Prosper By Degrees

Originally published Jun 8, 2012

When my husband and I learned about the principles of prosperity and began to consciously live by them, we experienced dramatic results, tripling our income in just 3 months. But the ‘good fortune’ wasn’t going to last forever.

Trying to be super-smart with our new-found wealth, we anxiously invested it in a number of wrong places. A combination of inexperience and haste led us to invest poorly, and get in over our heads to a dangerous level.

Add to that the fact that we had involved ourselves with business people who eventually slipped into hiding or went to jail, and perhaps you can get a glimpse of how quickly a fortune can be lost, even with the best of intentions.

In the wake of our poor decisions, needless to say, we were left with a big mess to clean up. But no worries – we understood the principles that had brought us the wealth to begin with, so we would just practice them again, and turn things around in short order.

Or so we hoped.

But we discovered that sometimes the consequences of our decisions have a more far reaching effect that can’t be turned around with just a snap of the fingers, so to speak. Turning a corner like that is something like turning a massive cruise ship around. You might get the rudder turned in the right direction, but it can take some time before the effects are noticed.

We had erroneously believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right.” While it may be true that in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.

In a determined push to create another massive financial breakthrough like the first, I locked on to the vision of a quick rescue, another big windfall. I’d seen them before, experienced them more than once. Many, many times we had used the principles to produce tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short period of time, so that’s what we were running for.

But something was different this time. For some reason, the mental discipline and goal setting strategies weren’t paying off like they had in the past. It seemed that something was preventing the blessing. The formula wasn’t panning out.

In time, I stopped trying so hard, out of sheer exhaustion. I started to accept whatever was, just as it was. I decided to find peace and happiness even in our mess, and begin focusing again more completely on my family relationships.  It seemed I no longer had real influence or control over our finances (since I kept failing to meet my goals), so I directed my attention to the little things in my world over which I could make a difference.

It was during a Sunday School lesson at church that I had my next great epiphany. The class discussed a story about two groups of people who lived more than 2000 years ago, comparing and contrasting their experiences:

The first group was led by a man named Alma. Alma and his people were devout believers who worshiped God and were diligent in keeping the commandments.

The second group was led by a man named Limhi. Limhi and his people relied just a little too much on their own strength and wisdom. Both groups were in subjection to the same oppressive government.

When the government sent an army to destroy Alma and his people, they were warned by God ahead of time and were able to escape.

When the army came to attack Limhi’s people, they were given no warning.

Limhi’s people tried three times to deliver themselves from the oppression, and each time, they failed. Eventually, they began to reevaluate their approach, and decided that they needed to pay more attention to the commandments, and rely on God for their success with patience.

The record then states:

“…the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of [their oppressors] that they began to ease their burdens; …The Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage [yet]… they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.”

That description – that the Lord did not see fit to deliver them, but allowed them to begin prospering by degrees – was my answer.

I had been expecting a big miraculous rescue, and was dissatisfied with anything less. I had thought I was being obedient to the commandments of God all along, but recognized I could do better.

What I feel that God wanted me to learn was simple: to not run faster than I had strength as I had been, but to take it at a pace that I could maintain throughout my life, so that I don’t burn myself out and become completely useless to Him.

So I slowed down and began to envision Him opening doors and preparing the way for long-term success. I lost interest in anything that promised big, quick bucks, because we had already experienced that kind of success. Instead, I became increasingly interested in principles that would allow us to rebuild on a more solid, long-lasting foundation.

It’s just a matter of getting back to the basics. It’s making smart choices, and sacrifices. It’s being smart with what we have, and anticipating gradual improvement. It’s watching more closely how we spend our money, and watching for evidence that we are being prospered by degrees.

We started noticing and celebrating each little bit of evidence, and realized that were were being prospered by degrees. I stopped lamenting the lack of a massive windfall, and started being grateful again for every simple blessing. The growth has been gradual but consistent. Our good fortune has been added upon every day.

When the needed rescue doesn’t come by one miraculous windfall,  look for evidence that you’re prospering by degrees.

It’s been a humbling process, but one that I am grateful for. I know we’re wiser for the experience, and that it will make a big difference for our future. Our family is already much happier, too, because I’m finally living at a pace that I can maintain.

Read The Unexpected Cure for Doubt

There’s time to build your life right. There’s time to build your business right. There’s time to build relationships right. Looking for shortcuts can become an addiction. As you slow down and prayerfully live receptive to God’s guidance, you’ll find that there is no greater shortcut than that.

And when that guidance says, RUN!” then by golly, you’d better run!

But sometimes we run when we’re really supposed to stop and take the time to sharpen the saw, and reconnect with God.

Originally posted June 8, 2012

Read more details about our experience here. And as always, I appreciate your comments!

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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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#2: How to RECEIVE

A few years ago I had a troubling experience with one of my readers. It was unbelievable – as you’ll soon find out. Through this experience, I learned a powerful lesson about “how to receive”.

Let’s talk about the piece that sometimes gets overlooked: your ability to receive what you’re asking for.

It takes a certain amount of faith to ‘receive’, and I’ll show you why.

The podcast above is an excerpt from my Mindset Mastery Program.

Listen to the podcast first ^^. When you’re done, I have the sample lesson in PDF format for you, as a thank you for all of the tremendous love and support I’ve felt from my readers since 2002. However, a few readers have been unable to “receive” this gift, because there is an “obstacle” that must first be “overcome.”

(Read through the reader’s comments section below to see what I mean.)

NOTE: You will be taken to a Shopping Cart page where the file will be listed as FREE. No need for credit card info, just tell me who you are and you’ll be sent the download.

There is a reason I am delivering it this way…  see how you do!

Listen to the podcast first, and then click here to request your FREE GIFT

Enjoy!

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Rare Faith Podcast where the solution to every problem is only an idea away, and where the same activity with just a little more awareness always yields better results. Award-winning best-selling author, Leslie Householder, brings some of her best information to this inspiring series of life-changing episodes that you won’t want to miss! Show notes for this episode can be found at ararekindoffaith.com

[Music]

I’d like to share with you part of a lesson from my Transformational Mindset Mastery Program. The segment that I’m going to share with you begins in the middle of the lesson so brace yourself; we’re just going to jump right in.

Here’s another one of those Felicity tantrums I used to have. I guess deep down I thought that if I was victim enough someone would rescue me, but what I was doing all those years was looking outside of myself for the solution. The solution was inside of me all along but I didn’t know it, or at the very least, I didn’t know how to access it. There is a good woman who came to my website quite a few years ago. She wrote me long, descriptive emails composing volumes on how desperate and hopeless she felt, and because I wanted her to feel the same kind of relief I had found, I offered to send her a downloadable copy of the Jackrabbit Factor at no charge. Because of her story, I knew it would help her.

This was long before we had created a way for the document to be downloaded at no charge to the general public. She graciously accepted, so I located the file and sent the email.

A few weeks later she wrote me again, expounding volumes on how horrible things have been since she wrote and asking, pleading for advice. I asked her if she’d read the book and she said she’d been too depressed to read it but, would I please give her advice on what she should do? I advised her to read the book, but if I could have effectively summed the message of the book up I would have just said, “believe, dream, create”, but in her condition it would have been of no use. She needed to experience the entire process. She said she would.

Months later she contacted me again at the end of her rope, and desperate for advice. “Did you read the book?”

“I lost it. Will you please send it again? I’m really ready for a change in my life. I want to read the book.”
I sent it to her again and then she replied that it wouldn’t open. She was using web TV and couldn’t view PDF documents.

I did some research and directed her to a resource and explained how to enable her system to read PDF documents. It required a hard drive, which she didn’t have so I sent it to her in regular Word format. That didn’t work for her either, so I copied and pasted the entire document right into the email itself.

Each time she thanked me graciously and promised she’d read it but when she wrote again begging me for advice just a few weeks later, admitting that she’d been too depressed to read the book, I simply had to say, “Do not contact me again until you have read the book”. For her own benefit and my own self-preservation, I had to do it even though I felt sad to be so blunt.

A year went by. Finally she wrote again, “Dear Leslie, I don’t know if you remember me. I have written to you about the hardships of my life and my depression and anxiety. You out of the goodness of your heart sent me the Jackrabbit Factor to read because I am on disability and don’t have the money. I’m hoping you can send it again. I’ve looked and looked for it and apparently, it got deleted because of some complications with my computer. Please can you be so kind to send it again because I need to read it so much? Please get back to me. With much gratitude, Penny” (name has been changed).

I responded, “If I recall, you were unable to read a PDF document on your web TV. Am I right? It seems like my last question to you was asking if your web TV had a hard drive and PDF reader. Are you able to read PDF documents now?”

She replied, “I think so. Someone sent me an article in PDF format and I could read it. I would appreciate it if you could try to send it so I can see if it can get through. Thanks a lot for remembering. In appreciation, Penny.”

On the same day I sent her the PDF document I didn’t hear from her for eight more months until this arrived; “I hope you’ll remember me. I had a very bad setback. I am financially and emotionally in trouble. I am back on my computer again after months of not being able to. I was wondering if you can send me the Jackrabbit factor again? I promise this will be the last time I ask. I really want to read it because something is very wrong that I keep falling over and over in my life. Now I am at a standstill and wiped out by my problems. How do you change your life? I don’t know. I try to think positive but it doesn’t work. Please I hope you remember me. Can I really change this life of mine from being depressed, having no money, no love, no job no friends? I am at the bottom and want to go up. Sincerely, Penny.”

Curbing my natural reaction to throw up my hands and hoping to avoid the PDF problem again, I went ahead and sent it as a Word document. “It’s attached in a Word document. Hope it helps. Leslie.”

Two days later she wrote, “Dear Leslie, I don’t know if you remember me. My name is Penny. You have sent me for free your manuscript of the Jackrabbit Factor. I never got a chance to read it. My life fell apart even more. I couldn’t get on the web to read my emails and I am in the dumps and can’t get out. Every morning I wake up depressed feeling this is not the life I wanted. I’m 51 years old, have never been married, don’t have children, and this brings me down. I always wanted to be married and have children. I feel like my life is over and this is all I get. I’m on disability and have no clothes, can barely eat at times. I never thought at this age this is where I would be. I’m lonely, depressed, and in a pattern of negativity that I can’t get out of. Negative people come into my life and drag me down. I have a dream to be a writer and have so many ideas but I’m weighed down by my terrible past and the depressing present that I’m living. Please help. I feel like my life is over. Can you please send me the manuscript again? I will definitely read it. I don’t see any changes in my life. What is wrong? Why do bad things keep happening and why is it I am living in poverty? Thank you, Penny.”

On that same day I replied and copied the entire text of the book directly into the email body.

Two days later I received this message, “Hi again, I sent an email to you Leslie and you never answered. Please when you get the chance, would you kindly answer? I so would appreciate it! I hope you can help me. I really do! Sincerely, Penny”

Maybe you’re wondering why I put up with this for so long. Partly because a piece of me still remembered how it felt to feel like her, and caring, I truly wanted to help. “Penny, I have now replied three times. I am sorry if you are not receiving my messages. Let me know if you get this one. This is my last attempt. Leslie”

Two days later, “Dear Leslie, I will try again to send you this email. I have sent you an email and you never answered. Please can you answer me when you get the chance? I was asking for your help and hope you will be able to do this. I don’t know how to get from my troubled life to a better life and it terrifies me. Life is going so fast and I don’t want to be in the same place next year. Oh God, there has to be a way. Sincerely, Penny”

Oh, I have no address, no phone number, no other way to contact her except to reply to her emails and when they do not reach her there is nothing more I can do except pray for her. I hadn’t heard from her for so long that for her to show up again out of the blue, while I was in the middle of creating this course, I had to stop and wonder why. Is there a lesson for me in this? There is wisdom to be gained in every experience and nothing happens by accident, so what positive could be derived from the seemingly impossible negative experience?

While I’d prefer that she be the one to gain the lesson, I had to look inward and ask myself what lesson was in the experience for me? What was God trying to teach me through it all?

You see, what she learns from our interaction is not within my control. All I could do is wonder what positive lesson I could personally derive from my interaction with her. Now, I realize there is a shallow lesson to be learned and that is this; I can’t spend my time trying to save everyone from his or her problems. Another lesson that sits on the surface of this experience is that a person has to want it bad enough before they will do what it takes to change. She was asking a question, in both cases making a request, but ending them with a period. It is almost as though she didn’t expect a response. Her plea was not direct but rhetorical.

But then I discovered a deeper, more meaningful lesson after our last run of disconnected correspondence. Penny is reaching out for help. She is asking for it. She’s persistent. I believe I have a few answers that could help her. I’m willing to help. I care about her and want her to feel some new hope and a sense of relief. So what’s missing?

The element that is missing is her ability to receive.

No matter how much I want to help her, whether or not she receives is up to her and only her. Knowing that I have responded in the past, she contacted me with hope and expectation that I would respond again. That is a critical mindset for success. However, when the help didn’t show up like expected, instead of looking inward to find other ways to receive what she sought, she automatically assumed I was ignoring her, and that once again in her mind, nobody cares.

Believing that nobody cares, she eventually stopped trying. Instead of doing more of the same, more emails with the same request over and over, and expecting different results, she might have tried a different approach.

If she could have continued to hope for a response and expect it to come and believe that I want to respond her next email might have looked something like this: “Dear Leslie, you’ve been very generous and patient with me in the past. I believe you want to help me but for some reason I haven’t heard from you. Is everything okay? If you are having trouble reaching me perhaps you could try my phone number or mailing address. I’ll include it here, or even better yet, I will not trouble you again until I obtain a copy of the book from the library and read it cover-to-cover.”

See that? The solution to every problem is only an idea away but when we are thinking only about appearances, our mind shuts down to the very ideas that have the power to liberate us.

I can’t judge Penny too harshly anyway because I remember going through a similar experience waiting for permission from a well-known poet to use her writings in one of my publications. I contacted her multiple times hoping for an answer which never came. Finally, I sent another request only to receive her response. It looked something like this: “Leslie, I don’t know why you aren’t receiving my responses, but yes, you may have permission to use my writing in your publication. I have responded three times now. I hope you get this because this is my last attempt.”

Sound familiar? I was surprised to find out that the problem was not with her. The problem was with me. I was not receiving the messages she attempted to deliver.

Both of these experiences caused me to reflect on the way I approach God with my requests. Sometimes I hope for the requested blessing and sometimes I even expect it, but my grandest requests have only been granted after I believed in my heart that God genuinely wanted to help.

When I pictured him delighting in my progress and feeling joy sending me the blessings I sought, it helped me more naturally do the things I needed to do to receive the very things I asked for, the things he wanted me to receive all along.

If it didn’t arrive as expected, I didn’t take it to mean that he didn’t want it for me. I took it as a hint that I may need to do something more, something perhaps a little different. I can look back and recognize now that there have been times when I have begged for help, asking for it the same way over and over again without doing my part to make it possible for me to receive.

Believe that God wants your family to thrive. He wants you to be able to provide abundantly for your children or whoever depends on you for support. If that’s what he wants, maybe he’s already trying to send it to you but you haven’t done your part to receive. That’s like praying for rain without bothering to till the soil and plant the seed. All the rain the world won’t help a crop that hasn’t been sown.

When you expect success and it doesn’t come, instead of automatically saying “I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” open your mind to the inspiration that will lead you toward your next step in the process. Be patient or even perhaps to consider an alternative idea that God knows will bring you even greater joy than you can imagine. The answers to your dilemmas are inside of you.

Even when I coach people, I am NOT there to provide answers. I am there to draw the answers out of the client. I ask questions back to challenge his or her thinking and allow the client to come to his or her own conclusions. I am NOT a paid consultant, an expert who has all the answers. I am a coach, someone who helps her clients to find their own answers.

Can you see why that’s important? Remember what happened to the guy who jumped and barked thinking it would produce a rabbit? You’ve got to get used to the idea of following your own gut feelings, and remember, gut feelings show up almost imperceptibly causing you to move toward your goal, sometimes unconsciously, after you’ve established a clear, firm, committed intention to accomplish something very specific.

To have that kind of commitment literally opens the channels for inspiration and divine guidance whether or not you realize you’re being guided. Even this course [Mindset Mastery] is not meant to be an encyclopedia of answers to every question. It isn’t organized like a reference book. It’s a tool to get you thinking. The progressive flow of ideas it leads you through, is intended to help you open, or strengthen the channels of communication between you and your very own personal inner source for answers. Call it intuition, inspiration, the inner voice, a gut feeling, whatever best fits your point of reference. There is a wealth of information here, but context, timing, and application of ideas will be unique to each reader.

Hi, this is Leslie Householder again. Thank you for taking the time to listen to this excerpt from the Mindset Mastery Program. At the conclusion of the entire lesson Mindset Mastery Program participants are asked to go to their workbook to complete the next assignment, an experiential designed to help them internalize the ideas and see real results. Remember, just like with Penny, all of the hoping, wishing, praying, visualizing, affirming, and asking for better conditions, will do nothing but leave you frustrated unless you do your part to receive.

I look forward to helping you figure this out and helping you discover and find the courage given the excitement to do it. There are so many more rewards waiting for you than you have the capacity to accept, so let’s remove those blocks that keep you from becoming your best self and accomplishing all you want to achieve. Begin your journey now by visiting prosperthefamily.com. I look forward to working with you!

[Music]

This concludes today’s episode of the Rare Faith Podcast. You’ve been listening to Leslie Householder, author of The Jackrabbit Factor, Portal to Genius, Hidden Treasures, Heavens Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters. All three books can be downloaded free at ararekindoffaith.com. So tell your friends and join Leslie again next time as she goes even deeper into the principles that will help you change your life.

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