Women are often considered enigmatic in their ability to balance contradictions effortless throughout the course of the day – strength with gentleness, intelligence with creativity and femininity with boldness. Many women accomplish incredible amounts in their daily lives, balancing work and other interests with family and home. Yet, instead of feeling happy, confident and empowered, many women feel weak, small and unhappy. At The Option Institute we help women feel good about who that are and what they offer to the world. We show them what it means to be exceptional.
As women, we comprise 51% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Although we make up the majority of the people in the U.S. and, in fact, the world, we’ve had a history where we had to push to get some of the most basic rights held by men but denied to us.
And look what we’ve accomplished. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (7/95), in 1970, 20% of men and 13% of women at 25 had a bachelor’s degree. Now, among the youngest group of post-college adults, this gap has been closed entirely. In fact the majority of college students are now female.
Women have made other leaps as well. The Center for Women’s Business Research (4/11/95 and 5/6/03) reports that one in 11 women is a business owner. Between 1997 and 2002, women-owned businesses grew by more than 1.5 times the rate of all privately-held firms. Employment in these businesses increased by more than twice the national average. These women-owned businesses now employ 35% more people in the U.S. than the Fortune 500 companies employ worldwide!
And yet, many of us allow ourselves to feel small or weak. Others struggle to find a sense of personal power-and even outrageousness-without giving up our femininity, our nurturing and our uniqueness as women. There are powerful, successful female role models in the world who many of us look up to. How can we have what they have and still be who we are?
At the core, it is critical for us as women to examine our self-judgments and other self-limiting beliefs about our roles and our power. In terms of our own internal experience of our lives, nothing is more important than looking at the messages we send ourselves-our beliefs and perspectives about who we are and what our place is in the world.
We can help you look at your innermost emotions and uncover your most deeply-held beliefs-all in an environment that is both safe and fun.
In particular, our signature program for women, Exceptional Woman, can enable you, with a group of other women, to share with one another; and, if you choose, to change some key perspectives about yourself. You’ll have the opportunity to heal old wounds, take new risks and to come out more self-empowered-and self-accepting-than you might have ever felt in your entire life.
What does it mean to be an Exceptional Woman? Exceptional women feel good about who they are and what they have to offer the world. They wake up every morning with energy, passion and purpose. Being an Exceptional Woman is not about feminism; it’s about being authentically yourself and loving it. This program takes women to new places of freedom, power and peace, using joy and celebration in the process.
Your inner voice can be a source of amazing strength, wisdom and guidance – but only if you hear it! Too often, our inner voice is drowned out by anxiety, self-doubt and fear. We arrive at decision-making moments – in our everyday lives, our relationships, our careers – and question our instincts and intuition. What if I go for that new job and don’t get hired? What will happen if my great new ideas completely fail? What if I leave him and then never find anyone else? Am I making a big mistake? Who am I kidding? What was I thinking? Wouldn’t it be great to silence such questioning and replace it with the nurturing, confident inner voice that resides in us all? Optimal Self-Trust will crank up the volume of your inner voice letting you hear the wisdom it can offer. By liberating your inner voice and listening to its guidance, you can make better choices and live the life you want to live.
Have you ever wished that children came with an instruction manual? Has what looked natural and easy from a distance become complex and difficult viewed close up? Have your kids’ challenges and unhappiness left you feeling inept, inadequate and unhappy yourself? Whether your child is a preschooler throwing temper tantrums, a seven year old bouncing off the walls, a teenager pushing the envelope, or a grown adult with children of his own, Parenting Solution can help you put the joy back in parenting! You’ll acquire the keys to parenting with clarity and ease.
I am writing this to express my gratitude to everyone at The Option Institute. One year ago I attended a one-week program. I came with a failing marriage, fibrocystic breast disease and battling depression like I’d never experienced before. I felt like I was reaching for a life preserver in an ocean of high waves. I left feeling like I could walk on water.
Now, almost a year later, my life has definitely changed. My marriage is more honest and accepting than it has ever been. The lumps in my breast are smaller and, at times, totally gone. The scar from the surgery (I had to remove a lump six months before coming to The Institute) had healed outwardly, but was constantly sore and large under the skin. When I dressed the morning I left The Option Institute, it was the first time it didn’t hurt to raise my arm.
As for depression, I can’t think of any reason why I would choose to feel that way again. I experience life fully now; I don’t just live it.
I’ve even started my own business! But the greatest miracle for me is that I really like myself. This is a new experience and it feels too wonderful for words! Thank you for teaching me to be good to myself. Thank you for helping me see that there is nothing wrong with me. Thank you for showing me that happiness is a choice. The Option Institute helped me find a way of living that I’d dreamed of, but believed was impossible.
Debbie Watehall-Gates, Bookstore Proprietor, Texas
Although I am writing this during the Christmas season, it is not a Christmas card but a thank you note. I have just gone through the most difficult months of my life. In October I had a six hour surgery in which three cervical fusions were done, a process requiring a graft from the hip bone. What was intended to be a short hospital stay stretched into weeks. Those weeks included two allergic reactions and two major infections, necessitating dressing changes so painful that if I were to rate them on a scale of I to 10 they would be a 15. This process was done six times a day!
The remarkable thing is that I got through it all happily. That is why I am thanking you. The ideas presented in Bears’ books, and that I was exposed to during programs at The Option Institute and which I continued using at home were what helped me make it.
The manner in which those ideas were presented was especially meaningful. Somehow the Institute staff members did it so that I felt I could take a tremendous risk and, at the very least, try.
Things aren’t over yet. I’m still in a brace and there is another surgery coming up. Even after that, the muscles may be permanently damaged. However I have a real sense of hope and freedom. I’ve realized that my happiness does not depend on the outcome of my medical treatment. I can choose what I want to be, how I wish to feel and what kind of life I wish to have.
Beth Q., Teacher of Handicapped Children, Oklahoma