Friday, June 1, 2012

Jonathan Alpert "Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days"

Dubbed “Manhattan’s most media-friendly psychotherapist” by the New York Observer, Jonathan Alpert is known for delivering frank yet helpful advice. Journalists love his candor and warmth, and they frequently call upon him to comment on hard news stories, current events, lifestyle and hot-button issues, celebrities, mental health, politicians, and more."



My book, BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days provides readers with a five-step plan to help them get past the fear that stands between them and success and attaining goals.  The five steps are the heart of BE FEARLESS and come from my practice.  It represents what has made countless clients hugely successful.

Briefly, these are the steps:

Define your Dream Life: here you define what you truly want.  You define what your goals and dreams are.  There are several exercises that help to bring clarity to these goals and that will help to motivate you to pursue them.

Break your Fear Pattern: here you identify the things that have been holding you back.  A series of exercises, some of which seem counterintuitive, will help you to understand and get past what has been holding you back.

Rewrite your Inner Narrative: in this step readers become aware of the thoughts that have held them back and caused them to doubt their abilities.

Eliminate your Fear Response: in this step you’ll overcome the physiological response to fear and turn it into strength.  You’ll gain control over the things you once thought were beyond your control.

Live your Dream: in this final step you’ll craft your Fearless Action Plan and embark on your plan.

Why we think negatively:

People tell themselves reasons why they can’t accomplish something.  We are programmed and primed to think worst case scenario.  It goes back 1000s of years when thinking negatively or being hyper-vigilant served us well.  Matter of fact, it often led to survival.  We anticipated danger and were able to then handle it if it occurred.  So, to stop that thinking people should think of alternative explanations to a situation – create a new ending.  Re-frame information.  On a piece of paper draw a line down the middle.  On the left write the negative self-defeating statement / language – and on the right side write down a re-frame.  For example, let’s say a guy who is afraid to approach a woman thinks, “She’ll never go for a guy like me”  “She’ll think I am dumb and unattractive.”  This might be re-framed by thinking, “Sure, it’s an anxiety provoking situation because I don’t know the outcome – and I certainly don’t know if I will be rejected or not.  This is a great opportunity to try and get to know the woman”.


How to deal with the difficult publishing industry:
The publishing industry is tight right now, but there are still articles being published, books coming out, and people surviving – focus on these things rather than the negative.  Adjust expectations to fit the times.  If you expect to get rich off being a magazine writer, then you need to re-evaluate your thinking.  Do know that not trying to even land something will ensure that you don’t land any gigs – but trying could potentially lead to something.  Pitch many, land one!  One of my favorite quotes is by baseball legend Babe Ruth. He said, “Every strikeout brings me one swing closer to a home run.” Remember this – it’s powerful.

Get unstuck now!
You are capable of doing more than you ever dreamed – for most people, they don’t even begin to embark on their dreams because of fear.  They think of all the reasons why they can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t pursue something.  That type of thinking keeps you right where you are now: stuck.  The moment people start to think about why they can, should and will do something, it changes things dramatically.  They move from being a victim, or feeling stuck – to being in a position of power, to being in the driver’s seat, to being in control – and that makes all the difference in the world as they pursue their goals and dreams.
Here are the three biggest reasons people stay stuck:

Waiting. Rather than being proactive and taking the initiative, people spend time hoping that the right person will magically walk into their life, that the job promotion will just materialize, or that their spouse will suddenly start behaving in a less-irritating way. If you wait for your dreams to unfold, they will remain dreams. If you take action, you'll turn your dreams into a reality.

Wishing. As a kid I closed my eyes and imagined I was Superman rescuing damsels in distress. It was great -- until I opened my eyes and realized I was still the same wimp I'd always been. Wishing for things doesn't create change. For that reason, I am not a fan of The Secret and the so-called Law of Attraction on which it is based. I can't tell you how many clients came to me after they wished and wished for better lives -- only to see their lives continually get worse. Countless women came to me talking about the failed methodologies of The Law of Attraction. For example, they'd cleaned out half their closet to make room for a man to appear in their lives, but it never happened. Or they slept on one side of their bed, in hopes of a man entering their life, yet it never happened. Stop wishing and start living with a practical and smart strategy that will actually help you reach your goals.

Blaming. Have you blamed others for your problems? Perhaps you've gotten angry at your boss, your significant other, or someone else for making your life miserable. By focusing on what you can't control rather than what you can, you will remain stuck. Instead, put your energy into all of the things you can control. You can control what you say and do. It's not as easy to control what other people say and do.

JONATHAN ALPERT is a Manhattan-based, licensed psychotherapist, advice columnist, and author of, BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days.  He also recently wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times that hit quite a nerve in the mental health community.  Read it here.

Learn more about Jonathan on his websiteTwitter, and Facebook. Buy the book on Amazon