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Living Own Life


Fulfillment in life is related to how well you are living in alignment with what’s truly important to you. Do your decisions emerge from the essence of who you are—not from who you think you should be? Take this quiz to see how well you are living a life that is of your own making and answer each question “true” or “false”—if you don’t know, it’s probably “false”.


1. I have spent time thinking about what’s important to me, and I can articulate those things. 


2. While I have been influenced by my parents, teachers, society and other outside forces, I have not simply adopted their values and beliefs. My own values and beliefs come from deep inside.


3. I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions. I know my own mind.


4. In order to remain open and flexible, I am willing to re-examine my opinions and beliefs to determine whether something is still true for me. I am interested in other points of view.


5. My spouse/partner is a good match for me. We share in a way that pleases me and have an ideal amount of separate space. We don’t have to agree on everything.


6. I chose my occupation, or choose to remain in it, because it most closely utilizes my skills, strengths and passions.


7. I also choose my friends. I don’t go along with a friendship that doesn’t feel right just because that person pursued me.


8. Any spirituality I practice feeds my soul.


9. I have aspirations. I spend time thinking about them and taking action toward those that are most important to me.


10. Anyone looking at my life from the outside would see what I value.


11. When I or a family member is sick, I listen to the appropriate health care provider. If the advice doesn’t feel right, I get a second opinion.


12. On the rare occasion when I let someone break a boundary or persuade me to do something I don’t want to do, as soon as I’m aware of it, I take steps to stop and correct the situation. 


 If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to spend some focused time clarifying what is truly important to you and then find ways to bring your life into greater alignment with those values. If you’d like support in doing this, a personal coach or life coach who resonates with you is an excellent resource to help you do this.


Click on this link to learn more about my upcoming SHIFT-IT® Weekend Intensive retreat. And sign up for my monthly newsletter for more helpful articles and information about my services.    


Author’s content used under license, © 2011 Claire Communications



Top 10 Barriers to Self-Growth


Change, whether personal or in our professional lives, can be scary as we feel new things, entertain different thoughts, perhaps leave old ways behind. Here are 10 obstacles that can hinder self-awareness and personal growth.


1. Denial.  Example: Your job is sucking the life-blood out of you but you don’t acknowledge it and just keep dragging yourself to work. It’s difficult to change or grow when you don’t see the need or can’t face the thought of the effort it would take. Listen to the quiet voice inside you and be open to loved ones’ feedback.


2. Seeing yourself as a victim. If it’s always someone else’s fault, or “they” are a barrier, you can’t become the empowered person you are meant to be. It can be hard for us to see our own personal strengths when we’re focused on who has “done me wrong”. 


3. Substance abuse. Whether you’re self-medicating or seeking escape, the problems just don’t go away without the willingness to face them.


4. Not good enough. Believe it or not, this is a widely held belief.  Nothing banishes self-loathing faster than self-care. Be gentle with yourself.  


5. Blame. If we always point the finger at another, we never see our own role. This can also be a finger we point at ourselves…our inner critics working overtime, thereby leading to a feeling of not good enough.  


6. Defensiveness. This is a racket we swing against anything that suggests we might be at fault. Try to see “faults” as opportunities to grow.


7. Fear. Acknowledge the frightened parts of yourself, praise your courage, and be gentle. The acronym F.E.A.R stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  Is this true in your life?


8. Rage. Rage is a call for attention to our triggers.  Sometimes we get stuck there. Seeking a therapist that resonates with you can help you see and work with those triggers.


9. Busyness. This is almost a badge of honor with some of us, a common mantra.  How could we possibly slow down long enough to allow for the reflection that lays the foundation for self-growth? And what if we don’t?


10. Unwillingness to admit error.  When asked about all his failed attempts at creating the light bulb, Thomas Edison said:  “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” He admitted to and found opportunity in his errors.  What an “enlightening” way to think about our mistakes.


If you are recognizing several of these as barriers in your life, utilizing what’s known as a personal or life coach can help you get past these and other limiting beliefs.  If you’re interested in more helpful articles and information sign up for my monthly newsletter, or contact me directly. 


Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications, © 2008 Claire Communications




How Well Do You Handle Your Inner Critic?


All of us have an Inner Critic (or 2…or three), an internal “voice” that judges our actions or inaction, tells us what’s wrong with us and how we should or should not be. This constant judgment can lead to debilitating feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety. While it’s difficult to silence the critic completely, there are ways to cope with it. Answer these two sets of true/false questions to discover how well you handle your Inner Critic.


Set 1

1.   I can’t seem to do anything right. I feel depressed and incapacitated by the constant nagging, judging voice inside me.

2.   I don’t necessarily realize I’m at the responding to the voice(s) of my Inner Critic, but I often compare myself to others and never quite measure up. I feel inadequate.

3.   Just when I’m about to embark on something new and exciting, such as a job or relationship, my Inner Critic kicks up doubt and fear to prevent me from pursuing the opportunity.

4.   I have difficulty staying in the present moment because my internal judging voice loudly intrudes, dictating what I should and shouldn’t do, or “can’t” do.

5.   Because of that voice, I second-guess my choices and actions and don’t trust myself. As a result, I worry that I’ll make a big mistake and something bad will happen.

Set 2

1.   I see my Inner Critic as a misguided ally who wants to help or protect me. I look for the positive intention behind what it says and embrace that rather than the negative message. 

2    I’ve gotten to know the themes my Inner Critic harps on, so I can distinguish those voices from other more useful internal dialogue. 

3.   It’s helpful to notice when my Inner Critic is present. I breathe deeply and center myself to release fear and anxiety and return to a more peaceful place.

4.   Giving my critical inner voices funny names and descriptions —such as Taskmonster or Paula Perfectionist—helps me diminish their power and not take them seriously. 

5.   As I’ve become skilled at handling the Inner Critic, it bothers me less often. I still hear it sometimes, but I don’t believe what it says and it rarely affects me adversely.

If you answered true more often in Set 1 and false more often in Set 2, you may wish to learn some effective tools to help you handle your Inner Critic. We all run into LOUD and obnoxious inner critics from time to time.  If you’d like to learn more about how to quiet those voices and practice using the tools, during a SHIFT-IT® Weekend Intensive of coaching, visit my website for more information. 

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications


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