An Internal Audit

taxes (1)Hearing the word audit, my thoughts turn to the April 15 deadline and the number crunching for the Internal Revenue Service. No, the Internal Audit I’m asking you to consider is all about the resources we deplete to the state of exhaustion and have such a difficult time replenishing. Don’t know what I’m talking about?

Do you ever skip breakfast and substitute a giant cup of coffee or tea, along with a bagel or jelly doughnut?

Do you ever grab a candy bar for lunch? Do you ever skip lunch and inhale the contents of your refrigerator standing up when you get home from work?

Do you ever feel as if you could sleep the entire weekend because you are exhausted from the stress of the week?

Now, do you have an image of the “resources” I’m talking about?

Your personal Internal Audit involves a notebook, a pen, and you sitting quietly for 15 minutes to answer the question: How do I build up my resources? Or, what is my plan to nurture myself to avoid depleting my valuable internal resources?

Make a plan right now to decide what you will do when faced with life’s challenges – because we all know that despite our best plans, sometimes we have to go to Plan B or just punt – so figure out what you want to do BEFORE facing those challenges.

  1. Have a quick breakfast option handy for those get-out-the-door-fast days such as a baggie of mixed nuts, or protein shake/bar.
  2. Make your lunch for the next day while you are putting away dinner leftovers, and in the morning all you have to do is grab and go.  
  3. Choose one night a week to go to bed at 9 p.m. Soak in the tub, read a book for pleasure, or catch up on those magazines that have been piling up next to your bed.

Photo credit:  Canva.com

[Coaxing Creativity Tip] Are you listening?

March is International Listening Awareness Month.  Take a few minutes today to close your eyes and open your ears. Listen for the sounds that disappear when you are automatically going through your day.

Did you know that we derive 55% of a message’s meaning from the speaker’s facial expressions, 38% from how she says the message and only 7% from the actual words spoken?

What do you hear?

Machinery? Music? Sirens?

Voices? Sighs?

Whispers and longing?

  • We listen to people at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute.*
  • Less than 2 percent of people have had any formal education on how to listen.*
  • Images go into your long term memory, while words live in your short term memory. We can only retain seven bits of information at a time…which is why we have 7 digit phone numbers.*

Listening is the foundation to understanding, digesting, then acting or reacting to situations. The perspective to decide if a comment is a complaint or a compliment, a criticism or a solid suggestion for improvement…listening beyond assumptions.

In business or personal relationships we want to be listened to…validated…cared for…and heard.

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” – Margaret J. Wheatley – author

Who listens to you?

What and who do you hear?

*statistics resource GetInFrontCommunications

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

[Coaxing Creativity Tip] Time to laugh and learn…

 

erma bombeckIt’s National Humorists are Artists Month. I consider Erma Bombeck to be one of the world’s most beloved humorists, of course, and also my first writing teacher.

When I was the Humor Editor for the Adams Tiger Tales, I modeled my writing after her style of taking ordinary life and shining a light to find the humor in what could be actually breaking our hearts. Erma’s philosophy was, “if you can laugh about it, you can learn to live with it.” A philosophy which continues to influence my writing as it has evolved from covering the student council meetings, to parent-child negotiations, breast cancer stories, cross-country moves and numerous job changes.

Erma combined wit and wisdom and bridged the generation gap so that parents and teens identified with her material. I never realized until sitting down to write this essay how much I had in common with her. During college, our guidance counselors encouraged us to forget about journalism and pursue a secretarial career. As a 30-year-old college freshman, my advisor already knew I’d quit a 10-year  secretarial career to pursue my dream of a diploma from the School of Journalism. He steered me to the Mass Communication track instead of Journalism because he didn’t think I could handle the reporter’s curriculum.

Little did he know I’d spend the next 30 years as a reporter specializing in personal profiles for magazines, newspapers and on-line venues.

I love my life!

Everyone needs and deserves encouragement to follow their dreams. When your dream is to be a writer, you dig deep inside you for the extra boost to move forward. Having your guidance counselor tell you to look for another line of work is not a vote of confidence. But, Erma and I found encouragement from caring professors who recognized our talents and gave us what we needed to continue writing. They said those magic words:  “you can write.”

Now, I’m saying them to you:  “Yes, you can write!”

  Hop over to my Facebook page and share with us where find the humor in it and let us in on the laugh!

 

Big Writing Ideas…

life writing with Writer UnleashedWhether you are a seasoned writer, or new to the world of words, we all dread getting started. Started on that blog, report, article, e-mail response, letter to your colleague, or an overdue thank you note. We share the stress of finding exactly the right words, organized in precisely the right sequence to convey the thought we want to express. The motivation to write is different for everyone, but for simplicity sake, I will give you three options:

  • start at the end
  • start in the middle
  • start at the beginning

What? This isn’t making any sense. How can you start in the middle? 

Start at the beginning…

Starting at the beginning is scary because it is a blank sheet of paper or an empty computer screen. In that case, the only thing to do is begin. Julie Andrews sang, “When you read you begin with A, B, C. When you sing you begin with do re mi.,” in the Sound of Music. Well, put your pen to paper, or fingers on the keyboard and begin…start already!

You will be out of the freeze frame of inaction and actually writing. Give yourself permission to have a lousy first draft. Set the timer for five minutes and let the words tumble out. Make a list of words or phrases associated with your topic. Remember, if you edit as you write, it will take a very long time to complete anything. Jump in and do it!

Start in the middle…

Pretend you have already written the entire piece and talk about the heart of the matter. Explain your viewpoint with every detail you can possibly include in the argument. Perhaps you tell a story to illustrate your point, or include a favorite quote. Allow your readers to accompany you in your thought process and learn how you came to your conclusion.

Start at the end…

When you write your conclusion first, you know how to create your supporting statements. Yes, this is backwards. Think of it as knowing your destination before you start out on the journey. You have already determined where you want your readers to end up, now you simply present a logical map for them to follow.

I always begin by writing in my journal to get ideas about my theme, quotes I may include, and what my first sentence should include. Once I know that first line, I’ve got a tone and a direction for the entire piece. But, that’s just me.

Regardless of the method to your writing system, whatever gets you writing is the best darn system on the planet.

Now. Go write…

By the way, we’re celebrating International Idea Month…when you have a great idea…write it down! Let’s hear about your writing system.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

 

[Free Virtual Workshop] Step into Your Story Training

women.adventure.edit

In honor of Women’s History Month, please register today to join me for a free virtual workshop you can attend from the comfort of wherever you choose.

Step Into Your Story 

Living Your Legacy – Your HerStory

Unleash Your Story Worth Writing

Thursday, March 23, 8 a.m. Pacific

(you must register to get the recording)

 

We’re going to explore Stepping into Your Story and Living Your Legacy. Yes, I did mean to say Living Your Legacy because I think what we do in everyday life is just as important as anything we will leave behind. Polish your words of wisdom and share your story…your personal journey…your HERstory. We’ll discuss how your personal story is a vital part of the universal story.

What is important to you right now? How do you spend your time? What are you passionate about? You live your Legacy every day of your life. I’m passionate that you embrace the fact your story has value! My mission is to support you to claim your voice and deliver the message you are here to share with the world.

Writing is how I tap into my creativity and give voice to my message on a daily basis. I start my day with a pot of tea, my journal along with my favorite fountain pen, and a collection of inspirational reading material. 

Some folks find letter writing to be their favorite way to journal. Unsent letters are one way, Anne Frank addressed her thoughts to “Dear Kitty,” you could do something similar. That was her story. Tell Your Story. Don’t worry that you need a new program for your computer, or a fancy leather bound journal to record your thoughts. Registration for this workshop includes all materials necessary to start your story journey.

Worried you won’t know what to say? Wondering how to “do” this writing thing? We’re going to cover all of that so register today!

Please don’t miss this opportunity to Step Into Your Story and Unleash Your Story Worth Writing!  

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Unleash your pearls of wisdom…

MEK product shotRecord your legacy…Your Herstory.

In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s talk about Living Your Legacy. Yes, I did mean to say Living Your Legacy because I think what we do in everyday life is just as important as anything we will leave behind. Polish your pearls…your words of wisdom and share your story…your personal journey…your HERstory. 

What is important to you right now? How do you spend your time? What are you passionate about? That is the Legacy You Live! 

I’m passionate about you embracing your story. Your story has value because it is your story and  YOU have value. The world is waiting to hear your story.

Writing is how I tap into my creativity and give voice to my message on a daily basis. I start my day with a pot of tea, my journal along with my favorite fountain pen, and a collection of inspirational reading material. Perhaps writing isn’t the first thing you want to do in the morning. If you find writing before you go to bed helps relax you, then that’s when you should write. Maybe grabbing a sandwich and your journal is your lunch routine. Great! Do whatever works for you!

Some folks find letter writing to be their favorite way to journal. Unsent letters are one way, Anne Frank addressed her thoughts to “Dear Kitty,” you could do something similar. That was her story. Tell Your Story. Don’t worry that you need a new program for your computer, or a fancy leather bound journal to record your thoughts. A notebook from Target and a Bic pen works just fine, or even loose paper and No. 2 pencil – just get comfortable and write.

Worried you won’t know what to say? Wondering how long you should write?

OK, here’s a couple of suggestions to help you get started.

1. Choose a time and block out an appointment with yourself on the calendar for about 15 minutes (you may want to increase it later, but for right now you will be amazed how much you can write in 15 minutes).

2. I encourage you to write long-hand to have a direct connection between your heart and your hand.  You may decide to write on the computer if that is the only method you are able to use, however, at least try a couple of longhand experiences for these intuition guided conversations.

3. Take 15 minutes and change your life. When your appointment time arrives, set a timer for 15 minutes, record the date and the time of day, perhaps where you are sitting. This bit of ritual is a way to signal your whole body that you are about to start journal writing. You could also start with writing a favorite quote or a short piece of poetry. This is your jump-start or priming the creative pump. 

Now…Just write! 

Photo credit:  LilyDongPhotography

Step into Your Story…Your legacy…Your HERstory

women.adventure.edit

In honor of Women’s History Month, please join me for a workshop I’ve designed just for YOU on Sunday, March 5, 2-4 p.m. on the beautiful California Coastside.

Step Into Your Story 

Living Your Legacy – Your HerStory

Unleash Your Story Worth Writing

 

We’re going to explore Stepping into Your Story and Living Your Legacy. Yes, I did mean to say Living Your Legacy because I think what we do in everyday life is just as important as anything we will leave behind. Polish your words of wisdom and share your story…your personal journey…your HERstory. We’ll discuss how your personal story is a vital part of the universal story.

What is important to you right now? How do you spend your time? What are you passionate about? You live your Legacy every day of your life. I’m passionate that you embrace the fact your story has value! My mission is to support you to claim your voice and deliver the message you are here to share with the world.

Writing is how I tap into my creativity and give voice to my message on a daily basis. I start my day with a pot of tea, my journal along with my favorite fountain pen, and a collection of inspirational reading material. 

Some folks find letter writing to be their favorite way to journal. Unsent letters are one way, Anne Frank addressed her thoughts to “Dear Kitty,” you could do something similar. That was her story. Tell Your Story. Don’t worry that you need a new program for your computer, or a fancy leather bound journal to record your thoughts. Registration for this workshop includes all materials necessary to start your story journey.

Worried you won’t know what to say? Wondering how to “do” this writing thing? We’re going to cover all of that at the workshop

Hurry! Space is limited, so don’t miss this opportunity to Step Into Your Story and Unleash Your Story Worth Writing!  

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

In search of mentoring

Greek columnsIn Greek mythology, when Odysseus sailed off to Troy he left behind his precious son and entrusted Telemachus, his old friend Mentor, with the task of helping Telemachus grow up to be a wise leader, by teaching, counseling, challenging, and encouraging him.

I have had some wonderful teachers, mentors and guides throughout this journey we call life. Some have taught me formally in the classroom. Some have come disguised as a chance encounter at the grocery check out line. Or, a walk on the beach where I received the magic of Nature’s nurturing. Other mentors have shown up when I had particular challenges such as the cancer diagnosis, getting voice mail that our employer has suddenly closed up shop, or coming home to find my husband at the kitchen table with realtors. My Mentors have helped me develop strategies, tools, and coping skills to adapt to the many surprises I have encountered. The surprises I now consider gifts.images

I know the value of having someone help you identify and then champion your goals for you. Someone who will be a mirror reflecting your hopes and dreams. Someone to adjust the focus of your obstructed view to help you see the reflection of the amazing human being you are right now.

  • Not after losing 10 pounds.
  • Not after publishing the great American novel.
  • Not after establishing a 6-figure business.
  • Not after speaking live to a crowd of 5,000
  • Not after…(you fill in the blank)

Someone to help you open the windows on your business, to your life, to let in fresh air and blow away the myths of doubt and fear that hold you back.

There is great potential in the gift of a life-altering experience. What comes after you crumble is how you rise up. And as you rise up, you may discover that your new normal truly is an amazing life.

I help women leverage their impact through writing…to transform readers into clients and customers by polishing your pearls of wisdom…reclaiming your voice…from tag lines to social media posts…from blogs to books…from free reports to entire websites…unleashing your true purpose message.

I would be honored to support you as your personal mentor as you unleash your story worth writing. Let’s have a complimentary conversation…a free discovery call…schedule your 20-minute talk here.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

[Free Training] Holiday ideas for joy filled new year

candleYour day-to-day schedule is jam-packed…now add the shopping, wrapping, mailing, and holiday gatherings on top of it all. You may feel as if you are burning the candle at both ends!

Apart from considering cloning yourself, how do you manage it all? Consider creating a sort of Holiday Bucket list of things that you want to have happen and things that you aspire to:

  1. Acknowledge the important people in your life with a hand-written note, a thoughtful gift, or better still, make plans to spend time together.
  2. Delegate…get the team/family involved in as much as you can. Share the tasks and let others take ownership of whatever task or activity of the season.
  3. Design a plan to achieve goals that have eluded you, and discard the ones that no longer serve you.
  4. Spend time indulging in old movies with lots of heart…this time of year they are running holiday movies  (I want to watch them all!).  It is so much fun to tune in and find a classic where a popular actor/actress is playing a bit part with youthful exuberance.
  5. What was your favorite treat as a kid? Savor sugar cookies made with real butter with lots and lots of sugar on top.
  6. Prescribe water therapy for yourself. Sink into a sweet smelling bubble bath. Try it by candlelight…pure bliss!
  7. Let your mind drift sitting in the sunshine with a cup of something delicious and nothing to do but feel the sun’s warmth on your face.
  8. Confide in your journal as a source of great stress relief strategy. 
  9. Skim through travel brochures and imagine living in another part of the world. Not just visiting for a temporary taste of life there, but spending months at a time to become part of the community and really develop a rhythm of life there. (The power of visualization may lead to actualization!)
  10. Create a collage (Vision/Dream Board) to represent what want your life to be like next year.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Come Home to Yourself this Holiday…

Christmas-homeplace-farm1There’s no place like home for the holidays…that’s what the song says.

What does home mean to you? What does it look like?

It can be a

  • place…specific geographic location
  • feeling…when we are lost in reading/writing our favorite genre
  • person… representing that sense of well-being

I believe home is whatever makes you feel always welcome, comfortable, nurtured, and cherished.

Thomas Wolfe said “we can’t go home again.

I agree with Mr. Wolfe that you can’t go “home” again. It is physically and emotionally impossible to return to the specific point in time we yearn to revisit. Picture a six-years-old and cuddled up on Grandma’s lap being smothered with kisses and attention, a 12-year-old who won that science award, when you had that first confirmation of your writing abilities and say your by-line “published” in the junior college literary magazine.

Dorothy figured out that “there’s no place like home.”

I am also in agreement with Dorothy. As much as she found Oz magical, Kansas was her real land of enchantment of family, friends and connection to her heart. Wherever we call home, that address possesses the ability to inspire ease and delicious comfort for us.

“I long,” Maya Angelou tells us, “as does every human being, to be at home within myself.”

Ah yes, I fully embrace Maya Angelou’s sentiments. As much as it is important to have an environment, which fosters an atmosphere of growth and understanding, we cannot ever hope to be at “home” in any physical surroundings, if we are not first at “home” within ourselves. The address could be a palace, grand estate or a tiny apartment, but if you are not comfortable in your own skin…are you really living your authentic life?

How do you come to be at home within yourself?

The answer is not simple. It is a lifelong journey.

I believe the inside track in finding the path to be at home within yourself is to write. Writing allows you to reach down deep inside yourself. Writing is how to you bridge the gap between the surface story and the emotional drama below the façade.

What does home mean to you?

During this season of giving, stop all the hustle and bustle to give yourself some time…indulge in a little “me” time and let’s discuss how you can live a life unleashed.

I’d love to hear what home means to you. Drop by my Facebook page and please comment on this blog. 

 

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

Take aim to unleash your legacy!

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10494661Take aim at the target…the target of the stories that make up your legacy!

  • purpose
  • education
  • family
  • relationships
  • community

When you look in the mirror, do you smile back at what you see reflected? When your work is praised? When your compassion is recognized? Taking aim at your legacy happens with every decision you make towards your goals, interacting with friends and family, deciding what to have for dinner…even in the line at the grocery store when you are purchasing the ingredients for dinner.

What are you taking aim these days? Or is life winning the battle with challenges, complications and those persistent inconsistencies which throw a monkey wrench into your well-plotted plans?

I won’t pretend that I know how you can use a bow and arrow to take aim at your story, but I do know that writing your story can help you unleash your legacy.

Do you struggle with what you want to say when you sit down to write?

I think an exciting part of writing is that it is a direct line to building a relationship with the world at large in a way not many other things can.

Your story so far does not have to dictate where you go from here. Take time for yourself…even five minutes uninterrupted…will help you find clarity about how you can focus on finding yourself again. Taking time for you and only you.

When my daughter was a toddler, I took a week-long writing workshop. It was the first time I’d gone away to really work on my writing (although I’d been keeping a journal since I was an 11-year-old hiding my spiral bound notebook from my brother) and had a degree in Mass Communication. Our teacher greeted us at the door with a 3-ring binder and told us that we were all writing a book. That statement put me in such a state of panic and I almost bolted from the campus. Almost is the operative word. My determination to write pushed me to stay more than my panic wanted me to run.

Sharing our passion and beliefs exposes our vulnerability, deepens our authenticity, our transparency, and builds trust with everyone we encounter. I found my voice through my two breast cancer experiences. It made me passionate about encouraging everyone not to wait until you have a health crisis to practice self-care. I learned to self-validate and to take loving action on my own behalf for my highest good.

If we pay attention, sometimes the stories we are supposed to write find us instead of the other way around. First, you have to show up at the page!

Hop over to my Facebook page to share how you are showing up on the page!

 

 

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Create a grateful heart

flower heartHalloween treats, stern Pilgrims, red-suited Santas and dewy-winged angels fought for shelf space recently as I stood in line at the grocery store. I shook my head to see these seasons blurred together. I realize this is the time of the year when the shoppers are out in full force looking for bargains. And the retailers are fighting fiercely to have us spend our dollars with them. I understand the economics, but I’m frustrated too.

I’d like to experience only one cherished holiday at a time. 

There is one season I will celebrate all year long  and that is the season of giving thanks. Being grateful for everyone and everything in my life…of course, my health, my family, being able to do work that I love and help the wonderful people in my life with my gifts. I’m privileged to have learned what is really important to me and I’m on a mission to encourage everyone I meet not to wait until they have a health crisis to take care of themselves. My health crisis certainly was my wake-up call. I don’t want you to have to wait until then to wake up to the glorious life you are not living!

 “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart

I heartily agree with the sentiment of that quote. I invite you to have a grateful heart for the blue in the sky, the breath in your body, the smile of a child, the tea in your cup, the love in your life, the faith in your soul, and the dreams of yet to be.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com