Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

Positive Parenting Tip: How to Empower Children with the Word NO!

October 17th, 2011 7 comments

Many parents, especially those with toddlers, can feel very conflicted when their child tells them “no”.  As a mother, I remember many days when I felt like all I heard from my toddlers was this negative word.  After watching a family member with her children, I began to realize the word “no” can be empowerment for children of all ages.

My husband and his siblings were raised in a “children should be seen and not heard” family. The word “no” was a punishable offense.  When my honey and I began our journey of child rearing, we decided to take a different tact.  Rather than feeling like the word “no” was a slap in our face, we decided to take a more laid back approach and not take offense at this word.  We decided we would rather teach our children how to say no, thus showing them how to take responsibility of knowing their own mind.  We believe this is how kids learn.  We decided to reason with our oppositional child.  Not a popular tactic in his family.  We were considered the “marshmallow” parents.

My sister-in-law on the other hand, took the word “no” as a battle cry.  It took her until her children were 5 years old to whip them into shape.  They became docile and obedient children.  The family felt, hands down, she was the better parent.  My children, on the other hand, said “no” when they felt like it and were considered “head strong and strong willed”.

Fast forward 10 years, all the children became teenagers.  The docile 5 year olds who had learned saying no was a punishable offense became docile and compliant teenagers to not only their parents, but to their teen peers. A docile teenager sounds inviting, doesn’t it?  But, is it?

We all know, the teenage years open up a new vista of temptations.  The obedient docile children who never learned it was okay to say no had a very hard time saying it to the temptations of youth.  They suffered from guilty feelings if they said no to their friends.

Our kids, on the other hand, knew how to say the negative word with impunity.  They still faced the same temptations as any other teen, but the lines of communication stayed open with us.

We had to deal with tough subjects like any other parent.  Did they run wild and have no sense of self discipline?  No, on the contrary.  They came to us as sounding boards.  Many times, instead of being a good listener and confidant, I would have rather stayed “down by the river of de-Nile” than to discuss those sensitive issues with them.  But, when the lines of communication are open, I couldn’t sneak down by that river and park my van and take up residence.  I had to buck up and handle honest teenage situations with love and guidance.

When you are faced with a head strong toddler with the word “no” constantly on their lips, realize it’s okay for them to voice their challenge to you.  Instead of pulling out your hair, smile and know you are protecting your child.  They are learning life lessons from you which will serve them for many years to come.  The word “no” can be empowering.  When your teenager needs to say no, help them learn how to do it.  Keep those lines of communication open, even when you’d rather be down by the river.

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Leaders – How to Get Your Team’s Motivation to Go Viral!

August 8th, 2011 10 comments

There are different types of teams in the world.  Each team is lead by a leader.  Some teams are wildly successful.  Everything they touch turns to gold.  While other teams seem to wallow in mediocrity, never rising above the norm.

What makes teams so different?  One difference is the level of motivation.  The successful team appears to be brimming with motivation.  Get out of their way, because they are steaming towards their goal!  While the other team seems to be only going through the motions.

I’ve heard it said that motivation comes from within.  This is true.  The sign of a great leader is one who will find this motivation lurking inside each individual and pull it out of them with gusto.

I’ve had leaders ask, “how can I reach this motivation.  I’ve tried contests and money rewards and I can’t seem to get them motivated.”  Contest and money doesn’t work for everyone or every situation.  Some occupations work better with these kinds of rewards.  Some personalities respond better to competition and fiscal rewards.   If you have competitive action personalities on your team, they are more likely to work for those kinds of incentives.

The more creative the project, the less likely contest and rewards will work.  For these creative projects, we need to roll up our sleeves and use a completely different approach.

Get your team actively involved in the crusade

The most successful people in business and life are those with a cause.  Something they can believe in and commit to.  People will work harder for a crusade or cause then they will for money.  The great leaders have discovered their own crusade and how it’s going to make people’s lives better.  It could be righting a wrong, or they’re working to make the world a better place.

A great leader figures out the crusade and then gets their team’s emotions involved with this crusade every day.  Great leaders understand that people respond to directing their own lives.  These leaders, also, recognize and respond to their team’s individual initiatives in moving the crusade forward.  Everyone wants to be a part of changing the world.  People will work harder to be a part of history.

Leaders must be in touch with their own dreams and goals.

The leader should recognize each member of the team’s strengths and how these strengths can fit into the big dream.  The leader should know the steps it will take to reach the dream, but never discourage anyone on the team’s contributions.  Individual initiatives may even discover a better way to accomplish the goals.  The dream needs to be big enough for everyone on the team to have an active part in it.

Everybody wants to be somebody.

Not only do they want to be somebody, but they have the desire to get better and better at something that really matters.  Everyone wants to be remember in the history of the world, at least in their world.  We must never forget this desire when we lead our teams.

To create an explosion of  viral motivation, we will need to inspire those around us to reach inside of themselves and pull out the best they can be.  People’s desire to be involved in something bigger than themselves and fight for something they believe in is a strong motivating force.  We can look for the best in our team and encourage them to make a difference each and every day.

I have a video of Dan Pink’s talk at Ted on motivation.  He brings some surprising things to light.  They are controversial things which most business don’t believe or don’t know about.  I’ve worked in sales fields where we were compensated monetarily.  At first, I didn’t agree with him (as if my research department is bigger than his). After contemplation, I can see how this fits. Leave me your comment and let me know your thoughts.

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5 Tips – How to Use Vince Lombardi’s Back to Basics Technique to Explode Your Business

August 1st, 2011 37 comments

Going back to basics was the hallmark of the great Vince Lombardi.  Those of us who enjoy hearing success stories on our quest for self improvement are very familiar with this legendary American football coach.  He was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League from 1959-67, winning five league championships during his nine years. Following a one-year retirement from coaching in 1968, he returned as head coach of the Washington Redskins for the 1969 season.

One of the things which separated Mr. Lombardi from the pack of other head NFL football coaches was his passion for going back to basics.  Every year, at the beginning of the football season, he would stand in front of his players and say, “Gentlemen, this is the football.” It is impossible to get much more basic than that.  He did this, not because he didn’t think his team of NFL superstars  knew what a football was, but because he knew it was a vital for their success.  He realized the only way to explode his team’s success was to go back to the basics every year.

Why is it important to take, not only ourselves back to basics every year, but, also, our team?  Mr. Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence”

Here are 5 reasons why this is an important endeavor for anyone, or any team, to do when striving for excellence.  When we go back to basics,

1.  We learn something new or forgotten.  This past week, I’ve had the privilege to take Dan Nickerson’s 22 Day Boot Camp.  Even though, I’ve been online with my blog for 2 years, I discovered some things in his boot camp I didn’t know.  I, also, found some important tactics I had forgotten about with the passage of time.  Important things which will have a positive impact on my business.

2.   We reconnect with or connect with our coach or mentor.  In my case, I’m enjoying the connection to a new mentor.  I have respect for Dan Nickerson.  He is the “ideas man” for Joel Comm.  I was introduced to Dan by of my association with him when I chose the Socrates Theme for my blog.  He has always been helpful and attentive. Over the past few months he has earned my respect and trust.  I have been enjoying his teaching style and his knowledge he is willing to share.

3.  Going back to basics is a refresher course which can re-ignite our passion.  When I started the 22 Day Boot Camp, I was lethargic in my business.  I kept all my goals, mission statement, and afformations in front of me, but I’d become complacent and without an urgency or passion for my chosen endeavor.  The refresher course has re-ignited me.  I feel the rumblings of passion deep in my guts again!  It helped me remember why I’d chosen this path.

4.  Catch up on advancements in our subject matter.  Many times, in our chosen professions, we are so busy doing the mechanics of our position that we don’t have an opportunity to stay abreast of advancements.  I found this to be true for me this week.  There were things he discussed which I hadn’t heard of before.  Learning these will have a positive impact on my business.

5.  Keeps everyone on the team on the same page.  When we are a leader of team, we must be on the same page with our team mates.  Going back to basics reinforces our leadership, our leadership style, and our expectations for our team.  This adds to the cohesiveness of our team and expands all of our expectations.

I’ve found in my many years of business, having a coach or mentor is a vital element to our success in any endeavor.  Find someone who has not only done what you want to accomplish, but has excelled in it.

Going back to basics, often, at least once a year, is a hinge pin of success in the quest for excellence.  As Vince Lombardi said, “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

How often do you go back to basics?  What works for you and your team when you go back to basics?  Leave us a comment with some helpful hints and  your thoughts on the subject.

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a short 3 minute YouTube video on Vince Lombardi.  Enjoy!




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5 Tips to Overcoming the Stress of Frustration

March 8th, 2011 7 comments

Each one of us has our own relationship with the emotion of frustration.  Here’s a little secret between you and me.  If you don’t learn how to deal with frustration it can stop all your attempts to become successful.  Do you think I’m being harsh?  Let’s think about it for a moment.

Frustration is stressful.  Some people, when they become frustrated, throw up their hands and quit.  Frustration becomes personal for them.  They feel, personally, assaulted by this nameless, faceless enemy.  They move themselves into ” victim-hood”.  They don’t have the moxie or stick-to-it-ness to stay with it and conquer it.

There are people who become frustrated and instead of quitting, they realize what they are working on is worth working through their frustration and stress.

Out there in the world is another strange breed, who encounter frustration and their personal alarms go off and they become excited.  They know the reward for working through their frustration will be well worth it.

It’s like a story I heard about the fish tank and the barracuda.  If you put a barracuda in a big tank and feed him, he is an amazing and aggressive creature.  He will hit the food with all the vigor of a hungry predator.

During this experiment, we slide a glass divider down into his tank and divide the tank into 2 distinct halves.  After doing this, we drop the food into the side of the tank the barracuda doesn’t have access to.  He can see the food and he will attack just like he had before.  Whack! He runs headlong into the glass divider.  He backs up, swims again at his prey with all his might.  Smash!  Into the divider again.  After a few attempts, he will swim away and leave his food source swimming unmolested on the other side.  He will continue to ignore his food source no matter how hungry he may get.  This is a story of frustration gone bad.

I know from personal experience how upsetting frustration can be.  As you may have noticed, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted to my blog.  I’ve been very busy writing a book on elder care.  Since I’ve been actively involved in elder care for the past 15 years, I decided others could benefit from my experiences.

I haven’t had a lot of experience in the technical end of this endeavor.  Putting up the page to let everyone know about the book led me to quite a few frustrating days.  I’d never put an ebook on line before.

I’m one of those crazy nut-balls who looks at frustration as an emotion one may have to go through to reach a worthwhile goal.  Frustration doesn’t make me quit.  Sometimes, I have a fleeting moment of wanting to throw up my hands and say “enough!”  But, the little voice in my head says, “relax, regroup, it will be worth it!”

Here’s 5 tips, which work for me, on how to conquer frustration.

1.  When frustration hits, and emotions are running high, I stop what I’m doing and take a break.  For me to continue to work with this emotion unchecked is a recipe for disaster!  It’s like spinning my wheels in mud.  Lot’s of energy spent with no results.  Sometimes, my break lasts for a full 24 hours.

2.  When taking a break, I remove myself completely from the situation.  I go some place, even if it’s only into the next room, with a goal of relaxation. I meditate, listen to some relaxing music, take a hot shower, or take a walk.  Anything to take my mind completely off my subject matter and calm me down.  Many times, this alone will help me see how to fix my problem.  I know my brain is still be noodling on it, in the background, even if I have taken my attention off of it.

3.  I have adopted the “no prisoners” philosophy to my project.  I’m not going to quit the project, no matter how upset I get.  When frustration hits, I release the emotions.  Yes, sometimes I shake my fist and curse the project, stomp my feet or any other childish emotional release, but I know I will conquer this project.  Sooner or later, victory will be mine!

4.  When frustration has set in I like to bounce things off someone.  My special someone is my husband.  He may not know anything about the subject I’m frustrated with, but he let’s me talk it through.  He makes suggestions.  Even when he doesn’t know anything about the subject matter, his suggestions gets my brain going on another track.  I can’t count the number of times this tip has worked to help me bust through the frustration barrier and accomplish my goal.

5.  When I am staring through the glass barrier at my prey, and I’ve hit my head a few times.  I swim over to the side of the tank and sleep.  I take the evening off and do something fun.  I then go to sleep that night with a notebook beside my bed in which to write my thoughts down when I wake up with an “Eureka!” moment.  Some of my writings have been difficult to decipher in the morning, but many a break through has happen when I sleep.

Frustration doesn’t have to kill the project.  It can, actually, work as a learning tool.  The main ideas is, “don’t quit”.  There’s always a way through it, around it, or over it.

I’m very proud of the fact that I have my book on line.  It’s a great feeling to push past frustration and accomplish the task!  We all have ways to work through frustration.  Leave me a comment and let me know what works for you.  We can all learn from each other.

To check out my new e book, click here!


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Our Family Holiday Traditions – Should We Keep Them or Sack Them?

November 16th, 2010 9 comments

There are many different types of families.  There are extended, nuclear, and blended families.  There are families who aren’t related by blood.  These friend families are, sometimes, closer than blood ties.  They are the family we choose. One thing, which has stood the test of time is, families who have the strongest ties have the most rituals.  The rituals are better known as traditions.  Why is it important for family closeness to observe holiday traditions?

Here are a few reasons I have found for participating in our important family rituals.


It gives us time to spend with each other.  This time together helps us understand and love one another.  It’s a great time to drag out our old stories and memories, while we are making new ones, by being together.  These memories are very important for us.  We are able to call upon these memories when times aren’t going well.


Spending holidays together gives us a sense of being a family unit and understanding our commonalities of where we come from.  A family can’t stay close without, actually, spending the time together.  Even when we are away from our family we still feel this connection.


It gives us an opportunity, and the time, to teach our heritage to the next generation, our children.  In the United States, we are a melting pot of cultures.  We are, also, a nation of many different faiths.  The holidays, gives us a chance to share the traditions from the part of the world our families originally came from.  We can celebrate our family’s faith.  Our families might celebrate the Christmas holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and the list goes on.  We can, also, celebrate our American heritage, such as Independence Day, on July 4th, and our Thanksgiving tradition in November.


A chance to problem solve and communicate what is important to us.  Things like goals, challenges and needs.  It gives us a chance to heal from things like the loss of a loved one.  There’s no better way to heal from a devastating loss than to be together as a family.  To share tears, stories, grief, blessings, and eventually move through it, closer from the experience.


Being together for holidays gives us the togetherness to forgive each other.  We are able to associate the holiday traditions as a happier time.  It puts us in a frame of mind to forgive each other, so we can retain our sense of closeness and family.


Preparing a meal helps us relate to each other by working to create a common goal.  Sharing this meal of accomplishment, helps everyone to relax and let their guard down.  We gain strength and appreciation from this closeness.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what your family unit looks like to the outside world.  It is only important to share the holidays and celebrate with our special traditions.  This family unit is the only one who can decide what they want to celebrate.  Each of  our souls need to feel this special closeness and celebrations of life!

From my family to yours, have a happy holiday season!

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Is Prejudice Effecting Your Wallet?

May 13th, 2010 2 comments

In our world today a lot of press is given to prejudice.  What is prejudice?  There are many definitions of the word.  I would like to refer to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:   “preconceived judgment or opinion (2)  : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge” Even though it receives quite a bit of attention it is not a new phenomena.  It has been around since the dawn of time.  Did it start by helping our prehistoric ancestors survive in a hostile world?  Since I am not an anthropologist, I won’t be able to give you that answer.

Prejudice can effect every area of our lives.  It is a learned response.  We pick up quite a few of these from our parents and our family units.  Unless we question these learned conditioning’s in our lives we will be destined to continue them and pass them to the next generation.

Here’s an example of this learned prejudice.  When I met my husband I was amused by the fact that he had two foods he absolutely hated!  One was raisins and the other, Lima beans.  How could anyone not like raisins?  They’re sweet and chewy and make a great snack.  I thought all children were raised with a box of Sun Maid raisins clutched in their hands.  And, how could a Lima bean make him gag?  I am not a huge fan of that particular bean, but I have never lost my lunch over a plump light green bean!  When I met his family I found out that this profound dislike was shared by all his siblings, his mother and his grandmother.

When discussing food preferences it can be a humorous thing.  But, when that same learned response happens with race, religion, sex and any other thing that stops us from expanding our personal interactions with others it becomes less humorous and downright detrimental to our lives.

Here’s an illustration of this in the work place.  Let’s say that Fred has a realty company and he is looking for sharp individuals for his sales force.  But, Fred doesn’t like people with blond hair.  A young man walks into Fred’s office and sits down to interview for the job.  He is young, ambitious and has all the right answers to Fred’s question.  But, because of Fred’s prejudice to blond hair, this young man’s application automatically hits the rejected pile.  Why does that matter?  There are plenty of applicants waiting in line to be interviewed.  It matters if the man was a young Donald Trump.  By not considering Donald because of his blond hair, Fred has cost his company millions of dollars and changed his family’s financial legacy forever.

As we look at our lives, is there room for prejudice?  How would the world be different if we could eliminate harmful prejudices from our lives?  Is it possible?

3 Discoveries: Overcoming Frustration & Depression in a Busy Life

January 20th, 2010 1 comment

ship in the stormIn the past few weeks, I have been lost in a whirlwind of activities. Very important activities, yet the feelings of frustration, depression (anger turned inward), along with other negative emotions have haunted me.  But first, let’s back up a bit.

I see myself as a very responsible and goal oriented person.  As long as I can clarify what I want and set goals for myself, I can move forward with intensity and purpose.  If I can’t do those two things I feel lost at sea without my compass.

In December of every year, I like to look back at the waning year and evaluate my progress.  Looking back on 2009, I felt I had some triumphs.  I, also, had things that didn’t move as fast as I wanted.  This evaluation process helps me set my sites and my goals for the new year.  I have several projects in the works that need my attention.  My goals are set and my compass is locked on.  Then my world turns upside down.

This past December, I took some time off to spend it with my family.  My oldest son, who is in the Marine Corp, hasn’t been home for many holidays since he went into the Corp 6 years ago.  This year, he was home!  This Christmas season was one of the best I have ever had.  I relaxed and told myself that January 1st I would hit the ground running.  Goals were in place, focus was locked on, and I was positioned for a smooth January lift off!

One of the things that I have found, out of necessity, is that I am good at coordinating the care for my 88 year old father, my 83 year old mother, and my 80 year old mother-in-law.  I jokingly refer to myself as their personal concierge.  I take them to their doctors’ appointments, I listen to the doctors and I coordinate with their caregivers,etc.  It is my labor of love and my gift to those that have given me so much.  What I didn’t count on was that they would all fall apart at the same time.  Each having their own particular physical meltdown.  Every week day in January has been spent “doctoring” and all the other things involved.  I am a well known face at the Cardiologist’s office.  My father has been hospitalized for an extended period of time, leaving my Mother alone.  I have been busy, preoccupied and suffering from a mad case of writer’s block.  Yikes!  My anticipated January progress on my goals began sinking fast!

I am an action/relationships person.  For those of you that have read the blog posts on personality traits will understand that statement.  My relationships part of my personality was in a dual to the death with the action part of me.  Internal conflict can set up a cascade of negative emotions.  I am not telling you this for sympathy, but to give you a background for the realizations I have discovered.

Discovery #1:  I don’t have to be superwoman.  The planet will not stop revolving if I don’t hit my January goals.  There is a reason for my feelings.  I need to stop and look at why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling.  It is time to step back and be the observer instead of being so emotionally involved.  Important to do, but difficult.

Discovery #2:  What paradigms and beliefs do I hold that are struggling to be noticed?  My feelings of being overwelmed need to be acknowledged.  It is easy to feel overwelmed when in the caregiver role.  It can feel like so much is being given over and over and over again.  The energy for this caregiver role seems to come straight from my heart.  It can feel as though nothing is coming back to recharge me.  The guilt for those feelings can be heavy and smothering.  Do I need to be in control of everything?  My support system is very important to me.  I don’t have to do it all.  It is ok to let my other family members carry some of the weight.  It is ok to ask for help.

Discovery #3:  I have to stop pushing and punishing myself.  It’s ok to stop and recharge without feeling guilt.  I should strive to appreciate the times that I can carve out for myself.  Take the time to do the things that recharge me; mediate, read, laugh with my family and friends.  If I go down with the guilt ship, I will sink into the sea of ill health myself.

I love this quote from Mark Twain which helps to center me: “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.”

I don’t claim to be an expert in this particular situation.  I am a human being experiencing life and learning what works for me.  If you have some tips for me, leave me a comment.  I discovered this wonderful article that gave me a few “Ah, hah” moments.  If you enjoy their work click over to this page to get their 3 free books.