Messages from the Masters
What's Your "Blah-Meter" Telling You? by Beth Pugh

Have you ever felt that something was vaguely wrong? Maybe that you weren't at the top of your game? I am not talking about a full-blown depression, but something more common. It's that little nagging voice in your head telling you that something is not quite right. Elton John may sing his catchy tune "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues," but I am talking about a full-blown case of THE BLAHS here. You know what I mean?

In my own life and in working with clients, I find that most people have BLAH days and even BLAH weeks. They aren't sick but neither are they well. They are just...well...BLAH. They come to our coaching calls wondering how to get themselves back on the success track again. My role is to serve as a sounding board and then offer practical suggestions for making that happen.

In the course called Psycho-Cybernetics (available at, Maxwell Maltz identifies 7 warning signals to pay attention to in order to avoid a full-blown failure. The warning signals do not indicate that you HAVE failed, but that you may be headed in that direction if you do not change the course of your behavior. The signals serve as your "BLAHmeter." (I like this new word I made up!) :)

Mr. Maltz says, "A detour sign on the highway doesn't mean that you are a bad driver. It is a signal to change direction -- an indication that you are likely to have an accident if you continue on your present course." And so it is with the signals that warn you are off course. Use these as guideposts and you will most likely remain on your success path. If you ignore them, be prepared for a possible accident.

The 7 warning signals are:

1. Frustration. This is your very first clue! Frustration includes feelings of urgency, saying 'yes' to things you want to say 'no' to, feeling that you do not make a difference, or feelings of inadequacy. All these contribute to the BLAH feeling and are warning signs of greater trouble ahead. Often feelings of frustration are about someone else's behavior and how it is affecting us. Begin to look at YOUR role in your frustration and take back your personal power. Plan your time wisely and don't get caught in the urgency game. Say NO. You can! Find a way to make a difference and then do it instead of just talking about it.

2. Aggression. Aggression is what follows frustration. OK, so you missed the first signals and now you are becoming angry. The secret for avoiding failure here is to turn that aggressive feeling into assertiveness. Both of these are strategies for getting what you want; however the assertive personality uses a win-win strategy of team building instead of tearing others down. The next time you feel aggressive about a situation, ask yourself how you can turn the conversation into a win-win, take a deep breath and then do it!

3. Insecurity. This is another result of not recognizing the vague feeling of inadequacy that comes from frustration. This can definitely fuel the BLAHS! There can be some deep-rooted reasons for insecurity, but there are also some simple strategies to overcoming it. Begin to set small goals and then attain them. Each one builds on the other and increases self-esteem. One step at a time can evolve into big wins!

4. Loneliness. Being cut off from others is a sign that you are cut off from yourself as well. Loneliness is the wall that keeps fear locked in and people locked out. It is self-protection. I am not talking about spending healthy time alone. That is productive time. I am all for that! Here I am talking about isolation that keeps one from connecting with others. Talk about the BLAHS! The way to break this cycle is to force yourself to do new things and interact with others. Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life, likes to call this, "building a soulful community." Hey -- if you build it, they will come. :)

5. Uncertainty. I like to call this the "frustrated perfectionist syndrome." Do you procrastinate over getting things done? Have you ever considered that it might be because you want it done just "right?" Do you fear failure? These are all signs of uncertainty and they keep you stuck. Stuck = the BLAHS. Pay attention to this warning signal and break your patterns. You don't have to be the best each time. A road paved with obstacles is generally much more interesting, you learn a lot more, and your 'wins' feel even bigger. Take a chance on that road less traveled!

6. Resentment. This is the greatest robber of personal happiness, according to Psycho-Cybernetics' Maxwell Maltz. This is also known as "victim mentality" in which one blames everyone else for his/her problems. It's that feeling of injustice. It's not taking responsibility for your own feelings and behaviors. How disempowering! Big-time BLAHS! Take note of this warning signal before it becomes a huge problem. Learn to forgive others and forgive yourself. It's often been said that forgiveness is more about 'us' moving on than it is about the person who may have wronged us. 

I use the following technique with clients:  

  • COULD you let the feeling of resentment over ________ go?
  • WOULD you let it go? If so, WHEN? If not, WHEN? To be healthy one has to let go, so go ahead and make the decision that you will -- sooner is much better than later or too late. 
{I recommend The Little Book of Letting Go, Hugh Prather and The Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie.}

In the 12 Step programs, they refer to this as "letting go and letting God." Can you?

7. Emptiness. This is the feeling of loneliness that we mentioned earlier, but magnified. This is generally a result of living out someone else's dreams for your life and not your own. Your creativity is stifled and you are not fulfilled. You may go through the motions but they seem meaningless. Have you ever known people who could buy whatever they wanted but they are empty inside? They are BLAH. 

Recognize these warning signals as they come up for you. Address them in a healthy way and watch your "BLAHmeter" go down, leaving you the energy to create the life you really want!  

Article submitted by Beth Pugh.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International