I Can’t Believe I Did It!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I thought it was impossible!  I didn’t think I could do it!!  But I did!!!

For two weeks – that’s 14 full days – I totally unplugged.  That means no phone, no emails, no text, no social media.  The reason?  I was traveling in Italy on a vacation and I wanted to have some real time off.   

Before I left, several friends told me to just spend a couple of minutes every morning checking my messages, and I agree that I was tempted, but I knew that those “couple of minutes” would turn into hours.  So I made a conscious decision to unplug.  I didn’t take my laptop or iPad or iPhone with me.  Well actually, I did take my iPhone but only used it to take photos.

It wasn’t easy, though, and I would offer three suggestions if you should ever decide to do the same, even if it’s only for a day or two: 

1.    Prepare.  Before you pull that plug, contact everyone who might need you or your services and tell them you will not be available – then give them specific dates.  I strongly suggest that you say you are leaving one day earlier than you actually are because I guarantee that everyone will want to talk to you as you are ready to walk out the door. 

2.       Don’t be tempted.  Make your decision and stick to it.  As I walked out my hotel room in Venice, there in the hallway was a computer set up for guests to use.  At first I thought: “Oh, what difference will one hour make.”  Then I walked past that computer, headed to the local coffee shop and sipped a cappuccino while chatting with other travelers.  A much better option!

3.       Never doubt yourself.  Once you return home to hundreds of emails waiting for you and more messages on social media than you can handle, it’s easy to ask yourself: “Was it worth it?”  And the answer is YES.  Every time you look at your photos you will remember why it was the best decision you could have made.

You know, I may never be in Italy again.  I can always catch up on Facebook and all my other messages once I return.  Just take a look at the photo I posted on this blog. It was much better to experience my own adventure than to read about others.

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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


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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.

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Beauty in Your Own Back Yard

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Bigger houses, faster cars, more exotic vacations.  Sometimes it seems like we’re constantly looking for what’s next; always racing to find something better.

WHEW!  It can be exhausting!

That’s why I was so surprised when I looked out my window and saw this in my own back yard.  A little Japanese garden my husband planted a couple of years ago, and it’s finally arrived.  The beautiful flowering trees framed by the bright blue sky was breathtaking – and it is just steps away from my kitchen window.

It made me wonder how many other treasures have passed me by.  What other precious moments have I missed with my friends or family because I’m too busy with what I HAVE to do right now.

A good friend once asked me: “Can you remember what happened in your life six months ago that was so important you couldn’t take the time to enjoy the people around you?” 

And most of the time, my answer is “no.”  I can’t remember which email or text or meeting was so crucial that I had to drop everything to be there.  Now this doesn’t mean that you can blow off your responsibilities, but neither should you dismiss what is right in front of you in search of something you perceive to be better. 

So take a deep breath, look around, and tell me what you see.  What makes you stop for a moment and say: “Ah, now that’s lovely.”  In this world of instant everything, take a break and just BE.

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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.

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