Monthly Archives: October 2014

Trick or Treat your Talents

10 27 14 IndiansI’ve always loved autumn. To me there was something different in the air. There was a scent associated with the season, the crispness of the temperature as it began to dip at night, the smell of fallen leaves as they were raked and played in, the wispy smoke of bonfires, of hay, of apples and of pumpkins.

Halloween was always my second favorite season of the year (after Christmas), probably because I got to dress up in costume. And could do it legitimately. I used to dress up around the house and play act the rest of the year too. It’s a wonder that my mom didn’t send me to drama school. I wish she had!

In my younger years I was obsessed with playing cowgirl, which eventually switched over to playing Indian. My mom indulged me by sewing a fringed Indian outfit for one Halloween. I still have the photo. Ironically, years later I sewed an adult Indian costume for myself. I wish my mom could have seen it, she would have been proud.

Adults are not exempt from dressing in character. Party stores and online websites are full of adult-sized costumes of every kind imaginable. There are adult costume parties and contests – we don’t leave all the fun for the children.

What type of costume character do you choose? Is it something that maybe deep down inside you want to be? Do you want to be a superhero? A Hollywood actor? A doctor or nurse? Or the YouTube sensation of the moment?

Have you ever thought about what motivates you to choose your costume? Inevitably it is something you are comfortable with, and I think it can be a reflection of your inner mood. Costume parties allow you to tap into that inner desire.

It doesn’t have to be just a fun game that happens once a year on Halloween. You can be a superhero. Donate blood and save a life. Be that actor. Join a community theater or take part in an open mic night and let your inner actor out. Be that one who helps the less fortunate. Volunteer at a hospital or assisted living facility. Visit the sick or elderly who have no visitors.

Have a talent that you want to share with the world? Don’t hide your talents. Your gifts were given to you for a reason. Step out and take a chance. You don’t have to become famous, just share your gifts and talents with those around you.

It’s no trick. Treat yourself to the joy of letting your imagination really take shape. Find those roles in society where you can “be” that champion.

Harry Potter and his friends faced down danger and changed their world. Have you ever worked in grassroots politics or campaigned for the causes you believe in? We are in early voting week. Get out and vote. Make a difference in the world.

We didn’t stop being heroes when we became adults. That’s the treat. We actually became even more powerful.

As for me, The Black Cat will be out Friday night. You can knock me down but I’ll get up again; because black cats have nine lives.

10 27 14 Cat

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Live Happy – Part Deux

ae420ec5ac8e16745144860a5729b85dThe “Live Happy” people were at it again last week. They are going to do this every month, so get ready for your monthly dose of “happy.”

Unfortunately I missed the one speaker that I was most interested in hearing because I needed to be on the road at the time!

These are a series of 30-minute web conversations with New York Times best-selling authors and experts in the fields of happiness, business and positive psychology. Hosted by Live Happy CEO Kym Yancey, the guest speakers share tips on how to tap into the power of happiness. Listeners interact and post questions.

Research proves that happiness is a major force behind your success in business, relationships and much more. Make a decision to “live happy” and check out the resources provided by the Live Happy organization. Become a Happiness Ambassador!

Here are some nuggets from the past week just for you!

October 13, 2014
Dr. Drew Ramsey – Happier with Every Bite
Author of The Happiness Diet discusses how poor diet and nutrition can cause anxiety and depression. His new book 50 Shades of Kale provides 50 exciting recipes for this superfood.

Brain health begins at the end of your fork.

Change the architecture of your brain by picking healthy food.

Some foods actually contribute to depression, such as soda and the trans fats in processed food.

Dark chocolate gives a mental boost!

“I witness people transform themselves every day-from tears to smiles, chaos to calm. We all have the power to build happy, vibrant lives. Since every molecule in your brain begins at the end of your fork, that’s where I like to start.” – Dr. Drew Ramsey

October 14, 2014
James Pawelski – The Positive Portfolio
Dr. James O. Pawelski, Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania is widely published on the topics of positive psychology and philosophy.

Don’t wait around for happy to happen.

Happiness = human flourishing = a deep sense of well-being.

What’s in your Positive Portfolio? The Positive Portfolio is a collection of items that give you love, happiness and confidence. Think about a strength or positive emotion that you want to cultivate. Gather pictures, emails, music, etc. that help cultivate that strength or positive emotion. Focus 15 minutes a day on your “Positive Portfolio.” Add frequently to your Portfolio.

Bring mindfulness to your life; bring in the good happening around you.

Sometimes you wake up happy, and sometimes you have to wake up your happy!

October 15, 2014
Judson Laipply – Discover Your Happy Senses
Judson is a motivational speaker and dancer, best known for his performance in the Evolution of Dance viral video clip. In 2006, it was the #1 Most Viewed All Time Video and #1 Top Rated Video on YouTube.
The Evolution of Dance

Happiness is a decision, an attitude, a way of life.

Don’t hope for things, decide for things.

Make people happy and flood people’s brains with dopamine so that they remember what you say.

You cannot light another’s path, without lighting your own.

The more we share happiness, the happier we are.

The flame we have together is bigger than two individual flames.

Our words are powerful, It’s ok to day, “Yes, I am going to have a good day!”

Vocabulary lesson for the day: Perspicacity-Understanding how our perception affects our reality.

If you perceive the world through the lens of “I’m going to be happy” you can find things to make you happy.

Purpose and passion are hard to have without the other. “Pur-passion!” They feed on each other.

We have 5 “happy senses” – “pur-passion” (purpose and passion), play, harmony, perception and gratitude!

Giving isn’t giving until you give to someone who could never pay you back.

October 16, 2014
Michelle McQuaid – Wellbeing in the Workplace
Michelle is a best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher and playful change activator. She is passionate about translating cutting-edge research from positive psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies for health, happiness and business success.

Prime your brain before you go to sleep to cue up your morning habits.

During the day, make sure you get up frequently and move around, get up and drink water, create an inflection point to refresh yourself.

Inject a moment of positivity to short circuit that downward spiral that can happen at work. A jolt of joy = anything that puts a smile on your face.

You have a choice in how you feel and how you show up.

October 17, 2014
Mary Jane Ryan – The Happiness Makeover
MJ Ryan, a personal change expert and executive coach, is the author of How to Survive Change…You Didn’t Ask For: Bounce Back, Find Calm in Chaos, and Reinvent Yourself.

Accidental acts of happiness help us to become happier.

Accidental acts of kindness help us to become happier.

Gratitude is an “and” experience. No matter what is going on in your life, you can always appreciate and enjoy.

What can you still appreciate despite the difficulty and negative circumstances?

It’s not permanent; it’s not personal; it’s not pervasive.

We catch our feelings from our friends.

Give a smile to someone else today.

“We can be happier because we can grow and change until we take our very last breath.” – MJ Ryan

Create a Positive Habit

10 13 14 21dhl-2

Last month during the “Wake Up Happy” webinars (see the September 29, 2014 blog) Michelle Gielan shared these tips:

“Perform three actions for 21 days and create a habit.

  1. Send a positive email to someone you love about what they mean to you.
  2. Post a Tweet or Facebook about something positive.
  3. When someone asks how are you, respond briefly with a positive answer.”

These are great habits to cultivate, especially sending an email of appreciation to someone. A new friend of mine started an “appreciation game” asking others in our group to send a note of appreciation via postal mail to their loved ones and then share the results. I received a very hilarious card from Cristi, which was very interesting because while we are new acquaintances, she was exactly on target about what my humor would respond to! It gave me a big laugh! How did she know?

This exercise led me to Google the words “appreciation project.” Wouldn’t you know, you can find just about anything on the internet. Yes, there is such a movement; check it out at Global Appreciation Project. I will put this on my Bucket List to take part in!

There is also an official “smile project.” You can check it out at The Smile Project.

I notice a definite difference in my interactions when I go out in public with a smile and radiate positive vibes. I failed a little on that yesterday when out on a shopping errand. Even though karma had been in my favor allowing me to find a sizeable coupon before it expired that day, I still let some things get me cranky. Yes, I’m human and I have no problem admitting that. Something had set me askew. The important fact is that I noticed something was off, and my inner compass wanted to get back on track. That realization was a bit of a revelation. Once you start developing your positive self, when you do go off track, that nature notices and starts nudging you saying, “Hey, you’re going off track.” Many people go through their day not even aware they are grumpy. When you start exercising your “positive muscles,” that “muscle memory” is going to show up and help you. That’s a good feeling.

What “positive One-a-Day” habits are you practicing to develop your “positive muscle memory?” Positive input habits create positive output habits.

Next week the Live Happy people are doing another “Wake Up Happy” week. Start your day with 30 minutes of inspiration. Since we know there are people on the other side of the world who will be participating, in their case it will be “going to sleep happy!” Sign up at Wake Up Happy.

There are two other daily bits of positive nourishment that come my way. One is a very short email note, only a paragraph and easy to consume every morning. These are quirky, personalized messages of inspiration and wisdom. Mike Dooley’s Notes from The Universe.

Second is the Positively Positive newsletter, a daily digest of some of the most amazing blogs on positive living that I’ve ever read. Sadly, I don’t read all of their blogs every morning because my inner “to do” engine wants me to get up and start “doing” right away. But I am starting to think I need to create a new morning habit and spend an extra five or ten minutes reading each one, that’s how good they are! Here’s another Bucket List wish – that I become a blog contributor on Positively Positive!

Decide this week what positive habits you want to start practicing. Sign up for Wake Up Happy this week, and even if you miss the week’s program you can always join their movement anytime.

Sign up for Notes from The Universe.

Sign up for Positively Positive.

Create your own ritual or habit. Remember, positive input habits create positive output habits.

Get a pack of Post-it notes and leave happy notes in public places for people to find. Perform random acts of kindness. Show someone appreciation. When you leave the house, remember to compliment the first person you see and make them smile.

Do this for 21 days and create a habit.

“Pink October” and Confident Hope

SuzyCIf orange is the new black, then pink is the new orange. The new color for October and the start of the autumn season!

I began October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month coaching and assisting my friend and “cancer-vivor” with her public appearances and book signings. She is an amazing woman with an amazing story of strength in the face of her trials with breast cancer.

Susan was an award-winning hair designer, an active businesswoman in Orlando, running her second successful hair and beauty salon and living a very active social life. Her work in the beauty industry had taken her to Europe on fashion trips and she had clients in the Orlando entertainment industry. It was the good life in the Sunshine State!

In January 2003 she was having a lumpectomy on a non-malignant tumor. No sweat. Until she went for the follow-up visit a week later and heard the dreaded “C” word. It was cancer after all.

So began the rollercoaster ride of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Susan says that it is during times like this that you find out what you are really made of. Her family and friends rallied to help her and she also found strength in her renewed faith in God. It was a rough year but things seemed to be working out.

Then a year later, she was shocked when her doctor told her that the cancer was back – same breast – a different type of cancer! Drastic measures were in order and she underwent a double mastectomy at age 39. Medical complications ensued, and she contracted MRSA infections. Sickness, fatigue, nausea and depression were growing stronger every day.

Then Hurricane Charley struck Florida in August 2004, and an oak tree fell on top of her house, destroying her in-home salon.

When it rains it pours! Literally in this case. But as the other saying goes, sometimes it’s darkest before the dawn.

It was at this dark time that Susan learned what it was truly like to “lean on the Lord.” Her faith and peace was severely tested but she began to see everything working towards a greater purpose. She likes to say, “God can take your mess and turn it into a message.”

Susan has been a Spiritual Care Volunteer with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and thrives in helping others find the “confident hope” that God has given her. With all the heartbreaking and painful situations in her physical, mental, financial and spiritual life, she has now come out on top with confident hope and faith. She says that it is only through personal pain and heartache that you can really understand the needs of others.

She began writing her book on scraps of paper when she was in the hospital going through her treatments and it took her several years to get this labor of hope and love to print. Overflow with Confident Hope is her story and her inspirational insights into how we can triumph over our struggles through faith and perseverance.

Susan has become a motivational public speaker sharing her story of confident hope and inspiration with all who are dealing with cancer or any other challenge in life. You can check out her book on Amazon.com and her blog at susanculey.com.

Yes, pink is the new power color for October. And I always think of her when I wear it.

glo n suz