Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day after Christmas

I finally figured out how to make signs with designer backgrounds and affirmations. I should have taken some photos of them. I struggled with combining my square scrapbooking backgrounds with the rectangular dimensions of frames while incorporating affirmations and quotes that I've gathered for the past few months. I managed to put it all together at the last minute so I could give several as Christmas gifts.

I'm getting back into the habit of adding to my Journey to 135 blog, and it's a matter of time before I get back into the habit of adding to this one. Tonight I hope to start the process of wrapping up the year and deciding on my new year's resolutions.

I'll end this year with a blog about my wrap up and start 2011 with my new year's resolutions.

Stay tuned . . .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gifts that Continue to Give

Every year I struggle with this. I want to give gifts that people will use or appreciate long after the Christmas season is over. I've managed a couple of "hits" over the years, and I'm hoping I'll do it again. I won't tell you what they are just yet, but I promise I'll tell you the day after Christmas. I can give you a hint. What I'm giving to others has been part of my personal development for the past 22 years. It involves affirmations...

I read from the Simple Abundance -- A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach as often as I can. I keep a copy in the bathroom, and there's one at work. I've had more copies, but I gave them away. As a matter of fact, I bought 20 copies one year and gave almost all of them away as Christmas gifts. The books cost 2 cents each, and the postage was $3+ each, then to ship them to my friends was $3.65. I was thrilled to share this book. I had it for many years before I actually started reading it. It's set up like a diary or printed blog, beginning with January 1. I actually started reading it almost 5 years ago, beginning with January 20. I quickly fell in love with this book. I love Sarah's messages. I feel like she's reading my soul sometimes.

If I'm not listening to Jim Rohn, Earl Nightengale, Bob Proctor, I am reading Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Today's Simple Abundance message was about taking a nap. I LOVE LOVE LOVE taking naps. When my kids were babies, I'd nap when they did. For many years, I'd wake up one hour later, almost to the minute. Now, I sometimes sleep longer, but for the most part, one hour is exactly what I need. My grandfather was a farmer, and after lunch every day, he'd take a nap. Of course, my sister and I napped at the same time until we got older. Then got in trouble if we woke him.

My grandson doesn't take a regular nap at home that I know of. So when I babysit, I try to get him to lay down. I'm usually asleep before him. It was the same with my granddaughter when she was little and I babysat her.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Gosh, I think about blogging every day. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think I've even been here. But as you can see, Nov. 11 was the last time I posted anything.

I lost my pedometer last Thursday while walking to a turkey fry at St. Mary's. That was the 2nd turkey meal that day. We had a Thanksgiving meal at work, which I shared with very dear friends. I stuffed myself. As a matter of fact, I was so full I didn't think I'd eat again for 2 days. But by the time I got off work and headed to pick my son up from work, I was hungry again. The turkey dinner at St. Mary's was a real disappointment. I expected to see a large crowd, but there was only about 30 people there. And we had to wait about an hour for turkey. They had a couple of fryers going, but they kept running out of turkey. I wonder if they weren't deep frying cornish game hens or something small. It only cost 3 canned goods. So I guess, what should I expect?

Sunday was a Thanksgiving meal at church. It was a potluck with fried turkeys again. There was a huge spread of food and desserts. Again, I stuffed myself. I'm praying I'll have more discipline at the actual Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's.

I managed to have a little money left over before payday, so my son and I went to the grocery store. I told him we had $30 to spend. I went with a list and my calculator. When we finished, the calculator showed $29.99. I'm usually a couple of dollars off, but the cashier said the total was $29.99. We high-fived each other. I managed to pay the bills this time, but I charged $10 for gas and used my Avon money to buy groceries and pay 1/2 of a credit card payment. This payday had unexpected expenses, so I guess we did OK.

Since Nov. 13, we've been eating from the pantry and freezer. No extra money to shop, so we had to be creative. My son was amazed that we had really good meals every night. It seemed like magic that I was able to pull it off night after night. I'd look in the pantry and my brain would start clicking. I made a most delicious chicken soup with brown rice, 13 bean soup, pasta with chicken and tomato sauce and green beans, sweet potato pie, corn bread twice, pancakes, French toast, tacos with fried eggs instead of tortillas and refried beans and cheese. YUM!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Speaking About Leadership

I don't know why leadership has become such a hot topic with me. For the past few weeks, I've been almost obsessed with wanting to learn and share as much info about leadership as I can.

I spent several hours at speech contests observing the Area, Division, and District leadership of Toastmasters. And they seem to be a good group of people with whom I would like to be involved. I have been a member of Toastmasters long enough to know that the dynamics of each team changes year to year. The group of area governors this time around is fun, and I like most of them. Next year, I'm hoping they are even better!

I already told my boss that I was probably going to be an area governor next year, which is a July 1-June 30 commitment. It's a leadership training program that I've avoided for years. But, I feel I'm ready to commit and take on the challenge.

Some really great opportunities have come my way since last year when I accepted an invitation to speak at a leadership workshop at Security Service Federal Credit Union. I set it up like a mini Toastmasters meeting with a Toastmaster of the day, an Evaluator, and a Table Topics Master, and of course, my speech. It was so successful that they started 2 Toastmasters clubs last month.

I'm on the mentor team for one of the clubs that meets close to my office, and they meet at 7:00 in the morning, so I can do it and get to work at a reasonable hour.

Today we got the schedule for our next club meeting, and I'm Speaker #1, so I quickly found an article that John C. Maxwell wrote for Success Magazine that I'm going to use. I actually took it to the meeting yesterday just in case I needed to fill time as the Toastmaster of the Day.

The article is about leading from the middle of the organization. It's really good, and I'll use it as the first of a series of speeches about leadership. I read John C. Maxwell's book the 360-Degree Leader, and I've listened to his "How to Handle Criticism" on the Success Magazine CD. Plus, I've read most of his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He's a great teacher.

When I was president of our club a couple of years ago, I challenged everyone to complete their Competent Leadership manual, and one person did! I still have lots of projects to do to complete mine, but I will, slowly. And when I do, I'll earn a CL, then practically next day, the CLB, and shortly after that, the CLS.

I'm doing everything for the advanced levels, but getting through the manual is grueling! And that's the first level! The hardest part is remembering to get someone to evaluate me as I do the projects!

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Free Meal

I finally talked my son into volunteering, and lo and behold, he's eligible for a free meal at a volunteer appreciation luncheon Nov. 11! For someone who expects instant gratification, he now appreciates the rewards of volunteering.

Tomorrow I'm judging humorous speech contests, and there'll be snacks. I'm planning to take a bag of Sun chips and something healthy to eat so I won't completely undo my weight loss.

Another thing happened this week -- well actually last week -- I decided to go for a DTM designation in Toastmasters. DTM stands for Distinguished Toastmaster, and it's not the easiest level to earn. To be a DTM, you have to go through the other levels, then you have to go outside your club. You have to get active with another club, and the Area, Division, or District leadership -- sort of like being a district manager. You either have 5 or 6 clubs that you take care of for a year, or 5 or 6 areas. Today I missed an opportunity to give a speech. Speeches are still a big part of earning the DTM. You have to complete all the AC levels. I'm an ACB (Advanced Communicator Bronze) The other levels are ACS (Silver) and ACG (Gold).

I've already talked to my boss about this and how it can be equated to being involved in a leadership training program, and he agrees. He's behind me 100%. Or at least he is now. I'll be using lots of vacation time while I'm visiting the clubs. I'm actually getting started by being a mentor/sponsor for a new club that will meet once a month, so I'm on my way!

It's January, I decided to work on my health and my personal development. They are happening! December 22, I joined Weight Watchers to begin the health part. Then in April we started a year-long personal development program that has become derailed. But the lessons I learned have helped get me fired up to make changes and to set goals. I'm still trying some on for size and doing some research. But knowledge is useless unless it is knowledge in action. Sometimes I spend too much time fixing to get ready to get started.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Get Involved

My son is always marveling at the free meals I get. It's because I'm involved and volunteer all the time. He's between jobs (has been unemployed for 9 months, and it's getting to both of us), so I took him to the main branch of the Library to sign up as a volunteer in their book store where old books are sold cheap. He'll work Thursdays from 1:00-7:00. He needs to get out of the house to do something besides visit his girlfriend and look for a job. He needs stimulating interaction. He's not getting it in front of the TV or his computer.

Because of my "civic" organizations, I've been so busy with stuff that I was meeting myself coming and going. But my activities have slowed down somewhat, and I actually have time to breathe. I'm very active with my church and Toastmasters, and they keep me pretty busy. Plus, I'm planning for retirement, which really just means when the time comes and I don't like my job anymore or I feel I can make more money doing something else.

Right now, I'm trying on different possibilities. I'd like to become a feng shui consultant, or a public speaker, or a wedding coordinator, or publish a magazine.

Plus I have an idea for a bracelet that I'd like to make and market to churches. It's sort of like the WWJD idea. It's to help you make good choices. I wanted to do this several years ago when the rubber bracelets were really popular, but I couldn't find a manufacturing contact for them until last fall. But, no one wears them anymore. So I'm looking at other possibilities.

In the meantime, I'm still publishing a bi-monthly newsletter and I do on-line newsletters for a Stampin' Up! demonstrator friend of mine, plus I sell Avon in addition to my church and Toastmasters activities.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Over Committed Again

I tried to begin a blog about personal development 2 months ago. I was transcribing a great lesson that I wanted to share, but my MP3 player battery died. Once I got it recharged, I was so busy that I couldn't get back to it. Now it's been 2 months, and I haven't had a chance to do anything!

Work and life keep getting in the way! Truly, what kind of statement is that?

If life went in a straight line, everything would be easy. We'd know what we're supposed to be doing and when we're supposed to be doing it. Nothing would fall between the cracks, and everything would be done well and efficiently. But that's now how it works. I'm glad life isn't in a straight line. I'd probably go crazy if it was. I'm not a straight line person. My life looks like an abstract painting -- all curvy, zig-zaggy and very busy.

WHY? I have no clue. It seems that when life calms down, opportunities start presenting themselves, and I can't let them pass without at least trying to be involved.

I guess I wouldn't keep overcommitting if I didn't enjoy those opportunities.

This past Wednesday, Sept. 15, I gave a speech to a leadership workshop about effective communication. In May, when I said I'd do the talk, my schedule was clear. Then I got involved with a proposal because my boss had a vacation scheduled. And before I knew it, one thing after another started piling on me. I worked 53 hours of overtime in a 2-week period the week prior to the speech, so I couldn't practice it at all for at least a month. Luckily, I had the week before, and I polished, practiced, and prepared that last week.

When things were piling on me and I thought I'd go crazy because I couldn't relax, I kept thinking that after Sept. 15, it would all be over. The presentation went so well that day that someone followed us out the door and asked us if we'd do it for them in March at a retreat! Guess what, it started all over again!

I've been a member of Toastmasters for 19 years. This is Fall Contest season. I used to compete, but it stopped holding its appeal. But I do like to be involved in contests, either as a judge or whatever capacity I can help. I volunteered to work at our area contest as a judge. Then another email came requesting assistance, so I said I'd do that. Then ANOTHER email came with a desperate plea for help for another contest.

Yesterday at breakfast, I started thinking about the things I had to do in the next couple of weeks, and I realized I needed to write them down. I grabbed a pen and 3x3 sticky note. But, I needed a larger sheet of paper! Now I'm thinking that after the class reunion Oct 8-9, I can relax...

But, that's not true, we should be in the middle of another large proposal preparation, which means I'll probably work through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That means that after the New Year's I'll be able to relax... ;O)

Friday, August 13, 2010

30-Day Test

As Earl Nightengale and I were walking the track today, he mentioned a 30-day experiment that consisted of 6 steps.

I'm listening to my MP4 player and trying to write the points Earl is making. Some of this needs to be refined, but the basic information is:

Isaac Newton said "For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction." And what follows is based on this thought.

We literally become what we think about. As we sow, so shall we reap. Cutting all fetters. Rising above narrowmindedness and pettiness. The opportunities for us today are enormous beyond belief. We use all the courage we have to concentrate on our own problem, thinking about the many possible solutions. Act promptly and decisively when your course is clear. Save at least 10% of every dollar we earn.

Points in the price we must pay
1. You become what you think about. We must control our thoughts
2. Think about imagination let your mind begin to soar
3. courage. Think about your goal every day.
4. save 10% of every dollar
5. Take action. Goals are worthless if we don't act on them.

1. Write on a card what it is that I want more than anything else - Retire Wealthy so I can enjoy doing what I want when I want. This also includes working for myself and traveling - Carry it with me every day. Think about it cheerfully every morning and every night. Think about what it would be like to reach this goal. How would I feel if I retired and lived the life I was born to live. Realize we must become what we think about.

2. Stop thinking about what it is we fear. Every time a thought of fear comes to mind, think about what it is we want. Take control of my mind. Think about what I want. Give of myself more than ever before. The returns in life will be more than what we give.
Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, seeks finds, and knocks it is opened.

3. And my MP4 battery died. I'll have to continue this once it's recharged.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Publish a magazine, cont.

I'm continuing to work on my goal to publish a magazine. There is so much to learn. I went to Barnes & Noble today during lunch to look for a couple of magazines to help me get started. I didn't see Publish, which is one I was looking for, and another I wanted was about scrapbooking. I guess I'll have to go to Michael's or Hobby Lobby for those. I did see a couple of magazines about blogging. They were beautiful, and I felt like such an amateur. Maybe I'll blog instead of publishing a magazine. There is so much to learn. I am hoping to have something going by December; it'll take some work.

I'm surrounding myself with positive, successful people who are willng to share their lessons and insights. Today I bought my first issue of Success Magazine, and it came with a CD. I'm listening to the CD as I write this.

Success Magazine is so inspirational. This issue is about Giving. Giving begins the process of Receiving. I remember the first time I heard a sermon on giving and how it leads to receiving. I thought it was a bunch of mularkey designed to take more money out of our pockets. But you know, the more I give, the more I have what I need when I need it. The truth is you don't get what you need -- you get what you deserve. I guess that by giving more, I deserve more. Hmmm. I'm getting too deep for 11:20 at night.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Adventures in Personal Development - The Beginning

Since April 1, my son and I have been working a personal development program with someone I consider a dear friend and mentor. We've been friends 40 years! How can that be? I'm only 39...

The first 4 weeks defined and explained Personal Development, and the next 4 we spent dreaming and writing goals. I decided my first goal would be to weigh 135 lbs. I weighed 242.4 December 22, 2009, when I joined Weight Watchers. It took me 7 months to lose 24.4 lbs. July 17, I decided to blog about my weight loss journey. I feel like I've gained momentum now that I started blogging and reflecting daily about my feelings, choices, and experiences.

Of course, my weight loss progress is important, and I plan to continue blogging daily about it, but there are times when I want to talk about something else that's going on in my life, and I don't feel that blog is the appropriate place to do it.

I mentioned that we spent 4 weeks dreaming and writing goals. This last week (and I use the term "week" loosely -- sometimes it takes 3 weeks to complete a week), the ninth week, was spent breaking each of my goals into action steps, and I am fired up and inspired!!!

Yesterday, I was practically vibrating with ideas and excitement. I have several goals, and they've been my goals for a while (I mean years), but until I actually wrote them down and decided on action steps, they were really just dreams. And, until I wrote them down according to one-year, three-year, five-year, and long-term goals, I really had no clue how they would fit together. Basically my main goal is to set myself up in entrepreneurial endeavors so when I retire, I can live the life I've always wanted. I say I don't want to have to work. But basically, I don't want to work for someone else. I want to be my own boss, work when I want, and play when I want. Once I set these goals according to chronological order, I realized 6 of them were business goals. Not just to have lots of money, but to begin different businesses: Wedding Coordinator, publish a magazine, become Feng Shui certified, Manage a Marketing department before I retire, be at President's Club level in Avon.

Ancient History
I'm an entrepreneur at heart. When I was 9, I signed up to sell greeting cards with the Cheerful Greeting Card Company. I sold cards to everyone who darkened our door. I sold all I could, and I think I sent in the money I owed them. I hope I did. Every once in a while, I run across some cards I got in that huge box of greeting cards that I couldn't sell. I didn't have too many left. Everyone was nice enough to buy something.

Then when I was about 21, I sold Avon. That was for a very short while. I couldn't make myself knock on doors. For another short while, I sold makeup for a multi-level sales company (with an exotic name) with my cousin. I sold Mary Kay for about 3 years. Amway for a year. Weekenders for a couple of years. Now I'm selling Avon again. I started selling Avon for retirement income. I figured I'd work on my customer base now, so by the time I retire, I'll be pretty established.

Don't get me wrong, sales isn't the only way I've tried to make extra money. I've been in the publishing industry since I was 18, and it has served me well. I'm good at what I do, and every company I've worked for asked me to stay on parttime after I moved on to another company. I've been at the same company now for 32-1/2 years (remarkable since I'm only 39 ;O)). When personal computers hit the market in 1988, I bought one and started publishing newsletters. Then, everyone had a personal computer, and I eventually lost those to someone who would do them for free.

Recent History
I eventually moved from print to the web, including search engine optimization just about the time I graduated with a Marketing degree. Because working on the web is instant gratification, the high pressure and high stress of publishing has been alleviated. I've been doing what I'm doing now for 12 years, and I'm ready to move on.

As a free-lancer, I still publish a newsletter for a nonprofit organization bi-monthly, and I produce digital newsletters for a friend 3 times a month. I tried search engine optimization as free-lance, but I found it difficult to convince the customer that what I did was worth the money I requested. It's funny. I felt something was amiss for the past few months. But until I started working on my goals and dreams, I didn't realize what it was.

I have a BBA in Marketing, and I've been able to use it a little. Actually, I graduated in 2000, and I've practically forgotten more than I remember. My goal when I started back to school in 1990 was to be the Manager of the Marketing Department at my company. We don't have a Marketing Department, mind you, but I had high hopes. Here it is 10 years since I graduated, and the only marketing I do is editing some text in web pages to convert print to the web and include key terms in the subheads and body copy. I don't even get to do the marketing plan for my own department.

One thing I have done for the past couple of years is work to develop our staff by setting up training for everyone so we all start out with the same basic knowledge of publishing on the web. Then, I got a small team of people together to work on process knowledge, a little workplace attitude, team building, etc. Now we are all back together again to work on more advanced web skills. For these team meetings, I have developed the agendas and gathered the troops. Everyone seems to be learning something, and that makes me happy.

I'm about halfway through the Supervisory Management classes my company offers. And for the most part, they have been helpful. I'm preparing myself for the future. One thing I learned about 15 years ago is that to move to another position, you have to have someone groomed to take your current position. Otherwise, upper management hesitates to promote, fearing a hole will be left. When I've talked about eventually taking on some other project, the first question was "who'll do what you do?" And, I've had an answer for that every time.

Because of really thinking about my goals, I told my Manager that I was ready to try something else. I found out that a co-worker who was hired to work on my web marketing project with me was asked if she would be able to take the project on as her own. She said she would. That's good news for me. This means I'm going to be free to take on another project. I pray it's marketing.

I try not to make decisions based on the fear of lack. As a matter of fact, my co-worker told me she was unhappy with one of her projects because it's something an entry-level person can do, and she has a degree. I suggested she include in her short-term goal to pass the project on to someone else. Her first reaction was "what would she do instead?" That's based on fear of limited resources. We have to have faith that if we pass something on to someone else, something better will fill its place.

Another thing I learned is you don't get what you need, you get what you deserve. We have a new employee who doesn't follow through, and we've been disappointed several times. We have to keep reminding "them" to do their job. When a project was needing to be transferred to someone else, the first thing I heard was this person had time that needed to be filled. Is that any reason to pass work to them? Especially if we can't trust that what they already have is being done to the best of their ability? I have a problem with someone who has to clear their computer monitor every time someone approaches them. And I don't like having to remind them to do their job. So, with that in mind, I tend to skip over that person when a new project develops. What have they done to deserve it? Maybe one of the reasons they have extra time is no one trusts them with work.

Anyway, off the soap box.

Publish a Magazine
I started planning the magazine and even approached a couple of potential contributors. I thought of someone else who would be an awesome food contributor. I have to research the title I have in mind to see if it is available. At the moment, I have no clue how to do that. It makes sense for me to do something like this because I've been in the publishing industry. But not this part. This will be a stretch, and I know people who can advise me. I might even approach them to join me. Compensation may be a percentage of the annual revenue the first couple of years, and if that stays steady or grows, I can consider paying them monthly.