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It’s no big thing…

February 9, 2014
broken heart

Broken heart in “text speak”

Valentines and elections,

Marriages and lives …

All are lost from little things, not big.

Each decision we make impacts our lives for the long haul.

We are the only person in the world who is 100% impacted by every single choice we make.

My dad would say, “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how will you have time to do it over and fix it?”

It’s the little things:

The bill you forgot to mail

The brake you forgot to set

The alarm you forgot to change

The vote you didn’t bother casting

Little things eat up our relationships and our lives:

The I Love You that wasn’t said

The birthday card you didn’t send

The gas tank you didn’t fill

The hug you withheld

 The wedding invite you forgot

  The thank you note you didn’t write

When things slip our minds, our lives become chaotic:

The fish dinner trash that didn’t make it outside before a trip

The oven left on overnight

The hose that ran for hours straight

The tire you didn’t check

The oil you didn’t change

The keys left in the ignition

The candle left burning

Some little things we do and regret

The texted rantsend graphic

The email we shouldn’t have sent

The snarky comment that shouldn’t have left your lips

That one extra donut, day after day

The “one more for the road” that caused the crash

Answering “just this one text” that rolled your car

“They will never find out…” and they always do…

Try these Solutions:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.” Aristotle

  • Create habits to keep you on track.

˜      When you get out of your car, hold your keys in your hand and say “Keys.”

˜      Write a checklist for your trips and use them every time

˜      If you have events that repeat, create a checklist for them

˜      Put your house keys, car keys, glasses, phone and any other item you frequently misplace in the same spot.

˜      Get in the habit of always putting things away as soon as you’re done with them.

˜      Get a large black metal clip. As each bill comes in, using a black sharpie pen, write the date due in the upper right corner. Clip the bills together in order of due date.

˜      When you get an item for your inbox, put a date due in the top right corner and keep all inbox items in order according to that due date.

  •  Use Rituals to remind you of values that are important to you

˜      11:11 – when you see this on the clock, stop for one minute and do your “gratitudes.”

˜      Develop a trigger question: “How will I feel in three days if I do/buy/say this?”

˜      Save every “complicated” message or email in a draft folder for 24 hours before hitting the Send key.

  • Use Rituals to get and stay healthy

˜      Stretch in bed before you get out of bed

~      Practice deep breathing at least once a day

~      Do face exercises every day.

Carole Maggio Facercise (R) (Revised)

˜      Have at least one “tv-free” day a week (if you have no tv, then make it one internet-free day.)

˜      Set a timer and make sure you get up and move around at least once an hour.

It IS a big thing because it’s your life. Take care of yourself this valentine’s week whether or not you’re in a relationship -  the biggest relationship you have is with yourself. When you’re healthy, we all win.

Cheers,

Beth

© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved

Parallel Universes Revisited

January 25, 2014

Do you believe in Parallel Universes? I do. You would say yes if you think about it.

I pipe in relaxing music when I’m getting a room ready for a speaking or training session. This time I played a friend’s rendition of Pachelbel Canon in D with ocean sounds in the background. Harmless, right? Wrong.

A student walked into the room earlier than everyone else. When the crashing of the waves and the music caught her attention, she went pale. She asked if I could please change the music. I did and asked why. Her friend had been lost at sea during the Japan Tsunami. Ocean sounds made her sad. The woman who walked in next noticed I had changed the music and said, “Oh Thank God. I HATE that song! I walked down the aisle to that and my divorce is thankfully almost over!”

In my world, that’s a soothing song and I play it as I fall asleep every night. Oh well!

Deep in thought about these differences, I passed a bowling alley on the way home. The bowling league members live in that universe. The noise and culture of that space is comforting to them.

We all need friends and we find them in our groups

We all need friends and we find them in our groups

They may inhabit other worlds as well, but it’s familiar ground, a gathering place. A place where they know friends will be.

The same goes with the golf course down the road. The Golf Club universe has its own culture, behaviors, expectations, dress codes, limitations, ideas and rules about what’s important and what isn’t. Churches are the same. Clubs and groups of any kind can become insulated in their own activities and norms.

People who bond over a TV show like Survivor™ or American Idol live in a temporary universe with it’s own marching orders, expectations and values. They assume we are all on the same page. We aren’t.

We become who we hang out with. We buy into the cultural norms of that group and often don’t question those norms. We peer out of our little comfort zones at worlds beyond ours and make things up about them, much like people of old made up stories about what was over the horizon, where the water fell off the edge of the earth.

We think we know. We think the internet

connected to cyberspace

connected to cyberspace

has made us “global” and “more aware.” Not so much. We are still stuck in our little worlds, often convinced our way is the right way and “the others” are wrong, misguided or at the very least, missing out.

We know this attitude prevails from some of the unkind comments that litter sites like YouTube. We have rules telling us we can’t call this race or this group by this nickname, yet the words “hillbilly” and “birther” and “warmther” are tossed about with abandon. The air is thick with judgment about “the other” and we seem further away today from figuring it out than we were a few internet-free, innocent decades ago.

There really is only one solution: EXPOSURE

The word “racist” is tossed about with abandon these days. Rules on top of rules on top of laws on top of legislation have been thrown at the problem. But there is really only one solution. EXPOSURE. When we let down our guard, go into that strange world and just listen, we will discover that we really aren’t all that different. It’s been 6 years since I first blogged about this, and the recommendation still stands.

Get out of your comfort zone. Go do something different. Go visit a different world right in your own back yard. Take a class in something new. Meet people from the other side of your universe and hopefully you’ll walk away enlightened and a little less interested in seeing them as so different from you. The only rule is this: take off the judgment jacket and go in with an open mind. You might learn something!

Here’s To a GREAT 2014!

Beth

© 2014 Beth Terry, CSP  • All International Rights Reserved

New You Resolutions

January 13, 2014

So – Day 13 of the New Year. How you doin’ with those resolutions?

Resolutions - easier to write than keep!

Resolutions – easier to write than keep!

If they were written out of frustration with yourself, I’ll bet you aren’t on track. It works better to write goals in anticipation of great new changes rather than from being angry or disappointed in yourself.

Look at resolutions as playing a game of NEXT TIME.

  • Next time I have an excuse for not exercising, I’ll at least give it 10 minutes.
  • Next time I reach for chocolate, I’ll have apples handy to snack on instead
  • Next time I find myself staring in a trance at emails, I will get  out of my chair and do something else requiring movement that will still help me get the job done.
  • Next time …..

Make your own list. What are you doing that is getting in the way of making the changes you wrote in your New Year’s Resolutions? Start paying attention to the obstacles and tackle them one at a time.

Dedicate time to creating Conscious Space.

THIS WORKS:

Find a way to dedicate time to creating Conscious Space. Some part of your office and home needs to be clear of clutter. Make this your New You Resolution, and the rest will fall into place.

I often talk about using a timer to help you get tasks completed. I call it Low Impact Housekeeping™.  If you need help, get a friend or an assistant to sit with you and help. *

Clutter kills brain cells!!

Clutter kills brain cells!!

I recently did this with a friend. I sat in his office, set the timer for 30 minutes and told him we would do this for a limited time. When the buzzer goes off. We stop and go do something else. I grabbed the first stack of papers and went through each one. We filed, shredded, tossed, started a TO DO NOW pile… and we stopped when the buzzer went off.

He was so happy about the feeling of freedom when the desk was cleared in only 30 minutes, that he decided we would head out to the storage area. We spent 30 minutes there and – DING! – we stopped. Little by little, cobwebbed corners not touched in years began to show improvement.

The benefit of this? You see movement. You see clutter going away. You see your goals coming into focus. More importantly, you feel better. You will be motivated to keep the space clear, and you will get more done.

The real path to the New You? Clear the Clutter and you’ll find your path!

All the best in the New Year!

Beth

* And yes, you can hire me to help you do this. I don’t organize your space. I teach you how to organize your life.

@2014 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved

Can I have a Do-over?

December 30, 2013

She sat across from me at the restaurant and went down the list of her failures: in relationships, career, family, personal goals. Girlfriends do this with each other … we listen and let our friends vent.

It’s good for us: raises the oxytocin levels and all that. Then she said plaintively, “Can I just get a do-over?”

I realized I wanted one, too. We’re spoiled in this digital age. We have delete keys, reset buttons, the ability to stop a movie in the middle and go back to it later when we have time.

Anyone who says, “I have no regrets” is either lying, has amnesia, or is a narcissist. We live, we do things, we make mistakes. That’s life.

I thought of my own list. If you are over 25, you have one. The more years gathering behind you, the longer the list. Anyone who says, “I have no regrets” is either lying, has amnesia, or is a narcissist. We live, we do things, we make mistakes. That’s life.

We are also wonderful, compassionate, and capable of great love and great moments of inspiration. And while we don’t exactly come with a reset button, we do come with an apology button. We have the ability to learn from the hiccups and self-imposed landmines along the way. We can go back to people we have harmed – intentionally or not –  and ask their forgiveness (whether they give it or not is none of our concern.) We can learn a lesson or two from the unexplored potential and unmet goals.

Most importantly, we can go forward. As long as there is breath, we can put one foot in front of the other and start anew.

You can’t ReSet – but you can ReStart

Don’t worry about doing anything OVER. Decide to do something new.

Choose to try again in a different and new way.

You don’t have a reset button.

But you DO have a RESTART button.

Be grateful this year for what you have, what you have learned, who you have loved, and who you have in your life who will forgive you and allow you to grow.

To good health and happiness in the days to come,

Happy 2014!

Cheers,

Beth

© 2013 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved.  May be shared with attribution

Setting Boundaries ~ Creating Resilient Kids

September 21, 2013

While waiting for my sandwich at a restaurant I watched the 20-year old behind the counter. Not once did he make eye contact. He was completely lost in a simple human-to-human contact situation. Looking around I saw tables filled with teens and twenty-somethings staring at their phones – the restaurant was eerily quiet for the number of people present.

Getting Together yet ignoring each other

Getting Together yet ignoring each other

We are living with a disconnected generation of easily offended, short-attention-span youngsters who think the world owes them a living, who believe someone else is responsible for their pain and joy, and who can’t negotiate personal relationships that aren’t online.

There’s a lot of handwringing and online chat about the troubled youngsters making headlines. Parents who take a hands-on approach early in their children’s lives are more successful at intervening before their child goes off the rails.

We can teach our kids respect. We can give them boundaries so they don’t wander too far into trouble. These boundaries need to be gently and firmly administered with love from the time the child is a toddler.

We can teach our kids respect. We can give them boundaries

I was married to a policeman for many years. His motto was, “If you don’t get enough time-outs as a child, you get them as a grownup.”  And he was right. (The current group of Hollywood child-star-trainwrecks come to mind!)

We need to be intentional in our childrearing, and we need to know which battles are important. We need to help our kids operate in a world where humans interact with each other without machines. Parents often don’t take the long view in childrearing — “How will this impact my kids down the road? What’s important for the long haul?”

Children crave boundaries. They are, after all, just puppies. A child of 10 has only been on the planet for 3,650 days. We can’t expect them to know everything. Setting reasonable boundaries within which they can discover themselves and their limitations is the loving thing to do.

Consequences and Time Outs are valuable tools that teach great lessons about the real world.  Parents who set boundaries on everything from video gaming to cell phone use to TV  raise more successful and happy kids.

“I love you too much to let you grow up spoiled.”

Parenting is far less frustrating when you set expectations: “I expect you to get your homework done and the dishes put away before you go on Facebook (Texting, Twitter, whatever…) If you have not completed your work and I find you on any social media, you will lose your phone (or tablet) for one week.”  That’s a very clear boundary and it works – if you keep your word.

I have raised a lot of resilient children. The one line I employed the most was, “I love you too much to let you grow up spoiled. You WILL follow the house rules because I want you to be an amazing person when you grow up.”  As parenting hero John Rosemond says, “Parenting is not a popularity contest.”

These little bundles of joy will not always love us. But if we love them enough to do the right thing, they will sooner or later get over it and finally love us back.

“Aunty” Beth Terry

~~~~

(For a free copy of my house rules, comment here and I’ll send it to you! Or you can go to my store and find them in both Walking in a Crowd of Angels and in the downloadable book 101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier)

~~~

© Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved

Motivation is Tricky Business

July 23, 2013

We think we know how to motivate other people, but when it comes to getting ourselves out of the chair, away from the ice cream and into the gym we aren’t all that great.

I thought if you find something you love to do, the joy of doing it will keep you motivated. That works, but in a conversation with a friend in Alaska I stumbled on a trick that works much better for me.

Climbing MatSu Peak Photo by Jim Stocker

Climbing in Alaska
Photo by Jim Stocker

I enjoy dancing several nights a week:  I stay in shape and it’s fun and easier than walking in the hot desert air.  The key word is “stay. I kept my weight and tone the same, but couldn’t break through the metabolism barrier to lose any weight.

My friend runs up Lazy Mountain every morning before work. This is no easy feat and I marveled at his discipline. I said, “Wow, you must love the view or love climbing mountains!”

His comment permanently changed how I motivate myself. Jason said,

“I don’t do it because I love climbing the mountain. I climb the mountain because I love the results.” 

“I don’t do it because I love climbing the mountain.

I climb the mountain because I love the results.”  

Looking at the results he achieved in 3 short months was impressive. He helped me realize I could find my own “mountain” to climb that would give me the results I wanted.

I bought a portable stepper and set it up in my living room. I got out my hand weights and decided I would do this for three weeks (the time it takes to change a habit.) I started slow: five mornings a week I stepped for 15 minutes. I took quick breaks and did a few curls with the weights. Every time I grumbled about it, I’d mutter to myself, “I don’t need to love doing this, I need to love the results.”

Amazingly, that 15 minutes five days a week did the trick! It switched my metabolism and I lost 10 pounds in only 2 months.  Now I can eat whatever I want. But I notice I don’t want to eat what I used to. So there is a shift in my thought process as well. I also got back into stretching each morning for 5 minutes before getting out of bed.  I have doubled my time on the stepper.

This isn’t about losing weight, nor is it about me. It’s about you.

What is your mountain? What results do you want to love? What are you willing to do for an hour or even 15 minutes a day that will deliver those results?

It doesn’t have to be hard. Think about the result you want and work backwards to find the one small change you can make that will take you there.

My college psych professor used to say, “We only have two motivations in life: Benefits and Consequences. We do something to gain the benefits or to avoid the consequences. Understand that and you’ll go far.”

Armed with these ideas, you can get where you want to go.

Good luck!

Beth

© 2013 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved • May be quoted with attribution

If you don’t tell them, they make it up!

June 5, 2013

Humans are ornery creatures, and we are a curious species. We take all  information available to us, then we fill in the blanks. Therein lies the problem in human relations. Filling in the blanks is not always a conscious exercise, and we are not always right. 1 + 1 + _______ = 3 is an easy equation. We know for certain (we think) the empty space should contain a 1. It could, however, be .5 + .5.

Real life isn’t that simple. I learned this early in my Management career. I worked for a real estate group with a billion dollars in assets that were spread all over the US. We were always negotiating, selling and buying properties, so we had to guard information.

Elevator Rules Protect Information

We had an “elevator rule.” Our boss declared if he ever caught any of us talking in the elevator we would be fired.  He called it the puzzle theory. Bosses have staff. Each department holds different pieces to a large puzzle. They may not appreciate the delicacy of their information because their piece is small. Put two or three of these people in an elevator complaining about the day’s work. Then put your competitor’s assistant way back in the corner of the same elevator. An innocent conversation between coworkers could give just enough information to the competition to squirrel the deal.

The natural secrecy in a competitive environment leads to a mess of half-baked theories. As National Admin Manager I stayed on top of the grapevine and squashed ridiculous notions.

Once we purchased an office building to remodel and turn

Office furniture

Office furniture for sale

quickly. Previous owners left furniture in the building, so I advertised in a trade paper to sell the furniture. Logical move, yes? It didn’t occur to me to tell the staff. It was a routine exercise that required a five minute phone call.

Here’s how it escalated:

  • Husband of a clerk worked for the trade paper. Sees the ad.
  • He goes home and tells his wife we are selling furniture.
  • Clerk and friends discuss this disturbing news at lunch.
  • Their department has been a little slow lately.
  • Friends tell their husbands at home that our company is selling off our inventory.
  • Husbands go to work and mention around the water cooler that our company has fallen on hard times and is forced to sell some of our furniture and inventory.
  • Conclusion is that we are closing some of our operation and people will be laid off.
  • Clients begin calling the office to find out who will be managing their properties when we close.
  • I get a panicked call from my HR manager asking if she needs to start thinking about any outplacement options for our staff.

This escalation took three days.

It took me all day to find out the source of the rumor. It took another week to calm our clients and get us back to normal.

The DON'T MAKE STUFF UPnext day I held a “Come to Aunty Beth” meeting with the entire staff. We went over the “elevator rule” again and explained the puzzle theory. We instituted another rule: DON’T MAKE IT UP! ASK! I made signs and put them up around the lunch rooms and employee gathering places.

At the office, at home, in your love and friendship encounters – tell people what they need to know. Fill in the blanks so they don’t.

If you don’t tell people what’s going on, they will make stuff up. And it’s never in your favor.

Communicate with someone today! They need to know. They just need to know!

Happy rest of the week,

Beth

© 2013 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved • May be shared with attribution

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