"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

Paula Renaye's Inspirational Story

by Paula Renaye

Author Paula Renaye is a big fan of self-help. She's needed to be, learning the hard way how to make the tough decisions in her life that have helped her to get the life she wants.

In this story - an email interview between Paula and myself - Paula shares who has inspired her and how she intends to inspire others via her own book (and blog)...

Hope you enjoy.

Hardline Self-Help the Paula Renaye Way

WARNING (from Paula): The following is an interview with an American (one with Texas accent) and includes colloquialisms as well as generally mangled sentence structures that in no way resemble proper English, possibly rendering it incomprehensible. When in doubt as to meaning, simply assume it was humor gone awry.

1) Tell us a bit about yourself, Paula, and how you got to where you are today.

I arrived where I am today on apparently the only path I was willing to take—the hard one!

Let's be clear, as the saying goes, you're only a victim the first time, after that you're a volunteer. Looking back, I had choice point after choice point where I could have taken a different road and didn't—wouldn't and couldn't.

While the conscious "me" really did want to be, do and experience what I said, the unconscious/subconscious programming that was calling the shots had a different plan. No matter how much I said I wanted to be a successful journalist—and I did and acted accordingly—when it came down to it, my subconscious mind said, "well, too bad for you, sister, because priority one is being married and whatever that means." So, I did whatever I needed to do to be married and stay married, including quit school, give up my scholarships and tolerate things a person with self-respect wouldn't.

It took a long time to get back to the "me" that I closed the door on when I said "I do" at the ripe old age of 18. In some ways, I had to go back to that version of me and do remedial work to catch up on what I missed by checking out of my own life. That lesson-packed crash course came in the form of my rebound relationship, and it was brutal. Then again, shortcuts are about outcomes, not comfort.

That said, as long as I'm breathing there will be still be plenty of opportunities for me to learn more and be a better me. I know that when I hear myself defending or arguing for my limitations, there are a few more banana peels to clean up so that I don't slip and slide back into old fears, reactive behavior patterns and limited thinking.

Not to worry though, when I do fall off my own self-improvement wagon—even for a millisecond—I won't be there long. Somebody's always ready with a clever comment such as, "Looks like somebody needs a little hardline self help" (sigh), and I have no choice but to suck it up and agree. That would be the downside to this author thing.

2) Tell us who inspired you in the beginning of your 'self-improvement journey', and why.

The very first self-improvement program I ever worked with was an audio set by Jack Canfield called How to Build High Self Esteem. My husband bought it at a work conference he'd gone to and I latched on to it like a starving dog. That had to be at least 20 years ago now. I played it constantly and took it as far as I could go at the time. Same for Tony Robbins' Personal Power program and a host of others that came after that.

The difference with Caroline Myss' audio programs—the ones that triggered the personal reckoning that I talk about in the book—was due to several factors. For one, I was in the separation phase of my divorce and living alone in a new state, trying to come to terms with the fact that my life was changing whether I wanted it to or not—and I assure you I did not. Also, my journey had reached a culmination point on the spiritual side as well, and quite frankly, it was a lot to make sense of, particularly when it didn't fit neatly into my "how things are supposed to be" box.

So, when Myss started slaughtering some of my sacred cows with her Sacred Contracts—I most certainly was not a prostitute, saboteur or child—I got a little irate. And as for being a victim, well, I most certainly had been victimized and the last thing I wanted to hear that I had a role in any of it. I did not like what she had to say, not one little bit!

However, after I had my hissy fit (that's American Southern-ese for acting like bratty child), I went back and listened again. Her words still got my hackles up, but they also broke open the door on core issues that I had struggled with my whole life, and it literally put me on the floor.

I spent the next year doing really intense work related to past abuse, family patterns and how I came to be the way I was. Being able to look at things from a different—and higher—perspective as Myss presented, helped a lot. It was still a while before I began to understand that I had to make deliberate conscious efforts to do things differently in order to change the underlying subconscious beliefs and programming.

3) Share a favourite website with us (not your own) that you visit regularly or that you find inspiring.

My favorite site for inspiration is one that I visit by proxy through email each weekday. I love Mike Dooley's Notes from the Universe from his www.tut.com site.

The messages he sends always seem to bring just the words I need to hear at just the times I need to hear them. They're clever, heartwarming and motivating in a "here's a secret from behind the scenes" sort of way. I look forward to them and generally read them on my phone before I get out of bed. Good way to start the day!

4) Tell us about your own blog/website or ezine

I initially created my blog because, well, I'm an author and it seemed like the thing to do—the first thing required by law.

Really though, the reason I wanted the website was so that I could share all the tips and techniques I'd compiled during my journey. I wanted people to use what I'd learned and choose to start changing their lives—on purpose before they were forced into it as I was.

And if they weren't ready to take that step, then maybe the information would be planted like seeds and sprout when it was time. Or, maybe my words would just be the sixth of the nine times needed for a message to be delivered before the person "got it." Whatever the case, I knew what I needed to do and I was beyond eager to do it. I still am.

I love being able to give people practical shortcuts to the long and winding road that I took. When I give talks, invariably there's an old "me" in the audience who wants to find loopholes so that whatever I've just said doesn't apply to them. I just smile in a "takes one to know one" kind of way, remembering my own desperation. And then I ask questions based on their own words—and they hate it just as much as I always did!

Asking tough questions is hard, particularly for someone who's really a pleaser. Answering them is much harder. But, that's what it takes sometimes and the sooner we all suck it up and speak our truth, the better for everyone.

5) Tell us a little about your book, "The Hardline Self Help Handbook". Specifically, who you think the book is aimed at, and who will most likely benefit from reading it.

The book is for people who have been tolerating and making do. The ones who know deep down things aren't right, but don't know what to do about it. Those who feel the truth but need help facing it. It's for people who aren't happy and want to be, but have been afraid to let go of the known because the unknown might be worse. It's for people who are ready and willing to make changes in their lives in order to be happy.

This book gives a road map to getting clear on why things are the way they are—and how they can be different if you want them to be. It's for those who are ready to take that bold step away from tolerating and making do by owning their power of choice and going for what they really want.

6) And, finally share with us a favourite inspirational life quote.

Through the years, there are a couple of quotes I find myself saying over and over to clients and others that I talk to. One is from a Jimmy Buffett song (I get a lot of my inspiration from him!): "Live a lie and you will live to regret it." It's a quick reminder to be true to myself because the other way always comes back to bite me.

Of course, that requires a follow-up quote from Illusions by Richard Bach, "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours."

Which leads to that pesky little saying my snotty best friend Tanya used to say to me when I whined: "You are where you want to be." I hated that! Yes, it was true, but that was totally beside the point.

Do you sense a theme here?

Lately, however, the one quote that keeps me inspired is the subtitle to my own book:
"What are you willing to do to get what you really want?" -- Paula Renaye

Seriously, try to procrastinate or avoid things that push you out of your comfort zone with that hanging over your head!


Comments for Paula Renaye's Inspirational Story

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Aug 26, 2011
My Growth Story...
by: Steve

In a few bullet points, this is how I might summarise my growth story, Paula...

1. Understand I have a problem (e.g. being shy) and decide to take repeated action (talk to people, especially women) - worked and didn't work

2. Believe there's only 1 way to change a problem (e.g. ask women to dance 'cold' in discos) even if this doesn't work to help reduce my shyness or to meet women - most definitely didn't work

3. Persevere. Persevere, persevere, persevere - works, and doesn't work (being okay with yourself is more important than being 'fixed')

My own understanding of my own mostly successfuly growth is that a) you have to keep at it and b) you have to find your own way and c) sooner or later you're going to understand that you ARE enough as is already...

Being okay is an incredible realisation when it finally sinks in. And it enables you to take on bigger and bigger challenges in your life (as I am currenly doing) WITHOUT the worrying feeling that things might not go the way you want, without worrying what other people might think, without much of the self-sabotaging stuff that stops you from challenging yourself.

That's how I've grown, Paula, since realising I needed to change age 15...

Aug 12, 2011
Excellent Book
by: Anonymous

Great book for individuals who are looking to move forward and find solutions.

Jul 28, 2011
Would love to hear your stories!
by: Paula Renaye

Hello! I would love to hear your stories of growth--what worked for you and what didn't!

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