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Becoming a social media snob….

I was advised to discern who and how and what I transact with on social media. Ever the one to share, explain or try to make peace by “getting someone to understand me” — I hereby now declare:

That is a form of control.
I banish that mentality.

I am here to serve those who gratefully and happily need my services and who are delighted to pay my rates.

I have no more time to mess around with mediocrity.

I have no more time to deal with small minds.

Putting that old way on notice!



Need a break?

I so need a break right now. A long break. I can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. That is the definition of insanity.
I need a break. I need to get up from the desk, walk to the car, and drive to a beach somewhere. i need to get a real rest. It’s been too long.

Ever had one of those AHA moments after a traumatic ordeal?

I sure did. I finally woke up. I read about these things happening. One day, you just know. All lingering or tormenting doubt is gone. Your vision becomes clear! You KNOW what is yours to do.

I’d visited with some old friends. I’d talked with a business coach. I’d written pages upon pages in my journal. I was paid for my writing work for 10 years….but I felt like a fake until one day it happened.

I finally saw the Golden Thread. Over a 30 year period, I wrote and wrote and wrote. No matter what was going on, I sorted things out by writing them out. My friends called it processing. My teachers called it freewriting. All I knew was I wrote and I felt better.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Well, maybe more like a splash of ice water in the face. I am really a writer and a photographer. It matters not what other people think. When I am in the flow, nothing else really matters. The well intentioned nay-sayers have their own devils to deal with. For me, I just need to do what I do and seek out others of like mind and spirit.

Stick with the winners. Take advice from people who KNOW what they are talking about. A beer salesman does not have a clue about a freelance business. A nurse may not know how to sell ice to an eskimo. Be who you are. Be true to your nature.

Yeah yeah, good advice as long as you have no bills. But wait! Why then is it that I actually cried when I sent in my insurance application? Why is it that I cried when I completed the second phase of a quest to master a skill? How could it be that I sent out 10 queries and received some clients without any major effort?

Life is supposed to flow. They always told me in sales that if you are working too hard then the job isn’t right. I’d been making 60 prospecting calls a day hoping to get 3 appointments a day. I was a top closer. If I got the appointment, my closing ratio was 50% — really high for this product.

At first it was fun. I was highly energized, enjoying the challenge, and happily helping customers. But after a while, it got old. What once was fun became a chore. And sales, when a chore, is miserable.

Still — the idea of having fun and making money has been a call. Anything is possible.

So here it is folks. The big idea: Follow your calling! I’ve been writing promotional materials, sales letters, newsletters, fundraising letters and more for 13 years. But until I completed a simple class led by AWAI founder Katie Yeakle, I never believed I was a writer let alone a well paid writer.

You’ve got to come to believe in yourself. You’ve got to fake it till you make it. I went down a bunny trail once or 10 times. I found a pathway back to my true calling when I moved into technical writing. It’s boring. The people I worked with didn’t respect the writing talent they hired. They thought they were better and we were just editors. YIKES — that wasn’t why i became a writer.

So when I heard Katie’s constant reminders that we are copywriters, and then I heard Josh Boswell declare: You are an AWAI trained Copywriter and there is a HUGE NEED for you,
I changed. I believed.

You can too. Surround yourself with people who know what they are doing. Surround yourself with people a notch or two above you. Get their critiques. Listen, don’t argue, and thank them. Many of these people started out right where you are.

They truly want to help others, and they just may get more out of helping you than you think.

Don’t let go of your dreams. Build on them, one step at a time. Stay open to opportunities. If you feel a call, as I did, follow it.

In time, even if you’ve just begun, I guarantee you will find a life that is both lucrative and hugely satisfying.

Small Woman: Recovering Tomboy Macho Tough Chick

In the summer of 1987, I was priveledged to manage a North West Women’s Sports Symposium. We recruited 50 volunteer sports speakers, invited a number of vendors to hold booths, and we produced an exciting first event.  Our mission was to introduce women to a variety of outdoor sports. This women specific event was designed to get women active and into sports safely, easily, and with some basic instruction. That was 23 years ago. Some things just don’t change. Women are learning to finesse their way into sail boarding, kayaking, and, even bicycles have a Women Specific Design now. And woman’s hiking and running shoes are equally focused on the women’s stride.

But it’s been 23 years. I get it. Most women who enjoy the outdoors get it. Why is it that I am reduced to tears when the men in my life, today or yesterday, really do not understand that if something is too heavy or too hard physically, that it just is? Or worse, that even if I maybe can heft it once or twice, its dangerously too heavy for me.  But why do I try? Why do I even try?  I think I’m trying too hard when in fact I should just stand there and do nothing.

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference in body types. Men are naturally stronger in the upper body. Women get their strength from their legs and hips. I I used to think my Mom was just nagging when she said: “That’s too heavy for you” or “Let the guys pick that up” or “You are going to get hurt. Make the guys help you” but the guys were never really willing to help. They all just wanted me to be tough and do it myself. I learned early on that I needed to get strong, be tough, and ‘do it myself without complaining. MOM WAS RIGHT. Let them do it.

Ladies, I stayed active for my entire life. I focused on staying in shape so that I could go out and do stuff. But I fell 2 years ago. I tore a rotator cuff. It was not exactly debilitating, but it benched me. I couldn’t even move my right arm. After a while, I was again mobile. My dearly beloved would promise to help, but he didn’t. Whether he wouldn’t or couldn’t didn’t matter. I found a way to deal with the gear on my own. But I don’t really want to do it.

I just don’t have it in me to muscle stuff around. I do work out. I do some resistance, some cardio and some yoga 6 days a week. But the intensity is gone.
I don’t even care. I used to run distance, ride distance and swim distance. I was a strong girl. But there came a time when all the macho stuff just didn’t matter.
I love a good, long workout. I love the feel of a 60 minute cardio workout.

When we took up kayaking 5 years ago, my spouse assured me he would always do the heavy lifting. I wasn’t even all that into it, but he was so excited that we invested thousands into this new activity.

It’s fun but I’m losing interest. Why? Not because i don’t enjoy it. I’m sick of the heavy hauling of gear. I’m sick of the hassle of how to load. I’m sick of being promised help and then having to fight to get the help I need. I’m sick of finding myself feeling like a wuss for struggling with a 55 pound kayak. And that one is mine! My husband’s weighs in at half my body weight. I can not even easily do a two man carry with this thing. When I suggest using these wheels we bought to bear the load, he won’t do it.

It’s nice out there on the water, but it’s not really worth this fight. The bottom line is it’s just not fun to revert to the macho chick I can do it myself ways and means.
Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s a bum right rotator cuff. Whatever it is, I have to accept that I just don’t want to play the old games.

What I learned by doing the sports symposium, working in event management, and teaching is that one must always honor one’s body. Even the Olympiads started somewhere, trained daily and grew better and stronger IN SMALL INCREMENTS.

What I learned is that I don’t have to be tomboy tough chick to have a wonderful and active life.

What would Dad do?

Today, I wonder what my Dad would tell me to do? And in reality, what would he do. My Dad, God May he Rest in Peace, always got his way.  Really he did. The master salesman that he was, he was never controlling nor manipulative.  Dad just had a way of seeing things through. Everyone of us knew that if Dad wanted something to happen, eventually, through effort, faith, and patience, it was gonna happen. My name is but one example. He decided, they discussed over and over, but he got what he wanted. Diligence. Stick-to-it-iveness!

I learned much from him over the years.  Another key thing I learned was to identify my responsibility. And let me tell you, what was some one else’s crisis or urgency was not my problem.  I learned that if it was not in my sand box, that I did NOT have to fuss over it.  The challenge for me was to deal with other people who wanted me to mind their sand boxes.  I’ve learned over time. I get to choose what I make as my priority. Today, getting quotes out for our photography business, taking care of a few loose ends, and eating are the top priorities. Everything else goes to the bottom of the pile.  It’s called “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.   That is a Dad quote and cliche that was worn deep into me. My family was highly successful. Sometimes it hurt like hell when they didn’t put my little agenda first. But I learned!  And there were conflicting role models. Dad was ok with saying No to other people, but he did it with Grace.  Mom always said yes and was horrified if I said no.

Sometimes I learned by his example. Sometimes I failed miserably. When I finally caught on, it was pretty funny. I learned to watch him.  He once said to me: just watch: it will never happen! And he sat back and waited. Dad would sit there, smile, say yes and act like he was in agreement — and then just let the chips fall where they may. He was a man of his word.  But he was also clear that making a fight out of nothing helped no one. So if he didn’t want to say yes, but didn’t want a fight when he meant to say no, he just kept quiet.  Damn smart man.

It took me many years to get it.  Often, there was a plan in the works and he didn’t really want to be involved.  And he never said a word. He just sat back and watched. Slowly but surely, the plan derailed. He kept his dignity about him.  He never raised  a fuss. So no one ever really knew what he was up to — except me. I was like minded. I could see what he was thinking with that twinkle in his eyes.

Some days, I just want to channel him into my being.  Dad was so great with people.  He was wonderful with situations that were challenging, toxic, or just aggravating. And NO ONE pushed him around.

I hope that some day I develop the Grace and Joy that Dad always exuded.  He was a remarkable man whom everyone loved.

I miss you Dad!

Everyone Wins!

Remember when people talked up the notion of a win/win relationship? Have you considered the 3 way win? The 3 way win means that everyone wins, not just the two dealers.
Here’s how it works in business:
I have a client who knows they can’t pay up front, but they have a service they know I can use. And we both have customers who will benefit if we team up.
So I do some free writing, testing, and planning for the client. They in turn offer me a discount or free services. Maybe they teach a class or sell something I know I want. But here’s the deal: The end user is the real winner. The clients website gets updated and the end user finds information that may save his life. I win because I helped that process, and maybe I took that class and it changed my life. And the client wins because their business continues to prosper.

Everyone wins.

The other way to go is to double or triple my rate, and create a sense of urgency. The client may or may not bite. If they do, they do it begrudgingly. Then they nitpick my work. I feel bad. They feel bitter. In the long run, the bad blood transmits to other relationships. Their clients suffer. MY clients suffer. And momentum is lost. It’s like trying to paddle a kayak forward against a steady strong wind.   It was needless, and no one wins.

We can’t barter for everything. We have those monthly bills to cover. We need to eat. Bartering works, but it can’t be the only way to build a business. When people barter they need to be up front with the client about what they are offering and what can be expected. It’s the only way to barter fairly.  It’s the only way to trade services fairly.

I’m done with loosey goosey agreements that create bad blood. Aren’t you?
And you know what? Every person I’ve worked with who balked at an actual agreement was trying to get something for nothing anyway. Who needs that?

Get your agreements up front. Give your services away when and if it makes sense. Keep your word with people.

Our time on this planet is too short for bad blood. Create that Good Vibe by treating people fairly. It works.

More Mindfulness

Becoming aware of my thought patterns only helps if I am choosing to accept as is so that I can move forward to the To Be stage.  I used to be a project manager. I now find myself thinking of my brain as a computer. I feed it and it puts me into situation to bring about tangible results based on the brain food.

Huh? Ok, in simple terms, my brain is a computer. Garbage in, Garbage out.  Healthy, quality thoughts in, great results out.  Highly positive messages in, Fantastic results out.  So the programming is what makes up the bulk of what we are.

I tend to think there is more, much more involved. We are a computer of sorts, but our minds and our energy fields work together to bring about results.

There are key components. If we are just energy, then we can create the circuitry to manifest our dreams. If we are just thoughts, we can tell our heads what to think.In my experience, none of this works in an isolated space. We are thoughts, feelings and energy.  Body, mind and spirit. And it all works together in a balanced harmony.

Our jobs, as human beings, are clear. We are to keep things balanced.

Mindfulness comes in when we suddenly realize that what we tell our brains is what makes our feelings real.  If I want to  believe I’m a victim, then no manner of self help, pop psychology, 12 step work can change that. I have to figure out for myself whether I want what I have or what I say I want.  And only then can any of this other stuff work.

But when one has commited onself to change, then all manner of unforeseen circumstances unfold to make the change happen instantaneously. That is where I come in to help my clients. I don’t work with those who want to stay stuck. I can know within a half hour whether they want to move ahead or not.

I work to help my clients free themselves from the wrong tapes and create new life visions or life maps.  It’s fun. It’s easy. It’s painless.  But most of all, it’s FAST.