One of the Greatest Lessons I Ever Learned!

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Who would have guessed that I learned my eighth lesson from a 90 year old woman!

As I was trying to rebuild my life and figure out who the “new me” was, my good friend, Asha, suggested that I volunteer.  I couldn’t comprehend that I had anything of value to offer anyone.  I was so distraught and beaten down that I felt worthless.  Who could I possibly help?  Who would want me?

Then, as fate would have it, I heard about an elderly woman who needed company – someone to read to her, talk to her, or play a game with her.  And I thought: Well, I can do that.  No matter how badly I felt, I can still find the time to visit someone.  So I signed up.

And into my life entered Geri Franklin.  A 90 year old, six foot tall, 80 pound ball of energy.  My life would never be the same.

She had adopted a stray cat that she named Lambchops and they were inseparable.  Every time I came to visit her, she would greet me with open arms, give me a great big hug, and call me her angel.  I loved spending time with her, and it wasn’t long before I didn’t feel so worthless anymore.

One evening, as we were sitting in her living room, Geri reached into her purse and pulled out a dollar bill.  It was new and crisp and fresh.  She looked at me mischievously and said: “Do you want it?”


But as I reached for it, she crumpled it up in her hands.  When she straightened it out, she asked:

“Now that I’ve crumpled it, do you still want it?”

My answer was the same: “Sure!”

But now she threw the dollar bill on the floor and smashed it in the ground.

“What about now.  Do you still want it once it’s been smashed in the ground and dug in the dirt?”

When I answered: “Sure!”  she asked: “Why?”


And that, my friends, is the greatest lesson I can share with you:

There will be days when life throws you a curve, and you will feel like you’ve been crumpled up and dug in the dirt.  But remember – no matter what happens, no matter what comes your way, you never, NEVER lose your worth!

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In Other Words…

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That’s the one word that would describe this seventh technique that helped me through a very difficult time in my life. 

For some reason, I was really drawn to quotes.  I found that when I heard them and wrote them down, it actually made me feel a little better.  I began to post them all over my house – mirrors, dressers, refrigerators… even on the steering wheel in my car.  So no matter where I went, there was some quote that resonated with me. 

They were about courage, hope, love.  Some made me laugh and others made me cry, but each and every one made me believe in myself a little deeper, it made me feel a little stronger, even if only for a little while.

One of my favorite quotes is: “She believed she could, so she did.”  I had a small plaque with those words on it and I put it smack dab in the middle of my dresser.   I could read it every morning when I woke up and it helped me tackle the day.   More importantly, I read it every night before I went to bed.  That way I had seven or eight hours of sleep where this thought could percolate inside my head.  It helped me believe in myself once again.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite quote?  One that speaks to you and makes you smile?  Maybe you have two quotes.  Three quotes.  Five quotes.  Post them where you can read them every single day. 

I actually made a list of The Top 10 Quotes that Helped Me through the Day.  If you’d like a copy, click here and feel free to use them in whatever way helps you the most.  And if you have time, please share your quote with us. We can all make our own list of favorite quotes and start smiling today.

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The Rule of Three

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Yep, I discovered The Rule of Three when my life was quite messy.  It’s the sixth technique I’m going to share with you during this “How to Get Back on Your Feet” series.

This is what happened:

I started noticing that there were some things in my life that kept coming back to me over and over again, like the word Toastmasters.  I’d never heard about this group, but several people told me to look into it – that I might be interested.

At first I ignored them, but the third time I heard the word Toastmasters, I went home and Googled it.  I found out they are an international organization whose members give speeches at their club meetings, then are evaluated by their peers.  They promote communication, public speaking and leadership skills.  Although I didn’t give any speeches at the time, I decided to give it a try.

Today, Toastmasters is probably one of the major contributions that led me to being a Professional Speaker.   I met so many people who helped me get my new business off the ground and turn it into the success it is today.

Another time The Rule of Three changed my life happened when my young friend, Karla, suggested I try online dating.  Now, realize that I was 63 years old at the time and I had vowed to never let another man in my life.  But somehow, she convinced me to try it and “just see what happens.”

At that time, I lived in Chicago and I never planned on leaving the city – NEVER! 

After a couple of weeks on eHarmony, a picture of a sweet-smiling guy popped up.  I was interested, that is until I saw that he lived in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nope, not for me.  I’m not leaving Chicago.

But the third time his photo appeared, I sent him an invitation.  And as they say, the rest is history.

I now live in Madison, Wisconsin.  We got married a couple of years ago.

So I’ve learned that when something comes back to me three times, I have to  stop and take notice  That doesn’t mean that I have to follow through, but I do have to look at it carefully, research it, then decide what’s best for me.

Remember, you never know what life will throw your way.  It just may be worth taking a closer look.  Paying attention to The Rule of Three has certainly taken my life in different directions, and I couldn’t be happier.

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Need a “Do-Over?”

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Have you ever wanted a do-over?  Have you ever wanted to reverse a decision that didn’t turn out exactly the way you planned?

Well, keep reading.  This next lesson may help you look at those decisions a little differently. 

This technique I learned through a combination of reading motivational books, watching inspirational movies, and meeting some of the greatest people EVER!!!

I admit I’ve made a bunch of decisions that didn’t go as planned.   I found that I was beating myself up each and every day, blaming myself for what went wrong.   I knew I had to find a new way to look at those decisions.  I had to find a way to accept them. 

So I started thinking back to the time when I actually made those choices.  What was really going on in my life?  What information did I have?  And I realized that I never intentionally made a bad decision.  I don’t think any of us do.  I believe that we all make the best decision we can at the time with the information we have.

Let me give you an example:  

At one point in my life, I had a business partner and we invested in real estate.  It was 2006 and the Florida market was hot.  You couldn’t lose!  We had this brilliant idea to sell all our property in Chicago and reinvest it in Florida.   The plan was to make enough money so we could retire early.  We did all the research – we met with realtors, bankers, and attorneys.   It was a great decision. 

Well, we all know how that turned out.  I lost everything.  For years I beat myself up over that decision.  But as I take time to reflect and look back at that situation, I realize that I did all my research and I actually made the best decision I could with the information I had. 

Would I make the same decision today?  Absolutely not!   But at the time, it was a good decision.  I just couldn’t predict the future.   

So stop beating yourself up over things that didn’t go quite right in your life.  Look back to the time when you made that decision.  You may just realize that it was the best thing for you at that time. 

If you are holding on to any regrets, if you are beating yourself up over something you did or didn’t do, say or didn’t say, let it go.  You can’t move forward if you are still holding on to the past.  Give yourself a break and know that you made the best decision you could at the time with the information you had. 

This is a new day – a chance to make new choices.






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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.

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