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What have you been wanting to do for a long time?

Is there something that you’ve wanted to do for a really long time, but just haven’t gotten done?

For me that “something” is to write a book.

Even as a child, I wanted to be a writer. I penned poems and short stories, and dreamed of someday writing a novel.

When I developed my coaching programs, I visualized putting the concepts into writing so that I could reach a larger audience. I fantasized about being on The Today Show like my friend and ukulele singing partner Jeanne Martinet for her bestselling book The Art of Mingling (which I highly recommend and is on my list of books).

But year after year has gone by, and I just never did it.

I know there are lots of reasons I haven’t followed through. The voices in my head say, “I don’t know how to write a book.” “Who will read it besides my friends and family?” “What if it’s a flop?” “I’m not a real author.” “It’ll take way too much time.” I could go on, but you probably hear the same voices in your head.

Enter short books.

Short books are books that are – you guessed it, short! They don’t require months of writing in solitude or elaborate outlines, publishing houses or publicity tours. They don’t even have to be particularly good.

While I’ve known about short books for a while, I kinda turned my nose up at them, because, ya know, I wanted to be a legit author with a bestselling book. But I’ve finally come to the realization that it’s all a bunch of bull, and what really matters is Writing. A. Book.

So I’ve joined a short book accountability group, and tonight is our first meeting. I’m both excited and nervous about starting. Excited because “I’m doing it!” And nervous because, “What if I don’t do it??”

Having a group for support is one of the best ways you can get past what’s keep you stuck and overwhelmed and propel you into action. That’s why I’ve been hosting my Mindset Reset Community Call every Wednesday at 1:00 PM EST. On the call you’ll get the support from me as a coach as well as a supportive community of like-minded entrepreneurs. So if there’s something that you’ve wanted to get done for a while, join us every Wednesday to get into action.

Hope to see you on the call!


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That life-altering experience you’re waiting for isn’t coming

I just got back from the doctor. I had noticed swelling under my right arm, and because I had lymphoma in 2007, I take these things very seriously. The earliest appointment I could get was for this morning.

All weekend my thoughts jumped from “It’s going to be fine” to “what if?” I found myself choosing activities based on how much joy it would bring me, because, well, “what if?” I gave my children hugs, relaxed with my husband, and took (almost) the whole day off on Memorial Day.

Other thoughts crept in: about how long I’ve talked about writing a book, but haven’t actually done it yet, and “if” something was really wrong, I might never get the chance to write it; about taking better care of myself by giving up sugar and exercising more consistently; about how I’d give it all up and take that dream trip across the country.

I had all these thoughts in 2007 too.

Back then, did learning that lymphoma could be caused by ingesting pesticides have me buy organic? Nope. Did knowing that stress contributes to illness inspire me to meditate daily? Nope. Did I wholeheartedly cherish myself, mind, body and spirit, and get a whole new lease on life?

Nope again.

So why didn’t this life-altering experience change me? Partly because I was already striving to eat well, exercise, take time for relaxation, and tell my family how much I loved them.

But I still I have certain behaviors that aren’t healthy for me that I want to change. And from my experience, even faced with our mortality (or failure), we still grapple with procrastination, helplessness, and just plain inertia. Case in point – I didn’t start writing my book over the weekend.

Why do we do this?

  1. We are remarkably tolerant. We are tolerant, day in and day out, of the most annoying, difficult, unpleasant, and uncomfortable situations in our lives. We are so tolerant that often the situation becomes completely unbearable before we do anything about it.
  2. We are stuck in “as soon as” conversations. We think that “as soon as” the economy improves, our kid starts school or we get enough money, things will change. We really believe this, and nothing could be further from the truth.
  3. We are committed to being right about our stories. By stories, I mean the circumstances you describe when you talk about why things aren’t going as well as you’d like. There’s no doubt that I could convince you of how “busy” I am to be the reason that I haven’t finished that book yet.

Fortunately, my tests this morning came back clean and my doctor told me there’s nothing to worry about. While that was obviously a relief, it leaves me in a different quandary. Without the imposed urgency of an illness to get me into action, what will?

The answer is simple: choice. What a productive world we would live in if all that it took for us to get something done would be to CHOOSE to do it and then do it, without any change in circumstance, inspiration, or external force. There’d be no time wasted agonizing over tough decisions, telling the same old stories, and regretting that we didn’t act differently back when we had the chance.

But although it is simple, it is not easy. We may not know how to do what we want, or we may be stopped by fear.

As a coach, I am committed to your success. Join me on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM EST for my weekly Mindset Reset Community Call, a free group coaching call for entrepreneurs to support and inspire you. Click here to join. We’ll tackle those burning questions and get you on track to building an abundant business.

See you on the call!

In abundance,

Liz

P.S. One of the participants of the MSRS Community Call, Ellisen Weng told me, “Thank you for hosting your weekly calls. The information was really powerful and insightful.” No need to register, just jump on the call using this link https://zoom.us/j/6180860750.


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Burglars don’t knock

My husband Jon and daughter Isabel spent this past weekend at our upstate house and Isabel came home with this story:

While watching a movie at about 11:30 Saturday night, they heard a loud sound as though a heavy object had fallen.  They couldn’t find the source of the sound, so they went back to watching the movie.

A few minutes later, they heard a knock at the door.

Our house is located on a remote road where even during the day very few cars pass.  There are no other houses within eyesight, and at night the area is completely devoid of light.

My nephew Matt opened the door and a raspy voice gargled out, “I’m a fireman.” At this point, the others had gathered around the door to see who it was.  Matt asked him, “Is there a fire?” but he only rambled on incoherently until he finally said, “I was in a car crash.  Can I use your phone?”

That’s when my husband stepped out onto the porch. He then left the porch to walk into the darkness with the man.

For 30 minutes, Matt, Isabel and my niece Camille waited while their agitation grew.  Camille and Matt had gotten fire pokers ready to use as a defense, and Isabel was poised to dial 911.  They could see activity at the edge of the property.  Another car came slowly and eerily down the road, the headlights piercing the darkness.  They had no new information about what was going on, and the threat only seemed to increase as more people joined the scene.

Even as she was telling the story, Isabel’s fear was palpable.  I could feel a sense of my own foreboding creeping in.

This is fear in action.

Everything – the darkness, the knock at the door at night, the lack of additional information, and the man’s behavior – all fed into the fear that SOMETHING BAD WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

In fact, the man had crashed his car into a tree, and the other people had come to tow his car back to his house.  He was drunk and hurt, which contributed to his incoherence.  And, he had a tracheotomy, which accounted for the raspy voice.

The fact is, burglars don’t knock. 

 But when fear is present, we don’t look at things logically.  In the absence of information, our minds make stuff up.  And it’s always bad stuff.  And that bad stuff translates into fear.  Fear blows everything out of proportion, because being safe is our number one priority.  It’s survival at its finest.

In my coaching practice, I’ve seen fear stop so many people dead in their tracks.  These are fears of rejection, failure, not being good enough, and even fear of success. Some of these fears have been surfacing during our weekly Mindset Reset Community Call, especially because of the pandemic.

I’ve developed a very simple process for cutting through your fear so that you can get back to taking confident action in your business: 

At the top of a piece of paper, first complete the sentence: What I want to create is…

Then create two columns.  The first column is your fears.  Write down every fear/doubt/negative statement you have related to your desire.  After you’ve completed that list, in the second column, write a positive or rational counter statement to that fear.

As an example, what I want to create is a best selling book.  In my fear column, I would write things like: 1. I’m not a professional writer; 2. I’ve never written a book before; 3. no one will want to read it; 4. I won’t know how to market it.  Then in my rational column, I would write something counter to each fear: 1. That’s what editors are for; 2. Lots of first time authors have success; 3. People are already telling me they want to read it, also millions of books are sold each year; 4. There are professionals who will help you with that.

 This is a great exercise to do with other people, because they can contribute their ideas to you as well.  So if you have any particular area where you aren’t taking action because of a fear, join my Mindset Reset Community Call every Wednesday at 1:00 PM EST.  No need to RSVP, just jump on the call.  We’ll work through those burning questions and get you back into action.


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Have you been feeling this way?

I’m hosting a free weekly group Zoom call to support our community of entrepreneurs. We meet on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM EST. Jump on the call tomorrow! Details are below.

Last Wednesday we discussed ways to stay productive during this crazy time. It’s a theme I’ve been hearing consistently from my coaching clients, who tell me they feel unfocused. There’s certainly no lack of distractions vying for our attention, from daily press conferences, to videos of how to stay safe when shopping for food, to real concerns about our friends and family who may be sick with the virus.

A few people shared about how they work all day but get to the end of the day feeling like they didn’t get anything done. But that’s not necessarily true. Just because you feel unproductive, doesn’t mean you are unproductive.

I love this chart from Todd Herman, the creator of The 90 Day Year. He talks about how the human brain tricks us into thinking we haven’t made progress when actually we have. On the left he illustrates how if you’re only measuring the gap from where you are to where you want to be, you’ll be in the “chasm of despair,” whereas on the right if you look back to measure how far you’ve come, you’ll be in the “valley of confidence.”

The reality is that no matter how much we do, there’s always going to be more to do. As a general rule, entrepreneurs are a driven bunch who have ambitious plans. When we reach a goal, we rarely rest on our laurels, and instead move on to what’s next.

One tactic you can use is to write down what you do during the day. Then at the end of the day you can review it and see the facts of how much you actually accomplished, not just what you think you accomplished. Don’t discount the “small” actions, which when done consistently will add up to big results.

Join me tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1 at 1:00 PM EST so that we can come together to share our concerns and get support. The link to join is https://zoom.us/j/6180860750 or dial 646-876-9923 and use meeting code 618-086-0750.

Send me a quick message here to let me know you’ll be joining, and feel free to spread the word to others.

I look forward to seeing you on the call!

P.S. If you’ve been feeling scattered and unfocused, you’re not alone. Jump on tomorrow’s call to get support to keep your business moving forward.


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Need some support during the COVID-19? Join me on a call every Wednesday

Are these crazy times or what? In all my years of business I’ve never experienced anything like it – even having lived through events as severe as 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.

In just a few short days we’ve seen entire cities shut down (not to mention states and even countries!), and watched while thousands of small businesses and solopreneurs lose opportunities to generate revenue to keep their business afloat.

To make matters more challenging, “social distancing” has left many of us feeling isolated, with even simple day-to-day interactions like buying a cup of coffee at our favorite coffee shop lost to us.

It’s easy in these situations to get caught up in doomsday scenarios and be carried away by our fear of the unknown. I know how important it is to have an abundance mindset to counteract those fears, so I’ve decided to host a free weekly group Zoom call to support our community of entrepreneurs. We’ll meet on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM EST until we can get through this. You can join the call at https://zoom.us/j/6180860750, or by dialing 646-876-9923 and using meeting code 618-086-0750.

And while the situation is certainly serious, there are ways we can leverage this forced slowdown. Here are a few things that you can do:

– Get stuff done. You know those projects you said you would like to do, if only you had the time? Now is the time to get them done. Write that book, update that web page, publish those blog posts, start that podcast, finish that online course… By doing these projects you will feel more empowered and in control. Extra bonus is that when business picks up again (which it will, I assure you!) you’ll have strengthened the structure of your business.

– Handle something you’ve been tolerating. Stand in the middle of your work space and look around. What bugs you? How about those unfiled papers, old business cards, unanswered low priority emails, and other tasks that keep your space and brain cluttered? Every item you check off your stale to-do list will feel like an accomplishment and inspire you to do more.

– Network. I guarantee there are at least 10 people you could reach out to today to check in on and network with. Start with those old business cards. Send an email to reconnect, or better yet, just pick up the phone and call. There’s never going to be a better time to have a conversation and to create relationships with people.

Just because we’re not able to be together in person doesn’t mean we need to isolate ourselves. Luckily technology is on our side and we can use it to connect. Join me on Wednesday’s at 1:00 PM EST so that we can come together to share our concerns and get support. The link to join is https://zoom.us/j/6180860750.

Send me a quick message here to let me know you’ll be joining, and feel free to spread the word to other people who would benefit by participating. I look forward to seeing you on the call!

 

P.S. Whatever your state of mind, remember, you will get through this. It will be easier to get through it together, though, so pop onto the call every week Wednesday, at 1 PM!  https://zoom.us/j/6180860750


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What the coronavirus can teach us about abundance

I don’t know about you, but I never even heard the word “coronavirus” in my entire life until this whole situation started blowing up. And as the number of cases climbs every day, so do people’s fears of being quarantined. This has caused thousands of people to rush to stores to buy large amounts of… toilet paper??

I dunno, maybe they use a lot more toilet paper than I do on a daily basis. Or maybe my many years of living in NYC and being able to walk just a block or two to get something I need has mellowed my sense of urgency in times of crisis like blizzards, blackouts, and pandemics. I’ve never been one to “stock up” on things. It even annoys me when my husband, the food shopper in our family, buys more of something we already have just because it’s on sale.

This type of behavior is driven by an age-old perception that abundance works like a pie – there are only so many slices to go around, and so the more someone else has, the less I have.

But that’s not abundance at all – it’s fear-based scarcity thinking disguised as abundance. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when hoarding causes the shortages, which perpetuates the fear and the behavior.

The way this pie-based mentality impacts entrepreneurs is by thinking things like, “I have to take on this client even though they’re not a good fit for me because I don’t know when the next one will come along.” Or “There’s too much competition out there so I’d better lower my prices.” The pressure to use such tactics is especially heightened when the news reports say that the economy is taking a hit due to coronavirus fears.

Here’s the real deal. There is an unlimited amount of abundance available to you in the form of money, clients, and opportunities. And even if there were limits, we’ve come nowhere close to reaching whatever those limits are.

As far as household essentials goes, I assure you, you already have enough. And what you don’t have, you can live without for a short period of time. But if you are feeling stuck in a scarcity mindset, or have fears creeping in, then I invite you to set up a call with me. I can help you to uncover where your scarcity mindset is holding you back from creating an abundant business, and what you can do to shift it. I look forward to chatting with you.

 

P.S. I’m sure we’ve got a ways to go before the coronavirus dies down, so in the meantime, take me up on my offer to have a call! There’s no pressure to work with me or join my programs. We’ll simply explore where you feel stuck and how you can create momentum for yourself. Find a time here!

 


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The Anti-New Year’s Resolutions: Systems, not Goals (Part 2 of 2)

Part 2 of a 2-part series (click here for part 1 to learn about why New Year’s resolutions don’t work.)

I love that freshly-washed feeling of the turn of a new year.  It could just be that I get more sleep in the 10 days between Christmas and New Year’s when the kids are off from school,  But I seem to have more energy to clear away any unpleasantness I’ve been tolerating. And like many people, I look ahead to the coming year.

Over time, I’ve changed my perspective on how helpful resolutions can be.  I’ve had my own varying degrees of success, and have stopped setting so many “goals.”  Now I focus on intentions or themes for the year.  Last year’s theme was “clarity” and this year’s theme is emerging as “release.”

If intentions and themes are too vague for you, then consider using “systems” rather than “goals.”

I learned about systems when I read cartoonist Scott Adams’ book “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.”  The book is an insightful and entertaining tale of his trek to success.  (Spoiler alert:  fail until you succeed.)

He says a goal is a “reach-it-and-be-done-with-it situation, a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t” sometime in the future.

Deciding to lose twenty pounds is a goal.

A system is “something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run.”

Deciding to eat healthily is a system.

Adams offers an oh-so-true-for-me description of what it’s like to have goals and why they don’t work: “Goal oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.  Systems people succeed every time they apply their system, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.  The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn.  The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system.”

A personal example:  Some years ago I got tired of feeling like crap after a night out because I drank too much alcohol. I knew that I could have up to two drinks in a night, enjoy myself, and feel fine the next day.  Yet time after time I would drink two, say “what the hell” and order the third.

Eventually I figured out that if I started my night with a non-alcoholic drink and then alternated from alcoholic to non-alcoholic I could enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and not feel the desire to drink more.  After reading Adams’ book, I realized that I’d created a system.  Even when I’m a feeling a little indulgent, I can stick to my “every other” routine.

Systems aren’t based on temporary feelings.

Often goals such as “I’m going to lose weight!” come while standing on the scale. You react to a bad feeling about the number.

At that moment, we’re not actually faced with hunger or an offer of homemade cookies from a co-worker.  Later when we are, the sting of the scale has worn off and we can’t remember why it was so important to only eat vegetables all day.  If we again react to our current feelings, we’ll overeat.  Systems bypass the emotional check-in.

Here’s why it works for me. Usually, we  look inward to find flaws that interfere with reaching goals.  Then we put an effort into fixing flaws.  But there’s nothing wrong with us, so fixing ourselves is futile. If I don’t apply the system as I would have liked, I can simply look back and understand that I didn’t apply the system, NOT that I am a loser who can’t ever keep promises to myself.

Even though I know that the “New Year” is a time concept made up by mankind, one tiny blip in the eternity that is our universe, there is something powerful about turning the page.

This year, for each goal or resolution you want to set, think about a system that you can put into place instead. Put those systems into practice and over time you are sure to experience success.

Cheers!

Tired of working so hard to make your business a success? 

Want to make more money and get more clients with ease? 

Take my free 5 Day Abundance Challenge and leverage the power of my proven three step system for creating a prosperous business and an abundant life. 

Sign up today!


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Why your New Year’s resolutions might be doomed to fail (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re a regular at a gym you know that all the equipment is taken from January 1 through mid-February as everyone is working on their new commitment to get healthy. But by the end of February, the gym is back to normal.

Only 8% of people who make NY resolutions actually accomplish them. Why do we so often fail, despite swearing up and down that this is the year we’ll persevere? Here are my top five reasons:

You’re fixing something that’s “wrong” with you.
Any action you take based on feeling bad will be temporary. Saying “I’m fat” may compel you to action today, but if you don’t see results over time, you’ll progress from “I’m fat” to “I’m lazy” and “I’m incompetent.”

There’s nothing wrong with you. What’s true: your actions haven’t aligned with your vision. Instead of choosing to “lose weight,” choose to “be healthy” and follow up with the actions of a healthy person.

You put too much stake in being disciplined.
If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: when I ask people why they haven’t achieved their goals they say “I’m not disciplined” or “I’m just lazy.” They go on to wax poetic about how much better their lives would be if they could have more willpower. (Another form of “there’s something wrong with me.”)

Discipline is a RESULT of success, not the cause. When people believe that having discipline is a vital component of achieving every goal, they end up feeling inadequate. (You can read more about my viewpoint about laziness in this free guide about procrastination.) Don’t set up a barrier to success, as in, “I have to be disciplined to be healthy.” Instead, go straight to purposeful action.

You’re missing the big picture.
For the first couple of years after my daughter started school, the mornings in our house invariably ended with a meltdown or argument. I kept hoping that if I got up earlier or prepared better the night before, mornings would go more smoothly. Nothing seemed to help. Our relationship was souring.

I decided to focus on my real goal: stress-free, easy mornings we enjoyed together. I started by controlling my own reactions when she had her meltdowns. This allowed me to be patient, loving, and supportive – precisely what we both needed to create those stress-free mornings. My commitment to our relationship and enjoying that time together created the shift.

You want instant gratification.
If you expect results quickly and they don’t arrive, it’s easy to give up. Don’t discount small progress. It took my family over a year to get to smooth mornings, and we still have the occasional breakdown. When that happens I use it as a wake-up call to give our relationship more attention.

You don’t set yourself up to win.
I get it. The sky is the limit and anything’s possible. But if you haven’t been to the gym in forever, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to suddenly start going 5 x a week for an hour. Or if you have $25,000 in credit card debt, no savings, and no steady income stream, it’s dubious that you’ll pay that all off in a year and save $10,000.

Time after time I’ve seen people strive for something way out of reach, and give up. The question I ask is, “What would be a win for you?” The answer might be “Take a walk at lunchtime three days a week” or “Get a job that I love and pay off $5,000 in debt.”

The success we dream of IS within reach, and you can create it in 2019. My next blog will reveal additional pitfalls and how to overcome them to create consistent, sustainable, breakthrough results all year long.

Attend my upcoming FREE webinar
Set Yourself Up for Success in 2019!”
January 15, 2019, from 1:00 – 2:00 to learn:

  • Why the amount of time, money and resources you have has no impact on what you can accomplish
  • The top reasons why most New Year’s resolutions fail, and what to do about them
  • How systems – not goals – will ensure your success
  • Eight common ways we sabotage our success
  • Plus a live Q&A session at the end!

Sign up today!


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Want to grow your business? Make mistakes.

My daughter came home crying last week.

She recently got her first job, picking up a neighborhood boy once a week from his after school program, taking him to his swim class and then home.

The first two weeks things went very smoothly and I was proud of her. But last week she messed up.  First, she texted me to say that she was “taking a detour” after school and would be late getting home.  As it turned out, she had forgotten when she was supposed to pick him up. She arrived 45 minutes late, and he missed his swim class.   She was supposed to take him to the doctor’s after the swim class. She not only got off at the wrong subway stop, but also walked in the opposite direction from the doctor’s office.  In the end, they had to take a cab, an expense for the Mom.

“I took him the wrong way!  My literal job is to make sure he doesn’t do that!” she exclaimed through her tears.  The tears were mostly of embarrassment, but also from a sense of failure.

How I relate to the embarrassment of screwing up!  As an entrepreneur, it feels like I fail somehow every day.  And every mistake stings.

Recently I emailed someone who had signed up for my 5-Day Abundance Challenge to encourage her to start working on the lessons, only to realize that I had emailed the wrong person.  I have been known to double book appointments, lose track of emails, forget to follow up and even completely blank on whole conversations.  I have overlooked billing a monthly coaching fee, which meant I had to sheepishly call my client and explain that she now owes me for two months.  I’ve made mistakes on emails that go out to thousands of people. The list goes on and on.

Frankly, these screw-ups are for me the hardest part of being an entrepreneur.   I battle with the aspiration to do it all “perfectly,” which just isn’t possible.

After the flow of my daughter’s tears lessened, we talked about what she could do to make things right; specifically, what to say to the Mom and how.

1. First, apologize. Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of apologizing. I believe we over apologize in life. Many times we don’t really mean “I’m sorry,“ we mean “Please bear with me.“ or “Oops! I didn’t mean to do that.“ or “Pardon me.” Watch yourself for a few days and see how often you apologize for small things that you really don’t need to be sorry for!

There is value, though, in acknowledging to the other person that you realize you made a mistake, and owning up to your part in any bad consequences. Isabel had already said “sorry” quite a few times to the Mom, but I encouraged her to be more specific, saying “I realize I did not live up to my commitment and I am sorry for that.”

2. Offer reparation. In the 25+ years I have been in business as an entrepreneur, I have learned that if someone is unhappy with my service, it’s helpful to offer a way to make up for it. For me, it could be in the form of an extra coaching session or two. About half of the time, the gesture alone is enough to make people happy, and they don’t even take me up on it. In Isabel’s case, I suggested that she let the Mom know that she didn’t have to pay Isabel for the day.

3. Then make a commitment to the future. I tell clients that they need not live forever in the shadow of a “failure”. Forgive yourself and focus on what’s next. I counseled Isabel to say, “You can count on me to be on time moving forward.” This is the most important part because it’s how you rebuild trust. Of course, that trust will stick only if you live up to your words.

I believe that making mistakes is a crucial part of growing your business.  Being an entrepreneur is inherently risky, so if you’re not making mistakes, it means you’re not taking risks.  Every action can seem magnified in importance when your business is on the line. But in all my years of coaching I’ve yet to see a mistake that my client didn’t recover from. Business is remarkably resilient.  Isabel was afraid she’d lose the job. In the end, the Mom stuck with her and insisted on paying her for that day.

Knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it any less stressful.  But if you follow these three steps, you can move past your breakdown, learn from the experience, and continue to express your brilliance.

Tired of working so hard to make your business a success?  Want to make more money and get more clients with ease?  Take my free 5 Day Abundance Challenge and leverage the power of my proven three step system for creating abundance.  Sign up today!


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Money Talks – Get in on the Conversation

A hot topic these days is why the “1%” have accumulated so much wealth.  Perhaps you’ve seen the viral video demonstrating, with impressive graphics and mind-boggling statistics, the chasm between the nation’s wealthiest and the bottom 20 percent.

So how did 1% do so well?  Is it because they greedily and purposely hoard wealth to keep it away from the rest of us?  Are people poor because they are lazy or financially irresponsible, especially when on public assistance?  Does the government unfairly favor the rich and big business?

Here’s my question:  who cares?

How much money they have has nothing to do with how much money you have.  There is an unlimited amount of money available to all of us, and the key is not figuring out why they have more than you do, but rather why you don’t have as much as you want.

Here are some common ideas about money that keep us from creating as much as we want:

#1 –Money is a “thing” or a fixed entity

Money is energy.  Dollar bills and coins are merely symbols of the life energy we exchange and use as a result of the service we provide to the universe and to each other.  Thinking of money as an object restricts our ability to create it freely.  By learning to acknowledge it as energy, you will have unlimited access to it.

#2 –There is a limited supply; if wealthy people have too much, it takes away from my supply.

Back to reason #1.  There can be no limit because money is not a fixed entity.  There is an unlimited supply.  How much someone else has does not affect how much you have now, or will have in the future.  Ever!

People from the poorest and most difficult backgrounds — Steve Jobs and J.K Rowling are two — have found great fiscal success.   The top 1% didn’t stop them.

#3 –Money is directly related to personal worth.

People have the mistaken notion that you have to “deserve” money.  Wealthy people, the argument goes, shouldn’t have so much, because no one “deserves” that kind of money. Who came up with this idea of “deserving” anyway?  To say “all that I deserve” puts a limit on it.  How do you know if you deserve it? Who decides if you deserve it?

Money is neutral.  It doesn’t care if you deserve it or not.  You have as much money as you have created up until now. End of story.

#4 – It is more noble to be poor than rich, and rich people are selfish.

Stories often portray the rich as unfeeling and stingy, and the poor as benevolent and generous.  While true that the working class gives more to charity proportionate to their income than wealthy people, it’s not true that all rich people are selfish. If you fear being pegged as stingy, you might be less inclined to have financial abundance.

#5 – You have to have money to make money. 

Since money is energy, it can be created from nothing.  Don’t believe me?  Try this.  Just ask someone for money,   someone that you know will give it to you. You ask, they give, and you have it.  There!  Created from nothing!

#6 – Money is good – wait, no, it’s bad..

We’re told “Money makes the world go round” yet “money is the root of all evil.”  “Money can’t buy happiness”, but we’re convinced that we’d be happier if we had more of it.  No wonder money seems so perplexing.  We’ve received mixed messages about money that are confusing and incorrect!

#7 – We are not skilled at receiving money. 

Actually, we’re usually not skilled at receiving in general, but money in particular presents challenges for people.  It stems back to reason #3 (we don’t think we deserve it) and reason #4 (if we accept it we’re not good people.)

I have a personal policy – whenever anyone ever offers me money, I take it.  I want the universe to know that I am open to receiving money at any time.  So, I always say yes!

It’s all about perspective

The makers of the video I mentioned above despair at the chasm between the top 1% and the bottom 20%. However, if we took the bottom 20% of the US demographic and compared just that portion to the demographics of most “developing” nations, it would likely fall in, if not the top 1% then at least the top 10 or 20% of a graph of all those nations.

Think of it this way.  First, put yourself somewhere on this scale:

Affluent
Prosperous
Managing
Struggling
Impoverished
Destitute

Most “middle class” people put themselves somewhere around “managing” or “struggling”. Now, think about the photo of that child that UNICEF sends out when soliciting donations – the one that hasn’t eaten for a month and has a distended stomach and two parents with AIDS. Compare yourself and your situation to that child, and place yourself on the scale. Compared to that child, you’re affluent.

Back to my original point.  How much the 1% has, while certainly unbalanced, is irrelevant to how much money I have the OPPORTUNITY to create.  For that, we’re all on equal footing.

Money inspires endless intrigue and debate.  We spend countless hours trying to figure out how to make more money, and then how to keep the money we have or make it grow – and too often we feel we have failed.

The irony is that all of us can tap into an unlimited amount of money. Does that sound crazy, unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky? The reasons money feels out of reach  are not what you think.

Come to my next live Brownies and Breakthroughs event “Money Talks – Get in on the Conversation” on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM to dispel old myths and gain a new perspective about money that will enable you to generate the wealth you want, starting today!


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Go for the bronze

Last weekend, I felt completely humiliated at church.

On that Sunday, we were planning a special service honoring women. However, during choir rehearsal, we had too many pieces to run through, and I never got to rehearse my solo, “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, intended to be the culminating moment.

I know that rehearsal makes all the difference, but there simply wasn’t time, and I sure wasn’t going to back out. I approached the microphone with great trepidation. Long story short, it fell flat.  Literally, flat.

I sat down next to my husband, red-faced.  He said something to me and I stared blankly at him.  All I could reply was, “I’m not listening to you right now; I’m too humiliated.” After years of singing at church, both in the choir and as a soloist, I felt I had gone from respected musician to complete failure.

After the service, my singing partner Jeanne came over. I explained that we hadn’t rehearsed. She gave me a hug and then said, “There is something to be said for the person who puts ego and fears aside and says, ‘I’ll do my best.’ That in and of itself is a success.”

It took me a couple days to get over the sting of the experience, but it got me thinking: What is success, really?

We are conditioned by our culture to define “success” as big wins and major accomplishments. Because of that, we are averse to taking risks, especially when we’re not confident. But is success only when you get a standing ovation after a gold medal performance?  Maybe success can be going on stage and singing your heart out, even if you go off tune. Maybe success is doing your best with the resources you have.  Maybe success is having an experience that you wouldn’t have had otherwise had you not taken that risk.

I applaud Olympic snowboarders Shaun White, Red Gerard, and Chloe Kim for their spectacular gold medals. And I’m inspired by Pita Toufatofua, the Tongan taekwondo-turned-cross-country-skier who only got to ski on real snow for the first time 90 days ago.  His big accomplishment?  Not coming in dead last.

Sometimes we go all out and shine. Sometimes we don’t try hard and do well. And sometimes success is just showing up.

#redefinesuccess

I invite you to join me at my next live “Bagels and Breakthroughs” networking and coaching event on Feb. 28, 2018 from 8:30 – 10:30 AM, where the topic will be “Success: Yours for the Making!”  During this event we will:

  • Explore and challenge traditional ideas about “success”
  • Gain greater understanding of our barriers to success
  • Network with and get support from fellow entrepreneurs and professionals

For more information and to register, click here.


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Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re a regular at a gym you know that all the equipment is taken from January 1 through mid-February as everyone is working on their new commitment to get healthy. But by the end of February, the gym is back to normal.

Only 8% of people who make NY resolutions actually accomplish them. Why do we so often fail, despite swearing up and down that this is the year we’ll persevere?

  • You’re fixing something that’s “wrong” with you.
    Any action you take based on feeling bad will be temporary. Saying “I’m fat” may compel you to action today, but if you don’t see results over time, you’ll progress from “I’m fat” to “I’m lazy” and “I’m incompetent.”There’s nothing wrong with you. What’s true: your actions haven’t aligned with your vision. Instead of choosing to “lose weight,” choose to “be healthy” and follow up with the actions of a healthy person.
  • You put too much stake in being disciplined.
    If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: when I ask people why they haven’t achieved their goals they say “I’m not disciplined” or “I’m just lazy.” They go on to wax poetic about how much better their lives would be if they could have more willpower. (Another form of “there’s something wrong with me.”)Discipline is a RESULT of success, not the cause. When people believe that having discipline is a vital component of achieving every goal, they end up feeling inadequate. (You can read more about my viewpoint about laziness in this free guide http://lizwolfecoaching.com/resources/breaking-procastination/ about procrastination.) Don’t set up a barrier to success, as in, “I have to be disciplined to be healthy.” Instead, go straight to purposeful action.
  • You’re missing the big picture.
    For the first couple of years after my daughter started school, the mornings in our house invariably ended with a meltdown or argument. I kept hoping that if I got up earlier or prepared better the night before, mornings would go more smoothly. Nothing seemed to help. Our relationship was souring.I decided to focus on my real goal: stress-free, easy mornings we enjoyed together. I started by controlling my own reactions when she had her meltdowns. This allowed me to be patient, loving, and supportive – precisely what we both needed to create those stress-free mornings. My commitment to our relationship and enjoying that time together created the shift.
  • You want instant gratification.
    If you expect results quickly and they don’t arrive, it’s easy to give up. Don’t discount small progress. It took my family over a year to get to smooth mornings, and we still have the occasional breakdown. When that happens I use it as a wakeup call to give our relationship more attention.
  • You don’t set yourself up to win.
    I get it. The sky is the limit and anything’s possible. But if you haven’t been to the gym in forever, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to suddenly start going 5 x a week for an hour. Or if you have $25,000 in credit card debt, no savings, and no steady income stream, it’s dubious that you’ll pay that all off in a year and save $10,000.Time after time I’ve seen people strive for something way out of reach, and give up. The question I ask is, “What would be a win for you?” The answer might be “Take a walk at lunchtime three days a week” or “Get a job that I love and pay off $5,000 in debt.”

The success we dream of IS within reach, and you can create it in 2018. My next blog will reveal additional pitfalls and how to overcome them to create consistent, sustainable, breakthrough results all year long.

 Join me for “Goals vs. Intentions vs. Resolutions: Set Yourself Up for Success in 2018”, a “Bagels and Breakthroughs” networking and coaching event for entrepreneurs on January 31, 2018 in New York City.  

  • The top reasons why most New Year’s resolutions fail, and what to do about them
  • How systems – not goals – will ensure your success
  • Why the amount of time, money and resources you have has no impact on what you can accomplish

To register, click here.


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I just assumed I would be 40 and divorced

Happy Anniversary to me!  That’s right, I’ve been married to my husband Jon for 21 years as of last week.  That’s a pretty big accomplishment in and of itself, but given my family history, it’s even more astonishing.

My parents divorced when I was just 10 years old.  Not only that, but every other adult female in my mother’s family was divorced.  I grew up surrounded by women who were “done wrong” in some way or another by a man.

I had no role models for relationship.  My mother outright told me, “You can’t trust men.”  (Actually, she said “You can’t trust SHORT men.”  My dad is about 5’6”.)

When I imagined what my life would be like when I was in my 40s, I literally pictured myself as a divorced single mom.  I simply didn’t know how to maintain a long term, loving relationship.  Therefore, I didn’t think it was even possible.  The framework I lived in was “you can’t trust men” and I brought that idea with me to every relationship.  No surprises that the men I attracted were, you guessed it, untrustworthy.

Then in my late 20s I participated in an exercise during a workshop that explored trust.  We did a mingle where we went up other participants and said either “I trust you”, “I don’t trust you”, or “I don’t know if I trust you.”  After the exercise the trainer asked us a series of questions.  One of them was, “How many of you said “I don’t trust you” to all the men?”  My hand shot up in the air.  I must have attracted his attention with my enthusiasm because he looked right at me and said, “Is that true?  You can’t trust all men?”

That was the moment when I realized that as long as I believed that men were not trustworthy like it was the “truth” I was destined for a failed marriage.  Challenging that belief and then eventually shifting it to “Men are trustworthy and available to me” paved the way for me to create a relationship with Jon.

That was just the tip of the iceberg in understanding just how many beliefs I had that were limiting me in my life.  In my business, ideas such as “The only way to succeed is to work day and night” and “You have to know someone to get a break” and “Being successful requires discipline and I’m not disciplined” created hidden barriers that all but stopped me.  Only by challenging each one was I able to create a successful business (which by the way, I started with my husband the year we were married!)

Sometimes our beliefs become so hardened and “real” to us that it is difficult to see it any other way.  If you become aware of a belief that is limiting you, you can begin to shift it by asking the simple question “Is this true?” Most times you’ll be able to see that the answer is no.  If you’re not sure of the answer or it still feels true to you, look around for evidence that defies your belief.  By seeking it out, you’ll loosen the hold that the belief has on you.  In my case, I looked for couples that were happy in their marriage and had been together a long time.  Once I started looking, I found a lot more of them than I expected.

I know that people usually don’t pay much attention to anniversaries unless they’re a “big” one, but I celebrate each year that I’m married as a miracle.  Shout out to my husband Jon for being on the journey with me and being that trustworthy man who showed up at the right time.

 

Don’t miss what might be your last opportunity to attend the Abundance Breakthrough Course on Sept. 22 – 24 in NYC. We’ll uncover and bust up those limiting beliefs you have about what it takes to create the life of your dreams – and make it happen now! See link for details. 


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Three quick tips on creating a powerful vision (plus a song!)

Would you ever get into your car and start to drive without a destination in mind?  Imagine taking random turns left and right, going down roads not knowing where they will lead, sometimes pressing on the gas and sometimes on the brake depending on what the road is like or what gets in your way.  You’d end up goodness knows where and probably feel lost and aimless.

That’s exactly what you’re doing with your life when you don’t have a clear vision to guide your actions and goals.  In this video I discuss three tips on creating a powerful vision.  Listen in, sing along, and go to my website to sign up to receive information about future events!

 


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The Anti-New Year’s Resolutions: Systems, not Goals

Part 2 of a 2-part series (click here for part 1 to learn about why New Year’s resolutions don’t work.)

I love that freshly-washed feeling of the turn of a new year. It could just be the fact that I get more sleep in the 10 days between Christmas and New Year’s because the kids are off from school, but I seem to have more energy and impetus to clear away things I’ve been tolerating, and similar to many people take the opportunity to look ahead to what’s next.

For the past couple of years I’ve hosted a webinar entitled New Year’s Resolutions: Friend or Foe? (see below for details on this year’s webinar).  It’s designed to support people in taking action in the new year in a way that aligns with their vision.  Over the years, I’ve changed my perspective on how helpful resolutions can be.  I’ve had my own varying degrees of success, and have stopped setting so many “goals” and instead focus on intentions or themes for the year.  Last year’s theme was “relationship” and this year’s theme is emerging as “consistency.”

But what if you just plain want to get some stuff accomplished? Continue reading


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Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

Part 1 of a 2-part series.  Click here for part 2.

Around the beginning of the year people feel a renewed commitment towards their goals because it feels like a fresh start. We are encouraged to let go of the old and embrace the new by making New Year’s resolutions.  This is why if you’re a regular at a gym you know that there is never any equipment available from January 1 through mid-February – everyone is working on their new commitment to get healthy.  However, by the end of February the gym is back to normal, with the regulars making the rounds.

Studies show that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually accomplish them, despite swearing up and down that this is the year that they will stick with it. What goes wrong? Here are some reasons why resolutions so often fail. Continue reading


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Why this election day is the most important day of my life.

Last night as I was prodding Isabel to go to bed I said, “C’mon, let’s get to sleep. Tomorrow is the most important day of my adult life and I want to be rested.” She gave me a look that only a tweenager could and said, doubtfully, “More important than the day you and dad got married?”

It took me a moment to process what she had said. Then I realized Continue reading


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Are there alligators in your way?

Last month I went to a stimulating business conference in Orlando.  Surprisingly, the most memorable learning experience for me came out of a nature walk I took on the hotel grounds.

I discovered the hotel had a nature trail on its extensive grounds when I first arrived.  Getting to the path seemed straightforward enough on the hotel’s map, so I decided to walk it the next morning as a way to start my day.  I imagined that I would get fresh air and exercise while enjoying nature and becoming grounded.  With this clear vision in mind, I ventured out into the chilly Florida morning. Continue reading


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3 tips for getting everything you want this holiday season (and in life)

My mother used to tell a story about a Christmas morning early in her marriage to my father.  She had her eye on a certain camelhair coat displayed at a department store.  Her anticipation grew as Christmas drew near because a box appeared under the tree that was exactly the right size for the coat.  She described how she reserved opening that particular present for last. Finally, she tore off the paper, opened the box, and… it was a toilet seat cover! Even telling the story decades later her face would contort in an expression of disappointment and resentment.  It was meant as a practical joke by my father, but it fell flat, and he still rues the day he bought it. Continue reading


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Who cares if they don’t like my singing?

Recently I threw my husband a 50th birthday party and when it came time to sing Happy Birthday I was encouraged to say a few words. I laughed and said, “I’ll bet you never imagined growing up that the word “ukulele” would figure so prominently in your life!”

Then again, I never imagined that either, until three years ago when I picked it up for the first time. Now playing the ukulele has become an almost daily occurrence. I regularly go busking in Central Park as part of the duo Ukulicious and played at the Morgan Library last spring with my bluegrass group the Westside Irregulars (a paid gig!). And now I’m broadcasting “Your Guide to Love, Life, and the Ukulele” on Periscope, saying a few words on a theme of the day and Continue reading


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The Anti-New Year’s Resolution: Systems, not Goals

I love that freshly-washed feeling of the turn of a new year.  It could just be the fact that I get more sleep in the 10 days between Christmas and New Year’s because the kids are off from school, but I seem to have more energy and impetus to clear away things I’ve been tolerating, and similar to many people take the opportunity to look ahead to what’s next. Continue reading


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A Father’s Day fastwrite – The Good Life

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” Clarence Budington Kelland

I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day.  It reminded me of my father right away.  He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like.  Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us. Continue reading


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How resilient are you in the face of breakdown?

At the beginning of my seminars I ask attendees to share what they want to create as a result of participating. People say things like, “get a new job” or “find my soul mate” or “earn more money,” “get healthy” or “lose weight.” What I find interesting is that for the most part the things they want to create are already within their reach.   Take the topic of being healthy for instance. Everyone knows how to lose weight, right? Eat less, exercise more. But if it were that straightforward (I won’t say easy) wouldn’t everyone be healthy? Continue reading


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Playing to win, or playing not to lose?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an Olympics fanatic.  While my TV usually sits silent, every two years it comes alive nightly for 16 days, confusing my otherwise school-night-electronics-deprived children.  I can’t remember what I used to do with my evening hours as I sit glued to the screen; dishes go undone, homework hopefully gets completed on its own, and I walk bleary-eyed to bed way past my usual bedtime. Continue reading


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Just the facts, ma’am

Growing up on the farm, my family was often featured in local newspapers.  Evidently it was considered quite a novelty to be a single mother with three daughters raising sheep in the midst of cattle country in Western Pennsylvania.  The articles would recount my mother’s decision to abandon city life to raise her children in the country. They would go on to describe how she started with a mere three sheep that over time swelled to 300, and the development of the cottage industry of wool and sheepskin items that we made and sold.  Each retelling had its own angle and an accompanying cheesy headline like “Sheep Farming Shear Delight for Mother and Daughters” and “The Wolfes in Sheep’s Clothing” (get it?). There was one thing they all had in common however; they always got something wrong.  It never failed that we were misquoted in some way, statistics were jumbled, or the article didn’t quite capture our true essence. Continue reading


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The Anti-New Year’s Resolution: Systems, not Goals.

I ended 2013 uncharacteristically grumpy. I felt on the brink of tears or anger for much of the last couple of weeks of the year, without really being able to identify why. I found it depressing to look back at the year, knowing I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, finding small solace in the few milestones that I could recollect. I’m not quite sure where I think I should be by now, but my feeling of dissatisfaction lingered and made me an unpleasant person to be around. Continue reading


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The Curse of the Airfare

I don’t know when time started to speed up, but in the past few years I’ve noticed that once school begins in September, the events start coming fast and furious.  Just as we finally get settled into a routine for school, it’s time to start thinking about what costumes my kids want to wear for Halloween.  And if Halloween is here, well then Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t be far behind. Continue reading


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How to really change your life. Yes, really.

In 2007 I was diagnosed with lymphoma.  In that moment when I heard the doctor say “You have a malignant, aggressive cancer” I felt as though my whole beingness collapsed in upon itself.  The coming weeks were filled with tears, visits to doctors, and a tremendous sense of fear until the day I heard my oncologist say:  “You will be cured.”  As it turned out, he was right, and six years later I am as healthy as I was before I got diagnosed. Continue reading

Breaking Free

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There are lessons to be learned about overcoming historically limiting beliefs everywhere you turn. Watch this video blog to see how I physically confronted one of mine in an enormously cathartic way. Continue reading


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Does a bear care?

Last week, while my sister and I were having breakfast at my country house, a bear walked across my lawn.  The movement in the bushes initially caught my eye, and at first I thought it was a deer.  Then it stepped boldly and assuredly onto the open lawn, where it traipsed along seemingly without concern towards the woods on the other side.  “Oh my God!” I breathed to Ruth Anne, “That’s a bear!”  I jumped up and grabbed my camera, pulling off the lens cap and dropping it all in one motion.  As the lens cap hit the wooden floor with a “chink,” the bear, which was at least 100 feet away, looked up in our direction.  Yikes!  Then, deciding he was in no immediate danger, he continued on his journey towards the woods.  With a racing heart, I took a series of photos from the relative safety of our screened in porch. Continue reading


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Who is your inner visionary?

When you think about your vision, do you think about what your life will look like in the future?  Do you envision big houses, fancy cars, leisure time, committed relationships?  Perhaps it’s a bestselling book, notoriety in a professional field, or a bank account constantly flowing with money that swims in your imagination.  If your idea of your future is more low key, do you see yourself sitting around drinking coffee with your family and laughing?  Going to school or learning to do something you always wanted to do? Continue reading


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Money Talks. Are you listening?

A hot topic in the news these days is why the “1%” have such a disproportionately large amount of accumulated wealth in comparison to other 99%.  Perhaps you’ve seen the video that went viral (almost 7 million views to date) that demonstrates this with impressive graphics and mind-boggling statistics. Continue reading


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The bus before mine is leaving

My daughter had a “publishing” party at her school recently, and so, instead of driving her as I usually do, we took public transportation.  This consists of hopping on the subway near our house, and then getting off at 110th street to catch a bus across the top of the park.  As we emerge from the subway station, there is a tense moment where we scan the traffic circle between the two bus stops to see if a bus is coming.  If one is stopped at the light, we have just enough time to run from the stairwell to catch it. If the light has already turned green, it’s quite a hustle to make it there in time, but there are usually enough people waiting at the stop or also running alongside us to hold the bus. Continue reading


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Just Do It?

An old friend and her husband have a six year old son who was diagnosed with “moderate to severe” ADHD.   Recently I was sharing with them my experience with my own children’s development.  We commiserated over the notion that as far as attention spans are concerned, they can always seem to find the will to focus on something that they want to be doing, but if their interest isn’t already piqued, then they won’t stay motivated enough to complete a task. Continue reading


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What makes a “good” school?

I have a friend whose daughter goes to a competitive middle school on the UWS.  Since her daughter and my son are in the same grade, we sometimes commiserate about our experiences with our children, school and homework.  Yesterday she came to me especially frustrated by her daughter, who has ADHD, and their homework situation.  She had no way of knowing what the homework was because her daughter doesn’t know, and my friend is not allowed to email the teachers to ask – in fact she doesn’t even have access to their email addresses. Continue reading


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Capris or flood pants?

When I anticipated motherhood, I only pictured two phases of their childhood – baby through Kindergarten, and when they were off to college.  Somehow I never visualized the gangly stage that my son is in during his 7th grade year.  While he doesn’t seem to eat very much, he’s still growing at a rapid rate, and has almost reached my height. Continue reading


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To Thine Own Self Be True

I have two older sisters – two brilliant, creative, beautiful, expressive and overshadowing older sisters.  As the youngest, I came up behind them in school and had many of the same teachers.  I endured them calling on me in class by “Jennifer” and “Ruth Anne” or being constantly compared to their talents, their schoolwork, and their grades.

This impacted my upbringing so much that for my college admissions essay I wrote about an interaction that my friend had:

One day, a friend of mine told me a story about having gone to see the school nurse.  This particular nurse is the type who knows almost all the students and loves to talk.  During the time Mary was in the office, she mentioned that she was friends with one of the “Wolfe Girls.”  The nurse was delighted.  She said, “Oh, yes!  Ruth Anne is so wonderful.  She’s so talented and smart and is a wonderful actress.  And she dances so well!” Continue reading


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Is That a Leader or a Follower?

Thinking back to my youth, I can definitively say that 7th grade was the worst ever.  I attended a small town “junior high school” that consisted of just 7th and 8th grade.  The main form of entertainment at recess for my group of friends was to stand in the far corner of a blacktop lot and smoke cigarettes.  I don’t ever remember a single teacher coming over to check on us or to break it up. In fact, the space where we stood was clearly visible from the school and anyone could easily see the billows of smoke rising above us.  I remember being much more concerned about how I was being accepted in social circles than I ever was about getting good grades, since that was, if not “uncool”, at least not cool. Continue reading


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Even in the Face of Evidence (Lessons Learned from Sheep Farming)

Growing up, my father, two sisters, and I took many road trips to visit relatives for summer vacations.  I remember spending long hours in the car reading, singing, playing or just looking out the window as the cornfields went by.  Because of these fond memories, I looked forward to having children of my own, packing up, and hitting the road on some adventures.

One husband and two children later, I have had a few fun road trips with them, though they don’t quite look as I imagined them to be.  For one thing, while my children are avid readers, they expect that on a trip of any length that they will be watching DVDs.  As a result, not a lot of scenery watching happens.  Also, it occurs to me that perhaps they are not quite as enamored with the journey as the ultimate destination. Continue reading


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New Year’s Resolutions: Friend or Foe?

When I was a child, we had a family friend who we would often visit on Saturdays.  They had a wonderful big old house, and being scholarly types, had bookshelves full of books.  There weren’t many there that were kid friendly, but one day I came upon a hardbound collection of Wonder Woman comics.  I would spend hours poring over the stories of this amazing and heroic woman.  In later years, when Lynda Carter starred as Wonder Woman in a TV series, I felt like I knew her personally. Continue reading


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Sweet Success: Carrying on a Family Tradition

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of getting something done that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  Like many people, I’ve been leveraging the impetus of the New Year to rearrange some items in my life, in particular purchasing a treadmill for under my desk and rearranging furniture in my office.  I love the fresh feel of seeing my world in a new way. Continue reading


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It’s Always Something

My mother used to say, “It’s always something.”

I’ve been looking forward to going upstate for quite a while. Jon and I both took extra measures to prepare for the trip so that things would go smoothly and we could make that oft sought after early departure. As a self-admitted “time optimist” I’ve historically been caught running around, crazed and harried, while tensions mount between me and my family members. I was bound and determined to break from this historical experience today. Continue reading


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Give Thanks Whatever Happens

After Hurricane Sandy, a graduate of the Abundance & Prosperity workshop, Will Romero, wrote these words: “I just wanted to say thank you very much. I lost my apartment during the hurricane and the first thing that came to my head was ‘Wow… I’m not really attached to material things.’ So I decided to choose a different attitude, and made a list of the things I am grateful for. Well, I have a lot of things to be grateful for… this is the end of my apartment, and the beginning of another journey. Thank you to everyone in the Abundance and Prosperity group… without you… I would be choosing differently.” Continue reading


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Ukulele Lady

I’m a singer, and all my life, I’ve wanted to play the guitar so that I could accompany myself. I did pick up a guitar once in a while and try it, but I always hated the pain from the strings cutting into my fingers. Despite people assuring me that I would build up calluses after a while, I never pursued it.

I’ve recently begun singing with a bluegrass jam group. When I first joined, everyone in the group played a string instrument except for me. I loved the music, so I was content to just listen if it wasn’t my turn to lead a song. Eventually I came upon a washboard and started bringing it along so that I could have a more active part in the music making. It was fun to play, but still, it didn’t quite fulfill my desire to create music. Continue reading


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Saving vs. Letting Go

My husband Jon’s grandparents lived right around the corner from him while he was growing up, and I was lucky to have met Jon while they were still alive.    During the early years of my relationship with

Jon, it was a form of entertainment to go to his grandparents’ house and have them show us their collections.  This was not your average every day collecting.  This was extreme collecting.   Salt and pepper shakers.  Shot glasses.  Drop crystals.  Little figurines.  Beer mugs.  Dolls.  China.  Linens.  You name it, they had it — or 10 of it. Continue reading


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Personal Growth vs. Transformation

Personal Growth vs. Transformation

The model of “personal growth” has been consistent throughout the “empowerment” age:  find out what’s wrong, and fix it.  Its proponents work to understand and heal the past to create a different future.  The idea is that over time your true and authentic being will emerge and take hold.  Progress is slow but steady if the plan is followed consistently.  All that’s needed to succeed are understanding and discipline.  Over time, heath, wealth, and fulfillment will become part of your life. Continue reading


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Gift card predicaments

I just threw away $75 in Borders gift cards.  Before ultimately admitting defeat, I had confidently gone  to barnesandnoble.com to redeem them.  I recalled that B&N had taken over when Borders had gone out of business, so I assumed that they would accept my gift cards.  Boy, was I wrong.

Annoyed, but still determined, I did some internet research to see if anyone would accept them, or if I was in fact out of luck.  The only results that seemed to surface were accounts of people who were also looking to redeem their cards, and the answer was always the same: NO.  In the midst of my research, I chanced upon an article published on a financial advice site that was encouraging people to redeem their cards back when Borders was initially going out of business.  The article was written in 2009.  Really?  I had had those gift cards on my desk for more than three years? Continue reading


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“It’s Like…Y’know”

 

The word “like” has invaded our speaking the same way the kudzu has invaded the South.  Just listen in on anyone’s conversation on the subway, especially if they’re under 30, and you’ll see what I mean.  Just as kudzu does, it wends its way in to the sentence until it blankets it and the original meaning is practically lost.  “It’s, like, the best movie I’ve, like, seen, like in a long time.  You should go see it, it’ll, like, y’know, blow your mind.”

This has recently come to my attention in a more forceful way than before because a friend has asked me to let him know when he is using “like,” “y’know,” “uh,” and other “nonwords” so that he can improve his speaking skills.  I decided to take on the same challenge. The list of nonwords and its close cousin, filler words, has proven to be never ending.   We’ve since expanded our radar to include “Ok, so,” “know what I mean?” and “does that make sense?”It has become so common place that we become nearly unconscious to it. We often have to ask each other when the offending word even was. Continue reading


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Grumpy morning

I was grumpy yesterday morning.

A few months ago, I spent some time researching camps for my kids.  I thought I found a perfect fit at a local YMCA swim camp.  Swimming twice a day?  Only a few blocks away? Inexpensive!? For just two weeks!? They would have a ball.

So far, they hate it.  They complain that it’s too much like school, that I didn’t ask them if  they wanted to do it before I signed them up, that there’s no free play, that they just want to relax, and on and on.  I struggled to get them up and ready for camp, with them resisting the whole way through breakfast and during the walk there.

Argh.  Besides being disappointed that it didn’t work out as planned, I’m frustrated about how difficult they’re being about it.  From my perspective, they’re not even making an effort to like it.  Or at least make the best of it. Continue reading


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Paradise

Last night, I was sitting in paradise.  I was on the front porch of my country house, watching the most spectacular natural light show I’ve ever seen.  Hundreds – maybe even thousands – of fireflies were out in force, making the air sparkle.  The position of our house is in a valley, and so there is a dark mountain backdrop that accentuates the pinpricks of light even more.  Even in all my years on the farm, on all those acres, I never saw so many fireflies in one place, so earnestly calling to each other with light.

While I was on the porch, it was completely silent except for the drips of gentle rain hitting the leaves.  There were no cars, no electric motors, no phones or airplanes – nothing but nature itself to break the silence.  It’s too early in the season for crickets and other than the rain there was only a very occasional chirrup from some night bird or chipmunk.  It was complete and utter paradise, and exactly what I wanted. Continue reading


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Today I just smiled

Today, I was feeling in a bit of a funk.  I was doing things I typically enjoy, but not getting any satisfaction out of them.  (This included planting new flowers in my front window box to replace the last batch of plants that looked great when I put them in but never flowered again after that.  What’s up with that?)

Then I had a fun, and admittedly slightly silly idea — I decided to smile for no “reason” whatsoever.  I just smiled.  And then I kept smiling while people were talking to me, even when they were finished.  I smiled as they walked away from my desk.  Then I smiled at my computer screen again.  I heard my son come home and went upstairs to talk to him with a smile on my face.  He was half-way through his dinner but instead of finishing it, he was stretched out over two dining room chairs reading a book.  Normally I would sternly tell him to sit up and finish his dinner.  Instead, I just smiled at him.  I hugged him awkwardly while he was lying there, and he mostly ignored me while he was reading, and then I just smiled as I walked away from him. Continue reading


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Are you living your life or your vision?

Sometimes I let my vision take a back seat to my day to day life.  Gotta get the kids up for school, gotta get to work, ride the subway, make the dinner, do the homework, get the kids to bed before too late, still have time to spend with my husband.  Do some laundry, make phone calls I may or may not want to make, keep in touch with my sisters and father and friends, catch up on work.

I barely have time for me, much less my dreams. Continue reading


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Breaking the bonds of procrastination

It starts innocently enough. I “just” want to go on to Facebook to check on one thing. When I finally emerge from my Facebook haze, 20 minutes has gone by. “Not a problem,” I think. “I still have enough time to get that report done that’s due this afternoon.” So I pull up my email inbox to find the report that I’m supposed to be working on when I notice an urgent email. “This will just take a minute,” I think again. “Let me respond now before this turns into a bigger problem.” Only, it turns into a bigger problem anyway.

After another hour has gone by, and my deadline approaches, I kick in to full gear. “I work better under pressure,” I tell myself. Originally, I had envisioned the report to be a full-color bound manuscript, which was why I put it off until today to start it, but now I’m lucky if I can get it done and printed out on the black and white printer before the meeting starts. While it’s not the perfect manuscript I originally envisioned, it’s presentable. Continue reading


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It’s all a practice

I had a difficult morning with Isabel one morning, and did some thinking about it after the fact.  I had the following insights and wanted to share them:

We are trained as a culture to believe it’s all about “getting” it (whatever the “it” is.) We’re told:  Focus on the goal!  Go for it!  What no one talks about is that it’s actually harder to sustain the achievement than it is to achieve it initially. Continue reading