Dec 29, 2011


The happiest people may not necessarily have the best of everything, but they do make the most of everything.

Take time for yourself today.

You work... You care-take... You parent... You counsel... You give....
But when is the last time you took time for yourself?

.......A day?
............An hour?
...................10 minutes?

Do you take care of you?

I hope so, because you deserve to.  You need to.  You have to take time to recharge, renew, reinvigorate your soul. By exercising self-care, you're in a better position to serve others.  It helps
you center yourself, get grounded, avoid stress headaches, insomnia, irritability, stomach-aches, depression, high blood pressure.  It helps you become a better, stronger, happier, more efficient person.

And your brains need down-time too!  Think about it - when are you  your best, most creative self?  When do your best ideas come?  I'll bet you'll tell me; in the shower, driving to work, right before you fall asleep.  Why do you think that is?  Because our minds work best when we are relaxed - when we allow our thoughts to flow.

Although you make think you can't afford to take the time away from your responsibilities, the truth is, you can't afford not to. It may be hard to carve out time, but it's worth finding a way and making the effort.    Maybe you could wake up an hour earlier - before your household is up and buzzing about.  There's nothing quite as peaceful as dawn - a warm cup of coffee, the rising sun, a new day filled with possibility.

Or maybe you could steal away a moment in the afternoon?  When I worked in an office, I would schedule time-slots with myself and insert my own private moments of calm into an otherwise frenzied pace.

Or at night?  Set an official "goodnight" time when the TV goes off,  and your household settles into quiet time.  Relaxation mode.  I've set an alarm on my iphone to chime every evening at the same time as a  reminder that it is officially time to unplug, unwind, and relax.  ~To disconnect the devices and reconnect to me!

Ok, I've convinced you to take some time for yourself.  So now what exactly are you going to do during that time?   Sometimes when the moment comes, I'll draw a blank.   So, here's a few ideas to get us started....  We could................
  • Read a good book
  • Watch a good movie
  • Write down our thoughts
  • Take a walk, take in some fresh air
  • Cook a hot meal
  • Visit a local coffee shop
  • Relax in a soothing bath
  • Take a NAP!
  • Cook a hot meal, relax in a soothing bath,
  • Do some gentle stretching
  • Focus on breathing
  • Listen to the sounds or silence around us
  • Take a dance class, yoga class, swim class
  • Make art
  • Color!
  • Read the paper
  • Beach-comb 
  • Listen to music
  • Paint our nails
  • Take a hike in the woods
  • Grab a camera and take some pictures of things around us
  • Hang out in an art museum
  • Call a loved one 
  • Get a massage
  • Buy or make something small for someone we love
  • Give thanks to the universe
  • Say a prayer
  • Meditate

So, tell me - what are 5 things that you love to do?  Let's brainstorm together...

Dec 20, 2011

"Energy and persistence conquer all things."

Stumbling block or stepping stone?

In equal parts jest and seriousness I often refer to myself as a "fragile flower".   Am I too delicate?  Too quick to give up?  Too easily overwhelmed?   And if so, how can I "toughen up" and persist?
I've been thinking about it allot lately.  Why is that two people can experience trauma and one will bounce back with a smile on their face, while the other will be paralyzed and miserable. Are we born with innate persistence?  Can we develop it?
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
- Calvin Coolidge
I think that like most things it's a combination of the two - both natural temperament and skill.  And while our nature is clearly a done deal, the latter is within our control - I think we can take steps to strengthen our ability to endure.   Do you?

Dec 13, 2011

Thinking "Out-of-the-giftbox" this Holiday Season

Presents. The heart of the holiday?

When I was but a wee lass, all my friends and I would gather up at recess and compare notes about who got what for Christmas.  They'd rattle off long impressive lists of cool toys, the latest gadgets and stockings stuffed to the rim.  I half listened while I scrambled to find  something as equally awesome to contribute to the pile.


Falling short mostly. I even found myself seizing up the impressiveness of the presents on Xmas day itself in anticipation of that fateful recess.  How awful!  Not because I didn't get the biggest, best presents - but that my worldview was so distorted in the first place.  That ALL of our worldviews were so distorted - and dominated by STUFF and THINGS.   Was that the spirit of the season?   Our final takeaway? Ugh!

And that was a billion years ago.  Now, couple that materialistic sensibility with an economic downturn, and we are in serious trouble!  While we are being pummeled by corporate messages to buy, buy, buy, our pocketbooks are empty, empty, empty - and I can hardly fathom the pressure and stress that this creates for families.  That's allot to endure.  People are struggling.  Unemployed.  Afraid.  And yet they don't want to disappoint their loved ones, or let anyone down.  But this is a construct that we created and it is a construct that we can disassemble.  Let's mute those commercials! Toss out those ads. Avert our eyes from the aisles of holiday knickknacks - because if ever there was a time to be prudent, and downsize the "STUFF" - this is the time.  If ever there was a time to impart our values of togetherness, and love, and family as opposed to STUFF, this is the time.  So let's let's take this point in history to step on the breaks, regroup, and recapture and embody the true spirit of the season!

If I had just one wish for you, I would ask that you please, please refrain from overspending, overextending yourself, and going into debt for Christmas. Please don't get caught up in a buying frenzy.   It's not what your loved ones would want for you.  Be straightforward and honest about your limitations.  Exercise restraint.  There is no shame in setting boundaries.  You can make another choice!   Show your  appreciation and love through togetherness, not things. Take it as an opportunity to impart a deeper more meaningful lesson to the young folks.    I'm not saying eliminate ALL gifts ENTIRELY!  (Come on' now, I'm not a Grinch!)  I'm just saying, we can approach it in a different way.  We can be creative about the way we do it.  We can think out of the gift-box!

For example, how about:
  • Handmade gifts
  • Crafts from farmer's markets
  • Treasures from second hand stores, Craiglist
  • Volunteering as a family in a soup kitchen, giving back to the community
  • Collecting cans together, or helping the homeless
  • How about forgoing gifts completely and making a decision as a family about which deserving charity you will donate to. Together.  (Talk about teachable moment!)
  • Making family time - a walk, a trip to a park, watching a slide show of old family photos, telling stories around a fire...
  • Singing holiday songs 
  • Making tasty holiday treats together
  • Read stories out loud together
  • Coloring or making arts & crafts together (talk about making great memories)
  • Strengthen your community by opting to spend your dollars at local Mom & Pop shops instead of multinational corporations
  • Spend some time at a local nursing home, talking, listening, being (there's nothing like the gift of time and appreciation)  
  • Make holiday cookies and give them to a neighbor  (maybe someone you've even never spoken to before?!)
  • .................what else???
There's so many awesome things that we could do!  Have any other ideas?  I'd love to hear all of them!

Wishing you a beautiful holiday season filled with love, kindness and gratitude.


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
--William Arthur Ward

Dec 4, 2011

Q&A With Chris Brogan

As I continue this fuzzy, confusing, wonderful path, I'm gathering information, learning, looking for role-models and inspiration.  Mentors.  So many great minds have gone before us - how did they do it? What was the key(s) to their success?  How did they get to where they are?  Where did they begin and what kept them going?  And while I believe in creativity and authenticity, I also believe in being wise enough to know when not to reinvent the wheel.  

Tonight i was fortunate enough to catch a tweet from media guru @chrisbrogan inviting folks to join him at his google+ page where he would answer questions.  Perfect!  Because I have so many questions!  And apparently, I'm not the only one. Immediately he was inundated with all sorts of great requests for advice.  I eagerly read every one, most of which left me wanting to know more.  Luckily, he types 100+ words per minute...

Some of my favorites;

David Crandall's profile photoDavid Crandall  -  What is your recommended course of action for someone who just got laid off and would like to make a living outside of the standard template of employment?
Connie Brand's profile photoConnie Brand  -  Is it better to stay a solo act entrepreneur/freelancer or build a team
Rob Wormley's profile photoRob Wormley  -  If I'm interested in authoring a book, is it best to publish and sell a few small e-books first to 'test the waters' and create a sense of legitimacy/credibility? Or should I just jump right in and get started with my book idea(s)?
 Ben Loeb's profile photo Ben Loeb  -  What advice do you have for a young marketing student? (Yes I asked you a more lighthearted question above)
Kellie Brooks's profile photoKellie Brooks  -  How do you fit someone who's multi-passionate into one website successfully? (Writer, futurist, hospitality consultant)  
Tim Burrows's profile photoTim Burrows  -  Hi Chris! If you could only use one social platform, what would it be? And if I could ask a part b...Why?

Michael Hiles's profile photoMichael Hiles  -  +Chris Brogan would you say that in 2011, getting published through a traditional publisher is relevant vs. self-pub and leveraging internet marketing/PR? The context is to not make money off the book, per se, but use it as a promotional platform/calling card. 

And his answers, 

Chris Brogan's profile photo
Read Escape from Cubicle Nation by +Pamela Slim , The Barefoot Executive by +Carrie Wilkerson , and all of +Chris Guillebeau 's books and take action. 

depends what you want to do. If you stay solo, you're good at building a cash flow business. If you want the next stage in business, it's building something that can be sold so you can bank the cash. If you get sick of disabled, your business stops when you do.

+Rob Wormley - the difference between mainstream and self-publishing is more about whether you want credibility or revenue. If A, then mainstream is the clearer route. If B, then self-publish. What publishers look for is that you have a platform to distribute the book. If not, it doesn't matter whether the idea was good. Trust Agents isn't a great book. I have a big platform. That's the difference. 

+Ben Loeb - learn more about analytics and the tech side of marketing. Too many people are thinking that 
good copy is all one needs.  

I asked him to elaborate, and he answered:  
+Hamsasya annie - I mean learning tools like Google Analytics, a strong email marketing platform, enterprise listening tools like Radian6 and Sysomos, and more. I mean mobile marketing tech and the like.)

+Kellie Brooks - I'm multipassionate. Try to find the blanket theme that covers all those passions. Writer is the most mutable. Futurist is a lot of fun. If you wrote about the future of hospitality and beyond, you'd have the trifecta. : ) 

+Tim Burrows - my blog, and because it's my own real estate and can effect the most value. 

+Michael Hiles - it depends what you want. If you want credibility, traditional publishing rules. If you want revenue or idea spreading, self is perfectly reasonable. If you want CEOs to pick up your book at airports, it's a little harder to get there with self publishing. Plus, for whatever stupid reason, people still think that "vanity press" means that your ideas are lackluster to a publisher (which is bullshit).

And finally, my favorite of course,

Hamsasya annie's profile photo
Hamsasya annie  -  How do you measure success? Are you there? How long did it take you to arrive? How clear was your path?
Chris Brogan's profile photo
Chris Brogan  -  +Hamsasya annie - I measure success by being able to choose how I spend my time. I'm there more often than not. It took me several years to figure it all out. My path wasn't clear at all. My biggest breakthrough was learning how to be helpful. The trinity of making money is having skills, then having skills that others can use to advance their own worlds, and then being able to marry those two things usefully.

Pretty awesome stuff.   And great tidbits that I will most definitely use as I forge my path.  It's nice to know there are such good people willing to share.

Thanks Chris!

Dec 1, 2011

Instapaper & TechyTalk

I've been totally techin out lately.  (I make words up).  Little antenna buds are startin' to sprout out the top of my head.  I've started muttering in robot when I think real hard. Today I checked out icloud for the first time &  downloa? uplo?  dow-  moved a bunch of pictures from my iphone to my computer.


And so handy! Why didn't Apple release that feature before?  They're so stingy with their goodies.

And with help from my friends, I've discovered SO many other things this week - apps, programs, concepts; like PinterestDelicious, Hootsuite, (thx @geekinhard & @theBLblog) Disqus, Posterous, Googleplus, Slideshare, AmazonAssociates, Spreadshirt, Canvaspop (thx @chrispugh), Pulse (thx @comicbookdave) .... Holy crap!  That's allot! And there was even more! I had no idea how much I've been learning until checking back at my notes.  (I've also started a new system to keep track of things which is working well! Ironically, it's a non-techy, oldschool system. Another post maybe?)

Anyway, Andrea (@holzinger3) asked about an app that I just installed and raved about at Twitter, so I thought I'd just explain here!   So with no further ado...

My new favorite App
By annie

Why yes Andrea (@holzinger3)!  Yes it is!  I'm glad you asked!  Instapaper helps you keep things for later.  Which rocks!  Let me explain;

Today @skinnyemmie tweeted a link to an article that she wrote which sounded really interesting! 

But I was doing other things.

"What am I going to do?"  I wondered.  

"I want to read it.....but......"

  No problem!  My new Instapaper account is here to save the day!  
Now I can just click this here paperclip;
Select "READ LATER"..........................


Now I can just log on to Instapaper's website and I'll be able find @skinnyemmie's article along with the others anytime I want!  

This awesome app allows you to grab things that catch your interest, save them, and read them later!
Freakin genius I tell ya, GENIUS!

And that's the end of my story. 

The End.