success

The Optimist Creed

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I came across an inspirational piece today that I’d never read before.  It was written by Christian D. Larson, New Thought leader and teacher, as well as a prolific author of metaphysical and New Thought books.  Will Rogers, the cowboy/humorist, used this piece when he chartered the Beverly Hills Optimist Club in 1922.  He asked Mr. Larson if the group could use these lines as their credo – they changed the name of the piece to “The Optimist Creed” and it remains their creed today.

Being a natural born optimist, I enjoyed this and hope you do to!

“Promise Yourself” also known as “The Optimist Creed”
Christian D. Larson

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

What are Your Limits?

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I’m a possibility thinker.  I love helping others to dream big, to think of all the possibilities and then to choose one and get into action to make it happen.  Along the way, I’ve learned to embrace the word “limit”.  A word I never thought I’d like.  But here’s the thing.  Setting limits -limits that YOU choose -actually makes you more powerful.

When you set limits, you focus.  And focus is key to getting things done.  You set a goal, break it down to projects, break your projects down to tasks, set your limits, focus and get things done.  That leads to success after success.  And with each success you gain confidence.  You walk taller.  You shine brighter.  And all that attracts more possibilities, more opportunities, more joy, and more abundance.

So how do you set limits?  Here are 3 tips:

1.  Think of an area of your life that is overwhelming you.  Something that feels out of control.  Maybe you look at your desk and it’s a mountain of papers – every time you look at it you think of all the things you aren’t completing.  Or ever decide to check email and realize an hour later that you’ve just wasted your time focusing on a bunch of stuff that doesn’t matter?

2.  Pick one area.  Let’s use email for this example.  What are you currently doing?  Checking email 10 times a day?  Maybe more?  Do you have a sound alerting you each time an email lands in your inbox?

3.  Set a limit that makes sense to you.  Maybe you’ll decide to check email twice a day -at noon and before you end your work day.  Make it an experiment.  Try it for a week and see if you’re feeling more in control and getting more done on the things that are most important to you.  If you find it’s truly hurting your ability to serve your clients, revise your limits and try another experiment.  Once you find a limit that works, practice it for at least 21 days to make it a habit.  Now choose another area and set a new limit.

Try this and you will find that you’ll get overwhelm under control, feel less stress and get things done.  You’ll also find that people will respect your time more if you have limits.  So give it a try.  Post your new limit here on a comment and keep us posted on your success!

Do You Charge What You’re Worth?

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There’s a good chance you don’t. You may think you don’t have enough experience. You may fear that you can’t deliver high quality services. You may just not feel “good enough.”

If you are a true beginner you might want to charge a lower fee in order to gain experience; however, before you do this, I urge you to talk to a coach or a trusted advisor to do a “reality check.” You may not be able to see clearly all the life experience, knowledge and value you are bringing to the table.

If you are not a beginner, here are a few tips to effectively master the emotionally loaded topic of how to charge what your worth.

1. Pricing is an art not a science. There are no hard and fast rules. You can experiment. Establish a baseline by calculating the amount you absolutely must have each month to meet your expenses then double that amount to account for those variable life insurance quotes, savings, retirement and other business expenses you may not be taking into consideration.

You may want to triple your initial amount so that you’ll have money left over for travel and other enjoyments. Divide your total amount by 20 hours a week for 48 weeks (or the number of weeks you expect to work in a year). I say 20 hours because some of your time will be spent on marketing, administration, professional development, research, etc. If you will actually be delivering billable services more than 20 hours a week, adjust the formula to fit your situation. This amount is the minimum you need to be making during each hour of service.

Try a price on for size and see if you feel satisfied with delivering your service for that fee. If you feel resentment -you’re not charging enough. You can adjust your pricing till you find the range that fits.

2. When delivering services it’s always better to charge a project fee rather than an hourly fee. You are bringing value to the client -you are solving a problem -you are not trading dollars for hours of your vital life energy. Yes, I showed you in #1 how to establish an hourly rate -that’s so you would have an idea of how to price your project. Estimate the number of hours it will take to complete the project or deliver the service and you’ll have a project fee. Yes, sometimes you will find you underestimated and you will also find that sometimes you finish more quickly than you anticipated.

3. Expect the “gulp” factor. Each time I’ve stretched myself to raise my prices, I find myself swallowing, a gulp, as I quote the fee or write it into a proposal. But what a great feeling when the client says yes and you recognize your value. It gets easier with practice.

Deliver excellent service. Be reliable. Be honest. And charge what you’re worth!

I’d love to hear your thoughts – so go ahead and post them here.

Poetry: A Doorway to Your Authentic Life

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I’m entering into a new…what should I call it? phase of life, era, mindset? a new journey… yet another grand experiment.

What has triggered this big shifting? Internal divine discontent combined with the external joyous event called “ordination” that I experienced on Friday, April 8, 2011. As I feel the rumbles deep within, I’m drawn back to poetry. Here’s one that is resonating with me to the core…by David Whtye from his book entitled “The House of Belonging.”

If you’d like to travel with me on this deep and amazing journey, be sure to register to get my email notes announcing our various teleconference groups and workshops -I’ll be offering a discussion/sharing group soon (that is not for the faint of heart!). Together we’ll discuss David Whyte’s book “Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity.” You can get on the mailing list here: www.authenticlifeinstitute.com

Igniting your Spirit,
Ann

WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN WAKING

In that first hardly noticed moment
in which you wake,
coming back to this life
from the other, more secret,
moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment
you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small
for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly
Will make plans enough with
the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember the other world
in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest
on this earth.
You are not an accident
amidst other accidents.

You were invited here
from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now looking through the slanting light
of the morning window

toward the mountain presence of everything that can be,
what urgency calls you
to your one love?

What shape awaits
in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the shape of the life
you can imagine for yourself?

In the open and lovely white page
on the waiting desk?

Success Starts With Your Thinking

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Here’s where I am with starting a new stream of income within my “Everyday a Vacation Day” vision – a travel agency. I chose a host agency and signed on with them. I’m now in the process of learning their systems, learning more about the industry, working towards certification and most important -letting others know how I can help them make their travel dreams happen in the easiest, most enjoyable way possible.

And I get to have beginners mind again! My other income streams -coaching others so they can do what they love and grant writing are already successful -I enjoy the work, it comes to me easily and I’m confident in my ability to deliver a great (and fun! yes, even grantwriting) service.

With this new venture, all the old beliefs around what the hell am I doing and how on earth can this ever make money are popping up. And I’m glad. I get to go back to the place where many of you are today and remember, at a cellular level, what it feels like to be scared, have huge doubts and face down naysayers. What will sustain me through this? First remember why I am doing this. Travel is something I am passionate about and driven towards. I can talk and read and write about travel and never get tired of it. I value travel experiences for the opportunity to stretch my mind, meet people who live life differently then I do. I love seeing the world through new eyes. And best yet, the way that travel reminds me that we are all truly one -as all us/they barriers melt away when you look people in the eye and share smiles.

Every single coach I’ve had, no matter how pragmatic, made me start a business by working on my inside first. You need to acknowledge your desires, beliefs and mindset in order to succeed in the outer world of delivering services, selling products and making money. Every successful person spends some time in introspection. So start here. More next time on what to do with eliminating those beliefs that stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial dream.

Starting A Business

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Starting a business is exciting and scary at the same time.

I’ve got two that are up and running pretty smoothly so…I’m ready to start another one!  I like to call them profit centers.  I’m going to start a travel agency business from home.

This profit center combines several of my passions.  As many of you know my life vision is “Everyday A Vacation Day.” You know how you wake up with that feeling of excitement and anticipation when you’re on vacation. The day is a blank slate and you get to create what you want with it.  That’s what I want for each of you too -to enjoy most of what you’re doing…every day.  And, it’s a portable business I can work on with my husband.  Fun!

I thought it would be a great experiment to document my progress here in this blog. I’m thinking it may help you on your journey to creating your profit centers.

I’ll share what my next steps are, my progress, my bumps along the way and soon…my successes!

So here we go.

Step 1. I googled “home based travel agency.” I found a homebasedtravelagent.com website created by Tom and Joanie Ogg. I browsed it and read some articles.

Step 2. I went to FabJobs and bought a book on becoming a travel agent. I like this resource and have several of their titles on my website http://authenticlifeinstitute.com/how_to_guides.htm  (I receive a small commission for referring their products.)

I browsed a bit more, saw that Tom Ogg’s name came up a few times as a trusted, knowledgeable professional so went back to his site, purchased two of his information products and joined his forum.

Step 3: After spending about 3 weeks reading and gathering information I had the lay of the land and knew what my next step was.  I haven’t got a clue about how a lot of this works yet but all I need to know is the next step. In this case that is to decide whether to find a host agency or go it on my own.   I decided on the host agency route. I know I’ve got a big learning curve ahead of me and I want to learn from successful travel agents who are already where I want to be.

Next step?   Research five host agencies.    So for all of you thinking of starting a home based business.   The first step is like a research project.  You need information.

But  the very next step I’m taking  is a cruise to the Mexican Riviera.  I leave Saturday.  Got to do research you know 🙂

Star

Are Your Habits Supporting YOUR Life?

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What are some of your daily habits? It’s worth taking a look at them. Your habits shape what you do with your precious time. You can decide for yourself which habits you engage in are “good” or “bad.” I’d say that the actions you take that positively contribute to your health, happiness, prosperity and relationships are worth keeping. Anything else -well, you might want to make some changes. Here are some habits that I find to be dreamkillers:

1. Email. In my opinion, opening email first thing in the day is not the best way to start out. You’re allowing others to shape your thoughts, actions and even your mood. I say make your first actions meaningful ones -something that makes you happy, something that inspires you to live a fantastic day, or something that contributes to a goal you have. Check email after you’ve done the most important things first.

2. Mindless eating. I think this widely accepted American habit contributes to obesity, poor health and a lack of enjoyment. When you eat – just eat. Don’t read, watch tv or keep one hand on the keyboard. Be aware of the texture of the food, the taste in your mouth, how it feels in your belly. Give thanks for all the people involved in getting the food to your table. Sure, enjoy good conversation in between bites -but other than that – mindful eating will enhance your health and your life.

3. Noise. Lord, there’s noise everywhere! When I pump gas there’s a t.v. blaring at me (I skip that gas station now). I got a new dentist after my former dentist installed flat screen tvs in each exam room. I’m sure some patients appreciate it, but I got nervous when I noticed the dentist kept looking up at the t.v. Silence is a good habit to cultivate for the soul. Your inner voice knows a lot -it just needs a little time to be heard. Allow for some silence each day.

Be a gentle observer of your habits. Don’t beat yourself up -just notice. Which ones make you happy? Which ones move your goals and dreams forward? Which ones are obstacles. Pick one and decide to change it. Here’s a cool tool I found today that might inspire you -and it’s free. www.habitforge.com

Would love to hear about a habit you’re ready to change. Post your comment here and let us know!

Goal Setting: The Quickest Way to Confidence

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Do you find yourself struggling between setting goals and just living in the present moment?  There’s a tricky line to walk between the two.  If you’re constantly focused on the future and your goals, you may be missing out on wonderful moments in the here and now.   You may also have blinders on and not see unexpected opportunities right before you -something that might even be better than the goal you’re working on because you’ve got your eyes on that future prize that beckons.

I’ve found a balance that works pretty well for me between goal setting and enjoying the present -it might work for you too.  First thing each day I spend some quiet time.  Many successful people advocate this habit.  William Penn said, “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”  So I sit.  And watch my thoughts come and go.  And after a few minutes I feel myself settling down.  And many times, that still, small voice within gives me ideas that move my goal forward.  This simple practice keeps me centered and able to be mindful during the day, enjoying the moments for what they are and it also keeps me focused when I am working on something related to my goal so I can get it done more quickly and efficiently.

Another thing that works is to consider what you will feel when you achieve your goal.  For me the answer, regardless of the goal, is often that I feel confident, generous and free.  When I’ve achieved something I experience confidence, I feel authentic and strong.   I am able to be fully generous with others -with money and kind words and actions. And, I feel free…free to live my life the way I want to. A big key to all this is to pay attention to your current experiences that allow you to feel the way you believe your goal will allow you to feel.  Chances are, you already have some of what you are seeking in your life right now.  Do more of those things.  The more you feel your desired feelings right now, the easier you’ll find it to get to your goal.

Lastly, always tell at least one person of your goal and get their support. Of course, be sure to tell someone who wants to support you in living life your way.  If you don’t get this support, it’s much more difficult to stick with it -it’s so easy to live each day being pulled in the directions that other people want you to go.

So go ahead and do some goal setting.  Know what you want to feel.  Enjoy those feelings now, in the present.  And live life YOUR way.

Are You In The Game?

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I’m a sports fan. Last night I watched my New England Patriots football team roust their arch rival the New York Jets. Yay! (Sorry to you Jets fans!)

Something I see often in working clients, is that dreams often get stalled and even die because the person just didn’t get in the game.

What do I mean by that?

Here’s an example. I want to explore a new profit center in the field of travel. I’m not sure yet what shape it will take -I have plenty of ideas.

I could create a niche travel copywriting service.

I could become a travel agent and focus on a niche in spiritual travel or “pubs and people” travel or both!

I could become a tour operator and lead tours myself.

Now if I don’t take some kind of action -all those great ideas will be lost and I will be withholding some great services from people who are hungry for them.

So how do I get in the game? Here’s my first four steps.

1. Books on my shelf research.
I have some books on good careers for people over 50 -I checked out the resources they recommended for the travel field.

2. Internet research.
I looked up some of the authors that were recommended. I found some upcoming conferences for travel. I found a potential niche that fits my background beautifully combining academia, nonprofit, writing and travel.

3. Read. I ordered some ebooks from a well known author after reviewing plenty of free content on his website.

4. Social Media. I signed up for some Linked In Groups and twitter feeds. Now I can have conversations with people who are already in the game.

Next steps? Read and complete a workbook on how to be a travel agent. Choose a niche. Participate in conversations. Ask questions. Get a WordPress page up. Create an easy marketing plan. Make money. Have fun.

What game do you want to get in? These first steps are no or low cost so jump in.

What I’ve learned is you can’t see how it’s going to turn out. That amazing, unexpected things happen when you get in the game.

I’d love to read your comments about how you are getting in your game.

I already know you’re a winner!

Potential: Are You Using Yours?

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Astronomers recently discovered that there are three times as many stars in the universe than was previously thought.

Up till now, they have seriously underestimated the number of other suns in other galaxies – and that means there must be many more planets orbiting them where other life forms might exist. Mind blowing!

Which got me thinking…where are you seriously underestimating yourself?

I see it all too often in people -I can see their amazing potential, their strong qualities, their unique way of looking at the world, yet they stay stuck in old, tired habits that aren’t fulfilling them.

Here’s how to see the three times as many stars in your personal universe that you just might be overlooking!

1. Make a decision.
Want to have a six figure income? A lighter body? A meaningful relationship? Decide today that you will have that and that nothing will stop you.

2. Get clear.
80% of your success comes from being absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish.

3. Plan every day in advance.
This simple habit is a practice every successful person uses.

4. Use simple project planning.

What does the end look like? What steps have to be done to get there? Organize the list of steps by priority and sequence. Be accountable to someone else for getting the steps done. Delegate what you can and hold others accountable.

5. Follow the 80/20 rule.
Make your first activities of the day be the 20% vital ones that will contribute 80% of the value to you.

6. Focus and concentrate without distraction on the most important thing you need to accomplish and stay with it till i’s done. If it’s a large task, break it down into doable chunks so that you can complete one piece at each sitting.

When you apply these practices and accomplish major things -you generate amazing feelings of well being. You’ll be happy and energized and motivated to take on the next task. And you will see that there is indeed an amazing bounty of all good in your universe just waiting for you to reach out and take it.

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