Tuesday, October 26, 2010
BJ's international best-seller, A Peacock in the Land of Penguins (Berrett-Koehler), has sold over 350,000 copies in 23 languages. Her business books include: YES Lives in the Land of NO (Berrett-Koehler) and Who Are “They” Anyway? (Dearborn). Her latest career book is It's Never Too Late to Be What You Might Have Been (Viva Editions).
BJ is a regular Huffington Post contributor. She has been featured on CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer, the Today Show with Matt Lauer, Fox News, PBS, CNN, and other television and radio programs. She is quoted almost weekly in various newspapers, women's magazines, and websites, including: O the Oprah magazine, Redbook, Woman's World, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Orlando Sentinel, Financial Times (U.K.), Guardian (U.K.), MSNBC.com, CareerBuilder.com, CNN.com, Forbes.com, among others.
In addition to writing books, BJ also conducts seminars and delivers keynotes at conferences and professional meetings across the country. Her corporate clients include: IBM, Chevron, US Veteran's Administration, John Deere Credit Canada, Volkswagen, Farm Credit Services of America, Raytheon, US Department of Interior, Phoenix Newspapers Inc., the American Press Institute, Infiniti, Nissan, Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others.
I first met BJ in 2006, when she did me the honor of writing the Foreword to my first book. I was so thrilled to catch up with her and hear about all the wonderful things she's been up to lately!
Shelly Rachanow: Last year was a busy year for you, with SIX new books out, making up what you’ve called your Inspirational Stimulus Package. Tells us about a few of them.
BJ Gallagher: Actually, I published SEVEN new books, but who's counting? ;-)) Most people hunker down when times get tough but I do just the opposite. Rather than take fewer risks in business, I believe in taking more risks.
Wherever this is chaos and change, there is also opportunity, so I go out there looking for it. Also, my work is about service and contribution, so whenever people are in pain it is my job to see if I have anything to offer that might help them. My gifts are teaching and writing and my mission in life is to give my gifts away. So that's what I do. I write books and teach seminars that help people help themselves.
For the past couple years, the economy has been in such terrible shape, and I was inspired by Obama's Economic Stimulus Package ... so I decided to offer my own Inspirational Stimulus Package. People need financial support to get through hard times ... but they also need spiritual and emotional support. That's what I offer with my books. I published three more new books this year, and I have three more coming out next year. My mission statement is: "I am a laptop in the hands of God."
BJ Gallagher: Probably the first thing people need to do is make friends with fear. Fear is what keeps most people from following their hearts and living their dreams – fear of failure, fear of looking foolish, fear that it's too hard, fear that their loved ones will not be supportive, fear of losing money ... their list of fears is almost endless. So coming to terms with fear is the first thing task.
One of the tools I use to deal with fear is self-talk. Whenever fear shows up, I have a conversation with myself. "What's the worst that can happen?" I ask myself. "I might run out of money," is usually the answer. "OK, so if you run out of money, what will happen?" I ask myself. "I'll lose my house," is the answer. "OK, and if you lose your house, will anyone die from that?" I ask. "Well, no," is the answer. "OK then, if nobody dies, then losing your house won't kill you." "Right." And that almost always makes the fear manageable. If my fear is not about a life or death issue, I can talk myself down and go on with my life.
The other important thing I rely on in living the life I want to life is my FAITH. 92% of Americans believe in God. Many of those people consider themselves spiritual but not religious – which is fine. Whatever form your spirituality takes, I encourage folks to tap into spiritual beliefs and practices to live their lives to the fullest, finding happiness and fulfillment along the way. Faith is especially important in hard times like these.
Shelly Rachanow: I also love your book, Learning to Dance in the Rain: The Power of Gratitude because, as you note, “For many people, gratitude goes right out the window when Life doesn't show up the way they want it to.” I think we’ve all experienced that at some point in our lives. What are some things we can do to be grateful when our lives aren’t going the way we want them to?
BJ Gallagher: The Taoists believe that we humans can never really know whether something is good or bad. A tragedy happens and later on it turns out that the "tragedy" was really a blessing. And vice versa ... sometimes wonderful things happen that turn out to be not so wonderful after all. Here's an old Taoist parable that's a good reminder of that:
There is a Taoist story of an old Chinese farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away.
Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"Maybe," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"Maybe," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg.
The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"Maybe," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by.
The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"Maybe," said the farmer.
Shelly Rachanow: One of the big themes in your books is the “Power of Positive Doing.” Tell us more about what you mean by that.
BJ Gallagher: Much has been made of the Power of Positive Thinking. Many gurus and spiritual teachers tell us how important it is to harness the incredible power of our minds in order to get what we want in life. What they're teaching is true, no doubt about it. But thinking isn't enough ... we must take action. It may be just a single step in the direction of what it is we say we want – that's enough to get the ball rolling.
You might call this "active faith" or "living with intention" or "acting as if." Whatever you call it, it's about movement – it's about doing something.
Even Norman Vincent Peale, the wonderful minister who wrote "The Power of Positive Thinking," talked about that – but that part of his teaching seems to get lost sometimes. Here's what he said: “A lot of people misunderstood the power of positive thinking … they thought that all you have to do is think positively and everything is going to work out. ... No, you have to also take some action, learn some skills – you’ve got to DO something.”
Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?
BJ Gallagher: Ha! What a great question! OK, let me think for a minute .... I would run the world with unconditional love, compassion, non-violent conflict resolution, kindness and forgiveness ... just as the Dalai Lama runs his community, as Gandhi ran his, as Jesus ran his, as Mother Teresa ran hers ... as all great spiritual leaders run their communities, that's how I would run the world. To quote Gandhi: I would BE the change I wish to see in the world.
BJ can be reached at http://www.bjgallagher.com/ or email@example.com.
Follow her on twitter: @BJ_Gallagher and find her on Facebook: BJ Gallagher
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Shelly Rachanow: You’ve had a busy summer since we last spoke to you in June. Tell us about some of the great work you’ve been doing.
Andrea Hylen: I spent the month of August writing articles about my experiences of grief and loss with the deaths of a brother, son and husband, as well as dreams, jobs, and roles that no longer served me. I wrote about honoring the grief and feeling the feelings. I wrote about releasing the grief through tears and laughter. I wrote about releasing the ashes of my son and my husband. The more I wrote, the more I understood from a deeper level how the lack of grieving shuts down our hearts to feel love and joy. And how important it is to stay open to grieving layers throughout my life.
In September, I participated in a “no impact” week. The idea was to lower my impact on the environment by making lifestyle changes. Even with my deep awareness, I learned and implemented some new ideas. I made one change every day. An example, I write at a coffee bar every morning and started to carry silverware with me instead of using the disposable plastic ware.
I am currently creating videos to provide information and spread the word that being green is not a trend. I use Shaklee products as an example because they have been around for 50 years and they work. This is a lifestyle, not a trend. The videos will be on my youtube account beginning November 1, 2010 http://www.youtube.com/user/OpentoInspiration There will be a link to join my mailing list for monthly information about easy ways to support your health and the planet.
Shelly Rachanow: I was really moved when you told me about the Grief Transformation Circle you decided to start on Sunday evenings. As you now, I lost one of my best friends to cancer last April and I know your husband passed away from cancer several years ago. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about grief along the way?
Andrea Hylen: Shelly, first let me give you the bridge line telephone number and access code. This is a FREE call, open to anyone who needs it. My commitment is to be there to provide support and to sit in prayer by myself, if no one comes on the line that evening. The call is every Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. Pacific/8:00 p.m. Eastern. My intention to hold a space for conversations to emerge that support each other as we discuss loss of loved ones, changes in jobs, health, families and the world. As long as one person is on the call, I will be there. Bridge line number (605) 562-3000. Access code is 899688#. Spread the word. ALL WELCOME! Personal long distance rates apply.
I would suggest that people join the Open to Inspiration Fan page on Facebook. I post updates there every week with the phone number and any changes in the time.
There is another thing to understand about grieving. The feelings of loss and sadness are a part of you and will be in your heart forever. Let me explain it this way. Imagine that you went to the beach for a week with your loved ones. Whenever you think about that time together, you remember the way you felt. The sound of the ocean or the seagulls, memories of the activities and conversations, and smells from the foods you cooked and ate together . You carry this in your heart. The freshness of the memory fades over time, but there are connections that bring it into the present. The sound of the seagulls, the smells of the food, a song, a conversation and you can feel yourself transported back in time remembering the love and happiness.
Grieving the loss of a loved one is the same thing. You remember sounds, smells and conversations. The freshness of the memory fades over time, but things can happen to bring a wave of emotion into the present.
Grief is a gift. Honor it. Feel the feelings. Be open to healing and remembering.
Shelly Rachanow: You have been participating in a book project with 40 women and men over the last six months. Today is the book launch! What can you share about this?
The word “Align” is missing in many of the Law of Attraction movies and books. You can create a vision board with a bunch of stuff you want to manifest, but the things may not be in alignment with who you are. In this book there are stories about how the authors stepped into alignment by discovering their true purpose, connecting with intuition and eliminating self-sabotage. The next step is the willingness to Expand into a greater part of yourself with self-discovery, awakening, and shifting with the changes happening in the world. With the steps of Align and Expand in place, Success is the natural next step.
Today, October 19, 2010, is the book launch. If you purchase the book(s) today, you will receive access to over $6,000 in bonus offers! Here is the link to check it out: http://www.aesbook.com./
Shelly Rachanow: I can’t let you go without asking you to tell us more about your new E-book club, which helps members discover their own inner journey. How does it do that and what have you learned about the importance of honoring our journey?
Andrea Hylen: On a beach walk on August 31, I received a burst of inspiration to write stories of my life to help people discover their own inner journey. Within two days, the ideas fell into place. Write three e-books about the past two years of living on the edge with reflective questions in the back of each chapter for the reader. Each book is released one section at a time over a period of four months.
As people began signing up to be a part of the experience, I saw something else happening. We are creating an energetic space for infinite possibilities to emerge for everyone in the club. Some members are reading the books and writing in their journals, as part of a private process. Some members want to participate in discussions on the phone. There are monthly teleseminars with topics generated by the club members, a monthly drawing of products connected to the topics in the book and opportunities for sponsors.
The stories begin here: I started going to Jonas Brothers concerts during the summer of 2007 to help my teenage daughter heal from the loss of her father. When I drove to the first concert, I had no idea how this would change my life and help me heal my own broken heart.
Two summers later, I was selling my house, releasing personal belongings and preparing to move from Maryland to California with my daughter. I suggested we travel to the 45 cities with Jonas concerts and have an adventure together before settling down in California. We had a buyer, cleared out our house, put memorabilia into storage and were completing the last of the details when the house contract fell through. The woman lost her job of 21 years and could not qualify for the loan.
We made the decision to leap and live on the edge. The trip stretched me physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. There was a strong inner calling to leap. In order to continue, I had to change my perspective, let go of the way I would normally do this trip and I had to be willing to risk everything including my house and my reputation. For the readers who don’t know me I want you to know I am not a lunatic. I am a simple person with simple needs who loves her family and friends and who would have been content to be a Girl Scout leader in Baltimore for the rest of my life. But there was something inside of me calling me to go out into the world. When my daughter began to get 3,000 hits on her blog every day, and women began to tell me that we were giving them the courage to make changes in their lives and take bigger risks, I knew I had to keep going.
I am beginning to call this an E-book Experience instead of a club. It is experiential and evolving every month.
Shelly Rachanow: And last, because I know you have more than one answer to this question, I have to ask again: What would you do if you ran the world?
Andrea Hylen: The key to me is empowering women and girls to become leaders in their lives. When women step into leadership, they use their voices to make change. They speak up for themselves, children, the environment, human rights, and animal rights. They work in collaboration with others to implement change. When women heal self-esteem, worthiness, grief, and trauma, their voices get stronger and they can have an impact on making a difference in their families, communities, states, countries and the world. We do run the world. The choices we make every day affect the world we live in. We can all discover the leader within us and begin making changes in our part of the world now. My commitment to running the world is creating safe, healing spaces like the Grief Transformation Circle, developing projects like the E-book club for empowering self-discovery within individuals and demonstrating leadership by taking simple steps with “Being Green is not a Trend.” Let us all commit to being leaders in our own lives now.
For more information, visit:
Website is http://www.opentoinspiration.com/
Facebook Fan Pages: An Evolutionary Woman’s Journey Series and Open to Inspiration
Link to Articles on grieving: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Andrea_Hylen
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
With National Face Your Fears Day coming Wednesday, October 13, this week marks the release of Nina and Mary Beth's newest book, The Courage Companion: How to Live Life with True Power, which contains stories of extraordinary fortitude. These true tales not only invite us to "tap into—and hold onto—our inner strength when times get tough and when we're feeling all alone," but also act as guides to inspire anyone to just do it, whatever that "it" may be.
From world-class athletes to business and humanitarian leaders, and from cancer patients to ordinary people who took extraordinary action to transform their lives, these courage warriors show us how to turn apprehension into action. If ever there was a time for courage, it’s now. That’s why I was especially excited to talk to Nina about this book.
Shelly Rachanow: What was your inspiration for The Courage Companion: How to Live Life with True Power?
Nina Lesowitz: Growing up, both of us were inspired by novels about courageous girls: Nancy Drew, Jo in Little Women, Mary in the Secret Garden, and others. Later in high school we learned about men and women with tremendous courage – Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Park, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many more.
We started thinking about our heroes and people today who are risking their lives to fight for equality and justice. And we thought about how much courage it takes just to survive and thrive in day-to-day life when facing the unknown. Like today: with double-digit unemployment numbers, people losing homes to foreclosure, wars in the Middle East, the threat of climate change, lack of health care coverage, many Americans are feeling more stressed out than ever.
How do people battle fear and tap into their inner power? We decided to find out. We interviewed people throughout the United States and Canada to try to define courage. From those interviews, we selected a range of stories that we feel epitomize qualities of bravery and gutsiness. We share their stories of inner strength for readers so that in tough times they know they are not alone. They can read these stories and tips, and actually learn how to become unafraid.
Shelly Rachanow: Why is this book especially relevant today?
Shelly Rachanow: How can boosting our courage quotient help us to live life more fully?
Nina Lesowitz: When you live in fear, afraid for your personal security, you are not living your true life. But the good news is, you can make the choice to become more courageous. You can choose to live out the rest of your life feeling secure, or you could tap into your inner power and take the first step toward living a fulfilling, exciting and, possibly dangerous life.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was saying that the emotion of fear, rather than the reality of what we fear, is what causes us anxiety, stress, and unhappiness. When you boost your courage quotient, a whole new world of possibilities opens up for you. Just think what would you dare to dream, or be, or do, if you weren’t afraid of anything in the whole world?
Shelly Rachanow: Can you give us some practices and tips?
Nina Lesowitz: Fortunately, the habit of courage can be learned just as any other success skill is learned. To do so, we need to address our fears, while building up our courage quotient. We can use techniques to change our self-perception and develop courageous states of mind.
Positive thinking promotes positive outcomes, and pessimism begets negativity. So to generate a courageous attitude you have to train yourself to start thinking more positively. Create a mental picture of the person that you would like to be, performing the way you would like to perform. Try saying three positive self-statements out loud before you go to bed each night. Think about all you did well that day. Or create a positive affirmation(s) and carry them with you each day, referring to them when you need them:
“I know I can handle all that comes my way.”
“I am in control of my fears.”
“Challenging my fears helps me grow and makes me stronger.”
Also, do one little thing outside your comfort zone every day. It doesn't have to be a big step, just something different from what you normally do or say. And take inspiration from courageous people, some of whom pay the ultimate price to stand up for their beliefs. You can tell yourself, “Speaking up for myself will NOT cost me my life, but if I don’t speak up, it may haunt me for the rest of my days.”
Shelly Rachanow: Tell us about National Face Your Fears Day, happening October 13.
Nina Lesowitz: National Face Your Fears Day is the brainchild of Steve Hughes, a presentation skills trainer who marveled at the sheer terror that people faced when giving a speech in public. He noticed that when people actually thought about it and took some action, suddenly public speaking didn't appear as menacing. After all, no has ever really died of nervousness during a speech. (Well, nothing has been documented so far.)
Since 2007, the second Wednesday in October is your day to confront your fears and begin the journey to put them behind you.
Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?
Nina Lesowitz: If I ran the world, I would take money from each country’s war chest and create an International Council whose goal would be to completely eradicate child and animal abuse. Just as international government agencies work together to eliminate global health threats such as SARS, AIDS, and Avian Influenza, I would direct even more resources to call attention to – and fight against – any type of hurtful behavior toward children and animals.
Mahatma Ghandi said, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members," and if I ran the world, we would start by mandating the humane treatment of animals and children. The benefits would then “trickle up,” because societies would not be generating psychologically damaged people who grow up and create cults, start religious wars, or perpetrate “ethnic cleansing.”
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Order The Courage Companion here: Amazon.com/CourageCompanion
Like The Courage Companion here: Facebook/CourageCompanion
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Kami’s extensive knowledge of healing plants is infused into her specialty of herbal cooking for preventive health. She empowers people in understanding how to use herbs in the home setting for prevention and every day common ailments. For instance, did you know that adding ginger to a fish meal kills pathogens found specifically in fish and sprinkling fennel into your meat marinades helps you to more easily digest the fat in the meat. I didn’t, until I spoke to Kami and learned all about her new book, The Herbal Kitchen (which may even inspire me to cook).
The Herbal Kitchen helps readers recognize the extraordinary pharmacy that already exists in their own kitchen – one that will boost immunity, heal sickness, enhance energy, and ensure overall health and vitality, all without the need for fancy equipment or specialty products. In thirteen informative chapters, Kami gives us a detailed guide to the most common herbs, their medicinal benefits and the tips and tricks to using them for a healthier life. I was really excited to learn more about this from Kami.
Shelly Rachanow: Tell us more about The Herbal Kitchen.
Kami McBride: Did you know that stuffing your turkey with sage helps to keep away the colds that begin circulating around Thanksgiving? The Herbal Kitchen discusses many herbs and spices that you already have in your kitchen. I hope that this book encourages people to think of their spice rack as more than a source of flavor. It is also a medicine chest, full of healing remedies that can help you to keep your family well.
Shelly Rachanow: People may not realize that many culinary herbs are medicinal. What herbs do you work with that people are already familiar with?
Let’s take cinnamon for example; most everyone has cinnamon and has used it to liven up their oatmeal or pumpkin pie mix. Cinnamon is a highly medicinal herb with hundreds of health and kitchen medicine applications. It is a first-rate cold and flu prevention agent and remedy. Cinnamon offers relief from menstrual cramps, allergy symptoms, coughs, and much more. The same thing holds true for all the common spices: oregano, garlic, sage, cloves, and pepper all contain healing attributes that inspire good food and good health.
Shelly Rachanow: How can people use herbs in their food to help prevent seasonal illness? What are some of the physical ailments that you address with herbs prepared into foods?
Kami McBride: In The Herbal Kitchen there are more than 200 recipes for how to use herbs in your food more effectively. Consciously knowing that fennel helps you to digest fat and having the awareness that oregano fights colds and flu is the first step to knowing when to use them in your food. Herbal cooking can be very therapeutic. The wise spice-wielding cook can ward off colds and flu, stomach aches, headaches and allergies. Turmeric helps with arthritis, cumin helps with indigestion and sage helps with coughs. If you have that basic knowledge, then your cooking just naturally becomes a medicinal endeavor.
Shelly Rachanow: You write about medicinal foods being an important part of our ability to heal the environment and connect with the natural world. How can using herbs in our food impact healing and the environment?
Kami McBride: One of the best things about using herbs is that they help to reduce our reliance on over the counter medications. Many medications are not being effectively removed from our water supply and end up in the environment. Also, growing your own herbs can provide beneficial habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
Shelly Rachanow: It all seems so simple, why isn’t this knowledge just part of what we grow up with?
Kami McBride: We are dealing with several generations throwing out their grandmothers’ herbal remedies and falling in love with pharmaceutical solutions to common ailments. The drug companies have very powerful advertising campaigns that people fall for. I am not saying that we should never take over the counter drugs, but for many things there are natural solutions and I suggest trying those first.
I teach courses that train people how to use herbs in the home. For those families, herbs are becoming again just part of what we grow up with!
Shelly Rachanow: Will kids eat any of the foods or drinks in your book? In your experience, what recipes do kids like the most?
Kami McBride: My son loves herbs. He is six years old and drinks my teas, sprinkles herbs on his food at meal times and picks his own herbs for teas. So the answer is yes, your kids will use herbs, you have to provide the foundation for having lots of herbs as part of your kitchen culture. Kids especially love to have herbal sprinkle combinations at the table to choose from for putting on their food.
Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?
Kami McBride: I would stop the wars and spend the money on solutions that help people set up systems to live sustainably.
For more information, visit