Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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The Hope Deck

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Photo via The Hope Deck

Hey, everyone –

Just wanted to quickly tell you about a cool offer from my friend, Jen Gordon, of The Hope Deck.

A couple of years ago, before I met her, Jen went through some really difficult circumstances in her life, but was blessed enough to have a group of good friends to see her through it. Later, one of these friends challenged her to make something good from all of this mess.

She’s a graphic designer, so she created The Hope Deck as a thank you gift for these friends. It’s a beautiful set of cards with a different Bible verse on each one. In fact, those friends selected the scriptures that were used.

She kept getting more requests for The Hope Deck, so now she’s making them commercially. She’s almost out of the original run, so she launched a Kickstarter a couple of weeks ago to get more printed. This second run will be enough to start selling them in stores, through affiliates online, and things like that.

Typically, a Hope Deck is $23, but for the next three days you can get two for $24. And they are super nice quality!

I’ve enjoyed having mine, and thought some of you might be interested as well. You can use them yourself as prayer cards, postcards, recipe cards, reminders, decor, and things like that. Or you can buy a bunch to keep on hand for gifts. Due to the nature of the cards, they work for pretty much any occasion!

I’m really proud of Jen, and am praying this is a successful campaign. Please join me in supporting her!

Join the Kickstarter Now!

ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT!

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Tribe Conference 2017 Notes & Quotes

TribeConfThis past weekend I attended my first Tribe Conference in Franklin, Tenn. Unofficially sponsored by various local donut companies, because they got mentioned from the stage so often, this gathering for writers is the brainchild of Jeff Goins. It was only my second writer’s conference, and even though I’m probably not quite the target audience for the group, which focuses mostly on book authors, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I’ve already signed up for next year!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few months or longer, you’ve likely seen other conference notes on here. I attend a lot of conferences. I LOVE conferences. I’d attend one every month if I could. But the events I usually take part in for my business are often centered on social justice, leadership, entrepreneurship or other business topics. Of course, I write all the time for myself and my clients, but this was a bit of a different slant, which was great, because it meant my brain was working in a different way. So, it was lovely to be around other writers for a few days.

I believe that one of the hallmarks of a great conference is when you see the speakers hanging out with attendees and taking notes—and I definitely saw that at #TribeConf. A couple of the speakers even noted that they had previously purchased tickets to this year’s event not knowing they’d be on stage! Another great indicator. So, if you’re a writer, I’d encourage you to look into this annual gathering.

Below you’ll find all the things I scratched down in my notebook, and I hope you find them helpful.

Jeff Goins, founder of Tribe Conference

  • “Isn’t it interesting that we have to learn shame, but we are born knowing how to dance.”
  • “Real artists don’t have to starve.” (His latest book.)
  • “You may have to ‘behave’ as a writer, before you ‘believe’ you’re a writer.”
  • Conference rules: Be present. Be helpful. Be brave.
  • Most of our failures are invisible to others, but they consume us.
  • “Why does your definition of success not include struggle?” – Jeff’s therapist (for the times we get caught up in what’s going wrong)

Rachel Bagby

  • Check out her Dekaaz for how to reduce complex thoughts and concepts to 10 syllables.

Marsha Shandur, storyteller

  • Author of Off the Mic: The World’s Best Stand-Up Comedians Get Serious About Comedy
  • Marsha taught us how to not be awkward at conferences and in networking. 🙂
  • “Networking is just talking to people you like about things you’re both interested in.”
  • Your storytelling must be vulnerable. (How did you feel? Name the emotion. What was your internal monologue at the time?)

Pamela Slim, small business coach and author of Body of Work: Finding the Thread the Ties Your Story Together

  • Think about your beloved readers.
    • What problems do they face around your topic?
    • What do they aspire to?
    • “Do not define your audience by your demographics; define them by their problems.” – Susan Baier
    • Who do they admire?
    • Where do they go for answers?
    • What do they read?
    • Be the weirdo in the room.
    • What can I create that will solve their problems and light them up?

SESSION 1: HONING YOUR VOICE

Jonathan Fields, serial entrepreneur and growth strategest

  • The Good Life Project and Camp Good Life
  • Author of How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom
  • “WHAT you say will usually be similar to someone else. HOW you say it will be unique. It’s your voice that makes it different.”
  • “Better input means better output. What are you putting into your process?”
  • You cannot respond appropriately to a “bid” you can’t see. – Gottman Study (a bid is an attempt at getting someone’s attention)
  • “Exquisite attention” allows people to rise to the occasion. – Walk to Listen book
  • People respond not to text, but subtext.

Ishita Gupta, consultant and publisher of Fear.Less Magazine

  • How to Turn Your Mess Into Your Message
    • To find your voice, you have to use your voice.
    • To find your voice, amplify your quirks.
    • Keeping your mess from the world may be slowing your work/art.
    • Her coach tells her, “New level. New devil.” Every success comes with a new challenge.
    • Confidence isn’t a personality trait. It’s a learned skill.
    • Do the scary thing.
    • Use your life and story. Start with solving your own problems and struggles. Others will identify.

Chris Marlow, Help One Now

SESSION 2: ESTABLISHING YOUR PLATFORM

Tsh Oxenreider, The Art of Simple

  • Author of At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe
    •  Traveling
      • Gives you empathy.
      • Gets you out of a rut.
      • Slows you down. (Provides forced essentialism.)
      • Gives you more perspective.
      • Is good for you as a person. Your audience wants your authenticity.
  • Listen to your frustration. “What am I doing right now because I’m supposed to?”
  • Listen to your life.
  • Dream and scheme.
  • Take the leap and make a plan.
  • Do one thing that breaks the rules.

Sean McCabe, Building an Audience

  • Author of Overlap: Start a Business While Working a Full-Time Job
  • He developed a writing habit of writing 1,000 words per day. Now he writes over 1 million per year. He wrote a 75,000-word book in 15 days!
  • He wrote and created hand-lettering for two years before anyone really noticed.
  • “What if you created as much as you consume?”
    • “I’m tired of reading about the achievements of others.” – Game of Thrones character
  • You have to show up and keep practicing.
    • Get the imperfect words out.
    • You can’t edit what you haven’t written.
    • Your best work is ahead.
      • Studied famous composers. Almost all of them didn’t have their most popular pieces until 10 years into their career. A few had them at years eight or nine, but only a couple, and none prior.
  • Keys to Building an Audience:
    • Curation (kind) – Selectively project a focused thing. Simplify.
    • Consistency (frequency)
    • Quality (value) – Make something remarkable.
    • Time (patience)
  • AudienceBuildingCourse.com
  • Show up everyday. Publish at least weekly. (Daily to stay top of mind.)
  • Doing your normal work is not how to get better. You have to identify your weak spots to improve them. Deliberate practice makes you better.
  • Motivation is a result of doing.

Leslie Newman, Journey to Imperfect

  • “Courage sets things in motion. Determination keeps them going.”

Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom

  • Author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life
  • 3 Countercultural Lessons to Building Your Business Without Killing Your Soul
    • Ditch the Hustle
      • Why do we live as if we are a slave to our Inbox? We’re self-employed!
      • Rest is the new hustle.
    • Determine your boundaries.
      • Create a framework for decision-making.
        • Is this commitment in line with my goals for this year?
        • Am I excited about it?
        • Do I have the time, capacity, and energy for it?
        • Are my “people” on board? (ex: family)
    • Dare to focus and finish.
      • One project at a time. (She commits to one thing to learn and one task to complete each week.)

Benjamin Hardy, the #1 Writer on Medium.com

  • Author of How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Future
  • Medium.com tips:
    • Headlines are important.
    • Be bold in your message.
    • Good, easy to read layouts (ex: short paragraphs and using headings)
    • Real, raw emotions work well.
    • Make sure there is a Call to Action in the post. (Must be easy.)
      • Sending to landing page is ok.

Shaunta Grimes, author and teacher at WhatIsAPlot.com

  • Author of Viral Nation series
  • “A story well told can change the world.”
  • “Your books may be your babies, but be prepared to move on to the next one. Your first one may not be successful, and sometimes it takes an entire body of work to get noticed.”

Leo Babauta, ZenHabits.net

  • Author of Essential Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change, Briefly
  • The Habits That Built My Blog
    • Solitude
      • Your best work is done in solitude. (including without the internet)
      • Write daily.
    • Connection
      • Get to know your readers.
      • Focus on their problems.
      • Help as much as you can.
      • Put them at the heart of every decision.
      • Put yourself into their shoes.
      • Connect with fellow bloggers.
    • Joy
      • Change lives.
      • Motivate people.
      • Make a connection.
      • Help them move past their fears.
    • Fear
      • Overcome procrastination.
      • Be okay with uncertainty.
      • Find the joy.
      • Relish the groundlessness.
  • How I Build the Habits
    • Have a why and a passion
    • Audience = accountability, connection, and community
    • Start small and lower the barriers to the habit.
    • Set up a positive environment.
    • Deal with the uncertainty.

SESSION 3: EXPANDING YOUR REACH

Dan Miller

  • 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal
  • “We become what we think about.”
  • Invest 3% of your income into your success. – Brian Tracy.
    • At $50K, bump it up to 5%.
  • Don’t wait until things are perfect to put your work out there. Try things, get feedback, and edit.
  • Check out The Lean Startup
  • When you’re trying new things, find someone to coach you.

Frank McKinley, author and tribe builder

Jackie Bledsoe, author focused on marriage

SESSION 4: GOING PRO

Ryan Holiday, Meditations on Strategy and Life

  • Author of Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work That Lasts
  • If you want to keep your happy employees, pay the unhappy ones to leave.
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing book – get it
  • How to Last
    • Do the work.
      • If you can rush through it, it’s probably not made to last.
    • Uniqueness
      • Where does your work fit into the market?
      • Where is the least competition? Where can you have the monopoly?
      • What’s the book that only you can write?
    • Timelessness
      • “Focus on the things that don’t change.” – Jeff Bezos
      • Fine the timelessness in the timely.
    • Effectiveness
      • This is the _______ that does ________ for __________.
      • “It’s not what a book is, but what it does.” – Niki Papadopolos
    • Community
      • Who is this for? You have to get your audience right.
    • Time
      • This isn’t an overnight success.
      • Put more time into marketing than creating it. But spend plenty of time creating something great.
      • It’s easier to keep something going than to start and stop.
      • It keeps you humble to keep working.
      • Always taking on hard projects keeps your ego in check.

Natalie Brenner, author of This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the Gifts of Grief and the Fullness of Life

  • She decided to self-publish. (Used Create Space)
  • $3,000 can create a quality self-published book according to Guy Kawaski. This is Natalie’s breakdown:
    • $1,600 for editor
    • $400 for interior layout
    • $300 for cover and social media images
    • What’s left bought the ISBN number and things like that.
  • She recommends Amazon Advantage for pre-orders.

Jon Acuff, author and speaker

  • He recommends Grant Snider’s The Shape of Ideas
  • Has a new book called Finish.
  • 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail, according to a Scranton University study.
  • Your remember incomplete goals more than complete goals. – The Zeigarnik Effect
  • 1. Get the size right.
    • We often believe we can get more done in less time than we actually can.
    • Cut the goal in half to make it 63% more successful.
  • 2. Make it fun if you want it done.
    • We think it needs to be a bad experience to benefit us. (ex: running for exercise when we hate it)
    • We typically measure satisfaction and performance, but we should make fun a metric.
    • Two main types of motivation: Reward and fear.
      • If you want a new idea, finish an old one. (ex: He had the money for new ski boots, but wouldn’t let himself buy them until this book was done.)
  • Eliminate your secret rules.
    • We have secret, unspoken, maybe unconscious things that hold us back.
    • Borrow someone else’s diploma. Learn from others and don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to.
    • Don’t snub a formula. See what works.
    • You’ll never finish if you don’t know the rules.
  • The future belongs to finishers.

 

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Monday

papaver-rhoeas-63741August 28, 2017

What’s so special about this Monday? Or any Monday, for that matter?

I worked from home. I had a lot to do. I didn’t speak to anyone. In fact, I worked straight through the day.

But it was a very special day!

Other than a short while in the morning after I woke up, I felt NORMAL. I had ENERGY.

I didn’t realize how quickly time had passed, how much work I’d completed, or how I didn’t have to take a pause and decide if I should take a nap or not.

Those things are a real rarity for me since my chronic health issues started five and a half years go. I’ve certainly had many good days since that time, but I’m always reminded during the day at some point that I don’t feel well. That I need to take it easy. That I need to compensate in some other way. That I am sick.

By the time 5 o’clock approached, it hit me what a special day it had been. And I still wasn’t tired! It was so exciting!

I’m still not sure exactly how that day happened, other than a lot of prayer. Nothing else was different leading up to it.

Sadly, I haven’t had another day like it this week.

BUT I HAVE HOPE.

Hope that I’ll have another day like it in the near future, and many more after. Hope that my body is healing.

And after struggling so long with all of these health issues, that hope is worth everything.

Here’s to my next Monday!

 


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Finding Peace in Losing Control

Lake Arrowhead, CA

Lake Arrowhead, CA (I loved this trip!)

I’m self-aware enough to know never to call myself “low maintenance.” 😉

I’ve always been a goal-setter and a go-getter. And I’ve always been my toughest critic.

Some of my most painful moments in life occurred when I didn’t achieve the dreams I’d set for myself. Small or large, it didn’t matter. My biggest fear has always been failure.

You may have already spotted it, but it took me a long time to realize that I was a control freak. And I’ve been in recovery for about 15 years. There are easy days and there are hard days, but I’m pretty sure that most days present some sort of control-related challenge. Though I know that the world would not be better off if I was in charge, it doesn’t always stop me from trying!

Can you relate?

Read more in my latest guest post for Yellow Co: FINDING PEACE IN LOSING CONTROL.

 


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My Current Food Obsessions

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Everyone has favorites at certain restaurants. Some people even constantly visit the same places, and order the same items. But that’s not typically me. I usually prefer more variety, including the restaurants I visit and the food I order. And I often try to patron local restaurants over chains, because I’d rather “buy local.”

However, lately I’ve found myself obsessed with some of the same food items at the same restaurants. And I love perusing the aisles at the grocery store for new brands and items, but I’ve recently been buying the same things there too.

Here are my current favorites in case you’re looking for food and drink recommendations. Bon appetit!

  • Tiff’s Treats: I both love and hate my friend, Kari, for introducing me to these cookies! This company is Texas-based, but they have expanded into Georgia over the past year or so. And there is a location only about two miles from me. Get this: they deliver, fresh, warm cookies! They’re baked once you place the order, and they are fantastic! My favorite are definitely the chocolate chip, though the other flavors are excellent too. I even turned this obsession into a paying gig. I’ll be writing about them for an upcoming magazine article. Being a freelance writer pays in more ways that one!
  • Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing: This is my biggest obsession right now. The past few weeks, I’ve even eaten it multiple times per week! I love this thing so very much. Yum, give it a try. And if you want to throw in some Icedream for dessert, I won’t fault you.
  • Figo’s Arugula Salad: This is my favorite local chain. And while it may seem odd to order a salad at an Italian restaurant, you clearly haven’t had this salad. It’s incredibly simple, and incredibly delicious. I love arugula, but it’s the dressing that makes this salad fantastic. Very lemony, slightly sweet, and lots of basil.
  • Zoe’s Live Mediterranean Salad: Yes, I’ve had quite a thing for salads lately! They are one of the best ways to enjoy summer veggies, and while I love veggies year-round, I definitely eat a lot more during warm weather. Zoe’s has a lot of great salads, but this is by far my favorite. Again, the dressing is key to this one, but I love all the ingredients together.
  • Pumpkin: Last year, I read a book about incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle, and the author mentioned that she put 1/4 cup of pumpkin in her morning smoothies to add more fiber and thicken it up a bit. I thought this was a genius idea, so I’ve been doing it every weekday as well. And I order it online because it can be hard to find out of season in stores, and cans are heavy to carry around. You can’t taste it, and it does give the smoothie more staying power.
  • Bean and grain chips: Another switch I’ve made in order to eat a little bit healthier is sub traditional chips for ones made of beans and grains. And I absolutely love them! Simply7 has some great tasting chips! I know because I’ve had most of them. Plentils are another favorite of mine.
  • PERRIER Pink Grapefruit Flavored Sparkling Mineral Water: I’ve been obsessed with sparkling water since coming back from Barcelona last year. I had it before that trip, but didn’t like it. Weirdly, now I love it. Guess that’s the charming, European influence! I love this Perrier brand, especially because it comes in a smaller can, which I prefer. Sometimes I even add grapefruit or lemon essential oil, or a lemon slice, to jack up the flavor a bit. Very refreshing for summer!
  • Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee with Cream and Sugar: I needed to throw this drink in here as well. I love coffee, but I don’t drink it all that often. Mostly when hanging out with people, or on the weekends at home. But since my apartment has limited kitchen space, I don’t own a coffee maker. And when I tried to make it at home, the organic and all-natural creamers would often go bad because I didn’t drink it fast enough. So, I discovered these little gems, and I love them. Not as good as a latte for sure, but they do the trick for me! (My one issue is that they do have an artificial ingredient, so I’m hoping they change that.)
  • Emergen-C Energy Plus: This is probably a bit odd to throw in, but you do actually drink it. I’ve talked about my chronic illness, and because of it, I get sick a lot. This is a great way to get in some extra vitamins, and it has added energy as well. Energy is often lacking for me, especially in the afternoon, so this has been a great supplement.

 

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