Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who Cares the Most

I saw the headline 83-Year Old Deaf Woman Defeats Mugger and suddenly I understood. How could an 83-Year Old woman have beaten a young man? Because it mattered more, much more, to her, than it did to him. He stood only to gain a small amount of money. She wanted to keep her money, but more than that, she was NOT going to pushed around and victimized. And it REALLY mattered to her.

The book, Think and Grow Rich states that instead of telling you how to Think and Grow Rich, that the author, Napolean Hill, wants you to figure out the lessons that the following stories illustrate. One of the stories is about a small black girl getting money from a powerful, rich white man who has already told her to stop pestering him or she will be sorry. The question is asked, how could she have won out over him and gotten what she wanted? And, at the risk, of appearing dumb, while I had a vague notion, I'd never had a succinct answer, until today.

That little girl and this 83-year-old defeated much more powerful men, because IT MATTERED MORE TO THEM.

When you look at your goals, ask yourself, how much does it matter to you? Because THAT exactly represents your chances of reaching your goal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

NOT an abandoned Blog

I know this looks like I've completely abandoned this blog and probably my New Year's Resolutions with them. It's really not the case.

I'm still working hard on those goals and creating the work habits and attitudes that I need to reach those goals. I've just been swamped with my day job and haven't taken the time to write.

I'm making an exception today because I want to use writing to reinforce something that just continues to sink in. I complain way too much. It's funny because I always considered myself a non-complainer. My mom used to say I was 'easy to have around', 'easy to please'. And in many ways I am. I think compared to the national average, I probably complain less than average and am a more optimistic and upbeat person than average.

BUT..... I still complain WAY too much. I complain about the complainers. I complain about someone sending me a note that makes no sense. I often complain only in my mind, but that is still mental cycles being spent in a negative way.

One of the audio books that I've been listening to, and I can't remember which one to give them credit, makes the point that a complaint is focusing on what you don't like, but what you should focus on is what you do want, which is your preference. Now, it's easy to think that restating a complaint as a preference might go like this.

Complaint: Martin sent me this note, but he forgot to give me the URL where he received this error.
Possible Restatement: I'd prefer to work with smart people, not morons.

Ha ha.... okay, that's a little extreme, but you get my point that, you can pretend to state something as a preference and still be complaining.

But the real preference would be -- I wish the notes between Martin and me were more useful. The thing is as soon as I state it that way and accept poor Martin (not his real name) as he is, then I begin to focus on -- is there something I can do to make our communication more effective.

I need to get back to work, but I'm really working hard to reduce complaints and to state what my preference would be instead.

Wishing everyone well with their resolutions.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Seeing Yourself in the Best Light

Almost everyone agrees that confidence and positive self-esteem are important for getting things done and reaching your goals. Well here is a new twist on a way to build your self-esteem.

This came from the book, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. The idea was basically to make a commercial or ad for yourself. Either something that you put in writing, or even do it as a Powerpoint presentation or create a short video. So mine might go something like this:


Diana Wright -- a year ago she was just another debt-ridden woman fighting middle-age spread, but today she is trim, vivacicious and creating success after success for herself. A soon-to-be lakefront homeowner, Diana Wright is an example of how hard-work, positive mental images and success-coaching can transform your life from the mundane to the mind-boggling fantastic.


Now you can take this as far as you want. You can simply write these words or something similar (hey, the presidential candidates have all kinds of different commercials, I see no reason to stop at one. I'll write several and see which has the most positive effect). Anyway you can write words like this on a card and read it once or twice a day. Or put it on your computer to some kind of theme music. What the hell, I guess you could make up your own personal jingle. Actually I always liked the theme from Mary Tyler Moore

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly
make it all seem worthwhile?
Well it's you girl, and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement you show it

Love is all around, no need to fake it.
You can have the town, why don't you take it.
You're gonna make it after all


At any rate the idea is to sell you on yourself, so that you can greet each day just exuding confidence and energy.



As one more aside to simply promote enthusiasm and it's effect. My husband was coaching a baseball team this weekend and one kid stood out in terms of his enthusiasm. The team was losing and it wasn't that this kid was killing himself to win, he just had positive energy pouring out of him. He gave some war whoops and knocked a couple kids helmets and mostly just made people smile and get UP!!! It was priceless, contagious and definitely helpful to get kids starting to hit again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Still Making Strides


Well I'm literally still making strides toward my goals. In particular my goal of fitting into all the clothing in my closet kind of stalled out in late June when

  1. The weather turned hot, too hot to run at lunchtime certainly.

  2. I no longer dropped my son off at school putting me right at the start of a good running route twice a week.

So I joined a gym at a summertime special rate and I go there once or twice a week and now this last week my son and I have been going down to the track and running repeated 200 meter intervals.

They say that short, but not too short at least 30 seconds, high-intensity bursts of exercise are ideal for losing weight. I've read the science of why this is and... well, I'll be honest, I don't really get it.

One thing I DO understand, is that the muscles I've been using going for 2, 3, 4 mile runs.... they are not an exact match for the muscles I use sprinting down the track. Oh, my..... I discovered some seriously underused muscles. In fact, when I went to sprint, I discovered I barely remembered the form involved in running fast. I used to be a GOOD high school track athlete. Okay, yes that was back in 19.., a long time ago. Well the important thing is we found this good workout, that both my son and I saw our times improve simply in doing it two times AND... we enjoy doing it together. Hell, any activity that a 46-year-old mom and her 16-year-old son can go do together and really enjoy... well it doesn't get any sweeter than that.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wow! Lake House Dream!


Funny how different people have different triggers -- things that spark them to either rage or joy, hard-work or depression, but sparks that can completely alter their course (different direction or speed).

For me that just happened, I picked up a local paper and in the classifieds, saw a listing: ADIRONDACK 152 Acres, State Land, Utilities $129,900.

Or Adirondack 5 acres 200' on lake $59,900 -- another Wow. I am cutting these out, because I can see it in my minds eye and it triggers great hopes, dreams and ambitions in me.

And no, the picture wasn't with the ad, but it will give you some idea of what I saw as THE dream, part of MY dream. I grabbed it from morguefile.com, which is one of several sites that has free graphics. I learned about on this webpage about free graphics for websites.

Wow! Lake House Dream!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visualizing Success


When I'm getting dressed in the morning, my stomach muscles are actually starting to rise to the surface and have some definition. The wonderful thing about this is that I can envision on myself exactly the stomach and body that I want to have. I can squint or simply focus on what is good and blur away the chubby excesses that have still to fade away.

This makes exercising all much more exciting, because I have a clear mental image of the body I want, the body I am recreating. I actually don't mind doing the abdominal bicycling exercise beccause when I am doing them, I am picturing the sculptured body that I am obtaining.

I don't know if I am quite as far evolved in picturing my financial success taking shape, but I am making progress there as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Selling Dreams

I was listening to a sales expert talk this morning and he commented that what you are really selling with any product is a dream. This was a lightbulb moment for me. Whether it is the dream of being thin (weight-loss product), having more energy (health-related products), a great relationship (online dating services), etc. We are really selling the dream. He commented that's why some people become seminar-junkies, going off to learn about making money online or in real estate and not actually taking action. They purchase the dream, the product that helps them see themselves with the life they want.

People need to have hope for a better life. It is said that you can endure almost any horrid condition if you have a reasonable hope of your life improving. But people with better conditions, but a life they are disatisfied with and no hope of anything changing, those people are usually depressed.

And in America, is it no wonder we have such avid consumers, when you think of products representing dreams. Don't we talk about 'the American dream?' as though part of being a citizen of the country is that we of course expect (generally through hard-work and ingenuity) to have an ever-increasing standard of living -- the dream of a better future.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where's Diana?

Sorry I haven't been posting much. I often THINK blog posts, but I don't seem to be near the computer when I think them. Am I still committed to my goals even though I'm not writing about them every day?

Yes, absolutely.

P.S. You might say this isn't much of a blog post, but I felt the longer I waited to post, the more significant a post I had to write. I was running the risk of getting in a vicious cycle and falling out of my habit of writing at least a few times each week.

But now with this silly, simple post, I'm back to writing again.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Act Even When I Don't Feel Like It

Well all the self-help guru's talk about making affirmations and stating them out loud. Anything from the simple,

I like myself.

or

I can handle it.

to the more specific traits and goals you want to embody:

I am a runner.

I am paying off my debts this year. All of my debts.

I run or walk 15 miles each week, every week.

The one affirmation that I've heard in all of the books, that most works and rings true to me, is:

I act even when I don't feel like it.

It came from.... can you guess?? The Millionaire Mindset by T. Harv Eker. What is funny is that I actually think of this affirmation at least as often in terms of exercising as I do in terms of earning money.

So what affirmations, or self-talk, do you use the most?? Or do you make these sort of statements to yourself at all?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I had a lot of time to myself this weekend. Solitary time is generally a rare treat for me. But somehow today and even yesterday I found myself a bit melancholy. Sure I never get as much done as I hoped, but there was more to my sadness. Loneliness? No, that wasn't it (or all of it) either.

Ah, I was worried that how I had spent my time wasn't worthwhile. After all, wasn't I supposed to be off at a family reunion or at the beach or... something of more of a traditional Memorial Day activity. I had finished writing a children's story, that I feel starts strong, but fizzles a bit.

And I sorted my MANY papers and bills to be paid and all my to-do's in my office and yet.... a couple of items that were missing never did turn up as I thought they would. And I have to accept that with all I do, I sometimes misplace items, even somewhat important items.

So I was thinking of this and I was remembering a line from a Zig Ziglar tape where he says we all have a dialog going on in our heads all day long, second-guessing ourselves and it's our choice whether we are going to cheer our own efforts, greet our best efforts with silence or worse groan every time we try and have less than complete success.

I for one am going places and so I'm hear to say that I'm proud of having
- finished a story and gotten it ready to submit to an editor
- faced cleaning my office which had gotten to be an overwhelming chore. It is at least for the moment under control again.
- run a total of 12 miles and walked another 1+
- made inroads in my backlog of to-be-read, discarding some, reading some and letting some go for another day

Now I still have a few more tasks that I'm going to tackle before the weekend ends. Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend whether you spent it with friends and family or, like I did, in more solitary pursuits.

Take care,
Diana

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Interim Goals

Interim goals -- daily or weekly along the way can be a huge value. I've noticed that Barack Obama's well-run campaign (whether you support him or not, his campaign has been incredibly well-run) uses interim goals. When they had over 800,000 contributors, they set a goal of getting over 1 million by a particular date. A few weeks later, they set a goal of getting 1.5 million by another date. In the couple weeks that led up to North Carolina and Indiana which was a critical night for Obama, they set a goal of 1 million phone calls made before the end of polls for those primaries.

The one interim goal that I've had the most success with is -- 15 miles per week -- walked or run. The weight is coming off, though very slowly, and my fitness level is increasing much faster. Now, I often jog upstairs. I certainly have more spring in my step whether I'm running or walking.

But I'd like to find one more boost on the weight loss side. Occasionally I'll set a daily goal for flights of stairs. I work on the first floor of a 3-story building and I'll set a modest goal of climbing 6 flights of stairs during the work-day. But some days I work at home and other days I'm off, so I'm still thinking of a more substantial regular goal that will add to my progress. Stairs are great because they raise my heartrate very quickly. Hmm.....

I'm going to ponder this. Readers, I'd love to hear what daily or weekly goals you are using to reach a much longer-term goal.

Diana

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

People Didn't Understand My Last Post

I ran the ideas of my last post by a few of my friends and they didn't get it. The one friend said, "Well the only goal that I could even pretend my life depends upon is that I want to start exercising more and lose some weight."

But my idea wasn't to try and convince yourself how your life might depend on your goals. My idea was to act as if your life depended on achieving your goals and to ask yourself, so what would I do to make this (your goal or a step towards it) happen? Yes, you know that your life doesn't depend on that goal, but take the time to pretend for one moment that it does.

My one friend wants to open a sewing/knitting/craft store. Sort of like Michaels only a lot more personal. She has lots of ideas for promotions and lessons and clubs and she works at a small sewing store. She and one of the other employees have tossed around the idea of trying to buy that business from the elderly owner or to open their own. But it requires start up capital. They had agreed that having a three-way ownership might be the best situation. Decisions would be voted on. Majority would always rule. But they don't have a third person. The other potential owner was supposed to ask a friend, then a sister and.... nothing happens. My friend commented with a sigh that, "it just doesn't seem to be coming together."

I tried to make her see that if she HAD to open a store. IF her life depended on it (of course it doesn't, but just pretend) what would she do? Would she revisit the idea of needing a third owner? Would she advertise for the business opportunity? Would she go to a conference or trade show and network? I can bet that she wouldn't just wait to see if things 'come together.' So why not do those things now?

Your life may not depend upon it in the sense of life-and-death, but certainly the quality of your life does depend on acting with great urgency, "as if your life depended on it."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Your Life Depends Upon It

I bought a copy of Mind Control Marketing. One of the themes of the book is looking at marketing and affecting people's decisions in manners similar to war. One story involves a situation where men were dying because Vietnamese tactics were different from what they had dealt with before and the weapons they had on hand weren't effective. The leader responded by modifying the weapons to make them work shorter range.

The thought that struck me was that the leader had inadequate equipment for the situation but he came up with a creative solution because people's lives depended on it.

How Much Differently Do We Act When Our Lives Depend on Something?

One of my favorite scenes from the movie, Apollo 13 is the one where they realize carbon dioxide is building up in the capsule and that if they don't do anything about it, that the astronauts will all die. They march a bunch of NASA dudes into a room with a complete list and copy of the items onboard the space capsule -- everything from plastic-enclosed instructions, food, waste disposal containers, everything they have on the ship. And from that they HAVE to invent an air filter to remove the carbon dioxide from the air. They have to. Lives depend on it. And, while at first they worry that they can't do it, ultimately they did.

How many of our life excuses would we drop, if we thought lives depended on our coming up with a solution?

"I can't go back to school. I don't have the time." -- Think about it for a minute. If your life depended on you completing an education course, you would find a way to do it. You'd find someone to swap babysitting duties with or maybe you'd drop some other commitment that you have. I mean if you HAD to (or you would die), think of the things that you could do. And then recognize that you really do have the power to change your life.

Sure not every decision or problem is life and death, but what's worth thinking about is: What would you do differently if it was? And while you may not think your life depends upon it, it does. Because... having your life turn out the way you want, does in fact depend on you coming up with creative solutions.

So the next time you think, I can't because.... ask yourself, if a medical doctor told you you MUST do this or you will die. What would you do?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Giving It All You've Got

The other morning I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I went for a longer run than I had in, gosh, at least a year, maybe more. The day before I had watched my son run in a track meet. He had done fine, but it looked like he could have pushed himself more. In fact he later admitted that he finds it hard to push too much when it is clear that he isn't going to move up or down in terms of position. Namely when the next runner ahead of him has an insurmountable lead.

As I ran along Wednesday morning, I thought of this not in terms of my running, but all of my activities, including... making phone calls in support of Barack Obama. I don't like to phone strangers for any reason. But I believe that Barack Obama is a genuine man who still believes that the government should serve people and I find him inspirational and want to be part of people working together to change government. So I've combined that with a couple of books that I've read recently which talk about how it is good to move outside one's comfort zone. So, my way of moving outside my comfort zone has been to make a few calls in support of Obama.

It is in fact uncomfortable and the temptation is strong to quit and think of other ways, better ways??, to spend my time. But, as I ran along (the other issue came to mind as I passed an Obama 08 lawn sign), I heard in my mind those words that I had wanted to say to my son after his run, "It looked like you had a little more left to give. It looked like you could have pushed a little harder." Do I want anyone to make that comment about my life? I don't think so. And therefore, I'm going to try to continue to push my envelope.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Success Guaranteed!

Isn't that what we all want? Success Guaranteed? How many make-money-online or investment advice products have been sold guaranteeing that they will make good on some pretty outrageous promises.

The trick is to consider your own success guaranteed not by someone else's know-how, but by your determination and vision.

In one of his books, Brian Tracy asks how much energy would you put into making sales, if you were given a list and told that 90% of the people on the list would buy the product you offered. Quite a lot, obviously.

We need to feel that energy, that certainty of the final destination, the final prize. We need that jolt to get up when we've set the alarm clock extra early or when we get discouraging news. Only you can guarantee your success.

I've been focusing on some longer term goals, having seen enough flimsy get-rich-quick schemes. In doing things the 'right way', I do feel that my success is guaranteed. I know I will make it, because I'm doing all the right things and what doesn't work, I'll try alternatives.

To your success. May you also claim, success guaranteed!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good News/Bad News

Well I fell off the no complaint wagon this weekend, big time. Going to have to make another run at that one.

But the good news is that I reclaimed one pair of pants from the does-not-fit pile. I have zero breathing room, but even small steps in the right direction count.

And I already have 7.5 miles of this week's 15-miles-per-week goal. I think I'll look myself in the eyes and forgive my mistakes and pat myself on the back for the successes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Marketing, Self-Promotion, Advertising

So I’ve been told to look at what attitudes I may have about marketing and advertising. My mother HATED telephone sales people and resented them interrupting her activities. She further resented that often when she tried to say, “No thanks,” to salespeople, they didn’t take no for an answer, but instead continued to badger her. I remember her hanging up the phone and muttering about what a nuisance they were and that next time she was going to say, “Sorry my baby just fell in the toilet, gotta go!” Clearly no one who called on the phone to sell something had anything useful to offer.

And of course what did we call the advertisements that arrived in the mail? “JUNK mail.”

Similarly the door-to-door salesman were also quite unwelcome at our house. My mother would say she already had enough of such-and-such thank you and that she really preferred to buy at a store. Don’t call us, we’ll call you, or a variation of that theme, was pretty much a guaranteed response.

So it still stands out in my mind that one day when I was in late elementary school (I’m going to date myself here), I answered the door and found a stranger in a suit who asked if my father or mother was home. I was old enough to know that the suit, the fact that I’d never seen the guy and that I was supposed to fetch a parent without knowing why, all spelled S-A-L-E-S-M-A-N. I trotted off to find my father, smug with the knowledge that the salesman was doomed. My dad could dismiss salespeople without breaking a sweat, as opposed to my mother who always seemed to be put into a bad mood by the experience.

You can imagine my shock, when I heard the salesman say that he had something he wanted to offer my father AND MY FATHER INVITED HIM IN!!! This had NEVER happened before.

What I later learned was that particular door-to-door salesman was selling cable service in our neighborhood where cable had never been available before. He actually had a service to offer that my father was interested in and that my father could not get anywhere else. Wow.

While I remember that one exception, the overriding attitude of salesmen = pest, is engrained in my mental makeup and I know that it’s an attitude that holds me back. I once had a college professor who I greatly admired who had a poster of a horse’s backside. The tail was lifted and the pile of horse manure getting deposited on the ground was labeled advertising. The professor made many references in lecture to our material wants and even what we consider material “needs” are created by the world of advertisement. Damn those New York advertisers for convincing us that we need stuff that we don’t and making us forget that the best things in life are free. Advertisers produced shit, as the poster made clear.

Okay, those are my thoughts for the day. My task was to identify attitudes that we know we have that hold us back. So there is mine. Task done for the day. Tomorrow I’m supposed to think of a more useful mental model.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No Complaints – Day 2

So I had a less-than-great afternoon at work. I was in a meeting and an idea I had proposed was deemed insignificant and not worth going forward with. The person making the comment wasn’t rude about it, but it hurt. I was just about to demonize the guy in my mind. I had adjectives such as “condescending” and “belittling” on hot stand-by when I remembered my vow to go one week without complaining, either out loud or in my mind.

So instead I limited myself to simply stating how I felt, “not good” and “like it wasn’t worth trying,” “discouraged,” and “embarrassed.” I realized that this is the sort of switch that therapists and social workers recommend we make during verbal arguments. It’s recommended that instead of stating, “You humiliated me,” that you would say, “I was embarrassed.” I have never heard any psychologist suggest that you stay away from, “you humiliated me,” in your own mind. But really, why not? I mean isn’t the way we phrase thoughts to ourselves just as important. Sure the other person can’t hear those thoughts, so they don’t get defensive. BUT.... what about us? By stating those negative feelings as a complaint and blaming the other person involved, don’t we confuse the real issue?

After this reflection, I took a walk in the beautiful spring air, then packed up to head home. On the ride I listened some more to The Millionaire Mindset. Ol’ Harv was talking about how to grow and become more successful, one MUST go outside your comfort zone. Going outside your comfort zone means being Uncomfortable. But we should remember
1) no one ever died from being uncomfortable and
2) if we are uncomfortable, this means we ARE pushing ourselves and we should pat ourselves on the back.

Well, yippee, I felt like crap today. Congratulations, Diana! Way to move outside one’s comfort zone. Of course I did it somewhat unintentionally as I did not expect this reaction I guess to truly move beyond my comfort zone, I would have to make a counter proposal to the same guy who dismissed my first idea. I’ll consider it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Latest Personal Challenge

This morning as I drove to work, I was listening to the audio version of, The Millionaire Mindset and an "action item" caught my attention. The to-do? The challenge?

Go one week without complaining, either out loud or in your head.

I thought, well I'm a positive person, I can do that. Until I remembered that 30 minutes earlier I had been complaining. Granted I had ended the complaint by saying, "well at least they.... and that's a good thing." BUT..... it was still a complaint. So I vowed to give it a try, from this Monday morning commute till next Monday morning commute, I will not complain, either out loud or in my head.

So whereas last Monday I complained about the weather a lot, today I am celebrating that spring is arriving and the air is gentle once again. Every day gets a little longer. My jeans are a bit looser and so my step must be a bit lighter.

Any day now the daffodils will be in bloom. I LOVE daffodils

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Twenty-one Minutes

According to my laptop battery I have 21 minutes left before... I like the fact that the battery indicator doesn't actually complete the thought. It simply says: Total battery power remaining 26%, total time remaining, oops now 18 minutes. As though the world will end when my laptop dies.

Still being short on time is a big issue for me. I'm trying very much to focus on the small amount of effort that gets the majority of results. I've heard of the 20/80 rule, that 20% of the people, get 80% of the pay. Or that 20% of your efforts get 80% of results. I know for a fact that this applies to my hair, though the ratio is probably more 5-10% effort gives 90% results. I can style my bangs and that makes the biggest difference, making sure they aren't sticking out at ridiculous angles. The rest of my hair takes forever to dry and I've had times that I did nothing to it where it looked better than when I spent a half-hour trying to control what happened.

I just wish all of my tasks were so easy to see where the big payoff comes from. I guess I'm think the baby carrots and cut celery and apples can probably boost my family's daily fruit and vegetable intake with only a tiny effort. But when it comes to learning?... How do you know which books, speakers, websites are going to return the biggest investment?

I guess you can't know ahead of time, but only can evaluate it periodically. I have been trying and I think now, upon reflection, that I'll step up the policy, of unsubscribing to newsletters and promotional notices. Processing email, just takes too darn long. I've also discovered that simply by hitting "This is Spam" button for Nortan AntiSpam in Microsoft Office is helping. I tried it in desperation as more and more emails were offensive and disgusting, not to mention a waste of my time and I will say that I'm now getting less trash.

11 minutes remaining... Oops after spellcheck, 9 minutes remaining.

I think I'll close with an affirmation. One good way to be efficient is to remain calm and I have found that simply stating, 'I can handle it. I'll find time. I can handle it,' can actually help me remain calm in nerve-wracking, stressful meltdown moments.

Gotta go, battery is threatening shutdown. I can handle it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How to Handle Negative People and Naysayers

I've heard many of the success gurus discuss how to handle negative people and naysayers. Here are some of the suggestions.

- Don't tell negative people about your hopes, plans, resolutions.
- Avoid negative people. If they are your friends, then perhaps you need to find some more positive friends. If they are your family, perhaps you want to spend a bit less time with them, particularly as you try to make a change in your life.

But, what about the situations where you have to deal with negative people? This often happens either with co-workers where the overall work situation is good or with family members where you are both part of a family and therefore will both be present at family get togethers. Certainly there are people that regularly leave you disheartened, angry, sad, doubting yourself, feeling hopeless.... if they are family members, their words can cut to the core.

So far I've found two methods that have helped me. If they help you great, if not, keep working on your own solution, as I know you can do it.

First I consider negativity like static on the radio. If I really want to listen to a particular song and it is playing and suddenly I start to get a lot of static, I can lock onto the song portion, the melody, beat, words.... and ignore the static.

But.... sometimes negativity is so strong that it blots out whatever positive activity or thought you might have been focused on. What then? In the Harry Potter books, I love the phrase that is used to describe the Dementors. Someone says, "I felt like I would never be happy again." Do you have a dementor in your life? I do. And the advice from both friends and professionals tends to be to try and learn somehow to not let this person bother you. What I've found, is slightly different than that.

Yes, I try to recognize that a dementor's words are usually more fiction than fact, but this is not enough to completely protect me. A truly negative encounter is a bit of poison and what I need when I run into it, is an antidote. I have certain songs, mostly classical, that restore peace and harmony to my mind. I also have a route or two that I like to walk, a river to look at, a breeze through the trees. It's a bit like the actual solution in the Harry Potter books. For to get rid of Dementors one must conjure up a patronus, which is done by thinking of an overwhelmingly happy thought. So whether you go to your dog and get a big face-licking, tail-wagging greeting, or turn on your CD player, or look at an old photo, find your happy thoughts.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Puppies Behind Bars

Scratch what I had planned on writing about today. I just wandered down for coffee and read in the newspaper about a program that is one of the most true WIN/WIN situations that I can imagine. Puppies Behind Bars is a program that assigns puppies to qualified prisoners in several New York prisons to be trained as guide dogs, dogs for the disabled and explosive-sniffing dogs.

This program is not a win/win, it's a win/win/win/win/win/win. Here's why:


  • Every prisoner battles low self-esteem and putting the past behind them. A dog offers unconditional love with complete ignorance of one's past and the program offers a prisoner the opportunity for accomplishment.
  • The prisoners are taught a useful skill and could after leaving prison work in this field. They are offered additional information on possibly working as a veterinary assistant.
  • Prisoners are giving back to society.
  • The dogs are getting trained for a lower cost than if there were trained by professionals.
  • More dogs get trained than would be possible relying on volunteers.
  • With disabled veterans returning from Iraq, the need for dogs to aid the disabled is increasing.

"Are we raising guide dogs? Yes. Is that the first and foremost thing we are doing? Yes, however, these are people who are being given an opportunity to learn important basic life lessons, and they're learning via these dogs." - Gloria Gilbert Stoga, Puppies Behind Bars founder

I urge you to stop by the full Puppies Behind Bars website to make a donation and receive further inspiration and positive feelings for the day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sex and Food, Rated R

My blog post today focuses on the resolution that I'm definitely having success with -- losing weight. I know that it is helpful to change one's attitude towards food. At some point I started to think of eating in terms of sex.

Is sex about cramming in as much as you can? (All women, and some men, know the answer to this). No, sex is not about quantity. And neither is food and the pleasure of eating. Eating, like sex, should be one part anticipation, two parts of savoring the experience, the moment of satiation (easier to recognize when you are slowly enjoying every morsel) and then the relief of no longer being hungry.

Consider this model when you eat. Eat slowly and enjoy all the sensations of the food -- the taste, texture, smell. Make love to your food and then simply recognize when you are past your peak pleasure and stop trying to add anything more to the experience at that point. Again, think of sex. Continuing past the peak moment can only detract from the experience, it is impossible to add more at that point.

The advantage of this model is that you stop eating because you WANT to stop, not because you must follow a set of rules that someone else made up for you. It does wonders for allowing me to feel both in control and yet sinful at the same time.

Okay, well those are my R-rated thoughts for the day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm Back

I'm back and feeling reenergized by the time away. I continue to improve my physical condition which I know will translate into gradual weight loss. And while I came up with a great idea for a product to sell, as always I'm still struggling with time issues.

I've been spending a lot of time reading about the Democratic Presidential race. I believe strongly that Barack Obama is both a politician and a genuinely sincere person, which I don't think I have seen before. I also think he is highly intelligent and able to provide compromises and inspiration until people will join behind him. At least enough people to get things done. The tremendous volunteer effort of his campaign and the number of donations is the first proof of this fact.

So I spent quite a bit of time in the last week, despite feeling that I didn't have much to spare, evaluating Rev. Wright and the inflammatory sermons. It does not take long of reading a fuller transcript or hearing the full 9/11 sermon to realize that the man and the church has been done a disservice with only select portions being played. Most people do not even realize that when Wright is listing the things that the United States has done which made 9/11 more likely, that he is paraphrasing (though I don't know how accurately) Ambassador Peck who had appeared on Fox News a few nights earlier. This reference takes place about 15 seconds before the portion that is broadcast over and over again.

It's important to me, as I consider taking a more active role in supporting Obama, to feel sure of my belief in the man. Do I really have the time to spare on this? This is where I go back to my primary resolution. I am doing the Lord's work. When I pray, when I listen, I hear that this election is a pivotal moment in our history and that we have a chance to make a very important decision.

I support Barack Obama and I do not regret the time I spend reading about all of the presidential candidates because how can one support a candidate without understanding the choices fully.

I promise to not turn this blog into a political blog. I did reference believing in John Edwards in a previous post and I do indeed feel that he would make an excellent president. However he is not one of our current options and I see now the unifying power and inspiration that Obama brings and am confident in his leadership.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

On Vacation

Sorry I forgot to say I was going on vacation. The internet connection here is spotty at best and so I'm logged on just long enough to say I'll be back Easter Sunday, March 23rd hopefully and will be blogging again either Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Women Lose Weight

I've managed to cover my goal of running or walking 15 miles a week for 3 straight weeks and I'm starting to see the results. My boobs are looking smaller and this is a good sign according to my friend, Martha, who tells me it's been scientifically proven that women are most likely to lose weight from their upper body, particularly from their breasts and most likely to gain weight in their lower body.

"That is so true," Martha said. "I always notice when I'm losing weight that the buttons on my blouses suddenly have more slack. But when I gain weight, it's the zipper of my pants that won't close. They say that over time your weight evens out. That's a relief, because the way my weight goes up and down, if it didn't even out, eventually I'd be completely flat-chested with a humongous butt."

Now, if you are like me and this comment made you choke on your coffee, I apologize. I have great friends who make me laugh and cry and feel that it is wonderful to be alive and I wanted to pass on this little tidbit of information and humor. Besides, laughter burns calories!!

And today I wore a pair of pants that a couple of weeks ago I decided against wearing because the zipper was stressed to the point of breaking. I'd like to have even more wiggle room in them, but I'm getting there.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Planting Seeds - Germination Rates and Times Unknown

I remember one time talking to my mother about a disagreement that I'd had with a teacher about my grade on an English essay.

"She totally didn't see my point. I mean how can...."

When I paused for air, my mother said, "Well, just because she didn't acknowledge that you had a point, doesn't mean she didn't hear you at all. You may have planted a seed in her mind about this aspect of your writing and her grading."

I said nothing and it was pretty obvious to my mom that I had no idea what she was talking about.

She tried again, "Sometimes people don't want to admit that they are wrong or you had a point or maybe they don't really see your side of the argument, but your words stay with them, like a seed in the ground. And those words, that seed, can germinate into a change on their part down the road."

I was a teenager and didn't want to wait for anything and I think I went off muttering about didn't my mother see how stupid this teacher was and where was my sympathy?!! But, ironically, my mother's own words were most definitely a seed in my brain that later sprang into a deeply-rooted tree.

I have come to realize that both actions and words can plant a seed in someone else's mind that you NEVER know when it might germinate. I have recently had people tell me that something I said or did made them decide to make a change in their lives. One person told me that my writing had inspired her to begin writing again. Another friend who a few months ago whined constantly about being stuck in a dead-end job, told me that after observing me, she had decided to start looking for a different job. Wow! How cool is that?

This relates to making resolutions because what may appear as no results is often a very slow germination rate on the seeds you are planting. Whether you are trying to get a business off the ground, marketing an existing skill or product, or changing someone's mind (including your own) and you aren't seeing results, remember you may have planted a seed.

P.S. The picture was taken from the website morguefile.com, which despite its name is a great site for bringing blogs and websites to life by adding pictures. I learned about it from this Squidoo lens on free web graphics.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Keep Moving

I'm pleased with my progress losing weight and less pleased with my progress on financial goals. I continue to have trouble carving out time. Unlike exercise where I find I can use time slices as small as 30 seconds, generating income is hard to do in that timeframe. I have spent some time just now sitting and thinking of what might be the best way of improving my progress and I'm really not sure.

Finally, I decided for the moment to leave that question in the back of my mind and instead to simply begin doing what I know I need to do. I don't know how exactly I'm going to fit in all the pieces of the pie that need doing, but I think it is better to begin doing the actual work, realizing that I have an issue, a challenge, that I need to be creative about. Waiting for an overall strategy and the big picture plan isn't getting me anywhere tonight. I'm going to take some small tasks that I KNOW need to be done and knock them off my list.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I Feel Like a Million Bucks!

Wow, if I could translate feelings into dollars then I'd have achieved my financial goal already.

This morning I thought about my goal of running or walking 15 miles per week. My weekly total was 11 miles so far and snow is forecast for tomorrow. I had no running buddies around to plan a run with and recent snow and ice makes the one route I run with Licorice (our dog), not a good option. What to do?

I finally decided that I would drop my son off at school and park at the nearby park and run along some quiet small town roads. I planned my route without knowing how far it would be. I purposely changed directions several times, so I never got particularly far from my car and psychologically it didn't feel like a long run. Oh and did I mention it's only 5 degrees here today? One of the coldest days of the winter AND I'm not a morning runner. On the other hand, the streets I had chosen were almost all flat and lined with houses that partially block any real wind. So it wasn't all bad.

Having made the commitment to wearing running clothes down and having chosen the route, there was no hesitation or debate about going. I trotted off and frankly the shadow I cast did not appear particularly graceful or gazelle-like. Even at my most in shape, as a high school track runner (I actually won the majority of my races), my style had been compared to a horse, AND the speaker had clarified, NOT a thoroughbred racehorse, but the kind of horse that pulls a wagon all the way to town and back, clip-clop, clip-clop. I was a distance runner and the person who said this considered my even pace and steady stride to be complimented by this analogy. I think it goes without saying that most high school girls aren't hoping to be compared to Betsy in the barn.

But, these days, I was more okay with trotting along smoothly and steadily. I did not want to be gasping for breath in 5 degree air. I was pleasantly surprised by how relatively easy the run felt and I went down one street where if I had ever traveled, I had certainly never had time to look around. There are some GORGEOUS homes there. Well at least the land they own and the view was impressive.

My only tough moment came on the one brief uphill. I happened near the top to be passing a graveyard and I thought, "well probably most of the people there would gladly trade places with me." Not that there aren't some people who would sooner be dead then running uphill on a winter morning. But not me, I continued on and was rewarded by finishing feeling great.

I got in the car and had driven out the parking lot before I remembered to check the clock (I was using this as a rough mileage indicator). 3.5 miles!! - more than I had expected. Had I realized I only needed another half-mile I might have continued on, but my sweaty, damp clothes were already getting chilly and I decided I'd leave the final half-mile for a couple long walks with the dogs.
Well that's all for now. I'm going to enjoy a well-deserved breakfast!

P.S. The picture was taken by Cheryl Rankin (a.k.a. Irish Eyes) from a website morguefile.com, which despite its name is a great site for bringing blogs and websites to life by adding pictures. I learned about it from this Squidoo lens on free web graphics.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Easiest Way to Lose Weight

As I mentionned before, I'm pretty sure that I'm not cut out to be a Skinny Bitch. So I started looking for an easy way to lose weight and ran across this book, French Women Don't Get Fat. The basic premise of the book is that French women stay thin or thinner on average than Americans and they do so without dieting or exercise.

One of comments made in the book that applied to me, was to look for easy calories to cut, one of these being drinking juice with a meal instead of water. And a second idea of the book is: if giving something up is too difficult, just give it up some of the time, so you don't feel deprived. When I eat at home, I usually have apple juice with dinner. I like it. But I don't care about having it every night. If we run out of apple juice, I drink water with dinner without feeling deprived. So I plan to switch and if I find myself craving the apple juice, then I'll have it that night. So that's the easiest way to lose weight that I've heard so far.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snapping Out of Autopilot - Forming New Habits

This morning I dropped my son off at school and had to stop and drop a tax payment off at the town office. Since this meant I had to make a slight detour, but only slight, on my way to work, my fear was that I'd zone out, fall into my autopilot going-to-work-routine and forget to stop. A mistake I'd made before.

So after dropping off my son, I said "Stop at the town office. Stop at the town office...." I continued to say this to myself out loud through the 3 traffic lights until I got to the point that I needed to detour from my usual route. And I thought, "Wow, here AGAIN, I'm thinking that saying something out loud is a way to bring it into focus, to force myself to remember and to force myself to change my habits." This of course is the very same thought that I had had yesterday about bringing resolutions to fruition.

And it came to me in a flash and I said outloud, "I am making a BOATLOAD of money in 2008. And I'm paying EVERYTHING off." See previously when I had stated my resolutions out loud, I had stated them completely, which meant saying:
I resolve to connect spiritually and feel the strength and peace that comes from that, every day.
I resolve to earn enough money to pay off all my debt and will finish doing so by January 2009. I will have zero balance on my primary mortgage, credit card bills, 401K loan.
I am listening to my body more and giving it healthier food and more exercise. This means every day my pants zip a bit more easily and therefore I exercise more as well. By July 2008 I fit into all the clothes in my closet.

Whew... That's a mouthful. It hardly rolls off the tongue. No wonder yesterday I was trying to figure out when I could count on having the time to say and dwell on such looooonng cumbersome thoughts. But now I have a better daily statement.
I am doing the Lord's work.

I am making a BOATLOAD of money in 2008. And I'm paying EVERYTHING off.

and I haven't quite decided of a nice short punchy version about losing weight and getting in shape. Maybe:
I have a body I love.

Yes, that's it.
I am doing the Lord's work.

I am doing the Lord's work when I thank someone at work for helping me out, when I make someone laugh, when I give my son a hug, when I feed the dog. I am doing the Lord's work when I learn to listen to harsh words and make something positive out of them (or at least quell the negativity). I am doing the Lord's work when I manage my money wisely enough to give generously. I am doing the Lord's work.

I am making a BOATLOAD of money in 2008. Just saying this gives me that same thrill that I first felt as a kid who told herself "I'm winning. I'm winning." regardless of the actual score. Winning is energizing. Receiving goodies is energizing.

I have a body I love.

Now I am set to proclaim my resolutions every day WITH FEELING!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Still Need a Talking To

Ready Maid commented on my last blog entry that she also had been forgetting or not bothering to state her goals out loud. It does feel horribly silly, awkward and of lesser importance. But I think stating resolutions out loud IS important. I was certainly surprised by how determined I felt after stating my goals out loud.

It's also a little trickier to do this discretely -- at work, at home, how often is someone listening in and making you feel even more inhibited? I did it at home the day I wrote the blog entry and everyone else was out. But I can't count on that. Perhaps I need to get in the habit of stating my goals out loud as I drive along. I know that to get in a habit, the best thing is to have a certain time of day and place to take action. For stating resolutions, or affirmations as some people like to call them, the recommendation is to state it first thing you get up in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed at night. Problem I have is I'm trying to be quiet and not wake anyone up during that time. So I need an alternative and driving seems like a good one. Now, it would be best to be a section of road that is easy driving, to actually apply some brain cells to what I am saying. But, I don't go the same way each day. Hmm... okay, this is another one that I'm going to leave the question out there and hopefully it will be answered in another post.

As for my commitment to run or walk 15 miles each week. I had to do some creative bookkeeping. I covered 6.5 miles on Sunday and I counted 3 of them on last week's total and 3.5 of them on this week's total. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it works and is better than just giving up on the idea.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Talking Out Loud

I have to confess in general I am not good about always remembering to say my resolutions out loud. Just now I read the Millionaire Mind declarations out loud and it's funny but I REALLY do feel more positive and confident, yes I AM doing these things. I AM making positive changes in my life. I am going to remember to state my resolutions out loud more often.

My point is don't let inhibitions or thinking that this portion of achieving your goals is unimportant. Let your voice be heard.

Snow and Weight Loss

Well no sooner did I vow to increase my walking/running mileage to 15 miles per week, then a giant blizzard blanketed the middle of the east coast. It's been snowing here since early morning and is supposed to go until early tomorrow morning and I have a ton of activities scheduled for tomorrow. So I'm at 12 miles so far (11 run and 1 walked). I'm going to have to get creative tomorrow if I'm going to get 3 more miles in.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Goals

It occurred to me that every time that I've been successful at losing weight and keeping it off, that I have NOT been trying to lose weight, I've been trying to get in shape. I used to (years and years ago) run local races and occasionally win one. I liked to set goals of running a certain course faster than I had the previous year or running a longer running route than I had ever done before. My longest ever was 13 miles.

And along the way I got thin. Quite thin. So.... I'm thinking instead of thinking green and black pants should fit comfortably with a shirt tucked in, I need to set a different interim goal -- a weekly mileage. Since January 1st my weekly running mileage has varied from 4.5 miles to about 10 miles. Not a lot. Not by runner's standards. This week I hope to actually hit 11 miles.

With the winter weather and a lack of predictability to my schedule, it is difficult for me to plan on running even say 15 miles a week yet. But, what I could do is set a walking/running goal of 15 miles per week and decide that a minimum of 7 miles of that should be running. So that's my new goal.

People often quote Zig Ziglar who said, "You can get anything in life you want if you help enough people get what they want." And it's funny, there's a parallel there in terms of reaching my money making goals. Trying to make money, probably isn't going to work. Finding a way to increase my value to others. That might work.

Interesting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pretending You're Winning Builds Enthusiasm

You could make a strong case that my weight loss resolution is lacking clear definitive progress. Some might go so far as to argue that it's a failure or certainly behind schedule.

The pants that I planned to wear with shirt tucked in, comfortably, for a day at work, were uncomfortably tight this morning. Now, they had just come out of the dryer where they had perhaps been left to shrink a bit. But... nevertheless, the fit was not desired. Since the pants are actually starting to wear out because as one of my largest pairs I was wearing them a lot, I put them back and pulled out a new pair that was also fresh out of the dryer and seemed fine.

Still to have resolved six weeks ago to lose weight and not have passed the very first interim goal/milepost is disappointing and could be disconcerting. Yesterday my jeans felt looser and my husband made a comment about thinking I might have lost some weight, so it's not ALL discouraging news. So what to do?

Seems like maybe I need to increase either the quantity or intensity of what I'm doing for exercise (as exercise not diet is what works for me). BUT.... here is what's important. I realized today that if I try to do it thinking that I'm not doing enough, I'm likely to be bummed and disheartened. Instead I know I have to believe that I AM losing weight. I AM making progress. I need to think that way to get the mental boost it gives me.

Yes, my jeans felt loose yesterday. My husband noticed the difference. I've been exercising pretty regularly. As I ran the 3 mile loop today I never once thought, "Oh, how much longer" or "I'm so tired" or "I wish I could stop."

I first discovered the power of pretending I was winning when I was about 10 years old and playing ping-pong with my brother who is 4 years older than I am. I noticed that when I was ahead, whether it was because I had played well or my brother had made a mistake, that I was so happy that I generally played better. So I started telling myself silently that I was ahead (regardless of the score). I would make myself feel that surge of happiness that victory brings and that feeling allowed me to play as well as my older, more athletic brother. I have no idea who won more games overall, my brother or I, but I learned that success often encourages people enough that they increase their achievement further. AND pretending success can increase your own achievement, just as much as real success.

Brian Tracy points out that sales people are most successful immediately following a sale because they are still so pumped up and confident from the previous sale. And he tells people to try and pump themselves up that way regardless of their sales record, by positive self-talk. He tells of someone who achieved success by telling himself, "I'm the best," before each sales call.

So today I am celebrating being successful at losing weight. Again, I repeat, I got one half-compliment. I felt good running 3 miles. Yesterday my jeans were riding lower, no longer stretched to the max by my stomach. I am on my way! And now I must go dance for joy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Finding Time

I'm able to find time to exercise, by doing it primarily in tiny time slices. Running up and down the stairs or dancing around in the kitchen while I'm stuck on hold on the telephone (fortunately no one seems to notice that I'm a bit breathless when they return). And finding time to connect spiritually, well, it just doesn't take that long to spend a few moments reflecting on your life and what's important.

But, when it comes to making money, it's a lot harder to find the time. I've been trying to get up early in the morning and work on money-making activities then, but I'm not satisfied with the tiny amounts I'm getting done. I'm thinking that perhaps for money-making activities I may not "find time" so much as need to "make time."

I've heard it suggested that it's best to allocate days into ones that you focus primarily on one particular activity -- so some days are really dedicated to family and fun, other days are dedicated to short-term tasks, other days are dedicated to long-term planning. And I heard a successful freelance writer talking about how before noon she writes and afternoon she combines book promotion with family responsibilities. So I have my day job hours and I have in the past been successful with taking half-days off from work, to do more entreprenurial tasks. But I'm going to run out of vacation very quickly doing that. So...... when??

There was also one baseball season where my husband was very busy coaching and my son was very busy playing and it seemed when they were not doing that, they were watching friends at the fields and I scheduled my writing for their practice times. But it's February and no baseball is on the horizon. So when....

If you were reading this blog post hoping to learn how I solved this problem, I have bad news. I am writing this blog post as a "thinking out loud" exercise and the solution hasn't come to me yet. I will come up with the answer though. I have to, to reach my goals. So return to read more another day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Moving Outside One's Comfort Zone

Okay, so in keeping with the Millionaire Mind philosophy, I had set aside an equal amount of money in a Financial Freedom account and in a Play account (for unnecessary, fun purchases). I had picked $150 for each (in reality my additional 401K contribution means I'm really putting more aside for Financial Freedom). February is the first full month that I'm doing this in. So far, I have bought
- more fun, colorful underwear - around $30
- my favorite hair treatment stuff off Ebay - about $12 worth
- and a $20 bottle of an expensive bath/shower gel

Yesterday the bath/shower gel arrived. I had originally received a sample size of this when I bought something else. While I loved the smell, I considered it an overpriced extravagance. But then along came this advice to indulge in a small amount of overpriced extravagances and I like to try out advice before taking it or rejecting it.

So this morning I saw the box and thought, "What the heck did I pay $20 for shower stuff? Talk about pouring money down the drain." After I showered and looked at the still seemingly full bottle, I realized that the $20 bottle size was probably a 2-month supply. Really I'm probably only spending about 40 cents a day for an experience that perks me up, much like a cup of coffee might (which I'd obviously pay more than 40 cents for).

And yet I'm uncomfortable. I am not comfortable buying things that I could do without. I feel that I should be spending the money on my kids or saving it or donating it to the poor.

And again, I'm struck by how, if nothing else, I'm learning something about myself. I really had this notion that mentally I did not get in my own way. That I try things that others would scoff at. That I never fall into that negative mindset of feeling that I don't deserve something. But there it was, this morning, the voice inside of my head saying, "Girl, WHAT did you go spending $20 on SHOWER GEL for." And another voice saying, "I know, I shouldn't have."

So, there you have it -- me stepping outside my comfort zone and thereby discovering a bit more about where my comfort zone is. Not sure exactly what I do with this latest discovery, but that will be another post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Diana Wright, Bestselling Author

Okay, so I'm shifting my expectations and envisioning the day in the future when I will be introduced as "Diana Wright, bestselling author. Her books have sold over 1 million copies." Wow, it's kind of cool. And why not?

I mean if 2 years ago, someone had introduced Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, how many people would have giggled over the the odds of it happening. But no one is laughing now (especially not Senator Hilary Clinton).

So I'm resetting my expectations. I don't want to simply be published. I want to have touched thousands and thousands of people's lives in a positive way, whether I taught them something or simply brightened their day. It isn't about the income, though that is important also. We all have bills to pay and would like to be free of financial worries. But having lots of people buy something that you wrote, means that many people have found value in those words. I want, no expect, to one day be a best-selling author.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Expectations

Sorry I was away for a few days there. Actually went 3 whole days without touching a computer.

In the last 3-4 days, I did think a bit more about my own expectations for my writing, my business ventures, etc. Since I pride myself on being a positive thinker, I was pretty shocked to realize that while I expect to be a successful writer, I have zero expectations of being a HUGELY successful or profitable writer. The idea of writing a book that sells a million copies, is, well just not something I've ever even let myself fantacize about.

So I guess the next step is to shed those low expectations and choose some new ones. I have two things to shed now -- extra pounds and low writing expectations. Both are slowing me down and serving no purpose.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Step 2

So the second step in changing the way you think about money (according to T. Harv Eker) is to understand how what you learned about money growing up has affected how you've acted as an adult.

Here is what I came up with:

I never expect to really make money from my writing. I have many writing friends who poke fun at aspiring writers who think they will simply write a book and live off the income. Most books sell less than 1000 copies. So if you get published AND the book sells more than 1000 copies, gosh, you are way ahead of the game. I never expect to write a book that would sell enough copies to bring in real income. Unless I change that expectation, what do you think are the odds of it happening?

Until I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I never thought much about non-job methods of earning money. Now, I consider such opportunities all the time, BUT.... much of my time currently is taken up by my day job, which I believe I need for income and medical benefits.

One of my 401K’s is in an Etrade retirement account, until now I have told no one that its value is lower now than it was the day that I opened it with a deposit from a former job’s pension fund. I viewed my failure with those stocks as a great disappointment and let it sour my desire to consider the stock market as a possible income source.

Because I felt people should only start a business if they had other money to fall back on, I waited for years to accumulate the ‘money to fall back on’. In the last 3 or 4 years I’ve realized I could wait my whole life for ideal conditions to make a career change or I can act now. I have chosen now.

Since I have been told it’s unrealistic to expect to quit your day job, I pace my efforts outside my day job. I think that I have only so much extra time beyond my family and job to put into any new ventures. It had never occurred to me, before now to think, “for six months I’m going to continue my day job AND launch my new business. It will be exhausting, but soon I’ll be able to focus just on my new business.” I never REALLY expected to have a new business venture bring me real money in less than a year.

SO..... where does this leave me. Now I need to realize that these thoughts represent only what I learned and are not who I am. Okay, so I'll ponder that a bit and write more another day. Till then...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Money Lessons I Learned Growing Up

So, as I've mentionned before I listened to and have been trying out the ideas of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. One thing he suggests is to write down the ideas about money and wealth that you learned growing up, to become aware of your existing "wealth blueprint."

Despite SAYING that I was going to try and follow his recommendations, I hadn't really planned to do this, until today when I felt I needed a blog topic and didn't have one. So, putting the two thoughts together, I'm blogging today on money lessons I learned growing up.


  1. To get money you get a job. Husbands have to get jobs to support their families. It's expected. Wives may need to get jobs.

  2. If you want more money, you take a second job or maybe look for a 'better job' (which meant one that paid more).

  3. Investment was a way to make your savings accumulate faster. It wasn't realistic to expect to live off your investments unless you were already very rich.

  4. To invest money in any way, real estate, stocks, a business loan and lose it was a very sad experience and therefore you should be careful to avoid that. My mother told me that they had bought a mobile home with money she inherited from her father and they lost almost all that money. Perhaps because the money was associated with her father, this experience left her very sad and she decided to never invest in real estate again.

  5. You should only start a business if you have other money to fall back on, savings, a spouse's income, etc. Because the overwhelming majority of new businesses fail. So odds are you are going to fail.

  6. It was okay to try and earn a little money in addition to your real job, but it was unrealistic to think that you'd be quitting your "day job" any time soon.


Okay well the next step is supposed to be to evaluate how these ideas have effected my life so far. But that's for another day.

See ya!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Do Not Be Denied

Wow, we all knew it was something special when we saw it, Eli Manning's incredible determination and focus as he avoided being sacked in last night's Super Bowl followed by THE CATCH by David Tyree.
David Tyree stretched every inch of his 6-foot frame, straining as if the whole Super Bowl was at stake. Because in a way, it was. Somehow, with time running out and the ball pinned to his helmet, Tyree held on tight with both hands Sunday. Years from now, New York Giants fans will still wonder how he did it.


Ben Walker, AP Writer, published on Newsvine.com

The minute I saw it I thought about the determination and power of resolving to have something and just deciding absolutely that it will be so.

A friend commented, "I knew when I saw that play, the Giants would win. I knew it. That play showed that Eli Manning would not be denied."

In Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill tells the story of a young black girl who forced a rich arrogant white man to give her money for her "Mammie." And even the white man isn't quite sure why he gave her the money, because he had already told her to leave him alone or risk the consequences. The young girl at one point insisted, "But my Mammie simply HAS to have it. She has to." She would not be denied.

If you want something, do not be denied.

And if you missed the Super Bowl, because you went to another planet (or live in one of those places that refers to soccer as "football", then watch it in the highlights of this You Tube clip.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Do I Want to Feel Better Now or Later?

One of my favorite Jerry Seinfeld jokes is one where he talks about how complicated shopping has become. If you have a headache and go to the drugstore for aspirin there are SO many choices -

Buffered, Maximum Strength, Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting

Jerry pauses, "I don't know. When do I want to feel better? Now or later?"

Of course the joke is better when Seinfeld tells it, as most jokes are. But it's a funny thought. But I combined this thought this morning with something someone told me the other day about procrastination.

They said the trick to conquering procrastination is to see ALL tasks you are to do, including those you are putting off, as something YOU choose to do. You CHOOSE to organize your papers so that you can stop losing so much time looking for things.

So this morning is another Sunday morning when I am already up and have time to take Licorice for a run. I was thinking that unlike the last time I took her out, I don't really feel like going because

It is not warm.
I have stuff at my computer that I'd like to do.
I just don't feel like running.
It's a hassle to wash the blanket that I have to cover the seat with (we live on a heavily traveled road and I have to drive her to a quiet road to run on).
Did I mention that I don't really feel like it?

But when do I want to feel better? Now or later? I always feel better after a run. When they write about the endorphins that running creates and the feeling of calm and mental well-being that that brings, well, that is VERY true for me. AND.... wouldn't it be nice to be that much closer to wearing the pants in my closet AND breathing comfortably while wearing them??

I chose to run which is why I have to end this post.

Bye!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

As I mentionned before I listened to the audio version of, The Millionaire Mindset and I'm really trying to follow the action items.

I decided that my Paypal account would be my "Financial Freedom" account and I deposited $150 into it (1st of the month makes remembering easy) and then I'm going to use one credit card for my "Play" purchases and that way I can see that they total $150 each month. I figure if I have to use my Paypal account for something not related to financial freedom, well then I'll just do another transfer from the bank account to cover that. And Paypal pays some minimal interest as well, so that makes it a good account to use.

Meanwhile I counted up my total net worth -- $184,000 -- but it's all in 401K (tax-deferred) saving acount. Not really quite the same as a regular account, but better than nothing. Other than that, the equity in my home is almost exactly equal to the short-term loans I have -- credit cards, student loan, etc.

On the up side I came up with a business, money-making idea today that I think has very real possibilities. Not a get-rich-quick scheme, but something that I'm good at doing, that a lot of people might be willing to pay for.

And that's all the news today, just touching base, reminding you and me both that I'm committed to making good on my New Year's Resolutions for 2008.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I believe in John Edwards

Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what's possible.

John Edwards, New Orleans, January 30 2008

This blog is about making resolutions and keeping them and the inspiration and practices that can help you do so. I remember one of the books I've read (sorry I can't remember which book) asking, "What's the biggest dream you would dream if you thought you could definitely do it." Mine is way bigger than my 2008 resolution and it involves making a huge difference in many people's lives. My 2008 resolutions would help make such a dream possible.

I do not entirely understand John Edward's decision to suspend his campaign, but I do believe and understand that he is NOT walking away from the causes that he believes in. His ultimate goal, improving the lives of all Americans, particularly those struggling financially, is a cause that he is dedicating his life to.

It's ironic this morning I was Googling about predatory lenders and the mortgage crisis and one of the top results was on www.johnedwards.com. It was a full explanation of John Edward's plans to assist those facing foreclosure and prevent fraud and misleading practices in the lending industry. It was more than wishful thinking. It was a specific, and likely-to-be effective, action plan. Unlike the author of The Secret, I believe resolutions and thoughts must be followed by plans.

But to go back to Edward's decision to "suspend" (note he did not withdraw) his campaign. While we must make plans and take action, we must also stay open to alternative routes to our ultimate goal. That is, I believe what Edwards is doing. He must have felt that the route he was taking, campaigning for president, was not leading to the success of his ideas. In many ways, his suspension of his campaign, did in fact further elevate his proposals. In last nights' Democratic debate, suddenly Obama and Clinton could not say enough good things about Edwards and his ideas. Suddenly all of the Democratic frontrunners are talking about Edwards' ideas.

I urge everyone who is planning to vote in Tuesday's Democratic primary to visit the Issues page on JohnEdwards.com and/or to listen (or read transcripts) of the debates that included John Edwards and if you come to same conclusion that I did, that John Edwards is both dedicated and capable of helping Americans who most need help or guidance, then vote for John Edwards on Tuesday. I do not say this in hopes that he will reenter the campaign (though it's a possibility), but I say it because voting for John Edwards is voting for the causes he championned. The more votes and delegates he represents, the more weight Clinton and Obama have to give to his proposals. I urge you Vote for John Edwards on February 5th

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stating Your Resolutions

I was thinking I didn't have anything new to write about today and then I realized I don't need something new to write about. Part of making resolutions (some people prefer the term 'intentions') happen is to restate them daily.

I resolve to connect spiritually and feel the strength and peace that comes from that, every day.

I am paying off all my debt in 2008.

I am getting a bit thinner each day and will by the end of 2008 be able to wear any of the clothes hanging in my closet.

My closing thought for the day is best stated in this photo:

That is the Hudson River in the picture. Don't you feel that you could just reach out and touch heaven?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blogging Every Day

Good thing I didn't make a New Year's Resolution to blog every day or I would have failed already. Or would I? Think about it for a minute. If I had made a New Year's resolution to blog every day, would I have already failed?

Well sure Diana, you missed yesterday. I can see it by the dates.

If you answered yes, I disagree and here's why. Making a resolution is about making a decision about a final outcome that you will achieve, it does not indicate that you won't make a misstep along the way. You WILL make a misstep or two.

If there is one concept that I think held me back in life, it was this notion that getting something wrong was a big deal.

How many did you get wrong on the math test?

"FIVE WRONG? I got them ALL right."

No not me, I wasn't so obnoxious. But other than the fact that the comment was rude, I wouldn't have seen anything wrong with it. After all it was about how many you got right versus how many you got wrong, wasn't it? Isn't it?

The problem with such thinking is that often you choose to not stretch yourself at all. You risk little and feel badly about your "failures" or "missteps" (the word I prefer).

Yesterday I attended a meeting about a program at work where people can make proposals (I'm purposely avoiding the specifics as it would reveal info on the company). I had heard of this program before and had never bothered with it. The payoff is fairly modest for getting a proposal accepted and I didn't have any ideas that I thought were particulary likely to get approved. But then I was stunned by one fact in the presentation. The people who to date have any significant number of proposals approved, only have a 50% approval rating. Despite all their successes and experience, they are still "failing" half the time. But, because they obviously don't mind those rejected proposals, they continue to make new proposals and have enough approved that the payoff actually becomes significant. So no, it isn't always about how many you got right versus how many you got wrong. Sometimes it's just about how many you get right.

So propose something, even to yourself. Got for it. If it doesn't work, who cares. No one is keeping score. If anyone does keep score and remind you of your failings/missteps, tell them to get a life. Or tell them to read about Edison and comment that lucky for all of us who like electric lights, he didn't have anyone in his life pointing out all his missteps, or if he did, he ignored them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Change Your Life and Everyone In It



  Wow. This book has to make my top 10 books in terms of what I got out of it. I had read one of Michele Weiner Davis's other books, Divorce Busting and thought that was really useful. But it is targeted solely at romantic relationships, primarily marriage.

Change Your Life and Everyone In It on the other hand is about changing any aspect of your life -- work, marriage, your kids, your irritating mother-in-law, you name it..
Weiner Davis will prompt you to create a soluation to your problems. Yes, a big point of the book is that YOU, not some expert, are the one most qualified to figure out the solution to your problems.

But if I knew how to solve my problems, don't you think I would have done so already?

Yeah, I thought that too. But the book takes you down a creative problem-solving path, asking you to think about what part of the current equation you can change. I got a ton of good ideas from this book and will be rereading my copy from time to time to come up with more. In fact it was from this book, that I got the solution to my problem of social dessert eating.

I think this book is most useful when you feel you need advice on how to get unstuck on some aspect of your life. Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again? Having the same arguments with a loved one? Making the same New Year's Resolutions each year? This is the book for you. Grab it now and drink it in slowly, giving the ideas plenty of time to soak in.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Visiting Your Goals

Any book on success talks about visualizing your goals. Today I/we did more than visualizing, we visited. We visited Yale, one of many colleges that my son Matt thinks he might like to go to. It would be a stretch for Matt academically. We live in a primarily blue collar town and about once every 5 years someone goes to an Ivy League school and it is usually Brown or Cornell, not one of THE BIG THREE (Princeton, Yale or Harvard). I was actually a bit surprised he wanted to visit Yale, but pleased that he does have such visions.

Wow, what a school. The facilities, faculty, dormatories, libraries, gyms, programs, and of course the student body itself. A college environment couldn't come any richer. By rich, I mean having an abundant supply, not the price tag associated with it. Yale's new financial aid policy means it could come with a lower price tag for some middle class families, than other private colleges do. But there is a price to be paid. Yale demands both talent and proven accomplishments. I think Matt will be that much more focused in the next year on maximizing what he can offer such a college, building his skills and accomplishments. And I will have Yale (or a school that Matt might like even more) in my mind as I completely change our financial picture.

Yes, a clear picture in mind is important. But if it's possible to actually visit your goal, truly see yourself there, make the trip and be sure to enjoy it.

Diana

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No Time to Exercise? Think Again

Okay, I'm making notes because I forget to do these myself. Here are all the ways I've found of burning extra calories without burning any time.

- Run through your chores. By this I mean when possible RUN. Putting laundry away in several rooms? Run from one to another. Need a new roll of paper towels in the kitchen?? Run to the closet.

- Exercise in tiny unused time slices. What do you do while you wait for the shower water to get warm? While waiting for your email to open?? While the coffee is warming up in the microwave?? Walk in place with an exaggerated knees to chest motion, swing your arms at the same time. And you thought waiting 20 seconds for the coffee to warm seemed like a long time before. You may think exercising for that short a time is silly, but your heart rate will remain elevated for much more than 20 seconds, burning more calories than if you had stood idly.

- Move as much as possible while driving easy routes. Tap the steering wheel. Sing out loud (yes, more calories than not doing so). Clench those butt muscles. Squirm like a kid who needs to go to the bathroom. Come on, you remember how. Shrug those shoulders. Push against the floor with your left leg (I said LEFT leg and NOT while you are trying to shift a car with manual transmission). Or tap that left leg, more fun if in time to music, but either way works.

- If you use an elevator or escalator, take the stairs.

Readers, chime in with additional ideas.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Woo Hoo!! One Goal Down

Okay, well I accomplished my very first interim goal today of tucking a shirt into my green&black herringbone pants and wearing it all day at work. I must say that after lunch (why does my stomach expand so even after a small lunch?) I was a trifle uncomfortable, but I decided to fake it until I can make it. At least I can say I took the step, however borderline the accomplishment was.

A couple times I felt slightly ill, but went for a walk which both made me feel better and probably increased the odds that the next time I wear this combo, I'll have some more breathing room.

I am losing weight and getting in shape. With the new haircut I really am feeling good about the improvements.

Gotta go. It's been a long day at the day job!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I LOVE The Amazing Race -- Great Finale!

I love The Amazing Race. If you haven't seen it, hope that they make yet another series of it and if so, watch it. Why do I love it so much? There's a lot to be learned from it. Sometimes you get a flat tire. Sometimes your taxi driver says he knows where you are going, but he doesn't. Isn't that life?

Sometimes a task appears easy for everyone around you while you struggle and get left behind. And how do people cope? Do they turn on their partner? Do they give up or keep trying? Do they keep a sense of humor? Do they tell their friend not to worry about making a mistake. Tell their friend that they love them no matter what. It's an awesome show.

Tonight again a great pair won. I won't post the names, because I understand that it's not broadcast the same time every place and I know as a fan, that I'd be incredibly irritated to see the winner preannounced.

Before I saw the show I was debating whether to check tomorrow morning and see if I had achieved my first goal stated in an earlier post, which was to put on the green and black herringbone dress slacks. be able to tuck a shirt (regardless of how thin) into those pants and wear them to work for the day. I was thinking earlier that if I tried and found I wasn't there yet, that I might be discouraged. But I won't. It will be just like an Amazing Race event, where you run up to the judge on a particular step and say "Is that it? Can I proceed yet?" If the answer is no, all it means is you have more work to be done. That is not a cause for concern. Just keep going! Don't waste time looking around to see where your competition is. Just keep going! Say to yourself, "I can get this. I can do this."

Talk to you tomorrow!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sing, Sing a Song....

Today was a day where staying positive was more of a struggle. I immediately thought of my resolution to stay spiritually connected or grounded, to feel God’s touch, or whatever great spirit in the sky one believes in. As I searched for that feeling, that connection, I went to YouTube to play a song or two from Godspell. Music has an amazing power to affect our moods, doesn’t it?

Some of the YouTube videos had the actual Broadway recording of Godspell, a wonderfully strong, uplifting performance. But there were many other YouTube videos that were high school productions. In some cases the lead singer had a gorgeous voice, but the supporting cast were pretty disconnected, the lead sang almost without backup and I was stuck by the similarity to how I had been feeling that day, singing along without anyone chiming in. I had felt like I was hitting flat notes because of a lack of connection with those I was dealing with. But you just have to keep on singing and isn’t that sometimes the most courageous performance of all, the lone singer giving it their all, hitting the high notes, with the audience in darkness and the singer can’t tell if they are in rapt admiration or bored disdain. Sometime you have to be positive and energetic a lot longer before people join in, sometimes a good mood will spread like wildfire. Either way be sure to let your light shine.

And in terms of my life, I actually think I hear someone, previously silent, has begun to hum faintly.

P.S. Funny, I had this all typed up without connecting to the internet and when I went to post it, I saw the comment by Ready Maid who is blogging about her efforts to live The Best Life. Once again, as you sing, people chime in. So sing, sing a song, make it simple to last your whole life long.

P.P.S I'm assuming that if you don't like corny, you'll find another blog to read!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Millionaire Mind and Play Money

So I did relisten to the 3rd CD of The Millionaire Mindset which seemed to have the most action items in it. When Eker states his recommended division of your money, including the 10% (of post-tax income) for financial freedom account, and mentions people who don't have that much or even any money left over after necessities, he doesn't actually say to borrow a full 10%, he says borrow something more so you have some money to manage. So I thought about how I might apply this to my own life. Currently my income fluctuates and there are months where the bills surpass the income. I do already have 5% of pre-tax money going into a 401K account, because the company I work for matches that 5% contribution. (basically for giving up about 3% of post-tax income, I end up with 10% in a retirement account). But, I don't use any of that to invest in passive income earning ventures except that the account does earn interest. So... this doesn't seem it meets the spirit of the recommendation.

Eker also recommends that you set aside 10% of post-tax income into a play account, feeling that you need to derive enjoyment from your money as motivation and that no one is going to continue without splurging on some extras from time to time. To try and do so sets you up for a yo-yo spending pattern, just like a strict diet can set you up for binge eating. After much consideration I decide to set aside $150 a month for my 'play account' and 'financial freedom' accounts. I think the most important aspect is that the two numbers should be balanced. And my play account is basically anything that is a non-essential -- the haircut (hey, I could still see), the few clothes (again, I was not naked) and the eating out expenses. To manage this, I plan to simply choose an unused credit card and dedicate it to those expenses. Now, the financial freedom account is just a little harder -- after all I'm not supposed to necessarily invest that much into passive income opportunities each month, some of it I could leave in savings (which of course is passive income but a very low yield). Eker recommends setting up a separate account, but that seems to me to complicate my banking. Well I guess that's something to figure out for the drive home. Speaking of which, it's time to go.

Later gator.