Selasa, 01 November 2011

What Is Your Fear Shutting You Off To?

Years ago I went on a silent retreat for women. Although I loved being in silence for 5 days, the evenings were filled with the woman leading the retreat giving us these two and three hour sermon-like talks, during which we sat silently in one position on the floor. She mostly talked about the brilliance of her guru - and the whole thing just left me really unmoved. Just not my style. But one story that she told about her guru stuck with me all these years, and it's one of the stories that I use the most when working with my most-awesome private clients.

So the story goes like this: retreat-lady walked in on her guru meditating one morning, and for the first time in her experience he was sitting there with this upset and disturbed look on his face as he meditated. She had never seen him look upset while meditating, so it worried her.

Later, at lunch, she asked him about it. "Guru," she said, "when I walked by you this morning you were looking very upset and disturbed while you meditated. Is something wrong?"

And the little old man laughed with his head thrown back. "Oh, I was not upset and disturbed! Only my thoughts were upset and disturbed. I am wonderful!"

What I took from this story is that WE are NOT our feelings. I imagine it as us being the sky, and the clouds being our feelings - they float across our sky, maybe making the day seem dark (even though the sun's still there, behind them), maybe covering up the sky, but the sky is always there, unchanged, blue, bright, sunny. So if we call the clouds what they are - or the feelings what they are, we connect with the fact that they have no bearing on the decisions we make, the actions we take.

Here is an exercise you can do on your own to identify how fear is showing up in your life and what is at risk if you don't explore and release it.

Create a space for yourself with tools that support you in getting focused. Light a candle, make a cup of tea, get your journal and favorite pen, and set the intention to really open up to seeing how fear holds you back in your life - just to get to observe its presence.

Write these questions down in your journal and then starting with the first one you've written, just read it out loud to yourself, put pen to paper, and start writing.

Let go of the reflexive impulse to edit, censor, check for spelling, etc. Just put the pen to paper and get out of your own way.

1. Taking a deep breath in, ask yourself, "Where is fear showing up in my life right now?"

2. "How is it showing up? Where can I feel it in my body? How is it manifesting in my daily life?"

3. "What is my fear protecting me from?" Sometimes this can be a hard one to see, but pose the question to yourself and see what comes. Chances are, if the fear has stuck around for any length of time it's serving some protective service for you, even if it's a really old and outdated belief.

4. Here's the scary one - are you ready? "What's at risk if I don't let go of this fear, if I don't stop recognizing it as the cloud moving across my sky, instead of the sky itself?"

If you would like more inspiration and support to let go of your fear, please visit my website or send me an email at

Britt Bolnick is the joyful owner and master coach of In Arms Coaching for Women. She is thrilled to work with women who are ready to live each day from a place of inner balance, personal power, and joy -- while creating meaningful and lucrative work, healthy and fulfilling relationships, and a deep and guiding connection to self. Visit her at

7 Worthwhile Things I Learned From My Mentor

I'm a big fan of mentorship and I've spoken about it on numerous occasions. I've also had the privilege of interviewing real topic experts like Steve Farber and Don Yaeger

I was most recently reminded about the importance of mentorship to my personal development when I had a long overdue telephone conversation with someone who had mentored to me.

Terry and I hadn't spoken in close to ten years from my days when I was employed with Service Canada, a department in the Canadian federal government. When we re-connected, it didn't take me very long to remember how much of an impact she had on my growth.

We chatted for over an hour and ended the conversation with a commitment of doing a better job of staying in touch with one another in the future. I immediately began reflecting on our relationship from the moment the phone beeped to signal the call was over.

It was through this thought process I discovered seven key things that made our relationship so worthwhile:

1) Not one sided

A typical mentoring arrangement involves a more experienced or knowledgeable person imparting insights and guidance to someone with less experience.

When Terry and I first met, I was fairly new to government and didn't know very much about bureaucracies or how to navigate through policies and procedures to get the work done.

She had several years of work experience under her belt and had pretty much seen it all before. I, on the other hand was quite comfortable when it came to technology and was always trying to develop systems to help us be more efficient.

This was an area that Terry wasn't as strong in and a way was immediately opened a way for us to learn from one another. I felt as if I was also making a positive contribution to the relationship and not just taking. It was mutually beneficial.

2) Anyone can be your mentor

A mentor doesn't have to be someone in a position of leadership or authority. They definitely have the potential of offering a good learning opportunity but that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll be the best.

While a boss, supervisor or manager can offer a meaningful experience we can gain knowledge or insights from virtually anyone we come in contact with as long as we're open to learning the lesson. This is why I absolutely love the expression,

"Always learn, learn all ways!"

3) Genuine Caring Leads to Authentic Kindness

I don't think its possible to have an effective mentoring relationship if there isn't some level of caring that exists. In my case, I knew right from the onset that Terry was genuinely interested in my well being and wanted the best for me. This was important to know because it allowed me to have complete trust and faith in whatever direction or guidance that came from her.

4) Recognize Greatness

At one point during our conversation, Terry said, "I saw so much potential in you and all I've ever wanted was for you to be a role model to others."

Because mentors have an objective view of things, it's far easier for them to see our individual greatness then for us to recognize it ourselves. Terry not only recognized what I was good at but she also put me in situations where I could maximize skills and build my confidence at the same time.

5) It's a relationship

Being in a mentor/mentee relationship is no different then any other relationship we have in our lives. In the beginning, you've got to commit the time to learn about the other person and understand their likes, dislikes, interests and desires before you can think about trying to help them.

When both sides have a better understanding of each another, the opportunities for growth and development increase. She took the time to understand me and knew how to best help me to succeed.

6) No Structure Needed

There are lots of companies that have structured mentorship programs that come complete with a detailed matching process, a prescribed meeting template and a roles and responsibilities agreement that both sides must adhere to.

While these programs can provide some amazing opportunities for learning and growth, they don't all have to be structured in that fashion. The most lasting mentoring relationships are the ones that have organically developed in the absence of a formalized structured program.

7) Pass it on

Terry eventually moved on to a new position and we stopped working together thus ending our "formal" relationship however we still remained in touch for a bit. I eventually went on to manage a program that gave me an opportunity to mentor more than two dozen young students that were brand new to government over a course of a three year period.

They were all really eager, keen and anxious and I saw a lot of myself in many of them. This compelled me to work hard on creating a positive work experience that supported their learning and development, empowered them to make decisions and offered different viewpoints to help increase their perspective and understanding.

I essentially gave to them what was given to me.

I'm still in contact with many of my past employees today and proud of their professional accomplishments and the type of individuals they've grown to become. I was truly honored this past summer when one of my past "mentees" asked me to MC her wedding.

Knowledge and insight are great things to have but even better when you give it to others. To grow as a leader, you must be prepared to take all of your learnings, lessons and experiences and pass them along to someone else.

In Closing...

Our actions or how we choose to live our lives can serve as mentors to others. In fact, I truly believe that the greatest lessons we learn in life comes from the people around us, thus making the role of the mentor that much more important.

If an opportunity presents itself and you have a chance to be that difference maker to someone else, I would encourage you to step up and embrace the role. Helping someone become better than what they were is a true leadership skill that can have lasting effects.

The Past Belongs to the Past

Only when people feel that the evils of the past will not return and believe that 'things are moving in the right direction' will they be in a position to loosen the bonds of the past, relinquish the impulse for revenge and orient towards the future.

Dr Andrew Rigby, Professor of Peace Studies and Director of the Centre for Forgiveness and Reconciliation at Coventry University

Throughout history, man has known pain, lived with fear,suffered gross injustice, inequality, bondage, discrimination, social and racial prejudice. Yet, amid all these struggles, man has moved forward to build a stronger world and today, many of us can appreciate the word freedom.

On a personal level, there is a constant battle with some issues of the past, demons to conquer, failures and many wrong choices and regrets along the way. The past will come back to haunt you. These are scary words. Perhaps in the decades gone by, people had some darkness in their past that they fearfully guard. Imagine the fear that gripped at their hearts- fear of disgrace, betrayal, fall from the pedestal and other issues from a dark place.

Today's societal norms are more relaxed. Technology dominates society, can't live without it. Information is only a click of a mouse away. The fears of yesteryears, like teen pregnancy, divorce or separation, homosexuality, infidelity, job loss or financial ruin are out in the open. This does not mean that today, there are no issues from the past that haunts many of us.

There are hurtful and unhealthy events and some individuals in the past that leave a deep imprint in our core being. Betrayal of a sacred covenant between lovers can be devastating for the offended party. This is a cross that weighs heavily and one need to gather all the strength and courage to move on. Relationship issues cover a broad scope. It is said, the one you love can hurt you the most. Domestic abuse and violence still happens. It is no longer kept behind closed doors.There are crusaders who manage to survive and try to help those who are caught in this trap. Friendship has its dark side as well- despite a strong tie that bonds friends. It is understandable that friends share confidential matters. After all, what is a friend for? But, beware, what deepest secrets should you confide to a friend.

Childhood trauma still pervades in our world. The internet opened the door to predators who pry on the innocence of youth. This is tragic, but, today, there is more awareness of these issues and agencies are set up to provide prevention, guidance and counselling. Trauma like this does take its toll. On the bright side, there are many survivors who openly share their stories and prove it is possible to move on.

The past may not be all doom and gloom. There are glory days as well- like a high school beauty queen who did not make it past that moment. Instead, she gets stuck in the duldrom pace of a small town. Think of the promising scholar who made a wrong choice and ends up stuck in a dark alley of Life. What about the sport champion, or a hero of the silver screen who ended up in the wrong company and is lost in the world of drugs or crime? Some can not move past the adventures of fast cars, girls, pranks and carefree days of youth. They are stuck in that period.

Who has not made a wrong choice in life? This is why it is said that hindsight is 20/20. Making mistakes is a learning curve, stepping stones to opportunity. Some of us are highly charged emotionally and reason gets cast to the winds. Many still walk around with the heavy weight of the past.

Sustained anger serves no purpose, it takes you to a dark place, with it comes physical, emotional and spiritual sickness. You open yourself to fear, you ask why, you over analyze. This can not be the foundation of your future decisions. Stop feeling like a victim. There are encouraging stories of those who are able to climb out of the dark place and learn to reach out.

Try to let go, learn what you can. Seek counsel to help you take a step forward. This is a challenge, but dwelling on past pain and hurt, mistakes and the like serves no purpose. Let go of the fears and the demons from the past that only serve to make you angry and afraid. Some need to grow up and face the present. The past belongs to the past. You can not do anything about what has passed. But you certainly can do something about the future and move on stronger, healthier, happier and wiser.

Bonnie Moss writes to inspire and to motivate her readers to explore the depths of their heart and soul and make a difference in this world. She draws from personal experience and her interest in spirituality. Visit her website: