I Don’t Trust a 100% Guarantee

… part of my walking-talking manifesto in progress, on the theme of I Hate Positive Thinking…


One meaning of ‘positive’ is 100% certain.

 I AM POSITIVE THAT THE THING I OFFER WILL HELP YOU.

 I guarantee if you use this system you’ll have massive breakthroughs in the next month.

 You’ll be making six figures in no time if you take these three steps. I promise.

 If you’re experiencing [random thing], I can guarantee that the problem is [something I can solve].

I’ve come to realize that I never trust anyone who 100% guarantees a result.

the power of positive thinking

To me, it’s an automatic bullshit detector. But it’s hard to avoid, because it’s tied in to the language of buying and selling. And because coaches and practitioners and healers are offering something intangible – a service, not a product – there is a temptation to make it feel more tangible by guaranteeing results.

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This is one of the reasons I avoided entering this field for so long: I can’t stand seeing the realm of the unconscious reduced to being bought and sold like a product.

But can you be successful without doing that? This recovering life coach thinks you can’t, but I’m hoping you can. I’m heartened to see examples of coaches, counselors and mavens who offer great services without false guarantees or manipulation disguised as positive thinking.

And I think, if their honesty and humanity and humility is something that attracts me, then it can attract people to me too.

Because I think most of us would rather hang out with someone who’s being honest and real than giving us a line we want to hear.

So I’m not going to tell you that my approach is 100% GUARANTEED.

I’m not even going to tell you I have a foolproof, rock solid “approach,” as if it were a product I hammered out that sits on the shelf, gleaming and perfect. Nope.

What I have is a way in, based on years of working creatively with my own mind and body, and with other people. It is born out of the particulars of my circumstances – particulars that I think a lot of people share. It works for me, and it works for other people. But it is constantly evolving and doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

I could give you a pencil and the chances that you’d write something with it are high, but I have no idea. Maybe you’ll chew it. Maybe you’ll draw on the table. Maybe you’ll throw it across the room. Maybe you’ll break it into tiny pieces and fashion a miniature beaver dam.

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The possibilities are endless, and that’s what I love about this work.

I give you tools, show you how to use them, and guide you through the process. Then you do the work, and see what arises. If you have a breakthrough, it comes from you and your life, your passion, your abilities – not some magic pill I conjured up for you.

That’s what I offer. A process that grows and changes depending on who is using it, when they use it, and how they use it. A process that I think is kick-ass, and which usually leads to insights, aha moments and shifts in perspective. It’s like a chemistry experiment: powerful things are bound to happen, but it’s impossible to predict exactly what.

That’s why we experiment: to find out what will happen. No guarantees, no promises, no bullshit.


Want to work on your own manifesto? Come to my free workshop on June 14! 

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Manifesto in progress: I hate positive thinking

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I’ve been working on a solo performance this year that has one foot in the performance world and one foot in this new world I’ve ventured into, the world of (duh duh DUHHHHH) self-help.

It’s strange that I’m in this new world, since most of my life I’ve had an aversion to the idea of self-help and positive thinking. In fact, that’s the title of my show: I HATE POSITIVE THINKING.

It’s about this tension I feel, as someone working in the life coaching field who can’t stand the terms abundance, manifesting, law of attraction and poverty mindset. In essence, it’s my manifesto, on its feet, in progress. A living manifesto.

I’ll be sharing bits and pieces from my living manifesto in the coming weeks as I get ready to take it to the NW New Works Festival, so you can see for yourself what I do and do not stand for. One things I most certainly DO stand for is Stevie Wonder. He is a goddamn treasure (check out how he breaks it down starting at 7:29):

But I also want to encourage you to write / create / dance / draw your own manifesto.

In fact, that is the theme of the next Sunday Morning Creative Zone workshop: THE ART OF THE MANIFESTO (manifesti?)

And it just occured to me — as someone who hates the term ‘manifesting’, it’s funny that I love the term manifesto. Maybe that’s my philosophy in one sentence: I don’t want you to manifest wealth, health and abundance. I want you to get on your feet and MANIFESTO it.

Carry on, brave friends.

Try this: Invent your own superhero

This past Sunday, we had a lovely workshop on the theme of alternate worlds / alternate lives. There were only two of us (it’s hard to compete with a warm sunny day in Portland), but we inhabited our alter-egos (Lightbulb Helmet and Craesie Fleur) with aplomb.

If you’d like to do some world shaking on your own time, I invite you to try one of the exercises we did in the workshop: invent your own superhero.

Step 1: Get some paper and a pen, sit down and close your eyes. Let the image of a superhero float into your mind.

Step 2: Jot down answers to these questions (don’t think about them — write the first things that come to mind):

  • What is their superpower?
  • Where did they come from — what is their origin story?
  • What is their fatal flaw or weakness?
  • What kind of outfit do they wear?
  • What vehicle do they drive?
  • Who are their helpers?
  • Who are their enemies — who are they fighting?
  • What are they fighting for?
  • Who are they protecting?

Step 3: Draw a picture of your superhero based on what you wrote down.

Step 4: What is your superhero’s name? Do they have a catchphrase?

Splendid! Now if you want to, share your superhero with us on facebook! I would love to meet them.

Here’s mine:

JET DIAMOND

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Jet Diamond was born in a coal mine. Her mother was 9 months pregnant and working in the mine when it collapsed. They thought everyone was dead, but when the rubble cleared, Old Man Winters walked out with a canary on one arm and a newborn baby in the other. He adopted the baby girl and named her Jet Diamond. Right away he noticed that she had laser sharp eyesight, and as she grew, her ability to see through dust and hypocrisy grew stronger.

She wears all black glittering with diamonds, and is accompanied always by her canary, Blink.

She is extremely sensitive to coaldust and can only spend a little time in dusty, murky environments before the air gets to be too much for her lungs.

She rides in on her jet black motorcycle, sees through the shams and shoddy deals constructed by rich men, and helps the workers see what they can’t see and stand up for their rights.

Then she rides out of town so fast a thunderstorm can’t keep up with her.

Bonus step: If this superhero were to show up at your door for an emergency meeting, what would they need to tell you? Would they need your help? Would they have some advice for you? Would they alert you to danger?

I imagine Jet Diamond riding up after she’s had a long, tough battle. She’s worn out, and afraid she isn’t up for the challenge anymore. I make her a cup of tea and have her tell me the whole story. Then I tell her she needs to take a break and go easy, and she insists there isn’t time for that and she needs to save the world, but then she falls asleep on the couch and I take off her boots and lay a nice cozy blanket over her.

Aside from the fact that this scene that plays out in probably every movie ever made about a superhero (and I am casting myself in the faithful butler role), what does this tell me about my own life? Maybe I’m taking myself a little too seriously. Maybe the best thing to do is take a nap. Maybe I get a little carried away with the desire to save people and be the hero. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to do things just because you feel like doing them. It’s okay to let other take care of me sometimes. Or even better, to take care of myself.

But who knows, maybe next week I’ll see a whole different message.

Extra bonus round: using the exact same prompts in step 2, invent a supervillain.


Hey there! Is this right up your alley? If you’re in Portland, you can come to one of my free Sunday morning workshops and experience it firsthand! Or if you want to go deep, you can join a Creative Workout Group, or work with me one-on-one