Five Beliefs that Sabotage Goals

doneDo you have some big goals?  Are you making progress?  Or are you making excuses?  How long have you been saying you were going to write that book?  Start your own business?  Try a new career path? Get out of debt?  Get in shape?

Maybe you say you tried it and it didn’t pan out.  You wrote a few chapters and quit.  Sent the finished copy off to a publisher and got rejected.  Applied for another job and didn’t get the call back.  Created a business plan but couldn’t find the cash to get started. Tried a diet and gave it up.

Maybe you figure goals and dreams like that are for other people.  People who are lucky.  People who are really talented or smart.  People who have willpower.  People who have connections.

Truth or Fiction?

What if I told you none of those things are necessary for you to be successful at accomplishing your dream?  What if I told you that you are sabotaging your own success with your beliefs? The picture shown above is from an UpLevel Conference I attended in June.  It is one of hundreds of beliefs that participants wrote down that they wanted to give up.  Our beliefs are so wired into our brains that many times we aren’t even aware of how they guide our steps.   I spent ten years after writing my first Wyatt the Wonder Dog book, waiting for someone to appear in my life and tell me how to get it published.  What if I told you that NO ONE like that ever came along and I could easily still be waiting for something to happen if I hadn’t changed my thinking? The first step to accomplishing any dream is to examine your beliefs about yourself and make sure you aren’t sabotaging your God given ability.

Beliefs that Keep You Stuck

Here are five common beliefs that many  people hold on to that wreak havoc with their ability to move forward. Do any of these ring true for you?

  1. Do you believe that you don’t deserve it?  Is your image of yourself that of someone who can only do average things in an average world?  Someone who can’t possibly be so extraordinary as to step outside the parameters of “normal”?  Do you feel that you aren’t worthy of success?
  2. Do you believe that comfort in your present situation, even an uncomfortable present situation, is better than venturing into unknown territory?  Have you been miserable so long that you’ve become accustomed to it and actually prefer it to stepping out into the unknown?
  3. Do you believe that if you are successful you will lose something or someone?  Perhaps family, friends or co-workers would be unhappy, jealous, resentful, or disappointed? Do you find that the people in your life say they want what is best for you but you know they really want you to keep things as they are?  Would you rather be safe and secure… and miserable, than successful?
  4. Do you believe that you are not capable enough, smart enough, savvy enough, athletic enough, gifted enough to be successful?  Do you fear that if you became successful, someone would realize that you were faking it?
  5. Do you believe that you should wait to move forward until you are certain of the future?    That you will somehow find that everything fits perfectly into place and until you are certain and confident without a doubt, that you should wait?

Mindset is Key

You see, what we believe about ourselves shapes who we are.  It shapes the goals we set, the path we take and the energy we put into accomplishing our dreams.  If we believe ourselves to be inadequate to meet the challenge, incapable of pushing our limits then we will be stuck doing what we’ve always been doing and getting the same results we’ve always gotten.  If we wait for others to approve and give support or for the stars to perfectly align before we move forward in our plan, we will always be waiting.

One of the great icons of the motivational world, Zig Ziglar used to say that he was so positive, so sure of accomplishing his goals that he would, “go after Moby Dick in a rowboat and take the tartar sauce with me.”  What about you?  Can you envision your goal?  Can you envision you in the future accomplishing your goal?  Are your beliefs inline with success? Are you so confident, so determined that you would take off after Moby Dick and bring the tartar sauce?

Want to tackle those dragon beliefs that are limiting your life?  Want to become a Dream Achiever?  I can help slay the dragon and get you unstuck with my Dream Achiever:  Coaching for Success program.

 

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Shady, the Devil Dog Escapes Again

Meet Shady the devil dog.

I haven’t written much about her lately because I’ve been winning (at least in my mind) the battle.  That all changed when I returned home from church yesterday to find that she had busted out of her pen and was happily wandering the neighborhood.  Keeping her contained has been an ongoing problem.

shadycrate

She has dented and broken out of crates.

 

If left alone in the house to wander around at will- (lets say I’m working outside in the yard) she will frequently destroy a basket, upholstered chair, or rip the cable out of the wall.  If she has long enough, she will do all three.

shadymess

Consequently, she has to stay outside in her pen regardless of the weather if I’m out of the house for any longer than a short walk to the mailbox. I bet you’re thinking she is a puppy and will out grow it?  I doubt it.  She is about 11 years old.  She has a pen outside that I have resorted to putting her in whenever I am not around.

damage

It’s still difficult to keep her contained.  She has stripped siding off the house and eating through sheet rock and walls.  She has bent the wire on chain link fence gates and  busted out of her pen leaving the gate flapping in the wind.

But when I arrived home yesterday  and went to let her in from her pen, I seriously thought something magical had happened. It looked like she had flown the coop leaving behind no indication of how she escaped.  The two inch thick plywood was still in place on the house so she hadn’t eaten through any walls.  The gates were both tightly closed, then secured with chains and zip ties.

doghouse

The dog house was in the middle of the concrete (no leaping on top and over the fence).  The wire along the concrete floor was all still solidly in place.

 

It was a bit like that murder mystery where someone is dead, locked in a room and there is no weapon just a puddle of water.  Except in this case she was very much alive and I doubt she used a block of ice to escape.

escapegate

After much observation of the pen, I decided that the most likely area of escape was the bottom of one of the gates where she had pulled the fencing through.  It really looked like an impossibly small hole for a medium sized 50+ lb dog to squeeze through.  What do you think?  Can a dog this size fit through a hole that small?

DSCN1217_250

This morning, I wrapped it in some thin twine, put her in her pen and headed out for my daily walk.  As I headed down the home stretch to my house, a mere 45 minutes later, Shady once again greeted me in the street.  Not only was she an escape artist but she was also a fast escape artist.  My guess was right though.  She had torn up the twine showing me the escape route.  Now how to fix it???

escaperoute

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Seven Secrets to Selling More Books

DBFbanner

One aspect of being a writer and an author that I initially hated and feared was selling and marketing my books.  In the beginning I was one of those people who said, “I can’t sell anything.”  However if you produce a product, eventually you want to share it with others and unless you can afford to give it away, you will need to learn how to best promote and sell it. I’ve studied and practiced this for several years now (how time flies!)  and the exciting thing is that I now love to sell my books and other products.  I actually look forward to events like the Decatur Book Festival that I attended this weekend.  How did I change my attitude about selling?  I changed my mindset.  I no longer think of it as selling my books.  Instead I think of it as sharing and helping others.

The concepts that I’ve learned from selling books, are useful in many other situations, so whether you are a writer or artist or an inspirational speaker, you can apply these principles to your work.  Here are my Secret Seven:

 

Know who your audience is.  I write two kinds of books.  Wyatt the Wonder Dog books, are picture books with a lesson and The Call: Perfect Dream, Imperfect Life  is an adult inspirational book.  My children’s books appeal to parents, grandparents, educators and school counselors.  My adult book, is written for women who are interested in discovering their passion and reinventing their lives.  To be successful, I need to sell in an environment where I can find my audience.
Know what your audience wants.  I’ve found that you have to be sensitive to the focus or the purpose of the event and the audience. I’ve participated in quite a few school festivals where I’ve been a vendor and sold books, which seems like the perfect environment for children’s picture books. In fact, I’ve found that parents and kids are more focused on festival/carnival type activities than buying books. They want to play games, win a cake in the cake walk. buy junk food and get their face painted. If you are going to participate in this type of festival, you need to have something at your booth that appeals to kids and draws them in. Simply displaying your wares and waiting for the sales to happen isn’t going to work.  On the other hand, my experience at the Decatur Book Festival is different from other events.  Because it is billed as a book festival you are more likely to find parents and children focused on finding the next great read.  foxtalebooth

Have a visually appealing set up.  Do something that attracts attention and is engaging.  Just having a few books stacked up, or brochures laid out is not enough.  There needs to be a sense of abundance at your booth.  If products look scarce, people don’t feel it’s worth their while to stop.  They can see from a distance the one book you are offering and check it off their list.  Is there something they can touch?  Can they flip through the book?  Can they see how they might package the book with a a puppet and tie it up with a bow for a gift?  At a Christmas booth, I packaged my five children’s books together and tied a big Christmas bow around them and displayed them on a stand.  It was easy and an instant holiday idea.

Tell a story. Everyone loves a story and it is stories that sell products.  Often it’s not just the story between the covers that sells a book. Readers like to know the story behind the story.  How did you come up with the idea?  Is the main character like you or someone you know?  What other interesting things can you share about the book and how it is used by others?  Engage your customer by showing the features of the book.  I usually tell about my history as a school counselor and how I came up with the different themes of the books.  Which leads me to the next point….

Develop a relationship with your customer.  Don’t just be interested in getting them to buy your product.  Ask yourself, “What does this person need and how can I help them?”  This is the secret to how I got past my fear of selling.  I stopped thinking of it as selling and started thinking of it as helping.  Although I have a goal of selling books, my top priority is how can I help each individual I meet.  Sometimes I help by listening to their story and making suggestions.  Sometimes I help by telling them how I started writing and publishing books because they mention that they’d like to write.  Sometimes I help by suggesting other products, books, blogs, conferences or authors  that they could benefit from.  In other words, selling  my book is secondary to helping meet their needs.  Zig Ziglar said, “You can have anything you want if you just help enough people get what they want”  and I find this to be true every time.

Create a package.  I can sell one book or I can sell all five as a package and give a discount. I can add in a CD with an audio of the books.  People are just naturally drawn to not only getting a deal, but getting more, especially where there is a connection or theme.

Mathew Ward signing his book:  The Fantastic Family Whipple

Mathew Ward signing his book: The Fantastic Family Whipple

Give something away to everyone.  Even if someone does not purchase a book, always have something to share. At the Decatur Book Festival this weekend, author Mathew Ward gave away trading card with the main characters of the book on them.  I’ve partnered with a local doggie boarding and daycare business and they give me doggie treats and coupons for their business to pass out.  You can give away bookmarks, coloring sheets for kids, a brochure… the list is endless.

 

Well there you have it.  My seven selling secrets that I’ve gleaned from a few years of marketing and selling my books, speaking programs and coaching sessions. Would you add anything to the list?  What have you learned about selling your product?

Want some help in overcoming the self-publishing overwhelm?  Checkout my self-publishing guide: http://wyatthewonderdog.com/publish

 

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Three Mindsets that Keep You Stuck

 Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein

One of my favorite books is Who Moved My Cheese?  by Spencer Johnson.  I especially like the children’s version with it’s colorful pictures and clever text. As a school counselor, I read the story in classrooms and discussed the behavior of the four characters with children. I’ve also loaned book out to friends going through a transition or loss.  It is the story of two mice, Sniff and Scurry and two little people, Hem and Haw who are camped out in a maze in the midst of an abundance of cheese.  They are all enjoying the cheese, however there is a dramatic difference between the mindset of the characters in the story.

Are You Hem and Haw or Sniff and Scurry?

Sniff and Scurry think ahead and  plan for the obvious;  the cheese won’t be around forever.  Even before the cheese is gone they begin preparing to move forward and look for more cheese.  They develop a strategy and begin the difficult task rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen.

Hem and Haw have a different mindset.  Not only do they not realize that the cheese is dwindling down but they also have an expectation that someone else will replace the cheese and continue to supply it once it is gone.  They are oblivious to the problem looming on the horizon and are taken by surprise when they arrive one morning for their daily nourishment and find that there is no cheese to be found.  They are furious and distressed over their situation, yet they continue waiting in the same spot day after day for more cheese to magically appear.

Do you see yourself in this story? Are you expecting that status quo will stay status quo?  Are you resisting the changes, the transitions in your life?  Or are you developing a plan and mapping out a strategy?  At the end of the day, will you say, “I’m glad I did” or “I wish I had”?  While getting started is an action step, many times it is our internal mindset that prohibits us from taking that first step.

Three Mindsets That Keep Us Stuck

The first mindset that can become a roadblock and keep us stuck is:

Not knowing what we want. If we haven’t yet set a goal or cast a vision,  it’s hard to achieve it. Many times we distract ourselves by identifying so many possibilities that we are overwhelmed with the choices. We say things like, “I could do anything…if I only knew what it was that I wanted to do.” Not pinning down a goal can become an excuse for not moving ahead, for not taking action. Pick one or two ideas and put 100% of your effort into achieving it. Sniff and Scurry knew exactly what they wanted and unlike Hem and Haw they took action.  Hem and Haw however had a different problem…

Fear of Failure. We know what we want but we are afraid to go for it. We are afraid we may fail. We are afraid we aren’t good enough, competent enough, talented enough.  We have a desire, a dream, but we are afraid we may be turned down, rejected or embarrassed if we don’t achieve it. We may put forth a small effort to no avail. We say things like, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” We are actually cheating ourselves with this one.  The resources in our lives are often available, if we will only recognize them and make use of them. Failure is not an indication that we can’t reach a goal.  It is only an indication that we may need to take another path.  Sniff and Scurry tried lots of different paths to the new cheese before they found the right one.  Sometimes it isn’t failure that we’re afraid of though…

Fear of success. Just as fear of failure can paralyze us, so can fear of success. What if we don’t really know what to do, how to act, how to perform? What if we are overwhelmed with the responsibility of success, the amount of time and energy that it requires? What if we are successful and people find out we are an imposter? Again our internal voice is paralyzing us with what if questions. We may say, “What if I succeed and they expect me to know everything and then find out I don’t?” We fail to recognize the flexibility, the power and the control that we have in any given situation.

Overcoming negative mindsets and the dragon in our brain that reinforces them can sound like a daunting job.  It is difficult but not impossible. Roadblocks can be challenged and the road paved for success. Don’t let lack of a focused goal or fear of success or failure keep you from making that first step forward.  Challenge the resistance and keep going even when your feelings aren’t in line with your actions.  Join me Sunday for a teleseminar that will address the challenge that mindsets can be as we become dream achievers.

FREE TELESEMINAR

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Join Lynne Watts and Kathy Brunner for a lively discussion that will include the following:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.
Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.
 
You can sign up here:
http://acalledwoman.com/teleseminars/
 
It doesn’t matter if you are on the right track. If you are sitting still, you will get run over.  ~Will Rogers
 
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Two Simple Steps to Being a Writer

I sent an email to a writer friend, encouraging him to join a critique group that I attend.  I explained that it was a group of other educators and that many of them wrote young adult fiction, an interest of his as well.  Guess what his response was? “That sounds like fun, but I’m not sure if I would have anything to offer.  I’m not a real author, and I’m really not a writer;  a real writer would write more than I do.”

Last evening, I attended a new writer’s critique group and as we were leaving another new member of the group commented, “I’m not really a writer you know.”

My response to these two non-writers? “STOP IT!!!!!!!” You may think this was insensitive of me.  After all my mission  is to encourage, empower and inspire through coaching others. Seriously.  However, I learned this particular technique from one of the great therapists of all time;  Bob Newhart.

Bob Newhart – STOP IT! from Kevin Kinchen on Vimeo.

Do you talk about yourself the same way that my friends do?  Do you say you’re a writer wannabe, or maybe an aspiring writer?  Do you say you’re not a real writer?  If you were you’d write more, have something published, sell more books?  Well, STOP IT!!! I’m not even asking you to  pay me five dollars for this advice.  Writers write and if you do that, you qualify.  It’s time to stand up and announce boldly and confidently your mission.

Two Simple Steps to Being a Writer

Change Your Mindset

If necessary spend some time practicing what to say until it comes naturally.  “I write young adult fiction.”  or “I write a blog.” or “I write fortunes for Chinese fortune cookies.”  Be proud.  Be bold.  Be confident.  Be excited!

I know that it doesn’t feel natural. I know that sometimes it feels fake and phony.  Sometimes though, the hardest person to convince of the truth, is yourself! Remember my writer friend that I invited to the critique group?  He’s already co-authored one book and has a whole young adult book completed. The other new member of the critique group?  She writes a regular blog that goes out on her company newsletter.  I’m not making this up.  STOP IT!!

Change Your Habits–Write, Write, Write

Create a schedule and stick with it. Take a writing class.  Hire a writing coach. Find an accountability partner who will keep you on track. Be committed.  Be intentional.  Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but the more you practice the more perfectly natural it will feel to say that you are a writer.  Because you write.  A lot.  And that’s what writers do.

Do you tell people you are a writer?  Or do you tell people you are going to be writer?  Someday? Well, STOP IT!!!  Start today BEING the writer you want to be.

FREE TELESEMINAR

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Join Lynne Watts and Kathy Brunner for a lively discussion that will include the following:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.
Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.

 

Join us on Sunday, August 24th at 8pm EST when Kathy Brunner and Lynne Watts from the Called Woman Creative Team will share valuable information on the very timely subject of:

Find Your Calling–Reinvent Your Life for Creatives

Can’t Attend the Teleseminar?? Don’t Worry-We will send everyone who signs up a replay later.

Want answers to YOUR dilemma? Email your questions and/or situation and we will discuss it during the recorded teleseminar

Email Lynne Watts here:

www.lynnewatts@comcast.net

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. 

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  ~Howard Thurman


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I Appreciate You!

August this year is a very different month for me.  Usually August means that I am back at work as a school counselor in an elementary school.  It means getting up at the crack of dawn, scheduling and teaching guidance classes, coordinating upcoming standardized tests and meeting with teachers, parents and children about a variety of problems.  However,  at the end of last May I retired from a career of twenty years.  This August  I am up at the crack of dawn (some habits are good habits!),  writing children’s stories with  an empowering message and coaching others in finding their purpose and reinventing their lives. I love my new work and my new focus!

As I retired from my school counseling career, I was given a parting gift.  It was probably one of the best, most meaningful gifts I’ve ever been given.  Just looking at the picture of it in this blog brings tears to my eyes. Here is a picture of it:

The Background to the Gift

I’ve written before about choosing one word to guide you through the year.  I’ve done it in school guidance lessons and as part a small group of women.  Last year we decided to do this as a faculty and after a week to think about it, each teacher presented his or her word for the year at a faculty meeting.  We took pictures of the teachers as a grade level with their one word and put it on the website.  It was fascinating to see.  There was Focus, Determination, Listening and Invest among many others.  My word for 2014 is Adventure.  We each wrote or printed the word and hung it outside our office or classroom.  It was a wonderful reminder each time we visited another classroom, what that teachers’ focus was for the year.

For the One Word booklet, each teacher was asked to share one word that they felt described me.  The results were fascinating and touching.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • compassionate-three times
  • inspirational/motivational-four times
  • creative-four times
  • calm-six times

Here was a wonderful benefit of the best gift ever: I felt truly appreciated and honored.  Even now, two months later, I am grateful for such a special and meaningful expression of appreciation.

We All Need AIR

Chris Hogan, All-American college football player and currently a speaker for the Dave Ramsey organization states that “appreciation is oxygen for the soul.”  He has created mnemonic, AIR, that stand for Appreciation, Inspiration and Recognition, all key elements of that oxygen so necessary for the health of our spirit.  When we neglect these elements, we often allow the negative voice in our brain to have victory over us.  When we live and work in an environment that doesn’t provide appreciation, inspiration and recognition, we become discouraged and unmotivated.

  • We all need appreciation.  Appreciation for a job well done.  Appreciation for our talent and energy.  Appreciation for who we truly are and how we share that with others.  Appreciation can come from many sources.  it can come from mentors and friends, professional contacts and family.  Do you live and work in an environment where you are appreciated?  Do you let others know that you appreciate them?
  • We all need inspiration.  We can be inspired by the books we read and the seminars we attend, the leaders we encounter and the peers we work and play with.  We need to be intentional about planning for our own inspiration so that the well doesn’t dry up.  In order to inspire others, we need to nourish ourselves.
  • We all need recognition.  As women, we often modestly say, “I don’t need to be recognized for what I do.  I don’t like to be the center of attention.”  But it does feel good doesn’t it? Recognition may be a public recognition  such as being named employee of the month or teacher of the year.  It can also be a personal email or letter that notes your accomplishments.

I once worked for a principal who expressed gratitude to others by giving them a little stick on pin that said, ” I appreciate you”.   She gave me one after I helped with a project and I wore that pin on my name tag until it fell apart.  Appreciation, inspiration, recognition.  They are as necessary as the air we breathe.  They don’t have to be as formal a parting gift filled with special words.  They can be a heartfelt compliment, a caring hug or a listening ear.  We all need appreciation don’t we?  When was the last time you felt appreciated?  When was the last time you were recognized for your hard work?

Join me on Sunday, August 24, when Kathy Brunner and I will present a free teleseminar on:

Find Your CallingReinvent Your Life for Creatives

Here’s what we will be talking about:

Take a seven question assessment that will determine if you are more right or left brained.

Discover the top three negative mindsets that are holding you back
Learn how to nurture your creative passion.
Learn to create a viable business with your creative talent.
 
You can sign up here:  http://acalledwoman.com/teleseminars/

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Lynne’s Five Laws of Desired Difficulties

My life hasn’t been perfect.  Has yours?  I’ve experienced everything from the loss of a job to the loss of a parent and husband.  I’ve had interpersonal conflicts and personal failures.  I grew up in what used to be called a “broken home”  and I’ve been so shy that I was afraid to try anything new. What have your struggles been?

Gratitude for Difficulties

Are you ever grateful for the difficulties in your life?  Everywhere we look there are reminders to count your blessings. We start gratitude journals and publish what we are grateful for on Facebook. I just finished a seven days of positivity challenge on Facebook.  There are whole websites and programs devoted to recognizing our successes and being grateful for them.  Do you ever  express gratitude for your failures and losses?  Or do you try to overcome and forget about them?

In one of his weekly podcasts, Dan Miller of 48 Days to the Work You Love, talked about his childhood.  He grew up in a Mennonite family where money was considered evil and poverty a way of life.  There was no running water in his house until he was in the 8th grade.  He worked hard on the family farm and was not allowed to watch tv, listen to music or enjoy social or sporting events.  He didn’t have any support for attending college as education past  high school was considered dangerous and unnecessary. Despite all this adversity, Dan is grateful for this lifestyle.  Out of it came an independent spirit and love of reading and books.  He learned to earn his own money, to foster an entrepreneurial spirit and create his own opportunity.  He believes that he is the successful entrepreneur that he is today because of the adversity that he faced in his childhood.  Do you have a similar story?

When I was younger, my goal was to live a carefree-adversity-free-life. I hoped to avoid conflict and failure at all costs. I tried to fly under the radar and stay out of sight.  I truly thought this was the way to be successful and move forward in accomplishing goals. I’ve come to realize that not only is this impossible but it also creates a colorless, ordinary risk-free life.  Is that your goal?  Or would you prefer an extraordinary life of color and adventure?

Lynne’s Five Laws of Desired Difficulties

After a lifetime of trying to avoid risk and failure, I’ve finally learned that there is much to be grateful for in difficulty and adversity.  Here are five things I’ve learned:

  1. In every adversity, there is an opportunity.  It’s not always easy to see.  It takes a certain perspective, even sometimes the advantage of hindsight to find it.
  2. The only people who experience a life free of failure are the people who never take a risk or try any thing new.  If you take a risk sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always learn.
  3. You can turn any difficulty into a learning experience if you will focus on being a learner instead of a loser.  Rather than emphasizing that you failed look for what you have gained.  I never said it would be easy…
  4. Difficulties make you more empathetic to others, especially those who have experienced similar ones.  It can help you forge close relationships.  It also gives you an additional way to serve others by sharing what you learned.
  5. Depending on how you handle them, desired difficulties can be the foundation of your greatest successes.

Avoiding Failure and Risk Means Living an Ordinary Life

Some of these have been hard lessons to learn.  It is still easy for me to sit back and let life ramble on without direction or purpose while I wait for things to happen.  It is hard to step out on faith and try new things that may not work.  It is hard to look for opportunities in the midst of tragedy or loss but I do believe it is the best way to live.  Rather than trying to avoid failure, I now take planned and intentional risks to live a life that is truly full of color and excitement.

What about you?  How have failures or losses in your life been opportunities?  Are you grateful for the desired difficulties as well as the blessings in your life?

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http://acalledwoman.com/teleseminars/

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The Key to Success? Massive Failure

fallentreequoteI was talking with a teacher about a student in her classroom whose behavior was out of control one day to the point that she decided he needed a visit to the principal to reinforce the rules. She had to admit that she was amused however at his comment upon arriving at the principal’s door. It seems that under his breath he muttered, “I bet nothing good ever comes out of a visit here…”

Success is a word that is discussed and thrown around a lot.  In schools, teachers are focused on making sure students are successful.  Businesses set  and achieve goals in order to be successful.  We are all interested in learning how to be successful in our careers, in our family life and in our social life.  We can even learn how to  be successful in our spiritual life. There are books, classes and even coaches who chronicle how to be successful.

Failure on the other hand is something to be avoided, isn’t it?  There is lip service given to learning from our mistakes, but do we really accept failure as a necessary part of the path to success?  Do we dash head long into failure or try to skirt around it?  In an article from Darren Hardy of Success magazine, he writes that some of the best advice he ever got on how to be successful, was to increase his rate of failure.  He was told he should try to fail fast and often.  Does this sound crazy to you?  Does it make you nervous? It does me!

“I wasn’t failing, I was learning how to succeed.”

This quote from Ted Turner re-frames the experience of failure.  Rather than looking at it as something to avoid, he approaches it as a learning opportunity.  There is much to be gained from failure and not just how to avoid it next time.  Sometimes there is opportunity in failure to begin again using the lessons learned.

“The key to success is massive failure… whoever can fail the most, the fastest and the biggest, wins.”

says Tom Watson of IBM.  How can this be true?  Here is an example:  Today when I stopped for gas, there were several sales people offering to spray some magic wax product on cars as a demonstration of it’s amazing ability to clean off all kinds of stuff.  Some of the sales people were standing around looking uncomfortable, but the one that approached me knew what he was doing.  He wasn’t pushy just helpful. He identified things on my car that needed cleaning and showed the benefits. He showed off the product. He made a sale.  When you are selling, the more chances you take at failure, (in this case approaching people who may say no), the more chances you have that you will find the people who want to say yes.  How many no’s does it take to  get to a yes? An average of seven, I’ve heard. If you approach failure as a necessary experience to get through to get to yes, it becomes something you want to seek out frequently.

 “The increase in volume, speed and size of my failure also increased the volume, speed and size of my success.”

writes Darren Hardy, publisher and founding editor of Success magazine.  What if you set a goal for yourself, not of how many times you could succeed but of how many times you could fail?  What if the magic wax salesman set a goal of 25 no’s in a day, or in a couple of hours?  What if he met his goal?  Don’t you imagine that he would have also been the most successful of the sales team that day?  Those other sales people who were standing around waiting for things to happen didn’t hear any no’s… they also didn’t hear any yeses.  He would have taken the most risks but he would have also reaped the most benefits.  He would have heard, “No thanks” the most but I bet he would also have heard “OK, I’ll buy that”  the most too.  In the process, he would also have learned a lot about the best approaches to use and practiced them the most frequently.

Failure.  A word and experience that most of us avoid.  But contrary to  popular belief, failure isn’t the end of the road, just the beginning of a new path.  Failure isn’t just useful.  It isn’t just a great opportunity to learn.  It is often a necessary part of success.  In many cases, where there is no failure, there is no success.

Since I believe that failure is an important part of winning that we all need to learn to cope with, I’ve written a new children’s picture book on the topic. In the newest story Wyatt didn’t make it on the All Star Baseball Team and he feels like a loser.  All his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Check out Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning here:  http://wyatthewonderdog.com/booklaunch

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Three Benefits of Scheduling a Time of Rest

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I am writing this post from the beach where I am relaxing and fellowshipping with friends for a few days. We are sitting on the balcony; drinking coffee and watching the dolphins cavort in the ocean. The ocean is clear, blue-green and there is a gentle breeze blowing. Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself here with us?

It is Sunday afternoon and I am trying to follow the good advice of everyone from God to the last book I read on personal time management and have one day where I am not driven to accomplish anything but instead I rest and rejuvenate. I am sitting on my screened porch; drinking iced tea and reading a book that I have been anticipating delving into for quite some time. Can you close your eyes and imagine yourself here with me?

The Importance of Scheduling Time to Rest

Rest, rejuvenate, revive, replenish. How often do you accomplish this goal? This is always on my list but it is a challenge to succeed. What is the purpose of this time? Not only does it renew our energy but it also gives focus and jumpstarts our lives in a very positive contemplative way. Can you schedule a regular time for this? Can you renew your spirit with fun and friends? Can you unplug from the routine, the technology, the constraints of your life on a regular basis? Resolve to take some time off each week during which you do not touch your computer, check your email or Facebook or worry with your schedule, routine or daily chores. How does that feel? Are you more creative? Energized? Relaxed? See what I mean? God had it right along.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:2-3

The Benefits of Scheduling a Time of Rest

In my last post I wrote about coping with the stress of change.  One way to accomplish this is to set aside time for rest and rejuvenation.  Aside from the fact that it feels good to rest what are the benefits?  There are several:

  • It renews you mentally.  Some of my most creative time is following a period of rest.  Rest gives our brains a time to process the world around us.
  • It renews you physically.  Even the most active and athletic among us need a time for our bodies to rejuvenate and rebuild.
  • It renews you spiritually.  Restful times are times when we allow our spirit to be open to God’s message.  So much of the time,  our lives are filled with the noise of our technological industrial world.  It takes a special mindset to tune-out the noise and tune in the quiet.

I hope you too schedule some time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh your spirit.

“Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation, and loneliness.”   Dallas Willard

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