Friday, April 30, 2010


Some professionals reading this they are going to say, “She has to be kidding”. However, before you pass judgment let me explain why this works for me.

About a year ago, I wrote down 17 things that are important to me to do in order to live the kind of life that brings me joy and success.

Some of the categories:

Write in grateful Journal
Write an article (For my new book, blog or to be posted as free article online)
Read an article or book
Work on finances
Send out two proposals per week
Receive a new coaching
Send thank you or congratulation notes
Learn a new word in French
Take a whole day off without phone or emails just to play

Since these areas are important to me I, decided I needed a way to see if I was accomplishing items in these categories on a regular basis. How would I do that?

In a conversation, a coach mentioned that when she exercises she put a sticker on her day timer page. (Yes, some of us still use them. Quicker to check dates and we have room to write ourselves notes quickly without wasting time opening our Smart Phones). Her sticker idea immediately sparked a creative cord with me.

What would happen if I bought a 30-day wall calendar with large blocks that would hold stickers? Went to the office supply store and found one with great scenes on it. Then I headed to the sticker department and bought sticks of various colors.

Next project. Hung the calendar is an area where I would constantly see it. Then proceeded to make a table of contents with the things I wanted to accomplish, and affixed a certain color sticker right after it. The key was developed.

I had been out of my own home for eight months while working on a special project. As result, I didn’t have my calendar or my stickers. Now I am back in the swing of things and all I have to do is look up at my calendar and I can see where I falling down on achieving my goals or taking care of my happiness factory.

Feels like I am back on track with my life. By the way, the sticker for my “Day Off” is a happy looking monkey—he makes me smile and reminds me how important that day off is to my well-being and my success.

How do you keep track to make sure you are on path with your goals?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My sister, who is presently teaching English as a second language in Beijing, and I had an interesting conversation on Skye the other night. What would we grab if there were an earthquake or a fire?
Janet’s response:  “My computer--- the only back up I have been able to get here is my external hard drive, so the information is not stored any place on the web. Because she is in China, she does not have access to many sites, including “YouTube”.
My reply: “I have a folder labeled important papers, so I would grab that and my purse.”
We continued our conversation and realized that pictures wouldn’t be an issue, because she had downloaded all the family pictures on the web before she left. They are protected.
The more we talked, the more we realized that we were probably among the few people who had really given this question any serious thought.
My question:  What would you grab if you had to get the door quickly?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Once again, reading the newspaper revealed a unique opportunity in my community. The Sunday paper talked about a film that was being shown at a theatre known for its’ art presentations in Portland, Oregon for one viewing only.

I knew it would be a special movie and immediately put it on my calendar for the following day. At the appointed time, I put the address into my GPS and headed to a district of Portland that I had never visited—Clinton Street.

Arriving early, I parked the car and walked the area…fascinating. Looks like an excellent place for me to put on my schedule to have breakfast sometime in the near future…quaint, little specialty places.

Walked into the Clinton Street Theatre bought my ticket, a box of popcorn with real butter and my customary Dr. Pepper. This is always my splurge when I go to a movie. Not good for me, but hey, I do it so infrequently.

The film began with an introductory by Michael Johnathon, a Folksinger, who explained that he had written the play to make sure that new generations understand the impact of Thoreau’s work so many years ago.

During the next hour, the play (on film) revealed aspects of Thoreau’s life the last two days of his stay in the cabin alone at Walden’s Pond. Thoreau stayed at the cabin alone for two years,two months and two days.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had given Thoreau the land to build his cabin and would stop in to check on Thoreau during the course of the two years. Emerson at first gave him a bad time because he was talking to his peas…then picked up one of the journals and realized there were many good thoughts written down.

Emerson warned Thoreau that there would be people that would not understand his writings, yet, Emerson knew there was great value in the findings.

After Thoreau’s death fourteen years later, it was Emerson who made sure the journals where published. Thoreau never experienced success during his lifetime.

At the end of the film, Michael Johnathon talks about how Thoreau saw the need to take care of our land and suggests that we don’t worry about saving the world. Just as Thoreau said, “Take care of what is around you”. Michael suggested that we “Pick up the bottles, go for a walk in nature, and appreciate what we have near you”.
I may not have a Walden Pond in my backyard, but I have wonderful pond out my window. Just because it isn’t Walden Pond, it doesn’t make it any less important……time to cherish and appreciate the world that is right in our backyard.

You can see an excerpt of it here:

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Three times in three days I experienced and heard how relying on technology has caused missed appoints and disruption in communication. Upon experiencing this, it has made me even more committed to keep training and speaking on how to improve business communications.

I just returned from an extended absence in my community. The road trip home helped me decide how I want to design my life and with whom I want to spend time.

My two main criterion:

1. Person is positive.
2. Person is engaged in life.

The first coffee appointment was set up. I arrived a bit early, as I normally do, full of enthusiasm and looking forward to an interesting exchange about our careers.

Time went by and my normal 15 minutes of waiting time was up---I was out of there. Went home and send an email. Missed you. Reply came back “I’m so sorry. My Blackberry did not back up correctly with my computer and our coffee date didn’t show up on my calendar. How can I make it up to you?”

The second coffee date (by the way it was the next day) and I arrived a bit early. Fifteen minutes went by and he didn’t show up. Went home, sent an email “Missed you.” Reply, “So sorry we made that appointment through Facebook and I didn’t put it into my calendar”.

The third coffee date, the CEO related how a staff member had sent him a note through Facebook about how he was going to miss the meeting that was scheduled. CEO hadn’t gotten the message and staff member was ticked because CEO hadn’t read his Facebook.

Once I stepped back and thought about these three incidents, it made me think about how technology is affecting our time and relationships. In all three cases, it was the very devices that are supposed to help expand our ability to communicate broke down human interaction.

My final reaction……Going to keep making coffee dates, but going to use the telephone to confirm in person that the meeting is actually going to take place.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


In order to keep up with change that is occurring in our world, it is important one keep an open mind about technology. Gadgets abound that can, perhaps, make our life easier. Yet, in most cases, there is a learning curve. The issue is too many of us do not take the time to learn how to use these gadgets or use them to only a portion of their abilities.

Yesterday I wrote down the goal of learning something new about technology every day of my life. It sounds like a big goal.

My first technology lesson to me was figuring out how to connect with my sister in Beijing. After about 20 minutes I thought I had it figured it out and tested Skype with a friend locally. It worked!

Last night we had a great conversation from her living room in China while I comfortably talked to her from my den. She certainly did not seem far away and it was good seeing her smile again.

Today, I got my wireless printer hooked up. Abet the wireless part isn’t quite figured out yet, but hey it prints perfectly and I’m on my way.

It is my belief one needs to have some kind of plan to learn about technology. If not she will be left so far behind in a very short time with her ability to communicate with the younger generations.

I am going to keep a list of what technology I learn every day. This Executive Coach and Speaker teaches improving communication skills….I better keep up to date on the tools that are available.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Since I am self-employed, is pretty easy for me to get the dates I want using miles. That is until now.

The family is looking with great excitement to our granddaughter being born in Belgium. She is scheduled to arrive July 26th, however, if my daughter takes after me, the baby will be coming about ten days late. I know a mother’s worse nightmare.

I had been finishing a major project in Palm Springs and then prepared for my move back to Vancouver, Washington….complete with a car full and a road trip with a girlfriend. Home, at last, I had time to focus on the tickets.

The partner airline with Alaska was American and on America’s website showed many tickets in first class for the entire month of August. There was one small problem, I was using Alaska Miles, they are allotted by America a certain number of tickets, and they were pretty much gone.

I stayed calm and worked with the operator to go through various scenarios that would enable me to go to Belgium and see this very special granddaughter. Alas, I could not get a flight out until August 18.

I rationalized that this would work just fine, only to get an email from my daughter expressing her disappointment I could not come earlier. My saving grace is that her husband’s mother will be more than willing to help until I get there.

So what did I learn?

If you have miles on another airline, make sure you check with them to see how many seats are available from their partner airline….you will be amazed how few there are.

Just as soon as you know a date, book your flight if you are using miles.

Listen to your daughter when she urges you to get your flight book!

PS, don’t feel too sorry for me….I’m flying there round-trip First Class using miles.