Sunday, December 20, 2009
I’m amazed the power that one day can have on our mindset. In reality, nothing has dramatically changed in our lives between December 31st and January 1st but how many of us wake up on January 1st feeling different and I’m not just taking about that New Year’s Eve hangover : ). We embrace the idea of a new beginning and a chance to make improvements in ourselves and our lives that somehow felt beyond us just 24 hours prior.
Never underestimate the power of our minds. Wayne Dyer has a quote I love, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” We’ve been conditioned to look at the New Year as a new beginning and as such, we look out with excited anticipation of all the opportunity that awaits us. In reality, nothing has changed in our lives other than the passing of another 24 hours. But we embrace this time of year to self-reflect and make positive changes in our lives – we change the way we look at things and things we look at do indeed change. Tasks that burdened us before are now approached with a renewed sense of spirit and energy. Losing 10 pounds seems undoable on July 1st but January 1st; we’re ready to take that challenge on.
The biggest challenge is to maintain that sense of energy and excitement throughout the year. We have the power to do this as we’ve already demonstrated on January 1st. Hold onto those feelings and when you feel like that energy or excitement is waning, and it will because that is the reality of our life, repeat Wayne Dyer’s quote, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” We have a choice in how react to the hardships, even the simplest ones that come into our daily lives. A traffic jam or a long checkout line can so easily throw us off course and change our mindsets. Don’t let it rob you of that magic you found on New Year’s Day – make the choice to continue looking at your world with the joyful expectations of the New Year!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
As a child we had the gift of time and a free spirit to take everything in and experience life without limits. Perhaps that’s why time moved more slowly back then. Living in the moment came so naturally where now we have to make a concerted effort to do the same. When did we lose that childlike quality to live in the moment? When did we start moving away from the present moment and living our lives thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow?
I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer to that but the ability to live in the moment is a precious gift we should all have on our “wish list” this holiday season. It’s easy to get lost in the hectic pace and extra demands of the holidays and when it all comes down to it, we do have a choice in how we respond. This time of year can be just a magical as when you were a child. The wonder and beauty of the holiday season is all around us but if we’re focused on everything we need to do or worried about what we haven’t done yet, we’ll most surely miss out on it.
As I write this, it’s snowing and I’m watching the neighborhood children outside my window happily playing. Mind you there’s probably two inches of snow at most on the ground, but that’s not stopping them from sledding and building snowmen and snow forts. All they see are possibilities and they are living in the moment to bring those possibilities to life. They are experiencing life without the self-limitations we’ve grown accustomed to as adults and their joy is contagious! We can most definitely learn a lesson by watching our children. Take time this holiday season to embrace your abundance and live in the moment. Let yourself reconnect with that inner child you lost so many years ago and watch the possibilities magically unfold this holiday season and throughout the new year!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
My journey started in January after I picked up the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon literally on whim. It is a quick read (my favorite) but the wisdom presented in these pages is beyond measure. I’ll share a simple story with you now from The Energy Bus that is truly profound and really opened my eyes and literally started me on my journey:
A man travels to the village to speak to the wise man. He says to the wise man, “I feel like there are two dogs inside me. One dog is positive, loving, kind and optimistic and then I have this fearful, pessimistic, angry and negative dog and they fight all the time. I don’t know who is going to win.” The wise man thinks for a moment and responds, “I know who is going to win. The one you feed the most. So feed the positive dog.”
We spend far too much time feeding our negative dog. The power of our mind is incredible. We so often live in our left brain, whose primary purpose is to connect our thoughts and experiences, forecast an outcome and protect ourselves from harm. But those thoughts and experiences are frequently interpreted in a negative light and instead of seeing possibilities; we experience anxiety, stress and become fearful of that which would require us to act in faith versus logic. Our right brain is our creative side, experiencing the here and now, seeing the possibilities and the goodness in everything. It doesn’t know fear or anxiety; it only understands positive energy and the light it brings to us to share with others.
Expressing our gratitude for all that we have is the first step to feeding our positive dog. As we begin this holiday season, take time out each day to acknowledge the good things in your life. Start a gratitude journal and write down ten things each day you are grateful for. We’ve all experienced the stress, anxiety and even sadness this time of year can bring. By focusing your minds now on gratitude and getting into the habit of gratitude, you’ll be amazed just how much more relaxed you’ll feel to really enjoy this holiday season.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I found this quote earlier this week and it really resonated with me! To me, it speaks of being in the true presence of pure passion. When you have a burning desire for something, it takes over and literally propels you forward to take risks you may not otherwise take to turn your vision into reality. While fear exists, your desire is stronger and you’re able to move through the fear. But the key is to have a burning desire or as Isaac Mizrahi says, “to feel something in your heart”. It is given that life will present many obstacles and it is how we respond when confronted with those obstacles that sets our path. A burning desire sees you through those and puts you on the path to success. You no longer view obstacles as taking risks but rather part of the journey to achieving your vision. Rather than obstacles stopping you in your tracks, you move through it focused on the prize. You’ll be tasked with doing things that are well outside your comfort zone but moving outside your comfort zone is what allows you to do greater things. You’ll find your vision becomes that beacon of light to guide you and your burning desire is the fuel that allows you to move towards that beacon of light.
Embrace your vision and allow it to create a burning desire within your heart. The rewards are tremendous and the journey will be well worth it!
Friday, October 2, 2009
We reap what we sow. How many times have we heard this? I can still hear my mom saying this to me! Of course, then is was in the context of bugging my brother and then crying to my mom when he'd give it right back to me : ) While we all know and understand this on one level or another when it comes to our actions, how many of us really know and understand this as it applies to our beliefs and mindset?
I've always understood this to mean, "be kind to others and they will be kind to you" sort of thing but upon reading this scripture recently, I suddenly gained a deeper understanding that this goes beyond just our actions. Our thoughts and beliefs also determine our outcomes. When our thoughts and beliefs are focused on the positive, we reap the positive. When we focus on the negative, we reap the negative. God is asking us to not only think about what we sow in terms of our actions, but also in terms of our beliefs and mindset. Proverbs 4:23 very clearly reminds us of this, "Be careful what you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts".
In order to truly experience and receive all the abundance and success God has planned for our lives, we need to cultivate a healthy, positive mindset. When we do, we'll most surely reap the rewards. Make a commitment today to work on your mindset and embrace your future with excitement and anticipation. Don't let your fears override your dreams. Believe anything is possible, take action in faith and get ready to experience the abundance that God has planned for you. How do I know this? The Bible tells us so!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
What I’m coming to understand now is that goals actually are the stepping stones of life. When we set a goal, it gives us a sense of direction and purpose. But without a context to frame our goals, we often get off track and feel like we’re just going through the motions. Our goals should ignite a passion deep within us and not just be another task on our "to do" list. When we view our goals in the bigger context of our life’s purpose, we then realize that as each goal is set and achieved, we are closer to fulfilling our ultimate destiny.
Just as a rudder guides and directs a ship through the vastness of the sea, our goals guide and direct us through the vastness of our life. Understanding this concept has helped me tremendously to put my goals in perspective. Now, before setting any goal, I ask myself, “Does this align with my values and bring me closer to God’s purpose for my life”. If the answer is yes, I can be sure it will lead me to the next level and closer to fulfilling the ultimate destiny God has planned for me.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I found this quote in on of my favorite inspirational books, “Training Camp” by Jon Gordon. To be the best at whatever we do requires going outside one’s comfort zone, which is definitely easier said than done. It’s so easy to get complacent and convince ourselves we don’t need to strive for better but life is a journey that’s meant to be revealed to us over time and with each new chapter, new opportunities emerge as we continue on our journey to become even better than we ever imagined.
But recognizing and embracing these opportunities usually requires us to get uncomfortable for a while. Our inner spirit can sense that something better is just within our reach, but stepping out into that is another story. All sorts of emotions come up when we’re ready to step out and that’s what makes us uncomfortable. Fear of the unknown and self-doubt are typically the biggest things that hold us back. The good news is that everyone is confronted with the same feelings. It’s what we do with those feelings that define the best of the best. I love this quote “Feel the fear and do it any way” (The Success Principles by Jack Canfield). And there in lies the key, the best of the best feel the fear and dot it anyway. It’s part of the process and the sooner we learn to accept it as part of the process, the quicker we’ll grow and experience all the exciting opportunities that await us.
The best of the best are passionate about what they do and are always striving to learn and improve. They don’t let being uncomfortable stand in their way for achieving their inner desire for greatness. They also do it with a sense of humility. They know that no matter how much they learn, there is always an opportunity to learn more and at the same time impart what they’ve learned with others.
Learn to embrace being uncomfortable; it really is sign that you’re heading in the right direction to achieving all that life has in store for you. Don’t let fear hold you back, move forward in spite of your fears and enjoy the wonderful rewards that await you at the other side of those fears.
Monday, August 10, 2009
One of my favorite mentors Ali Brown (www.alibrown.com) talked about this in terms of living your life effortlessly completely focused in faith and confidence. Her story is so inspiring to me because she started out just like so many of us – wanting more and sensing more was out there for her but not sure how to attain it or grasp her true purpose. She was frustrated where she was both personally and professionally and passionately wanted to make a change. It was when she truly embraced that desire and made the decision to start living her life by faith and not getting caught up in the “how” that her true path and essence for being started to unfold.
Today, she is the example of living a life completely based in faith and confidence in the outcome. She went from not having enough money to even withdraw from her ATM to now running a million dollar online marketing and coaching business and speaking internationally. She often jokes that she doesn’t know how it will happen, she just makes the decision that it will happen and has complete faith and confidence that the how will present itself at the right time.
This is really how God intended us to live. A scripture comes to mind that I’ve relied on when I feel unsure about anything. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”. And Psalm 37:5 clearly gets to the how, “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Ali Brown finally connected the dots for me, taking what I understood intellectually but I now embrace with my heart and soul. God must laugh as He watches us toil and struggle knowing all we really need to do is quiet ourselves and listen for His direction. We are so programmed that everything we want in life has to be hard but that is clearly not God’s intention.
God has placed our dreams right in front of us - we just need to plug into His current to start experiencing them. How exciting is that?!! Living our lives completely trusting and confident He will provide allows us to ride the wave and enjoy all the abundance and greatness He has in store for us. This is where the magic begins to happen and as Ali so eloquently put it, when you start “riding on the current of God”.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
In a world where social networking and marketing are growing at an amazing rate, I often get asked if we, as design professionals should be using the various online social mediums in our business. There are many opinions out there as to which social mediums to use but the bottom line answer to using online social media is a resounding YES! Since this seems to be a very hot topic right now, I’ve decided to devote the next few blog articles to taking a look at the more common social networking and marketing tools out there and provide some real time information on why and how to use them as well as how to incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy for your design business.
This week, we’ll focus on Facebook. Let’s start with the latest statistics. According to insidefacebook.com, as of February 2009:
- Facebook reported nearly 45.3 million active US users as of February 2009.
- Facebook is growing in every age/gender demographic. Fastest growing segment: Women over 55.
- Facebook is growing faster with women than men in almost every age group. Women comprise 56.2% of Facebook’s audience, up from 54.3% late last year.
- 45% of Facebook’s US audience is now 26 years old or older.
Now think about who typically purchases design services. With these statistics, we’d be foolish to ignore Facebook as a means of connecting with both current and prospective clients, not to mention networking opportunities with other businesses that compliment ours. Our business is based on relationship building, word of mouth has historically been our best source for clients and Facebook provides just that, an online means for promoting our services “word of mouth”. Not only can we create relationships, we can do it faster than ever through Facebook. And best of all, Facebook doesn’t cost any more than a little bit of your time each day; there is no financial investment required.
Promoting your business on Facebook begins with setting up a strong profile. It allows you to showcase what you can do, who you can help, what you have to offer. The next step is networking by reaching out to people in your industry on Facebook and start making connections. It's a great way to see what other businesses are out there in which you share similar interests and target market and see where you might be able to leverage that to help both your businesses. Set up your Facebook page with the intent on keeping it business focused. That doesn’t mean you cannot share anything personal but when communicating on Facebook, never say anything that you wouldn’t say to your clients in a face-to-face conversation. Invite your clients to join you on Facebook and use your posts to communicate design tips, great finds, inspirational thoughts, as well as aspects of your personal life that are funny, interesting, basically anything that would help them get to know you better. You can also post photos of your work or pictures of designs that really inspire you. To really start building relationships, post comments in response to other posts. It can be as simple as one or two words and gets your name out there to their Facebook friends.
Finally, post daily to keep you and your business in front of your Facebook network so when they or their friends need design services, you'll be top of mind : )
Monday, July 13, 2009
But, how do we lose the ability to persevere through anything to reach our goals? Somewhere along the way, someone told us we can’t do it, made us feel inadequate or told us our dreams were too big for us and we began thinking small and living a life that was comfortable. Think of how amazing our lives would be if we employed the same level of commitment and perseverance we did as a young baby trying to walk into all that we do today! We can do this and those that have achieved greatness before us have tapped into this allowing nothing and no one to stop them from achieving their vision for their life. Think of some of the great sports figures of today. Tiger Woods started life not knowing how to swing a golf club, Michael Phelps didn’t swim before he walked, although some may disagree : ). They both started at the beginning, taking those first few strokes, experiencing the challenges along with the victories, and living a life that was probably more uncomfortable than comfortable in those early years. But it was that internal drive to go beyond their current capabilities that allowed them to excel, growing stronger both mentally and physically. They each embraced their sport and passionately committed to being the best at what they did. They had a vision of greatness and they didn’t let the challenges and setbacks that came their way stop them!
No one said the path to achieving greatness in life would be easy but the journey is well worth the results! Find that inner child in you that allowed you to persevere and not give up at the first challenge that came your way and reconnect with that belief and inner drive to achieve anything you put your mind to! Learn to ignore the naysayers, learn from your setbacks to make you stronger and let your vision of something better be your guiding light. Your greatness is within your reach!!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
It is when we take our eyes off our vision that negativity, self doubt, fear and frustration creep into our mindset and drain us of our energy and purpose. How do you know when you've taken your eyes off your vision? Do you feel like you're treading water to stay afloat in your business? Are you afraid to stop doing what you're doing for fear you'll completely drown into the chaos and confusion that surround you? Do you feel like your thoughts are spiraling out of control telling you you'll never get it all done and feel paralyzed in your current situation? These are telltale signs that you are no longer focused on your vision.
So, how do you reign in the chaos and zoom in on your vision? The answer is very simple, just stop doing what your doing when these thoughts and feeling surface. I know saying that is easier said than done and like anything else, it takes practice. Our bodies and minds have learned to kick into survival mode when we feel overwhelmed. The negativity that creates feeds on itself and spirals us away from our vision. Rather than putting ourselves out there, growing and taking risks, we instead hold back and struggle to stay where we are. By training ourselves to simply stop, reassess and hone in on the bigger purpose for doing what we're doing, we will counteract the negativity and bring our vision back into focus. I heard a term the other day that sums up what we must do - "weed and feed". We must WEED out the self-doubt, fear and negative thoughts and replace with faith, trust and belief in our vision - FEED the positive. We can only do this by recognizing when we've lost focus and taking the extra effort to stop, weed and feed!
Monday, June 29, 2009
This week, I attended a workshop and was relying on my iPhone to stay connected with my business. My iPhone had other plans for me. While in the midst of typing an email, the screen went blank and the icons froze. I initially shrugged it off, thought a simple restart would clear it up but that was to no avail. I had to coordinate a delivery for a client this week, schedule appointments as well as coordinate our teleseminar but my iPhone was not on the same page as me and decided it needed a break. Even more uncanny, when I tried to access my email via the internet, it wouldn't connect. It was only Tuesday and I couldn't imagine going through the week without access to email, important phone numbers, etc. I had things to get done and needed the info that was now locked away from me! I was absorbed in figuring out how to get connected again and stressing at the thought of not being able to get everything done. I mentally checked out on the first morning of my workshop, completely caught up in my own thoughts and distracted from the valuable training I was receiving. My unexpected curve ball had successfully veered me off course and no longer was I focused on the workshop I had rearranged my calendar for and driven 7 hours to attend!
It was then that I realized when life throws you a curve ball, you CANNOT allow it to veer you off course. You have to get over it quickly and focus on the next pitch. You may miss a perfect opportunity to hit a home run if you stay focused on the curve ball. Being disconnected from email and the internet was probably the best thing for me this past week. A majority of things I needed to do didn't get done but in the scheme of things, there were no disasters, just some delays. But more importantly, once I accepted the curve ball for what it was, I was able to hit a home run by being able to totally focus on what I was learning without any distractions and gain more from my workshop than I probably otherwise would have. Sometimes those curve balls can be exactly what we need. Learn to let the curve balls go by and stay focused on the next pitch so you can take a swing at your next home run!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
As the years passed, it was hard for all us who grew up with the “Thriller” Michael Jackson to see his life take so many twists and turns, and suddenly that passion that so deeply burned inside him during the 80’s seemed to fade into our memories as headlines of a different Michael Jackson emerged. We’ll probably never know what or who caused him to stray from his inner passion. Was it fear of being too successful, surrounding himself with the wrong people, not living up to his own high standards? The same voices that plague all of us and keep us from being all that we could be were no stranger to Michael Jackson. With his much-anticipated return to the music world on July 13th, part of me wonders if he was trying to once again reach deep within himself, overcome those inner voices and emerge in his true passion once again. We’ll never know but in his passing, I want to pay tribute to and remember him for the true artist he was, sharing his passion with us and making everyone’s lives just a little bit happier.
Remember to stay focused on your inner passion and not let the little voices inside of you divert you from all the wonderful gifts and talents you have to share with the world around you.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
How many times have we started the day feeling like our act is somewhat together but only to watch it quickly unravel. The best laid plans are often times cast to the wind testing our ability to roll with whatever life throws our direction. I just had one of those mornings today and it really made me step back and think how can I turn unexpected events or outcomes into something positive and not let feelings of frustration overshadow the rest of the day.
My day actually started yesterday. How you might ask? Well my youngest was sent home from school sick yesterday. By evening, it was apparent this was probably more than just a 24 hour bug so I decided to be proactive and reschedule my calendar to avoid having “one of those days” hit me in the morning. It was a juggling act but appointments were rescheduled and the calendar was cleared to be home. Well, much to my surprise my daughter woke up ready to go to school as I stood there in disbelief and frustration knowing that I now had cleared my calendar for nothing. In an attempt to avoid having “one of those days” I still managed to fall square into it and was indeed having “one of those days”. I started thinking about what I could pull back into the day that I had previously rescheduled and then a little voice inside reminded me to slow down, take the day for yourself and turn this moment into a positive experience. I’ve recently learned to really start trusting that little voice and sure enough, it was right. I scheduled coffee with a friend who we’ve forever been saying “let’s get together soon”, watched 30 minutes of All My Children, something I hadn’t done in 20 years and was surprised how many of the same characters were still around : ), read for pleasure without feeling like my eyelids were ready to shut, and just allowed myself to really take the day off.
What began as a frustration because the outcome didn’t fit my plans (even my best laid plans), turned out to be that gift of personal time we all secretly wish for. It allowed me to reenergize and start tomorrow feeling fresh rather than continue to move through the week tired and frazzled. Remember to embrace those unexpected moments and pause long enough to see the silver lining. It may truly hold exactly what you need at that moment in your life and allow you to carry on with renewed energy and enthusiasm!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Many of us struggle to figure out what that gift or passion may be, thinking it has to be big or transformational but many times, it lies in the everyday things we do. We need to honor our true selves by making sure we take the time to quiet our hearts and let God guide us to our passion and purpose; tune into that little voice that has been guiding us all along but we’re often too busy to listen to or trust. I spent many years looking for that purpose; something to be passionate about but often felt frustrated because nothing really clicked. I enjoyed what I did, but couldn’t say I was passionate about it. Sometimes you need to experience a little more life before God is ready to reveal your true purpose – I believe that was the case with me. But once He was ready to reveal it, I had to be ready to listen and follow in faith. And once you agree to follow, hang on because you will begin the most miraculous journey of your life! I’m not saying following your passion will be easy, but it will provide you the energy to get through the rough times and persevere. How do you know when you’ve found your passion and purpose in life? I equate it to feeling like that stars have finally aligned – everything suddenly comes together and you experience a renewed sense of energy and excitement. Take some time each day to get quiet, focus on discovering and staying connected to your passion and allow God to reveal life’s best for you – what you’ll discover will truly amaze you!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
“Let me just…” I started realizing every time I uttered these words to myself or out loud, it really translated to “I really don’t have time for this but I’ll squeeze it in anyway”. Every time I gave into a “Let me just…” the outcome was being late, getting behind schedule, getting stressed, etc., rather than being more productive which was what I was intending to be. “Let me just check the email”, or “Let me just check finish this up” are really not one-minute tasks and deep down I knew this. I’ve come to learn to stop myself from continuing any thoughts or actions that begin with the statement “let me just” and contrary to my original thinking, I am now less stressed, more productive and ultimately happier in what I’m doing.
Don’t fall into the trap of “let me just”. Those truly are three powerful little words that can throw you off track and make you less productive. Learn to stop yourself and enjoy those few moments during the day to just breathe rather than trying to fill every second. You’ll be amazed how you feel!