Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Rethinking Having a Cat

OMG! The visit to the vet cost $353! And she doesn't really know what's wrong with him. His blood pressure was high ($36), she took a blood test ($177), gave us 2 meds ($79). And she wants to see him again next Monday.

My boss and I had a good meeting this morning. We talked about the QR code that can be scanned by SmartPhones. We're really excited about them and their possibilities. I have lots of research to do so we can figure out how we can use the code to our advantage and to help our internal customers figure out how to help their customers.

I'm judging 4 speech contests this Saturday, 2 international speech and 2 evaluation contests. That means I'll have to be there at 8:00 in the morning. I like judging contests. It's an opportunity to network and hear some good speeches.

I got an email from the Division H Govenor nominee saying she wanted to be able to consider me for AG if I was still interested. I told her I was. So, it's true, you back off, and if it's meant to be, they'll be there.

I Got Busy

Well, my heart just sank. I had a full page of stuff, and I accidentally hit a key (a bad key), and everything went away. I had some profound stuff here! It was all about whining last night about being busy and then I actually got busy and did 2 loads of dishes (I'm NOT Susie Homemaker), 2 loads of laundry, blah blah. I wish there was an undo key with this blog. This has happened more than once.

Oh well. Suffice it to say (what does that really mean?) I worked out a couple of issues while blogging. I know that it helps to write my thoughts out so when I read them, I can actually see the error, and insight suddenly appears to help work out issues.

My plans for today include taking Sox to the vet to see what's going on with his left eye. Monday night it was sort of orange instead of white, then it started looking cloudy. Now it's really red and cloudy. I pray it's nothig too serious or expensive.

Then I'll give my library a thorough cleaning. I wish there was some place to put Sox's box. But the library seems to be the only place. That's not really the problem. The problem is that he thinks because his box is in there, it's his room. His dander is everywhere in there. I have new vacuum bags that eliminate odor and allergens. I hope it helps.

I'll probably stop by the clinic today to have my left eye checked. It's been bothering me since Sunday. I haven't had my blood pressure checked in months either; so I'll do that as well. They're just down the hall! You'd think I'd be there more often.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Bit Sidetracked

Ok, I'm seeing my pattern begin again. I get excited about something and become consumed with it. Then I get busy with something else and I can't seem to get the momentum back. It happened with weight loss, now it's happening with learning public speaking. I've been so busy, yet I can't tell you what I've been busy doing. Maybe it's because I'm a Gemini and I have a hard time with patterns or routine.

I have a grandniece in the hospital and a friend going through chemotherapy. I should be visiting them, but I'm too busy. Busy doing what? I don't work in the yard, I'm not cleaning the house. I'm not blogging, I'm not reading, I'm not getting enouch sleep. I guess I'll have to start keeping a time card of my activities to see what I'm spending my time on.

I got some disappointing news today. The Division H Governor nominee said she has more applicants for the area governor jobs than she has positions. So, I decided to wait another year or so to try again and maybe do a better job than I would if I was to be an AG this time around.

I may even have to rethink the idea of DTM for now. In the meantime, I'll continue to do the projects, achieve the levels I have to achieve and, then when the time is right, I'll be an AG or maybe there'll be a better position for me.

I am really enjoying the Connie Podesta CDs I'm listening to. She made me realize how people manipulate others using anger or sadness. I work with someone who is sad all the time. She actually has the best of both worlds. She keeps her door closed and isolates herself from us even though she's our secretary and she used to be such a help. Now no one asks her to do anything. She comes and goes as she pleases, and we're answering her phone instead of her answering ours. We're letting her get away with it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

We made it 2 miles!

My walking buddy and I walked 2 miles today. I had to take a few breaks to catch my breath because I didn't stop talking the whole time. But we made it!

I got my income tax check today, and a check for extra escrow showed up today!

I just checked an old email account and deleted 902 emails! I thought I told everyone about my new account, but old habits die hard.

Life has been so hectic that I'm behind in listening to my Steve Siebold videos and Darren LaCroix has been put aside as well. I've been reading Jim Rohn and listening to Connie Podesta and reading Stand-up Comedy: the book by Judy Carter.

I babysat my grandson Saturday night. He wasn't thrilled to see me because that meant his mom and dad were leaving. He's pretty smart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Cruise Is On!

Not the cruise to Barcelona, but my buddy and I are going on a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise. We booked and paid for it this evening. We'll be able to do it for the same price as getting back home from Barcelona. I found out today that there's a shuttle from SA to Galveston, so we won't have to drive and worry about parking or getting from the bus station to the dock.

I'm counting down the days! I've been so busy! Today I was very productive at work. I solved a problem that has plagued me for 4 years! Then I showed two coworkers how to do a task that I just don't have time to do, and I think they're already done! We had a problem with one of our websites going down, but that was only temporary, and I updated our intranet home page to include some featured news that's happening like road construction that's affecting several roads all the buildings around me at work. I've been having fun!

I had Altar Guild this week, so I had to be there Saturday, Sunday, and this evening. Now I'm off duty until the week before Easter.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I had a brainstorm yesterday that my son should swap some furniture so he'll have a better place to store his clothing and stuff. We originally put a desk in his room, but it really didn't serve him well. We had an entertainment center in the library that had shelves deep enough for boxes that he could use as drawers. We switched the entertainment center and the desk, and now I have a place to work, study, write, think in the library. I don't have to use my messy office, bedroom, or dining room. I really like it. The desk is just the right height, unlike my dining table. I still have the office for newsletter and web publishing, and now I have this room for learning and thinking. I'm so excited!

Now I'm by most of the books I've been collecting my entire adult life. I still have more to move in here. Now I'm right where the information is instead of across the house. I can't believe it took me this long to get this right. But I finally did.

Now to the speech front. I think I have a mastermind group to help me with the High-Performance project for my DTM. They said they'd be willing to be a part of it. I have the manuals, and I'm ready.

I also have the speech manuals to get started on my next level. I read the humorously speaking manual, and I'm ready to get started on my first humorous speech. I was telling someone this morning about being a wedding coordinator at church, and that's when I decided to talk about the adventures of being a wedding coordinator. It'll be fun!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Manifesting Everywhere I Look

Today I had a chance to work on another publishing project. It is another book to publish to Kindle and maybe to Amazon as well. It's extra money that I wasn't even expecting.

I also sent out an email newsletter for my Toastmasters Club. I called it the Blue Streak and it had some news about the District Conference, new members who were inducted today, Table Topics speakers, today's meeting team, and a letter from our President.

I got another email from Steve Siebold talking about being a keynote speaker versus a trainer. Keynote speakers get about 10 times as the trainer. Hmmm. He also talked about getting published and leveraging that with media such as Good Morning America (or SA) and he said he was able to double his fees almost overnight because of the exposure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Filling My Library

I'm still excited about speaking professionally. I've ordered the book Darren LaCroix suggested to get: Stand Up Comedy: The Book by Judy Carter.

Steve Siebold suggested we take the Bill Gove Speaking Course for $4,000. Steve suggested the DVDs are good, but no substitute for one-on-one coaching. I'll do what I can and if I don't see any changes, I might consider something more aggressive. I can't wait until I get the Toastmasters manuals and the CDs I ordered from today of Connie Podesta about public speaking. I seem to be led to speaking authorities at every turn. It's really exciting.

A friend of mine ordered the CD of the Richest Man in Babylon for me today.

Tonight is going to be an early night for me so I'll close now.

How Much Do I Charge?

I was asked how much I charge to speak yesterday? OMG! Someone actually thinks I'm worth paying! That in itself is worth all the anxiety and preparation. I need to stop putting off practicing and assume someone will want me to do it again tomorrow.

Anyway, I'm still working on the business end of speaking. I'm still learning from Darren and Steve.

I looked at the criteria for the next few steps to DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster), and I'm surprised to see that I'm about 3 speeches away from ACS (Advanced Communicator Silver) and 7 meeting-related projects away from CL (Competent Leader). Once I apply for CL, I can apply for ALB (Advanced Leader Bronze) because I already did the projects required for that. The next steps past ALB and ACS will be more involved, but I already have those balls ready to roll. I talked to our Division Governor about what I need to do to be Area Governor, and I have the manuals for the High-Performance Leader project.

It just dawned on me that I have a group of 3 ladies that I meet with weekly that I could maybe use as my master-mind group for a Emmaus-related project. I could also approach our rector about something at my church. We just had 2 scouts do Eagle scout projects either at our church or requesting help from parishoners. Maybe I can help set up a volunteer board so people who want to do something can make one call to find out what is available or so those in charge of different volunteer groups can have a resource to draw from. Anyway, it's an idea. I was wanting to do something that would profit me personally, but I'm beginning to think outside myself now. Is this a sign of growth?

The author I worked with a few weeks ago is back. He wants me to help him publish the book to Amazon as a print-on-demand book, he has a family Haggadah book he'd like to publish to Kindle and Amazon as well. I feel I need to adjust the margins to his Kilimanjaro book, so I'll look at that today, because we'll publish it to Amazon tomorrow morning.

In addition to my speeches, I should write a "paper" that I can publish to Kindle about communication skills. I could charge for that to help defray travel expenses until I can actually start charging for speaking in the corporate world.

As a matter of fact, Steve Siebold talked about that in his lesson yesterday. Do I want to be a corporate speaker or a public speaker. Public speakers don't get as much money, they have a larger audience, and they can can start there easier. Whereas the corporate speakers can make much more money, and they have smaller, more discriminating audiences. Steve says to do both. Darren LaCroix does't charge for Toastmasters-related gigs, but he does charge for other speaking engagements. Life is full of possibilities!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Making Strides

My walking buddy and I walked yesterday and today. We're starting slowly and building up. I think we walked more today than yesterday. I should probably wear my pedometer tomorrow so we can make sure we increase daily. If we walk the same route tomorrow, it'll be easy to tell. We ran into another coworker on the track, which was nice.

I ordered 5 Toastmaster speech manuals today so I'll be prepared to speak when the time comes. I thought I had some of them already, but I can't find them, so I start over. I have 19 speeches to give as well as some of the other projects. I'm going to HAVE to speak outside the club if I plan to be finished with my DTM by January 2013.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Goals Help Make Things Happen

About 6 months ago or so, I decided to earn the DTM designation in Toastmasters. There are several steps to earn this designation. It's hard work, but it is designed to help us grow as individuals as well as helping our club and the organization as a whole.

The first step besides working through the speech manuals is to earn the Competent Leader by going through the CL manual which has hundreds (it seems) of projects to complete. I've been working through this manual for a while, and I'm down to 8 more projects so I can get that certificate. Then, I'll be able to get the ALB designation, almost the next day. I've done so many of the things that can get me to even the next level, including 2 SpeechCrafts, Mentoring a new club. I have a couple of projects to complete that I'm actually excited about. Then, I'm on my way - 1-1/2 years, tops!

Now that I've decided what I want, I've set goals to achieve the goal. I was looking at the Competent Leader manual and saw a couple of projects that I need to take care of. A couple are completely in my control. One I'd already done, but I hadn't had anyone evaluate the project. Then, I saw a project for being a newsletter editor or a webmaster. I've done both, but rather than have someone evaluate something I did years ago, I decided to institute another newsletter. I sent an email to the officers asking them to contribute. A newsletter is a way to advertise to the membership and to market to future members. I'll set it up and send it through email immediately following our meetings every other week. This may also be a way to cut down on emails. Although I've been the one sending a lot of emails lately ;O).

To wrap this up, having the goal to achieve DTM (I made a DTM badge to motivate myself) has given me the inspiration I needed to find out what needs to be done next so I can get 'er done. Now I have to get on the schedule to speak as often as possible so I can get the next 10 speeches down as soon as possible.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jim Rohn Inspiration

I was filing my emails when I ran across something I emailed to myself. I must have received this from Jim Rohn International at my work email and felt I'd like it at home.

It's beautiful and very inspiring.

When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Will Come

Jim Rohn said "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." I feel I'm experiencing that right now. I decided a little more than a year ago that I want to be a public speaker. I want to share my experiences and inspire people. Shortly after, I started the Jim Rohn International 1-year personal development plan with a friend, and I gingerly listed public speaking as one of my goals. Since then, I've had 3 opportunities to speak to different audiences. If you follow my blog, you've read about these opportunities and the awesome new mentor I have because of these experiences. He's calling me to task and evaluating my "performances" so I can improve.

I've been reading Rohn's 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness, and I'm at the part where I have to list my goals. I received an email about 10 days ago about the 2001 World Champion Speaker Darren LaCroix visiting SA and wanting to teach toastmasters how to own the stage. Because Jim Rohn said to "attend everything," I didn't miss that opportunity. I feel it was life changing. I bought his smallest set, which included a book and several CDs. I've been listening to his CDs, and I've learned so much. Then, as I was still high from my success at a presentation on Friday, I was checking out the ads surrounding my blog last night when I saw something about learning how to do public speaking in 10 lessons for free. Well, far be it from me to not take advantage of that. (I just hope I didn't screw up my monetizing contract by clicking on one of the ads on my blog.) This ad was from Steve Siebold, and I signed up. I seem to be surrounded by angels who want me to succeed. It's incredible!

I ended up staying up really late listening to Steve and getting excited. Because his signup included questions about my motives for speaking, I made a list of topics I could speak about right now -- without having to do a lot of research
  • Feng Shui
  • Leadership
  • Communication skills
  • Website marketing
  • Tweaking a newsletter or website to make it a bit more aesthetically pleasing
  • Toastmasters

So, with these angels around me, LaCroix's 52 Weeks of Tips for Getting Paid to Speak; Siebold's 10 free lessons; David, my mentor; and Toastmasters, I'm on my way.

LaCroix says to have something to "sell." I'm thinking I'd offer a guide like 10 Tips to Improve Face-to-Face Communication. If I put it on my website and, as I build my speaking repertoire, add tips for the other topics I speak about to my website, I can direct people to my website for the next time I speak to either learn more about what I present to them or how to get in touch with me to speak.

I have several resources I can cite as well as experience I can share for the other topics. Anyway, I'm so excited . . .

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Did Good!

The little "talk" I had with myself Thursday morning made such a difference. I cannot believe that once I remembered that I chose to give this talk, that I want to be a public speaker, I stopped dreading the talk I was to give yesterday.

I guess the hard part was knowing I was going to be evaluated in front of the people I was trying to teach. I was so afraid I'd not remember my speech and have to use my notes. The room was set up so I was in the middle of a horseshoe. I was actually closer to being in the center of the horseshoe instead of in front. The lectern was too tall for me to use, so I was in the center, and I used my notes. My evaluator wrote in my manual a lot about using my notes and making my talk my own. He said he could tell when I was using my own thoughts and other people's words. In other words, I have to practice more so I can stand in front and say it without acting like I don't know the material.

The good thing is we left with 2 more invitations. One for next year doing the same thing we did yesterday, and another by Denise. I haven't heard what she's looking for -- a mini-Toastmasters meeting or my talk. My talk was 30 minutes. I could add more about texting, phone, letter writing, and email to increase it to 45 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Pumped

The talk I had with myself this morning made such a difference. I can't believe how I easy it was to put my stress aside. Then today, I listened to Darren LaCroix again, and he said not to worry about using notes. He said the audience wants our knowledge and they aren't going to think any less of us if we use notes. It's a Toastmasters thing to speak without using notes.

I'm ready and excited about giving my talk tomorrow. I have lots to share, and it's more stage time!

One More Thing . . .

That's what keeps me going...reminding myself that after this one thing, the speech tomorrow at CSLA, I can get my life back.

I finally memorized the beginning and the end of my speech. The middle will be easy. I can't wait until tomorrow at 3:00. I'm not wishing my life away, I just want to get rid of this stress. I can't think of anything coming up that can keep me away from the personal development plan. I truly want to devote the time to it that is necessary. Since I signed up for it, I worked overtime for a week, then I worked on a book, then I published a newsletter, and now I'm preparing to give this speech.

OK, I just read the beginning of this post. I really need to rethink this speech and the accompanying stress. Is it such a bad thing? Why am I considering it something bad that I have to get past? It's actually a step in the direction I chose to go. I choose to speak about communication and leadership. I choose to build on my future. This is a step in a process. I have to practice. I really can't turn down opportunities to speak if I truly want to do something with this. I like to talk. I know a lot about communication and I'm learning a lot about leadership.

It's not like everyone will have a transcript of my speech and they'll be comparing what I say word for word. It's not like I don't know my topic so I can wing it if I lose my place. The places that I found the hardest, I can get the audience to engage. This is a learning process. I'll learn; my audience will learn. I have to remember that I'm the expert. Even if someone knows everything I say, I'll just reinforce what they know. How many times have I heard someone teach something that I've already heard? How did I react? Well, at first, I reacted by thinking I already knew it all. Then they say something that triggers something and before I know it, I'm learning something new.

It was the same way with The Secret. All during the first time I saw it, I was saying "that's true." I had already heard it all, but I hadn't heard it in the format like the video. I was fascinated, reminded, encouraged, and motivated. It was something I knew for at least 15 years, yet seeing it once more got me restarted. So it is with my talk tomorrow. Even if they've all heard it all before, I'm not saying anything that isn't true. I've peppered what I'm saying with personal experiences and examples, so it should be interesting and entertaining.

OK, so let's rephrase that. I can't wait until tomorrow at 2:00! I get to give my speech and have a bit more stage time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Countdown to CSLA Presentation

I'm definitely feeling better about the speech I'll give at CSLA in Bandera, Texas, Friday afternoon. We are on the agenda for 2:00-3:30 Friday. That's the end of a 2-day retreat. I'm assuming the participants will be tired, fighting to stay awake. So I'll have to shake them up and keep them thinking and moving. I've decided to change my narrative to more of an audience participation slant with them offering the lists of things. I think it'll be the best way to do it.

It would be better for me to get them to actively engage instead of passively listen and nodding off.

Anyway, I can just about go through my speech without notes. And for that I'm grateful. When I gave it Friday, I was so nervous, I read most of it. The parts that I read were awkward to begin with, so it was hard for me to remember them. So, I reworded them, and it feels much better. Darren LaCroix says great speeches aren't written, they are rewritten. And mine is definitely rewritten. Tweaked. Much better.

I was going to block the speech and pick what part of the stage I'd say each part, but I was struggling with the content and basic delivery, so the staging is going to have to wait for next time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Clearing the Clutter

Because of the One-Year Personal Development Plan, I started collecting books to read. The books started collecting on the dining table, and before I knew it, I was feeling very claustrophobic. I finally took the time yesterday to clear the clutter and put the books in the library. I also put books that had collected elsewhere away, and I almost filled a bookshelf. I think the next book I get will be Evelyn Wood's Speed Reading course. I feel I have to pronounce every syllable of every word when I'm reading, which really slows me down.

Another good thing that happened when I was putting things away was I found my Professional Speaker Toastmasters Manual. I thanked God out loud. I'd been looking for it since last Thursday, tearing my office and the rest of the house apart looking for it. It was on the table all along. I'm going to give my speech this week using the Keynote Speaker criteria. It's funny, the modifications I made to my speech, incorporated the criteria. I want to let the participants know that they are at the beginning of a great journey. Learning how to be a leader will change their lives.

I also got some really good feedback from my club when I gave the speech Friday. If I incorporate those points and the must haves and must avoids from Darren LaCroix, I'll have a winner for sure.

Now I just have to make time to practice. I can a couple of times today, and tonight, and tomorrow, and Wednesday. Maybe I can do it for Laura tomorrow.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Good Things Are Happening

Today I've been very productive for a Saturday. I got up about 7:30, cleaned the kitchen, loaded and started the dishwasher, washed my clothes and the various towels that have gathered in the laundry room, sorted through the 2010 receipt box, and took a 2-hour nap.

Now it's time to get ready to listen to the 2001 International World Champion speaker talk about "owning the stage." If I want to be a public speaker, I'll have to learn things like that. And I can practice this week when I speak at the CSLA retreat.

When I get home this evening I'll run through my speech a couple of times then I'll get back to the assignments for the One-Year Personal Development program. Tomorrow after church, I'll do the same thing.

Next week is my daughter's 29th birthday, so I assume I'll take her and her family out for dinner one evening. Then I'll get back to the personal development program. It's a looooong week of assignments. I may have to put the rest of it off a week or two so I can do this part justice. I think this week had 76 pages in it when most of the others had 11 or so.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Not Life Back to Normal

Life is so much better than it was before. My son has a car and a job at the same time for the first time ever!! He can actually pay me back some of the money he borrowed for the first time ever!!

We are both so happy!!!

He and our neighbor have been working on the Explorer all week. They fixed the door and checked and refilled any fluids that it needed. Now they're doing more extensive maintenance. Everyone says it's a good vehicle and we got it for a steal! God was watching out for us. I kept telling my son that something good was waiting for him, and I was right!

Now to me. Having my car back has been so freeing. I'm so grateful that everything is working out for my son finally. He's been under a cloud since he was 16. He turns 27 in 3 weeks, and his future seems bright.

The only thing I have that stresses me out is a speech I'm giving next week. I took the opportunity to give it today at our Toastmasters meeting. I found how rusty and unprepared I am. The evaluator made some great suggestions to polish my powerpoint and my speech. The audience of 5 liked the speech. Someone who'd heard the speech before said he learned something new this time. I'm surprised because he was nodding off most of the time. But that's OK. It helps me prepare for something similar that may happen next week. We'll either be around the lunch hour. I may make my audience participant segment of my speech flexible. If I see more than 2 people of the 25 nodding off, I'll make them stand up for an exercise that my audience today enjoyed.

My walking buddy called to let me know that she went to the passport expediting office today so she'll have a passport in 2-3 weeks. It looks like we'll be shopping for a cruise for the end of April. That means I have to start saving money!

I'm so excited!!!