Sit Up and Take Notice

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Most of my friends make fun of me because I like Country Western music. But that hasn’t changed my mind. The messages I hear in those songs are some of the most powerful words I have ever heard. They touch my heart and make me sit up and take notice.

Like the one by Tim McGraw titled Live Like You Were Dying. This song played over the speakers as I was walking through the airport and it made me stop in my tracks. In my hurried and sometimes scattered life, I actually stopped, stood still and listened to the words. Tears came to my eyes when I heard the line: “What I’d do if I could do it all again.”

It actually made me think of my father. Maybe it’s because Father’s Day just passed, or maybe it’s because I never stopped missing him. Whatever the reason, I thought of how I’d spend more time with my Dad if he were still here with me. I’d listen to his stories a little more closely and cherish the times we laughed together. I would ask for his advice – and maybe this time I’d even listen to him.  I know it sounds like a cliché, but I would do just about anything to feel his arms around me one more time. It would be the most sincere hug I have ever known because now, with more years of experience behind me, I would know how to truly FEEL it.

So on those hectic days when I feel like I just can’t add one more item to my list of things to do, I play Tim McGraw’s song and ask myself: “What I’d do if I could do it all again.”

And just in case you’d like to listen: https://binged.it/31CLCTm.

 

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When You Need a Life Preserver…

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It’s raining, it’s cold, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon than going to the movies. I chose to see Rocketman, the life story of Elton John, and I was not disappointed. I was especially moved by something Elton John says at the end of the movie. It goes something like this:

“I spent so long trying to keep something I never really had in the first place.”

Wow – this could refer to so many things. We could be searching for:

  • The love and approval of a parent
  • Being accepted by someone you love – or maybe just like
  • Learning how to respect and believe in yourself

And the list goes on…

So how do you let go? How do you find the strength within yourself to live your life without needing the approval of others? In Elton John’s case, he found refuge in drugs and alcohol, and it nearly killed him. So where can we turn to find a safer solution?

For me, it was having someone I could talk to; someone who would not judge me or try to change me. Someone who was just there for me. And as I look back I realize that it may not be the same person throughout the years.

When I was very young, it was my brother, Dennis, who helped me keep my sanity through a crazy childhood. Recently, it’s my husband, Jack, who thinks I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. And in between, there have been so many others who have stopped to listen, lend a helping hand and pull me up when I felt like I was drowning. So many others that believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself.

Look around – they are there for you, too. Sometimes, though, we are so caught up in our own mess that we don’t see them; we don’t hear them calling out to us. Just stop! Listen!! And grab onto that hand that is reaching out to help you.

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Is it the Journey or the Destination?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” As I think about those words, I have to respectfully disagree – at least for some occasions. Let me give you an example.

Recently, I traveled to Australia. It took 35 consecutive hours to get there (nope, that’s not a typo), I stood in endless lines and missed two flight connections. Yet, once I reached my destination, it was all worth it. I stayed in a small town called Fremantle which was absolutely gorgeous. In this case, was the journey magical – hell no! Was the destination worth all the aggravation? Absolutely!!!

And now that I think of it, this can also be applied to my current everyday life. Are things going good for me right now? You betca. Was the journey to get here a breeze – not even close. Yet, if I hadn’t survived that bumpy ride in my life, I would never be where I am today. Another case of the destination outshining the journey.

So, I guess you never know. Sometimes there is a pot of gold at the end of all the searching and turmoil and confusion. Other times it’s the journey that brings all the brightness and sunshine. Maybe it’s best to try and find the good in both the journey and the destination.  If nothing else, it will help you keep your sanity!

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When Your Life Has Been Turned Upside Down

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Facing challenges is a part of everyone’s life. Some small, and others, not so small. How do you survive them? How do you let go when all you want is your old life back?

Well, a couple of years ago, I was interviewed by Dick Goldberg, a respected radio and television talk show host, for his podcast titled Overcoming Adversity. I was honored to share the 30-minute interview with Neil Mathweg, CEO of Realty Executives in Madison, WI. Why were Neil and I interviewed together? Because we had very similar stories. We both lost everything in the 2008 recession – and survived.  Although we took different paths, the outcome was the same. We both faced a deep darkness in our life and came out on the other side, reinvented and better than ever.

Along the way, we learned lessons about life and values and relationships and self-esteem. It’s very hard to talk about those dark days and the embarrassment we both felt.  So why do we do it?  Because both Neil and I want to help others who are going through challenges in their own life. We want to reach out and hope that something we say will make their recovery time shorter and their climb out of the darkness a little easier.

If you have just 30 minutes, please listen to our interview.  You will discover very helpful tips, either for yourself or a friend, that will help you overcome adversity, no matter where life may find you: http://www.dickgoldbergradio.com/overcoming-adversity/.

 

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What’s Your Why

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What’s your why? The first time I heard this question I was sitting in the audience. The presenter asked this question, then lit up the screen with a picture of his three-year-old son. He proudly stated: “That’s my why. That’s why I get up every morning and do what I do.”

Since that time this question has haunted me. I really wanted to understand my why; to understand why I have such an obsession and love for being in front of an audience and delivering inspirational speeches.

Personally, my answer isn’t so obvious. I don’t have children and no other answer immediately popped into my mind. So, I’ve searched for my answer for years and finally, I figured it out.

It’s really not the speaking that’s my why and certainly not the rush of adrenaline I get just before going on stage. Rather, it’s about helping people who are going through challenging times right now. I guess you could call it a type of Paying it Forward.

For those of you who don’t already know my story, the 2008 recession wiped me out. By 2010, I had lost my business, my savings and my home. The only thing – THE ONLY THING – that got me through that difficult time were my friends. They grabbed me by the hand and led me through the darkness, refusing to let go.

If I can do that for someone else through my speeches, if I can relieve their pain even if for a second or two, then I have found my why. I have found my reason for doing what I do.

It’s a hard question to ask, and my sincere hope is that you find your why and live your purpose. Remember, we don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.

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One Simple Step to Being Happier

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

What helps us lower our chances of heart disease, tolerate pain better and even extend our life expectancy? Friendships. Yep – you read that right. Hanging out with friends can help us lead a happier, healthier and longer life. According to research, friendships actually increases a feel-good hormone called oxytocin. It helps us strengthen bonds with other people in our lives and create lasting relationships.

In my humble opinion, hanging out with friends can be different than spending time with family. If you’ve ever been away on a “girl’s weekend,” you understand what I’m talking about. It’s an experience that makes us laugh a little longer and share a few secrets that we never thought we would. It’s a time for acceptance and bonding and just taking care of ourselves.

But in this fast-paced world, how do you keep up with friends? People change jobs, they move, they start their own families. Times change, and so do people. So it’s important to make the time to create experiences with those you really connect with. It’s not about the time we spend together but the bond that is developed. I couldn’t have said this better myself:

“Friendship isn’t about who you have known the longest–It’s about those who came and never left your side.

This is a quote that really touched my heart. It’s a great reminder to invest in the friendships that make you the happiest and brighten your day. I have been so fortunate to meet and become friends with some amazing women. Without them, I would have never survived some of the greatest challenges life threw my way. To all my girlfriends out there, may you all find the happiness and joy that you have brought into my life. I am a richer person because of you.

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Drop Back 10 Yards and Punt

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How many times have you had a great idea, then stopped short of following through. It could be something in your business life, like: “I’m going to apply for that promotion” OR something in your personal life, like: “I’d really like to go skydiving.” Yet when it comes time to actually DO it, you stop yourself. All those internal “no’s” sweep over you like a huge wave and you just can’t catch your breath.

Why? Why do we find every excuse in the world to sell ourselves short???

It might help to step back and take a look at the end goal. Can you somehow get the same result by taking another road? For instance, if you’ve always wanted to go to veterinary school but just couldn’t afford it, what other options do you have? What other avenues can you explore:

  • Work as a veterinary assistant?
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter??
  • Become a professional groomer or pursue other animal related careers???

Do you get the idea? Figure out what you love to do, then adjust a bit and look at the other options that are available to you. Once you declare to yourself and to the world what your passion is, you will find doors that you never even knew existed. Now all you have to do is open them and discover what lies behind them. And if it doesn’t fit your needs, try the next door.

Life is a continuous process of adjustment and you never know what you will discover along the way.

Think of it as a treasure hunt that will lead you to your moment of triumph.

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My Beacon in the Night

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It was my beacon in the dark, my light at the end of the tunnel, my Taj Mahal. What am I referring to??? The Super 8 hotel in Hampshire, Illinois. No, I can’t even tell you where Hampshire, Illinois is, but what I do know is that when I hit an unexpected, fierce snowstorm, everything came to a standstill. The expressway was totally covered with snow and ice and slush so thick you could not see the lines on the road. I had no idea if I was in my lane or not. With the whiteout conditions, I could barely see five feet in front of me. Then, almost like an apparition, I saw a sign on the side of the road that read Super 8. I could barely see the exit ramp and even made a wrong turn as I tried to find the hotel.

Finally, I made my way to their parking lot and my only worry now was: do they have a vacancy?

WHEW – they did! As other travelers lined up behind me hoping for the same result, I got the key to my room and was happy to be safe.

I had no idea where I was but that didn’t matter. I was warm and safe and on the other side of the window that protected me from the blaring storm outside.

It’s interesting. I drive this route at least once a month. That means I must have passed this specific Super 8 hundreds of times, yet I never noticed it. I’m curious how many other places I’ve missed because I’ve been so consumed by whatever is happening in my life at that moment. I remind myself to make more of an effort to stay in the present. With all of life’s distractions, this is really difficult to do. I promise myself I will try harder tomorrow.

In the meantime, a huge thanks to the Super 8 in Hampshire, Illinois and to the day and night managers for giving me a safe place to lay my head.

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It Only Takes One Little Word

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

One small word – only three little letters – can make all the difference in the world. Yes, it’s the power of one word, and the word I’m talking about today is yet.

My good friend and colleague, Roger Wolkoff, taught me this trick: The next time you feel like you can’t do something, just pause, then finish the sentence with yet.

I can’t find a job – yet.

I don’t know how to do this project – yet.

I have no idea what I’m doing – yet.

Get the idea? For me it’s learning to play the ukulele. A couple of years ago I went to a concert where someone sang a lovely song while playing the ukulele and it looked like so much fun. So, I asked for one for my birthday.  When I got my ukulele, I immediately signed up for lessons. OMG – what was I thinking??? I have never played any kind of instrument before and wouldn’t know a musical note if it hit me in the head. So what did I do? I immediately went to:

“I can’t play the ukulele!”

Then, I remembered the trick of using the word yet, and I changed my sentence to:

“I can’t play the ukulele – yet!”

It makes all the difference in the world. That one three letter word opens all sorts of opportunities to you. It helps you flip the switch and begin thinking about what is possible.

So, give it a try. The next time you tell yourself you can’t do something, pause, then add the word yet. It works wonders.

 

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Sorry, What’s Your Name Again?

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

How many times have you been in a meeting, an event or even a family reunion and you forgot someone’s name. This happens to me all the time. How embarrassing! So, I wanted to ease my pain and get better at remembering names for more than five seconds after I met the person.

Here are a few ideas that have helped me and may help you as well:

First, really focus on the person and concentrate on their name, nothing else. As you shake their hand, repeat their name and make sure you are pronouncing it correctly. Saying their name once will do, otherwise it can get a little creepy.

Second, make a mental connection with someone you already know. When I recently meet a woman named Anna, I immediately pictured my niece, Anna. It really helps me remember names. If there is no connection with someone you already know, try visualizing. Find something about their face or what they are wearing to remind you of their name. For instance, Carla may be wearing colorful eyeglasses. Hence, Colorful Carla.

Third, introduce the person to someone else using their name. You get double points for this one because not only do you remember their name, but you are also helping them with a meaningful introduction.

People who are good at remembering names probably don’t have a better memory than you do. They just work harder at remembering names. Check out this short video and see if this helps you: https://binged.it/2WGwHEi. Now go out there and meet some new people trying out these techniques. Let me know how it works for you.

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