‘Tis the Season

We are already being bombarded by commercials and ad solicitations that could entice us to buy…tis the season. But, the operative word in the sentence above is COULD.

You control your choices. Yes, you could buy and spend or you could save and create memories without accumulating more things and debt. The choice and the outcome is up to you.

Here’s a seasonal suggestion:
*Spend some time alone. Reflect on the power of you. Really get in tune with your recessed greatness and then build upon that awareness as your seasonal starting point for powerful lasting change.

Seasons arrive in symmetry for a reason. Take this season to reason out who you really are. Tap into your passion and go out and live from that passion born of the season.

For example, if you enjoy music-say for instance country music, then that may be a latent passion of yours. Instead of just listening to country music this season, go a little deeper and may be write a short country music song. You may want to copyright the lyrics you have penned and shop them for publication and eventual performance by a country music artist or yourself even. Or, you just may want to keep your lyrical musings private in your own collection.

The main point here is to activate your passion with ACTION! Do something that you love. Dr. Wayne Dyer, in the Power of Intention, writes that “Whatever you intend to create in your life involves generating the same life-giving active quality that brings everything into existence.”
Bring your passion into existence this season,

Material things just don’t satisfy long-term. But, soul-born passions endure until infinity. Live beyond tomorrow.

Nine Things For Which I Give Thanks

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving  Day, is a symbolic time to pause and count our blessings. In American culture, the day is a time of gathering. Friends, family, and others sit together around the table and eat a hot meal. In essence, everybody is happy and thankful for the blessings in their lives.

Even the homeless or women and children in shelters are showered with more gifts of thanks on Thanksgiving Day. The season of compassion begins anew and usually lasts until the New Year. Food, presents, and the joy of sharing become prominent during this time of the year.

  • I would be thankful if all across the globe this spirit of compassion would last all year. Let each person in their heart pledge to think about their fellow man, woman and child each and every day. Then, the overcrowded soup kitchen will have enough food and volunteers to serve hot meals to every person in need. Then, the shelters will have enough room to house those who face hardship or the world will see an eradication of the need for shelters for all will be safe and warm at night.
  • I am thankful for my neighbors. Just three days ago one neighbor became alarmed that I was in jeopardy and a whole group of them gathered and called the police to check that I was okay.  When I arrived back home, they all were so relieved that I was okay that one neighbor cried. That is agape love which should envelop us each and every day.
  • I give thanks for happiness. Joy is a part of me because of the multitude of blessings that are evident to me. We are all blessed – look for the good and release negative burdens. Be in-joy.
  • I am so grateful for words. Words elevate the soul and   I am thankful to be able to use words to uplift someone, to soothe a troubled mind, to encourage the talent that we all possess.
  • I offer thanks for peace. Let me be an instrument of peace, taken from the prayer  of St. Francis of Assisi. Each of us can let peace begin within and change the world into a more harmonious place. Dr. Wayne Dyer offers that the only requirement for this to happen is to set it as our intention – it is done.
  • Thank you to my family who are my friends for unending love.
  • Friends, I thank you. We have chosen each other to share all there is in life.
  • I honor the children, youth, and young adults who are in my life with gratitude. Your acceptance of my love for you keeps my heart beating so that we can experience another time of sharing. You ALL make me proud.
  • I am thankful for unity. As a Baha’i, I get to experience the richness of unity – the oneness of mankind.  This spirit of oneness captures all that thanks is: knowing there is one source of good, facing each person as a creation of God rather than from the differences of skin color, gender or culture, enjoying close relations with everyone, exploiting the good traits as a priceless treasure, working in one accord for the betterment of the world.

Thank you today, tomorrow, and every day. I give thanks.

How Happiness Happens

Is it a plane? Is it a star? No, it’s happiness.

Questions surround the quest for happiness almost as much as people question what is up in the sky. The difference oftentimes is that the curious gazers will research and seek answers. How about you?

Are you curious about happiness?

I sure am curious about happiness (joy), especially since being happy and grateful is my daily quest. My inquiring mind wants to know – How Happiness Happens.

Researchers have found that you cannot compartmentalize happiness; meaning, I am happy at home but not a work. No, no, no. Findings suggest that Happiness Happens when you are congruent with your emotions both at home and at work. Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith commissioned a study on happiness and reported their findings in the December 21, 2009 issue of Business Week. One validating point in the article is that “Those who were more satisfied with life outside of work were the respondents who reported spending more time on activities that produced both happiness and meaning.”

Here are some activities that stimulate happiness:
1. Exercise
2. Lovemaking
3. Challenges
4. Hobbies
5. Volunteering
6. Chores
7. Social or Religious Outings
8. Healthy Relationships
9. Travel

The list is not exhaustive, by any means. What may be a “happy” moment for you may mean little to me. The point is that doing something – either mentally, spiritually, or socially – produces happiness endorphins which stimulate joy.

You are tasked to find your happiness.

Start at Activity #1 – exercise. A moving body is a stimulated body. Fitness experts say that a mere 15 minutes of movement a day is enough to produce enough endorphins to be purposeful. Activity #2 – lovemaking causes the coupling effect which activates a “rush” of high emotions. Moving on, solving challenges – Activity # 3 or Activity #7 – require you to engage mental, spiritual, and social muscle. This is good. Any activity that combines engagement zones is quite healthy for your body, mind, and spirit.

Happiness Happens moment by moment when you are actively in a place of deliberate action and intention. Spend time with those you love, get busy, watch less television, and find less to complain and criticize about.

Be happy. Make happiness happen!

Don’t Stereotype

We are so bombarded with negative images and commentary about young Black males that it takes effort to counteract the constant news flashes of them in chains before a judge or being loaded in a police car.

I am taking the effort tonight to tell my story. Last night after a horrendous flight on Delta Airlines from Chicago to Atlanta I struggled to walk to get to my car in the parking lot. Many people walked right by me without even a glance of concern (where was ABC’s John Quionnes for this one?) but two young Black males helped me not only get on the escalator but also ran ahead to catch my bag which I had thrown on earlier.

Now if I had just looked at their dress or age group or race I would have expected them to pass me by too, but they did not. These young men stopped and helped and then went on their way. It felt so natural; I believe their parents taught them respect and manners.

Even though they wore the baseball cap and were not spiffy in their dress, they defied stereotype hype and helped me just like a caring gentle-man would. I owe it to them to say “thank you.”

Instead of bending to fear based on stereotypes, I willingly accepted their help.

There is a story circulating around about a women who won a big jackpot in Las Vegas. She decided to take her winnings to her room, but as she entered the elevator there stood two tall Black males and one said “hit the floor.” The white woman fearing for her safety fell down and lost all of her coins while the men laughed uncontrollably. After the elevator door opened they helped her pick up her coins and put them back in her bucket while still laughing hysterically as they went down the hall to their room. The next morning the woman received a humongous bunch of roses with a hundred dollar bill attached to each rose with a note, “Thanks for the best laugh we have ever had. Signed Eddie Murphy and Michael Jordan.”

Don’t stereotype – there are so many good young Black men in this world that are overlooked in the media and in our communities. Praise them and let’s change this violent mass image that we often see and read about.

Send in your comments and positive stories about Black youth and Black men.

I am  not denying that there is an epidemic of crime committed by young Black males. What I am saying is that we should not typecast every person in that classification as thugs. I do not and nor should you.

Recommended Reading: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (The New Press:2010)  by Michelle Alexander.

What Do You Want?

I don’t mean to be rude as is customarily the case when someone sounds irritated in a response to you. No, not at all. My intention by asking this question, what do you want is to probe you to think about the life question – What do YOU Want?

Really, ask yourself this question right now. Say, self (insert your name here) what do you want?

Next, take deliberate steps to answer the question. Let me real clear here – until you answer the question and seer the answer into your soul, you will be a flounder fish out of the water of life.

Don’t despair; I have Answers, thus the name Anita Answers – smile. Act on these five points to define exactly what you want.

Answer One
: Make a dream board, vision board, mastermind chart or goal message that contains images and wordings of exactly what you want. Be bodacious. Dream BIG! Fantasize. The main point in designing this visual of what you want is to allow no limitations at this point. Regardless of whether you can imagine or even expect most of what you really want to happen, do it anyway. Dream in colorful, broad dimension. That’s your only task.

To confirm my point, read The Eleventh Element by Robert Scheinfeld.

Answer Two
: Allow your 11th Element to work – this means that you must believe everything you want as visualized and set in visual form in Answer One. Belief becomes behavior.

Answer Three
: Act as if it has already been done. Behave in conformity with your beliefs. See the end now and act like you see every reality of your vision. Act like success and ecstatically enjoy who you have become.

Answer Four
: Write down the goals and objectives for each segment of your vision. For example: if you envision losing 30 pounds, then your goal should specifically state: I will lose 30 pounds. The objectives for that goal may be to feel better, to enjoy better health, to look sexy, to become more active, etc. These are specific reasons that support the goal.

Also, keep in mind that a goal must be specific! Otherwise, you only have a vague longing which will grant you nothing. You are capable of being definite here, so state in specific detailed form exactly what you want.

This is critical here because when you know why you want to do something, the how becomes easy. So, write the goal and then support the goals with rational reasons that explain why.

Recommended Reading: Jack Canfield, Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Excellent road map to goal setting and answering the question why.

Answer Five
: Go beyond yourself. No woman or man is an island. Thus, when you attach your new intentional goals to an altruistic cause that allows you to extend service to others, the reality of the goal is even more entrenched. Align at least one of your goals to service; there is plenty service work to do.

Answer Six
: Finally, become a repetitive ant. Get busy building your success ant mound. Do the same things, repeat the same mantra, look at your vision board and goals and objectives a hundred times a day or more if you need to. Make your own rhythm, but get busy making a repetitive rhythm. Repeat your goals out loud, write then down again and again, and look at your vision board to see the outcome you are working toward. Repeat, repeat, repeat until you have inculcated a new you and can instantly act accordingly. Act, act now, and continue to act!

Make success – whatever that dream is – your new habit.
The year 2010 will be different, when you are ready to be different!

Now, answer me. What do YOU Want?

Speak Up: Speaking Tips that Count

Reader Question: What should I do to control my nervousness when I make presentations at work?

ANSWER:I have a few tips for you but first….

Why are you nervous?

Oftentimes being nervous in front of an audience is a learned response based on an erroneous perception that the audience will hate you.  False! It is not true that audiences will hate you and blast what you have to say with heckles and laughter.

Audiences love speakers – at least those who speak up and say what they have to say. There is little tolerance for an unprepared speaker and there really should not be. Being prepared means that you have researched and rehearsed your material in advance and is ready to present a well-thought message.

Presentations at work or for work should follow the same format. You are the speaker who has an obligation to share information in a way that the audience will understand you and get learning-points that make their attention worthwhile.

Period. That is your mission – to research, rehearse (not memorize), and present a worthwhile message.

Toastmasters International teaches speaking tips which members practice in Club meetings before an audience of their peers.  Joining Toastmasters is one way to work on a newly created project and test its cogency and receive usable feedback.  Let the Club members be your test audience as you practice your speech.

Other speaking tips are:

Have a topic – think of clever ways to engage your audience interest right from the start with a “hook” topic.  Be creative-open up your mind and you will surely capture your audience. For example: Making Money is too broad and bland. BUT Millions At the Bottom of a Fishpond will surely make my ears perk up.

Write for the Audience – never write just for yourself. Instead, write complete sentences and concepts that build upon a message for your audience. Take the title, Millions at the Bottom of a Fishpond as a creative suggested from above, you can break that title down into speaking points such as money, millions, a story about fishing and finding a treasure, bottoming out and coming back up…let the ideas flow.

Be symmetrical.   Make what you write make sense. Build your opening, speech information, and conclusion around your central topic that relates to your title.  Let each sentence guide your audience to a “dramatic” conclusion.

Add on – regardless of your title or topic, add on humor, quotes, and stories.  Embellish what you want to say with personal tales, advice, a challenge, humor, quotes or other material that punctuate your speaking points.

Be natural – just be yourself. They invited you to speak and not some artificial, unfamiliar clone of you. Speak in your natural voice, have a friendly, confident tone, and use voice inflections and simple natural gestures to underscore a point.

Sit down – say it, say it well and then sit down. Audiences love brevity. The world is moving so fast and information is delivered with such speed that competent brevity is prized.  Don’t linger trying to fill up time unless you plan to add a question and answer session after you have concluded your presentation.

Say it well and sit down. Absorb the applause. Bask in the emotion of a job well done.

Count it off…three, two, one. My job is done.

Speak up and make what you say count.

Live and Not Be Weary

If you are reading this post then you are alive. But, are you living? Better yet, have you checked your life pulse to see how you are living lately?

Well, it’s time to do so. Take some pause time today, preferably right now before something else pops up to distract you from this critical business at hand. I promise you that starting this “How You Are Living” inventory will only take a minute or two, but it may well be the most critical few minutes you will spend with yourself today.

Okay. Are you ready? Is the television, telephone, and computer off? Shut everything down for a few minutes and only have an open listening ear for the internal answer you will receive.

Next, do this:
1. Speak out loud a positive affirmation. If you are not already doing this, make it a multiple use habit to repeat your affirmation every day.

2. Speak out loud one thing that you are grateful for right now. There should be a plethora of things that come to your mind, but isolate just one for now.

CAUTION: If you are struggling with finding your gratitude point, it is little wonder that you are weary. Re-cast your focus immediately from the frenzied chaos that is blocking your inner peace and find something for which you are grateful. Do it now and then proclaim it out loud!

3. Give yourself some praise. I am sure you find it easy to praise someone else (and if not begin to work on offering more praise to others). Women especially may find it difficult to hug yourself with honest, intentional praise but you will find this easier to do with repetitive practice . Stop the ego-tripping and give yourself some praise. Whew! You feel better already.

4. Take a deep breath and stay with these moments of inner richness. Bask in the glow of positive hearing for a few more seconds and then slowly re-introduce yourself to the external life; you may find it easier to do so when you start by listening to soothing music or humming a nice tune to yourself. Then turn back to the computer and other daily necessities feeling stronger and refreshed.

Repeat these exercises evveryday. Soon the routine will become so habitual that you will not end a day without living.

I compliment you and honor the soul-rested you.
Live your life, who has time to be weary. You don’t!

How Do I Manage Work Overload?

Reader Question: I am working too hard on my job and I feel under valued for all that I do already and my boss keeps piling more work on my desk. What can I do to manage task overload at work?

Anita’s Answer:

First of all, obviously you are very good at managing many tasks and appear to be organized and efficient. These are excellent work qualities that are valued especially in today’s streamlined office environment.

I think it is time to have a planned sit-down talk with your Manager. Rather than let your frustrations erupt into a no-win dialogue, plan your pending conversation in advance. Here are a few preparation tips:

1. Prepare what you want to say. Write out the points of your frustrations. For example, write down that you feel your job expectations have changed without notice. List them all down.

2. Write a task journal. Begin today; start writing out in clear detail everything that you do. Create a time line or task register of your work load and how you manage those tasks. Let this become a work affirmation journal in some way, because now you will see how much you get done and affirm/praise yourself for getting so much done.

3. Think about solutions. Consider solutions that are better for your performance and mental attitude. Write down possible solutions in advance of your conversation with your Manager.

After you have done these three things, it is time to schedule a meeting with your Manager to talk about your role in the office and your feelings of being undervalued and overworked. It may be helpful to prepare your opening for this consultation as well. You may begin by saying that you understand the challenges that most workers face in this downsized market, but it is important to recognize employee stress from work overload which is why I want to talk to you now about the specific work frustrations I have….

Next, list your frustrations and pair each one with the potential solution or say that you have a list of solutions you will get to in a moment. Proceed next with your detailed task list that show your production table of daily work responsibilities.

Lastly, reiterate solutions. Go over the solutions you see and then listen to expectations and solutions from your Manager. Find commonalities and create an agreement for future performance.

You will feel better once you have gotten this off of your chest, but do it right and the right way will produce changes that make your work more enjoyable and manageable.

Recommended Reading:

How to Get to the Top: Business Lessons Learned at the Dinner Table, Jeffrey J. Fox, Hyperion, 2007
The Power of Persuasion, G. Ray Funkhouser, Times Books, 1986

The Right Mistake

Have you ever made a mistake? Do you regret some mistakes? Of course, if you are breathing that is, you have made mistakes and assuredly you have regrets about some of them.

Mistakes happen! That’s right, mistakes are a human calamity that come with the ability to make choices. Sometimes the choices you and I make are on point and other times our choices lead to mistakes.

What can you do about it?

First off, remind yourself that mistakes happen to all of us, so don’t beat yourself up and create negative energy around a happenstance mistake so long as it is not a sabotage.

If you are making mistakes that threaten your focus, skew your self worth, damage another person, or create chaos – then what you are doing is probably not a mistake, but a deeper causative response to a sense of senseless unworthiness. Work that ego-centered pain out right away and do not allow the inner voice of past pain ruin your presence of goodness and goodwill.

Second, have you considered the mistake to be a right mistake? It could be a blessing in disguise that you made that particular mistake which could actually guide you to alternate choices and open-eyed new views or information that could benefit you and alter conditions.

Right mistakes usually produce good results. Truly, right mistakes that are often judged awful at the time could blend into a higher shift in reality. I know two people who made simple mistakes in their job responsibility that set into motion a termination. Although devastated at first about the injustice of the firings, they have both created new livelihoods which they both love.

I recently heard a author tell her story about being downsized and subsequently not being able to find a new position turn to writing her book which had been simmering in her mind for more than 15 years. The right mistake here is that she previously ignored her promptings to showcase her talent. The good news is that in 2010 Patricia published, The Art of Standing Still. Patricia Walden used her situation of being downsized to the advantage of writing a powerful testimony about standing still when still does not mean stuck.

Third, a right mistake causes introspection. As I have written in Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits!, mistakes magnify learning. If you take the time to graciously learn from your mistake, rather than ignoring the lesson embedded within, you will begin to see truth contained within for your review.

Mistakes are a part of success; they improve your problem-solving skills. Those who avoid mistakes, avoid success. Elbert Hubbard says, “The greatest mistake you can make is to be continuously fearing that you will make one.”

Every right mistake has a solution.

Lucky You

Getting Lucky (written by Darren Hardy with commentary from Anita Answers at bottom)

16 Mar – Posted by: Darren Hardy in: SUCCESS

The Irish aren’t the only ones who have the lucky charm or a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You can have gold, riches, success and more too. Luck has a proven formula for success and the acquisition of whatever it is that you want to achieve.

Do you think you are lucky—or unlucky? Your luck lies in whether you believe you are or not. You have to believe in luck to see it, and to realize it.

When I met Richard Branson, I asked if he felt luck played a part in his success. He answered, “Yes, of course, we are all lucky. If you live in a free society, you are lucky. Luck surrounds us every day; we are constantly having lucky things happen to us, whether you recognize it or not. I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.”

“I have not been any more lucky or unlucky than anyone else. The difference is when luck came my way, I took advantage of it.” —Richard Branson

Ah, there it is… told to you straight by Sir Richard.

The old adage we hear too often, “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation,” isn’t enough. I think there are two other critical components to “getting lucky.”

The (Complete) Formula for Getting Lucky: Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) + Opportunity (luck) + Action (doing something about it) = Getting Lucky

Preparation: You must constantly improve and prepare yourself—improve your skills, knowledge, expertise, relationships and resources—so that when luck strikes, you have the wherewithal to take advantage of it.

Attitude: This is where luck evades most people. As Sir Richard says, lucky things happen to all of us all the time, but that isn’t true unless you orient yourself to see situations, conversations and circumstances as fortuitous. As with most things in life, it begins with a mindset or an attitude. You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.

Opportunity: You can make your own luck, but the luck we are discussing here is those things you don’t plan for, or happened even better, faster or differently than expected. In this stage of the formula, it’s best not to force luck. Just let what happens happen, what shows up show up… let luck come to you. And it will—it does every day.

Action: This is your part of the deal. With the universe, God, the Lucky Charms leprechaun, whomever or whatever you associate delivering the luck just presented to you, it is now your job to act on it. This is what will separate the Richard Bransons from the Joseph Wallingtons. Who is Joseph Wallington? Exactly, you’ve never heard of him. That’s because he didn’t do anything about all the equally lucky things that happened to him.

My commentary:
LUCK is an active experience. The more you work and focus and absolutely believe in your project you will experience LUCK, not the superstitious kind of luck but LUCK from systematic planning that effects the desired result.

What is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?
What part of the formula will you focus on so you can get luckier?
Comment of your LUCK processes and tell us all about how you made LUCK happen.