Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists

Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists

by Sam Bennett


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608684434
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 11/15/2016
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 519,298
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sam Bennett is the creator of the Organized Artist Company and the author of Get It Done. In addition to her multifaceted writing and performance work, she specializes in personal branding, career strategies, and small-business marketing. She grew up in Chicago and now lives in a tiny beach town outside Los Angeles.

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Start Right Where You Are

How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists

By Samantha Bennett

New World Library

Copyright © 2016 Samantha Bennett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60868-444-1


How to Create a Miracle

You know the times when you have had a goal or a dream, worked hard to make it happen, and then ... just ... nothing? No movement. Can't get traction. So frustrating, right?

Other times, you have a goal or a dream, and you take just very few baby steps toward it, and suddenly it feels as if the universe itself comes rushing in to support you. It seems that all you have to do is put out a little energy, and you get a big tidal wave of energy back. Maybe you have an idea in your head about moving house, and the next thing you know, the perfect place becomes available, and it's easily affordable, and you get to just swan right in. Or maybe you're dreaming of meeting the perfect business partner, and then, out of the blue, that person is standing right in front of you, ready and willing. It's wonderful when that happens, isn't it?

Ask around and you'll hear a lot of different explanations for why sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you don't. People may invoke the power of a strong intention, vibration, divine timing, angels, destiny, manifestation skills, karma, luck, or happenstance. But I have a different theory — and please note that I mean theory in the sense of an interesting way to think about things, not in the scientific sense.

Imagine that you are standing in the exact center of your world: that you are the sun, the hub, the eye of the storm. Now imagine that there are lines, like spokes on a wheel, or like the individual puffs on a dandelion, extending out from you that connect you with everything else. Those lines represent your relationship with the potentiality of all things. Every opportunity, every relationship, every everything can be connected to you through those spokes. Can you see it?

Now, if you take one small step in any direction, can you imagine how those lines shift in their relationship with you? Now each line is at a slightly different angle. And so maybe there are some spokes that weren't reaching you before that now prod you square in the chest. Or maybe the angle of one spoke has become more oblique, so that there is no longer a direct path between that thing and you. Other spokes that were right in your center are now maybe a bit off to the side.

This is why a tiny shift can cause a big difference. Can you imagine that for yourself? Right now, think of something that you want that has eluded you. Maybe it's a new relationship, or a baby, or a creative project. Can you imagine yourself shifting just a few degrees and intersecting your energy with the potentiality of that thing? Can you imagine how easily even the unlikeliest goal might be achieved? I hear stories every day from my students and clients in which they've finally decided to write their book, and the next thing they know, they find themselves deep in conversation with a friendly stranger who turns out to be a literary agent. Or just when they decide they're ready to start dating, the phone rings, and Mr. or Ms. Perfect Fabulous Person is on the line.

I've heard the analogy of a rocket ship to describe this, too: if the trajectory of a rocket ship to the sun is off by just one degree, its course is dramatically altered. In fact, it will end up over 1.6 million miles from its original destination. Could it be that you are just one degree away from everything you've ever wanted?

When you move, your perspective — the angle at which you see things — shifts. Experiment for yourself: from the position you are in right now, turn your head like an owl, and notice what you can see. For example, I'm at my desk, and if I turn my head as far as I can to the right and use as much of my peripheral vision as possible, I can see a pair of shoes on the floor (I really ought to be better about putting my shoes away) and the corner of the wooden Swedish trunk that my father handed down to me. If I turn my head all the way to the left, I can see part of my bookshelf and some of the big green chair that sits in front of the bookshelf.

Do this right now and note what you can see.

Now move your body a bit in any direction. Look around again, peering as far as you can to your right and left. You'll notice that your view has changed a bit. I can now see more of the trunk and also past it, to the coffee table. Craning around to my left, I can now see all of the green chair.

So my theory in action looks like this: when you decide that you want something and you move toward it physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then your movement opens up new pathways by which things can appear in your life. Even a very small step (physical, emotional, or spiritual) can cause a radical change in your relationship to the thing you want. Even a small shift in perspective can allow you to see new opportunities.

And those times when you wished and hoped for things to change, but nothing happened? It's because you never actually moved. You stayed put. So your relationship to the potentiality of all things remained the same, and you kept getting the same results, over and over and over and over again.

So we get to cocreate our reality with the potentiality of all things through our decisions and our actions. And we get to see the deep truth in the axiom, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."

With a one-degree shift in your internal navigation, suddenly you can do things like:

• complete the projects that are dear to your heart

• change your relationship with your body and improve your physical health

• double your income (this is not a far-fetched marketing claim: I have actually done this several times, and so have several of my clients)

• transform your relationships with people who are important to you

• get your work out in the world

• transcend your visibility issues

• overcome a bad past or old stories

Change doesn't have to take hours of arduous work, and you don't have to wait to start. Think of it this way: you cannot lose thirty pounds all at once right now. But you can start behaving like someone who is thirty pounds thinner right now. You can eat what that thinner person eats and you can treat yourself the way you would if you had already met that goal. Similarly, you cannot build a successful business right now, but you can start behaving like a successful businessperson and start taking the daily steps to get there. Step by step you can go leaps and bounds.

Those little shifts will feel radical. Even those one-degree shifts will feel like the world is tilting off its axis, because for you, it is. But if you can keep your sea legs — if you can hang on through the temporary discomfort of change — you will see results.

Maybe you will develop the ability to look in the mirror and notice what looks beautiful about you instead of automatically reciting the litany of things you think are wrong with you. Maybe you'll find you can enjoy a conversation with somebody that you haven't talked to in a long time. Maybe you will find it easier to be more intimate, to be more open, to be more present. I don't know how this is going to unfold for you. But I guarantee you that if you do the work, if you're willing to endure the super-uncomfortable feeling that your world is changing, you'll see some wonderful changes in your life.

Little Changes Action Step: If you were going to allow yourself to make a one-degree shift today, what would that be? Would you choose to be 1 percent more courageous? More joyful? More outspoken? More kind? Pick a word that you would like to be able to say describes you, and now — right now — find a way to be 1 percent more that way.


The You in the Center of You

You usually hear the term self-centered meant as a criticism. But, thanks to the hub-and-spokes image, whenever I hear it, I think, "Yes. I am in the center of myself. My self is my center."

When you are centered in yourself, you are the still center around which the wheel of your life spins. The circumstances of your life are the outer rim of the wheel. You want to stay in the middle, but it's all too easy to let yourself get pulled out on the edge of the wheel so that as events happen, you end up spinning along with them. You get tumbled.

Learning how to stay in the center of yourself means developing some discipline so that you aren't pulled off-center by other people's opinions, bad news, or success. When you really get practiced at staying right in the center of you, things may spin around you, but you do not spin, you stay grounded and true to yourself.

You don't have to let your circumstances determine your happiness anymore. You can stay in the center of your self and be able to feel the joy of your life no matter what is happening on the outside.

So let's put you in the center of your life.

I recommend that you access the free audio version of this short meditation at, because I think you'll find it easier to visualize the concepts if you listen to me say it rather than reading it silently. You could also make a recording of yourself reading it and play it back with your eyes closed.

And if you're the kind of person who avoids meditation, no worries — I invite you to try only the simple, effective breathing pattern. I have been doing this breathing pattern for over twenty years, and it has helped me through panic attacks, boring sermons, bumpy airplane rides, Los Angeles traffic, audition jitters, and insomnia. It's a miracle worker.

Here's the pattern:

Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, exhale for a count of eight.

That's it. 4:7:8.

You can just do it once and get a nice effect, although I usually like to do it three times. You can also keep going and repeat the cycle as many times as you like. Once, at a party, I stayed up until 5AM, sitting on the couch, counting out this breathing pattern with a friend who was having a bad experience on some psychotropic drugs. She said later that the breathing kept her from "completely freaking the freak out." So, while I'm not making any medical claims here, it's good for defreaking.

I like this breathing cycle because it is so simple, and because the counting pattern is just unusual enough to distract me from my thinking. It returns me to my center.

Here's the text of the meditation to read, read aloud, or download as audio:

If you're somewhere where you can close your eyes, go ahead and close your eyes. If you can't or don't want to close your eyes, just soften your gaze a little bit. Let things go just a little blurry. Soften your gaze, soften your heart. And now feel the very center of you. Feel the energy in the center of yourself like it's the core of something, like the heart of a tree — the heartwood. Focus on that energy in the center of you. And let that center beam be really clear and strong. And let everything else relax around it. So your hands can relax. Your feet can relax. Your belly can relax. The back of your neck, your jaw, your tongue, your heart, your joints, your mind, your judgment. Feel that beaming energy drop down into the earth so you are connected to the living planet. And feel it extend upward out the top of your head so you are connected to the sky above.

Now imagine that the beam is illuminated. Imagine that it glows. See if you can turn an imaginary rheostat to make it glow more brightly. Experiment with the color, intensity, and size of your illuminated center beam.

And just staying in the center of yourself, we're going to inhale, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four, five, six, seven; exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Inhale, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four, five, six, seven; exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Inhale, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four, five, six, seven; exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Thank you. Thank you for doing that with me.

There are several versions of this meditation, designed to support you as you move through the material in this book. Feel free to use them however you want — there's no need to be all precious about it and feel like you have to light candles or do it perfectly or anything. Just play around with the ideas, do the work that interests you, and leave the rest for some other time. Do what feels easy. Little changes, remember?

Little Changes Action Step: Right now, do the 4:7:8 breathing three times. Repeat at will.


Buckle Up, Because I'm About to Get Deep Here, People

I created the Start Right Where You Are workshop and this book so that you and I could talk more about the inner game of leading a creatively and spiritually fulfilling life.

I love offering material that is both functional and doable. My first book was called Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day, for Pete's sake. I'm a practical person, and I really enjoy teaching about creative productivity.

But eventually I realized that I was leaving out a big, important chunk of information about being centered in yourself and connected to everything, which is what had enabled me to go from being broke and exhausted all the time to not-broke and not-exhausted all the time. It was time for me to start talking about the inner journey.

If you don't believe that you can be creatively fulfilled, well, it doesn't really matter what productivity tools I give you, does it? And if you're not sure that it's really okay for you to be calm and successful and loved no matter what, then no amount of helpful advice will change your patterns. So we need to start at the very beginning — at the very center of you — and work outward. We start with your soul.

This means that I will, in fact, be talking about God. And it's not important to me whether or not you believe in God, or what you call God. I trust that you're a sophisticated enough person that you can make whatever mental substitutions you need to make. I want to be clear: I'm not proselytizing. I don't want to turn anyone off or freak anybody out. I know some of you have been really burned by the whole God thing, and I truly don't care if you're religious or spiritual or philosophical or none of the above. I'm not trying to position myself as any kind of spiritual leader or teacher. I'm just using the words God or the Net to signify that eternal thing that is bigger than us.

My partner, Luke, is a committed atheist. He's done quite a bit of reading about the topic of God, and he tells me that what I mean when I talk about God is not what most people mean when they talk about God. So I'll get into a little bit more of my definition of God later on, but for now, I want you to identify for yourself what word you like to use to describe the mystery of life.

You've felt that sense of mystery when you gaze at a sunset or at the mountains. Maybe you've felt it when you spend time with animals, or when you have been in the "flow," physically or creatively. So you can call it Love or the Divine or Spirit or Source or Buttons the Clown if you want. I'm going to use God or the Net, because those words work for me, plus it's less awkward than having to say, "that eternal, mysterious thing that is bigger than us" every time. (And really, if you want to go through this book and cross out the word God and replace it with an X or another word, I think that's great. Do what works for you.)

Let me walk you through a two-minute exercise so you can experience what I mean by the Net, rather than discuss it further. Experience is much more important than theory.

You can find the free downloadable audio for this exercise at


Excerpted from Start Right Where You Are by Samantha Bennett. Copyright © 2016 Samantha Bennett. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

A Toast xiii

Introduction 1

1 How to Create a Miracle 9

2 The You in the Center of You 14

3 Buckle Up, Because I'm About to Get Deep Here, People 17

4 Rested, Fed, Meditated, Walked, Cuddled, and Creatively Satisfied 23

Paus: Daily Grind 27

5 Nothing Is More Important Than Your Well-Being 29

6 Six Ways to Take Control of Your Time 33

7 Quit Playing Overwhelmed Poker 40

8 You're Overwhelmed Because You Have Too Many Ideas 42

9 Completion Is Overrated 44

10 Feel Free to Leapfrog 46

11 Actually, You're Underwhelmed 48

12 Quit Buying Groceries at the Quickie Mart 50

13 Cantsayno Syndrome 53

14 Minimum Daily Requirement 55

15 Time Boulders 58

16 You're Not Overwhelmed, You're Overwrought 63

Pause: All I Have 65

17 Reimagining Well-Being 67

18 Activating Your Weil-Being 70

19 In Search of a Fainting Couch 72

20 HALTT 76

21 Getting Out of the Urgency Trap 78

22 Your Weil-Being 80

23 Delegation for Recovering Perfectionists 81

24 Hire Geniuses 84

25 Delegate It. Really. You Can Do This. 87

Pause: Another Person 89

26 You're Not Thinking What You Think You're Thinking 91

27 New Thought versus Old Tapes 95

28 How My Intuition Led Me to Live in Paradise 98

29 Ten Ways to Cultivate Your Intuition 102

30 The Intuition Killers 104

31 Values-Based Decision Making 106

32 Happy Grown-Up Naked Time 110

33 There's No More-Perfect You 114

Pause: The Desert 117

34 Nothing Bad Is Happening 119

35 Your Slightly Future Self 123

36 You're Ready Now 125

37 Set Good, Better, Best Goals 129

38 The Inevitable Backlash 131

39 The Inevitable Backlash, Part 2: The Inside Job 135

40 What Are You Afraid Might Happen? 137

41 New Pain Is Worse Than Old Pain 139

42 The Middle Way 141

43 Being Decisive 146

44 That Little Kid Looks So… 148

Pause: Too Much 155

45 Five Ughs and Three Ahhs 157

46 Consider Future Costs, Not Sunk Costs 159

47 The Seven Kinds of Clutter Nobody Ever Talks About 163

48 Clutter Dive 167

49 Clearing Out Your Dream Closet 170

50 A Few Remarkably Destructive Communication Habits to Stop Right Now 173

51 No More Rehearsing Conversations 176

52 Greet Your Mistakes with Grace 180

Pause: Not Exactly What I Had Planned 183

53 Test-Drive a Bigger Goal 185

54 Life Does Not Move in One Direction 187

55 You're Getting Paid in the Currency You're Asking For 189

56 Swatting Away Success 192

57 An Antidote to the Fear 194

58 Will Success Make You Selfish? 196

Pause: The Talent Box 199

59 Your Tribe Is Looking for You 201

60 Sam's Twenty Guidelines for Successful Tribe

Building and Management 205

61 Of Course You're Concerned about Not Fitting In 212

62 Be the Elusive Rainbow Sparkles Unicorn 215

63 Are You in the Right Tribe? 220

64 There I Am 221

65 You Can't Take Everyone with You 225

Conclusion: My Perfect Life 227

Acknowledgments 229

Index 231

About the Author 239

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“If your dreams of success have been held hostage by procrastination, perfectionism, and disorganization, then it’s time to call in Sam Bennett. In Start Right Where You Are, she offers you practical tips to outsmart your bad habits instead of merely struggling with them, so that you can do your best work and be your best self.”
— Marci Shimoff, New York Times–bestselling author of Happy for No Reason

“Sam Bennett provides practical, actionable advice for anybody who wants to become more prolific, productive, and creative.”
— Srinivas Rao, author of Unmistakable and host and creator of The Unmistakable Creative

“Funny and warm, this book is like a big hug from a good, really smart friend. And it’s blazingly honest. Sam Bennett gives you the real story and the real-life tools you need to make your life and life’s work better, happier, and more wonder-full.”
— SARK, artist and coauthor of Succulent Wild Love

“This comprehensive book supplies a wealth of simple exercises that anyone can use to break out of an emotional quagmire and begin to live fulfilled.”
Library Journal

“These ideas will help you make major headway, step-by-step.”
— SELF magazine

“Uses humor, clarity, deep insight, and sharing of her personal struggles and triumphs to make her ideas relatable….This is a book you’ll want to savor rather than rush through and it is one you’ll live rather than read once and put it on the bookshelf.”
— New Spirit Journal

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