Calm the Crazy

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Some days I feel like I’m inside a pinball machine.  I’m bouncing all over the place, ricocheting off the sides, gaining speed and going nowhere.

I need to stop, focus and finish SOMETHING.  The physical piles on my desk and the digital ones in my computer keep growing.  I want to calm the crazy, but how???

Well, today I’m trying something new.  I bought a timer that is really cute – it’s shaped like an ice-cream cone – and I’ve started setting it for breaks.  That’s right, BREAKS!  A real time out during my day.  At first I thought: “I don’t have time for this,” but as I tested it I found that taking a short break really was refreshing. 

To take it one step further, I’ve decided to say three accomplishments out loud before I start my next challenge.  It might be something like:

  •   I just finished writing and posting my blog
  •   I let my family/friend know that I’m proud of them
  •   I just started reading that new book

It could be anything.  Basically, it shifts your mind from thinking of everything you have to do to all the great things you’ve already accomplished.  It truly is invigorating.

So stop thinking about your job, your credit score, your waistline, your retirement savings…  Take some time for yourself, even if it’s only five minutes and Calm Your Crazy.  Have fun with it.

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Have You Heard of the Gratitude Walk?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you heard of this:

 The Gratitude Walk

I’m sure just about everyone has heard of the Gratitude List, but A Gratitude Walk???  When my good friend, Paul, mentioned this to me, I really became curious so I did what any open minded person would do…I googled it.

And I liked what I read.  Here is one article that I found very interesting:

The idea is to walk every day and with each step, think about what you are grateful for. The thought of walking and being grateful at the same time sounded like a powerful combination to me.   And as I thought about it further, I realized it didn’t have to stop at a single word or a single thought.  It could be an entire story of something or someone I am grateful for.  It could be a total experience of something that happened in my life.

I really like this idea and want to try it immediately.  BUT…  (there’s that ugly word again).  Where do I begin my Gratitude Walk?  With snow on the ground and the sub zero weather, do I really want to take a walk outside?  If you are as driven as my friend, Paul, you do it anyway.  You zip up your warmest coat, wrap that scarf tightly around your neck, put on your best gloves and go out to face the weather.

However, I’m being honest here.  That’s not for  me.  So I’m left to figure out how I can do a daily Gratitude Walk when the weather is crummy.  Any ideas?  I’d love to hear them.  I’d really love to start a Gratitude Walk and I need your help.

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Procrastination – How Do You Deal With It?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Are you a procrastinator?  Sometimes??  All the time???

I want to get this right so I actually looked up the definition of this word. I found several versions and this is just one of them:

“To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done”  The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

It made me think – are we all procrastinators?  Do we all suffer from this in one form or another?   Actually, I believe we do.  Sometimes we procrastinate because something far more important takes the lead; other times it’s because we simply don’t want to do the task at hand.  No explanation is really needed – we just don’t want to do it.

Then I saw this TED talk on this same topic and I found it hysterical: It’s only 15 minutes and I guarantee it will have you laughing out loud.

So, I guess I don’t have any formulas or charts or graphs to help you control your procrastination.  Just the realization that you are not alone.  We ALL procrastinate in one form or another.  So kick back with a cup of coffee, watch the video, laugh for a moment or two.  Then get back to your massive list of things to do.

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Trade In Your “To Do” List

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Take a minute right now, this very moment, and jot down everything you would like to accomplish by the end of the day. Use paper and pen, your phone, or any other technique you use to keep track of your lists.

Don’t read any further in this blog until you’ve completed this.

OK, now that you’re back – Is your list completed?  Take a good look at it.  What is so important that it made your “to do” list today?  As I look at mine, I have things like:

  •          Pick up clothes from the cleaners
  •          Finish speech for upcoming conference
  •          Make reservations through Spot Hero for Chicago trip
  •          Spend one hour today marketing to new clients
  •          Clean the house

As I review my list, I notice that there’s nothing really earth shattering on it.  Nothing that’s going to make a real difference in anyone’s life.   It’s all about things!

So I’ve decided to trade in my “to do” list for a “hope for” list.  I’m going to add things I “hope” to accomplish by the end of the day,  like:

  •    Share a smile with someone today
  •    Send a card to a friend for no reason at all
  •    Make someone laugh

These aren’t things I HAVE to do, just some ideas to bring more joy into the world. 

What about you?  Do you have any other ideas for a “hope for” list?

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Where is Your Safe Place?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

On a recent trip to Italy – yes, I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy – I looked out my hotel room window and saw something strange on the patio below me.  At first I couldn’t figure out what it was, then realized it was a cat curled up in a basket.  It looked so safe and warm and comfortable.

And it made me wonder: what safe places do we create in our own life?  Where do we go or what do we do to help us survive the craziness of everyday life?

It could be something as simple as a walk through nature or curling up to take your own nap. 

And now that I think of it,  it doesn’t even have to be a physical place.  Maybe it’s a state of mind, like meditation.  Or it could be listening to music.  Recently I’ve discovered Metta Chanting thanks to my good friend, Debbie, who recently introduced me to it:  I never heard of it before and now I listen to it often – sometimes as I am writing my blogs, and other times in the evening when I am trying to calm my mind so I can fall asleep. 

So my question to you is:  Where do you go to find some peace, if only for a minute or two?  Have you found your safe place? 

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A Treasure on Tissue Paper

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Today I was busy packing away the last of my Christmas decorations.  Yes, I know.  I should have done it last week but I didn’t.  No excuses – I just didn’t.

Well, as I was wrapping some of the more delicate items in tissue paper, I noticed some writing on one of the pieces of paper.  It was very faint so I had to hold it up to the light.  It was a hodgepodge of phrases, and when I took a moment to read them, it really made an impact on me.  Here is a sample of what I found:

  • Live Joyfully.
  • Your first decision of the day is the most important.  CHOOSE HAPPINESS.
  • Live your life NOW.
  • Sometimes we are scared. It’s OK.
  • You have a great bottle of wine.  DRINK IT.
  • Achievement tastes most sweet when first we dare to fail.
  • The only things you will regret are the things you did not do.
  • Tomorrow is promised to no one.
  • Have the courage to live a life that is true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.

There are several other sayings but I’ll stop at 10.  Now, I’m not sure where these phrases came from, I just know that unexpectedly finding them on a sheet of tissue paper gave me a lift, it put a smile on my face, and I wanted to share it with you.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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I’m All Ears

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I want to be a better listener!

After getting off the phone with my friend, and listening to all her trials and tribulations, the conversation was suddenly over.  I never had a chance to say one word.  Nothing about myself.  It may sound selfish, but I wanted to be part of the conversation.  When we hung up, I felt empty, alone and like I didn’t matter.

That made me wonder – have I done this to others?  That thought scared me so I decided to make a pledge to myself, right here and right now, to be a better listener.

To get started, I’m going to play this little game with myself.  The next time I’m in a conversation, instead of thinking about what to say next, I’m going to look at the conversation as a learning experience.  A time to discover something new.   Maybe there’s a new restaurant in town I haven’t heard about, or a business contact I can be introduced to.  Who knows?  I may even make a new friend.

I pledge to listen with curiosity and stay focused.  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do starting right now.  I believe it will take some practice, but I’m willing to try.  So if we should meet in the near future, and have a conversation, let me know how I’m doing.

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What If You Fly!

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I was walking through Staples, and suddenly it seemed like this journal jumped out at me.  I mean it really seemed to leap from the shelf.  I saw this quote and I just had to have it:

What if I fall?

Has this ever happened to you?  That suddenly, unexpectedly, something “speaks” to you and it literally sends shivers up your spine.  You can’t explain it – and you can’t deny it.  

It seems that our lives are often filled with “What if.”  Those two words can stop us in our tracks and paralyze us with fear.  So as we enter into a new year, here is my challenge to you:

  • WHAT IF we can follow those two words with something positive?
  • WHAT IF every time a negative thought creeps in, we stop it in its tracks and replace it immediately with something positive?
  • WHAT IF we see only the possibilities that are in front of us when we utter those two words?               

Now, that’s the way to start a new year.  Welcome to 2018 and all it’s possibilities!!! 

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Give the Gift of You

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s the day after Christmas and…

  • All the gifts are unwrapped – and probably a few returned
  • The holiday music is packed away until next year
  • And Santa Claus has found his way back to the North Pole

It’s time to take a deep breath and think about your holidays – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Hopefully you’ll find a lot more good than the other two. 

It’s no secret – I love this time of year!  And  for many reasons.  One of them is because I always come away with such amusing and amazing stories.  Just think about it for a moment and I’m sure you’ll discover many of your own.

Was there something someone said – or didn’t say.

Something they did?  Or didn’t do???

A recipe that went wrong?  A dog that knocked over the Christmas tree?  A child who screamed with joy at the simplest of pleasures – usually the box that your well thought out gift came in. 

Take some time to write down these stories, or record them.  Make your story come to life by describing all the twists and turns.  Be the star of your own story and take us along on your journey.

Just imagine what a gift this will be for someone else, especially someone who loves you endlessly.  I would do anything to hear my father’s stories in his own voice; to read my mother’s stories in her own handwriting.  What a precious gift that would be. 

Imagine the possibilities and warmth you can bring into someone’s heart.  So take a moment now, heat up some of that leftover eggnog, and start writing or recording.  You’ll be amazed at what you can create.

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May You Always Find Reasons to Believe

At seven years old, I sat on Santa Claus’ lap and I believed in him and all he stood for.  So many years later, I still believe.

I believe we can…

Wonder at everyday life

Delight in our own uniqueness

Stop and listen to the music in our heart

Celebrate our strengths

Be kind to ourselves

Find time for joy

As I write this list, I can’t help but think of the movie The Polar Express and the theme of believing.  As Santa Claus takes the bell and hands it to the little boy, he says: “This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas – as am I.  Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.”

It doesn’t matter what holiday you celebrate, or what faith you practice, the power of believing keeps us all strong and hopeful and alive.  During this holiday season, I raise a toast to you and all that you can accomplish if you choose to believe.

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