Heart Searching: Life can be simply Super: Rachel Lipman talks to an author who believes we all have the power to change our lives for the better
Saturday 15 January 1994
She says: 'Few of us have the capability to be a superman or superwoman in the eyes of the world. We do, however, have the ability to achieve a Superlife, however we choose to define that. Whether you are a teenager or a senior citizen, a housewife or a corporate executive, you can determine and achieve fulfilment for yourself.'
So what is the secret? Anne's Superlife programme is described as a seven-step approach 'to help you find out what it is that you really want out of life, clarify your thoughts and actions, build up confidence and inner power, and achieve success in everything you do'. The seven steps are summarised by the initials of the word SUCCESS, each a different section of the book: Set personal objectives, Unlock your attitude, Clear away blocks, Create inner strength, Expect success, Simply have fun, and Start now]
Success crops up a lot when you talk to Anne Naylor. She believes we all have an inbuilt 'success mechanism' that it is possible to activate, and claims that her personal growth programme - taught in her books, through two-hour personal consultations, and in group sessions - can help. Another key word is change. 'People have difficulty coping with change. I emphasise the opportunities that arise from change, not the fear of change. I have found I have been able to assist people to welcome change and let go of the fears.
'I usually give consultations to people within one or two years of an '0' - the turning points when they become 30 or 40 and so on. The aim is to help them feel good about themselves and go into their next decade with a clear idea of what they really want out of life. It's not an easy question to answer, but one definition is doing the things you really enjoy doing, what it is that unleashes the most creative forces from within you.'
Anne feels her own background has left her better able to cope with change and recognise the opportunities: her father was in the Navy, which meant moving around the world a lot when young, and she did many other jobs before finding her vocation as a one-woman life transformation industry.
Her consultations aim to 'give people the chance to improve their life circumstances in order to experience greater fulfilment and satisfaction in their career, relationships, or overall well-being'.
What does all this mean in practice? The appealing thing about the Naylor approach is that it is not just based on theory but is pursued through practical exercises - 'I'm not a mystic. It's based on common sense.' Superlife begins by inviting you to take stock of what you have achieved so far, under six headings: personal assets, skills, interests, achievements, values and dreams (the best bit: questions include 'what is your idea of bliss?' and 'what games did you most enjoy playing as a child?'). The reader is then invited to consider what success means to her in terms of four sides of a square: health, wealth, happiness and self-expression. Gradually, you are drawn into a wide-ranging exploration of what you really want to achieve.
Having set your objectives, you are ready to set out on the path to achieving them, by clarifying 'the positive approaches to life that best sustain you', making positive choices and 'leaning into the flow of your life'.
The exercises in the book range from pencil-and-paper ones to those that use the imagination in a variety of ways. Anne writes as she talks, with an enthusiasm that is infectious: 'I'm interested in self-motivation. What do people really care about? What makes them come alive? We are each of us born with extraordinary gifts, talents and abilities, and yet how many of us live to realise fully all that we have available to us? Once you know and play in tune with who you are, worlds of delight will open up for you. You can enjoy a successful lifestyle. Life is for successful living.'
She feels her approach will be of interest to Heart Searching readers who are perhaps seeking new relationships or to develop existing relationships, themes she explores in more detail in her book Superlove (the third in the series, Superyou, is in preparation). 'When you feel better about who you are, you will find people are drawn to you. The key to success in relationships with other people is to achieve peace of mind and contentment in the relationship with yourself.'
Anne's publishers say she is 'successful, radiant and seems to love everybody'. I've met her, and they are right. But how does she define her own Superlife?
'For me it's about creating success and finding fulfilment from the inside out. It's being true to yourself inwardly. We're living in an exciting world, with such possibilities. We can be masters of our own personal processes of change.'
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