Are You Faking?!blog/cs6u

It’s that time of year again! That time when everyone seems to be making new year’s resolutions. Some folks are excited about them and some are just ignoring the whole darn thing.


For many, the turning of the New Year is the perfect opportunity to reset intentions, define goals and feel a fresh enthusiasm for life and possibilities.

 Certainly, it’s not necessary to wait for the New Year to do any of those things but, you might want to know that setting goals, of the New Year’s Resolution type or any other kind, is arguably the most important skill you can learn to improve your self-confidence. 

The process of setting goals, if done well, requires tapping into your vision. It draws out of you those future achievements that you know will make you proud. And, setting the right type of goals (for you) focuses your acquisition of knowledge and helps you organize – your time, your inner and outer resources – so you can live more of the life you want.

(Want a new approach to goals that doesn’t feel forced? Drop me a line or give me a call.)

 These are the very same reasons many people avoid setting goals at any time of the year. Setting goals can, and often does, dredge up obstacles.

 It’s pretty typical to avoid setting goals because it brings up worries that we’ll let ourselves down. It brings up beliefs that we can’t reach for what we want because we don’t have enough self-confidence (now there’s a negative loop, for you). Or it reminds us of those times when we tried and failed, and so on.

One of my clients recently told me that her New Years’s Resolution is to “Fake it ’til I make it.” Then she wondered aloud if that was a good idea.

 This is a common piece of advice… Is it a myth or does it work?

 Well, it depends.

 It depends on what you mean by “fake it” and on what you’re faking. It depends on your level of experience with the area of said faking. It depends on your attitude while you are faking it, which has something to do with whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. And it depends on how comfortable you are trying something new.

 If what you mean by faking it is hopping into the driver’s seat  of a Fiat Spider when your only experience to date has been playing Mario Kart, then yes, read on...

We’ve All Got ‘EM

question-1Every now and again, a client will come to me and ask directly for coaching to increase self-confidence.  More often, though, issues with self-confidence show up while we’re coaching toward other things. Important things like clarifying a career direction, writing a resume, practicing for an interview, or coaxing shy desires into the light. Usually, a client will ask me a question that let’s me know that there’s something about self-confidence there to explore.
Here are some typical questions:
  • Aren’t self-esteem and self-confidence the same?
  • Is, ”Fake it ’til you make it.” a viable strategy for building self-confidence?
  • If I were more self-confident I wouldn’t feel afraid, would I?
  • What gives me the right to call myself an expert?
  • If someone exudes confidence it means they feel confident, doesn’t it?
  • I don’t feel confident about this, so I guess I never really ever was, right?
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that you harbor at least one inaccurate or incomplete idea about self-confidence that affects your success no matter what success means to you. Most of us do. I’ve got a few of my own.


If Bill Gates says so…

Brrrrrr. It’s freezing cold here with  lots of snow, school closing, and howling winds. Hello February.

Just because it’s dark and cold and the big gift giving holidays have passed,  you don’t have to stop giving or receiving gifts. February is really an excellent time to be extra friendly to yourself.

Start with a gift from you to you. How about permission to drop, “I should be able to do this alone?” If you don’t believe me, check out this 1.25 minute video of Bill Gates  telling you the very same thing🙂

Then get a gift from me too:  Permission Granted: Move Into Change With Your Own Approval here.

And another one, this lovely poem…

All I live for is now
All I stand for is where and how
All I wish for are magic moments

As I sail through change
My resolve remains the same
What I chose are magic moments

Because ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are made for
The mind could stretch much further
But it seems that is not what our minds are trained for

We call for random order
You can’t control Mother nature’s daughter

Ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are built for

The witch hunter roams
The scary thing is that he’s not alone
He’s trying to down my magic moments

As we sail through change
Ride the wind of a silent rage
And sing laments of magic moments

– unknown

Don’t be shy! If you like this, share it. Comment if you have something to say. I would love it. Thanks!

There Will Be Failure

You’re going to fail. I will too. During this winter holiday season we will all fail in some way or other, at least once. We’ll say the wrong thing, omit a present, eat poorly, rush ourselves and our loved-ones, maybe snarl at someone just doing his job, or worse, snap at someone close to us. Most of all, we’ll forget that we have control over how we react and a choice about how we manage moment to moment. (For tips about how to Turn Your Day Around in 180 Seconds, you can get the Move Into Change newsletter here.)

Failure is real and, though we might not realize it, we’re successful because we fail not in spite of it. We fail continually during each and every day. When something doesn’t work out (a form of failure) we adjust (a form of success) until we transform a small mistake or an epic fail into a different success. Ryan Babineaux (Fail Fast, Fail Often) calls this process “failing forward,” a term I’ve come to adore.

So what of the failures you’ll inevitably encounter during the next few weeks? How can you take some control over the sense of overwhelm that causes you to miss opportunities? How can you strengthen your relationships? How do you ease the stress that causes you to make a default choice instead of acting on a deeper commitment to yourself?

You can begin by understanding more about the value of failure (look for future posts).

And, you can pause to bring some compassion to yourself for your mistake.

It’s possible to pause any situation you’re in. It’s possible to take a mere 5 minutes to check – in with yourself so you don’t check-out by responding more like a puppet than the terrific person you are.

Often it’s at this time of year that you wish you had already built stronger  resilience so you’d have something to rely on now, when you need it most. If you’ve already been practicing, the holiday season can make it more challenging to carve out 30 minutes to meditate or an hour to exercise amidst all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, socializing and traveling.

It’s never to late to start to develop your Pause Ability. You don’t need a guru, fancy equipment, or find non-existent hours to devote to it.

And, with the gift of the pause, there will be success.

New In 2015 INTRODUCING! The Pause Ability Place.

I’d love to hear about the miniscule and gigantic ways a simple pause helped you. Or, if you use PauseAbilities, tell me about that. I’ll share your stories in future newsletters (with your permission, of course). If you aren’t receiving the newsletter yet, you can see a sample or sign up and get started on making change in your life with my complimentary workbook, “Permission Granted: Move Into Change With Your Own Approval,” here.

A story from my life to start us off …
The other day, I was organizing my office closet. It was going pretty well. There were problems and re-adjustments that flowed so quickly from one to the next the process felt almost effortless. Then, there was that moment… half of my files, books, coaching materials and office supplies were still piled up outside the closet and the closet was full. Ugh. After too many tries, I still couldn’t figure out how to make it all fit. Frustrated, I was tempted to walk away or shove it all in  and slam the door (not gently).


Instead, I paused. I noticed the tightness in my chest & shoulders and the tizzy I was in. I could hardly sense my legs because there was so much going on in my mind; “Look at the mess, I’ll never find a place for everything. What possessed me to start this project today?!” I needed grounding. I took out my phone and following the prompts from PauseAbility #3, I felt some relief. I realized I was trying to squeeze an idea from my frustrated mind, and within the space of the pause, a new idea came to me. Ah, much better.

Here’s another…

I am holding this space for you to reply to me and share your story that will appear in our Pause Ability Place coming in 2015. With the next story be yours?




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How “Thank You” Can Make You Happy

I just paused to look out the window. The rust gold leaves and the grey blue of the harbor waters are truly beautiful. The scene is different than it was 30 minutes ago when I breezed by it on my way to the computer. I’m grateful for this; the view, the ongoing changes in it, the sun today, all of it.

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve probably been reading about or hearing talk of gratitude. There are gratitude journals, daily gratitude tweets and all sorts of books about it too. Unfortunately “Gratitude” is in danger of becoming a buzzword (if it isn’t one already). Worse, it could become a fad, empty of its life enhancing juice. Just when I was getting comfortable…

Twenty, no make that ten, years ago “grateful” would not have been a word I wanted in my vocabulary. I don’t think I ever said it. Despite hearing even back then about the benefits of gratitude, I resisted. There was something about it that felt wrong.

Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t have trouble feeling appreciative of the things other people did for me or gave to me, nor difficulty expressing those feeling with words and deed. I liked the concept of appreciation. So why not gratitude?

It turns out that gratitude, for me, was synonymous with indebtedness – a holdover from childhood. I was resisting the message of guilt and insincerity I’d attached to it, and who wouldn’t? It turns out that I’m not alone, may people think of gratitude as a requirement. Luckily, once I figured that out, I felt free to use the word to mean “appreciation” and to let the feelings of being lucky, satisfied and safe come along with it.

We could make up a different name for gratitude, we could call it “Frenginslouge” and the effects would be the same.

Because, the benefits of practicing gratitude are real.

Research in the field of Positive Psychology has yielded some interesting outcomes including results from studies focused on the benefits of gratitude conducted by Robert Emmons from the University of California at Davis.“ The prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25%,” states Emmons. “Cul­ti­vat­ing grat­i­tude brings other health effects, such as longer and bet­ter qual­ity sleep time.” For a summary of some of those studies you can look here.

 Gratitude is an emotion and emotions require…a pause.

Pausing serves to slow you down so you can access positive emotions like gratitude. You can appreciate something in your environment, or in your past, or feel grateful for someone you usually take for granted or whom you tend to pass without noticing. This pause-break can make a huge difference in your well-being, satisfaction with your life and resilience too.

As I write this,  I pause right here to appreciate YOU with this complimentary PauseAbility For Gratitude download.   Just click HERE

(After you click on the link, follow the prompts to “purchase” the download for $0.)

A wholehearted thank you for thinking and feeling along with me as you read. Thank you for the lovely replies you’ve sent in the past, and those you’ve thought about sending.

If you liked this, share it! Thank you.



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Puppet or Pause Ability?

116663554-mannequin-style-string-puppet-or-marionette-gettyimagesLast night I was watching How to Get Away With Murder when I needed a drink. I pressed the pause button on the remote and made the trek upstairs to the kitchen. After sipping some water, I sat back down to witness Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) careen between being a terrifying control freak and a horrible hot mess of a brilliant woman.


I felt great. I was more comfortable and noticeably more alert because I had paused. Davis’s character was still being pulled apart by her emotions. Poor Annalise …


We’re all familiar with pausing a show or a song to run to the bathroom or get a snack. That’s all it takes to to get what we need. It’s pretty easy, right?


Most pauses take a mere 3 – 5 minutes. Pauses that give us time for something other than a snack, like interrupting an emotional explosion (remember counting to 10?) or before we’re about to make a presentation or enter a social setting like a party, also take little time. But they tend to be something we only occasionally remember to do.


Mostly we shift quickly from one thing to the next without a moments pause. We barely register our full reaction before it’s off to the races. When we do remember to pause, we usually don’t take complete advantage of it, either.


Fly on the wall at Erin’s office just the other day:

Erin gets on the phone with her client, Michael, a few seconds after having an unpleasant interaction with a co-worker. Michael doesn’t t know anything about this situation but within the first few seconds he reacts to her tone of voice. She seems to be in a negative mood and distracted (which she is). He wonders if he’s done something to annoy her. Michael questions whether Erin is truly ready to give him the attention he had paid for.         Uh oh!

If you knew Erin, you’d know that she is smart, good at her job, committed to her clients, caring in her relationships, and well meaning. Erin is also a busy person. Being the mature woman that she is, Erin most likely noticed her upset. Perhaps she felt “frustration.” She probably said something to herself like “Grrr, better pull myself together, I have a call in 2 minutes, can’t deal with this now, it’s too big…” She may not have noticed her jaw clench and her breathing tighten. She certainly thought she could push the annoyance aside and get going on the next agenda item.


The thing is, all that pushing aside has an effect. Often it affects us in the moment, as in Erin’s first few minutes with Michael. Too frequently, the accumulation of countless unacknowledged reactions in our day leaves us drained, fatigued, short tempered and/or vaguely anxious.


Have you had an experience like Erin’s or have you had thoughts like these?

“But if I stop, even for just a few minutes, I might collapse and not start back up again, ever!”

 “I’ll pause after I finish this, and that, and that. Then I’ll be able to take care of me and it. ”

 “I’ll take go back and revisit it after I’ve crossed everything off my list for the day.”

 “What will a few minutes do? I have to focus on what’s important! I need to bear down.”


I have said these same words or a version of them. So have my clients.


It’s easy to get caught in believing that ignoring our selves won’t matter, or that we’ll catch up with our inner life later. It can also be a challenge to trust that pausing will make a big enough difference for us to be willing to do it.


It matters.

Think about how many times in your day you transition from one thing to the next. Not one, not two, could be fifty, could be hundreds. If we are carrying unacknowledged sensations from just a third of those moments with us, we are unlikely to be our best. And, that’s an understatement! By the end of the day or even earlier, we are very likely to be drained and scattered. We might observe ourselves numbing out with TV, food, or silly FB quizzes if we weren’t so busy trying to get away from ourselves.


Not only does our go- go life drain us of vital life energy, it robs us of knowing the best of ourselves. It impacts on work, personal relationships and our fundamental feeling of being at home within ourselves, something we rarely take the time to nourish.


If we begin to become aware of what’s happening inside us, we can then make choices about how to work with it. It allows us to regulate impulses, thoughts, emotions and behaviors at the micro level. With each pause we strengthen our ability to make a new choice, to allow a fresher perspective to bubble up.


It’s as if the pause opens the door for new possibilities to occur to us. And the ability to do that gives us the strength to pause more.


But, if we continue to go through life unaware, we’re more like puppets, individuals who allow life to happen to us.


The pause allows us to check in for a moment with who we are. The pause sets the stage for us to align who we really are with what we do. 

 9019737-hand-cutting-the-strings-of-a-puppet-giving-it-freedomThe pause cuts the puppet strings for a moment.


Now we have a pause, which opens up possibilities and then becomes a skill, an ability… a Pause Ability!

Thanks for coming with me this far. There’s more to come when I share one best way to pause.

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11 Reasons You Might Want to “Listen” in a New Way

        This might be you. It’s definitely me or has been me at least some time.

  • Crave more ease in life.


  •  Reactive: sometimes it seems like everything bothers you.


  • Misunderstood: other people don’t seem to get what you “mean.”


  • Escapist: you look for relief and create habits that affect other parts of life.

junk food

  • Distractible: you’ve been told you weren’t listening to someone else, when you thought you were.

personality dog-1

  • Overwhelmed: Decisions and actions don’t seem possible.


  • Procratinating: you put off important things (tasks, projects, people, experiences) in your life.


  • Imposter: you feel disconnected from your authentic life – a bit like a faker.behind the mask_192169424
  • Unappreciated: You figure being your own best friend is a good idea, but how do you do it?



Focusing is one powerful and simple process that lets you be supportive of other people and yourself – so the important things in your life can move forward freely.

Focusing has made a huge difference in how I am, what I do and how I feel. It made (and still makes)  such a difference that I got certified so I could teach other people too!

Sooooo, if you’re interested in being more of a friend to yourself,

I’m teaching an introductory Focusing workshop, “Listening To You” on Oct. 18th at Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY.

It’s affordable!

Click to  SIGN-UP. If you click the photo below, you’ll get to the brochure

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Sparkling 7: Advice Gems That Just Might Change Your Life


Bad advice is like a clumsy dance partner, it steps on our toes and turns us at the wrong time. Good advice invites us to dance with it, even if we’re not sure how.

Can’t say I always knew that these 7 gems were the nuggets I needed when they first came my way. But, something about each one lodged somewhere in me  so  I couldn’t forget it.

Perhaps that’s the way we know a gem from a fake…it sticks. It may not be comfortable but it resonates.

It’s possible that at least one of my Sparkling 7 can be useful or even epiphany inducing for you. If you’ve got some gems you’d like to add to our collective treasure – yes, please!

In random order:

1. Not everything requires a response.

Are you super duper available and patient? Do you pride yourself on being kinder to others than you are to yourself? Do you think that just because someone asks, the law of “niceness” requires you answer? You’re nice, even if the “asker” isn’t being kind or considerate? Do you get drained easily? Are your thumbs constantly poised to answer texts, tweets or email? These are clues that you might not believe you can delay a response. Do you know you are free to chose not to give one at all.

2. Worry is the least effective way to show love.

Worry is a habit that not only robs you of this moment but future moments too. Worry much?


3. Always carry mad money.

This was one of my mother’s gems. In her time, carrying her own money was self-preservation in case a date went badly, a subversive act for a young woman who was expected to rely on a man for safety & fun.  With her words in my ears,  I kept an emergency savings account when I was single and still do. And, as I get older, “mad money” represents  more than a financial cushion, it means nurturing sovereignty in all its forms.

4. Pause.

Taking a break is healthy, you know this already. There are a gazillion ways to pause, some of them not so beneficial for you, like smoking a cigarette. Certain types of pauses, especially those that help you connect to your body, bring about greater calm, steadiness, and focus. A “pause habit” can seriously alter your ability to find solutions to problems, and your self-confidence too.

pause button

Click the button

Hint: try this in place of any unhealthy habit you’d like to change.

5. Start where you are.

Seems too obvious to be on this list, but stay with me because this could turn out to be the most valuable gem yet. Though many of us have a sense of where we’d like to be in our lives, or the way we’d like to be in our lives, we are less skilled at discerning where we actually are. Imagine using a map from the wrong “you are here” icon!!

6. Sacrificing (giving up something deeply important to you) for another person is seldom a good idea for you, them and, or the relationship.

Sacrifice breeds resentment. Period.

7. Only you can prevent forest fires.

Smokey The Bear is a zen master. His message, that our actions have consequences, is intense because he knows that one thoughtless act can set something beautiful ablaze. If this was a  metaphor for life, how would you treat the things you take for granted?  The people? Your inner environment? I’ve set off a few “forest fires” in my life. because I blamed others for my unhappiness. Have you inflamed a situation with a word or action? Only you…


Zen Master

Would love to hear your gems!

Warmly, Judy

Judy Garfinkel
Life,Career & Learning Coach

917.450.1524 (cell)
Release yourself from stress, indecision and fatigue with a simple Pause 

Why You Need a Vision

featureThat’s what goals are for.

Are you confused about the difference?  A big vision is the starting point for change.  A big vision give us something to reach for. Hint:  If it’s something that feels just enough beyond your reach that it’s a tad scary, it’s a sign that you’re on the right track.

Goals ground us in the practical, in what specific parts of our vision will look like in real time, real life, in our real life. A big vision without goals is like dreaming of cooking the best meal ever without deciding what will be on the menu. It would be the folks at NASA imagining a man on the moon and leaving it at that. However, goals that don’t come out of a big vision exist in a type of limbo, purpose-less, limited, and therefore much harder to act on with authentic enthusiasm.

Why have a big vision anyway?

Humans won’t create something we can’t imagine. We’re designed that way.

We’re actually using aspects of visioning all the time. When we go shopping we may have an idea  – not always fully formed – of what we want. The feeling of, “I’ll know it when I see it,” tells us we trust visioning, that we know a real item can get very close to matching this unclear picture we already have. Or you may say, ” I want a bladdedy bah coat with boop bap beep on it, in cocoa brown,” giving rise to a picture of your coat while you describe it. That image may even look like something you’ve seen already, but not quite.  For some of us, this happens so quickly or under the surface that we hardly notice it while others use this function of our brain more consciously, more easily, more often.

If visioning is done well, it taps into our subconscious, into our emotions, our values – the roots of our drive and motivation. A big vision galvanizes us. We’re energized and alert.

Conjuring an image is one aspect of visioning, but not the whole enchilada (did you picture an enchilada when you read that?). A big vision needs to tap into meaning for us, and that usually translates to us seeing how what we want benefits someone else, or something larger than ourselves. Somehow connecting our personal agenda with  “the better angels of our nature” grows passion, which is another word for drive. With a fully fleshed out vision, the urge to go forward increases exponentially.

After that, come the goals.

Visioning answers the questions What if ? and Why? Goals answer the questions, What? and When?

What’s easiest for you, visioning or setting goals?

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