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Archive for November, 2007

Donna Karlin posted a new OnGrowing Challenge over on Transformational Girlfriends.  She wrote,

” my challenge for this week is, what book are you going to start reading with the intention of finishing it?”

For me, finding a book to read is never a challenge (the clerks at Borders and the librarians at the county library all know me by name.)  And actually, there are two books I am currently reading that I plan to finish this week: Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (about corporate blogging) and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (you must read this book.)  I also decided to re-read the first personal development book I ever read, Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  [I first read this when I was 14!]

Dr Maltz  was the first to understand and explain the concept that a person’s self-image controls their ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) a goal. In many ways, he paved the way for all future self-improvement programs and ultimately to the field of coaching.   I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the book.

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It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, and I wish all my readers a most happy and bountiful Thanksgiving. 

I’d like to share a piece written by my friend John Dealey.  Enjoy!

The Story and Spirit of THANKSGIVING 

Originally, about 200 colonists had started to make the crossing to America in two ships, the Speedwell and Mayflower. However, after many problems with the Speedwell, they were forced to return to England. The group was reorganized, the number reduced to fit the available room on the Mayflower – and the Speedwell, being unsafe to sail, was left behind.

The year was 1620 when 102 people, today called Pilgrims, boarded a tiny boat named the Mayflower and set sail from England. After 64 days with no land in sight, they finally spotted land; it was the “New World”. One year later, the group of survivors got together to review where they were and create more clarity about what had been accomplished.  They needed to make some very important decisions about their future.

Tremendous Challenges

Only one of two ships leaving England had reached the New World, so they immediately lost about half of their people. They had hoped to arrive in time to plant and harvest a crop, but they arrived too late in the year. They landed badly off course, and didn’t even have the authority to form a colony where they were. Their health was in general poor, they didn’t have much to eat, their shelter was not very adequate from the harsh weather, they were attacked from time to time by the native people, and they were in a new land that was very foreign to them.  As they came out of winter, more than three-fourths of the children were dead, their total number stood at about one-quarter of those who had originally planned to set sail from England.

Think about that for a minute. Think of some group of about two hundred people that you have been in. See some of those families gone completely; imagine your own family having lost one-half to three-fourths of the children and other beloved family members. As the leaders reviewed, it was pretty grim. For example, they dug 7 graves for every “home” built.

A Turning Point  

Then someone began to say, “Yes all that is all so. We can hang our heads and say ‘Oh woe for us’.    OR we can have the attitude ‘We made a decision, we are here.  Let’s look again and let’s look for some good things.  Let’s make the best of what we have. Let’s be thankful, let’s be joyful, and let’s make this adventure work out”.  In other words, we can focus on the good; we can see the glass as “half full” instead of seeing it as “half empty” or maybe in their case, “mostly empty. Initially there was some grumbling, then another voice chimed in, and said “Yes, let’s be thankful”, and another “Yes, let’s find the good”.

They decided to make a list, a NEW list. This time, only those things that were GOOD could be on the list (they realized the list they had before, they had been “looking at”/focusing on the BAD).  Between all of them, they came up with over 100 good things. Wow!! What a surprise!!  Their strength was renewed and they began to again feel hope and see marvelous possibilities in their new world. 

What We FOCUS on EXPANDS 

The FACTS had not changed, only their FOCUS or the ways they looked at those facts.  They chose to focus on what was good!  They decided to take more action in this new direction, to help make it “stick” if you will. They decided to throw a party, a party for the “Celebration of the Thankfulness they had Found” and so spread that thankful spirit to everyone, not just the leaders, in their little Colony.

An Attitude of Gratitude

The annual tradition of Thankfulness, caught hold. It reflected the true reality of the world. Overall, it’s been pretty successful. It started with only 50 folks in 1621. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated by millions and millions, all over AMERICA and CANADA. One of the most well liked TV personalities in all of history, and herself a rags to riches story, says most all of her success began to come about after starting a “simple habit of written thankfulness”, and being consistent – a habit of writing down 3 things each day, in a Journal of Thankfulness. One wonderful family tradition at Thanksgiving is for everyone (from age 4 to 104) to tell one small thing that they are thankful for to the whole gathering. Then, if they want, they can also tell a very large thing, but first they must tell the small thing.As we enter into this year’s Thanksgiving Season, may we all take a lesson from those early Pilgrims, who had lost so very, very much.  Let us find a way to have more THANKFULNESS, in our lives, today, now, right this moment.

What are you grateful for today? *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
John Carpenter Dealey
C a t a l y s t G r o u p
a division of Dealey Ltd.
P.O. Box 600100, Dallas, Texas 75360
214.378.6000 fax 214.276.7548
www.SmileWorld.com 

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On the Thinksimplenow blog there’s a post on the 7 Habits of Highly Innovative People, and one of the habits includes:

‘Commit to Failure’ – “Commit yourself to taking enough risks that you will fail some of the time. If you’re not failing, we’re not doing something sufficiently difficult or creative.” -Scott Berkun

Coincidentally, on a call today we were discussing failure and how it’s a given that to succeed you have to feel free to fail.  It occurred to me that we need to reframe failure as trial and error in the manner of children.  If you have ever watched a child learn something new, they revel in trying, failing, and trying again until they succeed. 

Now this is not a new concept, but it did get me to thinking.  How would I approach things differently if I set out to fail?  What if I decide to fail ten times before I succeed at something.  I would certainly try things in different (dare I say wacky?) ways.  If I wanted to write an article about New Year’s Resolutions (and I usually do) I might try writing it as a poem, or humorously, or graphically or in any number of ways other than my normal prose.  If I was creating a website or putting together a workshop, I would certainly take more risks and try things differently.

I’m going to play with failure and risk/trial and error in the next month.  Should be interesting to see what happens.  And if you’re game, come think differently with me.

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I’ve always been a fan of Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”.  Imagine my surprise when I was surfing the web and found a clip of him on Youtube!  Here it is for your enjoyment:

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Over on Transformational Girlfriends, Susan wrote a post about surviving the holiday season with great suggestions on how to decrease the stress.

I find that for so many folks I work with, the pressure of the holidays (ho ho, oh no) is often about trying to create a fantasy holiday that no lesser human than Martha Stewart could pull off.  I gave that all up years ago.

I think there are just a few things you need to survive the holiday season (which nowadays starts two weeks before Halloween.)

First,  I think is vitally important is to get in touch with what you really want.   Is sending out 100 holiday cards soul-nurturing, or would you really be happier sending a hand written note to a dozen people who really mean something to you? Do you truly enjoy making handmade napkin rings, intricate holiday party invitations, and a five-course sit down dinner for twelve, or would you get more pleasure out of a casual “bring a dish” to brunch gathering? [And there’s no harm in making food that’s “almost homemade” or even pre-cooked. Seriously!]

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to attend every party you are invited to.  You will not be judged by the number of latkes you fry or cookies you bake (Susan, did you really cover an entire extended table with cookies?), nor by the hand-stamped, personalized gift-wrap you use.  If it’s fun….do it.  If it’s not…don’t.

The holidays should be about enjoyment.  Enjoying the music, the friends, the memories you’re creating with your children.  Every time you begin to feel that tightness in your chest, or the throbbing in your head — STOP!!  Look at what you’re doing, and ask yourself why??  And what you could do instead.  Come up with new traditions when the old ones no longer serve you.  Simpler ones.  Communal ones.

Don’t give up on things you value and priorities because “it’s the holidays.”  Too often I see people throw the budget out the window (and deeply regret it in January) because they have to buy expensive gifts (who said?); or they stop doing things that are important to them because of holiday obligations. Doesn’t make much sense.

Above all, keep your sense of humor.  In a season that’s supposed to be about the “ho ho ho”, I’m already seeing a lot of “bah humbug”.  When you come right down to it, what the holidays are all about are family, friends and good feelings.  If you can stay focused on those as your priorities, you’ll arrive at the New Year with your sanity intact.

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I was having a conversation with a dear friend (Joan Emery) this evening and the conversation turned to things we did that really neither served us, nor made use of our strengths.  Now, no one would know that some things that we did weren’t our strengths, because to the outside world we appear [wink] invincible.  But, nonetheless, the energy it takes to be really really good at something that isn’t natural or fun or effortless could be better spent on other things.

So why do so many of us continue to struggle or slog through tasks, roles, relationships and ways of working and being that really don’t serve us?

Sometimes it’s a matter of not showing a weakness, whether that’s to others or to ourselves.  Sometimes it’s because even though it’s not a strength, we might (think we) do it better than others.  Sometimes it’s because we want people to like us, or think we’re smart, or or…well, any number of reasons.

But the bottom line is–why struggle?  If you don’t enjoy or even worse, dread doing something, why do it?  Of course, there are some things we have to do.  We have to pay the bills, do the laundry, do our taxes.  But most of us do far more things we don’t need to be doing or that we could be doing in an easier or more tactical way.  And we keep doing them until some life situation makes us do a double-take and reassess how we spend our time.

Why wait? 

I’m constantly reassessing the things I do, but I’m going to dig even deeper this month.  I’ll be looking to see what’s really important to me.  How easy all the things I’m doing are for me.  And how they all are in accord with what I value. 

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It seems to be a day for tagging and being tagged.  I was tagged by Donna Karlin for the “Think Different Challenge“. 

Ironically, just this morning I was having a conversation with someone around how your thinking colors your actions.  If I think that someone is going to give me a hard time (returning something to a store, accepting an idea I have, doing something I want them to do) I write myself a mental script that has been respond to them according to how I assume (bad word) they will react to me.  I’m already coming from a space that is likely to create a negative attitude.  But if I believe that they will respond to me favorably, then the whole way that I approach each situation is different.  Friendlier. More Attractive.

So the challenge for me is to remember to think differently in situations which I ordinarily might find bothersome.  So this week I will think differently.  I will go forth and presume a positive outcome for everything that comes my way.

The Challenge…

The Think Different Challenge is all about finding something in your life you currently have negative thoughts or feelings toward (eg work or your mother-in-law), and deciding to look at it differently. It is about realizing that some things are just a part of life, so we may as well try to find the positives in them.

The rules for this writing project are:

  1. Write a new blog post in which you “think different”. Write about the above, or be a bit different and interpret the challenge the way you want .
  2. State that the post is a part of the Think Different Challenge and include a link and/ or trackback to this post so that readers know the rules of the challenge. Feel free to use the above banner (inspired, of course, by Seth Godin).
  3. Include a link and/ or trackback to the blogger who tagged you.
  4. At the end of your post, go ahead and tag some fellow bloggers. Don’t forget to email them to let them know they have been tagged.
  5. That’s it! Just sit back and enjoy reading peoples’ responses to the challenge.

So to keep this going, I Tag:

 Jenny and Erin at Jenny and Erin

Andrea J. Lee at Money, Meaning, and Beyond

Alexander Kjerulf at The Chief Happiness Officer

Belle Wong at Abundance Journal

Donald Latumahina at Life Optimizer

If you weren’t tagged, but would like to participate, please go ahead and write a post that fits in with the challenge. Thanks for playing!

Warmly,

 Donna Steinhorn

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