Joy is Contagious

About two weeks ago, I shared a story and video with you of James dancing at the Michigan Women’s Basketball game.

  • There was a game again last night.
  • And James struck again.

This time, when he rushed to the aisle to dance in his glory for the dance-cam, a younger woman decided to join the fun.

  • Unknown to James, she was dancing a few steps behind him.
  • She followed his dance lead.
  • And made the steps look a lot more sexy! (Sorry James!)

They both had a blast – and so did the rest of us in the area.

(Here’s a direct link to the video if you don’t see it in this post.)

When is the last time you let your joy of life loose on a crowd?

Get Over You and Say Thank You

cynthia at palace2What do you say when someone gives you a compliment?

  • Do you own it?
  • Or do you brush it off?
  • Like many of us were taught to do.

I’ve been speaking at leadership conferences for more than 20 years.

  • At my very first program, people came up at the end of the speech to compliment me on how I did.
  • I wasn’t comfortable with all the praise, so I brushed it off as fast as they gave it to me.
  • It was just me. I made a few mistakes. And so forth…

I soon noticed I was hurting people with my responses.

  • They approached me excitedly.
  • I told them how wrong they were for thinking I was great.
  • Their energy would drop and they would slink off.

What the heck was I thinking?

  • Why didn’t I own what they were saying?
  • Lightening was not going to strike me down if I simply said, “Thank you.”
  • Plus I worked hard to be so good and it felt great that they noticed.

So I changed my script. Here’s what I say today…

  • When someone tells me I rocked my speech, I thank them and ask what they liked best.
  • I am totally interested in what they have to say.
  • I get additional insights, thank them for sharing – and they walk away smiling.

When you deflect compliments, you not only reinforce a lesser you, you also hurt the person giving you the compliment.

  • Owning their observation shores you up – and makes them feel good.
  • All you need to say is “Thank you” to benefit both of you.
  • No negative follow ups to give away that little piece of power allowed!

How does it feel when you simply own a compliment?

The Polar Vortex is Coming AGAIN!

2014-summer-funThe polar vortex is NOT my friend.

  • I didn’t enjoy the minus 30 degree days earlier this year.
  • The endless cold.
  • Dreading bursting water pipes.

I wish the polar vortex wasn’t coming back this week to visit.

  • Nothing personal.
  • Just not a fan.
  • The hype is seductive.

We had gorgeous weather today.

  • It was sunny.
  • Almost 60 degrees.
  • Made me smile.

I decided to focus on enjoying the sunshine rather than wondering when the cold will arrive.

  • I live in Michigan.
  • The weather is always changing.
  • The last few years more unpredictable.

Staying in the now I had nothing to worry about.

  • (Except avoiding getting a sunburn.)
  • Tonight is still warm and moon gorgeous.
  • It’s a great day to be alive!

How about you? Do you stay in the now or fret on the future?

 

I Became an Orphan This Weekend

2009-mom-and-dad Not technically – but it does feel like it.

  • My dad passed a year and a half ago.
  • My mom moved to Tennessee this weekend.
  • I’m left alone.

All my life I’ve been the responsible one.

  • When Dad got Alzheimer’s about 12 years ago, I went in overdrive.
  • I was the official problem solver.
  • Helping to relieve stress on my parents as much as possible.

When my dad died, everything escalated.

  • Mom needed more from me than ever.
  • And I gave it best I could with love.
  • I am the first born and the daughter.

Two months ago, my brother convinced my mom to finally visit him and his family in TN.

  • Her first visit since they moved there a few years ago.
  • I handled the details to make travel easy for her.
  • Seven days later, I picked her up at the airport and she told me she was moving down there.

The last two months have been really hard on me.

  • Logically, I totally get her decision to live 10 minutes from my brother.
  • He’s got some kids.
  • She’ll finally get a chance to know them better.

On the other hand, the emotional part of me feels sort of rejected.

  • My brother called her maybe once a week and I was the giving tree for more than a decade.
  • Why wasn’t I enough?
  • I invested so much time in helping my parents – at a significant cost to the rest of my life.

And then reality hits – I’m free.

  • My brother is now her go-to person.
  • I get to live life on my terms – without endless calls.
  • Celebrate holidays my way with James and the girls.

Maybe being an “orphan” won’t be that bad after all?  (I can’t wait for the hurt to go away…)

I Hate When I Don't Follow My Own Advice

hatemailIn January, I’m launching the Powerful Woman Program.

  • I’m signing women up now.
  • To get their juices going in advance.
  • And make 2015 their most powerful year.

Today I did a webinar to showcase what I am up to.

  • I gave some easy-to-use ideas about women and power.
  • Explained the Powerful Woman Program.
  • Shared details about the 50% off really early bird discount.

I was trying the info-prenuer gurus’ recipe for securing program registrations.

  • Give them three great take-aways.
  • Explain the program.
  • Give them a deal.

And I got hate mail!

  • I NEVER get hate mail.
  • It crushed me on many levels.
  • She said basically, “This wasn’t what I expected from YOU.”

Reality started to sink in…

  • Between us, I didn’t like how the formula felt either.
  • And she was right.
  • It was definitely not a Cynthia-style approach to sharing exciting information.

I returned to my laboratory.

  • The Powerful Woman Program is going to help so many women.
  • I need to get the word out fast- especially so they can get the early, early bird deal if they have a tight budget!
  • Felt just a little (a LOT of) pressure.

Then I started to laugh…

  • I realized I wasn’t following my own advice.
  • To live life based on your rules.
  • Rather than what others say.

Okay, I got the message.

  • I am committed to being me – even in promotions.
  • Still bouncing ideas around.
  • Totally confident it’s going to be something that will rock.

How do you stay in alignment with yourself in your work – even if you work for someone else?

(And if you have any FUN ideas about how I can let women who want to have a voice at the table at work, be heard by their colleagues – and feel confident in their actions know about my new program, please let me know!)

I'll Take the Bat

Bat-girlI’m currently in a major growth mode.

  • It’s sort of fun.
  • I focus on stretching.
  • And am not always sure what’s next.

Take this Halloween…

  • We went to a neighbor’s house after we gave out our candy.
  • There were several kids there.
  • And Halloween things that go with kids.

Like tongue tattoos.

  • I had never heard of a tongue tattoo.
  • All the adults sitting at the table decided to do one.
  • How could I refuse?

I chose the tiniest one – the bat.

  • I wondered if the bat would count as going off my eating program?
  • It grossed me out to think about chemicals I was going to ingest.
  • And everyone else had already decorated their tongues.

So I did it.

  • I laid the paper on my tongue.
  • And sucked the bat to my tongue.
  • (Does anyone else think it looks more like a Rorschach ink blob than bat?)

Was this a silly party trick or life-changing event?

  • It was just a little game.
  • But it did stretch my comfort zone just the tiniest amount.
  • I looked goofy – but didn’t die.

I’m beginning to think with awareness can we grow in moments like this – rather than having to always go for the total life overhaul.

What do you think?

 

 

Me Meditate? Did Someplace Really Warm Freeze Over?

Cynthia-thinkingFor most of my life I’ve been in a battle with my body.

  • I wanted to weigh less.
  • It wanted to weigh more.
  • Up and down we go.

So I took up residence in my head.

  • It was safer there.
  • I love to think and analyze things.
  • My body didn’t listen to me anyhow.

This year brought a lot of transition into my life.

  • My mind went into hyperdrive over the summer.
  • And couldn’t downshift.
  • Sleep eluded me.

I decided it was time to do the adult thing.

  • I could hold out no more.
  • And I was desperate.
  • I signed up for a meditation class.

I girded myself to have to stare at a blank screen in my mind.

  • I knew I had a monkey brain that would not sit still.
  • Even staring at a candle  and counting my breath was useless.
  • This overachiever prepared for failure.

Thankfully, I found Vipassana (insight) meditation.

  • Vipassana approaches the mind like it’s a beautiful wild horse.
  • My mind is allowed to run with glee.
  • Periodically I take a time-out focusing on the in and out of my breath.

And the weirdest thing happened…

  • I love meditating!
  • At first it was like going to a blockbuster movie every day.
  • You would not believe what my mind came up with.

I gave myself a challenge to do 30 days of 30 minutes of meditating.

  • I’m currently on day 25.
  • I wake up excited to meditate first thing.
  • And find my days flowing with a lot more ease.

I have so much more I want to share with you about it.

  • But will save that for another day.
  • My guess is, those of you who know me well, have to get over your fit of laughter before you can hear more.
  • Deal with it. ;-)

What steps have you taken to better take care of you lately?

 

 

My Dad Trained Me to Be a Powerful Woman

2012-03-Cyn and DadI have been a daddy’s girl my entire life.

  • From the time I was able to walk, I followed him around.
  • Helped Dad with projects.
  • And learned like a sponge.

My dad believed in good manners.

  • Full manners, every meal.
  • Etiquette books in every bathroom.
  • It was his fault I almost got expelled from school for being rude when I correctly (and politely) corrected the home economics teacher on a point of manners.

My dad challenged me to write persuasively.

  • He taught me to write persuasively as soon I could write paragraphs.
  • We competed against each other to see who could get bigger results from the letters we would send companies.
  • My best response ever was a 31% return mailing to people I did not know.

My dad trained me to be a powerful woman.

  • I learned how to rule the room.
  • Walk like I owned the world.
  • And go toe-to-toe (respectfully) with Alpha males older than me.

He taught me how to hold my own in conversations.

  • In college, I had to debate the Wall Street Journal with him before going out with my girlfriends to meet men.
  • He taught me how to turn a point.
  • And close a deal – with a lovely smile too.

My dad was a feminist – but probably would deny it for much of his life.

  • He taught me to compete academically with the boys – and wait for them to open my door too.
  • He taught me to use the language of women to be extra persuasive.
  • He taught me to own my power as a woman so I could excel in a man’s world.

Tomorrow is my dad’s 87th birthday.

  • He’s been gone for about a year and a half.
  • And I miss him every day.

In honor of my dad and all he taught me, I’m debuting a new online program teaching women how to be more powerful.

And all that noise you’re hearing in the back of your head – it’s my dad cheering me on from heaven!