Monday, November 15, 2010

Complaining? Criticizing? Kavetching? Too much flapdoodle!

I recently discovered a children’s book written by Maine author, Amy MacDonald. The title immediately grabbed my attention: Too Much Flapdoodle! Something about this phrase really resonates with me. I looked up the word flapdoodle in the dictionary, and it means pretty much what you would imagine: nonsense; foolish talk. The phrase stuck in my mind, and as I went about the next few days, there were several times when it popped into my consciousness.

Every time I turn on the radio, someone is moaning and groaning about the state of the economy. No improvements will come from focusing on the negative. In fact, this type of reporting is contributing to our problems. Hope is the answer; positive thoughts are the path we should be following. Unemployment is currently something like 9.6%. Folks, this means that 90.4% of people have jobs! I don’t have a job myself, and yet I know there’s plenty to be thankful for. Hyper-focusing on all that’s wrong? Too much flapdoodle!

I was standing in line the other day, waiting to mail a letter, and the woman behind me became very impatient. Now, sure, waiting in line can try one’s patience sometimes. We’ve all felt that kind of frustration. But consider what the outcome is: we post a letter, and within a relatively short amount of time – usually less than a week – our written words travel across the country, all for only 44 cents. The US Postal Service delivers hundreds of millions of messages each day to more than 150 million homes and businesses. That’s quite an achievement, and I for one appreciate their efforts! So the next time you go to mail your cards and packages, don’t gripe about the wait; appreciate the service. Complaining about a few minutes of waiting in line? Too much flapdoodle!

Everyone experiences stresses and strains during their daily lives. Everyone. Rich or poor, single or married, city folk and country dwellers. It’s not what happens to you, though, that determines if you’re happy – it’s how you react to what happens. It’s how you think about what happens. The next time you’re tempted to complain, criticize, or sink into a place of despair or depression, ask yourself this question: Is everything in my life really so bad? Is there anything good in my life I can focus on instead? There has to be something positive – look for it. Look hard. It’s well worth the effort, since it can literally make the difference between a happy life and an unhappy one. Look for the good. Do it every day. Get into the habit of catching yourself when your thoughts are going down a negative path and turn them around. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Otherwise, friends, you won’t be feeling very good. Your naturally buoyant spirit will become mired in your negative thoughts. And you may just find yourself feeling overwhelmed with too much flapdoodle!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take the Foundation of Rock Bottom & Build Your Dream Life

I happened to catch the last 30 minutes of Oprah’s interview with JK Rowling today, and it really made an impression on me. Ms. Rowling has faced many challenges in her life, but to hear her talk about how she went from depressed and broke to becoming the author of one of the best-selling book series in recent memory – not to mention a massive fortune and a marriage with the love of her life – was truly inspiring. She mentioned the commencement speech she gave at Harvard in 2008, and the phrase that stuck with me was this: rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Who among us hasn’t felt like we’ve hit rock bottom at one time or another? Perhaps you’ve weathered the demise of a relationship or the death of a parent. Maybe you’ve been challenged by life with an unhappy child or a demanding boss. Possibly your own inner demons have sent your scurrying to find relief in drugs or alcohol. Whatever struggles you’ve endured – or perhaps are enduring even as you read this – isn’t it good to know that others have gone through tough times, possibly even very similar experiences as those you’re living, and come out of them not just well and happy but truly living the life of their dreams?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t find mediocre acceptable. I didn’t come to this planet to live a mediocre life. I want to see my personal dreams of success and happiness become reality. But how to begin?

I think the path to living our dream life starts with hope. And you can have hope today if you want it. You don’t need money, you don’t need education, you don’t even need to have a job or a home to have hope. However, it is helpful to know, or know of, someone who has overcome adversity so you can use them as a role model. Someone like JK Rowling. Or even Oprah herself, who, from all accounts, had a childhood comprised of povery and abuse. Is there someone in your own life who’s known tough times yet never given up? Use these folks as your role models and, more importantly, as reminders that change – positive, uplifting, dramatic change – is always possible. Always and without exception.

Pick someone to be your role model, and learn all you can about that person. Pin up quotes from him. Cut out pictures of her. Make a vision board depicting your role model and their accomplishments. Remember that this person at one time also hit rock bottom. But they didn’t crash and burn – they bounced. It took guts. It took focus. And it took no small amount of hope. But they did it and they went on to live amazing lives. And if you are determined to make the best of things, you can take your rock bottom – with underpinnings of hope and faith – and build your dream life, too. You’ve got the foundation. The question now is: How high will your dreams take you?

Monday, September 20, 2010


“The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

If you listen to the naysayers, you’ll hear plenty of stories of doom and gloom. Just turn on the news, and you’ll see what I mean. The economy sucks, many are jobless, some are homeless, and don’t forget there’s a big hole in the ozone layer, so who knows what terrible things that might lead to. I think it’s a very good time for me to share a post with you that comes from my other blog, the personal side of me, called Beth’s Take on Life. So here we go…

Positivity. Is that a word? I don't know -- I didn't stop to look it up, because I decided I want to use it, even if it’s not in the dictionary. Here are my thoughts on positivity, or the art of being joyful.

Where does joy come from? Are some people born as ‘cup half full’ people while others just naturally see the cup as half empty?

I don’t think so. Joy does come from within, but it starts with our thoughts and grows from there – or not. To experience life from a happier perspective, you first have to make the decision that you want to be happier and you’re going to be – regardless of what’s going on around you.

Next step? Become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Are you always complaining? Is your boss a jerk? Is your mother-in-law a biatch? Do traffic problems send you over the edge? Whatever you’re feeling is fine, but if it’s less than positive, you might want to take a step back and realize how you’re thinking about things. Everyone can be a jerk sometimes, but once we label someone that way, that’s the side of themselves that they’ll show us.

Take a moment today to consider yourself and your life. Not liking what you see? Then what can you change? Not the other guy -- YOU! It always comes back to you. Change your outlook, and you'll change your life. Because, my friends, happiness in an inside job – every single time.

Add a touch of positivity to your day -- in the form of a happy thought, smile, or small joke -- and you’re already on your way to a happier life. Try it. Just for today. Take one small step toward positivity and see how it makes you feel. And now for some happy images to help us all feel better right now...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Networking: a few degrees of separation

Networking. We’re all told it’s important to do, and yet just the thought of it strikes dread in the hearts of many job-seekers. Attending professional events. Schmoozing. Joining associations. Handing out business cards. Rubbing elbows with strangers. It’s not for everybody. But even if you don’t feel comfortable pursuing the usual networking routes, there are still options that can help you uncover those hidden jobs we hear so much about.

If you don’t feel at ease with groups, consider reaching out via email. Without leaving your home or office, you can connect with dozens of folks who can become part of your job search team. You’ll probably find that most people are willing to keep their eyes and ears open for you. And often they can help introduce you to people who have jobs to fill or who know of employers who do.

I witnessed the value of networking recently in my own life. My young friend, I’ll call him Jim, phoned and asked for my help updating his resume. Although he’s a very successful golf professional, he’s decided to strike out and try something new.

One of the fields that interest him is event planning. About 10 days after finding out about Jim’s desire to switch careers, I had lunch with a friend. She talked about a colleague of hers, I’ll call her Sue, and said that Sue is often involved with high-profile events. Of course, I immediately thought of Jim. As an added bonus, Sue is extremely well-connected to athletes from several well-known teams. Did I mention that Jim is passionate about sports? Of course, the light bulbs began exploding in my brain, and after learning a bit more about Sue, I asked my friend if she’d be willing to forward Jim’s resume to her. She agreed.

The result? Within 3 days, Jim’s resume had been forwarded by me to my friend and then to Sue, and Sue had emailed back to invite Jim to her town for a big fund-raising event. She would supply the tickets for the event and, with it, the networking opportunities of a lifetime! What a great outcome – and all as the result of a casual conversation and a few emails.

So don’t fear networking opportunities – embrace them. Find the mode of networking that feels good to you – whether it’s email, phone conversations, social media, or attending events -- and let others know what type of work you’re looking for and the skills you have to offer. Chances are you too will be pleasantly surprised by how painless networking can be – and where it can take you!