And Along Came a Spider

Some time ago my eleven year-old daughter came home from orchestra practice simply devastated. She had been the first to arrive, and as the others filed in, nobody chose to sit by her. She sat at the edge of the room, the only student with an empty chair at her side.

She felt rejected and alone.

So the next day, as I dropped her off, I encouraged her to hold back and let some of the others sit down first, and then make her choice to sit by someone she’d like to get to know better. “Find someone who might be having a bad day, and BE the one to make a friend.”

I encouraged her to have a prayer in her heart, picturing herself with an abundance of friends, and reminded her that choosing to be positive and confident would help others want to be around her.

So she pulled herself together with an intention that things would be different this time. She agreed to pray in her heart and try to think more positively.

But what happened next surprised us both…

When I picked her up from school, she was excited to report that she ended up right between two girls that she was excited to get to know better.

How did it happen? Not the way we thought it would.

Contrary to my advice, she still showed up earlier than most; and out of habit decided to sit in her regular chair on the edge of the room. As a few of the other students filed in, the pattern threatened to repeat itself.

(That’s the power of subconscious thoughts right there…)

However, just then, she noticed a scary spider on her music stand. Creeped out, she took her folder and tried to push it off.

Instead of successfully getting it out of her space, it fell onto her leg. She jumped up and shook her pants, and wasn’t sure where it ended up. Assuming it was still at her chair, she decided that it would be better to move.

It took her out of her comfort zone and into another chair. One of the girls she’d like to know better came in and sat right next to her. Before long, a second girl took the empty chair at her other side.

Admittedly she said she thought the answer to her prayer would show up in the form of an idea, or an added measure of courage to do or say something uncomfortable.

But no, it showed up as a spider.

This micro-experience captures the essence of how God so often deals with us. When we ask for things to be better, he doesn’t just make things better. He creates conditions in our life that make us get out of our comfort zone and put us somewhere else – somewhere, where the blessing we’re asking for can finally be received.

Sometimes we get moved out of our comfort zone and still fail to receive the blessing. This can happen when our thoughts are not inclined to look for the hidden benefit in our adversity.

It would be like my daughter getting out of her regular chair and into another, and being so upset by it that she doesn’t even notice the potential friendships on either side of her. By her response to the hardship, she could have completely denied herself of the blessing that the change contained.

In that case, the girls that flanked her could have picked up on the downer-energy and might have been inclined to just ignore her.

I’m grateful that she was thoughtful enough to give credit to God for sending a spider, because it prepared the way for her to receive the very thing she was hoping for all along.

My dear reader… What’s your spider? What ugly thing has showed up in your life that’s opposite to what you’ve been praying for?

It’s there for a reason.

(To watch additional clips from this event, click here)

A Hardship is always a blessing in disguise. Pay attention to how it “moves” you.

I’d like to help you make sense (cents) out of your setbacks. Are you ready for a better future? Click here to learn more about the life-changing Mindset Mastery Program. Originally published September 22, 2009

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Choose Your Rock Bottom

Recently it was necessary for me to write “my story” again, explaining the circumstances around how we discovered the prinicples I now teach and tripled our income in just a few months. As I wrote, I mentioned how I had personally hit an emotional “rock bottom” just before things began to turn around.

I stopped and pondered that. For us, things were pretty bad at the time, but looking back I now realize that there are other people on the planet who are much worse off than we were, when we felt things couldn’t get any worse. We weren’t homeless, we weren’t in jail, nobody was dying… No, we were just strapped financially and severely depressed. Prosperity seemed to elude us at every turn.

As I continued to ponder this, I remembered a number of other people’s success stories I’ve heard, and it seems to be a common thing to hear them mention hitting “rock bottom”. A ball won’t bounce back until it’s hit the ground. It seems to be a natural thing for humankind to begin to head upward only after hitting an ultimate low.

For some, rock bottom was jail. For others, it meant living in their car.

Do you realize what this means? Rock bottom will be different for everyone. Rock bottom is where life has become so intolerable that something inside of you finally looks heavenward and says, “I surrender. I can’t do this anymore. Show me the way.”

In my experience, there were plenty of times where I said, “I can’t do this anymore.” But the upturn only happened after I really surrendered. It’s when the words “I can’t do this anymore” came from a humble, teachable place, instead of a frustrated, angry place.

For me it was when I stopped trying to do things “my way” and was finally willing to really do whatever the Lord was trying to teach me. It means saying, “I am finally ready to listen, and do.”

It’s when you realize that you’ve got to take a risk and put the principles of faith to the test, no matter what. You refuse to think about the worst case, and cling tenaciously to hope, allowing yourself in your mind to see only the results you want.

It’s when you stop resisting out of fear of failure. If you have been afraid to trust, it’s when you have no other choice BUT to trust. It’s when you say, “I will move my feet, and do all I can do with a CALM spirit, and trust that things will work out for me because of it.” There comes a point where you have no other choice. That’s your rock-bottom. You numbly decide that if it all falls apart anyway, you’ll face it when it happens, but for now you’ll put one step in front of the other and just believe, with a calm surrender.

Some people consider an empty bank account rock bottom, while others don’t hit it until they’ve also maxed out their credit cards. Some hit it when they realize for the first time that they can’t make a car payment, while others don’t hit it until the repo man shows up to take the car away. There are those who have dealt with the repo man more than once, and even that doesn’t bother them enough to really hit rock bottom. I’ve since heard of people who have, over time, upped the level of what rock bottom means to them, and in one example, it’s when their bank account gets below $8,000. So, now when the balance gets close to $8,000, that’s when they have their “awakening” and get busy doing something about it.

No matter how successful a person becomes, no matter how much prosperity s/he enjoys, there will always be new challenges. Without them, we wouldn’t grow. How well we handle them depends on how hard it must get before we finally decide to trust the Lord to carry us through. Though we may never completely avoid challenges, we can learn to embrace them and gain the blessing they always contain.

Let’s not wait for things to get any worse. The upturn can happen now. Let today be the day that you surrender, trust, and discover how much better you can thrive when you trust the inner voice that is trying to speak peace to your heart.

Take five minutes to close your eyes and picture yourself living the life you want. Feel it now. Then, trust that things will soon begin to turn around for you. You can’t see it happening, but know that tomorrow’s series of events were just altered because of it. Originally published March 3, 2007

I want to help. Join me now in the Mindset Mastery program and discover what a simple shift in thinking can do for your life.

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Handling Economic Challenges Gracefully

This is one of my brain dumps. It’s not organized with literary brilliance, it’s a brain dump. But it’s important stuff, and I think it needs to be shared immediately. I’ll clean it up later. Maybe.

Here we go:

When facing a tough economic challenge, part of you might wonder what people will think if you have to make some drastic changes. It’s the classic “fear of failure”, and it’s time we address it in a new way:

When you’re hot on the trail of a rabbit (otherwise known as a “goal”), and feeling full of expectation and excitement about achieving it, and you know it’s just a matter of time, this post is NOT for you. Hang up now.

However, if you want to feel the exhilaration knowing you’re on the right track, but are having some trouble getting to that point, then keep reading. I think you’ll find some valuable insight here.

When things get tough, shifting your focus from chasing a dream to just trying to hang on to what you have can create some challenges. To stay on track for the best outcome in the long-term, you need to stop and check in on your primary motivator.

The desire to maintain a particular image with your peers is a dangerous motivator. It’s a trap that leads people in prosperous times to overextend themselves, and it’s a trap that leads people in tough times to take too long to cut their losses and adjust their plan.

“Adjust my plan?? But how is that demonstrating faith and tenacity??” you might wonder.

Note: The goal is in stone, but the plan is in sand, as it should be. When you face challenges, you must be willing to alter the plan.

When times are good, you can avoid this trap by being absolutely clear on your values and simply practice delayed gratification. Make sure you improve your lifestyle only for the purpose of helping you and your family accomplish your greatest potential, never for the purpose of impressing anyone.

When times are tough, reject any concern about what your neighbors might think if they see you cutting back in your lifestyle. There is a force of opposition that fills your mind with fear in order to keep you from doing the right thing for your family.

Think about it. Someone needs to take a stand for what’s right, even when it isn’t popular. And if you do the right thing, you’ll give others around you the courage to do the right thing as well. You may be the only person on your block to cut back on luxuries temporarily, but if it will help you be more free to obtain the true necessities for your family, then just do it.

“Cut back?? Isn’t that operating on a ‘lack mentality’?” you might wonder.

Let me explain. It is critical that you understand this:

The most important factor in your ultimate success is how you FEEL.

So, if you’re feeling fearful of the future, and having a hard time thinking “abundance” in spite of the circumstances, then one of the quickest ways to feel abundant is to TAKE CONTROL of the visible resources you already have at your disposal.

Be the master of your money.

Show yourself that you are still in charge, and that the money is not the master over you. If you cut back on expenses voluntarily before you have no other choice but to do so, then you are demonstrating mastery.

Ironically, there is a great feeling of ABUNDANCE that comes when you choose to pro-actively cut expenses temporarily.

Before our monthly income tripled in 2000, we prepared the soil by first coming to terms with our painful financial picture, and creating a long-term plan for climbing out. We cut back on our spending, and watched every penny very carefully, operating on a focused plan to roll our debt load down.

Although the picture was bleak, we felt rich, because we were doing something smart with our current resources. That feeling of taking control changed our vibration and led us to the opportunity that accelerated our income faster than we thought possible. Within just a few months, we paid off ALL of our debt except our home. This was something we originally thought would have taken 5 years or so on our debt pay down plan.

Did you catch that? Months, instead of years!

Until now, you may have only heard the part of our story that “our income tripled in about three months.” But we sat down several months before, and got serious about doing what we could to reduce our debts with the little resources we had. We got serious about improving our credit. We mapped out a month-to-month plan on how we would roll our debts, and refused to buy anything unnecessary until our finances were under control.

We felt rich, because we had taken control of a situation that had previously felt “out of control”. With that new feeling, we attracted the means to accomplish the goal very rapidly.

The means that showed up required that we go through a barrier of fear. But with our new understanding of the Terror Barrier, and how to get through it, we took the leap, and tripled our income. The Mindset Mastery Program will take you through that process, step by step. If something is telling you to take that leap of faith, have some courage and find out what our graduates have learned. You’re worth the investment. (More on Mindset Mastery Program here.)

Additional Tips to feel Abundant Now:

De-clutter your home. Unload things that you are not using, things that could be enjoyed and used by someone else right away. Let them go, cheerfully, and you’ll feel abundant again. Give them to charitable organizations who will recycle them.

Cut your losses. We’ve made our fair share of poor investments, and the first time we faced losing a lot of money, we used all of our mental toughness, all of the visualization, all of the prayer, hope and persistence we could muster to change the nature of the bad investment. We thought that when nothing changed, we were just not being faithful enough, and that God could certainly cause a miracle in our behalf to turn the bad investment into a good one if he wanted to.

But there was no rescue or change until we became really humble and began listening for, and looking for, other benefits from the experience. The investments actually ended up paying really well in terms of lessons learned, once we decided to stop trying to force them to pay well financially.

If you work to learn rather than work to earn, you will always be well compensated.

So, ultimately, we found the courage to stop the financial bleeding where it was, and through the experience we learned (for the first time) to remove all emotional attachment from financial investments. We determined to be grateful that we only lost about $150,000 in that experience, and discover that we could bounce back after a setback. We found out that setbacks didn’t have to be fatal.

We decided to be grateful that we didn’t learn the lesson on millions of dollars instead of only tens of thousands.

Remember: The tools of visualization are not to manipulate circumstances, but to plant seeds, and to allow the natural processes do what they need to do, to ultimately bring the vision about in the right time and place. Visualization changes YOU, not the circumstances. When YOU are changed, your circumstances will reflect it.

So, if your circumstances seem bleak, use visualization to create the life you expect to live on the other side of the hardship. Most people, who are gripped with fear in their present financial mess, have no visual image of what their life will be like in 10 years. Most are so consumed with visions of a financial train wreck in a few months, that they have not stopped to consider how they might put things back together afterwards, and build an abundant life in the longer run.

Zoom out. If you are gripped with fear, zoom out. The law of rhythm states that all of life’s conditions are cyclical. If you’re having a bad day, you can expect to have a good day soon. If you’re having a bad year, you can expect to have a good year soon. If it’s been a tough decade, then start creating the vision of what a decade of prosperity would feel like. The opportunity for the upturn is there for you, but it requires your hope and optimism to bring it about as soon as possible.

And here’s an important tip:

Don’t avoid thinking about the worst-case scenario.

“WHAT DID LESLIE JUST SAY???”

You heard me right: Don’t avoid thinking about the worst-case scenario. But before you pass judgement that I’ve totally flown off the deep end, consider it this way:

If pushing the fearful thoughts away has not been working for you, go ahead and go there.

Let me explain. If I told you, “do NOT think about an elephant,” then you could spend all day long pushing elephant images away. What you’re essentially doing is thinking about elephants non-stop.

So maybe you’re facing the loss of your home. Maybe you’ll lose everything. Maybe you’ll have to go bankrupt. Go ahead and create a contingency plan: what would you do to start over? What is your ultimate goal? What is the life you’re trying to build? Stop avoiding the images of hitting the bottom, because by pushing them away all day, you’re essentially giving them a whole lot of attention. Get it over with. Think them through and finish the exercise with the vision of bouncing back afterward. See yourself successful on the other side.

Did you know that most highly successful people have lost, or nearly lost, everything, at least once? Bob Proctor says he has nearly lost everything twice. The law of polarity states that as bad as things are, is how good things are (or can be – if you’ll allow it) on the other side. The harder the fall, the higher the potential bounce. So many people face the loss of everything, but we find out soon enough what a person is made of by how quickly they bounce back.

How quickly a person bounces back depends on how quickly he/she comes to peace with what is.

So go ahead and think through the worst-case scenario, and come to peace with it as soon as possible:

  1. Think about it unemotionally – with a mindset of fixing it, in case that’s where you go. Then,
  2. Create a plan for avoiding the worst-case scenario, and let yourself get really excited about the success!

Address both the bad and the good possibilities, but address the bad with composure, and address the good with excitement.

The conditions connected to the dominant emotion will have the greatest affect the final outcome. So go ahead and think it through, experience the fear if you must, create a contingency plan for recovery, and then pull yourself together. Then spend the rest of your time and energy going forward on the plan for only prosperity and success. End your exploratory session on an optimistic note, and feel good knowing that you’re going to be okay no matter what. This exercise helps you get back to being in the right vibration for success, which is a much better place to be than in constant conflict of trying to think prosperity when you’re feeling so much anxiety.

Get back to the basics. Focus on your family. Your family is yours in good times and in bad times. So focus on building and strengthening those relationships. If you’ve already come to peace with the worst-case scenario, then you’ll find it easier to let go of your stresses to enjoy the kids, and your spouse. Really, what do you have to lose? (You might say, “everything!” but whether you do or you don’t, you can grow stronger as a family through it, and not let it fracture the most important thing: your relationships.)

Taking time to put family first will increase your emotional and spiritual vibration and prepare you to make better decisions when you return to the grind.

Prepare for emergencies. Historically, when the economy has suffered, other calamities have piled on top of it to add stress to an already weakened people, such as war, or widespread illnesses. This is a time of testing. Keep your head on and follow your intuition. Have some extra food on hand, in case you have to stay in your home for extended periods of time. If you are prepared, you will more easily avoid falling into fear. Remember, a mind full of fear cannot simultaneously be full of faith. A mind and heart full of faith will be in tune to receive inspiration that can help avoid or overcome hardships.

Take inventory of lessons learned. If you’ve made some mistakes with your money, learn the lesson and move on. Yes, we are to think abundantly, but we are also to be wise stewards of the resources we’ve already been given. It is important to know that God can and will provide abundantly all that we need to accomplish all He wants us to do, but if we slip into an entitlement attitude, that we should always have all we want right now, and that it will never run out, no matter how careless we are with it, we have swung too far into an irresponsible, immature mindset that is no better than a teenager’s who lives with a rich and indulgent parent. God will not spoil us… so if we think abundantly without regard to the rest of his universal laws, we are setting ourselves up to be humbled.

Practice gratitude. You have all you need in this moment, so recognize it, acknowledge it, and express your gratitude for it. Even selfish teenagers get more favors from responsible parents when they show genuine gratitude.

“So is there, or is there not, abundance??”

There is abundance. There is only abundance. We can have all that we need to enjoy freedom, and reach our highest potential.

In fact, we already do. We have all we need right now to learn today’s lesson. We will have all we need tomorrow to learn tomorrow’s lesson. Remember to always work to learn, and you’ll live an abundant, fulfilling life.

The journey will have some bumps in the road, and for good reason. Stay faithful, trusting that there is good in all of it, and you’ll come out on top. It is only by faith that miracles are wrought, and yet sometimes we have to take a step back and get our feet solidly back on the ground before we’re ready to climb that next mountain. When you start approaching your challenges in the right way, you’ll feel the joy, and the soul-expansion, of choosing the right.

If you haven’t been feeling that for a while, take a deep breath and assess your situation, right where it is. Face the facts – know where you are. The GPS (global positioning system) will only accurately take you to where you want to go if you accurately identify your starting point. If you haven’t done that for a while, (i.e. pulling your bills together and identifying your income/expenses), then doing it now can actually feel GOOD, because it’s RIGHT. Doing the right thing will bring you peace of mind, which is the first step to being open for further instructions.

It’s not over… it’s a wonderful new beginning! Originally published Jan 22, 2009

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#29: Stay at Home Moms Making Money

I was invited to speak at an LDS Homeschooler’s Conference hosted by Celestia Shumway (treeoflifemothering.com), attended by mothers who wanted to stay at home to raise their children but who sometimes struggled to make ends meet financially.

In this program, I share more candidly my own struggle to be a stay at home mom and to overcome my money hangups. I discuss the concern that ‘money corrupts’ and how we therefore sometimes block the ideas that can release us from financial bondage. I also describe the process for finding ways to accomplish the goal, even when it seems impossible.

The solution to every problem is only an idea away. I want to help you get the idea YOU need. Join us for our next Genius Bootcamp, a workshop based on my books Jackrabbit Factor and Portal to Genius (both free downloads!)

(The audio system was not perfect – the auditorium was large and had an echo, but the message is still powerful.)

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#28: Parenting Principles Preview

Parenting can be hard!  So when difficult behaviors wreak havoc on the family, you might just need a few more tools in the toolbox. Finding the core principles that govern success in any area of life is absolutely key to succeeding in that area, and what you’ll find on this podcast is no exception.

This entertaining audio program will not only help parents who have small children, but also those with teenagers. It describes the parenting system that I used for many years as we raised our seven children, and it made ALL the difference!

My guest Matt Reichmann and his wife Julie raised five children while he worked in Los Angeles law enforcement. He saw countless parents lose control of their children and then look to police for help. This negative trend spurred a desire in Matt to use his experience to make a difference.

The combination of Julie’s home skills and Matt’s law enforcement experience gave them a unique perspective in the art of parenting.

Over the years, they developed a powerful system of discipline based on the principle of personal accountability. After using the system in their home with success, they were encouraged by friends and associates to share their parenting techniques with others. This encouragement and a strong desire to help others lead to the creation of Accountability Concepts.

This audio was originally recorded ten years ago. I have been wanting to share it on my podcast, but his sweet wife (my dear friend Julie) was diagnosed with cancer and then lost her courageous battle in 2014. During those difficult years, their website was shut down, their business was put on hold, and the audio remained hidden in my archives. But it is my pleasure now to announce that Matt’s website is once again back on line, and he has given me the green light to finally share this audio FREE with you now.

To learn more about Matt Reichmann’s powerful parenting program, visit Accountability Concepts.

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Why Disappointment can be a Good Thing

“One of the greatest skills we can learn in life is how to deal effectively with disappointments, because after all, life is full of them. Learning the skill not only helps us turn things around, but it can also help us have total peace of mind (and even joy) in the meantime. As we learn to respond to disappointments in ways that are in harmony with the laws of success, we discover that there is always something wonderful to be gained from them.” ~ Leslie Householder

The Law of Polarity is all about opposites. Day/night, black/white, up/down, smile/frown.  One effective way to learn about something is through the use of opposites–we can understand more of what something is by understanding what it is NOT. We understand happiness because we understand sadness. We understand what is right because we understand what is wrong…

[It] assures us that even when things look bad–even very, very bad–there is the potential for good.  It doesn’t necessarily take away the natural sorrow we feel when bad things happen… But the pain is mitigated by the faith in something good coming from the bad situation.

There is room for both sadness and happiness in life. In fact, both are necessary. How could we understand happiness without experiencing the opposite?  People who strive to live without experiencing sadness or other negative feelings also limit their capacity for experiencing joy.

Parenting is the perfect example of the Law of Polarity.  Within this experience we find the greatest capacity for love, joy, and happiness, and also the greatest sorrow, frustration, and disappointment. The love a parent has for a child is transcendent, and the grief a parent experiences as a child struggles can be overwhelming.  But such great happiness does not come WITHOUT soul-wrenching experiences. The greater the heartache, the greater the joy that can come…

Read the complete article here…

For more on this topic, read Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free!)

Author Robyn Young is a Mindset Mastery Certified Mentor and Genius Bootcamp Facilitator. Join Robyn for our next Genius Bootcamp – registration NOW OPEN – Early bird rate expires soon! Click here to learn more.

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Adversity and Unifying the Family

Back when all my kids still lived at home:

Journal Entry 2008:

Tonight was our weekly family night, an evening set aside to spend time with the kids and improve our family relationships through activities and instruction. However, more often than we’d like, it’s actually the only family argument to open and close with prayer (as songwriter Michael Mclean once lamented). Nevertheless, we persist. We trust that the habit alone serves as an adhesive to help our kids feel like they belong to something important as they grow and prepare to face the world on their own.

Tonight was contentious, probably because of me. Honestly, I didn’t feel like “playing.” I was in an emotional slump and my head ached (a Law of Rhythm thing methinks). But because it has long been established as a weekly tradition, my kids began asking me what we were going to be doing that evening. Trying to brush the topic aside until I could rest my headache away, my answer was simply, “I just don’t know yet.”

My 12 year-old Nathan begged me to take them to the park for dodge ball, a family favorite. My 15 year-old Jacob had too much homework so we compromised and played some in the back yard with him first. Then he was back to the books and the rest of us headed off to the park for some more serious battles.

I loosened up, forgot my headache. Eventually I got off the swing set with the baby and began playing dodge ball, too. Holding the baby helped; the family was gentle when tossing it in my direction, and I won at least one of the rounds. There was still the usual sibling-to-sibling bickering, but I believe everyone had plenty of fun.

Finally it was time to go home. We gathered to the van and Trevan (my husband) realized that the keys had been locked inside. Nathan suggested we call Jacob to drive them over. But our other set of keys had already disappeared months ago, and since we never needed the second set, we had never bothered with finding or replacing it.

Besides, Jacob isn’t old enough to drive.

Trevan suggested we say a prayer. We huddled together and he asked God to allow the door to somehow be unlocked so that we wouldn’t have to walk the mile home. Then he said,

“But if not, help us to enjoy the walk.”

The front passenger window was cracked about 2 1/2 inches. First we tried to see if any of the kids’ arms were skinny enough and long enough to reach the door lock.

No good.

Through the front window we could see, resting in front of a couple books on the dash, a mechanic’s wire claw (about two feet long, used for grabbing little things that get dropped inside an engine). I asked Trevan where the keys were and he said they were in the passenger cup holder in the center console. I asked if he thought that the wire grabber would be long enough to reach them, but it looked pretty short compared to the distance between the cracked window and the center console.

It was the only possible option at that point, so even though it was a long-shot remedy, we got to work trying to obtain that claw.

None of us could reach it through the narrow window crack. Kayli suggested we use one of the badminton rackets that we had brought with us. We first tried to use the racket to pull the lock up (to no avail – wrong angle). Then we tried to use it to bring the claw closer, but there was a thick “Jane Eyre” book on the dash blocking it.

The window opening was about 2.5 inches wide along the top, but only about 1.5 inches wide at the lower front gap (the part closest to the dash where the claw rested). Trevan force-pulled the window down to give me an additional 1/2 inch or so, and although I couldn’t reach the claw, I realized I could reach the fuzzy dash cover upon which the books and the claw sat. So I grabbed the cover and pulled it toward me until the claw was within reach.

Next we had to use the claw to reach the keys. But no matter who tried, the closest we could get to the cup holder with that claw was at best 4 inches. We were SO CLOSE! How can we have so much success getting this far only to have our efforts fail now?

There had to be a way.

Trevan discovered that if a person could be lifted higher than the van, their arm could get into the window opening a little better and reach a little farther. But there wasn’t anything to stand on except the wheel, two feet in front of where we needed to be.

After Trevan tried and then Nathan, I took a turn standing on the wheel, leaning 45 degrees onto Trevan and squeezing my arm into the narrow gap. Nathan supported me from behind so I wouldn’t fall backwards off of Trevan’s shoulder. Simultaneously, Trevan force-pulled the window down just enough for me to get my forearm in. Then, miraculously my elbow passed through. I managed to hook the keyring with the claw and began to pull them out. At one scary moment it felt like my arm might break before I had the chance to completely extract the claw and keys. Carefully maneuvering my arm and shoulder while leaning at that unnatural angle, I managed to pull them out.

After a round of “high-fives” we paused to give thanks, and then took a moment to help the kids see an important lesson in the experience:

Everything we needed was already there. We simply had to ask for help, and then get to work putting it all together in the right order.

The same is true in life. You already have all you need – the resources, the people, the brains – you just need to begin utilizing them in the right combination and in the right order. It can be hard, I know! It’s easy to feel blind to the solution. The good news is that as you make an attempt, every failure will lead you to think of the next idea, one after the other until you find the solution.

Just remember that it never helps to fret and fuss, moan and complain. Solutions are best (and sometimes ONLY) discovered by the person who is at peace, expectant, hopeful, and tenacious.

So ask God for what you need, and be willing to accept “no” for an answer (“but if not, help us to enjoy the walk.”) Then get to work finding the way to make your goal a reality. You might not yet have the keys you need to go where you want to go, but you do already have everything you need to begin the process of obtaining them.

And sometimes the solution only becomes apparent after a series of frustrating attempts. So keep trying!

If we had truly exhausted all possibilities without success, we would we have eventually tightened our shoelaces and started home on foot. I’m just glad we didn’t have to. In any case, I believe our family night was a success because we were unified for a common purpose (if only for 20-30 minutes), and it only happened because we first had adversity. (Law of Polarity)

And you know what? Solving the problem as a family turned out to be ten times more gratifying than the best game of dodgeball could ever be. Originally published April 8, 2008

For more about the laws of success, click here to read Hidden Treasures (free!)

Learn more about how you can Prosper the Family

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When Someone Steps on Your Hair

“Leaning into” your problem is less painful than pretending it doesn’t exist.

One afternoon as I was playing with my kids, my sweet little two year-old stepped on my hair.

The instant I felt the pain, I pulled away to get out from under her little feet. It was my instantaneous reaction, albeit not very smart.

Lesson learned:

When someone steps on your hair, lean in, and gingerly remove them from off your hair before pulling away.

I know, I know… it’s not an experience that most of the people in the world will ever have, but it reminded me of a principle worth mentioning.

When you have pain in your life, financial or otherwise, just don’t panic. Panic leads to instinctive reaction, and instinctive reaction oftens result in more pain overall than is necessary.

Subconscious programs kick in when you’re in “fight or flight” (panic/survival) mode.

The key is to lean into the source of your pain, address it without panic or negative emotion, and handle it with a cool head. You’ll be able to solve your problem and avoid unnecessary suffering.

If the problem is that you’re short on money, don’t retreat from your problems, lean in. Go to the person you owe money to, and talk to them about it with a cool head and with the intention of finding a workable solution. Even if there seems to be no possible way to repay a debt, expressing your intentions and regret can leave you feeling more positive than if you pretend the problem isn’t there.

With a positive mindset, you’ll be more likely to eventually think of new solutions you haven’t yet considered.

So, any time you want to instinctively pull away from a problem (hoping it will go away if you just retreat fast enough), remember the lesson I learned from the two year-old who stepped on my hair.

“What if I can never repay my debts? What if I have to file bankruptcy?”

Keep browsing this blog. You’ll learn how to find your hidden resources, and also how to turn failures into successes.

You can also download my free ebook: Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters

Need a genius solution to a difficult problem? Sign up for Genius Bootcamp – early rate expires soon! Originally published July 4, 2009

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Surviving a Faith Crisis

I had my own faith crisis a few years ago.

When I found myself with more questions than I had answers, I felt like the earth had fallen out from beneath my feet for a time. But then ultimately I decided to focus and reflect back on some of the answers I had already received in my life, and by doing so, I began to more easily recognize the source of my confusion.

I got through my crisis by looking back and reflecting on the times when the Lord’s guidance was clear and the answers were sure. To be honest, they were few. I was reminded of how quiet, but piercing, unmistakable and true His answers were – something that cannot be duplicated by anything else – and the memory of it was enough to get me through another day.

It was different than a feeling of “wow,” “amazing,” or “empowerment,” “love,” and “light”. Those feel good and expand my soul, and I’d prefer to only feel those things.

But this was deeper than that. It was more like a sobering Alma 36 moment – like the jolt you feel when you suddenly realize you nearly fell asleep at the wheel with your family in the car.

God doesn’t ONLY deliver love and light. Sometimes out of love he also delivers uncomfortable wake-up calls. The God I follow does both, and so I have to be willing to receive both.

Did you know there are other ‘gods’ that would have our devotion? I’m not talking about ‘materialism’ or other worldly distractions, I’m talking about literal spirit beings who love to build their following of worshippers, but who did not CREATE us.

At one time I felt a sharp reprimand – the words delivered to a crowd, but striking me with particular force, “Return to the God of Israel.” It was an odd thought, but it certainly got my attention – I didn’t know I had left. I never intended to, and I didn’t think I had, but it definitely got me thinking and discerning more carefully. Before that, it never dawned on me that there were other so-called ‘gods’ competing for my attention, but there are. Not all promptings that make you feel good and light are from the one true God. Other ‘gods’ promise to lead you to a life of love and freedom, but only One will deliver on his eternal promises, and His is a straight and narrow path.

I had to make a choice and finally declared, “I could be wrong here, but here it is. I CHOOSE to believe.”

Regardless of what we know or don’t know, we have a CHOICE. And I chose to believe.

Afterward I felt a renewed and unexpected confirmation of peace. Unmistakable. Love, light, assurance, all of it. Even “wow”, “amazing”, and “empowerment”. The best feeling, though, was the PEACE – a peace that no other feeling can touch. It’s not grand. It’s not earth shattering. It’s too quiet, too deep, too solid, too sacred. It’s anchoring. But it only came AFTER I made my conscious choice, not before. That’s agency.

That’s the test: we have to study things out in our own mind, come to a conclusion, and then ask God (not Google, not Facebook) if we are right. There are wonderful answers online, but the only kinds of answers that endure faith crises are the ones that come directly from God. (James 1:5)

I don’t need people at church to be a certain way. I don’t even need the sermons at church to say a certain thing, because I can always learn and study true doctrine on my own. People are imperfect and get it wrong all the time. But they get it right a lot of the time, too. They’re trying, and there’s grace. We’re all just doing the best we can.

My relationship with God is personal. I feel that He still wants me there. I go to worship, serve, learn, teach, and most importantly, renew my covenants. Covenants with God are as old as the earth. I wouldn’t dare presume that we’ve evolved so much as a people that they don’t still matter in 2017. There is at least one very real and jealous influence that would love to make us believe otherwise, but the potential consequences of letting go (to me) just aren’t worth the risk.

I trust the Lord’s pace for my understanding.

I choose to stay, and I am at Peace.

“When problems arise and questions come, do not start your quest for faith by saying how much you don’t have… I’m not asking you to pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher manifestation of moral courage than is an honest declaration of faith. It is not!”

“Honestly acknowledge your questions and concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe. Be candid about your questions; life is full of them. But please don’t hyperventilate if issues arise that need to be examined. What we know will always trump what we don’t know. So don’t let questions stand in the way of faith working its miracle.”

~ Jeffrey R. Holland (emphasis added)

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Talking to teens

An actual message to one of my teenagers who was complaining too much about his responsibilities:

You’re doing so well in so many areas. But it saddens me that you blame dad when you don’t feel like doing your duties.

You’re old enough to govern yourself, so govern yourself or be governed. If you were governing yourself, you would already have plans to be where you’re supposed to be, even if dad wasn’t going, and even if he wasn’t expecting you there.

Freedom isn’t about doing whatever you want, it’s about willfully choosing to do the things that keep you on track to qualify for all the blessings that heaven has to offer. Each right choice increases your freedom. Each poor choice diminishes it. And I’m not talking about “consequences” that are implemented at home. I’m talking about your agency and how you get to use it every day in how you think and what you do.

As you know, we look for every possible reason to give you as much freedom as we (in good conscience) can. When you feel more restrained than you like, I encourage you to notice how good you have it, and be grateful instead of belligerent.

Your attitude (above almost everything else) has the greatest effect on, or is one of the greatest indicators, for what direction your life is headed, for good or for bad. Please, do not grieve me, and please do not disrespect your dad. He asks so little and gives you so much. Either way, you’ll answer to God for how you honor him, and you have so little time with him left.

Make this last year you’re home be one that you have no regrets about. I love you and am so proud of how much you’ve matured. I was impressed with how hard you worked this morning and I recognize you could have put up a much bigger stink than you did. Just pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing the right things, and then notice how much better it feels when you do the right things with a cheerful heart.

It’s a choice, and it will pay you great dividends if you learn that lesson early. Good night.. if you want to talk to me about this more, let’s do it after you get a nap tomorrow.

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