Archives for July 2008

Save the Thinker, Save the World

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

– Mark Twain

Think about the last time you attended a conference, workshop, retreat, sermon – anything that challenged you to think in a big way and effect a positive change in your life. At the time, you felt profoundly altered. You might have made checklists, voice notes, game plans – whatever. You were just ready to make life better for yourself and those around you.

If you are like most of us, you probably didn’t even get to lunch on the first day before some small thinker starting poking holes and planting doubt. Next thing you know, you’ve convinced yourself that you were crazy to even think that big, the whole plan was ridiculous, you were never enough to begin with and you crawl back in your box. The small thinker feels very accomplished and the world loses out on the wonderful impact you had planned.

How frustrating! Why do people do that? More importantly, why do we let them? We have let a person we wouldn’t trust to organize a book shelf dictate what we are and aren’t capable of. Seriously?

The amazing thing is that, while this sabotage is occurring, you probably had multiple folks who are way cooler than that other flake encouraging you. They know that you are capable of all that and more. They look for ways to help and support. Most importantly, they believe in you and they tell you so.

Today I want to encourage you get back out of your box and dare the small thinker to poke holes. Commit before you come out that you will not allow the small thinker enough face time to give his less than helpful opinion. Instead, seek out your fellow warriors. You already know who they are. Accept their encouragement. Resist the urge to shrug off the compliment. Look for opportunities to return the favor. With all this greatness running around, the small thinker never gets a foot hold.

Congrats to The Busy Woman of the Year!

And we aren’t talking about busy just for the sake of being busy. We are talking about putting your sneakers on and getting it done.

Kris Rice founded Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center in 1994. The Center provides services for children who have been abused or witnesses to violent activity. She provided counseling at Ground Zero. She and her husband are foster parents.

I would like to extent a huge thanks to Kris for all the work that she does for those who cannot do it for themselves. As an admirer of children myself, I deeply appreciate the selflessness of Kris and others like her that answer the call everyday.

And to the Little Black Book and all the sponsors for this amazing event. Kudos for recognizing those in the community who are making a difference in a big way. May we all follow the example of offering up of time and resources to leaving this place a little better off than the way we found it.

Choking on the Apple

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
-African Proverb

I watched my two year old eat an apple yesterday. She was given a slice and proceeded to stick the whole thing in her mouth. Didn’t work out too well and it ended up in my hand. Hmm.

Because she had been successful eating apples when given it whole, we went back to that method. She knew she couldn’t put that whole thing in her mouth and began consuming it, one bite at a time. She ate the whole thing. Interesting.

I have crazy big ideas. I have some pretty significant responsibilities. So do you. There are times when I have made a go at one of those enormous sized projects. I am so excited about the prospect that I try to tackle it all at once, only to choke on it and spit it out in the trash. Other times, the bigness of it all is undeniable and I convince myself that I am “not enough” for the job. These times I don’t even try. Either way, I get none of the apple.

Opportunities of condensed learning and inspiration can be like this too. Ever been to a seminar and tried to remodel your entire yard, kitchen, life, the next day? You’ve seen that the improvement works. Why not implement all of it in one big slice of a bite? Because you will choke and it will all end up in the trash.

Today I want to encourage you cut yourself some slack. Unless you have some really cool super powers I don’t know about, you are subject to the same laws of time and and physics as the rest of us. Time will not warp itself for you. Most often, one step at a time is the most effective. You are amazingly talented, incredibly capable and immensely deserving. Just move through the process, one delicious bite at a time.

Big eWomenNetwork Thanks!

I will be talking about Dallas for a minute or two longer. You just have to forgive me. I am still trying to unpack – both figuratively and literally. Because I have not yet had the chance to connect with all the folks I wanted to, here are a few thanks in the interim.

Big thanks to those who went with me and the best roommate ever! To the one that made me feel like a cool kid. To the one that inspired. To the one that dared me to impress myself. To the one who encouraged while listening to my kids in background. To the one who knew I had it in me and made me say so. And to all the others who made my trip to Dallas one that I will not soon forget. You have no idea and I am not sure yet how to tell you.

So instead, I will just keep putting one word in front of the other and hope in the process, you just know.

Commit to the Positive

“People will say things that sting. They sting more when I am raw from my own inner inquisition.”

Tama Kieves, This Time I Dance!

During Marci Shimoff’s keynote talk at the eWomenNetwork conference, I heard some startling numbers that I don’t doubt one bit. We, as individuals, have 60,000 thoughts a day, 95% of them are repeat thoughts and 80% are negative. Hear that. We think a lot of stuff, over and over again, and most of it is bad. Is it any wonder some of us didn’t feel like getting out of bed today?

I am thinking about how last TAT I told you how nervous I was to be going to Dallas to begin with and that it probably stemmed from a sense of insecurity. Wow! Wanna guess how many of those 60,000 thoughts consisted of negative self talk that reinforced that idea? It is amazing what we allow our inner selves to say. Horrid things that we would not for a minute stand for if said by others out loud. But, we will say it to ourselves, about ourselves, over and over. Interesting.

I have made the commitment to spend a great deal of energy investigating Marci’s thoughts on happiness and Tama’s thoughts on honoring the inner person. Why? Because most everything we come into contact with and the way we feel about it when we get there is not happenstance, but the result of our own personal choice. My personal choice. And 80% negative is not going to be my choice.

Today I want to encourage you talk honestly with yourself about how close to that 80% you are. Consider how that affects you and those around you. Know that this is an exercise I have done and have committed to improving upon. If you need the support, I am here. The time for beating yourself down is over. Life is far too short to be your own worst critic. Time is too valuable to paralyze yourself. Your talents are too important to be trampled on by the lies in your head. You are a warrior!

Getting Ready!

After five wonderful days in Dallas at an incredible conference, I am still trying to process all the information I took in. Some of that is just going to be mental work work me. Some of it will be involve discussion with others.

TAT was presented as A Year of Tuesdays journal format in Dallas. It was very well received and I appreciate those of you who helped me with that. Now, I bring two major pieces of feedback from people who make their living doing this kind of thing. I’d love to get your take on them.

The quotes – they should either be mine or not be there at all.

The layout – to keep it from becoming outdated so quickly, group by subject and not by actual date (i.e. January 1, 2009).

I would love to hear what you think!

The Case against Fear

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”

-Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756)

Tomorrow, I fly to Dallas for my first ever eWomen Network conference. The resources, connections and possibilities are endless. I have some big goals for this conference and have been looking forward to it for a long time. Now that it is tomorrow, I will be honest with you, I am a little nervous.

It’s funny that I even say that here. Quite a public place to out an insecurity. But, I think that’s just what needs to happen. Go ahead and address it for what it is so that I can effectively deal with it now so it doesn’t mess me up over the next five days. Fear will trip me up every time.
Fear, or it’s little helper nervous, causes me to do strange things – none of which are productive. It is a big waste of time, money and resources to be unproductive. Moreover, it just isn’t who I am. I am not in the habit of not being who I am.

I think we all have times like this – opportunities that are golden and the little butterflies that go along with it. I don’t think it is lack of confidence so much as a healthy appreciation of the opportunities that lay ahead.

Today I want to encourage you to find your center – that place where you are on the top of your game and productive. Remember who you are and why you are. Sure, there are going to be times where nerve, even fear, peak around the corner, but don’t let them hang out. You are never as good as when you have full confidence in that inner warrior to move through these situations flawlessly.

Look Out!

Coming soon to an inbox near you! The all new Turn Around Tuesday!

We have been talking for a few weeks about TAT suggestions, feedback and whatnot. You all have really been wonderful and incredibly supportive. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Because of that support (and a few other events), TAT is getting a makeover. Of course, I think it’s great just the way it is, but every girl needs a new do once in a while.

So, be on the look out over the next two weeks. You’ll see some pretty fantastic changes, interesting announcements and, hopefully, little bits that make your Tuesday better!

Disposition is not Circumstance

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

-Martha Washington (1732 – 1802)

I love that thought – determined to be happy. Sounds like such a contradiction in efforts. Happy seems so carefree and determined is so intentioned. Interesting and brilliant! A complete commitment to take control over one’s attitude. For those of you who didn’t know, being happy isn’t always easy.

Whatever the situation…guess that falls in line with the old adage that an untested virtue is no virtue at all. I suppose it is easy to say you are a happy person if there is always tons of stuff to happy about. Guess it’s not so hard to look on the bright side when that is all there is. Pull it off when things are tough, then you have accomplished something.

Disposition not circumstance – think about that for a while. Understand that this speaks to the idea that what is going on is not nearly as important as your attitude towards what’s going on. This is an important truth. It takes all of the power out of the thing you can’t control (circumstance) and places it squarely in that thing which you can (attitude). We can allow ourselves to be victims or circumstance or warriors of attitude. The choice is there every day for the making.

Today I want to encourage you to place more emphasis on attitude than circumstance. I am not saying denial or rose colored glasses. I am saying attitude and perspective. There is nothing you can do about things you can’t control except exert a positive influence on it using those things that you can. I am not saying easy or necessarily fun. I am saying beneficial and totally worth it.

You Just Can’t Plan for That

I got word last week that a local nonprofit working with at risk youth ran into some difficulty – or rather, difficulty ran into them.

Preparing for a youth album release party and raising money a trip to Washington DC in July to compete in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, All Walks of Life (AWOL) ended up in the rain. Then they ended up staring down a tornado. Seriously, you can’t plan for that.

While everyone was ok and that’s the important thing, everything that was meant to raise money for this organization was destroyed. If you can help, please do. You can find more information by calling AWOL at 912.341.8306.