Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012

A Surefire Way to Lift Your Spirits: Revisit High School

Read your high school yearbook.I know it sounds crazy. But your old high school yearbook holds bigger secrets other than your unrequited love, the awkward years you wore braces, and how you failed the world-famous popularity contest. It holds the secret of hope. Yes, it’s strange, but let me explain.

A few days ago, I was having one of those days. I looked in the mirror and saw a failure. My face sucked. My hair sucked. And the thing I called a career sucked. I thought, “How did it get like this. This is not how life was supposed to be.” Don’t ask me why, but for some reason those feelings prompted me to clean. As I cleaned, I came across my trusty high school yearbook. It said, “Out of the Blue” on the cover. The irony. I felt like I was still stuck in a blue phase of my life. As I cracked open the book and blew the dust away, I was overcome with emotion. I felt grief as I came across the pictures of old friends who passed away. I felt regret as I came across the school’s clubs and opportunities I missed out on because of fear and the need to “fit in”.  I felt scorn as I saw the “bullies” that found a way to make me feel like less than a person. Of course, it wasn’t all bad. The old photographs of my favorite teachers, my run-in with Bon Jovi, and good times with friends warmed my heart. There will always be something about those old pep rally photos. And of course reading the notes from friends who signed my yearbook did something too. It brought out the child in me as I deciphered the messages and codes left by partners in crime. (Note to high school students: Never mention inside jokes in yearbooks without describing in details what it is. In five or more years, you will have no idea what those little jokes were.)

But than something happened. There within those pages, during my journey to the past was a reflection of myself I didn’t realize I had anymore. And it took former classmates and old teachers to remind  me of it. My heart smiled as I read notes from friends and acquaintances that expressed their excitement for when they read my articles in national magazines one day. Others told me, that they admired my drive and ability to pursue such a risky career. And than there were those, who encouraged me by saying, “I know you can do it, Terri. You were voted class writer for a reason. Make us proud.” Reading through those notes, restored a certain strength and spirit I didn’t even realize I had. I couldn’t help but cry realizing how many people believed in me even back then as clueless 17 year old. And then it dawned on me. I wasn’t as clueless as I thought. If all those people could believe in me, the least I could do was believe in myself.  I had chosen my path at such a young age and actively pursued it. No, I wasn’t the editor-in-chief of a big time magazine and world-famous columnist yet. But I was published in several national publications and even mentioned in books. I had made it half way to my dream and my high school yearbook provided the motivation to go the rest of the way. Yes, the road was hard and it will get me lost. But that yearbook held the key to get me the rest of the way. It rekindled my passion for writing and reaffirmed my soul’s desire.  I suddenly found the encouragement I needed to continue on in this crazy world of writing and journalism. Who knew a simple journey to the past would hold the key to my future?  Oh, that’s right. My heart did… and my high school classmates.

Turns out high school isn’t as superficial as we once thought.

Have you looked back at your high school yearbook? How did it make you feel?

TERRIfic Quip: Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

July 24, 2012

Time for a Change of Direction

After eight months of managing the TERRIfic Words blog. I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I’m taking the blog in a whole new direction. Better put, I finally have a direction. I’ll be honest. When I first started this blog, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I just knew I wanted to write and I needed to have a blog, which is totally bad coming from a pro writer. For some reason, it didn’t matter how many blogs I churned out for other clients with ease. I still got a mental block when it came to zoning in on one area and letting the words flow for my own blog. Well, that ends now. (It kind of ended a few weeks ago, but now it’s official).

No more writing about weddings, writing, business, education, appearance, New Jersey and everything else under the sun. Instead, the focus of my blog will be about self-improvement, and making the world a better place. It will be uplifting, inspiring, eye-opening and will even bring a smile to your face at times. As some of you may have noticed, my blog already began heading in that direction with posts discussing missing children, the importance of being friendly, and writing effective to-do lists. I’ve even included TERRIfic Quips at the end of each post meant to motivate and inspire.

Of course, you will still see posts about writing, and business, self-image, etc. from time to time, but the overall focus will still be the good in the world and encourage improvement for the better. It’s easy to forget the potential the world has to offer when we are faced with statistics about death, poor economy, job loss, and crime on nearly a daily basis. That’s why I’m making it my mission to take all the heartache and injustices in the world and show you the positive or how to turn it into a positive. Remember, everything is cracked. That’s how the light gets in. It’s up to us to make the world a better place. After all, We CAN do the impossible.

So please bear with me as make I the change and prepare yourself to be inspired, motivated, and happy. In the mean time, I’d love to hear your suggestions on what should be included.

What things inspire you or motive you to take action against injustices? Are there any topics you would like to see covered?

TERRIfic Quip: It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

July 18, 2012

I’m Gonna Party Like It’s My Birthday

Some say you should treat everyday like it’s your last. Since, that sounds kind of depressing I decided to treat each day as though it’s my first. After all, what could be better than experiencing life’s simple pleasures with the wide-eyed innocence of a child?  – Replacing all of your insecurities and worries with the hope of a brand new day awaiting you and entering each situation with excitement and high expectations knowing there’s a possibility that it may only get better from here-  Luckily, that’s a little easier for me today. It’s my birthday! Last year, I vowed to make 23 the best year of my life. (I kept that promise.) Now, as I move into my mid-twenties, I vow to make this year even better! Considering the past year was filled with eventful moments such as getting engaged, seeing the Wendy Williams Show live, writing an ebook, meeting Kim Coles, and pretending to be Rocky as I ran up the stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum, I was beginning to think it was next to impossible for me to top my 23rd year alive. But then I remembered what I always tell myself – “I CAN do the Impossible.” So I began writing a list to make sure this new birth year can stand the competition. Here it is:

1. Take advantage of all opportunities and have faith in them.

2. If you doubt yourself, see number 1.

That’s all that matters. If there is anything I’ve learned since my last birthday it’s that seizing opportunities is just as important as creating them. That moment we’ve all been waiting for  has usually been there waiting for us all along. We’re either too blind, stubborn, or paralyzed with worry to notice it. So I vow to have faith in my abilities and continue to believe that I really can do the impossible because those of us who are silly enough believe it are the ones who usually do. I’m ready to join the ranks of other great cancers before me such as, Bill Cosby, Nelson Mandela, Tia & Tamera Mowry, Arianna Huffington, Wendy Williams and more.

Here’s to another year of greatness:

Did you make a birthday promise to yourself? How did you follow through?

TERRIfic Quip:  Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

P.S. If you’re wondering what the perfect birthday gift for me is, it would be for everyone to go buy my new ebook, right now! Oh and world peace… 🙂

July 11, 2012

Have you seen this child?

Missing Child From New Jersey: Ofir Ben-Haim

You see the words in commercials during Eyewitness News. You used to seem them on sides of milk cartons. But I’m willing to bet you will never see this child, because you aren’t paying attention. Rather than taking a few seconds to walk by the bulletin board while grocery shopping, you turn a blind eye to the issue. And that’s the problem with America. Nobody cares until they are the ones in trouble.

Imagine you are the mother of a precious baby girl. You place her basinet in the shopping cart while browsing the grocery store. After going through a few aisles, you finally find that brand of cereal that you have a coupon for. While bending over to pick up the box, you accidentally knock down more cereal boxes. Being the considerate shopper that you are, you quickly place your desired box in the cart, and then turn your back again to pick up the cereal boxes you knocked over. After cleaning up your mess, you stand up to check on your sleeping baby and continue your shopping. Except there is one problem. Your innocent child has been taken out of your cart in the few seconds you had your back turned. Suddenly, your jovial demeanor quickly turns to panic.

Regardless of how good a parent, sibling, or babysitter you are, a situation like this can happen to anyone. Yet, no one takes a moment to help out unless they know the child personally. Unfortunately, the handful of people they do know just doesn’t seem like it’s enough to scour the ends of the earth to find that missing child. In the back of their minds, they know the truth. “I never took the time to help find a missing child I didn’t know, so why would I expect other people to help me?” Of course, by the time they realize the error of their ways it’s too late. They are left to depend on the kindness of strangers that are few and far between to return the missing child to the home.

That problem must end now. Each and every time, I go grocery shopping, visit Wal-Mart, or find myself in the store with a Missing Kids board, I dedicate at least five minutes to reading the descriptions of the people on it. It may seem impossible, but I could be the one responsible for returning a child over to their parents. After all, impossible things happen everyday. Imagine how much sooner families can be reunited if everyone dedicated a few minutes of their day to paying attention to the missing kids alerts. In the event I do find myself in that situation one day, it will comfort my heart knowing that somewhere in the world, there are other people like me that care just as much as I do about looking at those Missing Kids bulletin boards and returning the child home as I do.

Join me and help bring kids back home:

1. Join the Poster Partners program

Sign up to get posters of missing children in your area emailed to you once a week. Print them out and display the posters around your community.

2. Stop and Look

Dedicate a few minutes of your shopping experience to looking at the bulletin of missing people around the country.

3. Watch videos on Youtube

Visit YouTube and spend a few minutes watching the videos of missing children on the Don’t You Forget About Me channel.

4. Encourage retailers

Talk to the managers at your favorite stores about dedicating a spot to displaying Missing Kids posters. (I’ve been trying to encourage WalMart of Old Bridge, NJ managers to move their Missing Kids bulletin to a more prominent location in the store. Right now, it is in the corner near the bathrooms and customer service.)

5. Get Amber Alerts

Sign up to get Amber Alerts sent to your cell phone.

Do you pay attention to the Missing Kid bulletin boards? What do you do to help return children to their families?

TERRIfic Quip:  I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody.

July 3, 2012

If You Can List it, You Can Do It

There are two types of people in the world: those who thrive off lists and those who don’t. I happen to fall into the first category.  I make lists for everything! Grocery lists,

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

bucket lists, travel lists, channel lists, blogging lists, networking lists, summer trip lists, wedding lists…. You name it; I’ve probably made a list for it. One might even say I’m addicted to lists. I think it’s something I picked up from my mom. Now I picked up a lot of good things from my mom, but I don’t know if my addiction to lists is one of them. My problem is that I’m never satisfied with my list. I make them to help me stay organized and be productive… or so I thought. But whenever I review them I feel as though I either don’t have enough on them, have too much, or just feel the need to add something new every time I complete something. So I never feel like I accomplish anything. Of course, that only makes me even less productive and like a loser prompting me to just dive into more work.

That’s when I noticed I was approaching lists all wrong. Instead of using it as a tool to increase my productivity, I was using it to prove my productivity to myself. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. So my  lists became unnecessarily long and lacked focus and direction. When you have no direction, you don’t know where you are going. Naturally, the lists never got done. On top of that, expecting myself to finish so many items in a short time period was only setting myself up for failure. It was an unattainable goal but I was too blinded to see that.So I decided to make a change. I wanted my lists to make me feel like I was accomplished and getting things done.

Instead of loading my lists with as many things as I could possibly think of, I decided to limit the items on my list. Now my lists don’t exceed five to seven items per day. And it feels good! Making shorter lists allowed me to stay focused and finish each item to the best of my ability. When I kept packing my lists, I never finished anything and did everything half way just so I can get to the next item quickly. Obviously, that didn’t work out too well. Now, checking off one item on my lists make me feel accomplished.  I don’t feel the need to add another item just as a quickly as I checked one just to prove something to myself. I allowed myself to accept that my best is enough. Once I treated my lists as way to stay organized and not a way to prove my worth and accomplishments I actually felt accomplished! Turns out there is an art to doing check lists and it only took my a few years to figure it out. Now, I can check “write blog post” off my list and feel proud.

How do you organize your lists? Do they make you feel better or worse about your productivity? Am the only one who wrote lists that makes you feel like a loser?

TERRIfic Quip: I am a enough. I have enough. I do enough.