Sunday, July 31, 2016


Authenticity by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.”

~Kurt Cobain

Each of us comes into the world with a unique biology, set of skills and talents. Anyone who has raised a child knows it’s all there right from the beginning. Under the age of five, children tend to be spontaneous and genuine, moving through the world with a natural sense of curiosity and self-expression. Young children tend to be fully present in the moment, expressing their emotions as they surface from an authentic inner space. You can always tell what is going on inside of young children. If they are feeling happy, they exude delight. If they are feeling curious, they are all about exploration and comprehension. If they are angry, they erupt in the moment and then settle down. If they are feeling loving and loved, they exhibit the pure expression of love, hugging a person or even a tree.

And then, something happens.  Past the age of five (or sometimes even sooner), natural expression goes underground. Or, as my son so wisely observed many years ago: “the world gets to them.” External comparison and judgement moves into their inner space and crowds out authenticity. Some of this is necessary in order to build cultural and societal values and integrity, however, some of this is about conforming to significant others’ beliefs about who they should and need to be. The loss of authenticity is a double loss. It’s impossible to fully develop and manifest your gifts in the world when these gifts are constantly repressed. The psychic energy required for this type of repression results in a loss of vitality and wellbeing. Additionally, your failure to be authentic deprives the world of your unique skills, mindsets, vision, way of being in the world and potential legacies. What one action step can you take today to express your authentic self?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Planting Seeds for the Future

Planting Seeds for the Future by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Every action that you take or conversation that you engage in has a ripple impact out into the world, mostly in unanticipated ways. In fact, there is an area of study concerning unanticipated consequences devoted to this phenomenon. Although this study concentration is primarily focused on negative consequences, I propose that it is equally likely for your actions and words to set positive future consequences into motion. I find this likelihood to be both comforting and filled with tremendous responsibility, as well as comprised of the need for self-awareness, intention, trust, faith and patience. Let me explain……

As a psychologist, my work with individuals and organizations predominantly focuses on articulating an aspirational vision and generating viable strategies, systems, structures, skills and mindsets to reach this vision. As a graduate school professor, my work focuses on imparting an optimal blend of theory, practice, skills and mindsets. In all of my professional roles, I work from a place of passion, dedication, knowledge and experience. With the wisdom that time and experience provides, I have come to realize that I ultimately work from a place of trust, faith and patience. I trust in the motivation, integrity and native intelligence of my students and clients. I have faith that the seeds that I plant will blossom with time, intention, action and experience and that what I have to offer is “good enough” to facilitate this eventual blossoming. I have patience, derived from the experience and belief that one’s unfolding ensues over time.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are continually planting seeds of wisdom, faith, trust and inspiration in others, seeds that organically and miraculously take root and grow in unexpected ways. What seeds will you plant today?


For additional insights and observations, check out the following posts:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Starting Points

Starting Points by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”  ~ Nido Qubein

Choosing to embody a starting point life perspective is strategic and empowering on multiple levels.  Through this perspective, every moment presents an opportunity to embrace a new starting point and current circumstances provide critical data for advancing toward your goals.  This perspective, when intentionally embraced, provides the nourishment for reflection, creativity and growth. As you intentionally shift your personal narrative regarding loss, failure and opportunity, even a perceived failure can be viewed as a starting point to a different way of being in the world. Starting points are the perfect time to reflect on the past, distinguish the status quo, envision a satisfying future and identify the requisite skills and resources to generate your desired future.  When approached through a starting point mindset, these times are also motivational and aspirational points, a time when the past informs but doesn’t have to dictate the future. A starting point mindset reveals personal and situational potential, inner and outer resources and facilitates shifting the impossible into the possible. Where in your life would adopting a starting point perspective generate opportunity and forward momentum?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts: