The Absolution of Resolutions

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Here we go again.  I can’t believe another year has passed us by. 

Once again it’s a time for:

                                         A New Year

                                         New Beginnings

                                        New Resolutions

So very diligently, I sit down, take out a piece of paper and pen, and write down my New Year’s resolution for 2017.

Hmmmm.  This sounds really familiar.  Wait!  Isn’t this the same resolution I made last year?  The same one that I abandoned half-way through January???

Maybe it’s time to rethink this whole thing.  Maybe it’s time to look at this New Year’s resolution a little differently.   Let’s start with taking the word “should” out of our decision.  There’s lots of them: I should lose weight, I should save more money, I should spend more time with my family.  We can “should” ourselves to death.

So this year, I’m replacing my “should” with “want.”  What do I WANT to do this year to make myself happier, more fulfilled, and less stressed out? 

I’ve decided that I want to have more fun.  More evenings of laughter and smiles and just plain enjoying myself.  This year I’m going to ADD something to my resolution instead of taking something away.  Sure – I could stand to lose some weight, but what fun is that?  And if I’m lucky, maybe I can laugh some of those pounds off.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is to look at your resolutions, goals, or whatever you want to call them, a little differently.  Don’t make it such a chore.  As a wise person once told me: “Stop should-ing on yourself.”  This is a time for a new and improved year, loaded with opportunities just waiting to be discovered.  So as you sit down with your pen and paper – or laptop – and you begin your wish list for 2017, remember to focus on the good fortune that awaits you.   What can you do to prepare for all the exciting adventures in this New Year? 

For me, I say: “2017 – fasten your seatbelt because here I come!!!”  It’s going to be a great year!

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Yep, I Do Believe


I really love this time of year!

It may sound hokey, but it’s true.  I think it’s because there are so many things that happen only during this season: holiday songs, plays, concerts, parades, and decorations everywhere you look.  The list goes on and on.

Once December is over, PUFF, it all gone.  Packed away and not touched again for another year.

It’s a time for remembering and making new memories.  I’m not one for traditions, but there is one thing I do every Christmas.  I watch the original movie: Miracle on 34th Street.  The one starring Natalie Wood as the little girl.  Since I can remember,  my father and I would watch this same movie every single year – just the two of us.  It was a time to feel loved and safe and peaceful.  It was a time to laugh and cry all at once.  Now when I watch this movie by myself, it’s almost like my father is sitting there right beside me, sharing his love and the magic all over again.

Yes, that’s a good word for it: magic.  During this season I can be a child once again.  To believe in the magic that surrounds us – all of us.  It’s a time to reach out to others and sincerely wish them happiness, to smile from your heart, to believe in kindness

I know it sounds sappy, but I can’t help it.  At this time of year, I look around at all the twinkling lights and the beautiful decorations, and I do believe.  I believe in the goodness and joyfulness that surrounds us every day.  Sometimes we have to look for it a little harder, but it’s always there.  The holidays just make it easier to find.

I sincerely wish you a magical holiday season.  No matter what your beliefs are, we can all use a little more magic in our lives.  When you find yours, don’t forget to share it with others.

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Share Your Wisdom

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

For the last nine weeks, every week, I’ve shared an idea that helped me during a very difficult time in my life.  A time when I felt like I had been socked in the stomach and couldn’t breathe.  We’ve all been there; we’ve all faced life challenges.  It may be that you lost your job, lost a loved one, or so many other challenges in between.

Even though the situation may be different, the emotions are so similar.  There are times when we feel scared, angry, and confused.  Our confidence is shaken and we feel beaten down and exhausted.

The nine techniques I shared can help anyone get back on their feet again.  That is, anyone who is ready to heal and begin to move forward to a new beginning.

Some of the things I talked about were:

  • Gratitude
  • Making a game out of a difficult situation
  • The 9 out of 10 factor
  • A formula to visualize your future
  • Knowing that you always made a good decision
  • Paying attention to what comes back to you over and over again
  • Quotes
  • Acknowledging your self-worth
  • The power of the word curious

These nine techniques truly helped me recreate myself.  It took lots of time, and even more ups and downs along the way, but with patience and love from my family and friends, I now have a whole new life.  These nine techniques really helped to pull me out of the darkness.

That’s why I want to share them with you.  My hope is that you read something that will click, something that will help make your journey a little easier – a little stronger.

And now I reach out to you.  I’d love to hear about any tips, techniques, secrets, that helped you through a difficult time.  What kept you going and nudged you to get out of bed in the morning?  What kept you moving forward when everything else told you to just give up?  By sharing, you never know who you may help

After all, we are in this Game of Life together.  Let’s bring a little fun and laughter and peace into each other’s life.  Let’s reach out and pull each other up.

In the wise 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.”

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One Word Can Change Everything

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

About eight years ago, my life was quite messy, stressful and turned upside down.  Through a series of lessons, slowly but surely, I was able to piece my life back together once again.  One of the most powerful and impactful lessons I learned during that time came from my big brother, Tom.  My really cool big brother, Tom.

At that time, Tom lived in Florida with his family.  I didn’t get to see him as much as I would like, but we talked on the phone as much as we could.  One day, I was walking through this beautiful park and my phone rang.  I could tell from caller ID that it was my brother.  Really excited to hear from him, I shouted:

“Hi Tom.” 

But it wasn’t Tom, it was his wife.  And in a very quiet voice she said: “Nancy, your brother has two months to live.  You better come say your good-byes.”  Wait!  What???  I didn’t understand what was happening. 

When I could finally catch my breath, I jumped on the first flight to Florida.  When Tom opened the door, I was startled.  His body was weak now and he was in a wheelchair.  His beautiful thick black hair – was all gone. 

Seeing the startled look on my face, he grinned, then shouted: “Hey Sis, like my new hair-do?”

And that’s when I knew it.  His body may be weakening but his spirit refused to die.  He was as feisty as ever!

Later that night, Tom started teasing me: “Hey Sis, remember when we were kids and I tricked you into going on your first roller coaster ride?  You were scared to death!”

How could I forget???  We both doubled over with laughter, and when we finally stopped, I took a deep breath, looked at him and said…“Tom, are you scared now?” 

His face turned serious and he said: “No, I’m not scared  – I’m curious.” 

“Curious, what are you curious about?” I asked.

He simply said:  “I’m curious to see what’s next.” 

Shortly after, we said our good-byes and he gave me the biggest, warmest hug ever!   He whispered in my ear:

“Remember Sis, always stay curious.” 

And that was the last time I saw my brother. 

I returned to Chicago.  I was trying to survive the loss of my brother, then when I least expected it, I lost my job.  If you have ever been out of work, you know how awful it is.  Those bills keep piling up and you have no idea how you’re going to pay them. I was so scared.  

That’s when I remembered my brother’s choice of words:  curious.  I thought if he could stay  positive at the end of his life by being curious, what could this word do for me?  I wanted to feel that same feistiness I saw in him.

So I took that word scared and I replaced it with curious.  I thought:  I’m curious if I’ll find my next job – soon.  I’m curious what my next career will be.  And I’m telling you, being curious actually made me feel better, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. 

I felt like I was starting to get some control over my life, but without a job, it wasn’t long before I got that notice in the mail.  The one saying I lost my home.  I was embarrassed and angry and devastated all at the same time.  How could this be happening?  How did I get here?

I needed help, so I decided to try that word curious again.  I took the word devastated and replaced it with curious.  I said: I’m curious if I’ll move to a new city.  I’m curious what my new home will look like.

And I found that each time I used the word curious, I felt better and better.  Through the wisdom of my brother, I began to focus on the opportunity, and not the problem.  Being curious changed my attitude and my life.

That’s the legacy my brother left me – the gift of curiosity.  And now I share his legacy with you.  Life is sometimes scary and overwhelming and unpredictable.  And when that happens, you get to choose.  It’s during those times that I hope you remember the words of my really cool big brother, Tom:

Remember, always stay curious.

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