It is never too early to think about the Xmas presents, right? I personally love to give and get books for Christmas. Let me introduce a wonderful new book “An Elf Named Finley, A Christmas Story” written by Rick Junilla. Both children and adults will benefit from the inspiring story and lessons contained in this simple, yet brilliant book!
Here is a short excerpt from the book about how the story of was created:
“Several years ago I had lost a prestigious job as a Chief of Staff for a major hospital due to changes in the health care laws. I cashed in my 401K to try and save the house I eventually lost. With the help of a personal loan from a good friend I was able to open an office in a new town. I soon found that opening a practice in a town that was unfamiliar was difficult. No one knew my name or reputation as a good doctor. The town I chose appeared like a good choice because it was growing due to the housing boom, which soon crashed and several of the few clients I had lost their houses and/or jobs. Within a year of opening the practice, I spent most of my time moving from place to place because I was basically homeless, as I was unable to make enough money to pay rent for an apartment. On several occasions I found myself sleeping in my car or in the office when I could not find a place to stay.
At my lowest point, I found myself sleeping in the bottom bunk of my son’s bed, in my ex-wife’s house with her boyfriend and his kids. I thought “Something has GOT change!” Out of sheer desperation and lack of sleep, I started meditating to calm my mind. With meditation I found that I could ask questions, and sometimes receive insightful and profound answers. And the interesting part is that my life started to change. I eventually was able to afford a small 500 square foot apartment myself and my two children.
Two years later my daughter had been told that there was no such thing as Santa. And worse yet, she believed it. Being a concerned father and not knowing how to address the issue I asked for guidance during a meditation on Christmas Eve morning, simply asking “what I should to say to her about Santa?” The answer came to me in the form of a wonderful children’s story called An Elf Named Finley. The most amazing part was that it came to me in a way of knowing, all at once, like a CD full of information. I explain it to people as being similar to how you know the story of someone who has been close to you for years, but this story came without spending any time to get to know them.
So on Christmas Eve day, with tears streaming down my face, I typed as fast as I could. I knew immediately that the story was from something larger than me because I have never written a story in my life, especially anything profound. Without different words to explain it, all I can say is… I was blown away! I brought the story to my ex-wife’s house that night and she read it aloud to my children.
The decision to publish this story was because of my ex-wife’s response after reading it. She said “Wow that was a really cool story, where did you get it?”
I said “I wrote it.”
Then with the frankness that only an ex-wife could display, and with a chuckle in her voice she said, “If it wasn’t for all the typos, I would never believe you!” – Rick Junilla
Check out this wonderful book at www.AnElfNamedFinley.com
“Although most of us aren’t aware that we are self-loathing, and would deny it if accused of it by others, the bottom line is this: If we aren’t getting the life we want, we’re sabotaging ourselves. And if we’re sabotaging ourselves, it’s because, despite appearances, despite the fact that we may value and admire ourselves in any number of ways, we are self-loathing.
Our self-loathing stems from extremely harsh, shaming, condemning and guilt-generating labels about ourselves that are deeply-embedded in our unconscious mind, which whisper incessantly to us (at an unconscious level) that we are unworthy, undeserving, unlovable, bad, stupid, thoughtless, unkind, unloving, selfish, greedy, sinful, and guilty, deserving of punishment (not reward), hell, (not heaven), and eternal pain and suffering (not relief and deliverance).
Where do the guilt, shame, and self-condemnations come from? There are several possibilities. Maybe they are the result of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem messages (verbal and non-verbal) communicated to us by our parents, other caregivers, our instructors, our siblings, and our peers, intentionally or otherwise, when we were very young.
Unfortunately, our parents, in particular, are the prime movers of much of our shame, guilt and self-condemnations, not because our parents were evil and hurtful people, but because they didn’t know any better.
Most parents simply don’t know how to be effective parents and not scar their children.
Most parents have poor communication skills and are not in touch with their emotions and unconscious motivations, such that they unintentionally end up repeating the same dysfunctional behaviors that they were exposed to as children.
Here’s an example: When a small child shows a parent a drawing he’s done, and the parent dismisses the child, too busy working or watching TV to take the time to look at the drawing, it is shameful and demeaning to the child, and it sends the child the message that he or she isn’t really all that special or important to the parent, despite this not being the case and despite all the nurturing things the parent has done for the child in the past.
When the parent does something thoughtless and shaming like this, and doesn’t repair it with an apology and appropriate attention, the child’s self-esteem is damaged. This is called an empathic break occurring during the child’s identity formation.
As these empathic breaks repeat themselves over time and aren’t repaired, the child eventually puts two and two together and comes up with six: “I must not be good enough. I must be stupid. I must be a nuisance. I must have done something bad or wrong. I must not be loveable. I must deserve them ignoring me and treating me so badly.”
It all happens at an unconscious, non-verbal level. The child’s mind doesn’t have the capacity to adequately evaluate the situation. The child can’t appreciate that perhaps the parent’s behavior has nothing to do with them, that perhaps the parent is distracted and unreceptive due to being tired, anxious, or frustrated, and is taking it out on him (or her) inappropriately.
Instead, the child assumes the worst about himself. The child assumes that the parent isn’t the one with the problem, but rather that he is.
Over time, the shame, guilt and negative self-perceptions build and grow until the child’s dysfunctional personality and low self-esteem have been firmly established, regardless of how accomplished and confident the child might appear to be.
Eventually, the child becomes an adult with guilt, shame, and self-loathing neuroses at the core of his identity, and with a subconscious mind dedicated to sabotage and self-destruction in one or more areas of his life.
That being said, perhaps our guilt, shame, and self-loathing have nothing to do with early childhood development. Perhaps they have to do with poor choices we’ve made in the past as adolescents or adults, which have been hurtful, abusive and unloving towards others, and have left us with bad feelings about ourselves and a core belief that we deserve to be punished rather than rewarded.
Perhaps the guilt, shame and self-loathing have to do with poor choices we’ve made in past lives, our karma catching up to us, leaving us with core feelings of unworthiness and self-recriminations that we’re not even remotely aware of.
Perhaps the guilt, shame and self-loathing have to do with genetic memories locked in our DNA and RNA from our ancestors that got neuro-chemically integrated into our personality and our sense of self.
Perhaps our guilt, shame and self-loathing have to do with the unconscious belief that we have sinned against God and that He will punish us with eternal damnation.
Perhaps it’s all of the above. Perhaps it’s none of the above.
Fortunately, it doesn’t matter why we loathe ourselves or how it started. What matters is that we stop it because it is generating self-sabotaging behaviors that are keeping us from the life we want.”
You can order “Forgive To Win” at http://forgivetowin.homestead.com
How is your motivation going today? High as ever? Or dwindling on the low side? Are you roaring to go and accomplish your most important projects? Or are you doing anything in your power to forget about them?
It doesn’t matter if your project is to find a new job, to get your business off the ground, to begin painting or to get back into the habit of writing your morning pages. To begin and successfully finish those small or large projects, you need a fair amount of motivation racing through your veins.
Let’s face it there will be days when you question yourself about the meaning and practicality of any projects you are involved in. Even if you chose them for yourself. Even if those are important to you. Even if it is your dream.
Some days you just wake up and ask yourself: why bother? You might feel discouraged, lacking confidence, weak, drained of energy, tired or hopeless. Or you might just simply begin to hate what needs to get done. Believe me; I am guilty of this, too.
Why is your motivation so important? Because it keeps you moving through difficulties, disappointment, challenges or hardship you might face down the road to success. Either you keep up your momentum or risk failure.
How do you get things done? You just do them … until the job gets done.
I personally love watching short motivational videos when my drive to succeed hits rock-bottom. Below is a selection of my favorites. Some of them are funny, some make my eyes well up, and some have beautiful images.
Have you ever tried Feng Shui? I had some amazing results using this ancient art and science that teaches us how to use Chi energy or Life Force to attract prosperity, love and health.
Here is my story: Some years ago I just joined a new company and my relationship was very difficult with my new boss from Day 1. No matter what I did or didn’t do there was always an issue. And I didn’t understand the reason why. I was very disappointed and secretly thinking about changing jobs again. At the same time, my relationship broke up which didn’t make me happier, either. That was the time when I first read about Feng Shui. But I didn’t take its power seriously until my mentor suggested that I give it a try.
Reluctantly but with an open mind I decided to visit the best Feng Shui shop in town. As I entered the shop a whole new world opened up for me. Such peace and energy! I was lucky to meet the owner, a high-profile Feng Shui expert and author and we began chatting about the issues I wanted remedy with this ancient Chinese art. I took her 2-day workshop to learn the basics and applied the Feng Shui principles in my apartment – all in one week’s time. Little changes began happening pretty soon. I found out why my boss resented me (he wanted to hire somebody else, but his boss preferred me). And very soon he was replaced by a new manager who finally appreciated my contribution to the company (this resulted in nice bonus payments – an added and very welcome benefit!) My broken heart was healing, too. I was happy to sing that famous song: “It’s raining men”. Life was good!
My interest in Feng Shui never faded so I was excited to read “One Minute Feng Shui For Prosperity” from Grace Ho. She created a comprehensive guide on how to use Feng Shui to welcome great relationships, prosperity and health into your life.
Here are the chapter highlights from the book:
- What is Feng Shui (風水, Fu-Sui)?
- Feng Shui Wisdom For Relationships
- How to Deal With Difficult People
- How Can Feng Shui Help Wellness?
- Feng Shui For a Good Night’s Sleep
- Take Advantage of Chi Energy For Prosperity
- Feng Shui For a Clear Mind
- and many interesting lessons in how using Feng Shui has the potential to change your life for the better!
This book covers all the topics I learned about in that 2-day workshop I took years ago.
“One Minute Feng Shui For Prosperity” is easy to read and keeps the promise in the title: in one minute you can get valuable tips concerning the areas you would like to transform in life.
My major A-ha moment from reading this book was the realization that Feng Shui is actually much more than just using clever decoration, changing the position of your desk or rearranging your bedroom. It is really about shifting your mind and energy to re-program your life for serious abundance everywhere. My favorite chapter is about how to use Feng Shui to achieve success through your mind.
The only thing I missed is having more illustrations on how to put the tips into practice.
I recommend that you not only read this book but put the principles into practice in your life. If you decide to buy Grace Ho’s book , do it today and get tons of complimentary gifts as an extra bonus! Check out the book page here: http://1minutefengshui4prosperity.com/
What is your experience with transforming your life using Feng Shui? Feel free to share your story here!
"Words are the most powerful drugs used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling
Words can motivate you to conquer the world. Words help you to show the world your gifts, sell your products or services and influence your tribe. (Words can bring you down in matter of seconds, too, of course. I am sure we all remember many occasions when that happened to us.)
Without good language skills we would be lost in the world, we wouldn't be able to learn any new skills. What's more, research shows that there is a strong correlation between people's range of vocabulary & ability to use those words and their success in their chosen area of expertise. Why? If you can express yourself clearly and well, you are regarded as more intelligent and of higher status. Unfortunately we seem to give up on enhancing our language skills after we learned speaking, writing and reading at an acceptable level.
When was the last time you discovered new words? Or played with words? Or read a challenging book? Or written just for your own fun without reason and destination? It is never too late to sharpen your skills. I gathered a few online resources that I use nearly every day. And they are fun, too!
No more bulky dictionaries! I love the online dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/ There is a practical toolbar that you can download to access not only the dictionary, but the thesaurus http://thesaurus.com and other great services like http://www.reference.com from your browser.
Looking for a thesaurus with more pizzazz? Take a look at the visual version at http://www.visualthesaurus.com. Great if you want to get a quick overview; perfect for visual types. Unlike the other resources I gathered here, this is not free, but you can have a free trial and it costs only $19.95 for a year.
Are you into discovering new words? The "word of the day" option will be perfect for you. http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday Challenge yourself to use the new word in a few sentences. You can use this world as a journal or ideation prompt, too.
My absolute favourite is http://oneword.com. You get the word of the day and 60 seconds to write anything you want. About the word, around the concept, as an explanation, whatever you wish, really. Wild associations are welcome.
Or create a 60-second story around the word. Or a poem? You have endless possibilities. Perfect for lovers of words. Not one of them? Try this site anyway. It will get you out of your usual thinking patterns. You have the option to publish your 60-second creation if you want; and you can read what others written, too.
Which of these fab online resources becomes your favorite?
Do you have a love and hate relationship with email? I love this practical tool and really don’t know how I would manage if email disappeared tomorrow. Having an inbox bursting with new messages however gave me a daylight nightmare just about every day.
I set out to tame the email kobold a few weeks ago. Yes, I listened to experts, read the blogs and asked friends to get a potpourri of ideas of what works for others. As I don’t believe in mindless copying of methods that work for somebody else, I designed my own system taking the tips that I thought would work for me. Since then it is trial and error.
I set up 4 separate email accounts for different “audiences”:
- my business and clients,
- family and friends,
- social media
- and for the newsletters I subscribe to.
In all the 4 email accounts I created folders. All the email I get is automatically sorted into folders by Hotmail. (I made Hotmail my personal VA if you like). This way when I open my account I have a very good overview of what awaits me. Plus I don’t have to check all my folders every day. Some folders I will check once a week or only when I have a few extra minutes.
For example in my business account I have folders for clients, prospects, JV partners, mentors, and my mastermind groups. I created folders for my financials and gather the online invoices and receipts there. Aweber merited a separate folder as I love to see the number of new subscribers I get every day.
Having my social media notifications in one account helped me a lot in keeping my focus on the important things. I’ve got very good at checking my social media email account only once a day. I have separate folders for all major social networks; I keep only the set-up emails and delete the rest. I check social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, e.g.) only once a day. The only exception is Twitter – I love to check what is going on in the world and use Twitter as my personal news agency.
The area that still gives me headaches is my newsletter subscriptions account. Depending on how busy I am, 2-3 days could go by until I check in there. And of course I began unsubscribing from newsletters that were not supporting me anymore.
What makes my system work?
- Having separate email addresses with the same email provider. All my 4 accounts are connected in Hotmail so switching among them is a breeze
- Email accounts for my distinct “audiences”. No chance for incoming emails to go unnoticed from the people I really want to hear from e.g. clients, partners, family, etc.
- Incoming mail is automatically sorted into folders. This is the most important success factor! Using this awesome feature enables me to check the most important folders immediately and ignore some folders if I wish to.
There is one folder that I have in all my email accounts. Can you guess what it is? Please share your guesses in the comment section. Next week I will post the name of the folder with the reasons why you will want to create one of those secret folders, too.
What if you were able to get a burst of insight into what awaits you and your market? To see the trends that will shape the future of your business and your creative endeavors? What if you could use flash foresight to shape your future even in uncertain times?
“Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible” from Daniel Burrus shows you how you can solve “impossible” problems, unearth “invisible” opportunities, create must-have products and high-demand services, and run an extraordinarily successful business both now and into the future.
What is flash foresight? It is a sudden burst of insight about the future that produces a new and radically different way of doing something that will open up invisible opportunities and solve seemingly impossible problems before they happen.
The author shares seven radical principles that are proven to trigger flash foresight.
- Start with certainty (use hard trends to see what’s coming)
- Anticipate (base your strategies on what you know about the future)
- Transform (use technology-driven change to your advantage)
- Take your biggest problem and skip it (it’s not the real problem anyway)
- Go opposite (look where no one else is looking to see what no one else is seeing and do what no one else is doing)
- Redefine and reinvent (identify and leverage your uniqueness in new and powerful ways)
- Direct your future (or someone else will direct it for you)
My favorite principle from the book is taking the biggest problem and skipping it. Many times we work so hard to solve issues that are just surface scratches. Do you always take the time to peel away the layers to get to the heart of the problem? I know I don’t. To face this truth was my biggest a-aha moment while reading Flash Foresight.
At the end of each chapter, you will find an action steps section. An excellent reminder of the fact that reading the book is great but the real benefit comes from actually using those principles in your thinking. I decided to go back and re-read the chapters, this time actually answering those questions.
For me the most important unique benefit of this book is that it doesn’t stop at providing you with lots of well-researched information around the 7 flash foresight triggers. It will also coach you through finding your own insights around your special challenges.
This book will make you THINK! It is packed with insights on every page. It actually took me twice as long to read this book as I planned. Why? Because I had to stop after every few pages to rethink my own assumptions and views about future trends and my business. I had to reconsider my plans in the light of the principles and examples the book provides.
Using these radical principles will not only transform your business. It has the power to inspire you to look for extraordinary solutions for your personal life, too. As I read the different chapters on the 7 triggers my mind was buzzing with possibilities and not just for my business. I am amazed at the ideas I got on how to solve my every day conflict with my kids about cleaning up the living room.
I highly recommend reading “Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible” from Daniel Burrus. I haven’t read a book for a very long time that actually managed to radically transform my outlook on the future and on my ability to influence it. I absolutely love it!
I guess I am not the only one being in awe of this book as it is already #1 on amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. With each book purchased, you will have access to a premium package of bonus gift offerings from top business, sales and marketing gurus (valued at over $20,000). Get your copy at http://flashforesight.com !
With or without the gifts, this is one awesome book you have to read!
P.S. Are you still wasting money on fortune tellers? Get this book instead.
There are so many common misconceptions about creativity. You might have heard these from your parents, in school, from friends and in your workplace. Let's look at 3 of the most widespread and lethal myths:
Creativity Myth #1
Creativity is the domain for artists – and only for artists. And if you are not an artist, you don't need creative thinking.
What about Einstein, Edison, Ford and all those inventors who shaped how we live today? What about plain old problem solving at an everyday level? Just think about all the challenges you solve at home, in your job or business every day. Without a pinch of creativity, it would be difficult to hold an off-the-cuff speech, to deal with an emergency, to cook from scratch or to come up with play ideas for bored kids. And what about the ability to come up with a strong argument about why you need yet another new gadget that just hit the market? Or another handbag or a new pair of shoes?
Creativity Myth #2
You need to be born with a special set of skills to be creative.
You are born creative. The challenge is to stay creative while growing up.
Howard Gardner, a Professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (the psychologist who first laid out the theory of multiple intelligences) developed intelligence tests for babies and for older children.
Their shocking discovery: almost every single child is born a genius across multiple intelligences. By the age of 20, the percentage of geniuses within a population drops down to 10%. Over the age of twenty, a mere 2% retained their genius ability.
So let's entertain the thought that you have a sparkle of creativity still burning away in your system somewhere deep down. Even if you are 26, or 43 or 67 or… 85 years old.
The challenge is to find and nurture that spark of creative ability in you. To believe that from that tiny spark a small fire can develop. A fire bursting with creative energy burning its way through your deep seated beliefs. So you can finally give yourself permission to enjoy a creative life with all its perks.
Creativity Myth #3
Creativity has no practical use in your business and personal life.
Let me differ. Creativity is the most important leadership quality, according to CEOs interviewed for IBM's 2010 CEO study. This reflects the opinion of more than 1500 CEOs and general managers in 60 countries of the world. Chances are that the CEO of the company you work for has the same opinion. Why don't you show your creative abilities at work to stand out from the crowd?
Which creativity myths are you subscribing to?
In my beliefs YOU ARE BORN CREATIVE.
The big challenge is to stay that way in the face of all conditioning you face growing up. It begins when parents state upon seeing the little artwork of a 3 year old, “but that doesn’t look like….” (put in the right word for the concept that your little artist conveyed in his artwork). And kids learn fast. They learn that things look like as their parents (later as their teachers) see them and not as they see them through their eyes or in their own imagination. They begin to see through the eyes of those who came before them. The reality is: they will need to explore new paths where nobody has touched his feet upon before them. But we prepare them for history, for yesterday that never comes back (as we all so well know).
As parents of course we try and try to give our kids the right opportunities to develop themselves and get ready for life. We take them to countless practices, sport, dance if they are lucky. We push them to learn languages. We take them to museums on the weekends. Boy, it is hard work to be a parent nowadays.
Do we let them dance the dance that is inside them? No, there is already a good way how to dance ballet and do an Arabesque.
Do we let them get creative with language? Of course not, we don’t understand the half of what the youngsters say nowadays anyway, we need to protect our own kids from doom.
Do we let them touch and play with the things exhibited in museums? God forbid… security will be after us.
All good intentions on the surface.
Are we afraid of the creative genius of our offspring? Why do we try to push them into cages built by our society’s past experience? Do we limit the next generation by our own fear of looking outside of our windows? Do we let our already limited reality to limit their willingness to open those closed windows and doors for a peek outside?
Are you afraid?
Just open up for an inch. Next time your kid says: “This is the Sun” in his/her drawing, stop yourself from saying ”No, honey, the Sun doesn’t look like that at all”. You might not live to the day that the Sun will look exactly like that, but your kid might. And he will need all the creative abilities you try to rob him in order to survive. And survive should he, right?
I got inspired to begin the Writer’s Block Remedies series as one of my followers asked me about my best tips on curing writer’s block. (@DyanaValentine – thank you for asking)
I decided to gather all my tried and true tips on writer’s block here and publish them every Wednesday. I will keep posting until I run out of tips – which might take a few weeks! Keep coming back if you are interested in how to write again with ease.
The first obvious question is: what is writer’s block? I think this is a very personal experience. Here is my definition (based on research and my own experience):
A deeply emotional state associated with a blank page or computer screen while you make earnest efforts to get a few words written. Oh, yes… the suffering, the desperation, the endless trying, the thinking, the churning…
Writer’s block is not choosy and gets the better of you while writing your novel, a sales letter, a blog post or even a love letter. There are only a few immune to this ailment.
And our reaction?
· Getting totally unnecessary tasks done that could have waited till next week, next month (or next life?)
· Checking email, Twitter, Facebook – but any good old distraction will do
· Reading instead of writing
· Checking the news, magazines, and requisites of the past in the process of looking for the word that will get our fingers move again
· Watching TV
· Getting high on chocolate, sugar, alcohol or drugs (I stay with chocolate as a not-recovering chocoholic)
· My personal favorite: cleaning the house from basement to attic
All in the name of getting some inspiration and get writing again. Or simply to forget about the sad state of affairs.
I found this extremely fitting quote from Gustave Flaubert which describes writer’s block perfectly for me:
"You don't know what it is to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word." (But I know, Mr. Flaubert, I know)
How do YOU experience writer’s block?