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
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The Games We Play

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s been over 50 years and I can still remember my Mother’s words:

“Nancy, make a game out of it.”

I was six or seven years old, and frustrated by something.   One time I remember trying to tie the shoelaces on my new pair of Keds.    I must have tied those laces into twenty knots and was near tears.  That’s when my mom leaned over and said: “Nancy, make a game out of it.” 

Miraculously, it did make me feel better. 

Fast forward to 2007, and now it’s my stomach that was tied in knots.  Life threw me a curve ball that I didn’t see coming, and I felt like I had lost everything – even my self confidence.     All I could concentrate on was the past and how I wanted things to go back to the way they were.  But that was impossible. 

How do I make this emotional pain stop?  How do I move forward? 

That’s when my mother’s words came back to me: “Nancy, make a game out of it.”  And I thought the only way I can do that is to let go of the past and try to be in the present.  But how?  Then it came to me.  I decided to concentrate on my five senses – sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste.  I wanted to see if that could bring me into the present. 

At the time I was walking through Millennium Park in Chicago, and I thought: OK, let’s use my five senses to embrace my surroundings.  I thought:

What do I see right now, this instant – and I saw the beautiful flowers that surrounded me.

What do I hear right now, this instant – and I heard lovely birds singing and calling to each other.

What do I smell right now, this instant – and I smelled the hot dogs steaming in the food cart close by.

What do I feel right now, this instant – and I felt the hardness of the bench I was sitting on.

What do I taste right now, this instant – at this time, nothing.  But I made a mental note to get some chocolate as soon as possible.

By using my five senses and making myself aware of my surroundings, it made me forget all the messiness that was going on in my life.  It actually brought me a sense of peace. 

The first time I did this exercise, that peacefulness lasted only five minutes.  But with time and practice, that calm feeling lasted longer and longer.  It truly was magical.  I had found a game I could play to help ease my pain.  And the best part – I could play it by myself whenever and wherever I needed to.

It helped lift that heavy cloud that followed me around.  It helped me become happier and stronger and ready to move on.  If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you.  You will be pleasantly surprised.

Next week I will share another lesson learned that helped me start over again and lead a life that is more fulfilled and less scary.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Speaker

Something So Simple


In my last blog I talked about some of the greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life.  And I also promised to share some of the lessons, tips, techniques – whatever you want to call them – that helped pull me out of the darkness. 

Well, here’s the first one:

It sounds so simple, but it made a huge impact on helping me believe in myself once again.

It’s called the Gratitude List.

But this Gratitude List is slightly different.

I actually read about it in a magazine, and the article promised that it would make me feel better – or at least give me a few minutes of peacefulness.  And at that time, I was willing to try anything!

I remember reading that you have to write down what you are grateful for every day for 30 days.  That’s the key – 30 days.   I thought to myself, “All right, I can do this.  This is simple. ” 

I had just gone through a major change in my life, so I lived in a tiny apartment with no furniture.   I pulled out a pad of paper and a pen, I sat on the floor and thought:

“OK, what am I grateful for today?”  And I came up with………. nothing.  Not one thing.

Because when you are in such a dark place, you can’t think of what you are grateful for.  All you can think of is what you’ve lost. 

So I said to myself:  Nancy, you are not getting up until you think of three things you are grateful for.  That’s all I ask of you – three things. 

It took some time but eventually I did come up with three things.  And every day I would pull out that same pad of paper and start writing things I was grateful for that day.  And amazingly, with each day, the list got longer and the things I was grateful for came easier to me. 

Then about half way through the 30 days, I noticed a shift.  I noticed that the things I was writing down when I first started were very superficial.  I wrote: thank you for my shoes, thank you for my pretty bracelet, thank you for my car.  But as time went on, I wrote things like: thank you for my friends, thank you for the love of my family, thank you for my perseverance.  And I realized these are things I cannot buy with money and things that no one can ever take away from me.  No matter what happens they will always be with me.  

It was at that point that I truly began to feel better, and started the long, confusing process of putting my life back together again.

The Gratitude List is big, and I didn’t expect it. 

So I’m asking you for just 30 days, every day, take out a pad of paper and pen and write down what you are grateful for. Take some time in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening, but find some time every day.  You WILL see a change in your attitude.  It will help make your life easier, happier and more peaceful. 

Please, let me know your experience with the Gratitude List.  Next week, I’ll share another powerful lesson that helped me turn my life around.

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This Game We Call LIFE

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Six year ago I sat across the desk from a judge, finalizing the paperwork for my bankruptcy.  When I walked out the door, I owned nothing.  I had lost my car, all my savings, my home, and worst of all, my self-respect.  On paper, I was worth nothing!  And in my heart, I felt worthless.

How could this happen?  At age 61, how did I end up here?

But slowly, little by little, piece by piece, I began to scoop up the pieces and put my life back together again.  Not all the pieces fit, so I had to throw some out and replace them with something new – like a new career, a new home, and even a new husband.

It was an uphill climb, but through my friends and family, and a very supportive husband, I have regained my life. 

Now, six years later, I am in an entirely different place.  From that small bankruptcy office, I have now advanced to a life that I didn’t think was possible.  A life that is truly more fulfilled than I ever imagined it could be.

In the last six years, I’ve started my own business as a professional speaker, which brings me so much joy.  Every evening I end the day in my cozy home.  And I have found laughter again with both my old friends and even a few new ones. 

Once again I ask myself: How did I get here?

Over the years I have met people, read books, and watched movies that taught me how to develop a positive attitude.   It wasn’t easy and it didn’t happen overnight, but it DID happen.  So in the next few blogs, I’d like to share with you some of those lessons I learned.  Some of the “secrets” that helped me regain my confidence and rebuild my life.

So if you find yourself in a challenging time, tune in again next week.  You will learn some things that will help bring that smile back to your face.  And if you’re in a good place right now, I’m truly happy for you.  But even you can gain from my future lessons, because they will help enhance what you already have. 

Either way, you will learn something new and unique.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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