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An Interview with Denise Marek and Sharon Quirt

by Hay House

1. Sharon, The Keys is about opening the doors to “true empowerment and infinite possibilities.” What are true empowerment and infinite possibilities?

Empowerment is realizing that the life you’ve experienced has worth and that everything you’ve experienced so far—both good and bad—has made you the person you are today; someone capable of opening doors to anything you choose. Once you have true empowerment, you’re able to be open to the infinite possibilities surrounding you and to live your you—to live your true self. Your true self is not controlled or manipulated by the ego or by others’ perceptions of who you are. The Keys teaches acceptance of and release from your past, which in turn allows the recognition and growth of your true self. It can be very liberating!

2. Denise, what are the four keys?

The four keys are: awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, and freedom. With the Key of Awareness you free yourself from ego’s control. You become aware of what it was you were trained to believe throughout your entire lifetime. You become aware of the selflimiting beliefs that block you and learn how to move from lack of self to full self.The Key of Acceptance allows you to release negative judgments of yourself and others. You accept that you no longer have to live based on your perceptions of what other people think of you and your own self-perceptions; you accept that you may have been looking at your lifethrough a negative filter and never realized it.

The Key of Forgiveness frees you from the past. With this key, you can let go of the past experiences that have been controlling you. You can forgive both others who contributed to your experiences and yourself. This will allow you to move forward. Ultimately, the first three keys—awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness—open the door to true empowerment and it’s the fourth key—The Key of Freedom—that opens the door to infinite possibilities. You can’t move to freedom if you don’t have the first three keys. When you have the Key of Freedom, you live in a place where you’re no longer controlled or motivated by your ego. You’re free to think positively. The burdens of the past no longer control your life and manipulate your mind. In freedom, you’re empowered and capable of achieving all that you need and want in your life.

3. Denise, you write that the Key of Awareness will free you from ego’s control. What is the ego?

Some people associate the word “ego” with being egotistical or vain and for that reason they believe they don’t have an ego but in fact, everyone does. Simply put, the ego is that inner voice telling you what you think about yourself, about others, and about the world. It’s made up of perceptions and beliefs formed in your past by other people’s perceptions, rules, religions, and beliefs. It has been part of you since childhood and has continued to be shaped to this very moment. From the day you were born, your mind has been absorbing everything you’ve seen, heard, and experienced—all courtesy of other people’s egos—that’s how your own ego was developed. The reason you think about and perceive things the way you do is because you were programmed to do so based on your past experiences and the feedback you’ve received from others—your parents, teachers, the media, the church, and everyone else you’ve ever encountered. Suppose for instance that when you were a child your parents regularly told you that you were stupid and incompetent. As an adult, what do you suppose you’ll believe to be true about yourself? You’ll likely view yourself as stupid and incompetent. You could be extremely bright yet your ego would keep you fearful and insecure about your intelligence, based on what your parents taught you to believe about yourself.

4. Sharon, how do negative perceptions and negative thinking affect our lives?

Negative, self-limiting thoughts create roadblocks in our lives. They stop us from getting to that next level of emotional growth, to that better job, to the fulfilling relationship with ourselves and others, and so on. These negative thoughts were, in many cases, taught to us by other people who were in turn controlled by their own egos. Once you can release yourself from a negative thought pattern, you can move forward.

You can choose a new way of thinking. Remember, you’ve been programmed to think the things you do. So, if you’re programmable, you’re reprogrammable. We can achieve change within our minds; we can choose to look at ourselves differently. We’re all capable of doing it.

5. Denise, the second key is the Key of Acceptance. Tell us about that key.

In acceptance, you learn to accept who you were, who you are, and who you can become. You no longer limit yourself. You accept who you are in the moment and who you want to become. Say, for instance, you wanted to be a doctor but you always believed you weren’t intelligent enough so you spent your working life drifting from career to career, never really fully committed, engaged or fulfilled. If you know that you really wanted to become a doctor but you limited yourself because of negative thinking, you can let go of the negative judgment you placed upon yourself and make yourself capable of becoming that doctor.

6. Sharon, the third key is forgiveness. What does forgiveness really mean?

Forgiveness is understanding that you cannot go back and change the past; and it’s acknowledging that those experiences—whether negative or positive, emotional, physical, psychological, or spiritual—were meant to teach you how to be who you are in this moment. You need to understand and accept that today you’re the person you are because of the lessons you’ve learned. Once you accept those lessons—and learn from them—the negatives of yesterday will never affect you again. You won’t carry doubt, fear, and guilt. Instead you’ll be free. That freedom comes from forgiveness.

What we teach people to do is to look at their perceptions of their past and change it. Flip it around. We ask what they have learned; what they can take from their experiences; and how will they forgive themselves and all others in their lives who have done something wrong or created a negative perception within. This helps people get past judgment and when they can do that they’re empowered; they can go forward.

7. Sharon, how can you forgive someone who, in your opinion, has done something that you feel is unforgivable?

Forgiveness isn’t letting go of or forgetting an experience. We don’t want you to forget the past; it is what got you to where you are. Forgiveness is embracing your past; learning from your experiences and accepting that they taught you the lessons necessary in order for you to fulfill your today. Every experience, be it one of happiness, fear, or sadness—can be used for learning and growth. The lessons that you’ve learned in this lifetime have empowered you—they’ve made you strong and capable. Perhaps you experienced abuse. What did you learn? How did it make you strong?

Well, first you survived it. In that survival you have become stronger and wiser. If you can move toward forgiving the person who harmed you and forgiving yourself, you’re in a better position to move forward. You become empowered and strengthened; you become a leader within yourself as well and you can teach others to do the same.

8. Denise, once I get to the place of freedom that you wrote about, will I always be free from self-limiting thoughts and painful emotions or will issues continue to creep up?

Of course, issues will continue to creep up. We all have to learn and we all have to experience lessons in our lives. As we move forward in our lives, we’re going to continue to be challenged and to experience limitations. Yet, now you’ll have the strategies to overcome them. Instead of just falling back into the same old pattern, you’ll understand that where you are right now is where you were back then. You then use the Keys. You become aware, you accept, you forgive, and you get back to freedom.

9. Sharon, The Keys is about how we can change the processes of our minds. How can we use this in business?

The work we do on our inner lives affects our professional lives. When you are individually capable, more aware, and conscious of what it is you need in your personal life, of course it’s going to cross over into your business life. Say for instance you become aware that you’re an employee but that you’d really like to be the boss. You’d like to start developing you inner abilities to become the boss. You’d like to become more focused on moving up that ladder. Or, potentially, you’d like to venture out and create your own business. Now you’re able to use the Key of Awareness to move forward—to move yourself into a position where you’re no longer limiting yourself in that role as employee.

Then you use the Key of Acceptance. You accept that right now you’re an employee. Do you always want to be an employee? Maybe you do and perhaps that’s all you need in this lifetime. That’s okay; sometimes using the Keys is a good way to acknowledge that you’re on the right or happiest track exactly where you are. However, if you find yourself needing more, accept the fact that you’re not happy where you are and that you’re capable of working towards becoming better, stronger, more efficient, or whatever it is that you need in order to move forward. The Keys can also help you overcome blocks. Maybe you work for an employer who hasn’t been overly generous with encouragement and kind words. Maybe he’s told you, “You’ll never getahead in this business. You’ll always be the underdog. You’re not smart enough.” And you believed it and in your own ego you then created that block that said, “I’m no good. That’s what I believe so I’m going to stay right where I am. I’m always going to be an employee.” You can then shift your thinking to say, “Wait a minute, I forgive my employer for saying that and I forgive myself for believing that and I am capable of moving forward. I do not need to stay in that negative controlling limitation of my mind. I am capable. I have the education or I’m capable of getting the education.” You can now freely allow yourself to create whatever it is you want for your outcome.

10. Sharon, the economy is in such a slump right now; people are concerned about money, concerned about their futures. How does The Keys help with these issues?

We’ve been taught to prepare, protect, and always be aware of what we’re doing financially; those are ideas we need to take from our past and embrace; they aren’t negative thoughts in the least. In this case fear can be a positive emotion because it can make us more aware of what we want to create for our future and what we don’t want. We have to be aware that there is thepotential for things to become more difficult in the next year or two. But the truth is, we are all capable of making our lives a better place no matter what’s going on globally. Regardless of what’s affecting us economically or politically on the global front, we can look to our own lives and make them as abundant and protected as possible.

About the Authors

Denise Marek is known as The Worry Management Expert. An international speaker, author of CALM: A Proven Four-Step Process Designed Specifically for Women Who Worry (Hay House, 2006), and television personality, she has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals transform their feelings of worry into feelings of inner peace, gain the confidence to take risks, and recreate their lives. Denise hit the speaking circuit full-time in 1997. AIG, American Express, Assante Advisory Services, Canada Revenue Agency, and Toyota are among the many corporations, government agencies, financial institutions, and professional groups that have hired Denise to speak at their events. In June, 2001, Denise earned the coveted Toastmasters International Accredited Speaker Award for Professionalism and Outstanding Achievements in Public Speaking. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Denise’s website is: www.denisemarek.com.

Sharon Quirt counsels individuals worldwide; including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and South America, helping them rediscover the art of living joyfully and with purpose. Her life experience, extensive educational background (frommetaphysics to studies in law, medicine, and business), and keen intuitive insight, has gifted Sharon with the ability to teach, understand, and speak her truth. Having learned to listen to her inner-self and become empowered by her strengths, Sharon has become free from ego and lives a life of happiness, abundance, and peace. She resides in Ontario, Canada. Sharon’s website is www.sharonquirt.com.

Keynotes, Seminars, and Workshops

Authors, keynote speakers, business consultants, and facilitators, Denise Marek and Sharon Quirt have over 20 years’ experience with top companies and associations around the world. Individually, they’ve presented programs internationally on leadership, personal power,life balance, stress reduction, worry management, effective communication, and attitude management with groups ranging in size from 10 to 10,000.

Together, Denise and Sharon are two dynamic presenters who will empower you and your organization to move forward. Through first-hand demonstrations of the principles of empowerment, they’ll instill positive and lasting changes in the attitudes, actions, teamwork, and relationships in your organization. They’ll help you attain personal and professional success. To book Denise Marek and Sharon Quirt for your next conference or in-house event, visit www.denisemarek.com or www.sharonquirt.com.

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