Archive for March, 2014

27 mar

Protecting My Most Valuable Possession: A Freelancer’s Story

JennaSmithI’m a freelance copy writer. Every day, I write copy for multiple clients, describing everything from algebra problems to North African food. And every day, I make sure my most valuable possession is ready to work alongside me: my laptop computer.

The original freelancers were knights; literally “free lances” who hired themselves out to multiple kings or lords. Their faithful companions were their mighty steeds, the beloved horses who needed to work just as hard as the freelance knight, or both risked losing their jobs.

My “beloved horse” is a MacBook Air, and it goes with me wherever I go — on buses, on planes, to co-working spaces and coffee shops. Every day I give it a little extra love to make sure it’s going to be ready to handle the tasks I set before it. (Like many workers, I spend about 10 hours a day working on my computer. I type so much that my last laptop died when I literally wore out the keyboard.)

Here are a few of the ways I make sure my faithful steed is always in good health and ready to go:

1. Never eat (or drink) over the laptop

My AppleCare covers a lot of things, but it isn’t particularly generous towards water spills. Or soup spills. Or tea spills. That means I have to make absolutely sure that no liquid ever touches my laptop.

In this case, it means I eat adjacent to my computer, not over it. I also finish my meal without touching the laptop. I’ll put on some Netflix episode and fullscreen the display to prevent the urge to reach over and check my email.

2. Clean out the keyboard regularly

This is less of an issue with my MacBook Air than it was with my previous laptop. The keyboard design meant that a lot of dust, dirt, and cat hair regularly got caught up between the keys. I made sure to do the compressed air trick weekly, and every six months I’d remove all of the keys and clean out anything the can of air missed.

3. Avoid viruses, malware, and other threats

When I was in graduate school, I downloaded one bad file. That was all it took. Within five minutes, my computer was completely out of my control. Popups filled the screen, and I was not able to use my mouse or keyboard to change any of the settings. By the next day, my hard drive was completely destroyed. I took it to a repair shop, but ended up having to buy a new laptop.

Now I invest in every security measure possible to keep my computer — and my information — safe. The team at Trend Micro notes how viruses have changed in the past decade, and users now need online security software to protect their privacy on social networks as much as anywhere else. If my email or my social networks got hacked, it would threaten my reputation with my friends and clients. If I lost another computer to a virus, I would lose my livelihood.

So yes, I’ll do everything it takes to keep my computer safe.

4. Use the battery in full

I didn’t know this trick until a Mac rep told me. You need to let the battery drain completely before recharging. If you keep your laptop plugged in even when your battery is fully charged, instead of unplugging it and using the battery until it’s drained, it’s like trying to give your horse more food when it’s already full. Eventually, your horse is going to get sick and your laptop battery is going to stop working.

If you’re a freelancer and you, too, have a faithful steed, follow these steps to make sure your most prized possession stays in good health. You depend on your computer for every part of your career, so you need to do everything you can to protect it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on March 27th, 2014 in Career, Personal Stories | No comments

25 mar

A Day in the Life of an IT Professional

RobertCordrayHave you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful IT professional? Technical knowledge is important, but it’s only the first of an IT pro’s tools. Each day, experts in information technology face complex business challenges.

To get an idea what it’s like behind the scenes, let’s take a look at a day in the life of an IT professional.

1) Inept Customers

In most enterprises, the information technology team runs a help desk for solving user problems. Little do users realize that many of the technical problems they encounter have the same cause: Them. IT professionals need to quickly diagnose each issue and apply the most efficient solution. Plus, they must provide excellent customer service even in cases where the user’s own lack of knowledge might be the culprit.

2) Information Security

Some users could stand to brush up on their computer skills, but at least they mean well. Sadly, that’s not true of everyone the IT pro runs into! The corporate network can come under attack at virtually any time thanks to hackers or rogue software. These threats unfold rapidly, in real time, as the perpetrator seeks to gain access to the network and spread harm. During an attack, an IT pro might be called upon to use dozens of tools in a matter of minutes to protect sensitive data.

3) Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

When the network isn’t under siege, just how can an IT pro demonstrate his or her value to the boss? Information technology specialists are constantly faced with this challenge. Not everything IT does is a “profit center” for their employer, so each cost has to be justified. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to explain many aspects of IT to non-technical supervisors, project managers or executives. To counter this, an effective IT pro is always strengthening his or her communication skills.

4) Orchestrating the Cloud

Nowadays, many global enterprises operate strictly using cloud computing. Adopting a cloud-based network means that all crucial business data should be available to users whenever they need it and no matter where they are or what device they’re on. This is becoming increasingly popular with the growth of dropbox, Salesforce, and other cloud-based companies. The fact that users can access data anywhere introduces a host of thorny issues. For example, how can you be sure that each user’s personal computer or phone is secure enough to be on the network? IT pros must continuously expand access to data while building new infrastructure to ensure policy compliance.

5) Staying Ahead of the Curve

No matter how big or small the business, one thing is for sure: Decision-makers expect and demand the latest technology. Upgrading software, whether it’s something as simple as a word processor or as complex as Windows, can be an enormous task. The entire effort needs to be strategized, justified and executed just right — ensuring that no one loses network access or critical files.

6) Building Skills For the Future

More than any other business professional, those in information technology are in a constant race to keep their skills updated. In many cases, this means continuously studying for new industry credentials. IT pros are faced with a selection of hundreds of certifications that cover various aspects of information technology. Allowing any certification to lapse can endanger future prospects. Plus, new and updated certifications come out on a regular basis.

7) Balancing Today’s Duties and Tomorrow’s Advancement

The most dedicated information technology pros are known for devoting hours upon hours to honing their skills. The constant pace of new breakthroughs puts them at risk of burning out if they try to do too much. While it’s a good idea for IT pros to specialize, they are often called upon to resolve problems outside their set of skills. Finding a unique niche that adds strategic value to an organization is vital to any IT pro’s long-term success.

Information technology is constantly evolving, and IT as a whole is challenging work. When technology fails, IT professionals must quickly resolve issues that cost money with each passing minute. The next time you call up the IT team, remember that the job is tougher than it looks!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on March 25th, 2014 in Technology | No comments Read related posts in , ,

19 mar

Making What You Love Your Job

RobertCordrayMost people go through life and discover they have a passionate interest in something. Maybe you can’t imagine your day without making or listening to music. Perhaps you have an urge to draw and find yourself reaching for that large box of pens to fully express your innermost thoughts. You might find that you love making delicious meals each night for your loving family, creating a fragrant garden each summer or adore the chance to observe wildlife close up and visit zoos around the world.

One of the most important goals in life is finding out what each one of us loves to do. That passion often comes from inside oneself. It is an organic process that begins early in life. Once you realize what it is that truly motivates you—what makes you utterly happy—you realize that you need to figure out how best to turn what you love into a job you can do for the rest of your life.

The best way to do that is to start with an honest self inventory. Think about what you enjoy doing. Think as well about your skill level for that particular action or subject. You may like the sciences very much, but if you find math hard, that may not be a particularly viable career choice for you. You should also think about any hobbies that you have. Perhaps you’ve always been interested in foreign travel or building miniature railroads and showing them off.

You should also evaluate what skills go into each of your passions. For example, if you are deeply interested in animal welfare, think about the kind of qualities and skills that accompany that interest. A person who loves animals may be adept at reading an animal’s emotions. They may also realize they are equally adept at reading the emotions of people. Someone who loves animals may also realize they are deeply interested in issues of ecology and the environment.

If you have multiple interests and passions, take each one into account; they often overlap. If you love gardens, you may also love to paint and draw pictures of your garden. This can easily lead to developing your skills as a landscape designer as well as skills that use your sense of graphic design.

Once you have taken a careful self-assessment, it is time to start thinking about the kinds of jobs that relate to doing the things you love. For example, if you to travel, you may also find it very easy to learn foreign languages fluently and understand all the nuances of foreign cultures. Such knowledge is incredibly useful in the job market. You might consider becoming a translator, a foreign diplomat, a tour guide overseas, a professor of languages or opening up your own travel agency. All of these jobs can be deeply satisfying for someone who loves using their talents and passions to earn a good living.

Often turning your passions into a job requires additional education. You will need certification and a degree if you want to help people by becoming a nurse or a teacher. In that case, consider an internship or other on-the-job training before committing to a career path. You may learn that you like the idea of helping people but you’re not good with the sight of blood and needles.

Another way to make what you love into your job is to contact others who have done so already. Think about your circle of friends and relatives. Consider their career choices. You may already know someone who has your dream job. Contact them directly. Ask if they want to talk to you about their career. People who love what they do often adore sharing their work experiences with people who are thinking of entering their field. Very often they can tell you exactly what is it like to be a vet, a labor lawyer or an architect. If you don’t have a direct contact, checking out a blog that focuses on helping you start a business and find your own success, such as NuSkin’s The Source makes a good option.

The important point is to know yourself. Once you understand who you are, what it is that motivates you and makes you completely happy, you are halfway to job and life happiness. Find out where that path leads and you will be on the road to happiness.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , ,

19 mar

Frugal Is to Smart as Cheap Is to Dumb: Intelligent Financial Decisions for Families

JennaSmithI think we can all agree that the price of living in the United States seems to be a bit of a puzzle to which many pieces have gone missing.

We’ve seen a rising cost in just about everything and we get a twinge of envy whenever we hear about what it used to cost in the past.

A lot of individuals would like to bring politics into the situation (and rightly so) but I believe a lot has to do with our lifestyle and the changes we’ve adopted over years of consumption.

Frugal vs Cheap

I believe Ramit Sethi (of IWTYTBR fame) said it quite well when it comes to cheap vs frugal:

· Cheap people care about the cost of something.

· Frugal people care about the value of something.

For me it really seems that people get lazy when it comes to their consumer habits. They seek convenience. They want it product or service to be cheap and readily available because it satisfies their emotional urge to possess (or experience) the item.

Then there are those that are willing to bide their time and conduct research before making a purchase.

These are the people that can handle the ups and downs of our economy. They’re the ones’ whom develop lifestyles which sustains stable, reliable growth in finances.

The Science of Smart Financial Living

It’s not just the concept of frugal living that guides people toward smart buying decisions. It’s really about a shift in ones’ mindset. It’s why I had mentioned the whole value vs cost. You can spend big bucks on a product or service and not feel ashamed if it truly provides you with real value.

There are options, all around us, for making smarter financial decisions and fulfilling our basic needs:

Nourishment. Follow the routine of your grandma and start clipping coupons (or use the Web and seek out online coupon sites and directories). Don’t shop when hungry. Avoid the middle area on the shelves. Try to cook fresh. Remember that it’s not just about tasting good … it’s about eating healthy so you are healthy (meaning infrequent visits to the doctors). Learning to cook, even on a basic level, will help your family save thousands from not having to rely on pre-packaged items or going out to eat.

Health. Ditch the gym and seek exercise routines which do not require equipment. Use this opportunity when improving your health to seek new friends such as during team activities or while out for a walk. A healthy body and mind will also inadvertently help you save when shopping around for insurance and health care providers. Again, use the Web to your advantage by reading reviews, cross-comparison shopping, and tapping into the knowledge of experts.

Entertainment. Make every part of your day worth remembering. Find great deals on travel by using comparison booking engines and opening up to staying at hostels and eating street food versus the normal touristy routine. Get into crafting like as scrapbooking or photography. Use event websites to find free events in your area or deals that keep the price low (but fun high) by bundling the events.

Family & Life. Spend more time with the family, friends, and loved ones. Capture those slice moments in time (and save while you’re at it) by using up photo coupons for professional photography services. You’ll have something, framed, that will let you remember the good times and have plenty to work with to kick up conversations when others come over.

Education. Get real about what you (or your children) really want to do with their time. Consider seeking apprenticeship or interning in place of taking a class to see if it’s something you (or they) would truthfully enjoy before paying for tuition. Try out new areas using online courses and educational resources that could give you an edge in your current field (or direction). Weigh the risk/reward of starting a business versus obtaining a degree.

Think of it all like going back to school.

You are retraining your mind. You are flushing away the conditioning you’ve picked up after years and years of bombardment from advertising. You’re gaining patience and with it comes the ability to remove the emotional equation and manage purchasing decisions with logical thinking.

Change your lifestyle. Embrace frugality. Take the time to research. These are the elements that help you never pay full price but always receive full value.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on March 19th, 2014 in Family, Finances | No comments

19 mar

Traits of a Good Manager in 2014

RobertCordrayBusiness has changed a lot over the years, but certain fundamentals have not. While situations vary from one generation to the next (businesses in the ’90’s didn’t need a personal email/texting policy), classical management excellence has not had to change so much as adjust.

Among the traits great managers will have in 2014 are those that can be found in the Marine Corps’ 14 Leadership Traits, which applies as much today as it did in the past

The leadership traits are:

  • Judgment
  • Justice
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Decisiveness
  • Tact
  • Initiative
  • Endurance
  • Bearing
  • Unselfishness
  • Courage
  • Knowledge
  • Loyalty
  • Enthusiasm

And like all things military, they come with an acronym: JJ-DID-TIE-BUCKLE.

They are all important, but we are only going to dive into a few that are seemingly most crucial in today’s environment.

Justice

There are many times when employees are not treated the same way for the same infraction. For example, two employees may be using Facebook during office hours. One is reprimanded, the other is not.

Sometimes this is warranted – such as when an employee is in charge the company’s social media branding – and other times it isn’t. It all comes down to one’s judgment.

Judgment

It takes time to strengthen one’s judgment. As the old saying goes: “good choices come from wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is the result of bad choices.”

Managers need to be able to exercise judgment to make the right decisions, which are sometimes unpopular. Just as in the Marine Corps, there are many times that Mission Accomplishment needs to come before Troop Welfare. This means that people need to understand that what they need to do must come before what they want to do.

Dependability

Managers want people they can count on, but it has to be a two-way street. For example, no one wants a manager who is only going to note their infractions and never their accomplishments.

Additionally, managers need to be relied on to support their staff, especially when it comes to sales force productivity, be it to accommodate a scheduling conflict at home, relieve them of problems with an abusive co-worker, or to give them a fair chance to progress in their careers.

Tact

In this Information Age, personal information is more important than ever. Managers are often privy to people’s private lives to some degree, be it financial stress, problems at home, or health issues. Having this information is a form of trust that needs to be adhered to so as to maintain the dignity of the employee who expects a certain level of confidentiality.

A great example of not having tact was shown in the character of Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell on the show, The Office. Scott regularly engaged in workplace faux pas, some of which were just plain crazy, and others that led to lawsuit settlements, such as when he outed Oscar as a homosexual.

Rather than treat Oscar the same as everyone else, he tried to figure out if anyone else was gay, and then wanted to show everyone that he respected Oscar enough to kiss him on the lips, causing much embarrassment to all involved.

Bearing

Managers have more information than their subordinates and they also need to fight for their team on occasion. Knowing this, bearing is incredibly important. There are times when managers need to lead on that there are no problems from above when there are so that the staff can focus on their work. Other times, managers need to maintain a strong sense of bearing in order to negotiate deals with customers, vendors, or for staff benefits, such as new furniture, R&D funds, or raises.

These are not the only traits a good manager needs in 2014, but they provide a strong foundation to build upon and encourage in others who wish to ascend into leadership positions, be it at work or home.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career | No comments

19 mar

Keeping the Industry Moving: Behind the Scenes of E-Commerce

RobertCordrayAs consumers, we view the websites, and often, we don’t know how we managed to get to the website or what it takes to purchase products are purchased through the website. Most of us just do it and never think about what happens behind the scenes. If you’re a new business owner and developer, you need to know what goes on behind the scenes in the world of e-commerce. Here is what you need to know:

1. You Need a Website with a Shopping Cart Plugin

First and foremost, you need a website with a shopping cart plugin. This is how transactions are made. You need to ensure that you can accept PayPal and all major credit cards. The website should be professionally built to attract customers to the website. Once they are on the website, they shouldn’t have any problems executing the transaction or they’ll lose the sale to a competitor.

The plugin should allow the products to be displayed along with the prices to make the process easier to buy. There should be zero impediments at the shopping cart or buyers will become frustrated and abandon the cart. The advertisers or business owners will have to engage in retargeting to regain the customers through specialized advertising.

2. Acquire a Merchant Account

A merchant account is where the cash transactions will take place. Every business should have one or no forms of payment can be accepted. Merchant accounts are easy to obtain. Simply go online and follow the steps to complete a merchant account. It’s easy once the foundation is laid. Without the merchant account, it’s not a transactional website. Acquire a merchant account and get your business going.

3. eCommerce Software

eCommerce software is a critical component of any e-commerce solution. The software will facilitate the processing of the order and cash transaction mechanisms. The software can make the transaction easier and also capture customer information in databases that can later be retrieved. Data from the transactions can also be analyzed.

The software should also monitor your store’s inventory. As soon as the inventory is taken from the automated warehouse, it should be documented on your website with e-commerce.

4. Purchase a Good Internet Service

Purchasing a good Internet server is essential to e-commerce. The server has to be fast and possess security measures to prevent hackers from intercepting credit card information during the transaction. An assigned server is necessary for ample security. Shop around for the best Internet service provider with high levels of security.

5. Website Security

Security is important in any online transaction. Each system should have, at least, a Secure Socket Layer(SSL). The transaction data is less likely to be hacked when this type of technology is employed. Customers will feel safe when you’ve considered website security. With online customers, the single biggest concern about making a purchase is website security. Customers want to know that their data will not be hacked when they swipe on your online store. Website security is important.

What You Need to Know About the Behind the Scenes World of eCommerce

Learn what you need to know about the world of e-commerce behind the scenes. The concept can be difficult to understand, but it’s easier with some tips. Website ecommerce will have you considering website security, type of Internet service, and countless other features to ensure their are not impediments to any customer making a purchase. If you want to know more about the process, consider reading more about it online. You’ll realize the importance of eCommerce when your company becomes more profitable. Search online to find out more about the behind the scenes world of e-commerce.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on March 19th, 2014 in Career, Technology | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

09 mar

The Self-Sabotaging Behavior of Denial

WEJMDMost people have a variety of self-sabotaging behaviors that prevent them from manifesting the life that they want. The first step in overcoming self-sabotaging behaviors is to first recognize them. One of the most powerful self-sabotaging behaviors is denial.

Denial is a defense mechanism that discharges anxiety and emotional discomfort. By denying there’s a problem we don’t have to feel bad about the fact that there’s a problem. Unfortunately this doesn’t solve anything or make our lives better. It just sweeps our problems under the rug. They’re still there. Still gnawing at us and still getting in our way.

One example is the area of health. If we have a bump and we are afraid to go to a doctor to find out that it might be something really bad we deny that it is a problem. Unfortunately when it becomes the elephant in the room, something we no longer can deny, it becomes a problem much more difficult to resolve than had we acknowledged it and faced it when it first appeared.

One form of denial is denying that our behaviors are actually self sabotaging. For example, when we are late for an appointment we might tell ourselves that it’s not going to matter, that the excuse we give will be accepted and that there won’t be any negative consequences. But this usually isn’t true. When we are late for appointments or don’t call people back in a timely fashion, as another example, people may be gracious about it but they probably are registering some degree of irritation, disappointment, feeling disrespected or undervalued. And this may over time lead to passive aggressive behavior on their part or them not doing something to assist us in the future when we ask them for help.

BLAMING OTHERS AND SEEING OURSELVES AS VICTIMS

Shakespeare once wrote “the fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but ourselves that we are underlings.” So one form of denial would be thinking that the fault lies outside of ourselves and that we are victims of a hostile, chaotic universe out of our control, as opposed to us being the prime movers of our fate.

This is a very powerful form of denial, blaming other people and circumstances for our difficulties. For example when we tailgate and get into a car accident we have a tendency to call it an accident when it is actually the result of our poor judgment and we tend to blame the car in front of us for stopping abruptly.

This is very common to blame others and not take responsibility for our actions. Oftentimes when couples fight, one partner will blame the other partner, stating that “you made me angry, you made me throw the toaster against the wall, you made me scream at you, you made me hit you, if you hadn’t antagonized me, if you hadn’t pushed my buttons, if you hadn’t called me that name, if you hadn’t provoked me, then I wouldn’t have behaved that way.” Denial in this case is the denial of ownership. It doesn’t matter if we are provoked. We have a choice to behave correctly and honorably or not and if we don’t, and don’t admit it then we are in denial.

Denial is very common with alcoholics and addicts. “If I just have one drink it won’t really matter, I’ll be able to handle it, it won’t escalate into a serious problem.” Alcoholics and addicts tell themselves this despite having a history of one drink or one drug hit escalating into a serious problem.

Another form of denial in regard to alcohol and drugs is that people oftentimes convince themselves that other people don’t know when they are high. This is usually never the case. Most people can tell when other people are under the influence.

We are in denial when we abuse other people and tell ourselves that they’ll get over it, they’re not going to leave us. Usually, sooner or later, they do, and when they do there is often too much water under the bridge, too much built up resentment and anger for the relationship to be repaired.

We are in denial when we keep on putting off proper diet and exercise. The denial part is not that we are denying these are important things to do but that it won’t one day catch up with us and put us in the grave prematurely. We deny the long-term consequences of our actions.

SHOOTING THE MESSENGER

When someone tells us something we don’t want to hear or deal with, we find ways to attack them and invalidate them so that we don’t have to acknowledge that they’ve made a good point. We might tell them that “you do it too.” And so this allows us to deny the importance of us getting our own house in order regardless of how other people behave.

In relationships when we tell our partner that “I don’t have any problem. I don’t need anger management. You’re the one with the problem not me. You’re the one who needs therapy not me,” this is denial in spades and is a sure fire predictor of a relationship that will never heal and will most likely one day disintegrate. This is another example of shooting the messenger.

Another form of denial is called “contempt prior to investigation” which means we prejudge and reject an idea without first evaluating it to determine if it might have validity. “That’s not going to work.” “It’s a waste of time.” These are dogmatic denials that have no basis in reality because we actually haven’t looked at the data.

Another form of denial is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Some people refer to this as insanity.

When we are told something that is true that we don’t want to hear or deal with and we seek out people who will yes us and support our position, this is denial. Just because we can find a bunch of people who tell us we’re right doesn’t mean we’re right.

“I’m only kidding” is a form of denial. When we say something to somebody that is hurtful and they react negatively, we backpedal and claim that “I was only kidding.” Sometimes it’s not denial, we know that we weren’t kidding and that we were making a harsh point, but oftentimes we con ourselves into believing that we really were only kidding, we were only teasing, we meant no real harm and that the person was being overly sensitive. This prevents us from looking at our behavior objectively and correcting it.

LIVING IN THE PAST

Living in the past and not seeing the handwriting on the wall is a form of denial. Whether or not you think marijuana should be legalized and whether or not you think gay marriage should be legalized, the handwriting on the wall is that these things will one day universally come to pass and to deny this and fight this is really a huge waste of time, energy and resources that could best be spent elsewhere.

Another form of denial is denying that forgiveness, acceptance, and love have the power to move mountains. Most people believe that anger and aggression are the way to solve problems. In the short run this may seem to be the case but in the long run they are not. Love is a miraculous force that can transform. When two people are fighting with each other, if one person can rise above the battlefield and express true unconditional acceptance, forgiveness and love, it oftentimes can discharge all the negativity and restore peace in the relationship.

Most people think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness. They don’t believe that the meek shall inherit the earth. This is denial. Forgiveness is a reflection of great strength and personal power. Survival of the fittest will one day prove to be survival not of the physically fittest but of the spiritually fittest: those who choose not to fight and instead insist upon finding peaceful resolutions.

The premise of my book Forgive To Win! is that we sabotage ourselves with denial and in other ways as well because at an unconscious level we are filled with guilt, shame and self-loathing; at an unconscious level we believe we are undeserving and unworthy of happiness, health and success, and that our subconscious mind, believing what we believe about ourselves at an unconscious level, believing that we deserve punishment and not reward, manifests in the real world that “truth” by causing us to do things that get in our way and generate failure.

So — if self-sabotage and denial are the result of guilt, shame and self-loathing, then the way to end self sabotage and denial is to love ourselves and forgive ourselves. The way to love ourselves and forgive ourselves is to love others, forgive others and be of service to others. The more we do this, the more we send the message to our subconscious mind that we are good, loving beings who deserve happiness and success, the more the subconscious mind shifts its purpose. It stops whispering negative messages in our ears, it stops encouraging us to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, and it helps us to attract positive people and circumstances in our lives that will be rewarding rather than punishing.

The Forgiveness Diet is a structured program of daily exercises and behaviors to help achieve the goal of ending self sabotage.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on March 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

07 mar

Big City Home Remodeling Tips

JennaSmithHome remodeling is pretty easy if you live in a place with a lot of space. You can store furniture and boxes in the garage, or use your back porch to keep track of sawhorses, paint cans, or any other supplies that don’t fit in the house.

But what if you don’t have a back porch, a garage, or even an extra room to spare? If you’re living in a big city or urban center, you’re often stuck with the space you have — which isn’t very much. Of course, this very lack of usable space may be what’s prompting you to remodel in the first place! Still, you’re going to have to find a place for your furniture, your belongings, your kids, and your pets to go while you tear out walls or redesign kitchen counters.

Here are a few suggestions to help make big-city remodeling a bit easier, helpfully categorized by city:

Storage in Chicago

Dealing with excess stuff in the Windy City is a breeze if you have access to a good storage unit. Storage units provide inexpensive ways to store your valuables, and storage in Chicago is plentiful and low-cost. This is good, because many historic Chicago homes are urban brownstones that barely have extra rooms, let alone backyards. If you’re remodeling, your stuff has to go, and storage is the best place for it.

Simply pack up everything you can live without, and move it into one of Chicago’s many storage units. These units are often climate-controlled, have 24-hour security, and include drive up access. Choose a unit with the features you need, and live a minimal life at home until your remodeling project is finished.

Sublets in New York

Sure, you could look for a storage unit in New York as well, but you’re going to have a harder time; the New York Times reported in 2013 that, like everything else in the overpopulated city, storage units were at a premium. To store your stuff during your home remodeling project, you’re going to need to compete against everyone else trying to store items in the Big Apple.

So if you’re in NYC, consider trying a different tactic. If there’s one thing the city does well, it’s offer up sublet apartments. Other cities often have many rules about who can or can’t sublet, but in New York, according to the Metropolitan Council on Housing, “tenants in privately-owned buildings of four or more units have the right to sublet by law.”

Sublets also have to be for at least 30 days in duration, which is perfect for a small remodeling project. When it’s time to tear down your interior walls and fill your home with drywall dust, simply put painter’s tarps over your furniture and move yourself and your family into a sublet. If you need a longer sublet, say, six months or more, don’t worry — you’ll find plenty of opportunities as the city’s many residents shift from apartment to apartment and open up sublets so as not to break their lease.

Tiny Houses in Portland

Portland is slightly less population dense than other cities, which means you’re probably going to have a bit of an actual backyard with which to work. And what’s better than moving directly into the backyard while you remodel your home? Tiny house living has taken hold in this eco-friendly city as a way to share space and reduce environmental footprints; in fact, America’s first official Tiny House Hotel opened in Portland in 2013.

These tiny houses, which generally measure under 500 square feet and include a living space, kitchen, bathroom, and lofted bedroom, are easy to build or to buy pre-made. They live on trailers and can be placed wherever you need them. By putting a tiny house in your backyard, you have a place to live while you remodel your home. Then, you can keep the tiny house and use it as an accessory dwelling (often called a mother-in-law suite or a “granny flat”) or as a rental space and a source of additional income.

Although many other cities have a lot of strict rules about renting granny flats, Portland’s rules are relatively few, and is one of the most accessory-dwelling landlord friendly cities in the US. When you’re tired of being a landlord and want to enjoy your newly-remodeled home by yourself, simply sell your tiny house and move it onto someone else’s property.

Whether you choose a storage unit, a sublet, or a tiny house, you know you have options when remodeling in an urban area. There are as many ways to get this job done as there are types of homes — so use your imagination, along with these tips, to make your urban renovation as smooth as possible.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on March 7th, 2014 in House and Home | No comments

07 mar

Fun Hobbies That Can End Up Making You Some Good Money!

RobertCordrayHow many times has someone told you that you are so good at your favorite hobby that you should turn it into your career? You may have laughed off the idea when it was brought up, but you should give it some serious thought. There are several hobbies that, if done with passion and dedication, could wind up making you money.

Wood Pen Making

Woodworking experts always find unique ways to express themselves through their art. Wood pen making is a hobby that could bring you orders from business professionals, companies, and people looking for the perfect gift for the executive in their lives. Bullet pens make handy little gifts that people can give on holidays, birthdays, or to commemorate a special occasion.

Photography

Thanks to the many advances in technology, more people are starting to be able to take pictures like professionals. If you love taking pictures, and you get compliments for your work all of the time, then offer your services for weddings and special occasions.

You can also take the kinds of pictures that you like and sell them online to customers all over the world. If you really want to get into the world of photography, then look into setting up a booth at your local arts and crafts show to sell your work to the people who pass by.

Car Restoration

You spend your weekends restoring old cars and you have become very good at it. You can use that hobby to make a lot of money in two different ways. One way is to sell the cars that you restore. Just be sure that you do some research on their value and get a fair price each time.

Your other source of income can come from restoring cars for other people. You would be surprised at how many people in your area have classic cars that they would pay handsomely to have restored.

Music

If you are a musician and you love to play your instrument and sing for friends and family members, then you have all that you need to make some good money on the side. You can go out as a one-man show and play for dinner crowds all over the area, or you can get involved with a group and play clubs on the weekends.

You can also join the local musician’s union and get work in the live theater productions that come through your area. If you can read music, then you can make a lot of money playing those part-time gigs.

Putting Together Computers

A technically inclined person who spends his spare time building computers for his own use can use that skill to make good money. Let your friends and family members know that you build computers and quote a fair price based on the needs of the customer. After a while, you will start to get referrals to make computers for people all over the area.

When you enjoy a hobby, you never really think about its financial possibilities. But if you are good at a service that people will pay for, then you should think about using your hobby to make good money.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.


Posted by Robert Cordray on March 7th, 2014 in Career, General, House and Home | No comments

05 mar

6 Ways You Torment Yourself at Work and How to Stop

Kerrigan2Let’s face it: At one time or another, you have tormented yourself at work. Often, the ritual is daily. Without a doubt, it’s more frequent than most people know. You have to catch yourself to even know what’s making you feel bad or sad. We are so conditioned to look on the dark side, that negativity becomes our automatic default. In fact, I ‘ll bet that the main reason you’re reading this right now is the word “torment” in the title. Yes?

So—why do you do it? What is the main reason for all that torment?

Here it is: Fear of failure, of not being good enough, as though you have to prove yourself–-often.

Here are 6 ways you suffer and how to stop:

#1: You’re afraid to ask questions

Of all the performance and productivity killers I’ve seen in the workplace, confusion, by far, is numero uno. It can hold you back and delay progress, and often goes undetected because most people hate to admit when they’re confused. Ipso facto: They hate to ask questions.

Whole processes can screech to a halt when someone somewhere along the line is too afraid to ask: “How does this work?,” “What am I supposed to be doing?,” “Why is this needed?” You get the idea.

When you’re afraid to ask, you lack clarity, and torment yourself in many ways. Your job becomes a guessing game. You have no idea what you’re doing and you fear that, if you ask, you’ll look ridiculous. So, you put yourself and your team at risk.

Worst of all, your anxiety increases as you worry about things going wrong, and then it reaches an all-time high when they actually do.

Stop. Ask. The more confident you become, the stronger and less fearful you will be, and the better you will perform.

#2: You’re afraid of answering questions

This brings me to the flip side of that coin: fear of answering questions. Many executives are known for this. They think it’s the mark of strong leadership if they appear as though they have all the answers. So, instead of seeming weak, they avoid questions like the plague.

They become politicians, not leaders, sidestepping questions with vague and inane answers. Then, their insecurity and torment passes to their team, and everyone is confused and lost.

Is this what you really want?

Stop tormenting yourself and your team by trying so hard and making it up as you go along. Stop giving wrong or incomplete information. It is your job to problem solve, to get answers, and to know where to look. It’s not your job to know everything—nobody does.

If you don’t know, say so. And then ask.

#3: You second guess everything you do

When you can’t ask or answer questions, you have little confidence in yourself. Your anticipatory anxiety runs at an all-time high with “what if” thinking. “What if I do this, and that happens?” Initially, this can be great for planning, but you can’t get stuck there. You need to make a decision and move forward–to trust yourself and choose. Yes, sometimes you choose wrong, but that’s life.

First, know that most of the time, your anticipation is much worse than the actual situation. How many times have you worried yourself to the Nth degree and the outcome was far better than you imagined?

Anticipatory anxiety keeps you from taking chances that would improve your life.

Step through that wall of anticipatory anxiety! Get on the other side. Give yourself permission to feel anxious. Then, get in the present moment and ask yourself: what’s the next positive step I need to take to move myself forward? And do it!

Think of “what iffing” it this way, “What if I succeed?”–You won’t know until you try.

#4: You second guess what everyone else does

If you don’t trust yourself, it’s hard to trust others. This brings about huge control issues. People often think control freaks are strong—wrong. It’s a sign of weakness, of insecurity. So, stop it. Once again, you’re not only tormenting yourself, you’re tormenting your team. Stop hovering over them and not letting them do their thing.

We all bring something special to the table. No one is good in all areas of work—that’s why there are teams—to collaborate. Collaboration is the alloy that makes companies strong. It’s fine to ask and answer questions to monitor progress, but you must trust your team to do what they do best. That’s how you all grow and succeed.

#5: You have an excessive need for approval

If you feel victimized, manipulated or guilty often, then you are tormenting yourself by always needing approval from others. Anxiety runs high when you feel this way because you’re just too afraid of stepping on toes. You show people where your buttons are, with a big sign that says “Push!”

The most important approval you need is the approval you give yourself. I wrote about this in 10 Steps to Get Over the Impostor Syndrome. As a people pleaser, it’s easier to be compassionate to others, but not to yourself.

If you heard a close friend talk badly about him/herself, you would defend that person and say it’s not true. You would comfort the friend with kind and supportive words. You need to be able to do this for yourself. Speak to yourself as though you were speaking as if speaking to your own best friend. Be compassionate to yourself. Use those same convincing words and be supportive — to you.

#6: You suffer from the “terrible too’s”: too young, too old, too inexperienced, too forgetful, too tall, too short—you name it!

Often, when faced with change, we torment ourselves with the “terrible too’s.” We use self-criticism as an excuse to procrastinate and resist change. What we’re really saying is that we’re too afraid to leap because we’re too afraid to fail.

Your thoughts make up your reality. So, change the messaging in your mind. Get more positive in the way you think–especially about yourself.

Get confident: Ask and answer questions. Trust yourself and your team. Give yourself the support you need. Get out from under the “terrible too’s” and your excuses. One thing is for sure: It’s never too late to stop tormenting yourself and start enjoying your life!

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace confidence and performance who has been helping businesses and professionals grow stronger and more successful for over three decades. More at www.michellekerriganinc.com and www.workplaceconfidence.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on March 5th, 2014 in Career, Global/Social Change, Personal Stories | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,