Category Archives: Self Help

How to Attract People You Can Count On

How to Attract People You Can Count On

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I aspire to be the kind of person that Mr. Rogers would be proud of.

The kind of person who gets dressed up — and shows up.
The kind of person that friends feel comfortable calling at 4am, with a genuine crisis.
The kind of person who never (ever!) cancels a commitment at the last minute via text message, without a trace of remorse.
I’m getting there.

I’ve noticed, though, that over the past couple of years, I’ve started to attract increasingly steady, sane & reliable people into my life. And (not surprisingly) this phenomenon is directly proportionate to my own ever-increasing steadiness, sanity & reliability.

Here’s how I’ve learned to attract people I can count on — including some of the language I use, to hold commitments in place.

❤ Lay down the law — with a dash of love.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but when you give people even a little bit of wiggle room — they usually take (advantage of) it. I know, because I’ve seen it. Annnd I’ve done it.

At the beginning of this year, I established a new policy for workshop registrations. It looks a little somethin’ like this:

Once you make your payment, your workshop registration is non-refundable.

If you are unable to come, you can absolutely give or sell your ticket to somebody else. If we have a waiting list for the event, I’ll do my best to help match you up with that ‘somebody’.

But, except for highly unusual circumstances (think: illness, divorce, heartbreaking catastrophe) I don’t offer straight-up refunds. Thank you for understanding.

It’s sensible, sane & humane. And, it helps me keep a rock-solid headcount for each workshop. WIN!

❤ Model the behavior you want to see.

Un-flaky people are attracted to their fellow un-flaky people. The easiest way to become … less flaky? Use resentment as a litmus test to guide you into projects & relationships that genuinely light you up.

When you commit to something you love, that’s a commitment you tend to keep.

❤ Use shame … sparingly.

Once upon a time, when I was a shamefully flaky 18 year old, my then-sister-in-law invited me over for dinner. In my spongy adolescent brain, this meant “come over, or not, it’s cool, whatever.” But to her, this meant, “buy a special organic Cornish Game Hen, lovingly roast it for hours, set out the nice china.”

When I texted (I know, I know, it’s heinous) to cancel a few hours before dinner, she was understandably upset. And she gave me a schoolin’ I will never forget. And you know what? Her shamestorm genuinely affected me. I resolved to grow up, on the spot.

❤ Trust the beginning.

Buddhists often say: “As in the beginning, so in the middle, so in the end.” Which basically means: if someone seems unreliable the first time you meet them, that’s probably how they’re going to be … for the duration of your relationship.

Of course, people do change — all the time. They change their minds. They change their jobs. They change their haircuts. But when it comes to deeply-embedded habits — chronic tardiness, disorganization, lying — people rarely change overnight. So the question becomes: how many nights are you willing to wait?

❤ Express your appreciation.

Mr. Rogers used to sign off his hand-written letters (and later, emails) with four simple words: “I’m Proud Of You.”

His friends, family & TV production staff completely adored him — and were deeply devoted to him, right through the end.

The lesson? Expressing your affection & gratitude inspires people to rise to the occasion, to stick by your side, and to bend over backwards for you.

I’m a big fan of tangible gifts (I’ve been sending out BirchBox subscriptions & Vosges chocolate, lately — people are rarely disappointed!). I’m also a staunch advocate for courageous compliments, unexpected love notes, and purposeful praise.

Try starting with: “I can always count on you to …” / “It’s so refreshing how you …” / “I really appreciate the way you …”

❤ Know what you want.

Is there anything sexier than clarity? Nope.

If you make precise declarations – “I’m looking for an assistant who knows more about WordPress than God himself, and can proofread like an English major hopped up on a gallon of green tea.” — then people have a chance to step up, and deliver.

If you’re vague & open-ended with your requests, well … that’s what you’re gonna get served.

❤ When all else fails: accept flaws & fold them into your rhythm.

Let’s say you’ve got an amazing friend who is chronically fifteen minutes late (to everything!) but incredible in every other way. You know what? You can probably handle it.

You can try giving her a deceptively-early arrive time (“Oh yes, it begins at 10:35am. Sharp.”) and then bring a nice book, just in case. She’s worth it. You’ll live.


How Much Do You Trust Yourself

How Much Do You Trust Yourself

How Much Do You Trust Yourself? by Cynthia Wall Please visit her website at

If you were frequently shamed, betrayed, or suffered significant loss as a child, you may have difficulty knowing when to trust your own feelings. This often causes simple misunderstandings to flood you with self-doubt. Changing old beliefs that undermine your self-confidence is a necessary step toward developing more self-trust.

Take the following quiz to find out how you balance self-doubt and self-trust. Give yourself a score of 0 to 5 for each statement. 0 means it doesn’t apply at all, and 5 reflects a thought or feeling that affects you often enough to be troublesome.

____ I often sacrifice my own needs for others.

____ I feel ashamed when I have strong reactions like anger, fear, and depression.

____ I worry there is something wrong with me, even if I don’t know what it is.

____ I am not as capable or “good” as others think I am.

____ I play down my mistakes, fearing others will think less of me.

____ I am out of control about food, spending, drugs, or alcohol, and too ashamed to seek help.

____ I often think I’m being selfish when I resent that others are not contributing what I think is their fair share of work or money.

____ I believe that others are more open and honest about what they think and feel.

____ I want to do something big, like write a book, go back to school, or relocate, but can’t speak of it or explore how to proceed.

____ I am afraid of failing this quiz.

Scoring: This quiz points to aspects of self-confidence you may want to strengthen or change in some way. It is not another means to fail! Wait a month and take it again. You will be surprised how much just taking this quiz can boost your self-trust. Here are what the numbers mean:

31-50 Distrust of yourself is destroying your self-confidence.
20-30 Indicates a level of honest self-doubt. More confidence would be nice.
0-19 You are independent and confident, but do you sometimes feel lonely?

Self Discovery Questions | The Process of Self Discovery

Self Discovery Questions | The Process of Self Discovery

Self Discovery Questions | The Process of Self Discovery.
Consider the following questions, one at a time, taking plenty of time to explore it fully. If the questions cause you to come up with more questions write those down as well so that you can go back and explore them. Use a journal to record your responses, feelings, thoughts, etc.

Questions for Self-Discovery:

Who am I? Outside of my role as parent/child/worker etc.
When I am alone all by myself, who am I?
What are my unique talents and traits I offer?
What am I afraid of and why?
Do I fear death? Avoid the thought? How do I handle the concept of Death?
What does it mean to be alive?
What person do I admire the most and why? Do I see these qualities within myself?
Which Person do I least admire and why? Do I see these qualities within myself?
What are my dreams? Do I actively pursue them?
What is my life purpose? Do I recognize my higher calling? If not why?
Create an image for your perfect inner sanctuary. Describe this place. What does it look like? Feel like? Etc. Bring it to perfect detail.

The above are just a small sampling of questions for self-discovery that can open up doors to new discoveries and inner peace. Work on these questions and see what other ideas/questions come up.

Self-Discovery Quotations


often say that this or that person has not yet found himself.  But the self is
not something one finds, it is something one creates.  ~Thomas Szasz, “Personal
Conduct,” The Second Sin, 1973

You have to leave the
city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll
discover will be wonderful.  What you’ll discover is yourself.  ~Alan

Never mind searching for who you are.  Search for the person you
aspire to be.  ~Robert Brault,

Man cannot remake himself
without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.  ~Dr. Alexis

The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as
long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.  ~Julien Green

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the
bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  ~Anaïs

The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes
purpose.  ~Richard Grant
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the
questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very
foreign tongue.  Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because
you would not be able to live them.  And the point is, to live everything.  Live
the questions now.  Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it,
and live along some distant day into the answer.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke,
Letters to a Young Poet

All men should strive
to learn
before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.

I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I
am in search of.  ~Michel de Montaigne

If you don’t get lost, there’s
a chance you may never be found.  ~Author Unknown

I went to
the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential
facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when
I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  ~Henry David Thoreau,

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and
returns home to find it.  ~George Moore

It is good to feel
lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is.  You
know that a place that feels like being found exists.  And maybe your
current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy
feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.  ~Erika Harris,

in the last few years you haven’t discarded a major opinion or acquired a new
one, check your pulse.  You may be dead.  ~Gelett Burgess

is frequently a form of indecision.  ~Elizabeth Bibesco, Haven, 195

Man never knows what he wants; he aspires to penetrate
mysteries and as soon as he has, he wants to reestablish them.  Ignorance
irritates him and knowledge cloys.  ~Amiel, Journal,

The man who views the world at fifty the same as he
did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.  ~Muhammad

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.  ~Wallace

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is
more distant than any star.  ~G.K. Chesterton, “The Logic of Elfland,”
Orthodoxy, 1908

If you resist reading what you
disagree with, how will you ever acquire deeper insights into what you believe?
The things most worth reading are precisely those that challenge our
convictions.  ~Author Unknown

It is only when we silent the blaring
sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth
that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
~K.T. Jong

I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered
myself.  ~James Baldwin

There are chapters in every life which are
seldom read and certainly not aloud.  ~Carol Shields

To the question
of your life, you are the only answer.  To the problems of your life, you are
the only solution. ~Jo Coudert, Advice From A Failure  (Thanks,

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand
ourselves.  ~Henry David Thoreau

A single event can awaken within us
a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born. ~Antoine de
Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from

In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.  ~Alice

Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle?
A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself.
~William Butler Yeats

If you haven’t had at least a slight poetic
crack in the heart, you have been cheated by nature.  ~Phyllis

Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time.
~Timothy Leary

I’ve left Bethlehem
and I feel free…
I’ve left
the girl I was supposed to be
and some day I’ll be born.

Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses
his misery.  ~Matthew Arnold, “Self-Dependence,” Empedocles on Etna, and
Other Poems
, 1852

To dare to live
alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their
bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.  ~Charles
Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1825

No one remains quite
what he was when he recognizes himself.  ~Thomas Mann

one of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character.  Blessed is he who
acts the Columbus to his own soul.  ~Author Unknown

a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either
good or sour inside.  ~Pearl Bailey

I can teach anybody how to get what
they want out of life.  The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me
what they want.  ~Mark Twain

He who knows others is learned;
who knows himself is wise.
~Lao-tzu, Tao te

must learn what life is now, not from me, but from life itself; but, if you will
hear an old man’s opinion, I will give it you.  If you think you can temper
yourself into manliness by sitting here over your books, supposing you will grow
into it as a matter of course by a rule of necessity, in the same way as your
body grows old, it is the very silliest fancy that ever tempted a young man into
his ruin.  You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge
yourself one.  Go out into life, you will find your chance there, and only
there.  ~James Anthony Froude, The Nemesis of Faith, 1849, commonly
misattributed to Henry David Thoreau