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Archive for October, 2009

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself [Andy Warhol].

The end of yet another month is upon us. Ten down. Two to go before we welcome 2010.

Love it or hate it, 2009 is nearly over.  Another journey around the sun is coming to an end.

How will you remember this year? For all the amazing things you accomplished, the risks you took, the places you visited, the people you helped?

Or as a terrible, horrible, very bad year? One in which you bummed around, waiting for the headlines to change, the unemployment numbers to rise, and the economy to behave itself?

Will you charge toward the end, building on the momentum you have created?

Or struggle to the finish line, waiting for someone else to develop a plan, provide an answer, and stir up your enthusiasm?

I often wonder who, exactly, we are expecting to arrive and fix our lives.

I’m here to tell you there are no magic beans, the country is fresh out of super heroes, and Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men are nowhere to be found.

You are the one you’ve been waiting for.

If you’re looking for a new start, a practical solution, or a flash of inspiration, look within yourself for the change you seek. Stop relying on others to motivate you to get through the day . . . this week . . . .your life.

“No one saves us but ourselves.
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path” [Unknown].

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea” [Jim Rohn].

Greg and I are notorious for listening to business leaders, inspirational speakers or books on CD when we travel. I keep a small notebook handy to write down any compelling  phrases or ideas I hear.

One recent quote I heard by John Maxwell, contributor to SUCCESS magazine, was this:

On any given day
you can massively change the direction of your life
.

That’s pretty powerful stuff when you think about it. Sometimes, it only takes “one” to set the plan in motion, open the door, make the difference:

One idea.

One introduction.

One response.

One person.

One invitation.

One approval.

One commitment.

One change.

One phone call.

One day . . .

to change your life.

I was having lunch with a friend earlier this week and she mentioned how much she enjoys meeting new people. “It only takes one, you know,” she said.

“One, what, exactly?” I asked, perplexed.

“One person.  It only takes one person to take you from being an orphan to a Queen. And you never know who that person will be. That’s why it is so fun.”

I immediately realized she was talking about the Bible story of Esther. She was right.  One person played a pivotal role in introducing Esther to her destiny.

Our conversation started me thinking about the power of one. Not 100 or 1,000 or 1 million.  Just one.  And the potential one contains, if you’re willing to harness it.

Too often we overlook the opportunity because it appears insignificant. We’re conditioned to believe that unless it is huge and extravagant and over-the-top, it’s meaningless. We avoid the small as we chase after the enormous.  We waste the day hoping for a better next year.

Is today your day?  The day when you discover your “one” which equips you to massively change the direction of your life?

Or are you content to continue waiting for a brighter inspiration, a larger check, a more compelling argument?

Lao Tzu said, “If  you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  I say, “It only takes one turn to change your direction.”

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

PS: Today marks my 150th blog posting. It only took one comment from one friend, “What could it hurt?” to get this thing up and running.  What a difference “one” can make.

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Don’t yield to the seductive pull of self-pity. Acting like a victim threatens your future” [Unknown].

A good friend of mine received a call recently from her young goddaughter who was sobbing hysterically. It seems one of the “popular girls” from her school had organized a sleep-over and purposely neglected to include her.

Do you remember being 8-years-old? When your self-worth floated on the acceptance of others? When a snub in the hallway or a hurtful comment in the cafeteria had the ability to bring your world crashing down? Well, such was the case on a recent Friday night, for a little girl who found herself standing outside the circle looking in.

“Is it because I wear glasses?” the girl wailed, as she started a litany of perceived imperfections that would cause her “friends” to abandon her. “Is this life? Is this just how things are?” she asked.

My friend permitted her goddaughter to indulge in self-pity for a moment longer and then said, “Yes, in some ways, this is life. People can be cruel, even when you become an adult and begin working, you will find that people can be unkind.”

“Now, listen,” she continued, “it’s okay that you feel this way about the sleepover. It’s perfectly normal to be sad when friends treat you this way.  But you can’t stay here.  You can visit self-pity for a while, because your feelings are hurt, but you can’t stay in this place.  Do you understand me?”

What awesome advice for each one of us!  We all face circumstances that make us question our self-worth, examine our effort, and want to throw in the towel.

I’ve been there.  You’ve been there.

Unfulfilled dreams, unexpected dead-ends, and unrealized hopes can lead to feelings of failure and hopelessness. Cruel treatment, intentional oversight, and passive-aggressive responses make us want to retreat to our rooms and pull down the shades.

A while back a friend asked, “Don’t you ever just become depressed and want to quit?  Isn’t life hard?”

My response was that of course I have days like that. There are times when life is difficult and despite my best efforts, all I get in return is a kick in the shins. But I can’t stop to dwell on the unpleasantness for very long. Self-pity is a slippery slope.  It is indulgent and selfish. You stay too long and you will find yourself sliding into something darker and more difficult to escape.

There are few human emotions as warm, comforting, and enveloping as self-pity.

And nothing is more corrosive and destructive.

There is only one answer; turn away from it and move on.

~ Dr. Megan Reik

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience”
[George Bernard Shaw].

All in all it was a much better day than I had planned or even hoped for. I accomplished so much, and I am happy to report that most of the items on my “To Do List” now have a line through them.

But now, 10 minutes into tomorrow, I pause to look back at yesterday and I am a bit unsettled.  A big mess of unexpected landed right on my head late in the day.  In the midst of all my progress and efficiency, I was blindsided by “one of those days.”

I’ll be honest, “those days” can be somewhat difficult to foresee, but you know them when you see them — and sometimes you can see them coming down the pike from a long way off.

And somewhere toward mid-afternoon, well before I knew that “one of those days” was approaching, my sister called and invited me to get out of the house, enjoy the great weather, and join her in a walk at the park.

When I said I was much too busy to leave my work even for two hours, she said, “Well, I hope I don’t die tragically, because then you’ll be sorry.”

To which I replied, “I would be sad even if you died in a non-tragic manner.”

And she said, because she always has to have the last word, “Yeah, but when you die tragically, it’s just so . . . tragic.”

And then we had a good laugh about dying tragically. Which, in itself, when you think about it, is just weird. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t go on a walk with her.

And then, in the middle of my recounting a story to my husband about a very cool thing that happened to me earlier in the day, he interrupted me to ask if I thought his jeans were too long. Which makes no sense, because my story was very important and his — not so much.

And when I received the bit of news that turned my great day into “one of those days,” and I wanted to get discouraged because sometimes it really doesn’t seem like hard work pays off, I happened to see my latest Twitter post from this afternoon, which read — “Even if you are facing mounting disappointments or failures, now is not the time to give up hope or lower the dial on your determination!”

And I had to chuckle at how my online optimism was lifting my real-life sagging spirit.

And then, I continued writing and thinking long into the night — way past my usual bed time.  Although, come to think of it, my sleeping habits have been really messed up for a while, so I’m not sure I even have a usual bed time any longer.

I used to be “Miss Early to Bed and Early to Rise.” Now, I’m “I’ll get to bed when I can, get up when I have to, and take a nap if needed to keep going.”

And now, when I think about it,  even when you throw in the unexpected “one of those days” zingers, I had an exceedingly awesome, abundantly more than you can ask or think of kind of day. I guess it’s all how you look at it.

Kinda cool.

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.

We are like eggs at present.

And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.

We must be hatched or go bad” [C. S. Lewis].

When I think back over the past 6 months, or 6 weeks or 6 days, I’m amazed at the choices that have presented themselves. Opportunities to make a move, take a chance, extend a hand, look beyond today, and imagine tomorrow.

Like an unhatched chick, though, opportunities will never see the light of day unless we take some action. Maybe it starts with a belief that we can. A self-confidence that the effort will be worth the payoff.

Most times, however, opportunities don’t arrive with guarantees.  Is that what holds us back?  The not knowing?

Okay, if I do this, then what?

What if the answer is no?

What if the funds dry up?

What if they ask me to wait . . . again?

What if I’m exposed as a fraud?

What if they don’t understand?

What if I don’t have anything to say?

What if they laugh?

What if the effort isn’t worth the outcome?

Sure, there are risks. The future may look uncertain. The alternate choice is to wait. Do nothing. Talk yourself out of it. Stay in your warm, comfortable shell. Hoping that someone else will take action on your behalf.

As Lewis noted, it is impossible to learn to fly while remaining safely in the shell. If we refuse to risk the comfort of now for the promise of tomorrow, we will miss the amazing adventures that exist beyond the nest.

“We are what we believe we are” [Lewis].

I believe I’m ready to break out of this shell and fly. How about you?

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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Do what you like. Like what you do.” [From Life is Good Company.]

Have you heard of the Life is Good Company?  Do you own any of their gear? The graphics are plain and cheerful. Nothing fancy or dramatic or over-the-top to get their point across.

Just the simple statement that “Life is Good.” Even their Twitter Posts are easy, breezy, and fun.  A recent one said, “Radiate good vibes. Climb mountains. Ride your bicycle. Brush your teeth.” Another suggested, “Consider yourself a lucky dog.”

My sister introduced me to the company a few years ago, and I now own several shirts.  My favorite is an orange tee Dawn purchased for me earlier this year.  It has a simple drawing of a bicycle on the front with the text, “Biker Chick.”

All of the Life is Good shirts hanging in my closet contain a tag near the hemline which reads, “Do what you like. Like what you do.” A great reminder that life doesn’t have to complicated to be fulfilling.

Your schedule doesn’t have to be jam-packed for you to be important.

Your vacations don’t have to be exotic to be memorable.

Your toys don’t have to be expensive for your life to be valuable.

Your title doesn’t have to be long for you to have impact.

At the end of the day, so many important things become meaningless if you don’t like what you do.

I really think the people at  Life is Good have it figured out . . .

If you Do What You Like and Like What You Do then Life is Good!

Maybe it really is just that simple.

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities.

Seize common occasions and make them great.

Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them”

[Orison Swett Marden]

While preparing breakfast earlier this week, one of those super-hyped pitchmen came on the TV proclaiming the endless benefits of some fantastic new vegetable peeler.

“It is THIS! It is THAT!” the overly enthusiastic announcer proclaimed, as the actor on the screen could barely contain his delight to be shredding, slicing, and dicing his way into “As Seen On TV” history.

And, just as I was becoming bored with the antics of the fake cook in the sound stage kitchen, the announcer boomed, “But WAIT, there’s more . . . ” as he offered to add unending gifts and benefits to orders placed within the next 10 minutes.

Although I have heard that phrase many times before, this time it really caught my attention.  I wondered who he was speaking to, exactly?

Those of us in TV land who thought the product was an exceptional I-can’t-believe-my-good-fortune value, were already dialing the phone.  Everyone else was waiting. (Was he actually addressing those folks who were waiting, and asking them to wait some more? Was he rewarding bad behavior?)

Have we become a society who believes that waiting is preferable to taking action?  Convinced that someone will sweeten the pot, throw in a travel size, include a second set, up the offer, lower the price?

I think we may have become a society of waiters!

We wait for the news to arrive. The phone to ring. The check to come.

The tide to turn. The light to shine. For it to make sense.

The line to move. The weather to break. Someone to save the day.

Yikes!  All of this waiting is exhausting!  As Mario Andretti said, “If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”

I see waiters, but I hear on the news and read in print that, “We are Ready!”  I can’t help but wonder . . . ready for what, exactly?

– Ready for action? Or ready for someone to intervene on our behalf?

– Ready to fund our own activities? Or ready for someone to pass a tax increase?

– Ready to take control? Or ready for someone to drive us to our destination?

– Ready to make our own path? Or ready to live someone else’s adventure?

– Ready for the winds of change to blow in? Or ready to harness our own power?

To paraphrase Garth Stein, waiting may be the easier path to travel, but it can’t possibly offer a more satisfying conclusion than taking charge of your own life.

You have the power within yourself to create the “more” you have been seeking. Stop waiting. Start living.

Whatever you are, be a good one!

Deanna

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