Motivation for a Monday

February 11, 2019

I’ve always been inspired by the “can do” spirit. When I conducted research for my book Taking the Mystery Out of Business: 9 Fundamentals for Professional Success, a common refrain focused on attitude. You’ve heard all the sayings and platitudes about positivity–in other words, believing in yourself and taking steps to support that belief. Believe you can and you’re halfway there. – Theodore Roosevelt The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. – Ayn Rand People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar Let’s face it, if you don’t believe you can walk those 10 miles on the Run for Hunger, why is anyone else going to back you? If you don’t have the courage to speak your mind, why is anyone else going to believe you when you do speak? We don’t have to be intellectuals to succeed. We don’t have to be athletes, or tall, or pretty. We don’t even have to be human, as the photo accompanying this blog post indicates. We just have to adopt the right attitude–we need to believe in ourselves. If you want to sleep in the sun, you need to find the sun, bask in it, and relax enough to close your eyes and enjoy. Happy Monday!

My mother used all kinds of clichéd sayings, many of them directed at me:           I have a bone to pick with you…           Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face.           Oh, so you’re going to pick up your marbles and go home, are you? Mom’s been gone for 20 years now and I can still hear her voice when she was disappointed and we were about to have a discussion that would portray me in a very poor light: “Linda Ann, I have a bone to pick with you.” I’d rather have been smacked, grounded, and placed in solitary confinement than take part in the conversation that followed those words. Each one of us disappoints someone. We irritate and piss off other people, too. Just like other people disappoint, irritate, and anger us. It’s the way of the world. This became crystal clear to me when I began teaching. I wanted all my students to like and agree with me and went home crying if I got a less than stellar evaluation. But it stopped bothering me when I realized I didn’t like all my students, either. (So there.) In case you don’t know me, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve been accused of being stubborn and wanting to be right. Because I’m a basically honest person, I’ll concede to having those qualities. But when I was younger, I hated being wrong. Hated with a capital “h.” I would refuse to accept that I…

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I think it’s normal for people to reflect about their youth as they age. Some of us remember special times and people we’ll never see again: our first loves, that summer vacation that just can’t be topped… And some of us are incredibly grateful we don’t have to relive sitting home the night of the prom or that godawful first job. Either way, I think most of us agree life was different then. No, we didn’t have to walk 5 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, but we all remember things our children and/or grandchildren never heard of, like carbon paper, 78s, and party lines. As we look back, the nostalgia of kinder times fills our minds and we can’t help but compare them to the way things are right now. Kindness is what I seek when I look backward, probably because I’m experiencing less and less of it these days. Psychologists say that to overcome the harm of a single negative comment, a person needs to receive seven positive comments. Do you know anyone who praises more than he or she criticizes, let alone seven times more? When I grew up, my parents told me to always reach for my first choice, that good old brass ring. They also cautioned I wouldn’t always reach the brass ring, finish first, or get exactly what I wanted. And when that happened, I needed to be prepared. I had to have second, third, and fourth choices waiting in the…

I’ve always struggled with making decisions. Is it nature or nurture? Black or white? Free will or destiny? Over time, I’ve realized that nothing is always black or white. Yes, some nights it’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. And some days, the sun is so bright you can’t see for the yellow spots in your eyes. We’re always looking for answers … and we want those answers to be guarantees. We seek the absolute, because it makes us feel more secure. In reality, life is more often grey than it is black and white. From the time I was in fourth grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. By the time I reached high school, my parents and just about everyone I knew told me that was an unrealistic dream. After all, everyone knows writers can’t support themselves with their writing. Being a practical person when I’m not dreaming, I decided to change my mind about what to be when I grew up. Being a teacher of special needs students became my goal. All during high school, I traded study hall for volunteering in the classes with kids who had down syndrome and other developmental handicaps. Fast forward through dropping out of college, getting married, having 3 kids, establishing my own business, getting divorced, establishing two more businesses, doing the marriage/divorce thing again, and having several other adventures. I am now officially all grown up and facing…