Category Archives: Motivation/Inspiration

The First Story Of The Year Is About… Dessert!

Welcome to the first post of 2014. I know it’s going to seem strange having the first post come one day after the last post of 2013, and yet I felt I had to create this particular article because, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with blogging or writing or SEO or anything else regarding social media, it does have a little bit to do with the article I wrote about focus some days ago. Truthfully this is a story, a true story that probably took less than 10 minutes of my life, but I thought it was a tale worth telling because you either identify with me, laugh at me, or sit there scratching your head wondering why the heck I wrote it to begin with. With that as the preamble let’s begin.

Rice Krispies Treats

As I was leaving Barnes & Noble, where I had gone to buy the DVD of Despicable Me 2, I decided that I wanted some fudge. I wanted fudge because the last video I watched before I left home was one of my online friends Tomeka Haywood making some homemade fudge. Part of me thought about trying that, and another part of me said it would be better if I could just buy some.

One of the problems I have is that, oddly enough, where I live you can’t just find fudge anywhere. Sure, there are a couple of the large candy companies that have fudge, but in my mind that stuff never quite qualifies as fudge. If it was a Saturday I would go to what we call the Farmers Market around here, but it’s Wednesday, New Year’s Day. I decided to check out my favorite grocery store, Wegmans, to see if maybe they had some fudge.

Truth be told, I knew they wouldn’t have fudge because it’s not something they normally carry. However, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought that maybe because it was a holiday they would have some on hand. They didn’t, but it wasn’t going to be a wasted trip because I needed more soda anyway.

As I got close to the soda area, I noticed Rice Krispies were on sale, and I thought about making some rice krispy treats. I really love these things, and they’re very easy to make, but I usually don’t have enough discretion to know how to space them out over the course of a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if I start in the morning you can pretty much be sure they’re going to be gone by the end of the day. I decided to wait for a couple of minutes and go get the soda, walk around to see what else there might be, and if I found nothing else then I might go back and get it.

As I walked around, at some point I found myself near the cookies. I took a quick look and found that they had coconut chocolate chip cookies from Keebler. I don’t eat a lot of these cookies, but it sparked a memory in my mind of how much I used to always love making a big cup of hot chocolate, and then taking my bag of cookies and seeing how many of them I could dunk and eat in one sitting. I love the flavor drastically, and you can imagine the smell of the hot chocolate and coconut cookie together, and my mouth was salivating again.

Now I had a mental dilemma. I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have sugar cravings, and they were very strong at this moment. I knew that I needed some time to think about things, so I went into the frozen section where they have a bench, sat down on the bench and started to think. I had planned on calling one of two people, neither one of which was my wife, but the deep recesses of my mind said that would be pretty stupid.

Why did this take so much thought? Because I knew that either direction I went was going to cause some grief to my body. There is no secret that I’m diabetic, but I’m thinking the load of sugar that either one of these would’ve pumped into my body would probably bother anyone my age, or within 20 years of my age. Yet my mind didn’t really care for a while. And often, when I shop by myself, I just grabbed the first thing that comes to my mind, come home and eat it, and then feel both guilty and occasionally sick. I’m not one of those people who only eats two or three cookies and then puts it away, I eat as many as I want to until my body says please stop.

My wife thinks I’m crazy and that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m pretty much of the opinion that anybody who goes through any kind of addiction and is trying not to do something probably goes through the same process, only probably not as long as I did. Knowing that one of the focus points for this year is to be more cautious with my health, I thought through the ramifications of the decision I was trying to make against what I felt was my immediate need for satisfaction. It sounds funny comparing suites to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, but in my mind the decision I made was going to be very important.

The funny thing about time, when you have enough so that you can think things through quite often you will end up making a better decision than you were ready to make. I decided that I did not want to spend New Year’s Day feeling sick, so I immediately through out the coconut chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate idea. I then decided that even though I would be starting the treats later than early morning, the process of making them and then eating them while having to clean more things in the kitchen wasn’t quite as appealing as it had initially been. So, instead of either one of those two things, I decided to buy a bag of M&M’s. True, it’s still chocolate, but it doesn’t come close to the hurt I would put on myself with the other two options, and I’m not one to sit and eat an entire bag of that in one sitting.

chocolate cake

After I made my decision, my mind felt light and free. I went to the candy section and picked up the bag of M&Ms I wanted, this time the milk chocolate instead of the peanut butter. As I go to put it in my basket, my eyes got wide as I realized that I had picked up a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and put it in my basket at some point; I wonder when the heck I did that? 😀 This means I would’ve had a lot of dessert and felt like I had to eat it all before I left town again on Sunday.

Here’s the rub. I’m of the opinion that if one of my goals wasn’t focus for 2014, as well as a goal of trying to be healthier, I would have bought one of those things without a moment’s notice, including the cake, brought it home and ate it without a second thought until I didn’t feel well. That wouldn’t have brought me any type of benefit, although my taste buds would’ve probably loved me.

The decisions we make and the reasons behind the decisions we make can be interesting. In a way, I could make this a topic about blogging because so many people start blogging without thinking all that much about what their intentions are for their blog. Heck, I certainly did it with this blog back in 2007. And our buddy Jeevan is starting his new blog today called Daring Blogger, and he seems focused on what his goals are as he tells us in the first post which I just linked to.

I hope you enjoyed this story, and in a weird way hope you learned something from it, not about me but about yourselves. One of the best things about stories is that often we can see something of ourselves in a story, and stories are sometimes enough to help us decide to make even the smallest of changes.

To close this post I’m going to add a video below that I created talking about how little changes can bring great growth in so many ways; I didn’t know I was going to do this, but I think it’s a good time to unveil it here on the blog. To everyone, let’s have a great 2014, and I hope to have good stuff for you throughout the year.
 


 

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It’s All About Focus – Goal Setting For 2014

A couple of days ago I did a video about my goals for 2014, which is embedded below. In essence, I talked about 7 goals I have for the new year, and there’s one in particular I want to address in this article because I think it’s probably the most important one for me and for all of you; yes, I said that.

Nina Matthews via Compfight

I haven’t written all that often about the term “focus” on this blog. I’ve certainly addressed it a few times on my business blog, mainly because that blog talks about leadership and behavior more often, thus it’s a good thing to address over there. So, in a slightly different vein, here are a couple of links to that blog to articles on “focus” that I think connect to this topic very well:

6 Ways Focus Can Help You

Lack Of Focus Will Mess You Up

The reason I think focus is going to be my biggest goal this year is because I’ve noticed as I’ve reached my middle 50’s that I really don’t focus on things as well as I used to. I’m not sure if it’s age or diabetes or diabetes medication or lack of sleep but focus is lacking across the board. I have found that when I write things down that I actually get more things done, and that’s good. However, I don’t write things down enough and that’s bad.

What will focus do for me, and for you? Focus allows us to complete things we start. Actually, focus allows us to evaluate those things to see if we should even do them. I don’t know how many blogs I’ve read where the writer talks about a project they started, got to a certain point and realized that their heart wasn’t in it any longer, or that they realized they might not get out of it what they had hoped for.

In my case, I started the SEO part of my business in 2007 with the working goal of building websites, optimizing them to that they would rank well and give business owners a chance to compete with others in their industry. Six years later I realize that I really don’t like sitting down and creating websites all that much now, that more people love templates and want something simple that they can change on their own, and they all want “pretty”, which won’t get most of them any traffic at all but it’s hard to convince them of that.

paco de lucia:entre dos aguas
Lali Masriera via Compfight

Instead, I’ve changed the focus of that blog to talking more about SEO and social media interactions and website evaluation. And yet, though the focus of that site has changed, I haven’t fully embraced it, probably because the health care side of my business still drives the overwhelming majority of my income, and even though SEO and the like is way more fun, including blogging, when all is said and done the bills have to be paid and there’s stuff I want and need to buy. I talk about some of that in the video.

As I talk about my goals in the video, including focus, I also ask people if they set goals, if they’re willing to share any of the big goals, if they want help in reaching and focusing on their goals, and a whole lot of other stuff. I missed talking about the 6th year anniversary of this blog, which was on December 12th, because I was still out of town on my consulting assignment and I wasn’t focused on the milestone; sigh… I’m also realizing now that after this one I’m 20 posts away from 1,500, another milestone that, this time around, I want to make sure I don’t forget.

Meanwhile, I want to share this with you. I’ve never talked about it on this blog, but I have shared it a few times on my business blog. This link leads you to a PDF called the Reserve Index. It’s a self evaluation of where you are now and where you want to be, and there are 100 points to see where you are on the list and to determine where you might want to be. I’ve done it periodically and I’ve scored as high as 26 and as low as 7; no, those aren’t great scores.

If you’re honest you’ll see there are some things you’ll never do because you don’t want to, but a lot of things you probably do want but aren’t really working towards. I’m going to do it again within the next couple of days and use that to help me focus on things over the course of the year. And I mention something in the video that I think would be well worth your time, effort and dollars as well, and I’m getting no money from it. lol

With all of that said it’s time to let this post go to the video, and I hope that some of you watch it. If not, I hope some of you got enough from this post to comment on it; let’s find out.
 


 

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What Is The Holiday Spirit Anyway?

This might surprise some of you but I’m not a big holiday person. Over most of my years the only holiday I ever really cared about was Thanksgiving, and that was because the family was together for a very nice meal that I knew I was only getting once a year.

Vin
Glen Scott via Compfight

My dad’s favorite holiday was Christmas, but since Dad’s not physically with us any longer the spirit is gone for me. Mom has never liked holidays. As a child, Mom got really sick at every single major holiday for some reason which, as I think about it, I believe was stress related since she did all the cooking and wanted it to be special. My wife has never believed in holidays to begin with, and my grandmother, who also is no longer with us, was pretty even keeled no matter what the season or day was.

Over the last few days in the office where I’m working, one lady in particular has been pushing out the Christmas spirit on everyone else. I want to blame it on her being a minister’s wife, but truth be told her cellphone’s ringtone is Let It Snow, and it was that when she first came to work in the office back in July. Truthfully I think she’s a little addled, but she’s someone who seems to have this spirit around her that, while not necessarily happy, has a touch of innocence that’s touching in one way, irritating in another, and makes me laugh all day because she’s unintentionally funny. 🙂

I guess it’s this last one that I really want to address more than anything else. On my long post about how to write a guest post, I highlighted an article I wrote on Adrienne Smith’s blog about social networking that ended up getting a lot of responses. However, as I looked at many of those responses again, I realize that most people saw what I wrote in the context of marketing and making money online rather than building up relationships with other people, building trust that might lead someone to ask you what you do and think about buying from you. In my eyes the two things are exclusive from each other, but in the minds of so many the only real reason to be online is to try to make money.

I see that a lot on Google Plus. Most of the sharing is how people can market themselves there and almost everywhere else (Facebook excluded most of the time), how to build up the numbers, how to get more people to sign up for newsletters or voluntarily put their name on email lists, etc. It’s an interesting culture because so many of them use that as an excuse as to why they no longer like Facebook, although it seems the majority of people who officially leave Facebook do so because of worries about privacy, which I can fully understand while also saying that more of them needed to be a bit more perspicacious in their actions up front so that it wasn’t as big a worry as it turned out to be.

With that said I want to get back to my original question because I think it’s of utmost importance, especially since we’re in another holiday season, the biggest monetary holiday of the year. How do you view the concept of holiday spirit? Are your particular beliefs religious, economic, commercial, spiritual, or something else?

To me it’s a bigger question than you might think because I’m of the opinion that holiday spirit means nothing if you can’t find a way to capture that feeling year round, or at least often during the year without the need for a holiday. I believe that too many people miss the opportunities that are abundant for happiness, jocularity, contentment, peacefulness and calm feelings.

You want to know something? If I wanted to look at the week I’ve had to this point I could say that there are a few things that really could have made this one of the worst weeks I could think of. Instead, I rolled with the punches, found some humor in bad situations, and am still feeling pretty good tonight, even though I passed up the opportunity to buy both the glazed cake-icing filled donuts and the mint Oreos, which would have made me temporarily happy but would have probably hurt me on the back end; heck! lol

Is that a pretty good teaser for you to check out the video below? Maybe, maybe not, but I’ll ask this question of you instead, and it’s the question above with a second part to it. What do you believe the holiday spirit is, and how do you find ways to capture it during the year, if you do? Maybe the video below will help you formulate a response; let’s find out:
 


 

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5 Ways To Deal With Problems Positively

Let’s face this fact; things don’t always go the way we want them to go. It seems that at least once every day something goes awry in some fashion. Sometimes it’s a small thing, sometimes it’s a big thing. None of us are immune.

Happy lane
Brett Davies via Compfight

Truthfully, there’s little that can be done about the big things. Someone you know expires, no matter how it happened, you’re not going to be prepared for it. Your house falls down because of an earthquake, who can be blamed for something like that? Major crises affect every person in different ways, and I’m not going to minimize how awful things like that can be.

Luckily, the majority of negative things that happen to us aren’t all that big a deal. Sometimes we make them big deals, but I’m of the opinion that’s on us. I know because I’ve run the gamut of both. When it seems like I’m in a bad pattern every little thing that happens feels like things are piling on and they’re never going to stop. When I’m in a good pattern things roll off my shoulders, and even if I get upset it doesn’t last long. That’s a better place to be; believe me.

In that vein I decided to share 5 little tips on how to deal with problems in a positive manner, and then I’ve included a video that I know some folks will say they liked but aren’t going to watch it; sigh… lol Hey, it is what it is right? These will be short; let’s get started:

1. When something happens, gauge how much you or someone else got hurt. If no one got physically hurt or received mortally bad news, then it’s not so bad.

2. Does it involve money? If so, is it immediate money or money at some further time? If you can afford it then what’s the problem other than a short term diminishing of your funds? If you can’t afford it worrying won’t help you figure out how to get the money if it’s something you really need.

3. Try to find a way to view situations as a story you can tell other people later. I do that one often, even if I’m a part of the story at the time. It’s hard to remain angry when your mind is on something else, such as trying to remember stuff.

4. Try to find something to smile about. Even serious events can sometimes be diffused with a smile here and there. You comfort people by trying to make them feel better, and if it works for them why can’t it work for you?

5. Remember that you’re never really alone. You always have someone to talk to, whether it’s a family member, a friend, or someone on social media. Goodness, one of the best things about a blog is being able to occasionally get your thoughts out into the open and then having your visitors help you mentally. There’s always someone around who wants to help you feel better; the world really is a much better place than the news makes it out to be sometimes.

That’s all I have… well, except for the video. Let me know your thoughts below; now enjoy my video, even if I’m not in it.
 


 

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Karma And Intuition

Did you know that I’ve uploaded 75 videos? Did you know that I have had just over 2,000 views? That equates to around 3 viewers per video; that’s a horrible ratio, and I don’t have to tell you that.

People
Viewminder via Compfight

The question might be why do I keep doing videos if no one is watching. I do them because I should. I have this intuition that by creating videos some day a few of them just might become popular; not Gangnam Style popular but popular enough so that people will watch one, think it’s not so bad, and share it with someone else. Sure, they’re not overly polished but it’s real and honest and me.

I also feel this karma surrounding me that says “hey, you should talk about this, whether or not you blog about it”. Remember my last video on being an expert? Remember my last point in that post about being willing to share? Sharing isn’t always about the written word, even on blogs. Audio, video, images… whatever it takes, if there’s something there you wish to share, it’s all good.

Why am I talking about karma and intuition today? Because I think most people go about their lives waiting for things to happen to them, good or bad, without paying attention to that little voice inside their heads that says “watch out” or “hey, this sounds really good”. So many people make bad decisions when they knew better, including me. However, I also make a lot of good, safe decisions, some where others might say I played it too safe, but I’d rather be too safe than too risky; I’d like to stick around this big ol’ Earth for a little while longer. 🙂

This isn’t a blogging tale; this is a life tale. Some people eat too much or eat the wrong things when we all know better because we’ve read and listened to experts tell us about it. Some people still smoke when there’s no doubt it’s going to give 95% of the population either lung cancer or emphysema. Too many people play the lottery every single day when everyone knows the odds of winning the “big one” are worse than the entire population of the planet.

Some of those examples aren’t too bad; others are horrid. We know, but we don’t listen to our intuition, thus we don’t put out the right karma, that sense which tells us whether we’re going to be peaceful or not. Some folks have it going on; they’re doing exactly what they want to do, when they want to do it. But what about the rest of us? What will it take for us to pay attention to ourselves?

Frankly, I don’t know either; that’s why I made this video. I hope it gets at least 20 views, but I know better; my intuition is telling me so. Still, here it is:
 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiEU4cQRPfs&feature=share&list=UUYMVX_ehmfnV_BhvTOj-5_w

 

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