Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why is Accountability So Important

There are many differences between life coaching and therapy. One of those differences is the issue of accountability. In life coaching the client is believed to have the answers to his or her problems are within them and not in the knowledge of the therapist.  A good life coach is effective by asking good questions which helps the client come up with his or her right answers.

A way to achieve accountability is through customized writing assignments that the client is responsible for. The client must follow through and complete assignments before next appointment.

As a Life Coach I work very hard to fit specific questions to my clients. If my questions are not good then the client will not come up with his or her right answers and the forward process will stall. In order to be on the same page as my clients, I sometimes have to give them an assignment to define a word. Defining words is important because everyone’s definitions varies in one form or another. So to help him or her progress, I feel I need to work off my client’s definition and not my definition.

Clients come up with some of his or her own great definitions with accurate perception. Here is an example of a great definition done on a word by one of my clients on a very important concept. I think this word we fight with and affects all of us in our daily lives. That word is accountability.

So what is accountability? Good question. I found this particular definition to be interesting with the way it was expressed and I hope will enlighten many more people.

The exact question to the client was:

“What does it mean to be accountable?”

The client answered the question simply in her own way.

“Accountability to me is living up to a standard moral code that’s ingrained in my subconscious mind from nature not nurture. It is the acknowledgement and assumption of responsibility for my actions. Accountability is a system of integrity that suppresses impulsiveness. It means that I am liable for my own destiny and culpable for the wrong decisions. Accountability and responsibility are guidelines for progress as I evolve spiritually, morally and mentally. It is doing what is right no matter how unfamiliar or hard it is to do.”

Want to be more accountable to yourself? Visit my website and take the 30 Day Life Changing Challenge

Thursday, July 10, 2014

4 Tips to Help You Shift a Negative Mindset

Mindset is a concept that is talked a lot about in the helping profession lately. Funny thing about mindset is that everyone has one. In fact everyone has many mindsets and trade back and forth throughout the day.

What is a Mindset?

Simply a mindset is a fixed mental attitude. Mindsets come in all sorts of types and styles. A mindset can be fluid, or rigid. A mindset can be comfortable belief or an uncomfortable mental habit. It can be positive or judgmental of yourself or others.

Mindset can be a barrier

Hanging onto old mindsets can create many physical and mental problems, such as anxiety, blame, bitterness, fear, negativity, physical pain, resentments, stress, shame, sleeplessness and worry. Old mindsets can keep you boxed into old prejudice attitudes and thoughts.

Triggers affect your Mindset

Old mindsets can be triggered by situations. They can also be activated by the actions, comments or beliefs of others.  Over time a mindset results in poor physical health as well as a decrease in our mental and emotional health and performance. A mindset simply is a deep seated attitude based on old perceptions, beliefs or prejudices that were told, taught or forced on us. One thing clear is that a mindset is generally another person's expectations or bias. Growing up in my generation, it was taught to take others mindsets, such as parents, teachers, coaches, policemen, etc., with blind faith. Never to ask questions. Functioning in life under another person's mindset does not work and causes deep feelings of unhappiness, disappointment and a feeling of being trapped. 

4 Tips to Help You Shift an Old Mindset to Positive

1. Stop ruminating by literally stopping what you are doing and take 4 deep breaths. During those 4 breathes, focus on the air coming in to your lungs and then being released. 

2. Reclaim your personal authority by forming a new positive mindset to replace the negative attitude and replace it with a positive mindset. 

3. Create a new belief to support and validate your newly formed mindset. 

4. Conscious take ownership of the new mindset by making a promise to accept it. 

After Thoughts

You can break away from old destructive mindsets successfully. You have the power. Start today and forge your own path. You can get what you want if you follow the 4 steps above. 


For more suggestions and information go to Make a Positive Change website. Start today to change your life from the inside out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Be with Your Thoughts or Electrocute Yourself, which would you pick?

A recent research study found that “we'd rather electrocute ourselves than be alone with our thoughts”.

OMG, I have been writing for years about changing your life through journaling, mediation (Me Time) or just deep breathing for only 5 to 10 minutes with yourself a day, without any external distracted or stimulation.   I require that each client spend time with themselves without a book, computer, phone, television, tablet or radio. I asked that they have nothing to stare at or take away their focus on during that time. The objective was to improve their relationship with themselves, reduce stress and improve brain function.

I cannot tell you how many of my clients cannot or had difficulty completing this simple task. Even though spending just 5 minutes a day with themselves has been proven to improve their life and health (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually) as well as release stresses they were holding onto, people can’t seem to complete even a few minutes. The excuses I hear from my clients are “Oh I forgot”, “I am too busy, but I meant to”, “I tried, but just I couldn't focus”, I couldn't find any time”, or “I get too anxious”.

With those clients that have a history of being bullied, harassed, abused or traumatized when asked if they did their 5 minutes I am told “I didn't like the thoughts that went through my head”, “I could not stop my thoughts long enough to focus just on my breathing as you asked me to do. It felt wrong”, “While I was doing it a negative thought jump into my head and I could not get rid of it once I stopped meditating” and “Truthfully I can’t stand to be with me. I do not think I deserve it”.

The overall underlying messages I get from my clients are basically that being with their own thoughts or being in their own skin is uncomfortable. Above all alone or quiet time should be avoided at all cost. When alone most of them have either a TV running somewhere in the house or music playing to fill their head with distraction.

The fundamental human question is have we lost the ability to be alone with our own thoughts?

Proof is in the Study

I found an article in the Washington Post about a study done by Timothy Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and lead author of the study. This article reported on a study about being alone with your thoughts vs getting electrocuted, yes you read correctly, electrocuted.  The study was simple, all the participants had to do was enter an empty room, sit down, and think for six to 15 minutes. The only requirement was that the participants had to be in the room without a cellphone, a book, or a television screen to stare at. The reporter from the Washington Post quoted Dr. Wilson as saying “The assignment quickly became too much for the participants to handle. In fact, even when the individuals were given time to "prepare" for their time alone — meaning that they were able to plan what they would think about during their moments of solitude — the participants still found the task hard to complete.” “People didn't like it much being alone with themselves and their thoughts."

So the researchers decided to make the study a little harder. Each participant was given an option of doing something else while in the room alone, besides just thinking. What the researchers came up with wasn't exactly pleasant. Instead of just sitting sit and alone, participants were now allowed to electrocute themselves as many times as they liked with a device containing a 9 volt battery. Still, for many, such an option wouldn't seem desirable.

But the study found that most participants decided they would rather shock themselves on an average of seven times during their time in the room and sit in solitude and think. An interesting facet in this study was that one male participant in the study “shocked himself 190 times over a period of 15 minutes” just so he didn't have to be alone with his thoughts. 

My Take on the Study 

When reading this article and study I discovered that participants, both men and women would rather spend their time stimulated by outside stimuli, even if it was an electrical shock from 9 volt battery, than to spend quiet time with only their thoughts. Why is that? I believe that most people, when forced to sit without external stimulation, have thoughts that they cannot accept. We as a society have been constantly inundated with outside stimulation, good and bad, for so long that we don’t understand how to just be quiet with our thoughts. Gone are the days of sitting on the front porch just being.

Other Reasons

      1. Time

More and more people do not have the time to complete even the simplest tasks in a day. You have to clean the house, care for kids, interact with friends and family, prepare meals, work, etc…. Being busy and fulfilling others expectation has become the standard in most people’s lives. Everyone races from one task to another without a thought or hesitation. No wonder stress and stress related illnesses are so rampant and the number one focus is on performance and not being with self. Life has become a moving grindstone that you can’t stop.

2. Stimulation

Our society is becoming addicted to being stimulated all of the time. Many people would rather be stimulated by drugs, alcohol, and all electronic devices and let’s not forget social media rather than being with themselves. 


This study supports what I been saying in my articles for many years about thought addiction and the inner critic. More people than we thought have difficulty with the thoughts that run through their heads. Let’s just simply get back to basics and improve the relationship with our thoughts, basically ourselves. With practice the act of spending time with ourselves will becomes easier and more enjoyable. Make more time in your schedule for you.

(The study was conducted by Timothy Wilson was published in Science Magazine, 2014)

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Launched My Podcast on iTunes - Quieting the Noise in Your Mind

On June 20th 2014, I launched my Podcast - Quieting the Noise in Your Mind

Today I would like to announce that I have not forgotten all my friends who have Apple Products.
My podcast Quieting the Noise in your Mind is now on iTunes.

Download each episode and listen to them on your iPod, iPad and other Apple devices. Take me along with you wherever you go and listen anywhere.

Subscribe to iTunes today.

Then type in Dr Bill Tollefson in the iStore or the title - Quieting the Noise in your Mind and then download the episode you would like to listen to.

Go ahead and educate your mind.

There are 8 episodes right now and more to come. All episodes are free.

Stay in touch and look for more. If you have any suggestion for topics for future episodes then please send me a message, SMS or email. Find me on Facebook -  
or my websites