Don’t Live In Fear-Take More Chances

Chance

I was taught, from the time I was born, that everyone was out for themselves–in fact, I was the only person who could look out for me (besides my mother, of course) and that I should always be prepared for this. I learned that the best way to stay alive was to live in perpetual fear of everything.

Stray dogs and cats surely have rabies. Restaurants will always over-salt the food which will lead to heart disease. A person loitering the streets will most certainly attack me. Flying would eventually lead to an airplane crash. And of course, by leaving the blinds open at night, I was inviting criminals in to my house.

I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life trying to undo some of these irrational fears of the world I’ve developed to shelter myself from disappointment and let down. Sure, the more I have let my guard down, the more I have opened myself up to the opportunities for exposure and risk but I’ve also gotten to experience life at its unadulterated and imperfect best.

Who decided that those risks weren’t worth the experiences? We may not be able to control life, but we sure can control how we chose to live it.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller

Look For The Silver Lining In Everything

Cloud

I just took my last walk with the dogs for awhile because today, I’m having foot surgery. It’s been a weird mental process leading up to the surgery as I’ve not been able to envision what an autumn without being able to move freely as I please would look like.

There will be no hiking in the mountains, daily walks with the dogs or even my normal workouts in the gym for awhile. I certainly won’t be hitting the 10,000 steps-a-day goal that I’ve set my FitBit to. And from this all, I’ve let the worry about the things I won’t be able to do get in the way of the joy and gratefulness of the things I will be able to do.

It’s easy to lose perspective when faced with someone out of the ordinary. Maybe slowing down and keeping still won’t be such a bad thing. I’ll have a lot more time to write and finish up some of the books on my reading list. I can finally organize all of the thousands of pictures I’ve taken this year and perhaps I’ll even paint something (in my kindergarten style).

There’s always a silver lining. It just depends on how you look at the world.

Go For It–Don’t Wait For Perfection

APple

 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

Too many people waste too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. 

Instead of waiting for perfection, go with what you’ve got and make changes as you go. Evolve. Nothing stays the same anyways.

Put People First And Change The World

Put People First And Change The World

GreatPeople

You could have the best tool, the fanciest gadget, the hottest widget, billboard or platform around, but the product itself doesn’t make up a great company. Great companies focus on people first. 

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, defines a set of six assumptions for all Twitter employees which are based on humility, openness, respect, equitable partnerships and holistic vision. 

  1. We don’t always know what’s going to happen.
  2. There are more smart people out there than in here.
  3. We will win if we do the right things for our users.
  4. The only deal worth doing is a win-win deal.
  5. Our co-workers are smart and they have good intentions.
  6. We can build a business, change the world and have fun.Twitter

If you’re looking for an inspiring, hopeful and positively charged read, read this: Things A Little Bird Told Me: Confessions Of The Creative Mind

 

Graphic courtesy of MTSCreates

Tell Yourself Yes & Tough It Out; Setbacks Are A Part Of Success

Grit And Play-Doh

“Perseverance and audacity generally win.” Dorothée Luzy

When I was in pre-school, I really wanted Play-Doh. No, I take that back, I really, really, really wanted Play-Doh. And of course, Play-Doh meant berry-colored stained clothing and sticky spots in the shag carpet, so my mom emphatically said “no.”

But no did not mean no to me at that point in life. No meant I was not asking the right question or maybe just not in the right way.

Picture me at the dinner table in my little brown and red booster seat.

“Mom, can I have some Play-Doh?”

“No.”

And then again the next morning on the way to school with my best friend in the back-seat next to me.

“Mom, Celeste has Play-Doh. Do you think I could get some?”

“No.”

In front of my Nana, in the cart while we were grocery shopping, as my mom tucked me in at night, on our neighbor’s swing set.

“Play-Doh?”

“No.”

It was probably time to lay off the Play-Doh request, but I could smell the sweet-scented putty and feel it molding into a cat-dog right in my very own hands. It was my dream to have Play-Doh and four-year-olds do not let dreams die easily.

In preparation for our Pre-School Graduation, my teacher had someone interview each of us for our own special “Looking Back” tape as a present to the parents. I was asked what my favorite thing about school was. I sang “Where is Rainbow Brite” to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin” and I even divulged the difference between a girl Easter bunny and a boy Easter bunny. Show stopper, I know.

And as the interview came to a close, I was asked if there was anything else I would like to say. I knew this was a special video for my mom and that meant mom would love anything I said, sang or did for her on this tape. I stopped fidgeting in my chair just long enough to look at the camera, all smiles and I said “My momma’s gonna get me some Play-Doh!”

As an adult, I often envy the pre-school Erin who didn’t take no for an answer and the audacity it took to make a public plea during my recorded graduation interview for the Play-Doh I was already sure would one day be mine. It wasn’t a matter of if  I would achieve my goal, it was a matter of how.

In the grown-up world with goals and dreams on the line much bigger than Play-Doh, why is it so much easier to accept a no? I think we often convince ourselves that we aren’t worthy, credible or smart-enough or that we don’t have the strength to endure what it takes to get us to the goals we dream about before we even start the journey.

Howard Gardner studied some of the most genius minds of all time and in his book, Creating Minds, An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through The Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Elliot, Graham, and Ghandi, one common trait that they all had in common was that they had grit.

“…when they fail, they do not waste much time lamenting; blaming; or, at the extreme, quitting. Instead, regarding the failure as a learning experience, they try to build upon its lessons in their future endeavors.”

Grit is most commonly associated with the concepts of resilience, perseverance, hardiness, ambition and conscientiousness. And while the will and determination to secure some Play-Dough as a little kid might not qualify truly as grit, it’s certainly something that we should consider when we’re told no along the way of the pursuit of our dreams.

French economist and visionary Jean Monnet said, “I regard every defeat as an opportunity.”

Every “no” makes us smarter and every setback pushes us to stretch beyond what we believe we’re capable of, as long as we don’t start out by being the one to tell ourselves no in the first place.

Dress The Message You Want To Convey

clothing

I was once told by a boss that we all needed to look like New York Bankers the day of a major presentation we were giving for a group local businesses (potential clients). We were not in New York and you may have guessed, we were not bankers. 

I remember at the time thinking to myself that what my boss meant to tell the group was not that we needed to dress like bankers from New York City, but that we needed to dress in a way that conveyed we were professionals that knew how to present ourselves in the best way possible, which in turn would make the people to whom we speaking more inclined to listen to what we had to say about presenting their own businesses in the best way possible. 

The clothes that we wear say a lot about who we are as well as signify many socially important things to others, even if the impression those clothes give is actually unfounded. 

I agree, looks can be deceiving. How people dress and present themselves doesn’t always tell the full story and ideally, we would never make a judgement based on appearance alone.

But no matter how great your own ability to do this is, the clothes you wear and the way you present yourself will alter the way other people hear what you have to say. Subconsciously, from that first impression, they will decide whether they will listen to you or ignore you. Trust you or distrust you. 

Think of appearance in terms of branding. Picture the aisles of your local grocery store. If an item is an already-trusted brand, a shopper will probably add it the basket with little thought. But when it’s a new product, if he or she notices it at all, they’re likely to be negatively or positively influenced by the package itself–the shape of the box, the colors, typeface, graphics and so on. Packaging itself is such a powerful tool, that, when done correctly, it can influence someone to buy the product. 

It’s important to dress in a way that will reflect your authentic self so you can in turn attract the audience you want to target. In other words, the clothes you wear shouldn’t camouflage who you are on the inside, they should communicate the imperative things that makes you you at a glimpse.

Whatever message you’re trying to send to the world, never forget the clothes that you put that message in will determine the way it’s received so dress it carefully. That certainly doesn’t mean that your appearance can’t change from day to day, event to event–it should! It all circles back to living in the present and making conscious decisions. 

Dress the message you want to convey. 

photo cred

 
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