Posts tagged ‘goals’

December 19, 2012

The Best Christmas Gift of All: Encouragement

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So there’s six more days till Christmas and you’re a little panicked. I would be too if I still couldn’t find the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop for family member. Plus there’s no guarantee I would receive online orders in time for Christmas. At this point, most people would tell you to channel your creativity while you make shallow and pathetic attempts to make something. But for those of you who are really desperate and know you’re as coordinated and creative as your children’s math homework, I’m going to tell you the one gift that is even more meaningful than any DIY project or store bought gift.

One word. Encouragement.

You’re probably scratching your head right now. But the truth is, so few know how to be truly encouraging. When encouragement is offered, it always seems to come with some kind of stipulation.

“You want to be a writer. That’s great. You should do it. I just hope you’re not a starving artist.”

“Oh, you’re starting a business? Congrats! Be prepared for some loss. You should do it though.”

“Training to be a chef is so hard. You can do it as long as you take it seriously.”

“Good luck with paying all your student loans this year. You’re gonna need it. It’s practically impossible.”

While these phrases may be said with good intentions, (or so we hope) they carry doubt and the dreaded “but” with them. And even when attached to encouraging words, that “but” can really put a damper on the receivers spirit. I know because I’ve been there before. I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “Good for you. But you can’t make a living from that that.” or “Wow I can’t believe you’re writing an ebook! I think you should do it. They are much harder to sell than traditional books though.”

Of course, hearing these things definitely bothered me for a bit. Luckily, writing was something I knew I always wanted to do whether or not I had anyone’s approval. However, I did have the approval and encouragement of my parents. I remember the day, I told my mom that I wanted to quit my job to be a writer. I was still living in my parents’ home, struggling financially, and had a bunch of student loans to pay for. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous telling them my plans. Much to my surprise, I got words of encouragement rather than words of concern and non-support. The words my mom uttered, meant the world to me.

“Go for it. I always said you can create your own opportunities.” 

There wasn’t a hint of doubt or a shadow of disbelief – only genuine encouragement as I took on the biggest risk and scariest chapter of my life. She could have said to me that writers never make it. Or she could have also reminded me that I must still find a way to pay back my loans. But she didn’t. Somehow, she knew I was well aware of what I needed to take care of. But she knew that I needed her support more. Little does she know  that small phrase is one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I take her words with me every time I need to conquer a new challenge or each time I’m faced with a business related fear. And my father has been just as supportive since I’ve started this journey.

No, their encouragement wasn’t a Christmas gift per se. But it was a much needed gift at the time. I recommend it, because it is the one gift that can change a person’s world forever. Encouraging words have the power to last a lifetime if you do it right. They won’t die if the battery runs out of life, and it won’t break if you drop it. Deliver it with love and it will stay in the receiver’s heart forever.

So how do you do it? Eliminate the doubt, slash the “what if’s” and sprinkle it with loads of love, sincerity, and pure belief. Do all that and  you’ve got the making of a Christmas gift that would go down in history.  Best of all, it’s priceless!

What was the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received? Have you ever been on the receiving end of true words of encouragement?

TERRIfic Quip: Don’t wait for it. Create your own opportunities.

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December 11, 2012

On Your Way to Success? Get Organized!

Many of us have big dreams of owning new businesses, losing tons of weight, making lots of money, and becoming famous

PIcture from thatbaglady.miche.com

PIcture from thatbaglady.miche.com

dancing in our heads. We are  determined and dedicated to getting it done, but then we recognize all that is involved. Yet, we never lose hope and are dedicated to tackling each aspect necessary for claiming success. After taking a quick perusal of our goal’s requirements, we draft a plan and quickly start on track. And then things start to go wrong. You recognize that you routinely forget your bottle of water before your morning jog. Your spending journal got left behind in your other purse and you are constantly forgetting who you needed to call to confirm that business meeting.

Don’t feel bad. It happens to the best of us. The truth is the road to success requires a bit of sacrifice, determination, and organization. While many have no problem mastering the first two requirements, they seem to fall behind in the organization department. There is no way you can keep track of your meetings, diet requirements, and important tasks without a little bit of organization. Trust me. I tried it and it didn’t work. So because I want all of you to succeed, I decided to let you in on a few products and strategies that have helped keep me organized on the right track towards success…

Stickies on Desktop or actual Stickies – You all know how I love using post-it notes to lift my spirits and remember motivational quotes, but what you didn’t know is that I love it for keeping track of tasks, bills to pay, etc. I usually leave them on my refrigerator or computer screen. From time to time, they’ll pop up in my wallet to remind of things. For the high-tech people, you can utilize the popular Stickies program for Mac. It allows you to type up notes and “stick” them to your desktop. You can stick them according to priority and  they dissappear as the task is completed.

Spending Tracker 1.3.1 MH Riley Ltd – We’ve all heard that having a spending journal can totally transform your financial situation. It starts out well, but then you soon find yourself forgetting to enter in a purchase when you get home or lose the receipt before you get to record it. The Spending Tracker app gets rid of that problem completely because it’s right on your phone! It allows you to record entire purchases, categorize, enter bills, and make memos for each expense by month. The best part is that you get a pie graph showing you exactly where your money is going once you turn your phone sideways! It’s amazing.

Dry Erase Calendar  – Keeping track of bills is difficult. No matter how good you are with money, it can be bit a of a challenge to stay on top of the student loan bills, mortgage, electric bill, car payments etc. And if you are like me, you probably hate making those “automatic payments” in which the company connects to your bank account. That’s why I like to use dry erase calendars to track payments. I keep it right on my refrigerator, that way I can’t miss it.

Miche Bag:  Ladies, how many times have you switched purses to match an outfit only to realize you forgot to switch your planner along with it? Or maybe it was some other important object needed for the day… Miche bags eliminate that problem. There is no need to switch purses completely for the purpose of fashion, because the Miche bag allows you to switch the outside appearance of them! Simply swatch the outside “shell” to match your outfit of choice. Now you no longer have to worry about forgetting your precious planner, cell phone, etc. in your other bag all in the name of fashion. The Miche bag is all you need!

Flexi File Organizer – Having a file folder for each important document isn’t enough. You’re bound to confuse placements of each file, and lose them. Plus, separate files folders usually result in more clutter. Instead, invest in a flexi-file organizer to keep all your important documents categorized in the same place. Things will never get misplaced, and you will be more inclined to take important documents when needed if it’s in an accessible and easy to carry file such as this.

What ways do you stay organized as you work towards success?

TERRIfic  Quip: The difference between want and need is self control.

November 6, 2012

5 Types of People You’ll Encounter on Your Way to the Top

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For the last few weeks, I’ve given you several reasons why you should stop everything and just follow your dreams. I’ve also let you in on ways to stay happy. But what I haven’t told you about are the types of people you’ll run into while chasing your dreams and leading that happy life. Some of them are good people. Some of them are bad people. And some of those people are just there. Regardless of what role they play, you should be aware of them. That way when you do cross paths you’ll be prepared. Here are the five types of people you will encounter on the way to your top…

  • The Parent – Ok, so you know the song “Parents Just Don’t Understand”?  Well, the same concept applies when you are in the process of dream catching. Parents mean well and most of them support you in whatever you set your heart on (as long as it’s legal.)  But when you tell them you are taking a leap of faith to pursue your passion, the amount of support you expected may not be there. It’s not because they don’t believe in you. It’s just because they are scared for you and their natural instinct is to protect you from the unknown. They only want what’s best for you. The best way to deal is to reassure them of your skill and drive. Otherwise, it may be best to ignore the “words of concern” to keep your insanity. You may also want to keep some major hardships to yourself. After all, you wouldn’t want to put your loved ones in a coma caused by an unnecessary overload of worry.

* This person isn’t always an actual parent. It may be someone who is like a parental figure.

  • The Clueless One – So this person is clueless but doesn’t know it. They’re the ones that keep pulling facts out of their butt’s in regards to your new endeavor and spewing them at you whether they’re welcomed or not. No one knows where these statistics are coming from but it doesn’t stop you from hearing it. Sometimes these tidbits of advice, statistics, and facts of life are completely baseless and sometimes theres some truth to them. Take it with a grain of salt and/or take it upon yourself to do a little fact checking just to save face. I’m going to assume that this one means well. They just happen to be well, umm… clueless.
  • The Naysayer – Whether or not you’re a dream catcher on the way to your top or an average Joe just doing what he can to get by we’ve all run into this one before. It’s the never have anything good to say, down on life, can’t catch a break, poor soul that always has something negative to say. You could have just landed the tv role of your dreams or won the lottery and this person will still find a way to rain on your parade. My guess is this person saw their dreams crash and burn in a horrific death and wants to spare you the pain. The other possibility is that they’re afraid you’ll actually do what you say you’ll do. So how do you deal with them? You know what they say… Never get talked out of your dreams by someone who gave up on their own. 
  • The Impatient – They stand by your side, and scrimp and save with you when you explain you can’t afford to do something. They are completely supportive of you but now they are tired. Tired of the skipped dates, tired of the sacrifices and tired of staying in all the time. Chances are they support your ambition, but don’t understand the time and sacrifice it takes to accomplish your goals. As long as your dreams don’t cut in to their social time and their selfish needs they’ve got your back. Otherwise, beware of the whiner. The truth is most people don’t understand how demanding dream catching is. The probably never well unless they are doing it themselves. I say make new friends with similar goals. But that doesn’t mean you have to let go of the ones you already have. After all, it could get pretty lonely at the top so make sure you keep your support system close.
  • Miss Done it All – This girl is absolutely amazing. She’s been there. Done that. Got the t-shirts and the awards to prove it. She’s been where you are and is a wealth of knowledge. More specifically, she IS who you want to be.  When you get near her, you go into a shock. Not because she’s scary, but because you can’t believe you have actually come this close to royalty. So what do you do? Don’t let the moment slip away. It’s the perfect time to channel her genius. Flatter her and find out what steps she took to make it to the promise land.  But don’t be overly intrusive and remember to say thank you!

What other types of people have you encountered on your way to the top and  how did you deal with them?

TERRIfic Quips:  The more you love your decisions, the less you need other people to love them.

October 9, 2012

Be all that can you can be… on Facebook

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ok, I’m sure you’ve seen all the reports by now. “Facebook leads to depression.”  “Facebook is used to steal your identity.”  “Facebook can stop you from landing that job.” “Facebook can break up a marriage.”

Yes, all of those can be true… if you act like an idiot on Facebook. Other than those fine perils if I act out of stupidity, Facebook has reaffirmed that I can be anything that I put my mind to. Let’s reflect for a moment. How often do you see a status that totally doesn’t align with the person you know him or her to be in real life? We all know that person who  knows nothing about science but feels the need to update their status about the weather every hour on the hour as though they are a meteorologist. Or you’ve probably had  a run in more than once with someone who is consistently cursing, sleeping around, and always drunk but feels it’s necessary to quote bible phrases as a status everyday. Wannabe preacher? Or what about the girl you went to school with who has no fashion or beauty sense and never wore heels a day in her life, but constantly uploads pictures of herself everyday as though she is a hot new model?

Naturally, when people see things like this on Facebook a few things come to mind. They sometimes run along the lines of poser, wannabe, and faker. I  admit I used to be one of them until I realized those so called “fakers” had the right idea… sometimes.

Basically, I’ve learned that in order to accomplish something you have to believe you can do it. Much more than that you need to see yourself doing it. Fake it till you make it. It’s what we do when you pad your resume a bit when you’re trying to get that dream job. It’s what you did when you created that Youtube account to document all the songs you’ve written and composed througout the years. And it’s what we do when you attempt to win contests in which you have to demonstrate your expertise in a certain subject through a personal essay.  It turns out that’s what those posers on Facebook are doing. They’re faking it till they make it. They just happened to use a slightly more annoying approach. (I’m not going to lie. It still does annoy me from time to time.)

How often have you heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.”? Or what about my all time favorite from Sister Act 2 “If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but being a singer, you’re a singer.” And we all know that for some on Facebook, the first thing they think to do is update their status with whatever prolific thing that comes to their mind. No, it doesn’t always mean that they have nothing better to do with their lives other than give their “friends” up-to-the-minute weather reports. It could mean that they are taking Whoopi Goldberg’s advice to heart and realizing that they are indeed a meteorologist, motivational speaker, etc.

Those “wise” Facebook friends are simply taking control of their own futures and doing everything in their power to turn their aspirations into reality. Perhaps, we can learn a lot from them… If all their annoying updates, hypocritical statuses, and plagiarizing song lyrics simply means that they are “dressing the part” and/or “faking it till they make it”, I can certainly like that.

In what ways do you fake it till you make it? Has Facebook helped you become all that you are capable of?

TERRIfic Quips: Always wear your invisible crown.

January 2, 2012

New Year, New Focus: 2012 Edition

It’s that time of year when everyone decides to break out that New Year’s Resolution post. Since it seems like the “in” thing, I figured I’d give it a try.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions for when the clock strikes midnight, mostly because so many things can change from now to the end of a year. Resolutions also seem to lack direction and come off as vague. I usually break my goals down by month – much more attainable and manageable that way. However, I must admit that I do have some things I want to focus on to help me reevaluate my career and the direction it’s heading in.

I’m about to make some moves this year. Here’s where I’m going…

1. Get out of my bubble and mingle. It seems as though I’ve fallen into that loneliness that many freelancers tend to encounter. This year I want to spend more time reaching out to more freelance professionals; especially writers. Not only is it good for personal growth, it’s good for business. Of course, I can’t forget to reach out to the contacts I already have.

2. Work on appearance.Naturally, as a professional writer my focus tends towards content. However, it’s about time I worry about the appearance of my blog, website and marketing material. Expect to see changes.

3. Actually use my Writer’s Market book. Almost every year, some kind soul gives me a Writer’s Market reference book and I always neglect to use it the way I should. It’s about time I start utilizing the gold right at my fingertips.

4. Pitch like mad. Last year, I lost sight of my passion of magazine writing and focused more on copywriting projects and clients. This year I plan to focus more on doing more in the magazine world and pitching more editors as though my life depended on it.

5. Make a difference. The whole reason I got involved with journalism and writing was to make a difference in the world. However, I seem to have fallen short of that. Playing to my passion of volunteering and writing life-changing pieces is of utmost importance this year.

I think one of my biggest challenges is not getting completely consumed in wedding plans! Wish me luck!

Where are you heading this year? What’s your focus?