Friday, January 30, 2009

Thrive Now -- Don't Just Survive!

If you're like most people these days, you're a at least a little bit concerned about where the world economy is headed. So many of us have seen our savings wiped out, some have lost jobs or are about to, and a lot of people's businesses is slowing (though not everyone's!)

Some people, especially those who watch the news a lot, are dealing with panic attacks. And most of us have never seen a crisis quite like this one before.

So, whether you're feeling pinched or amputated, there are some actions you can take TO CLEAR YOUR MIND, and be more effective while we weather this storm.

Crisis Action List:

1. Exercise more!!! Every fear you feel has a negative effect on your body. You must take counter actions to maintain your normal level of health. Exercise is pretty much free and helps you feel better. You don't have to double what you usually do, but add a bit of time to each work-out, or add one more work-out a week. BTW, a long, brisk walk certainly counts as a work-out.

2. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier, once or twice a week. The stress is making it hard for some people to sleep, but establishing a predictable routine can help. Getting enough rest is vital for your body to heal itself.

3. Turn off the TV. The last thing you need is to have your mind spinning out of control with fear. Remember, more fear = higher ratings = more advertising revenue for the media.

4. Make more healthy substitutions in your diet. Bananas are less than a dollar a pound. Cheaper cuts of meat make nice stews, and you don't want to spend money on junk food now. Substitute popcorn (not the microwave kind) for chips.

In general, focusing on your health makes you stronger to deal with the current level of uncertainty. Happy week-end!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What's New in Communication?

Communication is a complex affair. It's not like 1 + 1 = 2. There are so many variables in play, most of which are invisible.

There's never a perfect presentation or letter; but there are plenty of effective messages.

The interesting part about communication today is that many factors are converging to present new challenges, either related to new technology, or to globalization.

What's new in communication? Here's a partial list:

1. E-mail has taken over. The average American worker receives 200 emails a day. Email management is a new industry, email etiquette is a (relatively) new skill set.

2. Presentation skills are more important than ever! More competition + less time + more stuff to do = your presentation better rock or you're out the door.

3. Globalization means it's a multicultural world. A client who doesn't ask questions may mean that client (or prospect) is not getting your message and doesn't feel comfortable asking for clarification. Making assumptions is more dangerous because there are simply more communication variables in play.

4. E-commerce works with rules of its own. Online marketing requires different strategies from brick-and-mortar marketing.

Got something to add to the list? Email me at! The good news is that each change brings opportunity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

11 Ways to Beat Winter Blahs

Well, it's around 70 degrees in my neck of the woods, but overall it's been a C O L D January!!! Last week's snow was fun, but grey cold days can be dreary, and research show this kind of weather affects people's moods.

On top of dreariness, we've got the stock market in the dumps, and a lot of jobs lost. But....gasoline is still pretty cheap and that's $$ in your pocket while it lasts.

Here are some quick tips for getting through wintery blues:

1. Realize that feeling bad about it is optional. Some people actually enjoy winter! So, no matter how icky you feel, you can choose to feel, just a tad better.

2. You know this is coming....get out and exercise. Or go to the gym. Get those endorphins flowing.

3. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while.

4. Light some candles and write in your journal, or paste magazine pictures in it.

5. Make soup. It's healthy, warm, and helps control winter weight gain.

6. Invite people over for coffee or a glass of wine.

7. Visit your local library. Snuggle with a good book!

8. Take a long bubble bath.

9. Get out your art supplies and doodle or draw.

10. Find a cleaning project -- a small one that you can finish. Getting one drawer cleaned is a phenomenal mood booster.

11. Make your own list of Ways to Beat Winter Blahs....and distribute it.

Remember, Groundhog Day is Monday.

Photo from here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2 Mixonian Bail-Out Plans for YOU

In the spirit of the time, Mixonian offers the following bail-out plans for those readers who were not included in those announced by the government, so far.

Bail-Out Plan #1:

Go to your kitchen. Select a measuring cup, the largest one you have. It's better if the measuring cup has a handle.

Take the measuring cup and dip it into the water, and throw the water out over the edge of the boat. Continue to refill the measuring cup until you've patched your boat.

Bail-Out Plan #2:

1. Realize that the rescuers are NOT coming for you.

2. You don't really need the rescuers anyway.

3. Remember that every adversity carries the seed of a benefit of equal or greater value.

4. This crazy time will pass, but it won't be the last financial crisis either.

5. You know what you need to do, so go out there and do it!

The photo comes from public domain photos.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Learning From What the Bleep

On Saturday I watched the documentary, What the Bleep Do We Know. It's about quantum physics. (INSERT YAWN). Actually, it's quite interesting, the scientists and doctors in this program explain how science has changed, using terms and illustrations that non-scientists, even communication scholars, can understand. Also, they make it clear how these changes affect us. So, check it out.

Here are some things I learned:

1. Apparently, scientists now accept that things which are seen, come from that which is unseen. In other words, materialism is totally out. If you're an atheist, you are so behind the times.

2. There is a interconnectedness to everything. We all know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, but science now supports the argument that every thought, word, and deed has consequences. As one scholar put it, (I'm paraphrasing) the concepts of right and wrong are insufficient to encompass all the consequences of our actions, and of our thoughts.

The upside is that we have more control than was previously thought. The downside is that we have more control than was previously thought.

3. My interpretation of this third point shows my unscientificness, but....scientists know that our bodies produce these things call peptides in response to certain emotions we feel. And, if we tend to experience certain emotions, then the body automatically starts making these peptides, and we become, in a sense, addicted to these emotions.

For example, if you've been feeling depressed, your body reinforces this by regularly producing "depression peptides." The brain, then, looks for reasons to feel depressed.

Science, at least certain branches of it, understand that the physical and the mental/emotional are inextricably linked. Probably you already had figured that out, but you now have a lot of scientists to back you up.

Even more reason to think good thoughts, feel good emotions. That's the challenge, and the opportunity.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fear Not the Dow (Jones)

If you're like most people, the incredible drop in the stock market last week was a huge and unwelcome surprise....a lot us are thinking, how low can it go?

It's understandable that the banks made, apparently, some bad lending and investment decisions. It's also now abundantly clear that government oversight and regulation of the financial industry has not prevented these poor decisions; maybe it's made them worse!

What's hard to swallow is that how could these financial companies lose so much value, are they really only worth 1% of what they were worth one year ago? Were they that overvalued before? Are the people running these banks incompetent and/or corrupt? Is upward communication in these institutions so weak that the upper echelon didn't know what was going on? It's hard to grasp this situation.

There is one thing that is clear, despite this financial weirdness, our fear of poverty only makes it worse for us.

Fear is a state of mind and one that you can control. In fact, your thoughts may be the only thing you can control!

Fear can actually be fatal. Here's what Napoleon Hill said about it in Think and Grow Rich:

This fear paralyzes the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills off self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainty of purpose, encourages procrastination, wipes out enthusiasm and makes self-control an impossibility. It takes the charm from one's personality, destroys the possibility of accurate thinking, diverts concentration of effort; it masters persistence, turns willpower into nothingness, destroys ambition, beclouds the memory and invites failure in every conceivable form...(265).

Hill goes on about the destructive nature of fear, but I think you get the idea.

The antidote: Realize that you will be fine. You're not on the brink of starvation and you're not living under a bridge. I think most Mixonian readers have full use of their arms and legs.

I heard this definition recently: wealth is what you have after all the money is gone.

Life invites us to live the adventure. If you have to work in a bar because you lose your job, it's not the worst thing that can happen. You might open your own bar and make more money than ever before.

Reject fear, feed your mind. Everything is fine. Really.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Being the Change You Want to See

Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatmas Ghandi

This week a friend sent me photos showing the results of the violence in Gaza and in Lebanon. These images reminded me how fortunate I am to live in a part of the world where I don't worry at all about being blown up. Attached to this slide show were the words, "The world must change."

Last night I was sharing with Ruben how bothered I was about Obama's focus on funding and promoting abortion services abroad when there are so many extremely serious problems in the country he was just elected to lead. To my way of thinking, this decision implies an ugly imperialism and I'm disappointed.

So what is one to do about violence in the world? I know complaining is not the answer. I am not complaining. :-)

I don't have the entire answer, just a smidgen (to use Nancy's Taste and Savor lingo,) and it's a question of responsibility. How can I act to make the world a more peaceful place?

I am told that Buddhist teaching advocates focusing your attention on solving the problems on your own street, the forty houses to your left and the forty houses to your right.

I know Mother Teresa always told people to establish peace in their own homes first. Her second advice was to comfort someone in your own town, letting them know they're not alone.

So, bringing peace to this world means being peace. I'm not sure exactly how to do that, but I'm confident there is more I can do, before criticizing others for not doing their part.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's Up with the Business Warrior?

Looking again at the "Business Warrior" article by David Cameron Gikandi, I realize that it's a bit long for ultra-busy Mixonian readers. So I'm summarizing a few points, to share with you what I think is really outstanding about this thinking.

1. Getting more prosperity into your life requires that you make a major shift in thinking. It's like getting in shape, once you really commit, the path opens up.

Like the saying goes, when you're truly ready to learn, the teacher shows up. That has happened with me with my business coach. At just the right moment, the right person started offering small business coaching. As soon as I found out about it, I knew it was an investment I had to make.

2. Almost anything is possible. You can do things now you couldn't do before. You can learn what you need to achieve your goals, once you're committed.

This was illustrated through the change in the character of Liza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Learning to speak differently opened up a new world to her. That story is also a great endorsement for communication experts! :-)

3. Your business, or your job, is the workout you get to see if your thinking is getting you the prosperity you desire. It's your training. It's not so much which business or job you have, it's how you carry it out. As long as you remain committed to your goals, the right customer, the right opportunity, the right contact will show up.

That's why some people excel in a number of diverse business ventures; they got learned that business success is an inside job.

Happy Week-end. Take a recess from the recession!

You, the Business Warrior, Part II

This is the second half of David Cameron's article, a bit of business zen, if you will:

There are a million things that a great person can do now that they [sic] could not do years ago. Why is that?

It is never those things that changed. What changed was the idea that this person had of himself or herself. Have you seen the movie The Matrix? When Neo changed his idea of himself, he was able to do the undoable. It is so with everyone.

Capability is nothing more than a shift in what you think you are. What You Really Are is a being with infinite possibilities. Everyone is. We are all literally an idea.

As such, success is not something we can chase and get, it is something that we attract by the persons we become. We become those persons by changing the idea of what we think we are.

The problem is not with the world. The problem, if there is one, is with your recognition of yourself and your world. The way you perceive and interpret yourself and your world is a system. Change that system, through seeking new truths, and you change your world. This is The Way of the Business Warrior.

Think now of a Karate dojo. In a dojo, the sensei gives you an opponent to fight with. But your opponent is not really an opponent. He or she is there simply to give you a framework through which to test yourself. In a dojo, you get to discover and learn about yourself, your flexibility, focus, potential, and so on. You rapidly do so using the illusion of having an opponent to beat, go back and train, so you can come back and beat.

But in reality, the dojo is merely a place where you can work on your inside. The externals, such as the opponent, merely give you a frame of reference to work on your inside. And the better you get inside, the more you master outside.

A business is the same. It is an inner work mirror, an inner training harness. Whatever successes you see in your business are a reflection of your inner state in that regard. Whatever challenges you face in business are a reflection of the illusions or fears you still hold and believe in. In fact, even childhood fearful events that you never resolve can show up in your business as negative business matters until you resolve them. The essence will be the same, but the context will change.

Carl Jung put it well when he said, "The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when an individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves."

And James Allen points out that "What you are, so is your world. Everything in the universe is resolved into your own inward experience. It matters little what is without, for it is all a reflection of your own state of consciousness. It matters everything what you are within, for everything without will be mirrored and colored accordingly."

The Way of the Business Warrior is to look at all things in her or his business as fun challenges for inner work. The Business Warrior recognizes that things are not good or bad, blessings or curses, but all opportunities either for enjoyment or for finding new truths to break through to new levels. Even a really hard challenge has fruit hidden within it.

The choice is simple. You can either remain in the rat race or join the eagles. A rat and an eagle have different cognitive systems, different ways they perceive the world.

The Way of the Business Warrior is to change their cognitive system, for it is the only way to move from the rat race to the eagle's open skies. It is a choice to go through to the end without retreat, detached and open, asking why at all turns, asking for help, being unstoppable by refusing to stop, and moving forward with nothing to defend. As Carlos Castenada says,"Every living thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and go through it."

"There is a science of getting rich, and it is an exact science, like algebra or arithmetic. There are certain laws which govern the process of acquiring riches, and once these laws are learned and obeyed by anyone, that person will get rich with mathematical certainty." These are the words of Wallace D. Wattles.

You may have often wondered why some people seems to have all the luck and others do not, even though they may outwardly look to be more deserving. Now you are beginning to see that The Way does not discriminate. The Laws work precisely, no matter who applies them. All that matters, therefore, is to know The Way. And in that, from one Business Warrior to another, I wish you the highest possible achievements.

If you wish to know more about all this, click here.

Article written by David Cameron Gikandi. For even greater
insights into your quest for wealth and financial liberty and
ability, go here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You, The Business Warrior, Part I

Back by popular request. This is a fantastic article.

A very different from "normal" business article by David Cameron.

What is The Way of the Business Warrior? If business is your game, get ready for the ride of your life.

First, let us begin with the obvious. In your business, you either make the sale, or you don't. You do or you don't, there is no try. You get the customer or you don't, there is no try. Your business makes a profit or it doesn't, there is no try. There is no in between. Why? Why do things work this way?

There is an order by which all things arise and work. Every moment is a moment of new creation. On and off states, called dualities, is what we experience in all of life, including business.

Here is a question for you. Do you think our moments arise by accident or as an exactly perfect outcome of a series of natural laws? Remember, there is no middle ground. It is either all accidental or all perfection, but not a mixture of the two.

If it was all accidental, none of the laws of physics would work,biology would not work, nothing would work. Therefore, it is all a precise outcome of set laws. The Way of the Business Warrior is the one that gets you on the path to discovering the truth behind what happens in your business.

Now you can make your life a glorious adventure financially by understanding the totality of experience and creation.

Michael Gerber, author of the best-selling business book, The E-Myth Revisited, says in that book that "Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren't so because of what they know, but because of their insatiable need to know more. The
problem with most failing businesses I've encountered is not that their owners don't know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations - they don't, but those things are easy enough to learn - but they spend their time and energy
defending what they think they know. The greatest businesspeople I've met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost."

Here is another interesting bit of information. Harvard Business School and INSEAD (the top European business school) have concluded from research that the two most effective new business tools for twenty-first century executives are meditation and
intuition. These are metaphysical subjects! Why?

Robert Kiyosaki, in his best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, says that money is just an idea.

In fact, money is merely an 'energy exchange system', a means of exchanging complimentary values built within any two participants. The Way of the Business Warrior looks under the hood to know how this all works, and uses that knowledge to
create exact outcomes, to create and thrive instead of react and survive.

Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or you can't - either way you are right."

Everyone has things that they can do now that they could not do before.

You can now walk while as a child you could not. The ground never changed, but you did.

You can now read while you once could not. The English language never changed, but you did.

At one time, Bill Gates could not write software, now he can. The world did not change, Bill did.

At one time, Oprah Winfrey did not have the attention of millions of people worldwide, now she has. The world did not change, Oprah did.

At one time, Jesus could not perform miracles, and then he did. Miracles did not change, Jesus did.

At one time, the Buddha was not enlightened, and then he was. The ways of the universe did not change, the Buddha did.

As Deepak Chopra says, "Within every desire is the mechanics of its fulfillment." And of course there is the famous quote by Jesus Christ that says, "If you can? Anything is possible for him who believes."

Do you get the picture?

The second half of this article will be posted tomorrow.

Article written by David Cameron Gikandi. For even greater
insight, click here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leadership Paradigms and Potty Training

I was talking to a friend recently who was lamenting another friend's difficulty with getting her child out of diapers. The child was well into his fourth year, and asking his mom to change his diapers. The ultimate customer for pull-ups and extra extra large diapers.

I was wondering why on earth this mother would want to spend so many extra years buying and changing diapers. But that's not my problem; according to her leadership paradigm, changing a toddler's diapers is fine. When and only when the mom decides that she will not change another diaper, the child will learn to use the toilet.

For me, the appropriate age for that change is 2 years old. I went through that with three different children with wildly varying temperaments. I have known moms who potty train their children earlier: their paradigm is different from mine. It's not the potty training technique; it is the mother's decision (or that of the child's primary caretaker.)

It's the same with other goals. You lose weight when you decide that you will no longer put up with a certain level of overweight - the technique or diet is immaterial. It's that inner determination that gets you to pick yourself up every time you fall.

You start improving your finances when you determine that you will either create additional sources of income, increase your savings, or both. It's your decision, not the technique.

It boils down to a question of what you are willing to put up with. If you're lucky enough to have a baby, dirty diapers is part of the picture, but after two years of that, it's your call to end it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Celebrating Chapter Five

About an hour ago I turned in the draft of chapter five - the last chapter of my dissertation. I've been working on this project since November, 2007, and really working on this topic (Hugo Chavez and persuasion) since fall of 2005.

So, you would think I'd be breaking out the champagne and dancing a jig. But actually, getting this step behind me feels great, but also anticlimatic. More like taking a nap than having a party.

But...celebrate we shall. After violin class, I'm taking the girls to Starbucks to celebrate. Even if you don't really feel inspired to celebrate, it's important to do so and here are some reasons why:

1. Celebrating achievements, of varying sizes, helps offset the memories of non-achievements. It's a weird thing but say an instructor teaches a class of 30 students, 29 think he rocks and one guy sleeps during the class, who does the instructor remember? What are the memories that flood our brains when we're about to do something scary? Usually it's the times that things didn't turn out the way we wanted. That means you need to celebrate more often the things you do well.

2. Celebrating these events is only fair to your friends and family members who have suffered with you, listening to your endless whining, complaining, and carping, even when you were committed not to whine, complain, or carp.

3. Not celebrating at these times makes a word....insufferable.

Now that I've made such a convincing case for celebrating, I have to tell you now what happened at Starbucks. It was completely three in the afternoon, not one single seat available. They ran out of my favorite drink, chai tea, just as we were getting the chance to order. No worries. I got a free coffee, we came home and Christina got to work making chocolate chip cookies.

Here's to five chapters written of Ascent to Power through Language: Rhetoric of Hugo Chavez!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slogging 101 for Creative Multi-taskers

I you're like a lot of Mixonian readers, you are a creative soul. You can do a lot of different things really well. Being an enthusiastic creator is a blessing, no doubt, but focusing on one big project, the one that can get your job description or your business to the next higher level, requires slogging.

What is slogging? Working when you don't feel like it. Sitting down at the computer to write when you have nothing to say, or continuing to write when you ran out of inspiration a few pages ago. Sewing on the missing button.

In college, certified multi-taskers like to change majors. Sometimes they double major, double minor, or get a certificate in something else. The next degree is in another discipline, and then maybe another degree in another field is next on the menu. That course keeps life interesting, keeps things moving, and it may keep you from making the contribution of which you are truly capable.

These multi-taskers have a hard time deciding what it is they want to be when they grow up, even after they're grown up.

It's not that you need to narrow your life's focus on one project forever. But you do need to finish the big project, get one big project under your belt to create momentum.

As many of you know, my first big big big really big project to get nearly done is this dissertation. And it has been painful to slog through at times. I have now finished a draft of the last chapter and I'll turn it in this week. The project is still far from being finished, but I think the worst part is over. I expected to have the whole thing finished by May, 2008. It's now January, 2009.

Now I could tell you that one reason it wasn't finished on time was because of people and things outside my control. But those factors are ALWAYS present; you have to work around them. Those factors are your teachers.

The strongest temptation has not been quitting, although I've wanted to many times. My struggle has been all the other wonderful projects I want to do, I know I can do, and those projects may actually bring income, which a dissertation does not. That's what happens to creative people in the midst of a big project: when it's time to slog, there are so many bright shiny new projects out there, calling your name, and promising not be tedious, ever.

There are many tactics for slogging through; I'll post these as a reminder:

1. Decide what the big project is. Choose one to finish, even if you have several items on your plate right now.

2. Set a deadline. You may have to change it, but set one anyway.

3. Set mini deadlines for sections of the project. In the dissertation, this was done by chapters. Other projects are broken down differently.

4. Make appointments to get the work done. Do NOT wait for inspiration to come before getting to work.

5. Before your work appointment arrives, preferably the night before, ask the source of infinite intelligence to lend you some of that; if it was available to Einstein and Edison, it's available to you, too.

6. Show up to work.

Leaving projects unfinished diminishes self confidence and makes it harder to complete the next project. If you haven't slogged on your project yet, it may not be a big enough project for you. You don't have to relish slogging, just do it. It's not painful once you make up your mind to do it.
The photo is from

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why Faith Is Essential to Entrepreneurial Success

This article is by Marie Forleo of NYC. I thought it was similar to a Mixonian post written by Ruben a few weeks ago. It's certainly a message that bears repeating.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do you ever wonder whether or not you should move ahead with a business idea? Do you procrastinate on your biggest dreams and find that time is passing by faster and faster?

Many of us make the mistake of suppressing our creative desires because we’re afraid. Mostly, we’re afraid of failing and looking foolish. We play it safe and get stuck in our comfort zone because we falsely think we should know exactly how our venture will turn out before we take any action.

Well guess what? The “playing it safe” mentality is deadly to your aliveness and success.

You have a creative truth that lives inside of you. And taking action on that truth before you have proof of how it will turn out is the secret to living powerfully and authentically.

When you have faith in yourself and your dreams, and take action from your truth, your inner desires become outer realities faster than you can imagine.

Faith is an essential part of entrepreneurial success. You’ve got to start exercising your faith muscles if you want to use your business as a vehicle to make the difference in the world you are meant to make.

Here are 3 key ideas that will help you strengthen your faith muscles.

1. Your Ideas Are Here for A Reason.

Isn’t it wild how passionate and alive you become when you talk about growing your business and sharing your creations with the world? That sense of aliveness around your ideas is an indicator that you’re meant to take action. It’s a signal from a greater intelligence to turn your dreams into a reality.

God (The Universe, Source, etc.) gave you unique talents and gifts for a specific reason. You are designed to create and serve others.

And as an entrepreneur, you have an incredible opportunity to use your business as a force for good and make a tremendous difference in the world. Have faith in your ideas and take action on them. Otherwise, you’re squandering the beautiful gifts your Creator has blessed you with.

2. The Universe Is Always Supporting You.

The Universe is always supporting you. If you are present in the moment (vs. lost in the chatter of your mind) you’ll always see the **perfect opportunity** to move your business (and life) ahead.

I pay close attention to what shows up in my world. Whether it’s a magazine article that leads me to a website, a workshop I feel compelled to take, or a big “scary” (a.k.a. exciting) opportunity that requires me to step up and play bigger, I do my best to take action as quickly as possible.

Take a look in your own life. Are you lost in the conversation in your mind or are you in sync with your truth and your Universe? What opportunities are in front of you right now, just waiting to be claimed?

3. Motion Beats Meditation Every Time.

What if you started playing with the idea that it was impossible for you to make a mistake? What if you couldn’t make a “wrong move?” What if all the time you spend thinking about whether or not you’ll do your project “right” (whatever that means) is just an old habit that keeps you stuck in dissatisfaction land?

What if having faith and taking consistent action was enough to radically transform your business and life?

In my experience, I’ve found that faith-based motion beats meditation every time. While I may not know what the heck I’m doing at first, consistent action allows me to gain knowledge and experience fast. And once I get moving, I’m unstoppable.

Here’s a secret: It’s a heck-of-a lot easier to change direction when you have momentum behind you vs. trying to get something started from ground zero.

As always, your entrepreneurial success begins and ends with you. Remember, having faith means recognizing the value of what you are here to contribute to the world and allowing your actions to be grounded in that truth.

© 2009 Marie Forleo, Inc.

Marie Forleo teaches women entrepreneurs how to live Rich, Happy & Hot. If you’re ready make more money, have more fun and transform the world with your business, sign up for FREE tips and articles now at

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Latest E-mail Check List

Keep in mind that the average worker receives 200 emails each day. You may get more than that. So, remember when you're sending a business-related email, it's one of at least 200 your recipient is going to have to deal with today. Before hitting send on that next email, go over the items on this list, just to be sure:

1. Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #4.)

2. Since it's going to a group, think about who all is on the mailing list. Does everyone really want to be included?

3. Is there anyone on the list who not complain if she didn't get a copy? Make sure it's only going to the right people.

4. Have I actually corresponded with this person before? If not, reconsider email.

5. Am I upset? (If so, save as draft and come back to it later).

6. Would a phone call be more effective in building the relationship?

7. Am I blind-ccing the boss? What happens if the recipient finds out?

8. Is there anything in this email I don't want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, delete).

9. Is any portion of the email in all caps? Probably need to revise that.

10. Is it in black type at a normal size? It should be.

11. Do I have my contact info at the bottom? Should be.

12. Could this email be shorter? Shorter is usually better.

13. Would it be better to attach any files in PDF format?

14. If this is a forward, is it truly appropriate and worthwhile?

15 If this email is to someone at Mixonian (or similar), are the its and it's correct?

16. Does the subject line make it easy to understand what the message is really about and make it likely to get filed properly?

17. Is it worth paying 42 cents to send this email?

When in doubt, use another medium besides electronic mail, if only for the sake of variety. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to Get Ideas and Write About Them

I get asked a lot how is it possible to write a fresh blog post every day, or almost every day. I always smile when I hear that question....that's one thing I've never read about, I just do it.

A lot of ideas come from reading articles, blog posts, and books. Usually I find something that validates what I had come up with, so I go on and express my perspective on the topic, whether it's style, creativity, making presentations, or de-cluttering. Sometimes I get inspiration from things going on in my life, a crisis of one sort or another, or maybe from those times of slogging through. Another way of getting ideas is that they appear in my brain, usually when that happens, I wake up with some hot idea and I rush to write about it.

There is a common thread from all of these sources. The commonality is that I seek and expect to find ideas. And I do find them and write about them.

The same thing happens with my dissertation. While I know a lot already of what needs to go into this tome, there's a lot I don't know how to structure, or how to connect the dots between the culture, politics, communication theory, rhetoric. I not only have to create a written product that's academically acceptable, it has to be as interesting as that medium allows me to be.

If you want to generate ideas, or develop your writing, here's the process:

1. Commit. Decide on a quantity of work you want to generate a day, or in a week and set aside time to sit yourself down to write.

2. Sit down. Either at your computer or with a fresh sheet of paper and pen. Sit yourself down to write. It does not matter that you have NO IDEA what to write. I deal with this all the time. You sit down and get ready to write.

3. Write something silly and/or stupid. Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, accurately stated that writing is all in the re-writing. There may be times when sublime material emerges in your first draft, but that's not usually my case. In fact my best blog posts are those I have time to work on over several days, but that's not always possible either. I have committed to get 5 blog posts out each week. Some I like a lot, some I sort of like.

4. Polish. This is the step where quality comes out. Keep in mind, however, that you can edit a piece from today until the day you transcend this earthly experience. Polish all you can, within your deadline.

C S S P: Commit + Sit + Silly + Polish. It's not a very catchy acronym, but that's how you git 'er done.

If you're writing in a journal, for heaven's sake omit the polish, just write something, even if it's your list of things to do this week.
The photo is by Anna Cervova. I got it from public domain pictures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Kind of Mastermind Group

I read this morning that only 1% of the population can be defined as positive thinkers. Positive thinkers are not people who live with smiley faces pasted on as they live teflon-coasted existences; they can more accurately be thought of as people who feel the fear and do it anyway, or people who feel the pain and look for the bright side anyway.

It's not that looking for the advantages in any situation prevents you from ever getting sick or experiencing disappointment, being positive means you put a time limit on your well-deserved pity party, and move on. Being positive you resolve not to make bad situations any worse than they have to be.

That said, it helps a lot to hang out with people who share that resolve. Not people who have what seems to be an "easy life," but people who've been knocked around and bounced back from it. People who know there is more to life than paying your bills from your monthly salary.

Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield, Joe Vitale, and many other success teachers and coaches recommend forming a mastermind group that meets once a month to discuss everyone's business ventures. My friend, Mei, has come up with an engaging alternative to a mastermind group.

Mei is an interesting friend. She came to this country in 1985 with only $50 with her and the name of a friend of a friend whom she could contact. She did not speak much English. The funny thing is that she was not worried about about surviving on $50 in this country; she was worried that she might get in trouble with the authorities because the limit of currency she could legally take out of China at the time was $30.

Mei is a violinist and an entrepreneur with a fascinating story. And she is the one who is putting together a group of like-minded ladies to read and discuss books each month. But we're not going to read the latest novels, we're reading books about human potential, achievement, and spirituality.

I'm excited, I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Are Communication Skills, Anyway?

This post is for those who wonder what it really is that communication experts do for others. Probably you were taught to say what you mean and mean what you say. And that's an excellent way to live, but it's not enough to get your message across.

Here's a list of work-related communication skills:

- working on teams or committees

- teaching others

- dealing with customers

- leading

- negotiating

- working with people across cultures

- interviewing

- listening

- conducting meetings

- resolving conflicts

A survey of subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rated "the ability to communicate" as the most important factor in deciding on a candidate's promotability.

A 20-year study following Stanford University MBAs indicates that the most successful graduates are also outstanding communicators. These are people who

- like to persuade

- are interested in talking and working with people

- are considered to possess a positive personality

It's not what you know, or even who you know, it's how you get your message across.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How Not to Work for a Living

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. --Sun Tzu

Here is a brief explanation of people who don't have to work for a living operate.

According to Robert Kiyosaki, author of the worldwide bestselling Rich Dad Poor Dad book, people can be financially divided into four groups.

The first two groups are classified as active income people. They are called active because they exchange their time for money. No work, no income. Active income people include:

1. The employed - Employees work for a system, a business, a government, not-f0r-profit. This system does not allow much wealth accumulation, but that's where most of us are; our jobs allow us to pay our bills.

2. The self-employed - Self-employed people are another system. If they stop, there is no system left to work on its own. They, like the employed, must work, and exchange their time for money, otherwise; they do not get paid. While self employment allows more financial growth than does employment, most of the time, it does not always allow wealth accumulation.

The next two groups are where you usually find the rich and wealthy, and more importantly, the ones who have both financial freedom and available time. These allow both wealth accumulation and financial liberty and this is where we probably want to go. These are called passive income earners. They are called passive because they do exchange time for money. In other words, they are financially independent. Passive income people include:

3. The business owner - owns a system but does not work in it. A business owner has set up a business in such a way that itis a system that can be run by anybody (just like a fast food franchise). They then hire workers to work within the system, work for them, and bring them money.

4. The investor - invests in a system but does not work in it. An investor has investments in systems that work for them and make them money. Investments can be in other people's businesses, real-estate, and commodities.

The key difference between these two groups, the active and the passive earners is that those in the first group exchange time for money. If they do not give up their time, they are not paid. The people in the second group do not have to do that. They may initially need to spend time setting up the system,but once it is built, they no longer have to exchange their timefor money. They take back control of their time and this enablesthem to live life as they wish. The system works for them and generates income even while they sleep!

This system is the solution. This is especially good for creative people, who want to do something unconventional with their lives. The trick is to find recognize viable investment opportunities and take advantage. Once you start looking, you'll find them.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Relax and Achieve More

When our manly poodle, Prince, wants something he thinks he should have, he scratches your arm, looks at you with pleading eyes, and then he whines. Sometimes it works; a lot of times it doesn't. The same goes for us; desperately wanting to achieve something sometimes makes us whiney, nervous, and desperate.

According to Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich, There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it (31).

On Tuesday I achieved a goal that had been eluding me for several years and you will be surprised to know how small but slippery this goal was: to run a mile without stopping.

One of the things that kept me from this feat was my insistence in running too fast. My sister, an accomplished runner, kept telling me to run, not as if away from the angry tiger, but to run s-l-o-w-l -y. I would try, but get impatient, speed up, and have to stop from being winded. And sometimes my knees would hurt. So I put that goal on the back burner.

And it's not that I'm in terrible shape. I swim or walk briskly every day and have been an exerciser all my life.

This past Tuesday, at the ECU gym, I decided to run some laps. I started walking, and then decided to run. I ran two laps, and then three, and then four. At that point I knew I was going to make it to 7 laps, which equals a mile. And I did so, easily and effortlessly.

I think it was because I relaxed. If you're reminded of a goal that seems always beyond your reach, think about relaxing and it may come to you in an unexpected moment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your Ultimate Leadership Challenge

You may be surprised to know that you have the opportunity to participate in the ultimate leadership challenge on the planet. It's a chance to make the world a better place, for you and for those you care about. Fulfilling this challenge also makes you a healthier and happier person. Any ideas?

Well, the ultimate leadership challenge is showing up as a leader in your own life.

That's one of the many things I've learned from blogger/musician/entrepreneur/creativity teacher Christine Kane. What Christine teaches about personal leadership totally resonates with what I know about effective communication.

Exceptional leaders and communications share at least one major commonality: they are clear about who they are, what they want, and what they expect from life.

People who regularly show up as the leaders of their own lives usually look something like this:

  • They know what they want from their work and their relationships.
  • They realize they're not perfect, but since no one is, it's not an issue for them.
  • Their sense of self (or self-esteem) is not dependent on approval from others.
  • Leaders know that sooner or later they achieve their objectives, sometimes it takes longer than expected.
  • What others call failure, leaders know is just part of the process of being successful.
  • Their quiet confidence doesn't allow them to get caught up in dramatic interludes, or attempts to convince others to accept their viewpoint.
  • Much of their success derives from daily habits that are mostly not exciting.
  • When other people don't deliver the expected level of service, authentic leaders express their expectations without getting huffy about it.

Here is a snapshot of someone who is not a leader in her own life:

Ms. Priss shows up at the counter to order her cafe au lait. Somehow the person at the counter doesn't see her, or doesn't acknowledge her. Ms. Priss keeps silent, but her slight disappointment transforms in barely concealed contempt when Mr. Counter Person cheerfully waits on the new customer who just walked in the door.

The reality is that her contempt is not concealed. Mr. Counter Person doesn't know what's wrong with this lady who's obviously waiting for someone else to show up.

Ms. Priss is about to explore from anger and stalks out of the coffee shop. Mr. Counter Person wonders what her problem was, but quickly moves on to more interesting matters.

Ms. Priss failed to express what she wanted. She expected Mr. Counter Person to know that she was there to order a coffee. It never occurred to her that Mr. Counter Person would falsely assume that she was waiting for someone else. Not getting the service she expected, Ms. Priss feels slighted, but refuses to resolve the issue in the most obvious fashion - by opening her mouth and asking for a coffee.

Do the world and yourself a favor, show up a the leader of your life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are They Mistakes...Or Blessings in Disguise?

A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

--George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish playwright and critic

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

--Babe Ruth (1895–1948) American baseball player

Most people agree that the last Pope, John Paul II, was a remarkable and inspiring man. I always found curious that his first words as pope were, Fear not; be not afraid. It's taken me a while to grasp why he might have said that. Perhaps he was shaking in his boots himself at being elected pope.

The great thing about being a teenager is that at that age, you're fearless....except for panic at the thought of being uncool. As we get older, we realize that a lot of other things can go wrong, and that being uncool is not such a bad thing after all.

It's one thing to be prudent, and another thing to be paralyzed at the idea of taking risk. Sometimes it's hard to discern what's being prudently cautious, and what's being fearful.

There's fear of failure, fear of not being responsible, fear of not being a perfect parent (don't worry, your child turning into a teen will permanently deliver you from that fear by informing you of your immeasurable incompetence.)

The reality is, what you think is a mistake one day, may pay off in the future. Either the mistake turns out to be a stroke of genius, or you learn something so valuable that the mistake becomes your precious teacher.

If you are convinced that mistakes are bad, indications of your being a failure, or incompetent, then you naturally fear making them. If you realize that mistakes always bring you closer to your goals, you experience much less fear. And in both cases, things you do will not always turn out the way you expect, e.g. "mistakes" are inevitable.

One of the themes of the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is that a person can appear to be a mistake, but isn't. Like Forrest Gump, Benjamin Button arrives on this earth with physical and/or cognitive disabilities, but actually, both characters become teachers of so-called normal people.

Or consider the case of the "big mistake" of an unwanted pregnancy. A new baby always brings happiness, and the people who get to raise this child receive immeasurable blessing.

So, fear not making a mistake. Just go about your business with full confidence.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Develop Your Brain Today


Look at the words above from left to right, read out the color, but not the words. For example, the first word you say should be green (the color of the word.)

Difficult, isn't it?

This is caused by left-right brain conflict. The brain is divided into 2 sides. They control different modes of thinking. The right side of the brain is more intuitive, holistic, and synthesizing so it is more responsible for perceiving, colors, graphics, etc.

The left side of the brain is more logical, sequential, and analitical. It is more responsible for perceiving words and meanings. When you are reading the words, the right side of the brain tries to say the color, however, your left side of the brain insists on reading the words. This conflict causes the confusion in perception.

From Illusion Science.

Monday, January 5, 2009

To Be Or Not To Be...Really Really Effective

What we know about really effective people is that they think.
--Jim Collins, Stanford researcher and author of Good to Great.

Sometimes you feel really effective, and sometimes you don't. Usually we get so caught up in the maelstrom of our daily lives that we don't even take time to think about being effective or not. It's something that comes when we question our effectiveness after an outstanding success, or big disappointment.

I know Mixonian readers want to be effective leaders, at home, in the community, and at work. We are constantly looking for ways to find better ways of getting closer to our goals and intentions.

One suggestion from Jim C0llins is that for every item you write on your "to do" list, you write something else on your "not to do list." Look for things that either can be omitted or done by someone else.

You may know that many success expert recommend forming mastermind groups to serve as your personal advisers. On Pam Sim's blog there's a fascinating post about getting together a personal advisory board, which Jim Collins also advocates.

The idea is to get 7 people whom you admire to agree to serve on your personal advisory board. They don't even have to meet in person, although that would be incredible, but they are people whom you can call to ask advice or get feedback at critical moments.

You can make a list of prospects, send out a personal letter to each one (there's a sample letter on the Cubicle Nation blog).

Many of us are so "independent" (read too proud or too shy) to ask for help. But not only can other people lend you a helpful perspective, others know people who can help you.

Draw a picture of a table with seven places for names around it. As people agree to help you, you can write down their names, and contact information. Of course you may be asked to do the same for someone else.

Watch your may be asked to join the Mixonian Personal Board of Advisers.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Meaningful Trends for 2009

It's a fascinating time to do business and other projects. Entrepreneurs and other smart people are making predictions about what's sort-a going to happen this year. Here are some that make a lot of sense:

- Upscale or downscale. It's a paradox, but people are either going for the cheapest of the cheap, or the best of the best. Low-end or high-end, but not in-between. This reminds me of advice from my mother about furnishing a house. She said either to get the cheapest piece you can stand (thinking it's temporary), or the best you can possibly afford (thinking long term.)

I think the real growth is providing an opportunity to experience high-end, but for a low overall price. This would include facials, manicures, specialty coffees and chocolates.

Business coach John Assaraf is specifically predicting, among other things, growth in the nail care/day spa industry.

- Buying on the Internet, rather in the store. Ho hum. Didn't we already know that? High prices of gasoline induced more people to shop online, and even though the price of gasoline dropped, the online habit remains.

- Higher unemployment means more entrepreneurship.

- Higher unemployment means more investment in adult education.

- Everyone is expecting the stock market to improve. There's no reason why it shouldn't.

- Products involving recycling and using less water are on the upswing. Again, no surprise here.

- The health care industry continues to grow. Our aging population needs more health care services and products.

There are opportunities all around. Make room for them by clearing out tired and unnecessarily complicated things in your life.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Finding the Right Opportunities in 2009

Do you see the forest or the trees?

When the opportunity came, it appeared in a different form, and from a different direction than Barnes had expected. That is one of the tricks of opportunity. It has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity.

This excerpt is revised and updated version of Napoleon Hill's classic book, Think and Grow Rich. He tells the story about a man, Mr. Barnes, who wanted very much to work with Thomas Edison, and the process through which that desire manifest itself. Barnes had to start with a menial job in Edison's company. It was much later that his opportunity showed up in the form of a business development that everyone else in the office pooh-poohed. The "doomed-for-failure" innovation was the first dictating machine that ending up making a pot of money for both Edison and Barnes.

So, the question revolves around how exactly to recognize an opportunity that is coming in a different form, and from a different direction that what one is expecting. And if it's something unexpected, how can it be recognized?

The reality is, you don't always know exactly which of the multiple options vying for your attention, energy, and other resources is the right one to take to achieve your goal.

What is certain, however, is that inaction and lack of follow-through takes you nowhere.

If you realize that what we often call failure, is simply part of the achievement process, then you understand the importance of moving in the direction that seems to be the right one. Take action now, and the further along you go, the more clarity you gain about what works and what doesn't.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Are You Ready to Make a Difference?

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for opportunity when it comes.
--Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) British prime minister and novelist

I don't think high achievers necessarily know all the steps they need to take to achieve their goals. I read an account of Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, who years ago worked on a project to decide which product would best sell online. The model he drew his initial conclusions from, was the retail catalog industry. If you're old enough to remember what it was like to get a dozen lovely catalogues in the mail, you may have trouble recalling any book catalogues, unless it was a special book niche, like for homeschoolers. Nevertheless, he built an incredibly successful online company without knowing in advance that Amazon would transform the retail book industry.

One of my lessons for 2008 was precisely this: you can drive from Atlanta to New York without seeing the whole road. You can even get their in fog and darkness, seeing only a few hundred yards in front of you at a time.

Now one could argue that one does have a map to guide you on the road trip, while the maps for success in life are not so clear. How many times have we wished for the divine to send us a detailed blueprint of what we're supposed to do in our lives?

The truth is, the blueprint may be there, but you haven't taken time to take a close look at it. The reality of a lifetime of achievement, is that the map exists for who you are, not for what you do. Actions are vitally important, but they follow from the person you are.

As you are well aware, Mixonian loves to assign homework, so here's your task for today: Think about the kind of person you want to be. You are mostly there already, but everyone has areas they wish to polish, that's essentially our lifework. If you're not sure what kind of person you want to be, consider what kind of person achieves the goals that you would like to achieve.

For example, what kind of person has her own creative service business? What kind of person earns enough income to be present with his family? What kind of person enjoys a debt-free peace of mind? What kind of person is fit?

I think it was Aristotle who said something like (how's that for specific?): The thought determines the action, the action determines the habit, the habit determines the destiny.

Be yourself of course, but be your best self. Then, not only will you be ready for an opportunity, you'll be able to recognize that golden chance to make an impact.