Tag Archives: business

Change is the natural state…

6 Dec

Has your life gone exactly as you would have predicted when you were younger?  I don’t know anyone who is in the exact place they had envisioned years ago.

I know that when my children were young, I used to think that Chaos was the natural state… there was always frenetic activity at our house between homework, activities, pets, friends, field trips, etc.   (Sometimes I miss those days!)

These days my house is much less active – I live in the same home that used to house 4 people, 2 dogs, 2 cats and always friends of my kids sleeping over, and now there are rooms in my house that are no longer used. Since the real estate market is so depressed in Florida and I have no equity since having to refinance (due to the divorce), it doesn’t make sense to try to sell and move.  Now, before you think that I’m not happy – I have to tell you that my life today is one that I only dreamed of a mere five years ago when I was in the midst of household disharmony and threats of violence.  I now know that Change – not Chaos – is the natural state!  And Change is a good thing.

Back then (5 years ago), I dreaded returning home from a trip because I knew that the household would erupt and fighting would greet me. I longed for a life filled with peace and happy, healthy grown children.  While change happens slowly, my vision of a peaceful, harmonious state did come into being.  Today my children are grown and healthy and finding sustainable work in an uncertain economic environment.  The main parts of my vision came into reality and today I cherish watching peaceful sunsets with my cat on my west-facing deck. I am grateful for peace and harmony in my life!

What I forgot in my vision of the future was to include specifics about what I wanted and needed for the Royal We (me, myself and I).

So, today I envision a future  that involves more about me and for me. I neglected myself in my quest when I envisioned peace and happiness for my children.  (Not that the last 5 years has been bad… I’ve co-authored two industry hardcover books, nurtured new, individual friendships, joined networks, traveled and spoken in new countries, and worked to reinvent my career – and yet my life is not how I’d like it to be.)

I envision continued good health (a priority), plus a training and speaking calendar filled with prosperous career bookings at rates that show respect for my knowledge and expertise, more international (paid) engagements, a social calendar filled with fun events and outings with friends, and a financial standing that puts me back in line with where I was headed before my divorce.  I can envision it, feel it, almost taste it – yet the universe (along the lines of the Secret) has not yet delivered on it.

Now that I have the confidence that Change is the natural state – I can be more patient than I might have been in the past.  I long for a more robust cadre of engaged and sincere friendships, more well-paid contracts, more travel adventures, and more social events where my presence makes a difference.  And for the first time, I can also envision that there could be room for someone in my future as a dear friend or partner – something that I never could even consider in the past.  As change evolves, revolves and intertwines its way into our lives, I envision once again becoming involved in a positive connectivity of a community again soon.

As the change in life over the past 5 years has shaped into my present, I find myself living in more isolation than ever before.  While this has been good for self-discovery and growth, it’s no longer productive for an extroverted person like me.  So, what can I do but envision a future with changed results.

I welcome Change as the natural state in my life. How about you?

Have a productive optimistic week!

Carol
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Intuition… my Everyday GPS

25 Oct
Navstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) that is a godsend when I’m driving in an area I don’t know well. It comes in especially handy when I’m in a new city with a rental car.  How I ever got anywhere without one I’ll never know! My “Tom-Tom” device takes the stress out of driving – even when it occasionally has a glitch and gets itself (and me) lost.

Magic 8 BallIn everyday life, I used to yearn for a GPS type of guidance from an early age.  As a teen, I remember the low techMagic 8 Ball“.  It was a bowling ball type of toy that had a geometric dice-like piece in its water-filled base that contained answers on each side like “Absolutely”, “It depends” or some other random response.  I remember asking my Magic 8 Ball questions about how to dress, who to be friends with, and which decision to make.  Somehow, asking the Magic 8 Ball for answers to childhood problems gave us solace.  Today, as a divorced, mother of two adult children, I’d like to have a Magic 8 Ball!

In the past, I’ve wished that I had a GPS to give me answers about reaching my goals, expanding my client base, improving my finances, supporting my kids, and figuring out who to trust.  In my former married life, answers invariably came by way of a husband who knew best, overzealous friends, well-meaning parents, and others, always professing that they knew better than I what I was best for me. I naively allowed their zeal and expert opinions to override my intuition and wisdom. After years of being beaten down, I silenced my inner voice in lieu of this external GPS guidance.  I ended up doubting what my intuition and feelings told me in favor of pleasing others and lost the wisdom of my intuition.

Today, I know that I have my own GPS that intelligently guides me through the pathways of life.  It’s a GPS made up of my intuition, my feelings, and my wisdom gained from experience.  And I’ve always had it within reach!  Incredibly, I gave up my power to others who told me that my GPS was flawed, and through the passage of time, I actually gave up on it.

It is an awesome thing to realize that my GPS is and always was in top working condition!  My perception of life and those around me is as valid as the next guy’s – and it always was!  All I need to do is to silence the voices outside, and listen through the calm to my intuition and wisdom, and the answers come!

If you haven’t yet discovered your internal GPS or if you’ve allowed someone else to tell you “what is” or how you should feel, let me tell you how exhilarating it is when you rediscover your internal GPS!  When you again listen to your inner voice and allow your intuition to guide your decisions, it is an amazing feeling of freedom and clarity. Once free, you’ll never give up your power to anyone else again.

I still don’t have all the answers, but now that I rely on my inner GPS, I no longer feel lost.

Wishing you a happy and well-directed week!

Carol

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The Power of Y.O.U…

21 Oct

John Chappelear produces a weekly Positive Thoughts of the Week newsletter/blog that often has insightful wisdom.  The October 18, 2010 issue was no exception, and here is an excerpt:

Last week I was in a round table discussion focused on personal and professional growth. One of the points raised was the powerful acronym H.O.W., which is designed to help people remember to be: Honest, Open-minded and Willing.

H.O.W. is a good reminder that being open, honest, and willing are prerequisites for affecting any sort of change in our life.

I have coined an acronym for Y.O.U. because I believe that to be the person we are intended to be, we need to realize that the person we are does not need to change – in fact, we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are.  The power in life comes from creating a powerful, positive image of who you are and embracing the personal importance of that realization.

The Acronym Y.O.U.

  • Y is for Yes. Yes to accepting yourself as you are in all your wonderful being. This means saying yes to all of you including your strengths, weaknesses, beauty, warts, perfections and imperfections.  The whole, perfect you!
  • O is for Opportunity. This means that you have the Opportunity to be your authentic self – who you really are. There is nothing you need to do to become the authentic you aside from being.  You are already all you need to be if you simply open yourself up to that opportunity.
  • U is for Unconditional Love. The greatest love is the unconditional love of self.  We grow up conditioned to believe that we ought to be one way or another – anything but the way we were born, and out of such beliefs grows discontent with you.  However – there is no other person on this planet of over 6 billion people who is exactly the same as you, and no one will ever be able to know you or love you as you can love yourself.    While you may share a name, characteristics or physical appearance that is similar to others, there is no one else who is exactly you. (That is pretty impressive when you think about it!) In addition, this person – you – is absolutely deserving of pure, unadulterated love.  When you love yourself unconditionally, it is not at all selfish to take care of yourself and to put yourself first. When you feel loved and accepted by you, it becomes far less effort to help and give aid to others.

The Power of your life really lies with Y.O.U. and you – saying Yes to who you are, taking the Opportunity to be who you really are, and celebrating Unconditional love.

What does this mean to you today?  When you meet someone who does not appreciate you for who you are, realize that their power is in their celebration of what Y.O.U. means in their own life. As others focus on themselves (as the main character in their own life), and their own best interests, we can begin to appreciate what don Miguel Ruiz talks about as the Second Agreement – nothing others do is ever personally about us, no matter how real it feels. Do not take anything personally.

When we can get over whether others accept us (whose opinion really matters except our own?) and realize that we are whole, complete and perfect just as we are, we can begin to concentrate on things outside of us. (In other words, once we realize that we are okay, we do not need to worry how we fit in the world) .  No more egocentric thinking because we are already okay as we are.

Once we understand and embrace the power of Y.O.U., what might you going to do differently with your days?

Have a productive and happy week!

Carol

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If you appreciate someone, tell them so…

1 Oct

There are times when I am moved to tears by reading a forwarded email, and today was no exception.  Before I share the email with you, let me ask you a question – do you have any idea whether (and when) you cause positive ripples in the life stream of others?

In these tough economic times, I’ve noticed that people have become more rude and more unappreciative… and that unfortunately includes clients.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been besieged with an unprecedented stream of emails and been treated with the most disrespect I think I’ve ever had.  Just a week ago, I taught a full-day workshop as a favor to a friend (where they registered over 100 professionals in the course) and despite their per-person charge that netted them at least $10K USD, they paid me less than 10% of the take.  When I questioned the arrangement (I had agreed to teach 30 people maximum), I was greeted with a response akin to “you should be grateful we got you the audience!”  It was disappointing to receive little respect for the energy and expertise I provided… live and learn.

Consulting jobs today routinely offer less than half of the rate I received in 1994 (15 years ago) and then purport that consultants like me should be lucky to get such offers at all. This is despite having published two mainstream books and having 15 years more experience than I’ve had before. Of course, it’s a choice – take the work at the less than 1/2 price or hold out for higher quality, better positioned clients – the problem is that those clients may or may not come before the mortgage is due.  At the same time, the project management training I’m delivering is the best work I’ve ever done – and my evaluations from students show this!  Yet, the clients who hire me to do such training are cold, unresponsive and tell me (in not so many words) that I’m simply a piece of meat who doesn’t deserve the courtesy of a return phone call or email when I ask about confirming dates they’ve reserved (and often cancel on a moment’s notice).  I do realize that it’s a buyer’s market for consultants and training professionals today, but it gets tiring to be treated poorly by those I serve so diligently (and who make a ton of money off of me!)  What happened to common courtesy and professional respect?

The golden rule (treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself) certainly seems to be on long term hiatus today!

Perhaps that’s why it’s so refreshing to receive the email today (it’s coming I promise!) – and I realized that there are many people who do great work and never get the appreciation they deserve.  That’s not right and not fair, but it’s life.

Thank you!Nonetheless, I’d like to say thank you to a few people in my life today:

– My mom and dad who love me tirelessly regardless of whether they agree with what I’m doing with my life;

– My friends: Pat, Jennifer, Janet, Mary, Linda, Nayla, Darja, Carolyn, Kathy, Nicole, and many others (you know who you are) who are there for me and probably have no idea how important you are to my sanity and well-being!

– My kids: Corinne and Alex, who are adults and still find time to call and let me know that they are okay and that I’m still important even though they live on their own;

– My siblings and their partners who take the time to connect with me on Facebook or just to drop a line despite that they live more than 3000 miles away from me;

– Colleagues and acquaintances who remind me that business is not always fair and that they experience the same ups and downs with today’s business climate as I do;

– Supporters who I may not know personally (or may have met once) who drop me an email or leave a comment when they hear that I received an award or published a new post or article;

– Students and conference participants who come to my presentations and lectures and who care enough to stay to hear what I have to say;

– The “Wayne” in the story below who remains anonymous but whose words are inspirational.

I appreciate you more than you know!

p.s., Now here is the email that spurred me to post this today – maybe you’ll also be moved to email or call someone in YOUR life and let them know that YOU appreciate them in some small or large way.  It will make their day or week or month!

PhonePHONE ON THE WALL.  HELLO (author unknown)

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood.. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was “Information Please” and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone’s number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

“Information, please” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
Information.”

“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.
“Nobody’s home but me,” I blubbered.

“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.

“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”

“Can you open the icebox?” she asked.

I said I could.

“Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice..

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything.. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, Information Please,” and told her the sad story.. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, ” Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.”  Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, “Information Please.”
“Information,” said in the now familiar voice. “How do I spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much. “Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home and I
somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me..

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please.”

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
“Information.”

I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying,

“Could you please tell me how to spell fix?”

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess your finger must have healed by now.”
I laughed, “So it’s really you,” I said. “I wonder if you have any

idea how much you meant to me during that time?”

I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your call meant to me.
I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.”

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
“Please do”, she said. “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle .  A different voice answered, “Information.” I asked for Sally.“Are you a friend?” she said.
“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this,”She said. “Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.”

Before I could hang up, she said, “Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?”
“Yes.” I answered.

“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called.Let me read it to you.”

The note said, “Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.
He’ll know what I mean.”

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others..
Whose life have you touched today?
Why not pass this on? I just did…. Lifting you on eagle’s wings.
May you find the joy and peace you long for.
Life is a journey… NOT a guided tour.

Wishing you a joyful week!
Carol

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ISO… Quality

23 Sep

Everywhere I go in the world, it seems to be the same… everyone is ISO (in search of) something or someone who will bring more happiness into our lives.  We run, follow, read, study and take steps to improve ourselves and our lives with the hopes of attaining the elusive “happiness”.

Bookstores are jammed with self-help books promising shortcuts, secrets and pathways to happiness, each with its own different slant on the proverbial “change your attitude, change your life” adage.  I think that the premise is misguided and I agree with the saying (on one of my coffee cups no less): Happiness is the journey not the destination.

I don’t know about you, but a one-size-fits-all method or approach to happiness just doesn’t work for me — I believe that the secret to a happy life is different for each of us.  Do you agree that happiness is an individual state of being?

More and more, I am discovering that happiness is a relative state of mind that begins and ends with the “royal we”: me, myself, and I and knowing what makes up happiness.  What makes YOU happy?

Today I am happier than I’ve been in years, and I have a short list to reach an even higher state of happiness. For me, it is all a matter of increased quality in the things I already have in my life:

1. Better client contracts (with committed clients),

2. A few more high calibre, high quality friends,

3. More affordable living arrangements,

4. More opportunities to travel with friends.

Here’s where I believe the intent and positive attitudes in life fit in – the more that we demand higher quality in any aspect of our life, the higher quality we will achieve.  In the process of moving from accepting low quality (in terms of clients, contracts, friends and any aspect of our lives) to high quality – we might sacrifice short-term gain (money, opportunities) for long-term success (consistently higher quality of life).

What do you think?  I know that the higher I set my goals in terms of “quality” the better the results tend to be. Accepting low quality results along the way takes up space and gets in the way of high quality opportunities.

Have a high quality week!

Carol

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A bit of Pre-Labor Day Engineering Humor…

2 Sep
@ work 4 "principles of electrical engine...

Image by thowi via Flickr

A friend sent me this collection of eight Engineering specific jokes which resonated with me and colleagues I’ve known and love.   A warning to the prudish or faint of heart, you may not completely understand these jokes if you are not an engineer – in fact, you may want to find an engineer to explain the humor to you.

To my engineering and technical friends:  Which of these scenarios strikes a chord with you and which is YOUR favorite?

Happy Labor (or Labour) Day wherever you live!

Part one:  Understanding Engineers……..

Two engineering students were walking across a university campus when one said,
“Where did you get such a great bike?”

The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my business,
when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground,
took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.”

The first engineer nodded approvingly and said,
“Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”

Understanding Engineers Two

To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers Three

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, “What’s with those guys? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!”

The doctor chimed in, “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such inept golf!”

The priest said, “Here comes the green-keeper. Let’s have a word with him.”  He said, “Hello George, what’s wrong with that group ahead of us?  They’re rather slow, aren’t they?”

The green-keeper replied, “Oh, yes. That’s a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.”

The group fell silent for a moment.

The priest said, “That’s so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.”

The doctor said, “Good idea. I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there’s anything he can do for them.”

The engineer said, “Why can’t they play at night?”

Understanding Engineers Four

What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons.
Civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers Five

The graduate with a science degree asks, “Why does it work?”
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, “How does it work?”
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, “How much will it cost?”
The graduate with an arts degree asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

Understanding Engineers Six

Three engineering students were gathered together discussing who must have designed the human body.

One said, “It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints.”  Another said, “No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has many thousands of electrical connections.” The last one said, “No, actually it had to have been a civil engineer. Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?”

Understanding Engineers Seven

Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.

(NOTE:  This also applies to computer scientists!)


Understanding Engineers Eight

(My Personal Favorite…)

An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him
and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent
over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a
princess, I’ll stay with you for one week and do ANYTHING you want.”

Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess and that I’ll stay with you for one week and do
anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?”

The engineer said, “Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool!

Wishing you a safe, healthy and fun-filled holiday weekend!

Carol

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Got business?

6 Apr

As a project manager / published author / international standards expert / speaker /consultant, I’ve spoken to audiences in over 25 countries.  When the economy and business were booming, life was easy and most of the professionals and people I met were upbeat and optimistic about their industries and life in general.

Unremarkably things are different these days:  businesses are closing, people are losing their homes, and relationships are strained.  Lately, I’ve been using my down time to brush up on the latest social media, blogging, project management advancements, and business development in general.  During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the flood of emails celebrating the recession’s end (mostly from overseas) from colleagues looking to do software development and related business with me.

My question to you is:  got business?

In reality (i.e., real $$$) – has your business or job or industry seen such an upswing in cashflow, contracts, or activity lately? Or is it the feigned promise of an end to the recession that people are using (along the lines of the Secret: what you think becomes your reality) as optimistic thinking to “wish us” out of the recession?

Have you seen new business coming in?  I know that a lot of people are heavily invested in the “social media” sensation (Twitter, Facebook, linked in, plaxo, etc.) that is sweeping the nation – did you know that if Facebook was a country it would now be the third largest country in the world (with more people than the U.S.?) – is this where our new economy is going?

Got business?

Wishing you a productive and profitable week!

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