Why the Sparkly Mountain

positive thinking tip: life has an interesting way of getting your attention… look for the not-so-obvious lessons

My family spent a week pulling a trailer to various places between Mesa, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah for spring break.

Oh, I could write volumes on the shenanigans we experienced, but for the sake of this post, I’ll try to keep it to one point.

We had just spent an entire day trying to get from Mesa, AZ to Goblin Valley, Utah, not really comprehending how unrealistic such a jaunt in one day really was.  After missing our turnoff in Flagstaff (add 3 hours to the trip because of the unscheduled stop at the meteor crater on the way to Albuquerque), our hope was to reach Goblin Valley, Utah before the RV park closed at 10 pm.

On the map, there’s a nice little road from Mexican Hat, straight up to Hanksville, which is only a little ways away from Goblin Valley.  By the time we reached Mexican Hat, it was clearly impossible to hope for a 10 pm arrival; we’d be lucky to get there before midnight.  I just prayed that the gate would remain open for us by some fluke, so we pressed on.  We had already paid for the first night, and I wanted to benefit from it.

(Do all you CAN do, and expect things to work out for you in the end, right?)

When we reached the turnoff outside of Mexican Hat, there was a large, obnoxious sign that said we’d be stupid to drive that road with an RV.  It was small with switchbacks and although I was anxious to get to Hanksville, we decided it would be smartest to go an extra 40 miles out of our way through Bluff and Blanding instead.

Here’s a street-view Google image showing the sign, which we saw in the dark:

to-hanksville
10% GRADES /  5 mph SWITCHBACKS / NARROW GRAVEL ROAD /  8 MILES

By 1:00 in the morning, we finally rolled into Hanksville, exhausted and grateful that we were there in one piece.  It had been a lonely, dark, unpredictable and nerve-wracking road with our long and heavy trailer.

We slept at a gas station in Hanksville, and in the morning, headed down highway 24 towards Goblin Valley.  Happy to be close to our destination and well rested, we excitedly told the kids we were almost there.

(To this point, the destination was still a secret.)

About 20 miles out of town, my son saw something sparkly spread across the hills on our left.  I looked, and was amazed at its beauty – it looked like it was covered in hundreds of yards of gold.  I knew it couldn’t possibly be, so I just assumed it had to be pyrite (fools gold).

Unexpectedly, the glitter ended with the next hill.  “Shoot!” We thought, “we should have stopped to see what it was and take some home with us!”  But our trailer was too large, and we were too long to turn around on the narrow 2-lane road, so we just pressed on.

Around the next corner, my husband thought he saw some more on the right side of the road and quickly pulled off to take the opportunity.

But it only took a moment to realize that the solid-looking shoulder was deep and soft from rain the day before.  He gunned it to get back on the road, but it was too late.  We were stuck.  Stuck on a road that sees a traveler only once in a very long while.

Long story short, a group of college kids eventually saw us, turned around, and stopped to help in vain (to my oldest son’s amusement, one happened to be from the same high school as he attends now, 550 miles away).  Then a man in a truck stopped, and went into town to get a chain.

With everyone pushing, and the man with the truck pulling, we finally pulled out.  My husband ran ahead to thank the man in the truck, who asked us where we were going.  He responded, “Goblin Valley!”  To which the man replied, “You’re going in the wrong direction!  You need to take the 24 East, not West.”

Amazing. We were already 30 miles off course and would not have known it for a very long time had we not gotten stuck in the mud.

The college students asked, “Why did you pull off the road?”

We chuckled, “Because we saw something sparkly.”

They laughed at us. Hard.

We let the kids out of the van to go climbing while my husband drove up the road to find a place to turn around.

You know, sometimes life is like this. 

You’re traveling along in the wrong direction and don’t even know it.  So God allows you to be enticed by a dream that gets your attention – maybe it’s financial freedom, maybe it’s a nice house or a car.  So you divert your attention toward the goal and somewhere along the way, you end up getting stuck.

Jacob and Sarah coming down the hill to get back in the van.

In an effort to get unstuck, you reach out for help, and ultimately learn something that puts you on course toward your ultimate goal, after having been off course without even knowing it.

People looking for more money or a better lifestyle often end up discovering the principles of prosperity and laws of success which apply to all areas of their life, all because they got stuck financially and searched for a way out.

The good news is, being stuck is one of the best things that can happen to you, because it often stops you from continuing in the wrong direction, and opens up an opportunity for you to not only get unstuck, but to get back on course when you didn’t even know you were going the wrong way in the first place.

I’m convinced that’s what the “glitter” of life is really for. 

“Materialism” – being too consumed with material things – isn’t all bad, because if it gets your attention, and if your heart is in the right place, it can lead you to answers you don’t even know you need.

For more help on getting unstuck, prospering your family, and turning your life around, visit http://www.prosperthefamily.com.

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When Have I Done Enough?

Positive Thinking Tip: When the “dinger” rings, it’s okay (and even critical) to stop!

My friend Natalie taught a lesson during our women’s meeting at church recently on “Having Temperance in All Things”.

Temperance = moderation and self-restraint

I easily understand this in terms of harmful substances and addictive behaviors, but when I think about what “Temperance in All Things” means, I have trouble.

I haven’t been good at knowing how to be temperate in goal achievement, for example.  I aim high, and then I overbook myself and get overwhelmed by all that needs to be accomplished.

I haven’t known at what point I can say, “I’ve done enough.”

In fact, just that morning I was praying for some insight on how to keep up better with all that I juggle.

Part of my problem is that I’ve had the mindset that I can do anything – and so there’s no such thing as doing “too much”.  I don’t always know how to temper my over-ambitious tendencies, because frankly, they’ve helped me achieve some things that I’m pretty happy about.

However, sometimes my mortal body can’t keep up with the pace of my thoughts and ambitions… and so predictably, I go through periods of unbridled ambition, followed by periods of crashing and burning, until I regain my strength and start it all over again.

I’m telling you, that kind of pattern can eventually break you, like bending a metal rod back and forth over and over again.

That morning before church, however, I could feel that I was on the verge of another crash-and-burn, and so I prayed to receive insight on the matter that day.  I knew something wasn’t quite right about my methodology… but I just couldn’t seem to see how to be any other way.

Then Natalie, at the front of the room, began.  I’ll try to sum up the experience.  She said:

I like to make cookies.  In fact, I have a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies that just works. Over the years I’ve used it, as long as I follow the right steps, we will predictably end up with perfectly delicious cookies.

If I set the timer for 13 minutes and take them out on time, they’re perfect.  But if I get busy and ignore the timer, pretty soon I’ll smell them, and even if I run to the oven to take them out, it will be too late.  They’ll be hard, dark, and good for nothing but to be thrown away.

After mixing all the ingredients together, baking them has to be one of the most important parts – otherwise you just don’t have a cookie.  Baking them right determines if they will be quality or not.

The timer is important to help you make sure the cookies don’t burn.

Life is the same way.  When you’re trying to accomplish something good, your energy behind the goal is one of the most important parts, like baking the cookie.  However, you’ve got to stop the process when the “timer” dings, or you can ruin it altogether. You’ve got to listen to (and heed) that inner voice that quietly says, “It’s enough.”

She continued, but the lesson just to that point had a profound and lasting effect on me.  I felt that the lesson had been prepared with ME in mind – and it touched my heart that the Lord could and would answer me so directly. For the first time in my life I could finally understand that yes, there is such a thing as too much, and if you push the limits, you run the risk of ruining everything.  Too much of even the most wonderful things can turn into something bad.

Finding that middle place, trusting that it is by “small and simple things” that “great things are brought to pass” is an act of faith of the highest order.

I began to listen more carefully to the Spirit of God that serves as my “timer” – it quietly alerts me when I’m pushing things too long or too far, and when I think I may be hearing it, instead of rationalizing that “I can still do MORE!”, I think about burnt cookies, and it has helped me stop soon enough to avoid burning out.

Natalie concluded by giving us each a perfectly formed cookie and said:

Baking is what determines the quality of my cookie, and temperance determines the quality of my life.

Thank you, Natalie, for being an instrument in God’s hands that day – my prayer was answered in a significant way (and my family thanks you for it, too!)  🙂


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For Working Moms

positive Thinking tip: too busy for your kids? there’s something even better (and easier) than a sincere, heartfelt apology.

Are you a Mom who helps with the family finances?

Do you feel guilty for not being 100% attentive to your children?

That’s how I felt for many, many years.

I didn’t realize that I was doing damage in a way I had never considered, simply by the way I thought about my situation.

All the time that I felt frustrated and angry about having to work, I wanted my children to grow up believing that our situation was NOT the standard.  I wanted them to believe that mothers should be 100% attentive to their children.  I wanted them to grow up expecting things to be more “ideal” in their future families.

I’d say things like, “I’m so sorry I have to work so much!  I really should be spending time with you, and I promise, we’re doing all we can to fix the problem!”

Or, “I wish I didn’t have to work!  I hate the way things are, but we’ve just got to keep hoping that things will get better.  We have to be patient; can you hang on just a little longer until things can be better?  I really believe this won’t last forever…”

My intentions were good, but what I was really communicating was doing more damage than I realized.

1) I was teaching my kids that my husband and I were doing something wrong, when in reality, we were doing precisely what was necessary.

2) I was teaching my kids that it was acceptable to complain about doing what was necessary. I realized my error when I noticed them complaining about their necessary work, and expecting things to be easier for them, too. For example, they complained about having to walk to school because I was too busy to drive them a measly 1/2 mile in beautiful Arizona weather.  They complained about having to cook, clean and do dishes because I was too busy to do my “regular motherly duties”.

3) It became easy for my kids to conclude that Mom and Dad just don’t keep their promises when the need for me to work stretched from months into years.  I believe our children had a harder time believing the things we said because of it.

4) The “guilty Mom” syndrome caused me to overcompensate in other areas. If they begged for more privileges (even privileges that contradicted family policy or went against plain good sense), I was more likely to give in, just because I felt guilty about working too much. (My friend Matt Reichmann who works for LAPD and sees plenty of domestic dysfunction says there’s nothing more dangerous than a guilty parent.)

One of the best shifts I’ve ever made in my life was the day I decided to stop apologizing for working.

Yes, I still thought it would have been more ideal for our family if I had been able to give more time to my children, but under the circumstances, the next best thing I could do for them was to change the way I felt about it:

I decided to accept my situation and make the most of it.  Instead of saying, “I’m so sorry for working so much; I wish I didn’t have to…”  I started saying things like, “Hey, this is what needs to be done, and you know, it feels really good to work!” Or, “Hey, let’s both get some work done, and at 4:30, let’s go to the park!  What would YOU like to accomplish?”

The energy in our home shifted in an incredible way.  We also decided to make our children more involved in our work, and help them see the impact that it had in the lives of others.

We showed them how doing their chores and helping the family run more smoothly (picking up the slack where Mom couldn’t do it all), was actually helping people all over the world have better lives.  We helped them see the bigger picture, and they started doing family chores more cheerfully.  They even started doing what needed to be done without being asked.

My children are incredibly independent.  They became that way because they had to be.  But I have no regrets – they are learning how to work, and how to feel good about a job well done.

This family is certainly not perfect, and my kids still complain just like anyone else’s kids, but every one of my children has had at least one wonderful moment when they made that shift, and expressed great satisfaction from being independently productive.  It only takes a few of those successes for a child to have a memorable comparison between how they feel when they’re cheerfully productive and how they feel when they are not.

I’d say it’s the Law of Polarity in action: what I thought was so horrible (me working) has turned into a tremendous blessing in our family – but only because I first decided to stop apologizing.

No matter what your work is, it’s helping someone.  Talk to your children about what you do, and the difference it makes in the lives of others.  Teach them by your example to learn how to enjoy being productive.  This is one of the greatest gifts you can give them before they leave the home: a love of work, and an acceptance of what “is”.

(Accepting what “is”, is the first step toward major transformation.  Test it!)

Do you see how children learn from our examples, whether we work or we don’t?  Teach them to find joy in making a contribution when necessary.  Teach them by your example to accept the things they cannot change, and find happiness, no matter what.

If you don’t have to work, I hope you’ll still find work to do – a hobby, a project, community service, whatever – so that your children can learn these lessons.  It’s worth it!

See, no matter how well you parent them, they will face challenges in their adult life.  How well they turn out will have less to do with whether you worked or you didn’t, but more with how they saw you to respond to your challenges.

For more on this topic, read Portal to Genius.

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Missing Finger Phenomenon

One of my readers sent me an email that I thought was fascinating.  She wrote:

In 2004 I lost half of my left pointer and all of my middle finger due to an accident with a table saw. A week later when I picked up a mug with my injured hand for the first time after the accident, I had a profound experience.

What happened shocked me and I will never forget it.

As I held the mug, I perceived 3 fingers holding the mug and two – the missing ones- inside the mug. The perception was completely real. In fact what came to mind was “this is how it must feel walking through a wall”.

For about a week following this experience every time I repeated that action the experience faded and pretty soon there was no difference anymore between my left hand holding a mug and my right hand holding the same mug. How is that? Well, I figured out that my own computer (using your lingo here) adjusted its software to correct the situation with my left hand.

There are a couple of points I want to bring out with this.  First, you do have a spirit, and your mind is constantly working with your body and your spirit to do what “needs” to be done.

Secondly, your mind does things for you even when you aren’t consciously directing it.

Do you see how amazing your mind is?  The more you understand how your mind works, the more you can put its incredible power to use.  But to do this effectively, you have to understand what your mind IS.

Think of it this way: It’s really a combination of your body, your spirit, and your fundamental consciousness.  And when things don’t appear quite the same as what your subconscious mind expects, it compensates.  You begin to see and/or sense things differently.

For example, if your subconscious mind expects to see abundance in your life, but your 5 senses are not picking up on any tangible evidence of it, your mind will help you notice (and feel compelled toward) the right avenues that will lead you to the success it expects.

If you expect to struggle financially, your mind will help you notice and feel compelled toward the avenues that will lead you to hardship.

You don’t get what you want out of life; you ultimately get what you expect.

Let me show you step-by-step how to change your subconscious programs.  How? Simple. Just watch THIS VIDEO.

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The Truth About Portal to Genius

Long before Garrett became my co-author, I burned out on my business and just wanted to focus on my family.

I told my husband, “Garrett’s still passionate about this, and the work he’s done takes our message to a whole new level. He’s also got the energy to do the media appearances.  I don’t care what kind of recognition I get; what if we just put his name on The Jackrabbit Factor and let HIM be the one to get it out there?”

But after all three of us discussed it together, what ended up happening next was the LAST THING I expected…

Here’s the whole story:

If you didn’t already know, Portal to Genius is the sequel to The Jackrabbit Factor.

I learned so many things after releasing The Jackrabbit Factor in 2005 that if I was going to write Jackrabbit Factor over again, I’d change a few things – because my understanding of the laws of success and principles of prosperity had changed and expanded.

In fact, what I’ve learned leaves me 100% certain that I will never learn all there is to know in my lifetime – because just when I think I’ve got everything figured out, there’s inevitably something more for me to learn.

How exciting is that??

Nothing brings me greater joy than to learn, grow, live, and love more perfectly and completely – and each challenge I face reminds me that I still have a LONG way to go.

That’s good news – because it tells me that life will never need to be dull or boring.  What an adventure this is!!

So anyway, near the end of 2008, Trevan (my husband) and I visited with Garrett Gunderson at our home while he was in town on other business, and I was at a point in my life and business that I felt overwhelmed like I had simply taken on too much.  We knew that what Garrett had created in his business pretty much amounted to “Jackrabbit Factor 202” – upper level training for those who embrace the foundational principles in our book.

As I struggled to juggle our business and raise our seven children, torn between the passion that drives me to share these principles as far and as wide as I possibly can, and the passion that drives me to shut the world out and just do something simple like clean a toilet, read a story to my pre-schooler, learn a new recipe, or organize our family photos… I searched for a way to effectively do both.

A Bit of Fun Trivia: When Bob Proctor mentored us in 2006, he emphatically said, “Leslie, you’re conflicted.  There’s conflict all over these goals of yours.”

“I know, I know!”  I replied, but I just didn’t know what to do about it.

To deal with my inner conflict, I ran in one direction until my attention was needed back in the other direction; and swinging one way and then the other, back and forth, back and forth, I made some progress.

Sharon Lechter (co-author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and my guest for an upcoming teleclass) put my mind at ease one evening when she essentially said that “balance is bunk”.  In other words, stop seeking perfect balance in your life, because just as when you are solidly balanced on both feet, you can get NOWHERE.  You’ve got to shift your balance back and forth, or you can never swing the other foot forward to advance in the journey!

That was a powerful visual for me.

So, back to Garrett… as he visited with us in our home, I was in a swing away from work and business.  As much as I loved what I was doing, I was burned out and needed to get back to greater focus on my family.

I was almost ready to say, “Garrett, you’re passionate about this stuff, and you’ve got the energy to do the media appearances, and the team to support the growth.  I don’t care what kind of recognition I get, what if we just put your name on The Jackrabbit Factor and let you be the one to get it out there?”

But what came out of that meeting was another idea.  Both Trevan and Garrett agreed it was time for a sequel.  I wasn’t sure I was ready to write another book – I always figured I’d wait until my two-year old was in college first.

But finally, (I’m not sure where I found the strength to agree to this, but…) we decided to team up and create the sequel together.  He knew I was overextended, so he encouraged me to utilize his team.  He even let me use his cabin to work on it – and his counsel and perspective was the most valuable piece of all.

So I took the lessons we were learning from Garrett and I set out to weave them into the sequel.  Garrett advised me on how the principles work and apply in the corporate world, and we both felt strongly that at every level, they really work best when you’re setting goals in alignment with your soul purpose: your combination of gifts, talents, and the unique contribution you were meant to make in this world.

I set an intention to complete the sequel before January 1, 2009 (less than 2 months later).  I did not relish the thought of spending two years like I did on the first book.  I’d give this one a solid two weeks in the middle of December where I would stay at my mother’s house and give it my complete focus.

Certainly, I thought, when a person is “in the flow”, ideas can come rapidly; and so long as I have any say in the matter, that’s how I plan it to go for me now.

Well, January 1st came and went.  I hit a major writer’s block.  Part of my frustration came because I knew I needed to write the book, but I had no clue how this one would end.  With The Jackrabbit Factor, I knew the end from the beginning.

But with this one, I had no ending in mind – I didn’t even know what would happen in the middle.  I just got started and then  opened my mind to see where it would take me.

Goal achievement is like that sometimes.  You may have a general idea of what you want to accomplish, but sometimes all you can do is get started, and have the faith that the way will reveal itself as you go.

At various intervals, I met with Garrett again to discuss the story and inevitably, when I was stuck, he saw with clarity what should happen next.  There were other times when he was assigned to work out the details of a certain chapter and he was the one to get stuck.

The unfolding of the story certainly didn’t come the way I originally planned.  But I learned it’s important to adapt and adjust according to the challenges and roadblocks that come.

At the time that I had writer’s block, in a quiet moment an impression hit me very clearly that said, “You cannot write the ending of this story, because you haven’t lived it yet.”

The impression took me by surprise, but I thought, “Okay, then.”  So I put the book aside and just lived.

Alex Mandossian interviewed Garrett and I and pulled out more of the rest of this story… Listen to the interview HERE

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The "Inner Voice" Warning Before the Earthquake

Positive thinking tip: Trust your instinct. Listen to it and follow it. You are your own best adviser.

As described in The Jackrabbit Factor and more completely (and extensively) in Portal to Genius, we all have access to that little voice in our heart that nudges us in the right direction to to do exactly what needs to be done, and become all we were meant to become.

Some people call it a gut instinct thing, some people call it an inner voice, some call it the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of God.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s there for you, as you strive to live correct principles, and if you listen carefully, patiently, and especially if you’re willing to follow it when it comes.

The more you listen and follow, the more it will show up for you. It can take some practice recognizing it and trusting it, but it’s worth the effort.

If you’re experiencing information overload, it will be difficult to identify the right things to do, because all the “noise” will crowd out your own best adviser: that inner voice.

Need help sifting through all the information you don’t have time for, but which feels too important to put aside? Read my previous post called: Too Much Information?

One leader named Richard G. Scott has taught that those quiet thoughts often come when you are the most still, the most peaceful; so it’s important to keep a notepad and a pen next to your bed – because when the ideas come, they come quickly, quietly, and are just as quickly forgotten if you don’t write them down.

Here’s the story of the missionaries who followed his advice and received a strong impression to prepare, about 2-3 weeks before they experienced the 8.8 earthquake in Chile on February 27, 2010:

CLICK HERE to read about the missionaries in the Earthquake

If you’ve ever had an experience where you were glad payed attention to your “gut instinct,” share it below – we’d love to hear about it!

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