self sacrifice - ayn rand

Thrive Again: Recognize Whether You’re Being Used

In relationships, there are often those who feel entitled (USERS) and those who are so kind-hearted they have no clear boundaries and don’t know how to say “no.”

People who are lazy and feel the world owes them something tend to select relationship partners who are kind-hearted, hard-working, giving and boundary-less (OVER-PRODUCERS). In the end, the USER becomes helplessly enabled and the OVER-PRODUCER ends up used, crushed, and depleted.

Should an Over-Producer decide to break free of the abusive dynamic, the User will employ a variety of manipulative tactics — including guilt tripping the person they’re sucking dry, lying, shifting blame, making excuses, deflecting people’s focus off of them, and even violence (click here to learn more about their manipulative tactics).

What’s True for Individuals Is True of Nations

atlas shruggedThe same dynamic is going on at a national and global level. The Users are draining the Over-Producers dry. And if anyone dares say the Over-Producers are being used and should set boundaries that protect them from abuse, then the Users call them names, accuse them of phobias, racism, cruelty and a myriad of other “politically incorrect” vices.

Let’s face it, no tick wants to be removed from its host. It will always burrow in deeper when threatened with removal.

The sad part is when other kind-hearted (yet naive) Over-Producers haven’t awakened to the fact that they’re being used, and fight their fellow producers.

One of my favorite books on this subject is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It’s definitely worth the read if you struggle with being an Over-Producer. It changed my life, awakened me to how I was enabling others, and reading it was the first step to my recovery.

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?”

I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”

To shrug.”

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

It’s time for America to Shrug! Is it time for you to shrug too?


About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Would You Change Anything?

This morning I found a new song by Sara Bareilles. I often feel like Sara has written the soundtrack to my life. This song is no different, “She Used to Be Mine” may not feel like exactly where I am now, but I think it’s a great snapshot of some points along my path. Especially, in those times where I screwed up royally and longed for the girl or woman I used to be.

I’ve listened to this song several times today and had a conversation with my mom about it. (Love, my angel Mama, by the way.)

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if you could live your life over would you change anythingWe’ve mused about whether we’d change things in our lives. Would we rewrite some endings for the girls we used to be?

Problem is, the big things that I’d want to change are like threads in a tapestry that gets mutilated when I extract them.

Remove my first marriage, and I might not have the children I have. Remove the crazy, stupid love-turned-to-heartbreak, and I wouldn’t have key wisdom and perspective that helped me fully appreciate and value the man who’s sharing the second half of my life.

The only thing I might change is I’d wait until I was older to marry. At 19, I didn’t even know who I was. My brain wasn’t even fully developed! I had no experience with men or love or hormones. I didn’t know that hormones could make you see people through a completely unrealistic lens. I didn’t know how much hormones distorted perceptions. I didn’t fully learn that lesson until I was 48 and single again.

Maybe if I’d taken my time when I was young, I would have matured and had enough experience to choose wisely. Then again, there’s the kids and my new hubby who loves me like I’ve never known love, and I think the price was worth paying.

Yet, there are plenty of small moments I’d like to change…

  • I would have spent more time enjoying my children.
  • Would have worried less over making money and relaxed and spent more time with my kids in their early years.
  • I would have handled some situations differently when my kids were struggling.

I think I could safely do those things without disturbing the timeline too incredibly much.

What about you? If you had your life to do over, would you change anything? And if you would, could you handle the ripples?

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

avoid the temptation to put your own interpretation on visions, inspiration or insights

Quest for Love: Visions and Impressions

I work with a lot of visionaries, spiritually-adept teachers, consultants, speakers, coaches and other self-help professionals. I often say these folks are “hardwired for inspiration.” This is a great thing. They’re forward thinking, inspirational, innovative and positive for the most part. This makes my work fun.

Unfortunately, there are downsides to this spiritual, visionary intensity. Being a visionary myself, I’m learning a lot about the downsides to this spiritual strength. Over the next few blog entries, I’d like to share what I’m gleaning — mostly through experience as a single mom.

To say the world of online dating is a test of discernment would be an understatement! It’s been a great laboratory for learning to sift through inspiration, imagination, emotion, seeing patterns, and even chemicals in the brain.

Beware of Interpretations

Visionaries are hardwired for inspiration. Each of us have our own way of getting answers or receiving insight. Some of us have words or phrases come to us, others see things in our mind’s eye, others get a strong emotional sense about a situation, while others “just know.” Some people even receive inspiration through touching something, taste or smell. Experiencing a combination of these is common.

The interesting thing about visions, impressions or insights is that when we receive them, we have a tendency to interpret them through the lens of our current perceived reality. Most of the time events NEVER happen the way we see or imagine they will.

avoid the temptation to put your own interpretation on visions, inspiration or insightsToday’s tip for visionaries is to avoid the tendency to interpret what an insight means. Just document it. Journal, Journal, Journal! Then, let it go.

For example, when I was dating a man right after the divorce, I prayed about him and got the answer, “He is a man among men. You can’t go wrong with him.”  I interpreted this to mean he was the man I would marry.

The real interpretation was that this gentleman was “a man among men.” He was a very good man, a perfect gentleman. I could not have gone wrong with him morally. Also, going wrong with him would have been marrying him! He was the first to realize and admit that we were not a good match. He didn’t let us make a stupid mistake.

Since this experience, I’ve tried to be cautious about how I interpret an answer I perceive as coming from God. Even something that seems straight-forward doesn’t always mean what you think it does.

In my next posts, I talk about distinguishing inspiration from imagination. This post is part of a series. If you missed the others, you can start at the beginning here.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

building relationships

Quest for Love: Dumb Dating Mistakes Women Make

This entry is the 7th in a series. To start at the beginning, go here.

Being single I’ve studied a few programs created by dating gurus. Most of them have one common theme. Women tend to be needy and over-deliver, over-invest, and over-expect. Before you argue with me, let me explain why there’s a lot of truth in this.

building relationshipsOne program I bought compared building a relationship to building a multi-story building.  The woman shouldn’t come in and build all the floors or even two floors to his one. You should build the floors together. Or if you build a floor, he needs to build a floor.

As a woman you should be contributing less than or no more than equal to the man’s investment.

There are lots of warnings about “neediness.’’ You don’t need to be texting him all the time, calling him, etc. Let him initiate those things.

Another guru suggests that women shouldn’t be hanging out on a guy’s Facebook wall liking and commenting on all his posts. Another says, if he backs off, you should back off. Most women go into panicky chase mode if a man backs away.

My dad gave me some interesting advice. It confused me thoroughly when he said it, but it proved incredibly true.

He said, “You need to not care. It’s when you don’t really care that a man wants you.”

I questioned him, “What? Not care? How do I do that? Just not care at all? And why would I want a man that I don’t care about?”

He added, “Well, care, but don’t care.”

“Gee, Daddy, what the heck does that mean?”

“I can’t explain it to you, but you’ll figure it out.”

I don’t know if I can explain this to you any better than my dad could, but I sure hope I can. If someone had really been able to explain it to me earlier, it would have helped immensely. In the end, I’m sure the timing was all for the best.

In every serious relationship I was in, I cared. I cared a lot. When you care a lot, you go overboard to do things that you think will please the man. It’s not that you’re lying or faking anything. You honestly don’t even know you’re doing it! You’re just genuinely enthralled with the person.

If he burped you’d want to store it in a jar. (Okay, maybe that’s a little overboard!) But you get my drift.

When you’re enamored, and especially when dopamine is coursing through your veins, everything the other person says or does is wonderful. You’re incredibly blind to red flags that tell you otherwise.

You aren’t your every-day, normal self. What happens is you start constructing that multi-story building, predominantly by yourself. Much of it is largely in your mind. It’s amazing how what goes on in your mind and emotions gets emitted to another person without you even saying a word. It’s a vibe.

You also do extra things to please him. You accommodate your schedule to spend time with him. You let some of your own interests go to the wayside.

Not until I went through a major breakup and didn’t trust my instincts, heart, or inspiration anymore, did I learn what it meant to “care, but not care.” I came to this place in two steps.

Step 1: Looking Myself in the Mirror

Immediately after the breakup, I started a new relationship. This man was instantly taken with me and started talking about how he wanted to marry me. He was smitten, and I could see he was very much like I’d been in other relationships. He was moving like a freight train, but I was still incredibly jaded. I remember thinking, “Poor thing, he’s on dopamine.”

This man was not needy, but he was determined. He was convinced I was the one for him. He reminded me SO much of myself. I thought, “Oh, man, no wonder I scared the crap out of those men I dated! No wonder they wouldn’t commit!”

When the other person is so driven and determined, you begin to feel like you want your own choice in the matter. You start slowing things down and telling the person you need some time and space.  Honestly, I wouldn’t call it needy. I’d call it feeling like you know what you want and by dang, you’re gonna have it.

Step 2: Being so Burned, I Couldn’t Care

I don’t recommend everyone learn how to “care but not care” the way I did. Honestly, I was incapable of caring. I was so jaded, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust chemistry or hormones for sure. They’d betrayed me. I also didn’t trust my ability to receive inspiration, because I completely misinterpreted it when love-struck.

I had to get to the point where all I really wanted was someone to hang out with and go places. Marriage wasn’t even on my radar. I let any expectation of commitment go. I resolved to be myself, enjoy my life and never, ever let dopamine (the brain chemical released when you’re in a new relationship) rule my life.

I wrapped up my heart in a nice suit of armor, and I went out into the dating world simply for something to do. Once I did this, once I didn’t care anymore, that’s when the man came along who was ready to commit and choose me.

Because I didn’t care, I didn’t over invest. I was completely  myself. I was honest. I let him know my heart was guarded and that I needed some time to learn to trust my heart again.

He gave me some space. He made it very clear that I was the type of woman he’d been looking for, but he didn’t push. He wasn’t needy, and he wasn’t so determined that I felt pressured. It was the perfect balance.

I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t sure I could even open my heart again. The thought occurred to me that I might be incapable of loving. But bit-by-bit, through a lot of prayer and energy therapy my heart began to trust again.

It was from this space of “caring, but not caring” that I found the man with whom I could create the love that I desired.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but I sure hope it helps someone. I hope it helps you find that space of “Caring, but not caring” without having to have your heart hammered to get there. It’s not the most pleasant route to travel.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Quest for Love: 10 Ingredients to a Lasting Loving Relationship

When I was in Utah, I was with some friends who were building a fire. They used some newspaper, a few sticks and a log. The fire started out blazing, but it quickly burned out because they didn’t know to create a teepee of smaller kindling and gradually add larger and larger pieces of kindling and wood until the fire was prepared to handle a big log.

campfireWhen their attempt failed, I said, “Here, let me help.”  I instructed everyone to gather small twigs, and we built a small tee pee and started the fire in the center of it. The fire took hold, and we gradually added larger and larger pieces until it was time to add a bigger log.

There’s a point at which you know a fire is going to last. It’s well before you’ve put the big log on the fire. It’s way back at the beginning when the teepee catches fire and you’re adding more fuel.

I believe creating loving relationships is like building a fire. It doesn’t take much longer to create a lasting fire than one that will fizzle fast. You just have to have certain elements in place and put them on the fire in the right order.

Through trial and error, I have identified the following elements to a long-lasting intimate relationship. While the first 8 can come in any order, one should never risk flipping the order on 9 and 10. Think of #10 as the larger fuel that will smother your fire if you put it on before the other elements have given your fire a good start.

  1. Respect
  2. Shared Values
  3. Communication
  4. Caring and Kindness
  5. Connection
  6. Chemistry
  7. Love & Affection
  8. Trust
  9. Commitment / Investment
  10. Intimacy

A great relationship comes when two people are willing to invest in each other and in the relationship.

I love this quote by David A. Bednar:

“The word love is both a verb and a noun. I think sometimes we think, ‘Well, I have to have the feeling (the noun) before I can start doing love (the verb).’ It works both ways. Now, I don’t want this to sound unromantic, but love (the feeling) follows love (the verb).

We find young people all over the world who think, ‘I have to find the one, the true, the only; and more correctly, you have to become the one, the true and the only through what you do and what you become. You don’t just sit around and wait to fall in love. You engage in love (the verb) and then love (the noun – the emotion and the feeling) is just remarkable. So I think you create it. You don’t find it.”

This principle applies not only to dating, but also to life and business. Taking your time to build solid foundations and systems, allows for future growth and expansion that is sustainable.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Quest for Love: Where Does Change Begin?

Many people have heard me tell about the drive back from the beach in August of 2011 that changed my life. On that drive I realized my personal life had to change. I wasn’t happy in my marriage, but I caught the vision of what was possible for me in a loving relationship.

I envisioned a fully connected, communicative relationship with a mate who loved life, people and nature as much as I did. I envisioned someone with whom I could co-create an amazing life.

Something’s Got to Change, And It’s Me

I wasn’t sure if the relationship I was in would change or whether someone new would enter my life, but I determined that in two years’ time my life would be different. This stale, unconnected relationship would be a thing of the past, and I’d be in a great relationship. How would this happen? I knew I couldn’t change anyone else. So I started with myself. I had to BE someone different, better, more in shape and more inspiring.

The next two years were spent working on me and trying to love and accept the man I was with. I shed 52 pounds along the way and became certified in SimplyHealedTM so I could better process my emotions and improve myself.

Finally, I admitted my marriage simply couldn’t be revived. My divorce was final in August of 2013. Over the course of those two years, I fine-tuned what I call my SAM list. SAM stands for Spot A Mercy. I made a list of the ways I wanted to be treated and the interactions I’d like to have in my life. I started looking for ways core needs and desires were met each day. I journaled anytime anyone or anything came through for me in SAM ways.

SAM-Part1-TenderMerciesFor example, my list included things like:

  • Gives me a hug when I need one
  • Makes me laugh
  • Comes to my rescue
  • Engages in a deep, meaningful conversation with me.

The list is quite lengthy. At the end of a day, I’d make a note of SAM moments. For example, it might be my son who gave me the hug, the dog who made me laugh, an older man at the landfill who came to my rescue and helped me unload my trash, or it might be a girlfriend who engaged in a deep meaningful conversation with me.

I began to see that God was taking care of me through the people in my life. As John and Stasi Eldredge said in their book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, “God was romancing me.”

This was the beginning of my quest for love.

In the meantime, let me ask you, are you taking time to identify what makes you happy and are you making a daily note of God’s tender mercies in your life? I challenge you to make your own SAM list and start spotting those mercies!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

creating information products

Creating Information Products: How Is Selecting One Like Selecting a Mate?

As you know, I’m always drawing parallels from life to business. Back when I’d first gotten engaged to my husband, I made this video about the parallels between my experience with dating and creating information products.

How is selecting an information product to create like selecting a mate? Find out in this short video…

Get started today… Find out How to Create Information Products Fast!

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Is Your Receiver Broken?

Did you know there is a whole energy around giving and receiving? Try this. Exhale and count to 30 slowly. Can you do it? Probably not. At some point you’re going to need to inhale. Receiving is every bit as important as giving.

giving and receivingAs an energy practitioner, one of the first things I learned is how emotions and feelings are mapped to the body. Energetically speaking, the right side of the body represents the “giving side” or the “male side.” The left side of the body represents the “receiving side” or the “female side.”  The right side also has to do with being aggressive while the left represents being passive.

So let’s say you have a pain in your left shoulder, it could be related to a burden you’re carrying that is female-related or that relates to family. It could have to do with not receiving the help you need to carry that burden, or not being open to receiving.  The right shoulder can typically relate to financial burdens (think provider male).

When I first learned about this right/giving/male vs left/receiving/female aspect to energy, I was thrown a bit. Why? I always perceived women as givers and men as receivers. Having been in a role-reversed marriage, I saw myself as the giver and my male partner as the taker. Frankly, that could have been caused by my expectations more than what the other person was or wasn’t willing to do. I’ll own that.

Whatever the reason, I was on permanent exhale, never taking in a solid inhale. As a result, I quickly became depleted. My well was dry.

Over the last couple years, I’ve felt myself being reprogrammed to receive. Through a series of setbacks, life has put me in positions where I HAVE to receive. I have to ask for help. Recently, I’ve met a man who is very much a giver / provider. Here’s an example. He came to my house, assessed the repairs that were needed, took me to Home Depot, bought the necessary items to make repairs (wouldn’t let me pay) and proceeded to fix my house. The whole thing felt so odd to me, wonderfully, beautifully, odd. And I realized I still have a lot to learn about receiving.

I’m very grateful for this beautiful man who is showing me what a giving male looks like and is helping me embrace more of my femininity. Giving is not better than receiving. Both are necessary and I hope to one day find that natural breathing balance.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

The Eyes Are The Window to the Soul

Snow White

Snow White

It’s been said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” I had an epiphany the other day while looking into my dog’s eyes. Snow and I have this connection. She looks deeply into my eyes and I into hers. It’s as if we can see each other’s souls. It’s an amazing connection to have with anyone, but to find it with a pet is really quite remarkable.

The other day, I took a mental inventory of the relationships I’ve had with men, trying to remember what it was like to look into their eyes. I realized that not once, that I can recall, do I remember having the level of eye-to-eye connection I have with this Great Pyrenees! Isn’t that wild?

Then I understood that THIS is a clue for what I’m looking for. The connection in the eyes… that soul-to-soul connection is a piece to my puzzle. I’ve decided I will not overlook it in the future. It’s getting added to my “make or break” list.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.

Are You Focusing on What Is? Or What Can Be?

I love this quote from Julie Ann Turner’s book, “Genesis of Genius:”

I believe each of us reaches a turning point in life — a crossroad of choice when the day comes, as the writer Anais Nin so beautifully describes it, ‘when the risk to remain tight in the bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.’

That moment we realize that what has come before, no matter how comfortable it may be, can no longer serve our highest self, and that, in order to expand into our highest potential we must consciously choose the path of What Can Be … The quest of discovery begins.”

And as my friend Dr. Roger Moczygemba of noted,

The discomfort we feel before we feel the need to break out of the bud will never happen if we are not continuously striving to improve.”

If we’re on a path of self-improvement, which most entrepreneurs are, we will eventually come to that point when we realize we’ve stayed inside the bud for too long. And that shift from “What Is” to “What Can Be” is the key, as Julie Ann Turner talks about in her book.

Before and After MarnieFor me, that shift from feeling like I was stuck with “What Is” to focusing on “What Can Be” happened on a ride home from a family vacation to the beach two years ago. For nearly a decade I was unhappy in my marriage, but I thought I had to settle for what was. Not until I finally realized and owned the fact that I was the creator of my own life and could choose a different relationship dynamic, did I finally get a clear picture of what I DID want. You see, it’s easy to moan and groan about what’s not working, it’s an entirely different thing to get clear on what you want INSTEAD!

And that’s what I did — I got incredibly clear on the relationship I DID want. I was fully open to my existing marriage being this. I thought perhaps that if I traveled the path of self-improvement, became the person I envisioned, that my marriage would shift along with it. But that was not to be. Instead, there came a time when it was clearly evident that for the good of everyone I had to let it go.

During that pivotal drive back from the beach, I shifted my mental gaze from “What Is” to “What Can Be.” As a result, I began creating the life of my dreams. I’m happier, healthier, 40 pounds lighter, and loving the relationships I’m creating. To hear more of my transformational story (which I documented thoroughly as I went) and to find out how you can create your own ideal life too, please join me for my “How to Create Your Own Amazing Life WorkshopDetails here.

About Marnie Pehrson

Marnie Pehrson is a best-selling author and marketing and social media consultant specializing in digital content creation and Facebook Ad Management. Get a FREE 20-minute strategy session with Marnie here.