Opportunity for Action

When opportunity knocks, do you open the door or complain about the noise? Opportunity is often a matter of perception. In our vision of the world is the image of ourselves. It may seem like some people have all the luck, which is often not a random act, but a time when preparation and opportunity come together.

Although opportunity is often a result of what we create, we must first recognize it to thus tap into it. The world is full of abundance and while water may be everywhere, so many fish in the sea are dying of thirst. Missed opportunities are obvious to the masses, for once a possibility manifests, reality requires mere observation of what might have been.

To recognize opportunity one must be a possibility thinker and also have the ability to predict patterns and trends. For example, at a time when most people are losing their life’s savings in the stock market, my son’s guidance gave me returns that no stock broker has ever accomplished for me. It is simply his ability to predict trends, observe patterns, and change his thinking as the economy shifts from a bull to a bear market. Crisis is opportunity in disguise but only for those who define it as such.

For example, George Soros, a hedge fund manager whose team of analysts made him millions during the bear market of the 70’s, fired his staff in the early 80’s when he predicted a bull market. The reason was because he feared they would not change their thinking. The choices that create wealth in a bear market are not the same strategies required for success in a bull market. In a bull market, when stocks fall one buys with the assumption they will go up. In a bear market, one must resist the temptation and break free of conditioned responses and behavior that was previously rewarded.
Recognizing opportunity is dependent upon your ability to scan the environment, for opportunities are everywhere, but we need to recognize them, see the potential, create a strategy, an action plan, and then muster the courage to take the risks necessary to move it forward.

However, it may not be as much a factor of what you do, but what you must not do. One of the reasons people don’t see opportunity when it is painted on a billboard and screaming louder than thunder is because of limited thinking and cerebral myopia. Often times, it may be due to negativity, but it may also be due to simply not being visionary and seeing the big picture. Unfortunately, creativity is often stifled by our education system. Corporations tend to be risk adverse, and yet calculated risk taking is essential for opportunities created by innovation. In other words, when you find yourself in deep water, become a diver!

Learning to dive has become crucial to my survival. While left brain people are often too cautious and are snagged by analysis paralysis, right brain people can tend to dive into deep water before learning how to swim. Being an off-the-chart right brain optimist, everything appears to be an opportunity when, in fact, it may be a serious derailment. For example, I bought a dozen pay phones although given fair warning not to do so. From the crooks who sold them to me, referred to as the Cuban Mafia, to the installer who collected his fees but never did the job, it was proposed residual income that had a tainted residue.

When I moved to North Carolina in 1997, being a realtor seemed to require simply taking orders, so, of course, I became a licensed realtor. There have been dozens of MLMs or multi-level marketing opportunities. While the concept is great, and many of the products were useful, once again it was another distraction from my doing what was meaningful and purposeful for me.

A former husband’s embezzlement was also disguised as opportunity as was a stock broker who, because I took action, is now selling ice cream instead. No, it’s not your neighborhood Dilly Bar Man! Then there were the opportunities that got washed away by hurricane Fran, but were sold to me by a realtor who had previously been imprisoned on felony charges. More recently I loaned money to a private investor because he guaranteed very competitive interest rates and even backed up the loan with real estate that, wouldn’t you know, went into foreclosure. The point I am making is that PROMISES ARE NOT OPPORTUNITIES.

Because of my random lust for opportunity, I squandered not only years of my life but also my life’s savings chasing the next promised opportunity. I had lost millions of hard-earned dollars. No sugar daddies and no winning the lottery! The more I lost, the more fear and desperation sought opportunity that was promised by every slick sales person I encountered. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but not when it is music that makes you want to dance.
Upon moving to North Carolina and leaving behind a very lucrative psychotherapy practice, I had built a lovely home which is referred to as Edie’s Mansion on HGTV or the Home and Garden channel. It must be their big hit as they have been showing it for years! It is still not sold. And although I could be living in the mansion, since I am paying the mortgage but the renter tends to forget to put the check in the mail, I am often sleeping on my modest 19-foot boat while renting out my cottage on lovely Lake Norman as it helps pay the four mortgages on properties that total over two million. Heck, Suzy Orman slept in her car shortly before her breakthrough so it is probably a good omen.
Tired of waiting for the market to kick into high gear, I realized that I had to create my own opportunity independent of outside circumstances or the economic environment. I learned that opportunity is about choice. It is making a decision to bash on regardless!

As defined by my son Tory, opportunity is the chance to make progress toward a stated goal. That was the problem. I either had too many goals or I was not clear on which ones were authentic. Were my goals allowing me to be true to myself?

Possibilities are only opportunities if they push you gently down the path toward your committed goals and desires. You must sort out and be selective. If you can’t say “no” to possibilities that are not in sync with your instincts, your core genius or soul’s code, you are simply out of focus. You either get busy living, or you get busy dying. Some degree of skepticism can be a virtue if it brings balance to your decision making. Ask yourself:

? What gives my life meaning?
? What makes me happy?
? How do I choose to serve and make a difference?

I probably should have read some of my own books. In Why Cats Don’t Bark Unleash Your PowerZone – Intuitive Intelligence: The Other IQ, I encourage people to trust their gut guidance to discover and manifest their core genius which is revealed between the ages of about 3-7. As a result of that book and another I had written, Winning! How Winners Think – What Champions Do, I discovered that all champions interviewed had a flash of their greatness at a young age. The reason Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Jack Canfield, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jordan and many others had achieved exceptional success was because they not only recognized opportunity but were determined to make a difference.

Sometimes opportunity whispers softly in our ear, but we have to listen. Other times it’s a loud crash such as disastrous, life-changing events, but again, we have to take action. My question is, “When opportunity knocks, do you open the door or complain about the noise? “ Do you recognize it? Do you take action and create it? Opportunity is not a passive, but an action verb that only you can exercise. Waiting for opportunity is like waiting for the sun to shine on a cloudy day.
Tired of waiting for the market to kick into high gear, I realized that I had to create my own opportunities independent of outside circumstances or the economic environment. I learned that opportunity is about choice. It is making a decision to bash on regardless!

Being inspired by two of my books and my grandchildren, I had an idea of how I could change the way the world thinks, one mind at a time. In the midst of total chaos and financial challenges, I Believe I Can Fly, the first in a series of children’s character building programs, took flight in the fall of 2009. At the same time I released a book, What Most Builders Won’t Tell Women (or Men) – 101 Ways to Save Big Bucks on Your Next House. I had built several times and had both good and bad builders. The last one went bankrupt for the second time and had used my “draws” to cover the expenses for his spec houses. He thus dragged out the building of my personal residence to a period of nearly three years. I spent years and thousands more correcting his mistakes and negligence. A couple of years ago the “aha” moment came when I realized I could recover my losses. By writing a book on building tips I could help others learn from my mistakes. Now, we don’t have a contract yet, but we do intend to get an order from Home Depot and/or Lowes for a million books. Now, that would certainly offset my losses!

Opportunities stop only when we stop thinking…BIG. Since I also encountered serious losses from a stock broker, I am now working on another book, What Most Financial Advisors Won’t Tell Women (or Men). Again, the intention is not to put a black mark on any profession but to prevent consumers from being snagged by those who don’t belong in any respectable profession in the first place. The momentum continues with a complete series including What Most Lawyers Won’t Tell Women (or Men), What Most Doctors Won’t Tell Women (or Men) and so forth. The point I am making is that we create our own opportunities by a positive mind state and belief system sustained by an undying determination and desire to dodge defeat. The choice is yours. Choice is a freedom that only you can relinquish, if you choose to do so. As J.L. Moreno the father of psychodrama once proclaimed, “The greatest power in our being is that we choose our thoughts. I choose, therefore I am free.”

Frequently people have messed up potential opportunities because of not understanding how good decisions are made. For example, life coaches often recommend that you follow your bliss or find your passion. “Do what you love doing and the money will follow” has long been the mantra of many. However, the money may not follow when a logical procedure is not followed.

Capitalizing on opportunity requires a strategic plan but also the ability to execute positive action at the right time. The Path to Self Discovery is a color-coded model that provides a sequence in making decisions that prevents regrets and assures results.

  1. White (Snow) – Get the hard, cold facts.
  2. Green( Grass) – Set goals for growth.
  3. Black (Night) – Identify obstacles.
  4. Yellow (Sun) – Solutions to the problems.
  5. Red (Fire) – Connect with your passion and intuition to know how your choices feel .
  6. Blue (Sky) – The CEO or overall seer of the process to making good decisions.

So many good ideas and opportunities are lost or not sustained because of not following this sequence. For example, when you leap, the net may not always be there. Once you identify your passion, due diligence is essential to get the hard, cold facts because even though you may be clear on your goals, without knowing the obstacles and possible problems, you could waste your life’s savings on a dream ending up as a nightmare. By identifying and thus removing the obstacles, your problems can be solved and solutions are attained. Before moving forward, do a gut check on how your decision checks out with your heart. In fact, there is an old saying, if it comes from your head, check it out with your heart before you take action, and if it comes from your heart, run it through your head for an objective check and balance to emotional choices. Following this sequence when making decisions will transform possibilities into true opportunities that promise to increase your ROI – Return On Intelligence, and also your joy.

Edie Raether, known as the Bully Buster, is an international keynote speaker, coach and bestselling author of seven books including Stop Bullying Now and Winning. A behavioral psychology expert and family therapist, Edie has also been a college professor and talk show host with ABC. Visit www.stopbullyingwithedie.com and www.raether.com.  Contact her at  (704) 658-8897 or edie@raether.com.

Life Is About Learning to Dance in the Rain The Times They Are a Changing – But Are YOU?

In this rapidly changing economic, political and social environment, you have a choice.   You can “hold on” for dear life to what once was and will never return as we have known it, or you can grab onto the one thing that you can control – the reality that lies within you.

This may be a good time to kick the habit and get real!  That habit is the illusion that we have full control over our money, our jobs, and our physical security.  The reality is that the only real control you have ever had or will have is the control over your own emotional state. If you continue to hold onto the false belief that you can control all that is “out there,” you will dig a deeper hole of despair and create even more anxiety.

Feeling powerless and helpless is a serious self-imposed emotional state.  In their book, Getting Well Again, Stephanie and Dr. Carl Simonton, an oncologist, state that one of the personality traits consistently seen in cancer patients was that of feeling powerless and helpless. Feelings of despair reduce the immune system causing not just cancer but all diseases an unfair advantage. The thoughts and feelings you choose dictate not only your emotional well being but your physical health.

Tips to Take Charge of Change:

  1. Don’t push the river.  Go with the flow and learn to be a better swimmer
  2. Choose your battles wisely and look for what you can change.  You can’t choose your patients or those you serve but you can change your attitude.
  3. Perspective changes how you look at it. If there isn’t a bonus this year, remember there are millions of Americans that would love your job.
  4. Be proactive – not reactive. Be part of the solution and not the problem
  5. Lead the way to change. Stop whining and start winning! Both are contagious.

Edie Raether, known as the Bully Buster,  is an international speaker, coach and bestselling author of seven books including Stop Bullying Now. A behavioral psychology expert and family therapist, Edie has also been a college professor and talk show host with ABC.  Visit Edie at www.raether.com and www.stopbullyingwithedie.com. Contact her at edie@raether.com or (704) 658-8997.

Happiness: A Do-It-Yourself Job

The pursuit of happiness is more than just a simple phrase or movie, it is the essential emotion to getting what you want as well as improved health and a sense of well being. Unfortunately most people seek it from others which lead to a sense of defeat, depression and even despair.  The truth is we are looking for the right answer but in the wrong place.

     Dr. Carl Simonton, an oncologist, wrote the book, Getting Well Again. He was the first to apply creative visualization and guided mental imagery to cancer treatment with much success.

In his research on some of the personality traits and stressors that might be exacerbating the cancer, he discovered that the more people were dependent on others for their needs being met, the less likely they were to recover or benefit from the cancer treatment.

     Do not expect more than 25% of your needs being met by a partner or significant other. Romance novels and even Disney convey the myth as portrayed by Snow White being without life, and certainly not “having a life,” until she received the magical kiss that brought her boundless bliss. The truth is dependency not only destroys healthy relationships, it eventually leads to some level of despair and depression. It creates a state of powerlessness and helplessness which are primary contributing emotions to stress and thus the reduction of our immune system so that not only cancer but the common cold find fertile territory to grow and snatch both our health and our happiness.

Edie Raether is a Change Strategist who is also known as the Bully Buster. She is an international speaker, life coach and the author of seven books such as Winning and Stop Bullying Now. A behavioral psychology expert and fmaily therapist, Edie has also been a college professor and talk show host with ABC. Visit www.raether.com and www.stopbullyingwithedie.com. Contact her at edie@raether.com or (704) 658-8997.

Steve Job’s Spirit Lives On A Visionary Whose Innovation Had Influence and Impact

My question is what is the difference between you and Steve Jobs?

The difference may be not be great, but the little difference makes the big difference.

Ask any silver medalist who lost the race by a split-second.

Jobs clearly identified his core genius and listened to his inner voice.  We all have one, but many simply don’t listen. He also emphasized that we never allow ourselves to become distracted by the expectations or loud noises made by others.  Jobs walked his talk and did “trust” his gut guidance and intuition and then with courage took the crucial step…Action.

Jobs also expressed a sense of urgency and believed that we all must move forward when the light bulb illuminates our path that leads us to our destiny.  There is no time to waste and “timing’ is everything, not just in the Olympics, but in our emotional and financial investments as well.

In 1985, just nine years after he created Apple, he was thrown out by his board of directors. It is not how many times we have been knocked down, but how quickly we get back up. In 1997, the company realized his genius and their mistake and did invite him back as the interim CEO.  The rest is history and the influence and impact of his innovative thinking will forever make a difference in how we communicate, work, play and live our lives.

We all have a core genius, but most people die with the music in them, never to sing their song. For more information on how you can discover and develop your core genius, I share these excerpts with you from my book, Why Cats Don’t Bark which will help you sharpen your intuitive intelligence and listen to your inner voice.

Unleash Your PowerZone: Intuitive Intelligence – The Other IQ

(Excerpts from Why Cats Don’t Bark –  Edie Raether)

I did not arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.  The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery.  There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you.  Albert Einstein

Unlike traditional IQ, with a century of research behind it, intuitive intelligence is a new concept.  It is a different kind of intelligence.  In recent years, it is gaining in respectability largely because psychologists are recognizing it as a natural mental skill that helps us make decisions, solve problems, generate creative ideas and even forecast future events.  We are beginning to realize that intuition is not just a mysterious gift or an accidental insight.

As you get rid of the emotional cataracts and your vision  becomes clear, you will find the walk upon your path effortless as you proceed with ease.   Fears will dissipate as you relinquish yourself to a greater cause or your reason for being.  You will feel in sync, not out of touch.  You will experience your work as an extension of your “self” or you very soul, feeling one with the process of becoming.  You will achieve a level of unconscious competence  where  excellence  and  peak performance feels effortless as the energy is allowed to flow through you.  Perhaps that is why Michael Jordan refers to this as being “in the flow.”  Other sports use different buzz words, although the experience is the same.  In golf, it is referred to as being “in the zone.”  Lee Westwood would qualify.  In the current world of musicians, Wynton Marsalis seems to become one with his instrument, as does any exceptional musician.  The question is, can we all achieve this supreme level of mastery?  I believe the answer is “yes,” if we are in sync with our instinct and we learn the mind-empowering strategies that provide access to the inner unconventional wisdom of our intuition and instinctual intelligence.

While all living things grow into their nature with a supportive environment, we must also have the courage to be different to make a difference.  We must transcend from success to significance.  As we gravitate toward our own uniqueness, we must respect the direction of our “future pull” which is our present self becoming our future authentic self.  Singleness of purpose means avoiding exterior clutter like power, prestige and possessions, which may interfere with the chief  purpose  of our lives.  Shakti Gawain, author on visualization, explains, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power and a sense of spiritual deadness.”

Activities and life experiences which derive from our purpose are not burdensome because there is harmony between what we feel we are supposed to do and what we want to do.  Unfortunately, we are often derailed and live in someone else’s comfort zone other than our own.  Our parents often encourage and coerce us to manifest their own unfulfilled wishes and destiny which, if we obey, is a violation of the soul.

Until we do the work of excavating, claiming and expressing our uniqueness, we run the risk of putting our life script into someone else’s hands.  Joseph Campbell, in his book Myths to Live by, warns, “The world is full of people that have sopped listening to themselves to have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave and the values are that they should be living for.”  Unfortunately, for many people, Campbell is right.

All of us are far richer than we imagine.   None of us possesses a life devoid of magic, barren of grace, divorced from power.  Our inner resources, often unmined and even unknown or unacknowledged, are the treasures we carry, what I call our spiritual DNA…the stamp of originality, which is the blueprint of our unfolding.

Human curiosity, intuition, practicality and logic are the fulcrums  of   personal and professional achievement.  They are the revitalizing forces for converting raw human energy and potential into sound judgments and creative ideas.  Intuition cannot be ordered, commanded, contrived or predicted.  We simply have to be ready for it.

Jack Schwartz, reknown researcher and author,  has a theory that at the moment of indecision, there is simultaneously a solution.  However, it may take years for us to discover that awareness and act on it, creating confusion and learned helplessness, as we become victims of toxic logic.  Yes, “look before you leap,” but sometimes we just have to take an intuitive leap and trust that the net will be there.   To be fully intellectual beings and experience those “leaps in consciousness” that Albert Einstein believed are necessary for bringing solutions to us, we will need to develop our intuitive abilities as well.

Edie Raether, M.S.,CSP, is an international speaker, success coach, and best-selling author on innovation, influence, change, optimal performance and intuitive intelligence – the other IQ. You can visit Edie and order Why Cats Don’t Bark, at www.raether.com or contact her at either edie@raether.com or (704) 658-8997.

Stop Playing the “Blame Game”

Blaming may be your greatest enemy and obstacle to making your goals happen.  Making excuses and denial is a game we play with ourselves, but blaming gives uninvited responsibility for your behavior to another. Trust me, they don’t want it! In fact, they will throw it right back at you with triple the thrust. You now have antagonized those who might have been your greatest support system in helping you make the desired change.

The real danger in placing blame is that you convince yourself that others are controlling  your life and your choices.  You are creating a velvet prison. You have created your own trap and thrown away the key.  By blaming you are giving all your power to another human being which only creates a deeper state of powerlessness and helplessness – the root cause of blaming.  It is vicious cycle that you are perpetuating. Watch your language.  When you say things like, “You drive me crazy,” you are reinforcing the illusion that you are not in charge of your sanity or control.

If you are in a relationship where you are continually being blamed, refuse to accept it.  Blaming is an alcoholic’s attempt to regain the control they have relinquished in their self-imposed state of helplessness – drunkenness.

I invite you to take back your power and reclaim yourself. Take responsibility for what only you can change. Look at the areas where you are feeling out of control.  Know that you are a resourceful problem solver. Move forward with a strategic action plan. DO IT NOW or as the British say, “Bash on regardless.”

Edie Raether, MS, CSP is known as the Bully Buster. She is a Change Strategist and international speaker, coach and bestselling author of seven books including Stop Bullying Now. A behavioral psychology expert and family therapist, Edie has also been a college professor and talk show host with ABC.  Visit www.stopbullyingwithedie.com and www.raether.com. Contact her at edie@raether.comor (704) 658-8997.

Optimism Is Not Optional

Optimism is having a positive outlook on life, but the one thing an optimist cannot view as positive is a pessimist! In your vision of the world is the image of yourself. Whether you see the glass as half full or half empty, optimism fuels hope which strengthens your immune system and thus is essential to your physical, mental and emotional well being. If your beliefs are more powerful than your circumstances, your behavior and circumstances will adapt to your beliefs and expectations. Without a neurological explanation, Christopher Reeve, a quadriplegic,  had movement because of sheer desire and belief. Optimism makes you bigger than your problem, thus turning obstacles into opportunity.

However, optimism must be complemented by optimal thinking which helps to eliminate unnecessary disappointments by exploring options and making the optimal choice from realistic alternatives. If the cost of failure is high, optimism may be the wrong strategy.  Often times, optimism may blind us from obvious obstacles that if they were identified and removed, we would reduce stressful consequences and be more successful in achieving our goals.

Tips to Keep Spirits High:

  • Change Your Language. Choose only positive words. State that which you hope for and wish to overcome vs, what you may fear. The nonconscious mind does not decipher the do’s from the do not’s as it only gets the general message.
  • Detach from Circumstances.  Don’t let the environment and adverse circumstances dictate your feelings states. Your emotions are your choice. Lincoln, who suffered from depression said, “People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
  • The Attitude of Gratitude. When you are thankful and grateful for even the little things, you are focused on the positive which electromagnetically attracts more good things to you.  Remember, if you want it, GIVE IT!

Edie Raether, MS, CSP, is a change strategist, international speaker, author and wellness consultant.  Visit Edie at www.raether.comand www.stopbullyingwithedie.com or contact her at edie@raether.com.

Resilience: The Strength to Grow in Tough Times

“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”—-Napoleon Hill

Resilience is your ability to bounce back after disappointments or setbacks in these tough economic times, or to fall seven times, but stand up eight!  Accept the fact that life will always have its challenges so embrace them knowing that with acceptance we do take responsibility to take action and make the necessary changes.  We become stronger, more adaptive, creative and resourceful. The tendency is to seek support and happiness from the outside world when in fact it is our internal power that is often our greatest strength in overcoming adversity.

Miraculous survival and recovery are not occasional happenings but a daily event where people do adjust and reinvent themselves by following these suggestions:

  • Act – Don’t React.  Action is focused and productive and reduces anxiety, but learned helplessness is rooted in a lack of confidence and belief that you have the ability to cope. Make your mantra: “Yes, I Can!”
  • Do Not Dramatize or “Awfulize.” You increase tension by magnifying the pain of your circumstances. Keep your imagination in check.   Be objective and refuse to play that nasty head trip of “what if” which only feeds false fears and increases tension. Remember, it could always be worse.
  • Laughter Is the Best Medicine. Humor is like changing a wet diaper. It may not change the circumstances but it does make you feel a bit better. For mild trauma, laughter will often give you emotional distance, and the release of endorphins provides a more positive perspective.
  • The Power of Now. All you really have to enjoy and can change is the present so don’t overload yourself with the anticipation of future tragedy. It serves no purpose for about 90% of what you worry about never happens and it drains you of creative energy to better prepare vs. panic.
  • Adversity Is Opportunity in Disguise. Kites rise highest against the winds, but only if you give it some string and yourself permission to grow.

Edie Raether, MS, CSP, is a change strategist, international speaker, author and wellness consultant.  Visit her at www.raether.comor contact her at edie@raether.com.