Find Your Strength in Others

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

“You can succeed when no one believes in you but you have no chance of succeeding when you don’t believe in yourself.” Lou Holtz.

And what a difficult time this is to believe in anything. With our world spinning out of control, how do you maintain some sort of sanity through all this mess.

One simple thing that helps me is to focus on the good that is in this world. I try to visualize the image of people cleaning up after the destruction left behind by looters. As my heart breaks for the business owners, my spirit is lifted by seeing people come together to help each other. Here in Madison, we have several groups that are organizing to rebuild our city – rebuild our lives. I guarantee that you will see me amongst those sweeping and restocking and supporting in any way I can.

Take a look at how you can help others, no matter how small or minor it may seem to you. In the process, you will find that the good you do for others returns to you ten-fold.

 

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No Matter How Much Things Change, They Still Remain the Same

Professional Speaker-Peresonal Development-Positive Attitude

It was terrifying. My palms were sweating and my heart was racing. I kept telling myself: Feel the fear and do it anyway.

What was causing all this distress? I was going to the dentist. Was it for a special procedure? Nope, not at all. Just a routine cleaning; a procedure I have gotten hundreds – no, thousands – of times before. So, what made this one so stressful? It was the first time in three months that I ventured outside my home. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been self-isolating and this is the first time I’ve tried to return to some sort of normalcy in the past 90 days.

In one way it felt good to believe that this whole experience was behind us; in another way I was fearful that we have not seen the last of it yet.

As I entered the dentist’s office, there were some obvious changes. Hand sanitizer at the door, required face masks for everyone who was in the room, plastic panels separating me from the people who sat behind the desk. After my temperature was taken, my dental hygienist entered looking like someone straight out of a Twilight Zone episode – hair wrapped in a turban, face mask and head gear with a shield just like a welder would wear.

Once I got used to this new look, and we started talking, everything seemed normal again. There were stories told and lots of laughter. The surroundings may have changed, but the people did not. As I left, the women at the front desk waved and I wished them a good day. It made me realize that even though so much has changed in the last 90 days, some things will always stay the same. I got great comfort in realizing that my world of friendliness and compassion and hope was still there. My world was still filled with great beauty.

 

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Escape Boredom

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Is boredom setting in? Or has it already tightened its grip on you and just won’t let go. In the beginning, about eight weeks ago, many of us welcomed some down time so we could finish that book or try that new recipe. But now? Its feeling like Groundhog Day where every morning is the same. I know this sounds crazy, but some mornings I actually miss those traffic jams. Anything to bring a little variety to my day!

So, how are you keeping your sanity? How are you maintaining some sort of normalcy? And please don’t tell me about another game night or family gathering on Zoom! My butt can’t take any more.

Here’s one idea. Carve out some time – I mean actually put the date and time on your calendar – and do something, an activity, that you really enjoy. Not one that Aunt Suzi said you should try or one your Mom said is perfect for you. But an activity that really makes you happy. Make sure it has a clear beginning, middle and an end. That way it will give you a sense of accomplishment. Remember, these are not “have to do” activities, but something you really LIKE to do.

Personally, I don’t cook, I hate to clean my house and gardening is marginal. But the one thing I do love is talking on the phone. So, every day I pick one person, family or friend, who I carve out time to talk to and find out how life is treating them. I pour a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and just enjoy some girlfriend time. It gives me something to look forward to, catch up with people I haven’t heard from for months, and just feel good about the relationships I’ve nurtured over the years.

So, what will it be for you? What will you choose to do that makes you happy? Now, go schedule some time and just enjoy.

 

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Yes, We Will Hug Again

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I long for the old days. No, not the ones from 40 years ago but the ones from 4 month ago. It’s hard to believe that just this past January I was in Florida at a conference, in a crowded room, shoulder to shoulder with strangers and not giving it a second thought. Today we are wearing masks, afraid to talk to anyone and staying as far away from each other as possible. Sometimes I wonder if we will ever hug again, even shake hands again.

As this time of self-isolation continues, we need to find the tools that will help us navigate through this craziness and maintain some sort of sanity. We need to reclaim some sort of balance. And that will be different for each of us. What works for you may not necessarily work for the person standing next to you. So, ask yourself: “what brings a smile to my face – even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.” Find something that gives you some relief and remind yourself that this too shall end.

Yes, it WILL end. Someday soon we will all step out from behind our screen door and we will hug again. We will click glasses and be surrounded by fiends. We will jump for joy and laugh again, never to take our time together for granted – EVER!

 

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We Have Faced This Fear Before

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

He was only 31 years-old, his wife was a young 29. After eight years of marriage, they had three sons: 6, 2 and a newborn. That’s when the bombs started dropping. It was 1941 and the U.S. entered into World War II. What followed was fear of the unknown, confusion over how to survive and not knowing what the future will bring.

The family I describe above is mine: my parents and my three brothers. I never thought of it before, but the terror my parents faced must have been horrific. They never talked about it, and to tell you the truth, I never put two and two together until I faced our current pandemic. It was only recently that I realized the nightmare my parents survived.

You notice I use the word “survive” because that’s what it was. Somehow, they found a way to feed their family, have another child (me), and never show any bitterness or anger at what they faced. I wonder now if they ever stood in a food line, did they have enough money to pay their mortgage, did they find comfort in their family and friends.

My parents are both gone now and I will never know the answer to those questions, but one thing I do know for sure – they showed me how to be resilient. Before now, I have never seen empty shelves at the grocery store or people wearing masks, but our world sure has experienced this several times before. And each time it has survived and come back stronger than ever. Our world and our people refused to be beaten by war or disease or hunger. That is what keeps me going – that is what gives me hope. Knowing that we have been here before and have survived. Knowing that my parents have faced unsurmountable fear and would not give up.

So, as I face a world changed by COVID-19, I take the lessons I learned from my parents and refuse to let it break me. I refuse to be beaten down.

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Is That a Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Today, in our world of uncertainty, we often feel like we have lost control. Like our life is spiraling – and it is. The trick is to stop, take a look, and notice HOW it is spiraling. It is downward or upward? More importantly, who is in control?

I have to be honest – some days I’m not sure. I personally crave some sort of permanence at a time when nothing looks familiar. When can I go back to work; eat at a restaurant; go to a movie? When can I do something as simple as hugging my brother or walking next to my friend without shouting over six feet of distance?

The key is to notice and believe that all things, good and bad, come to an end. And I promise you, this, too, will also come to an end. Soon, VERY soon, we will see that light at the end of the tunnel and know that WE are the ones in control. We choose our own destiny and decide how we will spend our day. Sometimes we may feel a little stuck, and that’s ok, because tomorrow will give us another chance to begin again; to make sure that our life is spiraling upwards.

We have faced change so many times. Think about it. Haven’t you moved into a new house, calling it your forever home, until you move again? Maybe you’ve faced divorce swearing you will never love again – until you do. And each time, with each change, you have seen and trusted that light at the end of the tunnel.

So right now, take a look and squint. I swear I see a flicker.

 

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Pretty in Pink

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

When this crisis is finally behind us, what will you do first? Who will you be most happy to see? Of course, my obvious answer is my family. I really miss feeling their hugs and hearing their laughter. But if I’m really honest with myself, a close second to family is my hair stylist. Yep, that’s right. The woman that I trust with my hair every single month to cover my gray and make me look good.

Right now, I’m going into my second month of no touch-ups, so my gray roots are out of control. In addition to my roots, my career is also spinning in a direction I had not planned. As of today, all the speeches I had scheduled for this year have been cancelled so I really don’t know when I will be on stage again. It could be months before I am in front of a live audience.

So, that is why I’ve decided this is a good time to let my hair grow out to its natural color – white. And to add a little fun, I contacted my hair stylist today and asked about adding an under layer of pink.

“Is that still a thing?” I asked

“If it’s subtle,” she replied. “And this is the perfect time to try something fun.”

I have to admit it’s a bit scary but what the heck. If I don’t do it now I probably never will. My greatest fear is that my white hair will make me look ten years older, but my stylist assured me that we can always change it again if I don’t like it. So, we scheduled an appointment for the end of May, fingers crossed that she will be back in business by then. Hopefully, my hair won’t be as pink as the photo I posted here, but you never know.

What about you? Has your time in self-isolation given you a different outlook? Are you ready to try something you’ve never done before? I’m curious – what will you change, either inside or out.

 

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Look for the Good

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Some days I wake up and I feel like I’m in an episode of The Twilight Zone. I watch the news and see people dressed in full medical gowns, wearing face masks and gloves, and I think this must be happening in another country far from here. Then I look out the window and realize – it’s happening right here in my own back yard.

How do we train our mind, our soul, to get through the day? How do we find a way to keep our sanity?

For me, I have to make a conscious choice to LOOK FOR THE GOOD.

That’s why I’m watching the funny videos now. Not only because they make me laugh, but because someone actually cared enough to take the time to help make someone else’s day a little easier. I see the photo of the man holding up a homemade sign for the health care providers at the emergency room, thanking them for saving his wife’s life, and tears run down my cheek.

I find my strength in others. Those, who in this time of unbelievable chaos and stress, find enough love in themselves to reach out to someone else who is struggling more than they are. And I am amazed and awed by the human spirit. It is only through the strength of others that I am able to get through my day. My level of gratitude will never be the same.

 

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Picture It

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What makes you happy? What have you done last week, last month, last year that made you laugh out loud? Close your eyes and picture it. Go ahead – I’ll wait.

Now that you have an image, take a mental snapshot of it. Pay attention to how you feel right now. So, the next time you begin to slip into sadness, you can remember this moment in time and begin to feel better. Now, I’m not saying you should always feel happy. There are times when we need to acknowledge our sorrow, embrace it and let it be – just don’t stay too long. Picturing a time when you were happy gives you an opportunity to flip the switch and begin to feel better.

One of my sweetest memories is the vacation I took with my husband and my brother. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would all get along so well, laugh so hard, and strengthen a bond that was already strong to begin with.

So, when I am having moments of sorrow and fear begins to creep in, I close my eyes and I remember that trip all over again. I can see us hiking the trail, hear the laughter, smell the flowers and feel the love. It helps me deal with the scary times and makes me remember the moments I cherish most. It works every single time.

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There Are Stars Under Those Clouds

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

We are facing a very scary time right now. Too many people are dealing with job loss, illness, and above all, fear. And the worst? The absolute worst is losing a belief in yourself and doubting your own self-confidence.

So, what are we to do? How do we face this monster and fight it with all we have?

Two words – HELP OTHERS.

I know we can’t visit anyone right now because of social distancing, but what about standing outside the window of a family member’s house or the nearby nursing home. You can wave to the people trapped inside, hold up colorful signs or even bring your pet to show them. Even if it brings one smile or one laugh, it’s worth the trip.

What about calling someone on the phone so they can actually hear your voice? Maybe set up a Zoom call so you can see them? I haven’t figured out how to do this myself, but you know what? I have found others who are more tech savvy than me and asked them to organize it. They send a link, I click it, and I get to see my friends and family. I’ve even heard about people dating through Zoom and other like services – what a hoot!

This is your time to get creative. This is your time to fight fear with everything you have inside of you. We will have a new normal but we WILL come out of this victorious. Just remember that people coming together can, and will, solve any problem life throws our way.

Those dark clouds you see now WILL clear, and behind them you will find an abundance of stars and glory beyond your wildest imagination. The beauty will take your breath away.

 

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