Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simplify

Now that the hustle and bustle of Christmas has passed, it's time to look forward to a few changes for the new year....

First, you can contact my wife, The Simplified Life Coach at her site: http://www.thesimplifiedlifecoach.com

And you can follow these steps from the DLM Blog:

How to Cut Down Your Commitments

Posted: 16 Dec 2009 06:57 AM PST


Do you feel constantly busy – and in demand? Are you the one person at work who everyone seems to ask when they need a favor? Do you have a host of family obligations – driving your kids all over town, helping your mom spring clean her house, cooking dinner for your household? And are you involved in voluntary groups who demand your time and attention?

None of these things are bad in themselves – but they can all add up to a frantic and hectic life where you never get time to enjoy each activity before you rush on to the next. They can sap your energy, and prevent you from going after your own goals.

If you need to cut down on your commitments, here’s how:
  • Make a List
    I’m a big fan of lists – they help you to organize your thoughts and to get some clarity. We often lead complicated lives, with a lot of different commitments in different areas, some of which are temporary, some ongoing.

  • Take ten minutes to jot down a list of all the major commitments which you have in different areas of your life.
    Make a note of any which are only for a definite fixed time period (e.g. chairing a committee).

  • Circle any commitments which make you feel tired, dispirited, anxious, or put upon. Ask yourself if I could drop some of these commitments, which would I give up? You might have a whole host of reasons why you simply can’t give up something (despite hating it). The truth is, though, that it’s always possible to quit. You aren’t really that indispensable.

    (After all, sorry to have to say this, but if you died suddenly ... people would carry on without you!)

    So how do you get out of the things which you’re already committed to? And how do you avoid making the same mistakes with the new commitments that you take on? There are three ways, from least to most drastic:

    • Set a time limit
    • Renegotiate
    • Just quit!
    If you’ve got a number of commitments which have no end in sight, can you set a limit on them? For example, if you’re the moderator of an online forum, you could explain that you’ll only do it for another six months, then you’ll stop.

    In general, it’s a good idea to give an indication of how long you are prepared to do something for when you first take it on – especially if you aren’t sure how much you’ll enjoy it. If you agree to be secretary for the local gardening club, make it clear that you’ll only be doing it for a year. That sets people’s expectations from the start – and you can always agree to carry on if you do find that you love it.

  • Renegotiate
    If you’ve taken on something which you don’t really have the time or energy for, can you renegotiate? That might mean that you talk to your partner and explain that you’d like her/him to take on more responsibility for the children. It could mean agreeing with your brother that he’ll take your mom and dad out every other weekend, so that you get a break.

    When you’re asked to take on something new, you might not have to agree to do the whole thing. For example, as secretary of the gardening club, you might be willing to take minutes and send out agendas, but you might not be prepared to handle publicity.

  • Just Quit
    Finally ... it is perfectly possible to simply quit the things that you’re involved with. If something is becoming a big stress or time-consumer in your life, it might be best to simply bite the bullet and say “I quit.” People will almost certainly not be as shocked or upset by this as you might fear! You don’t even need to offer a reason – but if you feel that you do, you can say something like “I simply have too many other things going on in my life, and I’m not able to give this the time that it needs.”

    Don’t be afraid to quit something before starting, either! This is the “just say no” principle. Sure, perhaps Mrs Jones thinks you’d be the perfect person to host the block party ... that doesn’t mean that you need to agree.
Are you over-committed? What would you dearly love to give up? Can you quit it? If not, can you renegotiate and do less of it? Or can you at least set a time limit so that you’ve got an escape in sight?

Written on 12/16/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line (ali@aliventures.com) or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: flik

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolve

It starts with you...

From the DLM Blog:

20 Powerful Beliefs That Will Push You Toward Success

Posted: 21 Dec 2009 11:12 AM PST


I’m sure you have met at least one person in your life that is successful, motivated and self-empowered. This is someone that always seems to land on their feet, turns everything into gold and every success seems to come their way faster and thicker.

I’m also sure you have stopped to think about why these chronically successful people are so energetic, driven and successful with no apparent struggle while you seem to have such inertia impeding your progress.

Many believe that this is some unfair throw of the dice; that they just weren't meant to become successful. Or perhaps it’s that the ultra successful people had some advantage or social lever that you didn't. Occasionally this is true, occasionally success is inherited or stumbled into. However, more times than not, it's created.

Success, first of all, is not a set of achievements or a combination of external factors; it is a mindset. Success is an attitude that comes from a framework of powerful beliefs and empowering thoughts. There have been many books written about this, probably some of which you have read. In the ones I have read, there always seemed to be a certain partiality – an incomplete picture – perhaps biased towards financial success or some other area but not another.

In the following list of beliefs and empowering thoughts, I would like to present a rounder view of success. One that I hope will give you a wider angle towards the meaning of success ranging from the material to the spiritual.
  1. I am in charge of my life
    The belief that you and only you are responsible of what you make of a given situation. Life does not happen to you but is a result of how you respond to opportunities and challenges.

  2. I can make tomorrow better
    The belief that you can change your future by your actions today. Some people are stuck in a fatalist (and dis-empowering) mindset where they believe they have little control on their life.

  3. There is a lot of opportunity out there
    Successful people have their mind set on abundance and opportunity and not scarcity and lack. Trust me this makes a world of a difference. Believe that life, energy, positivity, love, opportunities, success, happiness are abundant…because they are!

  4. I don’t need the approval of others to succeed
    If you are always looking for others’ approval and consent you will not go very far off and you will certainly not be self-empowered. Successful people follow their heart even when others are skeptical or do not consent.

  5. My intentions have effect on my reality
    This is not to believe in magic where you can wish things into being…well almost. Most people are blind to this but successful people know, consciously or otherwise, that a focused and strong intention is indeed a powerful thing that will make a lot of things happen and certainly get you to your destination faster.

  6. People are catalysts not barriers to success
    If approached in the right way and you network with the right people, you will leverage your efforts by a thousand fold. You will get things done faster by getting help from others.

  7. Positive thoughts are powerful and empowering
    Successful people know very well that choosing to start a day with a positive rather than a negative outlook means having successful day as opposed to a frustrating one. It’s definitely in the attitude.

  8. I am not separate from the rest
    This is a deep insight which only the truly successful and wise ones keep at heart. Commonly people believe that they are separate and cut off from the rest because they are individuals. True knowledge will tell you that everything is interconnected and success comes from acknowledging that you are not separate but one with the forces of life and the universe.

  9. How can I use this situation?
    When life throws a bad streak at you or you your plans go down the gutter, ask yourself “How can I use this?”. My life changed as I started doing this. You can always turn a situation around even by just observing, learning and sharpening your attitude.

  10. Hard work & perseverance are rewarded
    This is a rule of thumb even if perhaps reward doesn’t always come immediately but is paid off in the long run.

  11. My past can be reviewed and rewritten
    Some people are locked in their past or think that their past circumstances determine their future. Successful people are skillful in the art of interpreting their past and reframinmg it according to their optimal advantage.

  12. There are forces and energies which can help me if I’m conscious
    You might be thinking magic? Fairies? Not exactly. We cannot perceive certain subtle energies but some successful people believe in positive and negative energy flows from things and people just like ancient Chinese traditions believed in the flow of the Chi (Qi) or life energy. You can make yourself aware of this but it takes practice.

  13. Failure is good
    As in point 9, empowered people can turn a failure into success by learning from it and moving on.

  14. Don’t take it personally
    Get out of the trap of taking life circumstances personally or you will end up enslaved emotionally. When you get rejections, criticisms, cold shoulders, etc., put in within an impersonal bracket. They are not rejecting me, but an idea of me they have in their mind.

  15. Bad patches are temporary
    We all pass through bad patches. It’s the cycle of life. But we all get out of them unless we chose not to. Think outside of the moment.

  16. What I learn can be improved and refined
    Self-empowered people have a very dynamic view on life. There is always space for change and improvement especially on skills and lessons learnt.

  17. I am constantly developing and expanding new capabilities
    Just like the previous point, empowerment comes from a non-static outlook where life-affirming mind states are believed to expand not contract.

  18. Things are impermanent, don’t attach yourself to things
    This is a Buddhist concept which the real successful have learnt through experience. You might think that successful people are materialistic. I think the really successful are people who have a richer view on life and know how to ride life’s waves without getting emotionally attached.

  19. Forget, forgive, rejoice
    Don’t get stuck in resentment and grudges. Travel light without dragging an emotional baggage full of past disappointments.

  20. I already have all I need
    Self-explanatory. The path to success is through self-discovery and not world conquest as some would believe. People who have made it knew how to uncover their skills and true potential instead of obsessing with possessing.

Written on 12/21/2009 by Gilbert Ross. For more great articles by Gilbert make sure to visit his Blog Soul Hiker. Subscribe to his posts here or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Photo Credit: Star5112

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Video Time: Laughter

I hope you don't laugh like the guy in the middle!

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day

Monday, December 28, 2009

Walk it off

A few years ago I came to the realization that paying gym membership dues is not the same as using the gym.

But there is another way to get healthy. From the DLM Blog:

The Surprisingly Deep Benefits of Walking

Posted: 14 Dec 2009 06:50 AM PST


Readers of my previous articles will know that I try to live as effortlessly as possible. This all started (in a conscious way, at least) when many years ago, as a teenager, I discovered the ancient Chinese idea of Wu Wei - ‘action without action’ or ‘non doing.’ The discovery came quite by accident - as most good things in life tend to happen.

I was on holiday with some friends and one day I went for a walk alone. I came across an old, second hand book shop, and as I glanced over the disordered titles, I came across a translation of the Tao Te Ching, by R. L. Wing called ‘The Tao of Power.’ The front cover described it as ‘Lao Tzu’s classic guide to leadership, influence and excellence.’ I bought the book - who knows why, - and have it on my table as I write these words. It has been a beloved companion throughout all the years since that day.

"Follow your bliss, and doors will open for you that you never knew existed. Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls." - Joseph Campbell

When you’re doing things the right way, when you’re going with the flow - when you’re doing things the ‘wu wei’ - way, then you are effortlessly abundant. This, of course, is why I chose the name ‘Effortless Abundance’ for my website. You should be happy, healthy, fulfilled and abundant in every way. And this abundance should be effortless. Effortless abundance can be applied to every area of life, but here I want to share how I have come to apply it to ‘being fit.’

People put themselves through all sorts of pain to ‘get fit.’ I got into the habit of going to the gym several times a week. I’m sure it did me some good - my resting heart rate is pretty low, I am slim and agile, I sleep pretty well, and I never get out of breath (giving up my ‘social smoking’ will have helped, too!) But there was a downside, too - I guess my knees haven’t appreciated all that running on the treadmill and all that cycling!

But the main downside, the thing that really bothered me, what just how much effort it all was. To be honest, I never enjoyed going to the gym - it was always a chore. Getting changed, having to compete for the ‘machines,’ feeling physically uncomfortable (heart pounding, muscles straining), taking a shower, getting changed again. What a hassle! And how was I fitting this into my schedule? I did make time, but I often had to leave work a bit early or give up part of my weekend. And just the thought of having to do it - that black cloud constantly hanging over me.

Now, I’m not knocking the gym. As I said, I’m sure it did me some good, and I know people (not many, but some) who love the gym and look forward to it. If you’re like this, then great! And here is where I (finally) get to the point I am trying to make.

Whatever you’re doing - whether it’s your work, your hobbies, being with your family, and even exercise - it should make you feel good. It should be enjoyable. If it’s enjoyable, then it’s effortless - it’s action without action; it’s Wu Wei.

Maybe I just don’t like exercise. But when I look back over my life, it seems strikingly obvious that this isn’t true. I never liked sport or competitive games, and I never considered myself - nor was I ever considered by anyone else - as a ‘sporty’ kind of person. But I have always loved walking. Walking is a form of exercise - in fact, it’s one of the best forms of exercise that you can possibly do. In 1997, Professor J Morris and Dr. Adrianne Hardmann called walking ‘the nearest activity to perfect exercise.’ Why? Consider the following health benefits of regular walking:

· Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
· Reduced risk of stroke
· Lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and better blood lipid profile
· Reduced body fat
· Increased bone density, helping to prevent osteoporosis
· Reduced risk of cancer of the colon and breast
· Reduced risk of non-insulin dependent diabetes
· Controls body weight
· Reduced chance of getting gallstones
· Helps flexibility and coordination hence reducing the risk of falls
· Better self esteem
· Lower levels of anxiety and depression
· Enhanced mental well being
· Longer life expectancy
· Better range of movement, hence less chance of injury during a fall
· More flexible muscles
· Better sleep

Need I go on?

When I was younger, I used to go for long walks regularly, not for the health benefits but because I enjoyed it. I loved being alone, being able to think, being out in the fresh air, close to nature. I think walking was one of my favorite activities - it was truly effortless for me. This ‘inner compass’ of our feelings is so vital, isn’t it?

I’m not suggesting that walking is for everyone, but I am sure that when you’re doing what you love, you’re doing the right thing.

Written on 12/14/2009 by Mark Harrison. Mark Harrison writes about personal growth, communication, and increasing personal wealth. Check out his new book, Thirty Days to Change Your Life.Photo Credit: Gret@Lorenz

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


Today's edition.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just Do It...




A couple weeks ago, I decided I needed some extra motivation as a friend was telling me at lunch that he wanted to lose about 20 pounds.

So on the 1st of each month we will record our weight and who ever has lost the most in the previous month pays the other 20 bucks.


This is the time for resolutions. It will soon be the time to forget about those promises, unless you find a way to stick to it.

A few years ago, I was off work for 3 weeks with pancreatitis and gallbladder surgery. Afterwards I was at the weight I want to be now.

Looking back on what happened in the year after that episode in the hospital, was disheartening.
I must have gained 20 to 30 pounds before I stopped gaining. A couple months ago I had a doctors appointment for a routine check up since I had not been to see him for 18 months.

The good news was, my weight had been stable for the last couple of years. Actually I was a few pounds less. And so many people gain weight these days, even a pound a month adds up to nearly 25 pounds in just 2 years. As I look around, I see bellies and bulges on way too many people.

And as I look in the mirror, or at recent photographs from the past few years, I don't like what I see. It's not a matter of vanity, but health too. And so, that's why I'm making this public, for even greater accountability.

There's also a competative spirit going on. 5 years ago when my friend that I made this bet with and I worked together, there was a conversation that went sort of like this:

We had just left a sales meeting where our boss had outlined new goals and budgets for the sales staff, as we were walking back to our offices, he said: "I don't care what goals they give us, I have my own, and it's a helluva lot higher than what they just gave me."

I replied, " I just have one goal."

"What's that?" he asked.

I answered, "To beat you!"

And with that casual conversation, the race was on. Both of us reached new levels of success and within 3 or 4 months, I beat my friend and co-worker who also was about 18 years older than me!

This time, he will also have an advantage, as he has been an athlete most of his life. However this all turns out, which ever way the flow of $20 goes each month, we will both win, as we get serious about getting healthy by losing weight.

If you want some help in this area, read this from the DLM blog:

How to Make 2010 the Year That Your Diet Succeeds

Posted: 26 Dec 2009 03:49 PM PST

A shocking two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, and most other countries see similar figures. Given that, there’s a good chance that you might be carrying some extra pounds which you want to shed. Perhaps you’ve been on diets before, but they’ve never lasted more than a few days. You probably know how to eat more healthily, but you struggle to find the motivation, the energy or the time to actually do it.

If your New Year’s Resolutions have included “lose weight” every January for years and years, it’s time to make sure that 2010 is the year when your diet really does succeed. Here’s how:
  1. Get Determined
    First off, do you really want to lose weight? Most successful dieters trace the start of their diet to a specific “aha” moment when something clicked for them. I was overweight for six or seven years – despite attempting a few half-hearted and short-lived diets – and it was only when I realized that I wanted to lose weight for me that I finally found the motivation to succeed.

    Write down a list of reasons why you want to lose weight. Be honest! “Attract hot chicks” or “fit into my skinny jeans” might just be the reason that does it for you. “Live an extra ten years” can seem remote to many of us.

  2. Get Specific
    How often have you told yourself something like, “I’m going to eat more healthily” or “I’m going to lose weight” or “I really should exercise more”? All of these are great ideas – the problem is, there’s nothing specific about them. If you ever talk to a life coach or personal development expert about goals, they’ll emphasize that your plans need to have a specific target.

    How much weight do you want to lose? (10% of your starting weight is usually a realistic target.) How exactly will you eat more healthily – by having five portions of fruit and veg a day? By cutting out fatty snacks? You can’t keep track of your progress unless you know what you’re aiming for.

  3. Get Real
    It’s all too easy to dream up grand plans and goals which simply don’t fit in with your life. If you work long hours, you’re unlikely to have the energy to cook elaborate, super-healthy meals from scratch each night. If you’ve got small children, you may find yourself resisting the urge to polish off their leftovers. And unless you’re very overweight, you’re not going to be able to safely and sustainably lose more than 2lbs per week.

    It will take you a while to reach your ideal weight – so be realistic about this. Losing weight isn’t a race: building up healthy habits that’ll last a lifetime is much more effective than trying out a new fad diet every week.

  4. Get Writing
    One simple trick that helps many dieters to succeed is to keep a food diary. Writing down everything you eat makes you think twice about whether you really need that cookie or that candy bar – and it also helps you get an accurate picture of your progress, and of the times or places when you’re likely to slip up.

    I’ve kept food diaries in notebooks, as spreadsheets, or using online programs. It doesn’t matter how you keep your diary – the key thing is to fill it in each day and to record everything you eat. Many dieters like to track calories in their food diary, but you may find that simply writing down your meals and snacks is enough.

  5. Get Support
    Finally, don’t forget to enlist a support team. An encouraging friend, partner or family member can help you get through the times when you want to give up. Having external accountability is a real boost to your will-power, too. You might find that it helps to buddy up with someone else who is dieting, or who has a similar long-term goal.

    There are also a whole range of professionals who can offer assistance to dieters. Whether it’s a personal trainer at the gym to keep you on top of your game, or a life coach who helps you integrate your health goals with the rest of your life, expert help can make all the difference.
How are you going to make sure your diet really does succeed in 2010? What needs to change if you’re going to lose that weight for good? (If you’re a successful dieter, let us know your tips too!)

Written on 12/26/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line (ali@aliventures.com) or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: brymo

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


I've recently changed the process of going to the website. Now just click on the image!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Video Time: A Very Muppet Christmas

A Classic clip to wind down the day:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


In case you need weather information today...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inspiration


Christmas Eve.

For me, as a young kid, it meant Santa was coming.

For me, as a young Dad, it meant time to play Santa.

But beyond Santa, let's focus on what Christmas is all about.

For Christians like me, it's about Jesus Christ, the son of God, who was both 100% God and 100% human, being born. I know the math doesn't add up, but some things are not easily explained.

Beyond the birth of Christ, we have the death and resurrection which we will be observing next year in April. We call it Easter.

There are plenty of conflicting stories of the dates that all of this occurred but, instead of focusing on those details I choose to join my wife at church at the very moment this is appearing on this blog.

(If you want more on the history of Christmas, click here).

Because beyond my faith, there is also inspiration for hope and a future for all of us. And this inspiration inspires others with hope.

I've got another example of inspiration from an email I got a couple days ago from Harvey Mackay:

Jim Rohn's inspiration lives on

If you were ever fortunate enough to hear Jim Rohn speak, you know immediately what a void his passing in early December leaves. You also know that your life changed because you were one of the 5 million people in his 6,000 audiences.

Jim was a good friend and fellow motivational speaker, with whom I shared the stage on many occasions. He was often referred to as "America's Foremost Business Philosopher." But his philosophical musings went far beyond business, which is why he inspired so many.

He was born to an Idaho farming family and was ingrained with a strong work ethic that he practiced throughout his life. At 25, he met his mentor Earl Shoaff. And over the next six years he made his first fortune in direct sales. His speaking career began when he moved to Beverly Hills, Cal., and a friend at the Rotary Club asked him to tell his success story. Jim titled it "Idaho Farm Boy Makes It to Beverly Hills."

His rags-to-riches story resonated with folks everywhere. His success story includes becoming a millionaire by age 31—and that was nearly 50 years ago, when a million dollars was an enormous amount of money.

But money wasn't his biggest motivator. No, I'd have to say it was his fundamental understanding of what makes people tick and what helps them succeed. One of my favorite quotes from Jim: "If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree."

His folksy wisdom and gift for story-telling have earned many comparisons to Will Rogers. His unique delivery style made him one of the most articulate, powerful and thought-provoking speakers I've ever seen or heard. His messages are timeless. So many of his lines are life lessons all by themselves. For example:

  • "Character isn't something you were born with and can't change, like your fingerprints. It is something you weren't born with and must take responsibility for forming."
  • "A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better."
  • "Failure is not a single cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated every day."
  • "Whoever renders service to many puts himself in line for greatness—great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation and great joy."
  • "Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins."
  • "If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary."
  • "Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better."
  • "Better understated than overstated. Let people be surprised that it was more than you promised and easier than you said."

Like most successful businesspeople-turned-speakers, Jim recorded a number of CDs and DVDs and wrote 17 books. I was particularly inspired by his book, "The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle." In it he describes those pieces as Philosophy, which is how you think; Attitude, which is how you feel; Action, which is what you do; Results, which you must measure often to see if you are making progress; and Lifestyle, which is the kind of life you can make for yourself out of the first four pieces. It's a great read, one I highly recommend.

A true philosopher at heart, Jim took his audiences beyond the business of business to the business of life. "Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their futures in someone else's hands, but not you."

Jim's own words hold so much hope for us all, and optimism for what we can become. As I heard him say, "I wish you a life of wealth, health and happiness—a life in which you give to yourself the gift of patience, the virtue of reason, the value of knowledge, and the influence of faith in your own ability to dream about and achieve worthy rewards."

Mackay's Moral (borrowed from Jim Rohn): "The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become."

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.

More information and learning tools can be found online at harveymackay.com.

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


They have several locations in and around our town.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dream Big

Sunday afternoon I was cleaning out my email inbox and found this bit of wisdom from a newsletter by Steve Clark:

"Learn From Disney and Make Your Business Dreams Come to Life!"
by Ali Brown

Whether you're wracking your brain trying to solve a business issue or deciding how to expand the company, there's a simple, time-tested concept that can help your business achieve its full potential. It's called Imagineering®.

Walt Disney trademarked the term in 1967 after he assembled a team of creative and technical wizards to turn his vision for a theme park into a real place. Disney's employees are known as Imagineers, and their job is to envision the most amazing dreams possible and then find ways to execute them through science and technology.

However, anyone can use the Imagineering process and apply it to her own business goals. It's a powerful yet practical way to dream up new ideas and carry them out.

Read on to discover how you can use Imagineering to bring your business dreams to life. You might be tempted to merge these steps into one, but in Imagineering, it's important to take things one step at a time. Otherwise, you might shoot down your dream before you have the chance to make it happen.

Step #1: Dream Big!
Once you get into the Imagineer mindset, ideas will come to you anywhere: while you're shopping, meeting a friend for lunch, or running on the treadmill. But Imagineers recommend that you actually set aside some quiet time specifically for brainstorming. Do whatever you need to feel creative, whether that means listening to music, lying down, or lighting some candles. Take a few deep breaths and empty your mind, then start to daydream and see where it takes you. If you need help getting started, then ask yourself: What would I achieve in an ideal world? And what might get me there? You could also doodle on a sheet of paper. Whatever you do, let the ideas come to you and don't get caught up on logistics.

Step #2: Give Yourself a Reality Check.
After your mind has been whirring with an array of big dreams for your business, the last thing you want to do is leave all those ideas locked inside your mind. Bring them into the open by having a reality check. You can do this yourself or ask a trusted colleague to help (just make sure it's someone who believes in your vision so they don't dismiss them too quickly). Once your dreams undergo a little scrutiny, it's time to organize an action plan and implement your dream.

Step #3: Be Your Own Critic.
Next you need to test your action plan and put it through its paces. Be on the lookout for any potential problem and ask yourself What are the consequences if something goes wrong? Am I missing anything? Then be ready to act accordingly to make adjustments.

Once you've performed steps 1-3, think about ways to enhance your product or solution. Walt Disney was never happy with "good enough," and his pursuit of excellence has worked extremely well for his company. Whatever the size and scope of your business, Imagineering has the potential to benefit every aspect.

© 2009 Ali International, LLC

Self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Ali Brown is devoted to creating financial freedom for women globally through the power of entrepreneurship. To learn how to create wealth and live an extraordinary life now, register for her free weekly articles at www.AliBrown.com

"Entrepreneur and Executive Sales Coach, Steve Clark publishes the highly acclaimed "Tips for Profitable Persuasion" weekly ezine. If you're ready to explode your sales and skyrocket your income while working less get your FREE copy at www.newschoolselling.com."

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Video Time: Party Tricks

Just in time for your Christmas gatherings:

Fort Wayne Site-of-the-Day


Click on the logo now!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yes, You can Write Right

From the DLM Blog:

You Can Write Like a Professional: Here’s How

Posted: 11 Dec 2009 07:14 AM PST


Most jobs involve some element of writing – whether it’s sending emails to clients, producing reports for the boss, or creating content for the company website. If you’re not a professional writer, this can be daunting and a lot of people end up procrastinating. A project that should take a few hours ends up dragging on and on for weeks.

I’m a professional writer, and I can tell you this: when you write for a living, you don’t have the luxury of letting a project get the better of you! There’s nothing mystical or especially hard about good writing: anyone can improve their writing.

Here are my five top tips on how to write like a professional:
  1. Don’t Procrastinate, DUH!
    Writing is a high-energy task, and there’s always something easier you could be doing – whether it’s surfing the net, making a coffee, or deciding that you really need to clean the fluff out of your computer keyboard. All of these activities are just ways to procrastinate.

  2. Professional writers rarely procrastinate. (The ones who do? They’re those “starving in a garret” writers you’ve heard about...) Writers know that the initial reluctance will start to fade as soon as they start to plan, outline and research the project. They know that even on the biggest projects, such as books, a little effort each day will pay off, and that it’s possible to write even when you think you can’t.

  3. Use the Writing Process
    Did you notice that I mentioned how writers “plan, outline and research”? This is part of the writing process, which professional writers tend to follow (whether they consciously know it or not). The writing process breaks down into:
    • Pre-writing (planning and research)
    • Writing (the first draft) – this is where many non-professionals get stuck!
    • Rewriting (subsequent drafts)
    • Editing (including proofreading)
    • Publishing (or emailing, printing, etc)
    Although you can go back and forth between the stages, you shouldn’t try to merge them. Nothing kills your first draft momentum faster than stopping to research a new bit of information, then starting to rewrite everything you’ve already written.

    So what do you do if you’re drafting your big report and you realize you don’t have an important figure to hand? Simple – put a note to yourself saying “Insert annual $$ total here” or similar. Highlight it in yellow so that you don’t forget to look it up later. (Or use the “comments” feature in your word processing program to put a note in the margin.) Once you’ve finished the draft, go through to find all the notes, and research them all as a batch.

  4. Ask For Feedback
    I’ve belonged to writers’ circles for a decade and I’ve noticed something that distinguishes amateur would-be writers from professionals (whether they’re published or not): professional writers are concerned with making their writing as good as possible – not with their own egos.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback – perhaps from a colleague, from a fellow student, or from a writers’ circle. This is one of the fastest ways to improve. If the feedback is sometimes negative, don’t take it personally: see it as a great opportunity to make your piece of writing even better.

  5. Proofread Your Work
    Now, most professional writers (myself included) would admit that they occasionally slip up on this one – that’s why professional editors and proofreaders exist! Nevertheless, if you don’t have the luxury of an editor (and most writers don’t), you need to do your own proofreading.

    That means checking your work for spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as typos. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of reading through emails before sending them: a typo-ridden email doesn’t create a good first impression for a new client.

    (I’m always reluctant to mention proofreading in blog posts, as some eagle-eyed reader will invariably delight in pointing out a typo! If you find one in this post, I obviously put it there deliberately to test your proofreading skills... ;-))

  6. Keep Learning
    Finally, professional writers are also students of writing. They practice their craft on a daily or very regular basis. They almost always enjoy reading – and often learn new words and new writing techniques from what they read. Many professional writers keep a “swipe file”, where they save quotes and clippings that they found particularly effective.

    Some easy ways to learn about writing are:
    • Look up the definition of any unfamiliar words you come across when reading
    • Read a book about a particular aspect of writing: there are books on everything from writing romance novels to writing advertising copy
    • Take a writing course or class
    • Read blogs about writing (I’m fond of Daily Writing Tips)
If you’re a professional writer, what tips would you add? If you have to write as part of your job and hate it, what methods make writing easier for you?
Written on 12/11/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line (ali@aliventures.com) or check out her website at Aliventures.Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent