Grateful Memories in Spite of…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you ever dreamed of something –  hoped for it, saved for it, imagined it – only to find out it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be?   That’s what happened to me on my recent trip to Italy.

You see, years ago I heard about an area called Cinque Terra.  It was described as a rugged portion of the coast on the Italian Riviera with five villages built into the cliffs.   It sounded so romantic, and any photo I saw of the area was breathtaking.  I just had to go and experience it for myself. 

So I saved and waited and saved some more.  And when I arrived, this is what I saw!  Hordes and hordes of tourists – so many that you could hardly move.  I learned later that each of the five towns has about 400 residents each, yet every year they have 1.2 billion visitors.  That’s billions with a capital B.  You had to fight your way to get on the trains, and sometimes the hiking trails were so crowded you were at a total standstill.

So much for my vision of sitting at a local cafe, sipping a cappuccino with the Italian residents. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It was still beautiful – just not the way I had imagined it.  So what do you do?  How do you handle a situation like this?

For me, I made a conscious choice to see the beauty that surrounded me.  I remembered the words of Mary Engelbreit:  “If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” 

I knew I would probably never be in this part of Italy again.  So I embraced the craziness and started conversations with visitors that surrounded me.  And then I ordered a bottle of wine – the local wine that you can’t get anywhere else.  I began to embrace the uniqueness of this area.  It didn’t happen immediately, but every time I found myself getting annoyed with the crowds, I simply said: “I am grateful for ________________.”

Now it’s your turn to fill in the blank.  No matter what is happening around you, good or bad, there is always something to be grateful for.  What memories will you choose to make?

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Positive Mindset Professional Development Professional Speaker
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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.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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