Music for Your Soul

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I LOVE music.  It makes me laugh, cry, dance and shout out loud – often at the same time.  It has helped me through some of the darkest challenges in my life.

For instance, when the 2008 recession hit, I lost just about everything.  It swallowed my business, my home, my relationship and my self-confidence.  I found myself sitting in an empty apartment, alone, scared and wondering what the hell just happened.  Then one day I heard this song on the radio: I Ain’t Settlin by Sugarland

It made such an impact on me that I ran out the next day and bought the CD (this was 2008 – remember???).  I played that song over and over again, singing at the top of my lungs.  I didn’t have any furniture, so I took advantage of the open space in my living room. I put on thick socks, ran and slide across the floor while shouting:

” I ain’t settlin’ for just getting by

I’ve had enough so so for the rest of my life

Tired of shooting too low so raise the bar high

Just enough ain’t enough this time

I ain’t settlin’ for anything less than everything”

It actually helped.  If even for a few minutes it made the emotional pain go away.  Even when I listen to that same song today, when my life is so much better, I still get tears in my eyes.  To me, the message is powerful and inspirational and funny.

Nine years later, I now have a new business, a new home and a new husband.  I’ve come a long way and I’m still shouting at the top of my lungs: I AIN’T SETTLIN’.

Do you have a favorite song?  One that makes you smile and feel like you can conquer the world?  Share it with us.  We’d love to sing along.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

How to Keep Your Sanity While Delivering Superb Customer Service

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Professional Development

In the last three blog posts, I’ve shared some tips on how to deliver excellent customer service.  I call it the Three C’s of Customer Service: Clarity, Character and Cultivate.  

All good stuff, but what about you?  How do you deliver superb customer service, day after day, and keep your sanity in the process?  How do you take care of yourself?

Well, here are some thoughts to get you through the craziness of your day:

  1. Frame your favorite quote and put it in full view so you can see it every day.   Choose one that actually calms your nerves and puts a smile on your face.  Mine is pictured here in this post.
  2. Challenge yourself, or your teammates, to post a “thought of the day.”  Maybe a joke, another quote, or something funny that your team can relate to.  If doing this every day is a bit too often, try once a week.  Pretty soon, people will begin to look forward to it.
  3. Hang up your favorite picture.  Maybe it’s a photograph of someplace you’ve traveled to, or someplace you want to travel as soon as you get that next vacation.  It could be something you accomplished that you are very proud of.  The important thing is that it shifts your mood to a calmer place. 
  4. Do something that makes you feel good before you leave for work – like pet your dog or go for a walk or hug your kid.
  5. Bring a mirror to work, hold it up, look into it and smile.  Even when you force a smile and it feels unnatural, it still sends the message to your brain that life is good.   It helps to relieve stress and keeps depression at bay.

Take some time to experiment with these five suggestions, then practice the ones that resonate most with you.  The key is to start with at least one.  Some may sound a little hokey, but you never know until you try.  It just may make you feel better.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

Grateful Memories in Spite of…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you ever dreamed of something –  hoped for it, saved for it, imagined it – only to find out it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?   That’s what happened to me on my recent trip to Italy.

You see, years ago I heard about an area called Cinque Terra.  It was described as a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera with five villages built into the cliffs.   It sounded so romantic, and any photo I saw of the area was breathtaking.  I just had to go and experience it for myself. 

So I saved and waited and saved some more.  And when I arrived, this is what I saw!  Hordes and hordes of tourists – so many that you could hardly move.  I learned later that each of the five towns has about 400 residents each, yet every year they have 1.2 billion visitors.  That’s billions with a capital B.  You had to fight your way to get on the trains, and sometimes the hiking trails were so crowded you were at a total standstill.

So much for my vision of sitting at a local cafe, sipping a cappuccino with the Italian residents. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was still beautiful – just not the way I had imagined it.  So what do you do?  How do you handle a situation like this?

For me, I made a conscious choice to see the beauty that surrounded me.  I remembered the words of Mary Engelbreit:  “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” 

I knew I would probably never be in this part of Italy again.  So I embraced the craziness and started conversations with visitors that surrounded me.  And then I ordered a bottle of wine – the local wine that you can’t get anywhere else.  I began to embrace the uniqueness of this area.  It didn’t happen immediately, but every time I found myself getting annoyed with the crowds, I simply said: “I am grateful for ________________.”

Now it’s your turn to fill in the blank.  No matter what is happening around you, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for.  What memories will you choose to make?

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Positive Mindset Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

Discover Your Adventure

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I walked into a sporting goods store the other day and saw this poster.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Not because of the picture – my idea of camping is spending the night at my friend’s house instead of in my own bed.  But the words “Never Stop Exploring” really hit a chord with me.

What a great concept!  Can you imagine waking up every morning with the attitude that every  day is an adventure and something to be discovered, explored and experienced.

The good, the bad and the ugly.  No matter what is waiting for you.  Reach out to taste it, feel it, and learn from it.  I wonder if this would have made a difference when I was going through a really dark time in my life.  I wonder if it would have made it easier to get up and look for that new job, search for a new home or sit across that desk from the bankruptcy judge.   I wonder if thinking of the day as a new adventure, no matter what it was, would have made that journey of my life a little easier.   

I’ll never know, but you can be sure that there are more challenges yet to come.  Life is a roller coaster and you never know what’s around the next curve.   So all we can do is hold on tight and

 NEVER STOP EXPLORING

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , , ,

Smiles for Sale

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How do you keep going, day after day?  How do you pump yourself up when you don’t even want to get out of bed some mornings?  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard, but on those days when you just don’t think you can face another challenge, try this:

Choose to smile!

I’m not kidding; this really works.  And on those days when you just can’t muster up a smile of your own,  here’s a couple of helpful hints:

Mimic some sounds that force a smile, like making the long “e” sound.  It causes you to stretch the corners of your mouth and it comes close to the real thing.  This concept was actually proven by Robert Zajonc who did a study on how smiling can affect your mood.

Another trick is to look at pictures that amuse you, touch your heart, and make you smile no matter how crummy you feel.  What would it be for you?  Pictures of babies?  Pictures of puppies?  Pictures of shoes?  It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it warms your heart.  This video just may help get you started: https://binged.it/2r9sjxR.

Choosing to smile – it sounds so simple and even a little bit hokey, but the key word here is CHOOSE.  There is only one person who can truly make a difference in your life and you already know the answer to that one – YOU.  So make a choice – will you choose to be miserable today or will you choose to take one step towards happiness.  It’s all up to you.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , , ,

The Impact of Only Three Letters

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What if you could become a stronger leader, better listener and awesome parent, spouse and friend – all by changing one word?  Yep, that’s right.  All it takes is one word.

Here’s a quick example of how only three letters can change someone’s perspective and attitude.  This example can be used with a team member, friend, and even your teen-age kids:

           “Julie, you did a great job on the project, but…”

What happens when you hear the word “but.”  First of all, it discounts everything that was said before it.  Julie no longer remembers that you said she did a great job, instead she’s waiting to hear the negative comment that follows.  She may even get her feathers all ruffled up, getting ready to defend whatever it is you’re going to say next.

What if you replaced the word “but” with “and?”  How would that sound???

           “Julie, you did a great job on that project, and…”

Now she’s open to hear what you have to say next.  No matter what your ending statement is, Julie is more receptive. 

So the lesson is – change the word “but” to “and.”  It sounds simple, but it’s not.  You see, I just broke my own rule and used the word “but” in the previous sentence.  It takes some work, and it is well worth the time and the effort.  You will get more of what you want, have happier employees and family members, and people will want to hang around you because of your positive attitude.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , ,

One Cupcake Too Many

Professional Speaker, Positive Attitude, Personal Development

Here I go again!  The Easter holiday just passed and I couldn’t keep myself from reaching for the jelly beans, cupcakes and chocolate bunnies.  Now they’re showing up on my hips, waistline and thighs.  UGH!!!  It was a lot of fun putting on the weight – not so much fun taking it off.

That’s why I came up with three new tricks to help me shed those extra pounds – AGAIN!!!  Maybe a few of them can help you as well:

First: I’m trying to look at this whole weight loss thing a little differently.  Instead of telling myself “no,” I simply do a review at the end of the day and see how I could improve.  What did I eat?  What could I have changed?  What would make tomorrow a better day?  For some reason, asking these questions makes me feel less deprived.  It’s a subtle shift in words and a shift in my attitude. I look at how I can be better instead of beating myself up over the choices I made.

Second: I wear my clothes that are a little tight on me.  It’s a gentle nudge telling me I need to lose some weight.  So as I reach for that dessert after dinner, and it feels like my button is going to pop off and fly across the room, it’s a reminder that maybe I can pass on that chocolate chip cookie this time.

Third: When I have a craving, and for me it’s usually chocolate, I do something to keep my hands busy.  Sometimes I call a friend or I do the laundry or anything that takes my mind off a snack.  It helps me to think about something other than food.

So what do you think?  Give some of these ideas a try.  And the next time you’re tempted to go on a Chocolate Bunny Binge, they just may help you recover from your cravings a little quicker. 

Do you have any other ideas to share?  I’d love to hear them.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
Tags: , ,

9 Out of 10 Factor

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

So here’s the third lesson in this series on surviving the challenges that life sometimes throws your way.

This technique I actually learned from a movie.  It helped me develop a positive attitude so I could rebuild my confidence and believe in myself once again.

Have you ever seen the movie Miracle on Ice?   It’s a true story about the 1980 winter Olympics.  At that time, the men’s US hockey team was competing against the Soviet Union.  They needed to beat the Soviet Union to ultimately win the gold medal.  Now, at that time, the US team didn’t have the money or the facilities to match the Soviet Union, who had already won several gold medals in previous Olympic Games.   The Soviet Union was favored to win, hands down.

As I was watching this movie, there was a scene where the US coach, Herb Brooks, was in the locker room with his team.  He looked at them and said: “9 out of 10 times, they will win, but not today.”

That one line made me sit up and take notice.  I loved it!  So I filed it in my memory for future use.

Now, at that time in my life, I was looking for a job.  I had just landed an interview for a management position with Bloomingdales in Chicago.  I had management experience, but never in retail.  So before the interview, I researched and prepared everything I could on the position and the company.   I was totally ready.

Then, on the day of the interview, I walked in,  looked around, and noticed that I was surrounded by my competition.  Everybody, and I do mean everybody, was a lot younger than me and had a lot more experience in retail.

That’s when my inner voice kicked in and started pecking away at me.  You know what I mean.

I started telling myself: “Nancy, you’re never going to get this job.  You’re too old.  You don’t have enough experience.”  And I started all that self doubt in my own head.

And that’s when I remembered that phrase from the movie.   I stopped, looked around at my competition and I said to myself: “9 out of 10 times, they will get the job, but not today.”

I went into that interview with so much confidence they couldn’t help but hire me.  Now, did that one phrase alone get me the job? No!  But I’ll tell you what it did do – it gave me the confidence to walk into that room and give the best interview I could possibly give.  I didn’t doubt myself or allow anyone else to doubt my ability.  I didn’t give my power to somebody else.  I had control.

So, you never know when that one line can help – maybe you’re going to an interview, getting ready for a presentation, or facing a family gathering.  Whenever you find yourself in a situation where negative thoughts are coming from your own head, or from other people surrounding you, stop, and tell yourself:

“ 9 out of 10 times that will happen, but not today.”

It will help change your mindset so you can believe in yourself once again.  It sure helped me.

Stay tuned next week for another life lesson learned.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker
Tags: , , , ,

Iron Pours and Ideas – What Could They Possibly Have in Common?

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Iron pours and pit-fired pottery. I had absolutely no idea what this meant, but there it was, right in front of me. The magazine ad said I could experience this at the Midwest Fire Fest.

I’m in! I LOVE new adventures, so this was right up my alley.

My husband and I jumped in our car and headed to Cambridge, Wisconsin. Never heard of this town? I’m not surprised since it only has a population of 1,457. But there they were – hosting this Fire Fest that totally intrigued me. Not even the steamy temperature or the threatening storms could keep us away.

Standing outside, we watched men and women dressed in fire protective gear throwing chunks of iron into this huge caldron, sparks flying everywhere. When the iron was so hot that it melted, they actually used large ladles to pour the hot iron into small sand molds previously designed by people attending the festival.

Do you see a similarity here?

Think about your ideas and your dreams. They start out in huge chunks, just like the iron. They are unshaped and in raw form. As you begin to move forward, fitting the pieces of your idea together, sparks begin to fly. You get excited, ecstatic and emotional as those pieces begin to mold into one form, one shape, one final idea. Wearing the proper “fire protective gear” is essential so you can tune out all the naysayers and keep moving forward, no matter how many people may tell you “it’s just not possible”.

As I move forward in life, creating and molding my own ideas and my own dreams, I was moved by the words of Flavia Weedn: “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again”.

When your idea, your dream, is finally realized, those around you will be amazed by your tenacity. Many times, you even amaze yourself; seeing your sparks fly everywhere.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development Professional Speaker
Tags: , , , ,

Well, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Just a few days ago, my husband and I took a short trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They were having their annual Winterfest where they host the US National snow sculpture contest.   And they did not disappoint.  Beautifully detailed snow statues lined the lake front. Then I heard a voice in the crowd say:

“Did you see the cars in the lake?”

And I thought – what a novel idea for an art display. So we headed down the street, and there at the end of the snow sculptures, were about a dozen cars floating in Lake Geneva, just off the shore.  It seemed so surreal that I really believed they were purposely driven out there as part of the Winterfest exhibits.  After all, what else could it be?  When I mentioned that to my husband, someone behind me replied:

“Uh, no, people actually parked their cars on the ice and they fell through.”

Apparently, cars have parked on the ice every single year and were safe, but obviously, not this year.

Now, my heart went out to these families. Not only did they lose their car, but they had no idea how they were going to get home… and who knows what the final cost of the damage will be. I’m sure they were beating themselves up over their decision to park on the ice.

That’s when I remembered the topic of one of my speeches on positive attitude:

You make the best decision you can at the time with the information you have.

Yes, I really believe this. Think about it – you rarely make a bad decision intentionally.  Those people who parked on the ice didn’t say:

“Hey, let’s park on the frozen lake so when the ice melts, our cars will fall through and they will be totaled.”

NO!

They assessed the situation, saw other cars on the ice, knew that it had been done in past years with no regrets, and actually made a good decision at the time with the information they had.

So if you think of it that way – I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had – eventually you can let go of any challenging situation that may be facing you, so you can begin to move forward with your life. No matter what the situation is, no matter how bleak it seems at the moment, eventually you have to let go so you can open yourself up to new opportunities.

What decisions have you made that seemed ok at the time, but didn’t turn out exactly the way you hoped. Looking back, was it a good decision at the time you made it?

Categories: Personal Development Positive Thinking Professional Development
Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives