Flip the Switch

This morning I shared a cup of coffee and some great conversation with a good friend of mine.

She told me that she just celebrated her 19 year anniversary with the love of her life. As a gift, she decided to write 19 reasons why she still loved her partner – one reason for each year they were together.   It was truly a precious gift.

That gave me an idea. When I got home, I pulled out a card and across the top I scribbled:

5 Top Reasons Why I Love You So Much

Then I listed them, put the card in an envelope, sealed it and gave it to my husband.   YES, I could have written a hundred more reasons (just in case you were wondering) but I decided to keep it short and sweet.

And this lead me to my next thought:

What if I did this for the people in my life who actually annoyed me to death? You know what I’m talking about – it could be that co-worker who won’t stop chatting, or that boss who doesn’t give you credit for all your hard work, or that friend who only talks about herself and never asks how you are doing?

What if I take a closer look at all those people who tend to aggravate me and list just 5 things that are good about them? It could be something as simple as “they have a sweet smile” or something more obvious like “they bring brownies to work for everyone to enjoy.”

I could even work on substituting words for their annoying behavior. Let’s see:

Cheap could be replaced by Thrifty and Budget Minded

Gossipy could be replaced by Informative

Unfocused could be replaced by Unpredictable and Fun

It just may help to flip the switch and see them in a different light. If nothing else, it can turn my annoyance into a tolerance.  I’m not sure if it will work, but I’m going to give it a try.

And if you’re thinking of looking at the annoying people in your life a little differently, I’ve included a wordsmith to help you with those replacement words.  Let me know how it goes.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Mindset Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Your Turn – How Do YOU Define Success?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How do you spell success?

MONEY

FAME

POWER

I was recently forced to face my own definition of success. You see, just a couple of days ago, I won a speech contest held by Toastmasters.  If you are not familiar with this group, it’s a non-profit organization that helps individuals develop their public speaking and leadership skills.

They hold numerous contests throughout the year, and the one I entered was the International Speech Contest. I have to admit that it was fun because I get to compete against my peers, who are pretty awesome speakers.  But it is also nerve wracking and takes a lot of preparation, so I was honored to take first place in the Area Contest.  When it all was over, there were lots of pictures taken, and many congratulatory hugs.  I was bursting with pride, and when I walked into my club meeting later that evening, I was met with applause and kudos from my peers.

But the next morning, as I was still basking in the glory of my win, I told several people about my success.

“Congratulations! What did you win?”

I quickly responded, “Well, now I advance to the next level and I compete with different speakers.”

“Yeah, but what did you win?”

My response wasn’t so quick this time, “Well, I get satisfaction knowing that I did my best and that the audience and judges identified with my speech.”

“I mean, how much money did you win?”

NOW I GET IT!!! It finally hit me that my win was not considered a success unless there was a dollar sign attached to it.

Now I didn’t feel so successful anymore.

It took me some time to think through my reaction to this exchange of words, and a heart-to-heart conversation with a good friend of mine, and I finally came to the conclusion that this time, for me, money was not the end goal. My success came from knowing that I found something I love to do, that I followed my passion, and that I’m determined to be the best I can be.  And that day, competing in that contest, I was able to share my passion with the audience and the judges.  I was able to bring some joy into their lives as well as my own.

So today, I am reminded of the words of Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

That spells success for me.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Mindset Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Behind Those Clouds – WOW!

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

There was a time in my life, not too long ago, when I felt like I had lost everything. You know what I mean, because I’m guessing that at one time or another, you may have felt the same way.

Let’s see, what could it be???

Job Loss?

Love Lost?

Belief in Yourself – Lost?

For me, that third one was the worst of all. Losing my self-confidence; doubting my self-worth.  It’s a terrible place to be and I didn’t know how to turn it around.

That is, until I met a 90 year old woman who changed my life forever. Her name is Geri Franklin and she taught me how to believe in myself again, and how to uncover something called my core values.  Just to name a few:

Honesty

Loving

Passionate

She believed in me more than I believed in myself, and through her eyes, I began to regain my confidence. Geri taught me that I may have lost a lot, but my core values were never lost.  Deep down, I was still the same person.  And after some time, I learned to believe in myself again – and I didn’t feel so worthless anymore

Through the wisdom of Geri, I learned that no matter what happens in my life, I will always have my core values. No one can ever take those away from me.  So now I’d like to pass that wisdom along to you.

Figure out what your core values are and write them down. So the next time life throws you a curve, and you’re feeling a little crumpled,  and some days you may even feel like you’ve been thrown to the ground and even stomped in the dirt, remember, you never, ever lose your worth – your never lose your core values.  They will help you to embrace change, or at least not be afraid of it.

Those dark clouds WILL clear, and behind them you will find an abundance of stars and glory beyond your wildest imagination. The beauty will take your breath away.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development
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I’m Just Too Busy!!!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

“How are you?”

“BUSY!!!”

That seems to be the standard answer these days. At a time of instant everything – emails, text, twitter, facebook, instagram, and a whole bunch more – we have all become so overwhelmed and we struggle just to keep up.  We are busier now than ever before.

So when I decided to spend the day with my big brother, my first thought was:

YIKES!!! I don’t know if I can do this.  I just don’t have the time.

And that’s when I remembered the saying that goes something like this – no one ever goes to their grave wishing they had spent more time at work.

It’s so easy to say, but so, so hard to live by.

Many years ago when my mother was still alive, I would visit her weekly.   But every time I entered her room, the first thing out of my mouth was to tell her when I had to leave:

“Mom, I have to leave by noon to meet with a client”.

“Mom, I have to leave by 4:00 to avoid the rush hour traffic”.

Even though we were chatting and laughing and enjoying our time together, I always kept one eye on the clock.

Well, you know what? My mom is gone now and I can never visit her again.  And the sad thing is – I can’t even remember who that client was or what was so important that I couldn’t stay just a little longer with my mom.

So today, as I drive to the southwest suburbs of Chicago to visit my brother, I decide not to repeat the same mistake. Today I take a deep breath, shut off my computer, and decide not to look at the clock, or even my phone– not even once.  Today I will enjoy the time we have together, creating laughter and memories that will last me until the end of my time.

I don’t have any words of wisdom for you, and I don’t have any secrets to share. Just an acknowledgment that it is hard to carve out the time for everything we need to do – it is a conscience decision.  You just have to decide what is important to you – and you will find you own way.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Red Carpet Dreams

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Thinking

As I watched the Academy Awards the other night, I heard several celebrities tell a similar story. It went something like this…

“As a kid, I watched the Academy Awards on TV. I never dreamed I would be walking down that red carpet myself someday.”

And it made me wonder. What is my red carpet?  What did I dream of as a kid?

Me? I wanted to be a professional ice skater!  For some reason, I knew about a famous figure skater named Sonja Henie.  She actually competed in the 1920s and 1930s, so I have no idea how I heard about her.  Maybe from my parents.  I’m not really sure.

All I remember is that I would lace up my ice skates, glide out onto the rink, and announce to the world: Here she is, Nancy Depcik, debuting as an Olympic figure skater. I could picture it, outfit and all, and I could hear the roar of the crowd.  That was my red carpet dream.

But my life took me down another path – one that did not include ice skates. However, it did include the excitement of a crowd and the energy of an audience.  So, as a professional speaker, I guess my ice rink became my stage, and I traded in my ice skates for a microphone.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love what I do, sharing my message of positive thinking with all who will listen, helping people to see their life challenges a little differently, and to find happiness in the process.

Red carpet dreams really do come true, sometimes they just look a little differently than the one we imagined. What’s your story?  Do you have a red carpet dream?

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development
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