Shelf Help


Shelf HelpI’ve always wanted to write self-help books. I’m a coach, and I help people get past the stuck point, and I thought I could help more people by writing a book about how I do that.

But lately I’ve had resistance to writing that book. I’m starting to think that the self-help industry is like the weight-loss industry: it depends on people NOT conquering their problems. It depends on them failing and having to come back for more help.

That doesn’t feel like integrity to me.

One of my teachers, Brad Blanton, author of Radical Honesty, recently wrote a blog about personal growth vs. activism. His feeling is that the goal of personal growth is to become an activist and help others. I’ve heard him rant about this for years, but only recently understood what he meant. At some point you have to stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on others.

I have finally reached that point–after 30 years of intensive personal growth in the form of reading, therapy, workshops, and coaching.

My goal is NOT to help people remain endlessly stuck in their crap, but to move on from it and to move into service to others. Frankly, I doubt any of the coaches or other teachers I know WANT anyone to stay stuck. I imagine they ALL want their clients to move on. Yet, do their actions promote that, or do they promote dependence on the coaching, dependence on their “methods,” etc.? Do mine? If I only work with “starving artists,” do I remain a starving artist and enable my clients to stay there, too?

I’ve heard 12 Step groups criticized because you don’t get over addiction surrounded by a bunch of addicts who may just be substituting a new addiction (the group) for the old (substance, behavior, etc.). On the other hand, it has been proven that the best way to keep sex offenders from re-offending is to put them in a group home with other sex offenders, who help keep each other in check. And isn’t that the purpose of the 12 Step groups? To have someone who understands what you are going through standing there saying, “There’s another way”?

Are you a workshop junkie? Are you looking for others to give you the answer, provide the magic bullet, do the work for you? Or are you looking within for what’s best for you?

By the way, I can help you do that! Just kidding. Sort of. What I can do is help you move your business forward by helping you publish your book, helping you get booked on radio shows, and helping you come up with talks and webinars to promote your business. That’s my new direction. Instead of focusing on how and why you are stuck, I want to focus on the positive actions you can take to move yourself forward. To help you stop examining your life and start living it.

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3 Responses to “Shelf Help”

  1. Brett Rossi Says:

    Can I have your permission to post this on my twitter?

  2. admin Says:

    Sure. Thanks for asking! I’m @relationshipmvn on Twitter!

  3. Diane Says:

    Wow! Talk about radical honesty, Stephanie. Well-stated. We are in different places–yet in the same ‘place’ if that makes sense. We have found our passion–it is about helping people move forward, not become stay-stuck junkies. I know that I start to feel ill even thinking about listening to any webinars right now. I am webinared out! I’ve tried with really great ones; it doesn’t make any difference. They still make me feel smothered. I ‘did’ way too many over a long period of time–have had it for quite some time even into the future.

    I think your program makes practical sense–it sounds just like what an author who is not wishing to remain a best kept secret could benefit from. I applaud you.

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