement, for medical emergency, for present living expenses

3. Commiserate with everybody else that likes to worry out loud about money

4. Get deflated; feel defeated and/or bitter (How does your body feel right now after hearing this negativity so far?)

5. Stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing has happened

6. Make a plan

OK, it's obvious - Make a plan. And it's pretty obvious what most plans include:

1. How can I cut my expenses for 2009?

2. How can I make more money in my present work?

3. How can I diversify my work -- use my strengths in expanded areas, for expanded populations?

4. How can I raise my vibration to attract more money and joy?

I particularly like the last! Read on in the very next blog. Because making a plan won't help much unless your energy and motivation are supercharged. I'll have some specific suggestions for raising your vibration and mental/physical energies with Emotional Freedom Technique and other methods. You can be attracting more money, joy and satisfaction for 2009. This recession may be just the motivation you needed to energetically take your abundance into your own hands!