Saturday, March 26, 2011

Family Furniture

By Julie Rahm

Last week, one of my coaching clients had his grandmother pass away. She was age 99. She did not have much money. She did, however, have quite a collection of furniture. Despite his personal desires, my client was persuaded by the other members of the family to assume ownership of the furniture. He already had all the furniture he needed. Now, he was acquiring a truckload of out-of-style furniture. And, the unspoken contract he had with the rest of his family did not allow him to sell or dispose of grandma’s furniture. His parents, aunts and uncles did not want the furniture, but they wanted it to stay in the family, forever.

How often in our own lives do we assume ownership of the “family furniture”? “Family furniture” is akin to beliefs and expectations. Family beliefs and expectations are thrust on us like my client’s unwanted furniture. The desire not to disappoint makes the unspoken contracts binding. We are expected to abide by family beliefs and expectations, quietly and obediently. Perhaps we are expected to inherit and run the family business, or go to college, or vote democrat/republican. Failure to comply amounts to failure as an individual. Parents lay out the blueprint. We follow. The round peg gets pounded into the square hole crushing our spirits and preventing us from becoming the creative individuals God intended us to be. More important than doing what we think we should, is doing what our heart tells us to do. When we deny the desires of our hearts, we miss out on our greatest joy and the world misses out on the unique contribution we are here to make.

As another example, a 70-year-old woman I know always wanted to start an orphanage. Her dream remains unfilled because she is paralyzed by her father’s beliefs and expectations. “Women are teachers, nurses, or housewives/mothers.” She inherited the “family furniture”! Unfortunately, her orphanage is not built and the world is not benefiting from the fine citizens that might be.

Let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit and examine the origin of your beliefs and expectations. Reach into the tool kit for the metaphorical flashlight and level. Use the flashlight to illuminate who is in the room with you when you make decisions. When they speak, is your level in balance or not? If not, reach for the metaphorical hammer. Hammer in beliefs and expectations that bring your level back in balance.

So, if you are going to inherit your “family furniture”, do so with total awareness of what you are accepting. In times of constant change, what worked five years ago may not work today. Follow your dreams thoughtfully and with purpose. You will have a rich and fulfilling life being who you really are!

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at and on the radio Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC, and

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lighten Up

By Julie Rahm

The storage unit business is thriving. Storage units dot the landscape in every town across the country. Renting a storage unit is commonplace and having a storage unit is like owning a car. Everyone has one and some have multiples. People everywhere pay money to retain “stuff” they are not using. Instead of selling or donating their “stuff”, it goes into a storage unit somewhere. Our culture is so driven by material possessions that people incur financial losses to hoard stuff. Marketers have taught us possessions are the key to our happiness. Buy stuff and be happy. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Having items in a storage unit will not improve your life and make you happy. The key to happiness is you and your mindset. And, similar to your car, your mindset must stay tuned up.

If your mind is tuned up, you will have a happy and prosperous life. If, on the other hand, your mind is filled with excess junk, you will be burdened with a mindset that impedes the attainment of your goals. Unproductive thoughts are like your stuff in a storage unit; not useful and a financial burden. So, lighten up your mind with a mental spring cleaning. Empty out your mental storage unit and get rid of the thoughts that do not contribute to your wellbeing. You have the power to stop these thoughts from renting space in your head. Have a mental garage sale. Let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit and tune up your mindset by lightening up!

The first tool you need is the metaphorical level. The level indicates when your mood is off balance and your thoughts are taking you away from results you desire. You think about 60,000 thoughts each day. Who could keep track of them all? That is why the metaphorical level is so important. It alerts you when you are thinking thoughts that are not productive. Remember, the way you think affects the way you feel. The way you feel affects the way you act. And the way you act drives the results you get. The level indicates when your thoughts make you feel badly.

When the level tilts off balance, stop and notice the thoughts you were thinking. The metaphorical flashlight shines into the dark recesses of your mind to help identify unproductive thoughts. Use the metaphorical pliers to pluck the thoughts out of your mind. Then, use the metaphorical hammer to hammer in more positive thoughts one believable thought at a time. Just a small perspective shift can help you think more positive thoughts.

So as you engage in spring cleaning to lighten your physical load, lighten your mental load, too. Keep your metaphorical tool kit handy. And, enjoy spring!

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at and on the radio Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happiness All Around

By Julie Rahm

Happiness is there, right in front of you. All it takes is the mindset to see and hear it. Happiness is all about our mindset. Our mindset includes thoughts, perspectives, beliefs, and expectations. Thoughts affect the way we feel. Feelings drive our actions. And, our actions determine our resulting happiness. If you want happiness as a result, stop and fix your mindset. You will discover the happiness that has always been present in everyday life.

Too often, we overlook happiness. In January 2007, the Washington Post conducted a social experiment where a violinist played in the Washington, D.C. subway for 45 minutes. He played six pieces from Bach during which approximately 2,000 commuters passed by. He collected $32 from commuters tossing change into his violin case. Very few noticed or cared. Children paused and displayed the most interest. Every time children paused, their parents dragged them off not wanting to be delayed. The violinist was world renowned Joshua Bell. He is one of the top violinists in the world. Every one of his concerts sells out well in advance. Tickets to hear him play are almost impossible to get. The average price of a Joshua Bell concert ticket is well over $100. In the Washington, D.C. subway during that cold January morning Joshua Bell played a violin worth over 3.5 million dollars. Yet, in a hurry, the passers by in the subway did not perceive the beauty. Their commuter mindset masked the beauty of a Joshua Bell violin concert! My point is that if you want to experience life’s riches, do not be a commuter going through the subway of life.

So, how do you stop commuting through life? The solution is easy and anyone can do it. Simply use my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit. The metaphorical level creates self awareness by indicating an out of balance condition. The metaphorical flashlight highlights those thoughts that are not serving you well, taking you away from the happiness you desire. Pluck those ill-serving thoughts from your mind with the metaphorical pliers. Then, hammer in a framework for a more positive mindset, one believable thought at a time.

Personally, our dog Tank notices everything. He shows me when my own level is out of balance and when my priorities are out of order. When Tank sees other dogs, he stops whatever he is doing and runs to greet them. And, playtime ensues.

So, stop and hear the music. Slow down. Life’s riches are before you. You do not have to purchase a high priced violin concert ticket. Even if you are in the subway of life, the music is still there if you pause long enough to hear the notes. Learn from children and dogs. Lift your head and look around. Happiness is all around.

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at and on the radio Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bouncing Back

By Julie Rahm

Recently, my friend’s mother and husband died in the same month. Her husband was her “soul mate”. And, she had taken care of her mother every day for five years. My friend’s life had taken a horrible turn. And yet, she demonstrated strength and resilience as she preserved her own well being. How? She started with a “bounce back” mindset. She was “rubber, not glue”. What a great concept. It works whether you suffer from the pain of a job loss, a relationship loss, a health loss, a financial loss, or the death of a loved one. So, let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit for a bounce-back mindset tune-up that anyone who suffers a loss can use.

Reach into the tool kit for the metaphorical level. The level indicates when you are out of balance from negative thoughts and emotions. Nothing tilts your level like an unexpected, life-changing loss. The things that will never be create a swirl of emotions and fears. Be kind to yourself on this new journey. Use the metaphorical flashlight to spotlight the multitude of negative thoughts in your mind. Perhaps you are not allowing yourself to grieve. Or, you could be reliving the past and the details of your loss, over and over. Or, you might be recreating the past with thoughts that begin with “If only”. Thoughts are the key, because your thoughts affect the way you feel. The way you feel affects the way you act. And, the way you act drives the results you get. Once you identify your negative thoughts, use the metaphorical pliers to pluck them out one by one. Write down your thoughts in a journal. In doing so, the negative thoughts leave your mind and you can handle them one at a time.

Handle negative thoughts with the metaphorical hammer. Hammer in the framework for replacing negative thoughts with believable thoughts that make you feel better. Hammer in knowing that there is hope and help as you bounce back. Hammer in forgiveness for yourself and others. Hammer in a vision for a new future. Then, use the metaphorical screwdriver to strengthen connections with supportive family and friends.

Gifts and lessons can be found in every loss. Personally, I once found myself leaving a job before I was ready. The job was just comfortable enough to keep me from venturing out and expressing my unique creativity. Being free from the job became a wonderful gift. Sometimes the Universe orchestrates a loss when we are living too safely. When we are not being the people we were born to be, maximizing our natural gifts, we may receive a supernatural kick in the pants. The key is to “be rubber, not glue” and bounce back with grace.

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at and on the radio Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and
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