“Ummmm…”… “Hmmmmmm…” I am never speechless but those were the only two sounds I could utter.
The host chuckled and said, “That was the exact response Oprah gave when asked the exact same question!”
I was on a podcast last week, and I guess he thought I would be somewhat relieved to hear that Oprah paused at the magnitude of the question as well.
But it actually made it worse. Because I thought, “Oh my goodness! I wish I knew what she had said when she responded. Why did I not hear that interview? Because anything I say is likely to pale in comparison to her great wisdom!”
I was on the spot, and the pause had been too long already. It was time to begin to pull my thoughts together enough to speak out loud and answer the question:
“What do you know to be true?“
I thought if I could just pull a nugget or two out of my heart, I could talk about them for a few minutes, and the podcast would be over.
Interestingly enough, seven things flowed out of my heart once I started. As he wrapped up the podcast, he said, “This would be a great follow up blog after your “Burning the Boats” topic. I committed to it as he ended the podcast.
Although I’m not quite finished with the “Burning the Boats” series, my curiosity is getting the best of me. I also committed to him that I would write about the seven things I spoke, and not read Oprah’s responses until I had shared mine. (And I’m eager to hear her responses!)
Since I’ve had a few weeks to consider the question, I’ve gained an even greater appreciation for the question. After all shouldn’t we all know what we believe to be true?
Why is that important? Because our foundational beliefs determine our destiny.
I hope you will pause right now and take a moment to write down the three major things you believe to be true … before you read mine. It’s a powerful exercise! One minor adjustment in what you believe could change your entire destiny. Take a moment to write yours NOW!
I will share with you the seven things I shared on the podcast, and then I will share with you the few things that I wished I had also said after searching my heart. And as soon as I complete this blog, I’m going to find Oprah‘s interview and watch it! The podcast host told me I would be pleasantly surprised. We shall see!
Here are the seven things I said I knew to be true:
7. Your potential is limitless, and when you tap into it you can reach your goals and dreams.
I know this is true.
I’ve seen it happen in hundreds of situations. People who have finally embraced the truth that their potential is limitless, then I have the privilege to see them take steps into a rich, abundant life.
Hopefully you are already there, but if not, this is absolute truth!
You could be thinking, “Well if it’s absolutely true, why has it not happened to or for me?“
I actually have an entire 25-hour course about this. Why? Because after seeing thousands of people come through my treatment center (both inpatient and outpatient) and my private practice, I find at least 90% of people I have the honor of encountering (in a clinical setting) have been programmed with something contrary to, or opposite of that.
Typically, I hear this question next: “Can we be reprogrammed? Especially if we’re 40, 50, or oh my gosh in our 6th or 7th decade? The answer to that is: “Absolutely YES!”
You had giftings, talents and greatness deep within you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. And whether you were raised in a fabulous family, or a terribly toxic family, far too many of us come away from childhood programmed to believe things contrary to our limitless potential. Or in our ability to reach our goals and dreams!
I was one of those. I grew up in a family with a mother who was an angel here on earth. And a father who was hell on wheels. I came away believing that there was not only something terribly wrong with me, not only that I had no real giftings or talents, but that there was practically no hope for me becoming anything.
So guess what my early adult life looked like? Someone trying to figure out what was wrong with them, someone trying to find or develop gifts and talents, and someone in a deep, dark hole because they believed they would never become anything. Hopefully that does not sound familiar to you. If it doesn’t, please pass this on. If it does, please reconsider!
In my life altering moment when I realized that my potential was limitless, my life changed dramatically.
So can yours!
If for some reason you believe any of those kinds of negative things about yourself, I hope you will trust me, and believe, that your greatest days are just ahead. Because of the greatness in you, when you embrace it, it will cause you to soar!
6. You can conquer, overcome and rise above your history and/or your past. (And if you don’t, it may conquer you!)
I believed in my childhood and early adult life, that people arrived on the planet the way that they were, and they would likely leave the planet the same way. And there was nothing we could do about what happened on the journey between (birth – death).
I had had several traumatic and abusive things happened to me as a little girl. But I had no idea that they were trauma or abuse.
Because like many, we only consider things that take you to a near death experience to be abusive or traumatic. The truth is … anything that occurred that caused you to lose value or think poorly of yourself is likely the result of trauma and/or abuse.
No matter what situation you grew up in, or what your adolescence and/or young adult experiences were, you can overcome them!
Does it require work? Absolutely! Usually it’s best done with a mentor, coach, or therapist. Here are the typical recovery steps in that process:
A. See and embrace the truth
B. Note the impact it had on your development
C. Do a healing process to recover your authenticity
D. Make new decisions about your life and your future
E. Begin re-programming things (thoughts, beliefs, behavior, choices, habits) that sabotage you, hold you back and/or
bring you down.
After working with trauma for many, many years, I have understood that trauma, unaddressed, (and it’s a lie that you have it tucked “safely away“) leaves us with three things:
- Distorted levels of worth and value
- Beliefs about who we are that seem to be set in concrete
- Firmly set destinies that are not of our own choosing (and are rarely anything God would have in mind for us).
I hope that you will find the courage to adopt this fully, seize the opportunity and embrace your ability to overcome!
5. There is no time like the present to be present.
Most of us fail to be present. We regret our yesterdays, worry about our tomorrows, leaving no room for our present.
Not only do you miss the beautiful moment in the present, but people who need you miss your presence, which could be very healing. Whether that be your spouse, your young children, your adult children, coworkers, church friends, or neighbors.
I know what it’s like to be busy. However, when I go into a session with someone, I am fully, totally and 100% present. When other therapists, interns, and coaches ask me what is the secret to my high level of success … I tell them that it actually comes down to one core foundational truth:
“Being present with people sharing their hearts, their lives, and their dreams is perhaps the most healing gift we have here on earth.”
I’ve learned that there’s no time like the present to be present with my friends, with my family, with the people I love, trust and find safety with!
People I train often ask how I can listen to such grave trauma and hear about people’s darkness all day long, and then not be affected by it. There are several things I do, but the one most applicable at this moment is that after a short time to decompress (by walking and speaking my gratitude’s aloud), I spend time with people important to me.
I know that being present for them, and allowing them to be present for me, leaves no room for ruminating on what I’ve heard throughout the day.
No matter how busy you are, no matter how dark your days may be, no matter how stressed you are… If you can take a few minutes each day to be present … despite what could be distracting you … great healing will occur. Not only for those you are present for, but for you as well.
You may be thinking, “Well that all sounds good but it doesn’t work for me.“ The truth is it will work for you if you will do it. Research shows that just about a minute of eye contact with someone that you care about, releases the hormones that relieve stress, make you feel so much better, and create great connection.
So it’s not only my thoughts and experience that make it true, neurochemical research reinforces and reveals that it is indeed true.
4. The greatest fulfillment in life comes from helping people find their freedom and tap into their greatness.
I learned this truth long before I was a therapist or coach. I actually learned it serving at deaf camps, and creating deaf camps around the US.
It took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t just because the kids were deaf, although I do love the hearing impaired community.
It wasn’t just because it occurred at camps in the summer and I got to spend a week with the kids.
It wasn’t just because I got to create strategies to get powerful messages about their potential inside them.
After a number of years of doing all of that, I realized it was because I was helping them find freedom, and tap into the greatness in them.
It helped me find my purpose, and find a way to live my purpose.
I returned to finish my degree, followed by a number of other degrees, and ongoing study with the great healer‘s in my industry.
Certainly the fulfillment I am speaking of fills my heart daily as I work with people. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you must return to graduate school and get some sort of counseling or psychological degree in order to be fulfilled.
I’m now keenly aware that I get that same fulfillment volunteering at the homeless shelter, helping my neighbor through some difficult moments, and/or helping a mom trying to get her child in the car seat and unload her groceries in the pouring down rain.
If you find that you lack fulfillment, you can change it in a heartbeat. Serve someone! Help someone!
Recently, on another interview, I was asked who should attend my Coach Training certification program. Without hesitation, my response was: “Everyone on the planet!“
The hostess retorted, “But if everyone was a Life Coach, who would need a Life Coach?” I chuckled and responded, “Absolutely no one! And that’s the point!”
However the point I was really trying to make was that whether you graduate as a Basic Coach, a Master Coach, a Health Coach, a Relationship Coach, a Business Coach, or an Executive Coach… You will be able to use it exactly where you already are, and multiply your fulfillment exponentially. (Not to mention help others tremendously)!
You can be wildly fulfilled! And it can start today.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing you have nothing to offer because you don’t have your “stuff” together yet. Welcome to the club! I don’t either! I am on an insatiable journey to become my best, but I realized I could start right where I was. And I did! Will you join me?
3. Faith can move mountains.
Faith can, and faith does move mountains!
Every time I start talking about faith to move mountains, people seem to stiffen up like they’re getting ready to hear a sermon.
I’d love to give you a great sermon, but I’m not a great theologian. I’m just a simple girl who understood early in graduate school that faith moved mountains.
I believe that truth unwaveringly!
People tell me they are afraid to believe, or have faith like that for various reasons:• They might look stupid• Their beliefs might fail them• Their faith failure might have a negative impact on others
I understand all of that. Because prior to stepping boldly into undeniable faith, I had the same concerns.
I finally decided: “What do I have to lose?”
And for me personally, my faith was not in just myself, but was in what might happen partnering with God. So I decided that I was jumping in the deep end, over my head, into fearless faith. It wouldn’t be me failing… It wouldn’t be me looking foolish … it wouldn’t be me affecting others.
(And besides, I learned that one of the greatest ways I could affect other’s faith was to experience things going differently than I hoped, but jumping right back up in faith again!)
Can I tell you I’ve had faith for things and they always happened exactly the way my faith desired, or in the exact time frame my faith was set for? Of course not! And likely, it will happen again.
But can I assure you that the things that I have experienced and seen happen far override the moments that didn’t occur the way i had thought? Absolutely!
I had a speech that I did for years after I summited Mount Kilimanjaro called: “Faith to Move Mountains.“
I told the story about how I joined the team of scientists late. They had been training two years for the climb, and I had less than six months. But I decided because of excellent care of my body, my commitment to health and nutrition, that I could step my ongoing training up and make it to the summit!
I wish I had the time here to share with you some of the funny moments that revealed “faith that moved mountains” on our climb.
But regardless of the challenges, regardless of a UTI, regardless of the final climb with temperatures way below zero on the last day … (you have to reach the summit before the sun comes up and the ice on the glaciers becomes treacherously slippery). Regardless of all of that … my faith was unshakable.
And I was the first to pull myself up over the crater rim at 19,341 feet on top of the tallest freestanding mountain in the world!
Your faith can move mountains. Step out! Believe! It will astound you!
2. There is always hope.
I am aware that there are times that it seems there is no hope. Unfortunately, I’ve been at that place. I spent too many years there, contemplating ending my life.
If you did not know me during those dark years, you would look at me today and say: “Really? You? Why?“
This is an oversimplified answer, but it was certainly the root of that dark time. No matter how hard I tried, and I did try… I could not see any hope.
No hope that I could move past the pain, no hope that I could rise again from my failures, no ho that I could become anything.
But what I know for sure at this point in my life is that there is always hope. However, once we get to that dark place, we tend to nurture the “no hope” concept. Sad to say, traditional therapy can keep us soaking in that cesspool.
Although I have great compassion for my clients that see no hope, I do not rehearse lack of hope with them. I care deeply that they are there, but I am committed deeply to getting them out of that dark hole.
There was a turning point for me, and there is a turning point for everyone. Everyone who will allow themselves to see it and embrace it. Don’t misunderstand me. We do not like living with no hope. But we tried every little thing people told us that would give us hope, and it only left us more empty. We at least know how to navigate being in the dark hole, but being dropped on our head again and again makes us leary of believing there is any hope at all.
Two things assisted in my journey from hopelessness to hope:
1. I was seeing clients in my internship, and I knew there was no hope. But I had to put that aside and do my best to convince them there was hope.
I knew nothing about neuropsychology at the time but later I learned why convincing others there was hope actually helped me. I would do my best to remember why I had once believed there was hope, and I spoke to them from that place in my life.
Somehow, speaking hope became easier.
Now I know that my reptilian part of my brain (that knows nothing about time or direction), heard me speak the words, embraced my words, and began to believe again! (This is why we have to be so cautious about the words we speak, as that part of our brain believes we are speaking to it! Angry, harsh words make that part of our brain believe we are in trouble, and takes those words toward others in as if we were speaking them to ourselves. On the other hand, it also takes in the encouragement and kindness we speak!)
2. I was doing my best to get Dr. Pat Love to understand my position and my lack of hope. With great compassion, but determination to move me out of hopelessness, one day she quarried me: “How long has it been since you have watched the sunrise?“
She knew the wisdom in her question. Because most of us that are hopeless prefer bed and sleep, and leave the sun rise to the chickens. I was one of those!
Her assignment to me was this:
- Get up 30 minutes before sunrise and watch the sun rise over the horizon for seven mornings in a row
- With journal in hand and hopefully colored markers, to do my best to describe every color I saw as the sun peaked up over the horizon
- Think of a song that comes to your mind as you write about the sunrise. Listen to the song several times throughout that day. (It was a bit harder then without iTunes or YouTube. Sometimes I just had to listen to myself sing it).
I hated the assignment, but respected her enough to trust that good might come from it. Honestly, I didn’t think much good could or would come, but I was willing to take the risk.
Something profound happened to me on the first morning. My alarm went off, and I angrily shut it off, and grabbed my journal and markers I had laid on my nightstand the night before. I went out on my balcony to watch the sun come up over Lake Ray Hubbard.
I thought I had set my grumpy attitude firmly enough that nothing would happen. Yes, you read that correctly. Those of us in that dark place resist vehemently what we deeply desire… Anything that would lift us from that place. Unless you’ve been there, that may not make sense. But it’s who we are and all we know to do.
However, I guess I failed to set my sour attitude firmly enough, because as I saw the very first rays of light casting silver glow across the lake, something happened to me internally.
I could not seem to grab enough markers to show the colors I saw coming up over the horizon, reflecting out on the lake. I was awe inspired.
The song that came to my mind was: Stevie Wonder’s “You are the sunshine of my life, that’s why I’ll always be around. You are the apple of my eye, forever you’ll stay in my heart…” I had this serendipitous moment where I wondered if God might be singing that to me.
By the seventh day, I had emerged from the dee,p dark hole that I called the “dark night of my soul.” Never to return again. (Yes, I had some dark moments, but I fought that hole, and filled it with all the lies I had believed about myself, and planted trees and flowers in the form of empowering thoughts and beliefs)!
Yes, the sun will rise again tomorrow. You can choose to observe it, or remain in your dark hole. But if you miss it today, don’t worry. It will rise again the next day.
During that week, I came to know for sure that there is always hope.
I’ve spent the past 25+ years of my career helping people find hope. No matter how bad their addiction, no matter how poor their decisions, no matter how many people they have hurt, no matter how worthless they feel, there is hope.
I believe I’ve been God inspired in many unique ways to take people to the place of hope.
No matter where you are today, Or how deep and dark your hole, when you decide you are ready to leave it, when you reach upward, you will find hope. 100% of the time! I am certain of that truth!
1. God is good.
I’m going to leave that statement to stand alone. Anything I might add could take away from the power of the statement.
God is good!
I mentioned in the beginning that upon reflection there were a few things I wish I had added to what I knew to be true when asked the question on the broadcast. Here are those four things.
I. There is always a way.
When we embrace that truth, our brain come up with creative strategies when we see no way. I approach every seemingly impossible task with that attitude, instead of my former approach of believing challenges meant there was no way.
It’s totally amazing what comes to my mind now, because I have set my Reticular Activating System (RAS) in my brain to work for me and with me!
II. Laughter is good medicine.
Laugh often. It is truly healing to our bodies. But it also brings healing to our emotions!
Not to mention that laughing with someone else creates deep connection.
III. Gratitude is the answer to what ails are souls.
Neuroreseach indicates that fear, frustration, anxiety, stress, anger and shame cannot coexist with gratitude. It only takes three minutes of gratitude, heart felt gratitude, to eradicate those emotions that trouble us.
When I teach my clients this process, I often see rolling eyes and hear sighs.
Then they will say something surly like: “I guess I can be grateful that I’m alive to see another miserable day.”
I softly request a heart-felt gratitude, then another, until we have three minutes of heart-felt gratitude. It changes them. It will change you!
IV. Love is the greatest gift of all and it NEVER fails!
That’s right! Love never fails. People fail to love at moments. But love lives on!
When we really love, we are patient, kind, never envious, boastful, proud, selfish or rude. We do not demand our own way, and we are not irritable. We cover the other person with love when they make mistakes.
We do not harbor grudges and we hardly notice when others do things wrong. We are loyal, no matter the cost. We believe in them, expect the best from them. And we will always stand up to defend them. That kind of love never fails.
I hope you will join me in a solid dedication to loving that way. I KNOW that love never fails. I only hope and pray that it can someday be said of me: “Her love never failed!”
What do you know to be true? Hopefully your beliefs are empowering. If not, change them to empowering. Change them to things that call forth the very best in you.
Watch yourself rise. Experience the soaring. Then like an eagle, when the storms arise, they use the winds of the storm to help them soar even higher, until they are above the storm.
There’s an eagle (greatness) inside of you! Soar, my friend, soar!