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Life Makeover for the Year 2014

Week 15 – Wisdom from one of the most courageous women I know.

April 7, 2014

Greetings!

On May 16th and 17th, Reid Tracy and I will be hosting our annual coaching intensive called The Next Step in Boston, MA. The first day is for authors/speakers and the second is for business owners.  During these events, we spend from 9am to 6pm with twelve people who are ready to expand the audience for their work and are in need of strategic advice and direction.

Participants have received great results from The Next Step – thousands of dollars saved on misguided marketing plans; thousands of dollars earned from smart, new ideas; book deals, revamped marketing materials to better target the right audience, and much more.

If you’re in need of a fresh perspective, experienced guidance, a supportive professional community, and great resources that could help elevate your success, visit my schedule page for a link to more details for each group.  You’ll find it here.

 

Have a wonderful week!

Love,

Cheryl

p.s. – Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.

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Topic of the Week

Wisdom from one of the most
courageous women I know.

I’m in sunny Arizona enjoying a few days of R and R with my husband Michael and his family.  This morning I was sitting on the patio going through old blogs looking for one to rebroadcast, when I came across one I wrote last year about missing my friend, Debbie Ford.  As I read it over, I felt the pain of grief tug at my heart.

It was then that I remembered the paperback version of Debbie’s last book, Courage, is being released this week.  I’d written a special introduction for this new version late last year and I immediately pulled up the file to reread what I’d written.  Then I thought about whether or not to send it out as this week’s blog.

Just then a Grackle flew to the railing of my patio and let out such a loud squawk that I jumped out of my chair.  Then I started to laugh.

Only Debbie would send a black Grackle with a loud squawk to communicate her approval .

So, I’m following orders and sharing the story of how we met and how her coaching touched my life.  If you’re in need of courage (and who isn’t), I suggest you pick up a copy of Debbie’s book.  She was one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known.

Here’s the new cover along with my intro…

Courage by Debbie Ford

Debbie Ford was a warrior, a woman deeply committed to transforming people’s lives.  It seems fitting that her last book would be about courage. Her work was deep, confrontational, and emotionally cathartic.  Debbie embodied courage in a way few healers do.

I first met Debbie almost fifteen years ago during a conference where we both were scheduled to speak.  I’d heard of her and her shadow work and was curious to learn more.  On the morning of her workshop, I slipped into the back of the room and was instantly captivated by her presence.  She was beautiful, funny, and fearless.

Sauntering back and forth across the stage, Debbie was a gifted communicator, easily able to talk about subjects most people avoided – the pain of past trauma and abuse; the unattractive feelings of jealousy; the judgments held toward others; and the paralyzing shame of past experiences.  She knew these were subjects that, when ignored, prevented people from fully expressing their greatness in the world.

I watched as she challenged the audience to embrace these emotions and experiences with love and understanding; to own and accept all parts of themselves – the inner saint and sinner – in order to realize their full potential.

Debbie was all about transformation.  It wasn’t enough to accept success in one or two areas of life.  She went for the gold.  Debbie wanted her audiences to experience the healing power that comes from integrating all parts of themselves.  She was able to do what few coaches can – instigate a life-changing shift in perspective with her deep listening and willingness to name the truth.  And, using her infamous “guided inner process,” she had the ability to alter the course of a person’s life, often in minutes.

That day, during my first Debbie Ford workshop, I had a chance to experience her transformative powers firsthand.

While watching from the back of the room, Debbie engaged us in an inner process to help us uncover the gift hidden beneath a quality of character that felt objectionable.  By recognizing and embracing this negative quality, Debbie suggested, we’d be able to understand what this part had to teach us.  And with this wisdom, we’d free ourselves to move beyond a stuck place in our lives.

Back then, I’d normally leave a workshop at that point for fear of feeling uncomfortable or too vulnerable in public, but something about Debbie’s manner gave me the guts to stay.  I told myself I wanted to do the process to better understand her work.  Little did I know this small act of courage would have such a powerful impact on my life.

I sat quietly, closed my eyes and began to follow Debbie’s soothing voice.  I felt like she was talking directly to me.  She asked me to breathe slowly into my heart.  After several minutes, she then invited me to think about someone from my past who had displayed behavior I found distasteful.  I thought about a business associate I’d been involved with a few years earlier who I considered to be greedy.

Next, Debbie asked me to explore the qualities of this greedy person.  What did he say?  How did he behave? What did he do that made him appear selfish?  As I considered her request I told myself that this man took up too much space during conversations, he constantly made his needs known to everyone around him, and he expected people to meet them without reservation.

Debbie then invited me to find my own greedy person inside.  I instantly had a glimpse of myself as a young girl grabbing an extra dinner roll from the dining room table and hiding it in my lap.  I felt shame as I recalled this memory and it led to another where I’d taken a blouse from my mother’s closet and hidden it in my bedroom.  The blouse made me feel grown up and special and I wanted to hold onto that feeling.

Finally, Debbie encouraged us to consider how this seemingly reprehensible part of us might actually be a gift in disguise – a quality that, when embraced, might serve us in some way in the present. That’s when the force of her work hit me and I started to cry.

Until that point, my professional career had been centered on teaching self-care strategies – the art of making one’s needs and desires a top priority.  My work was partly based on my own struggles with self-care and while I’d been successful in creating more time for my life, I was back to feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  A full travel schedule made even busier with regular appearances on television was pushing the limits of my ability to set boundaries and say no.

As I explored my reaction to my greedy colleague, I suddenly realized on a level of knowing that surpasses the intellect, that he did have something to teach me.  I needed to embrace greediness in order to reclaim a new level of healthy selfishness so I could move forward with my career in a more balanced way.  I needed that greedy girl to step in and teach the adult woman a thing or two about speaking up, asking for what she needed, and expecting to get her needs met.

That simple process, over the span of a mere twenty minutes, did alter the course of my life and it’s an experience that’s stayed with me since.  Not only did I walk out of that room with the courage and confidence to set serious limits on my time and energy, I left knowing I’d found a soul sister with extraordinary talent and a beautiful heart.

That’s what Debbie does in her book – she gives you exactly what you need to find the courage and confidence to make the changes that matter.  If you’re ready for your own life-altering experience, then I encourage you to follow her lead by taking the steps outlined in this book.

Courage captures the sacred process that Debbie dedicated her life to – a process she would ultimately use to deal with the biggest challenge of all – the end of her precious life.

Yes, Debbie Ford was a warrior, an extraordinary human being who left a legacy that continues to help heal the world. Courage will introduce you to the warrior within.  And life as you know it will never be the same.

Bless you Debbie Ford.

(There are great folks trained by Debbie who are carrying on her powerful work like The Shadow Process.  You can learn all about the programs here.)

 

Take Action Challenge

A good friend of Debbie Ford made this week’s video and the message is a fitting tribute.  You can watch it here.

Life Makeover For The Year 2014 (sm) is written and produced by Cheryl Richardson. If you have any questions or comments, or for reprint permission of this newsletter, please email:cheryl@cherylrichardson.com.

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