To borrow from Wayne Dyer, who borrowed from someone else: Do you focus on what floats or on what sinks? Does it matter, even in your inbox? Yes, it does.

It was with the best intentions one of my newsletter subscribers forwarded an offer from one of the big names, in the event I wanted to include it in the next issue. I looked at the offer and felt it again, that niggling feeling I get when such emails pop into my inbox: something is off about this.

It isn’t that there’s anything wrong with the teacher/mentor/guru who’s offering it; he’s remarkable, just as others of his ilk are. But for months now, an inner-level twitch happens for me when I see these advertisements. There seems to be a flaw, like a coin where one side is the approach being used and the other side being the motivation of the potential users of the products and services offered.

The flaw is embedded in the statement so often repeated: You get more of what you focus on. This is usually attached to Law of Attraction information, but it also applies if you keep repeating/replaying the same thoughts, feelings, and actions. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s not that we’re insane, but you get the point.

If we in the self-help field are committed to assist others to self-empower, why is it so many of our emails continue to address lack? Well, if you’ve ever studied marketing or copywriting, you’re told you “hook” people if you go right to what pains them most. Kudos to Mike Litman who sent out an email recently that asked individuals if they still had the 1988 mindset about how to do business. He suggested a book that’s supposed to encourage people to think and act as the author believes will be necessary in 2010. I’m eager to read the book; and though Mike didn’t elaborate, I wonder if the new mindset discourages the old way and encourages copywriters to address people’s strengths or, at least, the ones they wish to enhance, but not from the “pain” perspective. The twitch I felt was from the fact the language used in the email ads reminds individuals regularly that they feel they lack. Isn’t this exactly what we’re telling people NOT to do, in order to move forward?

People in the self-help industry (this includes me) get excited about their products and services, and there’s good reason to offer them: we believe they can make a difference. But be honest with yourself: How many books, programs, etc., have you gone through about, say, money (inner- and outer-level issues) in the last five or even ten years? Are you still looking for that One, the one that will Finally make a difference? Have you asked yourself why the shift you crave hasn’t happened yet? As long as you focus on fixing what you perceive or believe you lack, you are still investing your time and energy (and, yes, money) into the lack of it. You may appear to be or believe you’re being pro-active; but you’re turning in circles because your shoe is still nailed to the floor. Maybe it’s time to take your foot out of the shoe.

It’s not all on the people advertising, though. Individuals turning to this information, as well as to information that promises a system that returns major income practically overnight, are taking action out of fear rather than out of purpose. What causes this?

They lack direction and strategy.

There seems to be two basic mindsets in seekers: Some seekers desire one or more ways that bring in the big bucks through automated systems that require little of them; others believe if they can just discover their life purpose, everything will change. What both have in common is an understandable desire to ease and eliminate pain, pain they believe stems from a negative financial situation. The negative financial situation is an inconvenient effect; the real pain is caused by something else.

If you’re a seeker in the first category, ask yourself if what worked for the vendor, what they offer, is something you feel passionate commitment about; is it something that is meaningful to you. What you really want is a similar outcome and feeling, but as a result of doing something appropriate for you. You want to do something that addresses your Why: why do I feel strongly about doing this? If your only answer is, “So I can get rid of my pain about my money situation,” that’s not enough. You may have discovered this particular motivation almost never works; or if it does, it doesn’t have longevity. If you are drawn to wealth-building emails, do you have wealth to build or even to invest in this strategy and to maintain it? Are you drawn to these types of offers because they’re fun for you? Does it make sense that this is the place for you to start? However, there is a difference in using these types of systems if they, and playing at increasing income from different revenue streams, is genuinely fun for you. This latter one has no pain energy attached to it. The motivation is pain-free.

If you’re a seeker in the second category, do you believe there’s One Life Purpose for you; and if you could just discover what it is, everything would change? This more often than not refers to the question, “What should I be doing?” People not stuck in this place ask, “What would I love to do next?” It reminds me of how if you desire your dream house or car (or anything), it’s not about having what you say you want, it’s really about having the feeling you want. Wouldn’t it be ironic if your life purpose is to do what allows you to feel the way you desire, no matter how many times you change or adjust what you do? To discover the feelings you wish to feel, and explore what makes this happen?

Here’s a brief coaching exercise for you, if you fit into either group:
Take several moments to envision what you would like your ideal future to be like. You may imagine where you live, what your home looks like, and such other details. That will make this exercise more interesting; but even more important, what are you doing in your life? How do you feel about yourself in this ideal life? Now here’s the question: If you remove any thoughts about what you believe limits you now, especially money, what’s different “then” from “now?” What stops you from living an aspect of your imagined future starting now, even if you start at the inner level?

This exercise is an entry into asking yourself right questions that help you pick a direction you feel a passionate commitment to follow at this time. If you know where you want to go, you can start to figure out how to get there. You can also better recognize a “detour” when you see one. Ask yourself who you know yourself to be; what you love and enjoy doing that you’re good at; what you feel has meaning for you; what it might look like (no limits; allow your imagination to play); who you’d like to do this with; how, where, and how often you wish to be engaged in this way. If you knew where you wanted to go, had a strategy, and applied your energy to your strategy, where might you be in a month, six months, or a year?

With a direction and a basic strategy in mind, you can begin to pick and choose from emails in your inbox, which one(s) address a step in your strategy. It’s helpful if you recognize that there likely isn’t One Perfect Gizmo that creates a total shift and eliminates all challenges from your life. A better goal is to learn how “reality” works so you can manage it more than it manages you; and to realize this is a lifetime process.

Follow your curiosity and sign up to receive emails, newsletters, audios, videos, and downloads that appeal to you. Give them only enough time and energy to determine if they address a step in your strategy; and yes, your strategy can certainly address your inner self, as well as your outer life simultaneously. If what’s offered is ahead of what you are currently focused on improving, save it in a folder for when the time is right. You’ll realize which emails provide what you truly need to reach your destination and which don’t. Opt-out of the ones that don’t serve you so you don’t clutter your inbox or your focus.

Are you beginning to perceive how having a direction provides a strategy; and how having a strategy keeps you focused and aimed at your target? If your energy is going into something you love and is meaningful and even fun for you, something you share with others, you can leave behind confusion and illusion. You no longer seek to find The Way that gets you into the game, you’re in the game.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer ( is a Life Coach, author, and creator of Reinvent Yourself, a life and business coaching program. This program is NOT for individuals who buy into Struggle as a way of life. Details at (free empowerment tools and newsletter). Her books and e-books are available at .