10/19/2010 03:56 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Spirituality and the Type A Personality

In 2006, the popular spiritual movie The Secret was released based on a principle called The Law of Attraction. We all learned that the secret to being happy and having everything we ever dreamed was easy: Step 1, ask; Step 2, wait; Step 3, receive. It sounds simple enough. But I wonder if you have ever tried telling a Type A personality to wait?

"Let me get this right," she might ask with a raised eyebrow. "I am supposed to focus on what I want, and then just wait for it to show up? How long am I supposed to wait? What should I do while waiting? Why isn't it anything happening yet? Is it time to do something? How about now?"

In my experience, waiting is not a character trait we Type A personalities are known for. It simply isn't what we do. How then, are we to be spiritual if waiting is a tenet?

I believe there was a missing element to The Secret. We only need wait for the fruition of our work. Waiting should be active, rather than passive!

Jack Canfield, best-selling author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and featured in The Secret, shared with us how he set his intention to become a best-selling author. He did step 1: he asked. Next, step 2: waiting. Now, did he sit back and do nothing while he waited? NO! He and co-author Mark Victor Hansen developed what they called the Rule of 5. They did five things, each and every day, to promote their project. By doing this for sixteen months, their book finally became a best seller. Step 3: Receive. They gladly received the fruits of success, but during that wait, there was some action taking place!

The missing principle is called The Law of Action, and can be defined as the forward movement we put to our intentions. People have grown tired of waiting. We want to feel empowered to breathe life into our dreams. The Law of Action enables us to do just that. By giving us the momentum we have been looking for, it helps us to move beyond thinking in terms of what is possible into acting on those possibilities. While waiting may be necessary at times (Jack and Mark waited for sixteen months,) we can still apply action to our goals and take small steps every day.

How do we implement The Law of Action? If you don't come naturally by the Type A 'just do it' attitude, and even if you do, developing these four strategies can help:

Create awareness about any limiting beliefs that are keeping you from achieving your goals. At the same time, cultivate awareness about your strengths.

Reframe ideas of limitation into new beliefs. Rather than running from or ignoring your negative thoughts, allow them to reveal to you what spirit is really asking for. Ask what is possible rather than focusing on what isn't.

Be aware of your emotional space. Set healthy boundaries. Be aware of how you are spending your energetic currency. Are you making responsible use of 'yes' and 'no'? Commit to nurturing only those relationships and circumstances which uplift, inspire, and support you.

Live your intentions. Don't wait around for inspiration; instead, put the power of focused action to work and inspiration will find you.

The Law of Attraction taught us to focus on what we want and reminded us how to use the creative power of our intentions. Now it's time to build on that foundation by allowing the Law of Action to ignite focused intention with forward movement. We no longer need to wait passively!

The Type A personality may have had it right all along: we instinctively understood how to use The Law of Attraction and The Law of Action together to accomplish what we want.

Perhaps the Type A personality isn't perfect. We could learn to relax every once in a while; smell the roses, enjoy a yoga class, or meditate for longer than, oh, say, a minute. But waiting for some magical moment to act on the power of our intentions? Never! We know how to move beyond Attraction, into Action.

Sherri Carter, MS, is the author of Live Your Intentions, The Power of Action available December 10, 2010. For more information, please visit