Monday, July 30, 2012

Don't Stunt Your Olympic Opportunity

I have always loved the Olympics!

I can remember as a third grader in Mrs. Irvine's class at Carl Sandburg Elementary School, writing what my goal was for the future; to work at the Olympic Games.


Even at the tender age of 8, I was not already active in nor in love with any particular sport but very tuned in to opportunity. I knew that besides the athletes, there were really important people needed to pull the games off. After that, I did participate in several sports and was a very competitive tennis player through college. However, I never had a desire to be an Olympic athlete. I was married to my third grade dream of working there.

In 1996, at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta - I fulfilled that 3rd grade declaration and worked as an venue media coordinator at the Georgia World Congress Center where we hosted 8 sports. It was an awesome experience that I will never forget. Ever.

But I can't help but reflect on the power of my words over my own life at such a young age. Before I'd ever played any sports seriously, I'd counted myself out of one of the most prestigious sports events.

I can even remember hearing my own words echo in my ears as I lost big tennis matches over the years. I remember when I was in high school in 1988 and tennis was reinstated as an Olympic sport. That was the height of my tennis career. I played year round in tournaments and was briefly ranked in the Midwest as a junior tennis player. I was courted by colleges to play and spent almost every weekend in 1988 playing tennis. Yet I never manifested a desire to play in the Olympics. Not even that announcement from the IOC motivated me to change my declaration of working at the Olympics as an 8 year old.

Do you see the power of what we speak over our lives? How many times do we say stuff, innocently, that could be closing off opportunity in our lives? Clearly as a 3rd grader, I had no idea what my future held but my little proclamation did hold true.  Who knows? Perhaps I could have been an Olympic athlete. Now it does not matter but what does matter is what I say and put out in the universe regarding my life. My future.

I only speak success about my upcoming book release or the opportunities my company bids for or pitches. I speak positivity about my kids and their dealings. I speak love and harmony over my marriage and my husband.

Make sure you, too, harness the power of your own words over your life.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Use All Your Tools, Get Your Bunny!

One of the most intriguing phenomenons of owning a dachshund over the last 6 months has been observing her keen natural ability to hunt. Chica is always on the hunt. And watching her hunt lately has really brought to mind a key thought  - she hunts with all her might but only uses one sense - her sense of smell. How many of us go through life just like Chica?

She is so focused and intent on getting the bunny rabbit by sniffing him/her out that she often misses the fact that he/she is sitting right in front of her in the bush - just mere feet away.

We've even led her directly to a bunny in a bush and she still puts her nose down intent on finding the bunny her way. Other times, we give in to her whimpers and open the door for her to just flat out chase the bunny she sees.

The other day I decided to hunt out a bunny from my perspective and found one sniffing around in a bush - let Chica go and she spun in circles around the bush while the bunny panted inside undetected. Finally Chica tired of the sniff circles and turned her back a split second and off the bunny went.

This dog has not caught a bunny. Does this story sound familiar?

She is using only what she believes is her best chance to catch the bunny, her sense of smell. She never uses her eyes nor does she detect the rustling in the bush as well as she could because her head is down to the ground, sniffing for a way to get the elusive bunny.

She does not understand when we,  her owners try and LEAD her to the bunny in the bush or when we point to the area where the bunny is and try to lift her head.

She is eternally frustrated because she knows she's close but what she wants is just outside her reach - outside her comfort zone of sniffing.

I am convinced that she will only catch a bunny when she deploys all her tools toward the job. When she sniffs, looks and listens - I think she'll have a chance. But Chica is a dachshund and as much as it hurts to see her so frustrated, I know her dog psyche allows her to forget this morning's disappointment of not catching the bunny. She's OK.

But what about people who employ the same tactics to their lives? Using only what they think is the best tool, not exploring others? Not allowing themselves to even be guided to their possibilities? Focused but yet not successful?

Look at your life and think about the life you want. Does your current set of tools help you get there? What new tools can you employ to get you closer?

Don't be Chica. Use all your tools and get your bunny.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wake UP Washington! Follow Senator's McCain's Lead

It was not 90 days ago that I opined that I wanted a new relationship with my politicians. I continue to feel that way. Our political climate is at an all-time low in terms of respect, class and responsibility. People spew commentaries filled with hate, fear inducing language and out right lies. Personal attacks with no regard for issues but out and out character assassinations without valid proof of wrong doing.

It must stop.

Kudo to Senator John McCain for saying so on the Senate Floor in no uncertain terms. I have always liked and respected Senator McCain. Truth be told - I think he - not George W. Bush should have been the Republican nominee in 2000. He caused me to vote in my first (and only) Republican primary then. Alas, it was not meant to be.  But the same reason I liked him then makes me like him now.

Good ole common sense. He is not the brightest nor the most prestigious individual but he uses common sense the way everyone else in Washington should.

We must stop the nonsense.

We must get back to discussing issues without resorting to name calling or hate.

We must ignite the American people to get into the conversation, not scare them.

We must demand that our elected official condemn the craziness like Sen. McCain did and hold them accountable at the polls if they do not.

We must make the consequences for this behavior so severe that politicos think twice before engaging in it.

I ask again - WHO IS WITH ME?

Here is Senator McCain's address in case you haven't seen it:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Disappointment & I Are NOT Friends

Last week, here in Chicago there was a press storm on the current whereabouts of our Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. who is on an unexplained medical leave for the past 6 weeks. As the storm just grew and grew, family and friends asked for privacy and I was willing to give it. That's a reasonable request and one I am willing to respect. However, something I am not going to leave untouched is the commentary from his mom, Jacqueline Jackson at an event last week in defense of her son, the elected public official who is in a contest to keep his seat at the moment.

"I’m not ashamed to say he thought he was going to be a senator. He thought he was going to have a chance to run for mayor. And young people don’t bounce back from disappointment like me and my husband," she told the Chicago crowd.

I was stunned by her comment. Stunned, annoyed, offended and a whole long list of other words. My quick reply to her is this - you've done your son a disservice and next time, just stay out of it. Here's why...

We are all responsible for our relationship with disappointment in our lives. We can't just pack up and hide away and not answer questions as the young congressman has done - because we have jobs, families and others to answer to. It is even more egregious his method for "dealing" with his disappointment as folks have trusted him with their votes for many years now.

Disappointment stems from our reality not living up to our expectations. Disappointment is inevitable. Who doesn't dream big or strive for big accomplishments that sometimes elude us? For overachievers like myself, disappointment is a companion but one we often don't hang with on a regular basis and here are the three reasons why.

We balance our expectations with a dose of reality juice.

We live an existence of relentless perseverance.

We relinquish outcomes outside our direct control.

I absolutely get disappointed but I don't engage in self-destructive behavior nor do I dodge my responsibilities to wallow in my disappointment.  Each time disappointment comes - I greet it with  open arms - give it a big long hug which consists of me dissecting where my expectations could have been tweaked to fit the reality that set it in. I also sit with disappointment long enough to ascertain if, in fact, my expectation was unfounded by my own lack of effort or was it (as it is in many cases) just not my time.  We usually spend less than 48 hours together because my personality really works toward resolution and has a tough time resting with something (or someone) that is not contributing positively to my growth. 2 days of not growing is a non-stopper for me.

The best relationship to have with disappointment is one of acknowledgement and resolve to move forward. We cannot entertain disappointment for very long periods of time because then he brings his cousin, despair to the party. And from there, it all gets worse.

There is no way to prevent disappointment but you can manage it and its place in your life.

What do you do to deal with disappointment?

Monday, July 9, 2012

What Is The Chasm Between The Life You Have and The Life You Want?

We own the way our lives "go."


No one else controls that.

I recently had some time away from work visiting family out of the country. During my time away, I had lots of time to reflect on the cycles we all have in our lives.

For some people, their lives look the same as it did last year and the year before that. For others, their lives look different but still don't look the way they want them to look.

Generally speaking, life is cyclical. However, the way those cycles come and go has everything to do with the following factors:

The Way One Thinks

The Way One Acts

The Way One Bounces or Splats

We have choices.  Our thinking feeds our actions. If we think that what we want in life is "unreasonable" or "out of our reach", then our actions will lead us to confirm those thoughts. If we feel our situation is hopeless, then we will act out of hopelessness and never move to a place of hopefulness. If we don't believe we have what it takes, we'll never act as though we do. And so we'll be in our cycle that never ends until we think and act differently.

Conversely, if we believe (even a little bit) in the possibility of something, we created a path for action towards it. If we think our situation can be better, we will open our minds to actions for making it so.

Finally, the way we respond to adversity also has a profound effect on our lives - do we bounce or splat? Folks that bounce, get up. They don't stay down long and depending on how much adversity they've faced, they keep moving just like a ball that hits pavement.  People that bounce often astonish themselves at how high they can bounce after their fall.

Equally, folks that splat have a hard time getting up, if they ever do. Many people that splat stay there in the spot where "it" happened. Often, without professional help, people who splat never recover from their adverse times and they are stuck in their adversity for their entire lives.

Such is the relationship between the life we have and the life we want.

Where are you in this journey? Are you living the life you want to live?

You can - starting today.

Examine your thoughts and how they feed your actions.

Look at and adjust the way you respond to adversity and disappointment.

Once you start this journey, you will not turn back. And you will be on the path to the life you desire versus the life you have.