Why doesn't hard work bring success?

Why Doesn’t My Hard Work Pay Off?

Why doesn't hard work bring success?One of my clients says that she “always has to work twice as hard for half as much.” Do you know this feeling? Or, maybe you even feel like you work really hard for no pay-off at all. This is such a frustrating piece of Learned Distress, the feeling we absorbed early in life that there’s something wrong with us being exactly the way we are. It’s something I’ve dealt with quite a lot, myself.
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Man questions his negative patterns

Why Does _________ Keep Happening for Me?

Man questions his negative patternsDo you notice patterns in your life? Is there a certain thing that just keeps happening? It could be good, like making friends easily, completing tasks quickly, or something as small as having “good parking karma.” But, I bet that’s not what you thought of first. You probably thought of some negative pattern you see in your life, whether it’s in relationships, health, career and achievement, personal expression, or some other aspect of your daily life.
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How a man's dream brings about greater comfort in greeting new people.

Strip Poker as a Vehicle for Change

How a man's dream brings about greater comfort in greeting new people.Well, not real strip poker. First of all, it was in a dream, and second, it was only my client stripping, ordered to do so by a sniper. In Quanta Change, the worse the dream, the bigger and better the change. So, you can imagine how much anticipation I had for this client’s potential good change. And, I’m happy to say that my anticipation turned out to be fulfilled.
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Are you being too humble?

Can You Be Too Humble?

Are you being too humble?Humility is a great thing, right? “Being humble is a virtue.” “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” Actually, I think that message is not meant for everyone. What about those of us who humble ourselves out of the picture entirely?

You know who you are. Someone pays you a legitimate compliment, and you find a way to downplay it or dismiss it. Someone asks for volunteers to lead, and even if you think you have the best skills for the job, you shrink back and let someone else step forward. When it comes to speaking up for yourself, you inexplicably find your voice squelched internally. You have a good idea for something, but you just can’t put it out there in the world. If you’re some kind of entrepreneur, you are horrible at self-promotion. Maybe you’ve even tried to step forward many times, and you have found that it just doesn’t work or that you even get negative feedback when you do.

Maybe, you say, it’s just my role in the world to be in the background, to serve those who are meant to be in the spotlight. People certainly do need to fill every kind of role in the world. Not everyone can be a prima ballerina. There also need to be chorus dancers, musicians filling the pit, people selling tickets, ushers leading people to their seats. But, it’s not really that external, structural role I’m talking about. It’s an internal, energetic sense of knowing that we matter, that our voices matter, and that the world is a better place when we freely and openly share ourselves with the world. And, I bet that you’ve met many a person who plays a supporting role in the world and yet who lives their uniqueness loud and proud.

So, why are some of us such wallflowers? Why do we find it so hard to speak out, even when we know it’s the right thing to do? It all goes back to how we fit with our surroundings early in life. From conception until the age of 2 1/2, we’re constantly learning in a really specific and different way than we often think of learning. Rather than learning information and how to do things in an intellectual, cognitive way, we are just sponges before age 2 1/2, absorbing how it feels to be human. This “sensory learning” time puts into place our sense of self, which is how we feel about being ourselves and how we feel that we need to be to survive on the planet.

This sensory learning time was meant to grow the core of who we are, which I call natural well-being. We were meant to absorb the feeling that it’s good being human and use that absorbed feeling to enhance and develop our uniqueness. But, because people don’t feel good around us every moment, and because sponges can’t be choosy in what they absorb, we also took in the feeling that there’s something wrong being human, and our little sensory sponge brains took it personally. These negative feelings became the sense that “there is something wrong with me.” This Learned Distress becomes embedded in our sense of self, and it becomes the automatic, generating force behind our negative moments. To cope with the Learned Distress, our brains form survival mechanisms to control or otherwise deal with it. This is where being too humble comes in.

Our Learned Distress and survival mechanism develops as sort of a puzzle piece that allows us to fit well with our parents and other surroundings. For some of us, fitting well means keeping ourselves, our opinions, what matters to us, under wraps. “What’s safe is to be quiet and hidden.” For some people, that’s most of it. “As long as I keep myself under control and hidden, I’m OK.” Others must not only keep themselves hidden, but then work hard to make sure everyone else approves of them. Either way, survival depends on keeping what matters most to us under wraps. And, the part of us that stores the survival mechanism isn’t open to rational-level change, so we can’t think our way out of it, even when we know it isn’t good for us.

When I start working with clients on this issue, I ask them, “What if everyone wins when you openly share what really matters to you?” This often elicits one of two responses—either laughter and disbelief or anxiety and fear. Either way, I know that I’ve hit the right button. Their survival mechanism is speaking up and saying, “Don’t listen to her. That’s not possible, and it’s not good for you.” My brave clients start working with this concept, anyway, telling their brain what they want it to change for them during sleep, when change on the level of how we feel can actually happen.

The results are really fun to watch. They say things like, “Someone gave me a compliment at work, and instead of deflecting it, I just said thank you, and it felt so good!” Or, “Instead of staying silent through one more house move, I spoke up and shared how horrible our past moves have been for me and how I thought this one should work. To my surprise, my husband thanked me for sharing what he hadn’t even known about our past moves, and then he asked me to create the plan for this one.” In this latter case, this couple had the smoothest move of their lives, and my client felt that she mattered more than ever before.

Does any of this sound familiar? Are you “humbling yourself right out of the picture”? The world needs everyone’s unique voice, and that includes yours! I hope that you’ll consider that there really is such a thing as being too humble and think about what good could happen when you come out of your comfortable hiding place.

Change While You Sleep…Really!

Dreaming womanI know. It sounds way too good to be true. When I first heard about Quanta Change, I thought, “Yeah, right. Whatever.” But, I was intrigued enough to explore it, and 13 years later, I’m telling you from personal experience and having watched it happen for so many clients…change during sleep is not only possible, but sleep is actually the key to deep, lasting change.
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You don't have to know everything

You Really Don’t Have to Know Everything

You don't have to know everythingOne very typical fear that I talk with my clients with a lot is the feeling that we have to know everything. Or, at least, the feeling that we have to seem to know everything.

Have you ever pretended that you knew something when you really didn’t? I’m raising my hand here. I’ve done this a lot! Someone talks about something I’ve never heard of, and I just nod my head knowingly. Thanks to the internet, I can quickly look it up once I’m alone. (How did I even survive pre-internet?!) Does this sound familiar to you?
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We can rely on our own well-being

Find the Wings of Your Well-Being

Quanta Change helps you find the wings of your well-beingA bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings. ~ Unknown

The issue of trusting ourselves or trusting our own inner resources is something I talk about a lot with my clients. As human beings, we each have our own version of the “branch” that we sit on. And, while the bird might not be afraid of the branch breaking, we are downright terrified of our branches failing us.
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Little girl in sandbox

How Dreams Can Clean up Our Biggest Messes

Little girl in sandboxWhen I tell people that the real work of Quanta Change takes place in their dreams, they have a hard time believing me at first. But, it’s true.

Dreams are the time when the sense of self recharges. The sense of self stores how we feel about being ourselves, and the only time it is open to permanent change is during the recharging time of sleep. So, with the catalyst of the Quanta Change Sensory Message playing at night and a client’s daytime shifting work to tell their brain specifically what they want to change, this big change does actually take place while they dream.
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I don't matter is a feeling generated from within.

You Matter. (Easy for Me to Say)

I don't matter is a feeling generated from within.The feeling of “I matter” is one of the most important and prevalent issues I address with my clients. To say it another way, the feeling of “I don’t matter” is at the heart of a great majority of our negative issues as human beings. It’s the generating force behind nearly every relationship conflict, personal or professional. It’s also often a major factor in difficulties with achieving goals. When we feel that we don’t matter, then whatever goals we might want to reach don’t take precedent when our moments and situations are generated.

“I don’t matter” is a tricky thing to address. We gauge the level at which we matter mainly by how others respond to us and treat us. So, when I start working with someone on their feeling that they don’t matter, they almost always want to work on mattering to someone else or to other people, in general.

But, as with everything in life, our moments and situations are generated from within. So, any moment in which we feel like we don’t matter is initiated from within our own sense of self, even if it seems like it is being caused by someone else. We feel like we don’t matter, so our brains generate moments in which we get to feel that, over and over and over again. This never excuses someone else’s bad behavior, but we can only work on our own stuff, and you would be surprised by how much someone else’s behavior towards us can change when we change.

You might think that someone else telling us we matter could somehow overcome our feeling that we don’t matter. But, our sense of self—the part of us that stores how we feel about being ourselves—is a closed system. It doesn’t interact with the outside world. It just stores how we feel and generates moments and situations based on those feelings. It’s a one-way street. No matter how much someone else contradicts our own negative feelings, no matter how strongly or often they do it, their sentiment never makes it into our sense of self. We may feel better momentarily, but the feeling that we don’t matter always floods back in.

So, because this mattering issue has to come from within, I’ve had to help my clients carefully phrase how they tell their brain that they want to feel that they matter. Using the phrase “I matter” by itself usually causes the brain to fill in “to ________.” So, we use phrases like “have what really matters to me,” “express what really matters to me,” and “achieve what really matters to me” to trigger natural well-being to be uncovered and come to the surface.

What’s so great about the changes that come about internally through Quanta Change is that the brain starts generating moments based on this feeling of “I matter.” So, just as someone never worked hard to live out a situation in which they felt like they didn’t matter, the “I matter” situations begin to happen effortlessly. One client last week had a really dramatic change in this way. She said that for the first time in her life, a man had listened to what she had to say and said that he really cared about doing things in a way that felt good to her.

Have you ever had other people tell you that you matter over and over again, but you just can’t take it in or really believe it? Or, are you someone who continually gets the feedback that you don’t matter from every direction? (Or, maybe you feel like you’re a bit—or a lot—of both.) I hope you can understand that feeling that you matter is an inside job, and that shifting that feeling for yourself really can make monumental differences in how your life works.

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.

Why “Weird” Is One of My Favorite Words

Personal transformation can feel really weird.“This is so weird. I really should be upset what happened at work, but I’m just not.” This is a direct quote from a client session yesterday, but I’ve heard it many times before from other clients. In fact, “weird” is one of the buzz words I tell people to look out for as a way to take notes on their own Quanta Change process between sessions with me.

This weirdness takes many forms: a lack of anger, anxiety, or sadness about issues that usually are big triggers; a greater sense of ease in performing tasks that are normally difficult; a sense of momentum for getting things done where someone normally procrastinates; an ease in speaking up for oneself or expressing what matters to them; a big change in how people treat my client or respond to them, without my client having taken any action towards that goal.
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