I’m Sexy And I Know It

I’m a big believer in the art of the compliment – I know how great I feel when someone pays me a compliment, and I try to pass that feeling forward as much as possible. I don’t just over-compliment willy-nilly all over the place, because that sounds so fake and I loathe fake-ness with all my heart. I know people who compliment the ever-loving hooey out of me – it was nice to start with, but now when it keeps going on and on, it just sounds so insincere. Ick.

Take a compliment

I am also fascinated by the phenomenon of those who rarely or never pay compliments to people…I find that equally weird. I don’t know if it just doesn’t occur to them, or if nothing ever pleases them – I can’t work it out. Case in point: I see someone, tell them how nice they look and compliment something they are wearing…and I’m met with silence. I show up in a new frock, excited because I think I’m mildly cute – and again. Nothing. This strikes me as weird behavior – but now, as I read over what I’ve written, I think I’m probably being Goldilocks…never happy. Is that correct? Am I being higher maintenance than usual? I probably am. I really need to work on that. I know that I can be difficult, demanding, needy, and an attention sponge, but…surely it can’t be wrong to expect to hear nice things from time to time?

What is the right amount of complimenting? Don’t you think it should be natural, organic, and come from a place of authenticity and genuine appreciation? Me too. I did a bit of online research about compliments, and came across this little gem:

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

-Mark Twain

The 12 Characteristics Of Effective Compliments

1. Be Genuine
Above all else, a truly effective compliment is a genuine one. Only praise someone if you think they actually deserve it. People can tell when you are being genuine, and they appreciate it. Conversely, there are few things more agitating than to receive a dishonest compliment.

A part of being genuine is not using hyperbole. In other words, don’t exaggerate.

Bad: “This is the best green bean casserole I’ve ever eaten!”

Good: “You cook a delicious casserole. I really enjoyed it!”

A genuine compliment is not given with the expectation of getting anything in return. You are simply saying what needs to be said at that moment.

Bad: “Nice shoes, wanna shag?”

Good: “Those shoes look great on you! Where did you get them?”

2. Be Specific
As a master complimenter, you must pay attention to detail. Giving a general compliment isn’t always a bad thing, but being specific is always better. A general piece of praise just doesn’t mean as much to anyone as a more detailed one. By pointing out a specific aspect of another person, it shows that you have taken real interest in them. You have taken a real interest in them, right?

Bad: “I like your style.”

Good: “That’s such a cool ring you are wearing! It really complements your whole style.”

3. Be Unique
This is related to being specific, but it goes a bit deeper. Some people receive the same compliment a lot. Beautiful women hear the same thing about their looks every day. Telling them they have beautiful eyes, while specific, won’t do much for them. Instead, tell them something they have never heard.

This requires an extreme amount of attention to detail and again, a genuine interest in the other person. Being unique is a challenge, but it will set your compliment apart and give it way more impact.

Bad: “You have beautiful eyes.”

Good: “That bracelet you’re wearing matches your eyes perfectly! Did you do that on purpose?”

Rock And Bomb Compliment

4. Acknowledge Their Effort
Chances are good that it took some effort for the other person to achieve whatever it is you are complimenting them on. They will like your compliment even more if you acknowledge that effort. It shows that you appreciate what was going on “behind the scenes” to make it happen.

Bad: “You have a great figure.”

Good: “You have a great figure. You must have an impeccable diet and exercise routine!”

You can also acknowledge the character traits that must have been necessary to achieve their results. This has a similar effect.

Bad: “I like your artwork.”

Good: “I like your artwork. You’re clearly a very creative person.”

5. Describe The Effect Something Has On You
While praise is ultimately about the other person, they must have had some effect on you in order for you to notice it. People like hearing about how they affect others. If you let them know that they have positively impacted you in some way, it will make them feel better.

Bad: “You are a great writer.”

Good: “Your writing really inspired me. Because of what you wrote, I’m going to start exercising again.”

6. Use Emotional Or Descriptive Language
This is an important point, but if you don’t have a way with words, you shouldn’t let it stop you from complimenting others. If you can, however, I recommend using more emotional or descriptive language. You aren’t trying to impress them with your knowledge of SAT words, but there is no doubt that certain words have a stronger effect than others.

Bad: “You look really good today.”

Good: “You look absolutely stunning today.”

Remember to be genuine though. If you exaggerate too much, your advanced vocabulary will backfire.

7. Don’t Be Backhanded
Oftentimes, people will give compliments that make the other person feel worse about themselves. Don’t do that. A compliment should be entirely positive, and should leave no room for a negative interpretation. Backhanded compliments usually involve making some kind of negative comparison. This is best demonstrated through examples.

Bad: “You’ve lost so much weight, and you look great!”

Good: “I’m impressed at your dedication to health.”

Bad: “Nice nails, are they real?”

Good: “I love your nails, they look so classy.”

8. Don’t Wait For The Perfect Moment
Sure, the timing of your compliment is important. But the perfect moment will never come.

The worst thing you could do is try to “manufacture the moment”. Nothing could be less genuine. What does this mean? When you manufacture a moment, you are performing some kind of social maneuver in order to make your compliment fit a context. For example, you might really like the other person’s ring. After noticing the ring, you deliberately steer the conversation towards jewelry. There is nothing wrong with talking about jewelry. But you should first give the compliment, and then use that as a transition into a conversation about jewelry. It is much more authentic that way. Remember, you should let your compliments flow organically. It should feel like the right thing to say at the moment, or like something that just had to be said. You will improve the timing of your compliments with practice.

9. Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
Own your compliment. Whatever you have to say, say it like you mean it. You do mean it, right? If you are wishy-washy about it, your compliment will completely lose its effect. This is a common problem when a man compliments another man, particularly if it is about their appearance. A lot of guys think that if they compliment another man on their looks, they will seem “weird”. There is nothing weird about telling him that his shirt is awesome or that you’re impressed at their bench press. Don’t worry about what other people think. Just say what needs to be said.

10. Be Concise
A good compliment should not take long to say. If you add too much explanation to it, you dilute your message. This isn’t just true of compliments, but of communication in general.

Bad: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion. I saw a dress like that once and I wish I had bought it. Total mistake on my part. Tomorrow I should go back and get it…”

Good: “I really like your dress. The color is perfect for your complexion.”

11. Pause For Effect
After saying what you need to say, stop for a moment. Give it a moment to sink in. It’s not as though your compliment should be a conversation stopper; nothing could be further from the truth. But you don’t need to immediately launch into another thing just because. This is similar to the advice of keeping your compliments concise. The idea for both is that you want the other person to actually hear what you have to say. If you don’t pause, you risk having your compliment get lost in the conversation.

12. Don’t Expect Anything In Return
Sometimes we compliment others because we want to get something back from them. This is a bad place to be coming from. Remember, the compliment is for them. You shouldn’t be saying it because you want to get a compliment in return. Besides, if they give you a compliment right after you give one to them, theirs will probably seem less genuine to you. It won’t feel as good as if you let them compliment you on their own. Similarly, don’t expect a “thank you”. You’ll probably get one, and you probably deserve it. But it’s not necessary, and you shouldn’t be expecting it in advance. Say what needs to be said, and then move on.

Good stuff, eh? I think so, too! There are few things lovelier than the feeling you get from a legit compliment…it puts the sprinkles on the entire day. :)  Some folks find it harder to compliment others – for example, I went to meet some peeps the other day straight from work (a 12 hour work day, yet), and I wasn’t looking my best, which I acknowledged. Don’t worry, one of the people at the table said,  you don’t look bad…you’re fine. Hmm. I don’t know about you, but there is something so non-complimentary about that, don’t you think? I’m relieved to hear that I didn’t look BAD, but…is it really so hard to tell somebody that they look nice? I wasn’t expecting to have smoke blown up my skirt and be told that I was a numbah one stunnah, but….come on. It takes so little to effectively use adjectives, and can make others feel super-great, so…why not give it a try?

I’m going out to compliment a whole ton of people right now – I’ll let you know how it goes! Truth is…heading out the door, looking for lovely things to compliment is a pretty great activity – and I’m excited. :) It’s great to look for the good amongst us, don’t you think? :)

xxx

Happy Birthday To Me!!! :-)

This past week was my birthday…and I had one of the very best days! If I had known that turning 40 was going to be so awesome, I’d have done it ages ago!!! Let’s take a look at the festivities, shall we? :-)

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Ta-dah!!! :-)

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Me...I'm 40!!! :-)

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Hahaha!! :-)

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Some smartasses I know toilet papered my house...I love them :-)

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A gift from my boss - she gets me :-)

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Flowers from my lovely coworkers :-)

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My darling friend made this fabulous cake for me - yummy!! :-)

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A Hurricane from Pat O'Brien's :-)

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I wore my moustache glasses pretty much all day - they're still in my purse, let me know if you want me to model them for you :-)

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A gift bag - I so love how some people really get me :-)

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The duelling pianos at Pat O'Brien's...So. Much. Fun. :-)

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The Spazmatics stage at the Bluebonnet Palace :-)

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My boss thinks she's funny with these office decorations...I agree, but shh don't tell her! ;-)

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My new cape...I'm going to wear it for realz!!!

My conclusions from this week? I know the very best people, they care about me a whole big bunch…and I’m the luckiest girl alive. :-) Thanks to all of the cast of characters who made my week so lovely…you’re all the best! :-)

Xxx

Time in a Bottle

I’m going to be 40 tomorrow – I guess I’m about to become officially middle aged. It’s kind of shocking to me…I don’t know what middle aged is supposed to feel like, but I’m pretty sure it’s not this. I think of my mom when she turned 40 (I was 12) – and maybe it’s the rose-colored glasses I wear, or yet another one of the many lies I tell myself to make myself feel better, but I feel like I’m SO much younger and more hip than my mom was when she was 40. I’m probably not..and the Wee One may disagree, but that’s how I feel. I know that I’m aging – I see the grey hair, the wrinkles…but they aren’t so bad. Actually, let me rephrase that – I don’t hate the wrinkles too much, but the grey hair shit just pisses me right off. The wrinkles, though, remind me of souvenirs of a life well-lived, of a lot of great laughs with friends, of smiling in the sun…happy thoughts. :-) 

I find that I experience feelings so much differently now than I previously did – in ways I find hard to explain. Over the years there have been a lot of losses, big and little ones, and somehow I feel like all of those have numbed parts of me inside. There are still things that I’m terribly passionate about – but not like when I was in my youth, when every corner held a new opportunity and I was forever slurping on the straw of life trying to take it all in. I think that the years 1989-1992 (15-18 years of age) were among my happiest – my brain was at its best (I hadn’t killed it with alcohol yet, I suppose), creative ideas absolutely poured out of me…I was unstoppable. And then time passed, life happened…and everything changed. My 20s were not my favorite years – I feel an immense loathing when I think of that time. I wasted so many years making mistakes, being someone I wasn’t….what a dumbass. I should have done pretty much everything differently in my 20s. Thankfully I started getting my shit together when I was about 28…but there were some rough years there, full of misery and pain the likes of which I hope you never feel. All of that changed me – I don’t feel the feels like I used to when I was younger, which is sad. I experience joy and happiness with myself still…but it feels different now, somehow…less vibrant, perhaps.

You know what does make me feel big and passionate about now? My Wee One, my job, my loves, and the improvement of ME. This is how I feel as I head into my next decade – it’s going to be all about moi. For those of you who think I’m a selfish prick already, you are undoubtedly rolling your eyes skyward, which is cool…as zero shits will be given about any negativity. I want – no demand - that my 40s be the decade of me. I’m going to do the things I want, eat what I want to eat, wear what I want to wear…and not give a whooping funt what anyone thinks. I will add at least one more tattoo to my collection, and I will probably proceed with my plans for rose gold hair soon. :-) I will continue to drink wine during the day to make other people more interesting, and I will do a lot more karaoke singing because it’s fun. :-) I work so bloody hard during the day…I deserve to let loose and have fun. :-) I also deserve to stop apologizing to those around me for who and what I am – that’s horseshit thinking if ever there was. Not having it, friends. I will stop begging people to spend time with me, as that is gross and vile behavior, not to mention completely unnecessary – who wouldn’t want to spend time with me? I’m awesome!! :-) I will continue to only say yes to the invitations I really want to accept, I will find more time to hold hands, sing and be best friends with my Muppet, and I will buy $35 Chanel lipstick any time I fancy and feel zero guilt. :-) This year is going to be huge, I just know it! :-)

I get laughed at often in the workplace because I’m rather direct – if I have an issue, I say it like it is…nicely, of course. My coworkers all giggle about how blunt I am, which is fine…at least I get things done. Something else I’m going to tackle in my 40s is finessing this directness, taking the rough edges off my words. I don’t need to be an arsehole all of the time…some of the time will be just fine. ;-) I also want to work on addressing my feelings of guilt – it’s really easy to make me feel guilty, even when I really shouldn’t. I need to work on that, and learn to just own the shit I say and do. Grr!!! Life is always about learning, eh? I kind of love that. :-)

So…here it is, the last picture of me as a 39 year old:
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And here’s to a brand new decade, and a brand new better version of me:
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Starts NOW!!!! :-)

Xxx

PS: I’m having some technical difficulties, so my pictures aren’t loading correctly…I’m working on it, and will fix it ASAP. Thank you for your patience!! :)

My Little Deuce Coupe

So….I bought a new car today! Yaaa!!! Her name is Ruby, she’s very lovely and oh so sexy…I kinda have a total girl crush on her. ;-) She’s a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SE, and she’s pretty great so far. The story of how we found each other is cute – I started car shopping for reals last December, and had focused my efforts on a Toyota Corolla. I had owned a Toyota before and was happy with it, so I figured I’d stick with it. I liked the Corolla a lot, but kept hesitating – partly because I wanted to be prudent about the money, and partly because I felt hesitation in my heart ♥ for an unknown reason. Over the months, I’ve researched Jettas, thought about it, and kept coming back to it – even though I didn’t know why. This morning, I woke up and decided to go and test drive one – I researched online to see which local dealer had the exact model I wanted. I showed up there, and very specifically let them know what I wanted to drive. As soon as I pushed the accelerator, I knew I had found my car. It was that easy. When we returned to the dealership, I entered the negotiation part of the experience – which, to me, is slightly worse than having a rectal exam by Captain Hook. The man I was negotiating with was pulling all of the usual car sales tricks, but thankfully I had a few of my own….and we came to an equitable deal within an hour. However, I walked away. I wanted time to think – and I wanted them to know that I’m serious, and not someone they will want to mess with. I am woman, hear me roar. ;-) Also, one of the finance guys made a dreadful mistake when we were negotiating – I balked at some numbers, and let him know he’d have to do better than that, and he replied with, “Dear, do you want to go call your Dad?” I asked my very nice salesman to get someone else as I refused to work with anyone who would speak so patronizingly to me. Jackass. Anyway, I’m pretty pleased with my new purchase, the deal I made, and the fact that I did it myself. Yaa me! :-) Here’s Ruby:
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Isn’t she pretty?? Loooooove her!!!! :-)

Xxx

(She’s Got) Skillz

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I have never felt like I had much in the talent department – I’m a hard worker, I try so hard…but there’s not a whole lot of natural skill and ability there. I’m uber aware of my limitations, and I believe that I know how to put in the extra effort required to mask my lack of ability. I wish things were different – I wish that life came easily and naturally to me, that I lived a charmed existence…that it was all champagne wishes and caviar dreams. But it’s not…not even a little bit. Anything that happens to me that is good is so hard-earned, which kind of makes it more sweet. I appreciate the good things that I have – probably because I remember all too well how crappy it is to not have them.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of talent, specifically how to cultivate the talent and blooming skills that might exist inside, capitalize on them, and grow them into something that can really blossom and flower. I don’t have much going on…so I need all the help I can get! ;-) A bit of research on talent inventories yields some interesting results -
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Four Points to Ponder

Before itemizing your skills inventory, be sure to ponder the following four points. Keeping these points in mind can help you spot your strengths.

1. Go beyond the obvious: One key to accessing your strengths is to see beyond the functional roles performed by your job title. Indeed, a teacher tends to teach, a marketer markets stuff, and a manager often manages things. Get past job functions and look at your transferable skills sets. Some marketable skills sets include:

Communication: The ability to express and interpret ideas and convey knowledge. Skills like speaking effectively, writing concisely, listening attentively, expressing ideas, reporting information, editing, interviewing, and facilitating group discussion.
Research and Planning: The ability to search for specific knowledge and formulate a program for a definite course of action. Skills like forecasting, predicting, identifying issues, finding alternatives, gathering information, solving problems, setting goals, extracting information, and developing strategies.
Human Relations: The ability to apply interpersonal skills to resolve conflict, relate to people, and help people. Skills like providing support for others, listening, delegating with respect, representing others, asserting, developing rapport, and perceiving feelings.
Management, Organization, Leadership: The ability to supervise others and guide individuals and groups towards the completion of tasks. Skills like managing groups, selling ideas, making decisions, managing conflict, coordinating tasks, teaching, enlisting help.
2. List specific skills: Avoid generalizations and be specific about your skills. Try to list transferable skills which can be broadly applied across a number of fields. For example, “excellent communicator” is general, while “writes concise instruction manuals” is more specific.

3. Be brutally honest: We all can’t be good at everything. Ok, if you’re good at everything then please, stop reading. But if you’re like me, then you have some weaknesses which should be listed. For example, I am a terrible public speaker. I break into cold sweats whenever I face a crowd. I usually prefer avoiding roles where public speaking is of paramount importance. If you have some weaknesses, be sure to list them.

4. Consider hobbies, pastimes, and sports: Go beyond past careers and courses and consider all your hobbies, pastimes, and sports. There’s huge value in translating your strengths from your favorite activities to your career calling. Expand your skills inventory to include the wicked things you do on the weekends.

Itemizing Your Skills Inventory

With your worksheet in one hand and your Four Points to Ponder in the other, it’s time to itemize your skills inventory. This is not an easy task. I find listing my accomplishments, strengths, and weakness very challenging. Just throw away your humble nature and really be honest when listing your weaknesses and be tenacious by tallying your talents.

- Start by making a chronological list of all the jobs you’ve held since the beginning of your career. Go ahead and list some of your pastimes and hobbies too. If you are a new graduate student, then list all pertinent courses, projects, cooperative education experiences, and awards. Don’t be afraid to list both your stellar subjects and the courses you cursed. Remember, there is value in knowing what you are good at and where your weakness lies.

- Next to each job, hobby, or course make a note of the things you did well, and not so well. In the “Strengths” column, list your best skills. In the “Weakness” column, list what didn’t go so well in this position, course, or hobby.

- For each position, note what you believe was your most important accomplishment. Did you win a new customer, solve a problem, or sell above quota? Be thoughtful about this and try to go beyond the obvious. For new graduates, mention if you won a scholarship, aced an exam, or finished at the top of your class.

- Review all your responses and be sure you followed the Four Points to Ponder by going beyond the obvious, listing only specific skills, considering pastimes, and being brutally honest.

After filling in a few columns you may see patterns and themes emerging from the strengths and weakness throughout your career or coursework. When I’ve completed this exercise I’ve found surprising consistency over time. Being brutally honest really helps.

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Here’s another:

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: able to express yourself clearly in writing
I have this skill – 1
I’d like to improve it -2

______Thinking through in advance what you want to say

______Gathering, analysing and arranging your information in a logical sequence.

______Developing your argument in a logical way.

______Being able to condense information/produce concise summary notes.

______Adapting your writing style for different audiences.

______Avoiding jargon.

VERBAL COMMUNICATION: expressing your ideas clearly and confidently in speech
I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Listening carefully to what others are saying.

______Able to clarify and summarise what others are communicating.

______Helping others to define their problems. Not interrupting.

______Being sensitive to body language as well as verbal information.

______Making the right impression by making effective use of dress, conduct and speech.

______Keeping business telephone calls to the point.

______Thinking up an interesting way to put across your message to groups.

______Successfully building a rapport with your audience when speaking to groups.

FLEXIBILITY: adapting successfully to changing situations and environments
I have this -1
Like to improve – 2

______Keeping calm in the face of difficulties

______Planning ahead, but having alternative options in case things go wrong

______Thinking quickly to respond to sudden changes in circumstances

______Persisting in the face of unexpected difficulties

PERSUADING: able to convince others, to discuss and reach agreement
I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Putting your points across in a reasoned way.

______Emphasising the positive aspects of your argument.

______Understanding the needs of the person you are dealing with.

______Handling objections to your arguments.

______Making concessions to reach agreement.

______Using tact and diplomacy.

TEAMWORK: working confidently within a group

I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Working cooperatively towards a common goal.

______Contributing your own ideas effectively in a group.

______Listening to others’ opinions.

______Taking a share of the responsibility.

______Being assertive – rather than passive or aggressive.

______Accepting & learning from constructive criticism. Giving positive, constructive feedback

LEADERSHIP: able to motivate and direct others

I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Taking the initiative.

______Organising and motivating others.

______Making decisions and seeing them through.

______Taking a positive attitude to failure: persevering when things are not working out.

______Accepting responsibility for mistakes/wrong decisions.

______Being flexible – prepared to adapt goals in the light of changing situations.

PLANNING AND ORGANISING: able to plan activities & carry them through effectively
I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Setting objectives which are achievable.

______Managing your time effectively/using action planning skills.

______Setting priorities – most important/most urgent.

______Identifying the steps needed to achieve your goals.

______Being able to work effectively when under pressure.

______Completing work to a deadline.

INVESTIGATING, ANALYSING AND PROBLEM SOLVING:
gathering information systematically to establish facts and principles
I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Clarifying the nature of a problem before deciding action.

______Collecting, collating, classifying and summarising data systematically.

______Analysing the factors involved in a problem & being able to identify the key ones.

______Recognising inconsistencies in reasoning.

_______Using creativity/initiative in the generation of alternative solutions to a problem.

______Differentiating between practical and impractical solutions.

NUMERACY: able to carry out arithmetic operations/understand data
I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Multiplying and dividing accurately.

______Calculating percentages.

______Using a calculator.

______Reading and interpreting graphs and tables.

______Using statistics.

______Planning and organising your personal finances effectively. Managing a limited budget.

COMPUTING SKILLS

I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Word-processing skills.

______Using databases (e.g. Access)

______Using spreadsheets (e.g. Excel)

______Using the Internet and email.

______Designing web pages.

______Programming skills.

DEVELOPING PROFESSIONALISM

I have this – 1
Like to improve – 2

______Accepting responsibility for your views and actions.

______Showing the ability to work under your own direction and initiative.

______Making choices based on your own judgement.

______Paying care and attention to quality in all your work.

______Taking the opportunity to learn new skills.

______Developing the drive and enthusiasm to achieve your goals.

Now – put all your answers into a T-chart with these headings:

SKILLS I HAVE:

SKILLS TO IMPROVE:

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Ta-dah!!! :-) Good stuff there, eh? I hope you will give it a try – I’m working my way through my inventory now, trying to discover where my talents (if any) lie. I think my biggest problem is that I lack stick with it-ness (not a word, I know – just go with it). I try something, like it, become all passionate and obsessed with it, but as soon as the going gets tough, I bail. Turn tail and run. I do it with hobbies and pastimes, friendships, jobs, even relationships. It’s not good, friends…I need to learn to keep trying and not give up when things get hard. I need to practice the art of perseverance. It’s funny, I’ve never lacked perseverance at work, but have I ever had struggles with it in my personal life. Grr. Who knows – perhaps if I had stuck with something I dabbled in over the years, I could have shown a real gift for it and had it develop into something kinda big and awesome….instead, I’m a Jill of all trades, master of none. Hmm. Perhaps I should dig out the acrylic paint and a canvas and see what’s hiding inside of me???!! ♥♥♥

I would love to hear from you about your talent inventory, friends – and I’m pumped to hear from those of you who have found a way to make a living out of your talent. You rock!!! :-)

Xxx

Xxx

Don’t Speak

Here is a list of the top ten things you should never say to me (and most other sensible women) – just for your information:

1) Relax. Calm down. – These statements drive me absolutely insane. I will calm down if I want to calm down, and I will get riled up if I feel like getting riled up. It’s not your business, so don’t even go there.

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A cute picture - words to use with caution

2) You owe me. – Unless your name is Visa or American Express, I don’t owe you a damn thing. If you’ve done something for me, I will repay you and your kindness tenfold, so not to worry. Telling me that I owe you something when I don’t repulses me, because of the ownership that it implies. And I hate ownership when it comes to people. Gross.

3) Are you really going to eat all that?  – Yep. Now shut up. Not your business. 

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I ate all that - it was delicious :-)

4) How much money do you make?  – If my salary is your business, I will happily discuss it with you. If it’s not, bugger off. Talking about money is vulgar.

5) Why can’t you be more like _________?  – I’m me, I’m myself, and most days myself is pretty great. I’m good with that. Why can’t ____________ be more like me? Comparisons are miserable, friends….just say no.

6) You look fine. – Really? Fine?? That’s the best you can do???! I’m not saying you need to channel my one true love the Bard here, folks…but there are a lot of adjectives more fitting than ‘fine’. A tip? Ravishing – one never goes wrong with ravishing. :-)

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My boyfriend Billy the Bard :-)

7) Have you gained weight?  – Probably. But I am aware, so I don’t need your stupid arse pointing it out. So hush…my weight = not your business. Besides – I’m still cute and foxy, so…who cares??!

8) What happened to your hair? – Me. I happened to my hair. I’m not a stylist, and I don’t play one on TV. I suck at doing hair, and frequently contemplate copying Sinead O’Connor. I know I have ugly hair – you do not need to remind me. Eyes…I have ‘em. They work, too.

9) Do you really need another pair of shoes/dress/lipstick?  – Yes. Yes I do. I’m paying for it, so…what does it matter?

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I needed these shoes

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And this purse :-)

10) It’s up to you. – I make decisions all day long…I’m great at it. However, I’m not good at dealing with people who don’t have opinions. Get some! Go on!!! I bet you’ll like them!! They’re fun!! :-)

Thank you for listening – please refer to the list as needed…and feel free to apply it to all of the women in your life. It’ll make all of our lives so much easier – and probably buy you a ton of good will. You’re welcome.   :-)

Xxx

Satisfaction

Perception is an interesting thing, don’t you think? I could perceive something as being really awesome and fantastic, while you perceive that very same thing as being the pinnacle of crappiness.  I could look across the room, put my baby blues on a man that I think is the hottest creature to have ever lived, while you see someone to whom you wouldn’t give the time of day. It’s all about perception….and being aware of those differences in perception can (and probably does!) make a world of difference in life. Let’s talk examples. :-)

I have written before of my desire to have beautiful straight hair – but I’ve never been brave enough to try my hair straight because I’m convinced that it resembles the arse end of a dog (For reals). However, while in Paris, I was so inspired by the exquisite, natural beauty that I saw in all of the women, I decided to give it a whirl…and I kept my hair straight one day:
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I think I looked ridiculous, but I was on a different continent, so no big whoop. However, I got uber-brave (or royally stupid) and tried it again yesterday. Here. At work. In San Antonio. Shocking! I got a ton of compliments (which is kinda weird…but still so appreciated) – but I felt really strange and un-me-ish all day…when I probably didn’t look all that different at all. It’s just my perception. And you know what? The world didn’t come to a screeching halt because I had straight hair, either…everything seemed to keep turning as it always does. I’ve even taken to wearing my glasses more often (even though I think I look stupid in them)…I’m really stepping outside of my comfort zone! And yet the world keeps spinning! Hmm. ;-)
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Yesterday morning, I got up early and got ready to face a busy day – breakfast, working at a softball game, taking the Wee One to a movie, then back to work for some evening data entry to close out a competition. I knew I wouldn’t have time to come home throughout the day to change, so I had to pick my attire carefully – I ended up in a bright red dress with little white sailboats all over it (because I’m 5, apparently), with a little navy sweater on top. I thought I looked ridiculous, but received so many compliments throughout the day that I think I may need to reexamine my perceptions and wear sailboat patterns far more often! Last night at work, a female colleague complimented my frock, and then said that she loved my style. I had no idea that I even had style – and she was being serious, not even a smidge facetious. I was so tickled by what she said that I spent the better part of the evening considering the notion of style, and what it means. For me, style means wearing what I’m happiest wearing – dresses most of the time. I wear a lot of black, grey, blue, and pink…but I’m working at incorporating some red into the mix. :-) I love wearing black tights all the time, and little sweaters bring me unspeakable joy. I usually cinch a dress with a belt, and I never concern myself with matching too much. Patterns and brights are my friends, as are my Sabah shoes with pretty much every dress I put on. :-) As I’m sitting here on the cusp of starting a whole new decade, I’ve been feeling lately that I ought to rethink my odd little quirky style and perhaps try dressing my age, but…I don’t think that would be so successful. I am who I am, I like what I like (usually dresses that are too short and better suited to a tween), and I would probably look weird if I completely changed my fashion choices at this late stage in the game! Imagine me dressing like this?
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I often wonder how I am perceived by those around me. I hope that I am thought of as kind, smart, compassionate, and funny – but I also want people to realize that I’m very capable, as well. I want to be seen as someone who can be relied on, and most importantly I want the Wee Muppet to think I am a good mama. :-) I think that there are people around me who completely don’t get me – they see what they want to see, and have no idea who I really am. I’m okay with that – I have spent a lot of time and effort on truly embracing the philosophy of ‘What other people think of me is absolutely none of my business’…and I think I’m pretty much there. There are people who drown you with compliments that are essentially insincere, but figure that they will wear you down with their effusiveness. I don’t get that. I generally hope that I’m well received by people, but if I’m not, that’s okay, too. Whatever. I have no shortage of opinions on people that I meet – they are entitled to do the same in my direction! :-)

How do you think that the world perceives you? Are you okay with that? You should be…because I think you are awesome. :-)

Xxx

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Are you a planner? I sure as hell am…I’m like the Simon and Garfunkel song of this post title – I’m always ready to make a new plan, Stan. Or, more accurately, I need to quit making all my damn plans…I need to just let myself – and everyone around me – be. I saw this on Instagram today:
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Kinda life changing, I have to say. I am that person, the compulsive planner, who wants to come up with a million and one ideas when I’m preparing to go somewhere; I’m the girl that has every second of the weekends full of things that need doing (part of that is because of my work obligations, so it’s mostly necessary, but still…); the person that makes plans weeks in advance because I have an almost obsessive respect for people and their schedules…I’m a planner. I want to be a spontaneous, wild and crazy kind of fun girl – and I can roll with the punches like nobody’s business, but I am always inclined to make a plan. Case in point: this evening we had a work function, which went until after 8:00pm – instead of high-tailing it out of there like my arse was on fire and running to the car, I sat in the office with my boss forcing the poor, undoubtedly exhausted woman to talk with me about our agenda for tomorrow morning. Because my middle name is Batshit, apparently. It’s ridiculous. This is the kind of stuff that I do that probably makes me a really bloody frustrating person to be around. :-(
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On the other hand, I get more stuff done in a day than most folks accomplish in a week – partly because I’m super-efficient, but mostly because I schedule my time really, really well. I make the most of my time at work and rarely bring work home – once I leave the office, I’m done. I manage to do a ton of things with the Wee One that are super-fun – like the Fancy Girls Trip to Paris! :-) While we were there, we did SO many amazing things – that we wouldn’t have done if I sat around on my arse playing it loosey-goosey. Each time I’ve been to New York, I’ve seen and done so many things that I’m nearly ready to take a summer job as a city tour guide on a double-decker bus. I have covered so much ground in that city and made the most of my time…because I never know for sure if I’ll be back. At a staff meeting recently, someone praised me because I’m a person who deals with things head on – I “get shit done”. Thank God they feel that way, because I try really hard to be someone who does get shit done. Those are my kind of people, the shit-getter-doners of the world! ;-)

I read a great article online about planning – and trying not to overplan:

Planning and productivity don’t always go hand in hand.

Just because you’re great at planning, doesn’t mean you’re actually getting anything done. The most successful people —entrepreneurs, business owners, and even everyday professionals — are those who actually make things happen. In fact, if you’re spending the majority of your day planning, you may be sabotaging not only your productivity, but also your career.

It’s not that planning is a bad thing. But too much of it will take up an unnecessary amount of time. It may also lead you to believe that the more time you spend in the planning phase, the better the outcome of what you’re planning will be. When in all reality, it’s better to dive in and tackle potential problems as they arise.

It’s time to put the brakes on your excessive planning, and actually accomplish something. Here are six tips to help you stop planning and start doing more on a daily and long-term basis:

1. Limit your planning. Cap off your planning by putting an actual time limit on how much you spend per day, week, or month. This will keep your planning efforts focused and decisive. For example, 60 minutes a week of planning should do the trick. Place your focus on getting ideas off the ground, rather than agonizing over the details.

2. Get moving and maintain momentum. An idea is just that until you actually put it into motion. Unfortunately, finding and maintaining momentum to get an idea or task off the ground can be a struggle.

So you have a bunch of ideas or projects you’ve been planning out both mentally and physically, drop your fear of failure and nail down a start date. It could be tomorrow or next week, but write it on your calendar as the day you put your plan into motion. With the right amount of passion and dedication, any road bumps you experience will be translated into a learning opportunity or a chance to pivot.

3. Visualize your goal and act accordingly.Take a look at the big picture of what you’re hoping to accomplish. Take the approach many successful business CEOs have used and look at creating the minimum viable product (MVP). This means developing something that meets the bare minimum requirements and improving it based on necessity.

For instance, the project you keep moving to the end of your to-do list. Visualize what the MVP would be. Once you’ve completed that, you can run some tests and gain more insight from your team and/or client to help it grow from there.

4. Use a method of trial and error. You don’t always have to plan for things to go as planned. This sounds confusing, but it’s best to approach your actions as a basis for trial and error and not failure. For instance, say you’ve finally kicked your idea of starting a side business, an Ecommerce website, into motion.

Develop a method of trial and error to see what is and isn’t working as you build your company. So you’re not drawing in as many visitors as you would have originally hoped, test out some new methods of marketing and see what does and doesn’t work for your company.

5. Live by the 80/20 rule. Sometimes getting things accomplished means finding out what main factors will produce the most results. The 80/20 rule is broken down like this: Twenty percent of what you do in regard to something will produce 80 percent of your results.

So when it comes to that project you’re currently stalled on, look at the big picture and systematically remove steps until you end up with just the basic 20 percent that gives you 80 percent of what you need. By accomplishing these you will be fighting the need to create a completely perfect end product and also boosting your efficiency.

6. Trust your gut. The most important part of actually getting things done is trusting your own abilities. Once you let go of your fears, you’re actually going to be able to accomplish the big things on your to-do list.

Planning to perfection isn’t realistic. You’re never going to get it perfect anyway, so you might as well just get it done and accept that you will always have to tackle problems in the future.

Sensible, right? Planning is great…with limits. Here’s the thing: at the end of the day, I do know that I can be rather annoying…and that my planning can be really obnoxious and overbearing to most people. However, I also know that those very same people rely on the ones like me to move the world forward…while I count on them for spontaneous fun from time to time.

When it fits in my schedule. ;-)

Xxx

Change Your Mind

I’ve had some time recently to take a few quiet moments and take stock of a few things…I’ve been feeling really pensive and introspective – must be the impending Big Birthday (3 weeks to go!). This past week away from work – while action-packed and full of Paris fun – was a beautiful respite in the midst of the busiest, most chaotic – yet amazing – year I’ve ever had. There have been a hell of a lot of changes for me since last summer, and the majority of them have been really great – but all of these wonderful things have left me with little time to myself. The bits of free time I do have are so precious, and I’ve decided that I need to spend that time doing only the stuff I really want to do. I’ve been doing really well at not saying yes to invitations anymore unless I really want to go – I would rather spend those precious few hours at home (I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home anymore – and I miss it). I’m also working on not trying so bloody hard all the time with people in my life who don’t really put the same effort, attention, and energy in to me. For example, I know someone who I consistently text, reach out to, try to make plans with – and all I get in return is whiny text responses full of promises to call and text and get together…which never come to fruition. What’s the bloody point? Forget that nonsense…I’m done trying so hard. I’m also pretty much done sitting around waiting on people to make plans with me, and the plans never come so I sit doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself – I’m famous for always waiting to hear from peeps…which embarrasses me, because it’s so dumb. Why? Why do I wait?? Screw that. I really need to just go on, do my thing…and people can learn how to accommodate me. It’d be a nice change. :-)

Speaking of nice changes, while I was in Paris, I was really struck by the extraordinary beauty of the women I saw. I did see a few well-known fashion models (Paris Fashion Week had just ended the day before we got there) that I recognized, but it was the regular people who blew me away. The women seemed to wear very little – if any – makeup, didn’t fuss much with their hair, yet were breathtaking…and their beauty truly did come from within. That’s a mindset I could really benefit from embracing (couldn’t we all?) – learning to love the stuff inside, and letting that seep through my pores to the outside. I try to avoid going places with no makeup on…because I think I look dreadful – isn’t that silly thinking? Who cares??! Last weekend, a thing was going around Facebook where women nominated other women to post makeup-free hair-not-done selfies – I don’t generally go on Facebook, but when a sweet friend that I love to the moon and back nominated me, I felt compelled to participate. I posted my picture – and I relished seeing everybody else’s pictures, too. One day in Paris, I went out with straight hair – I never do that here…I don’t feel brave enough. I want to, though…sadly, I will never have that glorious, thick, glossy straight hair that lots of women have. Mine is kinda kinky and weird – but I did it. Yaa me! :-) Look:

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Ta-dah! :-)

While we’re in the business of full disclosure, here’s my makeup free picture – and a makeup one. There are a lot of differences:

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Boo!

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Maybe a bit better?

I came across this today – and I’m kind of blown away by how very much I love it:
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I could not agree more. There are way too many idiots out there, judging people on their appearance – it’s ridiculous. Why can’t we just be who we wanna be, without all the commentary? For example, I rarely wear pants (maybe once a week, if that) – I’m a dress wearer big time. A lot of people feel it is appropriate to make mention of that. Why? Do I comment on their schleppy appearance and general disdain for attire that fits? Noooo!!!! You do you, friends…and I’ll do me. Let’s say supportive stuff to each other, and compliment our fashion choices instead of dumping on them! It’ll make the world a better place, I promise! :-)

Do me a favor? Go compliment someone – find somebody and say something, anything, nice…and be sincere. It’ll make them feel great – and you will be a rockstar, too. Everybody wins!! :-)

Xxx

Believe

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In his book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about mastery taking 10,000 hours of practice – makes sense, eh? Practice makes perfect :-) However, there’s a whole other piece at play when it comes to mastering something and becoming successful – belief in yourself. While in Paris, we visited a lot of Ernest Hemingway haunts – Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, the English bookstore Shakespeare and Company.. I was channeling Papa, calling on his spirit to bless me with even a drop of his writing talent; while in the Latin Quarter, I bought a book called “Paris WIthout End”, about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson. I read it on the plane on the way home – and it’s fascinating. It chronicles her life prior to meeting him, and their tumultuous years together – mostly in Paris – while he was beginning his writing career. Her unwavering support of her husband and his aspirations are admirable…but so was his steadfast determination. He knew that he and his writing were destined for greatness; he believed it with every inch of his being. It was simply a matter of him doing what he did, and waiting for the rest of the world to get on board and realize his extraordinary talent. It was never ‘if’ – but when.
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Isn’t that just gorgeous thinking? I love it – and I was really struck by that undercurrent of belief throughout the book about Ms. Richardson. (NOTE: It’s an interesting book, if you ever come across it – I liked it a lot) As I’ve written before a zillion times, I’ve been known to suffer a bout or two (hundred) of rather crippling self doubt. I have often struggled to believe that I could be anything more than what I was – which is straight up ridiculous thinking, because apart from a supermodel or a man, there’s not much that I can’t be. However, it has taken a lot of years, a boatload of struggles and false starts to get where I am now…and I’m still not as sure of me as I would like to be. Perhaps someday. :-) Earlier this week, I heard an interview with singer extraordinaire P!nk, from early in her career. She was a guest on Howard Stern’s show, and he had a ton of questions about her childhood, because of a Behind The Music-type program he’d just seen about her. He was inquiring how her parents dealt with finding out that she wanted to be a singer, and her answer included something about how she always knew she would be a singer – and a famous one. Howard asked her how she knew that – and she told him that she knew what she wanted to do, she knew what she needed to do, and that she knew she would be successful…it was just a matter of time. That overwhelming belief in self and confidence in ability is so inspiring to me…I find it so admirable. I wish that I had more of it myself; I can’t imagine where I’d be! :-) I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, but I know that I’m destined for more. I have so many goals, dreams, and aspirations that, while I’ve accomplished a lot already, there is so much left to do. I’m just getting going…and I need to look to some of the most successful people out there and truly start to believe…

it’s just a matter of time. :-)

Xxx

PS:
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