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Communication; Confidence

It's the thought that counts!

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It's the thought that counts!

It’s the thought that counts! 

Halloween has just passed and the door is wide open for the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas holidays to present themselves. Throughout the season, we frequently spend time with friends and loved ones and it's common to share gifts. When you receive a gift this holiday season, would you ever think of taking it and immediately throwing it on the floor? Would you ever thoughtlessly throw a gift back at the person who gave it to you? Of course you wouldn’t. Then, why do we take the gifts we’re given on a daily basis and do just this? When someone gives us a compliment, why do we regularly throw it on the floor or thoughtlessly throw it back at a person? Think about it; it’s exactly what we do. Someone tells us, “You look really nice today.” Quickly and without thought, we reply, “So do you”. We often hear our guests say, “Wow, this dinner was amazing”. We degrade and smash their compliment/gift and reply, “Oh, it really was nothing. It only took minutes; it's an easy recipe”. When someone compliments our shirt, shoes, or piece of clothing, we frequently say, “These old things, I’ve had them for years”. We treat compliments like a sticky, jello-like goo that we can’t hold or handle. Our instinct is to throw it back at the giver or drop it and let it slide to the floor.

When someone compliments you, open it up and try it on. Wear it and simply say, “Thank you”. When your instinct is to dismiss the compliment or give something back in return because it feels awkward, tell the giver, “Thank you, that makes me feel good to hear that from you.…thanks for sharing”. Tossing back an insincere response to their gift isn’t the answer. Cherish their comment; they’ll appreciate it and so will you. A simple, “Thanks for noticing”, will acknowledge the gift and allow the giver to share in your joy.

When giving a compliment, try acknowledging the person and not always the product or end result. When you want to compliment an article of clothing, say “That’s a beautiful shirt; YOU sure know how to pick great clothes”. How about, “This was a great party; YOU sure did a great job at pulling it all together and making it fun”. Women have a tendency to compliment another woman’s make-up.  I appreciate it when someone says, “Your make-up looks really great, YOU always know how to make your eyes stand out beautifully”. When you compliment someone’s accomplishments at work, tie it back to the person who accomplished the task. “Great job on closing the Johnson deal, YOU put a lot of time into that transaction, it shows”. Now, take it one step further and personalize your gift. You wouldn’t buy someone a blank trophy for winning an award without having it personalized with their name engraved on it; personalize your compliments too; engrave their name. “Dinner was really delicious MARY, YOU made the holiday special for me…thank you”. In gift giving, it’s commonly said that, “it’s the thought that counts”; put extra thought into the compliments/gifts you give.

Welcome and accept the gifts you’re given every day and tie a bow around every thoughtful gift you give to others. Every day is a celebration!

Thank you for all of your comments to my blogs; it is YOU and YOUR comments that make my writing and sharing such a joy for me….please, keep them coming; YOU fuel me.

Annamarie

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Bumps, Ruts and Lush Patches.....

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Bumps, Ruts and Lush Patches.....

Do you remember playing with Silly Putty? Similar to clay, you can roll it in your hand and press it on a comic strip to copy the print. You can do this over and over again and reshape the putty to all sorts of shapes and designs. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Silly Putty; it can be any type of soft clay. When you roll a soft ball of clay down a path, it’s marked by everything it crosses. It may not be visible to the naked eye but every rock, thistle or blade of grass makes an impression on the ball. The path itself and the angle it provides will influence the shape as it travels along. Some of the impacts mar the clay and leave undesirable scars or designs you may not prefer. None the less, as the ball progresses, the clay will continue to take on new forms. In many respects, we are no different than the clay. Experiences and contacts with each other will influence our shape as we travel down our path in life.

I attended my fortieth high school reunion this past weekend and visited with people I hadn't seen for decades. Thank goodness the old yearbooks were available for us to open up and look at the photos. I was having a great conversation with one guy who said, "I don't remember you." When we opened the yearbook to look at my old photo he said, "I remember her." I busted out laughing and said, “That is ME!.... I'm HER!" He replied with, “You’re really fun and interesting; I wish I had known you back then.” I replied, “I wasn’t anything like this back then, I was still very soft clay.”

For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t terribly excited about going to the reunion. Through my website and blog, I have openly shared many of the private “gouges and mars” I’ve received in my journey in life. Although I am proud of the way I have reshaped these negative and painful experiences, I was still “feeling” fragile. Disclosing and openly discussing my experience of rape in the military made me “feel” vulnerable to old acquaintances. I was pleasantly surprised that there were no cliques and it made no difference if you were a jock, cheerleader, scholar, or clown. We acknowledged and admired each other for the forms we have taken to this point. We only knew that at one point in our lives we had traveled down the same path. Even if we didn’t have specific memories of time spent together, somehow we had made a mark on each other’s lives…..visible or not. We had walked the same corridors and awkwardly participated in the same proms, pranks and pomp and circumstance.  It was a good opportunity to review the road we’ve traveled in the last forty years and acknowledge our trials and triumphs. It is the ability to look at our past without regrets that we can look to our future with excitement and hope. Regrets of the past and worry about the future serve no purpose. We’re not finished being shaped or molded. Regardless of how well we plan out our future adventure in life, it will contain bumps, ruts and lush patches. Each mark that is made on our life is what makes us unique, special and beautiful.

Leave a good impression on the clay and lives of others….stay soft and open to enjoy the journey ahead.

Thank you for your support, encouragement and sharing of my blog.

Annamarie

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Cutting the Ropes Around YOUR Ankles

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Cutting the Ropes Around YOUR Ankles

It starts with a small elephant and a big rope. You know the story, it's how humans control an animal that is greater than us in both size and strength. When a young elephant is being trained, a thick and heavy rope binds it to a spike in the ground. It may struggle for a while but eventually it gives up the fight. The baby elephant learns to live within the limits and confines of the rope. It can only reach out as far as the length of the rope will allow. Obviously, humans can't overpower a large elephant; but when the baby elephant has been trained in this manner, physical strength has no bearing. The elephant is controlled by his own limiting thoughts. It has convinced himself that the pulling of the rope and the resistance is stronger than his own strength. It gives up in defeat. Now, as a mature and large elephant, a simple string around his leg will provide all the control necessary to keep it restrained, restricted and mentally imprisoned. 

I'm sitting here looking at my ankles and I don't see any strings, yet I know I'm bound by some limiting thoughts. There aren't a lot of them but still, I know they exist. Many of these thoughts have been self-imposed and others have been unintentionally placed by influential people who have crossed my path in life. These limiting thoughts are more apparent when I look at my dreams and desires. When I take one of these dreams and go through the steps to turn them into a goal, SNAP-- there goes the jerk and  pull from the rope of doubt and insecurity. Now, as a case in point, let's look at this very blog. I continued to tell myself that "I'm not a writer, I'm a speaker." For over five years I wanted to write a book but the tug of the limiting thought kept me from achieving my dream. I discovered the weakness in the rope that bound me by asking, "Who told you that you aren't a writer Annamarie? What was the motive for telling you this?" Imagine my surprise to discover that It was actually me who told myself that I wasn't a writer. I discovered that it was my own personal motivation to inspire myself as a speaker and not to limit myself as a writer. I didn't intend to bind myself up; and yet I did. Little unobtrusive thoughts constantly cross our minds. Consciously we give them little regard but our sub-conscious is listening loud and clear. 

Take a look at your dreams and listen closely to hear the sound from old ropes that tug, bind and limit you. Some of the limiting thoughts may sound like, "You're too old for that." "You tried that once and it didn't work out then." "It's not worth it." "Why bother." "You'll never be able to....." Cut those ties and replace them with positive and constructive comments that free you to reach out past the length of your ropes. Take a look at "why" the rope was put there in the first place and free yourself. Be aware of the comments you tell yourself and what you recklessly say to others; especially children. You are an influential person in the lives of others and what you say can bind them or set them free to reach incredible heights. Your positive words are the fuel to strengthen and encourage a young personality. Speak with intention and thoughtfulness.

I am a writer; a storyteller; and a speaker of words. I may not be on the stage right now but I'm having fun between performances. When on stage, one of my greatest rewards is to see the look on someones face when we connect and share "a moment" of oneness. Your comments and questions are now my connection. 

Look at your dreams and cut anything that binds and prevents you from flying. Free yourself up to move toward your dreams; establish a goal; and achieve success. The thoughts that limit you...they aren't real.  Fly!




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What Do You Do...." When? How to set yourself apart and shine.

What Do You Do…? When? How to set yourself apart and shine.

Since the age of 15, I have always worked. These were various jobs at places like a Pizza Parlor, Fabric Store, the USAF, Hospitals, Title & Escrow, and ultimately for myself as a Speaker and Trainer.  Not too long ago, I was sitting with a group of ladies who have never worked (outside their home). By that, I mean they have never worked for a business or had an employer. It is a common practice of mine to ask someone, “What do you do?” I had a funny experience when a few of these ladies answered my question with a question: When I asked, “What do you do?” a few of the women said, “When?” You see, between 10:00 a.m. and Noon, some of the ladies played Tennis. Then they had lunch between noon and 2:00 p.m. and a hair appointment at 4p.m. I immediately realized that the reference points in our conversation were going to be quite different.

I had the occasion to have lunch with these ladies another time and they asked me, “To which Country Club do you belong?” When I told them that I didn’t happen to belong to a club they inquired, “Well, where do you eat lunch?” They were thoroughly confused when I shared with them how I frequently eat lunch on the seat of my car while driving from one client to another. If I’m lucky, I may eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the kitchen counter… It’s all perspective. Keep it real and see where you shine.

This kind of experience got me thinking about how we define ourselves. When someone asks us what we do for a living and we simply give them our job title, we pigeonhole their opinions of us. When we say, “I’m a….. Realtor; Secretary, Nurse, Lawyer, House Painter….…xyz” they can only use their past experience with someone of this title to “assume” they know what we do. Instead of telling people “what” I do, I try something different. I start out by telling them “how” I do what I do instead of “what” I am. This allows me to create a conversation that is interesting. This technique also allows me to set myself apart from any preconceptions. I don’t want their last experience with someone with my same job title to determine their understanding of me.

For example: If you sell Real Estate, instead of saying, “I’m a Realtor,” try saying, “You know how families want a home that fits their personal and financial needs? Well, I help them with that…I’m a Realtor with XYZ.”

A House Painter: “You know how people need to be confident that the largest investment they have ever made is protected from the elements for years to come? Well, I make certain they are assured that their investment is secured and sealed from the wind, sun and other environmental conditions…..I’m a house painter with xyz company”

A Receptionist: “Have you ever walked into a company and felt that no one really cares who you are or why you’re there to see them? Well, I work for xyz company and I make certain that everyone feels comfortable and confident that their needs are going to be heard…. I’m a Receptionist.”

Set yourself apart and shine. Look at your actions on a deeper level and take pride in “how you do what you do.” 

 

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Let's get the "Just" out and be an "I am...!"

Let’s get the “Just” out and be an "I am...!"

“Is she holding a pair of Aces; a Royal Flush; or is she bluffing?” Look at my face and I’ll tell you everything you want to know. Put sunglasses on my face or put a hood over my head; it won’t matter. Regardless of what you put on my head or eyes, my expressions are more than likely going to tell you exactly what you need to know. It’s precisely because of these expressions that I don’t play poker. It’s through my smile; my touch; and the combination of my words that I best connect and communicate. I wish there was an app to allow me to touch your hand while we chat. I would certainly prefer to sit beside each one of you to connect; but, for now I’ll use this medium to convey my thoughts. Words are wonderful tools capable of caressing; expressing; cutting; and conveying our thoughts and feelings but they are severely limited. Sadly, some words have dual meanings that confuse and complicate our communication. The list of homonyms in our language is endless. The constant chatter in our own private thoughts is also endless. On a conscious and sub-conscious level we are capable of building ourselves up and tearing ourselves right back down. This tear down happens in one quick and virtually unnoticeable thought we say to ourselves. 

Have you noticed how some people start out telling you about their occupation or hobby with the words, “I’m just….?”  When they begin their statement with the word “just,” I feel them shrink. So often I hear people say, “I’m “just” a secretary;” “I’m “just” a nurse;” or, “This is “just” a hobby of mine.” The word “just,” is one of those homonyms that can mean equitable and fair. It can also mean blameless and aloof.

When we share information about ourselves, let’s not take away our confidence by leading off with “Just.”  When we are speaking about ourselves or someone’s title or circumstance, let’s get the “just” out of our vocabulary. The same holds true with the word, “only.” We aren't “only” this….or “only” that. Let’s be who we are without any limitations; reductions or apologies. Let’s be confident and have pride in the person we are becoming. I prefer to build myself up and not limit who I am or what I love. This also holds true to a situation where we are trying to communicate our feelings or circumstances. Even when asked about a scrape on our leg we say, “I’m fine, it was “just” a scrape.”

Let’s get the “just” out and be an "I am...!"

 

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