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Griffin - trusting your intuitionThat’s a photo of Griffin with the poster he made to run for the one 5th grade class spot for his school’s student class council. And he made it!

There are so many things I love about this story, so I’m going to share in-depth, but first I just want to say that no one thought he was going to win that election.

One of the most polished and accomplished students in his class was also running, and she seemed to have a lock on the council seat.

But Griffin worked very hard to present himself as a strong candidate – writing and re-writing his speech and creating a compelling campaign poster. (He knew he hit on the right strategy with his slogan, “I will fight for your rights at Rainbow” because, in his words, “It has alliteration and it rhymes!”)

On the morning of the election he said, “I’m not worried about the outcome because I know I’ve done my best. I’m proud of myself. Now all I can do is wait.”

It was wonderful to hear him reflect one of my strongest beliefs  – happiness and success come from being committed to doing your best, while not being attached to any particular outcome.

Some of you may remember that Griffin skipped 4th grade and entered 5th grade this year. In fact, it was right at this time last year that he first expressed his desire to skip a year.

It wasn’t my or Doug’s hope or plan for Griffin to skip 4th grade (we were not ready to be parents to a 5th grader!), but we quickly realized that he was committed to his goal, and we supported his decision.

As it happened, the teachers and administrators at his school were not as quick to get on board with his decision. In fact, they opposed it.

They told us it is very rare to “promote” a child within the school (there had only been 3 cases in the school’s 38-year history, and the last had happened many years ago), and there were a lot of reasons for that – mostly related to the fact of a student’s chronological age and corresponding emotional maturity.

Their program supports the development of the child in seven different “domains” (mental, spiritual, emotional, moral/social, physical, natural, and creative) – in different ways in different grades, and they didn’t want Griffin to “skip” a year of that support.

But there was more.

At one meeting Renee, the director of the school, lit a candle and asked Griffin to share a word that would inform our meeting. He said, “Strength. Because I know I’m going to need it to be in the 5th grade next year.”

Renee smiled and said, “You know, there’s another kind of strength. The strength of weathering a disappointment – and if we decide that it’s the best thing for you to continue into 4th grade, will you be okay with that?”

Without missing a beat Griffin said, “Oh, sure. I deal with disappointment all the time. At home this morning I was throwing my favorite ball around and I lost it in the hedge. I was really upset at first, but then I thought, ‘It’s not a big deal. I’m sure I’ll find it later.’ And I knew it would all work out. It always does.”

Of course, I silently cheered that he has a well-developed ability to choose acceptance and faith in the face of an undesirable circumstance, and Renee seemed impressed too.

But Renee had more concerns – that Griffin – who seemed to succeed so easily, would never find school easy again, to which Griffin replied, “That’s fine. I don’t need it to be easy. I like to be challenged.”

(Again, I silently cheered. – And later when we were alone Griffin asked me, “But why does Renee think it’s going to be so hard for me? It still may be easy.” I believe he learned a good lesson about how people will make assumptions, but that doesn’t mean any of it is true in the moment.)

Finally she worried that Griffin – who was seen as a leader in the 3rd grade – would never be seen as a leader by his classmates again, given his age (and comparative immaturity), and his “upstart” status.

She shared that she had seen this happen before and believed strongly that Griffin’s self-concept would be damaged in the event that it happened to him.

As you know, I try not to project any outcomes – especially negative ones – into the future, but when a professional educator I respect said that she feared something my child wanted to do could damage him, it was hard for me to dismiss it.

There was even one point in the months-long decision-making process that one of his teachers said, “I don’t understand why Griffin should be allowed to make this decision. He has no idea what the consequences of it will be. As adults, we have the benefit of training and experience, and we should decide.”

And that’s when I felt a surge of clarity. No, I didn’t know what the future held for my son. I don’t even believe I can ever know what’s “best” for him.

But what I wanted most for him then – and still do now! – is for him to trust the voice inside of him that was calling him to do this thing.

The last thing I wanted to do was to undermine his sense of what’s right for him and supplant it with our sense of what’s right for him.

Luckily Griffin was strong enough to hold the vision for all of us – and all of the gloomy prognostications proved to be unfounded.

Thank goodness Griffin was strong enough to listen to his inner wisdom about what was best for him, to move forward in the face of great resistance, and even to support his elders as they struggled with their doubts about what was best for him.

Trusting Your IntuitionAs I’ve reflected on the lessons Griffin taught me in this process, I’ve realized that what I do most in my role as a coach is to help my clients excavate their inner wisdom.

I say excavate because, for must of us, by the time we’ve spent a decade or two as adults, layers of doubts and fears – and even the “best intentions” of others – have covered up our Inner Wisdom. Getting in touch with it again can require a pneumatic drill and a few sticks of dynamite.

But if you’re one of those people who needs to excavate your inner wisdom and trust your intuition, here’s what I suggest you do:

1. Trust that your inner wisdom is available to you, every moment of every day.

Ask it powerful questions, like “What do I really, really, really want?” (There’s magic in that third really.) Always see every challenge as an opportunity and ask your inner wisdom, “What is this here to teach me?” Your inner wisdom will respond.

2. Flood yourself with memories of the times you were connected to your inner wisdom.

Most people have had many times in their lives when they knew what to do and the urge to act as very strong. But in a lifetime, those times may seem few and far between, and when you’re under duress, you’re likely to forget them altogether.

So get in a habit of “flooding” yourself with those memories so you’re more likely to feel confident in your inner wisdom when you need it most.

You might have to go all the way back to childhood to find the memories – especially if you’ve been in the habit of deferring your inner wisdom to other people’s wishes for a long time. But I promise, if you look you will find them.

3. Stop thinking. Feel your way into your inner wisdom.

The question you want to ask is, “Will saying YES to this path bring me closer to my best life? Or will it take me further away?” Then you will FEEL your inner wisdom either light up (your heart soars) or diminish (your heart sinks) by the prospect of taking action.

4. Always choose your inner wisdom above all others.

As you can see from Griffin’s story, the people closest to him, who loved him and cared about him, and wanted the absolute best for him, wanted something very different for him than he wanted for himself. Fortunately he persevered, and his inner wisdom got to win the day.

You will also learn that only you can know what’s best for you, and you will enjoy the freedom and happiness that comes to you as a result of acting on it.

After all, that’s what Griffin found out. Despite his teachers’ fears about how it would affect him when he stopped being the head of the class, he now knows he did the right thing by listening to his inner wisdom.

When he came home the day he won the election he said, “I’m glad I can show everyone that I am still a leader – even in the 5th grade.”

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Stacey and DougI finally feel like I’m back in my usual happy groove after 2 months of pretty intense holiday hullaballoo. As you can see from the photo, part of that meant getting some quality “Alone Time” with Doug.

For anyone who missed my big news over the last month, I acquired a prestigious literary agent. We met in NYC on December 19th and then agreed to defer any more work on my book until after the holidays were over.

We were back in touch last week and outlined this plan: Before she pitches it to editors at publishing house, I will rewrite the proposal and manuscript.

Both my agent and the publisher I met at Simon and Schuster felt that I have made the process – how to dis-identify with your negative thoughts and emotions in order to create true happiness and freedom – so much my own that I don’t need to give as much credit to Eckhart Tolle as I do. I need to “own” it.

I also have to keep building my platform (translation: attract more readers) in order to convince publishers that their resources will be well spent with me.

But first things first: Are you curious about how I got one of the top NY literary agents to offer me representation? I know when I hear about someone getting something I want, I always want to know how they did it.

And you know what I’ve found out? People are generally happy to share how they did what they did (usually they’re proud of it) and when asked in a certain way, they will often also reveal to you a shortcut to getting what you want.

In this week’s feature article I tell you exactly the way to ask so that they happily give you a leg up.

And here’s another cool thing: You can apply this principle to getting everything you want.

Stacey with her agent Stacey GlickYou see, Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

You know what most people want? They want to be seen, heard and valued for who they are. They want to know that their life matters, and that their work is making a difference in the world. (And they probably also want other modest comforts, like a nice bed, but that’s not the subject we’re dealing with today.)

Given that, it’s not that hard to give people what they want. And when you do so, that’s a perfect time to ask for a little something in return. Because here’s the really interesting thing: our brains are wired for reciprocity.

In other words, when we do something nice for someone else, they will want to do something nice for us, too.

When I decided I wanted to get my book published, I gave some thought as to how to do it. Most “Writer’s Market” type books suggest querying possible book companies or agents, but go to any publisher or agent website and you’ll see that nobody accepts unsolicited submissions.

So what’s a girl to do?

As I’ve mentioned before my modus operandi whenever I want to do something is to look to whoever has already done it and find out what they did. I really hate to reinvent the wheel.

My first step was to scour the “acknowledgments” section in all the books I love (and in a similar genre as mine) and see who the authors were thanking for “having made this book possible.” Guess who they mention every time? Bingo: their agent.

So for every author who thanked their agent, I took some notes, did a little more research and then them sent a carefully crafted letter.

I’m going to share the one I sent to Stacey Glick, who is now my agent – and is also Amy Morin’s agent.

Recognize that name? I offered to review Amy’s new book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, and shared it with you last week.

I was genuinely interested in helping Amy get her book into the hands of more people who could be helped by it, and, of course, I also did my usual acknowledgments-check too.

Here’s the email I sent to Stacey:

Dear Stacey,

I was asked by Jen Forbus of TLC Book Tours to write a review and help promote 13 Things. Even though I just received the book yesterday I’ve already been blown away by how much insight Amy provides into the habits that leave us feeling stuck and small, and simple, yet powerful practices for feeling happy and successful.

She also credits your belief in her for making the book possible. Since I feel so much positive resonance with her book, and by extension, you, I very much hope you might be interested in a book I’ve written: Pain Body Proof: Transform Your Negative Thoughts, Improve All Your Relationships and Enjoy More Happiness.

It’s about how to enjoy more happiness by identifying negative thoughts – and the behaviors they cause – with an entity called the Pain Body.

Eckhart Tolle first articulated the concept of the Pain Body in his New York Times bestseller A New Earth. Tolle described the Pain Body as an alien being that takes up residence inside us and prods us into negative thoughts and reactions in order to feed on our distress.

Unfortunately, most of the millions of readers of A New Earth have found the book impenetrable. But Pain Body Proof takes Tolle’s most revolutionary insight and turns it into an accessible, practical method for restoring happiness, repairing relationships, and building durable peace of mind.

Up until now mindfulness practices have been touted as the most effective way to train you to dis-identify with your negative thoughts and emotions. But as any practitioner knows, it’s much easier said than done.

My book adds a fresh perspective on this challenging practice because it makes dis-identifying easier. You learn to identify your negative thoughts with something outside yourself.

This crucial shift liberates you not just from the thoughts themselves but from the vicious cycle of shame, resentment, and defensive behaviors that negative thoughts can cause.

If you’d like to see the proposal and sample chapter, please let me know and I’ll be happy to get them to you immediately.

Thanks so much for your consideration, and take wonderful care,
Stacey

P.S. A little more about me: I earned my MSN from Yale and went on to become a certified nurse-midwife and a life coach. I recently left my 20-year career in nurse-midwifery – helping women give birth to babies – to help women (and some very cool men) give birth to their big dreams. In 2010, my critically acclaimed children’s book, Ravenna, was published by Grateful Steps Press. I led a maternal health project with Doctors Without Borders in a remote region of Mexico (with no electricity and running water), and gave birth to my son at home. I run marathons (5 so far and the Boston twice, with a personal best of 3:23), I work hard and I never complain.

Everything I said in this letter was true, of course. I admire Amy’s work, and I wanted Stacey to know that I understood the type of client she wants to represent, and I feel I’m that client.

Her response?

Dear Stacey,

Thank you for your emails. I appreciate the personal touch and it sounds like you are doing great work. I’d be happy to take a look at your proposal.

All best,
Stacey

From there we set up a phone conversation to happen the next day and by the end of that day I had a contract and was “signed.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

So what do you really want? And how can you help enough other people get what they want – even if it’s only appreciation – so that you can get it?

And when you’re pursuing your dreams, how will you avoid reinventing the wheel?

Answer those questions and you’ll be actualizing your dreams before you know it!

If you liked this post, I think you’ll enjoy the free weekly Special Delivery eZine. Just sign up here and it will be delivered to your inbox every Tuesday!

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13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

January 6, 2015

That’s a photo of me and Griffin on the slopes over the holiday! (Sadly, Doug got hurt on the first day and I hadn’t thought to bring out my camera, so we didn’t get a photo showing the three of us on the slopes – but his injury happened on the last run and luckily […]

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My Top 10 of 2014 and How to Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever (+ a free gift!)

December 30, 2014

That’s a photo of me and Griffin enjoying a lovely dinner at Landmarc in Manhattan after my meeting with my new agent and a publisher at Simon and Schuster! Yes, that’s the really big news I’ve been holding back – in the week leading up to Christmas I was “signed” by a top literary agent […]

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How to find peace, strength (and even joy!) in hard times

December 23, 2014

We’re just past the Winter Solstice, on the last days of Hanukkah, and tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I hope you’ve been having a lovely holiday season so far!! Griffin and I have been doing our best to spread as much comfort and joy as possible this season. The photo to the right tells part of […]

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What’s so fascinating about you anyway? (open up and I’ll tell you!!)

December 16, 2014

That’s a photo of me, Doug and Griffin at Griffin’s Holiday Piano Recital last week! He played Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker March so beautifully. The best part was the JOY, pride and satisfaction he felt after he was done. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s no better feeling in the world than the […]

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How Curiosity Can Solve Your Greatest Problems (+ I achieved another dream!)

December 9, 2014

I’m on the cover of the current issue of Aspire Magazine!! I still haven’t wrapped my brain around this momentous occasion! Yes, I created a very strong vision this time last year of what I wanted in my life by the end of this year. And yes, I took massive, determined action every day – […]

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How to Become Pain Body Proof (+ news of my book!)

December 2, 2014

That’s a photo of my family around the table before we dug into the Thanksgiving feast Doug and I prepared for the occasion. Usually we’re surrounded by a lot more of our family, but because of my dad’s health issues, we made our home the hub for a small but powerful celebration of our blessings […]

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the words you need most right now (+ two FREE gifts)

November 25, 2014

That’s a photo of Griffin and one of his BFF’s kicking off a 9-day break from school for their Thanksgiving vacation. It’s one of my great joys to see Griffin and his friends play for hours with their imaginations driving the fun. (My pic didn’t really catch it, but what you’re seeing is an epic […]

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how to increase the number of positive events in your life (+ Free Gift for You!)

November 18, 2014

That’s a photo of me and my dear friends Mauri and Jen getting a jump on the holiday fun! Griffin, Doug and I hosted our 11th Annual Thanksgiving Party. This gathering is one of the ways we choose to celebrate the holidays with our “non-belly-button” family and it was delightful as always. Speaking of my […]

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