My Missing Gravatar

Last week Beth Hewitt shared some tips on setting up your gravatar in her post Gravatars and Signatures – ABC of Building Your Brand and used my site in her training video. My first thought was – “Oh no! I’m going to be so embarrassed. Everyone will see my site where I don’t even have my own gravatar!” Of course, Beth is not like that. Go watch how graciously she avoided it and focused simply on the how tos. (And thanks, Beth, for using my site as your example!)

So I guess I have to embarrass myself

Beth’s post got me thinking about why I didn’t have a gravatar. I looked back and thought – “Oh my word! It’s been so long since I even responded to comments!” Why? (I know you’re wondering) Because someone told me that the gravatar doesn’t show up unless it’s in place when you post the comment or respond. So I decided to wait a couple of days to respond and get my gravatar set up.

Watch how the procrastination bug slipped in

So one week went by. I’ll get it next week. Then another week slipped by…and another…until the gravatar and the responses were a thought pushed to the back of my mind. Alright Teresa – time to apply what you teach to your own life.

Self evaluation at work

I took a look inside to figure things out. The response delay was easy. It was relatively new and fresh in my mind why I had procrastinated. But the gravatar – what was up with that…

First – the technology. It seemed so hard  – thinking about going to a new site, figuring out the steps. Aaugh! Horror! Trauma! Seems I was being pretty silly with that, doesn’t it? But sometimes the unknown looks bigger than it really is. (Big hint here for you when you’re looking at anything holding you back.) Beth’s video solved that problem, and I felt like a complete idiot because she makes it all look so simple in her video.

Second – the photo. Why had I never gotten around to making a new one that I liked? (Really big hint here. Check out that last part ‘that I liked’ which I already knew about myself.) Here’s where I had to search a little deeper for the answer. Why didn’t I like most of the photos of myself? I pulled out a few that I do like trying to understand this. Take a look.

This one was taken last weekend when I went to visit my husband in Philly. He was transferred there a couple of months ago, and it was the first time we’d gotten together. Key things to note: I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours – too excited to sleep the night before. My eyes are red from happy tears – I cried when he hugged me at the airport. My hair – what? Did I leave my comb in Vegas or was I just too tired to remember my hair before Ed snapped the shot? (The hint is in the last sentence there.)

Aaah – a vacation shot in Victoria, BC. We stopped there for the weekend after a long week of little sleep and busy preparation for an absolutely beautiful wedding for one of the girls. See how relaxed I look. Trust me – it was closer to a coma of exhaustion.

This last one was over 20 years ago (in case the pouffy, 80s hairstyle didn’t give it away). This photo shoot had gone on for over two hours including three changes of clothes and three hairstyles changes. This is about shot number 74. I was getting bored and getting tired of trying to smile and look nice. How do professional models do that all day long?

So did you pick up on all the clues?

Here’s your last hint – when I was a kid my mom talked a lot about how she wasn’t very photogenic – “I never take good pictures!” Can’t tell you how many times she said that every time a camera showed up on the scene. I guess I picked it up. I realized through this little evaluation I am overly self-conscious about how I will look in any picture.

My answer for my gravatar!!

In all of the pictures I’ve shared I was too tired or bored to care what I looked like. So – I’m going to work really hard for a week on a big project, stay up for at least 24 hours and then take 75 pictures. One of them will have to be okay! Don’t ya think?!

No seriously – just realizing that I need to relax and let go of the result is a huge step. I’ve got it on my schedule this week to set up the tripod and snap a few self portraits. You’ll be seeing one of them soon as my new gravatar.

My goal with this post was to give you three insights:

1. If you’re procrastinating or generally not moving forward in something you want to do – there’s a reason. And it’s not lack of self-discipline!

2. A little self-evaluation can go a long way. Look back at where you were successful (in my case, photos I liked) for clues.

3. Take a look at old beliefs and feelings you have about yourself. They’re not always serving you well. This one can be a little harder. Ask someone to help – a friend or a professional.

Hope this helps! Let me know what you think in a comment.

Update 04/23/10: Found my gravatar! One of my daughters called while I was taking pictures, and I just kept shooting.  She was distracting me from too much focus on  myself and making me laugh. Besides I was getting tired of taking pictures and wanted to focus on talking to her. This was the last one I took and the one my son liked best. Maybe there really is something to that being tired and bored.

The Gratitude Journal

Today’s post was inspired by Lori Roberston’s How To Find Happiness Within Yourself. Lori points out that happiness starts with recognizing the things you can “appreciate and be grateful for” that are already inside of you. At the end of the post, she asks for comments on what her readers do to “keep yourself in a state of happiness and close to the true YOU!” I knew my answer without having to think.

It’s my Gratitude Journal

A few years back, I decided I spent too much time asking and not enough time expressing gratitude. So what did I do? I asked again – but this time for help thinking of a way to be more consciously grateful.

The first thing that came to me was to say thank you when I ask. This sets in motion the assumption that you’ll receive what you’ve asked for. Whether you operate off of the Law of Attraction or the Principles of Faith, it works the same way. And it’s just plain old polite to say thank you.

The second idea was to record the things I asked for, so I started a Gratitude Journal. I log the things I ask for along with the date and regularly go back over them and check off the requests that have been fulfilled.

Not too long after starting the Gratitude Journal, I realized what a priceless treasure it is. The happiness that Lori talks about in her post simply became a part of my everyday thinking. How could it not – now that I had a written record of all the wonderful things that were happening to me just for the asking. Personal goals, things I wanted to improve about myself, good things for my children…

The Journal also helped me to see just how often I asked for something and then forgot about it. Here’s an example.

When my youngest was about 7 or 8, we had some troublemaker kids in the neighborhood. Three brothers. They threw rocks and sticks, constantly tried to pick fights and generally made it hard for the other kids to have any fun or even go outside without expecting an injury. Talking to the boys about playing nicely didn’t work. Talking to their parents didn’t help either. One day after months of everyone’s suffering, my son ran in the house. “Hey, Mom,” he shouted, “You know those kids who throw rocks. They moved!”

“That’s nice,” I said, trying not to sound too ecstatic that the rotten, little cretins were gone. But after my son ran back out to play, that little intuitive nudge hit me. Hadn’t I asked for that? I checked my Gratitude Journal and sure enough there it was in black and white – Please let the mean kids move away.

I can tell you I spent days expressing my gratitude for that one!

Try a Gratitude Journal of your own. And please – leave your thoughts in a comment below. I’d love to keep the inspiration that Lori started going round and round. That way we never run out and can help each other remember where our true happiness lies.

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Intuitive Discount

In a recent class on self healing, I told my students that I was offering private lessons for $10 during the month of April. My intuition had been prompting me to give a huge discount for a week or so prior to the class. And I always follow my intuition…even if it seems crazy.

Maybe you’re thinking – “$10!!!! That’s barely above minimum wage!!” After all – why would I accept only $10 when I usually earn either $80 or $90 for the same amount of time. The answer – intuition.

Naturally the response was very positive which made me very happy. Then my mind wandered off arm in arm with my intuition, and they got to talking. By the time they came back, they had agreed to offer this reduced price for a longer time than I originally planned with a number of time slots set aside for a range of prices $90, $50, $30 and $10 with a waiting list as each one fills up.

Here are some responses I got from friends and family on this.

Why would you do that!?!
What if people can afford more but only pay you the $10.
I recently raised my rates!

But when something feels right to me, I ignore everyone and do it anyway.

So why would my intuition lead me in this ‘crazy’ direction?

hmmm…I find myself thinking about someone that I’ll be able to help in a few months…that wouldn’t be able to get this kind of help otherwise…or maybe they’d never hear about it if one of their friends didn’t grab the $10 rate and then tell them about it…

Who knows. But when I feel these kinds of thoughts about something or someone headed by way, it’s always happens. And has brought me to some wonderful surprises and a great deal of contentment in my heart.

Besides – it won’t be forever – just until I find that person.

Inspiration, Goals and Energy

The first sentence of Evin Anderson’s blog post, So What’s Your Goal , made my day. It got me thinking about all the goals I had accomplished and all the wonderful things that were brought into my life because of those goals. The Zig Ziglar video linked in Evan’s post lifted me up another step. So while I was hot, my mind churning with great memories and good feelings, I decided to revisit my current goals.

A little background so you’ll know where I’m coming from – I used to teach goal setting at the regional level back in my MLM days, so the concepts aren’t new. But you know how it is when you’re good at something, you start taking it for granted until someone comes along and reminds you that a tune up is always a good idea.

Here’s what is new

I applied the energy principles I teach to Zig’s list. I first learned these energy principles in the context of healing. It was a pretty quick transition to see how amazing they are when applied to anything else. I started using them with everything I read, my reaction to conversations or movies, you name it – I was checking to make sure my thoughts and attitudes weren’t blocking my energy. I’ll have to explain more about how the energy works in another post and link it in here – it would take us way off track today. So for now here are the steps Zig says you need to use.

Write the goal down
Put a date on it
List the obstacles you have to overcome
Identify the people, organizations and groups you need to work with
Spell out a plan of action
Set a time limit in there (on each step of your action plan)
Identify all the benefits to you

To my great surprise I had plenty of energy to clear related to these simple steps. Now – look back up to the top of this post. Notice how Evin inspired me to think of all my successes. What would I have accomplished if I had cleared those energy blocks earlier? What will I be able to do now that they’ve been moved out of my way? It can only get better!

I took the time to reorganize and revamp two of my major goals last night with a much clearer insight than ever before. It just flowed! And I’m left wondering how I didn’t see it before. Oh wait – it was that fuzzy energy that was blocking my view before.

And I thought I knew energy work, knew goals, and knew how to accomplish things. Just goes to show you – never stop trying to learn new things, never stop trying new ways to apply the things you know.

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Will These Drain Energy From Your Success?

A frayed shoelace, a late oil change, an overflowing inbox – all of these used to drain energy from me. And let’s face it, Energy = Success. If you don’t have enough energy to “get it all done,” you just don’t reach that same level of success you’re working toward. You don’t have the same clear vision of where you’re going or the focus to stay on task.

Ever noticed that really successful people radiate calm, confident energy. I’m pretty sure they don’t get that way by tolerating situations, small or large, that will hold them back. So follow their lead! You’ll find some things that drain energy are easier to fix than you might think.

Try this 3 step process to clear up anything and everything that’s draining energy from moving toward your goals.

Step 1 Get out some paper and ask yourself – What am I tolerating? This can be a loose doorknob, a can opener that has to go around twice, a co-worker’s interruptions, or your own disorganization.

Step 2 Write it all down. All of it. Every little, stupid thing that pops into your head.
This step is more important than you might give it credit. All those annoying habits, less than effective tools, things at work, things at home, friends, family, the dog… If this list takes a while, it’s worth it. Getting it all out on paper clears the air and makes it possible for you to create a plan to…

Step 3 Take care of it. Schedule an hour or two a week, or a few minutes each day, to deal with the things on your list. Start with the easy stuff if you need to build up your courage. Or go for the big stuff first if the relief of having it off your mind will make the rest easier. As you get things cleared off your list, you’ll begin to feel the difference. You step into the flow of a more effortless life. You find the energy that used to be drained away by irritation going toward producing results.

Just a couple of examples

There’s a shirt in the closet that you never wear because it has a loose button. Take care of it. Pull out a needle and thread, have your laundry service do the repair or get rid of the shirt! Why have it hanging there if you’re not going to wear it.

And that annoying co-worker who doesn’t seem to have enough work. Oh, yeah! They gave you half his work because the boss knew you’d get it done! Not too professional to snarl and call either one of them names. Maybe tell him you’re swamped and ask if he’d like to meet for lunch and talk then. If he doesn’t get the hint, you might have to step it up a notch, but you do have the right to take back your time. Exercise that right!

Now Celebrate! Do not – I repeat – do not wait until you’re finished with the whole list to reward yourself. Celebrate each week, each day, for every ten items checked off – however suits you best. You don’t want to wait until the list is complete if you’re at all like me. I started this practice several years ago and just keep adding things to my list. Don’t be thinking I’m just easily annoyed! I’ve finally learned that I don’t have to put up with things I used to needlessly tolerate. And I keep raising my standards! The point is to continually clear up the things that drain energy from your success and celebrate along the way! Here’s to your success!

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Perseverance: Are you rock or water?

“What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.”
– Ovid

Ovid was born in 43 B.C. That means people have been talking about perseverance for a very long time. Which means the challenges of reaching our goals has been a problem for humanity just as long. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a lot better – knowing I’m not alone in the struggle. Especially when I feel like I’m bumping up against an immovable wall.

Try a search on the web for perseverance quotes. From ancient wisdom to modern humor, there are inspiring words to help us keep at it, stick to our goals, persist, pursue and endure. Whew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

You can also find stories of people who overcame huge obstacles to do great things. Those are wonderful to read unless you’re like me -one of those people who then feels inadequate  – as in “Why am I not living up to my potential like that superhero person did?”

So I want to share a story about a regular person – one you may never hear about in the news – one who may never do things that are so amazing to the outside world that they end up in motivational books, posts, and speeches.

The story takes place at the local college my son attends here in Vegas. He’s in the animation program, and most of the students want to work in the video game industry when they graduate. But the story is not about my son. It’s about one of the other students, and the things my son has told me about him – let’s call him Gary (protecting his privacy and all).

Gary was told by a professor early on that he didn’t have what it takes and that he should just drop out of the program. In front of the whole class. BAM! OUCH! What would be your reaction to that at age 19 or 20? You don’t have what it takes to make your most passionate dreams come true!

I would have been destroyed when I was that age –I would have barely made it through the semester, confidence destroyed, and then slunk off to waste my life looking for something I cared enough about to make it worth doing.

Gary finished all the assignments, passed that semester and then signed up for the next class. I asked my son about his attitude toward the professor – “He obviously doesn’t like him, but he’s always respectful and always does the work. He just really wants to do this.” (meaning work in video games).

This semester, the professor apologized and said, “I was wrong about you.” In front of the whole class. Whoa! The sun breaks through the clouds!

How does that very short story make you feel? Gary is the water Ovid was talking about. He hasn’t made millions of dollars, he hasn’t made the news with his accomplishments – and he might not ever. But he has done what we all want to do – he hasn’t let anyone or anything stop him from working toward his dreams. He has persevered.

I don’t feel inadequate when I think about Gary. He’s a normal person, doing normal things – not a superhero making millions. I can be more like Gary. I can persevere – respectfully – through the misjudgment and criticism of others. I can continue working towards my dreams – and trust me – I won’t forget, thanks to Gary, that the world doesn’t have to know or approve for that to be great.

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Go-Giver Dad

The buzz I’ve been hearing lately is all about being a go-giver. My thoughts naturally turn to my go-giver dad who taught me invaluable lessons about giving by the way he lived.

The neighborhood we moved into when I was about 10 was brand new. Many of the neighbors were buying for the same reason my parents did – the price was right, and the houses had a full, above-ground basement which could be finished off in the future, doubling the square footage and making room for growing families.

Over the years, neighbor helped neighbor with the framing, drywall, flooring, plumbing – and as I was in and out playing with the other kids, I heard snippets of conversation from the adults. I came to realize that many of the neighbors were relying on my dad’s knowledge to get the work done. Always asking his advice and always receiving his expert help. Especially when it came to the wiring. Local code required that only a licensed electrician could wire a house. Smart code considering how dangerous – shock, fire hazard, etc. – faulty wiring can be. My dad was an electrician by trade, so all the neighbors saved a ton of money they would have had to spend hiring someone to do the electrical work.

Now I have to admit that I noticed that my dad gave more than he received. I remember one neighbor helping my dad with those huge sheets of drywall – someone had to hold it in place to keep it aligned while the nails were driven in – but for the most part, Dad did our house alone. He worked on the house a little bit in the evenings and on the weekends when he wasn’t working overtime or working on someone else’s house. Gradually it all came together – my brother had a bedroom downstairs, a nice den held the pool table and the piano I practiced on for so many years. Dad put in an extra bathroom, built shelves and cabinets for mom’s laundry room, and, of course, he had a wonderful workshop.

Dad’s life lessons were given by example more than by what he said, but he did tell me that one of the neighbors tried to pay him for the new kitchen cabinets he built and installed for her. He refused and told her that she might not be able to repay him, but that she could go and do something for someone else. He had a way of looking at me when he wanted me to learn a lesson – I nodded my head and he nodded in return, satisfied I understood the significance of what he was saying. Help people just because you can. Give without expecting a reward.

But I saw the reward my dad received. A few years into all the home improvement, Dad decided to build a screened, back porch running the full length of the house. The day the concrete truck pulled up to pour the foundation, people came streaming from all over the neighborhood to help – three times as many as could possibly get in there to smooth concrete. I saw how much they wanted to return all the favors my dad had always done for them, and this was one time he had asked for help with something he couldn’t do alone. I also saw my dad’s reaction – he knew. He knew what they were giving – more than just smoothing concrete – and, as he graciously thanked them for coming, I saw them leave with a lighter, happier heart.

I was trying not to let anyone see my tears as I learned this even greater lesson from my dad that touched my heart. How did he do that? How did he make everyone feel so wonderful about themselves when most of them couldn’t even get at the concrete to help because of the crowd? My teenage mind knew that the half-hour of help they gave that day did not “pay back” my dad. But my dad never wanted to be paid back, did he? He wanted good neighbors raising good children to hang out with his own children. He wanted friends who would be there when he needed them. He got what he wanted.

Read The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Man. While you’re reading, taking in its lessons and working on your plans to improve your success, think about my dad. Think about building a good business ‘neighborhood’ and creating relationships that build good business neighbors. Put your energy into giving, don’t worry about getting paid back – it will come back to you in all the ways that really count.

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Intuition and Computer Bags

Last Thursday I was getting things together to fly to Portland when my intuition nudged me to take the over-sized purse I use for my laptop. No reason as to why came with that nudge. I wasn’t taking a computer, but I dutifully put the bag with everything else. The next morning, I felt just a bit of irritation at having an empty bag to take with me, so I shoved my regular purse inside and headed to the airport.

I spent the weekend helping my daughter pack for her move to Maui. Friends helped move all the furniture and replaceable things she was giving away. Saturday evening just before closing time, we rushed to FedEx and shipped four boxes of personal things that weren’t going to fit in her suitcases. That left Sunday for cleaning and taking a few boxes to a friend’s house for storage. Late that afternoon, my daughter sat on the hardwood floor of her empty apartment organizing her bags for the flight when she realized the purse she’d chosen wasn’t big enough for her laptop – and the only one that was big enough was already on its way to Hawaii via FedEx.

Tears of frustration after a long, exhausting weekend were welling up in her eyes. My intuition had been right again. And the solution had been provided before we even knew what the problem was going to be. She took my bag – and it made me feel like I did when a kiss and a Band-Aid solved all her problems.

The really cool thing is now I feel open to buy a new bag for my computer – something I’ve been wanting to do but kept putting off as non-essential. And my intuition is telling me that’s a very good idea. Although once again, I don’t know why.

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Balance Key to Success

Balance is a key component of success.

Just as we need a balanced diet, a balanced exercise program and a balanced lifestyle, we need balance in our choices as we move toward our goals. Each cell and system in our body makes every effort to maintain homeostasis or balance. Homeostasis is defined as “the ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes.” Lack of homeostasis or imbalance leads to the condition we call disease.

In the wild, nature balances the number of predators and prey. Not enough predators and the prey eat up all the vegetation. Too many predators and soon there’s not enough prey to eat. Hunger or even starvation on either side is the result.

Mother Nature deals out some tough requirements on balance and sees to it that they are respected. Here’s where we humans trip. We forget we are a part of nature. We try to live above the law ignoring nature’s principles that would benefit us the most.

Spend some time evaluating your efforts to achieve your goals. Do you take balanced measures as you move forward? Are you so tired it takes longer to finish what you’re working on than it would if you were rested? Do you get so busy you forget to eat?

After a look at the personal side, look at your business methods. Is your marketing plan balanced or are all your efforts put into one style? What about your advisers? Do you turn to the same sources all the time or are you open to new ideas?

You’ll find plenty that you’re doing right. Take note of any little nudges that something needs adjusting. Nature gave you the tool of intuition and will send you warnings if you’re moving out of balance. If you’re not trying to live above her law, if you listen, you will be guided to a state of homeostasis in your efforts. The path to success will smooth out, and you’ll find the journey more fulfilling.

Nurturing Your Sixth Senses

Ben Underwood, a blind teenager, does amazingly normal things like play video games, skating and walking down the sidewalk unaided. He’s mastered the skill of echo location using a clicker to give him feedback on his surroundings. We’ve all heard of stories like this where a person loses one sense and learns to develop and rely on another to take its place. Sixth senses are the ones that, as a culture, we’ve lost the use of. They’ve been blocked off or ignored by so many people for so long we’ve almost forgotten that they are our birthright as human beings. Fortunately, learning how to nurture your sixth senses does not require that you lose one of your other senses.

Sixth sense benefits are too great to ignore in our super-charged, rush-around, get-it-all-done lives. With too many demands on our time, we have to decide which tasks and activities will benefit ourselves, our families and our businesses the most. There is just no way to take advantage of all of life’s options. How would you like to know how to be able to look at those options and know which was right? Just know. If you’re doing that you’re using the one sixth sense that everyone has – intuition.

The benefits of listening to your intuition become clear as you get used to it. You begin to trust your judgment, and although you will want feedback from other people involved with your decisions, you’ll grow more certain of your choices as you become more skilled at allowing your intuition to guide you. You begin to feel like you’re in the flow of life instead of battling upstream. Small intuitive decisions open the way for big things to fall into place more easily.

Try these three tips to help nurture your sixth senses including your intuition.

1 Acknowledge that you have at least one sixth sense, your intuition. I promise –everyone has this one. Think about it – ever had a gut feeling about something. Ever had the phone ring and you knew who it was before you looked at your caller ID. Ever felt a sudden impulse to call someone, check on the kids, take a different route home. Trust me – you have intuition. If you can’t remember one single event that indicates your intuition, let me know. I can tell you what’s blocking it.

2 Spend time in quiet contemplation. Notice I didn’t say meditation. It doesn’t take hours and hours of meditation develop sixth senses and – surprising as it may be, not all meditations help you with it. Different meditations for different purposes. Try this – Take a few minutes each morning (5-10 is plenty) to clear your head and listen. Here’s where temporarily suspending your other senses can help: close your eyes, block out noise with a fan or white sound recording, do not try this while someone is baking cookies downstairs. Breathe deeply while you let your normal thoughts and worries float around and away. You might see images, have new thoughts rise to the surface or simply feel more at peace for those few moments.

3 Don’t try to force intuition. It doesn’t work that way. It can and will sometimes shout at you in emergency situations, but it does its best work in quiet moments. Simply set your intent (a bit stronger than deciding or hoping) to find the answer to a particular problem. Sit quietly for a few moments while holding thoughts of that problem in your mind with as little emotion attached as possible. Then, and this is really important, allow a feeling of gratitude to flow through you for the future answer you will receive. And the answer will come to you, although it may take a few days or even weeks depending on what you’re seeking. Often you’ll realize it’s something you’ve considered doing but had discounted or resisted. (See! Your intuition was working all along.)

Developing and nurturing sixth senses takes acknowledgment, contemplative time and patience.
And it’s worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with more confidence and clarity as you move through your day and your life.

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