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There was a request for input from alumnae with experience in the area of substance abuse and recovery–one of my favorite subjects. I thought about it and sent off an email “yes, count me in!” to the email address cited in the article.
This was from my iPhone, which as you know, allows for limited keyboard dexterity.
Minutes later I received a return email with that annoying subject line: Delivery Status Notification (Failure).
“Damn,” I thought to myself. “Couldn’t the college have copy-edited the address more painstakingly? Now I’m going to have to call the alumnae office, inform them about the mistake and spend my precious time on their error.”
I’m back at my desktop computer with my mega-monitor scrolling through my inbox. Seeing that message on the big screen ow, I see that I typed in dot E-D-I instead of dot E-D-U.
As Roseanne Roseannadanna would have said, “Never mind.”
Joseph and Noah McVicker invented a substance to clean wallpaper. It was soft, pliable, durable. Trouble was, no one wanted it. And the McVickers set their invention aside.
Ten years later, the brothers heard an elementary school teacher describe how her students, with their little hands, struggled in their art projects. Art clay was hard and unyielding. So Noah and Joseph dusted off their invention—and today we call that wallpaper cleaner Play-Doh.
This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. Our world is full of ingenuity and innovations that at first solved nothing. Maybe you have a right idea that hasn’t found the right time. Stay open. Be patient…and keep thinking…in the high calling of our daily work.
Although our higher powers have different names, the message is the same. Stay open, be patient and keep thinking.
“I’m killing myself!”
“I’m going at breakneck speed.”
I recognize that these expressions are intended to demonstrate some kind of value in the marketplace, or on the domestic scene, but from the ‘taken-out-of-context’ perspective, read what these words are expressing.
Is this really what you want in your life? Is this the message you want to be putting out there and hearing yourself say? Does it sound familiar?
Right now I’m none of the above, and I’m okay with it. I consider myself to still be in transition from the end of a marriage two years ago and relocating to New York City last fall. Although I’m one who enjoys having a full plate, I’m learning to be with the peace and open space that being “not busy” creates.
I’ll never forget meeting a woman with a cast on her foot. When I asked her what had caused the injury, she said that for weeks she’d been saying, “I need a break! I need a break!” Walking out to her mailbox one morning, she tripped on a pebble and broke her ankle.
What message are you affirming to the Universe, and is it the one you want heard?
In my spiritual fellowship, where meetings are the primary source of connection and inspiration, I’ve often heard this expression: If you’re too busy to go to meetings, you’re too busy.
Does this apply to you?
I’ve been in NYC for seven months now and had my first up-close celebrity siting on the subway this morning. I recognized Christopher Palu, one of the finalists from Project Runway- Season 10, a design show I have avidly watched since its inception*. Anyone who watches any of these reality shows knows how close you feel to the contestants. We watch them not only demonstrating their talents, but also in their hotel rooms eating breakfast, quibbling with each other and dissing the competition.
But I refrained from greeting him by name in the subway.
I should have said what was on my mind. “I think you are amazingly talented, and I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated watching your creative process during the season you were on Project Runway.”
Instead, I was trying to be a cool New Yorker, accepting that celebrities walk amongst us, and giving him his space. I said nothing.
Why I regret it is, like many other business owners and ordinary citizens, I question my gifts on a regular basis. And then I’ll receive an email, like I did this weekend from a former client letting me know that she appreciates what I’ve contributed to her life. She wrote:
You never know where your face is shining. I just tossed a Mary Oliver book back in this basket (in my bathroom) and the books rearranged themselves to show your face. Made me smile. You’re sandwiched between Rumi & another Mary Oliver. Good company!
And I feel lifted up and re-energized. Yes, I would have survived another day without that input, but it was like a booster shot that added extra zip to my spirit for the day.
I want to go on record and encourage each person reading this today to share a good word with those you admire. Let them know. Say something positive to someone who has inspired you, touched you or made your life a bit brighter. Some of that karma may find its way back to you. And how would that feel?
It may be a little Pollyanna-ish, but I’ll cop to that and advise this anyway.
*At first I rented the DVD’s from the library to get caught up on the years I missed. Now, not being the owner of a television set, I download the show from iTunes when it’s in season.
I have a several accounts with Wells Fargo Bank including one that allows me to use ‘foreign’ ATM’s without incurring an additional fee.
I used to think that the fee was only what the competitor’s bank charged for my use of their ATM–as much as $3.00 per visit. But, a month ago I found myself with little cash and the need to get some in a neighborhood that was Wells Fargo-less. I remembered that special card, popped it in for my cash withdrawal, pushed the OK button acknowledging the $3.00 surcharge, appreciating that as a valued customer it would be removed from my the transaction by the time it reached my account.
It was not removed. To add insult to injury, Wells Fargo charged me an additional $2.50 for the ‘foreign’ transaction.
After many phone calls that made me feel less like a platinum customer than I already did, it was resolved. I had been issued the cards in Connecticut, and the New York City banks were not recognizing my special status. Wells Fargo generously, and wisely, refunded my money and explained that if I opened a NY-based account specifically, I could approach ‘foreign’ ATM’s three times a month free of charge. I partook of that agreement.
I had held onto that new card for awhile when I began getting notices that I should initiate it by using it or calling in to have it confirmed. I didn’t really need cash in any outside neighborhood, but figured I’d give it a shot to begin the process. But then I hesitated. Are they (Wells Fargo) just going to reimburse me the $2.50 per transaction for using a ‘foreign’ machine? Will I still be charged the $3.00 fee from the competitor? I hate using an ATM to just get out a small amount of money and paying percentage-wise a larger amount. I don’t mind losing $3.00 if I’m taking out $300, but resent it if I’m only withdrawing $60 to test the system.
This took up space in my head for at least a week. I didn’t want to spend any additional time going through a phone chain to ask that question, and the website is hopeless for finding out that specific piece of information. I finally got tough with myself and thought, “Here’s a $3.00 investment in banking knowledge. Once I do this, I’ll know.” Sure enough, I withdrew $100 and accepted the $3.00 fee at Chase.
The good news was that when I did my daily online accounting the next day, I saw that the $3.00 fee was reversed by Wells Fargo, and there was no additional fee added. The transaction cost me nothing. And took me a week of stewing and fretting to even attempt.
Now, if you can’t indentify with this on some level, then my hat’s off to you. Because every (truth-telling) entrepreneur I’ve ever spoken to has allowed this kind of pre-meditatitive thinking to stall action on things way more important than a $3.00 bank fee. Not knowing the answers is a scary place to be, but inaction is an even more frightening location to operate from.
Now, if I would just take my own advice more often. I know the answer to analysis paralysis. It is ACTION. Do something and get a result. Then move on from there.
All progress is a matter of baby steps. What millimeter action forward do you need to take today?
The ‘impostor syndrome’ came up recently in a group I was leading. One member, who by the way had recently received major recognition in the media, described that less-than feeling she was experiencing. I encouraged her to share her feelings, because they’re real, painful and need an outlet. But I also wanted her to know that she was not alone. I asked if anyone else in the room ever felt that way. EVERY hand went up, including mine.
The best method I have for overcoming or dealing with envy of the competition is to drill down to what it is about their business model you wish was yours and use that information to grow your own company.
In my book Soul Proprietor, Lesson 9 is: In changing what is into what can be, we learn what we need to know.
That issue came up big time for me when I was first exhibiting my artwork. The jewelry display, and its proprietor across the aisle from my booth, were the objects of my jealousy. Not only did she have an elaborate set-up with brown ultrasuede walls dripping with her masterpieces, she also had a mob of women with fistfuls of money seeking her attention and products. There were other sales people in her booth helping her. In short, she had everything I wanted, but with a different craft and more experience.
That didn’t mean anything to me. I wanted instant recognition and fortune. Who doesn’t?
After a bout of unrewarded pouting, I began to analyze what it was she was doing and how she may have achieved her success. I had time on my hands as my booth was not busy at all giving me time to think and plan. Of course, you’ll have to read the lesson yourself for the details, but suffice it to say, my methodology worked. I became successful and stopped looking over my shoulder.
The impostor syndrome doesn’t go away, but now I can recover from it much faster or ask myself the question: Is that really what I want? The answers are changing.
You never know where inspiration and motivation will strike.
For me it was late Friday in a new chiropractor’s office staring at a sign on his wall. Under the emboldened saying were the words: “Five Dangerous Words to Say” and above that were the words themselves:
“Maybe it will go away.”
It doesn’t matter what the IT is. In this wellness provider’s office, it was body pain. But, no doubt, you’re familiar with that thought pattern even if it doesn’t land you in a health practitioner’s domain.
“If I don’t do anything,” it says, “it may get better.” And sometimes that’s so.
Last night, as my computer sputtered and stalled in the Outlook phase of my deskwork, I insisted, “Maybe it will go away.” The dreaded thought I continued to have after I abandoned ship for the night was that what I really needed wasn’t the new monitor I bought and installed last week, but a whole new system. Perish the thought.
This morning, however, I sailed through my inbox leading me to believe it was a connection problem and that everyone in my building was sucking the Time Warner cable lines dry at the same time. I won’t choose to dig deeper until the pain is too great and I have to.
You get to pick your challenges and where to check your foundations. You can sail along in your work/personal life for a long time without feeling the pain. But at some point, it catches up with you, and demands your attention. As it has with the back/leg pain I’ve been enduring for a while now. I know I need to look at the greater system and stop applying bandaids.
Where else that applies in my life is directly addressing issues as they arise and not sweeping them under the rug. It’s seeking out and going to a new doctor, asking for the contract IN WRITING, gently confronting the issue at hand IN THE MOMENT and not hoping it will go away. I’m not 100%, but I’m moving towards the goal of living in the moment, addressing reality and dealing with what is now.
No doubt you’ve heard the saying that when you point the finger at someone else, there are three others pointing back at you. May I tell you how much I hated that adage?
I far preferred to place the blame on anyone but moi. Me, wrong? Can’t be!
I was fueled by self-righteousness and perfectionism. It’s a great smokescreen for insecurity and feeling ‘less than.’ If I could place the blame squarely on anyone else, I could remain on my perch as the hero or the victim, but never the architect of misjudgment or wrongdoing.
Last Friday I was unable to log onto the dashboard I use for administering my monthly call to my Soul Proprietor Community. I entered the usual URL for the conference line, but kept getting an error message. I remembered that my VA had requested my new credit card number for the May billing cycle. But it didn’t even occur to me to stir up anger at her, because even if she hadn’t gotten to that task yet, it wouldn’t have remedied the situation at hand in that moment.
I couldn’t start the recording as I normally would have, so thought quickly and explained to the group that I would offer the session a second time and record it then. I proceeded to conduct the rest of the call without benefit of the muting option, but it went smoothly nonetheless.
Two very cool things happened. One–the recorder went on automatically unbeknownst to me so the call did get recorded (perfectly, btw), and I did not need to duplicate the effort. The second was this message from a participant:
I learned a wonderful lesson today on our conference call. There were some technical mishaps with recording and sound feedback. If I had been in Jane ‘s shoes I would have gone nuts. However, it was so refreshing and eye opening to see how Jane handled the situation. As a participant I found that her attitude did not cause stress to me (the client/guest) and in fact made me find humor and humanness.
I’m about to get on the phone with my assistant,(who had paid the monthly fee for me) and navigate how to NOT have this happen in the future. I’m very grateful that I didn’t blame her for something she didn’t do to relieve my anxiety in the moment. Relationship and sanity saved.