Review: Walking Through Illusion

December 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Book Reviews 

Walking Through Illusion –
By Betsy Otter Thompson

 

“All my decisions had brought me growth in one way or another. I learned that taking responsibility for the love, or the lack of love in my life, was the tool through which to create a different experience.”

“Where once I’d been dealing with guilt, I was finding growth; where once I’d been dealing with hate, I was finding compassion; where once I’d been feeling resentful, I was feeling autonomous.”

When I first picked up this book, my first thought was “uh oh”… I often shut down when I hear or see something I consider “religious”. This is something I am learning to be more open minded and tolerant of.  Reading this book gives me even more evidence that I should be more open and and a push to be less judgmental!  Had I missed out reading this book because of an initial judgment that it was religious I would have been the one that missed out.

As my aim is to do things Right From the Heart, her preface captured my full attention with the first sentence. Betsy Otter Thompson’s first words of the Preface are “The heart is a magical organ.” She goes on to describe how she feels our hearts work independent from our body system. This book is basically her conversation with Jesus made through her heart. She indicates that she “opens her heart, receives a feeling, and lets that feeling express.” Do not expect the book to be historically accurate as that is not the purpose. The book takes and discusses topics; twenty-three of them in total. At the end of each chapter there are a set of questions that deal with the topic just read often leading you to think through something about yourself. After these questions there are some more that lead you to evaluate yourself even more. And at the very end she ends with her own personal insight and what she learned working through the particular topic. This book takes you on an internal spiritual journey that provokes emotions, thoughts and an analysis of yourself.

The title: Walking Through Illusion; refers to the idea that all we have around us is an illusion. It is a life we are living; but we only experience things as we assign meaning to it and that’s it… by changing the meaning we assign the experience we can completely alter our lives. This makes whatever we are dealing with – only an illusion. As she (and Jesus) describe in her book, we are actors working through lessons that we chose to learn and work through prior to entering this specific life. “They were illusionary experiments to expand our hearts so that when we left these dramas, we had the needed emotion for the next performance taking our hearts even deeper.”

I loved all of the chapters, they were all thought provoking; however, I thought I would discuss at a high level a few of my favorites.

Obstacles: What obstacles stymie growth?

“Obstacles enter your life when you deprive others of what you think you deserve.”

This chapter deals with obstacles, whether that be illness or lacking – basically any dis-ease. The key is to realize that all obstacles, no matter what they are – are emotional. This gets back to the illusion again, they aren’t something “out there” they are “in here” and all obstacles offer some type of personal development. Everything offers some type of positive outcome in the end.

Opinions: Can we control our opinions?
Bottom line, this chapter says you respect other’s opinions when you respect your own. As one fault finds; this puts our focus on the thing that is negative and it hurts and it also will cause the mirror to reflect on ourselves what we are inflicting on others. If we find ourselves in judgment it is important to focus on finding who it is we ourselves are judging. This chapter also dealt with blaming; how we often blame our parents. We can’t change our past, but we can change our future thus it is important that we look and decide where we want our future to go. Even if those we are blaming change that will not change our problems, it will improve their life, not ours. We can only deal with us, our emotions and what we-ourselves are dealing with.

Advice: Whose advice is worthy?

“Trust that you are everything you need to be. Trust that life has meaning. Trust that goals have purpose, trust that ‘being’ is enough.”

Because I often get defensive when others try to give me advice (more so for those that are closer to me – like my husband!) this chapter hit home. This chapter points out that we are always mirroring our own behavior. Thus I was urged to look at my own life and understand how often I offer unsolicited advice. Understanding that if I focused on giving others support and only offering advice if asked that I would break through the illusion of having others offer their unsolicited advice. I now see a very interesting illusion in our family. Between my daughter and husband, they are both telling each other how and when and why to do things and I am left out of most of this interaction.

Hearts (of course!): What constitutes a big heart?

“An obsession with the picture to the exclusion of his heart created a mind out of sync with its purpose. A mind out of sync with its purpose created a body out of sync with its purpose. A body out of sync with its purpose had no reason for being.”

This chapter spoke to purpose and legacy, which, is at the top of my list of topics (am teaching it at CFU) so this chapter also resonated with me. It is important to look at the different legacies we want (and perhaps do not want) to leave. I took away from this chapter that it is important to appreciate life and that our bottom line purpose is to look for personal growth and development within our own lives.

Betrayal: Why is betrayal so painful?

“Betrayal is an act of doing in a way you’d hate to be done to.”

My notes from this chapter: If I am resenting others, I am resenting myself. If I resent myself others will resent me. If I resent myself resentment poisons the mind. If it poisons the mind it will poison the body. Basically outward actions reflect an inward action. Betsy’s personal notes captured much of what I felt as well. When you hear the word betrayal you picture something quite bad, but betrayal is basically doing things to others that you do not want done to you… thoughts, judgements, laughs, snickers and any other minor offense counts.

Bottom line – READ THIS BOOK!!!!

About the Author: A native Philadelphian with a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Betsy worked as an account executive for WFIL radio in Philadelphia, and from there went to radio stations WPEN and WFLN. After that, she became a commercial print model and acted in television commercials in New York and Philadelphia. For seventeen years, she worked in Los Angeles at the motion picture and television company Castle Rock Entertainment as the Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In August ’99, she followed her boss to Warner Bros. as he took a new position there as President and COO, and became his Executive Assistant. She is now writing full time. Betsy’s writing began unexpectedly while going through an especially difficult time in her life. She believes that her books were the answer to her prayers.

Review: The EMyth Enterprise

April 14, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Book Reviews 

“An e-myth enterprise is a business that takes personal responsibility for the condition of the world it finds itself in; for the condition of the people with whom it interacts; for the condition of their children and their children’s children; for the condition of the very quality of life itself.”

 

This is the second book I have read by Michael E. Gerber. I can say that reading his books makes me want to meet him and buy him dinner so that I could have some time to hear his thoughts on how I might do what I am doing better. He is very accomplished and as I read his words; I feel myself becoming hypnotized or mesmerized by his words and writing. The way he writes pulls you in, it entertains, it builds a picture, it brings feelings to the surface, it brings questions to the forefront. I have gone through the process of re-evaluating what I am doing based on what I have read within the pages of Michael’s books.

Michael is founder of E-Myth Worldwide. E-Myth Worldwide was created in 1977 as a coaching, training and education company. It is now in its 32nd year and has helped more than 65,000 businesses in over 145 countries. His program is used in 118 universities in the world. He has authored 13 business books and founded 11 new ventures in the last four years. Michael is writing from a place of experience and from a place of caring about us making it work so that we can make the world a better place.

In this book he describes what an E-Myth Enterprise is; the essential ingredients. There are four; the visual, emotional, functional, and financial. These four ingredients work together to create an exceptional business. The first thing to realize is that a business exists only as others observe it. A business can not be without employees, customers, suppliers and lenders and they all have perceptions. Their perceptions count and Michael explains that businesses need to step up and DO MORE. They need to be cognizant of these four distinct group of interactions – the employees, the customers, the suppliers and the lenders all play a large role in how successful the company will be. A business needs to understand that these four groups have essential needs, perceived preferences, and unconscious expectations and the business must DO MORE to satisfy these. They satisfy them by paying attention to the visual, emotional, functional and financial ingredients. They need to have 5 basic skills in order to satisfy these ideals.

  • Concentration: Provides energy and attention needed for the right action to take place.
  • Discrimination: Provides us with intention and standards that help us know which action needs to be taken.
  • Organization: Important to realize that people can not be organized; time, space and work are the things that can be organized. Organization provides room for the right action to take place.  Time is the utilization of energy; Space is having the right tools in place in the right quantity to support the right action; Work identifies the natural way to take action, and the relationships between functions and the coordination of action and functions.
  • Innovation: Is about effectiveness. Doing things faster, cheaper, smoother and softer. Watch the child – they do it all the time.
  • Communication: Channel through which life is conveyed. Ideas and the energy of ideas are transmitted and how mind, spirit and body converge into a force for the right action.

I loved how he describes the process of getting more life in a business. The process starts with the development of standards and that develops discipline which results in the development of patience which leads to development of vision, which gives insight, which inevitably leads to the development of conviction, which leads to awareness, where you can’t help but develop empathy, which obviously creates deeper and real relationships which – the ultimate end of having more life.

The ideals by which to create the E-myth Enterprise are the ingredients to a successful idea and business.

Visual: Our first impressions are made visually. It is important that a business pay attention to leaving a good first impression; customers, employees, suppliers and lenders will create a perception based on what they see of your business thereby affecting the resulting relationship. Pay attention to your logos, your colors, scale, order, and consistency. Ensure that information is being transmitted visually.

Emotional: It is important to connect to the emotional side of people, to leave a mark. People need order, to feel heard, connected to something bigger than themselves, a purpose, to feel that what they do has moral weight and is important and that people they associate with love them. In order to reach the emotional side of people it is important to always ask questions – be like a child. A child always challenges the boundaries and asks questions and they keep going. If they get a no or fall down, they keep going, they keep asking.

Functional: As I read on what the functional ideal is, it reminded me of what I learned in Emyth Revisited (LINK TO THIS POST). For a company to be functional it needs to act great and to act great it must think completely different about what it does and how it does what it does. They need to focus on processes rather than the people. If great processes are put together than you don’t need to hire (and pay for) the best. Analyze what employees, customers, suppliers and lenders want the business to do and whether it makes sense to try and incorporate that in the way the business operates. Try and find out the most frustrating thing to these key stakeholders and then see if you can guarantee that this most frustrating thing will not occur.

Financial: Michael insists that you do need to worry about money, that it isn’t all about doing what you love and letting the money come. He writes that money has no meaning without people, that you must take care of it because it will not take care of itself and he stresses that you must have integrity when it comes to money.

The final chapter of the book will challenge your thinking and will test your defensiveness. I found myself having to read this chapter a couple of times in order to really GET what he is working to say here. To me, what I feel he is trying to get across is that we have fallen into a trap because we often forget to think. Actually, really, truly THINK. We fall into doing things, wanting things, that are the newest trends or hot new tools to improve our lives. He gives advice on how to get out of this – he says that we need to

  • Admit to the fact that we have fallen into a programmed trap
  • Be more interested in far more than just business; we must be interested in the dignity of ones own life and those lives around us; must set very high standards;
  • Be interested in how things look and how things feel and how things work and then finally in the money.
  • Realize that the economic model is a myth
  • Pay attention to people; what is imprisoning them, what is frustrating them, what is inhibiting them, what is restraining them, what is depriving them of a rich forceful life.
  • Be conscious of oneself
  • Be honest with oneself
  • Continually watch oneself

I highly recommend reading this book; it will make you really think hard about what you are working to achieve in your endeavor.

Designing The Next 10 Years

January 19, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Play by Play 

designIt has been a couple weeks since my last post and SO much is going on.  This post will center on a great program I started offered through Darren Hardy’s Success.com site. So far it has been two weeks of self analysis.  (It is an 8 week program and you can sign up to get the exercises (during the 8 weeks) – Click here to sign up)

The program started out by having me review the last 10 years, looking at my milestones,  risks and regrets.  It is amazing what has happened in the last 10 years.  I have had a beautiful daughter; we have moved from New York City to Denver, purchased our first home, I have held a Director position, was laid off; started over in a technical support role after 9 months of unemployment, was promoted to a manager within 2 years and as I worked to move my way up the ladder I held leadership roles in the women’s diversity group and… started my own company.   Just think  – if all this happened in 10 years without goals; what can happen in 10 years with goals!

The next part had questions and blanks to fill in about what I am grateful for.  The next tasks were a look at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; there was an exercise to look at how balanced (or like I learned from James Ray – harmonized) my life is.  Each category had several questions and I rated each question ipacmann each category; added up each category and then the total was graphed.  My graphed out answers made a PacMan.  This tells me I have done a really great job harmonizing my life in all categories but one – Financial.  James Ray, in his book Harmonic Wealth (Click here for a review of the book), teaches how balance is bogus; harmony should be the goal.  It is like music, at one moment all instruments may be playing together and the next the drums will stop; and then… the drums start back up.  This is our goal in life – to have all the areas of our life playing in harmony and be ok when one area isn’t playing at full level.  This exercise showed me I do need to focus some time on the financial part of my life.  Thus as I work through this eight week program I will be adding some financial goals to what I had already put together for this years goals. 

One final task was to send some questions to 3 people that are close to me.  There were three questions they were to answer.  1)  What skill or attribute gives me an advantage in life? 2) What one thing could help me better succeed with people and in life? 3) What behaviors, lack of discipline or attitudes do you think hold me back?  As of now I have not gotten back all the responses; however what I have gotten back has led me to some major self talk, analysis and time in thought. 

One response was that I do not thoroughly look at all sides of an issue prior to taking an opinion.  

My initial surface thoughts

  • this came from an individual that I avoid conflict with
  • the conversations referred to; happened over email

As I worked through this, my major objective was to see how I can benefit (and not point fingers or get defensive) from this feedback.  The conclusions I have come to are:

  1. My avoidance of conflict and speaking my own mind and opinion is something that I want to be better with.
  2. Past child hood pains (fear of the withdrawal of love when not meeting others expectations) is something I need to acknowledge and resolve as best I can.  Love myself!
  3. Improving my communication skills; being able to describe my authentic feelings and thoughts in such a way that do not come across defensively.

 The other response that I struggled with, and still am in many ways, was that I have rose colored glasses and that by being too Pollyanna others will not take me seriously… and also that I am doing “too much”; That I am trying to be super woman and that if I do this I will not be able to do things well.

 I have, myself, considered that I might be trying to do too much.  However, when I look at how my life is coming together right now; how some things I have been doing have led to ideas, to people and to other paths that have opened up new avenues – I think that my life – as busy as it is – is just perfect.  The things that I value the most; my family and personal growth are not being impacted.  My work/play takes place during the normal work day and early in the morning.  I am picking up my daughter almost every day from school and from this moment until we go to sleep is family time.  We have dinner together; we play games and enjoy each others company.  During the few times the TV goes on, I will pick up my computer but outside of that – work/play is placed to the side while we are all together.  My physical exercise is also something that I will not allow to be impacted by the tasks I am involved in.  Everything else – is getting done.  I have prioritized them and there are a couple of things towards the very bottom of the list that are not getting done as well as they could, however it is a very conscious decision.   I feel that what is happening here is that I am starting to do things that many others see as risky and that they don’t understand.  As I was contemplating this, I read a blog post from T Harv Eker; and in that post was the following message:

“… at some point we’ve got to tell the ego that it’s okay to step into the unknown and dare to be different. Think of all the people throughout history that, if they hadn’t stepped “outside the lines,” we’d have never evolved as quickly as we did. We’d still think the world was flat, or that the universe revolves around us, or that “normal” people couldn’t do amazing things.

When you stop playing it safe, your spirit is free to grow, expand and create.  Individual, family and social “rules” don’t apply.

It takes guts to be different; to stand out from the crowd; to break free from the “clone drone” society and be a true individual.

When others criticize you for doing something “different” it’s usually because they’re scared. Inside, they’re secretly stoked that you’re breaking free. They’re just frustrated with themselves for lacking the courage to do the same. Be their inspiration!”

As is usual, something comes to me and I see it as an answer to my contemplation and this was the answer for me on the “doing too much” comment.  I am going to continue doing the amount of things I am doing as long as this does not conflict with my values, I am good.  As far as the Pollyanna comment?  The mind is still contemplating this one!  Would love to hear your comments – Do you think that people that are optimists and “too nice” are people that don’t get taken seriously?

Find A Way To Say – NO MATTER WHAT!

September 25, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Book Reviews 

No Matter What…I will get out of debt; No Matter What….I will become fit and healthy; No Matter What…I will break free from the corporate J.O.B. and own my own business; No Matter What…I will start balancing my life so I can spend more time with my family. No Matter What…I will live my life doing what I love.

I was introduced to Lisa Nichols first in The Secret and then as speaker at a Lifepath Unlimited Personal Development event which drove me to pick up her book to learn more about her and how she overcame the many obstacles in her life to find the ability to be so true to herself and finding a way to do exactly what she loves. Lisa Nichols is extremely authentic in her book No Matter What! 9 Steps To Living The Life You Love She goes back to her young years of being bussed to a racially integrated school; coming back to her neighborhood school only to face the gang pressure – her experience going to College and finding that she was there to help the team but once she was hurt and couldn’t do that any longer she lost her scholarship, a molestation, having dealt with a weight challenge, raising a child she had with an individual involved in fraud, working to free herself from relationships that were unhealthy and during her early years realizing she had the ability and love of helping young teenagers break free from some of the cycles that keep them trapped in worlds that aren’t good for them and then moving into helping anyone overcome their obstacles. For one person she had so much thrown at her to overcome; perhaps it was so she could move into shoes where she can authentically and successfully help so many others avoid and work through their own obstacles.

In the book, No Matter What! 9 Steps To Living The Life You Love Lisa refers to developing certain muscles to overcome obstacles and although there may be others beyond what she refers to in the book; she describes her very personal experiences associated with the following:

1. Your Understanding Muscle
2. Your Faith-In-Myself Muscle
3. Your Take-Action Muscle
4. Your-I-Know-Like-I-Know Muscle
5. Your Honesty Muscle
6. Your Say-Yes Muscle
7. Your Determination Muscle
8. Your Forgiveness Muscle
9. Your Highest Choice Muscle

For each of these sections she provides examples how she developed the muscle and then exercises to help you strengthen your own muscles. You find you get to know her intimately through how she works through the obstacles that arose in her life which helps you apply these exercises to your own life. So many times I have read a book where they give you steps however sometimes you have a hard time breaking through your own noise to get your own answers. She helps you through this – by describing how she did it and then her exercises build on that. She opens herself up to help us!

If there is ANYTHING in your life that you feel needs to be improved whether it be health, finances or relationships I highly recommend picking up this book and working through the exercises!

Balance is Bogus

July 24, 2009 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Book Reviews 

Balance is Bogus!

How many times have you asked for a balanced life? Is this one of your goals? After reading Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want by James Arthur Ray I now have a different view of this often reached for goal! James Ray was one of the teachers featured in The Secret and owns a multi million dollar corporation dedicated to teaching individuals to create wealth in all areas of their lives. His journey caught my interest because of the dual path he has traveled…one of business and the other of spirituality. He has traveled the world spending time with indigenous people; finding shamans that have helped shape his philosophy as well as running a successful corporate career. This journey plus his growing up with a father that is a Protestant minister has given him a unique platform in order to teach others on how to find the way to integrate our spiritual practices with the physical world desires. Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, made it to number five on the New York Times Best-Seller List after its first week of release. To date, his books have been translated into 20 languages and are published in 83 countries around the world.

He focuses on five pillars:
1.) Financial
2.) Relational
3.) Mental
4.) Physical
5.) Spiritual

He claims “balance is bogus”; he writes that the only people that are balanced are those that are dead. My mind immediately went – – WHAT? I have been spending so much time working to balance these pieces of my life and hearing that it was BOGUS definitely caught my attention. He describes what balance is by having us picture a scale. A scale is balance and – BORING — he then compares the scale to that of a band. There is never a balance, there is always one instrument or a voice that is louder – one starts up and then stops, then another starts up and then starts… what happens is the band finds harmony. I looked up the definition of harmony:
The just adaptation of parts to each other, in any system or combination of things, or in things, or things intended to form a connected whole; such an agreement between the different parts of a design or composition as to produce unity of effect; as, the harmony of the universe.

As this sunk in I felt a rush of relief. Oh my goodness – in my head I have always struggled to keep things equal and when I found my life leaning towards one way or another I would feel a level of stress and often some guilt for not getting enough done. He explains that everyone should tune into their life and where they are in relation to each of the pillars. If there is a part of your life that seems extremely lower than the other parts then we should focus on that area for a time until it rebounds. But expect that other areas of your life will slow down as you focus on this other area. He tells us “that all five areas must have some attention all the time but not all five areas demand all your attention all the time.”

The entire book is full of questions that will challenge your beliefs, help you focus on your values and what drives you, and pearls of wisdom on how to reach goals within each of the pillars. James also conducts Weekend workshops that change thousands of lives. . I highly recommend this book and any of James Ray’s materials and free events to anyone wanting to find harmony in their own life. For more information check out James Arthur Ray and his company: James Ray International at:

James Arthur Ray

e-Riches: A Review; Scott Fox

April 4, 2020 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Book Reviews 

Scott is an e-business advisor and Internet success coach; he also wrote Internet Riches and has a successful blog, radio show and podcast at his site scottfox.com. I did not read his first book; Internet Riches which is referred to in this book several times. It is an introduction to how one might find a way to make money online and several tips. e-Riches 2.0 goes deep into the strategies. He starts out by delivering 9 commandments

1. Don’t worry about the technology: The technology is a set of tools we should focus on our marketing.
2. Heed the Interactive Imperative: Be interactive, your website should not look like or feel like a brochure.
3. Build customer relationships; don’t just chase sales: self explanatory!
4. Listen up, the participation nation requires it: people are on line and they are talking – we need to listen – listen to what they want, listen to what they don’t want.
5. Your profit potential depends on being more personal – don’t hide your identity.
6. Grow beyond your website to a multi-channel online product presence: utilize all the different tools you have available to you.
7. Graduate from destination marketing to distributed engagement: GET OUT on the web.
8. Nurture your brands reputation cloud: Make sure you know what is being said about your company.
9. Publish or perish.

The book then goes on to detail specifics around 10 major success tips.

1. Market your product presence across ALL platforms. Engage with your customers.
2. Reprioritize your marketing tactics and use email, RSS Feeds, autoresponders, social networks, social news sites, blogs, micro blogging, start collecting email addresses.
3. Explore social networks and social bookmarking.
4. Blog if you have something to say that can make you money.
5. Learn how the internet changes Public Relations.
6. Give away as much of your product that you can afford.
7. Leveraging new online broadcast platforms; video, internet radio, podcasts; teleseminars.
8. Use search engines and affiliate programs; ppc, cost per action affiliate.
9. Establish key performance indicator metrics to measure traffic and sales performance.
10. DIFFERENTIATE!

Speaking as someone that has been studying online marketing for 6 months some of the material in this book was repetitive; however, I still learned many things from this book and do recommend reading this book For those starting a new business, or wanting to take their existing business’ marketing online I highly recommend reading this book.

Because this industry is changing quickly he recommends watching his web site for updates to all the sections and all of the recommendations in the book.

Have you read the book? What did you think?