Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Blog has moved

I have moved my blog to my website www.angelalieb.com/blog - please go there to follow my blog.  Thanks and have a great New Year!

Angela

Monday, November 29, 2010

Update your LinkedIn Profile - Take Action #33, By: Angela Lieb

Are you a professional that needs to make connections? OR someone looking for a job? OR are you someone who wants to be “found” on Google for a new project OR interviewed by the media?  Then if you are not on LinkedIn and/or have a current profile, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.  I am not a LinkedIn sales rep or advertiser or anything connected to them – I just happen to be a big advocate since I got my latest job (now 2 years) from someone who found me on LinkedIn.  Here are some statistics taken from the LinkedIn site:
  • LinkedIn has over 85 million members in over 200 countries. 
  • A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of our members are outside the U.S.  
  • Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members.
Better yet, the Social Media Revolution video sites that 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; 95% of these are using LinkedIn and half of the members are decision makers!

Having a complete profile with your resume, photo, recommendations and contacts is key to being found on Google and within LinkedIn, if a prospective employer or potential client is looking for you.  For example, if you sell insurance or real estate or software, make sure you have what you do written in both your current title,  past job titles and within the content of your bio. 

We are no longer in a world where we send out cover letters and resumes, we are in a world where current jobs aren’t even posted most of the time because HR departments are approaching talent directly.  To their advantage, they can find out more information than you sometimes want because of the information available on the web.

If I were a media professional wanting to do an interview with someone who sells widgets in my town, I would start with LinkedIn.  Once I found someone who sells widgets, I would then Google that person to see what they have accomplished; have they written articles, do they have a Facebook account, did they receive an award?

Here is a great article on How to Create a strong LinkedIn Profile

If you are getting ready to graduate or you are a recent graduate, here’s an article on How to Use LinkedIn after you get the degree. 

Whether you are in sales, networking, building a business or looking for a job, Take Action by either creating a LinkedIn profile or refreshing your current profile.

Angela

Monday, November 22, 2010

Take Action #32: Maximize your Facebook Profile - BY: Angela Lieb

Facebook has become a phenomenon over the last few years.  Launched in 2004 with 5,000 students, it has grown to over 550 million worldwide users as of the date of this post.  Users include everyone from young teenagers to grandmas, entrepreneurs and celebreties.  People use Facebook for different reasons.  Some use it as a master networking tool, others use it to catch up with past friends and others use it for a very select group of friends and family.
Today we are talking about how to Take action by maximizing your Facebook profile and a few tips on how to use Facebook for your business. 
I am assuming that if you are reading this blog, you have a Facebook account.   Keep in mind that you don’t want to post too much business info on your personal page, but there are some subtle things you can do to let people know what you do.  If you really want to promote your business, then I would suggest creating a fan page for your business.
11 Ways to Maximize your Facebook Profile
1.      Get rid of all the annoying applications (blocking things like Mafia Wars, Farmville, Hugs, Kisses, etc)
2.      Create lists – this allows you to read posts by groups (like family, work, high school) and you can set your privacy settings to only let certain lists see certain posts and pictures
3.      Create a Fan Page – I will create a how-to blog/video in a future post
4.      Accept “most” invites – again this helps if you have lists
5.      Post valuable comments on other profiles - this draws people to your profile
6.      Check out the local events
7.      Send private messages rather than posts – see how-to on this
8.      Have a mix of personal and business posts
9.      Post opened ended questions  - this solicits feedback
10.   Upload media- videos, links, pictures
11.   Link your FB profile to your other media – e-mail signature, website, business cards, blogs, videos
If you have any questions or need more help, just send me an e-mail and check back often to 111 Ways to Take Action for future how-to’s for Social Media.
Take Action by ramping up your social media.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Invite someone to dinner – Take Action #31 - By: Angela Lieb

As the holidays approach, this is usually the time that we invite friends and family over for dinner or a bonfire or a cocktail party.   I do realize that being a host or hostess is not a natural gift for many people.  You will notice there are certain people who always seem to be the hosts.  I think what holds some people back is that they think their house is too small or that they would have to repaint and clean the house in order to have a party.   There have actually been times that I decided to host a shower or Tupperware party because I KNEW that it would force me to deep clean the house and paint the dining room.  So sometimes it is just the motivation we need to finish the project.
Today’s Take Action idea is not only to invite someone over for dinner, but invite someone you would not otherwise invite.  For example, every Thanksgiving we usually invite people that might not have anywhere else to go.  This has included homeless children, friends whose family doesn’t live here or kids’ friends from college who didn’t make it back to their home town.  OR – maybe this is the time to invite the couple that sits on the sidelines as you watch your kid’s games.  You enjoy their company on the side lines; why not invite them to dinner?
Step outside your comfort zone and welcome someone you would not normally invite into your home.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Take Action #30: Send out Holiday Cards by: Angela Lieb

This is one of those chores that I look at each year and wonder if I really need to do this.  It can be time consuming and do people really care?   It is certainly fun to receive cards from friends and family and to see how their families are growing and the changes going on in their life.  Mst years I have forced myself to send the cards out.  If anything, it is the one time during the year that you can reach out and let folks know you are thinking about them.  A note on Facebook is always nice, but getting a card in the mail is fun! 
I have found the easiest way to send a card and also include a photo is to take your own digital photo of the family, dog, the house – whatever you want and then upload the picture to Walgreens photo center online.  You can then pick the type of photo card you want, create a message and signature and tell them to print 25, 50, etc.  You create it online and pay for it online.  In years past I have had to go back and reprint and it took just minutes.  The photo cards are usually available the same day and they are very cost effective.
Of course the next step is making sure you have the addresses.  Each year I save the envelopes from those that sent cards and enter the addresses into my database so I am sure that I send a card to those who sent me one.  It seems it is harder now to keep track of addresses because we spend so much time connecting online rather than through traditional mail.  Ideally you are collecting and updating your address book or spreadsheet throughout the year.  Also, there is nothing better than a handwritten address on the envelope rather than a printed envelope.  It just makes it more personal and it feels better to get a handwritten card.  The dentist sends out cards with pre-printed labels.  Which card would you want to open first – the typed or the hand-written?
Whatever you do, do NOT send out an e-greeting in lieu of a real card for friends, family and clients.  It is fine if you want to send an e-greeting to your newsletter subscribers or prospects, but it would be ideal if you could send a real card to those important contacts.  Also, some of the e-newsletters go into spam.  A card with a real stamp is sure to get to them and make an impression.
Take Action by sending out your holiday cards!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Create Your Perfect Job Description - Take Action #29

Throughout the years, friends and clients have asked about helping them find a job or get out of a job or they were in transition and just didn’t know if what they wanted was out there.  Some were small business owners that were not thriving and thought they should get a “real” job but didn’t want to be confined to an 8-5 routine.
Every time, I would tell them to create their perfect job description.  It might help to first take the Strength Finders test through the book Now Discover Your Strengths which I have mentioned in a previous post.  Once you get confirmation on what your natural strengths are, that will help guide the direction of your perfect job.
In this description, you would write down everything you want including answers to these questions:
·        How many hours you want to work
·        Is the job at a traditional office, on the road, working from home or a combination of all?
·        What are the ideal salary, vacation and benefits?
·        What are your primary duties?
·        What type of industry?
·        Based on your strengths, is the job analytical, creative, involve networking or researching?
·        What types of people work at the company?
·        Is this a private or public company?
·        Is this a family-owned company or other small business?
Once you have defined your perfect job, start sharing it with others.  One of the biggest mistakes we make when looking for a new opportunity is we forget to tell our friends and colleagues what we are looking for so that they can help us.  If you tell someone you are looking for a job, they may assume that you want something in your same profession or they may not understand what pay level or management level you have been working.
The next step is to use social networking sites like LinkedIn to see if there are any jobs posted at companies where you have a contact or where you are only 1-2 degrees away and you can ask for an introduction.  With Google and Social Media, it seems that resumes are secondary.  So make sure that your Facebook account has privacy settings in place so that only certain people can see your beer bash pictures. See a future Take Action idea about getting your Social Media profiles set up properly.
As you find opportunities, you can see how closely they match your dream job and either go for it or pass.  This exercise if much more fun of course if you are not desperate to find a job.  When we are desperate, we tend to not be as picky and will interview for just about anything.  Your dream job is possible.  Start thinking about it while you have a job.  You never know what opportunities are out there.  The last 2 corporate jobs I had were “manifested” by me – meaning I imagined what would work best for my personality and wala! They appeared.  For example, in my current position I work from home and travel a couple days a week for day trips.  When I travel I usually don’t have to leave until the kids are at school and get home most nights by dinner.  On the days I am home, I can be in jeans and take off at 10 am to go exercise.  I can also update emails, prepare for presentations and conduct training at hours that suit me.  For example, if I need to take a kid to the doctor during the middle of the day, I can make up that time in the evening since most of my work is e-mail and business planning.  If there is an area that I have a certain interest in (i.e. social media), I have the freedom to research that and bring back my findings to my colleagues and clients. As long as I get my work done and I over-deliver, my boss is happy and so am I. 
I have been able to create this work style for the last 10 years – whether I was working for a company or working for myself.  I HAVE to work like this because I am extremely social.  When I am in an office environment with people – I get nothing done.  I still need to be energized by people which I get when I meet with my clients and give presentations, but I get more done in 4 hours at home than I would get done during 2 days at an office.
This type of work environment would drive someone else crazy and their dream job would look completely different.  Keep in mind that you may not get everything on the dream job list – but figure out what your highest priorities are. For example, my job would be more of a  “dream” if I was challenged more, was able to speak to large groups more often and of course if they paid me a million dollars.  So, you have to weigh where you are and your happiness level with the new opportunity.
Take Action by Creating your Dream Job.
Angela

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Take Action #28: Invest In Yourself

Invest In Yourself
This could mean several things.   We invest our time, money and resources.   Most of us are so busy taking care of families, jobs and businesses that we rarely take time or money out to do things for us.  2010 has been the year to invest in myself.  I would encourage you to do the same. Here are some ideas:
ü  Take a vacation
ü  Read a great book
ü  Exercise and eat right
ü  Schedule dates with your friends
ü  Single? Sign up for a dating service or join a single’s group
ü  Get your hair and nails done
ü  Get your suits tailored
ü  Buy some new outfits
ü  Get some counseling
ü  Take a yoga, dance or kick boxing class
ü  Take a day at the spa
ü  Get a massage
ü  Hire a Financial Planner
ü  Go back to school
ü  Learn a new language
Of course there are thousands of ways to take care of yourself.  I didn't get this concept until this past year.  AND the bonus is that each of these ideas is Taking Action because if you are taking care, you are taking action 
If you have not done something that is just for YOU in the last 3 months, it is about time!  I’m not talking about going out and buying new underwear, I am talking about doing something special just for you!  I’ve given you plenty of ideas to get you started.  I would LOVE to hear all the ways you invested in yourself.  Please respond to this blog or the Fan Page!
Take Action by taking care of yourself.
Angela

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Take Action #27: Be Happy

It really is a choice.  I know it is annoying when your whole world is falling apart and some happier-than-thou person says, “It will all work out.  Don’t worry.   Keep your chin up.  What is something FUN we can do today?”  You basically want to knock them over the head with a two-by-four or push them off a cliff.  Quite frankly, sometimes it feels good to be a crab. 
However, what I find happens is if I wake up crabby or let the soap in my eye be the start of a “horrible” day, then I usually have a horrible day.  It is all in the way you “choose” to look at it.  You could say “oh great – it’s going to be one of those days.  What else could happen?”  OR you could say “Darn, soap in my eye. Oh well, the rest of my day is the best of my day.”
Like the guy who cuts you off on the highway; you can scream profanities and assume he must be the biggest jerk on the planet (my kids really don’t like this response).  OR I can assume that he must either be distracted, in a big hurry, have a crying baby in the backseat or just simply not paying attention. I sure feel better about the 2nd way and it helps me to move on and enjoy the rest of the day.  If I assume the guy was a jerk and out to get me, then I spend the rest of the day meeting more jerks and people out to get me and yell up to God “Why me???”
So –  CHOOSE to be Happy.  Whatever gets in your way today – crabby teacher, cranky kids, crazy driver, difficult employees…..just take a deep breath, smile and say “That’s ok.  Today is a great day!”  Then it wouldn’t hurt to remind yourself of all the great things going on in your life – health, kids, love, job, etc.
Take Action by Being Happy!

Angela

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take Action #26: Throw it Away!

Some of us are better at this than others.  I am not a big fan of clutter, but I do tend to hang on to things because I either think I will use them again or I am cheap and don’t want to part with it – especially clothes.   I have a friend who goes through her closet on a regular basis and if she hasn’t worn it in a year, she gives it a way.  OR since she has lost weight, she gets rid of anything that is not her size.  Yikes.  I always think that I might need them again.  It was really sad when I had my 25th high school reunion and I was considering wearing the same blue shirt that I wore for the 20th.  Geez.  I just don’t like shopping so I hang on to things – but really, I need to get over it.
Also, going through your storage room/closet/basement and getting rid of things that you don’t need or that someone else could use is VERY therapeutic – really makes you feel like you accomplished something.  This weekend I finally got rid of an old pillow and an office chair that needed to be reupholstered.  I also went through old files and pitched tons of old paperwork – why was I hanging on to it? 

As Cathy Sexton with The Productivity Experts says, with each piece of paper you need to decide if you should file it, pay it, pitch it or put it in the “to-do”pile.  She helped me get rid of 100 pounds of paper over the years.  One of the things she always asks: “can you find it again on the internet?”  If yes, then pitch it!  Easier said than done.   If you need some help, I would highly recommend one of Cathy’s workshops – or subscribe to her blog to receive free organizing tips.
You can’t take it with you, so decide if you can live without it.
Have fun Taking Action by getting rid of stuff!
Angela

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take Action #25: Create an Emergency File

I had a dream the other day that I was out of commission – not sure if I died or just hospitalized.   When I woke up I realized that my kids would never know where any important documents were if they needed them.  Normally we would share this information with our spouse; if you haven’t, then do that today.  However, if you are single and have children or friends, be sure they know where to find those “important documents”.  My suggestion would be to have a single file or folder with copies of items such as life, health, car and property insurance documents.  You should also have a file with birth certificates, social security cards, and other personal documentation for you and your family members.
If you have a Last Will and Testament, you should have instructions in the folder of where to get a copy of the will. (Might not want them to see the will until after you are gone in case you have a favorite kid).  If you have specific medical instructions, that would be helpful also.  Checking account information, passwords, and any retirement/investment information would also be good to put in the file.
I know it’s a morbid thought, but if you have instructions for your funeral that would also help your loved ones.  For example, do you want to be buried, cremated, donate your body to science?  Do you want a private ceremony or everyone you know at your service?  Do you have specific songs or scripture you want read?  Is there a message you want to leave behind?  We are all terminal – some of us get a heads up.  My father knew he was dying and was able to get things in order and share his thoughts and tell us what he wanted and didn’t want.  Some of us won’t have that opportunity. 
So Take Action today and get those important papers in order and show your family where they are, so if there is ever the need, they aren’t scrambling to find them.
Take Care and Take Action!

Angela

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Take Action #24: Go House Hunting

Fall is here.  The weather is gorgeous and there are plenty of houses on the market.  Some of my favorite memories are when my mom would take us to Open Houses on Sunday.  She would go to dream about what “could be” and that’s where I learned to dream.  We would walk through huge houses and my sisters and I would pick out our room and talk about where we would put our bed and dresser and dolls.  I loved to fantasize about living in a big, open, beautiful house.  Little did I know that was part of “visualization” – the other part is of course “believing” that you can actually have it.
Anyway, there are so many houses on the market, the opportunities are endless, interest rates are low and some sellers are flexible – meaning that they may work out owner-financing, lease-purchase or some other creative arrangement.  You never know until you start to explore.  Not sure what the weather will bring this weekend, but get on online and see where there are some Open Houses in your area of interest and go see what’s out there.   Here are some resources:  www.century21.com, www.realtor.com, www.craigslist.com and your local paper.
Click here for buying tips.  Happy Hunting!
Angela

Monday, October 18, 2010

Take Action #23: Get your Oil Changed

I have a book called “You Can Do It” by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas.  It was a book written for women about trying new things.  One section is on Car Care with ideas shared by Patti Critchfield, the owner and operator of Patti’s Auto Care in Berkeley, CA.   I’m not the greatest when it comes to taking care of cars and I have to be reminded to change my oil and sometimes red lights are on for a while before I ever notice.    Below is some advice by Patti which I took directly from the book.  Some guys and gals won't need this but the reminder might help others:
CAR CARE TO-DO's
1.      Read Your Owner’s Manual
2.      Check the fluids
3.      Keep an eye on your gauges
·        Fuel Gauge
·        Odometer
·        Speedometer
·        Tachometer: shows engine speed in thousands of revolutions per minute
·        Water temperature gauge – shows the  temperature of the engine coolant
Warning Lights
·        Brake system – lets you know if your parking brake is on; if the brake light is on while you’re driving and the parking brake is off,  your brake fluid and/or braking system needs to be inspected
·        Charging system: Indicates a malfunction of the alternator or charging system.
·        Check engine: indicates a problem with the engine function or, on some cars, the transmission
·        Engine oil pressure – reveals low engine pressure
4.      Check your tire pressure
5.      Inspect your windshield wiper blades
6.      Assemble an emergency kit:
·        Flares
·        Flashlight
·        Rope
·        Gallon of water
·        Couple of quarts of oil
·        First-aid kit
·        Tire changing equipment
Glove Compartment should have:
·        AAA or other roadside assistance cards
·        Auto insurance info
·        Health insurance info
·        Pen and paper
·        Regional maps
·        Tire gauge
·        Travel-size packet of wet wipes
·        Owner’s manual
·        Car registration
Hope this information helps and check your oil every 3,000 miles.  I had my first car for a year when I met my ex-husband.  He asked me when I last had my oil changed.  I responded with a big clueless "what?".  He said, the oil - you know, it has to be changed several times a year.  I said "Yeah, well I don't think I have ever done that."  I was 22 then.  At 43, I at least know to change my oil....

Have fun Taking Action by taking care of your car.

Angela

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Share your Brain: Take Action #22

Each of us has the gift of having our own personal experiences, relationships and lessons.  I believe it is part of our job to share those with others so that we all can learn from the knowledge we have gained.  For example, if I just started a business and went through the process of getting a loan, forming an LLC, creating a website, buying a phone system, and more, it would be great to share that knowledge with someone else who wants to start a business.  This helps to short-cut the process for the new business owner. 
If I am expert at gardening, rather than watch my friend suffer through planting the wrong flowers in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps I could help save her frustration and an ugly garden by giving her some tips.
We do this every day in our personal relationships with our children, co-workers and friends, but how about sharing it with a larger audience?  Creating a blog is free and there are various resources  wordpress, blogger, blog.com.  Or, if you have a Facebook account, you can write a note and tag all of the people you think would get value from your advice.  You can write an article for the community newspaper or an on-line newsletter.  You can provide advice through groups on LinkedIn.  You can go to lunch with someone who needs advice or ideas.
So, go share your experiences and your brain with another person today!
Have fun Taking Action.

Angela

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Take Action #21: Own Your Name

I read an interesting article  the other day that said that some parents have e-mail addresses for their babies before they are born and 80 percent of children have a profile online before they are 2 years old!   People thought I was nuts when I reserved my kid’s domain names – i.e. www.angelalieb.com   I did this when my daughter Jessica was producing a music demo cd.  I thought that if they were ever going to do something where their name was part of it – then I wanted to make sure they owned their domain.  It makes it difficult for folks like John Smith or Julie Jones – but if you can, I would encourage you to reserve your namesake domain – you can get one for less than $10/year.  GoDaddy, Register.com, NetworkSolutions are just a few places to purchase your domain. 
Another benefit to having your name as a domain is if someone does a Google search, the first thing that will pop up is your namesake website.  For example, I meet you at a networking event.  I want to learn more about you but I forgot who you work for or the name of your business.  I do a search for you on Google.  If you have a domain name, that will be the first item to pop up on Google.  Even if you aren’t using the domain, it will come up.  You can always point your domain name to your existing website or you may be able to point it to your LinkedIn or Facebook account.
So, if your name is important to you and you think you will ever want to promote yourself online, make sure you own your domain name.  So Take Action and go claim your name online!
Have a great rest of the day!
Angela

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Take Action #20: Laugh!


I read a great article in Fast Company about Oxytocin and how it affects our brains - it is known as the "love hormone" and we all have it - mostly known for the bond between mother/child - however it is also the hormone for empathy, trust, and connecting.  Our Oxytocin levels have been known to increase when we are face to face with a friend or loved one.  Researchers have also been studying if our Oxytocin levels also increase with online relationships and they are finding that yes indeed they do AND companies need to get on board with understanding how they can interact with those consumers online and build trust.

Here is a link of a baby laughing that was uploaded by a dad video taping his baby - cost = FREE - number of views on YouTube = 140,673,872.  Here's the link to the video. 

Today is an awesome day because it is 10-10-10.  It is also a beautiful sunny day in St. Louis, MO.  Take Action and find something to laugh about today.  If you need help, see the video above - or interact with someone online that makes you laugh or go out with a friend or family member that makes you laugh.  Life is short and those who laugh live longer!

Have a happy day.

Angela

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Take Action #19: GWI (Get With It) and Learn Text/IM Language

If you have been texting for a bit or have kids, you are probably familiar with the acronyms ASAP, TMI, LOL, BFF, BRB, B/C or GR8.  But how about BBL (be back later), WE (whatever), GAL (get a life), or HIH (hope it helps)?  If you need some help, as I do, go to this website to figure out how to get a clue with this new texting language.  PAW (parents are watching), PA (parent alert), PAL (parents are listening) are codes that parents might need to clue into. 
I gave a social media workshop a couple of weeks ago to some agents and one older gentleman said that one time he got a text and all that was on there was “K”.  He didn’t know what to do with that.  He also said that he was trained (as many of us over age 40) to use proper grammar when writing.  So the older Gen Y, Boomers and Veterans are spending 10 minutes to write out a text that is grammatically correct, as well as spelled correctly.  If we are going to be in business or communicate with the younger Gen Y, Gen X and Gen Z, I guess we should start learning how to use their language – seems crazy.
However…..I also think that the younger generations need to learn to communicate with “us” – especially if they want jobs J  For example, learning how to write a proper cover letter and send a professional e-mail would be helpful if they would like to be hired. Maybe that will be a future post.
HTH B/C even if U R OTL, OOO, or OTP, U don’t want to B OOT.   Perhaps, UNTCO, GWI and TA.
Translation: Hope this helps because even if you are out to lunch, out of the office, or on the phone, you don’t want to be out of touch.  Perhaps you need to chill out, get with it and Take Action (I added that one – like it?).
CYL,
Angela

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Take Action #18: Write an Encouraging Letter Today

In an earlier post I talked about sending hand-written notes and thank-you notes.  I would like to elaborate on that one and ask that your Take Action item be to write a letter of encouragement to someone you care about – you have no idea the long-term impact that it could have.
E-mails and Facebook messages are great, but they are rarely keepers.  A hand-written letter with your personal hand-writing style is unique.  My dad just passed away on Sept. 25th and 3 days before his death I got to read to him two letters that he wrote to me.  One was to me and my sisters when we were only 7, 4, and 1.  I also scanned the letter and sent it to my sisters so they would have a copy.  It was at a time when he was not with us at Christmas and he wrote about the true meaning of Christmas and what love was all about and wrote it just as if we were grown women – although we were so young.
The other letter was written to me when I was 18 and away at school for the first time.  He told me what made me special to him.  He listed all the qualities that he recognized in me and reassured me that I would be successful, find love and be a leader – not a follower.  One part of the letter that was powerful to me since I am divorced and recently ended another relationship was this: “Because you have esteem for yourself and a healthy love of self, you are not likely to have love forced on you because of lack of security.  You will wait and choose.  You will love everyone, yet reserve that “LOVE” for the right one.  This of course won’t guarantee you a life of bliss, but at least will put the odds in your favor.”  I saved this letter for 25 years.  I read it to my dad on Wednesday September 22nd and he said he didn’t remember writing it and said “I wrote that? with tears in his eyes.”  I wanted him to know how much he helped to define who I was as a woman.  Sometimes when we write, we release it/share it and it is out of our mind because we have made our peace. 
At my dad’s visitation service, a long-time guy friend of mine came to see me and pulled me aside and said, “Do you remember the letter you wrote to me after my brother died?”  I was a little worried because I didn’t remember writing it and I would have been 9 months pregnant and it was 20 years ago and wasn’t sure if I professed my love or what.  He laughed and said, “No, you just said some things that were powerful, heartfelt and basically said that we will be friends for a long-time and will go through many life events together like births and deaths.”    I was mainly shocked because I don’t remember writing that letter and it was interesting that he brought it up because he knew nothing about my dad’s letter to me. He saved that letter for 20 years because I guess it impacted him just as my dad’s letter did for me.
You have no idea how powerful your message can be to someone during a major life event.  If you have a child going off to college or a friend who needs to be encouraged or told how great they are, get out that pen and spiral notebook and write down your heart-felt message.  Who knows, you may be responsible for shaping the life of another human being AND they may be reading your letter at your funeral.  I read the letter my dad wrote at his service because I wanted those in attendance to know what kind of man he was.
Enjoy writing – don’t worry about spell check or having crappy handwriting – they will love it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Take A Hike - Take Action #17

What’s the one thing a person without use of their legs wants to do?  Run. 
What’s the one thing a person who is struggling to breathe wants to do?  Walk to the front door. 
What’s the one thing a child who has been hospitalized for weeks wants to do?  Swing at the playground.
Do you have legs?  Can you breathe?   If yes, then step away from the computer and go outside while the weather is beautiful and take a walk.  Make it more fun and take a kid or significant other along.  Been a while since you exercised regularly?  Commit to 3 times a week.  Already work out 3 times a week?  Make it 4.  It’s time to get moving people!  I am watching my father struggle to breathe. If he could walk to the park right now, it would give him such joy.  Yet it seems that some people can, but choose not to.  God gave us the ability to use our bodies far beyond what we think is possible.  It is amazing how much I will push my body when I am working out with my trainer as opposed to when I show up to the gym by myself.    I tell my trainer, “I can’t do it”.  He says “yes you can”.  He is right. 
Here’s a good article on how to incorporate exercising in your life.  Also, instead of obsessing about calories and diet, just start exercising.  Here is an article about how exercise changed one woman’s life.
I know….You are busy.  Really busy.  I get it.  I feel so sorry for you. Here’s’ a link on how busy people find time to exercise.   If you are still stuck on what to do for food and exercise, visit my friend Maureen's website Making it all Fit.
Be thankful you have the heart and the lung capacity, as well as the working limbs to exercise and get out there and do something.  Better yet – tell your kids to get out there.  I see more and more young kids entering high school who are bigger than women who have had multiple child births.   Some weight problems are hereditary, but most are because the kid’s exercise routine includes Facebook, texting, video games and MTV.  Take them to play tennis, throw a Frisbee, or go for a hike.  There are some awesome parks in Missouri if you are from here. 
Other ways to get exercise without thinking about it:
  • Push a wheel chair at the park
  • Push a stroller at the zoo
  • Give a kid a piggy-back ride
  • Do leg lifts while your toddler hangs on to your leg
  • Do laps around the house or in the house when you are on a call with a chatty Cathy
  • Park in the a spot the furthest from the entrance at the restaurant you are going to
  • Take the stairs in every building you enter for crying out loud.  Elevators in 3 story buildings were NOT made for people who can walk.  They are for people in wheel chairs and parents with strollers and old/sick people.  If you aren’t any of those things, then take the dang stairs. 
  • Walk the escalator stairs at the mall.
Anyway, I hope I’ve encouraged you to TAKE ACTION by getting some exercise.
Angela

Monday, September 20, 2010

Turn Off The Phone - Take Action #14

Somehow, I went straight from Take Action #13 to Take Action #15.  I neglected poor #14 - so here it is.  
Put the Phone Away
OK – I know it’s like I just asked you to cut off your right arm – but really – that little box with all the keys, applications, messages, and pictures sometimes keeps us from our work and our face-to-face relationships.  Last night I took my kids out to dinner to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 20th birthday.  I asked them to all put their phones away so that we could enjoy each other.  We did great – we made it an hour without looking at that box and we had a great time.  I also made the other 3 say something they loved about their big sister – they told me I was weird.  Whatever.
As I found the other day, not having my phone for 24 hours was a struggle - especially since it is my life line to my kids, parents, and especially my job.  On my way to my 9:00 in Litchfield, IL I got stuck in traffic which set me back 20 minutes and then I was in such a hurry since I had no way to communicate with my client – that I decided that driving faster would be the answer – then I got pulled over – got a ticket. I wonder if I can put it on my expense report....I blame my cell phone.
Anyway, we have become so addicted to our phones, that we literally have panic attacks when we can’t find them.  Here’s an article on cell phone addiction.
As much as we think we are more productive with the little box that we carry around 24/7, it can actually jeopardize relationships and be a huge distraction when working.  I challenge you to try for one day to take two (2) one-hour breaks from your phone.  Turn it off for one hour during your work day to see how much work you get done without stopping to take a call or reply to a text.  Even though most phones have e-mail, it is a heck of a lot faster to type on the computer.  The second hour is reserved for someone you love.  Give them your undivided attention.  There is nothing worse than having a conversation with someone and they keep looking down at their phone while you are spilling your guts.    Makes you feel insignificant. 
Can you do it?  Give me your feedback on how it went.
Take Action – Turn the phone off!
Angela