Category Archives: move

Less about self-help and more about SELF

I have an addiction to books.  I know, I could be addicted to a lot worse.  The manifestation of this addiction is problematic in two ways:

1)    I BUY all the books I read. (Library? What library?)  This affects my finances and my storage issues.

2)    I’m particularly addicted to self-help books.

I could open my own self-help bookstore…

My friend Kirby visited recently.  He’s always intrigued by new little collections of books that sprout up around my house.  The latest one was sitting unsuspectingly, minding its own business, on my kitchen breakfast bar/counter.

He spotted them.  As soon as I followed his gaze and looked at the expression on his face, I knew what was next.

KIRBY: [with sarcastic, yet loving, tone] “Oh, good!!  You’re discovering your strengths.  [picks up another one off the pile] And you’re learning about how to make messages stick.  You KNOW you could’ve written that one, darling.  I’m so glad you have all these books to HELP you.”

ME: “I know, I know.  I need to stay out of the self-help section.  I keep thinking there’s something else I need to learn that can help me.”

And there it was.  An “aha” moment that could grace the pages of O Magazine.

I’m the Advice Girl.  I’m a go-to person for advice.  It’s a shame I don’t follow my own.

I’m the Idea Girl.  I have GREAT ideas.  I’m just really bad at the follow-through where I actually make things happen, or finish something I’ve started.

And I’m the Excuse Girl.  I’ve got a million of ‘em.  Too tired.  Not pretty enough. Not enough time.  Not thin enough.  No one will read my books (the four I started eight or ten years ago and haven’t finished).  It’s just not an attainable goal.

What I realized is that I need to be The Nike Girl.  The “Just Do It” Girl.  I don’t need to learn any more about my strengths.  I know what they are.  And I know I have them.  And I know I have everything I need (see kaleidoscope explanation in previous blog post).  And now I know for sure (woo hoo – ANOTHER possible O Magazine page!) that I don’t need to HELP my self.  I just need to BE my self.  My complete self, whose very next task is to practice what I preach.

I’m not gonna lie to you.  It’s kinda scary.  If I practice what I preach, how far will it take me?

Photo: Self-Help – I Can’t Help Myself – Week 14 by wmpe2000

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Take Five / Give Five

I recently attended a conference called “The Art of Marketing”.  One of the speakers was Seth Godin.  I’m a BIG fan.  I love the way he thinks, and the way he helps me turn something on its side to see it differently.  I’m making my way through a few more of his books.  Less instructional and more eye-opening and thought-provoking I have to thank Seth for getting my mind unstuck and generating ideas.

One of Seth’s recent posts was a kick in the butt for me — it’s about taking five minutes.  That’s all.  I’m going to take a page from Seth’s blog and try the five-minute doing.  But first, I’m going to take a page from Seth’s blog and post it here:

(Enjoy… and take five!)

You rock

This is deceptive.

You don’t rock all the time. No one does. No one is a rock star, superstar, world-changing artist all the time. In fact, it’s a self-defeating goal. You can’t do it.

No, but you might rock five minutes a day.

Five minutes to write a blog post that changes everything, or five minutes to deliver an act of generosity that changes someone. Five minutes to invent a great new feature, or five minutes to teach a groundbreaking skill in a way that no one ever thought of before. Five minutes to tell the truth (or hear the truth).

Five minutes a day you might do exceptional work, remarkable work, work that matters. Five minutes a day you might defeat the lizard brain long enough to stand up and make a difference.

And five minutes of rocking would be enough, because it would be five minutes more than just about anyone else.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 09, 2010 | PermalinkTrackBack (1)

(Thank you, Seth!)

Artist: Chrysti

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ME with my own TV show??

Quite possibly…

I FINALLY did something other than talk about having my own TV show. Today I uploaded an entry to the “W” channel website. W is looking for a new expert. And that expert could be me, with your help.

Once the good folks at W verify my entry and post it live, you’ll be able to go to the W website and “rate the recruits” for the W Expert contest.

Here’s the URL:

You can vote until March 8th at 10 a.m. The video should be up within the next few days.

The judges will take into consideration website user comments and ratings when making their decision about the Final 10.

I invite you to visit the site and rate my entry (hopefully with a high score!). And if you have any friends or family who’d like to have a say about new programs, let them know about the contest so that they can rate the recruits, too.

Special thanks to Dan and Mike for their skills and willingness to help “direct and produce” the amateur video for my entry!!

Here’s why I should be a W Expert:

Life can be challenging and stressful. As a W Expert, I’ll show you how to see and do things differently, make new choices and get the outcomes you want. It doesn’t have to be difficult. You have everything you need. I’ll help you see it, believe it and live it.

Like Thomas Edison said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Join me… live the life you want, and astound yourself.

Artist: BooDilly

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“Should” Is a Four-letter Word


A very common word that most people I know use many times a day. “I SHOULD go visit my friend.” “I SHOULD really declutter the den instead of watching a movie.” “I SHOULD go to the school where my parents want me to go.” “I SHOULD do this because it’s the right thing to do.”

How many of the things we think we “should” do are things we actually “want” to do or “need” to do? “Should” implies an obligation or duty of some kind, in which you are swayed not by your own personal objectives, priorities or principles, but by what you THINK others expect of you. Living by other people’s priorities or meeting other people’s expectations — is this something we want to continue doing? Even if we sometimes don’t really know at all what those expectations are, or if they even exist?

Let’s look at this — dissect it a little through an example:

“I SHOULD keep my house cleaner than I do.” Why? Is it because you would rather live in a cleaner house? If this is the case, then you would say, “I WANT to keep my house cleaner than I do”, and do it, because it’s YOUR priority and need.

If this isn’t the case, then whose expectations do you think you have to meet? By using “should”, we’re saying that keeping a cleaner house isn’t what we’d choose to do, but what we feel compelled to do for some external reason. Maybe it’s because we think our friends will judge us if a dust bunny accompanies us to answer the door when they visit. It could be that we imagine that if a family member with a chronic house cleaning habit comes to visit, he/she may conduct a mental white glove test that we think we’d fail in his/her eyes.

All speculation.

In either of these cases, the idea that we “should” keep a cleaner house isn’t something that we would do if we didn’t feel like we had to meet expectations that aren’t ours.

We have enough to worry about in these extremely busy, technologically challenging and stressful times. We have our own priority lists to complete and expectations to meet. Isn’t that enough? Why take on someone else’s expectations — if they even ARE real expectations.

What I mean by this is if the family cleaning fanatic comes over for a visit, we can’t control how he/she will react to a less than spotless home. Do we know if the reaction will be one of disappointment? Judgment? No, we don’t. We’ve just written a script in our heads that may have no basis in reality. And even if it does, do your expectations have to match, meet or exceed those of friends, family or even acquaintances whose situations, priorities and resources may differ drastically from our own? Do you WANT to spend all of your free time making sure your house is clean? If you do, great — there’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t, why not spend time on something that is more meaningful or will bring you more pleasure in your life.

And really … how someone else reacts to what we say or do is beyond our control. Don’t we all know someone who says or does things without worrying about how we’ll react? And aren’t we a wee bit envious that they’re okay with that? (More on this next time.)

Life is too short. We hear this all the time. We hardly have enough time to learn, love, laugh and live as it is. How many of us actually learn, laugh, love and live the way we want to?

Are you doing what you think you SHOULD do, or are you doing what you know you WANT or NEED to do to make the most of your life?

Shed those unwanted expectations that might be burying you under a pile of “shoulds” that don’t even belong to you. Give those away, along with the guilt and the worry and the constant compromise that go with them. Keep the ones that are meaningful and give yourself the best gift you can — the permission to set goals, objectives and expectations that will bring YOU satisfaction, peace of mind and happiness.

Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Cartoon by Nataliedee

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The Kaleidoscope Explained…

So, last time I said I’d explain how life is like a kaleidoscope.

If you’re familiar with them, kaleidoscopes are way cool.  With fixed parameters and a limited number of pieces, there are infinite pictures that can be created.  Nothing added.  Just a rearrangement of the parts, whether its with a big rotation or just a teeny, tiny shift.

So, with each turn, new possibilities are created as pieces fall into place.

I used to use this analogy when I was a consultant focusing on transformation/change management and motivating people to maximize their potential.

Here’s the deal: We each have different strengths and talents… and crosses to bear.  And whatever the situation, we’ve handled it all and lived to tell the story.  We may have done it with our heads in the sand… or faced things head-on… but however we rose to the challenge, we had it within ourselves to solve the problem, meet the deadline, confront our demons or rely on our faith, patience and judgment to just ride the waves of the tsunami until it all blew over.

I’ve heard the stories about the mom who suddenly could lift the back end of a car to get her child out from under it.  Undeniably awesome.  If I could have asked her the day before the crisis if she had the strength to lift the back end of a car, I’m sure she would have looked at me incredulously and answered with an emphatic, “No way!!  I could NEVER do that!”

What you do doesn’t have to be huge.  Remember, “lille bit by lille bit”.

Do a quick scan of things you’ve accomplished (or survived) when you thought at the time you couldn’t.  Once you’ve given yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, do another scan of things that you don’t think you have it in you to do.

Then remember that your life is a kaleidoscope.  You have all the tools, knowledge and determination to do what you want to do.  It may take doing a 180, and, then again, you may just have to tweak your inner voice and give that kaleidoscope a wee little turn so that you get the picture you want to see.

Make it happen.  Make new choices.  Find the opportunities in the challenges.  Give your kaleidoscope a turn or two and see the existing pieces from a new perspective.  You already have what it takes – you just have to realize it, believe it, and live it.

That’s what I’m struggling with now.  And it’s an ongoing process.  I’m not saying that one day we can just stand up and say, “I can do anything, and, by gosh I’m going to do it all!!”  I’m saying do one thing.  Then do another.  The rest will follow – you’ll build momentum.  I’ve recently re-enrolled in continuing education classes at the School of Life and each day, whether unintentionally or by design, I learn something new or see something from a new perspective – my own kaleidoscope in action.

Sometimes I don’t get the picture I want right away, but I know that the more I keep discovering new ways to rearrange my pieces, I see incremental successes and am encouraged to see what else I can do that I didn’t think I could do before.

Photo: Revolving Colors, grjenkin on flickr

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Stop Thinking and Start DOING

“Lille bit by lille bit” (little bit by little bit, with Ls instead of Ts) was one of my mother’s pearls of wisdom, articulated with a Ukrainian accent in a compassionate and supportive tone.  She had many of these pearls, which, over time I’ll share with you.  Essentially, this one focuses on the “bite-size” or “baby step” approach to applying all that you already have to your life, what you make of it and how you live it.

I’ll explain the kaleidoscope analogy in another blog installment.  First things first: what follows is my first attempt at a blog when I was still blogless.  I sent this one to one of my trusted advisors, who wrote back, “While I’m reading this, why don’t you sign up for a blog?”.  So I did.  I stopped thinking and started doing.

I’m The Idea Girl.  I’m a strategist.  I map things out.  I develop solutions.  I have great ideas.  And lots of them.  Ideas for me, ideas for others.

It was recently brought to my attention by a trusted advisor and muse that I seem to fall back on, “Well… I’ve been doing some more thinking about this idea, and…” instead of actually starting to do something with that idea, and thinking more along the way.  She gave me a less-than-gentle nudge to take action.  Her exact words were: “Stop thinking and start DOING!”

The trouble I have with DOING is that I think I have to set out a plan, be in the right frame of mind, get the timing right, and be motivated before I can take action.  And it’s hard to get motivated to “do”, as many of us know very well.  One of my mentors has always maintained that ACTION breeds MOTIVATION, not the other way around.  So I have to jump in with both feet and stop waiting to be motivated to act on my ideas.

This first blog is my effort to “start DOING.”   It was part of my new website plan which — you guessed it — I haven’t acted upon yet!  (I’m still thinking about it.)    😛

And, you know what?  That action motivates you to take further action makes so much sense.  Even if it’s something like cleaning out a closet or sorting photos.  Or orchestrating a career change.  Or researching a new cell phone plan (ARGH!!).  Or writing a blog to motivate people to maximize their full potential.  Once you actually start doing, it motivates you to do more.

You’ll see what I mean if you try this: Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes.  Begin your task, even if it’s a big one, knowing that when the timer goes off, you can stop.  Chances are, you won’t stop when the timer beeps.  I’ve done this a few times when I knew that I really had more than the allotted time available, and in every instance, I wanted to continue to do a bit more because I felt so good with the progress I was making that I didn’t want to lose my momentum.  And it thrilled me to know what I was capable of doing.

It’s like having your sadistic personal trainer make you do “just a few more” reps even though your muscles are utterly fatigued and you are convinced you can’t possibly do one more … and then you pull four more out of nowhere.  You had no idea you could do it.  I had no idea I could do it.  And then I did it!

Thomas Edison knew this, way back in the day.  He said, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”  And look what Edison did!

Astound yourself.  Stop thinking and start DOING.


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