Archives for gratitude

A Thanksgiving Poem

I’ve never been more thankful for breath.

Such a simple thing.

So easy to take for granted, but when it’s taken

And you don’t know which will be your last

It’s simply glorious just to be able to breathe.

 

And laugh… and sing.

 

It’s been a year full of magic and miracles

Of triumphs, travels, and transitions

Of scares, scrounging, and salvaging

But rich in love, faith, and connection.

All part of the whole of life.

 

For those who entrusted me

To do right by your referrals

And to those whose kids

You put in my care,

I am grateful and humbled.

 

To every employer and contact

Who took the time to notice

And appreciate my clients’ brilliance

And made efforts to position it

For the highest good, thank you.

 

To those who made possible

Memories I’ll hold dear forever,

Disney, the Poconos, da shore,

Frankie’s birthday with all the uncles

My family blesses you.

 

Dearest clients,

I can hardly get across

How deeply appreciative I am

That you open your mind, invest in me

And let me make an impact on your life.

 

I pray for those without a home.

I think of those without a family.

I send love to those who have been without.

I appreciate those who have sacrificed for me.

I promise, you and your actions are not forgotten.

 

In this moment

I am exactly where I need to be.

I am here, if you need me.

I am open to new people and experiences.

I am blessed just to be alive.

 

I know this more deeply than ever before.

Bathe in your blessings this Thanksgiving.

Ben Harper – Blessed To Be A Witness

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Celebrating 11 Years

Thank You by Andrew Bowden of Flickr

Ten years is usually the big milestone, and it was, but 11 is my lucky number and the year that I had been most excited to reach – a second decade in business to celebrate.

Rather, what is more worthy of celebration are the people I have met, engaged, helped, supported and been supported by. Also, the challenges I have overcome and the self-limiting beliefs that I have busted are worthy of celebrating.

I was very busy with business, grading, and preparing for my first destination girls’ trip (a celebration of the year my high school friends and I turn 40) on my anniversary, that I forgot to acknowledge it on the actual day, June 1st, prior to leaving.

But I arrived before my friends in Hilton Head, SC, and as I lie in a lounge chair over looking palm trees and the warm, gentle, loving ocean, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

  • I had hardly enough time to pack or sleep because my clients, mentors, and partners have been referring so many leads to me, and because now more clients engage me to work one-on-one with them throughout their campaign, a much larger investment, and more prospective clients are asking to speak with references.
  • I am so grateful for the myriad of former clients who are thrilled to share their story and genuinely want more people to have a happy ending/new beginning just like them.
  • I am grateful that I can spend money on a jaunt without worry that the well will run dry and I will soon regret spending that money, both because I have a full pipeline and because I have busted the belief that I am un-deserving, that the world is a place of cruel limits and lack, and that just when things are finally going well, tragedy will strike.

These beliefs kept me from fully spreading my wings, and while my wings are still not as fully expansive as they can become, they are FAR wider than ever before.

  • I trust in God and the Universe.
  • I know that I am deserving of success, happiness and wealth, and the world is abundant in resources and possibility, as long as I am resourceful and open to possibility.

My 40s and this second decade of business are looking to be my most exciting and adventurous years yet, and I have had quite an exciting and adventurous life so far. But, again, it is not about the years, it is about the people.

  • I first have to thank my husband, without whom I could not have been able to stay in business this long, and most definitely would not have been able to be home with my daughters.
  • I want to thank my parents. Even though I probably would have started a business without their blessing, I was both surprised and relieved to gain their support from the beginning through now.
  • Thank you my former BNI referral partners with whom I still keep in touch and some who still refer clients eight years later. You helped me hone my public speaking and networking skills, and supported my business during the most critical time in a business’s life and at a time when it was critical for me to have a strong business as I ventured into motherhood.
  • Thank you to the hundreds of LinkedIn Workshop for Jobseekers attendees. It was your feedback that enabled me to develop a much stronger curriculum.
  • Thank you to the people in the dozens of organizations who engaged me to speak. I found a new passion in public speaking and, now that my kids are older, see this as a primary platform going forward.
  • Thank you to my first clients who took a chance on a young, but ambitious and knowledgeable résumé writer and career coach who probably seemed like a baby to you.
  • Thank you to the clients who gave me a shot as a work-at-home mom. I was so scared of being perceived as unreliable that I was uber stressed all the time about keeping a regular schedule with my babies. I did not have a lot of time to work one-on-one with clients as I breastfed every three hours for 45 minutes. Though I was more diligent than ever with my schedule, if ever there was a snafu (baby won’t nap, explosive diaper incidents, illness, etc.) you were more patient and understanding than I could have imagined. Your patronage was so appreciated. You kept my business going.
  • Thank you to the clients who helped me test and launch new products and services. Helping you overcome your challenges was a reason to develop solutions that would help so many more.
  • Thank you to my interns and assistants. My management and mentoring experience before I started my business was minimal, but while I created new opportunities for you to grow, you also gave me the opportunity to see what kind of contributor I could be.
  • To my virtual experimental teams, who allowed me to test out new tools and processes while we learned along side each other, we may not have had the outcome we intended, but I can say that a lot was learned, and none of us were afraid to fail. For that we should be proud and I thank you. I will try again with new insights that will help future teams achieve more success.
  • To my former mastermind community, thank you for the virtually magic synchronicity that was created. Again, we may not have created a permanent group, but the momentum gained during that time had a permanent, compounding effect on my business. Thank you.
  • Thank you to all my clients who were willing to be vulnerable and honest with me, and trusted that I had your back and would be compassionate in my stand for your optimal outcome. You should be so proud of how you expanded your comfort zones, increased your life skill level and confidence, and grew empowered to create a future that makes the life you want possible. You ROCK in a very EPIC way.
  • To all the vendors who have helped me with marketing, graphic design, editing, transcription, sales funnels, and more, thank you.
  • A HUGE thanks to my current assistant, Angela, who has been with me two years supporting the most growth the business has ever experienced. Without your efforts, I could never have focused my time and attention on what really mattered, our clients and major strategic initiatives.
  • Of course, I thank my kids. To be honest, they seemed like an impediment to business a lot of the time. This might sound awful, but I used to feel immense pressure to compete with emerging coaches who had no tethers and could attend all the cool events and who started to “take” all the great speaking engagements. It took a while to grow in my own confidence, to see that I am a uniquely gifted coach, that my audience was not being “taken” by someone else, and that I am a FORCE of nature. That last one is something I learned from my kids, from overcoming the challenges that parenthood presented while conquering product development, plus business development, plus client delivery. I can now instill in other moms that it CAN be done.

 

17 Academically and Scientifically Proven Benefits of Practicing Gratitude Regularly

Gratitude by Sheila Craan of flickr

Gratitude by Sheila Craan of flickr

 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is not about presents; it is about togetherness. It is the perfect kick-off to start reflecting on our past and planning our future. What science has proven time and time again is that if we want a brighter, happier, and healthier 2017, giving thanks is best done on a daily basis, not an annual basis. It improves mental and physical health. Even when practiced by individuals, the impacts reach far into families and communities.

Here is a list of the SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN benefits of being a thanksgiving practitioner, meaning having a regular regimen around practicing gratitude, such as including it in your meditation, prayer, or journaling.

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More joy, optimism, and happiness
  • Acting with more generosity and compassion
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated
  • Better sleep (even for chronic pain sufferers)
  • Less depression
  • Stronger relationships, including marriages
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Higher likeliness to help others (aka pro-social behavior)
  • Better handling of adversity / greater resilience
  • Lower violence
  • Fewer complaints
  • Less sickness
  • More exercise (an average of 1.5 hours more per week)
  • Lower need for material possessions
  • More energy, alertness, and enthusiasm

 

Below is a non-exhaustive list including some of the studies done on gratitude, validating that many have deemed gratitude worthy of great investments of time and money.

Harvard Medical School

Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley

2006 study in the journal Psychological Science

2010 study in the journal Psychological Science

University of California, Davis & University of Miami

Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Western New York Veterans Administration Hospital, University at Buffalo, SUNY & University of Alabama at Birmingham

 

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Tombstone by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

Tombstone by Martin Cathrae of Flickr

 

You might have heard that the most significant part of the tombstone is not the epitaph, but the dash between your birth date and your death date. What will the dash mean to the people you leave behind? Will you have had the chance to fulfill your highest purpose? Is that even really important?

According to Dr. Abraham Maslow, a purposeful vocation is essential after your most basic happiness needs are met. With nearly 70% of Americans being disengaged in their vocations, the majority of us won’t know higher levels of happiness before we make our exit.

On this Halloween, when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, it might seem preposterous to suggest visiting a graveyard. If you are not that kind of thrill seeker, simply read through this exercise then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Sit in front of a tombstone and imagine that it is yours. Reflect on your life. Consider the legacy you cultivated. Did you bring forth your fulfillment in this lifetime? Did you complete your missions? Did you find your passion and share it with others? For what do you wish you had made more time?

When life gets hard, it especially becomes difficult to be grateful for the little things, like the fact that we woke up this morning and we’re still alive. We have today, but we don’t know if we will have tomorrow. What can you do to make today a meaningful part of your dash? What can you do tomorrow, if you are lucky enough to still be here?

Are the hours you are spending at work bringing you closer to the kind you of happiness that will make you feel proud of the life you led?

If this exercise makes you aware of a gap that needs filling in your purpose, contact us and we can help you accelerate the career discovery process and help you find a purpose-lead vocation that suits your skill set, personality, and desired lifestyle.

 

Don’t wait until December for my book, Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint Your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

 

100 Things to Make You Smile When Life Doesn’t Look Like We Want It To

 

 

One Hundred by Mark Paz

One Hundred by Mark Paz

 

For my 100th LinkedIn post, I want to take a page from my daughter’s preschool and kindergarten classes. They use the hundredth day of school not only to celebrate a milestone I never even thought to celebrate, but to teach kids about the number 100. It is a pretty significant number, as numbers go.

I decided, inspired by the hundredth day of school (that we are now actually celebrating having come to an end), that I wanted to use my hundredth post to expand an exercise that my daughters and I have started to do to turn our attitude into gratitude. It is a way to quickly recover when our complaining turns into a negative tailspin. I’ll have them or they’ll have me make a list of things for which we are grateful. In regard to effectiveness, this makes us feel better 100% of the time.

I started this list with ten things that I feel could apply to anyone anywhere in the world at any given moment. However, I ask you to contribute comments with the things that you can always turn to make you feel grateful and happy, even when the world around you does not seem so happy. The exercise of doing so, I guarantee, will lift your spirits. You can also be certain that as others read your contributions, you will be raising the level of happiness in others.

Recommendation: the worse you feel the more items you add. Keep adding items until you feel better.

1. You can improve your health right now just by moving.

2. It does not rain every day everywhere.

3. The biggest, scariest creatures lived a long, long time ago.

4. Satellites make it easy to see anywhere in the world.

5. It is rare that the sky is not interesting to gaze upon.

6. Seeds represent infinite possibility.

7. When life was invented, I was invented to be a self-sustaining cycle of endings and new beginnings.

8. Each of us had a mom and a dad, whether we know them or not, they brought us into this world and made possible whatever we wanted to be possible.

9. We are one of the few animals that can laugh.

10. There is music… Sweet music.

 

Turn that attitude into gratitude: A momentum-generating motto

Photo courtesy of ram reddy - "Celebrate the New Begining | 2009" (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.

I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.

Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.

I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.

Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:

-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.

-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.

-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”

-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.

-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.

 [Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/bjG9t]

-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up.  When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?

Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All

Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.

The mirror of my ugliness

We-are-entitled-to-our

It was a pretty ugly morning yesterday. The event that occurred later that morning was equally as ugly.

 

Ron Nash’s recent LinkedIn post got me thinking about how I get sometimes when people drive carelessly around me on the road, especially when my kids are in the car. I think to myself, “How selfish is that.” Yesterday somebody felt the same way about me and took it to an extreme.  It stood to completely unnerve me and keep me in a state of upset for days. But that would’ve been my choice.

After dropping my oldest daughter off at school yesterday, I stopped at a stop sign, looked to merge with speeding traffic, and did so “successfully.” This particular stop sign is positioned kind of like an on-ramp, and the locals treat it as such. The cars that were coming were going faster than I could accurately gauge – much faster than the speed limit there. To be considerate to cars that are coming from that direction, I usually accelerate pretty quickly and get up to speed with them so that they don’t even have to tap their brakes. In this case, the car behind me, a big, mean-looking, black SUV with one daylight out, sped up and was very close to my bumper by the time the light just ahead turned yellow. I “ran” the yellow light to make a right turn into my neighborhood. The people behind me were stopped at the red light. In my estimation, they probably would’ve missed it if they were going the speed limit. I suppose that it is fair to say, then, that I prevented them from making the light.

 

As I passed my street, my two-year-old insisted we not go home and continue drive around. Thank God she did, because I was unaware that a car several cars behind that big black SUV decided to follow us to tell me what he thought of my maneuver. This irate, irrational individual might have found out where we lived had we actually went straight home. We stopped at a light by a sandwich shop right past our street and I noticed the car behind me seemed to have trouble stopping in time. I inched up at the light to give him a little more room to stop only to notice that he wasn’t having trouble stopping; he was intentionally getting really close to my bumper. When I looked at the driver to try to figure out why he was getting so close to my bumper, I saw that he was giving me the finger and lewdly gesturing to me. He rolled down his window and I, very curious as to why you would be giving me the finger, rolled down my window. He exclaimed, “Learn how to drive! I saw you back there.”

 

So I asked, “You mean that yellow light that I ran?”

 

No. He said, “You cut everybody off back there.” As he started to continue to exaggerate lewd gestures to me with my two-year-old in the backseat, I quickly decided that I was not going to have a rational conversation with this gentleman to explain that I had plenty of room to merge in with moving traffic and accelerate at a safe speed as long as everybody else was going the speed limit. I also realized that in his current emotional and psychological state, he may not see the irony in the fact that he sped through my residential neighborhood to catch up with me and ride up on my bumper with my toddler in the back seat to tell me that I was a traffic menace. I rolled the window back up as the light turned green. He stayed behind me riding my bumper and exaggerating disgusting gestures to me with an awful face crinkled with anger the whole way through the next town, which happened to have the closest police station. I traveled the speed limit, if not slower, the whole way. I even refrained from turning on red (where it is permitted) when the cars going straight seemed to be in their own jam.

 

He was still too close to me to see if his turn signal was on and if he was going to continue to follow me. When the light turned green, I turned right to go towards the police station and he continued straight into the next town. I thought about trying to turn around and follow him to get his license plate number, but thought better of it. I was shaking pretty badly and I just wanted to regain my sense of calm. As my daughter, completely unaware of what was transpiring, continued to sing happily in the backseat, I regained my sense of calm. Over the course of a couple of hours I made it a point to reframe the situation and gain a healthful and helpful perspective of it, just as the Ron Nash post echoes.

 

I looked how I could take accountability. This probably seems a little crazy for people who have no understanding of the law of attraction. Because this law states that you attract what you give your attention to, I had to accept that it was because of how ugly I had been behaving with my daughters that morning that the event transpired – my anger, my lack of patience, my obscene, exaggerated tone of voice and facial expressions. I didn’t actually say anything obscene or insulting, but I’m fully cognizant from other personal development and therapy that I’ve done of how kids very easily make things mean, “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never get it right,” and “I’m such a screw-up,” “I’m a bad kid.” That guy was a mirror. I hardly believe myself when I say I’ll never be that ugly again. But, I more vividly understand how I was being, how I want to be, and why I should choose more wisely. I have increased access to the tools I’ve been taught to control my anger and extend more patience to my kids so that they can forgive themselves for their mistakes and grow from them, rather than being hindered and stifled by them.

 

That guy may have been suffering from a psychotic breakdown. In my effort to use this experience as a moment of enlightenment, I started to come from a place of compassion. I thought to myself, “He must really hate himself to be expressing that amount of hate on the outside to complete strangers.” I thought about all the ways that this guy is probably damaging relationships with other people and impeding his own personal growth by placing the accountability on others. He must really be hating where he is in his life right now.  I actually started to cry for him and pray for him.

 

The protective mother in me really hopes that my house is not a regular landmark on his commute into work every day. I hope I never have a run-in with him again for the sake of the safety of my children and myself, and I hope that I don’t read about a road rage incident involving the same guy that escalates to even higher level. I pray, more than anything, that he has a moment of clarity and perspective on decisions that he can make to be happy and feel connected. I am grateful to him for giving me that moment. As long as I choose to be who I want to be more than I choose to react in ways I find ugly, I am confident I will have few more ugly encounters like that.

 

Also, I will be more careful and considerate merging into speeding traffic. Who knows whose day I’m messing up by making them miss a light, especially when I am in no particular rush.