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“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” ~ Lloyd Alexander

Sometimes, I think, we put too much emphasis on the “right answer” and not enough on learning how to learn. In many instances there are good answers and better answers but not one and only one right answer. Our education process has taught us by rote and not through exploration so we are stuck in thinking that there is only one answer.

Granted, the capitols of the state have only one correct answer, but it your research a particular state and its capitol, you may learn that there were several cities that were named the capitol of the state until the current capitol was selected.

When we look at science, in many cases it was the experiment that failed that created a new discovery in a completely different area.

And the same holds true for our lives. We look for the answer to happiness, career fulfilment, and wealth only to learn that the answer may change for each individual and even for one individual over the years.

If we are open to experimenting, trying different venues, and considering all the options available to us, instead of selecting one because it worked for a friend, we may learn that we have talents and skills that have yet to be developed.

We will also learn what doesn’t fit in our lifestyle, not because we think it wouldn’t appeal to us, but because we tried it and we know it is not something we could do for any length of time.

So explore life and all its options. You may discover that the answer you were looking for in a new and exciting lifestyle.

Linda Watson has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

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“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary? ~ James Barrie”

More than ever it seems, we are rushed, we are distracted, we are busy trying to get through the day without any thought of the people we come in contact with.

On our way home from work, the light turns green but the person in the vehicle in front of us hasn’t started moving yet. Our thoughts or our mouth goes to “Quit day dreaming, the light’s green!” The traffic light may be green but the driver is stuck on red. Just lost his job and is thinking about how he’s going to pay bills and feed his kids while she looks for a new job. Be kind.

As we check out at the grocery store, the clerk seems more engaged with the bagger than with us, the customer, and her job. We feel the interaction should be with the customer, not the other employee. As we fume, we hear that the bagger’s child was just diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes and the clerk was trying to offer some support. Can we say to the bagger to ease her mind or just leave? Be kind – say something comforting to her.

Our co-worker has been coming in late to work almost every day for the past week. We want to say something to our manager since someone has to take up her slack for that 15 or 20 minutes when she isn’t there. She also seems to be on her phone more and more. Another co-worker finds out that her mother was just released from the hospital and had to move in with her. She is trying to co-ordinate help for her mother and schedule in-home care as well as follow-up appointments with her mother’s doctor. Be kind – offer to pick up some of her work to relieve some of the stress.

If we only didn’t judge without knowing the reasons, if we could only be a little kinder to each other, we could change their world and ours as well.

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

wishful thinking

A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

In my conversations with people, I find this repetitive theme. People want a better or different life, but don’t know where to start. They want change, they are not happy, but, they lack direction. They don’t realize that change just doesn’t happen, that change isn’t done for them, that change has to be an effort that they not only take part in, but have an input into how it will happen.

Where do you want to go?

Change requires looking into yourself. If you are not happy or satisfied with your life, what would make you happy? Focus on your discontent, then look at what needs to change. Now you have a new focus. It could be your job – and you need to look for a new company or even a new career. If you aren’t satisfied with your child’s school – do you need to move your child to a different school or home school? Now you have your focus.

Where are you now?

When using Google maps to chart a course, not only is the address of the destination entered, but also the current location. If you want to move to your new destination, you have to consider where you are. If you want a new job, what would you like to see different in your current position. A new career? Think about the dissatisfaction in your current career. A new school for your child? What would you like to change with the current school?

Once you know where your frustration lies and where you would like to take yourself, you need to assess the situation.

What needs to happen?

Making a change can be easy or it can involve a lot of work, depending on the situation. Changing jobs without changing careers can be as simple as asking friends or looking at job postings to find a new place to work. Changing careers may mean changing your skill set and years of schooling. Changing schools could mean working with your child as well as deciding which school would offer a better education.

Create the plan!

Now that you have assessed the situation and know what needs to happen, how will you do it? You might want to create a timetable to keep yourself on track. Will it involve doing some research? Will you need to do some preliminary work? Will you need to get others to agree with what you would like to do?

Write it all out. Putting it all on paper – or at least in a document in your computer – creates something tangible that you can look back on to see if you’re on target.

Always have a deadline. Each step should have a timeframe that the task needs to be completed by. This will keep you on task and motivated.

Just do it!

You have already taken the initiative to put a plan in place – now do it! If you don’t start, if you don’t complete, your only accomplishment will be putting together a very sophisticated exercise in wishful thinking.

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …” ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Although this passage was written about the differences between Paris and London during the French revolution, if could be applicable to any peoples, any place, and at any time. It can even refer to the struggle within ourselves.

There is no good life, nor is there a bad life. Or, another way to say it is, your life is as good or as bad as you make it out to be.

A quick search on the Internet revealed a long list of successful people who, under their circumstances, could have taken their life in a different direction or given up on life altogether, but did not.

Here is a short list of some of the challenges faced:

  • She saw her mother kill her abusive father when she was 15.
  • His parents did not hear him talk until he was four years old.
  • She lost her left arm to a shark when she was 13.
  • She defeated an incurable Stage IV cancer called epithelioid hemangioendothelioma at age 32.
  • He became partially paralyzed at 39.
  • She was a divorced, single mother living in a small flat with very little money and no job when she was in her 20’s.
  • She was a divorced, single mother and college dropout at age 20.

NOTE: The last two are two very different, yet very successful women.

How would you have responded if any of these situations happened to you? Despair or hope?

All of these challenges can be viewed as traumatic, but in each case the outcome was inspirational!

How we face our challenges can have a direct effect on our health and that of our family.

Here are two examples of families I know. Both women have a husband in a community service position, where his life could be in danger whenever he is on the job. Both have children with special needs. But that is where the similarities end. One woman is a hover mom – she says for the sake of her children. She is always looking at what could happen to them in a negative light. If you look at the children, they do not smile, their body language shows that they are closed down. The other mother, though she does not ignore her child’s need, focuses her attention on providing as normal of a childhood as possible for her children. Her children are always smiling and laughing. Their body language is open and embracing the world around them. Similar but oh, so different.

And the people whose challenges were listed above?

  • Charlize Theron
  • Albert Einstein
  • Bethany Hamilton
  • Kris Carr
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • K. Rowling
  • Wendy Davis

Now, we all may not become famous or rich but perspective is the dynamic force within us that can move us in a positive or negative direction. But, we have to choose, no one can do it for us.

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

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“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.” ~ Hyman Rickover, Admiral

As we start this New Year, I think about all the resolutions that I’ve made over my lifetime and how many we actually kept. How many great ideas I had to do something, that never materialized. It seems that sometimes good ideas abound, but they never see fruition. I have to ask what happens and why don’t these ideas happen?

Take action

The only way an idea will happen is by taking action. You have an idea. Great! Now start by making a plan. What needs to happen? Is there a timetable? Are there alternatives if something doesn’t go as planned? How much time will it really take? What’s the first step? That last question is the most critical because unless you know AND take that first step, the idea is just a dream.

Make a commitment

Everyone knows that nothing happens overnight, yet, we expect things to happen immediately once we start. Somethings take more time. Some ideas require research or learning a new skill. Both take time. An idea to start a new business may require finding the right location and just because you found the right location doesn’t mean you’ll get it. There may be false starts, dead ends, or other unexpected situations that will stall progress. Without the commitment, it dies.

Focus on the end result

Even if you can’t see it happening right now, know that the end result, your great idea, will happen if you keep moving forward. You may need to stop and re-evaluate the plan, restart or back track to move forward again. But, when you finally make it happen, you will know that it was worth the persistence. Your idea, your goal, your plan happened and it was better than good. It was a GREAT idea!

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

time-flies

“The best time to plant a tree was always 20 years ago. The second best time is always today.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Time – everyone has the same number of hours in a day, yet some people seem to accomplish more than others. Why is that?

Stalling

Sometimes we stall because we aren’t sure what to do first. Or, are we unsure that we are capable of doing the task at hand. Or, a number of other reasons why we can’t motivate ourselves to start the project.

How do we overcome this?

Make a plan – It’s better to have a plan than to do something only to have to redo it. But, when making the plan, don’t get caught up in the minutia.

Do the research – Find out if you require a new skill. Then, take the necessary steps.

Visualize the end result – If you have a good idea of the end product, it’s easier to get started. You know your ultimate goal and you go for it!

Perfecting

There’s planning and then there’s over planning. Even if you can plan out every detail and aspect of the task, you cannot account for any obstacles that might appear. Sure, there are somethings you can expect to happen. Delays from others involved in the task, but, there are many areas that you have no control over. Trying to make sure everything is perfect inhibits you from even starting, let alone finishing!

There will be flaws, there will be set backs. Accept that as part of doing.

Lacking

After assessing the task you realize that you can’t do it alone. You need help in one or more aspects of the task, but, you don’t know who to ask or, even bigger, how to ask.

Asking for help doesn’t make a person less successful. But it does make a person more knowledgeable for the next time. Very few people can accomplish things without asking for assistance – whether it’s an opinion on the plan or how to complete a critical component of the task.

Doing something, even if it’s one small aspect of the entire task is better than waiting and letting time and the opportunity slip by.

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.

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“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Booker T. Washington

It’s that time when we traditionally look back and assess our accomplishments or lack of them for the year. How are you feeling about this year? Even those of us who have had a successful year, may look back and think, if only this turned out differently, or if I hadn’t done that, or, or, or.

But what if we took a different view of the things that caused us some disappointment and see if there was a good, better, great reason why it may have been for the better.

I don’t believe in going through life wearing rose-colored glasses or having a Pollyanna attitude about everything, but, you’ll have to agree that just sometimes, what we think is the ultimate failure can turn into the greatest success!

Finances

As a freelancer, I am only too familiar with the economic cycles that my career goes through. Yet, every time I’m between projects, something good is the result.

About four years ago I completed the last project for a virtual company that I was with. Like many of you, right-sizing, down-sizing, and all the other fancy terms meant looking for another position. This time it took longer than the two or three months that it typically took for me to find work. I became very concerned that I could lose everything – including my house.

The result, after many phone calls and sleepless nights, was the ability to refinance my house under a new government program that no only lowered my interest rate astronomically, but also pays off part of my principal every year that I make all my payments on time!

Bitter during the process, yes, but, oh so sweet the final result!

Relationships

We all need and want someone special in our lives – not only in the romantic aspect of our life, but also among our closest friends. Yet, sometimes, what starts out as a great relationship turns sour after a period of time.

When the separation occurs, for whatever reason, it is often difficult to let go. We grieve for our loss – which is normal and part of life. But, unless we accept what has happened and move on, we block ourselves from forming another relationship that may be as good, if not better than the one we just left.

I have witnessed several instances where a person did not want to let go. But once they did and went through a healthy grieving process, experienced a wonderful new relationship that they would not have had if they did not process and leave behind the other one.

It’s hard, when we are in the middle of the situation to be optimistic. It is simply not our nature. But, once we accept what has happened and work with what we have available, then we can say, it was all worth it.

How have you turned the lemons in your life into lemonade? Share with us in the comments below.

Linda Watson-Call has a history of achieving her goals and succeeding through difficulties. She is the author of the forthcoming book Harnessing Your Abundance.