Viewing entries in
Educational

Time Out for a Tune-Up!

1 Comment

Time Out for a Tune-Up!

Every mode of transportation works best when it's properly maintained; our bodies, minds and spirits are no exception to this statement.

Hi there!

Thank you all for the support and encouragement you give me to continue writing my blog; you truly inspire me in so many ways. All of your subscriptions, comments and private emails enrich my life and help me to grow. I'm posting this message to let you know I'll be taking a break from posting but I will return in a few months. My unique physical body is in need of some R & R that includes some testing and fine-tuning procedures; such is the life of a "bionic/Hollowed" woman. 

I'm not sure if it's a warning or a promise but.....I'll be back.

Thanks for your understanding, love, and prayers.

Annamarie

 

1 Comment

Annamarie Ibrahim, B.I.C.

Comment

Annamarie Ibrahim, B.I.C.

Annamarie Ibrahim, B.I.C .

Annamarie Ibrahim, B.I.C.

I was recently asked if I believed the letters following your name on your business card were too boastful. I'm talking about those little abbreviations that follow your name to list your credentials, certifications or memberships in professional organizations. It was when I "Googled" these letters that I discovered the proper name for these initials is "Post-nominal letters". I've even heard these letters referred to as "Professional Alphabet Soup or Designation Scrabble." Listing too many post-nominals may look as if you're trying to arrange a triple-word score while trying to use the letter Q that is worth a solid 10 points. Back to my thoughts on the use of post-nominals....Provided they are used correctly, No... I don't feel they are too boastful when they are always in line with the letters B.I.C.

B.I.C. is the abbreviation for "Because I Care". Theodore Roosevelt said it best in his statement, "People will never care how much you know until they know how much you care." Your education, experience or affiliations is of no value if people don't feel your heart.

Take pride in your designations and post-nominals because they signify your commitment and dedication. Post and present them proudly BUT use them wisely. Use these initials to create an opportunity to have a conversation and discuss your responsibility, advanced education and allegiance. In addition to your dedication, these post-nominals speak to the supplemental attributes you'll bring to the relationship.

M.O.M., D.A.D., F.R.I.E.N.D., S.O.N., D.A.U.G.H.T.E.R.,.....These may not be considered post-nominals but they still require B.I.C. Holding the designation or the title will have no impact if we first don't show how much we care.

The professional sales trainer and speaker in me are itching to take off on a twenty page blog or jump into your office to present a workshop on the powerful ways to use these post-nominals to your advantage but I'll save it for another day or different forum.

The bottom line to the message of this week is........Without exception, "People will never care how much you know until they know how much you care."  

Annamarie Ibrahim, B.I.C. 

Comment

Please Press the "Pause" Button

2 Comments

Please Press the "Pause" Button

Part of my success in Sales and Marketing is directly attributed to a day when I stopped doing what I was doing. It was precisely when I took a moment to "pause" and analyze my practices that I was able to move forward more easily. I asked myself, "What did you do with one prospective client that allowed you to gain their trust and earn their business as compared to another prospect who you weren't able to capture"? It was clear to me that I had done specific things with the people who became a loyal client that I didn't do for the prospects who never gave me an order or made a commitment. With the prospects who I obtained as clients, I could track how I made a formal presentation; introduced them to my team; provided them with tools to increase their business and support their personal life; connected with empathy and sincerity; demonstrated my loyalty as well as a few additional key relationship activities. Upon review of the prospects I couldn't close or convert to my company, I could see the actions and steps I had overlooked and more quickly make course corrections to earn their business. 

I am no longer in Sales or Marketing but the importance of stopping and taking "pause" is crucial to my success and joy in life. Occasionally I'll catch myself feeling negative or discouraged; pressing the "pause" button on my life is more important than ever. Moments of discouragement are natural; staying in these moments to wallow is something I find to be unacceptable for my well-being. When I'm pessimistic I'll negatively impact the lives of those around me. I enjoy asking, "Annamarie, what haven't you done in your life lately that you did when you were the most joy filled, optimistic and satisfied"? I like to up-date the list of things that give me joy. Some of the things I enjoyed in the past aren't relevant to me at this stage in my life (or my body is no longer willing to move like my mind says it should). I'll ask myself, "What do enjoy Annamarie? When was the last time you did these things"? It's pretty easy for me to see the holes and voids in my life that once made me feel so much joy. The next question I ask myself is usually the most difficult. "So, Annamarie... what are you going to do about it"? 

No one else is responsible for making "me" happy or feeling joyous.....conversely, they can't make me unhappy....."Unless I let them." Their behavior or actions may have left me "with a situation" that leaves me feeling unhappy but I have the power and responsibility to counter this situation with activities that give me joy. I have heard it said that there is a big difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is an emotion and it can be temporary; joy is an attitude of the heart. Happiness is temporary while joy is a sustained feeling of pleasure about your life as a whole.

Now, I encourage you to ask yourself this: What makes YOU happy and what fills YOU with joy?.....What are YOU going to do about it? Hit pause and then PLAY!

 

Making people laugh & learn * Going to church * Walking * Writing * Siting on the beach * Hiking in the woods * Working with children * Singing * Drawing * Painting * Dancing * Volunteering * Cooking * Gardening * Entertaining * Sharing a cup of coffee * LOVING

 

 

2 Comments

        In Africa, they have a saying. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”        

  
     
    
       
        
           
                
           
        

        

       
    
     
  


          This saying has crossed my path many times but I was inspired to write about it when I heard it again last week. Researching this quote brought me to many incredible articles and blogs that spun directly off the message. Most of the articles went deep into team building; political analogies regarding government allies; and a myriad of other interesting and thought provoking topics. I am more interested in the quote and how it impacts us as individuals on a daily basis and regular activities. I have often caught myself saying, “It’s so much easier if I just do it myself.” I have witnessed young parents attempting to get their child dressed and suddenly grab the laces of the child’s shoes and say, “Here, let me help you with this, we need to hurry.” I have frequently overheard one employee say to another co-worker, “I don’t have time to teach you how to do this right now; it’s easier if I do this myself.” The more time we “waste” doing things ourselves the more quickly frustration and stress builds up in our bodies. Suddenly, thinking we have to do things on our own becomes a feeling of resentment; we feel as if we’re “always” left to do things on our own. We will travel farther on this incredible journey of life when we invest the time to do things "with" others who are traveling with us.       I remember working in this one office where I was the first person who was called upon to fix the copier when it jammed. I didn’t have the time to teach anyone else how to repair the machine; “it was easier to do it myself.” More and more jams in the copier left me feeling resentful; they were left feeling inadequate. Finally investing the time to share my knowledge on "copier jams" was a win-win for everyone. Watching the confidence grow in a child as they accept more and more responsibility leaves a parent feeling more at peace with the knowledge their child is equipped to “survive” in the real world.    Turning a simple task that you may be able to get done more quickly can turn into a wonderful memory and treasured experience if you take the time to do it together.  “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  Thank you for going the distance with me. I look forward to your comments. 

Comment

In Africa, they have a saying. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

     This saying has crossed my path many times but I was inspired to write about it when I heard it again last week. Researching this quote brought me to many incredible articles and blogs that spun directly off the message. Most of the articles went deep into team building; political analogies regarding government allies; and a myriad of other interesting and thought provoking topics. I am more interested in the quote and how it impacts us as individuals on a daily basis and regular activities. I have often caught myself saying, “It’s so much easier if I just do it myself.” I have witnessed young parents attempting to get their child dressed and suddenly grab the laces of the child’s shoes and say, “Here, let me help you with this, we need to hurry.” I have frequently overheard one employee say to another co-worker, “I don’t have time to teach you how to do this right now; it’s easier if I do this myself.” The more time we “waste” doing things ourselves the more quickly frustration and stress builds up in our bodies. Suddenly, thinking we have to do things on our own becomes a feeling of resentment; we feel as if we’re “always” left to do things on our own. We will travel farther on this incredible journey of life when we invest the time to do things "with" others who are traveling with us.

     I remember working in this one office where I was the first person who was called upon to fix the copier when it jammed. I didn’t have the time to teach anyone else how to repair the machine; “it was easier to do it myself.” More and more jams in the copier left me feeling resentful; they were left feeling inadequate. Finally investing the time to share my knowledge on "copier jams" was a win-win for everyone. Watching the confidence grow in a child as they accept more and more responsibility leaves a parent feeling more at peace with the knowledge their child is equipped to “survive” in the real world.

  Turning a simple task that you may be able to get done more quickly can turn into a wonderful memory and treasured experience if you take the time to do it together.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Thank you for going the distance with me. I look forward to your comments. 

Comment

A Blank Slate for the New Year

3 Comments

A Blank Slate for the New Year

Happy New Year!

     Don’t you just love the crisp air that rolls in with the month of January? I find the light sting on my skin and brief burn in my lungs to be energizing. I purse my lips to exhale my breath and push out imaginary smoke rings that disappear into the cold air; it makes me giggle.  It is this childlike energy that fuels my perspective and optimism for the New Year; a vibrant, spirited attitude emerges when I anticipate the year ahead. I enjoy the blank slate I see when I sit down to write my goals or openly discuss them with others. Periodically the mature reality of responsibilities and deadlines of life push away my spirited demeanor; I’m weighed down with the thought of tasks and necessary sacrifices. To achieve some of my goals, the new disciples that I'll require will appear daunting. Occasionally my list of objectives will expand faster than my hand can write; I’m overwhelmed. No matter how positively I write each goal my plate of tasks and responsibilities feels more and more heavy. My scales of exhaustion can be tipped with simple comments like, “I’m going to eat healthier; walk two miles a day; write five pages each day in my book”. I don’t want to feel as though I’m adding more to my “to-do” list without first making room on my plate to grow. Instead I want to focus on what “I can do” and not place a spotlight on what “I can’t”; but again, I need the room.

      To make room in my life I find it necessary to first expand my attitude and make emotional space to get relief. What am I going to stop doing? For starters I’m going to stop judging myself and start appreciating who I am at this very moment. I’m going to stop parking my car so close to the front door of the store and I’m going to walk farther from where I park; this will add to my desired two miles a day. I’m going to stop worrying about what I’m going to serve my guests for dinner; this way I’ll be less stressed and able to focus more on the conversation; the pleasure of their company. With each objective or goal that’s added to my plate, one negative thought comes off.

     Traditionally the song “Auld Lang Syne” brings with it, a review of our past; a look back at the last year. It’s not easy to reminisce without recalling the goals I “didn’t" achieve. It’s also a challenge to acknowledge the mistakes I “did” make.  However, I’m not disappointed when I reminisce. I can only learn from my mistakes or underachieved goals by first admitting I want to make some changes. I’m not the same person as I was a year ago; in fact, I’m not the same person I was yesterday. Just  like the month of January I’m a blank slate too.

Happy New Year! – Annamarie

 

3 Comments

It's the thought that counts!

1 Comment

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

1 Comment

                         Spilled Milk!                  "Worry, Regret's & Guilt"

3 Comments

Spilled Milk! "Worry, Regret's & Guilt"

Please don’t tell me how to “feel”.

Have you ever shared your feelings of guilt with someone else? Have you ever been told, "Don't feel that way"? How about when you tell someone that you’re "worried", and again they say, “Don’t worry”.  My feelings are my feelings. Telling me “not” to have them or "don't feel them", isn’t going to work. Now, it’s a completely different story if we discuss “how” these negative feelings aren’t doing me any good. An even better idea is for us to talk about the different ways I can move forward and eliminate these feelings. I’m willing to listen; but telling me “not to feel” isn’t going to work.

Today’s blog topic has been created at the request of a few of you readers. Your requests inspire and fuel me to research, ponder on,….. and write. I enjoy it when you request a blog topic; it’s a great compliment. Your request tells me you’re interested in my thoughts and they help me to learn. You have given me a great gift. Thank you.

Let me begin by saying that I worry; I have regrets; and I have feelings of guilt for some of the pain I have caused others by my actions. However, I do my best not to allow these feelings take away my enjoyment of life today or my dreams for tomorrow. I say that “I do my best” because it’s a constant work in progress. I am forever learning, growing and evolving. To tell myself or someone else, “Don’t feel that way”, isn’t going to help. Please note that I refer to worry, regret and guilt as “feelings” and not “emotions”. A newborn baby isn't capable of experiencing the feelings of worry, regret or guilt. Through my research, I’ve enjoyed the references of emotions differently than feelings. I can take ownership of my feelings; I’m responsible. When I’m responsible, I can change and evolve.

When left unattended, worry, regret and guilt are absolutely useless feelings; yet, we allow them to bind us up in psychological and emotional knots. These knots block joy, love and laughter from entering our life while they increase stress and “dis-ease”. From “dis-ease” come diseases. Blood pressure will rise, digestion will cease to work property and a host of ailments will develop. When we take worry and do something about it….ahhhhh, that’s another story. With a clearer understanding of its negative impact, worry can be reduced to a feeling of “concern”. Worry is an endless loop of negative thoughts; a hamster wheel of “dis-ease”. When you have a worry, write it down on a piece of paper. When you write it down, it can’t grow or keep spinning out of control. Looking at what you’ve written down, ask yourself this question. “Can I, and am I willing to do what it takes to change this situation?” If not, then agree that it is of no use to you and throw the paper away. If you can do something, then take the steps to do it. Write down what some of these steps are and you'll have a plan. Suddenly, your worry will be appropriately reduced to a “concern”. Concerns are manageable; worry is useless.

I utilize many props in my seminars and a tall glass of water comes in handy for my next demonstration. I replicate a story from another lecturer on the subject of stress management; it perfectly applies to the subject of worry, regret and guilt. Holding up a glass of milk that is half-full, I ask a question. Being an inspirational speaker, my audience suspects I’m going to ask if the glass is half-empty or half-full. Instead I surprise them by asking, “How heavy is this glass of milk?” Some people call out to me and say, “Half a pound to a pound.” They are surprised when I say, “The absolute weight of the glass doesn’t matter. The truth is, it depends on how long you try to hold it.” My audience listens attentively as I continue on to say, “If I hold the glass for about a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for thirty minutes to an hour, my arm will begin to ache and my muscles will burn from the discomfort.” It is when everyone is most attentive that I continue on to say, “This is the same way with stress, worry, regret and guilt. The longer we hold on to them, the heavier they become. Put them down.” 

Wallowing in feelings of guilt and regret weigh us down and prevent us from making changes to move forward. Guilt, like jealousy, will eat you from the inside out. Its purpose is to get our attention to make a change. Not all guilt is rational but the negative feelings we give it are always destructive. Make amends for your behaviors and the actions that caused you to feel guilty in the first place; then put it down.

I have this story to share about regret. The day I made the “elective” decision to remove my entire pancreas; spleen; duodenum; section of intestine; ½ stomach; gallbladder and too many other organs to mention in my digestive and endocrine system, was the day I vowed to never live with regrets of any kind. The pre-malignant tumor hadn’t turned malignant “yet”. I knew there was a possibility that it wouldn’t spread and yet, maybe it would. I had already lost eight family members to cancer of the pancreas and digestive systems. Knowing full well the life before me, that was laid out by the doctors, would be filled with complications and challenges, I focused on the word “life”. Regrets have no place in my life. Initially I was burdened by the statements of "What if". Most of these "what if" statements were presented to me by others. "But what if it never spreads?; What if you have the surgery and didn't need to be so radical?; What if you get in there and discover you're too late?" When making a change in my life, I've learned to do as much due diligence as I possibly can. Search my intellect and most importantly, search my heart. Make decisions and always live without regret.  

 Life, like time, can only go forwards. Join me and live with purpose, love and laughter! Wasting the precious days of life by worrying over and regretting the days of the past while you feel guilty, is like "Crying over spilled milk". Wipe it up and move forward.

 





 

 

3 Comments

Are you "Fascinated" or "Frustrated"?

Comment

Are you "Fascinated" or "Frustrated"?

The power of words has always intrigued me; especially the words we tell ourselves. Now, as a case in point, let me tell you about some words I told myself for many years.  With the start of each year I was inspired, motivated, and focused to get healthy. Without fail, I was successful in losing weight; only to gain it right back. Contributing to my lack of permanent success was my vocabulary. I was telling people, “I lost the weight”. When I think about it, I’ve never been happy to “lose” anything. When I was a young girl, I “lost” an Olympic commemorative coin. I made it my mission to find that coin; and I did, along with extra stuff. It made sense to me that when I tell people I “lost” my weight, my sub-conscious will help me find it; and it did, along with extra weight . Conversely, when I cleaned out a cluttered closet or a cabinet in the garage, the stuff remained GONE. I realized that I was telling people, I “got rid” of the junk. When I changed the words I was using, I was in more control and the weight stayed away. Yes, I “got rid” of the weight. I will continue to “get rid” of additional weight, and my attitude will always be lighter because of my vocabulary.  

With the very first awareness of their vocabulary, the participants in my seminars improve their attitudes.  Participants feel a powerful change in their outlook when they replace the word “frustrates” with “fascinates”. You may not be attending one of my workshops right now, but try it. Instead of being impacted negatively by the actions of someone else or the situation, you’ll be "curious" to find a solution. Changing from “frustrated” to “fascinated”, you have a desire to better understand. Have you ever said, “It really frustrates me how you think!” Instead you’ll say, “It really fascinates me…” At the very least, you’ll smile and not continue to fuel your frustration.

Try this exercise with something that currently “frustrates” you. Write it down.

 “It really frustrates me how………………….…”.

Can you think of solutions to this frustration?

Do you even feel the desire to come up with a possible solution?

Now, write that same situation down by saying,

“It really fascinates me how…………..….”.

Before you start to write down all the possible solutions to this situation, focus on your attitude. Notice your willingness to move in a positive direction. Recognize your new willingness to take the steps to improve the circumstance.

Now, write down the possible solutions to alleviate this situation. 

Look at the powerful change that comes from using the word “get” instead of “have”.

You’re sending a powerful message to your children when you tell them they “get” to do their homework, instead of “have” to do their homework. This little change also helps to teach gratitude and fuel a more appreciative attitude.

We “get” to go to work.  We “get” to go to the gym and get fit. We "get" to clean the house. We "get" to work in the yard. 

Do you ever feel “overwhelmed”? Simply saying the word “overwhelmed” will make you feel overwhelmed. Whenever I use the word "overwhelmed", I'm told that I run my hands run through my hair; spiking it up from root to tip. This gesture conveys to everyone how stressed I’m feeling. I've learned to change the word “overwhelmed” to “in demand”. Pause here for a moment and think about it. Feel the smile on your face when instead of saying, “I’m really overwhelmed lately” you'll say, “I’m really in demand lately”. Feeling "in demand" means we're wanted; we're needed; we're IN DEMAND. When we are “in demand” we are in control of ourselves. That is an extreme way for me to prove my point; but I did. You smiled. 



Comment

Give yourself a little credit...

Comment

Give yourself a little credit...

I can actually “feel” the tension in the tone of her request. “Annamarie, I need your help.” Instantly I’m put on edge and I respond with a willingness to do whatever I can to assist her. Her request was easy from my perspective. All I needed to do was drive to a garden that is close to my home and "hopefully" find something she has lost. She had been working in this garden to get it ready for an up-coming wedding and was already back in her own home that is quite far away.  It was here in her home that she developed that sick feeling that comes along with PANIC! She lost her credit card.  

You know the feeling: your heart sinks, your stomach tightens, and fear fills your entire body leaving little room for your breath. The next thing that typically happens is a feeling that your mind is clogged like the 405 freeway in Los Angeles during rush hour where nothing can move.  You put your life in reverse, backing up through your actions and replaying your conversations, activities, and movements. Forward and back, forward and back. While reviewing the steps of your day you second-guess your memory. Wait, wait, wait- first I did this, then that, no this, then that. Logic gets blocked by panicked thoughts and negativity makes it impossible for productive ideas to pass. 

Like an ambulance with red lights flashing, logic attempts to push through the traffic jam to say, “Relax!” If commonsense could scream it would shout to these useless thoughts and say, "Look in the rear view mirror and pull over, I'm here to repair this panic situation." But without commonsense and logic, your mind stops and comes to a complete standstill. Thoughts about the worst-case scenario push to the front like rubberneckers at the scene of a crash. Suddenly your mind is racing forward to conversations with the credit card company. You hear yourself requesting to place a hold on your card and apologizing for losing it in the first place. You rush through the list of people, businesses and accounts you'll have to call to cancel the card. Frustration and self-deprecating thoughts push ahead and arrive before the logic can get to the scene. Instantly, you're impacted by the negativity and you severely damage the positive and confident parts of your being. "How could I have been so stupid? Why do I do such irresponsible things?" Stop! Pull over and let the logic through. 

When logic arrives, it also brings an ample supply of oxygen. Commonsense and reason will restore your resourcefulness and repair your physical and emotional clarity. Suddenly, levelheadedness and prudence pull up alongside and align your practical insights. Rolled up in a receipt, slipped into the wrong pocket, or stuck in the cushion of your car seat is where you find the card you assumed was lost. You're flooded with a sense of peace as the wreckage of negativity is pulled to the shoulder. Words like "Phew, Hooray, Thank Goodness and Wow" pass your lips and your shoulders lower to relax.  

Panic.... It has no benefit in any of our situations. It will only cause us to crash and burn. No matter if it’s a lost credit card or an emergency of any proportion, Stop! Pull over and let the logic through. Wait until your emotional distress subsides before you let panic take over.

I look forward to your posts and suggestions for future topics (and Monica, I'm glad we found your credit card ;-) 


Comment

2 Comments

Sing Louder....The Stronger Voices Win!

Do you remember when our elementary school teacher divided the class in half and each side was assigned a song to sing? One half of the class was instructed to sing "Row-Row-Row Your Boat" and the half was assigned the song "Are You Sleeping Brother John?"  I remember the concentration I had to have to stay focused on the song I was assigned. Often the voices on the other side of the classroom would cause me to lose focus and start to sing their tune. Frequently we could all end up singing one song or start singing the different song than what we started. Some kids would put their hands over their hears to avoid being influenced to go off track.  This example is similar to the influence that negative voices from other people can have on us. When you're trapped by negative people, it can be difficult to stand out and sing a positive tune. Before you know it, you feel the heaviness of their attitude and chime in with their hopeless and helpless tune. Don't do it! Sing out a positive and hopeful tune and focus on what you enjoy. Seek out other positive voices and surround yourself with good energy. 

I'm tired of the negative bashing of America. That negative song that bashes politics, policies and our people. Frequently posts are made on Facebook and other social media sites that trash -talk our country. One negative comment after another without so much as a positive statement is numbing and disheartening. I fight it! Conversely, I don't support the Ostrich approach of sticking your head in the sand and pretending that problems don't exist. I support a balance; a meshing of outlooks and attitudes. Blasting our country; our politics and our people insistently, won't make your voice heard any more clearly. In fact, when you don't balance your negative voice with positive comments, your voice is viewed only as routine negativity and not constructive thought. People tire of you and will eventually avoid you all together. The negative commentary has no impact except to bring others down. Nothing positive will result.

Take a moment to look at what you do like about America....and post that thought or feeling. Post what you do like about a situation or circumstance. Let the positive voices give you perspective to make positive change for the right reasons and not simply because it's easier to complain. Seek the higher and tougher road to post constructive thoughts. It was so refreshing to have my family from Denmark visiting with me this last week. It was a joyful sound to hear them sing about the beauty of our country.....America. I heard about the friendliness and helpfulness of the American people. I listened to their admiration of our systems and policies as well as their thoughts on improvement. I enjoyed the light in their eyes as they shared their experiences of the Grand Canyon; Yosemite; Las Vegas; Los Angeles and numerous other locations across our country. They never reduced their admiration and loyalty to their own country as they talked about the challenges facing Denmark and Europe. They balanced their voices of positive and constructive views of Denmark and America. It was a wonderful reminder of how beautiful the Land of the Free and the brave really is. 

Harmony comes from a balance of tones. Think of the positive attributes you have in your life and focus on them as you constructively address the issues. Sing out in a stronger voice to share the joys you have and the blessings you've received. Drown out the negative and useless bashing of life and tell the negative influences that you're not going to sing that song. Be proud. Be strong. Be hopeful. Be constructive and not critical. With a positive voice, you'll be heard.

Please comment on what you do love about your life; your country; and....you! What do you love about yourself and your life?

 

2 Comments

Comment

A limitless number of stars in the sky

Today I learned about the non-profit organization named Project Semicolon. The goal of the project is to restore hope and confidence in people who are troubled by addiction, depression, self-harm, and suicide. The non-profit encourages these people to draw or tattoo a semicolon on their wrist. The semicolon symbolizes that the difficulties they face are not the end but a new beginning.

This has me thinking! Many of us wear bracelets to express and support a cause.  There are bracelets to bring awareness to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's as well as various forms of cancer and a host of challenges and adversities. We often wear symbols to express our religious and spiritual beliefs.  A military uniform is not only used to identify each other as comrades but to also reflect the dedication and sacrifice they have given to our country. These bracelets and symbols are beautiful opportunities to heighten our awareness and more easily identify common bonds. We use these bonds to quickly relate and connect. When we recognize the symbol, it is as if we say, "aha, I understand you." If someone isn't wearing a bracelet or symbol, am I to assume they don't have a cause, challenge or concern? Because it isn't visible doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The stars in the sky aren't visible in the daylight but I still know they are there. 

Just as there are a limitless amount of stars in the sky, there are an unlimited amount of challenges and causes that impact each one of us. If we tried to express each and every challenge we have, some of us would be covered from head to toe with tattoos, bracelets and symbols. I encourage and endorse the power that these symbols have to help us connect with each other. It isn't enough to simply wear a symbol or to make note of what symbol someone else is wearing. Instead, please look at these visual symbols as opportunities to connect with someone and to better understand what moves and inspires them. But just because you don't see the sign doesn't mean that their challenge doesn't exist. 

We don't pick up a bracelet in the morning that expresses an emotional need where we could use some support. It's unrealistic to think of each of us putting on a bracelet that said, "I'm sad." "I'm scared." "I'm fragile." "I'm lonely." "I'm worried." "I'm disillusioned."  BUT...it is not unrealistic to assume that everyone can use some kindness.  

On the days when you are overflowing with kindness, I know you could use some too. I'm exactly the same. Similar to a hug, when you give kindness you'll simultaneously receive some.

It's amazing!

Please invest in a moment to look at the stars in the sky; count your blessings and share your comments with me.

Thanks for your support by signing up to receive the blog weekly.

Annamarie

 

Comment

Comment

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.” 

 

Comment

Comment

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...!"

 

Comment