You’ve Got a Friend

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Has your confidence ever been shaken to the core?  Have you ever gone through a challenge so great that you doubted yourself and stopped believing in your own self-worth?

I know I have, and it’s a scary place to be.  As I look at my life now, it’s hard to believe that my confidence was shattered, but there’s no doubt that seven years ago my life totally fell apart.  And it all happened so quickly.  One day I was in a loving 15 year relationship, owned a successful business and lived in a beautiful home.  Then the next day – PUFF!  It was all gone.  And I never saw it coming.  The 2008 recession swallowed my business, all my finances and I found myself sitting in a bankruptcy office.  How did I get here?  What was I going to do next?

So how did you survive your life challenge?  Whether you lost your job, lost someone you love, or lost your home, how did you get up the next morning and put one foot in front of the other?

One HUGE thing that helped me was my friends.  Never questioning me or judging me, they were just there.  One helped me pack my boxes to move, another held my hand as I looked for a new place to live, and others invited me to dinner and just let me ramble about my heartache.

Above all, they made me believe that I wasn’t alone.  And in the end, it has made me a better friend to others.  Now when someone calls me with a problem, I just listen.  Although I may be tempted, I don’t offer advice, and I certainly don’t interject my own stories of “you should hear what happened to me.”

I think that’s what I’m most grateful for – learning how to be a better friend to others. Learning to listen, tune in, and just BE there. 

For me, this quote says it all: “Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest–It’s about those who came and never left your side.”Mikaela Tiu

Thanks to all my dear Friends who never left my side!

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
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Put On Your Confidence Cape

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Have you ever heard of Power Poses?  This term was introduced by Amy Cuddy and her now famous 2012 TED Talk.  It’s a concept that fascinated me and I was curious to see if it would work.

Here’s how it goes: When you find yourself in a stressful situation, stop and strike a pose like Wonder Woman.  You know what I mean – hands on hips, feet shoulder width apart, head up.  The idea is to hold this pose for two minutes and it can change your attitude.  According to Amy Cuddy, standing in a powerful position like this will actually have an effect on the cortisol levels in your brain.  You will feel more confident, assured and determined. 

Of course, you may feel a little strange striking the Wonder Woman pose while in your office or living room surrounded by people you know, so try it behind closed doors, like in a bathroom stall or empty elevator.  The idea is that you will emerge feeling more powerful and confident. 

Amy Cuddy also introduces several other poses you can use as well, some sitting down and others standing up.  Play around with them and see if they help you.  To learn more about her research, view her TED Talk at: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.

 So the next time you are going to that job interview, getting ready to conduct a meeting of your peers, or trying to get up the nerve to ask for that first date, try one of the Power Poses.  I’ve done a few myself and it really does make a difference.  What have you got to lose?

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What a Non-Sports Fan Learned From the Superbowl

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Because I grew up with three older brothers you’d think I’d be very interested in sports…but I’m not.  I know some of the basic rules for football and basketball and baseball, but for some reason I never became an avid fan. 

That’s why I was a little surprised when last Sunday’s Super Bowl game had such an impact on me. 

As I thought about it, what really captured my attention was not the final score or even the action on the field – but the sheer determination to win.  A focus that became so intense it was unexplainable and unbeatable.

Here’s what I observed – and since I’m not a sports aficionado, I will probably get some of the details and terminology wrong.  But what I saw has far greater impact than any numbers on a scoreboard.    

All I know is that one team was winning by a whole lot with only a few minutes left in the game.  It seemed obvious to everyone who the winner would be.  There was a HUGE point difference and it seemed insurmountable.

Then something changed.  Somehow, some way, the losing team dug deep inside themselves and found a strength that kept them moving forward – one yard at a time, one play at a time, one touchdown at a time. 

They refused to give up!!!

Even when most people around them did give up – even some of their fans – they refused to throw in the towel.  The losing team found courage, confidence and belief in themselves and their teammates.  They found a way to chip away at that score, and in just a few minutes they crossed that finish line – champions. 

Impressive —Very Impressive!

The power of not giving up, of believing in yourself, of giving it one more try.  I can’t even begin to imagine what we can accomplish with that type of determination.

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Fairy Tale Formula

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In my “How to Get Back on Your Feet” series, I’m going to share with you a fourth technique that helped me regain my confidence and believe in myself once again

Actually, this is more of a formula than a technique.  Once you fill in the blanks, it can help you rewrite your story whenever you are having a bad day – or a bad year.

I found this formula during a time when my life was a mess.  I wish I could remember where I discovered it, but everything back then was such a blur.  I just don’t know who to give credit to. So the next best thing I can do is pay it forward, and hope it will help someone else the way it helped me.

The formula goes like this:

Once upon a time there was:

Every day:

One day:

Because of that:

Because of that:

Until finally:

Now that I’ve totally confused you, let me give you an example of how this can actually be used. Remember, this was about seven years ago and my life had been turned upside down. I had no idea where I was going or how I was going to get there.

Then I saw this formula.   I thought: “What the heck – what can I lose?”

So I sat down with a pen and let my mind wander to where I wanted to be, filled in the blanks, and this is what I came up with:

Once upon a time, there was: A young woman who thought she had it all.  A loving mate, a beautiful house, and all the riches she could ask for.

Every day: She felt loved and safe and protected.

One day: Her mate left and she lost everything.  She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t know how to move forward.  She was lost and alone.

Because of that: She slowly discovered parts of herself she never knew existed.  She found her voice. 

Because of that: She found a career she is passionate about.  One that helped her to heal and one that helps others to heal as well.

Until Finally: She was able to trust and love again.  This time she has a loving husband instead of a mate.  She has a beautiful home instead of a house.  And she has discovered riches inside of her that are beyond her wildest dreams.

Now, here we are seven years later.   For those of you who know me, you might be feeling the same goose bumps I’m feeling right now – because this is actually the story of my life today.  Everything I lost a few years ago has now been transformed into my new career as a Professional Speaker, a new husband (that I met online, by the way), and a new home in Middleton, WI.  Reading my words so many years later was actually a bit scary and so, so rejuvenating.

So, if you’re feeling up to it, give the formula a try.  It’s fun to see what you will write when you are not busy trying analyze and control your future.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
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Behind Those Clouds – WOW!

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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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Aging to Perfection

I love being an older woman. You may think I’m crazy, but it’s true.  With age comes freedom.  I have finally figured out what I like, what I don’t like, and I have stopped making excuses for either.  I finally have the freedom to be myself; to live my own life and not the life that others think I should.

This lesson did not come easy for me. It took years, actually about 60 of them, before I arrived at this place in my life.  You see, I grew up at a time when everything around me said I had to be domestic.  You know, cooking and cleaning and that kind of stuff.  For years, I tried – I really tried – but I hated to cook, every minute of it, and I just didn’t want to do it.  My family and friends truly wanted to help and refused to give up on me.  They were convinced that if I just knew HOW to cook, I would like it, so they gave me cook books, videos of the famous chefs, even cooking classes.

And you know what?  I STILL hate to cook.  But now I don’t make excuses for it anymore. With age, I have learned to embrace my own uniqueness.

Yes, I have wrinkles, and yes, I have more pounds on my butt than I’d like to admit, but I have earned every one of them through experiences, some good and some not so good, that led me to where I am today. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

True beauty is ageless, and to find yours, try one of these three tips:

  1. Surround yourself with confident, kind and interesting people who encourage you and help you pursue your dream.
  2. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you or tell you anything less than “you can do it”.
  3. Take some time to discover who you really are and not what someone else wants you to be.

Once you find the answers, you will begin to experience life like you have never known before.  You will see things with an excitement and a passion that you have never felt before.  When you look in the mirror, you will see a confident, vibrant, mature person looking back at you.

Aging is inevitable – it’s not going away. So take control of your life and find more time to do the things that make you smile.  After all, it’s not the number of your age that matters, it’s your attitude and the way you look at life.  A positive attitude will give you armor that no one can crack, and nothing can dull – not even your age.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Make This Your Most Extraordinary Year Ever

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I just heard about this new idea that sounded fabulous to me. It’s supposed to help you through those times when, for whatever reason, you  begin to doubt yourself.  You ask questions like:

“Can I really do this? Am I good enough?”

I’ve been there so many times – when my confidence was shaken to the core, so I decided to try this new idea, and I’d like to share it with you.

Here is it:

Get a brand new, shiny notebook and title it: ALL ABOUT ME

That’s right – a notebook that showcases your accomplishments throughout your life. It could be that time you:

 

Made the basket ball team or the cheerleading squad

Got that promotion or started your own business

Volunteered to help a stranger – or a friend

 

Whatever it is, dedicate a page to it in your new notebook. Maybe you have an article that was written about you, a photograph, or a card someone sent you.

Do your best to create a visual of all your accomplishments, and put them into this notebook, telling the “story of you”. You are the main character!

Then, on those days when you are faced with a challenge and you tell yourself: “I just can’t do this”, pull out that notebook and look through it. Reflect on all those times you epitomized leadership, confidence, determination, and a host of other qualities.

Know that those same traits are inside you right now. You already have all the tools you need to accomplish anything you set your mind to, and this book is a reminder of just how far you have come.

I spent all day yesterday creating my own “Book About Me”, and I am pretty proud of all that I’ve accomplished. I truly feel like I can conquer the world.  And the next time I begin to doubt myself, I know that this will help me to stop, take a deep breath, and continue to move forward to experience my most extraordinary year ever!

Categories: Personal Development Positive Mindset Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Unleash Your Self-Confidence

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What do Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld and J.K. Rowling all have in common?

They were all fired from their jobs!!! And they all had their self-confidence shaken to the core.

Sound familiar? Have you ever had your confidence shaken – or lost your belief in yourself? I know I have, and I’ve struggled many times to rebuild it and get back on track again. And you know what? Each time I learn a little more about myself and I get a LOT stronger.

So the next time you find that the “no’s” in your life are taking over:

No, you’re too old

No, you don’t have enough experience

No, you’re just not good enough

 

STOP! Hit the delete button! And try this:

Switch immediately to the Wonder Woman pose, with your hands on your hips, and hold that pose for one minute. It may sound silly but it works. It will give you a sense of power and control, and above all, you will begin to regain your self-confidence.

Then, just like Oprah, Seinfeld and Rowling, you will find the courage to keep moving forward and find the strength to reinvent yourself.  It’s a great way to discover a new you – ready to conquer the world!

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