Past Issues/Subscribe | Printer-Friendly | Advertise | Send to a Friend | | Engage Archive February 2016
In This Issue
Galveston Island CVB
Cornelia Horner has been inspiring PMPI members with her creative spirit and enthusiasm for the industry since she joined the chapter in 1999. Lucky for us, Cornelia moved here from her native Alabama to seek a career on Capitol Hill and lobbying. Cornelia quickly discovered that she really enjoyed what was only an aspect of her position: meeting planning.
Enter PMPI. Her boss shared a MPI membership brochure with her and told her, "It would be a good idea for you to join." And so she did. Cornelia said that becoming involved was made all the more easier because, "My friend (Annette) took me under her wing. I went to events, and there was a familiar face."  

"The value of inviting someone to participate is so important." To get the most out of your PMPI chapter, she encourages everyone to connect. Cornelia took the leap and joined her first committee, Leadership Development, doing chapter awards and planning what is now called the Evening of the Stars. She then became a co-chair of the committee and then rose on to various positions on the board.

Participating on committees can be a great safety net; you can learn new skills and talents and stretch yourself in a welcoming environment. While on the PMPI Board, Cornelia volunteered to work with sponsorships. She knew that her association where she worked wanted to start a program and by working with PMPI, she learned a lot about sponsorship! She was able to institute a successful program at work.

PMPI has also been great for instilling confidence as well as for making great connections. Cornelia started at the American Land Title Association as the Director of Meetings. She then was promoted to Vice President and now she is the COO.

"Mentors are great, but sometimes you have to take things into your own hands." Being active in PMPI can help you to uncover YOUR hidden talents. For example, learning how to lead a meeting or getting volunteers to participate. You could be a great communicator or a great writer; there are lots of great things you can do.

I know that I am not alone in being thankful that Cornelia’s boss handed her that MPI brochure!

For 2016, let this be the year you can "Write Your Next Chapter." Opportunities are plentiful.

Faye Pastor, CEM, CMP
PMPI Membership, E&R Committee

In 1961, Albert Ellis and Robert Harper wrote a book called "A Guide to Rational Living." It is certainly one of the most powerful books I’ve read. Their main point was that our irrational beliefs can generate sustained negative emotions (anxiety, fear, rage, pessimism, hopelessness and helplessness), and we need to consciously dismantle those irrational beliefs in order to move on from those emotions. 

Here’s an example of an irrational belief I used to have:

I believed people would do what I expected them to do.

Here are four examples of how this irrational belief impacted my emotions.

I was asked to serve a three-year term on two different not-for-profit boards. In both cases, I expected that the board meetings would consist of very collaborative discussions because all the board members were volunteers and they were all asked to be on the board because of what they brought to the table in terms of their knowledge and experience. In reality, on both boards, a few people made all the decisions. There was virtually no real collaboration at all in all those years. I became extremely frustrated because people didn’t do what I expected them to do.

I expected that my children would have the same passions that I had. I became frustrated with them when they didn’t have the same passions that I had. The things I loved to do, they didn’t love to do. 

When my children put on what I thought was a really strong performance in something, I expected that certain people would compliment them. I became frustrated when they criticized them.

When I give a workshop, I talk for about five minutes and then I create an interactive exercise for the audience to do something. I used to expect that people would listen while I talked for five minutes. I became extremely frustrated when some people would talk out loud while I was teaching some idea. 

The Problem Was With My Belief

It finally dawned on me that the problem wasn’t with other people. The problem was with me. I was operating under an irrational belief. People don’t do what I expect them to do. They do whatever they want to do. They're humans. They have freedom of choice. As soon as I realized that, I stopped being frustrated with them. They were just being themselves. 

How to Dismantle an Irrational Belief

First, whenever you feel trapped in a negative emotion over a long period of time, know that you might be able to trace that emotion back to an irrational belief. Second, after you identify that irrational belief, examine the belief in order to see that your belief doesn’t make sense at all.

Ten Irrational Beliefs from A Guide to Rational Living

Here are 10 irrational beliefs that Albert Ellis and Robert Harper explain in their book, A Guide to Rational Living, with a brief comment from me after each one:

Irrational Belief No. 1: The idea that you must – yes, must – have love or approval from all the significant people in your life.

DC: If those people HAVE to love you, does that really constitute real love?

Irrational Belief No. 2: The idea that you absolutely must be thoroughly competent, adequate and achieving. Or a saner but still foolish variation: The idea that you at least must be competent or talented in some important areas.

DC: Why must you be talented in some important area? Why would that ever be an absolute given? 

Irrational Belief No. 3: The idea that people absolutely must not act obnoxiously and unfairly, and that when they do, you should blame and damn them, and see them as bad, wicked or rotten individuals.

DC: People can act however they want to act. That’s what makes them people.

Irrational Belief No. 4: The idea that you have to see things as being awful, terrible, horrible and catastrophic when you are seriously frustrated or treated unfairly.

DC: If someone cuts in front of you while you’re driving, you should be frustrated. Turning that frustration into a sustained feeling for the next month that life is horrible is completely irrational. People can be rude drivers. It happens. Move on.

Irrational Belief No. 5: The idea you must be miserable when you have pressures and difficult experiences, and the idea that you have little ability to control, and cannot change, your disturbed feelings.

DC: Pressure comes with being alive. Difficult experiences happen to everyone. We can always choose how we perceive a situation. Think to yourself: I’m alive and with that sometimes come great difficulties. It’s part of the game.

Irrational Belief No. 6: The idea that if something is dangerous or fearsome, you must obsess about it and frantically try to escape from it.

DC: That’s like trying to run away from the world every day because there are dangerous things in the world somewhere all the time.

Irrational Belief No. 7: The idea that you can easily avoid facing many difficulties and self-responsibilities and still lead a highly fulfilling existence.

DC: That’s like trying to stop living while you’re still living. If you want fulfillment, you have to fill your life full of purpose, which includes difficulties and responsibilities.

Irrational Belief No. 8: The idea that your past remains all-important and that because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behaviors today.

DC: That’s like turning over your emotions today to a rude teacher you had in fourth grade. Let it go and move on with your life.

Irrational Belief No. 9: The idea that people and things absolutely must be better than they are and that it is awful and terrible if you cannot change life’s grim facts to suit you.

DC: This one reminds me of my irrational belief that people should do what I expect them to do. The reality is we can’t change other people. Only they can change themselves.

Irrational Belief No. 10: The idea that you can achieve maximum human happiness by inertia and inaction or by passively and uncommittedly "enjoying yourself."

DC: How can you enjoy a game when you refuse to play it?


When you find yourself stuck in a negative emotion, know that there may be an irrational belief lurking somewhere in your brain. Go find it, and take it on directly. Wrestle it to the ground. Argue with it until it no longer makes sense. And then move on with your life and get back to the business of making a significant difference with your life.

About Dan Coughlin

As a business keynote speaker, executive coach, seminar leader and management consultant, Dan Coughlin works with business owners, executives, and managers on an individual and group basis to improve business performance in a sustainable way. Visit his free Business Leadership Idea Center at

(For the MP3 Recording of this article, click here)    


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