Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How to Live In The Present Moment

“The present moment is the only thing where there is no time. It is the point between past and future. It is always there and it is the only point we can access in time. Everything that happens, happens in the present moment. Everything that ever happened and will ever happen can only happen in the present moment. It is impossible for anything to exist outside of it.” Myrko Thum

Why is it important to live in the present moment? Not an easy thing to do. I know personally my mind is always scattered. It zigs and zags from what I am doing, to something I have to do in the future and what someone said yesterday. To me that is normal. Usually I am focused but not in the way that would be most effective.

I totally understand why it would be better to sink into the present moment and stay there.

  • It is so distracting to let my mind wander.
  • It makes me less effective.
  • It can also be very frustrating which in turn causes stress.
  • I don’t get as much done and it takes me longer to accomplish the task I am doing.
  • It causes me to make more mistakes which I then have to spend more time correcting.

I know that everyone thinks about their past and we certainly think about the future. There is no way to escape doing that and we shouldn’t.

The past shaped us and made us who we are. It is healthy to look backward at all the good things that happened to us. Sometimes it can be beneficial to look at the bad as well. What did we learn from those experiences? Use them to make you stronger and to challenge yourself, make you a better person.

We need to look at the future to plan for what we will be doing next. Make a plan, set some goals and then let it go for the moment. Don’t be overwhelmed and don’t let it stress you.

We shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on either the past or the future. Go back to the present and focus on what you are doing right now.

“…we can be present when consciously reflecting on events from the past (as opposed to being caught up, distracted and overwhelmed by the past” (2015).

Andy Puddicombe of Headspace

This is a struggle for me and I think it is for most people. I love the idea and I think it would be a totally efficient way of being. So how does anyone get to that point where they are immersed in the present and able to stay there?

Most will tell you meditation and yes, I think that is effective. When you take quiet time and let go of thoughts of past, present or future you can get to a very quiet place within yourself. It is totally calming.

I have done meditation but only on a limited basis. It is always connected with Yoga which I absolutely love. I can get totally lost in yoga and I am living in the moment. Concentrating on the movement and relaxing into it.

Writing is similar for me in some ways. I am certainly concentrating on my thoughts. I have not gotten into a true flow yet. I am working on that and I think that is what we should all be doing with our everyday activities. We can usually lose ourselves in what we love doing. Maybe that is the key to being present, loving what we are doing so we lose ourselves in doing it.

Another practice sometimes done in Yoga is either sitting or laying done and slowly thinking about each part of your body. Starting from you toes and moving upward and noticing how each feels. Relaxing your muscles and releasing any tension. You go from your toes to your head. It is very relaxing and it does help you focus on the present. You could do this at your desk, when you are taking a break or at lunch time.

Reading, we should read as much as possible. It is just a great thing to do. It makes us smarter and it is relaxing. Add it to your schedule and decide to read for a specified time each day. Read a book about learning to be in the moment.

Of course, music. That is so relaxing and you can get lost in it. I like to have it playing in the background. If you find you can’t stay in the moment of what you are doing then maybe take a break, do a body scan, take a short walk and come back but without the music. Schedule it for later.

To help you focus on the present moment I like to keep a daily list of what I am going to do each day. If you find yourself wandering around in your head, stop and refer to your list. It can center you and bring you back into the moment.

Appreciate where you are, each moment, each breath. Relax, smile.

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” Wayne Dyer

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great mindful day.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Do You Have A Fixed Mindset Or A Growth Mindset? How to Master Yours!

A Mindset is a perception that people have about themselves. Our mindset has an effect on much of what we do. Our personal and professional relationships, our achievements or successes, our ability to learn and gain skill are all affected by our mindset.

There are two kinds of Mindsets, a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset.

With a Fixed Mindset we believe we are the way we are and we are born with a certain amount of abilities. Do we believe we are athletic and good at sports, or not so much. What do believe about our math abilities. Are we a “C” student? We think and accept that we are a certain way and there is nothing we can do to change it. Having a fixed mindset is a negative mindset because it it is limiting and does not allow for improvement or growth.

With a Growth Mindset we believe that we can change, we can learn, we can become better and we are not limited in what we can do. We do not say, I was born this way or I am just lousy at sports or I can’t get better grades. We believe that if we put in the effort we can improve. If I study hard I can get an “A” this semester.

Can we change our outlook from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? Absolutely! All we have to do is put in some effort.

 “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Oprah Winfrey

The first step is recognizing and understanding what your mindset is. Our mindset will define who we are. Will you be happy or unhappy? Will you be successful or not?

How do you know for sure if you have a Fixed Mindset?

  • Do you always concentrate on what is wrong and just can’t let it go. Are you even able to recognize when something good happens? If someone congratulates you or give you a compliment do you brush it off and instead talk about what you did wrong?
  • Do you constantly complain? Are you just plain grumpy? Do you make negative comments about other people even when you do not know them?
  • Do you talk negatively about the actions of other people but when you have an opportunity to have a conversation with them you never mention it?
  • Do you feel like everything and everyone is wrong or against you, out to get you or harm you in some way?

Do the actions listed above apply to you? If you recognize yourself then yes, you do have a negative or fixed mindset.

What about these? These are all representative of someone with a fixed mindset.

  • Do you believe you were born with a certain level of intelligence which cannot be changed? Do you make comments such as, “I am not smart enough to do that or “there is no sense in taking that class or reading that book because I won’t be able to understand it”.
  • Do you decide not to try out for a team sport because you believe you are not good enough and you will never get better?
  • How about work meetings or a work seminar, do you participate or do you stay quiet and hope no one will pay attention? Do you think you have nothing to contribute?
  • Do you make comments about someone who is less intelligent than you to make yourself feel better?
  • Do you brag about something you did to make people think you are smart?

Someone with a Growth Mindset believe they have the ability to learn, to improve and develop new skills. They believe they have potential and will actively look for ways to become smarter. Do you do the following?

  • Concentrate on what is good. Look at any situation and see it as positive or an opportunity.
  • Always make positive statements. If someone asks how you are, do you respond “I’m great”.
  • Do you compliment other people, tell them the did a good job or that you like the way they do something?
  • Do you believe that other people will help you and that they care about your feelings?

How about these? These are all signs of a Growth Mindset.

  • Do you believe you are smart and that you have the ability to learn and become smarter, learn new skills, be successful?
  • Do you think you are a ho-hum golfer but you are willing to participate in a work team so you can spend time with your colleagues? Do you believe you can improve your skills by taking some instructions?
  • Do you actively participate in work meetings and research an idea and share your findings?
  • If someone compliments you, do you thank them and accept their praise and not question their compliment?
  • Do you like to be challenged?
  • Do you consistently look for something new to do?

What should you do to develop a Growth Mindset?

First and foremost, listen to your own voice, the way you are thinking. What is it telling you about your mindset? Do you have a tendency to be negative or are you a positive thinker? Know where you are now so you can take the appropriate steps to improve.

You can choose. When you are faced with a decision, take a moment. Do not just react. Decide how you want to proceed. Weigh the consequences. Will you learn from the experience? Will you experience growth if you decide to do the thing that makes you uncomfortable? Go for it!

Choose your friends and associates wisely. Pick positive people, both at work and in your personal life. Look for a mentor, someone you respect and who can help you improve,

Tackle tasks that you know will stretch your abilities. It may intimidate you but that is OK. Get out of your comfort zone and into your growth zone.

Read, a lot. Listen to webinars like TED talks. Take a class. Learn a new language. Do things that challenge you and that you will learn from.

You may not be successful with each endeavor but you will have gained some knowledge. The experience will enrich you. Do not be afraid to try again. Each time you will learn a little more. You will gain confidence and confidence will make it easier to keep growing.

Over time you may have some interesting conversations with yourself switching back and forth from your old fixed mindset and your new growth mindset. Spend time reflecting on how each makes you feel and what results you achieve. Focus on implementing the growth mindset and keep pushing forward. Make the effort and you will be successful.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

As always,thank you for reading my blog. Enjoy a day of opportunity.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How To Be Authentic At Work

Being authentic will radiate more pure energy than trying to be an ideal you Christina Lonsdale

Being authentic. That can be difficult. It is sometimes a delicate dance and one we want to be really good at. Can we be truly authentic at work? Let’s take a look.

According to the Merriam-Webster being authentic is: being true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character, is sincere and authentic with no pretensions

Are we ever truly authentic? Probably not. People have an automatic self-protection mode and it is common for us to hold portions of ourselves back.

We all want to fit in. Sometimes we just don’t. There is a specific culture within an organization and there is a certain need to follow it. I have experienced that myself and it can be darn uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, when you do not fit in you may be passed over for promotions or not be asked to participate in certain projects. BUT, it is possible to do really well with hard work and determination. I did.

My success did come with a level of stress. Reality was that I could have advanced farther. The culture was not a good fit. I chose to stay because at the time it was the best option for myself and my family.

So, is it necessary to be authentic at work? No, it is never 100% necessary. It is also not always realistic; I wish it were. Let me clarify. I do think it is better to be authentic. Authenticity will create a healthier person and a better workplace which is a win-win situation.

You may have skills to contribute or a different way of doing something that is more efficient. Trying to fit in and not offering a different viewpoint does not help you or the company you work for.

Having worked in Banking for 20+ years I realize that there are certain organizations where you cannot be 100% authentic. There will always be professions where it is necessary to project a certain image.

In some organizations it will be taboo to wear face jewelry or have visible tattoos. You will have strict dress codes. Your ability to speak in a professional manner will determine your eligibility for employment and certainly for promotion.

However, being authentic is much more than your appearance and the way you talk. Being authentic is sharing your personality and your beliefs. We are all different and we can each bring something to work that will make our workplace better. Diversity.

There will be things you really should not share such as strong political and religious beliefs. Those can cause friction between employees that could impact productivity. You need to be able to talk to and work with everyone.

You need to be able to create and maintain a balance between who you are and what you are required to be at work.

The question of rather you will fit in and have the opportunity to be authentic should start before you even are employed. You should have an idea of what field you want to work in and in what location or area. You do a search and start picking out possibilities. You should be able to find in depth information about the organizations you are interested in.

When you are being interviewed the organization will ask many questions. You fill out an application and you are asked to come in for an interview. You will talk to Human Resources and they will assess your appearance and verbal skills. You may have to take some tests. If all goes well you will be asked to come back for another interview. Depending on the position it may be with just one person, usually the direct supervisor. If it is a management position you will probably be interviewed by a panel. Then maybe the CEO.

Go in prepared and be honest. At some point you will be asked if you have any questions. If they do not offer that opportunity then I would be concerned about the organization. What is their culture? Politely ask for the opportunity to ask questions. They should be happy and impressed that you did.

Ask good questions. To be happy where you work it is not only about the money. It is most certainly about the culture and how you will fit in.

If you are already employed somewhere and not happy you have a few choices and a few decisions to make. Again you have to be willing to ask questions. Nothing will change unless you step up and address the issue.

You can decide you have done everything you are willing to do already and you cannot stay. Answer: quit and move on.

First, and foremost, it is important to determine if there is anything that can be done. For whatever reason you may not want to quit. You either slug it out and be unhappy or you will have to do something about it.

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, “This is the real me,” and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” – William James

Have you been presenting yourself as someone that is not the authentic you? You can change that. This may be a slow process because you just can’t leave work on a Friday and come back on Monday and be totally different.

It will be scary. You might receive negative feedback and some rejection. You have to be willing to accept those possibilities. You might be pleasantly surprised and find that the problems you saw can be fixed.

You may even find that your perception was incorrect. You may have made assumptions about how certain things had to be done and, more importantly, that there was no flexibility. It is worth the risk to find out.

Ask and you may receive. If you do not question how things are done and offer a different solution nothing will change. You have to take a chance, ask questions and make suggestions.

One thing I learned after working years for someone else is the importance of communication and it is a two way street. Employers need to ask questions and be transparent in their directive and their expectations. Employees have to be able to ask questions and be given the opportunity to participate on all levels. Employees have to be recognized and appreciated.

In today’s world it is so important to be authentic at all levels. The hope is that it will start at the very top. and that there is a culture of diversity where authenticity is encouraged and rewarded.

Let’s all work on being Authentic. What are you going to do today?

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Attitude Is Everything-5 Steps-What To Do To Build A Great One

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. ~ Wade Boggs

Our attitude is something we carry with us every moment of every day. Do you know what your attitude is? Are you aware of what shapes you and your response to any situation?

When we go to bed each night we take our attitude with us and when we wake up each morning there it is. Our attitude is embedded in our mind and we usually are not even aware of what it is. It colors everything we do.

Think about this. What was your first reaction this morning? Did you think of something positive, was it ho-hum or negative? How did you react to your first interaction of the day? Were you listening to what was being said, truly listening or did you make an assumption based on past experience? Did you feel happy?

We are all influenced by our experiences and we form opinions and automatic responses throughout our life. Our responses are everything. Have you ever thought about how you are responding? Was it positive or negative? When you speak do you watch to see the reactions of other people?

What we say, what we do, and our reactions are what we are presenting to the world. They paint a picture. If you could step away and view yourself through someone else’s eye would you like yourself? Would you want to spend time with yourself?

Our attitudes affect all of our relationships, personal and professional. We all want to be liked and we all want to be successful. Attitude and how we approach each day will have the biggest impact.

Negative or Positive which one do you choose? It is an important choice to make. There is an inner voice that we all listen to. It tells us how to react. We are programmed by our past experiences and influences from other people such as our parents.

The great thing is we can change our attitude. It can be done by making a few choices each day and building from there. So what can we do?

” The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey

  • Talk to yourself. Make positive affirmations a part of your life, each day, every day. When you wake up and greet the day do it with a positive thought. A simple statement such as “Today is going to be a great day” will head you in the right direction. Greet the day with a Smile, it always helps.
  • Exercise. If you can, add exercise to your weekly routine, a least 3 days a week, preferably more. You will feel better, look better and you will have a better attitude. Exercise will reduce stress, improve sleep and boost your self esteem. All great for your attitude.
  • Be aware of your words and work on changing your vocabulary. Be intentional in how you speak. Practice being positive and using positive words. When someone asks how you are reply with a positive statement. A simple, “I’m Great” is a good answer.
  • Quotes: I have said this many times before but it works. Do a search on the internet such as “positive quotes” and you will find so many. Read them each and every day. Pick some favorites and use them. Send them out in emails, post them on Twitter. Be a source of Positive Attitude.
  • Visualization: Each day, stop and look for a quiet spot. Sit and close your eyes and visualize yourself being positive. What do you want to improve? At work it could be a work project, a meeting or interacting with your peers. See your self being confident, happy and successful. There is no bad time to do visualization. A great time would be first thing in the morning or at night before you go to bed.

“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive, because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”

Life is about choices and decisions. People are drawn to those people that make them feel good. To feel better about ourselves is what everyone wants so it is natural to gravitate towards positive people. You can be one of those positive people.

Visualize in your mind what you want and then take the steps to make it happen. It won’t happen all at once and sometimes you may falter. Do not stop. Allow yourself to react, then step back and put it in perspective. Learn from it, grow from it and turn it into a positive. Make a routine and follow it each day. Build a positive Life.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a wonderful and positive day.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Today I Took A Break-Here’s Why You Should Too

Today I took a break, a much needed break. Life can sometimes overwhelm me. Lately I have pushed myself too much. My tendency is to think I can do it all while I know I cannot.

The last two weeks have been full of research, writing and trying to incorporate what I am slowly learning into this blog. I have also tried to write a few articles in a different format. Of course, I want to do it all and do it well.

In the last few days I have realized I am being unrealistic. I am just me. Someone with big dreams but not enough time right now. I haven’t figured out a way to cram it all in.

Two days in a row I felt ill, starting to shake for no reason and having to stop. My body felt weak. I am sure it was trying to tell me something. It was telling me to reevaluate, slow down and find a better way.

““Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” –William Burroughs

So today I went to my gardens. I love to dig in the dirt. It is something I learned from my father. His garden was filled with vegetables and mine with flowers, glorious flowers. They sing to me.

Flowers are my therapy. They feed my soul. Give me a shovel, dirt, a wheelbarrow, some mulch and let me create magic. My magic. Do I feel better right now? Oh, my yes.

In the winter when it is cold and everything is covered with snow I dream of spring and the arrival of all the birds and the trees budding and spring flowers popping out of the ground. I pour through gardening books and catalogs. What will I do this year?

Everyone needs their own magic, something you love to do that creates a special place for you to go. It does not have to be a garden and you don’t have to love digging in the dirt. You do need something that will soothe your soul. Something that will relax you, invigorate you. Something that will take you away for a little while.

Today I read two articles about how we do, or attempt to do, too much. We work long hours and we get stressed out. To be successful we believe it is necessary to do more.

That was where I was, I thought I had to do more each day. My body told me otherwise.

So what can you do? There is so much.

  • Music. How wonderful is music? It can transport us and either rock your world or soothe your soul. Listening to music is a wonderful thing to do.
  • Reading. I love to read and a well written story can take you away into another world. I lived in books as a child, could not get enough of them. Books are a wonderful escape, an adventure and a learning experience. They offer so much.
  • Exercise. We should all be doing more of that. With me it is a love-hate relationship but it can be a wonderful release. It will calm you and invigorate you too. Yoga, I love yoga. You should try it. Yoga is relaxing, calming and it will make you feel wonderful.
  • Meditation. Love it or hate it? I have not mastered that art but I want to. It is another practice that will calm you and help release stress. Meditation can be practiced in conjunction with yoga, so they are a win-win duo.
  • Spending time outside. Going to a park, walking, kayaking, photography, karate. Take your pick.

We work hard but we need to be mindful of the effect working too hard can have on our physical and mental well being, When we walk away for even a short time we bring back a clear mind and a fresh approach. It allows us to be more productive and more creative.

Work hard but take a break. It is good for you.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Perfectly Imperfect-How To Believe In Yourself And Gain Self-Confidence

Do you know a ‘Perfect” person. No, I did not think so. There is no such thing. Sure there are always those people that you will see and think they are picture perfect. For some reason we will be critical of ourselves and feel we do not measure up.

I do think that we are all flawed, maybe a little quirky or weird. I also believe we are all beautiful and magical. We are Perfectly Imperfect.

Everyone has issues and everyone has something they are really good at. Most people do not live up to their potential. Everyone has potential! We may not see it in ourselves but it is there. If we ignore the possibilities we will not grow as individuals.

We have to believe in ourselves. If you could pick one thing you would really want to do, love to do, what would it be? Do you believe you have the potential? Yes, you do.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”
– George Bernard Shaw

It’s time to start creating yourself! Make an assessment of yourself and be honest. You know yourself better than anyone else. To make yourself better you have to put in the work. Sometimes you may be discouraged. Do not stop!

What knowledge do you have? What is your skill level? Don’t rush this. Take the time to understand what you will need to do. Do not be afraid to ask for help if you are uncertain. Better to take time now to make a great plan instead of having to take a step backward later.

“Surround yourself with the dreamers, and the doers, the believers, and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”– Edmund Lee

Don’t just set a goal without knowing how you are going to complete it. It is really important to have a detailed plan. Write it down and continually go over it so you can make adjustments as needed. Break it down into small steps. It will make it easier for you to see your progress.

When you see progress, you will gain confidence. When you gain confidence it will become easier to keep moving forward. You will feel the difference in your attitude and so will other people. Remember the person you think of as perfect, they are not, but I bet they are confident. Confidence exudes strength and positivity.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” 
— Winston Churchill

Positivity is an attractive quality and it will attract the interest of other people. It is an admirable ability. If you want to be more positive you can make that part of your plan. Write it down. Practice being positive and look for ways to build an optimistic attitude.

What are the activities that expose you to negativity? The internet? the nightly news? the people you spend time with? someone at work? There are so many activities that can have a negative impact.

Switch from negative to positive! Always look for a positive way to influence negative situations. The negative co-worker? There usually is one. Try to add something positive to your conversations and look for ways to spend less time with them.

Adopt positive practices. Read something every day either for pleasure or to improve your skills. Keep a journal and reflect on the positive things that happen each day. Look for positive sayings, or quotes, and read at least one every day. I love doing that and it does help.

When in doubt Smile. It is the easiest and best way to feel positive. Spread your smile around and make someone else’s day better as well.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed or fearful to make changes in your life.

Fear is a natural reaction. Do not worry. You can use fear as a motivator. Take the fear and think of it as a challenge. Remember, Yes You Can!

Take some time and think about what frightens you and make a list. Divide it into sections. It can help to put it all in perspective. Just making the list may make you realize your really have nothing to be afraid of.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Take the hardest task and do it first. You will build confidence and before you know it the fear is gone and you have developed a new skill. Congratulations!

Remember at the end of the day none of us is perfect. We each have flaws. Take all your quirkiness, your weirdness and practice each day on improving yourself. Do not get rid of “You” and all the parts of you who make you a beautiful, magical person! Polish yourself, make yourselves shine and be proud that

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a Perfectly Imperfect day. Celebrate You !

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Focus-Why It Is Important -7 Tips To Help Maintain Yours

Have you ever had a day, a week, a month or even longer where you just felt scattered? Wow, I am certainly having that moment in time right now. My brain feels like it is going to explode!

In this case I feel scattered because I am trying to do too much at once. I am hungry to learn, gain skill and succeed. Right now I am overwhelmed. Just a smidget.

Like most of us I am impatient. I want to be able to do it all and I want to do it NOW! I am finding that to be just a tad unrealistic. Unless you have Super Powers it is just not happening.

So I am taking a really big breathe right now and focusing on writing this blog post. The problem is there is a never ending video going on in my mind. It is hard to turn it off.

The last day or so I have been doing as much reading as I can. I have been reading blogs and articles about improving my writing. Searching for other sources and other outlets where I can write. Looking for tips, suggestions about the best practices and also what not to do.

If you look, you will find! Reading and research are such worthwhile activities. My problem is understanding I simply cannot do it all today. Maybe in the next few days or week, a month. Maybe even a year.

I need to be realistic about my skill level at this point in time. I am not ready to publish everything I write. I do not have the skill set quite yet. It is necessary for me to accept that. I need to do what I know I can now and keep working on learning and improving my skills.

So what am I going to do? Pretty much what I have been doing, except now I need to be really focused. Here are 7 good practices to follow:

  • Making a Schedule to follow each day. The best time for me to do this is at night before I go to bed. It helps me focus and keep my mind from being scattered with all those things I want to accomplish.
  • Reading the writing of all genres of writing. Investigate different styles of writing, learn how other writers add depth and nuance to the story they write.
  • Setting a time to write each day for a specific amount of time or a specific number of words.
  • Maintain a journal, or notebook, to write down ideas and keep track of sources, writers I like, books I want to read, etc.
  • Find what is your favorite, most productive, atmosphere for writing. Do you like to write when it is quiet or do you prefer music in the background?
  • Find a different relaxing place where you can write. I love being outside and I would love to sit in the gazebo and write. The downside is writing it all by hand and then inputting it on my computer later. Doing that would be a good opportunity to read what you have written and do editing.
  • Realize that not all your writing will be perfect. If you are writing for multiple outlets you might not always be published. Think of it as practice. Don’t trash it! Save it and consider it a draft. Come back to it later and redo it. Second time may be the charm.

So what do I do tomorrow? More of the same. Writing this has made me focus and also helped me understand I cannot do everything I want all at once.

I hope my experience helps you focus as well.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Help! Title Lines – What’s Important For Bloggers Or Entrepreneurs

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
— Louis L’Amour

How can we write a good, effective title line? I write something and then look at it and say, “well, that sucks!”

I know it is really important to write something that will draw people’s attention. It has to create interest so people want to read what I have written.

Usually I will leave the boring title line and come back to it later. I just go ahead and start writing. If I take a break from writing I will look at the title again. At that point I may have a better idea and change it. Usually I make multiple changes. To be honest though I still think most of my title lines suck.

Writing title lines require a skill that I clearly do not have. How do I improve?
What are other people writing?

Each time I write I spend time researching other blogs and articles. I will look for similar subject matter. Today I was looking at the title lines they created. Is it better than mine? Sometimes, but not always.

The really good writers create something that pops! They write so it establishes interest. Their title draws you in.

So how do we get better?

Titles “sell” our stories. When I do my research I always scroll down and look at the title lines. What is it telling me? What is it offering? Is it worth reading? I usually will save a few and start reading the content. Some of the content does not offer much but the title line was good. Sometimes I find the title line was bad but the content was really good.

It makes me wonder how many stories and blogs have I passed over because the title line was bad. The next question is how many of my blogs were passed over because of my title line?

Our title lines are our advertisement. Every marketing expert will tell you how the message entrepreneurs use in their ads will affect their success. There is so much competition. Our ads have to be excellent. They have to “pop” and draw us in. What will I get from buying their product?

What about search engines? We want our writing and our ads to be seen by as many people as possible. We want to choose words that will resonate with our audience. It is also important our words will work effectively in search engines. Does the title line contain one or two keywords that will draw in our customers and will they rank high in search engines?

Keywords are best if placed at, or near, the beginning of your title line. They need to reflect the content you have written and provide a little punch. My last blog post contained the keyword “Fear”.

All of this is new to me. It is going to take some time for me to understand and be able to develop all the skills needed. I have just started using Social Media and I know it is important for promoting my writing. Now I just have to learn to do it effectively.

Another factor to consider for Social Media is the length of your title line. I just read it is best to use under 70 characters to insure your title is not cut off in search engine results.

Research shows that there is also an optimal number of words that you should use for Twitter and Facebook. You want people to “retweet” your content so you need to leave enough space for people to cite you or make comments. I read that 120 characters is a good number but that does not seem to agree with the 70 character recommendation for SEO. My goal is to use the 70 character limit whenever possible. I will do that until I realize it is not working.

So you know. I just changed my title line for the third time.

When I research I will often visit for inspiration.

If you enjoy reading I highly recommend visiting their site. I just went there to look for examples of title lines I could share with you. Here is a list I think are good examples of a quality title line:

  • The Genius Study: What Determines Creative Success? written by Zat Rana, a writer I follow on Medium

Why is this form good? It uses a key word phrase with a colon which is followed by a question.

  • How a Painful Childhood Made Me A Better Mom written by Esther Wojcicki

This title line starts with “How” indicating it is going to give you information. It also indicates it will “Help” you and it is also uses emotion.

  • A Complete Guide to the Science of Self Talk written by Brian Pennie

“Complete Guide” indicates that you will receive a benefit from reading the article and the subject is also a hot topic.

This is an example of using a “hot topic”, something that is in the news and somewhat controversial.

Each day my goal is to learn something. Today, I have. I researched writing title lines. I read articles and looked for some good examples of work completed by other writers. Not only was it beneficial, I also totally enjoyed doing it.

I have read so many statements that writing a blog is easy and that anyone can do it. Maybe. My question would be, “Can anyone write a quality blog?” No, I do not think so. Anyone can sit at a computer and put down words, but are they meaningful? Is there quality in the writing? Does it add value to someone’s day, both the reader and the writer? Is it worth the time it takes to write and to be read?

My purpose is to write quality and it is an ongoing learning experience for me. In doing my writing and doing research I am learning. I hope my effort will be reflected in what you are reading. I am learning and I hope you are as well.

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a great day!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Fear – Writing a Blog or Starting a Business

Yesterday I was browsing on Twitter. There was a article about the fears we face in starting a new business. That hit a nerve. Friday on my blog I posted, “Frustration, A Powerful Tool For Change”. It was about my frustration but it was also about fear. The fear of not being good enough.

It also made me think that not only am I a Blogger, I am an Entrepreneur. The tweet was referencing the fears that an entrepreneur faces. When I read the article I realized that most of the fears are the same fears we face as bloggers.

As a blogger we do not have a store front or sell a physical product. We are selling our skill as a writer. Writing is our product.

My ability to write is my biggest fear. It is also my motivation to improve. That was the cause of my frustration and my last post. I had written three articles for another publication. One article was published and two were not, Wake Up. Hello. Alarm bells went off.

I have high expectations. I set high standards for what I do. I may become nervous and fearful when I start something new. Blogging is new to me so I am fearful of some of the tasks I have to complete.

When I look back to my first posts, and then read the posts I am writing now, I do see improvement . I thought I was doing OK but I was starting to have concerns.

There are many posts written by bloggers describing their fears. How many likes and comments do they receive? How many followers do they have? When I read their concerns I immediately look at my blog Stats. How do I compare? How concerned should I be? Maybe I am not good enough.

I am building my blog from scratch just like an entrepreneur building a business. When I started I knew nothing. There are still many skills I have to develop. I am not savvy. I do not know the ins and outs of Social Media. Sometimes it has been overwhelming. I have the fear of not being able to do all I need to do.

The future scares me. What does the future hold for me. Will I be able to maintain my mental and physical abilities? Will I be able to improve? Those are certainly my goals. Those are the driving force behind my blog. I do not want to be stagnant and I am pushing myself to learn.

At first I worried about finding good content to blog about. I have found that not to be a problem. In fact now I have more than enough ideas. So much so that now I am writing them down in a notebook.

Time is always an issue. My fear is squandering it.

I am retired. I have an open day, each and every day. I am busy and there is always something else pulling at me. Recently it has been my gardens and being outdoors. I love both. Yesterday and today I dedicated part of my day to gardening and part to writing.

I do waste time. Creating a schedule and sticking to it is a continual issue for me. There is so much I want to do. Right now my focus is improving my writing skills. Am I fearful that I can do that? Not really. I know it will happen. I just have to keep writing.

Sometimes I am fearful about how readers will react to what I am writing. That is a common fear. I have read other bloggers mentioning the same fear. It goes back to fearing my ability to write. It also is a fear of offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings.

I am also fearful of sharing strong opinions. An example would be politics, religion or racism. We all have opinions though and I should not be fearful of sharing mine. It is an opportunity to share what I am passionate about.

It is not really my niche but I may be adding new material to my blog. Is that the right thing to do? Now I will be fearful of modifying my blog. I have read it is not a good thing to do. Maybe I will continue to look for other outlets.

When I started writing my blog the purpose was to add dimension to myself. I want to expand my thinking, my knowledge and abilities. Can I develop the skill to add enough dimension to my writing so that my blog reflects that. Will my blog help my readers expand their thinking, knowledge and abilities too? That would be so awesome!

Should I at some point allow advertising on my blog? That is something I had not planned to do. At this point I am still uncertain but I most admit I am intrigued by the possibility. It is an opportunity to earn income. Do I want to?

One thing I am intrigued by is developing products of my own. It is an interesting concept and I see other bloggers who do it. Blogging really is a business. We sell our writing, maybe I could develop something related to the blog. I am fearful of it but I will add that to my list of ideas.

Fear is normal. All bloggers and entrepreneurs face fear about accomplishing their goals and being successful. Fear is a motivator which helps us become better. Fear is not our enemy. When we face what we are afraid of doing we become stronger.

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a fearless day!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Frustration, A Powerful Tool For Change

I am so Frustrated ! I was hoping this wouldn’t happen but here I am totally awash in frustration. It is so bad. I have been dealing with it all day to the edge of Depression. I can feel myself teetering on the edge and I am trying not to fall in.

I have been really focused and pushing myself to excel. I started blogging and I became really excited when I was doing research and I discovered some great articles. They were published on a site I had never heard of before and they were all well written. I started reading random articles and in doing that I found information about writing and being published on that site.

Could I do that ? I was really hesitant but overwhelming interested. I thought about it, and thought some more, and then decided why not. I gave it a try. I submitted one article and they accepted it. However, it was only available on their site. It was not published and available for the general public to see. Bummer !

So as excited as I had been originally, after not being published I still thought, OK I can do this. I wrote another article which was accepted and it was published. I was actually paid a small amount of money. Yes ! I was totally, jump up and down, excited.

Of course, that experience made me want to jump right in and write another article. It took me awhile to decide what to write about. I chose something I thought would be interesting to a large audience. It was not an easy process and it took me forever. At least it felt like a long time. In actuality it was 4 + hours each day for 5-6 days including research.

The topic I chose was religious in nature and my own belief. The best part of the process of writing was expressing my own viewpoint and feelings. It is something I think about and sometimes talk about and it felt good to actually write all those feelings down. So it was not a problem writing that first part of the article. I actually think it was good for me to clarify those feelings.

Once I had written about my personal experiences, and why I came to my conclusion about faith, I felt I needed to add more. I did research about the history of the Bible as a backbone for the article. I did so much research and it was difficult putting it into perspective. The point was to add definition to my article and show the controversy about the accuracy of the Bible. This is turn would support my beliefs. Actually, the controversy could support anyone’s viewpoint which I noted in my writing.

When I was finished writing and submitted the article I was not 100 % satisfied with the portion about the Bible. I did feel it was sufficient to show the controversy about it’s accuracy. Looking back now I am wondering if my addition of that information was why my article was not chosen for publication.

In particular concern to me was the presentation of my research and the proper disclosure of my references. Did I do that properly ? Also a concern to me was the conciseness of my writing. Did I present my findings in such a way that the reader could clearly understand ?

I assaulted myself over and over with uncertainty. Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I went from a feeling of joy and satisfaction to one of questioning my abilities. Instead of feeling joyful I was very frustrated and mildly depressed.

So where do I go from here ? Walking outside this morning with my cat at 6 am I did not feel any better than yesterday. I was still questioning how I should proceed. Should I totally walk away from writing articles for this publication ? Should I take a break from my blog as well so I can clear my mind. Spend some much needed time in my gardens. Time needed for the gardens but also for me ? It would be so therapeutic.

Yesterday I contacted the publishing company for any insight they can give me regarding my writing. I am hoping to hear from them soon with some definitive answers. I clearly do not know why and it makes it more difficult to learn from this experience. I want to move forward and make the correct improvements. No matter what our individual level of competency there should always be the quest for improving what we do.

“Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.” ―Brian Tracy

It is very upsetting to me to be told what I have written is not good enough. No one wants to hear that, or except it. So now what do I do ? For me there is really only one option and that is to keep trying. I want to write and I want to write for this company. Being rejected is a challenge.

I will not go quietly into the night. I will stay and fight. I will look for ways to keep improving and although I dread being rejected again I will submit more articles.

This is a frustrating little bump in my road forward. I know I have to improve and I know it will not just magically happen. I will have to work for it. So that is what I am doing; working and looking for ways to improve my writing.

I have been doing a bit of research today and found a site called Grammarly. I am trying their free version but it does not provide enough help. I think what I really need is the Premium version and that cost $29.95 per month which I cannot afford. I will continue looking for other options.

Just at the right time I read Thembi Terry’s Blog, “Three Free Online Courses That Helped Me As A Blogger”

I read her post the day before I submitted my article and saved it so I could look into those courses. Now I definitely know I will. Thank you, Thembi Terry.

Although yesterday I felt defeated, today that feeling is easing. Writing my blog is all about moving forward and improving my life. So these are the steps I will be taking.

  • Remain positive. No negativity allowed.
  • Look for ways to improve my writing skills.
  • Visualize my outcome. My very specific goal is having my articles accepted for publication.
  • Remain focused. I do not want to spend too much of my time looking for easy options. Hard work will get me the results I want.
  • Create a journal of what I am doing so I will have a record of what I accomplished and what still needs to be done.

There you have it. My frustration and what I am doing with it. Just writing this today has been a great help. I am focused and I know what I have to do.

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day !