Sunday, September 24, 2006

Are You an Invisible Woman? -

There is no advantage to becoming invisible when you fall in love, marry, become a wife, mother, caretaker. Everyone loses: you, your spouse, your children, your friends. The disappearing act can happen subtly and may take a while. Then one day, you realize you don't know whom you are anymore.

Let's take a quick test. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to check if you have lost yourself.

1. Do you say what you really mean?

Are you communicating from your heart, from your juicy self? Sometimes we can slip into a pattern of saying what is expected of us and what we say may not be what we really think or feel. You will know the difference when you pay attention to what you are communicating and whether it rings true to your beliefs and values, or not.

If you see that you are not saying what you really think and feel, pay attention first of all to who you are trying to please by speaking as you do. Listen closely to what it is that you would be saying if it were the genuine you speaking. Figure out what the costs are for not saying what you mean. Make a decision to change your approach and speak from your authentic self, the self you know you really are. When the signals and balance of cost begin to outweigh the price of not speaking your truth, you may need professional help to learn how to communicate fully.

2. Do you state a preference?

If you are asked what you would prefer, do you make a choice? Or, do you ask what the other party would prefer and defer to that choice as a rule? If you find that you defer to someone's preference fairly regularly, here is a suggestion. First of all, this is not an easy transition to make. Sometimes deferring to someone else's decision comes from not wanting the responsibility of having made the decision in case something goes wrong. Find the courage to make a choice when one is presented. When asked which restaurant you would like to go to, what you would like to do next, when you'd like to buy the next car, take a breath. Before you automatically answer, 'What do you think?', TAKE A BREATH. That breath will give you a pause time, a chance to either say, "let me think about that a minute," or to give an answer if you have one. It's OK to take time to answer. It's OK to let there be silence while you think.

Little by little with practice, you will see how satisfying it is to state a preference and be a part of the decision making process from a place of having made your desires known. There is always compromise and it is still important to have contributed what you have to offer, whether your choice is the one used or not.

3. Do you take the initiative?

When was the last time you made a suggestion to a friend or your family or your spouse about an idea or activity? Do you rely on everyone else to make a proposal about vacation places, buying choices, ways to spend group time? What are the things you really enjoy doing?

Spend some time remembering what makes your heart sing. When you remember, start to put plans into place for them to happen. Invite those whom you would enjoy sharing the activity with. Let people around you know what you have planned and what that feels like to you.

4. Do you take care of everyone else first?

It is not possible to take care of everyone else first and still have time to take care of you. By taking care of you, I mean include the aspects of living that bring meaning and fulfillment to you. By taking care of you, I mean giving yourself the opportunity and time to express your creative and imaginative self. Check to see if you like yourself underneath it all. A good way to avoid who you are is to be in continual service to everyone around you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How to lose a job in 10 days

I spotted this article in one of my online groups and I had to share.

One of my favorite recent movies was How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days. I know it sounds like a bit of a "chic flick", but it's not. It is a hilarious movie about the more common things women do to turn men away in relationships. So in the spirit of fun, I chose to write this article in the same style of what NOT to do, but instead of relationships, this is about how to lose a job. So if you are interested in getting fired, or if you are interested in learning what NOT to do to keep your job, read on.

In today's job market, jobs are competitive and it is generally easier for employers to find good employees than for employees to find good jobs. If you are one of the persistent individuals that have made it into a position that you really enjoy, it is up to you to keep your job. If you are truly an asset to the company, the chances are that no recession, cutback, or takeover will cause you to lose your job. What will cause you to lose your job is doing one or more of the many things the average employee does every day. So here we go...

How to lose a job in 10 days (begin sarcasm)

Be irresponsible. Don't do things when you say you are going to do them, make promises and don't keep them, forget things, keep your schedule in your head, don't bother writing things down, and don't bother returning messages. After all, with so many starving children in the world, does it really matter that you miss a few assignments?

Don't listen. Just because your body has to be at an important meeting, it does not mean your mind has to be there. Drift off into la-la land where you are sunning on a tropical beach. Chances are someone else at the meeting was listening and you can ask them what it was about. If asked a direct question in the meeting, simply answer, "I'll have to get back to you on that one". It is a safe answer that will work about 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time just blame your irrelevant answer on some medication that you have recently taken.

Treat your co-workers with envy and resentment. Your co-workers are really all out to get you. It is a big conspiracy against you and only you. Everyone is talking about you behind your back. Those below you all want your job and those above you want to see someone else in your job.

Make excuses for everything. Buy a book on excuses and keep it handy. As long as you have a good excuse, you will never have to work another day in your life. Don't only play the blame game, but win it as well. Nothing is ever your fault, but even when you think it is, blame someone or something else.

Do the bare minimum. If your company really wanted you to do more than the bare minimum, they would pay you more. Do just what you think is enough not to get fired.
Lack self-confidence. When asked to do something say, "Are you serious?" or "I don't think I can do that". It is also a good idea to ask your boss at least once a day if they have any plans for letting you go.

Take your personal frustrations to work with you. Have problems on the homefront? Don't take it out on your family, take it out on your customers and co-workers instead. Chances are, they deserve it anyway.

Criticize everything. Nobody really knows anything at your company besides you. If everyone did things the way you think they should be done, everyone would be happy and the company would be perfect. Tell everyone how they should be doing their jobs, shoot down any ideas not proposed by you. If you do not like the way something is being done, tell everyone in the most negative way possible.
Maintain an unattractive personality. Be negative, never smile or laugh, don't be friendly to anyone unless there is something in it for you. Annoy people when you get the chance. Talk about your problems and all the evil in the world.
Despise your job. Follow the law of nature - leisure time is for fun and work time is for pain and boredom. If you do enjoy your job, you are really not working so you really should not be paid.

(end sarcasm)

Losing a job is not difficult; it is maintaining a job that is the challenge. However, with the right attitude and strong human relationship skills, you can have a greater sense of security in any job you choose. Just DON'T follow the advice above! :)

Bo Bennett
Author of "Year To Success"

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Four Agreements You Need for Living a Life With Value

In his book "The Four Agreements," Don Miguel Ruiz distills the essence of Toltec wisdom into four principles for living a life of value:

1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.

How elegantly simple! But simple wisdom isn't common practice. While most of us believe we are impeccable with our word, we know others who are not. And most likely, others, from time to time, consider us far less than true with our word.

The Four Agreements are deceptively simple, yet difficult to apply. With practice, they're extremely effective, providing a way to experience inner peace and happiness.

Each agreement is self-directed. It's not about what you can do to change someone's behavior. Rather, these guides teach us how to respond appropriately to others' difficult behaviors and develop smoother relationships.

So, how do you apply these principles at work? Let's examine each one.

1. Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.


Become more mindful. The next time you begin to gossip, assume something or fail to clarify, stop yourself. If you sense you're taking something personally, back up and think before you speak. Ask yourself, "How can I make this situation better?"

Instead of trying to change another person, make an impact on someone you can really change: yourself.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


This September 11th will mark five years since the terrorist attacks that killed 2,973 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The anniversary will be commemorated with events around the country, with the major events taking place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, the places where the four hijacked planes crashed. President Bush will visit all three of the attack sites on September 11th.

The ceremony will follow the same format as has been used in the previous four anniversaries since the attacks, except that this year the spouses, partners and significant others who lost a loved one will read the names of the 2,749 people who died at the World Trade Center. In the first year after the attacks, the list of names was read by politicians, dignitaries and some relatives, children of the dead read them in 2003, parents and grandparents of the victims took their turn in 2004, and last year siblings of those lost did the reading.

The program will begin at the Trade Center site with an introduction before the first pause for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane hit the North Tower. Houses of worship throughout the city will toll their bells at the same time. The names of the dead will then begin to be read, while family members descend the ramp down into the site, where they'll be able to lay flowers. There will be three other moments of silence during the ceremony, pausing the reading of names, to mark when the second plane struck the South Tower at 9:03 a.m., when the first tower fell at 9:59 a.m., and when the second fell at 10:29 a.m.. After the reading of the names concludes, trumpeters from the New York Police Department and Fire Department will play "Taps" and there will be a final musical performance.

Later in the day, at dusk, the "Tribute in Light" -- twin beams of light shooting up into the sky -- will be illuminated nearby in lower Manhattan for one night. The Tribute in Light was first lit on March 11, 2002, the six-month anniversary of the attacks, and was lit up every night after that for one month. It has also been lit on attack anniversaries since then.

The Pentagon will mark the anniversary beginning on September 9th, offering public tours that will include the site of the attack on the building in which 184 people were killed. The next day, on September 10th, the National "Freedom Walk" will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the National Mall and finish at the Pentagon with a tribute by opera singer Denyse Graves and an illumination ceremony. That ceremony will include 184 beams of light to commemorate each victim, and the lights will remain lit through September 11th. On the actual day of the attacks, there will be a Family Memorial Ceremony outside the Pentagon Mall Entrance that's closed to the public. That ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., just minutes before the moment that the plane struck at 9:37 a.m. Then, at 10 a.m., a Pentagon Employee Memorial Ceremony, also closed to the public, will take place in the Pentagon Auditorium.

The ceremony at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, field where one of the four planes crashed after passengers tried to fight the hijackers, will begin at 9:15 a.m. The names of the 40 passengers and crewmembers who died will be read after a moment of silence at 10:03 a.m., when the plane crashed. The Bells of Remembrance will also be rung during the reading of the names. Among those who'll speak at the ceremony will be former Pennsylvania Governor and First Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

Construction finally began in April on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, after a redesign due to security concerns and four years of squabbling between developer Larry Silverstein, who'd owned the Twin Towers, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land. Under the agreement, Silverstein will build the Freedom Tower, but give it to the Port Authority once it's completed. He will also build three other smaller office towers on the site, which he'll keep, and the Port Authority will take over a nearby damaged building that will be rebuilt for residential use. There will also be a memorial, museum and cultural center at the site.


Construction began in March on the World Trade Center Memorial, whose design, called "Reflecting Absence," by architect Michael Arad, was chosen in 2004 from more than 5,200 entries. The memorial will mark the fallen Twin Towers with voids in their original footprints, each holding a pool of water filled by waterfalls on all sides. The pools will be surrounded by a forest of oak trees at street level. The memorial is scheduled to be completed in September 2009.

Construction began in June on the Pentagon's memorial, which is due to be finished in September 2008. Located on the west lawn of the Pentagon, it will include 184 metal benches, one for each victim, sitting above reflecting pools of water amid dozens of maple trees. The benches will be organized in a timeline of the victims' ages, ranging from 3-year-old Dana Falkenberg to 71-year-old John Yamnicky. Of the 184 people killed in the attack, 125 were in the Pentagon and 59 were passengers and crew members on the plane.

The winning design was chosen last September for the memorial to the victims of Flight 93. Among the features of the 2,000-acres memorial site is the Tower of Voices at the entrance containing 40 metallic wind chimes, one for each of the passengers and crew members who died. Pedestrian trails and a roadway will lead to the centerpiece of the memorial called the Bowl, a natural, circular land formation that will be surrounded by groves of Red and Sugar Maple trees and include the actual crash site, where there will be a white marble wall inscribed with the 40 names of the dead. Construction is set to begin in 2008, with a targeted opening date of September 2011, the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Picture, Passion, Plan

I came across an interesting formula for success and I thought I would share. And as always most of the advice to achieving anything is based on plain old fashioned common sense. Picture where you want to be, have the passion to propel you and a plan to make it easier to get there.

All the great motivational speakers and marketers talk about making a clear picture for yourself of what you would like to be, what you would like to have, what you would like to share with others. They say that you need to be able to feel it, smell it, take it in fully through your mind’s eye. Great spiritual writers say that all you will ever need, you already have within your mind.

Instead, many of us focus on what we do not have, and what we are not achieving in our lives. Metaphysical writers say that by maintaining that kind of focus, we simply attract more of this into our lives. They write that the opposite is also true: that by focusing on what we want, what we hope for, what we believe is ours to achieve, we actually attract more of it into our lives. These writers use the "mirror" concept, saying that what you put out is what you get back. Great athletes prove the truth of this. Over and over we hear about how Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Michelle Kwan visualized themselves as winning. We would never have heard of these world-class champions if they pictured themselves as failing. Get where I'm going with this? "Seeing" where you want to be is the first step to getting there.

Then add passion to the formula. You need powerful passion to keep your picture in front of you. Feed that passion. The best food is to attain a part of the picture each day or week or month. Put your goal on a schedule and refuse to be discouraged. And when you do take a step, praise yourself. Share your passion with advisors who will respect your trust and add positive energy, encouragement and good ideas to help you maintain your passion. You need all the passion you can muster to drown out the negative voice that lives in your head and work to discourage your forward direction. Your negative voice may tell you that you are not smart enough, not prepared enough, don’t know enough, don't deserve what you hope for, can never be "one of the lucky ones". Only passionate desire in combination with a clear picture can overcome the counter productive thoughts.

Finally, you plan. Your personal plan is just that a plan, a blueprint, a map. Start with the end in mind. What do you really want? What have you got that you can use to get there? What else do you need to get to achieve what you want? How do you PLAN to get that? A plan is simply a map of where you are and where you want to go. A solid plan can be a handwritten set of papers or a sophisticated electronic file. It may include financial, physical, technical, mental and spiritual elements. Having a plan gives you written proof that you know where you want to go and you know how you're going to get there.

When you implement these three components, picture, passion and plan, success is imminent.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A long, lazy weekend? I think not.

The original plan was to just enjoy the weekend implementing the strategy of the three r's. Rest, relax and read! I mean after all it's Labor Day weekend, right? For me Labor Day is just an excuse to eat some really good barbque and be LAZY!

But you know what they say about the best laid plans ........

Just as I was lining up my reading agenda, my assistant sent over my To Do List with no less than three deadlines for projects next week. Ok, so maybe a little less reading - I can live with that. I'll block off a few hours to take care of business sometime on Saturday and knock it out.

Then my sister had the BRIGHT idea that we should clean my parent's house for them while they are on vacation. OK, I'm down with that - just won't get to sleep in Saturday morning as planned. Well, there is always Sunday and Monday, right?

Scratch Sunday. Forgot I was in charge of teaching Sunday School. Oops, also forgot to prepare the lesson. There goes Saturday afternoon.

Then my sister calls back. Her son has a football game so she won't be able to follow through with her bright idea but wouldn't it be nice if I still go clean. Sure thing, Big Sis. Tack on another two hours of manual labor to my Saturday morning and switch my work schedule to Monday.

Hmmmmmm, are you still with me?

Needless to say, there's going to be a lot more LABOR than I planned on and a lot less of the three R's. But I guess it's somewhat appropriate given the name of the holiday.

Just so you know:

Labor Day is a national legal holiday that is over 100 years old. Over the years, it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general "last fling of summer" festival.

It grew out of a celebration and parade in honor of the working class by the Knights of Labor in 1882 in New York. In 1884, the Knights held a large parade in New York City celebrating the working class. The parade was held on the first Monday in September. The Knights passed a resolution to hold all future parades on the same day, designated by them as Labor Day.

The Socialist Party held a similar celebration of the working class on May 1. This date eventually became known as May Day, and was celebrated by Socialists and Communists in commemoration of the working man. In the U.S., the first Monday in September was selected to reject any identification with Communism.

In the late 1880's, labor organizations began to lobby various state legislatures for recognition of Labor Day as an official state holiday. The first states to declare it a state holiday in, 1887, were Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Then in 1894, Congress passed a law recognizing Labor Day as an official national holiday.

Today, Labor Day is observed not only in the U.S. but also in Canada, and in other industrialized nations. While it is a general holiday in the United States, its roots in the working class remain clearer in European countries.

It has come to be recognized in the U.S. not only as a celebration of the working class, but even more so as the unofficial end of the summer season. In the northern half of the U.S. at least, the summer vacation season begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day.

Enough of the history lesson. I have a grill that needs to be cleaned!

AND while I'm making my list, I'm also going to do some last minute school shopping. And I'm throwing a party for my oldest son Tyler who officially starts school on Wednesday. Yes, it's only pre school but it's school none the less and we are celebrating the beginning of his educational journey. And being the proud (and anal) mommy that I am - I started a blog to commemorate his school years. You can always stop by:An Educational Journey

Soooooooo what are your plans for labor day weekend? :)