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Inteview with Vicki St. Clair
Saturday, November 14, 2009

I was lucky enough to interview Vicki St. Clair. She is a personal development speaker and host of "Conversations Live with Vicki St. Clair" on Seattle KKNW 1150 AM

Joe: Could you tell my readers a little about Vicki St. Clair? How and why did you become interested in self help and personal development?

Vicki: I was a senior corporate manager when I got interested in human performance development, for myself and for my team. It was liberating because I realized that none of us have to stay stuck with Popeye’s “I y’am what I y’am” philosophy, and that if we truly want to evolve personally and professionally, it’s all in our hands. When I left the corporate world, it was to pursue projects that I’m passionate about … and I’m passionate about trying to help others improve their lives, and making a difference, no matter how small that difference may be.

Joe: What personal development topics are your specialties?

Vicki: I’d sum it up as change and transition management, whether that’s leaving your home town, starting a new job, ending a relationship, or making behavioral changes in your own life. Many people fear change and that fear stops growth in all aspects of life.

Joe: I have heard from critics that personal development is only a "quick fix" and that motivational speakers only dispense positive thinking. Once the self help "high" has subsided, the problem still exists. What is your opinion?

Vicki: I’ve heard that too … and I think that depends entirely on the individual’s commitment to making change. And to some extent, the tools or program they follow. Some tools merely provide a band-aid for a problem; a permanent or long-term fix requires commitment to change … it becomes more of a lifestyle change.

Joe: Do you believe depression is curable without medication?

Vicki: Absolutely. Of course, it depends on the clinical evaluation of someone with depression, but many people have been significantly helped with alternative therapies such as cognitive therapy, hypnosis, spirituality, meditation etc.

Joe: What is addiction? Is it a weakness? What is the key to recovery?

Vicki: Tune in on Monday March 31 at noon PST… we’re going to discuss this very topic for the whole hour with Dr.’s Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein on Conversations Live with Vicki St. Clair. Dr. Stefanie Goldstein specializes in addiction and avoiding relapses.

Joe: Is overeating an illness? Is it always the persons fault? Do extremely overweight people just have low metabolism?

Vicki: I’m not an expert in the field, but to the best of my knowledge there are no hard scientific facts proving that overeating is an illness. Many people obviously have eating disorders, which are often the outward signs of emotional issues. But bottom line, it’s input versus output - the more calories we consume, the more we need to move. The less we move, the less calories we burn, and the slower our metabolism becomes.

Joe: How should parents discipline their children? Should they spank a misbehaving child or send them to timeout?

Vicki: I don’t believe in spanking.

Joe: What is the secret to motivation? Why are some people ambitious and others sit in front of the TV all day? Are motivation and will power the same thing? How can I become motivated to go to the gym every day?

Vicki: The first part of the word motivation derives from the Latin, to move / to take action. And when we take action, the brain releases chemicals that make us feel more motivated … which leads to more action … more motivation. How do you get motivated to make that first move? It all boils down to the pain/pleasure principle. Some folks are motivated by instant gratification (i.e. the instant, momentary pleasure of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while watching T.V) and they don’t want to “pay the price” (the pain) of dragging themselves to the gym. Others are motivated by the long-term gain (the pleasure) that will come with being fit and healthy. They’re more likely to choose to skip the ice cream (which long-term will cause them the pain of weight gain) and go to the gym.

Joe: Will Smith is one of my favorite celebrities. The main reason is because everything he touches turns to gold. He is an accomplished rapper, comedian, sit-com star, and award winning movie star. How can someone become so successful in one area, let alone many different ones?

Vicki: He obviously has great natural talents as a performer. And it seems he has good business sense, or good business advisors. But I’ll bet he’s also extremely committed to personal and career growth, and that he’s one of the hardest-working people in Hollywood!

Joe: Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, yet he tried his luck at baseball and failed. Could he have used the same success formula in baseball that he used in basketball?

Vicki: Well … I know nothing about basketball and even less about baseball. We each have unique gifts and strengths, and while we can apply success formulas across the board, it doesn’t equate that we’re going to achieve the same level of success in everything we try. It sounds as though Jordan’s super-sized unique skill was basketball, not baseball.

Joe: What is the secret to happiness?

Vicki: Some people are more prone to happiness because of chemical make up. But for the majority of people, I really believe it’s down to choice. How we view the world, how we interact with those around us, how we spend our time at work and at play. How much we contribute, how involved we become. We ultimately choose how we show up in the world, and given that we have good health and a roof over our heads, I think we have a responsibility to ourselves to be happy.

Joe: What do you believe is the "meaning of life?" Do you believe in a Creator?

Vicki: I believe we are all works in progress, and to become our very best selves is as close as I can come to finding the meaning of life. I don’t believe in an omniscient creator; in an entity that sees all and has a plan for everyone. But I am spiritual. And I do believe in the power of nature. By that I mean that no matter how smart man becomes, or how superior we think we are, nature always has the final word.


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Name: Joe
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