Volume 5, Issue 8 | April 17, 2009
www.shift-it-coach.com | [email protected]



  1. A Note From Christina
  2. Events Calendar
  3. Article: The Pros and Cons of a Dysfunctional Past
  4. Recent Blog Entries
  5. More Links & Resources


Dear %$firstname$%,

When you SHIFT one area of your life, it can often have unexpected consequences in another.

Over several years, I’ve shifted my livelihood from being a traveling Graphic Facilitator to being The SHIFT-IT Coach.

Where I once traveled extensively to client sites throughout North America (and even Europe) doing strategic planning and visioning sessions, I now stay put and either work by phone/webinar or clients travel to me for personal retreats and graphic trainings.

While I enjoy my more grounded lifestyle … I don’t enjoy the weight gain that has come with it (15 unwanted pounds have snuck up on me). My old lifestyle was hectic, but at least it kept me skinny!

Bill Phillips
Bill Phillips, Body for Life Book.

With the SHIFT in my work style, its imperative that I build in regular, consistent movement and exercise.  

Thankfully exercise is not a foreign concept to me; I’m actually quite athletic (at least I used to be). And I miss it!

One of my favorite sports is weight training, as my body responds really well. Soooo, I’ve started a 12-week Body for Life challenge, to release the blubber and get going on a more sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

This time I’m working with a personal trainer (Hi Tara!) who is familiar with this program (I’ve done it before). To keep me on track and pushin’ it.

Body for Life is pretty famous for it’s before and after pictures. There is NO WAY in heck I am posting my before picture … at least right now (let’s just say that that photo is not a candidate for my Visual Positive Aspects collection). But when I complete this series, I will post both of them and write about the experience (nothing like a public declaration to provide some added motivation eh!).

For more information on Body for Life, check out Body For Life … its not as personable as it used to be back when the Phillips brothers ran it, but it’s a good, organized fitness and nutrition program that covers that basics that will get you looking and feeling your best, and quickly.

As for this week’s article … I’ve been coaching many people lately who come from challenging backgrounds, so this issue’s article is all about the pros and cons of a dysfunctional past and how this plays out with the Law of Attraction.

Hope you enjoy!


Via Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Twitter @christinamerk

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Christina Merkley,
The SHIFT-IT Coach




Did You Catch This: Intro to Graphic Coaching – Free Webinar: Yesterday I did a f-r-e-e overview webinar on Graphic Coaching. In it I shared what this methodology is all about, my own SHIFT-IT story as a pioneer in this visual way of working … and how YOU can use visuals to enhance your own consulting, facilitation and/or coaching business … if you happen to be a coach, facilitator, consultant or some other kind of helping professional (therapist, social worker, etc). The live webinar is over, however you can still sign up and we’ll send you the playback video. Hear the good questions & comments from participants plus some great bonuses only available for viewers. Register for Download Here

May 20-22, 2009: The Graphic Coaching Clinic. Ready for a fun, new, effective and client-pleasing coaching tool?!  Join the graphic revolution with my first ever Graphic Coaching Clinic – training other helping professionals in the foundational graphic skills to work visually with your own clients. Not only will clients like and appreciate your new visual approach, but you’ll enjoy the creativity and personal touch too!  Come join your Graphic Tribe in gorgeous Victoria, British Columbia for this rare training opportunity. Just 2 spots left!  More Info and Registration.


FEATURE ARTICLE: Pros and Cons of a Dysfunctional Past

(Now Recorded!) To Listen to My Audio of This Article, Click Here)

I attract my share of clients who have problematic, troublesome or challenging backgrounds. They’ve come to me because they want to ‘SHIFT-IT’ … and we tweak some things in order for them to move forward in more graceful, prosperous and enjoyable ways. This might surprise you, but having a dysfunctional past can also be a real blessing. While there are some cons there are often many pros as well.

What’s a Dysfunctional Past?
Well, if I have to explain this, you probably are one of those rare and fortunate people who don’t have one! Dysfunctional pasts, at least how I define them, are backgrounds or prior circumstances that were unpleasant, uncomfortable (unpredictable, unsafe or even violent), unsupportive and scarcity minded. They can range from the fairly benign – being raised in a crowded household with lots of siblings vying for limited attention and resources. To the outright tragic – with physical, mental and/or sexual abuse, poverty (or wealth), abandonment and addictions in the mix.

Most folks who grow up in the latter, never make it to crossing a coach’s path. But the few who do are truly inspirational and impressive individuals with amazing stories of ingenuity, perseverance and inner strength.  

The Cons:
Developmental psychology informs us that young children are sponges, picking up feelings, thoughts and impressions from what surrounds them AND their cognitive, rational minds don’t kick in on various levels until the 7-12 age range. This is fine if what (and who) surrounds the child is helpful, hopeful and empowering. Not so fine, if what surrounds the child is unhelpful, negative and disempowering.

From a Law of Attraction point of view, the cons of being born into a dysfunctional environment are multiple. First off, young children (through no fault of their own) begin ‘vibrating’ like the people and places that surround them. Before they can speak, they feel. And it is their feelings that set their tone before the cognitive part of their brain kicks in. They are unknowingly acting as virbrational regurgitators and matching their surroundings so like attracts like.  

Sometimes when cognitive abilities kick in, the child can sum up their surroundings and view themselves as different or separate from what is going on around them. How they choose to view and think about themselves (their inner talk) is such a powerful act – and is the differentiator between living a life like everyone else around them or breaking out of the mold.

For example, a successful client who’s mother was an addict … at 8 he remembers thinking she was the one with the problem and not him and he wanted a better place to live (he was placed in foster care with a nearby family who were very nurturing and loving and still play a role in his adult life now that he has his own family with kids).

Not everyone is as lucky as my client who had his epiphany at 8 … sometimes it can take many years (and much re-thinking, re-learning and re-patterning) for people to realize that its not totally them that is the problem, but rather the people, surroundings, mindsets, beliefs and attitudes from their past that they inadvertently took on and continue to subliminally broadcast. And realize that they have a choice … they can continue to think (and feel) like they were programmed to, or they can do the heroic work of SHIFTing IT.

The Pros:
So what possibly could be a pro to having a tragic background? Well, Abraham (from Abraham-Hicks fame) tells us that the people who make the biggest leaps and end up with the happiest lives are usually people who didn’t start out that way. Because of the large contrast from their early lives, they launch HUGE ‘rockets of desire’ about what they really want instead. The negativity of their past made them get very, very clear about their preferences and often attached stong emotion to their desires … the intensity of their emotion often bulldozing their other resistance.

For a moving example of this effect, see this TED video from Eve Ensler (creator of the hugely popular ‘Vagina Monologues’) … who’s childhood trauma ended up creating not only her acclaimed livelihood but also the rescue and nurturance of other girls in similar circumstances 30+ years later (her Mr. Alligator story). So powerful! The strong desires that she launched as a little girl, not only helped her but actually added to the evolution of social conditioning and the movement of thought about proper respect for women and our bodies, not only in her country of the United States, but throughout the world!

Take Heart:
So, if you come from a dysfunctional past … take heart. You are no longer a child and you can take control of what YOU focus on and feel. Depending on where you are on your empowerment process (and where you are on Abraham’s Emotional Scale), you can take stage appropriate steps to move you in the right direction and step-by-step vibrate your way into a much better feeling present and future. You are now in control and you are the creator of your own reality and you can make it a good one – not only for you but for the others that you inspire as well! (FYI: click here for a related article on Life Maps and Law of Attraction).

Please Share Your Comments: I value your interactions and comments – please click here to leave comments and read those left by others.

© 2009 Christina L. Merkley

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it:

Christina Merkley, "The SHIFT-IT Coach" and creator of the SHIFT-IT Method® is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Graphic Facilitation and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and groups in defining and getting what they really, really want. For more information visit: www.shift-it-coach.com

To Listen to past articles, Click Here)



Looking for more rich, SHIFT-IT content? Check out my blog for recent ramblings, resources and general interest features:

Besides the Blog, there are plenty of articles to read in the Ezine Archives. Browse past issues here.

Click Here to Read SHIFT-IT Blog


Ask Me Your SHIFT-IT Questions

Have something you want to ask me? Curious about SHIFT-IT, graphic coaching, Law of Attraction, etc ???

FYI, I’ve added a new option to the website .. an ‘Ask Christina section. 

Ask me your most pressing SHIFT-IT questions.  Most popular and interesting questions … and my answers (hopefully as interesting!) will be posted on the blog.

Ask a Question Here


45-Minute Power Strategy Session:


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For The Do-It-Yourselfer:


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Your life isn't a dress rehearsal. In fact, its happening right NOW. Is it going the way you want it to? Do you know what you next want? Are you sure you can do it? Get organized and confident with the step-by-step SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching system.

In this innovative kit, I walk you through your past, present and desired future, so you can plot out your directions and strategies. You also pinpoint and flip the negative beliefs, assumptions and mindsets that stand in your way - to stop sabotaging yourself and your dreams. SHIFT-IT has already helped hundreds live life by design, not by accident. Learn how it can help you too!

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Christina Merkley is The SHIFT-IT Coach. Creator of the SHIFT-IT Graphic Coaching Process®, she guides individuals, partners and groups in defining and getting what they really, really want.

A teacher of Law of Attraction, she is also an expert in visual meeting techniques, strategic planning and visioning: having worked for such notable companies as BBC, Readers Digest Funds, eBay and Stanford University. After a move from San Francisco, she now lives in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - where she maintains a vibrant coaching, facilitation and training practice.

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Copyright © 2004-2009 Christina L. Merkley. All rights reserved.
60 Dallas Road, Victoria, British Columbia, V8V 1A2, Canada