Monday, June 29, 2009

Stay Focused On The Next Pitch

Life seems to have the uncanny knack of throwing us a curve ball at the most inopportune time. The dictionary defines a curve ball as a pitch that is released in such a way "which causes the ball to drop suddenly and deceptively veer away from home plate." This past week I definitely had a curve ball thrown my way! I love the words "drop suddenly" and "deceptively veer away". That's what curveballs do in our lives - they drop in suddenly and deceptively cause us to veer away from our focus or goal. It's how we respond to the curve ball that separates the winners from the losers.

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

The Passion Within

Looking at Michael Jackson’s life, his passion for music and dance were self-evident. I can remember being completely mesmerized the first time I saw him do the moonwalk, totally blow away by that performance! He made every dance move appear to be just a natural extension of him. And in reality it was, he lived and breathed his passion for music and dance and he easily shared it with us in those early years.

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

Ever Have One of Those Days?

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

It’s All About Passion

Awhile back I saw Bruce Springsteen for the first time in concert. I was blown away by his energy and enthusiasm - he clearly is doing what he loves to do! In a day when concerts have less to do with the music and more to do with the “show”, I was impressed how Bruce just stuck to what he does best without all the showmanship. He and his band just simply took to the stage and played for the next three hours. No showy costumes, no fireworks, no big screens or cages coming down on stage, just simply Bruce and the E Street Band doing what they do best, having a good time just rocking out the arena. There is nothing more contagious or exciting than watching someone fully live in the moment of their passion. His music gave me the chills because it was coming from a place of pure passion. It caused me to pause and realize just how important following your passion is to achieving your best in life. God has equipped all of us with a very special gift to share and give to others – in that lies our passion. For Bruce, it’s been 30+ years of giving us very heartfelt, passionate songs that have become mainstays for our music culture. He passionately loves what he does, effortlessly sharing his talent with all of us.

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

The Power of Three Little Words

As designers we are always pressed for time and our days are typically filled to the brim with “to do’s”. If we’re not designing, we’re on appointments, doing research or the dreaded paperwork thing! I got so frustrated one day with my chronic lateness and really took a step back to see where I could adjust and make the day flow more smoothly and ultimately be less stressful. I discovered one habit I have that I’m sure many of you have. I tend to fill every minute with something, even when there really isn’t time. There are three little words that have led to my demise but also by eliminating them, have lead to renewed freedom!

“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!