Tag Archives: Innovation

Own Your Day or it will Own You…

17 Jan

Thanks for joining me here today!  It’s going to be an awesome day ahead – or is it?

It’s been almost 18 months since I’ve posted on this blog and today is the day I do something different and start posting again.  Since June 2015, a lot of things have happened in my life – both positive and negative (I’m sure it’s the same for you!) – the most notable that I haven’t earned an income since May of last year, despite having the expertise, experience, putting myself out there, having tons of positivity, optimism, and donating my time to my industries (through various volunteer Board of Directors work.)

For whatever reason, I’ve hit a brick wall in terms of income (I can’t collect unemployment as an independent consultant,) and… yet I’m surviving, and it’s time I got back on the road to financial abundance.  I’m not sure exactly HOW that will happen, but meanwhile I’d like to share a few of the survival tips I’ve learned as I start posting twice weekly from now on.

attitude

I’ve found a couple of awesome life coaches/friends who encourage me to stay positive despite the financial lull and sometimes a lack of positive supportive people in my life.  Maybe this resonates with you?

I’m grateful for so many things in my life (health, friends, opportunities, partnership, inspiration….) and as my world changes and I become more abundant (here’s hoping!) I’d like to encourage others, through my blog posts here, to know that life doesn’t end when you hit a gap in earnings!

I’m a Big Proponent of Positive / Optimistic Thinking

I love books and motivational speakers and reading anything that promotes good health, self-love, and the Law of Attraction (making dreams come true!) – and I love promoting people and things that create positive energy, so I’d like to share two great inspirations I found today: (Thank you to both Maria and Marie !)

  • One Wise Life – daily Facebook motivational sessions.  Maria Flynn of OneWiseLife.com hosts an incredible, daily 9:30 EST Facebook Live session. – Today’s session was very relevant to me:  “If you Don’t Own Your Day, Your Day will Own You.”  Here’s the link to the rebroadcast (click on the pic)

one-wise-life-own-your-day-jan-17

  • MarieForleo.com videos  – today’s segment was about the importance of a positive attitude with some great advice:

marie-forleo-attitude-jan-17

Becoming my own Cheerleader…

One of the ways I’ve discovered that I can be productive, do market research in customer service and put myself out in the mainstream to find new work (hopefully in my specialty) is to bartend at major sporting events.  While the financial gains are yet to manifest, it does remind me that cheerleading is an important part of sporting events – and also in life.

One of my goals in 2017 is to finally write (and take the journey) to become my own best cheerleader!  I hope you’ll join me along the way, keep reading, and share this blog if it resonates with you.  Sometimes I feel like a lone eagle who joyfully supports, inspires and (hopefully) motivates others – and I’m learning that I need to do the same for myself.

I’d love to hear your comments – or brickbats.  Blogging can be a lonely sport – and I’m hoping something I say might inspire you along the way.  And if you have ideas on how I can find contracts, speaking engagements and just to say hi – drop me a note (caroldekkers at gmail dot com.)  Thanks for reading and…

Have an awesome week!

Carol

Never too Late…

30 Apr

I find it amazing that we measure what we do in life in time blocks – justifying our inaction by how much time the action might take.  “I can’t go to school – it will take four years,” is a popular lament amongst high school graduates eager to make their fortune.  Parents, however, lament how a year off before entering college is folly that will keep their kid from ever returning to full time study.

The truth is that no matter what we do (or do not do) in life, time ticks on…. four years will go by no matter if the student goes to college or works.

The fact that time marches on regardless of and in spite of our plans, hesitations, and need to “get ready” for the right time to act ‘should be’ impetus enough to get us moving.  There will never be a better time (for anything) than the present because it is the only guarantee in life. We cannot change the past (it’s gone) or the future (we have no control over what WILL happen), but we do have the present!

It is never too late to do anything as long as you start whatever it is you want to do, now!  It is never too late to return to school, to renew contact with old friends, to contact a lost love, to get a new job, to make amends, to act!  While certain physical dreams (such as being an Olympic figure skater at age 50) may be physically impossible, it is never too late to scale back a dream and make headway (i.e., take up figure skating now.) More typically we invent the artificial obstacles to prevent our own success and keep ourselves from trying something new (which can be scary!)

What better time than today to consider taking a small step towards a big dream – even if the dream started decades ago?

What do you have in your dream chest that deserves to be started today?  What’s stopping you?  Remember if it is something that might take you 5 years – the time will go by regardless so why not move in the direction of your dreams?  If you do not, in five years you will be in exactly the same place as you are today – just five years behind on your dream.

It truly is never too late if you just take one small step – today. What do YOU want to start while it is never too late – today?

Carol

Childlike is not Childish…

26 Mar

What a joy it is to watch confident children under the age of 10 at playgrounds or at social events!  They make new friends quickly, are color-blind (to race and gender), approach adults with sincerity, are uninhibited, and look at the future with wonder.

When I take my 8-year-old granddaughter out to a playground or the beach, it amazes me how quickly she makes new friends with other children.  There is no judgment, no hesitation, no sizing up of the other -a simple sharing of time, energy and fun for the duration.  It is nice to see children who are color-blind (not sensitive to racial differences) and gender neutral playing together as fast friends.

Somehow, between childhood and the teen years, we lose this trait of accepting others at face value, replacing it with judgment, scorn, racism, sexism and “society” rules that keep us from easily mixing with people we don’t already know.

It also amazes me to see how freely children will dance to music – they seldom care whether anyone is watching or judging their moves.  Somehow we gain so many inhibitions when we grow into adulthood. Inhibitions stick with us for a lifetime – at least until we are so old we no longer care.

Any newspaper I pick up (globally) is filled with stories about disagreement and hate in today’s world, and I long for and wonder what happened to the children we were yesterday.  Can you remember what it was like to be uninhibited and free of judgment? Can you imagine what our world would be like if adults were more childlike and could accept each other at face value?  Racism, sexism, ageism, and other biases are learned behaviors – can you imagine how incredible life could be if we fostered acceptance instead of discrimination?

We need more childlike behaviors in our world today (not the childish ones we so often see).  What do you think?

Just food for thought on the first Monday of spring.

Have a good week,

Carol

Living Life Fully… 5 minutes at a Time

12 Mar

Life can be wondrous, exciting, frustrating, passionate, stressful, exhilarating, and sad, and sometimes it can be all of these at the same time! And that can bring on moments where we feel completely overwhelmed and incapable of thinking or moving forward.  When this happens to me, I remember one of the best pieces of advice from a friend:

You only have to make it through the next five minutes – one minute at a time…
and you WILL be fine.

She was right, and I share her wisdom with others when I see someone under stress.  If it works for me, why not for others?

Take a deep breath, inhale and exhale and simply breathe through the next 60 seconds, then 60 more until the magical 5 minute point.  At that point, nothing has changed but the wave of utter helplessness has somehow subsided.  Feeling overwhelmed is like the perfect storm – all things seem to collide at the same time making the negative waves seem like they are drowning us!

When we are overcome by emotion (positive or negative), financial or physical stress, or when something happens that “breaks the camel’s back”, we might wonder if we can make it through life – but we really only have to make it through the next five minutes.

Even 5 minutes can seem like an eternity!

But… when you set aside the massive pile of things that overwhelm you at the moment, and simply concentrate on making it through the next five minutes, five minutes at a time, things often become easier.

Five minutes are akin to bite size pieces of our lives. (Have you heard the famous answer to: How does one eat an elephant?  “One bite at a time.”)

Living life fully is sometimes as simple (and as difficult) as living it in bite sized pieces… five minutes at a time.

Wishing you a low stress, happy week ahead!

Carol

 

The more you Give, the more you… Give

13 Feb

As a classically trained engineer, I know that there are some immutable (unchangeable) laws of physics such as:  an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a moving force; an object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by and equal and opposite force; the law of gravity (gravity works); etc.  These are guaranteed laws that hold true no matter the where or when.

When it comes to people, however, there are few immutable laws. People behave well or badly often without logic.

Nonetheless, there are marketers who promote their workshops and profess networking prowess based on what they tout as an immutable law:

The more you Give, the more you Receive…

What a nice momism (things moms say to make the world seem nicer!)  Certainly the world could be more harmonious if this was a law of nature, but the two concepts (Giving and Receiving) are not coupled.

This causes undue stress when we believe that Giving and Receiving are related because it gives rise to unrealistic expectations.  Giving does not necessarily have anything to do with increasing the amount one will be given TO.  It is simply a fallacy to relate the latter as a natural occurring result of the former.  The truth is simply that the more you give, the more you, well, give.  Nothing more.

The expectation of reciprocity implies balance, of give and take in equal amounts, and when it comes to human beings, this simply is not the case.

There are those who give and give and then give some more, while there are those who readily take and take and take.  In between the two extremes are those who give and take and take and give in equal measure, but the two are still not related concepts.  There is no guarantee that giving will result in reciprocal giving – it might be a nice bonus if this happens, but that’s it.  A bonus.  If you are a frequent giver, there is nothing that says you will ever receive anything in return, nor should it ever be associated with the giving.

Now before you cite me as being critical and negative, think about this for a minute.  If you give unconditionally and altruistically, why is it that if you gain nothing, ever, in return do people get upset?  It is the anticipation that there will be giving and receiving in some equal portions – and this is simply an unrealistic expectation (leading to disappointment).

There is no relationship between giving and receiving, and it is about time that society (and parents) realize this. These are two separate concepts:

  • Giving is sharing and providing something to another without strings or conditions.  A giver that gives freely should never anticipate or expect anything in return – ever!  This is the simple concept of giving.
  • Receiving is a completely different concept and is the opposite side to giving.  Those who give need to give up the notion that there is a relationship here.  What you get has no dependence on what you give.  If someone decides to give something to you, they may associate it with an action you took, but it really is an independent self-contained action on its own. One can give without receiving, but one cannot receive unless someone else gives.  Giving is an independent, receiving is a dependent action.

Why is it so important to separate giving and receiving?

Only recently I woke up to the fact that I am an obsessive OVER-GIVER, and this is as unhealthy as being an OVER-TAKER.  An over-giver gives of him/herself relentlessly and often at their own expense (the classic sign of an addiction).  Conversely, an over-taker is often a narcissist who simply takes and takes without notice or regard for anyone else – this is not an addiction as there is no victim when it comes to overtaking!

Problems arise when an over-giver succumbs to his/her addiction and wakes up to the reality that s/he gave away too much and it is too late.  Over-givers lose friends, family, and loved ones in the process because they do not give others the chance to make it independently (over-givers do not like to watch others struggle – especially when s/he could ease the suffering through sharing and giving).  Over-givers need to step back and take care of themselves first (see earlier post – Put on your own mask first!)

Confessions of an Over-giver

Being an over-giver came naturally and quickly took its addictive hold.  It started innocently and early: as the oldest of five children, I already had four siblings by the time I was seven.  I had to share everything with everyone, and then some.  Growing up I can recall my father emphasizing Matthew 19;24 “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” and once I hit adulthood it stuck with me. I recall feeling like every cent I ever made was destined for sharing with everyone around me, lest I be a bad person.

Naively, I trusted that those with whom I shared would in turn be kind or at least appreciative, and instead they responded with entitlement or worse.  I did not realize that there was no connection between giving and receiving.  I gave and gave to others before giving to myself.  It didn’t stop with money – my over-giving extended to time, energy, expertise, passion, kindness, etc. – even if it meant that others gained, and it was to my detriment.   Giving the shirt off of one’s back was my mantra.

Today, at mid-life, I realize that my current financial, career, and relationship situation is a direct result of my compulsive over-giving.  It has rendered me powerless, almost penniless, at times jobless (I would spend time finding work for others first), and it caused conflict with former friends and family.  I have a feeling today that over-giving is a common addiction, but it is seldom talked about because there are no obvious victims aside from the over-giver him/herself.  And those who are over-takers love to be taken care of!

I am not alone in Over-giving…

I take comfort that the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert struggles with her own over-giving and wrote about it in the December 2011 issue of Oprah magazine: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Confessions of an Over-Giver  (Dec, 2011):

(As a great British wit once quipped, “You can always tell people who live for others, by the anguished expressions on the faces of the others.”) All I know is, those friendships withered under a cloud of mutual discomfort, and now we cross the street to avoid running into each other.

Years ago, in India, a monk warned me, “Never give anyone more than they are emotionally capable of receiving, or they will have no choice but to hate you for it.”

The blog The Curvy Life, featured a post on May 4, 2010 called The Trap of Over-giving.

Here is an excerpt:

For many of us, giving comes so naturally and easily that we have to be reminded not to over-give, either by giving beyond our means, beyond our time constraints, or beyond our energy levels. While I think that over-giving is often motivated by a heart full of gratitude and love, I also think that giving to the point of discomfort or pain can be motivated by a feeling that what we have to give (within our means, time, energy) or even more tragically, who we are as a human being, is not enough…

Over-giving is a trap. What may start as heart-centered giving can become a burdensome obligation. Those around us can begin to expect and feel entitled to our over-giving, thus depriving of us our rightful recognition and further feeding our sense of not-enoughness.

Where do you fit in?  Are you a freely giving person who can accept that the more you give, the more you give?  Or do you expect some level of reciprocity with those to who you give?

Or are you a taker who revels in the fact that people routinely and happily give to you, without consideration of giving back?

A counselor once told me that my ex and I were polar opposites:  I was the classic addicted over-giver who “enabled” his over-taking.  Receiving remained an unfulfilled and unrealistic expectation on my part.  I know better now.

What has been YOUR experience?

Have a stress-free week ahead!

Carol

Wisdom from Sam I am…

8 Feb

I don’t know if this happens to you, but once in a while a childhood story comes to mind with wisdom I never considered.  Today I read an article related to how we sabotage our or another’s dreams when we use the word “should” instead of “want” as in “I should do…” instead of “I want to do…”  It is a subtle difference but one that has an amazingly different results.

The word “should” casts judgment on an action or behavior whereas “want” suggests an openness.  I finished reading the article and was left with the encouragement to tell my inner critic to change its words from “should” to “want”.

That’s when I thought about the Dr. Suess story Green Eggs and Ham.. a childhood beginning reader of about 50 unique words written in the famous Dr. Suess rhyming style.  If you haven’t read the story or do not recall reading it, a refresher is in order:  the main character speaks in the first person and talks to a colleague or friend named “Sam I am”.  Sam I am is persistent in encouraging the story-teller to try a new dish he calls “Green Eggs and Ham” and through a series of creative rhymes finally persuades him to try the dish, whereby the story-teller ends up liking it and actually thanking Sam I am.

According to Wikipedia:

Green Eggs and Ham is a best-selling and critically acclaimed book by Dr. Seuss, first published on August 12, 1960. As of 2001, according to Publishers Weekly, it was the fourth-best-selling English-language children’s book (novel) of all time.

The wisdom that struck me today was the persuasive (and ultimately triumphant) technique used by Sam I am: it consisted of asking a series of “Would you, could you…” questions that allowed the narrator to respond in a non-defensive way.  By using open-ended “would you, could you…” instead of “you should…”, Sam I am established a mutually respectful dialog.

How often do we unconsciously close off communication using “should” instead of “would” or “could” and inject unwelcome judgment into what we consider encouraging words?

Consider the difference between:  “You should try…” and “Would you try” or “Could you try”.  At first glance, the differences are subtle, but the differences in response can be remarkable.

The former implies a duty or obligation on the part of the receiver and takes away the freedom of choice – something we may never have intended to do.  “Should” implies that there is a right way (and by implication a wrong way) to do things, the right way being whatever the questioner believes.  It implies that the listener “should” make a particular choice and does not leave options open.  How do YOU feel when someone tells you what to do without saying it directly?

Dr. Suess may or may not have intended to impart this wisdom on children, but may have hoped to suggest it subliminally on his adult readers.  Whatever the rationale, I appreciate the wisdom of Green Eggs and Ham.

As far as the Royal We (me, myself and I), we already appreciate that our Inner Critic learned this today and promises to use the word “Would” or “Could” or “I want” more often.  Removing the “Should” from its vocabulary is already having positive results.

Thank you, Dr. Suess!

Have a great week,

Carol

Win/Lose or Win/Win… It’s all up to us

26 Jan

Am I the only one who is dismayed by the Win/Lose or “win at another’s expense” mentality today? Is it just I who does not understand the celebrations of “good fortune” gained by taking advantage?

Today, calamities like foreclosures, unemployment, disease, layoffs, deaths, tornadoes and other misfortunes are not personal or predictable – yet to listen to those who benefit from other’s losses, you’d think there must be skill in avoiding these.  Today you can be on the sunny side of the street (financially or otherwise), and tomorrow you can be down and out.  While lifetime employment used to be the norm, today millions of unemployed say otherwise.  No longer are personality, work ethics or  skills enough to stay employed – with so many Americans out of work through no fault of their own, it could just as easily be you or me!

Yet our press favors the 1% rich or those who act like them, as “winners” and disregards everyone else.  (Perhaps this sells more papers.)  For example, headlines celebrated the good fortunes of condominium bidders who “earned” a property with bids less than 10% of what owners paid for the same properties only 4 years ago.  “Properties bought for a mere $7500 that sold for over $50,000 in 2007,” boasted the article.    What about the homeowners who lost the properties in foreclosures and whose dreams of home ownership (let alone life savings) were shattered by job loss and foreclosure proceedings?  When someone wins and someone loses, our society suffers.  Sure, one side wins financially at the expense of the other, – but I believe society ends up with a net loss in terms of morale, stress, and fallout of family breakups.  (The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that the 50% US divorce rate was actually 75% here in Florida.  I wonder if there is any relationship with FL’s unemployment figures…) How does it affect our societal health when a segment of society takes advantage of others left foraging for their necessities.

A couple of weeks ago, the same newspaper described how hundreds of homeowners in Florida used a loophole to pocket insurance proceeds for vacations and luxuries intended for home sinkhole repairs.  Fraud perhaps, but legal according to Florida law – and the “proud” recipients beamed at readers from full-size photos.  The insurance premiums of all Floridians will increase because of these wins.

I believe that the universe has infinite capacity for abundance when it comes to prosperity and positive energy.  Witness the upward energy amplification that enthusiasm and optimism can generate in a crowd!  There is no indication that the universe needs to balance prosperity with misery or wins with losses.  Win /win situations lead to openness, innovation, creativity, health and increased fortunes for all.

Perhaps there is some pleasure in taking advantage?  It is really a win when success comes at the expense of a corporation, government or people.  Does it matter that it is not illegal?  Can society gain when some bend moral values to justify unethical behavior?  When winning comes at the price of an unfair (or unscrupulous) advantage is it really a superiority of wit, skill or intelligence that prevailed? More often than not – it is sheer luck or opportunity that separates the winners from losers… and if the win/loss mentality continues much longer, we will all pay the price.

Win/Win events give us Hope…

Tonight, in a departure from regular news, a network broadcast featured the story of our local Gulfport, FL idea to assist one of its own. This coming Saturday, instead of following the Win/Loss trend, neighbors are gathering at one resident’s house to repair damage from a kitchen fire, clear brush, and in the words of the homeowner “do in one day what it would take me two years to do.”  It was uplifting and motivating to listen to both the recipient and the helpers talk about the plans.  Participants are donating time, supplies, skills and equipment – all of which will create a Win/Win situation for both the homeowner and the community. 

Why are there not more Win/Wins?  It all starts with an idea, a wish for a better future, and a willingness to give rather than take for oneself.  Win/Lose may be primitive capitalism, but Win/Win benefits all.

What do YOU think?

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