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The Fraud Factor Syndrome: How to Silence Your Inner-Critic and Prevent it from Derailing your Success

The world thinks of you as a smart, successful, super-achieving woman… co-workers, colleagues, and friends admire your accomplishments and bosses shower praise on you.To them you are a pretty, fit, feisty, on the ball woman with much of the world ‘at your feet’. You – you think…if they only knew! Sound familiar?  Then you may be suffering from a case of The Fraud Factor Syndrome. The Fraud Factor Syndrome is simply the voice of your inner-critic whispering harsh, judgmental, negative comments in your head that demean and discredit your ability. It is also most often our harshest critic. As a successful career woman or one who owns your own business, no doubt you have had more than one experience with your inner-critic and resulting self-doubts that have taken a toll on your self-confidence, mindset, and self-esteem. However, If you are frequently plagued by your inner-critic, The Fraud Factor Syndrome may be seriously limiting your potential to take pride in your accomplishments and to feel happy and successful. These ongoing conversations essentially prevent you from owning your success and accepting the recognition you get for your accomplishments. Instead you minimize your contribution, give away the credit and deny the fact that your talents and perseverance had much of anything to do with a big accomplishment. The Fraud Factor Syndrome is not a serious problem until the voice of the inner-critic is so loud that it immobilizes you and/or limits your career or business success! The Fraud Factor is not uniquely a woman’s issue, but it seems to take a bigger toll on women than men. Tony Schwartz, in his article for HBR Blog Network post “What Women Know about Leadership that Men Don’t” says it this way … From an early age, men often overvalue their strengths, while women too frequently underrate theirs. In reality, we all struggle to feel a stable sense of value and self-worth. Men often defend against their doubts by moving to grandiosity and inflation, while women more frequently move to insecurity and deferral. Men seek more often to win, women to connect. So long as the path to power is connected to proving you’re bigger and badder, it’s no surprise that men have mostly prevailed.” Striving for perfection is a common symptom. You excessively over-prepare, over-analyze, and repeatedly scrutinize your work to compensate for your perceived shortcomings.
  • You may not have the confidence to apply for a big promotion or strategic project or ask a client to hire you for a valuable contract.
  • You avoid speaking up in a meeting or in public because you minimize the value of what you have to say.
  • You would do anything rather than have to stand in front of an audience and give a presentation.
  • You promote other men and women over yourself when asked if you know of anyone that can take on a new role or promotion.
  • You don’t know how and when to ask for the raise or promotion that you have earned (not just deserve).
As mentioned, take heart you are not alone. Countless incredibly strong “successful” women deal with the voices of their inner-critic at times. We all have self-doubts. We all hate to make mistakes. We all dislike facing our shortcomings.This is normal. It is how you respond to your inner critic that counts! Becoming aware of the fact that your inner-critic is limiting your potential is good news.  Awareness is the first step toward change. You are on your way to overcoming a problem that has the potential to derail your success and your inner happiness.

Seven Tips to Minimize the Impact of

The Fraud Factor Syndrome:

  1. Make a list of five success stories from your recent past.
  2. Identify your top five strengths. The book on online assessment Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath is a simple and affordable tool
  3. Ask five colleagues to name your top strengths (If this makes you uncomfortable you have permission to tell them your coach, Jean gave you this assignment.)
  4. Notice and jot in your calendar or journal the circumstances when your Fraud Factor Syndrome is most noticeable.
  5. Look for a common theme in these situations that fuel the problem.
  6. Catch yourself when you are being a harsh judge and change your conversation into the encouraging words you would use when speaking with a colleague, co-worker, or teenage daughter.
  7. Finally, talk back to your inner-critic. Ask her for evidence!

Tantra Sacred Loving Step by Step

Tantra loving is your answer!
Tantric Sex is becoming the sexual learning of choice for women (and men) who want to have it all: a passionate love life, a healthy body, and spiritual growth. Tantric lovemaking involves breathing exercises, muscle contraction exercises, sound, visualization, affirmations, creating a sacred loving space and other rituals, meditation, sensual massage, and sexual play. In order to create enough sexual energy to move into ecstatic states of divine connection Tantrikas make love for long periods of time, experiencing extraordinary levels of pleasure along the way. You would (reportedly) be in the company of Sting/Trudie, Tom Hanks, Heather Graham and P. Diddy among potentially the woman who sits next to you on the subway! You can see and feel a difference in your lovemaking experience right away if you follow these steps.

Tantric Lovemaking Step by Step:

1. Intention “Regular” lovemaking has a goal – orgasm. If you both come at the same time you’ve done it “really, really well”. If neither of you come at all you may as well have spent your time elsewhere. With Tantric loving, there is no goal. There is a purpose however, and that purpose is union. Every aspect of your Tantric loving serves that purpose. Your intention is to merge with your lover in all aspects – body, mind, heart and soul – not just body. You can help this along by looking at your lover differently, by seeing your partner as a god or goddess, as a living expression of the divine. Look for the glory, the beauty and the wonder in your playmate and in yourself and let that shine. 2. Creating a ‘Sacred Space’ Take time to set the mood. You can transform an ordinary space – a bedroom or living room – into a sacred space. To do this, takes only a few minutes and costs little or nothing. The important thing is your intention, not the specific items you use. – First, clean and de-clutter the room. – If it is evening, dim the lights and use candles all around the room. – Bring in some plants or fresh cut flowers. A bowl of fruit is very sensual. You may wish to have a bottle of wine to share. – Bring special objects into the room. Any objects that have emotional importance for you will work very well. Create your lover’s bed. – Make up the bed with clean linens and have lots of pillows handy. When you have finished creating the space, take a few moments to purify it energetically. That means consciously sending away negative or fearful thoughts and feelings, and inviting in those that are joyous, passionate and safe. You can even create your own rituals with sweetgrass, incense, and musical instruments. The Lover’s Purifying Bath: Don’t forget to cleanse each other in preparation for your joyous union. A shared hot bath with essential oils and bath salts is perfect (a shared shower is also so very sensual). The essential thing is to be squeaky clean. After all you will be eating off that skin! Sensually prepare your bodies for the delights ahead. Honor, Respect and Permission: Trust, surrender and opening your heart are essential if you want to reach the heights of bliss. It is not just technique that will get you there. You and your lover must join together as loving equals on the sexual journey. Ladies: Let your man know that he is safe! He may act all macho and tough, showing little emotion, but you know that inside most men are afraid of emotional intimacy. The tougher a man acts the greater this fear of letting go, surrender and trust will likely be. Let him know that you recognize his strength, but also invite him to show his feelings. Let him know how much it turns you on when he shows some vulnerability mixed with his many strengths. Tell him how handsome he is and how talented. Mention all the things you like most about him. Tell him why you love him so strongly. Tell him how much you think about him when he is away, and how you have fantasies about making love to him and touching him when he returns. Make him believe that you really want him sexually. Finally, ask his permission to passionately love him in your practice of Tantra sacred sex. Men:  Think of the vagina as a potential opening rather than as ‘always being open’. Do not ever take your lady for granted! Tell her how much you care for her and respect her. Tell her how much you love her. Speak words of adoration into her ears as you gently blow on them and nibble on her ear lobes. Let her know that you think of her constantly and how strong your desire is to make love with (not to) her. Also, let her know that you invite her to awaken sexually and to express her sexuality fully. Let her know that you are NOT caught in that tired old cultural conditioning that still insists “good girls” do not enjoy sex – the Madonna/Whore split. Make her believe you when you tell her that you know she can be all she wants to be: a successful career woman, a respectful daughter, a faithful wife, a caring mother, a passionate lover and a sincere spiritual seeker all at the same time. Tell her how beautiful she is, how wonderful she smells, and all the things you appreciate most about her. Finally, ask her permission to passionately love her in your practice of Tantra sacred sex. 3. Foreplay After you have asked and received permission to love each other up, tune into each other. Two simple ways to do this are through harmonizing your breathing and by looking deep into each other’s eyes. By matching your breathing rhythms and making soulful eye contact you connect energetically as well as physically. Begin to explore each other’s bodies with wonder, lust, and playfulness. Remember, in Tantra sacred loving there is no goal. You are not trying to get somewhere. Each act of loving is complete in and of itself. Once you master how to work with your sexual energy many men and women will discover that they can have orgasms just by touching fingers together. Indeed, you can have orgasms just by looking into each other’s eyes! So men are not in a hurry to get at the woman’s breasts or into her vagina. When touching her body, start at the extremities and work in toward the breasts and genitals. Start with the fingers and toes and work in. Go slowly! Generally men enjoy having their genitals touched at any time, but women usually only enjoy having their breasts and genitals touched after they are already sexually excited from other touching, stimulating conversation, or emotional connection. Make sure the woman is well lubricated before any attempt at intercourse. If possible, help her to have a clitoral orgasm before moving on to intercourse. 4. Intercourse The usual 5 to 15 minutes of lovemaking is typically not satisfying for most women. Men need to learn to delay ejaculation so that active lovemaking can be extended for hours. Men can learn to delay ejaculation not just during one lovemaking session, but for weeks or months at a time. Any man who masters this will eventually have the happy experience of orgasm without ejaculation. Orgasm without ejaculation will not deplete the man’s energy the same way that a regular ejaculatory orgasm does. This means that a man can have more than one orgasm; indeed, he can become a multi-orgasmic-man. When the man is able to last longer, it is much more likely that his female partner will also have multiple orgasms. Although Tantric loving lasts several hours, this does not mean you are having active intercourse during that entire time. Intercourse is interspersed with touching, oral play, quietly holding each other. It is a good idea for a man to allow his erection to subside every 30 minutes to exchange the blood supply and recharge his hormone levels. 5. The Passion Pump (Moving Your Energy) This muscle contraction exercise is very simple and can extensively increase your ecstatic union. If you were urinating and stopped the flow of urine in mid-stream you would be contracting exactly the right muscles for The Passion Pump exercise in exactly the right way. So imagine that you wanted to alternately start and stop the flow of urine. This squeezing and relaxing of muscles around your genitals is called the PC Pump. It’s the first and most important exercise in learning to circulate your sexual energy. At the peak of sexual arousal, either during intercourse or manual/oral stimulation stop your normal lovemaking movements and focus instead on moving the sexual energy that’s pulsing in your genitals. Move it up and through your body. Use slow, deep abdominal breathing to keep your body relaxed. Add the PC pumping action and visualize moving energy up your body in a ball of fire or a wave of light or a current of electricity. Through your eyes, your hands, your genitals you can learn to direct and pass this powerful force on to your lover. 6. Afterplay Regular lovemaking usually ends when the man ejaculates, but when men have learned to postpone ejaculation, stopping lovemaking then becomes a matter of choice. With Tantric loving you wind down your loving time with slow caresses, words of endearment and honoring each other with food and drink. 7. Sharing Wine, Food and Other Sensual Pleasures The sharing of good food, wine and other intoxicants, sensual massage, dressing up in costumes and playing sexual games are part of the ancient Tantric tradition. While Tantra is serious, it need not be heavy. Lighten up; be playful, lusty and daring! Tantra lovers know that they are personally responsible for their own sexual fulfillment and their own spiritual progress. This may be especially important for men. Many men experience a great deal of performance anxiety. But even the greatest, most sensitive, highly skilled Tantric lover cannot make a woman have orgasms. She must be able to go to that place in herself that is orgasmic. Sexual/spiritual ecstasy has little to do with control. It requires trust, surrender and letting go. Both lovers must learn to do this. If there is some psychological work to do before you will allow yourself to open in this way, then get on with it! In the meantime, please each other with the preparation, serving and consumption of fine food and drink. Lavish each other with touching in sensual massage. Dress up (and down!) for each other. Take on different personalities with different costumes. Wear masks! Play and laugh together often. Celebrate your spirit through your sexuality. Open your heart. Let your lover in and your love out!

5 Ways to Keep Learning and Growing – Even on a Tight Budget

Believe me, I remember what that was like. In fact, things got so bad when I first started my business back in New York 10 years ago that there was one evening I couldn’t even take out $20 from the ATM. (And even if I did have cash to spend, I didn’t know where to find a mentor anyway.) So what’s a girl to do when she’s on a budget? Answer: Learn all she can within her means. While in-depth courses and high-level mentorship programs deliver a complete plan for those who are ready to invest and move forward quickly, don’t forget about tried and true low-budget learning options. The five I list below are surely nothing new, but often times we forget they are here for the taking! The only trick is you have to motivate yourself. 1. Books: Yes, books. Remember books? There are millions of helpful and educational books out there. Both new ones in bookstores and used ones at the library. Ones to inspire you, to motivate you, to help you think differently, and delivering specific steps to grow yourself and your business. Spend a rainy afternoon in a Borders or Barnes & Noble with a coffee and see what strikes your fancy. Or finally get that local library card and see what they have to offer in their business and self help sections. Bonus: Most libraries also carry CDs and DVDs that they rent for free or a low fee, and usually you’ll be able to find several educational titles. 2. Free ezines and reports: Search your topic of business online and you’re bound to find tons of free online information and many in the form of ezine subscriptions and reports. From marketing to moneymaking, from advertising to finding clients, if you search for it you will find it. Just know these media – being free – are typically more introductory information and used as lead generators. But good content can surely be found! 3. Free teleseminars and webinars; Along the same lines, many experts are also hosting free teleseminars and webinars day and night around the globe. All you need to participate is a phone or an Internet connection. From business training to personal development – search and you will find as well! As with free ezines and reports, you can learn a lot from these events, but just expect a sales offer during the session. 4. Free and low-cost live seminars: Even adult education classes via organizations such as the Learning Annex are great to get started. Even though they usually feature very basic info, I’ve found these classes are still good to help reboot your brain and give you some new ideas to walk away with. If you live in a major city you can also almost always find free or low-cost seminars to attend as well, if you keep your eyes and ears open. But remember, the hosts of these events aren’t nonprofits! Expect a sales invitation to buy their products or enroll in a program. Just realize this upfront as you go in and graciously decline should you choose not to take advantage. 5. Lower-priced information products and programs: If you can’t afford a live mentor, how about one in a box? That’s how I started! And I admit it was even from a TV infomercial. Back when I had finally quit my last job 10 years ago, I was lost and frustrated. I had started my business but was down to just a few hundred dollars in my bank account. One late night I was up and turned on the TV and saw an infomercial for Tony Robbins’ “Personal Power II”. (Funny enough, I could barely see it on the screen since I couldn’t afford cable TV and was watching it via old-fashioned rabbit ears.) If I remember correctly, the product was $179 at the time. That was a huge stretch for me, and I opted for the payment plan. And when those cassettes arrived (yes, I got the cassettes because they were cheaper than the CDs), I dove into them like a box of chocolates! Tony became my virtual mentor as his voice of encouragement, showing me how to think big, was played in my ears every day while I rode the subway. If you’re not growing, you’re dying… Remember that not having cash to invest in your business is no excuse to sit on your bum. There’s a great saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” Having money isn’t a prerequisite to step forward to grow and become your best. The only requirement to your stepping into your greatness is your true desire to do so. © 2009 Alexandria Brown International Inc.

How To Find the Right Man for Bliss in the Bedroom

We know, we know, we can practically see you rolling your eyes! Another article on finding Mr. Right to go along with the thousands already out there. We feel your pain. But, we here at Women Who Run It: Your Life – Your Love – Your Terms! promised to bring you the information you need with no B.S., no fluff, and no fillers, and we plan on keeping good on that promise! I recently spent an enlightening hour speaking with David Shade, who is known as The Renegade Sex Expert (he came referred by one of my guy friends). David is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Female Sexuality and I was dying to hear what he had to say about how an ‘alpha’ woman who runs it all during the day can find a Masterful Lover™ for ultimate sexual fulfillment at night! One reason why so many women are not finding sexual fulfillment, David believes, is that as women who run it all during the day, taking on the world, and maintaining control, we really need to be ‘submissive’; to give up, let go, to feel deep pleasure in the bedroom. Sex is a mental playground for us women, and in order to achieve the release of an orgasm, to be cherished and adored, and to not be in charge (even for a little while), we have to learn to just let go and let the man lead us and take charge of our pleasure. Now, I know that is tough for most of us! [I personally had trouble getting my head around the idea that I have to submit to a man until I reframed it to surrendering into my own pleasure.] But how do you find a man that can lead us to full-on bliss in the bedroom? David says to think of it like hiring good employees and empowering them. Find a really great guy, one who is not intimidated, one who is turned on by the power and control you maintain during the day, and then let him do what he is good at – pleasuring you! Here is where you need to put some detective skills to work on finding that man:
  • Men learn to be men from their fathers, so you must find a man whose father was a good role model, whom he respects and who respects and treats his own wife well (ie. your beau’s mother).
  • Men learn how to have healthy relationships with women from their mothers. You need to look for a man who has a good, healthy, functional relationship with his mother.
  • Third, you need to find out if he is going to be willing to take the lead in the bedroom with your pleasure foremost in his mind. BEFORE you hit the bedroom or even third base, pose some hypothetical questions to him about sexuality and see how he responds. What will he do when you tell him you ‘like to get a little bit naughty’? Is he responsive or have you scared him away? Men inadvertently tell us EVERYTHING we need to know in the very very early days of dating – if we pay attention!!
  • Once you feel like you have a potential “masterful lover’ on the hook, let him know that you want to let go in the bedroom – to not be in charge all the time. Does he take charge? Is he up for the task?
Do you have a promising candidate? Think he may be up to the task?  At this point, the most important thing you can do is to stop self-sabotaging. We women pride ourselves on our multi-tasking abilities but yet the most important things you can do to help your man get you to the point of deep, fulfilling sexual pleasure are:
  • Relax and let him take charge
  • Stay away from the self-defeating language
  • Do not get caught up in the societal misconception that a man just wants to ‘get off.’ A truly enlightened man wants to take responsibility for your pleasure and in turn that brings him immense pleasure as well.
Remember  – sex is a mental exercise for men as well as women. An enlightened man truly, deeply, wants and needs to pleasure you to feel his ultimate best and you need to let go and allow him to! A great man never wants to leave his woman unfulfilled sexually and if you both do your parts, you can end up with the sex life and the orgasms of your dreams. (Ladies, I have had them in my life and I am never going to settle again!).

How to Handle a Man of any Zodiac Sign

Aries:  (March 21-April 19) : Fire sign. Thunder and lighting; he’s a fierce lover and an initiator! Aries lover is a romantic and a child at heart but he likes to be kept on his toes. Aries hates possessiveness, so make sure to give him his space. He is a “macho” man, assertive partner, and dominant (hmm, he may desire you to surrender yourself completely if you want to be in his good grace). Taurus (April 20-May 20): Earth sign. Steady, materialistic, and ambitious. Taurus is attracted to beauty, sensuality, and good food. Taurus likes curvy and voluptuous women;  his hands will be all over your rear end as soon he gets a green light. Explicit sex is his speciality! Gemini (May 21-June 20): Air sign. Adventurous, likes to try new things in and out of the bedroom and his mind runs his show. A Gemini lover is a 24/7 experience. You have to be intriguing, and potentially offer to try racy sex games to keep him interested…! Cancer (June 21-July 22): Water sign. Overly emotional, homebody; ‘forget-me-not’ kind of guy. He will love you and cherish you as long you give him some much-needed nurturing. He is the original breast man… so enjoy, ladies. Leo (July 23-August 22): Fire sign. Lover, sex magnet, sex machine, flamboyant, and the list goes on. If you get involved with Leo, you better know how to boost his ego. Leo will give you every pleasure imaginable but you need to know how to keep his fire burning! Virgo (August 23-September 22): Earth sign. Hard working, organized, and overly reasonable sign. If you get involved with a Virgo man, you better listen to his advice because he likes to feel needed and in control. Of course as the sassy, sexy ‘alpha’ you are, you can always advise him back about how to put more fun into his love life! Give him an “erotic math” class by teaching him how to add and subtract his hidden desires and get him more involved with expressing his sexual needs. Libra (September 23-October 22): Air sign. Beauty lover, fond of socializing, fetish for beauty, numerous lovers, flirtatious, exuberant. Be aware that a Libra man will often show you that he is interested in you, but the moment you are overly available, his attentiveness might disintegrate into thin air. If he is seriously interested in you, you had better be prepared, because Libra men know all about partnership, Scorpio (October 23-November 21): Water sign. God of the underworld, and kinky sex. Intensity is his middle name: watch out for possessiveness, jealousy, vindictiveness. You had better be ready for a rollercoaster ride with this one. If you think he will not sting you and give you his deadly poison, you have another thing coming. Scorpio man will own you and consume you, but if you truly want to be with him do not resist, because he will find the way to appease you. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21):  Fire sign. Lover, Casanova, untamed spirit, not often husband material… A Sagittarius man might  lean towards clandestine affairs. He will wine you, dine you, love you and … potentially leave you (because that is what he does). a Sagittarius man will give you sexual pleasure, make you feel special and beautiful, but he has a tendency to want to move on to greener pastures. Enjoy him while it lasts! Capricorn (December 22-January 19):  Earth sign. Calculative, ambitious, controlling, demanding, sensual, dominant. If you get involved with a Capricorn man, you might have to learn to satisfy his needs. He is always in conflict with himself, he loves  money, and he loves his pleasures.To be involved with Capricorn man you have to surrender yourself to the relationship entirely.  Leather and lace would be good way to spice up the relationship. Hmmm – 50 Shades of Grey anyone? Aquarius (January 20—February 18):  Air sign. Generous, emotionally detached, cosmopolitan, hyper, hot and cold behaviour. Aquarius man will love you, make your fantasies come alive, and charm you with his intelligence and inventiveness. Anything new age is of interest to him, and that includes experimenting with new sex toys and trying something with a kick. Be careful, he may be too much to handle. Pisces (February 19-March 20): Water sign. Emotional, needy (!), loves to overindulge in everything. Man Pisces is someone you would love to introduce to your parents. He is on the constant quest for love and a satisfying relationship. He is intuitive, in touch with his emotions, romantic and enjoys ‘intimate moments under the moonlight’. He is not an intensity driven ‘sex machine’, rather a “soft touch massage me all night” kind of guy! Don’t forget he loves to over-indulge in his food and YOU!


So how did you do ladies – can you see your man (or past men) in any of these star signs?