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Monday Morning Message

12/5/2016

A Different Kind of Gift
Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Were you out shopping this past week, trying to determine what gifts to get those you care about for the holidays? Traditionally, this is the time of the year when we spend more time shopping for gifts than any other time of the year. We’re looking for something perfect. Something that will make a lasting impression, and something that special person will enjoy. A recent study shows that traveling, or going to an event, makes us far happier than material wealth or gifts. Why? When it comes to gifts, research shows that the main impediment to happiness is adaptation. As soon as something we’ve bought becomes ordinary and unexciting, the level of life satisfaction we feel falls, and we’re forced to search around for the next “thing” that excites us. For most people, this process is repeated over and over again in search for that feeling that occurs with a new gift.

However, research carried out at Cornell University has found a way to break this damaging cycle. Psychology professor Thomas Gilovich has shown that we experience the same increase in happiness when we buy something we want, as when we go traveling or attend an event. But, and here’s the most important point: the amount of happiness we derive from our purchase falls over time, whereas the memories of our traveling experience continue to supply us with happiness hormones for much longer. Sometimes, our entire life! Going to various events, going on trips, learning new skills, even extreme sporting events are an ideal source of happiness for each and every one of us. A new device, or even a new car, will eventually become just another ordinary object we own, or will become old and outdated. Every new memory, on the other hand, becomes a real source of joy that stays with us for our whole lives.

This year, think about events, day trips, or something that you can give as a gift to create memories that last a life time. It might be a painting class with wine, which is fun and memorable. It could be a trip to a winery, a sporting event, a play, concert, or anything that the special person in your life would enjoy. Make the holiday season extra special with a gift that will create memories for a lifetime.

Something to Think About
More and more people are feeling the need to get away from gifts, and use the money to support a cause or do to something that will last for more than a brief moment of happiness. It might be feeding homeless children, donating to a food pantry this time of the year or asking a church if they have a family in need. A great example is the organization of Women for Women. For the price of a nice meal in a restaurant, you can change a woman’s life somewhere in the world. I remember the first time I received this gift. The person said, “When I was thinking of what you needed, nothing came to mind. When I thought of what you would enjoy, I knew that you would enjoy helping others.” I still support this group many years later. http://gifts.womenforwomen.org

Words of Wisdom
You take away all the other luxuries in life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness. - Brad Garrett

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale

Monday Morning Message

11/28/2016

GOAL FOCUSED

It’s the time of year when we start thinking about our goals. When we think about goals, we also start thinking about HOW to stick to our goals for long-term success.

One of the secrets to long-term success is to start with small habits. When you know how to create tiny habits, you can change your life forever. Here are some tiny things that you can start doing today that will have a positive impact on your life and make setting and attaining goals simpler:

  • Create a gratitude journal, and write one thing that you are grateful for each day.
  • Spend 15 minutes each day meditating, or just being quiet. Block any thoughts, and just let your body be still. You will be amazed at how often you have a great thought or idea after your “quiet time.”
  • Be inspirational to those around you.
  • Think quality thoughts at all times.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others when setting your goals. Be your best self at all times!

As you start to apply these tiny habits on a daily basis, you can start to work on your long-term goals. I will give you some tips for that next week!

Something to Think About

I once heard something that made it very easy to understand how to set a goal: You first start with a statement about what you know you can do, such as “I will run a 5K race two times a year.” Then you stretch that statement so far that you aren’t sure you can do it, such as “I will run a 10K race in the spring and a 28-mile race in the fall.” The stretch is what makes it a goal – and also what makes it exciting when you hit the goal!

Weekly Activity 

Let’s start thinking about those goals for 2017. Not just business goals, but personal ones as well. Don’t forget: It’s the stretch that makes it a goal.

Words of Wisdom

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” – Samuel Johnson

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

“The greater danger for most of us isn’t that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” – James Cameron

Monday Morning Message

11/21/2016

Thankfulness

Let’s take a look at the word “thankful.” When asked to describe it, the three top synonyms were grateful, appreciative and indebted.

What a nice feeling it is to feel grateful to someone for their support when needed, their prayer in times of turmoil, their constant friendship, the way they show their love or just for being there whenever they’re needed.

I sometimes forget to stop and just be grateful for all that I have and all that has come my way. It’s easy to grow accustomed to that “life is great” feeling; however, at any given moment there are millions of people throughout the world struggling to feel thankful. They look for simple pleasures… without finding them.

But EVERYONE is thankful when another person reaches out in kindness. What seems simple to you might mean the world to someone else. What we take for granted, others view as riches. Today I am truly thankful, and I will search to make another person’s life a little better by doing something small and unexpected. If you try it too, you will notice that a small smile will suddenly appear on your face, and your day will be even better!

Something to Think About

It’s the small things that people remember. There’s a saying that goes something like this: People will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Feelings last for a very long time – good or bad. Let’s make some good memories and some good feelings this week!

Weekly Activity 

Do something small that will have a HUGE impact of the life of others this week. Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate to your local food pantry.
  • Serve a meal to the homeless at a local shelter.
  • Take your old coats, gloves and scarves to the homeless as it starts to get cold in so many parts of the country.
  • Go to a senior home, and visit the very special people who reside there. Read to them, sing to them, take small gifts to them.

Words of Wisdom

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

“When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” – Suze Orman

“The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.” – Richard Carlson

“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Monday Morning Message

11/14/2016

Anything’s Possible

Happy Monday! What a great topic and an easy way to turn the impossible into the possible – just cross out the IM!

When I saw this, my first thought was that it was ironic that IM also stands for I AM, or I’m. Is it possible that taking IM – or I am – out of the equation makes it possible? Do we sometimes get in the way of our own progress? Do we allow our own thoughts to block our progress? If so, let’s create a new attitude! Here are some guidelines for a more positive life:

  • Don’t allow others’ thoughts to shape who you become! Starting today, you decide whom you will become, and make it possible!
  • Follow your butterflies! What are butterflies? They’re those things that make your stomach feel funny when you’re nervous. Don’t avoid the them; follow them, and watch how strong and fearless you become.
  • Everyone is led by inspiration, or we are led by desperation. Knowing that it’s possible keeps you inspired.

Let’s make it an amazing, inspiring life!

Something to Think About

I can turn the possible into the impossible, or IM the reason that the possible seems IMpossible.  Which will you choose for your life?

Weekly Activity

What are your butterflies? What is that thing that you have been afraid to do? This week, choose to follow your butterflies!

Words of Wisdom

“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland
“Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
“To all the other dreamers out there, don't ever stop or let the world's negativity disenchant you or your spirit. If you surround yourself with love and the right people, anything is possible.” – Adam Green
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda

Monday Morning Message

11/7/2016

Inspiration

Welcome to Monday! Today we’re going to celebrate an amazing person whom I recently heard speak at a conference. His name is Jason Fowler. At the age of 6, Jason’s parents gave him his first motorcycle! He competed throughout the country with his family until, at 17, he hit a rock while practicing and was thrown from his bike. It completely severed his spinal cord, which meant that he would never walk again.

Can you imagine how he felt? How would you feel if what you loved and lived for was suddenly taken from you? I can’t imagine how he felt, but I do know what he did. As he laid in bed contemplating life, he saw the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon on TV and knew that 26-mile race was his future. Six months later, he completed his first 5-mile race. One year later, he competed in the Boston Marathon. During the next 10 years, he completed 150 races, 34 marathons, 37 triathlons and 2 Ironman Triathlons, winning the second one to become the Ironman Triathlon Champion!

When asked how he gets his inspiration to keep going – and to inspire others – Jason says that each person is unstoppable and has the inner strength and power to do anything. Here are the questions that he would ask himself each morning to get his inspiration:

  1. What do I want for my life?
  2. What does my best self look like?

He also changed the way he looked at setting goals. Now he asks, “How do I have my best day today?”

I really like that way of looking at goals. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to set our goals that we never get around to implementing them! To learn more about Jason and his mission, visit http://jasonfowlerliving.com/about/

Something to Think About

The lessons that Jason learned through failing and eventually winning the Ironman World Championship have translated to other parts of his life and have him feeling a bit like Superman at times. One of the more powerful lessons he learned, which continues to guide his life, is that when you never give up and give 110% enlightened effort, the impossible becomes possible.

Weekly Activity 

Ask yourself these questions each day:

  1. What do I want for my life?
  2. What does my best self look like?
  3. How do I have my best day today?

Words of Wisdom

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I'm possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn
“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman

Monday Morning Message

10/31/2016

Happy Halloween!

What face did you choose for your pumpkin this year? Is it funny? Scary? This week I want to share a few “fun facts” about this season’s sometimes-spooky holiday.

Perhaps the most famous icon of the Halloween holiday is the jack-o’-lantern, which is of Scottish or Irish origin. The original jack-o’-lanterns were used as lanterns by people who traveled the road at night. The scary face was to frighten away spirits or fairies who might otherwise lead them astray. They also were put on porches and in windows to cast the same spell of protection over the household.

Bobbing for apples also may have descended from a Pagan ‘baptism’ rite called a ‘seining.’ The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice’s head is immersed. The fact that participants in this folk game were usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also brings to mind the traditional apple bobbing that we enjoy today.  

Something to Think About

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” – Robert Brault

Weekly Challenge

Funny one-liners you can use tonight with your trick-or-treaters.

  • What did one jack-o’-lantern say to the other? 
    Cut it out!
  • What is a pumpkin’s favorite sport? 
    Squash!
  • Why do jack-o’-lanterns have stupid smiles on their faces?
    You’d have a stupid smile too if you just had all of your brains scooped out!
  • What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?
    Frostbite!
  • How do you repair a broken jack-o’-lantern? 
    Buy a pumpkin patch!
  • What’s black, white and orange and waddles?  
    A penguin carrying a jack-o’-lantern!
  • Why do pumpkins never quarrel?  
    Because they have no stomach for fighting!

Words of Wisdom

“It's said that All Hallows' Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin - and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” -Erin Morgenstern

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!” -Percy Bysshe Shelley

“October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.” -Hal Borland

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” -Jim Rohn

Monday Morning Message

10/24/2016

The Power to Make People Feel Special
Halloween is just a week away! It’s so much fun to see kids all dressed up trick or treating. I love to see the cleverness of the costumes and what kind of spooky mischief some of the neighbors put into their house decorations. I remember as a child, some of the houses were especially scary, and feeling scared as we approached the door made it even better.

We all remember what we feel far longer than what we see. A great quote about what we feel by Maya Angelou is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This applies to all areas of life. Think back to your school days. Which teachers come to mind? The ones you remember are the ones who made you feel special! 

Something to Think About
When you’re on a listing appointment, how do your clients “feel”? Do you place an equal amount of emphasis on the feeling they get, or is it just about the presentation? When you follow up with your clients after the sale, what is the feeling they get? Take some time this week to think about your presentation as well as your delivery. You know what they say: It’s all in the delivery!

Weekly Challenge
Each day this week, look for an opportunity to make someone feel special. There’s always, always a way to help make someone’s day. From client to family member to friend or even a total stranger, being the force that lifts people up in today’s sometimes chaotic and draining world can make all the difference.  Be a light in the world. The world needs more of that!

Words of Wisdom
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down, and lifting people up.” – John Holmes

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” – Booker T. Washington

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out, and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift.” – Pablo

“Our legacy is not found in all the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated on our life’s journey. It’s written in the memories of those whose lives we’ve touched along the way.” – Justin Young

“Who do you want to surround yourself with? People who can pull you up to their level of greatness? Or people who will happily pull you down to theirs?” – Dan Pearce

Monday Morning Message

10/17/2016

Have S’more!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? As we head out of another month, it’s awesome to sink into the heart of autumn, isn’t it?

A favorite fall memory-maker is to sit around a campfire with friends talking about random things, sipping hot cocoa (or wine) and roasting marshmallows. Of course, you can’t roast marshmallows without making s’mores!

Thinking about s’mores, my curious mind suddenly had a desire to know when the first s’more appeared and how it came to have that name. As you know, a s’more is a traditional campfire treat consisting of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham cracker. S’more is a contraction of the phrase “some more.”

The earliest s’more recipe was published by the Campfire Marshmallows company in the 1920s and was called a “Graham Cracker Sandwich.” In 1927, a recipe for “Some More” was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts in reference to the graham cracker sandwich. The term “s’more” appears in a recipe in a 1938 publication aimed at summer camps. After that, it appears to have adopted the name, which makes sense because if you eat one, you will likely want “some more”! Betty Crocker even published the recipe in her 1957 cookbook.

Something to Think About

Certain traditions take us back to our childhood. Why do we continue those traditions? Because it’s fun to go back and experience those precious moments but, even more important, we want our children to grow up with those same memories.

Weekly Challenge

Invite some friends to your home, build a campfire or fire up your fire pit, make s’mores, sip your favorite hot drink, and make memories!

Words of Wisdom

“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” – Unknown

“Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.” – Unknown

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” – John De Paola

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” – Zig Ziglar

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson

Monday Morning Message

10/10/2016

Christopher Columbus

Happy Monday! Today in North America, we are celebrating two holidays. Canadians are celebrating their Thanksgiving, while those in the states are celebrating Columbus Day. Most people think that Christopher Columbus discovered America in the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria and also – while he was at it – proved the earth wasn’t flat. Not true, according to historians.

Kids in school have long been taught that when Columbus set sail in 1492 to find a new route to the East Indies, it was feared he would fall off the edge of the earth because people thought the planet was flat.

However, as early as 6th century B.C., Pythagoras — later followed by Aristotle and Euclid — wrote about earth as a sphere, and historians say there’s no doubt that the educated in Columbus’s day knew quite well that the earth was round. Columbus, in fact, owned a copy of Ptolemy’s book, written 1,300 years before Columbus set sail. The Sphere, written in the 1200s, was required reading in European universities in the 1300s and beyond.

What about the names of the ships? Experts say that Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria are probably not the correct names. The Santa Maria was La Gallega, meaning The Galician. The Niña is now believed to be a nickname for the Santa Clara, and Pinta also was probably a nickname.

The funniest fact is that Columbus didn’t “discover” America. In fact, he never set foot in North America. During four separate trips, starting in 1492, Columbus landed on various Caribbean islands, including the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. He also explored Central and South American coasts. But he didn’t reach North America, which was already inhabited by Native Americans. You may remember that it is believed that Norse explorer Leif Erikson reached Canada perhaps 500 years before Columbus was born, and there are some who believe that Phoenician sailors crossed the Atlantic much earlier than that.

Knowing all of this, Columbus doesn’t seem like a man we would celebrate. He committed atrocities against native peoples on the islands and decimated their populations while also terrorizing Spanish colonists, according to the biography Columbus by Laurence Bergreen. If all of this is true – and it appears to be – why do we have a special day to celebrate Christopher Columbus? It’s a tradition started in 1792 to honor Italian-American heritage. Then in 1937, President Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 to be Columbus Day, a national holiday. It was later changed to the second Monday in October.    

For various reasons, many places have changed the name of the holiday. Berkeley, California, replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992 to honor the original inhabitants of the islands where Columbus landed. In 1989, South Dakota started calling the holiday Native American Day. Alabama celebrates a combination of Columbus Day and American Indian Heritage Day, and Hawaii calls it Discovery Day.

Something to Think About

With all of that being said, why do many Americans celebrate Columbus Day? He was an ambitious sailor with an insatiable thirst for exploration. His adventures and early travels sparked exploration to many who marked a time that forever changed the world. Plus, it’s a great time of year for a three-day holiday, allowing us to enjoy the autumn foliage. Next year for Columbus Day weekend, let’s celebrate all of the people who should be celebrated on this date. You decide what you will call it, but let’s keep the tradition of a long holiday weekend in the states!

Weekly Challenge

Share today’s story with friends and family.

Words of Wisdom

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.” – Christopher Columbus
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide.

“Riches don't make a man rich, they only make him busier.” – Christopher Columbus

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert Kennedy

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John Shedd

Monday Morning Message

10/3/2016

Welcome, Fall!

Welcome to Monday! Fall has officially begun. I love the vibrant fall colors, the pumpkin lattes, the hot apple cider and the warmth of a fireplace. Did you ever notice that everything in fall seems to have the same colors? Leaves, pumpkins, cider and squash are all shades of orange, brown, yellow and deep red. Are you looking forward to all of those pumpkin-inspired dishes that we all love to prepare and/or eat?

There’s no doubt that autumn is upon us. The start of this new season provides a wonderful opportunity for us to renew; it’s a time to discover which parts of yourself you’d like to embrace and expand upon and which parts of your summer skin you’d like to shed. Bring on the turning leaves, cozy sweaters and that nostalgic chill. I’m ready!

Fall is officially September 22 through December 20. And while people may agree on the season, they don’t all agree on its name. Fall was originally called “harvest” in the 1200s, but 300 years later people were using the term “autumn,” from the old French word autompne. The term “fall,” from “fall of the leaf,” gained popularity in the 16th century. The British eventually chose to continue favoring “autumn,” while North American explorers – later, Americans – used “fall.” Which term do you prefer?

Something to Think About

Just as the fall season represents the end of the year, it’s also a time to reflect on the seasons of your life. What thoughts and memories will you embrace as this season comes to an end? When you reflect on your life in 2016, what new experiences did springtime bring? What part of your life blossomed in the summer? What will make you feel as warm as a cup of cider in the fall? What memory will remain in your heart as you enter a new season? Fall is a time to prepare to release the old and embrace the new.

Weekly Challenge

Make a “letting go” jar. Cover it with burlap and fun fall colors. Be creative with the name or type of jar. Think of things in your life that you need to “let go of” or allow to end. Write each one on a piece of paper, and put it in the jar with the date. Other family members can join in too! Then seal the jar, and put it away. Years from now, when you open the jar and read what seemed to loom over your life at the time, you’ll find those things all but nonexistent. Another option is to put them in a jar, then set them on fire at the end of the year. You choose!

Words of Wisdom

“Accept the fact that you will grow apart from people you’ve had significant relationships with. Understand when someone no longer positively affects your life. Let them go. Don’t hinder your growth.” – Unknown

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” – Melody Beattie

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” – Hermann Hesse

“Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.” – Unknown

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