Sept. 28, 2009, Vol. VII Issue 12
Okay, I admit it. No sooner was Jen Louden’s Freedom from Self-Improvement week over, than I was standing in the Self-Improvement section of Borders. I was, however, on a professional mission. By the way, when did the Self-Help category become Self-Improvement and is there a distinction? Does anybody know? And then it occurred to me, if Jennifer Louden were to write a book on Freedom from Self-Improvement, where would I find it in the bookstore? Wrap your mind around that one!
I did find what I was looking for — Joan Borysenko’s newest book, It’s Not the End of the World. While I adore the idea of taking it easy on ourselves — as in freedom from self-improvement — I think this book’s subtitle, Developing Resilience in Times of Change, tells the story of why there will always be a market for self-help, er, self-improvement. As she writes in the first sentence, “A new world is emerging at warp speed, and some of us will do better than others adapting to it.” While other books I’ve read on resilience merrily proclaim the joys of bouncing back, I am happy to report that in this book, there’s no mention of a rubber ball. Joan Borysenko, as she always has, comes through for me. As promised, here’s a little of what Joan offers in this book.
“It’s Not the End of the World”
I don’t know anyone who isn’t going through a lot — be it personal, professional, financial, or some combination of big changes. And, so, whatever the uncertainty, loss or setback is, this title, It’s Not the End of the World, puts some perspective into the picture. The book is surprisingly little, like a gift book, and yet in those few pages, Joan Borysenko blends the latest research with captivating anecdotes, practical tips, and an empathetic personal touch.
Instead of a rubber ball metaphor, Joan gives her readers an introspective perspective — that we can develop resilience as a deep spiritual resource to help us get through rough patches. She defines it as a “graceful way of flowing through life, adapting to difficult circumstances with the ease of water assuming the shape of whatever container it’s poured into.” I like that much better than the image of a hard rubber ball.
“I wrote this book to teach you how to hold fear in the palm of your hand without being burned by its fire,” she writes. “I know that you can do it. Whatever may be going on for you, remember . . . it’s not the end of the world. It’s a call to the genius that lies asleep within you — and within all of us — a genius that is ready and able to re-create the world.”
I like the way she brings research into the picture, while relating stories and her own personal stuff. The traits of resilience that she shares are from research analyzed by Diane Contu, a writer for the Harvard Business Review.
#1 An eyes-open acceptance of reality
#2 A deep belief that life is meaningful
#3 An uncanny ability to improvise
These ideas made me want to BE resilient.
It was also clear that we’re not just talking about optimism here, although optimism is definitely another quality of hardy people. She shows how easy it is to get trapped in the three poisons of pessimistic thinking.
#1 Taking things personally
#2 Seeing problems as pervasive
#3 Believing that our problems are permanent
The second part of the book is titled Train Your Brain for Success, and there she explores the value of activities such as humor, the martial arts, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. What do they all have in common? They enable you to develop new neural pathways that can change your thinking and your life.
In the last chapter, she talks about living with vision and purpose. Here she lays out some suggestions for thinking about the future and making it happen with intention and creative discipline. She concludes with ten concise reminders of what it takes to go through hard times and come out the other side a stronger, healthier, and more resilient person. The bottom line: Resilient people and companies face facts head-on, look for deeper meaning, are great improvisers, laugh often, and know how to manage stress.
As you know, I highly recommend Joan as a speaker. And speaking of resilience, she’s adjusted her fees so that more people can afford to hire a first-class speaker at a super-reasonable rate. Joan is a renowned medical/psychological expert with extensive media training. This New York Times bestselling author is a respected medical scientist, clinical psychologist, and gifted communicator who can help you make a positive and compelling difference to your readers, listeners, and viewers in these times of crisis, change, and possibility. Learn more on our website.
Becky Olson: 2009 Pink Power Mom
Congratulations are in order for our fabulous speaker, Becky Olson. Becky has been selected as a 2009 Pink Power Mom. The award is sponsored by Bright Starts. The eight women being honored this year were selected for their inspirational fight against breast cancer and as role models in their families and communities.
Becky’s Story: Becky was 43 years old, working in sales and recently returned to college when her world was turned upside down. The busy mother of five was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and told she had a 60 percent chance to survive five years. After a lumpectomy, nine months of chemo and six weeks of radiation she returned to school and earned her degree. Then, eight years later she was diagnosed with stage three cancer in the other breast which led to a double mastectomy and more chemotherapy. Again in March 2009 doctors discovered lymph node filled with cancer behind her breast bone.
In the face of her ongoing battle with cancer, Becky partnered with a friend to co-found Breast Friends, an organization that helps patients by teaching friends and family members how to offer effective help to loved ones living with breast cancer. Created in 2000, Breast Friends has become one of the premier cancer support organizations in Oregon and provides a variety of services like supporting moms with young children, distributing an educational DVD, and collaborating with medical providers throughout the community. As an author and speaker, Becky travels the country sharing her story at cancer survivor events.
It’s an honor to know Becky (as we both live in the Portland, OR area) and represent her. She spoke this month for the Indianapolis Susan G. Komen Pink Ribbon Survivor Tea, with rave reviews. For booking information about Becky, please visit our website.
Deb’s Kern’s Wild Woman Workout
Now that my legs are working again, and I’m walking every morning, I realized the top half of my body could use some toning, too. I’ve never been one to do video workouts but Deb Kern’s Wild Woman Upper Body Blast, was less than 15 minutes on YouTube, so I decided to give it a try. ?It’s set to three of Jana Stanfield’s songs, so it had to be good! And it is. Deb is an awesome teacher. I’ve been doing it 3X a week ever since. The time flies by and I always feel great afterward. Here’s the link to Part 1 (it’s in 2 parts).
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.