Are You a Self-Help Junkie? (Part Two)

Laura Gevanter  Here is the second part of an interview I recently conducted with Laura Gevanter. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst already under her belt, Laura attained her Life Coaching certification from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching in New York City. (Her coaching practice is called Present Tense Coaching).  She is also the host of the Life in the Present Tense blog radio program.  I think you’ll find Laura’s take on the five reasons people get stuck with self-help interesting.

I had just asked Laura to explain the five reasons she’s identified that people get stuck using self-help.  Here are the other two reasons:

4) One size does not fit all.  How does this action feel to you? Does the thought of it make you excited or is it something you will dread? Another thing you see in many self help books is some sort of prescription for getting results. Keep a journal every night, visualize for 20 minutes each day, cut out all sugar, don’t eat after 7 pm, get 30 minutes of exercise everyday NO matter what. What is missing is that they usually don’t ask you how any of these things sound to you or what would feel better? Does it feel good to journal everyday? Does the thought of not eating after 7pm freak you out? If so, you are setting yourself up to fail which will put you right back where you started and why you got the book in the first place. You must only do things that feel/sound good to you. Or, if you do, do it, you will struggle with resistance because you are ignoring your intuition which is telling you “uh,uh…this is not the best way for us to do this. We need to enjoy the process because that is what life is really all about and why we are here to begin with”.

Here’s another reason why taking big steps might not work for a lot of people. Our brains are wired to initially resist any sort of change since it is part of the primitive survival mechanism. There is a part of the brain that sets off an alarm whenever you go veer off course from your usual routine. It’s like a thermostat that is regulated at a certain temperature. So, by taking small steps that are enjoyable, you are bypassing the part of the brain that is going to step in and tell you who’s boss and throw all your efforts out the window. Another thing about taking action that doesn’t feel good is that you are not in vibrational alignment with what it is you are trying to create, which will make it that much more difficult to attain if not impossible. You get aligned by doing what feels good. It’s really that simple.

And last but certainly not least….

5)Do you believe you can have/be/do this?  Now this is something that you will rarely see in any self-help book. The premise is usually if you want something you can have it. That’s not always the case. In reality you cannot exceed the level of your beliefs. Beliefs are just thoughts that you’ve had over and over again that you accept as truth and attract evidence of it.  So what happens is that you had an experience in childhood where you got embarrassed or failed at something and formed the belief you can’t do this or I am bad at that. Coupled with that, many people were told they weren’t good enough, don’t expect things to come easy, life is hard, etc.

So, we repeat these thoughts over and over again and they limit us in what we are actually able to achieve and succeed in. There is a ton of research out now about how our brains actually filter what information gets to the conscious part of our brains by what we focus on. So, if we have a belief that we are not good in social situations, our brain will actually go and find evidence of this (and let all that information get through and filter out all the times you were successful in social situations) therefore confirming your already faulty belief. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and most of us don’t even know this is happening.

You cannot exceed the level of your beliefs. You can look for evidence of this in your own life. Look at areas of your life that are working well and then take a look at your beliefs around this subject. Then look at areas that are not going so well. See the correlation here? What you can do is look at your beliefs around an area you want to change and see if they are still true for you. It is helpful to work with a coach on this, but you can also get really good results on your own by replacing those beliefs with new ones that serve you.

A great exercise to do is to take an outcome that you desire and ask yourself, “what would I have to believe in order for this to happen”. You’d be surprised what an eye-opening experience this is and how our beliefs can really keep us stuck. I really like the term belief modification rather than behavior modification which we so often hear. First you change your beliefs, then your behaviors will change. Not the other way around…

Greg: So now that you’ve identified these reasons which are very valid and help explain why many people may not get the results they desire, what’s next?

Laura: Well, I am in the process of writing a book, FOR self-help junkies about how to make any program work for them if they desire and I am also creating group coaching programs around this as well, as I feel people get much benefit from working together in groups in a supportive environment and I can also have a greater impact on more people than just working one-on-one which I also love. If anyone would like more information or to be added to my mailing list they can contact me at, or I’m also on FB and Twitter. And my radio show which airs on Wednesdays at 3pm EDT is

Are You a Self-Help Junkie? (Part One)

Laura Gevanter  Here is the first part of an interview I recently conducted with Laura Gevanter. With a degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst already under her belt, Laura attained her Life Coaching certification from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching in New York City. (Her coaching practice is called Present Tense Coaching).  She is also the host of the Life in the Present Tense blog radio program.  I think you’ll find Laura’s take on the five reasons people get stuck with self-help interesting.

Greg: I guess the best place to start is: where did these 5 reasons come from? What was the motivation?

Laura: I stumbled upon the term self-help junkie and immediately identified with it. I knew exactly what it meant. It’s the feeling that this newest, latest and greatest book or self-help audio was going to be THE thing that was finally going to get me the results I wanted. You read book after book after book and nothing happened. But I’m reading all these books, why isn’t my life any different? The excitement you feel is fleeting, but the adrenaline rush is habit-forming. You hear about a new book, go on-line immediately to order it and watch the mail each day till it gets there. You then devour it in one night.

Yes, you say as you turn the pages, by the time I’m finished with this book, my life will turn out exactly how they say it will on the back cover. And then you’re done. If you are like most people (myself included) you skim over the exercises (I’ll come back to those later) and breeze over the “5-steps to take to get you “there”. Uh, maybe, but not today.  Know what I mean? Self-help does not work. I then gave this some thought and came up with an explanation that really resonated with me (and others I’ve discussed it with) that without using the basic principles of the law of attraction, you will most likely not get the results you are looking for. I’ve identified 5 reasons why self-help does not work and how to get any program to work for you by applying these principles.

Greg: That makes total sense and I’m sure many people can relate to what you’ve experienced. So, I guess the next obvious question is what are the 5 reasons you’ve identified?

Laura: Okay, here goes.

1.  Most self-help implies that there is something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. If you look through all the book titles, you will inevitably find some area that you are “lacking” in. The issue here is that there is a “right” way or “better” way for you to be and that is can be “fixed”. You are overweight, out of shape, can’t get out of your own way, procrastinate, chose the wrong people in relationships, etc. If we come from a place of self-love and compassion towards ourselves we can chose to decide to create certain changes in our lives based on the motivation that it feels better than what you are currently experiencing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you are perfect just the way you are, unless of course, you decided to take action to become a different and from your perspective, possibly a better version of you.  Which leads me perfectly to the next reason, which is…

2) You can’t get to where you want to be until you are okay with where you are. To some people, this sounds backwards and counter-intuitive. If I am okay with where I am then how will I get to be where I want to go?  But I am NOT okay with where I am which is why I’ve purchased this book in the first place. Let’s look at it from a different perspective.  You’ve heard the expression what you resist persists, right? Well that is exactly what is going on here. If you don’t make peace and accept where you are right now, with all of your circumstances, you will continue to create/attract more of the same. You can move, change jobs, find a new relationship and you will basically be bringing the same energy with you and virtually re-create what it is you are trying to move past.

So, what this really means is accept that this is where you are, in a temporary situation and use it as an opportunity to get really clear about what it is you DO want. For example: You are in a job that you hate. You dread going to work in the morning. It is natural to say “ I am not okay with where I am, there is nothing about this job I like”. Now let me make distinction here. Being okay with something is not the same thing as tolerating something or telling yourself you need to accept that this is the way life is. Far from it. You are using it as an opportunity to clean up your “low energy” thoughts about it in order to allow what you really want to come into you life. The fastest, easiest way to do this? Appreciation. It will send your vibration skyrocketing.

Find any way you can to appreciate something about where you are right now. You can start with your commute if you have one, your co-workers, the hours you work, the office space, the food they serve in the cafeteria….you get what I am talking about. Make a list of any and everything no matter how small about what you appreciate. Once you do that and are feeling a little better about where you are…now is the time to make a list of exactly what it is you DO want in as much detail as you can as if you were putting in a custom order, because that is really what you are doing.

3) You are starting from a place of looking at and focusing on what is are lacking in your life, not what you do have that is working.  I cannot stress enough how important this is. If we seek out help in the first place, we are coming from a place that something is lacking in our lives, not a very good feeling place. We see something that we want and for whatever reason, are having a hard time getting there. I suggest that people start from a place of what IS working in their lives, what they have that they are grateful for and see where they are already succeeding. You will start off in a higher energy/vibration than if you were to look at what you feel is missing. What happens to many people is they read all these books, listen to audios and they become experts. Experts on what they don’t have and they start to put their attention and focus there.

So, they start a program all excited and after a while are not getting the outcome they want and feel like they have failed so they are in the exact place where they started and now they have evidence to prove it. When you look at what is going well for you as your starting point you see what is possible and the energy that you are putting out is from a feel-good place. I do have abundance in my life. I am successful at some things. I can create what I want in my life, etc.

Stay tuned to the this blog for the rest of Laura’s five reasons and our interview…

Have You Ever Felt This Way About Your Unrealized Goals?

Breaking-the-Mirror_SF  The following is a continuation of an excerpt from my upcoming book, to be released in late 2012 or early 2o13.

Eventually Splash recovers from her failure.  And, over the course of the next three years, she repeats this cycle eight times.  Each time, Splash feels a renewed enthusiasm and sense of commitment after finding yet another deep sea swimming instruction book or program.  And, again, each time, Splash wholeheartedly throws herself and all her energy into her efforts.  Each time, Splash unfortunately also finds that she has failed yet again.  And the time spent alone with chocolate ice cream increases with every failed program.

Adding to the very real fact that Splash has never been able to achieve her dream, with each subsequent failure she even begins to doubt her own abilities, her aptitude, and her resolve.  As the failures mount, any time Splash begins a new swimming program, she isn’t just trying to achieve her dreams, her self-worth is now on the line.  She is now also trying to prove to herself that she actually has capability and resourcefulness.  And, because of this, these cycles of defeat have the unfortunate side effect of creating a new, negative self-image for Splash.

After three-plus years of trying, and failing to reach her goal of being a deep-sea swimmer, Splash finally resigns herself to her fate.  But because that dream will never actually go away, her day-to-day life in her fish tank now lacks the same happiness and fulfillment it once did.  In order to not feel completely worthless, Splash is forced to adopt the following beliefs:

1. She will never stop wanting to be a deep-sea swimmer, but she isn’t worthy, on some level, of being one.  Deep-sea swimming must be reserved for the lucky fish who have wealthy parents, who have inside connections with the “right” fish, and are born with the right genes.

2. The books and programs promising to teach fish to be deep sea swimmers are all phony and nothing but alluring and hypnotically attractive lies, written to exploit the naïve dreams of little fish like her.  The only thing those books really accomplish is making these “snake-oil salesfish” authors rich.

3. Because she has desired to be a deep-sea swimmer so badly and worked so hard at it, her failure makes her incredibly angry.  It just isn’t fair that she can’t swim in the deep ocean like other fish do and she now has a bitterness toward life, and its lack of fairness, she’d never had in her younger days.

Have you ever felt the way Splash does?  Have you, too, ever had a dream for yourself – a goal or desire that you wanted more than anything else but have been unable to achieve?  If you’re like most people you have felt this way at some point in your life.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information about how to make those dreams a reality for you…