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Archive for November, 2009

The World Keeps on Turning

November 30th, 2009

So I’ve just returned from a two week hiatus where a lot of things happened and a lot of nothing happened. Some of the things that happened are personal and some of the nothing that happened was very important and I will share in forthcoming posts.

Two weeks is a long time to be almost completely “off the grid”. And I will admit, I had some serious tech withdrawalunplug_Full symptoms and placated myself by spending time setting up my new Droid Eris phone. But without reliable Internet connection and spotty cell phone signals, I was pretty much forced to stay off the grid and unplugged whether I wanted to or not.

I learned two VERY important things:

1) The nothing that happened while I hung out with my seven year old son tops ANYTHING that could have happened if I had stayed on the grid and tried to work while I was away. Because I was fully unplugged, we spent our days filled with safari’s, pirate treasure hunts, riding bikes on the beach, and of course shark’s tooth hunting. (Writing the shark’s tooth post for Liz Strauss was the closest I got to working the whole time I was gone.)

2) The world kept right on spinning without me. My business functioned just fine; my tribe had a ton of fun (though I missed them terribly); and everyone is here to greet me today upon my return. Granted I am ready to dive into the big stuff I am working on for January and February, but I am not behind or in a panic because I was gone for two weeks. Pretty amazing.

So, I highly recommend a full unplug. I know two weeks is totally impossible for a lot of people. But try it for twenty-four hours – or even forty-eight and see what happens.

As always, I am anxious to know your thoughts about what it would take to do a full unplug from your business. What are the risks? What are the potential rewards?

What She Said

November 11th, 2009

You know, I thought I was writing edgy posts. In fact lots of people have told me so. But you know what, my posts aren’t edgy. They may be slightly dark at times and push the envelope a little, but edgy? Nope.

Wanna know how I know?

Because my dear friend (I feel so amazingly lucky to call her that) Elizabeth Potts Weinstein writes edgy, gut level real elizabethposts. Her voice takes enormous courage and clarity – two qualities I am striving for and learn from watching Elizabeth in her Live Your Truth journey.

Her post today….all I can say is wow. She said so many things that I have thought for so long and am too chicken to say out loud. That’s right. I am too chicken, too afraid of the repercussions, too afraid of not being liked.

Today though, reading my friends words was like seeing a bright beacon in a very dark forest. I felt hope and courage and relief. Like everything was going – no – IS going to be okay.  I need people in my life who do that for me and I bet you do too.

Wanna read this post – the post that will now be the standard by which I now measure my own courage? Excellent!

Here it is:

Doing Good

November 9th, 2009

As sort of a follow-on to last week’s post and in celebration of the upcoming Tweetsgiving season, today’s post is dedicated to highlighting so the ways social media is being harnessed for doing good.

If you have not yet found your way to “do good” on the web, I HIGHLY recommend checking these out!

12 for 12k (
This “movement” is the brainchild of @DannyBrown and I’ve been involved with it since my earliest days on twitter. The premise is simple. Each month we choose 1 charity and commit to raising $12,000 for them using social media.  Bloggers volunteer to write posts highlighting each month’s charity, others tweet about it and still others work tirelessly to raise awareness AND $$$.  The thing I love most about 12 for 12k is that everyone can do just a little bit and make a HUGE difference.

This is an annual online and offline event produced by Epic Change (and12 for 12k’s charity for the month of November).  TweetsGiving is a global celebration that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude.

Scheduled for November 24 – 26, 2009, the 48-hour event created by US nonprofit Epic Change will encourage participants to express their thanks using online tools and at live events. In honor of the people and things that make them grateful, guests will be invited to give to a common cause at events held across the globe.Tweetsgiving

In 2008, Tweetsgiving successfully raised over $10,000 to build a classroom in Arusha, Tanzania in just two days. Proceeds from Tweetsgiving 2009 will, in part, benefit the school, where a dormitory/orphanage, library, school cafeteria and additional classrooms are much needed. In addition, TweetsGiving 2009 seeks to fund new Epic Change partners and fellows in other parts of the world.

It’s super easy to join in this celebration of gratitude. And really, we have so much to be grateful for in our lives, let’s use it to make lives in other parts of the world better. Go here to find out how you can make a difference just by being grateful. 🙂

And no post on Doing Good would be complete without mentioning the work my friend Nate St. Pierre is doing with a movement he is creating called It Starts With Us. The mission is simple: make a positive impact in the lives of the people around us.

Nate emails out simple, weekly “missions” that take all of about 15 minutes and make a SIGNIFICANT difference in the lives of others. For example, a recent mission that arrived in my email inbox was writing a letter to a five year old little girl undergoing the trauma of surgery to remove a massive brain tumor.  If I don’t have time to do that, my priorities are totally screwed up.

I really REALLY encourage you to get involved in It Starts With Us. You may change the lives of others, but YOU will be the one who be changed even more. 🙂 Go here to join “The A Team”:

Other ideas for doing good? This is your open invitation to pimp your favorite charity in the comments of this post. 🙂

Your Corner of the World

November 4th, 2009

When I was a teenager, I thought (as most teenagers do) that the world existed mainly for my enjoyment and pleasure. Being a teenager in the 80’s only fostered that ego-centric attitude. Fortunately for me and those who must live with me, I’ve discovered that doing my part to make this world we live in a better place is much more gratifying than demanding that the world make me happy. Sadly, I know lots of grown-ups who have yet to make this discovery.

The lesson I would like to share with you is that taking this particular personal responsibility can be far more gratifying than anything you could demand of the world. One of my clients thinks this idea has the potential to induce guilt. Please know that that is not my point at all. It’s not about feeling obligated – it’s about feeling joyful. I’d like to illustrate this lesson with a true story that happened to a dear friend of mine.

She was at the checkout counter of a large grocery store. Her purchases exceeded her cash by about $1.75. She had no checkbook and no credit card. And she was in a hurry. As she began to verbally panic about which item to leave behind, a voice behind her said. “How much do you need?” She turned to face a woman whom she swears looked just like a bag lady.

“$1.75,” my friend replied.

“Here,” and the bag lady handed the clerk $1.75.

Now my friend really began to panic. “How can I find you to pay you back?” “Where do you live?” “What is your address – I’ll mail it to you.”

The bag lady surveyed my friend with something akin to pity. “Don’t you know nothin’, lady?” she said. “Just do it for somebody else.” onenicething

Well, aside from stopping my friend dead in her tracks, these words put her on a mission for a year and a half. Every single time she was in a checkout line, she got all excited hoping that someone ahead of her would come up short and she could repay her debt.

Finally, her opportunity came and she excitedly and joyfully stepped up to the cashier to pay the way of a complete (and rather confused) stranger. As my friend said to me “It wasn’t the money I was paying back – it was the life lesson I was given that I was so grateful for – just do something nice for someone else.”

Accepting that challenge and that responsibility will give you, as it gave my friend, the daily joy of anticipation. What can I do today? What small effort can I make that will make someone else’s day?

As is true with all parts of Escaping Mediocrity, this lesson is paradoxical. Though you are the one giving, you will be the one who receives so much more. Don’t believe me? Try these exercises over the next week:

1.Think of five small things you can do for someone else. You don’t have to do them – just think of them.

2.Spend one whole day looking for an opportunity to be helpful to someone else.

3.Look around your community. Is there something you think “someone should do something about”? Could you do it?

BONUS POINTS: Do something nice for someone but don’t let them find out you did it or do something really nice and just don’t tell anybody. If you are discovered, it doesn’t count.

Oh and if you think this lesson doesn’t apply to your business, think again. 🙂

Can’t wait to hear about your adventures with this!

Beware the Shape-Shifters

November 2nd, 2009

Because it rained up until mid-afternoon on Saturday, we watched a good bit of Halloween TV Friday and Saturday. And the shows we watched were full of the typical Halloween cast of characters: witches, mummies, vampires, etc. But I also noticed that many shows also had a variation on the “shape-shifter”. You know, the person (or monster) that can turn itself into anyone or anything, at least for a little while. shapeshifter

I think the Shape-Shifter may be the scariest creature in the lot. Why? Because they actually exist.

Let me explain.

When I first entered the world of coaches, gurus and experts, I was naive and gullible. I believed people were who they said they were and that public persona would always match up with private personality. Boy was I wrong.

I remember the first time I dealt with the staff of a supposed “abundance” guru. Wow, there was nothing abundant about their attitude or willingness to engage with a relative newbie on the scene. I felt so duped and so mislead.

But, being one to believe the best about people, I figured it was a very rare exception. So I recovered and moved on.

Then it happened again. I was in a small group that included several well-known experts. Their public MO was all about generosity and positivity. As I attempted to engage them in conversation, however, I saw nary a trace of either. In fact, one of them point blank asked me “Well, who ARE you?” As if that played some part in whether I was worthy of conversation. I was dumbfounded – and again felt shame and embarrassment.

And again. This time I actually got close to an expert. We talked, we shared stories, we were becoming friends. During one of our conversations, I shared my plans for an upcoming product launch. You can see where this one is going, right? Imagine my surprise when this “expert” launched an almost identical product with an almost identical name. And stopped taking my phone calls.

Again, I felt shame and embarrassment. As if I were wrong somehow, or missed some clue to the expert’s true nature.

I’d like to say that as time passed, I’ve stopped being duped by shape shifters. But that simply isn’t true. I’ve gotten wiser for sure. And my ability to detect them has drastically improved. But at the core of my being, I am still a person who believes people are who they say they are.

Which means that, from time to time, I will be wrong about someone’s true nature. In fact I’ve been wrong – VERY wrong – at least twice this year. But here is what’s different: I no longer feel the shame and embarrassment of somehow misunderstanding. I didn’t misunderstand. I trusted. So the shame and embarrassment don’t belong to me. They belong to the other person.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it hurt? Yes. Would I rather be jaded and callous and guarded? Not on your life. But that’s just how I roll.

What about you? Have you had a run-in with a shape-shifter that knocked you and your business slightly off center? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂