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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Spread Hope

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Every day, all day, we hear about the spread of the corona virus. Well, starting right now, I’m going to flip the switch and start a campaign to spread hope instead. Yes, that’s right. I’ve just launched a new series that I call Spread Hope and I’m labeling that term #spreadhope.

What exactly does that mean? Well, every day I’m posting an inspirational tip that will help you through the day, sometimes through the next minute. How do I know these techniques work? Because they helped me during one of the darkest times of my life. It was 2008 and that recession was much like the challenge we are facing today. At that time, I was a real estate investor with a lot of property in Florida. When the market imploded, I lost everything – my business, my savings, my relationship and even my home. I was devastated and depressed and felt worthless. Some days, I didn’t know how I was going to get out of bed.

Every day I heard of businesses closing with thousands of people being laid off. I then had to find the strength to go out and find a job; find a way to rebuild my life. Well, the techniques that helped me recreate myself are the same ones I share with you every day on my LinkedIn site https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydepcik/  (scroll down to activity) and my Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2IZ9ZCO. It may be an idea, a video, a quote – anything, something, to help you manage the fear and stress you are feeling right now.

I also encourage you to share your own ideas. Tell us what helps to bring a smile to your face. How can we help each other. We are all in this together.

 

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How to Handle Stress During Challenging Times

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Our world has certainly changed in the last seven days. I have never seen anything like this. It’s scary and overwhelming and confusing. Suddenly, and I do mean suddenly, our kids are home from school, our offices have closed their doors and we have watched our entire city shut down. And for many, you don’t even know when you will get your next paycheck.

How do we deal with it all? How do we survive all the stress?

My goal, in my speeches and in my life, is to help people gain a positive attitude – to see the silver lining. It’s really hard to do this when we are surrounded by such depressing news 24 hours a day. So, let me give you a few tips on how to get through the day with some sort of sanity and to experience some stress-free moments:

First, pick one time throughout the day to watch/listen to the news, then TURN IT OFF. The constant reporting of disease and death is enough to drive anyone crazy. Yes, we want to stay on top of what’s happening around the world, and in our own back yard, but once a day is enough. This will be difficult, so force yourself to shut off that TV, unplug that computer and find an inspirational book to read or music to listen to.

That takes me to number two – find your favorite music, whatever it may be. Make a playlist, then listen to it whenever you are feeling down. One of my favorites is: This is My Fight Song. Every day I sing these words at the top of my lungs: “This is my fight song, take back my life song.” Yes, I will take back my life and return to some sort of normalcy – soon.

Third, visualize a healthy you. Take all your five senses and See yourself as a healthy person; Hear your strong voice; Smell the flowers; Taste the food at your favorite restaurant; Feel vibrant and healthy. What you focus on, grows. So focus on a healthy you.

It’s up to you to take control of your life during these crazy times. My advice is to take small steps leading to a healthier, stress-free you. Let’s all come together to take care of ourselves and help each other. In the process you will find a courage inside yourself that you didn’t even know existed.

 

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My, How Times Have Changed

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Trailblazer. Don’t you just love that word?

This past Sunday was International Women’s Day and I’ve been reading a lot about the many achievements of women. I know it sometimes feels like we are standing still, but I guarantee you – we are not.

Here’s a short story of how far we’ve come.

In 1979, only 41 years ago, I needed my husband’s signature to buy a car. Yep, your read that right! I was 30 years old, a college graduate, full time teacher getting my own paycheck, and was told that I could not buy a car without my husband’s signature. When I responded that I was divorced and had no husband, their answer came quickly: then we need your father’s signature.

Today that would never happen. As women, we are independent, strong, powerful, financially savvy, and the list goes on. There are so many women who have come before me who have paved the way and help me live the life I have imagined for myself. At the top of my list is my mother. Although, growing up, I thought her stubbornness and feistiness were obstacles, I have now come to thank her for passing those same traits onto me. Because of her, I have learned to stand up for myself, take care of myself and be proud of myself. My only hope is that I can make a difference in some small way for the women who are yet to follow.

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The Impact of One Email

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

It may have taken him five minutes, maybe less, to send that email, but in that time he was able to make me feel like I could conquer the world. And I have no idea who he is.

You see, last Saturday I gave a presentation at the Toastmasters Conference in Darien, Illinois. My topic was TEDx presentations; how to find them, prepare for them and deliver them. During my talk I mentioned how my personal TEDx speech, the one I gave a few years ago, had technical difficulties. Both the lighting and sound were pretty bad. I expressed my disappointment and said that I haven’t shared that video because it lacked good quality.

Then, out of nowhere, someone I have never met emailed me saying:

Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed it [my TEDx speech] and the sound didn’t phase me one bit. Your message was too powerful for me to be pulled away by a small echo here and there. When the speech was over, your story is what I remembered, the sound blips are nothing. Your brother would be proud of you with that speech. Well done!!!

“Your brother would be proud of you”… Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been missing the point all along. I was so focused on the technical difficulties that I diminished the power of my message. So, it is with great pride that I invite you to watch and enjoy my TEDx speech: Nancy’s TEDx talk.

And a huge thanks to Matthew for taking the time to reach out to me. Your kind words have truly made a difference.

 

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Navigating the Detours in Life

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I am constantly lost. Directions have always been a challenge for me. I can’t tell north from south, east from west, and if I tell you to turn left, that’s your cue to turn right. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my new best friend, Alice – my navigation system. No matter how long I have lived in one place, or how many times I have taken the same route, I still get confused.

People always make fun of me because I never know where I am or how I got there. I used to beat myself up over my lack of direction, but over the years I have learned to enjoy the detours along the way, both on the road and in life.

When I was 21, I had my whole life mapped out. Did it turn out the way I planned? NO! But by enjoying the twists and turns along the way, I have found treasures I never imagined possible.

As some wise person once said (no, it wasn’t me but I wish it was):

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

So, you see, detours can be good – and lacking a sense of direction can be a real adventure. It’s like watching a movie for the first time, not knowing how it will end.

 

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The Adventures of Retirement

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Retirement. What does that word mean to you?

From the time we enter our very first career, we are consumed with it. We start to save for retirement, plan for retirement and dream of the day when we reach retirement. I hear so many people say: “I can’t wait until I retire.” And my response is always the same: “WHY?”

My take is that people who look forward to retiring have something in their life they want to do more. They either want to read more or work in the garden more or spend more time with their grandchildren. They want more time to do all the things they can’t do now because of their current job. And for them, retirement is welcomed.

But what about those folks who are forced into retirement. For some reason their current career has come to an end and they’re just not ready for the next phase of their life. What does retirement mean to them?

This happened to me at the age of 63 when I suddenly found out that I had lost my job. I was stunned and confused and scared. Then, for some unknown reason, I decided to try Toastmasters. Just about everyone I talked to said it was a great organization, and since I had the time, I thought: Why not? That was the stepping stone that lead me to my current career as a Professional Speaker. Who knew? It certainly wasn’t something I would have tried if I was still working in my previous job.

So, to those of you who are forced into retirement, I encourage you to see it as a whole new adventure; a whole new beginning. This is your opportunity to explore a new world and try something that brings a smile to your face. It could be cooking or traveling or knitting. Possibly take some classes on the topics that interest you, talk to the people who work in the industry that intrigues you, take that leap of faith and risk trying something new.

Start with baby steps and see where it will lead you. You are about to go on the adventure of your life.

 

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Life’s Too Short for Annoying People

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

This morning I shared a cup of coffee and some great conversation with a dear friend of mine.

She told me that she just celebrated her 19 year anniversary with the love of her life. As a gift, she decided to write 19 reasons why she still loved him – one reason for each year they were together.  It was truly a precious gift.

That gave me an idea. What if I flip the switch and think about the people in my life who actually annoy me? You know what I’m talking about – it could be that co-worker who won’t stop chatting, or that boss who doesn’t give you credit for all your hard work, or that friend who only talks about herself and never asks how you are doing?

What if I take a closer look at all those people who tend to aggravate me and list just 5 things that are good about them? It could be something as simple as “they have a sweet smile” or something more obvious like “they bring brownies to work for everyone to enjoy.” I could even work on substituting words for their annoying behavior, like:

  • Cheap could be replaced by Thrifty and Budget Minded
  • Gossipy could be replaced by Informative
  • Unfocused could be replaced by Unpredictable and Fun

It just may help you see them in a different light. If nothing else, it can turn your annoyance into tolerance.  I’m not sure if it will work, but I’m willing to give it a try. What do you think? Are you willing to join me by looking at the annoying people in your life a little differently? The photo I’ve included can work as a wordsmith to help get you started. Let me know how it goes.

 

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If Fear Were Not an Option

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you ever been asked the question: “What would you dare to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Have you ever thought about what your answer would be?

Recently, a friend asked me this very same question. I had to think long and hard and I’m still not sure if I know the answer. Where would I be today if I wasn’t afraid of rejection or that feeling of not being good enough. Would my business be more successful? Would I have more friends?? Would I have taken more risks???

What would you do if fear wasn’t an option for you? I recently read an article that said the one thing that most people regret at the end of their life was not taking chances. I hope this is not one of my regrets. So, to make sure that doesn’t happen, I’m going to keep asking myself that question: “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail.” In fact, I’m going to write it at the top of my whiteboard right now so I can see it every day. Who knows what new doors it may open – for both you and for me.

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Repairing Cracks with Gold

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Have you heard of kintsugi? It’s also called the “golden repair.” It’s the Japanese art of repairing pottery that has been broken into pieces. They actually use a lacquer and powdered gold to reconstruct the piece, putting the emphasis on the crack and the repair. The result is a renewed, reimagined and beautiful piece of artwork.

What a concept!

I couldn’t help but wonder: what if we applied this to real life? Think about it. All those scars and wrinkles and broken pieces we have accumulated over the years. Instead of thinking of them as damages, what about seeing them though the eyes of kintsugi – displaying them with pride and sharing the lessons we have learned along the way. Think about repairing them with gold to show the world just how valuable our broken pieces are.

As we move forward into the New Year, turn your regrets into repairs filled with gold. Put emphasis on what has been broken, repaired and reinvented. Celebrate all those challenges you have survived.

 

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