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Chinese Lanterns

The photo shows Griffin reunited with his camp buddies!

Last year Griffin went to Camp Gwynn Valley (an overnight camp in our gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains) for 5 days and loved it so much that he conspired with these friends to go back this year for 10 days.

I’ve never been away from Griffin for this long and I’m a little anxious about it, but seeing him so courageous (make no mistake, he too is a bit nervous about all the time away from home) and happy lights me up as bright as his smile in this pic.

Speaking of doing hard and courageous things – remember my TEDx application video from last week?

A few days ago I heard back from the TEDx committee and learned that I didn’t make it as a finalist.

At first I was disappointed and sad, but I didn’t dwell on those negative feelings for very long, and I actually got great clarity about the next steps I need to take to get my book (which the talk was based on) published.

It really reaffirmed for me how important it is to do the thing that scares you (and believe me, putting myself in the running to give a TEDx talk was super scary and challenging for me!!) – because you are being called to do it and doing it will reveal the next step on your journey.

Not taking action because you’re afraid to fail is the surest way I know to stay stuck and scared.

Most people never get what they want for a simple reason – they give up when the going gets tough.

And I understand. I really do. I get the pain of wanting and not getting, and then not wanting that pain anymore so you think it’s better to give up…

If that’s been you in the past, I want you to understand that you’re not alone. Many, many people stop themselves right at the point when they would have had success if they had just carried on a little bit farther.

Remember the story of my husband, Doug? For every creative person like him who slogged for years – 20 years! – before achieving a desired outcome (like selling his first book) there are MILLIONS more who give up before they reach their dream.

And why do they give up?

The women I talk with every day say the fear of failure is what holds them back from pursuing their dreams. And worse, they view the setbacks and obstacles along their path as failures.

But I say the setbacks and obstacles – like my not getting a TEDx talk – aren’t failures. They’re par for the course.

In my case, I’ll simply find another way to promote my book and get it published.

And even if I “fail” to get my book published, I’ll never feel bad about it. And this so-called failure will never be a reason that I don’t pursue other big dreams and lofty goals.

That’s because I look at “failure” as a badge of courage – a testament that I’m doing hard and interesting things with my life.

Show me someone who hasn’t “failed,” and I’ll show you someone who has a boring – and to me, undesirable – life.

So that’s how I’ve reframed failure for myself, but I’ll give you something more.

Stacey's TEDx talkTransforming your relationship with fear simply requires that you distinguish between the TWO types of fear: True Fear and False Fear.

If you’ll take a little time to check your feelings, you’ll see that one (True Fear) leads you to act with conviction, and the other leads you to feel overwhelmed with doubts and leaves you NOT knowing what to do.

Say you see your young child try to cut an apple with a very sharp knife – without your assistance.

You’ll feel True Fear that he’s in danger and you will immediately act to assist him and share a lesson about knife safety so that he can be safe in the future.

False Fear is hating your soul-sucking job and being worried that you’re going to be homeless and live under a bridge if you quit.

You feel overwhelmed with doubts and unable to see creative solutions that could solve this problem.

False fear always means that you’re telling a story that isn’t true.

Learning, growing and healing means that you have to start telling a more true and empowering story.

And how do you do that?

You develop a strong relationship with your inner wisdom – your intuition – which will, if you pay attention to it, always guide you to the truth.

How will you know you’re hearing from that wisdom? You’ll know because you will feel positive, expansive and powerful as a result.

Once you’ve started to build that relationship with your inner wisdom, you’ll quickly come to a place where fear becomes not a painful emotion but more of a sense like hearing or seeing. It simply becomes an alarm that tells us we are in danger. And all it requires is a brief check – unclouded by doubts – to figure out whether we are in clear and present danger, or not.

And if we’re not, if the fear we feel is a false alarm, then we must learn to accept that the story we’re telling ourselves isn’t true. We have to be willing to tell a new, empowered story. Because if, instead of dangers, we’re really facing challenges and obstacles, then we have to believe we can overcome them to get where we want to go.

In his book, The War of Art (if you haven’t read it yet, it really is a MUST read), Steven Pressfield said it best, “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” In other words, the more false fear we feel, the closer we are to finding something so powerful, a path so meaningful to us that it’s going to tempt us out of our comfort zone again and again.

So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign.

It shows you what you have to do.

So, why is it so important to answer your calling if you’re only going to suffer more than other people?

It’s because once you overcome your defeats – and if you persevere you always do – you are filled by an amazing sense of JOY and MEANING.

You know that you’re proving yourself worthy of the miracle of life and you’re providing a shining example to the world – especially to your family.

And don’t you want that for your children? Especially if they’re adults and navigating their own paths to personal success?

And guess what? By doing this thing, by living your purpose, and achieving your dreams, you encourage others AND you show them what’s possible. And what woman doesn’t want that??

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My new TEDx Talk!

Chinese LanternsThe photo shows a highlight from our annual “off-the-grid” camping adventure – releasing Chinese Lanterns in honor of the Fourth of July – Independence Day in the U.S., or “Fireworks Day,” as our young Irish neighbor has it!

We checked items off our “Family-Favorites Summer Bucket List” at a prodigious rate last week – camping, hiking, swimming in freezing mountain streams, eating our weight in S’mores, and the aforementioned fireworks – which meant I was mostly “away” from my business and my computer.

I did, however, manage to check an item off my own personal list of “Big Dreams and Lofty Goals” by completing the video portion of my application for a TEDx Talk.

Don’t know what TEDx is? Well, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and it’s an annual festival in which people deliver talks based on “ideas worth sharing.”

TEDx festivals are offshoots of the big TED conference, held in communities all over the globe. Tryon, NC has such a festival, and after submitting a proposal back in April, I learned that I made it to the “short list,” and had to submit a video by June 30th to make it to the final selection.

Of course, all I can think about is this talk, and given my time away last week, I’ve had very little time to work on anything else, so this week I’m including my video application for your consideration.

Please watch it and let me know what you think about my central idea (one I think is worth sharing) – and feel free to offer any suggestions or advice for how I could expand on the idea and make it an even better presentation. I would appreciate it greatly!

So what idea do I believe is worth sharing?

I believe everyone on the planet wants the same thing – happiness – but we go about getting it with varying degrees of skill.

Fortunately, we can all acquire skills that will help us become happier.

Many scientists in the field of positive psychology want us to cultivate mindfulness – that is, to meditate or perform other mental disciplines so we can stay present and recognize negative emotions as they arise.

But as anyone knows who’s tried to improve her life through meditation, mindfulness is much easier said than done.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way. Instead of using mental discipline to separate your negative emotions from yourself, you can use your imagination. You can attribute them to someone else entirely, a different entity or persona.

By separating your negative emotions from yourself and attributing them to an entirely different persona – what I call your Shadow Persona – you can transform your life.

My talk is about how positive psychology can truly help us liberate our imaginations and use them to transform our negative thoughts, improve all our relationships and enjoy more happiness.

Drawing on evidence-based research and powerful stories, I’ll provide surprising insights that will lead to a proven path for a more authentic and happy life.

Watch the 3-minute video to hear how I take this concept further!

 

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if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign

July 14, 2015

The photo shows Griffin reunited with his camp buddies! Last year Griffin went to Camp Gwynn Valley (an overnight camp in our gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains) for 5 days and loved it so much that he conspired with these friends to go back this year for 10 days. I’ve never been away from Griffin for

Read the full article →

My new TEDx Talk!

July 7, 2015

The photo shows a highlight from our annual “off-the-grid” camping adventure – releasing Chinese Lanterns in honor of the Fourth of July – Independence Day in the U.S., or “Fireworks Day,” as our young Irish neighbor has it! We checked items off our “Family-Favorites Summer Bucket List" at a prodigious rate last week – camping,

Read the full article →

What it really takes to succeed (and you've got it)

June 30, 2015

That’s a photo of my family celebrating my dad’s 73rd birthday. When I made reservations at his favorite restaurant, I mentioned to the host that we’d be celebrating this momentous occasion. When the host greeted us he whispered to me that he had been expecting an “old man” to show up and my dad, with

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Ready to give up? Read this first.

June 23, 2015

That’s Griffin with some of his BFF’s at the pool celebrating after they passed the deep-water test! As you may know, I’m a big fan of celebrating accomplishments – big and small – and I believe it’s one of the keys to being happy and successful. Too often people just rush from completing one task

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How to Create the Freedom and Flexibility You Want in Your Life

June 16, 2015

That’s me and my Griffin with the son from our host family in San Pedro, Guatemala! You may notice that Luisito and Carlitos (Griffin’s Spanish name) are wearing matching Barcelona soccer team uniforms. It was a happy surprise when I learned that both boys have the same favorite player – Lionel Messi (an Argentine professional

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the law that’s too easy to break

June 9, 2015

Griffin and I are in Guatemala as you read this! The photo to the right shows one of my favorite scenes from the work made possible by Child Aid – an organization that advocates for literacy in the poorest regions of Guatemala. As many of you know, I’ve consistently tithed to the organization and a

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worry is a choice (+ how to choose different)

June 2, 2015

That’s a photo of me with my private client after her VIP Day with me here in Asheville last week. We dug deep into her unique gifts, uprooted the blocks that have held her back, and created a clear path for her to find and LIVE her purpose. I am so proud of her and

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How to let go of bad feelings

May 26, 2015

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! The photo to the right is Griffin with his cousins as we gathered in my brother’s Cincinnati home. It was so nice to get away for a few days and bask in simple pleasures like sharing meals, throwing the Frisbee, and playing games together. One of the

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