Thursday, August 10, 2017

When One Door Closes . . .

This has been a different summer for me. While many people's businesses see a winding down over the summer, I have not had that experience -- until this year, that is. You see, I had been planning to spend July in Hawaii and so other than teaching an online course, I did not make any efforts to book speaking engagements this summer. But as can sometimes happen, life threw us a curveball and the door on our Hawaii vacation slammed shut.

Now what? I wondered, "What am I going to do with all this free time on my hands?"

Yes, I had a few coaching clients who were glad to know I was going to be available for in-person sessions. Yet, I still had a lot of unbooked time, and I like being busy.

Then on June 29, I had coffee with my friend Chris Tieri, founder and president of Idea Agency. During our conversation, we got on the topic of getting done things we had been thinking about doing. I shared that I had been thinking about developing online courses based on programs I offer. Chris shared she had been thinking about writing a book. As I drove home from our get together, I started thinking about all the things I, or others have said, that they wanted to do, but were not getting done.

Two days later while in Syracuse, NY for a memorial service, I got together with my cousin Anne. I told her that I was serious thinking about developing online courses on Time Management, Resilience, and so forth. She was quite encouraging. Anne founded eKamria, a web development company, and so she had a lot of thoughts to share with me about online courses.

And then another, very different door opened. Literally. While sitting in the kitchen talking with Anne, my cousins Tony and Stephanie entered. They live in Georgia and we had not seen one another in twenty years. Long story short, they had purchased the family camp on Lake Oneida and were in town to check on the renovations. They were planning to be back in July for three weeks and wanted me to come up for a few days.

"Our kids we be there; Mary's coming in from Texas and Jamie will be around, too. You have to plan to come back."

Well, I certainly had the time to do so, and 6 weeks later I did just that. We found a hotel within 6 miles of the camp. Spent two days and evenings with family I hadn'€™t seen in decades, met many of their children for the very first time. We had a ball!

Anne came out both days too. While sitting by the lake, she asked about my plans for the online courses.

"Up and running," I said. She looked astonished. "Yup, after our talk back on June 1, I went home and researched online platforms. Settled on Thinkific, and launched the Time Management course two nights ago."

"Not only that," I told her, "I storyboarded the next online class, Resilience: The Key to Retirement Well-being and," I added proudly, "I scheduled the next Change Your Habitudes, Change Your Life workshop for October 28."

Anne was, to say the least impressed with all I had accomplished in the 6 weeks since our late night talk around the kitchen table.

"And," I said, "I am planning to launch another onground, six-week program called, Get It Done! It's for serious-minded people who have something they've always talked about doing, and now want to get it done."

Like the saying goes, "When one door closes, another one opens" and here'€™s the proof. The door on my long-awaited vacation in Hawaii may have slammed shut, but many opportunities opened -- spending time with family in New York, developing and putting into place two online courses, developing the Get It Done! 6-week program and scheduling the next Change Your Habitudes, Change Your Life workshop for October 28.

And it's only August 9. Plenty of summertime left!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

That Four-letter "F" Word

Do you sometimes find yourself spewing that 4-letter "F" word?

No, not THAT one . . . I'm talking about that other 4-letter "F" word -- FEAR.

Fear is a distressing negative emotion brought on by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that triggers your 'fight or flight' response. Our fears, however, can often take on a life of their own and stop us dead in our tracks.

Rejection is an irrational fear that others will not accept us for who we are. Fear of rejection is one of those insidious, perceived threats that can hold you back, keep you from achieving your goals. Fear of rejection pervades our minds, often rendering us incapable of doing or saying anything for fear of others' rejection, lack of acceptance, or disapproval. Yes, there will be times in your life when you will face rejection. How will you handle rejection if it does happen?

To start, be prepared. Identify your limiting thoughts, such as...
  • People dislike me
  • I am a failure
  • I am not worthy of their approval
. . . and then dismiss them one by one.

To do so effectively you need to build your self-esteem. And you build self-esteem by understanding your self-worth.   So make this list instead . . .
  • People like me because...
  • I have been successful in...
  • I am worthy of others' approval because...
Work on your self-worth list everyday by adding just one good trait about you. Remember my equation: 
Self-confidence + Self-worth = Self-esteem

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Be A Creative Thinker

Why is it . . .
  • Superman could stop bullets with his chest, but always ducked when someone threw a gun at him?
  • man evolved from monkeys, yet we still have monkeys?
  • necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?
"Good learning starts with questions, not answers," wrote Guy Claxton. And, I will add, sometimes it is the most outrageous questions that can jump start our thinking, get us looking at a problem in a new way.

Creative thinking calls into question the assumptions underlying our usual ways of thinking and acting. 

Creative thinkers consider rejecting standardized formats for problem solving. They have an interest in a wide range of related and divergent fields. Creative thinkers take multiple perspectives on a problem and will use trial-and-error methods in their experimentation. When we step into new territories, tentativeness is normal.

Be a creative thinker. Pose new questions to yourself everyday, even outlandish ones like those above. Have a future orientation; have self-confidence and trust in your own judgment. Deepen your self-knowledge by exploring your inner strengths, your weaknesses, your skills, biases, expectations, and fears.

Examine the patterns, the habitudes that are holding you back, keeping you stuck in the 'same old, same old.' As Stephen Covey said, "Live out of your imagination, not your history."