Do-It-Yourself Fixer Upper




Throughout history, great thinkers, writers, artists, and philosophers have debated the meaning of freedom. Everybody loves freedom. Everybody wants it. At least, that is a common assumption.
Yet, freedom is such an abstract concept, that if each of us were asked to give a detailed description of it—we’d all come up with a completely different image. Freedom means different things to different people. As much as we say we want to have the freedom to self-express and be ourselves,deep inside of us is a “do-it-yourself” attitude that we believe constantly needs fixing. We fix our bodies, our minds and our souls seeking the ideal version of ourselves. It appears we’re never satisfied. Instead of appreciating what we’ve accomplished in our lives, or allowing ourselves to feel good about our bodies, minds and spirits, we put our attention on all of the “unfinished” projects we believe will make us happier and more prosperous.
Yes, sometimes we look at ourselves the same way we see a project. How many times have you taken on self-improvement like a major project? Perhaps you started the newest miracle diet, or decided to take on the task of writing the novel you’d been talking about for years, or you took on changing a particular behavior that was causing you and others stress. You started out excited and feeling a great sense of freedom in your new growth—only to end up becoming obsessed and feeling your new found freedom slipping away. It’s like you took over the project of YOU with an all-or nothing or change the world attitude that ended up consuming you instead of bringing you pleasure.
Once trapped by an obsessive need to fix ourselves to reach our ideal, we find it easier to give up. We find it challenging to accept set-backs that occurred primarily because of our unrealistic perceptions when we started the “project”. We lose touch with what we were even trying to accomplish and we abandon the whole thing. Looking back to our initial idea, we can probably see that our obsession with the project was far more challenging and possibly unfeasible in the timeframe we anticipated. That’s because we over estimated what it would take to really make the change—we lacked the patience and persistence it took to remain focused.

Inevitably, the moment we run into trouble, we quickly give up and then search for a new self-improvement project that looks easier. We start all over and pick up where we left off—with a new project that we believe is it, the one that will be the fix.

It is frightening to think about how much money we spend a year in our do-it-yourselffixer upper lifestyles. When was the last time you spent thousands of dollars taking one workshop after another—or buying dozens of self-help books—or hiring a coach with no real clarity of what you needed and then found yourself “wandering” all over the map? Our fixation with perfecting ourselves leads us to wasting our money, time and precious energies. We are at the whim of every new miracle diet, the next personal or professional coach, the next person who tells us they can help us write our best selling novel, lose the weight, become rich, get healthy, etc.

Real change leads to freedom. The kind of inner freedom that lasts a lifetime and outside circumstances have little control. Here’s what it takes to really make the kind of change that is lasting—that will set you free in living a life filled with expressions of your unique talents and gifts bringing you inner peace and harmony.




1. Patience: The cultivation of patience is a prerequisite to authentic fulfillment. It is suggested that a quality of patience is like emptying the ocean with a teacup. Instead of being overwhelmed by how much water there is, we pleasure in each moment of filling the teacup.

Patience is a confidence in the heart, trusting in its own good intentions. And, confidence deepens our faith, which leads us to gratitude. When one is working with, rather than against change in whatever theme and variation, there is tremendous freedom in the faith that everything is allotted a certain amount of time. Long enduring patience is a timeless attitude that allows everything to take the time that it needs to be complete.

2. Self-acceptance: Without accepting that you are a naturally flawed human being, life becomes one of a battle instead of a life of bliss. Unconditional self-acceptance goes deep to the core of who you are. To accept this absolute love about oneself makes us immune to the demands of others’ approval, and gives a greater freedom to act in a way that is authentic. A person who accepts themselves does not sacrifice his or her own interests and desires in order to be admired, but rather strives to express their unique talents with out-flowing creativity. This self-acceptance means to be interested to know ourselves without avoidance, without denial, without disowning, without intellectualizing, without changing the subject. The ability to be aware in the fullest sense without judging or condemning or selfrepudiating.

3. Self-forgiveness: Self-forgiveness is the most difficult aspect of spiritual growth for the majority of people. For example, it is not always easy to forgive ourselves for putting ourselves in a situation that wounded us. Or, perhaps for something we did that was not good. Self-forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.




The next time you tell yourself you want to change something about yourself, make a different choice. Instead of quickly adopting the do-it-yourself-fixer-upper attitude, try trusting yourself to make real change over time. Set a clear intention that allows you to move forward in your desire for growth and improvement with patience, self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.

Take a teacup and begin emptying your doubts, anxieties, challenges, limiting beliefs, angers, frustrations, and any other human malaise that you want to shift from unhappiness. Empty them one teacup at a time and watch how your life goes from an ocean of tears and illusions to an ocean of possibilities, hope and trust that bliss is yours for a lifetime, anytime you choose.

The Shadow Brand: Four “Sins” That Can Shadow a Personal Brand

egoAt some point in your life, you have probably experienced shadows that haunted or frightened you. These were the shadows that followed you with an extraordinary hold on your fears and doubts. Perhaps there were shadows of your mind that troubled your sleep or caused you to hide behind masks, images and words that you couldn’t quite shake off. I call these masks “shadow brands”.
Shadow brands become thieves, imposters, victims or charlatans that work at destroying your self-confidence and making it more difficult for you to connect genuinely to your authentic voice. What creates a shadow brand? Shadow brands are any feelings of inadequacy you have that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. You experience it internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence or being a victim.
Typically, some of the inadequate feelings of shadow brands you can experience include:
You feel like a fake: believing that you don’t deserve success and somehow, you deceive yourself into thinking that you deserve less. You fear being “found out, discovered or unmasked” for the fraud you believe you are.
Attributing success to luck: when you do achieve any successes you attribute them to luck or to some other external reasons, and not to your own internal abilities. Typically, you say things like, “I just got lucky this time” “It was a fluke” and with the fear that you won’t be able to succeed the next time.
Discounting success: This is where you downplay your success or discount it. You’d find yourself saying, “It’s not a big deal,” “It wasn’t important.” Shadow brands happen with very successful, high achieving individuals — not just with individuals with low self-esteem. They linger around thanks to years of social conditioning  the pressure to perform and be responsible as the world around you believes you “should.”

Unfortunately, when shadows of inadequacies are suppressed long enough they begin to show up in the world in ways that makes others feel “less” “distrusting” or “easily swayed.” They become shadow brands that lead to living a lie, to covering up, and to a life that’s not real. Let’s look at the four most common types of shadow brands that show up in the world to destroy what is real, authentic and true.




1. A Thief Brand

The world is a market place of ideas. The thief brand preys on the world of ideas and blatantly steals them from others. This shadow brand can show up as being helpful until the ripe moment where they then steal the other person’s work as their own. Or, they sit back and watch others succeed and then jump on their coattails to ride the other person’s success without any intentions of making any real contributions. Worst yet is when the thief brand plots and schemes how they will steal other people’s ideas or work and sell it for less. What’s driving this brand? They don’t believe they are adequate enough to realize anything on their own. So, they look at what they can take from others generally through manipulation.

2. An Imposter Brand

The imposter is often found working hard at something in order to prevent others from discovering that they are an “imposter”. They believe that the hard work will lead to more praise and success, which perpetuates their fear of being “found out.” In feeling a fake, they often hide their feelings of inadequacy behind a phony smile and a limp handshake. They pour on the charm and tell people what they think the other person wants to hear. They find it challenging to stop talking because they’re afraid that if they do, others will ask the questions that will reveal they are an imposter that doesn’t really know. When they are asked a question, they usually switch the subject or revert the conversation back to the other person. They control everything around them in order to protect their inadequate feelings.

3. A Victim Brand

“Poor me!” they cry. “No one understands.” “Everything bad happens to me.” “I can’t make anything happen that’s successful.” The victim brand believes that nothing good can come to them. They believe that the world is either out to get them or that no one cares enough. They cave into their inadequacies and avoid displaying any confidence in their talents. The victim believes that if they actually believe in their intelligence and abilities that others may reject them. Therefore, they convince themselves that they are not intelligent and do not deserve success. This way, they can remain a victim of their shadow. 4. A Charlatan Brand The charlatan brand pretends to have more knowledge or skill than they have. They are a thief, an imposter and victim all rolled into one. This is the classic “con artist.” They out and out lie, steal and cheat others of their dreams, ideas, jobs, and dignity. The charlatan is a skilled thief. They are charismatic, charming and full of important things to say that they get others to listen. They are generally masters of language, skilled in political correctness, and in practicing the art of manipulation. The charlatan brand is more puffery than substance. Rarely have they done any of the things they tell others.




The thief, the imposter, the victim, and the charlatan are all shadows of the ego. That part of you that is always seeking gratification, stroking, ease, and recognition.

We’re all thieves at some point in our lives. We all want recognition, so we steal a little of everyone’s time to get it, even if it’s from someone who doesn’t know what’s going on yet. And we all play mind and word games when we are being the imposter. Our mind is a wonderfully clever, deceiving thing. It even deceives us to make us think we are being honest. We also play the victim because the mind is always looking for the easy way. If we believe what we feel, the mind will make us feel that the way of least discomfort and greatest gratification is the only choice. We lie to ourselves to justify the lie we share with others. The charlatan is a very skilled thief, who is an imposter, who justifies it by blaming it on the world or others.

Notable: How Do You Want To Be Known?

Think about it for a moment. If there was one problem in the world that you could solve or you would like to see solved,what would it be?
One person solving just even one world problem sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? For most of us, we aren’t prepared to live such a life as being the person, for example, that finds the cure for AIDS. The dedication of a biologist giving day-in and day-out to a cause that may or may not result in an answer or breakthrough in a cure, doesn’t appeal to most of us.

Instead, most of us think of our lives centered around doing a good job or living day-to-day. We’re more concerned with the daily tasks and routines of our lives than solving world problems. Perhaps we’re busy thinking more about keeping food on our table, the bills paid on time, taking care of household chores, raising our children, etc.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being dedicated to doing a good job, raising healthy and happy children, keeping food on our table, etc. It’s not likely that we’re all destined to solve the world’s problems on a bigger scale.

However, each one of us can contribute to the greater good of mankind and our Earth simply by recognizing that who we are makes a difference. It only takes one person to make a difference.
Making a difference everyday can be as simple as smiling at others or sharing a kindness. It can also be something so simple as finding inner peace so that you become a role model for others – like a beacon of light that guides others through the darkness. At the end of our life, we face the opportunity to review the life we lived and the love we allowed ourselves to experience – the love for ourselves and others. And, how much we allowed the world to love us and acknowledge the difference we made.
That’s why when thinking of your own unique personal brand ‘DNA,’ it is important to ask a different kind of question about how you want to shape and build your brand. Remember, some say that a personal brand equates to the sum total of every impression others have of you. So, doesn’t it make more sense to create a lasting impression that stands the test of time?




The question that you need to answer? Instead of asking the traditional question, “What should I do next?,” Focus on a more powerful question that can help you shape the rest of your ‘purposeful’ life that will create a world of greater meaning for you. Ask yourself, “Who Am I Meant To Become?”
There are a lot of ways to think through this powerful question. One way is to look at the differences you’ve already made in the world – the ones you feel good about. Along with that, look at the defining moments of your life – those moments in life that altered your direction, deepened your faith, acted as a powerful catalyst for change.

Personally, I have experienced a lot of defining moments that have altered the course direction of my life. Regardless of the outward
appearances, circumstances, tragedies, failures, and missed opportunities, one thing has remained consistent and unshakable that has been telling me all along “Who I am meant to become.” I have stood for, fought for, and even have been willing to die for ‘individuality.’ I have fought against ‘fitting in’ and against ‘performing for others.’ I’ve stood strong as an individualist
and have been guiding, prodding, shaking, awakening others into following their own pathway to individuality. That’s why personal branding ‘fits’ so well with who I am meant to become. I breathe, eat, sleep and dream of personal branding – believing that it is my calling, destiny, and legacy that I will leave behind.




What about you? Tell me, what is remarkable about you? How can you know what to do in life if you do not know ‘who you are meant to become?’ If, you don’t know what makes you remarkable?

Personal Brand Sabotage

personal branding

What can destroy your personal brand as quickly as you begin building it? YOU! That’s right. More than 60% of you have been exposed to the deadliest brand disease — selfsabotage. Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen – when we act against our own best interests.

Recognize any of these self-sabotaging behaviors?

• Ever started making something happen, then all of a sudden stop doing it even though it would have been OBVIOUSLY successful?
• What is it that causes you to DO something once an opportunity knocks, then you fail to say, “YES!”
• Ever KNOW all the right things to do…and still blow it?
• Ever reach your weekly goal by Wednesday and then take the rest of the week off?
• Ever have an important meeting (or networking event) scheduled and then seem to feel sick the day before so you cancel the meeting?




Are you starving yourself from achieving success?

Let’s face it! You just don’t wake up one morning and decide that you are going to sabotage your success. Just like the starving disease of anorexia, it’s a gradual process. There are warning signs that you are undoing the success you just achieved – that you’re starving yourself of success.

People suffering brand sabotage may experience some of the following:

• Read self-help literature but can’t use it to improve their own lives.
• Make much less than they’re capable of making.
• Expect themselves to be perfect.
• Find it easy to start projects and hard to finish them.
• Feel guilty saying “no” to others.
• Settle for crumbs even though they know they deserve better.

Aren’t you surprised at how badly some of us treat ourselves? The truth is, we should be our own best friend. Successful branding requires it. We should be undying supporters of ourselves. But no, instead we say things like:

• I can’t do that.
• I’m not good enough.
• What gives me the idea that I can do that?
• I’m not a good learner.
• I don’t have a degree.
• I never would have thought of that.
• …and on and on.

Why do some people succeed and other do not?

• Achievers consistently bypass internal, self-imposed limitations and negative inner voices that keep others behind. Achievers commit to a course of action and make subtle adjustments as needed.
• Others will do all it takes to get to the winning opportunity. Then, when the chance to succeed is presented, worry, doubt or fear takes over. This person unwittingly sabotages their personal power by focusing on lack and limitation. Or, they procrastinates in fear that success will be accompanied by isolation from friends or by overwhelming responsibility.
• It is better to overcome selfsabotage than to let it ruin your life. The first step, of course, is recognizing that you engage in it.
Then it’s a question of motivation: You can resolve to stop defeating yourself now . . . or you can put it off ’till tomorrow.
Here are some things you can do to help resolve brand sabotage:
• In decision-making, pay extra attention to long-range risks and costs. Stop thinking only in the Short term.
• Learn how to reduce your emotional distress. The miscalculations that can lead to self-defeating outcomes are more common when you feel depressed or upset.
• Admit to your mistakes and failures. Admissions of human frailty rarely lead to dire consequences.




Develop a sense of humor about your defects. We all have them. If you present your worst features to those who may condemn you for them, you take the wind out of their sails. Separate what you want from what others want for you – or what you think might please others. Give yourself permission to be who you are rather than what you think is expected of you.