Author Archives: Linda McHenry

About Linda McHenry

Linda McHenry is a novelist and freelance writer.

What Motivates You?

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people do what they do and say what they say. What motivates them. How and why they respond to others. It’s a really important trait to have as a writer of fiction … and as a salesperson or teacher.

Nothing is more surprising than when a quiet, normally reticent person suddenly decides to open up and share a dirty joke … or when a blabbermouth sits through an interaction quietly and can’t find the words to describe it. Introverts aren’t shy, and sociable people aren’t always extraverts.

Because I’m loud, talkative, and outgoing I’ve always been described as extraverted. On the other hand, my boyfriend–who’s soft-spoken and prefers to listen than speak–has always been described as introverted.

You know what? Everyone has us backwards. Let me tell you why…

I love being alone. Not every moment of every day, but I’d much rather spend time by myself than in a noisy room filled with people. I was never a party person, not even as a teenager. For the past 8 years, I’ve worked from home and spend 8 to 10 hours of every weekday with just the dogs and cat for company. When I’m really tired or upset, I do an excellent hermit imitation.

But being alone is something my boyfriend tolerates. He doesn’t actively look forward to it the way I do. He’s not addicted to crowds and noise, as many extraverts are, but when he’s down he wants spend time with other people–they cheer him up and give him the opportunity to NOT focus on himself and his worries.

The biggest difference between extraverts and introverts is the manner in which they gather strength. Extraverts direct their attention outward, toward other people and things. By comparison, introverts prefer to aim their focus inward, on thoughts and ideas.

Other differences include:

  • Extraverts love external activity. They prefer interacting with others, and doing. Introverts often find themselves over-stimulated when in the company of crowds. They’d much rather avoid sensory overload and simply be.
  • Extraverts often view introverts as self-centered and submissive while introverts tend to see extraverts as superficial and aggressive.

If a person is accessible and easily understood, and prefers handling a project that’s broad in scope rather than deep, he or she is probably an extravert. However, if a person is questioning and seeking to understand, and prefers a complex project rather than a far-reaching one, he or she is probably an introvert.

It’s typical for a person to have characteristics of both extraversion and introversion, but most of us fall on one side of the line that divides the two. Which are you? Are you and your spouse or partner both the same, or different? What about your kids, your boss, your coworkers–are they extraverts or introverts?


Free Will or Fate?

The debate about whether we choose or own paths or they’ve been mapped out for us has been around a long time. Longer than I have, surely.

Let me be clear: I’m a firm believer that we wind up at our destinations because of the decisions we make. I’m an equally firm believer in destiny.

This might seem like a contradiction, but it isn’t. We’re all meant to encounter certain people in our lives and achieve certain goals–that’s the part controlled by fate. We make mistakes along the way and not only does the nature of each mistake shape us, so does its timing and what we learn from it. That’s the part where our free will steps in.

Have you ever wondered why you fell in love with that boy or girl sixth grade? Or what happened to your best friend in high school? Or why your co-worker had to die so young? And how your life would be different if events hadn’t taken those people away from you?

I’ve always wondered about these types of things. But these days, I view them from a slightly different perspective. In fact, my perspective has been skewing the past few years–which is another story.

I met a man four years ago. Let’s call him David. Since that time, David and I have come to learn that our paths have crossed multiple times during our lives, yet we never actually met. We came this close to meeting half a dozen times but, still, no go. I truly believe we were meant to meet (the reason has yet to be determined) and the choices David and I made postponed that meeting.

Here are some examples: (1) David vacationed in Bermuda the same week in April 1986 that I traveled to Bermuda for a 4-day business trip. We stayed at the same hotel, but never met. (2) For three years during the late 80s, David paid his monthly heating bill in person. My insurance agency leased space in the same building that housed his oil company’s office and he parked his car right outside my front window every time he made his monthly visit. We never met. (3) For two years in the mid-90s, David worked in a small town in the next state. At that same time, I lived in the same state–and the shortcut he took through a residential neighborhood drove him right by my house. Nope, we never met.

I often wonder if we actually did run into each other, and maybe nodded or smiled the way strangers do when they pass on the sidewalk or in a store. If so, that memory is buried so deeply I’ll never recover it.

As if just missing each other three times (that we know of) weren’t enough, David actually DID meet my brother AND my father. But not me.

His stepdaughter and my brother met at her wedding–my brother was married to her half-sister at the time. About seven or eight years ago, David and my father engaged in a conversation at a self-service gas station one winter that was so memorable (my Dad was an unforgettable character) that he recognized Dad when I introduced them four years ago.

The point of all this? I’m giving you proof that fate decided David and I needed to meet. I also give you proof we made choices that messed with that plan. Multiple times over the course of a great many years.

This is what I’ve learned. After life kicks you to the curb, you have several choices–assuming a bus doesn’t squash you before you get to consider them.

  1. Remain in the street and allow yourself to become a victim to everything that travels on the roadway. In other words, you don’t travel your own path, you choose to obstruct the pathway of others and impede their progress, and you do nothing to help yourself.
  2. Pull yourself up onto the sidewalk and wait for help. You’re still interfering with the flow of traffic, but not in a manner that’s as harmful or obvious–to either yourself or the pedestrians. You’re not doing much to help yourself, but at least you’re not in danger of being run over by a bus.
  3. Pull yourself out of the street and either stumble, walk, or run the heck out of there. Your actual process of ambulation will probably be determined by how badly you’re hurt and whether you’re the kind of person who’s motivated more by avoiding pain or seeking pleasure.

When we’re in survival mode, we don’t think about pleasure too much. The same holds true when we’re afraid. When we’re just trying to survive, we’re numb. Or we use all kinds of crazy things to deaden our emotions. When we’re avoiding what scares us, our senses go on overload and we can’t feel anything. We expend so much energy looking for the bogeyman, we have no energy left to see what’s right in front of us.

But to really live life, we need to feel. Sometimes those feelings aren’t pleasant. Sometimes, they’re downright painful. And sometimes people mess with our plans and make us even more uncomfortable. But when we move around and shift perspectives, things change.

Before we make decisions, we need to look forward, backward, and at today. Because everything we say, everything we do, has an impact. Not only on us, but on other people. And on fate, as well.

You’re where you’re supposed to be. But your precise location, and who are you are–inside, where it counts–are determined by you.

Drones: Do You Know the New Rules?

If you own a drone, you should know the FAA has rules and regulations that require virtually all drones to be registered. Regardless of whether your drone needs to be registered, it needs to comply with regulations concerning flight in the National Airspace System.

Are you flying a drone for recreational purposes? As a modeler? For business? Everything you need to know about drone registration and requirements can be found on the FAA’s website by clicking here. Keep in mind that rules have been changing rapidly.

In fact, one of the most recent rule changes relates to ADS-B technology. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast systems use GPS, avionics, and a network of ground stations to more accurately position aircraft while in flight. It also provides a larger coverage are than radar does. Beginning January 1, 2020, all aircraft flying in most controlled airspace is required to be equipped with ADS-B technology. For more information about that, click here.

If you fly a drone, you should make sure you’ve checked with your homeowners’ or business insurance carrier to make sure you policy provides the liability coverage you need. Although your policy may provide property coverage for your drone, it will NOT provide coverage for any drone used in business unless you have purchased it. In addition some business owners will find that their carriers have added liability exclusions for drones.