Our Lady of Perpetual Motion - TAO and SNORT!

Comment

Our Lady of Perpetual Motion - TAO and SNORT!

As an entrepreneur, frequently I hear, “Wow! You’re all over social media!” or “You travel all over the place, don’t you?” Why, yes, I am, and yes, I do. A year ago, I said adios to a steady paycheck in Cubicle Land and jumped headfirst into my entrepreneurial adventure. I made the commitment to stay productive.

I often joke that if my business was a church, I would name it Our Lady of Perpetual Motion!

Why am I all over social media? I want people to get to know me. People want to work with someone they trust. If I share my real-life adventures, you will know who I am. In 2017, I took the amazing Martha Beck Wayfinder (life coach) training. From that great experience, I borrowed the acronym “TAO:”

Transparent

Authentic

Open

I love this! I always strive to be TAO. To develop any relationship, you need trust. I don’t want to come across as someone with something to hide because I don’t trust people who operate that way.

How do I stay TAO? 

·      I stay transparent by admitting when I know something and when I don’t. When I started as a publisher, I did not know all of the answers. While I know more than I knew a year ago, I still don’t know everything. Actually, if anyone tells you they have ALL the answers, run away! Experience is great, but so is admitting when you don’t know something. I wouldn’t succeed if I pretended to know something I don’t.

 

“I don’t know, but I will find out for you.”

“I haven’t done this before, but we will learn about it together.”

 

·      I stay authentic by sharing my real self. This was frowned upon in Cubicle Land. I am authentically loud and boisterous. I snort when I laugh. I smile a lot and greet people. I have the energy of a Jack Russell terrier on crack. These are some of my superpowers. People have a decision when they meet me of whether they want to work with me or not. All of this energy coming at you can sometimes be too much for peeps. What you see is what you get…I’m smart, talented, creative, empathetic, and kind. And I am a ball of energy. I snort when I laugh. And yes, even though I am a professional and create professional products, I let my hair down and I am my own goofy self.

 

“I can’t wait to work with you!”

“Giggle! Snort! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Let’s connect! You crack me up and I love your ideas!”

 

·      I stay open by listening to others. I respect opinions other than my own. You may approach me with an idea and change my entire mindset about something. In return, I will be open with you by telling you what I really think. That’s tough sometimes. I’ve had to tell people I don’t connect with their writing. That sucks! I love supporting authors, but if I don’t “get” their writing, they are better off working with a writing coach who does “get” them. Honestly, that’s my least favorite part of the job…telling someone that I don’t want to work with them. But ultimately it is the best gift I can give to both me and to them. They won’t end up with a half-hearted writing coach. I don’t end up resenting working with someone whose vision I don’t share. Plus, it is fairer to the clients with whom I do work. They get my whole, 110% attention, focus and love.

 

“I’m sorry but we’re not a good fit.”

“OMG, your idea is AMAZING! I can’t wait to collaborate!”

 

In addition to being TAO, I SNORT! Yes, I snort when I laugh, but SNORT is a also great acronym for my credo as an entrepreneur:

Stay Focused – I write a to-do list and keep up with it. I keep distractions to a minimum when I have a deadline. Yes, I am in perpetual motion! My business is my baby and it will only grow if I keep “feeding” it with hard work, hustle, and love. Which leads me to…

Never Stop Dancing – I’m so blessed to get to do what I love to do for a living. I don’t give myself the luxury of watching TV or staying on Facebook too long during the day. I never stop “dancing” during my work hours. I keep asking myself – what else can I do to help my clients? What do I need to learn to be my best? What do I need to do to be successful? You will see me on social media and all over the map because I document what I do and I go where the work is.

Original Medicine – Another cool concept I learned as a Martha Beck Wayfinder is that each of us has unique gifts we bring to the world. We Wayfinders call this your Original Medicine. It’s your secret sauce, your unique brand of whatever it is you do. My Original Medicine is all about writing and creating. I tried for a long time to fit in as an IT Project Manager. I was successful as a PM but it was not why I was put on this earth. I finally accepted my mission to assist in bringing people’s ideas and visions for their books into published form! How cool is that? I’m a co-creator for dreams! I make magic! Every day, I remind myself that this is my mission – even on the crappola days when it seems like everything is going WRONG! I have helped 11 other authors bring their books into the world in one year! And I’ve just gotten started. By sticking to my “original medicine” – my ability to empathize with potential authors, my gift for sifting through ideas and sorting out the best ones, and my talent for editing, formatting and putting it all together. I work like a dog to make that happen every day.

Rely on others – Part of being TAO is knowing when you don’t know something. I have learned that it is better for me to ask for help when I need it. I can’t tell you all how hard it is for me to do this. I’m quite hard-headed and nothing makes me happier than doing something by myself. Well, I have to admit, I am changing! I reach out for help from experts when I don’t know something. I used to think I was pretty good at putting documents together. And I am incredible at it when working with text alone. I learned, however, I am not a graphic designer. When it comes to books with lots of illustrations or photos, I holler “Uncle!” and ask for assistance. The cool thing about this is that not only do I create a better product for my clients through these collaborations, but I also grow as a person. My business benefits because I have a wide network of awesome resources – graphic designers, illustrators, marketers, web designers, etc. I can help my clients find who or what they need!

Trust my gut – This may be the most important principle I follow. For years, I followed the advice that said, “Get a good paying job.” Nothing wrong with making money! But I’ve learned it is much more satisfying to make money while also doing what you love to do. This felt so counterintuitive to me at first! All the advice I had received throughout my life said, “You will hate what you do but you will make good money, and that’s the way it should be.” Yuk. I have discovered I can use all of the talents that made me a successful IT manager as the manager for my own business. And now I love waking up every morning (after sufficient amounts of coffee). I trusted my gut when I realized I love writing, I love helping others write, and I love books! If I listened to the naysayers who said, “There’s no money in writing” or “No one reads printed books anymore,” I’d still be in Cubicle Land, probably about to take the elevator to the roof and jump off.

You will continue to see me on social media, posting about my life and my work. I will continue to stay in motion, because I am so on fire that I don’t want to miss a thing! There are a lot of writers who need my TAO and need my SNORT.

Comment

Candy Crunched

1 Comment

Candy Crunched

I had the loot spread out all over my floor. Sorting through my Halloween candy, I could not wait to dig in. Sure, my Mom said to only eat a piece a day. Save it for later, she said. But there it was….the whole candy haul, spread out like a sugary smorgasbord. Ahhhhh….sweet (literally sweet) bliss!

I was in candy heaven until later when my stomach started gurgling. You see, I had eaten my candy with so much gusto that I didn’t slow down. Once the churning started, it was too late. I was sick as a dog. My desire for candy waned dramatically for a few weeks after that. The sight of a Reese’s peanut butter cup, which would normally have me salivating like a slobbering spaniel, had me feeling green and gagging.

Candy crunched! This is what I named this feeling I had as a kid the day after Halloween. The very things that I used to love had me feeling ill and overwhelmed. Just like the game Candy Crush, or way too much Halloween candy, too much of a good thing all at once is not a good thing anymore. Often we think we want more, more, more, when really we should be focusing on quality, not quantity.

How do we avoid feeling Candy Crunched? As a writer, I often experience this when I have so many ideas that I have NO IDEA where to start writing. Just as having writers’ block is a bad feeling, so too is having so many ideas that you can’t even imagine where to begin.

Do you have too many ideas swirling in your head like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river? Here are some tips to get your “candy” - i.e. ideas - into manageable, bite-sized pieces:

  • Brain dump - Just like kids will take their Halloween goodies and spread them on the floor, you too can take all of your ideas out of your head. How? Brain dump! Write out all of your ideas. Keep writing until you cannot think of any more ideas. Don’t worry - if a new idea comes to you, you can add it to the dump pile. Writing out all of your ideas does a couple of things. First, it can help you start to think. With all of those ideas out of your head and written down, you can give your brain a break with its mental load of corraling those ideas. Second, you can see all of your ideas at one, and begin to prioritize.

  • Brain Storm - Once you have all of your ideas dumped out in writing, now you can choose your favorites. This is similar to separating out all of the “good” candy from the “bad” candy from your Halloween trick or treat bag. The ideas that appeal to you the most are the “good” ideas - these are the keepers. But you don’t have to toss out your other ideas. Save your brain dump writing so you can look back at your other ideas later if you want.

  • Start writing - Once you have chosen the idea that is most appealing to you right now, start “unwrapping” your candy…err, idea. Put your brain to work thinking and focusing on that one idea. Now you can start writing other related ideas down.

This process works nicely because you can jot down all of your ideas to return to them later. But you have also selected one idea to use and focus on. With only one idea as its focus, your brain will stop swirling and instead can start creating your story.

Next time you are writing and feel “Candy Crunched,” think about re-creating these steps!

If you would like additional awesome writing tips and tricks, give yourself a treat! Sign up for my October writing workshop, “EEK! Fear of a Blank Page” using this website: https://www.kwepub.com/writingseries/letsplay2

You’ll come away from the training with:

  • Ways to overcome writers’ block

  • More ideas for selecting a great topic

  • The start of your next writing - including a title, format, and the start of an outline

  • Awesome interactive discussion with other authors

  • Answers to your writing questions

It’s wonderful to have lots of ideas! But it is even better to have clarity to choose your best ideas, and to have focus to start writing. Happy Writing!!

1 Comment

Big Whiskey

1 Comment

Big Whiskey

What’s your big whiskey? Inspiration from libations! Three incredible entrepreneurs from the past - including badass Louisa Nelson - inspire two modern young entrepreneurs and the author.

1 Comment

Junk Gene

Comment

Junk Gene

I took a long look at the papers, random files, old keys to unknown doors, and realized I was facing something more powerful than even the junk gene.

Comment

Dancing On the Clouds! How I Stared Fear In The Face and Stuck Out My Tongue

1 Comment

Dancing On the Clouds! How I Stared Fear In The Face and Stuck Out My Tongue

I've always longingly gazed out of an airplane window and wondered what it would be like to dance on the clouds.  They are so white and fluffy!  I imagine it whenever I visit Skyzone, the place with multiple trampolines that let you bounce to your heart's content. 

Yesterday, I DANCED ON THE CLOUDS!

For my birthday, my husband made my wish come true and we went skydiving! I wanted to share with you what I learned from this awesome experience.

  • There is more than one way to do something. 

I didn't realize that different tandem instructors have different ways of exiting the plane...until my husband went first.  My instructor told me to sit on the edge of the plane when we were ready to jump out, place my feet on the step on the plane, stick out my hips and throw out my arms.  I repeated these instructions OVER AND OVER because I wanted to get it right.  So when my husband and his instructor went first, and they corkscrewed off of the step, I FREAKED!  Did he trip and fall?  Holy cow!  I turned to my tandem instructor and was like, "WHAT THE HECK!?@!?" He laughed and said everyone has their own way to jump. LESSON LEARNED: Don't worry if someone else is doing things differently in business or in their personal life than you are.  They (hopefully) know what they are doing!  What YOU are doing may be perfect for you. In other words, YOU DO YOU!

  • You can go your own way!

So many friends told me, "Better you than me!" or "OMG I would never do that!" when I told them I was going skydiving.  I had a great conversation with my friends Tara and Eric.  They were both like, "Nuh uh, no way!" I respectfully told Eric that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro which he did a few years ago has no appeal for me.  And I kindly shared with Tara that taking a Disney cruise which she did a few years ago sounds like hell on Earth to me.   We all have something that WE love to do!  You honor your authentic self when you find that and pursue it. LESSON LEARNED: Blaze your own trail!  If you want to do something (positive) that no one else has done, do it!

  • Resistance feels like a tiger in your face but really is just a kitten trying out her claws.

Fearless is NOT how I would describe myself!  I feel fear for sure.  But what I have learned is that some fear is just not right or reasonable.  The first time I walked into a FAB Women network meeting, I was afraid.  Sure, I'm an extrovert, but I feel weird if I think a group of women all know each other and I am the "intruder"!  But last year, I pushed past that fear, walked in, and met the most awesome, dynamic and accepting group of women I have ever met!  Resistance wanted me to walk away that day but I walked in....and so many wonderful things have happened!  I've met some incredible women.  My life has changed!

Resistance also shows up as laziness (I don't wanna get up), distraction (ooh, FaceBook!), and anxiety (I will look stupid). Resistance wants you to call in sick to your own life.

LESSON LEARNED: If you can overcome resistance, face your fear, and deal with it, everything you want is on the other side. I jumped out of an airplane, and for a few fleeting moments, I was completely and utterly free.  It was hair-curling, goose pimpling, endorphin gorging magic!  I DANCED ON THE CLOUDS!  Best of all - I DIDN'T HURL!  Jeff, my tandem instructor, was happiest about that fact...LOL.  I was just completely happy!

So to wrap up, I want to share this quote that I love from Elizabeth Gilbert from "Big Magic" with her instructions for fear:

And her road-trip rules are for life. She says to fear:

"You're allowed to have a seat, and you're allowed to have a voice. But you are not allowed to have a vote. You're not allowed to touch the road maps, or suggest detours. You're not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you're not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive."

 

1 Comment

Don't Tell Me You Love Me On Our First (Sales) Date!

Comment

Don't Tell Me You Love Me On Our First (Sales) Date!

"No way!" That was my reaction when my girlfriend told me about the meeting she had the other day. 

"So I met a gentleman at this networking event.  He seemed really interested in my business so we scheduled time to meet for coffee.  He asked me two questions about my business. Then he launched into a long speech about his business, and proceeded to ask me detailed questions about my insurance!"

UGH! I've experienced similar situations.  I was once at a networking event and as soon as I told the other person my name, she asked, "Would you like to try my product?" Err....too soon.

How many times has this happened to you?  Launching into a sales spiel is similar to telling someone you love them on the first date.  It doesn't make sense!  And it is too much, too soon. 

First, this guy didn't ask my friend if she already has the type of insurance she sells.  Maybe she does already and he's wasting his time.  Second, he didn't know if she is happy with her insurance coverage.  Maybe she does have that type of insurance and would like a change...but he doesn't know if he doesn't ASK! She may have been his ideal client but he blew it by TALKING AT HER and NOT LISTENING!

I love networking, and I think it is one of the best ways to generate sales leads.  But it has to come from a normal relationship!  You need to KNOW your potential customer!  Ask them questions about what THEY want! 

I also love networking when I don't know if the other person and I can do business together.  Does that sound strange?  It shouldn't.  What I'm doing is building a real network of people I know who are in different industries.  Sure, maybe I can't do business right now with this person, but later on, I might be able to recommend them to someone.  And they might recommend me to someone.  Right now, we are just two people, talking, getting to know the other person...AS A PERSON!

Getting to know others and having a relationship can also make you a valued connector. I want to know if you are someone with whom I feel comfortable. If I feel you will respond like an interested person who is listening to me, then I will feel like I can recommend you to someone else.  If you only talk at me, and not with me, um, no thanks!

Listening to potential clients and really understanding what they are saying goes a long ways.  I try to remember this myself!  Remember this:

"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." ~Epictetus

Comment

1440 Ways to Sharpen the Saw

1440 Ways to Sharpen the Saw

Flying to California is uncomfortable. It's not just the six hour flight squinched up in coach, however. It's the time difference. It's leaving the comforts of home, leaving my husband for ten days, and leaving the expected behind. 

So why did I leave on January 31st to fly to Scott's Valley?

To sharpen my saw.

Habit #7 in Steve Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.”  Covey uses the analogy of a woodcutter who is sawing for several days straight and is becoming less and less productive. The process of cutting dulls the blade. So the solution is to periodically sharpen the saw.

I got myself uncomfortable so I could grow. I flew to San Francisco and then drove to Scott's Valley to take a workshop from an amazing woman named Martha Beck. Since starting my business as a writing coach and publisher, I've been working non-stop.  It's been great but without a break, my saw was more like a butter knife. Or a flimsy plastic picnic knife.

At 1440 Multiversity, the place in Scott's Valley where the workshop was held, there is a sign that reads...

"This bright, new day...complete with 24 hours of opportunities, choices, and attitudes. A perfectly matched set of 1440 minutes. This unique gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced or refunded. Handle with care. Make the most of it. There is only 1 to a customer."

We have 1440 opportunities every day to sharpen our proverbial saws.  We don't have to fly to California to make this happen (although I do recommend it...LOL) We have decisions we make every day, every minute of every day, to decide if we are moving to the place where we want to be, or if we are moving further away.

During the workshop with Martha Beck called "Navigating the Storm," we poured out our hearts and souls to one another.  We chose to share stories that have haunted us for decades in order to live in integrity.  All of us in that workshop made a choice to spend our precious minutes giving ourselves a break from "normal" life and giving ourselves a gift of reflection. I feel stronger than ever that I am on the right course for my career and personal life.  But without this weekend of reflection, I might have felt I was drifting away from it.

Some other lessons I learned from Scott's Valley came from walking among the redwood trees on the 1440 campus. The woods are breathtakingly beautiful. Down one trail at 1440, you come to a huge tree that is larger than all of the others.  This tree is called the Mother Tree because it is the tree that created all of the other redwoods in that area.  It is over 15 feet in diameter.  The Mother Tree has been on this earth for 1200 years.  That means this giant, beautiful tree was standing during the Crusades.

Yet this tree, like all of the other redwoods, came from a tiny cone.  The cones of the redwoods are really small compared to other pines that I've seen.

The minutes you have are small, but what you choose to do with them adds up to a huge impact.  The redwood cones are tiny, but their trees can live for generations and shade enormous plots of earth. Take the time to sharpen your saw because while you are just one person, your contribution is enormous, and the world needs your sharpness.

The Power of Personal Connections

2 Comments

The Power of Personal Connections

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  OK, we are 6 days in so you might be thinking I'm a little late to the party!  But I like to think of the whole month of January as a time to reflect on what we learned the previous year and what we intend to do in the upcoming year.  I do the same thing for my birthday...one day isn't enough!  I celebrate a birthday month!  LOL

So I was thinking about 2017 and what I learned. It was a really rough start to my year.  My beloved father died in the hospital on January 17th.  2016 had been a roller coaster and I thought I had him in a good situation in independent living when he passed. 

In going through Dad's stuff, I came across his passport.  He had renewed his passport in 2016.  Where was he thinking about going?  Was he planning to take that trip to South America he'd shared with me?  He had always wanted to backpack across Chile but he never did it.  His newest passport - which ended up with no stamps - made me pause. And think. And realize - once again but this time with feeling - that LIFE IS SHORT and I should DO IT NOW.

I decided to do the things I was afraid to do before because I was afraid. Or I told myself, "I don't have the money to do that." Or I told myself, "That will be hard." What happened?  I listened not to those same old thoughts.  I listened to Dad and his blank passport.  I decided to take the Martha Beck life coach training I had wanted to take.  Was it expensive? You betcha.  I did it anyway.

I decided that what I really want to do is to write and help other people write.  What happened?  I decided to quit my job.  Did my job pay well?  You betcha. Was I scared?  You better believe it.  I did it anyway.

This year, I turned everything on its head.  I faced my fears.  I identified what I wanted.  And now, thinking back on how I got here, I realized:

I got here through the Power of Personal Connections.

I joined a networking group where I met my first client. She took a chance on me and we published her book together.

I continued to join networking groups where I can support other entrepreneurs and non-profits.  My business is mankind! (And womankind.) I am doing things and supporting groups I LOVE!

I took the life coaching course where I met an amazing group of fellow Wayfinders. I met a number of women (and a couple of men) who are just incredible and like-minded!  We are all practicing courage every day. They are AMAZING and they keep me inspired!

Through my personal connections through my networking groups and my life coach training, I have learned, grown, explored, delighted, discovered, and experienced things I never would have on my own. While I quit my corporate job and don't have co-workers, I feel even more supported and encouraged every day by these wonderful people who are part of my tribe. 

While I value social media, I now see it as a means to connect daily with the people with whom I have a personal connection.  I like to meet the people I network with in person (when possible - Zoom helps too.) Having these relationships is vital to my business, to their business, but more than that...it is vital to my growth as a person.  I have changed during 2017 because of the people I lost and the people who I've gained.  I hope I have given these wonderful peeps just as much.

My life is a rich tapestry of the family, friendships, biz associates, acquaintances, and mentors!  These personal connections are like travel in that they have broadened my horizons.  My passport of life gained many new "stamps" in 2017, and I look forward to more in 2018. I think Dad would be proud. 

2 Comments

Purpose and Intention

Comment

Purpose and Intention

Does anyone use a WiiFit anymore?

In case you're not sure what I'm talking about, the WiiFit from Nintendo has a balance board and is a "fun way to get fit"!  I remember when I first got one and I was trying it out. You have to stand on the board as steady as possible...but I didn't realize that at the time!  I was too used to doing cardio and jumping all around. The object of the Wii Board was to stay as steady as possible.  When I wiggled all around, the reading of the Wii Fit Board told me I was 78 years old! I then figured out that the object of the Wii Board is balance.

How many things in our lives are "off balance?" It can happen all of the time.  After hearing lots of advice about how to be all over social media, I have learned to figure out what's most effective for my business and stick to that.  How simple!  But in the beginning, just as I was out of balance on the Wii Fit Board, I was all over social media.  You live and you learn.

It's important for anything worth our time to have purpose and intention.  Do identify what matters most to you.  Does your heart swell or sink when you think of something?  Heart swelling is a good sign that it matters. Then once you've identified these things, live with intention. If cooking makes your heart swell, schedule time to cook a meal. If playing the piano makes you happy, carve out a few minutes each day to play.

You'll figure out your balance - and what matters - when you live with purpose and intention.

Comment

Lessons from Paddle Boarding

2 Comments

Lessons from Paddle Boarding

Richmond has a river running through it.  The waters of the James cut directly through the city. Normally I just appreciate the flowing water from the car while I'm driving over a bridge on my way to somewhere else. Recently I've looked at the water from a new angle.

I started paddle boarding.

I first tried paddle boarding while on vacation a few years ago in the British Virgin Islands. After a few muffed up attempts, I stood on my board and paddled to a dinky sandbar.  It was fun and I felt free. The water was flat and still; the crisp blue sky and white clouds were soothing. And that was it for me and paddle boarding - I was hooked.

I contacted Riverside Outfitters here in Richmond last November to try paddle boarding locally. Why November?  Well, I bought a Groupon and it was about to expire! The day trip I took last year was amazing. We paddled over class 1 and class 2 rapids.  The rapids were small but to this beginner it was a great challenge.  Could I stay on my board? Or would I take a dunk in the river? 

Things I learned:

I was really nervous that it was going to be too cold. But I wore a full wet-suit and I stayed relatively warm! Lesson: Don't rule out something before you try it by making assumptions.

I learned that to stand up on the board, you need to look at the horizon, and not at your feet, or you will lose your balance. Lesson: Keep your eyes focused on where you want to be and not where you are right now. It will keep you balanced!

And I learned that if you stare at an object, you will hit it, but if you stare in the direction you want to go instead, you will go where you want to go. Lesson: Don't fixate on obstacles, but instead imagine how to get around them. That will help you to succeed.

Also, I was at least 20 years older than all the other people in my group....but I still did great and held my own! Lesson: Never say you are too old to try something. We can learn something new everyday!

Last weekend, I tried paddle boarding again. Yes, I had another Groupon that was expiring!  But I also wanted to recreate that first experience.  I loved it!  Yes, I banged my knees a few times on the board, and of course I fell in a couple of times.  But I also saw lots of wildlife - eagles, osprey, loons, herons - and the beautiful leaves changing color on the banks of the James.  I enjoyed seeing the sunset reflected in the mirrored windows of the buildings in downtown Richmond. I was really pleased to have challenged myself again and met the challenge.

riverside outfitters paddle boarding.jpg

2 Comments