~ S P E C I A L ~ F E A T U R E ~
Your Effect on People is Powerful
an excerpt from the new book
The Female Power Within
by Marilyn Graman and Maureen Walsh
with Hillary Welles
This excerpt is taken from the new book, The Female Power Within: A Guide to Living a Gentler, More Meaningful Life, by Life Works founders Marilyn Graman and Maureen Walsh. Graman is a psychotherapist and former kindergarten teacher, and Walsh is a "business therapist" and former theater manager. The book is based on nearly 20 years of workshops for women conducted by Life Works in Greenwich
The excerpt contains the moving story of a violin teacher whose student recitals were always a disaster -- until she learned to tap and use The Female Power Within. The story illustrates many techniques described in the book, such as understanding the effect you have on other people, healing childhood sources of pain, changing your effect and putting it to good use, deep breathing, creating an enticing atmosphere, and the value of support from other powerful women.
The Female Power Within is a subtle book that rides the
Third Wave of feminism -- from self-determination to self-sufficiency to self-satisfaction. It helps women redirect energy away from anger, fear, frustration, and resentment into more satisfying channels such as cooperation, creativity, and nurturing that will help you enjoy more of what you have while attracting what you need.
More information about The Female Power Within and authors Marilyn Graman and Maureen Walsh follows the excerpt. Enjoy!
Your Effect on People is Powerful
You are extraordinarily powerful in relationship to your friends, your partner, your housemate, your parents, your siblings, and your coworkers. You have the power to soothe them, to excite them, or to make them happy -- and you have the power to unnerve them, to anger them, or to challenge them. You have a dynamic effect on others, even if you are often unaware of it. Sometimes it may be in ways you want and sometimes it may be in ways you don't want. Becoming aware of your effect is the beginning of having power with it and knowing how powerful you are.
Imagine that you are constantly emitting an invisible vibration that other people can sense. That vibration affects the way people respond to you. If you are busy beating yourself up mentally all day, people will sense your negative force field and respond to you accordingly. If you are experiencing life fully and feeling comfortable with yourself, people will sense that too, and will probably respond to you more positively.
When you can begin to see the effect you have on others, you can begin to understand your own power. And you can use your power well by becoming in charge of the effect you have. What happens to you in life is not an accident. It happens because people are responding to you. If you wonder "Why does this keep happening to me?" it's partly because you keep putting out a silent message that stimulates others and that evokes a certain response in them. People respond to your way of being. It is the core of where your power is.
Diana's Effect is Powerful
Diana ran a successful private violin program with thirty young students whose dedicated parents attended lessons with their children. Her students were fond of her and worked hard to improve. Often, at their lessons, Diana and their parents would get tears in their eyes listening to a practice piece evolve into beautiful music.
Diana had her students perform at two concerts during the school year. She built the concerts up to be a big deal and her students would work hard in preparation. Every time she planned a concert, Diana was sure it would be wonderful because her students were playing so well at their lessons. But as the date approached, she became more and more nervous, picking at each mistake her students made and assigning them longer and longer practices. Suddenly it seemed her students weren't playing as well as they had before. She became convinced that the concert would be a disaster.
When the day arrived, Diana would be so nervous she could barely speak to introduce each student to the audience. She would sit in the front row clasping her hands, willing each student to do well. But she was always disappointed. Even Diana's best students almost always made mistakes, had to start over, or played out of tune. She often went home and cried to think that her hard work had not been rewarded.
Hannah's Effect is Powerful
One day Diana entered a concert given by the students of another violin teacher, Hannah. Diana was stunned at Hannah's happy-go-lucky attitude and the smiling way she led each student to the stage. She didn't seem nervous in the least, the parents in the audience seemed to be enjoying themselves, and above all, her students played freely and zestfully.
In awe, Diana approached Hannah after the concert. "How do you do it?" she asked. "My students always freeze up when it's their turn to play, the parents never seem satisfied, and we all dread the concerts. Everyone here seemed to be really enjoying themselves."
Hannah smiled. "Well, I just don't make it out to be a big deal," she said. "We think of it as a party and I have everyone bring something to eat for the reception afterward. I make sure they know if they make a mistake it's no big deal, and I have them practice playing in front of others ahead of time."
Diana realized that Hannah's sunny attitude about concerts had the effect that her students and their parents were relaxed and open to enjoying whatever happened, whereas Diana's nervousness and dread of concerts had created a building of nervous energy for everyone in the weeks leading up to the event. She realized that if she wanted her students to perform with joy in the music, she would have to change the effect she was having -- and changing her effect started with the stories she was telling herself and her students about the concert. She started examining why concerts would affect her this way.
When Diana went into her history, she remembered her father supervising her practices when she was a young violin student. He would demand that she play pieces that were too hard for her, and then chastise her sternly when she made mistakes. When she played in a concert, he would sit in the front row, grimacing whenever he heard a note out of tune or a shaky bow stroke. Diana could feel herself getting tense and upset just thinking about her childhood practices and concerts, so she went through the Anatomy of an Upset (described in Chapter 8). Freed of her past, Diana felt energized to develop a new approach for her students.
Diana Takes Control of Her Effect
Taking Hannah's cue, Diana started making up positive stories about how the next concert would be a fun celebration of everyone's unique style. She assigned easy pieces she was sure her students could play and had them practice them in different places -- in the bathroom, in the back yard, at their relatives' and friends' houses. If a student made a mistake in a lesson, she smiled and said, "Great mistake!" which made them laugh.
She enlisted the parents' help to come up with festive decorations for the recital room and bring goodies for the children to eat afterward. If she noticed herself getting nervous, she breathed deeply and reassured herself it would be fun and it didn't matter what happened as long as everyone was having a good time. After two months, Diana realized she had changed her scorecard from "Is everyone doing it perfectly?" to "Is everyone enjoying the experience?"
The concert went brilliantly. Diana's students were more relaxed than they had ever been, and she realized she was really enjoying herself. Some students made mistakes, and when they automatically looked over at Diana, instead of frowning she would wink at them and mouth the words, "Great mistake!"
The parents were thrilled with the cheerful tone of the event and showed their enthusiasm by clapping, hooting, and whistling after each performance. When everyone was eating cake and congratulating each other, Dina silently thanked Hannah, her mentor, for allowing her to see she could change the effect she was having, and therefore change the whole experience of the concert for herself, her students, and their parents.
Your effect creates an environment around you. When you criticize yourself, you create a negative force field. When you encourage yourself, hold your own hand through the hard parts, use empowering scorecards, do the activities that people naturally come to you for and what you always look forward to, have enough time in your life, and love yourself, you create a positive force field.
- Think of a recent time when someone affected you by something they said or did.
- When you walk into a room, start noticing how you affect other people rather than concentrating on how they are affecting you.
- What effect do you have on people in a group?
- What effect do people say I have even if I don't really see it?
About the Book
The Female Power Within
by Marilyn Graman and Maureen Walsh
Published by Life Works Books
with Hillary Welles
ISBN 0-91718548-2-3, 288 pages, hardcover, $22.95
"The Female Power Within is a groundbreaking exploration of the nature of women's power."
-- Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist and author
"An exciting and meaningful contribution to the worldwide shift occurring in women today. If you're serious about self-discovery, read this book!"
-- Beth Greer, President, The Learning Annex
"The Female Power Within is a beautifully written guidebook to help you tap into the inner reservoir of peace and joy that is your true nature."
-- Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Institutes
Discover the Extraordinary Power in Being Female!
Many women have achieved goals, personally and professionally, that our mothers and grandmothers could only dream of. We head corporations, compete in marathons, hold elected office, lead expeditions, write prize-winning novels, run universities, and in some cases raise children as well. We're so busy, in fact, that we often don't even have time to ask ourselves, "Is this what I want to be doing? Am I happy in my life? Is this it?"
In this rich and reassuring book, psychotherapist and creator of Life Works programs Marilyn Graman and her longtime associate Maureen Walsh give you the opportunity to ask these questions at last. You'll look at the cost of striving for power and success on male terms and discover what a truly successful life would be for you if you could define it for yourself. In short, you will discover the incredible power of being female.
Dozens of original "uncoverings" and reflective questions will help you see how you've been measuring yourself by "scorecards" that don't make sense for you and to get so clear and grounded in mind and body that the life you want just begins to flow toward you. The adrenaline rush of struggling and competing and never feeling centered and peaceful will simply lose its appeal as you open up to the magnificent power you already have within you.
As you begin to relax into your female power, you will be amazed at how much energy you liberate for making wise choices, receiving all the good there is to be had, drawing wonderful people toward you, and just plain having fun!
The Female Power Within is available at most bookstores, online and off, or directly from Life Works Books. For inquiries about Life Works workshops, bulk discounts, or rights sales, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site at:
About the Authors
MARILYN GRAMAN says that she learned most of what she knows about human beings in her 12 years as a kindergarten teacher in Jamaica, Queens, New York. She is a graduate of Queens College and holds a Masters degree in early childhood education from City University of New York. A psychotherapist since 1978 with a thriving practice in Manhattan, she has developed most of the Life Works curriculum of courses for women and men.
Marilyn has appeared on television, gives lectures around the tri-state New York area and has taught in Dallas, San Francisco and Mexico. With two books in progress and a long-range intention to work in early childhood education again, Marilyn teaches on-going groups, monthly seminars and weekend workshops at Life Works' offices in Greenwich Village.
MAUREEN WALSH is often referred to by her private clients as their "business therapist." Her first career choices found her managing The Philadelphia Company, which was devoted to staging new plays, then The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the nation's premiere company for kids. Next Maureen served as the marketing director at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and at the Joffrey Ballet, organizing visibility for the national tours.
A visit to the world of big time advertising agencies was a way station on the road to her own consulting business in the early '80s working mainly with Manhattan artists and helping healers have successful business lives. Life Works is one of Maureen's collaborations.
Maureen has taught marketing and arts management courses at the grad and undergrad levels and 8 years ago she created "How to Make a Graceful Living," a course to help people find more authentic work. She is currently creating "Reboot your Life" to help Boomers psychologically prepare for the second half of their lives.
Maureen lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her husband, actor/ writer William Speers, and sometimes works from her home in Los Angeles.
Copyright ©2002 by Marilyn Graman and Maureen Walsh. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file as long as the excerpt has not been changed and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.