What Will You Choose Today?

Professional Speaker/Positive Attitude/Personal Development

I was driving through a small town in Wisconsin and came across this sign.  It was actually painted on the side of a building.  So large, so welcoming, so urgent.

Yes, I said urgent.

It made me feel like I needed to choose positive right now.  Whatever I was doing, it invited me to stop, regroup, and see only the good in life.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about – making a choice?  And make no mistake about it, you have to make that choice every single day.  So when you crawl out of bed in the morning, what will it be?  Will you spend the day moaning, groaning and complaining?  OR find the good in the challenges you face today.

It’s not always easy.  And sometimes it’s not possible.  Some days – some years – may just be too painful to see any good.  You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But be patient, and this too shall pass.  This too will give way to the sunshine.  It may not be exactly what you wanted, but with time, you will come to realize that it is exactly what you needed.

So if a negative thought enters your mind, hit the delete button and replace it with something positive.  Practice this and it will soon become a habit.  After all, life is just easier when you can see the beauty in even your darkest days. 

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development
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Making an Impact!

Professional Speaker-Positive Attitude-Personal Development

Our words, and our actions, can truly affect someone else – greater than we can ever imagine. They can actually change someone’s life, and we may never have any idea of the impact we have made.

For me, that person was my father. You see, I grew up on the south side of Chicago in a very small house.  In fact, we had two tiny bedrooms for six people, so it was a bit tight.  The outside of our home was equally as small, but my father had a green thumb and he could make anything grow.

We had flowers everywhere! Miraculously, somehow, my father had every square inch of dirt bursting with color.

There were bright yellow marigolds, flaming red geraniums, and deep purple rooster cones.

But the best, the very best, were the roses. My father had two beautiful rose bushes that grew up a trellis and leaned against our brick garage.  What a contrast!  The hard, cold brick framing the soft, delicate roses.

Every spring, when the first rose bloomed, my father would gently cut it off the vine and put it in a very plain ordinary glass. He put it in the middle of our kitchen table, and with his very best handwriting, he would scribble a note that said “For My Princess”.

That was me!!!

When I walked in the door, there it was, a rose as beautiful as anything I had ever seen, welcoming me home from school. I can’t begin to tell you how special it made me feel.

My father would repeat this same ceremony in the fall, with the last rose of the garden.

I received that first and last rose of the season from my father, with his precious note “For My Princess”, until I left for college.

My father passed away over 25 years ago. At his wake, I placed two roses on the pillow where his head rested – one for the first rose and one for the last rose in his garden.

Although the roses have stopped, that memory has stayed with me for a lifetime, without fading. Most importantly, it has helped me through some very difficult times.  Times when major changes in my life shook me to the core and changed my life forever.  Times when I just wanted to curl up and die because I felt worthless.

Then suddenly, without expecting it, I would see a rose. Maybe I walked through the fresh flower section of my local grocery store, or maybe I strolled past a neighborhood park.  Seeing those beautiful roses would open a floodgate of such loving memories.  Suddenly, I would find myself standing a little taller, lifting my head a little higher, and smiling.  And I realized, I can’t be worthless – after all, I am a princess.

I never told my father how he made me feel. He had no idea how, years later, those roses would still affect my life.  Heck, I don’t think I even realized it myself.  I would like to have a chance to tell him now if I could.  But since I can’t, the next best thing I can do is pass it on to you.

You never know what people will remember. So, now I try to take every opportunity to be kind, to open myself up, and to be vulnerable.  It doesn’t have to be big.  It could be as simple as saying “thanks for being my friend.”

Who has made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear your story.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Mindset Positive Thinking Professional Development
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Do You Have a Favorite Quote?

Personal-Development-Favorite-Quote

Do you have a favorite quote? One that really struck a chord with you the very first time you heard it because it connected with your own life – with your own experiences. You repeated it to yourself over and over again because it made you feel stronger, more confident, and just plain happier! Mine is:

                   She believed she could, so she did

When I was going through a challenging time in my life, I posted this quote all over my house –on my mirrors, my dresser, my refrigerator, and even the steering wheel in my car. Every time I saw it, it would make me feel more confident – happier.

Quotes are personal. What works for someone else may not work for you. They can be inspirational, encouraging, hopeful, and some are just plain funny.

So what quote found its way into your heart? Please, share it here – right now! It may give someone else the courage they need to get through a stressful day, help them to reach out to a friend, or make them smile. You never know whose life you may touch.

I can’t wait to hear your favorite quote.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Mindset Professional Development
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The Power of Gratitude – Phase 3

Personal-Development-The-Power-of-Gratitude-Phase-3

As I mentioned in my earlier blogs, I do believe there are three phases to gratitude, and this third phase is the most challenging, and the most difficult to reach.  Yet the most satisfying and rewarding.

This final phase came to me as a total surprise.  It was actually on Thanksgiving Day several years ago.   It was a beautiful day and I decided to go for a run.  Actually, let me clarify.  My idea of a run is lacing up my shoes, running down to the corner, then walking the rest of the way!!!

Well, a few blocks away was a huge church that several people told me was really beautiful and something to see. I had tried several times to visit, but every time I tried to enter, the doors were locked.  But this day, as I walked past, I noticed a lot of people walking into the church.  The doors were open, so I decided to slip in the side door, and sit in the very back.

Now, I don’t know if it was the sun beaming through the stained glass windows, or the soft church bells ringing outside, or possibly the unlocked doors that helped me  unlock this next phase of gratitude,  but suddenly the words crossed my lips:  “And thank you for all you have taken away from me”.

It caught me off guard – it really surprised me, and it was in that moment that I realized I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my loss.  I would not be living the life I have today if I hadn’t faced all my life challenges.  It was through my pain – and my gratitude – that I was able to find a strength inside myself that I didn’t even know existed, a strength that has taken me to this new level in life.

When you reach this third phase of gratitude – being truly grateful for all that you have and for all that you have lost, you will find a peacefulness that I can’t describe in words.  If you have a hard time getting to this third phase, let me know.  I may have a tip or two that will help you.

Categories: Personal Development Professional Development
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