Audio Blog: Reclaim Your Life

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

 

Is ego, fear, or someone else’s vision keeping you stuck?

You are the expert, master, and keeper of your life.

What are your guiding philosophies?  Are you functioning from a place of blame, entitlement, lack, fear, and greed? Or from a position of responsibility, abundance, wealth, courage, and charity? And I’m not talking about money – but rather about strength, purpose and meaning.

Maybe your mind is scattered and unfocused, or it seems too late to change course now.

Maybe you forgot to ask questions and push back a little along the way. Perhaps what you want seems unobtainable. Maybe you’ve never been a lucky person, or there’s too much burdening you to see the possibilities.

Our perspective is much like a camera lens.

Sometimes we need to stop to adjust the filter, focus, or breadth of what we see. When the inner critic speaks louder than the voice of reason, self doubt sounds like the gospel truth. When hopelessness reigns as the Queen of your mental castle, it’s time to step back and adjust the lens.

1. Focus. Adjust. Zoom.Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Switch the lens.

If what you want is to be happy, focus your energy and attention on the people, places, and experiences that lead you to feeling happy.  Doing this for just 30 seconds, five times per day, can change your brain structure and chemistry so that it’s easier to see the bright side of things.

If what you want is to be free, adjust the expectations, to-do’s, and beliefs that imprison you. What can you take off your plate, delegate or reprioritize?

If it’s love you seek, look at the bigger picture. Reach for the wide lens. You could be missing something, or someone, who’s right in front of you.

2. When you hear your inner monologue sweetly sabotaging your dreams, question it and correct it.

Ask, “What evidence do I have to support the idea that I can’t do it?” Then, flip it around and ask, “What evidence do I have that I CAN do it?”.  And, “What information do I need to make that dream happen?”.

3. Start with a top ten list.

Name your top ten most enjoyable activities – where you get lost in the flow, 10 people who inspire you – who you’ve learned from or have felt something change in your life because of them, and 10 things you can do so naturally that you can complete them without even thinking about them.

4. Identify your hidden values.

Notice overlapping activities, skills, or interests in your lists.  Cherish this crucial information as the foundation for beginning to reclaim your life. Now you are building, growing, grounding, and changing. Set one micro-goal for each day to get closer to your dream.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach5. Remind yourself you can do this.  Commit to staying THIS course.

When you commit to daily actionable steps toward your dream, you steadily move toward achieving them.  Envision your best self.  Embrace your unique strengths. Trust you have the drive and wherewithal to see them through. Clarify your intentions daily. Watch your life evolve.

“Your field of focus determines what you find in life.” T. Harv Eker

Start Your Day Right: 3 Tips for the Perfect Journal Entry

Heather Edwards JournalStart your morning right with a journal entry. They say the day is shaped by the tone of your morning ritual. So make it productive, uplifting, and grounding.

There are many benefits of journaling. It’s an emotional cleanse, a refocusing on the positive, and a reminder of your purpose and vision.  Try these tips to maximize the potential for your day and to keep you on target with your goals…

  1. How I’m feeling today: Take a moment to check yourself – emotionally, spiritually, physically.  What are you experiencing in this moment. This keeps you present and grounded in the moment – and real with yourself.
  2. What I’m grateful for: The power of gratitude is mind blowing – and expanding. Studies have shown that positive thinking changes your brain so that it becomes easier to naturally notice the good unfolding around you. Take stock of the many gifts you already possess.
  3. My intention for the day, week, next few months and years: This is where I sort out my to do’s, the nitty gritty, and indulge my dreams. It keeps me on track in a realistic way and allows me the mental space and freedom to explore something bigger.

Heather Edwards JournalJournaling gives you a safe place to express your feelings. We know that internalized emotions cause a variety of problems including inflammation in your body, aches and pains, high blood pressure, migraines, and exacerbation of current illnesses, just to name a few. It can also affect relationships, career, and mood. So release those emotions. Reflect on them objectively when you see them on the written page. Make needed adjustments.

Gratitude and hope affect the neural pathways responsible for a good mood. When we take a moment to reflect on what’s going right, we affect our chemistry in positive ways. It’s motivating, inspiring, and healthy. It distracts us of from focusing on disappointments and frustrations.  Give your brain a break.  Consider those moments of gratitude a stress holiday.

Revisiting your intention refreshes your vision and releases all the things you’ve committed to memory, to the page. The more information we store in our memory, the more stress we create. So free up your mental space and take action on your priorities. Begin closing “open loops”. Unfinished business slowly drains your energy and focus in a similar way open apps on your smartphone drain the battery.

Heather Edwards Journal WritingBeginning the day with a journal entry helps reduce the mind chatter. It sweeps the clutter from your seemingly endless to-do list. It sifts out the dust and presents the essence of what’s most important to you. It allows you time to reflect on what really matters. So grab a pen and paper. It can change your life.

 

photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by nuttakit, sira anamwong, tiramisustudio

5 Tips for a Juicy, Gorgeous Life

Heather Edwards Life Coach

Heather Edwards Life CoachLet’s face it! You’re bored with the status quo. You’re an adventure-seeker-happiness-freak-self-improvement-junkie.  (No offense intended. I’m one, too!) So, put the needle on the record. Let’s pump up the volume! Here are five tips you can start today to create the life you want…

  1. Shift your routine. The same ole only maintains what you already have.  Mix it up! Stir the pot. If you’re reading this blog, you’re ready for something new. Identify one action that could change the outcome of your day. Decide to get up 30 minutes earlier. Start your day with a journal entry, meditation, or work out. Unplug at a reasonable time. Whatever you choose to enact will change your trajectory.
  2. Embrace one goal that stretches you. See it through.  What area of your life do you most want to transform? Some want to advance their career. Others focus on relationships. Even more want to lose weight. Everyone wants to find their soulmate, if they haven’t already. Identify what you desire most. Decide to do something about it. You have the power to create a revolution in your life.
  3. Heather Edwards Life CoachSwear by the best case scenario. Believe it will happen.  According to metaphysics, the  type of energy we put out, is returned to us. If you’re affecting energy in a negative way then, negativity is what you receive. If you are projecting energy in a positive way, then relish it. It will create positivity around you and help move your life forward. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” -Henry David Thoreau
  4. Silence the mind chatter. Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.  You are your biggest doubter and own worst critic. You notice more flaws and imperfections in yourself than anyone else. Shift your thoughts to the things you love about yourself. Notice the delicious possibilities for your future. Acknowledge your heart’s desire. 
  5. Abandon comparisons. Relish the goods that are you. There is no one else in the entire universe like you. That’s special. Most people fall into the trap of comparisons. For example, a lawyer might compare herself to a chef. A chef might compare himself to an athlete. An athlete might compare herself to a musician. A musician might compare himself to a doctor. …and all can feel less than worthy. Whatever the comparison, it equals self sabotage. Instead of looking for evidence of your shortcomings, (we all have them) practice gratitude. Imagine how much you would want the things you have now, if you didn’t already have them.

In the words of Fatboy Slim, “We’ve come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good. I have to celebrate you, baby. I have to praise you like I should.”. Check out the video below for a lil’ pick me up.  Remember to celebrate you everyday!

 

photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by stockimages

Corporate Culture: Survival in the Mean Girls’ Club

heather edwards corporate coach

heather edwards corporate coachWelcome to the mean girls club! Unless you’re ready to sail the seas of cheese, you’ve got to step up and ground yourself in what can be a gut wrenching work culture. Politics, alliances, agendas, clicks, personalities, micro-management, and worst of all – the blame game are just a few of the head trips that play out.

Where there’s position, power, and money, there’s competition, manipulation, and greed. So use these tips to stay steady and true to you. At the end of the day, it’s your conscience that allows you to rest comfortably in the arms of Morpheus (the Ancient Greek God of Sleep).

Boundaries: Recognize what you have power over. Focus on what falls within that realm and do your job like a pro. If you’re feeling angry, resentful, or exhausted it could mean you haven’t set a clear boundary. Get clear on your responsibilities. If you’re doing more, i.e. working late hours or taking on additional roles, request a meeting with your boss and ask for a promotion or raise.

Respect: Show your team respect. What you give is what you get. So pay it forward and reap the positive results. Say, “hello”, “please”, and “thank you”. Give your coworkers credit for a job well done. Give support in order to get support.

Communication: Be honest and tactful. This means delivering your message the way you would want to hear it AND actively listen to others. Use “I” messages with concrete, behavioral terms. Repeat back others’ messages to be sure you’re on the same page.

heather edwards corporate coachPeace: Do a mini meditation at your desk between tasks. This can take 5 minutes or less. Refocus your attention on your breath & body, notice any tension in your shoulders, neck, and back. Breathe into those places and recite a positive mantra like, “I can do this.”

Movement: Get up and take a walk. Go to the water cooler, bathroom, or do lap around the building. This will help clear your mind and get your blood and muscles moving. Studies show it brings a clarity and renewed energy to your work.

Nutrition: Eat! Too many people skip lunch at work. Your body needs fuel. Here in NYC there’s a fruit stand on almost every corner so there’s no excuse for not eating. Low blood sugar negatively affects mood, energy, and focus. Feed your body and mind. Plan accordingly.

Flexibility/expectations: Realize that your coworkers are human, fallible creatures. Allow a little wiggle room for grumpiness and don’t take it personally. Who knows what that rude coworker is going through outside the office. It doesn’t excuse unprofessional behavior, it just allows you some distance from their problems. If it’s intrusive enough, talk to HR.

Sense of Self: Know yourself. Create a dynamic life outside of your job. Take pride in your work but don’t tie your ego to your position.  Feeling purposeful, loved, and energized in other pursuits helps balance what can drain the life force inside the machine.

heather edwards corporatePersonal Mission Statement: On a fundamental level this is your constitution. It’s the solid definition of your values and vision. It keeps you centered and grounded. Now you can open your palm and unhand the stressful dynamics at play.

When the mean girls are blaming, abdicating, or excluding you, remember who you are and what you value. Hit the pause button. Respond, don’t react. At the end of the day, you’re going to sleep better knowing you did your best to honor your personal integrity. 

 

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by marcolm, Ambro, and stockimages.

10 Tips for Gaining Clarity on ANYTHING

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist Coach

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist CoachIf you’re anything like me you struggle with staying on task.  In this immediate-gratification-digital-world it’s a challenge to sustain focus on anything for any uninterrupted amount of time.

The average attention span is estimated to be about five minutes long for a two year old child, and up to 20 minutes in older children and adults.

Just guessing – but it will probably take you longer than 20 minutes of focused attention to achieve your dreams.  Try out these 10 tips for clearing and clarifying your mind..

  1. Establish a Morning Ritual:  What you do in the morning sets the tone for the day. Begin each day with 10 minutes of nurturing self care.  Stretch, breathe, meditate, or read a few pages of a self improvement book.  See how that “me” time can refocus your mind.
  2. Complete Any Unfinished Business: I LOVE this concept from David Allen in his book Getting Things Done, the art of stress-free productivity.  It applies to any area of your life.  The idea is that “open loops” running in your subconscious mind drain your energy.  Close them by completing unfinished tasks and increase your energy!
  3. Sleep. Eat. Exercise. Repeat.  Yes, you know it!  Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Eat healthy, balanced meals. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days per week. Strengthen your body and mind.Heather Edwards Coach Psychotherapy
  4. Create a Peaceful Place in Your Home or Office That Inspires You: When your space is organized and inspired, so is your mind.  Start reducing the clutter and clean up your space.
  5. Try Mind Mapping: This works especially well with creative types. Tony Buzan describes this in his book, The Mind Map Book – How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential. Using a combination of words, colors, diagrams, and pictures you can capture more of what’s on your mind and link it to actionable steps.
  6. Practice Gratitude Everyday: It strengthens the neural pathways responsible for positive thinking and an empowered attitude. Take 30 seconds a day to notice what you’re grateful for. Even better – write it down!
  7. Listen to Music:  A study at Penn State University demonstrated that listening to music improved mood, no matter what type of music was heard. Others have shown that upbeat music calms the heart rate, increases happiness, and reduces depression. A positive mood is a clearer one.
  8. Aromatherapy: Smells reportedly meet over 50,000,000 neural receptors located in the upper part of the nasal septum when inhaled.  They send messages to the limbic system via the olfactory bulb. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions, behavior, and basic thought processes. I use Lavender for relaxation and Wild Orange for feeling uplifted.Heather Edwards Coach Psychotherapy
  9. Structure Your Day: Having a schedule in your calendar reduces the amount of things you’re trying to remember.  The more you rely on your memory, the more psychological stress you create.  Once information is out of your brain and on paper, you can forget it until you need to deal with it. Now you can move onto other things.
  10. Manage Your Actions: Time management is a farce.  You can’t change time, but you can change your actions. Practice one or all of these tips and notice your clarity and productivity rise.  Make a choice each moment to engage with your world in an organized, productive way.  Own your choices.  Be empowered.

 

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Stuart Miles, samuiblue, Stoonn

The Ripple Effect: Your Power Source

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and CoachAmong the hundreds of people I’ve coached and counseled, there’s a striking and honorable theme. It’s one that prompts people to seek support in becoming their best self.  It’s one that guides behavior, values, and wants. It motivates their reflection, desire for improvement, and a genuine regard for having a positive impact on the greater good.

So let’s give credit where credit is due.  After all, that’s what keeps us going.

The theme I’m referring to is the ripple effect. Regardless of the particulars that bring people to coaching or counseling, clients share a common concern about the imprint they leave on society – their family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, clients.

This collective consciousness about their personal effect on what extends beyond their immediate reach impresses me.  So much so that it inspired my book.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and CoachImagine throwing a stone into a pond.  The impact of that first splash dramatically changes the surface of the water.  The point of contact immediately erupts. The stone sinks. Then, emerging upward is a driving force that defies the laws of gravity.

At first it creates one large ripple which cascades into other smaller ripples, softening as they extend out from the source.  Eventually they subside, homeostasis is achieved, and still water resumes.

That stone effected a broader area than just its entry point.  And so do you. You are the source of a ripple effect. That’s your power.

Whether you swim in a metaphorical pond, puddle, or ocean your imprint reaches further than what you see. – click to tweet!

Take a moment to imagine the ripple effect of any conversation you’ve had recently. Maybe you felt frustrated and annoyed when talking with a coworker. Your words were short and curt. That started a ripple.

You might not have seen it, but the receiver of those words felt it.  She may have carried it home to her daughter, husband, or cat who then passed the negative ripple onto others, random activities, and so on.

On the flip side, maybe you took a moment to take a deep breath, refocus, practice gratitude and instead expressed appreciation to your son, wife, or colleague.  That started a ripple.  What kind of cascade did that create?  That’s where you have immense power to create positive change.

When people feel positive vibes, support, and love they respond in kind.  They let their guard down.  They open up to conversation. They reciprocate the positivity.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and CoachAs an example, what happened the last time you complimented someone on the style of their hair or shoes? You probably received a, “Thank you!” and then a compliment in return.  How nice!  Now everybody feels good. When we feel good we’re more motivated to work, love, and engage.

The ripple effect translates to all areas of your life.  If you’re a boss, what happened the last time you expressed appreciation to your team for their efforts?  You probably felt a renewed sense of ownership and productivity.  You may have noticed better cooperation and teamwork on projects and an overall lift in morale.  If you’re a parent, what happens when you compliment your child?

It’s way too easy to feel bogged down and become consumed by the endless demands of our 21st century lives.  So take a moment to create a positive ripple. Look for reasons to do it.  Observe what happens. You are more powerful than you realize.

 

 

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by digidreamgrafix, Paul Brentnall, & aopsan

5 Tips to Reclaim Your Life.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and CoachIs ego, fear, or someone else’s vision keeping you stuck?

You are the expert, master, and keeper of your life.

What are your guiding philosophies?  Are you functioning from a place of blame, entitlement, lack, fear, and greed? Or from a position of responsibility, abundance, wealth, courage, and charity? And I’m not talking about money – but rather about strength, purpose and meaning.

Maybe your mind is scattered and unfocused, or it seems too late to change course now.

Maybe you forgot to ask questions and push back a little along the way. Perhaps what you want seems unobtainable. Maybe you’ve never been a lucky person, or there’s too much burdening you to see the possibilities.

Our perspective is much like a camera lens.

Sometimes we need to stop to adjust the filter, focus, or breadth of what we see. When the inner critic speaks louder than the voice of reason, self doubt sounds like the gospel truth. When hopelessness reigns as the Queen of your mental castle, it’s time to step back and adjust the lens.

1. Focus. Adjust. Zoom.Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Switch the lens.

If what you want is to be happy, focus your energy and attention on the people, places, and experiences that lead you to feeling happy.  Doing this for just 30 seconds, five times per day, can change your brain structure and chemistry so that it’s easier to see the bright side of things.

If what you want is to be free, adjust the expectations, to-do’s, and beliefs that imprison you. What can you take off your plate, delegate or reprioritize?

If it’s love you seek, look at the bigger picture. Reach for the wide lens. You could be missing something, or someone, who’s right in front of you.

2. When you hear your inner monologue sweetly sabotaging your dreams, question it and correct it.

Ask, “What evidence do I have to support the idea that I can’t do it?” Then, flip it around and ask, “What evidence do I have that I CAN do it?”.  And, “What information do I need to make that dream happen?”.

3. Start with a top ten list.

Name your top ten most enjoyable activities – where you get lost in the flow, 10 people who inspire you – who you’ve learned from or have felt something change in your life because of them, and 10 things you can do so naturally that you can complete them without even thinking about them.

4. Identify your hidden values.

Notice overlapping activities, skills, or interests in your lists.  Cherish this crucial information as the foundation for beginning to reclaim your life. Now you are building, growing, grounding, and changing. Set one micro-goal for each day to get closer to your dream.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach5. Remind yourself you can do this.  Commit to staying THIS course.

When you commit to daily actionable steps toward your dream, you steadily move toward achieving them.  Envision your best self.  Embrace your unique strengths. Trust you have the drive and wherewithal to see them through. Clarify your intentions daily. Watch your life evolve.

“Your field of focus determines what you find in life.” T. Harv Eker

3 Ways to Make the Law of Attraction Work for You

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach


Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and CoachYou got the inside scoop on The Secret.

You know that horrible dream where you’re in class and its exam day but you forgot to attend school all semester? You’re in a panic because you’re not prepared!  Well, you might feel panic now as you realize The Secret, on its own, doesn’t work. The universe isn’t manifesting your dreams without a little kick.

The Law of Attraction isn’t enough.

Hello, universe! You practice the Law of Attraction everyday – wishing, meditating, praying.  But you’re intentions haven’t manifested!  Well, it’s not surprising. What the experts didn’t tell you is that the Law of Attraction is only part of the better-life-equation.

There is power in positive thinking.

That’s been proven. It helps to restructure our brain and trigger the flow of feel-good hormones. No one can argue that! A positive mindset helps everything you do.

Neuroscience studies show that it prompts your body to function in ways that keep you healthy. Positive Psychology shows that being engaged in positive ways creates a sense of well-being and happiness. Both are necessary for success.

Awesome, right? But – where is your Corvette, book deal, or beach house??  Why isn’t  the universe delivering your intentions? You have clarity.  You called in very specific requests. But no one’s answering!

1. It takes more than belief – The Law of Attraction requires your engagement.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach

Realistic anticipation. Planning. Action. Flexibility. There will be obstacles and pitfalls. Be ready for them. Troubleshoot. Problem solve. Adapt. Consider what could go wrong. Explore those possibilities and prepare.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward.

2. Stress keeps you moving forward.

Healthy stress keeps us motivated.  When we visualize our future selves with our goals attained, it feels good but it reduces the drive we need to persevere.  It’s necessary to know the details of exactly what you want and how you’ll feel when it’s manifested – but don’t get too comfortable in your future-self-perfect-life-fantasy. Use that uncomfortable edge to keep focused and choose an action everyday to inch closer to your dream.

“A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” Hunter S. Thompson

3. The feeling is the reward.

Instead of focusing on the desired material, focus on the desired feeling. That thing you want might not bring you the feeling you want.

If you want happiness, focus on experiences and ideas that make you feel good. If love is what you want, focus your energy on gratitude for the loving people in your life and in the world. If freedom is what you want, notice when and with whom you can let your guard down and be yourself, completely. Brainstorm ways to manifest those situations and experiences.

Heather Edwards Psychotherapist and Coach“There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.” – Buddha

You have to believe to achieve.

The song, “When you wish upon a star” was written for Pinocchio.  Here are a few lyrics, “Makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires, Will come to you…Like a bolt out of the blue. Suddenly, it comes to you. When you wish upon a star, Your dreams come true…”

The sentiment is genuinely heart-warming.  But few can say they’ve received their heart’s desire by simply wishing.  Even Pinocchio earned his dream through acts of bravery, truth, and selflessness.

Now, back to class and the universe.  You’re not going to pass that exam, make Dean’s list, or get into grad school without preparation. That Corvette won’t manifest without realistic planning and actionable steps.  So get ready to actualize your dreams with the power of intention, persistence, and massive action. Go!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Space by Stuart Miles, Choices by Renjith Krishnan, Countryside by Dan.

Confidence Coaching – Empowering You

Confidence
New York Psychotherapy and Life Coaching

Who hasn’t experienced a knot in the stomach, a lightheaded feeling, or tunnel vision in the moments before a performance, important meeting, or unfamiliar situation? Nobody!  Whether you’re giving a talk, playing a song, or simply networking – stage fright is a very real thing.  Self confidence is at risk.

 It is stifling to believe you didn’t measure up or worse, you let someone down.  It can stop you from stretching to new heights and leave you longing for your safe zone – which might prompt a counterproductive step back to avoid the new challenge.

Create your intention.  Recall moments you felt fully competent.  Tap into that feeling emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and viscerally.  Allow your consciousness to absorb all those positive thoughts, feelings, and sensations.  Cumulatively, they affect your body’s chemistry in a positive way, and make it easier to stay positive and feel confident.

When negative thoughts are allowed to take over, the result is a sense of failure, defeat, and low self worth.  A stress reaction is triggered.  Here’s what happens – our sympathetic nervous system reacts automatically to a perceived threat, whether that threat is physical or emotional.  Our heart rate increases, pupils dilate, and adrenaline is activated.  Your body is in a state of alarm.

Sound familiar?  This is stress.  This is anxiety.  It’s also normal and natural.  If what you want is empowerment, then get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Without risk, nothing changes.  Reframe that unproductive self talk and identify the belief system creating the domino effect.  If its true that what you focus on is what you feel, then shift your focus.

Define who you are and where you’re going. Be in tune with your true self.  Attract new people and opportunities into your life with a self love and assuredness that may not have existed previously.  It is liberating and exciting.  Welcome insecurity and uncertainty.  They are necessary components of change and personal development.

Soothe that inner awkward version of yourself with your hard-earned wisdom. Embrace the collective knowledge and skills you’ve developed through experience.  Allow yourself to speak kindly and enthusiastically to your unsure self.   Own your dreams and aspirations. Acknowledge and release the stifling fear.  Believe you are good enough.  Breathe.

Confidence
New York Psychotherapy Life Coaching

Reassure yourself. Tap into your vision of your best self, or a trusted role model or mentor. Notice the behaviors & qualities that make that person or version of yourself valuable to you. Learn from them.

Remember that people in your audience today aren’t familiar with that awkward self who’s crying out for comfort.  What they know is what you present here and now, in this room, in this moment. Be mindful.  Every action you take now is a fresh start toward creating the empowered person you intend to be and want to project.

Notice YOUR strengths. Define YOUR values. Be PRESENT. Acknowledge your BLIND SPOTS.  Celebrate your WINS and VICTORIES everyday.  Take time to NOURISH yourself morning and night.

CHANGE in one small way this week.  Discover a new way to interact with your world. One that expresses and invites gratitude, generosity, and abundance. Notice the increased optimism and positivity it attracts.  This is a place where you can feel confident about being you and create the life you want.

Personality Type:  Know Yourself

Personality type has its roots in a psychological theory dating back to the 1920’s. The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875-1961) known for his work on the psyche, ego, personal unconscious, collective unconscious, archetypes, and dream analysis also developed the enduring theory of personality types based on psychological opposites.  Jung and  Sigmund Freud collaborated from about 1907-1909 addressing Freud’s mission of making the unconscious conscious through the practice of psychoanalysis.

Jung’s personality theory explains normal differences between healthy people.  He concluded that these differences in behavior stem from inborn tendencies to use our minds in different ways and can be influenced by culture, family, and the environment. Each of us possesses all six characteristics he defined in his personality theory, but we favor one or the other of each opposite.  His personality typology has been so enduring that it has current practical applications in career, leadership, relationships, and learning today.  So what are the six opposites that in combination define eight different personality types according to Jung?  Furthermore, what is their purpose?  Let’s start with Introversion vs. Extraversion.

Energy:

Where do we get energy?  According to Jung, one aspect of personality called the “attitudes”, are the psychological opposites Introversion and Extraversion.  In Jung’s typology, he believed that individuals gain their energy either from internal reflection and subjective experience (introversion) or from the outside world of people and the environment (extraversion).  These opposites interact with the “functions” of personality in gathering information and making decisions.  Together, they create a dynamic individualized way of experiencing and interacting with the world.

Information:human resources image

How do we gather information?  The four dichotomous “functions” of personality are Sensing vs. Intuition, and Feeling vs. Thinking.  Sensing types tend to focus their attention on concrete information obtained from using all five senses – touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell.  Intuiting types tend to focus their information gathering on the big picture inferred from the five senses.   They tend to abstract information and use imagination and concepts.

Decisions:

How do we make decisions?  Those who prefer Feeling vs. Thinking tend to be compassionate and value driven. They tend to use their energy and information in ways that promote harmony and practice empathy, considering the feelings of others in decision making.   Those who prefer Thinking tend to be analytical and objective in making decisions.  They take a step back from the situation and evaluate the facts.

“The four functions are somewhat like the four points of the compass; they are just as arbitrary and just as indispensable. Nothing prevents our shifting the cardinal points as many degrees as we like in one direction or the other, or giving them different names…but the one thing I must confess: I would not for anything dispense with this compass on my psychological voyages of discovery.”C.G. Jung, Psychological Types

Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers made Jung’s personality theory their life’s work in developing the most widely studied and used assessment of personality type.  It is called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  It is based on Jung’s eight patterns of personality type.  Briggs and Myers added another dimension to the theory to determine which of the opposites are dominant and also extraverted into the environment.  It is the Judging vs. Perceiving function.  It expanded the theory to 16 personality types, all of which explain the way we get energy, gather information, make decisions, and interact with the outside world.

Dealing with the outside world:Man shaking hand

People who prefer Judging tend to be structured, organized and plan ahead.  People who prefer Perceiving are more spontaneous, open ended, and comfortable with last minute changes. These combined with the other “functions” and “attitudes” determine which of the psychological processes is dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior – or are varying levels of consciousness and unconsciousness, and which is extraverted.  Together, they form the gestalt of the multi-faceted 16 types of personality.

ENTJ is an example of a personality type based on Jung’s theory and the MBTI assessment.  It means the “attitude” is Extraverted, the “functions” are “Intuiting” and “Thinking”, and the way one deals with the outside world is “Judging”. Jung emphasized that one type is not better or worse than another type.  It is different.  Understanding those differences benefits the user in many ways.

In plain terms, according to Isabel Briggs Myers, Introduction to Type, Sixth Edition, an ENTJ tends to be “frank, decisive, assume leadership readily.  Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems.  Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting.  Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.”  

Knowing your type gives you the information you need to understand the way you interact with others and thus, the way others interact, too.  It sheds light on the best ways to listen, gather, share information, and accomplish your goals.  When enlightened with the knowledge of “what makes you tick”, you also gain insights into what makes others tick.  This is invaluable information across the roles you play at work, home, and in personal development.

Jung’s legacy continues on in corporate environments, marriage therapy, and life coaching – among those seeking to better understand and leverage their personality type. As a Certified MBTI Practitioner, I’ve witnessed the profound personal growth and positive change created through increased self awareness and acceptance discovered through this process.

 

 

“1st Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

“2nd Image courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

“3rd Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.