Time for Change

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

For over four years I’ve been writing about learning to receive. My goal at the onset was to develop my next book week by week, ideally as I improved my ability to receive. Over the past several months it’s become clear to me that it’s time for change. To receive my heart’s desires, I need to make room in my life and my consciousness for them. I’ve decided that I also need to have more fun! I’ve looked at all the things I do on a regular basis and am releasing those that are no longer working or that I simply no longer enjoy. It’s taken courage, but the increased energy and sense of freedom I’m experiencing are worth the temporary discomfort. It feels so good to be true to my own heart!

VisionOne of the difficult changes that I feel called to make is to put my weekly newsletter on hold. While I expect to post the occasional blog (please be my Facebook friend to get notice of those), I will devote my weekly writing time to transforming my four plus years of articles into my next book, Learning to Receive.

Those who have been with me know that part of my process has been to read and explore with you the writings of a variety of experts, mystics, and scholars. Over the years, my focus has become largely spiritual. Upon reflection, how could it not? God is my Source, after all. Lately, it’s Joel Goldsmith who has caught my attention in a big way. I’d like to leave you with some of the nuggets I’ve found in Collected Essays of Joel S. Goldsmith:

  • Business is never at the mercy of the times, the market, or other external conditions. God being ever-present means that supply is infinite and immediately available if we will only recognize it (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 38).
  • God cannot withhold good any more than a diamond can withhold its color or brilliance (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 39).
  • We must give up the notion of praying “for” something and instead intend only to commune with God. Our needs cannot help but be met when we know our oneness with our Source (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 31-36). (Haven’t we heard that somewhere before, “Seek first the kingdom of God…?)
  •  Prayer is a state of receptivity, not words that we say. The word of God is that which God says within us (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 88).
  • The burden is not on us to govern ourselves, maintain ourselves, or even to find the right kind of prayer. God is our “individual shepherd, guide, protector, guard, maintainer and sustainer” (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 92).
  • No matter what the problem, we do not face it alone. In the valley of the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 96).
  • Reread the 23rd psalm and ask yourself if there is even a possibility that God will stop the flow of your blessings as long as you have a need (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 99).
  • We can only experience fear if in the midst of problems and challenges we believe that God has deserted us (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 106).
  • We experience limitation because we either look at appearances and judge or we look to other people or entities and expect (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 109-119).
  • God is never influenced by us. We do not earn favor or blessings. The Light shines no matter what we do (Goldsmith, 2010, p. 144).

Goldsmith, J. (2010). Collected Essays Joel S Goldsmith. Camarillo, CA: Devorss & Company

Keeping Weight Off

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Nurturing Yourself - Wellness

SpeakingI was asked recently what I would recommend to someone who wanted to maintain a healthy weight. I would begin by congratulating the individual on their weight loss.  It’s a wonderful accomplishment, something they should feel proud of every day. Continuing to enjoy their new body is one way to keep their good habits in place. It feels good to be at a healthy weight, so they should enjoy it.

When I first lost my weight, I did so through Weight Watchers. I continued to attend meetings, and I used a book called The Weight Maintenance Survival Guide by Kelly D. Brownell. While the book is old (1990), I’m sure the advice is timeless. Eventually I began working for Weight Watchers as a way to be sure I maintained my weight. Finally, I went out on my own as a Wellness Coach. Over the years, I’ve used coaching to help my clients maintain their good eating habits, stay active, and balance work and life demands. It’s all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

While I no longer count points, I always read labels, strive to exercise a minimum of three times a week, and eat a low fat diet with lots of vegetables and fruits every day. My mantra is “moderation in all things” so that I avoid feeling deprived and over-eating. While it’s rare these days, when I feel uncomfortable because I’ve eaten too much, I examine the circumstances and commit to making a different choice the next time I’m in a similar situation.

Don’t believe the common message that it’s impossible to lose weight and keep it off. The problem most people have is they lose weight using a process they can’t maintain in the long run. The reason I chose Weight Watchers to start with is because I knew it was a lifestyle I could live with for the rest of my life…and I was right.

Homework for Sale?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Academic & Career Success, Blog

As a college instructor, certified academic coach, and tutor, I know students don’t always do their own work.  While some copy from others’ work, others have the money to buy their assignments. Students use online homework services for several reasons: 1) they are under-prepared to do the level of work required and get the grade they need; 2) they are attempting to work too many hours while taking classes and lack the time to complete their assignments themselves; 3) they don’t see the relevance of the course and/or assignment, so they mistakenly feel it won’t matter to them if they pay for someone else to do the work for them; or 4) they lack the organizational, self-discipline, or time management skills needed to complete their assignments on time.

Buying homework is harmful to the students themselves, their schools, and our economy, because the students risk graduating without the skills and knowledge someone with their degree should have.  The students fail to realize that with every assignment they complete they are building their ability to think, research, write, and speak as a college graduate, whether the content directly relates to their chosen career or not.  What’s more, submitting someone else’s work as their own is plagiarism, which if discovered can result in expulsion from the school. 

Thankfully, there are many services available to students to be successful.  Most colleges offer free tutoring, and instructors are also available for assistance.  In addition, many colleges provide free counseling for students where they can get help developing organizational skills and effective study habits, learn time management techniques, and overcome test anxiety.  A small, but growing number of colleges hire coaches like me to assist students in all of these areas. If you know a student who needs help, talk with them about accessing one of these means of help.

 Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I Do! I Do!

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“I do! I do!” my daughters would exclaim when they were little and wanted to do something for themselves. Their father and I knew we needed to back off and let them try it on their own, standing at the ready if assistance was needed. These moments came back to me on Labor Day this year, when I had my own “I do!” experience.

boating 3 278x448Roger, his brother, and I had gone swimming at a local lake, entering the water off a pier where it was too deep to touch bottom.  Getting in and swimming around were no problem. Getting out was another matter, as there was no ladder. We were discussing our options (the shore was steep and rocky) when a teenage girl swam over and hoisted herself up onto the dock, ungracefully perhaps, but successfully. As I thought about her technique, a man came by with a large jet ski. Seeing us there, he offered to have us climb onto the back of his jet ski and onto the dock. Roger and his brother immediately accepted the offer and began climbing out of the water.

I, however, had been ruminating about what I would do if the kind stranger had not come along.  Was I still capable of getting out on my own? It wasn’t about competing with a young person. It was about my self-sufficiency. I decided to climb out on my own, modifying the young woman’s technique. I was no more graceful, and I wouldn’t call my effort successful either, although I did get out of the water without assistance. Once on the dock, I discovered a large gash on the outside of my left knee that was beginning to bleed, and my right shin had a bad bruise that was already starting to swell. Thankfully Roger had a first aid kit in the car, and three weeks later I’m left wondering how much of a scar I’ll have.

Upon reflection I realize how often I engage in that line of thinking—believing that if it’s to be, it’s up to me.  What a disconnect from what I write about week after week! I’m sure the aging process is a factor. We come into the world helpless, and if we’re fortunate enough to live long enough, we pretty much leave the world in a similar state. But aren’t we getting help all along in various forms? Isn’t Spirit, our guardian angel, call it what you will, watching out and providing Divine assistance each step of the way? This incident made it clear to me that as I physically become less able to lift, reach, climb, and so forth, I will not be left unattended. It is not up to me. It was not coincidence that the gentleman had come along. Three of God’s beloveds needed help, so help was provided. Why would I expect anything less?

Let us recognize this fact in all areas of our lives. As we take thoughtful action toward our goals and dreams, it will be necessary for us to be aware of and receive the help we’re given. We’re not capable of doing it alone, and that’s just fine, because we’re not meant to. I’m sure that man felt good about being able to assist us. Thankfully Roger and his brother were astute enough to grant him the opportunity. It’s my intention that next time I will be, too.

The Informational Interview

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Academic & Career Success, Blog

We’ve all been on job interviews, and many of you have interviewed others for a job. Are you familiar with an informational interview?  With this powerful research and job search tool, the roles are reversed.  The job seeker is the one conducting the interview, with several goals in mind.  First is to learn about new fields and careers and how the job seeker’s skills and experiences can be used in new ways.  The second is to develop the candidate’s professional network, and third is to ultimately land a job.  If you feel ready for a change, but are unsure what direction to take, informational interviews could give you the answer.

Begin by making a list of people you know who could give you information on a potential new field.  In addition, include individuals who know you well and have a network, even if you don’t think they’ll have the information you need.  They can always refer you on to someone who may.  Contact the individuals and request a few minutes of their time. Informational interviews are short, under 30 minutes.  They’re best done in person, so a stronger connection can be made, but a telephone interview can be effective, especially when you know the person.  Make it clear that you are not asking for a job, just their expert opinion and ideas.  Most people are eager to help if they know they won’t be put on the spot with a plea for a job.

When you meet, you will direct the interview, so have your questions ready.  Ask the subject matter expert (SME) about their job, company, and industry; trends and developments in their field; possible jobs you could explore; and so forth.  Get their card and ask for referrals of other people they could contact.  If there is a specific company you’d like to learn about, ask them if they know anyone there.  Be sure to ask the SME if you could use their name when you make the contact, as doing so will usually open the door for you. 

If you want the person to see your resume, here’s how to present it.  At the end of your time together, mention that you just revised your resume and would like their opinion on it. Over ninety percent of the time when I’ve done this, the individual asked me if they could keep it. It wasn’t unusual for them to pass it along to someone with a job opening. 

After the interview, follow any advice they gave you and send a thank you note, letting them know how you made out.  Keep the communication open and look for an opportunity to do something for them. It’s a kind thing to do, and it will help solidify the relationship and keep you in their mind.

I’ve used informational interviews a number of times, and I frequently recommend them to my clients and students.  Give the process a try, and let me know if you have any questions.  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

Nobody Has Anything

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

A couple of weeks ago I reflected that I have nothing. It’s since occurred to me that I’m not alone.  Nobody has anything really. That’s the conclusion I came to after reading another of Joel Goldsmith’s essays, one simply entitled “Gratitude.” 

Angel Cropped 233x302According to Goldsmith, gratitude is like love, both of which emanate from God. “The act of expressing Gratitude is in truth the act of recognizing and acknowledging (within yourself) the Source of all your good…which is God. It is impossible to express Gratitude without expressing Love, as they are both components of God and, therefore, inseparable from God.”  He goes on to elaborate that gratitude is an aspect of love, and all love originates from God.

If gratitude and love come from an infinite Source, then there are no limits to them.  Furthermore, it would be foolish to look for them from anyone else or even from ourselves, as they come from God.  Closely related to love and gratitude is supply.  Have you ever found yourself wishing you had more money to give so you could show your gratitude (or appreciation or love) to a greater extent?  In that instance, you recognize your money (supply) as an expression of your gratefulness or love.  Essentially, they’re all the same thing, and each comes from God, an infinite Source.

Having pondered all of this I have to conclude that it would be pointless to look for anything from another person or entity: not appreciation, love, gratitude, supply, or any good thing. They don’t have them to give. All of these originate from God and are expressed through various people and channels.  Keeping in mind last week’s discussion on the appearance of mutations when we focus on channels rather than Source, we can see how important it is to be clear about this point.  If not, we’ll limit our experience of God’s good.

If when we examine all of this carefully we can see that God is our Source, why do we continue to struggle and repeatedly slip back into looking for fulfillment of our needs and wishes from employers, the government, our family and friends, and so forth?  Why don’t we get it for once and for all?  For me, it’s because God most often works through all of these people and entities to provide love, gratitude, supply, and anything else we desire.  The organization listed on my paystub is the community college district, not God.  It’s the parents of the students I tutor that hired me, not God, although God was the force behind it. But if I’m not careful, I can easily forget who is truly responsible for my good.

In a similar fashion, I can also take on more than my share of the responsibility for caring for myself and others in my life.  I now regularly affirm that I let God be God, trusting that the energy, intelligence, confidence, love, and gratitude I need to be successful will be provided to me.  I don’t have to work for them or earn them, just as I don’t have to worry about how I’ll take my next breath.  I just need to remember that I have no identity separate from my Source.  The Master Teacher made this very clear many times in His teachings. I’ll look more at this next week…

Mental Rehearsal is Easy and Effective

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Academic & Career Success, Blog

A favorite inspirational Olympic story I love to share with clients is that of Laura Wilkinson’s 2000 Olympic diving gold medal.  Laura had been injured and unable to dive for three months earlier in 2000.  I remember watching the competition with my daughters and telling them she didn’t have a chance when she was in eighth place at the start of the finals.  Little did I know! Wilkinson was able to come from eighth position in the standings to blow past the competition and win the gold medal.  How did she do it?

After her injury and knowing she had to face the Olympic games in just a few months, Laura used the mind technique of mental rehearsal to conduct her training every day, just as if she was actually going into the pool.  During the hours she would have spent in the pool, she would “practice” the dives in her mind, seeing herself walk to the ladder, climb up, walk to the edge, look into the water, and take her dive.  She imagined every detail and saw herself completing each dive perfectly, over and over again – for three months.  When she got back into the pool just two weeks before the games, she didn’t miss a beat.  At the games, she was prepared to repeat what she had done hundreds times before in her mind.

There are so many ways we can use mental rehearsal in nurturing ourselves professionally and personally. As a Leader for Weight Watchers ten years ago, I used to promote the technique to my members, and I used it myself before parties, vacations, and other occasions where overeating was quite possible. Mental rehearsal is also effective before interviews, exams, presentations, and dates.

Whether it’s getting out of bed early to exercise or having that difficult but necessary conversation with a boss or peer at work, the process is the same.  Imagine exactly how you would like the scene to go, be as detailed as possible, and see yourself performing perfectly.  After all the times we’ve imagined the worst, it’s fun to visualize success for ourselves.

Be sure to feel good about the experience as you see it in your mind. This will fuel you even more, as certain parts of the brain do not distinguish what’s real from what’s imagined.  Those good feelings repeated over and over will actually help you get out of bed or face your boss. 

Had Enough Mutations?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

“But remember, if you constantly look to the effect, the visible form, you will create a mutation, a less-than-perfect manifestation.”

~ John Randolph Price

I don’t know about you, but I have had more than my share of mutations.  I just didn’t know there was a term for what I kept experiencing.  Reading this explanation by Price was not just illuminating; it was cathartic. In The Abundance Book, he cautions us not to see our job, employer, or investments as our supply, because when we do, we cut off the real Source.  These things, along with money and our possessions, are outer symbols of our inner Supply. Price advises readers to keep their focus instead on God, who is our true supply, safety, and security.

Not sure what a mutation looks like?  Here are some real life examples of mine as illustrations:

  • I read about an opening to be an academic writer.  A job in my field I could do from home – perfect!  Not quite…it was a position writing students’ papers for them.  Why write your own paper when you could purchase it?  Being a college instructor and a college academic coach, this clearly was not my opportunity.
  • My job at the community college is wonderful: I coach students, helping them improve their time management, study skills, and grades.  But my position as a coach is only temporary, and because I already teach for another community college, a job I also love, my hours between the two jobs are capped well below a full time level.
  • I was recently recommended for a part time online college instructor job.  It would supplement the part time teaching position I already have, so it looked really promising.  The manager who was to interview me left me hanging twice.  Still, I stayed in the game.  When our telephone interview was eventually scheduled, she wasn’t there when I called, having misunderstood the time zones.  When it was apparent how confused and stressed she was, I declined to reschedule our interview.
  • Several months ago, I found a posting for an online position to teach Business at a private school.  After completing a lengthy application, I learned it was a very conservative religious-based institution that required faculty to take an oath that amounted to condemning people who didn’t believe as they do.  Yes, this was another mutation.
  • Over the past several years, I’ve tried jobs that appeared to be a good fit, but ended up dampening my spirit, by keeping me chained to a headset, limiting my ability to help my clients, or requiring me to treat people in ways I couldn’t agree to.  Disheartened and stressed out, I left each position before I faced more serious effects.  I trusted that there must be something better for me.

All of these experiences had aspects that were in line with my vision of full employment (work in my field that is fulfilling and prospers me), but all were “less than perfect manifestations.”  But now I know better.  I spend time daily centering myself in the awareness of my true Source.  I’m experiencing a shift, and I know the best is unfolding for me now.

The Power of Recognition

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Academic & Career Success, Blog

OAF Awards Group Photo.10_05_10Twice I’ve been recognized by Rio Salado College as one of its Outstanding Adjunct Faculty members in the Business Department.  Fewer than 5% of the 1100 adjunct faculty are awarded this honor, so I am proud and excited about this accomplishment.  I work very hard to help my students in every aspect of their learning, including reading comprehension; study and test taking skills; college essay writing; case study analysis; and basic grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s not an easy job, because not every student wants the level of feedback and attention I provide.  That’s what makes the award so fulfilling, to learn that my efforts really are appreciated.  But I was surprised by another reaction I had to this, besides appreciation: I found myself wanting to do even more.  It felt like now I really had to (and wanted to) live up to this title of outstanding adjunct faculty member, and that was a good thing.

What’s the take away for anyone in a leadership role?  It’s to remember the power of recognition.  You may have heard the expression, “Catch ‘em doing something right!”  How wise that advice is.  When we tell employees that they did something well and give them specifics, a few things happen.  First, they realize someone is actually paying attention to what they do.  They understand that it really does matter whether they show up or not.  Second, they learn exactly what they did well so they can do it again.  And finally, they feel proud and may respond as I did, wanting to do even more.  The best part of all for those in leadership is that there is no cost to gain this performance and morale boost.  All it takes is awareness on your part and a little bit of time. 

As I’ve stated in previous articles, how recognition is given is critical to its effectiveness.  Be sure to ASSESS your praise as follows:

  • Achievement – Are you acknowledging the employee for the value of what they achieved, not just for taking part in something?
  • Specific – Will you recognize a specific accomplishment, avoiding general statements that could apply to anyone?
  • Sincere – Have you tested your motives to be sure that you are sincere in your remarks?
  • Effort – Are you attributing the outcome to the individual’s effort and competence?
  • Spontaneous – Will your recognition be seen natural rather than a routine occurrence (such as an Employee of the Month program where someone has to be chosen)?
  • Steady – Can you suggest that the positive results can be maintained by the employee’s steady effort?

Recognition is a manager’s secret weapon, in the best sense.  Give it a try today, and see what happens.

Living in the Divine Flow

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Learning To Receive

Further Down the Stream Volume 2I’m excited that one of my favorite authors, Steven Lane Taylor, has published a new book: Further Down The Stream, Volume 2: 54 More Tips for Living Life in the Divine Flow.  For those not familiar with him, years ago Steven learned that by paying attention to his inner Spirit he could live in the Divine Flow and enjoy a life of joy and ease, rather than one of stress and struggle.  In his writing, he uses the classic song, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” to illustrate how we can align or “row” with the natural flow of the Universe to achieve our life goals easily.

This latest is his third book on the subject, and I find it as relevant and helpful as the first two.  It comes at a perfect time for me.  As many of you know, I’ve been very influenced by Anita Moorjani’s near death experience and her conclusion that it’s best to stay open and let things come to us, rather than aggressively pursue the life we desire.  While it wasn’t the purpose of her book to advise us just how to do that, it is Steven’s message.  His book gives many insights along with practical examples demonstrating ways to cooperate with the Divine Flow toward the effortless fulfillment of our heart’s desires.  If you’re ready for life to get easier and be more fulfilling, I highly recommend this book.