How to Handle Social Disapproval (Cornell Study)

According to a Cornell study, social approval (or lack of it) does not affect people who have a sense of purpose. Or, rather, it does not affect them as much as it does those whose self-esteem hangs on being liked.

Anthony Burrow, a co-author of the study, defines a sense of purpose as

“ongoing motivation that is self-directed, oriented toward the future and beneficial to others.”

How do you develop a stronger sense of purpose to create a sustainable and healthier mindset?

Let’s look at the first area of purpose in Burrow’s definition.

Sense of Purpose Factor #1 – Ongoing motivation that is self-directed.

Check these areas of your plans to make sure you have a strong enough sense of purpose:

  1. Define (or re-define) why you do what you do –  Is your purpose well-defined? Do you know when you’ve reached your goals? Are they measurable by something other than social media likes?
  2. Focus -Is your business purpose always at the forefront of your workspace? Zig Ziglar, the famed motivational speaker, motivated himself for weight loss by having the picture of a person at his ideal size somewhere where he could see it often.
  3. Set Your Goals – Make sure there are big pictures goals as well as daily goals. If daily goals are nebulous, you run the risk of being distracted by blog stats and such.
  4. Plan regular meetings with mentors and accountability partners – Everyone is ignorant, just in different subjects. Your mentor can see what you might not see about how you run your life or business. Your accountability partner helps you run the extra mile.
  5. Understand how you function.  e.g. What’s your personality type? In what sort of environment do you do your best work?
  6. Regular self-examination and paying attention to the results of your goals.

Let’s take a look at the second and third areas in Burrow’s definition of a sense of purpose – oriented towards the future and beneficial to others

Sense of Purpose Factor#2 – Ongoing motivation that is oriented toward the future.

To develop a sense of purpose and not give way to the fickleness of social likes,  the second thing we must have is an ongoing motivation with a future orientation, according to Burrow.

The past is great -it can teach us many things, it can help us not to reinvent the wheel.  As C.S. Lewis says,

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”

In other words, strike a balance between now and then.

We must also appreciate and anticipate the future, moving ever forward if we are to have a sense of purpose and not be swayed by social likes (or a lack of them).

How do we gain and maintain this future orientation in our motives?

Neil Patel has written The 7 Secrets of Self-Motivated Entrepreneurs. His article can be useful even if you are not a businessperson, no matter what your goals might be. The biggest takeaway I see in his article is this – to keep looking forward, make your goal a part of your daily routine in someway (emphasis on daily). Put it in your face, in the mirror, in your pocket, on your desk. Wherever you need to encounter your goal, put it there and interact with it or chip away at it every single day.

 

Sense of Purpose Factor #3 – Ongoing motivation that is beneficial to others.

We have discussed before how the sweet spot of success lies where your interests overlap with the needs of others. This seems to be Burrows’ conclusion as well. Ongoing motivation that helps you to weather social disapproval is not only self-directed and future oriented, it is also beneficial to other people.

It has been my experience that when I’m concerned so heavily about what people think of me, I might achieve something, but I am miserable the whole time. When you seek to help others with their problems, you’re not concentrating so heavily on your own issues. In a way, you have derailed your mind from the “woe is me” track that it was on.

This is not to say that your challenges are not important. They are. However, a totally self-involved set of goals will not help you create that sense of purpose  which helps you to weather the storm of social dislikes. There must be some outer direction in your plans.

Peace Be With You,

Deborah

P.S. How do you handle social dislikes? Let me know.

Introvert at a Family Reunion

Family reunions can crop up at any time, especially during holidays. You love your relatives,  but the crowds can be draining for those of us who are introverts and gather our energy from solitude or quiet. We are like the battery in your phone -plug us in,  leave us alone,  and we will recharge.

Here are a few tips to help an introvert at a family reunion.

~ Remember why you are at the reunion.  If you are there to get to know people,  have a goal to better understand at least one of your relatives.  After you have accomplished this task,  consider the event a success and go home.

~ If you are on the reunion committee,  use your influence to suggest quiet times,  more breaks between scheduled programs,  or help to create quiet corners in the event space.

~ Even if you are not on the reunion committee,  and it is an informal reunion,  volunteer to help behind the scenes where there tends to be more work going on and less chatter.

~ Take a break from people when you need to do so.  Self-care is not rude.

~ If the reunion is at or near a hotel,  rent a room there. Quietly steal away to decompress in the room when needed.

~ If the reunion is in a more rustic area and you are camping,  rise before everyone else,  drink in the beautiful vista, and enjoy the quiet by yourself before the events start.

~ Help other introverts. As you understand your relatives more,  you will learn who also needs quiet time;  help them find it. You might need to run interference for an introverted relative by distracting Aunt Fern with chit chat so that Cousin Chad may escape to solitude.

At a recent reunion,  I discovered that one of my younger cousins does not like crowds and would cry whenever too many people engaged with him. His parents, however, were there to socialize. I volunteered to supervise him away from crowds and he seemed perfectly contented.

~ Have a long talk with a relative that you like. The familiarity tends to ease the frustration of crowds.  Before you know it,  the event will be over.

~ Arrive in your own mode of transportation so that you can leave when needed.

~ If you carpool to the event,  choose to ride with two relatives who love to chat with each other.   Engage in the conversation  only when you feel like doing so.

Peace be with you,

Deborah

Why Do You Write?

We all write for different reasons. Here are a few that I’ve found.

~ You write as a natural extension of the skill of reading, wanting to recreate  or create your own version of what you’ve seen.

~ Eventually, you write out of habit.

~ You write, sometimes, to review what you honestly think about a subject.

~ You write to express  yourself and put your stamp on all of the information you’ve ingested through the years.

~ You write to emulate some of your writing heroes. Sometimes what you read inspires you to take out your own pen and paper and give a little of yourself to the public.

Why do you write?

Sincerely,

Deborah

Digital Journal Vs. Paper Journal Debate, NaJoWriMo Founder Weighs In

Author and founder of the National Journal Writing Month, Bakari Chavanu, weighs in on the debate of digital journal vs. paper journal in his article, “10 Reasons I Prefer Digital Journal Writing Over Pen and Paper.”

My favorite of his reasons for using a digital journal over a paper one is that it is easily searchable. One of my greatest problems has been in finding a way easily to return to specific parts of my journals. Right now I use a table of contents. I’ve tried indexing, but it’s just too time-consuming.

I have used both. I more readily use the paper journal since it lends to a feeling of privacy even in a crowd. Sitting there, cradling your book, you are visiting an old friend, it seems. Currently, a digital journal requires lots of tapping and typing (or talk-to-text dictation), which my brain associates with work and not much that is personal. But that is a quirk.

It doesn’t have to be either/or. The best journal is the one that works for you. We have discussed before that  a journal is there to serve you and your needs. If a digital journal works for you, go for it.

In a way, this website serves as a kind of digital journal.  Many of the thoughts that I free write about on paper every day becomes fodder for this website.

Which do you prefer? Do you use both? Do you use someone other journaling method?

Sincerely,

Deborah

Ziglar Quotes for Motivation

Hilary “Zig” Ziglar (1926-2012) was an author and motivational speaker filled with pithy quotes for overcoming obstacles and continuing with your goals. Here are a few that I hope will be helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Zig Ziglar Quotes

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

“You cannot tailor make the situations in life, but you can tailor make the attitudes to fit those situations before they arise.”

“You are a success when you have made friends with your past, are focused on the present, and are optimistic about your future.”

“[Move] from survival to stability, from stability to success, from success to significance.”

“Success is not measured by what you do compared to what others do. It is measured by what you do with the ability God gave you.”

“Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.”

“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.”

“Opportunity does not lie in the job; it lies in the individual who looks at the possibilities instead of the problems.”

Bonus:

In the video below, Ziglar quotes another person -Joe Sabah- who says, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

How to Journal: 7 Journal Writers Give Advice

Whether you have just begun journal writing, or have been doing it for years, or are taking it up again after a hiatus, these fellow journal writers are here to inspire you in the journey. I’ve compiled quotes and links to their full content. Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Deborah

1. Arnold Bennett, Author

“There is only one valid reason for beginning a diary—namely, that you find pleasure in beginning it; and only one valid reason for continuing a diary—namely, that you find pleasure in continuing it. You may find profit in doing so, but that is not the main point—though it is a point. You will most positively experience pleasure in reading it after a long interval; but that is not the main point either—though it is an important point. A diary should find its sufficient justification in the writing of it. If the act of writing is not its own reward, then let the diary remain for ever unwritten.”

2. Jade Herriman, Art Therapist

“Check out the journals of writers, artists and scientists for inspiration – in doing this you will see how many options are available for a journal, the format is not set and can reflect your interests and passions.”

3. Alexandra Johnson, Author

“As my shelves filled with separate notebooks -travel journals, commonplace books full of quotations, writer’ notebooks- so they filled with the work that had come out of them. Now, I never have to worry about getting started. In dry seasons, all I have to do is open an old journal. Inside, something waits… to spark a new project. I learned long ago not to care what the journals look like, or if they’re well written (they’re usually not). or how often I fill the pages.” – from the book Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal

4. Kristin at Journaling Saves

“Remember that journaling should be enjoyable (most of the time). If you take the task too seriously or put too much pressure on yourself, journaling will become a burden instead of a gift. Keep a spirit of play, and infuse your journal with a little humor. Adding art, creativity, color or heart to your journal keeps the process fresh and inviting. ”

5. Jen Morris at Jen Morris Creative

“[We] think we need a good 30 minutes undisturbed to sit down and journal, but really it can be done in bits and pieces throughout the day. For example, if you leave [an art journal] open to a spread you’re working on, it can be easy to swipe a bit of paint across the paper right before you head out to work. That literally only takes 2 minutes. ”

6. Brett and Kay McKay Online Magazine Editors

“A journal is basically a chance for your past self to lend counsel to your present self.

[Simply] writing about your feelings and frustrations helps you focus on what’s really going on in your life and in your head, so that you can come up with a solution to your problems.”

7. Barbara Sher, Author

“Let’s end the notion that ideas have no value unless they turn into a business or have some other practical use. Save them all in a beautiful book like Leonardo did. You might want to give them away someday, perhaps to someone who needs an idea. Or your great-great-grandchildren might love knowing what a fascinating mind you had. Or your biographer might be very happy after you’re gone.”  – from the book Refuse to Choose

 

How to Think about Regret

Thoughts on regret.

  • It seems that regret should be handled like pain – it’s a warning that something is wrong and should be addressed immediately.
  • Regret seems to be useless beyond that initial stab of discomfort. Otherwise, you’ll end up trying to change what is unchangeable- the past- when you could move forward on some aspect of life.
  • Mistakes are lessons, sometimes expensive lessons, sometimes opportunities are lost, sometimes people who you cared about are no longer responding in the way that you prefer because of what you’ve done (or omitted doing). These are tough circumstances, but think of them as lessons. What can you learn from this? Glean what is beneficial from the situation.
  • When you train yourself to see a rough spot as potentially beneficial to you, you begin not to fear making a mistake as much.
  • Note that you do not need to be born this way. (I’m not sure that anyone is born thinking this way). You can train yourself to start seeing problems as opportunities for improvement, instead of pits of despair and regret.
  • How do you train yourself to see problems, not as potential things to regret, but as lessons that benefit you? Well, how do you build muscles? Daily. It will not be easy. Remember to practice patience with yourself. And try not to do all of this alone.
  • To train yourself to see problems as benefits, it helps to write down what is good about the terrible situation. It might take a while to write this list, because your brain might be stubbornly stuck in pouting mode, but it can be done. Review that list regularly. You are rewiring your brain to focus on what’s good.
  • This rewiring of your brain does not mean you should keep doing the thing that led to your situation in the first place, it is simply a way of viewing life to get you out of the rut of regret.

Peace Be With You,

Deborah

What Would You Like Your Life to Look Like?

Picture your ideal life. What does it look like? Are you working 6 months then off to explore other interests for the rest of the year? Are you speaking at conferences, sharing your experiences in life? Are you simply making twice as much as your current salary, but from home?

Pause to think about what you want, what you actually want, not what you think you should want. (We’ve talked about the “shackles of the shoulds” before.)  Write down your answer and then seek a career coach (non-traditional coach or otherwise) to help.  To paraphrase Barbara Sher, the author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was,  attitude is not the dream killer, isolation is.

Start on your ideal life today.

Peace,

Deborah

If you need one more reason NOT to procrastinate, here’s one.

There once was a person -let’s call the person Mr. X- who had a fatal disease. Mr. X spoke of all the things he still wanted to do in life. They were not improbable things – he wasn’t asking to vacation on Saturn. They were fairly common things that can be completed within a month or a year.

Why had he not done them?

  • He was waiting for the right time.
  • Other things came up.
  • He didn’t make them a priority.
  • Other people wanted his time and attention.

So he dithered.  The disease led to hospitalization, where he was even less likely to accomplish his goals. It was difficult for friends and family to watch this state of events.

One More Reason Not to Procrastinate

The story of Mr. X. hasn’t resolved itself yet. I hope he pulls through and can have another chance at those goals. But this story is part of the impetus for this article.

If you need one more reason not to procrastinate on something, here’s one: life doesn’t stop for your plans and your circumstances to become “perfect.”

When we procrastinate, it’s as if we are that kid who’s tagging behind a friend, then bends down to tie her shoelace, expecting her friend TIME to wait for her while she sorts things out.

Nope.

While we dither in the research stage, prolonging a plan, not getting things done, life goes on and we wake up with another month, another year, another decade that is gone. In place of the opportunities, sometimes, are now greater hurdles.

Research is good, but spending too much time in research mode can be a form of procrastination. I know. I do it all the time. When do we know that we are spending too much time in research? I’ll address that below under the heading, “You Might Be Imperfect, But You’re Not Useless.”

A Possible Solution

To combat procrastination, the other month, I told myself to spend as much time producing as consuming.  A 1:1 ratio, as much as possible. In this way, if I spend an hour doing research for business, that doesn’t count as production. If I let that count as producing something,  research is all that I will do; I will accomplish nothing.

So, if I’m consuming business-related content for an hour, then I must spend an hour producing  something – e.g. content for this website, or an hour editing my upcoming book, etc.

This has worked tremendously well for me. It’s part of what has led to this website running consistently for a month.

Questioning the Perfection in Perfectionism

Lots of procrastination occurs when perfectionists smile wistfully, give a sigh, and claim -with a faint air of misplaced pride- that they can’t stand to start without planning everything to the hilt. Great! But did you accomplish anything? That’s what planning is for – to accomplish the task. Did you do it?

What’s with this notion of perfection that perfectionists bandy about like a badge of honor? Who do we think we are? We are delusional if we think we can be perfect.

Listen and listen well: nothing you have ever done or will ever do will be perfect. Why? Because we are flawed creatures. So anything you or I do will be stained by that fact.

Excelling at a thing is good, but that’s not the same thing as perfection. To excel is to go beyond an implied limit. We can do that. Perfection, however, is basically saying we are flawless, sinless, infallible, and a bunch of other stuff that you and I are not.

When you blame your perfectionist nature for lack of action, you might be admitting to delusions of grandeur. It’s not something to proud of; it’s something that holds us back.

You Might Be Imperfect, But You’re Not Useless

Let’s be clear: just because a project or task comes from an imperfect person (That’s everyone. Everyone is imperfect.), this does not mean that what you offer is useless.

What you and I offer may not be perfect, but it can be just the thing that you or someone else needs. We might be further along on some aspect of life than another person; let’s not waste time dithering when we could use our imperfect plans to bring about positive change for ourselves and others.

I understand the drive to know every jot and tittle that can or will happen to avoid the pains of life. Planning is good, but you must press forward.  To help you to know when to stop planning and move forward, here’s a brief article on knowing when to stop researching.

Look, I’ve been there. I AM there. I’m battling procrastination on a couple of tasks now (tasks that I might discuss with you later once the fog has settled). I empathize with you. I just want you to reach your goal before an illness (or worse) robs you of the chance to do what could have been done earlier, as it has done with Mr. X.

I’m saying this as much to myself as I am to you: You must stop the dithering and ACT. Courage!

Sincerely,

Deborah

Thoughts on Journal Writing

Thoughts about journal writing

  • The format of your journal is up to you. It can be like a captain’s log (” At 8:00am, I awakened to the sound of bluejays over the Sandish Hills.”); it can be a commonplace book- where all things that inspire you are included; it can be a progress journal to keep track of health, household, relationships; it can be more of a to-do list to help you organize your life with a customizable plan (like bullet journaling – click here for bullet journaling 101); you can even create an art journal and paint, or draw, or create a mixed media book; it can be an historical record for your family. Discover your reason for doing it and plow forward with that.
  • How many journals you keep should be dictated by what you want them to do, plus your own way of writing. There are those who do multiple journals, compartmentalizing their lives – jogging journal is separate from family history journal. There are those who keep separate subjects in one journal -keeping 30 pages for inspiring quotes, then another 30 pages for musing about interesting articles, the next 30 pages might be reserved for ranting. There are those who use one journal, start off with the date and then discuss what happened today, or their thoughts on some subject – a catch-all journal.
  • If you join a Facebook group, or any group, of journal writers, understand that talking about having the most expensive fountain pen or the most fabulous leather journal is more important for some of them than is the act of writing. If you want to collect fountain pens, there is nothing wrong with that. However, assess whether a group that is mostly about conspicuous consumption helps you with your journal writing goals.
  • For those of you who -like me- are introverted journal writers who tend to keep to yourself, and journal write wherever you go, look up once in a while. You might find a fellow journal writer right under your nose. I was writing in my journal while in a waiting room and that was the impetus for a fellow journal writer to strike up a pleasant conversation with me! Who knew?
  • If you journal in public, be aware that some people might think that you are writing about them. Some might be bold enough to ask whether you are or not. It might be best to put away the book at that moment, since you never know what someone will do when they are panicked. This rarely happens, but use your discretion.
  • You do not need to keep your journals if you don’t want to do so. Some journals are meant to carry you through a certain season of life and no further. Some journals might be filled with all the things you dislike and all the people you distrust; re-reading that can be repulsive or unproductive. If you need to destroy  or recycle a page or an entire journal, do so. The thing has served its purpose.
  • If you decide to keep your journals, and they are filled with things that you don’t mind reading, let me tell you what a joy it is to be able to go back and see what you were thinking 5 years ago on this date! Even if you ultimately disagree with the person you once were, it’s still a thrill to see the progress (or a kick in the pants to see how little you have progressed).
  • After a while, some journal writers develop a pre-writing ritual, e.g. setting the tea kettle on to boil before writing, exercising vigorously. Some even have  post-writing rituals. I like to sign the last page of my journal, as if I had just written a long, 140-page letter.
  • Reviewing past journals might leave you stunned. An idea that you think you’ve created recently might be in a journal from years ago; you simply did not take the initiative, did nothing about it, then forgot. It takes a lot not to become discontented at that point, thinking about all the things you could have accomplished between that time and this.  Learn to become a more forgiving person, starting with yourself. (Also learn to strike while the iron is hot!)
  • Too many beginners in journal writing behave as if the thing will be ruined if they make a mistake, need to erase something, or scratch through it. Journaling should be a joy, or something functional for you, not something that produces fear, or seems to intimidate you. Remember that journal writing tools -your journal, your writing implements, your ideal writing environment – are there to serve YOU. 

 

Sincerely,

Deborah

Introvert at a Birthday Party

It’s wonderful when people celebrate the day of your birth. However, being the center of attention can be a drain for many, including introverts. So here’s what you can do to endure with grace.

  • Make your birthday a day of giving to someone else. It was awkward the first time I revealed presents to my family after they had given me gifts on my birthday, but I like seeing the surprise on their faces. Plus, if I’m more concerned about them than I am about how drained I am, I’m less likely to watch the clock and grin and bear it until it’s time to go home.

I also plan to create a wider day of giving to the community on my    birthday. In that way, if someone wants to celebrate with me, they can help me give donations to the charity shop, or something. (I haven’t figure out the exact thing, but it’s something on my list to do.)

 

  • Remember that your birthday is not all about you. Even if you are tired and worn out from people, you’ve had your social quota for the day,  remember your loved ones want and need to make memories with you. You are special to them; let them make their memories.

 

  • Just accept the well wishes and the discomfort. If all else fails, remember that this birthday party will not last. And when it’s all over, you can go home and crash. There are worse things in the world than people celebrating the fact that you were born.

Let me know how you handle these things.

Peace,

Deborah

Just Start Already? How?

You might have a goal. You might make plans. You might hear people tell you “just start already,” but if you have internal hangups,  you still might remain exactly where you are despite your plans.

How do you get over whatever is preventing you from accomplishing a goal?

It depends on the reason you’ve held back in the first place.

Although I have given you a way to think about procrastination (Click here to read it.), it’s still not a cure-all. I cannot give you a blanket statement that is a panacea for what’s troubling you. Your problem may have some universal qualities that I can address, but the combination of factors will be specific to you. Plus, how you overcome them might not be the way that others around you have done it.

Still, I’ll give you a few ideas to consider.

Finding the cause of your procrastination often requires a thorough look at your process.

Where in the funnel from idea to execution do you trip up on this goal? Create an environment – physical and otherwise- which encourages you to reach the goal.

For instance, I once had a deep craving for a particular pizza every time I drove near the pizza place. I would stop almost every day and buy one; this did not help my health goals. Instead, I  began to drive down a different street just to avoid that one temptation. Eventually, perhaps months later, I stopped craving it and could drive down that street again without withdrawal symptoms.

Other elements which helped me to drive away from the temptation were (1) making sure that I wasn’t ravenous when passing by that place. I could be hungry, but not eat-the-couch-ravenous, (2) keeping a well-stocked larder at home. Knowing that I had something at home that I enjoyed eating helped me to drive on and reach my health goals.

Finding the cause of your lack of achievement might require deep introspection.

Perhaps some similar incident in childhood still grips you today and you can’t move any further on that goal/idea because your brain still anticipates the pain. It might be time to dig deep and find out.

That introspection might come from professional counseling, maybe one of your online groups can hash out some ideas with you, perhaps family and friends can brainstorm with you, maybe you could avail yourself of a consulting service, perhaps journal writing is what you need.

It’s been my experience that goal-setting and achievement are won or lost psychologically before you even start.

Perhaps today is the day that you dig out the culprit for what prevents you from achieving your goals. Your hangups have been rough on you, so remember to be kind and patient with yourself. Use whatever methods are available to you; they don’t have to be perfect.

Peace be with you,

Deborah

 

John Grisham, Erma Bombeck on Writing ~ Writers to Inspire You #2

Here are a couple of writers to inspire you.

John Grisham was recently in the New York Times with a brief list of suggestions for writing popular fiction. They are bits of advice that you may have read before, but reminders are good.

Some of the advice is great for non-fiction writers as well, including this:

“A common mistake by fledgling authors is using jaw-breaking vocabulary. It’s frustrating and phony.”

When I decided to relax and just be me on this website, the tech talk pretty much dropped. I’m not a techie; I’m just fascinated by what it does to culture. The content is now more true to who I am. Writing is fun again.

Check out the short Grisham column at the New York Times.


Erma Bombeck is a humor writer who gave me many laughs as a child. My favorite of her books is When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home. The dinner roll observation- you know, the idea that the rolls are so similar on a guided tour that you begin to believe that the tour guide packs up the rolls you don’t eat at one hotel and serves them to you at the next one. Bombeck claims that she secretly carved the date in one of them to test the idea.

Here’s an early ’90s interview of Erma Bombeck, who discusses her writing process with the University of Dayton. Bombeck says,

” If you’re a professional writer, you write. You don’t sit there and wait for sweet inspiration to tap you on the shoulder and say now’s the time. We meet deadlines.”

This is something similar to what we discussed the other day about Roberto Blake and being prolific with your content and not allowing the idea of perfection stop you from writing. As you practice and tweak as you go, you will find that the writing improves, your ability to communicates something useful is more consistent.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah

P.S. Check out other inspiring writers

The 3 Phases of Excitement (According to Barbara Sher)

We’ve discussed scanners before – people with varied interests. (You may also know them as hummingbirds, polymaths, multi-potentialites). When a scanner is interested or excited about something, she/he has unstoppable energy and enthusiasm and can’t wait for the idea to be realized.

Barbara Sher, author of Refuse to Choose who coined the term “scanner,” says that we should be aware of the 3 phases of excitement. (This might apply to you even if you’re not a scanner, by the way.):

1.  Initial Excitement – In phase 1, you think your idea is pretty good to the point of elation.*  Barbara Sher says that when you are deep into this honeymoon phase with your idea, write it all down, record as much of it as you can. Not outlines, but details that you will still understand in the future. You’ll need this information later.

2. The Crash into Cynicism / Resting Phase– This second phase sees you thinking that the idea is now rubbish. Who are you to think it would work? You think that you must stop doing this unrealistic stuff.  “When you crash, try to understand that you have crashed because you’ve expended too much energy,” says Sher.

In this phase you’re gathering more energy. Be aware that this phase might last a day, a week, months or years. Be patient with yourself.  Barbara Sher suggests you let this period occur for as long as it needs to do so.

3. Re-igniting the Excitement –  At some point, you become interested in your idea again. This third phase resembles the first one. However,  this time you’re not flying so high. You’re also not crashing into cynicism. Go back to the details that you’ve written down in the first phase. It is in this more reasonable phase where you -finally- get things done.

I personally would not like that resting period to last too long; I want to get stuff done. But then, that might be my problem – pushing things that shouldn’t happen yet. What do you think?

Check out the video of the author on a casual walk in the woods discussing this topic: Barbara Sher on 3 Phases of Excitement .

 

Peace be with you,

Deborah

*Random Trivia: When the fictional character Anne Shirley says, ” I can’t help flying up on the wings of anticipation; it’s as glorious as soaring through a sunset,” she’s talking about phase 1. That’s a reference for all the fans of Kevin Sullivan’s film version of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne books. Watch the scene here.

Roberto Blake on Being Prolific and Why Steve Jobs Should Have Been a Vlogger

One of my inspirations for publishing a blog post 6 days per week is Roberto Blake -a daily vlogger and graphic designer who discusses entrepreneurship regularly. His Medium post on Your First 1000 Pieces of Content (Read it by clicking here. ), discusses how to become an influencer through being prolific.  I have a long way to go before this website and its adjacent platforms has 1000 pieces of content. However, enjoying the journey is half the fun.

Also of interest is this video where Blake says he wishes Steve Jobs had been a daily vlogger. His argument is that we could then study his early moments closely as Jobs struggled to create Apple Computers and revolutionize accessible communication. The idea, I suppose, is to inspire the rest of us to tell our story , document our journey, because this information can be useful to other people.

You and I have talked about this recently, about how your stories can be a gift to the world (click here to read it). You don’t have to be the founder of a legendary company like Jobs, to be useful.

Blake goes on to say that quantity (being prolific) can produce quality eventually. Practice helps. I would add, that quantity can produce quality if you are paying attention to results and tweaking to make a better outcome as you go along.

What do you think about quantity producing quality eventually? And do you think Steve Jobs should have been a daily vlogger? That’s debatable. I think some of his legend is partly because he was enigmatic.

Sincerely,

Deborah

P.S. We’ve already discussed how Seth Godin – another person known for daily creations -creates his blog posts every day. Click here to read that explanation.

P.P.S. Out of all the people that I would have loved to have seen with a Youtube channel, it’s Orson Welles. He was always frustrated about the expense of films and the fact that you needed, as he said, an army of people to get the job done. The director of Citizen Kane could have elevated the craft of internet videos with his experience and imagination.

The Baby Steps for Your Goals are an Amuse-Bouche (And Other Thoughts about Goals)

Thoughts about goals. Let’s bullet point them for clarity.

  • Sometimes it takes a while to understand who you are and what you want because you are unique; there is no blueprint for you. If you do not happen to be that person who has known all of her life that she wanted to be an astronaut, then give yourself some slack. Nobody has ever lived YOU before.
  • Sometimes it takes a while to understand who you are and what you want because you have been told what you SHOULD want, where you SHOULD live, where you SHOULD send your children to school, what clothing you SHOULD wear, etc. Those are what I deem the “shackles of the shoulds.” Perhaps your brain has not yet been unchained from the shackles, and that’s why you aren’t living the life you want…yet.
  • Always throw a “yet” in there. It gives your brain an open door to possibilities. Watch Carol Dweck’s TEDx Talk on “The Power of Yet” by clicking here.
  • But the above is no excuse for not trying. They are just reasons that you might be stuck every now and then when pursuing a goal.
  • Make a plan for what you want and how you will achieve your goal. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a garden; perhaps you would like to give away millions of dollars in scholarships; perhaps you have health issues to conquer; perhaps you want to fly to Korea and finally meet your favorite pop star. Whatever it is. Make the plan; have daily steps -daily, I say- which map your behavior from where you are to where you want to be.
  • Your daily baby steps towards the goal might feel like annoyingly small steps. (That’s one of the “dirt sandwiches” of pursuing anything.) However, they provide a glimpse of what your life could be. Enjoy the glimpses; they are an amuse-bouche of what’s to come if you keep going.
  • Now, let’s say something happens, and the opportunity you wanted is no longer available. Figure out – and this all goes back to your plans in the first place- what drew you to make that plan. What is the essence of what you want? Is it possible to find that essence elsewhere?
  • The great thing about knowing what you want is that you are willing give it a go, even if you die still trying. You are going in the right direction, and that journey might have to suffice.

 

Some thoughts for the day.

Peace,

Deborah

SARK has an Inspiration Phone Line!

Y’all!

I know I’ve been talking about the author of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper a lot lately – SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy)- but I just had to let you know. This author has what she calls an “Inspiration Line,” a phone number where you can call and be inspired by something that she says.

I was flipping through the book and there it was on page 87 under one of her writing prompts. The number is 415-546-3742, if you want to call it. That’s a San Francisco number; whatever your rates are to call  will apply.

It seems as if SARK changes the message monthly. Currently, it’s  3 minute 10 seconds which includes

  • An intro to who is SARK
  • Then a recitation of a poem by John Donahue called “For a New Beginning.”
  • She then wishes us all well.

I really love the last bit of Donahue’s poem:

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

I’m speechless! What a lovely poem. And what a lovely thing  for SARK to do for people who need a quick mental pick-me-up.  She’s using every medium possible to be of use to people. I would never have thought of using a phone line for my business or personal development outreach.

Have you ever called the Inspiration Line? What did you think?

Sincerely,

Deborah

What is Your Ideal Journal Writing Environment?

What is your ideal journal writing environment?

Journaling has been such a personal endeavor for me since childhood that I never considered that others might do it any different way than I did. I didn’t think too much about how anyone else would do it.

Since joining various journal writing groups online, I’ve found a variety of ways in which people journal and where they journal.

  • Some enjoy journaling in the same spot every time.
  • Some like to sit in a corn field, or up a tree, or near a river, or on the beach, or while looking a mountain.
  • Others would not dream of writing without a table.
  • Some prefer a coffee shop.
  • Others prefer the comfy coziness of home.
  • Some prefer to write while waiting for the oil to be changed in their automobile, or while the children are playing in the park.
  • There are joint journals where everyone can contribute to the book, so they keep it in a common area, like the living room.
  • Some write in the kitchen while the tea kettle is boiling.
  • Some cannot get started until they have a bouquet of colorful pens nearby.
  • Others refuse to write without a fountain pen.

I like to write anywhere and at anytime. My lap is my desk. If a thought strikes, I must record it in some fashion. Sometimes the most handy thing is the voice recorder on your phone. You say the thought aloud into the phone and later expand on it in the journal.

Sometimes, in childhood, I would journal in the closet with a flashlight until someone called my name for dinner.

Your environment must be conducive to how you like to write in your journal. Your instruments must be convenient to use or you are less likely to write.

Sometimes you cannot think straight enough to write until the dishes are washed and the house is tidy. At other times, the dishes can sit and soak while you pound out an idea before you forget it.

If you are just getting started journaling, perhaps your preferences are not yet set. Don’t worry; you’ll find the setting that is perfect for you if you don’t give up on it. Tweak and tweak and tweak. (And enjoy the process of tweaking.)

What is your ideal writing environment? What have you done to create it, to make it a reality? Perhaps you can journal about that.

Peace,

Deborah

P.S. If you’re have been procrastinating on journal writing, click for this article on how to think about procrastination and how overcome it.

P.P.S. This might be useful to you. Click for Journal Q and A, Part 1 which addresses 3 common fears which prevent many from starting or continuing journal writing.

Blogging and Fitness [Links]

If you are a blogger, desk worker, or person who sits a lot, here are some links to tips on how to improve your health while at the desk or in the office.

I have not yet found a blogger who specializes in fitness for bloggers. (When I do, I’ll let you know.) At this point, you’ll have to search for “desk job exercises” or “desk job fitness.”

Tips include raising your knees and tapping your toes on the lip of a trash can, soccer drill fashion.

Tips include buying a treadmill desk and biking to work.

Tips include doing burpees during certain plot points in your favorite show at home.

Tips include pacing during a phone call and schedule a walking meeting.

Sincerely,

Deborah

 

Your Words and Stories Are a Gift to the World (According to SARK)

I’m in the midst of reading SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. It’s one of those books about writing which causes you to pause and digest the meaning. Sometimes for days.

One of the sentences which stands out to me is this one on page 49:

All of our words and stories are gifts, to and from the world.

I paused and thought. Is that true?

Something in me recoiled. Is it true that ALL of our words are gifts? Some words cut like a knife. Some words make you feel as if someone has chopped of your right arm.

But then, searing words can be a gift too, if you search for the benefits of the situation. If nothing else, biting words coming your way suggest that perhaps you should remove yourself from the situation. After words come action, you see. So even biting words have their use- as a warning from those whose company you might not need to keep.

Still, I think I see what the author is saying.When the words are meant to be helpful, the fact that they are a gift to the world is more obvious.

For example, I recently suffered through a strong bout of IMPOSTER SYNDROME. It happened just as I planned to launch something that I have never had the guts to do before. So I asked my group if anyone can share a story of conquering Imposter Syndrome.

A story. I was asking for a story.

Why? Because I was hoping to follow in the footsteps of people just like me. I had hoped to make their story of success my story. There is something powerful in seeing or hearing someone else conquer what seems insurmountable for you.

I thought too of my own article here on this website – Why Your Blog is Necessary. To sum it up, I say in that article that your blog is necessary because the marketplace of ideas is bare without you. Someone might need to hear from you. You never know who can use your story right at that moment. So stick your neck out and say something.

I needed to take my own advice.

I ended up agreeing with SARK after all. Your words and stories can become a gift to the world.  Someone might need to see your shoe prints where they would like to tread. What’s your story?

Peace Be With You,

Deborah

P.S. This goes back to what we’ve discussed earlier – What is your primary gift to the world?  Your gift could be words.

Bill Cunningham, Fashion Photographer | Introvert in the Spotlight #1

I discovered Bill Cunningham -fashion photographer for the New York Times-  about a year before his death in 2016. His documentary –Bill Cunningham: New York– is fascinating. He lived a single life and a singular life. Although I don’t recall anyone straight up saying in the documentary that he is an introvert, Cunningham seemed to live the life of one.

In an article for the New York Times, Cunningham says,

“I STARTED photographing people on the street during World War II. I used a little box Brownie. Nothing too expensive. The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

Career-wise Cunningham found something that he liked; he stumbled upon fashion photography when someone gave him a camera. How can an introvert in a social world like the world of Fashion (with a capital F) be comfortable? I think the answer is that he found a little cubby for himself in the industry.

His employers gave him a great amount of autonomy – something introverts tend to need. He would shoot runways, but he was also fond of street style – photographing what people wear around town.

He would run around New York City, not necessarily talking to anyone, but observing trends, photographing patterns of sartorial behavior, investigating style and delighting when people bring a little brightness to winter with a pop of sky blue, heralding the spring.

His face absolutely lights up as he describes fashion, when he says that you do not know what people will think to wear next. That’s when I realized Cunningham must have been something like a birdwatcher, except the birds are human and they change their plumage every day. The possibilities are endless.

I appreciate Cunningham’s attention to male fashion –  you can still see his archived weekly trend-spotting videos at the New York Times website. Male fashion, to my untrained eye, does not seem to change much. But Cunningham finds the subtleties, and appreciates the boldness of youngsters paving the way for a revolution in male fashion – something I would not have noticed. Cunningham’s attention to detail quietly draws your eye to what you would not have seen.

Check out the documentary, tell me what you think.

Sincerely,

Deborah

 

 

How Seth Godin Writes A Daily Blog

Stumbled across this Hubspot interview of Seth Godin – a bestselling author known for books and lectures on marketing. He’s also known for a daily blog which he has written since 2002. It’s the latter that interests me the most.

How does Godin find the time to write blog posts every day?

  1. His blog posts are of varying length. Sometimes a sentence, sometimes 700 words. [This suggests if he only has a sentence worth of thoughts to give, he does. He doesn’t wait to be inspired further.]
  2. He sticks to a subject that he thinks about a lot, and has thought about for a while. It seems to just flow.
  3. He doesn’t use images; it’s all about the words. [You do not necessarily need a big production or to make it complicated to be useful.]
  4. He uses spare time. 90 seconds, if necessary. [Use what you have.]
  5. He made the decision to do it and then committed to it. [The question then becomes not “Should I blog?,” but “How?”]

What I gathered is that it is the streamlined nature of how he blogs that helps him publish every day. After that, it’s habit. Check out the interview. See what you think.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Here’s One Way to Savor a Moment

Use your five senses to help create vivid memories and savor your moments.

Ask yourself the following:

What do I smell?

What do I see?

What do I hear?

What do I taste?

What textures do I feel?

 

It has been my experience that slowing down to think these questions and answer them helps to remember the moment a bit more. I usually ask about 5 things that I see,  5 things that I hear, and so forth. This is to give myself even more moments for instant recall.

I do this all the time anywhere – at weddings, family reunions, funerals, or just on a lovely morning in quiet. I want to remember the atmosphere. I also tend to write down the resulting observations into my ever-present journal.

There was a trip to Virginia wherein we stayed in a cabin near a lake. I still remember having early morning quiet time on the pier, watching fisherman in small motor boats, feeling the sun rise and warm my face in the cool morning air, hearing the pages turn in my journal. It was a beautiful moment and I remember feeling grateful to be alive.

How do you savor a moment?

Peace,

Deborah

 

Casey Neistat and Orson Welles on a Creator’s Job

Casey Neistat addresses someone who states, “You’re a filmmaker; stop vlogging.” His answer is one that can be useful to any creator, whether filmmaker, writer, blogger, painter, etc.

Our job as creators is to further define the medium. Our job is to create the new cliches, not adhere to those that were defined by generations past.

Watch the video here: “What’s Your Motivation?”

It is an answer similar to a statement given by filmmaker Orson Welles,

“I passionately hate the idea of being ‘with it;’ I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.”

What do you think?

Sincerely,

Deborah

Your Many Ideas Have a Golden Thread

Hi,

It’s Deborah.

I’ve talked about my previous businesses before [See Content Revamp Article]. But I did not tell you this.

One of my previous business ideas, one that predates this website- was that of online used bookseller. There are 5 elements to such an enterprise – Sourcing, Sorting, Storing, Selling and Shipping. The first one -sourcing- didn’t work for me since I lived too far away from the books I wanted to sell, shrinking the profit margin. It was just all down hill from there.

After 6 months, I realized it was not the business for me. In a rare moment of accepting sunk cost, I stepped away from it.

However, part of what drew me into the business was being a matchmaker between readers and the information they might find useful.  It was honestly a thrill knowing that a person made the decision to get something they wanted and I made it available.

After closing down my shop – It was called Clay Books, for a reason lost with time.- I realized that my blogs do all of this matchmaking without my having to check for silver fish, dust mites or mold.

I bumped up the time that I spent on my blogs. My early blogs eventually zig-zagged into the website you are reading today.

Why an I telling you this? Because I learned something.

I learned that the thing you were drawn to, but ultimately turns out not to be for you, has something to it that you thought would be useful. What was that something? These could be clues to what you want and who you want to be.

An experience does not need to be a waste of time, it does not have to be completely sunk cost if you can glean a lesson out of it, if it can help you put together the puzzle pieces of your business (or your life in general).

Now,

call me bookseller,

call me blogger,

call me online consultant,

but ultimately, they all mean that I am a matchmaker between reader and content.

It has taken years to really understand that and then not stray from that. It will take many more years to cultivate this into a business. But, that’s my golden thread. What’s yours?

Peace be with you,

Deborah