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Archive for April, 2010

Today is "No Phone Zone" Day

April 30th, 2010

This is going to be hard. I am a serious multi-tasker and I make a TON of phone calls in the car.  But I also know that cell phone use for calls and for texting while driving is creating serious safety issues.  Of course I just think it’s the other guy who’s the problem, not me.

That’s what we ALL think.

So today, I am going to be part of the solution. I’m joining Oprah’s No Phone Zone Movement that is launching today. My phone is going in the glove box when I get in the car so I’m not tempted to answer it or even check it while I am driving.

Need some statistics to convince you that our cell phones and driving don’t mix? Here you go:

  • Every single time someone takes their eyes or their focus off the road – even for just a few seconds – they put their lives and the lives of others in danger.  Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and in a split second, its consequences can be devastating. ~ U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood
  • New research findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that show nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured.
  • On any given day in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
  • Across the board, federal researchers who have directly observed drivers of all ages found that more and more people are using a variety of hand-held devices while driving – not just cell phones, but also iPods, video games, Blackberrys and GPS systems.
  • In particular, cell phone use for talking and texting is now more prevalent on our nation’s roads, rail systems and waterways, carrying a dangerous potential for accidents.

For our safety and the safety of those we love, we’ve all got to be part of the solution. Here’s what you can do:

1. Put your cell phone in the glove box while you are driving. Get temptation out of reach!

2. Check out the No Phone Zone Causes Page = www.causes.com/nophonezone

3. Sign the No Phone Zone Pledge – http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/455

Let’s help safety on the road escape mediocrity today, ok?!

I'm Giving Away "Delivering Happiness"!

April 27th, 2010

One of the fun things that happens to me every now and then is that I get to read advanced copies of books that are going to be hot Hot HOT! And lucky me just received not one but TWO copies of Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

I’ll just give you a peek at the table of contents so you can see that this book is ALL about Escaping Mediocrity. :-)

Section I: Profits

1. In Search of Profits

2. You Win Some, You Lose Some

3. Diversify

Section II: Profits and Passion

4. Concentrate Your Position

5.  Platform for Growth: Brand, Culture, Pipeline

Section III: Profits, Passion and Purpose

6. Taking It to the Next Level

7. End Game

Once I finish reading it, I plan to do a full video review. But like I said, I got TWO copies – one for me and one to share and I don’t want to wait to share.

I would like to give my extra copy, along with a few more of my favorite books, to someone in The Tribe.

Sooo….with the help of Maddy Dychtwald (@GoInfluence), I’ve thought of a way to combine 1) shoes 2) getting rid of stuff and 3) doing good in the world. Here’s how it’s going to work:

1) Go through your currents shoes and the shoes of anyone who lives in your house. Find the ones that in great shape but that aren’t being worn. Put them all in a row.

2) Choose a charity who needs your shoes.

2) Snap a picture of your shoes.

3. Upload the picture to Flickr or another online photo hosting site.

4. Leave a comment below and share 1) How many pairs of shoes you gathered 2) What charity you are donating them to and 3) a link to the photo.

5) BONUS POINTS (meaning your name goes in the hat twice): for an additional photo of you making the shoe delivery. :-)

***Amended Rule: If you have given away shoes to a charity in the past 6 weeks and can tell me about it in the comments, your name goes in the hat to win the book too. ***

Everyone who enters will get their name put in the hat and The Young Turk will draw the winner!

Deadline: Sunday, May 2, Midnight EST.

I know, I’m asking a lot. But I have an exceptional tribe who will rise to the challenge.  And remember, you will get an advanced copy of Delivering Happiness, plus copies of some of my very favorite books (I already know of three – and will be adding more).

Can’t wait to see how YOU deliver happiness!!

P.S. If you have a blog and want to apply for your own advanced copies, here is the link for that:
http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/contact/apply-for-an-advance-copy/

The Official 2010 GET RID OF IT Challenge

April 22nd, 2010

Ok – it’s official. Getting rid of crap seems to be something everyone is interested in doing. (See Tuesday’s Crap Attack post for more info).  And if we are all interested in doing it but we aren’t actually engaged in doing it, perhaps we could use a little extra motivational push!

And here’s the thing. Not one of us can escape mediocrity if we are carting around loads of stuff. Even if it is stuffed into the basement, the fact that this stuff exists occupies bandwidth like a program running in the background of your computer.

So, I’ve decided to make the a Tribe Project/Challenge and I invite everyone to join in.

Here’s how it will work:

-I will regularly check in and update this post from now until Monday and share what I have gathered up and what has actually left my house.

-Other members of the tribe can do the same in the comments section.

-We also all need encouragement and cheering on when tackling projects like this so let’s root for each other as we make progress.

This is going to be fun!

Crap Attack or I Have Entirely Too Much Crap

April 20th, 2010

I have entirely too much stuff.

There are lots of reasons for this state of affairs.

1) I am a child of a child of the depression so I learned not to throw anything away.

2) When my dad died, I inherited both his house packed to the brim with stuff as well as my grandmother’s house packed to the brim with stuff.

3) I like cool stuff. Especially if I think I might be able to use it/wear it someday.

But the situation has gotten out of control. I have clothes I haven’t worn in years (and am not likely to anytime in the near future. I have lamps, rugs and knick-knacks that don’t really suit my style. And I have more books than I will ever be able to read or re-read.

The weight of all of this stuff is starting to strangle me. And it keeps me from being nimble. I mean, how can I trap of mediocrity if I am trapped by stuff?

So, starting today – I am pitching out with a heavy hand.  Here are my criteria:

1) Do I love it?

2) Do I use it?

3) Do I want it?

4) Do I need it?

5) It is worth trading my lightness of foot for it?

Now in the interest is transparency, I’ve reached this place before. Sick to death of my stuff and vowing to get rid of it. But my attempts in the past have been measly really. And last night I hit on why that is.

For some reason giving stuff to the Salvation Army so that it can be re-sold just doesn’t do it for me. There are people in my city who don’t even have the cash or the wherewithall to shop there. And beside, I shop there – and I am not exactly in need. So collecting my donations have been half-hearted at best.

Then I remembered something. There is a place that people go, sometimes in the middle of the night, and arrive with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. Women, children, even men come to this place and need the very basics immediately. The items that are weighing me down would be a godsend to them. Just the motivation I need.

What is this place, you might be wondering? My local domestic violence shelter.

And if the stuff I complain about, put off decisions about and generally feel encumbered by can give someone a boost toward freedom, I AM IN!

So, starting today, I am cleaning out with a vengeance. All it took was the right connection in my brain.

So, I have three questions for you:

1) Are you encumbered by too much stuff?

2) Are you willing to let go of any of it?

3) Is there someone who would could really USE the things that are just taking up space around you?

P.S. Martha Beck always talks about how our houses is a metaphor for our lives. GULP! I don’t want a life crammed with stuff that weighs me down!

Nap Time For Grown-ups

April 15th, 2010

I love naps. I can think of nothing more decadent and more re-charging that catching a snooze in the middle of the day. On the weekends our entire schedule is built around the whole house taking at least a one hour nap each day. It’s serious business around here.

And, at the request of @WarrenWhitlock, I am going to share with you a) why I believe naps are critical and b) some of my best tips for getting the most from your nap time.

So first, why do I thinks naps are so crucial?

1) We live in a rush-rush-rush, over-stimulating, sleep-deprived world. In fact we kind of glorify how fast we can do something and how little sleep we did it on. This is physically and emotionally unsustainable. Your body will rebel. You will get sick. You will run out of steam. You will b e an emotional mess. It’s just a matter of time.

2) We MUST give ourselves the gift of re-charging. Even if we love what we do, we can’t push ourselves on a indefinite adrenline-fed frenzy. Our brains, that organ we depend on to produce our brilliant work, simply cannot fire on all cylinders without rest. It’s like asking your body to run a marathon while eating one meal a day.

3) Our brains and our subconscious produce fascinating ideas and connections when they are at rest but not in full REM sleep. (REM sleep produces great stuff too – it’s just a different kind of great stuff.)

There are tons of really good reasons for taking a nap. And the media has caught on because I’ve seen articles and shows everywhere talking about how sleep-deprived culture really needs to take another look at napping.  In the comments I hope you will leave your best reason for napping – that will be fun to read!!

So, we know rest and re-charge is critical but lots of people say “I just can’t nap!”. Sometimes napping involves actually sleep occurring and sometimes it is just a chance for our brains to rest, dance around a flit from topic to topic. The point is that we set aside a time (about 20 minutes to start) and a place (more on that in a minute) to let ourselves sink into resting.

Here are some of my best ideas for for creating a naptastic nap. :-)

1) Cool, semi dark room. Even in the winter I like to have a slow fan going. In the summer, a fan makes the covers feel that much better.

2) Your favorite pillow. You have one – I know you do. So make sure it is your napping pillow.

3) A blanket. No need to unmake the bed (assuming you made it), but covers are critical.

4) Take off your shoes, belt – anything that feels constraining. You can’t get comfy if you can’t wiggle your toes.

5) Turn off your cell phone and unplug the house phone. Trust me. Nothing will happen that you can’t handle 20 minutes from now.

6) It goes without saying that you are napping in a different room from your laptop, right?

7) Set your alarm. this will keep you from stressing out about oversleeping if you do actually fall asleep.  Again 20-45 minutes is about as long as a nap should last. Any longer and you may have trouble shaking the cobwebs out of your brain for the rest of the day.

Then again, I learned a lot about napping from a great boss I had in Washington, D.C. After lunch each day, he told me to hold his calls, he closed his office door, and laid down on the floor for 45 minutes falling fast asleep. Find what works for you.

So I am anxious to know your thoughts about napping. Do you nap? Do you resist napping? Do you have nips for creating a great nap environment?!  Please share – you know that is my favorite part. :-)

Photo:

The Magical Pause Button

April 13th, 2010

So yesterday pretty much the entire world was annoying me. Everywhere I turned it seemed I was dealing with an idiot or someone mean or someone who just didn’t get it. And I kept getting crabbier and crabbier and crabbier. Just ask my family members who had to deal with me.

And then – it hit me. If the entire world is irritating, chance are it isn’t the world who has the problem. It’s me.

<SMACK>

One of the great double-edged swords of living this conscious life is that I have to take responsibility for creating my own reality. Having to do that sucks sometimes because, boy, is it easier – and way more palatable – to play the victim and blame everyone else.  It also feels really good, at least for a little while.

But, in the end, it all comes down to me and catching myself in this cycle of pissiness.  And I am going to share a tool with you that I learned long ago that helps me derail bad moods, poor knee jerk reactions, and any other bad behavior that a moment of thought would have prevented.

It’s called the Pause Button.

Just like the pause button on your remote, hitting it stops the action. Why is this a good thing? Because stopping the action give me a chance to breathe, to reflect, to make better choices about how I am thinking and how I am acting.

I remember when I learned about this concept ( I was a grown woman), it was startling to me. “You mean I don’t HAVE to react immediately? You mean my auto-response may not be the best response? You mean I have a CHOICE?”  (Read those words with an indignant tone and you’ll get the drift of my thinking at the time.)

Here’s what I can tell you, though. I have never once regretted hitting the pause button. Not one time. But there have been PLENTY of times when I regretted not hitting it to give myself a chance to breathe, collect my thoughts and proceed in a proactive not reactive way.

So the next time you feel grumpy, reactive, indignant, urgent, angry, try hitting the Pause Button as fast as you possibly can. You be glad you gave yourself the gift of some breathing room.

As for me – well, thankfully I hit the pause button, checked in with @ElizabethPW and @AllisonNazarian, got myself collected and realized that an attitude adjustment on my part would miraculously shift my perception of the world.

P.S. Last of my shameless slef-promotion plugs for a while: You still have time to shift your business into high gear, build a strong foundation and put yourself on the map by joining my eight week coaching program that starts tomorrow (Wednesday), April 14. http://bit.ly/RearInGear

Don't Be That Guy (or Girl)

April 9th, 2010

On a bit of a rant today, so I’ll understand if you want to excuse yourself. :-)

Here is what I am observing:

There are some so-called Hot Shots, Big Whigs, SuperStars – whatever you want to call them who are incredibly myopic and self-centered.

Here’s what I mean by that: they KNOW they are dependent on others sharing their message via twitter, facebook, heck – even forwarded emails! BUT, they don’t share other people’s message and help get the word out about other people. Wait. That’s not exactly true. They help a) their peer group and b) they help those who names will benefit their own credibility.

And that just plain sucks.

So, because I KNOW you don’t want to be that guy, here are a few ideas.

1) Be generous. Re-tweet, share and help spread the message for lots of people. Yes I KNOW you want the attention of the uber-famous and re-tweeting them is one way to do that. But it also helps your online rep out a lot if you are known for being generous and supportive to a wide cross-section of people.

2) Don’t name-drop. It’s annoying. And everyone knows that’s what you are doing.

3) Expand the circle of people you talk to. No one likes cliques. I know I am guilty of talking to my tight tribe a lot but I do try to talk to lots of people who show up in my tweet stream.

4) Say please. If you want someone to help you with something – say please. Manners matter.

5) Say thank you. See above.

6) Create relationships with people before you want them to DO something for you.

7) Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.

Ok. Rant over. Would LOVE to know your ideas for being a valuable, useful, and peppy member of the virtual community!

P.S. Shameless self-promotion: If you want to build a rock-solid foundation for your biz and create your “gamechanger” (that thing that will establish you as a player to be reckoned with), check out Get Your Rear In Gear. Starts next Wednesday!

The Under-rated Value of Contentment

April 6th, 2010

Some time ago I tweeted out about how we undervalue contentment in our lives. I was surprised by some of the feedback that I received on that.

Many people said they felt like being content was akin to settling or not growing or giving up .

Hrmmmmm….not my idea of Contentment at all. So, I decided to look it in the dictionary to make sure I had my definition straight.  Here’s what I found:

con·tent·ment

–noun

1.

the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.
2.

Archaic. the act of making contentedly satisfied.
Synonym: 1. See happiness.
I thought the Antonym was MOST interesting:

—Antonyms
1. dissatisfaction.

I don’t know about you, but I need all the “ease of mind” I can get. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t want more, or that I intend to stay at a standstill. In fact, quite the opposite. I plan on doing a LOT!

So, using the above definition, it seems I have a choice. I can leap up, stretch and grow from a place where I feel “ease of mind” or I can do it from a place of “dissatisfaction”.

As I let the energy of those two choices ping around inside, “ease of mind” feels like it is drawing me forward, almost effortlessly. “Dissatisfaction” feels like I am struggling, pushing, grabbing.

This metaphor just came to mind: imagine going to the grocery store starving (ok I’ve done that more than once). I zoom through the store, grabbing stuff and throwing it in my basket looking for the quickest, and probably not the healthiest, way to satiate my hunger.

Contrast that with going to the grocery store not starving but with a content tummy. When I do that, I make more thoughtful choices about what I put in my cart. I can take my time without the urgency of hunger forcing me to hurry and clouding my judgement.

If I look at my business – and my life – that way, I’d rather push the shopping cart feeling content, choosing only what I really need – no more and no less.  So I think I’ll work on cultivating my contentment.

What say you about contentment? You know I am dying to hear. :-)

P.S. Shameless self- promotion: join me for a free call for the tribe “Is your biz built on solid rock or shifting sand?” http://bit.ly/rocksolidcall

What Springsteen Taught Me About Success

April 1st, 2010

By Guest Blogger: Todd Herman

“In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway american dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin out over the line”
~ ‘Born To Run’ by Bruce Springsteen

Ahhh… every time I hear that ‘little diddy’ by Springsteen, it always takes me back to cruising down the highway with my high school buddies, Bill and Jeff. Windows down, music blasting and the feeling of freedom on our way to a Sunday baseball game.

No matter where I am or what I’m doing, when I hear that song, the feeling washes over me like I’m actually there… it never fails.

The mind is a marvelous storage house of these experiences. It’s amazing how one tiny little sensory input (ie good ol Springsteen) – links a truly vast array of emotions, sights, sounds, and smells together in a cataclysmic flash. Only to be triggered again and again, by the same sensory input years and years later.

I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. Whether it’s the smell of lemonade taking you back to some lazy day at the lake… Or, the tone in your Moms voice immediately creates a cascade of negative emotions because of some event in your past… Or, a specific way someone might touch your shoulder – instantly making you feel better, because it’s the same way your dad used to grab your shoulders when you were hurt or feeling down.

We all have these little triggers… You, Me, and Oprah.

Now, I’m going to tell you a little secret. You can INTENTIONALLY create positive triggers for yourself.

It’s the same thing I train professional and Olympic athletes to do, in order to trigger ‘The Zone or Flow State’. (You know… that place where we got completely lost in our activity and produce amazing results… yeah… that place.)

Instead of keeping the proverbial ‘cat – IN – the bag’ – I’ll let you in on the process.

Okay… so here we go, I’m going to run through an exact scenario I just used with a young up and coming golfer trying to break onto the PGA Tour.

Background:

Jeff, was struggling with his bunker play. Every time he stepped into a sand-trap he’d get a tense and anxious feeling in his stomach. His palms would sweat and he’d immediately start to think about what he DIDN’T want to happen (never a good strategy :) ).

Step 1:

Develop a new trigger for every time he feels the squishy sensation of sand under his shoes – so he feels calm and confident. (Why calm and confident? Because I asked him. How would you like to feel when you enter a bunker? Now, the same goes for you if you’re following along… if you’d like to create a new trigger for some activity you avoid or procrastinate on. Ask yourself, how would I like to feel when I’m faced with that activity?)

Step 2:

I asked Jeff (we were standing on the course by a sand-trap btw) – can you imagine a time or an activity that causes you to feel all warm inside, especially in your stomach, and you get the feeling of calm confidence?

It took him a while to recall an exact experience, but he finally said yeah… “Every time I think of going fishing.”

———————————————-
Key Point:

Now that I have him ‘thinking’ about it… I want him to go deeper, to the feeling part of that experience and really get emotionally engaged in that memory, because that’s where the sub-conscious will create deep, strong bonds and links to what you’re currently doing.

So, I simply ask him to describe that to me… what is he feeling, what’s that like to be out on the boat or the dock? etc.
———————————————

Step 3:

With Jeff holding that strong positive emotion and feeling inside of him I asked him to step into the trap and set-up for the ball that’s sitting in the trap.

(What I’m trying to do is link that feeling to the sensation of sand beneath his feet.)

Step 4:

I told Jeff to step back out of the trap and tell me more about fishing. What his best day was on the water… What’s he thinking about when he’s heading out to fish (incidentally – nothing. He’s just lost in the process of it all and enjoying himself. Which is key to reaching the zone or flow state – no expectations of outcomes.).

We followed the same process of Step 3 and Step 4. Constantly anchoring this positive emotion to the feeling of sand under his feet. (In reality, we did this about 25 times – until he naturally felt calm and confident without any thoughts or feelings of failure.)

Jeff ended up practicing this drill for a week, 10 minutes a day on his own to ensure we were impressing a new cascade of natural emotions and feelings whenever he entered the bunker. VERY KEY!

The idea that you can invest a small amount of time one day to get everlasting change is naive and silly. You’re battling against months and sometimes years of conditioning. Repetition is key! But, the rewards are phenomenal.

Key Insight:

Too many times people give far too much weight to their internal responses to thoughts about their capabilities. Remember, emotions are a biological response to some sort of idea you just thought of… and depending on whether that idea or thought was linked in your brain to a positive or negative emotion from your past – THAT’s the feeling you’re going to get.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHETHER YOU CAN OR CAN’T DO IT! It’s just how that idea was stored… unfortunately it was tossed in the ‘I’m sucky at that bin’. :) (Yes, that’s a technical term!)

So let’s remove it from the wrong storage bin and gently place it in the, ‘How freakin’ awesome am I bin’.

Oh, btw… Jeff has now turned into a bunker-lovin’ machine because his results have dramatically changed. Not because he spent hours working on his sand-trap skills… but because he went to work on the root of the problem.

Bonus Audio Tip!


———————————————————————–
Todd Herman is a Peak Performance Coach to Professional and Olympic athletes. He’s also worked with Hollywood actors and business professionals on the inner game of success. But more importantly he loves Root Beer and probably needs counseling! You can find out more at: http://thepeakathlete.com or http://thechampionchallenge.com