Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dealing with what you are Dealt

Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.

Jack London

     One the family favorites to watch is The Princes Bride. There is a point where the grandfather stops reading when the grandson interrupts and tells his grandfather he read the story wrong, "Wesley didn't die!"
     "I'm afraid so," Grandpa replies.
     "Who gets Humperdink?"
     "No one, he lives."
     "That is not fair!"
     "Life isn't fair."

     A great interchange, and a great life lesson. Life isn't fair. No amount of whining will change that. And no matter how much regulations goverments throw at things, it will not change the simple fact that life isn't always far.
     In fact there are days I have exchanges like this:
     "Hey, how are you doing?" Someone will ask.
     "Can't complain," I reply, then I'll sometimes add, "Wouldn't do any good if I did."
     Inevitable I get this reply, "No, it wouldn't."

     My wife and I have made friends with a couple that loves to get with us on a Friday or Saturday night. We play cards until 11 PM or sometimes midnight, depending on how things go. We have two rules that are strictly enforces
     1. If you discard a card, you are done with your turn. Period.
     2. Have fun.

     There are times we are loosing, and loosing bad, but we are having so much fun with conversations, and jokes, it just doesn't matter. There are times I get dealt a hand I can do nothing with. I have to play it nonetheless. However, I may get a fantastic hand and get a great run a few deals later. That is part of the fun.
     Life is a lot like the card game.  There are times when everything is going your way. Life is easy then. But like the card game, there are times life deals us an ugly hand.
     One of my most popular blog posts is "When your Best isn't Good Enough." I talk about leaving a job I spent years at, trying to get things better.
     I couldn't control the factors that landed me in that job. I was able to find a new position and leave that company. My hand that life has dealt me since has been better.
     The main thing is this: do the best with what you've got. We have to deal with what we've got. So what if life isn't fair, and we are not where we think we should be, or where we want to be. That is part of life. How we work through it is important.
     Keep your head up. Things will change. They always do. Work on what you can control and work to make the changes positive. Life will throw ugly things at us, but then things tend to work out for the best in the end.
What keeps you positive and motivated?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

11 Ideas to Stay Young

Stay Young My Friend
We all need to read this one over and over until it becomes part of who we are.

1.. Try everything twice.
On one woman's tombstone she said she wanted this epitaph:
"Tried everything twice. Loved it both times!"
2. Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down.
(Keep this in mind if you are one of those grouches!)

3. Keep learning:
Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever... Never let the brain get idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's!
4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh,spend lots and lots of time with HIM/HER.

6.. The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. LIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love:
whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever.. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health:
If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips..
Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

I love you, my special friend!

11. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance..

And if you don't send this to at least 4 people - who cares? But do share this with someone.

Remember! Lost time can never be found.

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Wine does not make you FAT .... it makes you LEAN ....(against tables, chairs, floors, walls)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keep on Keeping On

Winter is almost behind us.  It has been a long winter.  This last winter also had a plus, the winter Olympic games. 

A new addition was introduced to the games, Slopestyle. It is an interesting sport.  The one I enjoyed watching was the Mens snowboard.  Basically a snowboarder jumps on ramps, or rails and then does flips off jumps all the while traveling at breakneck speeds down the mountain side.

While the USA won first place, and the gold medal is the goal, I was more interested in what happened to the bronze winner from Canada, Mark McMorris.

A few weeks before the winter games Mark competed in the Winter X Games in Aspen.  On his third run he tripped on the rails and crashed, and fractured a rib.  He still went to the winter Olympic games and competed, with a fractured rib.

I was amazed as he did flips and jumps knowing how it would hurt when he landed.  The fact that he won a bronze medal in the debut of his Slopestyle sport is a testament of commitment and following your dreams.

I suppose the fight to go on is always in a champion.  Things that go wrong are seen as setbacks, not deal breakers.

I will never be a star athlete, or compete in any Olympic Games, summer or winter.  I do well to run a mile right now, although I am working on my fitness, I know I'll never be an elite athlete, but I do know this - I can keep on keeping on.

There are times in life where it seems like the opposition will overwhelm us.  Remember this, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes of the goal.  Sometimes it will hurt to keep moving.  Oftentimes things do not, or will not go the way you would like.  Take a deep breath and keep plugging.

You may not get the gold medal, but hey, you made it to the platform and got to see your flag.  Go back and work some more.  It will eventually pay off.

Men's Slopestyle Final Results
Place Name Country Score
1 Sage Kotsenburg USA 93.50
2 Staale Sandbech Norway 91.75
3 Mark McMorris Canada 88.75

Monday, March 24, 2014

Darke Conteur has me on Blog Tour

I need to remember the old adage, "Never volunteer for anything."

Yet I feel the need to help others whenever I can, and when Darke put up a note saying she needed help I said sure!

Really I don't mind, I've just been swamped, as you can tell by the low number of blog posts I've put up lately...  I'll fix it, but blogging is not a high priority at this juncture. 

So I need to answer a few simple questions:

1) What am I working on?
Finding a job first and foremost.  Oh, as far as my writing goes?  Well I've been working on a high fantasy story for longer than I will admit.  I made the mistake of writing 400,000 words with no help, or anyone to beta read or critique. Now I'm trying to turn it into something readable.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I am working on a Fantasy Thriller.  I know that is a bit different, but I love both genres.  So I am crafting something that works, although a lot of my writing friends tell me I have too much detail in my story.  So it is a balancing act...

3) Why do I write what I do?
It is an outlet for me.  I like to imagine things, and fantasy allows me to let my imagination go, but the practical side of me always brings it around to make it believable, so even fantasy has rules it needs to follow!
 4) How does my writing process work? 
I like to write at lunch time, or I did.  I'd have ideas brew and then at lunch put them on paper.  I love to go on walks and as I'm out walking the ideas start to come.  I can play with them in my head and then put them down once I work out the details in my mind.  My favorite part is writing the first draft and letting the story flow out of my fingers through the keyboard and onto the screen/paper.  

I've heard it said that the first draft you write for yourself.  Then get the crit partners and start making it work for everyone else.  That is where I am at now, working on making the story work for everyone else.  It will get there, and boy it will be great when I get it published.  

So thanks Darke for asking me to join your tour.  Now I've got to find three other people to share this with and post some links for them for next week.


Guest Post by Andre Ford: Why I write

I've asked some of my writer friends why they write.  I got a request From Andre for a post.  So here is a brief bio and why Andre Writes:

Name: Andre Ford
Born and raised in Southeastern United States, my interest in writing started in High School; math class to be exact. There was a student teacher there who noticed I wasn't paying attention and found out why. She scolded me for writing in class and then scolded me for leaving a cliff hanger. She encouraged me to write ... but not during class.

Though I've been writing stories for years, my first published work was with a small magazine that targeted canine enthusiast. Later on I began writing stories and featuring interviews on a website devoted to aviation and flight simulation. At first I doubted my skills to interview various people but then, with each successful interview, I started to get good at them; even to a point where I launched my own site, Lounge1506. There a number of interviews from people around the world and many walks of life are featured. The problem is that with a quick glance many think the site is about music, or radio, or business, in fact it's about a variety of topics instead of just one. Lounge1506 does two things for me. It gives me a challenge to conquer and allows me to meet people around the world and share their story. I hope people enjoy reading or watching the content as much as I enjoy featuring it.

What Motivates Me To Write and Why?

Failure is my motivator.  Interesting isn’t it? The very thing which causes many to stop writing is what gives me fuel. Failure mixed with tenacity fuels my desire to prove that I can do it; that I can write. During an interview with a DJ, he said “You’re going to make mistakes. It’s how you recover from those mistakes that matters.” The same could be said about failure. It’s going to happen; however, there is a lesson to be learned. If you work hard enough, you can to attain your goal. When I am faced with complex situations, it forces me to make needed changes, try different things with my writing, and to look at my work differently.

For instance, I wrote a story where the main character lived in an advanced society amid a wasteland. It was as if Star Trek met Mad Max. That story was a complete failure due to a number of reasons, other than the fact that is my first story. After examining the story again an idea came to mind which was to make another story about one of the advanced cities. This new story would take place in a fairly advanced world with its own set of problems.

In addition to a new story with a new setting, I’ve also figured out better ways to write dynamic scenes of action. Instead of writing “John Doe was mad and threw the device thus breaking it.” I learned to write “John Doe’s face turned a deep crimson upon hearing the news of defeat; he clinched his fist and his knuckles became white as paper. His narrowed eyes focused on a data pack, no bigger than a deck of cards, which was on the corner of his desk. All that work, and for what? Nothing! He swiped the device and hurled it across his office; watching, as it exploded into tiny pieces of plastic and metal.” I’m far from perfect and still have a lot learn.

In short, failure pushes me to summit the mountain of challenges the writing industry provides.
Thanks Andre, and be sure to stop by Lounge 1506 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Wrong Funeral

I enjoy motivational and inspiring stories.  Part of time management is having drive.  What motivates you?  What drives you?  What inspires you?

This is a story that inspires me.  It helps to keep me going.  So I hope this inspires you as it did me.  This was in my e-mail's in box.  Again it was the right story at the right time for me and I share it with you.  I don't know who wrote it, but thank you...

Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle female child without entanglements, to take care of her.  I counted it an honor.  

"What now, Lord?" I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss.

My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife's hand.  My sister sat slumped against her husband's shoulder, his arms around her as  she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone.  My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk,  taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor.

An exasperated young man looked  around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on  his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. "I'm late,"  he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he  leaned over and commented, "Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of  'Margaret?'"

"Because, that was her name, Margaret.  Never Mary, no one called her 'Mary,'" I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

"No, that isn't correct," he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, "her name is Mary, Mary Peters."  

"That isn't who this is."  

"Isn't this the Lutheran church?"

No, the Lutheran church is across the street."  


"I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir." 

The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man's mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit.

I imagined Mother laughing. At the final "Amen," we darted out a door and into the parking lot.  
"I do believe we'll be the talk of the town," he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time.

In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter.  In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June, we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, "Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it's truly a match made in heaven."

Love God for all the marvelous things he has done for you, and REMEMBER, God doesn't make mistakes. He puts us where we are supposed to be.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Public Manners

I love new gadgets.  I enjoy the things technology brings.  My smart phone is so cool.  I can just say who I want to talk to and the phone dials the number.  The tablets help keep things organized, the internet and google make researching things so easy.  I even know who is calling me because of the ringtones that can be set to an individual number. 

So the down side of all this personalization with technology is people no longer interact well with one another.  The friendly "Hello? has been replaced with a cold computer voice asking to press 1 for English. 

We as a society do not have a lot of face time anymore.  We communicate via text messages, e-mails and "liking" things on Facebook.  When I talk with people on the phone when they are done talking they just hang up without saying "goodbye".  Some of the old school etiquette has just vanished.

Some people have forgotten how to be polite, others have never learned, because they don't know how.  Please, thank you, and you're welcome have dropped from our vocabulary.  And when things go the way someone thinks it should a temper tantrum is thrown.

A few months ago I was walking past a local hobby shop.  A lady was standing outside the open door, her head was inside the store screaming, "It only flew three feet!  I want a full refund!"

Then a stream of swear words and threats and yelling and screaming.  I thought, a remote controlled airplane or helicopter is dependent on the skills of the modeler.  If it flew, the hobby shop doesn't need to do anything.

A few days later I talked with the owner about the incident.  He laughed and said, "If she had been nicer and explained what had happened I might have worked with her, but her threatening and swearing, no way was I willing to help her out."

I've thought about that over the last few weeks.  We've been trained to get upset with customer service.  I know I've done it, I call to complain and if I'm nice, nothing happens, I end up with nothing, but if I get testy and demand to speak with the manager and remain angry, I typically get some sort of settlement that I can live with.

"If she had been nicer I might have worked with her." still rings in my mind.  Last month I went to return a faulty tablet I received as a Christmas gift.  I took it in and got another one back in January.  The clerk told me that the brand of tablet was not any good, they were all being returned.  If I wanted to pay the difference I could upgrade to a better tablet.  I agreed, but not having the money at the time I asked how long did I have before I couldn't return it.  I was told I could bring it back within 90 days.  I took my receipt and noted when the 90 days would be up and left.

About 45 days into the 90 I came up with the difference to buy the better tablet.  I went in with the tablet to trade it in and was told only 30 days, see it is posted.  She pointed to a notice on the wall and sure enough posted right there 30 day refund policy.  I explained that I was told 90 days. 

"Sorry sir, it is posted 30 days."

Old habits started to kick in and I was getting into my angry customer mode, I want to talk with the manager, but then I thought "If she had been nicer I might have worked with her."  So I reigned in the anger and asked politely, "is there anything you can do?"

"No sir, policy is 30 days."

"Could you call the manager please?"

So she did. I explained I was told 90 days, and no they couldn't, but as we talked the manager thought of something that could work, and I was able to get the trade in, and everyone was happy, and no angry exchanges and threats.  It was nice.

On the whole it seems everyone is worried about me and what can I get.  But when you stop and think of the others and work on a win, win, things seem to go a lot better.

I've more ideas about face time and technology I'll share in future blog posts, but I just wanted to say, we need to find our Public Manners and work once again on being nicer to one another.  It makes things a whole lot more pleasant. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Help! I'm in the hallway

Photo from:
Welcome to all the new followers.  I'm glad you've decided to follow this blog.  I hope to be able to share things that are of worth.  I apologize I know I've been MIA for the last little while.  The real world has intruded in my life once again.

"When one door closes, another door opens" is where I am right now.  But I'd like to do a little adjustment to that saying.

When one door closes another door opens, but it is hell in the hallway. 

Currently I am between jobs.  I know, I just got a new job.  Economy and such I was laid off.  So I've got some unemployment, but being unemployed is not a good thing, so I've been very focused on the job hunt right now.  Thus the cobwebs on my blog.

I do have a lot of ideas to share with all of you.  I'll have them along shortly.

This is a set back, not a disaster, and in some ways this is a blessing, because when I'm on the other side of this I should have a job I enjoy and I'll be doing things I love, and I'll be a lot happier than I have been.

So good thoughts for me, or prayers, or wish me luck, what ever it is you feel most comfortable with I'll take.  And in the spirit of networking I am looking for a job in industry.  Project Management, scheduling, database work, general manager type positions.  I've done Maintenance Control Management, Planning superintendent, Department head.  So there it is, please contact me or leave a comment below and I'll see what I need to do to get in touch.

Thanks for all your support, and next week I'll return with the regular blog posts once again.

And if I miss, lets just say I'm on a job interview or working on getting the job so I can get out of this hallway!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Aaron Bradford Starr Shares Why He Writes

I've met Aaron over at AQC connect.  He has a lot of great insights, and has a great blog Imaginary Friend you should check it out sometime.

Aaron Bradford Starr's Photo

Anyway we've been talking blog swap, and so today's guest is Aaron.  I had a post over on his blog last week.  Aaron has published short stories, paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, black Gate Online, and the magazine Stupefying Stories.

So here is today's guest blogger:
Why I Write

The question of why a writer writes is much like why people do anything. But, underlying my own urge to write is a motivation few chose for themselves: my approaching death.

Before you get the impression that I'm sick and counting days, or healthy but morbid, let me assure you I am neither. I am healthy, but I count my awareness of my own time to be part of that health, not a detriment. Let me explain how I came to feel as I do, so you can better understand how this can act as a positive motivator, and get one writing.

When I was around ten, it was 1981. The Cold War was going on, and getting worse. This was also about the age when the truth about mortality truly strikes home for many children, the thought If I'm alive, one day I will die. A dreadful thought, undeniable and inescapable. .

Though many dodge around this realization with religious beliefs, I’d never been able to sustain these. Death awaited, somewhere in the future. Thoughts of nuclear war loomed large, to those us us coming of age in the 1980s. If I can just make it to 30, I reasoned, I'll feel lucky. But the possibility of being snuffed out in short order was everywhere, closer even than we knew at the time.

A lethargy came over me. Much like clinical depression, I could not escape the thought of oblivion, and so, one night, I sat alone, and decided to follow the thought as far as it led, since trying to avoid it was was proving impossible.

I would, one day, vanish.

I remember pondering, reducing what I knew to be true to ever-simpler core truths. In then end, I found myself looking at my own hand, thinking about it at a fundamental level.

If I exist now, I reasoned, it was because my living stuff existed. Atoms, and chemicals. My death would cause these things to spread out once more, and, given time, to completely be swept back up into the Earth's own living systems. What I feared, I realized, was a phantom conception of death. I feared continued awareness, blind and unfeeling without a body. What I feared wasn't really death at all, but eternal life, relegated to some spot underground, trapped where my body had once been buried. But the entire chain of my reasoning had started with chemicals, and atoms. My stuff.

Fearing eternal continued awareness when thinking about death made no sense at all. I'd gotten those chemicals from other formerly living things, after all. If I was me, it was because my stuff had, until recently, been some other living thing. That was true, and self-evident every time I ate. This was, at worst, my fate: to quickly rejoin the parade of life in a diffusion of other beings.

And this is the thought that keeps me producing not just writing, but other creative work. I am the swirl of chemicals that creates. I am the self-sustaining system that thinks and imagines. If I do not create these stories, no one else ever will. I write to leave an imprint on the universe, among the other thinking swirls. Ripples in a pond, and destined to fade, perhaps, but worth creating all the same.

Because the universe waited thirteen billion years for my arrival, and if I don't make these ripples, I'm missing a once-in-a universe chance.

And that is a pretty good motivator. No pressure there!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Joyce Alton shares Why She Writes

My friends at Agent Query Connect are doing blog hops this month.  I've agreed to visit two folks, and a couple of them have some posts for us here.

Today's guest is Joyce Alton, a Moderator for the Speculative Fiction Group at AQC.  She hatches all sorts of fun things for the members of Speculative Fiction group.  I am honored to have her visit The Write Time and share with us why she writes.

 Why Do You Write

Why do you write? Two or three reasons probably pop into your head right away. I get asked the question and I draw a blank. At first anyway.

Some of the usual answers you get from others are: to get published, to share their ideas, they love books, it fulfills a need, or they want more of a certain kind of book.

I went to a writers’ conference as a child and the one piece of information that has stuck with me through the years since is that there are no new ideas. We play off each other, twist tropes, create new angles, or spoof others’ stories. I hated this concept, by the way, and wanted to reject it. That’s probably why I remember it so well. It’s why I try my best not to make my stories like other ones I’ve read, seen, or heard.

With thousands of other people putting down their stories and trying to share them these days, I suppose the question of “why do you write?” comes up a lot. To start with, I don’t believe the question should open up competitiveness, condemning one person’s reason in order to justify someone else’s reason.

I draw a blank because I didn’t have a reason at first. I’m one of those annoying people who’ve been telling and writing stories since they could first communicate. I grew up in a home where my mom wrote, I had aunts and uncles who wrote, and great-aunts and uncles, second cousins … you get the picture. Genetics had more to do with it than anything.

As a child writer, I enjoyed making up stories and sharing them with other people. Mom always read her stories out loud to us; so again, I recognized that stories were meant to be shared. Other children and teachers were the best audiences. They enjoyed what I wrote.

The downside to having literary minded relations is that you don’t get such adoring feedback. You get challenged, stretched, and grow as a writer. An older cousin—my best friend—also wrote and we beta read for each other. I learned the concept of critiquing and being critiqued from her. We even wrote a book together. I’m chagrined now to realize that she drew upon the works of other writers for her inspiration and I naively thought she was so original and brilliant. She was certainly more well-read than I in those genres. Not that she plagiarized, but reading through the material now, I can see where other authors heavily influenced what she wrote. She also had great voice and style and she pushed me to develop a voice of my own.

I was in my teens by then and I wrote stories to try to get a flawless critique back from my cousin. As I gained other writing friends, the same reason drove me. I wrote to please my audience and what they wanted. But at the same time, I was starting to ask myself what I wanted to read. I read certain genres but gravitated toward others when I sat down to write. Why was that?

In my late teens to young adult years the answer to that was: because I don’t care much for what has been written, even though I enjoy the elements of those genres. I wanted to write what someone like me would want to read. And I did. These were my most prolific years. And I found that I could still please and surprise the other people who had read my work, however, I also discovered that what I like to read and what others like to read aren’t always going to be the same thing. I had detractors who subjectively didn’t like my style, my scenarios, or even my characters. They were few, yet I’m grateful to them for helping me understand this side of the nature of writing and sharing.

Then I left home and I didn’t write for a decade.

I think I jotted down a couple of story ideas during that time. I didn’t have a computer, I was working two jobs, going through school, trying to be a responsible adult, and experiencing the fullest social life I’d ever known. I didn’t read much during that time either, unless textbooks and other nonfiction count. I was living, storing up ideas, always intending to go back to writing, but never actually making it.

It wasn’t until that decade had passed, I had become a wife and mother, and my life had taken another set of turns that I picked up writing again. I’ve been going full steam since. I write now because it’s therapeutic, it helps me escape, it helps me deal with the grimmer realities of life, because it gives me power. It’s a thrill one moment and makes me a slave the next. I’m always anxious to be working on my writing and I’m always brainstorming. I have a good life balance worked out now but if anyone were to ask me what I wanted to do for fun if I could do anything, the answer would be writing. I love to create and explore. I love the challenge of trying to reach an older and tougher audience. And there’s still nothing as satisfactory as having someone read your work and then say, “Give me more!”

My reasons for writing have changed through the years and I expect they will continue to the older I get.

And as there are no wrong answers, why do you write?

Visit Joyce Alton's blog  Yesternight's Voyage.  She has all kinds of great advice, ideas, and general information.

Thanks for hopping over to my blog, and the best of luck with all your endeavors.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Dr. Alan Zimmerman puts out a weekly Tuesday's Tip.  I've been late posting because I've been trying to come up with setting goals in a way that makes sense.  Dr. Zimmerman has a very good post on such a topic, so I defer to his wisdom.

Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Tuesday's Tip 

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
In 1994, I remember watching Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in their movie, "Dumb and Dumber" and thinking this is really stupid.  Why am I wasting my time watching something so idiotic?  Perhaps you felt the same way.  But that did not stop the movie from making lots of money, so much so that the sequel called "Dumb and Dumber To" is coming out in late 2014. it hit me ... sometimes I'm just as dumb as the characters in that movie.  And as strange as it may seem, that's what success can do to you -- make you so dumb that you think you can skip the fundamentals in life or in business.
For example, I speak to a lot of sales audiences.  And invariably there are some people in the audience who have become so successful they think they can skip the tough things they used to do when they first got started ... such things as prospecting, cold calling, rapport building, and relationship building.  They think they can sit back, take it easy, and just wait for the orders to come in.  DUMB!  If they take that kind of approach, they will soon find themselves with fewer customers and fewer sales.  You've got to keep practicing the fundamentals.
And sometimes I've been too dumb to do that.  For instance, I believe in goal setting.  And I teach it with passion because I know that the person with goals will achieve a great deal more than the person without goals.  Indeed, the people who attend my "Journey to the Extraordinary" are constantly telling me how my goal-setting process has changed their lives.  
Despite all of my academic knowledge, real-life experience, and thousands of testimonials from my "students," it's hard to believe how stupid I can be ... once in a while.  Occasionally, I've fallen into the trap of achieving so much success that I fooled myself into thinking I could skip the fundamentals of figuring out my goals.  I just kept on working and assuming that everything would fall into place.  Well, life doesn't work that way.  
And I don't want you to fall into that dumb and dumber trap.  So there are two things you've got to do when it comes to goals and goal setting.
1.  Assess where you've been.
Before you even think about the goals you want to achieve, take a moment to assess your life, work, relationships, goals, and achievements in the last 12 months.  Take a look at when you were on course, living the life and doing the work you truly wanted, and when you were off course.  

The following "Yes-No" questions will give you a quick answer.  Take a moment to write the word "yes" or "no" by each question.
  • When I think about 2013, did I experience personal renewal and revival in my life?
  • When I think about 2013, did I experience as much joy, fun, and pleasure as I would like?
  • When I think about 2013, was I living in a state of peace?
  • When I think about 2013, did I see time as a blessing rather than a curse in my life and in my work?
  • When I think about 2013, did I make enough time for rest, relaxation, prayer, and reflection?
  • When I think about 2013, were the relationships with my friends as good as I would like?
  • When I think about 2013, did I experience enough depth and intimacy in my closest relationships?
  • When I think about 2013, did I keep my promises?
  • When I think about 2013, did people find it easy to trust me?
  • When I think about 2013, was I actively involved in mentoring, coaching, or helping others to grow and improve?
  • When I think about 2013, was my family happy?
  • When I think about 2013, was I eating and sleeping well?
  • When I think about 2013, did I have a positive vision for my future?
  • When I think about 2013, was I living "with" success rather than dying "to" success?
  • When I think about 2013, did I take enough risks in pursuit of the better things in life, at home, and at work?
Obviously, the more "yes's" you had, the better your life was.  And chances are you had some specific, meaningful, written goals that helped you achieve your high levels of success.  If you answered with too many "no's," chances are you weren't goal focused.  
Answer those questions, and then find a few minutes to take a deeper assessment of where you've been.  Use my colleague Joel Weldon's 7 questions.  Ask yourself:
1.      What was your biggest success in 2013?
2.      What was the best decision you made in 2013?
3.      What was the most important lesson you learned in 2013?
4.      What made you the happiest in 2013?
5.      Who had the greatest positive impact on you in 2013?
6.      What were you most grateful for in 2013?
7.      If you could re-live 2013, knowing now everything that happened, and everything you did to make things happen the way they did, what would you do differently?
Take an assessment of where you've been so you're ready to...
2.  Set your goals.
For years, I took a day during the last week of the year to sit down ... or walk the beach ... and think about my goals for the upcoming year.  Once I decided on my goals, AND ... AND ... AND ... wrote them down, I almost always achieved them.  Every one of them.  My financial goals, health goals, relationship goals, business goals, educational goals, and spiritual goals.  

When I became super successful, however, I got sloppy.  I told myself that I didn't have to go through the mundane task of assessing where I had been in the previous year and writing down my goals for the upcoming year.  After all, I had it made!  Whenever I did that, however, my results and my achievements always took a nosedive.  That's how stupid I had become.
But not anymore.  I know I have to write down my goals ... and so do you.  If you don't know how to do it, come to my "Journey to the Extraordinary" program this May 1-2, 2014 in Dallas.  But get started NOW by answering these questions.  Some of them come from my esteemed colleague Art Sobczak and some of them came from me.  Your answers will lead you towards the goals you want to set for 2014.
  • What will you do to improve your physical health in 2014?
  • What are you going to do every day to keep your attitude at a high level?
  • How much time are you going to spend each day improving your professional skills? What will you do?
  • How are you going to maximize the use of your time? Where will you cut out the time-wasters in each day?
  • What have you been putting off that you will take care of within the next two weeks?
  • Who can you help to feel special every day?
  • What challenge, wish or desire--that you've never attempted before--will you finally achieve in 2014? How will you do that? Why?
  • In which areas will you improve your personal, family, and spiritual life?
  • Where are you going to write all of this down so you can review and revise your plans regularly?
  • What will it LOOK like when you accomplish everything you've just been thinking about?
  • How good will it FEEL?
  • What will it SOUND like when you achieve these things?
  • Which of the energy suckers in your life (certain people, relationships, tasks, etc.) are you willing to eliminate or resolve this year?
  • What will you do to live your life "on purpose" instead of by accident?
You and your life and your work and your relationships are too important to be left to chance.  So don't do it.  Don't become a part of the millions who could star in the movie sequel "Dumb and Dumber To."  Take time to set your goals now.
Take the "yes or no" quiz listed above.  What is your gut reaction to your answers?  Do you feel like celebrating or do you feel like it's time to make a change?

Copyright © 2014
Zimmerman Communi-Care Network

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Five Lessons for the New Year

I've seen these lessons before, but I received all five in an e-mail.   They seem appropriate for the new year.  

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor
gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student
and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
Dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if The last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely, " said the professor.. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello.."

I've never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway, trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
special note was attached.

It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.

Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient..

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.

Some of the King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
And simply walked around it.. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts....

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing

the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Live with no regrets, Treat people the way you want to be treated, Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt, and Dance like you do when nobody's watching.