Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Things I'm Grateful For From 2010

It's that time of year...time to be grateful. I wish I could say our gratitude reached far and wide 365 days a year (I'd like to think the world would be a much more peaceful place), but hey, that's life! Before my website gets updated and this blog gets a refresh, I wanted to reflect on my 2010 and give thanks to the folks around me.

So rather than a "12 Days of Christmas," I give you a "12 Groups of People GFPR is Thankful For in 2010." My twist on an old favorite...and my grazzis to all! Without further adieu...

1) Family. Without you putting up with my travel, my ideas, my crazy "next big thing," and living life out of a pocketful of dreams...I wouldn't exist. Here's to sprinkling that little patch of stardust back your way, and thanks for all you've done to support me physically, mentally, emotionally and financially!

2) Kids. Every single day, I can look at the world through a 4- and 6-year-old's eyes. How cool is that? I'll tell you, way cool. Everything I do, I do for two little girls to look up at me someday and say, "mom, you blazed the trail. I knew I could do anything in my life without limits." Thanks Maiz and Willa for being the push off the cliff - and reminding me that sometimes life is all about dressing up like a princess & refusing to take a bath. :)

3) Racers. From bankruptcy to millionaires and back, this is one population of people who should (or maybe shouldn't) run Wall Street. They personify the American Dream, as well as being able to chase it. Not afraid to roll the dice, they'll put everything on the line in the name of doing what they love. I wish every single person on earth knew that way of living on the edge - it's a great reminder that YES, we are all ALIVE! Success or failure, they give it every ounce of what is inside them. Absolute thanks for that inspiration, it makes me work harder for my clients...knowing that stake in the game.

4) Runners. You can't be negative and run 12 miles in the rain or snow on a Saturday, when everyone else is asleep. Runners know that they are a little tweaky, off base from the rest of the world - but at the same time, that drive and determination runs the spirit of everyone around them. They take that warmth from a long run and let it be their buzz - and it radiates to others. So thank you, runners of the world...for motivating us, pushing out the door when it's 8 degrees, and proving that life is just about having the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Starts there!

5) People in the world who say "I can't." You're the ones I want to motivate - I just haven't gotten to you yet! Honestly, when you say that you can't, it's a mental click that makes it so. I used to live that way my whole life - protecting myself with a fear mechanism that I thought would keep me doing things that would instantly fail. Well, here I am, big girl, and I've had a lot of "cliff jumping" moments that didn't work...and just as many that did. It really is all about the journey - and yes, you CAN.

6) Vegans. For every vegan, there is a naysayer. A restaurant that doesn't serve food you can eat. Or a person in your inner circle who says, "How on EARTH? And WHY?" Then, there's that inner desire to make a positive change for yourself and your health. I absolutely salute your commitment - making recipes that take twice as long; or driving 20 miles outside your house for a vegetable; or passing that restaurant. Your quiet diligence pushes me to go "full tilt" first of the year from a vegetarian to a full vegan.

7) Scott Jurek. You are my hero. A vegan ultramarathoner, not only do you show the naysayers that yes, it CAN be done - but you do it with a quiet positivity. Without every giving criticism to the critics, it's that type of stoicism that helps prove the cause. Not every vegan is a blood-throwing PETA member - sometimes it's just your neighbor; or your co-worker; or your run partner.

8) Selfless yogis. I qualify this, just because there are some yogis out there that are just as commercial as an infomercial. The ones who aren't...who stay after class to help a student learn a posture; or who drive to do seva (service) work miles from your home, for free; or who strive to bring yoga to new populations and better the world. Thank you, you are why I became a teacher.

9) Selfless people. Not just yogis are selfless...there are a lot of amazing, inspirational, humble people out there who are making a difference - without a camera, or a pen, or a mouthpiece to a media outlet. To you, thank you for pushing through with your work, and thank you on behalf of humanity. You give us a gift every day for our children and grandchildren.

10) Teachers. Note I could have said "world leaders" or "pacifists" or "dealmakers." Well, behind every successful one of those is a set of really amazing teachers. The ones, much like yogis, who pour their all into their students (without rock star salaries). Thank you for creating our next set of diligent, peaceful world leaders. We appreciate you.

11) Eccentrics. This is a broad spectrum of people - from those who dare to think differently; to those who tinker in their garage to make the "next big thing" despite the naysayers; to the comedians of the world (famous and infamous) who keep us laughing. Without a quirky push in our lives and a drive to be creative, life is just going through the motions. Thank you for keeping me smiling, as well as keeping hope alive.

12) YOU! Last but not least...thank you for being in my life! I read a quote the other day that said, "People don't just fall into your life. They are around you because you fostered them in." So for whatever karmic reason that you and I communicate, I appreciate what you have done to give my life meaning and reason. THANK YOU for hopefully making me a better person.

Grazzi, grazzi, grazzi...my gratitude for you all! May your holidays be merry, bright and full of laughter. Then, let's get out there and make the fireworks happen - MAKE YOUR 2011 FULL OF PROMISE! Let life take your breath away! Peace, Girl Friday

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Set Your House on Fire

"Do you ever feel just so paper thin, like a house of cards, just one blow from caving in?" -Katy Perry

Can you tell I've been downloading some running songs lately? Well, I have to admit that I love Katy Perry's new song, "Firework." Dedicated to help stop the bullying against gay & lesbian teens, it's also a nice anthem for anyone who's in a rut. "Baby you're a firework, show them what you're worth." Who WOULDN'T respond to a call to action like that?

I'm in an era of self-discovery myself, and I'm doing it while running a new business. I have people doubting me all the time (especially in a my primary industry of stock car racing) - questioning if I really belong there amidst the guys. It's okay, I'm not judging whatsoever - it's an absolute privilege to be at a racetrack to work, and I like to think I don't flaunt it. I also understand that I have a flair for the flamboyant - so if you saw a set of blond pigtails speeding towards you with a headset on, a notebook in hand and pen in mouth, you'd probably do a double take. What the? Who tha? Head scratch....

That's what I think is cool about the whole situation. At my core, I really have no care for what people think of me. I've had every label that you can have, based on pre-judgements, insecurities or even positives. In order to really light the fire within, you can't be afraid of what others think. You've got to set your "inner house" on fire to discover those fireworks that Katy Perry is talking about. Once you love yourself, you're going to radiate that out into the world. And at that point, it won't matter if you paint your face blue, wear pigtails or dreadlocks or shave your head - it's YOU that matters.

I'd love to sit here and say "your work should speak for itself." Well, our society has a long history of branding those with individuality - which translates to an innate sense of self. So rather than going down that road, I'll just give this advice.

1) Work hard, no matter what it is you do. Do it well first, then love it.
2) Be yourself. If you don't know what that means, then FIND YOURSELF.
3) Find yourself = peel the onion. What do you love? What do you NOT love? Be that.
4) Find ways to set your inner house on fire. What have you put off today, this week?

I guarantee you, once you find a passion inside, you just lit the flame of what makes you tick. Once you do that - man, watch out! You will be setting the stage for igniting your own spirit.

My pigtails were an accident - it was a hot day, and I had been doing it to my daughter's hair. I figured I could still put a headset on with pigtails, rather than one ponytail. What began as a utilitarian experiment became what sparked what's at my core - a spritely, energetic Girl Friday that runs like a fire. It really can be as simple as that.

Let it shine, baby, let it shine - make those colors burst...BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cruisin' Downhill

Yes - crash, burn, fly downhill at the speed of light. Let all your cares blow away with the wind and just FAIL. Screw the world, no one has helped you, right?

Or not.

Cruising downhill is a runner's term. You see, all beginner runners start out doing the same thing (it's pretty textbook) - they take off running and see a downhill and think, "oh yeah, this is where I'll book it and make up some serious time." The more experienced runners shake their head and let them pass, knowing the outcome. Lo and behold, as they press to the uphill (because yes, everything that goes up must come down, and vice versa- that which goes down, must come back up)...they start the burnout process.

Weak knees, burning calves, heaving chest...all due to bad energy management. As time goes on, that novice runner learns to "cruise" downhill- meaning using energy super efficiently. Tucking elbows in to sides, letting legs "go" (rather than tensing up & speeding up), going loose like jello and breathing consistently. That way, when they get to the uphill, they are ready for a steady incline and "spurts" if necessary on a jaggy hill.

How does that apply to life? Well, in my world, running has everything to do with life. Think about it, the last time you "fell downhill" in business - call it failure, or call it just plain got down on yourself. It was a big fat downward spiral, probably - speeding through negativity, letting it snowball on itself and adding more limiting beliefs to the equation. So once you got through the process of the downturn and looked to the uphill in the distance - you just didn't have the oompf. How is that a recipe for winning the race? Um, it's kinda not.

So here's a scenario - next time you feel like you're spiraling...be it in a business relationship (say you haven't been paid by a client; or you just lost an account for your company; or you can't find funding for a venture; or you're not in that dream job). There are a million examples here - the only consistent being that feeling of snowballing downhill.

Take a deep breath, and see what you can do to tuck those elbows in, conserve your energy, and go loose. Loose = calm in almost any situation, and once you're loose, you can assess a situation and pinpoint a solution. After you've loosened up, see the positive and make it your "uphill." So if you haven't found that dream job, where have you been looking? Go turn over a completely different rock in a completely different place, and go ahead and take on that uphill.

I guarantee if you cruise in your downhill, you'll have that breath and energy to look forward to any uphill - and completely conquer it. So go get to cruisin' and find your inner rock star!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanks, Thanks and More Thanks

Gratitude. It seems appropriate to have a post about giving thanks, especially as we're moving into the Thanksgiving holiday season in the States. When we think of gratitude in business, we normally associate it with being thankful for the people around us who do things for us. However, I'll pose the question to you - have you ever just given thanks for the blessings & opportunities in your business life...or even further, just thanked yourself?

I'll take it one audience at a time. Giving thanks for the blessings in your business life. Here's what I mean - okay, yes, people do things to help advance your career, or bring you clients, or give you funding. That's awesome, be thankful for sure! Flip that coin though, and take a moment to look around you during your day. What do you have around you? A house or shelter or a place of business; a world full of opportunities at your fingertips - with a phone call, an email, a meeting; a circle of friends or associates who really do mean well by you, but ones who don't necessarily have to do something for you, for you to appreciate them.

Jeffrey Gitomer, one of the prominent sales trainers in the States, once said, "The key isn't to call the decision maker. The key is to have the decision maker call YOU." How does that happen? I like to think it's one part REALLY doing what you do to the absolute, passionate, to-the-wall best of your ability; one part taking care of your customers or clients like family; and one part, having amazing gratitude for the people, places and things around you. It's not just positive energy - it's FAITH that with a humble, grateful attitude, all things return to you in time.

Second audience - giving thanks to YOURSELF...well, you've heard that advertising slogan, "You deserve a break today." Yep, that's right, you. Give yourself a little mental pat on the back for what you've accomplished today, this week, this year. Cut yourself some slack while you're at it, because we have a tendency to be the hardest on ourselves. When we forget to be grateful for our health, our mental well-being, our talents - that's when we lose immunity in both our personal health arena as well as business.

Being confident enough to thank yourself isn't boastful - it's incredibly necessary. For you to be able to bring enthusiasm to your job and the people around you, you have to be able to admit that everything is just fine. That calm, cool, centeredness comes from being aware of where you are and what you're doing. I know I preach about being present all the time, but it really is a gift to yourself - so BE PRESENT.

Wherever you are today, do two things. First, reach out to someone in your immediate sphere of influence and give thanks for their presence in your business life. You'll find it's amazing how that gets passed on to someone else. Second, take a massive inhale and an even deeper exhale. Close your eyes, feel gravity take your chest down on the exhale...and thank yourself for where you are today. The future will come, the outcomes unknown.

But for right now, just put gratitude in your conscious world. And by the way, thanks for reading this - I appreciate you. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Sizzle - Grab a Costume, Shake it Off

Okay, don't shake off the costume...that could get a little crazy. Yep, it's HALLOWEEN again, and the kids and crazies are all coming out with bells and costumes on. My kids' choice this year - a dalmation and Neytiri from Avatar. At first I laughed - I don't think you could get two more polar opposite kids. After thinking about it though, it makes complete sense.

Both of my kids are individuals, but they are incredibly passionate about what they love to do or love to follow (I'd have to say, that's American consumerism at its finest on the one hand; on the other, it's youthful innocence who wear their hearts on their sleeves). Both chose costumes of what they admired, who they wanted to BE in life. For Maizie, my oldest, she loved Neytiri in that movie - I haven't seen her moved like that in a while by anything, much less a blue creature with dreads! Back to the point - what she admired was the chance to be skillful among the boys; a graceful expert within her people; a respected member of a tribe; and a "tough girl."

So bring that same philosophy in our business world - like begets like, and we become what we hang around with. It's our choice to seek out people who we want to "be" like when we grow up - people who will be good mentors or friends; help us grow in our careers; or just become a better person overall. Sometimes, it's easier to find the people to hang around that are how we feel - maybe they complain about the economy; or they don't know what to do in their lives; or they feel lost. It's good to be a friend to others, but if the majority of your friends are in this mindset, it's going to be more challenging to keep your mental state moving forward.

I'm not advising you to ditch your friends - actually, quite the opposite. This time of year is awesome for dropping the inhibitions and grasping what you want to be. Okay, so that might be one night, Halloween, through a costume - but who's judging? Not me. I'm all about a catalyst for change, and if it's a Wonder Woman costume that gets you jarred out of negative thinking, by all means - GO TO TOWN! You can also support friends in this effort, especially if they are feeling down. Have a good time, use it as a creative tool to speak a "vision board" of sorts - if they had anyone in the world to choose who they'd like to be, who would it be? How can they take on those traits? How can they ultimately win here?

So go grab a costume, start your change. You never know - maybe YOU are the one who someone else wants to be like someday. It all starts with a little spark!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BE BOLD. THINK BOLD.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have been on the “positive thinking” journey for a year now. I’ve poured through The Secret, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, The Happiness Project, and most recently, It’s Your Time by Joel Osteen (and just about everything he’s ever written). I started a business about 14 months ago, and it was with the idea that I am absolutely committed to a dream and making it work.

In the process, I’ve taken a lot of risks. The foundation behind risk is a huge level of confidence – that kind of unflagging, unwavering, absolute belief in oneself that no one can “naysay.” I’ve produced four vision boards with my dreams plastered all over them; written my affirmations on paper, releasing them to the universe at the beginning and the end of each day for a year (with a few tweaks here and there…it’s fun to look at the drafts). Now, I’m ready to take it to a new level- making those affirmations BOLD, SUPERNATURAL STATEMENTS.

Going through your life, it’s easy to think that there are other people who are “worse off” than you are. Meaning, Joe the neighbor lost his job last year and hasn’t found anything new – so HE is the one who deserves blessings today to find something. Or Suzy has been sick with a debilitating disease, so SHE is the one who deserves prayers first in her life. Now, I don’t want to get controversial – yes, of course Joe and Suzy need your prayers and your positive thoughts. However, you were put on this earth to do something AMAZING.

That amazing thing might not be realized or actualized just yet, but every time you think you don’t deserve to have those big dreams come to fruition (meaning, someone else deserves it more, or you have “a good life” already and should just be thankful for that) – you are doing yourself a disservice. Joel Osteen likes to put it this way – he’s all about being humble and thankful for what he has, but he sure would be sad if he found out his big dream was just a mile away from his acceptance of living in his “okay life.”

What does this mean today? At its basic level, DREAM BIG, BOLD DREAMS. When I heard this, I took a look at my affirmations on paper. I realized that I had a lot of “wills.” Translation – I wrote down things that could happen someday, but really weren’t worth a hill of beans until I put them BIG AND BOLD in the present tense. Here, I’ll give you an example. My business is primarily in NASCAR PR, although I have clients outside of motorsports. I love motorsports, and my top affirmation used to say, “I will have a NASCAR hard card with full-time paying clients in all three Series in 2011.”

Positive statement, right? Sure, but it says I WILL. I will what, and when? That could be years from now. So throwing a BIG statement, nice and bold, rewritten: “I HAVE a NASCAR hard card with full-time paying clients in all three Series in 2011.” Now, it’s present tense, and it’s up to me to keep making the phone calls, doing the work, exceeding expectations and going the extra mile for my current clients. The added bonus – everything I do for them this year makes strides so that THEY can be those full-time teams next year. It’s a win win, because I have faith in them too.

So not to make this all about me, but it’s a good example. I’m living proof that dreaming big isn’t selfish. You’re literally just fulfilling the universe’s full promise for you, so that once you leave this earth you can look back and say, “I did what I was supposed to do for the world.”

If you don’t know what that dream or purpose is just yet, it’s okay. Take some time to tap into things you love to do. How can you make that something that you do every day and help others? Make a plan, and write down BOLD STATEMENTS to get there. Don’t worry about the how. The how figures itself out after you state the WHAT. Be a rock star and be bold!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Who, me...volunteer in my work life?

I'm going to tackle a semi-controversial topic in this blog - but hey, I've never been one to shy away from at least a LITTLE controversy. If it starts a conversation, it's worth a shot.

The "V" word. No, not high school biology - actually, volunteerism. I don't mean in the traditional sense...via a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, or some other nonprofit service venture. Today, I'm talking about volunteering to heed your calling. Maybe I'm a little more guilty of this one than others, as I run my own business and have to get creative as to building new relationships. The more I think on it, however, I think it applies to any adult - whether you run your own firm, or you work for a corporation.

Let's put it this way - do you have a dream? Okay, most of us would say, "yes, affirmative" on that one. If you don't, no offense, but start thinking & start...um...living? Segue, sorry. Back to that dream - what are you willing to do in order to make that dream a reality? Sacrifice? Toil? Make a financial contribution?

Well, what if I told you that you don't have to do any of the above? Well, unless you consider going unpaid a "sacrifice," which I'd deem a little dramatic. Your dream is waiting in the wings for you, just ready for you to take steps to actualize it. Depending on what it is, I guarantee if you volunteer your time first towards that cause, it will be karmic debt paid to you to increase your odds of a succesful venture.

Scratching your head? Okay, example time. Every client I've ever signed on in my firm, with the exception of my former employer (whom I consult for now) - I volunteered my services, or came on at a reduced rate, for first. It might sound insane, and yes, I've certainly had some interesting stories along the way - but it was the single most important way I could build trust with my future clients. If I believed in what they were doing SO much, that I would put my most valuable asset in life - time - on the line for them...how could they not know I was on board?

Each active client pays now, and I've earned that keep - and even to the tune of referrals, which is incredibly humbling. Do I have to still get out there and work it every day? ABSOLUTELY, I'm a small business owner. My day screams hustle. Love it!

BIG POINT HERE - massive emphasis - not every venture you volunteer for, will actually turn into business. Put a huge stamp on that letter in your head that says, "that's not why I'm doing this." Volunteering in business is not a means to an end, you can't approach it with ulterior motives. If you approach it almost like an internship with said business or person, you gain the following towards your dream: 1)field knowledge, ie, "boots on the ground entrenchment;" 2)valuable relationships; 3)resume building.

I also want to make the point that this is going towards a DREAM - meaning, something you're probably not doing right now in your daily life. For me, it was starting my PR firm and stating the affirmations every day, "I go above & beyond for every single client who trusts me with their business," and "I am THE most successful PR person that will ever exist on the planet." Bold dreams, bold statements...but both statements that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make happen. No ego here- it's destiny and I believe it.

Joel Osteen gives a great quote - "You have to pray BOLD prayers. You have to watch out for the little ones, as you just might get what you pray for today." So in that quest to achieve your dream, throw it out there to the universe - and then give your TIME & energy to it. Volunteer. Build your base. Quit having an ego (and I work in some pretty ego-driven industries). Who cares what you make? The ones who care are the ones who are not responsible for your dreams.

So the next time you approach that dreaded "V" word in business, don't be afraid to go do it. As long as it's a NEW venture, you're ready, willing & able to go prove yourself as a new expert in your dream field - & the money will come. I promise.

In the name of V, rock stars...DKC