Don’t Believe The Hype

… Or don’t get seduced by attention.

Last week, I talked about being on a roller coaster (still on it and screaming like a little girl the whole way) AND learning to embrace it.

The parts of the roller coaster ride but I really do enjoy are the swings back up and get a get a place where I’m not falling or dropping. If the moment of weightlessness when I feel like I’m untouchable. While that feels really good for a moment, I realize that it’s temporary and the hard work and obstacles are about to begin and/or present themselves again.

It’s inevitable and quite frankly, I NEED that.

Here’s the trap for me. I get seduced by the attention and I think I’m good, untouchable, not hungry anymore, complacent. This is not good for me.

I want to remember that I will never be done, never be the best I can be, always be striving for more. It’s so much easier to believe the hype about yourself. In fact, I create it; it’s not real. I do it because I want a break and I fabricate it, because it feels good. We all want attention, props, attaboys and attagirls. I’m not suggesting you blow off or disbelieve people who compliment you. What I’m saying is don’t let it fool you into thinking you’ve reached your goal.

If you’re not growing or striving to do or be more, you are a flatline. A flatline means you’re dead. (Thanks, Deb Cheslow)

So, accept your congratulations, enjoy the attention, but remember that this is just temporary. You have to do the work to be better, and we can all benefit from striving to be better.

The SMALL MAGIC of Vulnerability

The definition of vulnerable is “susceptible to physical or emotional attack on harm.”

DISCLAIMER: no one was physically attacked or harmed during the writing of this post.

Who wants to be vulnerable? No one! No one in their right mind wants to knowingly make themselves susceptible to any kind of attack or harm.

BUT… living a life of small magic means you do.

First, let’s address why you’d even consider a life of small magic.
Ask yourself these questions:
1) Am I happy?
2) Am I satisfied with the world today?
3) Do I want to be a part of positively affecting my community?
4) Can I easily explain the process of making a proper peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

If you answered “NO” to one or two, or “YES” to three, then keep reading. Regardless of your answer to number four, watch this video because it’s funny and laughing is always a good thing.

Great – so you’re still reading, right?

OK, so why is vulnerability small magic?
Here’s why:
Small magic is all about connecting, taking chances when you’re not sure of the outcome. It’s about reaching out to people you don’t know and attempting to find common ground. It’s about making a small change, that wall small, it’s still new and outside of your comfort zone.

You may think “I’m comfortable where I am.” BUT remember those questions you answered… Yeaaaaahh…

Without vulnerability, there is no magic, no growth, no connection.

You’re still reading so I know that isn’t good enough for you.

Try new things! What’s the worst that could happen? You fail? Big deal! Thomas Edison field 10,000 times before he got electricity right. Would you be good without electricity right now? People called him crazy. How’s that for vulnerability? He didn’t care because he KNEW he could do it and the pay off is way better than playing it safe.

SO… go be an Edison, take chances, be vulnerable, perform small magic.

Oh, and every time you use electricity, you’ll remember this post. I got that going for me.

Small Magic and Forgiveness

In the last few years, I realize I have “let” several people back into my life. While on the surface that may not sound like anything worthy of sharing, they were people who hurt me and significantly impacted my life.Forgive
Why am I writing about it here? Because forgiveness is a wonderful thing. Forgiveness has given me space. Space to use for other more positive thoughts, time or nothing at all. And that has been a really great thing for me on this path of growth and development.
Do you know how heavy it feels to carry hate around with you for a long time? Maybe, hate is too strong of a word. How about blame, anger, judgment?
It’s heavy. I know because I did it for a very long time. Not worth it. It’s unproductive and it wore me down. There are a lot more things I’d rather do with that energy.
After significant research and analysis, I have developed a three-step system for forgiveness.
  1. Identify that person you’re mad at.
  2. Forgive them.
  3. Move on and have an amazing life.
See? No tricks, no prep, no special training. You can start right now.
Do it. Let me know how much lighter you feel.
It’s like magic, yes? SMALL MAGIC.

The Practice of Small Magic

Practice ConceptIf you’ve been following my “small magic” journey, you know performing it requires no equipment, special training or preparation.
It does, however, take PRACTICE.
There are plenty of days I wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something distracts me or derails my day right from the time I wake up.
Why? Because I’m still practicing it.
I was talking with a friend of mine a couple days ago and he mentioned that most coaches in football believe in repetition. The coaches used to make them repeat a play over and over and ver until it was automatic. When the play happened in a live game, they didn’t have to think about it; they just executed.
I think that holds true for anything that you aren’t in the practice of. When you first ride a bike, swim, ABCs, etc.
Small magic is the same. While it’s easy to do, it’s also easy to forget until it’s automatic. Every day I have to remind myself, and often, more than once a day.
I remind myself to be nice to me, connect with other people, show my humanity, be vulnerable, and so many other ways I can practice small magic.
Some days I forget; most I don’t. The more I practice small magic, the greater the impact for me and others. I even put it on my calendar for each day just so I’ll have a reminder. Do I write in my calendar: “brush my teeth?” No, it’s already automatic.
Until it moves over in that area, I’ll continue to schedule and practice small magic.
Gotta go now- time to practice.

Transformation Through Small Magic

DesignIt’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been trying to make sure what I write is perfect and it dawned on me: That’s the excuse I’ve been using for not posting.

From here on out you’ll be getting the not so polished, real, authentic me.

So, here I go.

The last six months have been the beginning of a new journey for me. Last year, I got married, started moving toward my goal of being a professional speaker and life was not so bad. BUT (and it’s a big BUT), I wasn’t so happy. I was in a rut, no energy physically or mentally, and just not in shape in most areas of my life. I was just ok- going through the motions.

I decided to do one small thing. I thought about adding small magic into my life and used it on myself. The one thing I chose was to take care of myself. With that i joined a cross fit gym. Apprehensively, I went to a meeting with the owner and discussed my concerns/ fears- I was WAY out of shape, the place was intimidating and I wouldn’t be able to do any of the exercises. BUT I committed to three times a week and following the program.

SMALL MAGIC #1
Do one thing to take care of yourself.

As it tuned out, I WAS able to do the exercises thanks to the training, encouragement and support from the coaches and fellow members. They were (and still are) so motivating and supportive and I quickly began to love my new family.

SMALL MAGIC #2
Believe in yourself.

As I continued doing cross fit, it was almost as if a weight (no pun intended) had been lifted from me. I was happier and had more energy and that made me want to do more. And the more wasn’t necessarily for me. This time it was for others.

Because I was happier, I was also nicer, more tolerant, more motivated. I struck up conversations with the cashier, smiled at people as I passed them, helped a woman who couldn’t get the door open. Doesn’t sound special, does it?

It was- it was magical.

People responded and smiled back, enjoyed the conversation, and were happy and thankful. AND guess what? It made me feel better too!

SMALL MAGIC #3
Be connected with other people.

But wait, there’s more…

Because small magic seems to have a layering effect, I wanted to perform more. This January I chose myself again and decided to do another nice thing for me. I adopted a Paleo lifestyle and decided to eat healthier. It was just me other small decision I made but the impact was huge! With this one change, I had more energy, better health, less eating out, more family time at dinner, less TV, more connection, and more weight loss.

To date I have lost 20 lbs and 18 inches and it was all from making a series of small decisions/ changes in my life.

SMALL MAGIC #4
Treat your body better by fueling it properly.

There’s so much more to this story and as I mentioned before, my journey has just begun.

I invite you to take on the challenge of small magic for 30 days. Do one thing nice for yourself or someone else every day for the next month. No equipment necessary, no planning or training required. Just wake up and do small magic.

I’m A Bully

Sad lonely studentFor some time something I did back in college has been bothering me. I’d say haunt but I think that puts too much of the pain on me and not on the person who it was inflicted on. The pain isn’t mine to get rid of. I should always feel this way because I did it.

I’m definitely not proud of this but I feel it’s a story that needs telling.

I was a freshman at University of Florida and living on campus in one of the dorms. We lived on the bottom floor and my room was on one of the end of the hall next to

the elevators. Often, there was a flatbed cart siting right outside the elevator door for people to use to take supplies, groceries, what have you up to their floors.

Initially, we would just “surf”down the hallway. Some one would push and someone would get on. You could kind of steer it by leaning one way or the other. We were bored and freshmen, and we made fun any way we could.

On the far end of the hallway was another floor resident named Debbie. She was the

Debbie was an easy target and we decided it would be funny to “surf” the cart into her door when we knew she was in the room and would do so over and over and over again. Surf probably doesn’t do it justice. It was more of a slam into her door and a pretty good speed. I think w could’ve busted the door had we been there longer. We laughed and laughed and thought it was funny. She did complain to us and asked us to stop but that was really just more reason to do it. All through our freshman year we did this. Probably at least three or four times a month.

Somethings Debbie never did? She never went to the RA and told on us. She never hid in her room and never tried to avoid us. She never stopped trying to talk to us. She just kept being Debbie.

We all made it through our freshman year and left for the Summer. Some of us stayed in touch; some of us came back the next year and some of us were even on the same hall or rooming together. I think we had all kind of forgotten about Debbie.

I’m not sure when I started thinking about her again but it has been several years that she sticks in my head. If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t have. I never took the time to get to know her. I never imagined how painful it must have been for her to be picked on incessantly by us. If it did, she never showed it. She was a lot stronger than we were and a lot more level headed as well. We were a bunch of teenagers who had just been begun to navigate adulthood and this was how we chose to behave.

I often wish I could find Debbie. I’d tell her how sorry I am, not expecting forgiveness but because she deserves it. AND it’s the right thing to do. She’s a person just like me and the rest of us and no one should be ever be treated that way. I think now that had that been me, it would likely have affected me for my life. What a cruel thing for us to do to someone we didn’t even bother to know.

So what’s my point here? It is not meant to be cathartic in any way. It’s more in the interest of transparency and a forewarning. Forewarning because my hope is that someone who may read this will think before they mistreat and bully anyone in the future. Transparency because we all have stuff. I know this memory has left me sad, ashamed, embarrassed and clear that I will never do that to another person/ living thing. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

Still, my hope is that Debbie didn’t let us affect her adversely and that the strong woman that I can see now does still exist.

You don’t know it but you taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. Best to you, Debbie.

If you’re being bullied or you want to help, go to The Bully Project.

Unless You’re Bleeding…

Or your house is on fire…

That’s what my mom always says when she’s had enough of family time. We’re a big Latin family who then divorced and remarried into a cracker family and ALL of us get together at every occasion…holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Super Bowl, Tuesdays…You name it; we probably get together for it.

So imagine this: 15-ish family members, maybe another 5-10 extended family and possibly people who just wander in because they hear the fun and likely, smell what the Mom is cooking, and you have a REALLY full house. My Mom loves this…for about 4 hours and then she’s done with us and ready for us to go home. That’s when she declares “I don’t want to see you unless someone is bleeding or your house is on fire!” In Mom language, that’s code for ” get out now and don’t bother me for a few days. Our family gatherings are very much a source of pride and warmth and loud noises.

Like I said…after about 4 hours of this, she is done.

Here’s what’s great about this. My mom knows her limits and makes sure to take care of herself by making the boundaries clear…crystal clear.

Why am I discussing it here? Because this is a really important aspect of not only personal life, but also business. Something that a lot of entrepreneurs do is plunge into work and keep going, going, going. Some people only have that one speed and that’s the way they operate 24/7. Not everyone has that same capacity. Learning to listen to your body and take breaks is smart and can allow you to increase your productivity, attitude and in the long run, effectiveness.

Look, I’ve been there, done that. I can remember being SO excited to work on  my business that my other partners and I were up sending emails every morning at 4am. I ran on adrenaline and coffee for about six months. We did get a lot accomplished BUT what was the cost? I think for me that I have to remember to determine the ratio of getting it done-edness (it’s a word if you know what I mean) to taking care of myself. That’s different for every one. Keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” for anybody in business and we all work in the way and at the speed (and level of sleep deprivation) that works best for us.

If you’re someone who can’t self monitor AND you want to be more aware of your own well being, get an accountability partner. Sometimes, having that extra voice (the ones in your head don’t count) to make sure that you’re taking time out for yourself is all you need

I think my Mom is available. Just don’t bother her unless someone is bleeding or your house is on fire.

 

My Mom Knows Everything

But don’t tell her I said so…

When I was eighteen years old, it was legal for 18 year olds to drink. I went out on a Saturday night with all my friends and we would go to a bar called Cap’n D’s ( the name has been changed to protect the innocent….maybe).

imageAnyway, on this particular evening, I probably drank a little more than I should and was feeling very lucky to be dropped off before my parents got home from their night out. Stumbling in the door, I remember thinking “thank God.” No one was home and I was just going to slip into bed with no one aware of my condition.

That’s when the house phone rang. Some of us may remember those phones that were actually plugged in and had a long cord so that you could move around a room? Anyway, and perhaps ironically, the closest phone was in my parent’s room. I walked in, answered the phone and simply said ” hello.” My mother was on the other end and she said four little words: “had too much, huh?”

I was nearly speechless and I tried to come up with an answer that might throw her off the track. I mean, how could she possibly know?!

Simple, my Mom knows everything.

Listen, when we’re young, we don’t always listen or take advice from our parents.

It’s very much the same in business. When we’re new in business, we either don’t think we need help or we don’t want to ask for it. OR better yet, we don’t want anyone to know that we need help.

Get over it.

Image how much aggravation I might’ve been able to save myself from had I listened to my Mom more often. A lot….

Now, imagine how much aggravation you might be able to save yourself if you listened, asked for help or took counsel from someone who has been there done that.

Yes, times have changed and business has changed but the basic principles of doing business are (read: should be) the same.

Once, I got over myself and listened to what “more seasoned” business people had to say, I got some nuggets of gold. You can talk with someone in your industry or just someone whom you admire as a businessperson. I believe these people are often called mentors, advisers, and even friends or family.

I’ll share a couple nuggets:

  • Take your business personally. Most people say the exact opposite. Some of the most successful business people I’ve spoken to DO take their business personally. It keeps them connected to their mission, their people AND their bottom line.
  • Share. It’s no longer going to serve you to hide away what you know. Share your triumphs, developments and advancements. If you’re afraid others will use it too, then you aren’t doing enough. This will keep you on your toes and push you to be better. Comfort is most certainly the death of you and your business.

We all have access to these people. The are right next to us, if not literally, then certainly, figuratively.

So go talk to your Mom and see what she has to say. If she asks if you’ve had too much to drink, just fess up…she already knows.

Mom knows everything.

Mexico and Attitude

I’ve been in Mexico for nearly a week and I’ve made some observations:

  • The eggs are better here.
  • A small gesture can make a big difference.
  • A rainy day in Mexico is better than a rainy day in Florida.
  • Sometimes, Friday is good; sometimes, it’s depressing.
  • People really are people no matter where they’re from.

Allow me to expand on each.

EGGS

The eggs in Mexico really do taste better! I cooked them in my room and they were amazing. No salt, no pepper- just egg. Just in case you’d like to import your eggs from Mexico…

GESTURE

At at the resort we were staying, every staff member greeted us hello or good day and with that put their right hand on their heart. Not a lot of effort but it really made an impact on me. While a small thing, I will likely remember it for a very long time. At least until I become senile and can’t remember my own name.

RAIN

Duh, a rainy day anywhere is almost always better than a rainy day at home.

FRIDAY

When a Friday comes at the end me of a work week, it’s great! We all rejoice in Fridays as they signal the weekend. When a Friday comes at the end of a vacation week AND you return on Saturday, it’s not so great. Funny, huh? Same day, same time of the week and different emotion. Incidentally, today is the Friday at the end of a vacation week.

PEOPLE

I’ve seen Mexicans, Europeans, Asians and Americans this week and guess what? We all want the same things: time with our families, relaxation, fun, safety, protection, and so much more. I’ve seen it all week and met people from all over and they all have the same needs I do. Language isn’t necessary. You can see it all around; I did.

imageOk, so where does the attitude part of this post come into play? Here. Taking time off from every day life is periodically a good thing to do. It recharges your batteries, lengthens your spine (ok, maybe just mine), and can give you a chance to reflect and reset your compass. It certainly did for me.

I’ll  be back at home tomorrow and by Sunday will likely be a little more stressed, a little less relaxed and possibly a little bit shorter.

What I’ll still have is my compass reset and I can look back on this week and re-read this post and remember that it’s my attitude that dictates my day.

“Como se acuesta, se levanta.”

Later.

I Can’t Write

BUT, I’m a writer. Makes no sense at all, does it. I have written all of my life…from made for TV movies when I was a kid in middle school to poetry when I was finding myself to countless blog posts and articles….UNTIL, I said I wanted to be a writer for my career.

Thanks for the smack across the face reality. image

I have talked to friends, mentors, other writers, my girlfriend and really anyone else who might listen trying to figure out why now, all of the sudden, I can’t write.

I don’t really have an answer but I thought writing might help me figure out why I can’t write. And then it hit me. I AM and CAN write. I’m actually doing it right now.

I think in my mind I have this idea of what a writer should write and how it should look and be AND that’s just some made up BS I’ve been listening to from my brain. Not accurate by the way…just my own thoughts about it.

I realize that for me, writing is like a conversation and Lord knows I can talk! So why not just have conversations instead of “sitting down to write.”

Sounds a lot less complicated to me and I think I’ve been trying to make the process complicated.

Well, that’s it for now because this was exhausting. You can’t see me but I’m winking.

Later.