Posts tagged Power

Don’t You Believe It!

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A friend of mine thinks that if she reaches out to a neighbor in friendship after so many years of silence, she will come under judgment and criticism or be subject to questions about her motives. As a result of this thinking, she remains isolated in her community. I suspect the fundamental beliefs that inhibit her exceed these surface concerns.


Whatever her primal concerns are, she will not question the way in which she explains them to herself. She believes the story she tells herself. Were the situation were reversed–if a neighbor reached out to her after all these years–would she judge and criticize them or deem their motives questionable? Ultimately, the prospect of meaningful connection and rewarding relationship gets mired down by fear of connection and exposure.


We convince ourselves of many notions because we think them. However, our perceptions may be skewed by negative assessments that are questionable if not untrue. David Burns, MD wrote a book on cognitive behavioral therapy entitled Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy which delineates ten (10) cognitive (thought) distortions that dictate our beliefs and shape our mood.

  • All or Nothing Thinking: If I am not successful, then I am a failure.
  • Over-generalization: My friend ditched me. Everybody ditches me.
  • Mental Filter: I messed up in the middle of my speech; the presentation went terribly.
  • Discounting the Positives: I won that award due to sympathy and not merit.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: He didn’t talk to me for more than a minute; he is not interested in me. (Mind-Reading) – and – I am never going to get that promotion. (Fortune-Telling)
  • Magnification/Minimization: I need to lose weight. I look like a hippopotamus. – and – This work assignment is too tough. I can’t do anything right.
  • Emotional reasoning: I feel incompetent. I must be unqualified for this job.
  • “Should” Statements: I only accomplished three things today. I should have more discipline.
  • Labeling: That was such a stupid mistake. I am a complete idiot!
  • Blame: The group project earned a C-. I probably dragged the group down. – or – She told me to “go for it”! She is the reason that I wasted money on dance lessons.

Disarm thought distortions through the analysis of assumptions and irrational errors that APPEAR real.


When we make harsh judgments and criticisms about ourselves (and others), we risk forfeiting ACCURACY, dearly underestimating STRENGTH, and essentially undermining POWER. Similarly, when we give in to fear, we likely languish in or succumb to a lower resiliency status. The next time we tell ourselves a story about why and how we cannot rise above limitations, we must remember that we can’t always believe everything we think. And the next time we uncover fear at the root of limitations, we must remember that we can Face Everything And Respond!

If you are ready and willing to challenge your thinking, re-evaluate your “story,” and make rational decisions about your Life, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will invite a paradigm shift that brings clarity.

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Raise Your IQ, Genius!

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“Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist. That don’t impress me much.” – Shania Twain


You have got genius inside of you! That is a fact. Discovering the roots of that genius and cultivating it depends upon your IQ. I am not referring to the standardized, culturally-biased Intelligence Quotient. Neither am I referring to any particular cognitive talent you may have; there are plenty of talented people who forfeit the strength, endurance, and power to develop their gift(s). What sets the thriv-ers apart from the languish-ers is their Investedness Quotient.


Just as money invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal wealth, your Self invested wisely yields dividends that contribute to personal enrichment. When people criticize others saying–“She is so self-centered.” “He is so self-involved.” “How selfish can you be?”–they speak about a particular kind of behavior pattern that alienates others. Self-investedness, however, conveys a focus on the Self regarding what matters most to us, what relationships and activities we pursue, and what dedication of time we allow based on our values, principles, and ideals.


I know a young man who is a self-involved drug addict. (As it happens, addicts tend to have low Investedness Quotients.) When I inquired into his motives for developing a drug habit, he blamed it on boredom. My response, had I the opportunity to do it over, would have been, “Get a LIFE, man!” This perpetually regressive adolescent, no doubt, self-medicates pain that he discusses with nobody. But more than that, he lacks self-investedness, and this down-fall defines him unless and until he takes steps to invest in himself.


What do such steps look like?

  • A rational decision to love ourselves enough not to pollute and impair ourselves.
  • A regular involvement in pro-social activities–to leave situations better than how we encountered them.
  • A daily commitment to be of service to at least one other human being.
  • A generous dedication of time and attention to a rewarding skill or ability.
  • A judicious willingness to share about our pain (sorrows, frustrations, anger, etc.) with a person wiser than us.
  • A heartfelt endeavor to assume responsibility for shortcomings and to make amends as warranted.
  • A bold admission that, if there is a Higher Power, each of us is not it.
  • A continuing inquiry into what these steps look like in our uniquely personal experience.



As for the genius inside us, it is our birthright. We may not conceive of its wherewithal, but we are called to find it. Just as the best possible way to manage a problem–the optimal coping strategy–always exists, and we are called to find it. We were not made to languish but rather to thrive. To the degree that we are disconnected from that, we need to raise our IQ. Take a risk. You are the best investment you could ever make! (https://twitter.com/ Good_Vibes_Only)

If you are ready and willing to self-reflect, re-evaluate your behavior, and make judicious decisions about your Life, please Contact Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will develop a “portfolio” that makes you rich.

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Find G.O.D. Now


Religion is a sticky subject in polite company. Conjecture and discussions about God, commandments, heaven and salvation, hell and damnation, and endless interpretations can be divisive. Sometimes people need so desperately to feel correct on such matters that they seek to persuade others to their point of view, thus affirming their religion.

I believe that there are as many religious paths as there are people and at best we can inquire into the common ground between and among us. In my opinion, GOD is a three-letter word for what a person elevates in righteousness (worships) in spirit and/or life, and we see this not so much in congregational worship as we do in day-to-day action.

Some people elevate money. Some elevate food. Some elevate sex. Some elevate drugs. Some elevate work. Some elevate principles and teachings. Some elevate their own mind. Some elevate nature. Some elevate cynicism. Some elevate power over others. Some elevate service, or power with others.

Whom or what do you worship? Is there harmony between your spirit/life and your congregational professions? We fail at times in the alignment of our spirit/life, and our word and action. Sometimes we are blatantly hypocritical. But do we see it? Do we acknowledge it and self-correct?

Some do not believe in God and may not invest in traditional faith at all. To you I offer the perspective that simply applies to human endeavors: G.O.D.–Guidance, Opportunity, Deliverance–impacts all manner of activity. Who or what guides you? What opportunities invite you? What do circumstances deliver?


If you wish to align your spirit/life and your word and action in order to more effectively respond to challenges, hardships, and adversities, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching), and I will guide you in the development of your own optimal experience strategies.

To view other blog entries, click on the left or right titles above the current blog title.

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This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen!!


Anastasia lost her job. Bonnie received a cancer diagnosis. Conrad became a victim of an apartment robbery. When we encounter turns of fate that are unfavorable and unexpected, we confront emotional distress. However we interpret the experience and whatever emotional material it evokes, we cannot avoid the reality of the situation.


Faced with loss, illness, hardship, injustice, the ability to respond effectively may seem impossible. But we can gain insight into our process of making sense out of difficulties when we observe the process of GRIEF. A theory that I find useful in coping with the death of safety and security proposes five stages set forth by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her treatise entitled On Death And Dying:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages are not discretely linear. Stages may overlap, and prior stages may be revisited in the course of healing.


Given the benefit of this knowledge, we can work with GRIEF, allowing ourselves to feel the emotions that come up and giving ourselves permission to be patient with our particular process. We can proactively cope with our reaction by journaling, by talking with a trusted friend or counselor, by joining a support group, by relying on or building a support network, and even by engaging in recreation, e.g., exercising, and by serving others.


Many times we do not have control over losses, illnesses, hardships, or injustices, but we do have control over our attitudes and behaviors in response to them. Why not take control where we have it!? Approach the process of GRIEF with permission and intention. We will then shape our emotional landscape, exercising the STRENGTH and POWER to move forward, and regaining the FLEXIBILITY to be at ease again.


If you desire a way to better address crises and grief, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in making attitudinal and behavioral changes for the better.

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Rise To Your Own Occasion

“It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count; it’s how many times you get back up.”
— Colonel George A. Custer



When we encounter distress, our vulnerability and hurt may interfere with our ability to respond effectively. The initial coping response may be to fall apart. Other possible responses stem from the fight or flight impulse, or the freeze impulse. Sooner or later, the opportunity to face the distress and its consequences arises. And this engages the ability to rise to our own occasion.


For example, halfway through my graduate education, I took ill–my health fell apart–and obtained a one-year medical leave of absence. Many people felt concerned, not only for my health but also for the possibility that I might not return to finish my master’s program. As sick as I was, I did not know how I would be able to resume–or face–the responsibilities that I had undertaken while I was well. During that year of medical leave, I tended to my “incompletes.” When I did return to the program, I only took two courses. Eventually, my health restored, I did complete my degree. People who had expressed concern that I might not finish graduate school commented to me about my strength, endurance, and power, and I understood precisely what that meant. Ultimately, I was able to rise to my own occasion,


Life coaches, psychotherapists, or academicians who address resiliency encourage us to rise above the circumstances that shape our experience, but the methods they use vary, resulting in a random mixture of approaches. HEROES offers a standard, comprehensive method that can be tailored to fit each individual situation. Comprised of nine coping strategies among other elements, the Resiliency Fitness Paradigm™ provides the backbone for this method.


To rise to our own occasion amid distress, we first need STRENGTH. Considering the circumstances with which we must cope, what responses would reflect courage, fortitude of heart? Continued coping requires ENDURANCE. How do we monitor the situation and take care of ourselves in order to persevere and preserve our character. Finally, the POWER to define the situation begins with what actions we choose. Even situations in which we are powerless allow us to choose our attitudes and self-governance amid distress.


The Resiliency Fitness Paradigm™ expands further on the nine coping strategies that support our endeavor to rise to our own occasion. Doing so may not be easy, depending on the situation, but the Paradigm™ offers a simple approach to discovering the next right thing to do.


If you desire a way to better cope with challenges, hardships, and adversities, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in adjusting yourself to the situation.

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Ambivalence, Resignation, Or Creative Discontent

Veterans, Returning Citizens (formerly called Ex-offenders), and Mental Health Consumer/Survivors experience a transition between a controlled environment and civilian life. The adjustment period poses challenges, some more difficult than others. Whatever the differences between these populations and among individuals within them, the transition and, more specifically, the process of adjustment impacts the trajectory of resiliency.

Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. For example, I am a wiz at adapting to an unexpected change of plans but I have difficulty expressing my displeasure with friends and loved ones.

Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent with disadvantage and the motivation to thrive. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating our adaptation skills.

Think of a life predicament and figure out your Resiliency Fitness status:

  • Delinquency… We exhibit misbehavior or willful negligence that indicates the rejection of recovery and resiliency, and that harms both self and other (e.g., aggression, vengeance, dishonesty, injustice/crime, addiction);
  • Succumbing… We buckle under the strain of distress that prevents the progress in recovery and resiliency or indicates a reversal in recovery and resiliency (e.g., regression, depression, struggling or stuck, exhaustion);
  • Impairment… We experience a deterioration of coping with distress that indicates an inconsistent level of functioning and uncharacteristic negative changes in attitude, thought, mood, or behavior; overwhelmed);
  • Languishing… We survive with low expectations for recovery and resiliency, tolerating a lackluster existence. We remain risk-averse and tolerate mediocrity lest we upset the seemingly tenuous balance of the status quo;
  • Synthesis… We enjoy stability that indicates successful development of recovery and resiliency, and that enables measured advances in personal mastery; and
  • Thriving… We flourish and prosper with a vitality that encourages calculated risks for the sake of continued personal mastery and indicates the appreciation of challenges.


The keys to recovery and resiliency—the Optimal Experience Strategies of strength, endurance, power, flexibility, balance, grace and so on—inform our practice on the spectrum of Resiliency Fitness status. Resiliency Fitness status differs from one person to the next and, for the same person, from one situation to the next. Declines in status may be met by resignation, ambivalence, or creative discontent. And intermediate status may provide a latency period in which, despite appearing inactive, we are actually cultivating maturity and discipline in order to advance recovery and resiliency.

In order to do so, we proactively develop internal and external resources. Of all the internal resources we can cultivate, maturity and discipline are the most broadly applicable to all situations and perhaps the most challenging to develop. What are the good habits that shape your maturity and discipline?

If you desire better strategies for coping with the crests and shallows of life, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in the development of personal mastery.

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Merry-Go-Round of Possibilities

A person faulted me for not acting quickly enough (in his estimation) to do what I said I wished to do. He treated me with disdain, accusing me of being all talk and no action. Subsequent to his shameless mistreatment of me, he cornered me and coerced me to name the date that I would begin courting clients and go about the business of my work. I was not ready to take action yet I took his bait. This person offered me no good will yet I felt I had to prove myself.

Shakespeare wrote: The native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought and enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry and lose the name of action. (Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1) We can spend too much time in our heads, inventing scenarios, taking action only when we feel in control. But control is an illusion because the outcome is never assured. And we find ourselves ruminating, making up fantasies about how we think the situation might unfold–favorably or unfavorably–and taking all painstaking possibilities into account.

What did I need in order to be ready to act? I needed a plan of action that included anticipated consequences. Being premature undermines my progress as much as hesitation does. I needed to be able to answer three questions: What do I offer? What are the outcomes? And why should someone listen to me? Finally, I needed to be prepared to discuss the particular interests of those whom I would serve and how I would address them.

Two months after my conversation with that disdainful fellow, I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Any consequences that would transpire would warrant responses one step at a time. Kind and knowledgeable people who had my best interests at heart supported me. I was ready to co-create a transformative experience with people with whom I shared a vision.

What are you waiting to do? What must happen for you to be ready? Are you spinning your wheels, waiting for a feeling of control? Understand what you need in order to be ready so that you do not merely play at life but, with STRENGTH and POWER, live it.

If you are stuck on a merry-go-round of possibilities and wish to be ready to take action, Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will guide you in decision-making and goal-achievement.

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Freedom from Death

Emotional hurts have a way of making a lasting impression while all the big and little daily happiness-es can run like water through a fist.

I have been faced with hurts that have been difficult to clean up. One in particular was the loss of one of the great loves of my life. Losing my bearings and stalling on my life course, I became vigilant about preventing such vulnerability from happening again. So, I asked myself, “Self, if you found a loving partner and he leaves, would you regret allowing this person close enough to hurt you?” And Self hesitated.

Would anybody ever be worth that kind of power over me? The more interested I would be, the less willing I would be to take the risk. I would have my heart and mind trained to receive familiar signs of impending danger–red flags. However, with my heart and mind trained to notice every red flag, every possible joy would figure less prominently through that lens. That orientation would only lead me entertain the affections of someone whose hurtfulness would not mean much. This is a position of resiliency impairment, defeating the whole purpose of being in a relationship with someone whom I could love deeply and and who could love me deeply in return.

My only recourse from defeating my wish for another great love involved grieving the original loss and regaining my strength, or courage… and deliberately so. To grieve deliberately requires that I allow the thoughts and feelings where I resist letting go (grasp) to be expressed–thoughts, feelings, and physical discharge (crying, yelling, hitting pillows, etc.). To facilitate this, I need to allow someone else to witness my expression without judgment or personal commentary.

One way that I find helpful to guide the grief process involved Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ model from her book, On Death And Dying–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. By focusing my attention on each stage, I have my say; whereas I had not had my say in the death of the great love. One way to gain perspective on the situation was to view it as a story: I called it “the loss of one of the great loves of my life.” I explained it as “he left me.” I described it as “heartbreaking,” saying “I absorbed the blow.” How else could I tell the story? The result of the call to grieve deliberately enabled me to release my resistance to the death of a dream.

Every grief is different between one person and the next and, for the same person, between one situation and the next. The time required to diminish the pain of grief likewise varies. If you are enduring a grief for a longer period than you would like, I can help. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will accompany you along the way.

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Saying “No” for a Higher “Yes”

  • When a friend suggests getting together spur of the moment when I have made a decision to accomplish some work, I wobble.
  • When I see something non-essential on sale that I would like to have but would not buy at full price because I do not have the discretionary funds, I wobble.
  • When I look at the dessert menu even though I have had enough to eat and have intentions to maintain a more healthful diet, I wobble.


Temptation pulls at us on a regular basis. We can choose to be impulsive and indulge our appetites. It is important at these times to remember our commitments to ourselves and to not betray ourselves.

We can choose to say “no” for a higher “yes.” In doing so, we invite a different sort of satisfaction–the proper discipline and maturity that allows us to accept the challenge to honor our priorities. Then there is satisfaction in keeping order. For this strength, we can reward ourselves with other gestures of self-care.

On occasion we may indulge our impulses. But be sure that the decision to indulge is a conscious choice to forgo the discipline and the challenge to adhere to our priorities. Perhaps a compromise is fitting and the consequences of shifting priorities can be addressed given a change in the short-term plan.

However, if impulsiveness and/or honoring your word prove difficult patterns, first establish a good track record of discipline and maturity. Practice every chance you get: Exercise the strength and power to keep your commitment to yourself; flexibility and balance will come later. Build credibility within yourself and tend the seeds of maturity.

For strategies on how to handle difficult patterns, hire a Resiliency Coach for three months and learn how to navigate discipline and maturity, commitments, and priorities. Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation (Resiliency Coaching) and I will accompany you along the way.

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What Makes a Resilient Person Think Well

When, at times, a person asks me what makes me resilient despite an upbringing and youth that was so damaging, I first think about how I was no different than anyone else. I feel the self that is me and feel ordinary in my extraordinari-ness. I believe anyone else in my situation could have responded as I did. But the inquiring person tends toward doubtfulness. Then I consider what made me rise above my circumstances.

First, I knew instinctively that the way I was being treated at home and later at school was wrong. It was not loving and supportive. It was abusive. It disconfirmed my humanity. The way I was treated felt awful, and so I decided that such behavior was the opposite of how I would treat others. I learned a lot by doing the opposite, and it prevented a good deal of heartache on my part. For example, I stayed away from drugs and gangs, vandalism and crime, truancy, and pregnancy. A few key exemplary figures demonstrated kindness, appreciation, and compassion and these influences shaped my principles and values.

Second, I noticed that many people around me insisted that their way of life was correct and anything different was wrong. History is littered with examples of this type of human defensiveness and the wars that breed from such narrow perspectives. As it happens, I became the “identified patient” to my mother, and she did plenty to make me think that I was crazy. She achieved her aim in part as my emotional woundedness prompted me to see myself as flawed. This perspective enabled me to get help to determine out what WAS wrong with me, and this willingness to get help early made it possible for me to address my problems.

Third, I had a great affinity for stories of heroic figures in history. The lives of Helen Keller, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were among those that spoke to my own desire to embody strength, endurance, power, and other resiliency competencies. Given the challenges, hardships, and adversities that I faced in my youth and young adulthood, I had to leverage my wherewithal to cope with pain; and I often felt that I was not resilient because my lack of ease over-shadowed the ease that ultimately characterize people who are resilient. Now I believe differently: Resiliency is the process that moves us through stages of coping–impairment, succumbing, languishing, synthesis, and thriving.

I have visited all the stages of resiliency according to the H.E.R.O.E.S. model. The challenge is to keep our resiliency status evolving, moving ever upward toward thriving. We all have the native potential to thrive, regardless of how difficult the process. The opportunity for resiliency always exists, and we must find it. And we must know that we are each extraordinary. We are born of free will so that we may be our own HEROES.

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