NURTURING PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND BUSINESS CONNECTIONS

The ABC show Shark Tank is life-changing. There have been reports that even those who did not receive a deal became successful entrepreneurs merely by their segment airing. Isn’t it inspiring to see ”regular people” take an idea to a multi-million dollar product, usually available in any given store you frequent? Seriously, very cool.

shark-fish-hammerhead-shark-aquarium-67854
The down-to-earth shark Robert Herjavec, like some of the other sharks, uses social media to offer advice, Recently, he posted in regards to making the most of relationships. “Be genuine in your relationships, you never know how those connections can help you or those around you later in life.”

In a recent Forbes article written by Darrah Brustein, Robert was asked how he recommends building network and influence. He responded, “Be curious, ask questions and engage with those in your personal and professional lives. If you have an industry you’re interested in – ask those around you who they know who may be connected to it. Research online or on Linkedin. Use mentorship & networking tools like Ten Thousand Coffees to connect. Put yourself out there!” (www.forbes.com/sites/darrahbrustein/2018/09/09/robert- herjavec-on-how-to-grow-your-business-by-nurturing-your-network/amp/)

two women shaking hands
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Has someone you know led to a business interaction or relationship? I have been blessed in this way more than once. A few years back, my neighbor’s friendship with a businesswoman led to my first book signing, and me writing my second book, The Carousel Capital of the World.

Because none of us can predict the future, we don’t know which relationships can turn into a business connection. Sometimes people know people who know people, as was the case with my second book. Other times, a chance encounter might become a new career.
What about casual relationships-those in which you’re not close friends, but you’re more than acquaintances. What are some easy ways to maintain those casual relationships?

1) Make genuine eye contact.
2) Listen intently: ask questions, acknowledge what they say.
3) Stay in touch via email or text, and be specific. For example, attach a link in regards to their interests. “I saw this gold-plated baseball pen and thought of your love for the Atlanta Braves.”


Keep doors open. You never know! The beauty of a friendship is, in itself, exquisite, so you have nothing to lose. When my neighbor connected me with her friend, I was not looking for work at the time, and God blessed me. #grateful When has something similar happened to you?

I want to wrap up with a wise statement my dad said recently. “No one is a stranger. We’re all friends here. Anyone else is just someone you haven’t met yet.” People are just waiting to be met, or helped, or to help you. What a comforting statement.

Maybe if we viewed others as instruments of God‘s perfect plan, we could see life as a beautiful thing! People and things are interconnected in profound ways, both on a personal level, and a professional level. It is a small world.

TIPS ON GETTING SOME SLEEP WITHOUT WORRYING

Can you describe the architecture and name the number of tiles on your bedroom ceiling? I certainly can! Unfortunately, I have a chronic sleeping problem. For the record, I feel great, I’ve had sleep studies done proving I do not have medical related issues. When I am awake, I rarely have anxiety.
I think bedtime is the one time women, in particular, allow themselves to stop work physically. Our bodies go minute after minute, hour after hour, but the night is a time to rest our bodies. What about our minds? Bedtime is the ignition for thinking, and worrying, and contemplating, and replaying.
How often have we all done this? I posted weeks ago about a work night I dreaded which turned out to be a blessing. It is never worth getting yourself worked up. I don’t think one cry is too many for my children, but I’d rather invest my energy on the positive. #Positivityalwayswins
It is never going to do any good to lay awake worrying. What steps can we take to break this vicious cycle?
  • Remember that you honestly are doing the best that you can. The work will eventually get done, and the family will be okay!
  • Write down what is on your mind. My dad used to keep scrap papers to do just that at night. The act of writing things down takes the thought from your brain to paper and gives a tangible sense of relief. Keep a small notebook and pencil at your bedside.
  • Take deep breaths, remembering you are only human and right this moment you are safe and warm and it is time to sleep. I say lots of prayers too.


Relax and sleep. You deserve true rest and worrying does nothing good! A verse I recite when things overtake my mind is from 1 Chronicles 16:11. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” The strength part of this verse helps me. On the rare, occasional night I find my mind too busy, the above steps and prayer always calms my mind and brings me perfect peace. I wish this for you, too!

TIPS TO GO ALL IN & STAY IN

Do you ever start something new and the excitement is tangible? Maybe it’s a course or a new job or a new diet or exercise regimen. What do you tend to do? Do you feel gung-ho and you start full throttle and give it all that you’ve got? What happens after a few weeks?

Do you lose momentum and either slow down or give up entirely? You are like most the world! We throw the cushions off the chair, put our work down and walk away. Typically, despite our best intentions, we’ve all done this on some level. (Know that you are not alone)

While there any google search can offer various tips on staying on track, I can share what works for me! I encourage you to try these steps!

1) I pray and ask for clarity. When I put God at the center of everything, I can never go wrong, even if something does not play out as I’d like it to.

2) I post a photo of my goal to focus on. It helps to see this when I need encouragement. Are you working toward a master’s degree? Post a picture of a diploma. Are you working to save for a beach front home? Post a photo of a home on a beach. (Please let me see this photo!)

3) Create a mantra. Do not use words like “I will” but use words like “I have.” Ex: I have my masters degree. (Not: “I will earn my masters degree”). To see something physically before you and to hear and see the words of said goal, makes these more tangible.

4) Be real with your long-term goal. What is the date this goal must be accomplished? Think about this to determine when you’ll need to work each day/week on the long-term goal.

5) Break the big goal down to small-term goals. Do this by setting specific daily goals. Make these small and measurable. Write down how you will accomplish them.

Ex: Determine the time-frame of when you can work on the goal each day. For example, Monday nights are free from 7-9, but Tuesday’s only are open from 6-7. Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are too full, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can devote four hours each day.

Know you CAN accomplish your dreams and goals. It helps to check off steps on your way, which in turn make you feel productive and motivated to continue.

Give these steps a try.

I’m interested in knowing how these worked for you. Or, do you have a system you already use? Let’s share them to see accomplished dreams!

THE BENEFITS OF JOURNALING

Do you keep a journal? A journal or simple notebook is extremely useful for both goal setting, and for problem solving. It is therapeutic to write down thoughts, emotions, events from the day. The act of “talking through” (in the form of writing down) something bothersome is the exact therapy people often need. There is something soothing about getting the thoughts and feelings out.

Journaling is also an amazing technique for goal setting. Many journals are of the “self-help” kind. These journals offer daily motivation, tips, accountability (“here is how I am going to reach that goal” versus “my goals are…”)

I enjoy keeping a journal and they are useful for keeping a positive attitude, to plan for my goals, and for dealing with stressors. I enjoy the methods Rachel Hollis uses. Rachel Hollis is a powerful entrepreneur who encourages goal settings step by step, living your best life, and believing in yourself. Whether someone uses her journal or any of the dozens of others, it proves to be helpful.

There are any number of things to write down. If you don’t have a journal, just use a notebook. I found a colorful notebook and I find I can be freer to write down what I need to that day, without feeling obligated to follow a standard each day. You can try writings things like:

  • Ten goals and plans on how to achieve them.
  • Ten things to be thankful for. (Keep it small and detailed if you need to. (I.e. my hot coffee, I woke up, I didn’t stub my toe on the same dresser I usually do….)
  • Free writing. (Whatever is on your mind)
  • Checklists for goals.
  • Lists of stressors with possible solutions.
  • What I am looking forward to.
  • (My personal favorite) Five tangible things that I will do today to bless others. (Make someone laugh, call my friend, etc)

If you haven’t journaled, it may benefit you! It may just be the cheapest form of therapy. Give it a try. The dollar store has adorable journals or notebooks if you want to give it a try without purchasing a more expensive journal that is leading (gives prompts). Good luck! Have some fun!

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE

How often do you practice gratitude? I don’t mean the daily “please and thank you” when we receive out lattes from Starbucks, or the financial report from our secretary. I mean the deep down, take a look at your life type. There are health benefits of gratitude, and in particular, of writing them down. Plus, people who practice gratitude feel better!

Once November 1 arrived, our lives became hectic. There are the beautiful Thanksgiving and Christmas and other holidays (whatever you celebrate), parties surrounding those, meal preparations, intense shopping, wrapping, photos, etc. It feels like January 1 arrives before we can blink and we are exhausted, and frankly, probably broke. It seems to me that this is cause for a time-out to outwardly express gratitude!

Let’s take the time to feel grateful. What are your blessings? Please, please list some right here. It can be gratitude for the lack of dust on your nightstand! Any amount of gratitude is a start.

Here is my list of thirty days of what I am thankful for!

1) My Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

2) My children! Plain and simple. They are the loves of my life!

3) Years ago, my husband and I decided that I would stay home with our children, so I thank God for him because staying home has meant I get to spend time with my children!!

4) My home.

5) Warm blankets, heat, and cozy beds in the cold, and air conditioning, fans, and cooling measures during the heat.

6) My family-parents, siblings, cousins, etc. They are SPECTACULAR, and I genuinely ADORE them.

7) My amazing friends! They are far too numerous to name. (What a blessing, oh my goodness!)

8) My love for reading and all my books!

9) My love for writing and the success I’ve had!

10) My vehicle that is in good working order. Boy did I have cars in the past that were not reliable.

11) My favorite sitcoms.

12) My son’s smile.

13) My daughter’s laugh.

14) The inspirational people I follow on social media.

15) A new day to serve God.

16) My washer and dryer (not having to take my laundry elsewhere, been there too!)

17) Hallmark Christmas movies.

18) Ellen Degeneres-her ability to make people laugh, and to bring joy.

19) My favorite protein shakes.

20) My health.

21) My fond memories of various things… things I can look back on to smile, and to feel peace in my heart.

22) My breaks I’ve been blessed with by God. (My book turned musical, my second book, my brother for illustrating).

23) My love for cleaning. I find it therapeutic and it’s wonderful to have a clean home.

24) My son’s love for reading.

25) My daughter’s love for “Baby Shark.”

26) My daughter looking for me even if I’m in the next room. She runs to me and loves me and feels safe with me.

27) Those moments when my son does awesome on a school project, homework, or test, not because we want him to have perfect grades, but because he worked hard and can celebrate his success.

28) Egg Nog and Hot Chocolate and Hot Tea.

29) The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

30) Those things I can look forward to, such as days off with my husband and kids, holidays with my family, fun evenings out with my best friend.

My heart feels full! Please participate in this!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!! God bless you all!!

HOW TO CHOOSE HAPPINESS

At some point in our lives, we’ve all heard the expression “today I choose happiness.” As grown-ups, the word happiness means more than just a smile. As a child, we encourage our kids to smile and hang in there if they’re having a bad day. But for adults, somedays it goes deeper than this.

Any day can come with any number or form of stressors -financial, children, marriage, parents, other family challenges, work, weather, medical, other outside factors. What happens when our first thought upon waking is fear or dread? When we know we cannot stay under the covers because we have responsibilities and families to take care of, do we face the day with anxiety, sadness, and no heart? Or, do we choose happiness?

While I am not talking about faking it until you make it, which I have blogged about, and believe in, this is similar except this is a deep down, heartfelt decision to live your life in peace. 

Let me be clear. There will be issues we have to deal with. We cannot keep shoving them down because doing so could amplify the issues. But, while we are dealing with “life,” we do not have to live in dread or sadness. We can forge ahead with a positive, optimistic attitude. If you want to live with a pit in your stomach, fear, anxiety, and sadness, then this blog is not for you. God bless you. I, however, believe in hope and joy. 

Sometimes happiness is a decision, rather than a feeling. You are in charge of how you feel. It’s about thanking God for our blessings. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

How can we accomplish this?

1) Believe your life is what you make it. If you want to feel wellable, worthy, successful, and at peace, you can! You write your own life story!

2) Breathe. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 5 minutes. Relax your mind, calm your soul. It’s you and the world. 

3) Decide to choose happiness hour by hour. Do not allow anxiety, negativity, or dread to win.

4) Smile. 

5) Count your blessings, not your troubles. 

6) Remind yourself you are God’s child and capable. Do you have a mantra? A mantra is a saying you create in regards to what you want for your life. Recite this mantra in your heart throughout the day. If you don’t have a mantra, I like to recite “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

7) Do one thing that shows how strong you are. Maybe you’ve meant to complete one specific task. Do it today! 

8) Refuse to speak negatively.

I cannot promise your troubles will go away. But, you can choose peace amidst the challenges. Your life is what you make it.  

WHAT IS THE BEST FORM OF COMMUNICATION?

To text or not to text, that is the question. When it comes to my every day life, I am the biggest advocate for texting. When I am feeding my daughter while simultaneously helping my son with his homework, I cannot possibly hold a phone. I can text, however, and take a few minutes amidst the conversation. 

Before autocorrect, we used slang terms such as “b4.” Fortunately, now we have predictive text and corrections that take place while we type. It is a good thing for the newer helpers on phones. My parents could not follow texting slang because they are only recent texters. Despite grammatical advances, it is not a perfect science. Inevitably, mistakes happen, and we overlook them.

Texting leaves a ton of room for error. We can quickly qlose emotion, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact. Without these, it is easy to misunderstand the context of the text. I imagine as a boyfriend and girlfriend, the absence of emotion could be frustrating. If we have the communication issue via text, what about an expression via text that is open for interpretation?

These are amusing examples, but these happened to me. When watching a baseball game, the commentator said, “two away.” It was bedtime, so I had the volume low. When the closed captioning said ”two away” I thought he meant two away from being done with the inning, when in fact he meant there were two outs.

The next example is a text from my dad regarding his coffee. He wrote, “light cream.” I thought that meant only use a little, to go light on it. Truthfully, he intended for the coffee to appear light, to use a more than usual amount of cream. Do you have examples of these nuisances?

On a more significant level, it makes me wonder what I may have missed because of these interpretations or misread texts. I vow to be more mindful of this from now on! (When I just inserted the exclamation point, do you feel I mean what I say more than if I put a period at the end?) Do we put that much faith in exclamation points? I admit because I want to be sincere, I use exclamation points probably more often than I should.

Face to face conversation is refreshing. The eye to eye contact, physical hug, a listening ear, and lack of room for misinterpretation are the best form of communication when a real, heart to heart conversation needs to take place.

What is your opinion or experience?

THE LINK BETWEEN BRAVERY AND VULNERABILITY

Did you know that vulnerability is not necessarily a “bad” word? The connotation of the word reminds us of at-risk children, or senior citizens. While it can mean something negative, it can also be something good, rewarding, and inspiring, depending on the context.

Let’s take something public, like the reality show “America’s Got Talent.” Have you watched it? When a waiver is signed, permitting the use of your image and actions available to the world, it is as if it reads, “Vulnerability Waiver.” God bless the contestants. The judges and audience either cheer you on or brutally laugh and boo at you. Months later, the world watches and does the same. What bravery on the part of the contestants!

In my village, the Seniors Tour of the PGA occurs each summer. While the professional’s golf three full-rounds, there is a Pro-Am the two previous days. A Pro-Am is a sponsor privilege. Amateur golfers are allowed the opportunity to golf in teams of four with a professional. Honestly, it is amusing to attend on the Pro-Am days. There is always a player here or there who hits the ball off a tree, misses the shot entirely, hits dirt 25 yards, lands in the sand trap repeatedly, or loses a ball in the pond. This summer, I watched a gentleman hit a tree twice in a row, and the crowd ducked as if all of our lives depended on it.

When offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the vulnerability is rewarding, a show of true bravery. These are professionals who’ve dedicated their lives to their sport. I imagine an amateur approaching the professional, nervous but shoulders back, smiling, and saying something like this: “What an honor to play with you. Thank you for this opportunity! But, I am not very good, and I may bring down the score for the whole team.”

What courage to swallow pride, and to something a shot. Isn’t this inspirational? Why not live life so free? The opportunity, big or small, is a sign of bravery. These are unique, one time only, life-changing opportunities that will never be. Aren’t these the moments in life that make life worth living?

HOW TO FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT

When was the last time you felt overwhelmed? When you think that way, what happens? Do you cry, or yell? Haven’t we all been there? Did some innocent passerby tell you to “smile?” It can’t be that bad.” Did you smile, all the while mumbling under your breath? We faked that smile, didn’t we? Haven’t we all heard the expression, “Fake it Until you Make it.”?

Do you want to know how to “turn that frown upside down” and mean it? Bringing real joy to a rough patch is possible.

1) Smile. Yes, you read that correctly. Turn the corners of your mouth upwards, show your teeth, and let the world see your smile. I bet the world smiles back! When you receive a smile, your “fake” smile will become real!

2) Carry on as though all was right in your world. Keep the smile.

3) Compliment three people. Even if you are feeling “blah” inside, find something to brighten another’s day. The smile you receive in return will cause your heart to smile.

I encourage you to fake that smile the next time things look grim. In my life, I recently tried this. I woke up with back pain, and my sleep had been nearly non-existent. The exhaustion caused a headache; my oldest child was particularly talkative that day, and my daughter was teething. Unfortunately, my husband was away for work. ”Overwhelmed” was my middle name that day.

I had to forge ahead with my day. I prayed and took a deep breath, and smiled. With tears in my eyes, I started my day, laughing as though all was well. I could anticipate troubles, but they’d be surface issues. My pain was physical; it would pass eventually. My kids would be okay. There was nothing detrimental on my plate. If I chose to fake a smile, I wouldn’t be neglecting real-life issues.

I sat down with my oldest child to do crafts. My youngest and I played peek-a-boo. Suddenly, my heart started to feel joy, real joy. My “fake” became “real.” My pain may not have left, but my choice to maintain the right attitude changed everything.

I specifically remember at the end of that day, my son was cuddling with me and drawing pictures. He handed me a note he wrote, and I just broke down and cried. I’d done that day right! I am beautiful no matter how he spells it!

#fakeittilyoumakeit

SLOW DOWN, YOUR LIFE AWAITS

“Where’s the fire? What’s the hurry about?” These Billy Joel lyrics from his hit song “Vienna,” is about living life in the here and now. “Slow down you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile….Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? You’d better cool it off before you burn it out. You’ve got so much to do and only so many hours in a day….Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time.”

There are evenings in my household when this song echoes in my heart. It is far too easy to feel overwhelmed. Children need dinner, homework done, bath time, prayer time, time to relax and read or watch their favorite show, and this is not to mention extracurricular activities. My children ask to do crafts and game time. Time clicks on by, how are you spending it?

If, as a grown up, we all want our children to succeed and while we are trying to stay afloat, they’re striving to rush through things, to grow up, to get away from nightly homework, for Friday to arrive to attend the festival, for their next game day, to be sixteen already so they can drive, and to live the life they think of as “adulthood.”

As a parent, it’s too easy to rush around in the evenings, juggling dinner and homework and laundry and life. While I can completely respect the exhaustion that evenings bring, I remind myself to take it easy. My kids should enjoy their evenings, and I should go easier on myself. The laundry will still be there if I wait another hour. I should enjoy my babies, because they’re going to keep growing. As my dad says, ”This is not a dress rehearsal.”

How often do we need to press pause? Do these thoughts encompass you as they do me? The kids need dinner. Is their homework done? Did they shower yet? Wait, there is church tonight, better hurry up and finish dinner! Is his uniform ready for tomorrow? Are the dishes clean or dirty in the dishwasher? I need to adjust their bedtimes to prepare for the upcoming daylight savings time.

What happens if we slow down, and not follow “the rules” for one evening? Will the kids survive? Will we as adults suffer? Chances are highly likely that if we slow down, we will gain lifetime memories!

Let’s begin another challenge and call it, “Vienna.” Stop to smell the roses. Breathe in. Look at the blue sky, feel the trees, hear the birds? Tweet at them, they often answer! Instead of rushing to return a random shirt my toddler took out of her bin, I will sit on the floor, put the shirt over my face and play peek-a-boo. I will allow my son a few extra minutes on the playground after school. I will let myself to sip that hot chocolate before it gets cold.

“Slow down you crazy child!!“ ❤️❤️❤️❤️