Lessons from the Felt

Some of you might be surprised to hear that for a few years I made much of my income playing poker. It’s true, and I was a damned good shark if I do say so. I played online (before The Man cracked down on online poker sites) and would travel to Atlantic City every weekend to rid the tourists of their Social Security checks. Hey, don’t be judgin’…it’s a tough game and all’s fair in love and no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em.

I always donned well-manicured nails and wore low-cut cleavage-heavy blouses to distract the predominantly male tables. I’d shuffle my chips and act aloof hoping the men were paying more attention to thoughts of hitting on me than calling my bluffs. I wore dark sunglasses to hide my tell-tale eyes, my ability to keep a poker face ended with my pupils and one must know and cover their weaknesses wherever possible.

Here’s a few other invaluable lessons I learned:

The Only Person Who Can Beat You is You

As with golf and transcendental meditation, poker is a game you play against yourself. If you are able to accurately identify your weaknesses, address them head-on (with compassion for yourself!) and keep your cool, you will win more often than you will lose.

The same is true for entrepreneurs. You know you’re your own worst enemy. Embrace it. Use this to your advantage. Never stop growing, learning, and deepening your understanding of what makes you tick.

Take Calculated Risks

In a poker tournament, the clock is ticking. You start with a limited amount of chips and the game gets increasingly more expensive each round. If you sit there and wait for the perfect cards before making a move, you’ll be sure to be one of the first ones out.

Do not wait until you think you know everything there is to know before taking a risk and starting a new business. You’ll never know all that is needed until you jump in. If you sit and wait for that perfect moment to act (which rarely, if ever, comes) you’ll be swept aside by others’ success in no time.

Don’t Let Your Emotions Make Your Decisions

Poker players are a superstitious bunch. But most of the top players in the world have learned not to depend on these emotional crutches. In order to be a true champion, our emotions must be transcended. Those urges to throw your water bottle across the table at the donkey who called you down with pocket twos can mean a quick end to your game. Don’t let the donkey win!

It’s tough not to get emotionally attached to our businesses. They are our babies, our creations, and they are soaked with our blood, sweat and tears. But sometimes it’s best to walk away and start anew and I’ve seen so many clients unwilling to let go and move on. When making a major decision with your business, spend some time purging any emotional responses you have and approach the decision instead with logic sprinkled with a sense of adventure. This takes courage, so don’t forget to strap on a pair of ovaries first!

Never Assume You’re the Best

You’re not. No one is. Only strive to be the best you can be whether in poker, life or business. The moment you begin to believe you’re the best, keep your eyes open. Life is likely about to remind you otherwise. ‘Nuff said there.

Pay Attention to Everyone Around You

It’s not enough to battle our own demons and strive to be the best player we can be. We also have to keep close watch on how the other players are behaving. Are they on tilt because of that last big hand they lost? Do they have a tendency to always bet on the button? Have they gone all-in more than is reasonably believable? These clues can give us the information we need to make those calculated risks I spoke about earlier.

Always know what other people in your business’ niche are up to. Subscribe to their newsletters, engage them in social media discussions about how they do business. Take stock in everything that is working for them but play closer attention to what they’re doing wrong. Unlike in a game of poker, this information won’t be used to “beat your opponent,” but rather to lift your business up to new heights.

Suffer No Loss of Enthusiasm

I saved the most difficult two lessons for last and this is certainly one of them. When you lose a big hand in poker, it can be crushing. You were so certain you were going to win that hand, and yet Lady Luck had other plans. You feel your heart sink into your stomach and your blood pressure skyrocket. Staying in the emotion of disappointment and frustration is what is known in the poker world as being on “tilt” and it is deadly poison to your game.

The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have failed the most. Ask them, they’ll tell you. Much like Jim Carrey (one of my favorite success stories), many of them started from meager beginnings and endured thousands of “no’s” before ever breaking through to success. What separates them from the rest of us who hear “no” all the time? They shook each one off, never lost faith in what they were doing and carried on with the same enthusiasm with which they started.

Stay Present (and Sober!)

Last but certainly not least, one must stay fully present. You must learn from your mistakes but not dwell in them. You must enjoy your victories but not take them for granted. The key to success is to stay fully present in the moment. It is quite Zen, truth be told, and vitally important but admittedly no easier than it sounds.

There are few pieces of advice more powerful than “be here now.” As an entrepreneur it is paramount to your winning. We cannot live in the past or future. Rather, we must be fully passionate about everything we are doing right here and now. As for the sober part…well, just take a lesson from Susie Q. and never tweet drunk.

What lessons have you learned through your entrepreneurial journey? Which of these, if any, do you struggle with the most?

Perfect People Finder – Exercise #1

We talk a lot here about our perfect people and why it’s important to identify them, but to date I have only shared my secrets for finding your perfect people with my coaching clients. When I decided to transform my coaching business, I promised to share with you these secrets at no cost. Today we’ll go over the first exercise you can use to begin to uncover your perfect people.

Everyone has an inner critic. Much of the time this critic is telling us what we’re doing wrong, what we’re not doing enough or, simply, why we suck. There are ways to quiet this critic and these methods will be revealed in an upcoming ebook I’m working on. However today, we’re going to shine the light on that critic and let her take center stage.

Your inner critic also makes judgments about other people all the time. Good manners and the need for a serene life teach us to quell those judgments and keep an open mind about others. We learn to respect others, even when they make look, act or smell different from us.

In order to accurately identify your perfect people, I’m afraid you are going to have to let your critic speak openly…only for a short time…then you can go back to being all-loving and all-accepting, okay?

As we approach people in our daily lives, we begin making subconscious judgments about them almost immediately. Think of the last time you were in the grocery store. As you walked up to the check-out person you already made an unconscious decision about whether you were going to meet his eyes with a smile or whether you would keep your head down and try to get through the transaction making as little contact as possible.

Why do we diss some people and not others?

Sometimes it’s PMS, or that we’re in a rush, or that we’re particularly self-absorbed at the moment. But many times it is because something about that person turned us off. Whether it is their greasy hair, beady eyes or the wiff of Italian hoagie when the lift their arms, for whatever reason they are not someone we feel instantly connected to.

Yes, this is a shame. Yes, we are all interconnected. And yes, it is important to transcend these types of judgments if one is to live a life of virtue and compassion.

That said, this type of information about who turns you on and off is absolutely critical in determining who your perfect people are. The whole point of this is to identify the people who get you excited about meeting them. The people you want to invite over for lemon drop shots on Saturday night.

There is no one who feels this way about everyone on the planet. No one.

And that’s okay!

Over the next few days, allow your inner critic to speak about the people you encounter throughout your day. Take notes! Jot down your gut reactions to people and reflect on what, exactly, turned you on or off about them.

We’ve become used to not paying attention to, or arguing with, these types of judgments…and for good reason. But I promise you, you will uncover some extremely valuable clues as to who your perfect people are precisely if you follow this exercise for a week or two.

After you feel you have a good handle on the personality traits that you are most drawn to or disgusted by, go back to working on keeping that inner critic quiet. We don’t want to stay in this hyper-judgmental state for too long, just long enough to really take a look at what makes us tick with the people around us.

Return to a compassionate state of being and try to be as friendly as possible to everyone you meet.

You might even be surprised at how much easier this is once you’ve allowed yourself to honestly examine your subconscious reactions to others.

Please share some of your immediate reactions to what turns you on/off about people in the comments section below. It may very well help others open up this pathway to their perfect people!

Jenny B’s Online Marketing Training – Introduction to My Madness…erm…Marketing Approach

As promised, I’ll be providing you with all my gems of wisdom regarding online marketing and blogging that I’ve developed through my coaching program.

We’ll be discussing your perfect people, your tribal dialect, email marketing, writing titles that get clicked, see through purple panties and SO MUCH MORE.

I want to start off by giving you a brief introduction into my philosophy of online marketing. Why it’s changed and why the tried-and-true methods of marketing no longer apply.

Let’s say you’re opening up a purple panties shop in a new neighborhood. You hire a marketing specialist to research your target market (women ages 18-50 who live within a 15 mile radius of the new store). Then, you send your mailers to only those people hoping they’ll take advantage of your grand opening sale.

You’ve done this so as not to waste a bunch of money sending mailers to frat houses and church rectories. You wanted to reach only women aged 18-50 who live within a 15 mile radius. Your target market.

Now, let’s try to fit that same model into marketing online today. You set up a site that sells purple panties as well as some female sexual aides. You blog about some racy topics that you find amusing and informative.

What happens if you only target women aged 18-50 who live in a 15 mile radius of you? Well, that just doesn’t make sense. We’re ONLINE, people. Sheesh.

So what if we just target women aged 18-50. Sounds easy enough. Except many of those women will not like the articles you write. Many have never seen a purple glow-in-the-dark nightstick dildo before and might be frightened away or even insulted. There’s just no accounting for taste in this world. None.

There are more than 3 billion women in the world.

Let’s just pretend half of them are 18-50 and half of THEM are online. This means you will be targeting 750 MILLION women using the old method. (Assuming my math’s correct…after six zeros my brain goes wonky.)

Do you NEED 750 million customers? Can you even handle them? Are you sensitive to all the cultural differences and personality variables in a sampling of 750 million women? Are your values in alignment with each of theirs?

Of course not. It’s impossible.

The old paradigm simply will not work in today’s market. Social media and the quiet revolution that followed has blown it all to hell. And I, for one, could not be happier.

What we are going to discuss in the coming weeks is the antithesis of the old ways of marketing. By that I don’t just mean redefining things like ‘target market’…I mean ALL of the old ways.

The sleazy marketing tactics, the elevator pitches, the rules of engagement for networking…all out the fucking window and not a moment too soon.

Are you getting excited? You should be. What you’re about to learn will change the way you do business online forever.

Don’t miss any of these upcoming posts. Everything I’ve learned in over a decade of marketing online will be revealed to you here in the next few weeks. If you haven’t already, sign up in the big yellow box below!



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Ethical Pricing and Food on Your Face

Ethical pricing. It’s one of the biggest challenges my perfect people consistently struggle with.

I struggle with it, and so does practically everyone I know. Recently I have been blessed with tons of conversations around this topic with several incredibly brilliant and awakened online solopreneurs. These conversations have led to some exciting breakthroughs and I’m eager to share them with you here.

My recent decision to jack up my coaching prices and offer pro bono coaching to those who need it was inspired, in no small part, by a series of discussions I had with the lovely Leslie of CrunchyBetty.com.

I want to pause here to make an important clarification about my decision:

[message type=”custom” width=”70%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#B5EDFF” border=”#999999″ color=”#333333″]I have NOT raised my copywriting fees to $750/hour!

My previous post related only to my coaching business. I will be focusing 80%+ of my time on copywriting. My prices are reasonable and I do offer payment options if needed. People within the UpYourImpactFactor community enjoy at least 10% automatically deducted from any proposal.[/message]

Okay, now back to my future blog wife. That’s right, you heard it here first…I’ll be proposing to Leslie as soon as I can find the perfect virtual ring. It will mean hours spent on Pintrest but it’s so worth it. Please, mum’s the word. I want it to be a surprise.

Every once in awhile I get to witness a stroke of genius. It’s usually not mine, and that’s alright.

During our conversations, meditations and general meanderings about how to approach pricing in the most ethical way possible, Leslie came up with what I think is a truly inspired idea.

She developed the concept around the launch of her first ebook, Food on Your Face for Acne & Oily Skin and is calling it a 50/50 product. Half of all proceeds will be spent buying crunchy gifts for her community members:

“…from this very moment until December 20, 2011, 50% of all profits made from this book will be given back to participating members of Crunchy Betty through the purchase of gorgeous handmade goods and ingredients to use for natural beauty products and other homemade pursuits. – CrunchyBetty

First let me just say the book is fucking awesome. It contains tons of great info including 35 recipes, plus a switch-out chart that provides an infinite number of possible combinations…all from the crap (I mean…organic goodness) you already have in your kitchen.

None of the links here are affiliate in nature, I just thought you should know about what Leslie’s doing.

With her 50/50 program she is successfully supporting the work she does, giving back to her community and contributing to the crunchy-businesses she loves so much. She has formed a circle of giving to bring balance into her marketing and sales. Sheer brilliance!

If you think it might be right for you, go buy the book now (it’s only $7.99…more win). Check out her blog, too, and you’ll see why I adore her so much.

Integrity, Accountability and Gratitude…Oh My

I was supposed to be launching my new product right about now. A home-study course on everything I cover in my coaching program. But I ditched the project. Here’s why.

I’ve coached dozens upon dozens of awesome, amazing people since opening the doors here at Up Your Impact Factor. Each one of these people has a strong desire to make the world a better place by offering her unique gift or message.

To work with my clients is to know true bliss. They are my perfect people. They are my tribe. They are people who inspire and encourage, heal and teach. And many, if not most, are struggling to make ends meet right now.

If you were ever one of my coaching clients, you might recognize the contradiction in that last statement. I’ve always preached there are only two things that all of our perfect people have in common:

1. They can benefit from what we have to offer.

2. They can afford our services.

In keeping with this assertion, I tried to keep my prices very reasonable (by industry standards, mind you) and always offered flexible payment plans when needed. I thought I could do it better. I thought I could do it differently.

I can’t. Truth is, no one can.

By lowering my prices to keep them affordable, all I ended up doing was putting undue pressure on people to “take advantage of this amazing offer” when they barely had two dimes to rub together.

Not my intention! And a shitty way to do business, quite frankly.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Given everything I’ve learned, if I am to be brutally honest, and if any “online marketing coach” is to be brutally honest, the best advice I can offer someone who wants to start a business on a limited budget is to not spend ONE FUCKING DOLLAR on coaching. Not one!

(Shhh. If you listen carefully you might hear the sound of an adversary or two being made here.)

Spend your money hiring talented people who can do what you cannot. Invest in a web designer to spruce up your site. Invest in a graphic artist to create a new logo. Invest in a copy writer to spice up your shite. THIS is money well-spent.

Then spend your time reading and devouring free content about your business and marketing.

Almost everything you need, you already have in your heart.

For the rest of it, I promise you, there is a blog post out there somewhere that’ll teach you how.

Everything I know about marketing and copy writing will be revealed on this blog. I will write about each of the techniques I developed to conjure sumptuous clarity for my clients’ businesses. If you follow my posts, there is no longer any reason to hire me as a coach.

I’m completely fed up with the regurgitated products and questionable tactics coming from so many of my respected peers. I’m tired of hearing phrases like “low hanging fruit.” I’m sick of watching people proclaim to be one thing, then go after the very people they know are struggling most because that’s where the easy money is.

[message type=”warning”]Here’s a tip: If you’re broke, hold onto to your money. Do not send it to someone who promises you they can tell you how to make more money instantly, no matter how many cutesy words they make up.

They just did tell you! Sell a half-baked product to a bunch of desperate people and call it golden. That’s how to make easy money on the web. Secret’s out. No need to pay anyone else – ever – for that gem.[/message]

Please note, I am speaking specifically to the “make money online” niche. I am not referring to life coaches (I value my own life coach more than words can say!) I am not referring to energy healers or spiritual coaches, goddess knows the world needs more of them. I am not referring to organizational coaches, time management coaches or sexual liberation coaches.

I. Am. Only. Referring to the “make money online” coaching niche. I understand the value of marketing consultation for established businesses. But I bring into strong question the application of that type of service to people wanting to start a micro-business online as a cash-poor solopreneur.

Now that I’ve come to this realization, it is time for me to redesign my coaching services. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to see anyone in our community here suffer over whether or not they can afford to work with me.

My business’ focus will shift to copy writing. This is the best way for me to be of service to you while maintaining an income I can survive on.

But I love the personal connection coaching offers. I love spending even just a short time sharing someone else’s exciting adventure. I also know that what I offer is valuable. Magical things happen when we work together!

I do not want to remove coaching completely from my repertoire.

Gratitude Sessions

So, I will be offering 2 one-hour sessions each week pro bono (that’s right, for free) to two members of the community who submit a request. These one-time sessions are for people who cannot afford my new rate (wait for it…) but have a pressing issue with their marketing or writing that needs attention.

By “pro bono” I mean it. There will be no up-sell on the call. There will be nothing offered you at the end of our conversation. You get a solid 60 minutes of my time dedicated only to you and your questions.

This is my way of giving back to our growing community. My way of letting you know how grateful I am that you are walking this path with me, if even for a short time.

Plus, I get to be in service to people I sincerely love for eight hours each month. That makes me feel all warm honey ‘n butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon inside.

Cinnamon FTW!

Now, how can I make sure that only people who can easily afford my coaching will buy it? By drastically increasing my price, of course.

If you do not have time to follow the blog carefully, and do not qualify for pro bono work, but would like to get the marketing magic straight from the unicorn’s mouth…my new coaching rate is $750 per hour.

No flexi-pay. No multi-payment options. $750 cash-money up-front for one hour of my time.

Don’t get me wrong…this is a *very* scary leap for me. With this one post, I will be decimating a lucrative income stream from my business. But it’s more important that I sleep well at night.

My own personal evolution and the direction I see others taking in this niche (both in and out of alignment with my beliefs) has led me to this conclusion.

I need to trust my heart. I need to have faith that where one stream dries up, another will begin to flow. Because if we are following our Right Path and doing our Great Work, we cannot go wrong.

What are your thoughts on all this? I want to hear from everyone, and am especially hoping some of my beloved coaching clients might chime in. Please leave a comment below and let us know!

 

This is the Work I Was Born to Do

[message type=”custom” width=”90%” align=”center” start_color=”#fffff7″ end_color=”#d7acd0″ border=”#d7acd0″ color=”#832674″]Today’s is a guest post from my dear friend Pete Michaud. I think you’ll find his message as inspiring as I do and I’m *thrilled* he’s beginning to offer his services online.

PLEASE NOTE: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. Just wanted to give you a chance to meet Pete and take advantage of his new offerings. Enjoy![/message]

I told a story once on my blog about how I had been laid off from my cushy software development job where I was working from home making about a hundred thousand a year (which is great for a wage slave). It was exactly the kick in the ass I needed to get serious about building my own business and my own income.

It gave me the breathing room to begin writing my blog again, and the strong impetus to make this company work. They played off each other since the blogosphere loves pornographic stories about passive income.

I was ready for that one, and glad that it happened at the time.

Fast forward one year and one divorce later, my ex and I work out a deal in which she continues operating the business and I agree to collect only half of my half. We both have enough to pay the bills without slaving (because I designed the company to be automated). Everyone wins.

But I knew it was downhill when she told me she planned to let the company die and just use the resources from it to start another, identical company that I have no stake in. (Keepin’ it classy.)

Big, Ugly, Out for Blood

So my income has been dwindling from enough to pay my bills, to enough to buy me lunch sometimes and I’ve been stressed out because of that. I know how long it takes to get a business running, and I don’t have that kind of runway.

This kick almost caught me unaware. This one almost had me crying into my skirt, until I recognized the wake up call for what it is. I sat down to write this very article about the previous kick with the software job. That put me in exactly the right frame of mind to see that this situation is a message.

I’ve had enough time to rest on my laurels, and now it’s time to get really serious about my next step, my big passion. For me, that’s energy work.

I already figured out what I need to focus on at the beginning of 2011, and I jumped on it, but then I got distracted.

I’ve been doing sessions that have been going fantastically, and I even worked with Jenny to get a sales letter ready so I wasn’t so reliant on referrals. But that was a month ago, and the letter still isn’t up, for X, Y, and Z reasons, none of which I’ll recount here because all of them are bullshit.

When the universe sees you stall on the path, it sends exactly the messenger you need down the path after you. In my experience, the messenger is ugly, scary, and out for blood.

Sure I’ve been doing sessions, but not the eight per month I planned to do. Sure I’ve been writing on my blog, but not with the passion and conviction I feel in my heart. Sure I’ve been “working on” a book, but it took that big, ugly low bank balance to say: look Pete, stop fucking around and release something already, you shmuck.

Your Mind is a Terrible Thing

The reality is that the stress of not having options is complete bullshit. When I started on this path I had nothing but time and willpower, and I did it. I started a business that supported me passively. Now I have those same things plus people are willing to pay me thousands of dollars for a day of my time.

I’m a fucking poster child for the truth of financial blocks being entirely mental.

Maybe you missed that.

Financial blocks are entirely, 100%, unequivocally projections from your mind.

It’s how lottery winners make themselves poor, and how well-liked and connected bloggers worry about the rent.

Find Your Path and Stick to It

So look, if you’re curious about Energy Work and Energy Healing, buy my book because it’s fucking awesome. [Editor’s note: /jenny confirms it’s fucking awesome/].

But what I really want to tell you about is my readings. My photo readings are blowing peoples’ mind out their ears.

The deal is that you, stranger, send me a photo, and I first give you an overview of your core personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, so you know I’m not blowing smoke up your ass (unless you’re into that). Then I list your current major challenges, and solutions for them that fit your personality and situation.

Said another way, I follow my path by helping you find your path.

Maybe you don’t believe that I have access to that kind of information from a photo. Bravo, don’t believe me.

When I first started, I asked that people allow me to use their readings as samples, so future clients could see full readings and know the readings were relevant, specific, and spot on. Here’s a few of those readings for you to look at. Don’t believe me, believe those people.

This is the work I was born to do, and I’m damn good at it.

Do yourself a favor, Hire me.

Since any friend of Jenny’s is a friend of mine, I’m even going to give you a discount of 40 Bones (see what I did there?).

That way the reading is only $47. It’s probably too cheap, but fuck it, I don’t care, my bills are small, and I like the work.

Love and Face Tattoos

Remember, your hardships are here to teach you a lesson; they are here to guide you in love. They are surly and mean, and they have tattoos on their face that were clearly not put there by a licensed technician.

And they love you.

Sit with them, and listen to them. Because even though they love you, they are shitty house guests, and they won’t leave until you really hear them out.

And don’t forget: if you hear them, and then don’t follow through, they’ll come back with their friends.

 

You wouldn’t think Pete Michaud is an energy worker and a psychic because he looks a lot like a Bond villain who kicks puppies for fun. Muggers look at him and say “Yeah, I think I’ll wait for the next guy…” When he’s not intimidating muggers and juvenile canines, he does energy healing and psychic readings for clients all over the world. Pete writes about energy work and self empowerment on his blog, PeterMichaud.com. Also, he’s a teddy bear.

You Are Not Broken

I used to think that the reason there were different parts of me was because I had been broken. I believed that my mind had been shattered by early-childhood trauma and that, until the pieces were fit back together properly, I would never be healthy or whole again.

For years, many well-meaning therapists instilled this in me. They patiently explained how the mind, in a heroic effort to protect its core self, will split apart in times of great trauma. These splits can become more pronounced if the person is very young or the trauma is especially intense.

I was reassured that this was a highly intelligent and evolved survival technique but the message was still, always, “You have parts because you were broken.”

And I bought it. It made sense. It explained why I had raging arguments going on inside my mind. Why it seemed like there were different voices with unique agendas residing within me. Why self debasing criticisms and doubts pervaded my thoughts daily.

Until I realized I was perfectly normal.

Well, normal in its most figurative sense. In reality, there can only ever be one normal person walking the planet at any given time. The rest of us each fall somewhere on the bell curve of “above normal” and “below normal.”

I have met people with full-blown split personality disorder. I’ve had conversations with six distinctly different people while only two of us sat in the room.

I’ve also worked with dozens of people who experienced no significant trauma in their life and have never been diagnosed with any personality disorder.

But every single person I’ve ever worked with, spoken to or shared this with has been able to instantly relate.

Every single one of us has those old stories and nasty messages running through our heads. Some of us know where they came from, others don’t. That’s not important. What’s important is that…

Each of us has the power to rewrite them.

Because this is the True Story: You are perfect, whole and complete just as you are in this moment.

Nothing is broken in you.

Nothing is wrong with you.

You are love.

And you are loved.

Stop Writing From Your Heart…It’s Dangerous!

Stop writing right now. Disregard everything I’ve ever told you about speaking from your heart and expressing your truth.

It’s dangerous!

You just never know how people are going to take things. You might end up causing trouble, making waves or…worse.

Be careful what you write. Edit yourself heavily. Do not communicate any radical or potentially thought-provoking ideas.

People cannot handle it.

I really didn’t know. I’m sorry I’ve misled you all this time. But last week’s post on Sophie Scholl finally opened my eyes to the problem…and I will from here-on-out only write about safe topics like kittens, s’mores and Lady Gaga.

Well, maybe not kittens. Some people are allergic and that might upset them.

And maybe not s’mores. That might make people with gluten intolerance feel left out.

Lady Gaga should be a safe topic. Everyone likes her, right?

Here’s what happened…in an epic feat of irresponsibility, I wrote the following:

“There is no madman for us to point our fingers and say ‘This! This is the problem.”

A well-meaning chap took my musings the wrong way and decided to fill the gap:

So please, take a lesson from me and be very VERY careful about what you write.

…pfft!!

Labor Fool’s! (Did I getcha?)

Of course I’m not serious. The more madmen the better! This was just my way of introducing you to the latest edition of today’s holiday: Labor Fools’ Day.

Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 following the bloody and infamous Pullman Strike.

Railway workers for the Pullman Palace Car Company had been complaining about low wages and 16-hour work days. They were also at the mercy of the company to provide food and shelter and thought it fucked up to have their wages decreased while their rent and living expenses kept increasing…all at the hands of the same corporation.

They organized a strike and all hell broke lose.

President Cleveland invoked the Sherman Antitrust Act against the workers claiming their strikes interfered with the U.S. mail’s delivery and represented a threat to public safety.

So the military, in the interest of protecting public safety, gunned down the workers killing 13 and injuring dozens more.

The public outrage was overwhelming and, 6 days after the massacre, President Cleveland tried to make nice by instating a national holiday in their honor.

Today the holiday is little more than a time to barbeque, drink too much and the last chance to wear white for the year.

But in a country where…

  • We rank 75th on the world’s income equality scale, totally pwnd by Bosnia, Pakistan and Ethiopia among others
  • Every art and music teacher I know is laid off because schools can no longer afford art education
  • The median household income continues to fall along with the value of the dollar itself
  • Countless hard-working citizens have had their life savings, retirement funds, social security and even their homes stripped from them because of corruption and greed

…what have we to celebrate?

It’s time to start asking some tougher questions than “Do you want cheese on your burger?”

What can we do, as a community, to begin the path back to a (more) fair distribution of wealth in this country?

How can we make things better for those hard-working Americans who don’t have enough to feed their kids a proper meal?

What can you do to begin to free yourself from the confines our current economy has placed on you?

Or do we just say ‘screw it’ and make it a day for burgers, beer and senseless pranks?

Please, share your thoughts below in the comments section.

 

Living Your Truth

Painting by Marc Nelson (http://marcnelsonart.wordpress.com/)

There are some people who walk this earth for such a short time yet leave such a huge impact, their names are never forgotten. Always, it is their words that immortalize their truth.

Sophie Scholl was a German university student during Hitler’s terrible reign. Along with several others known as the White Rose, she and her brother Hans organized a movement of passive resistance against the Nazis.

On February 18, 1943 Sophie and Hans were arrested for distributing pamphlets throughout the campus of the University of Munich. These pamphlets, the sixth in a series produced by the White Rose, called for non-violent protests to end the war.

The White Rose accused Hitler of mass killings (still little more than a rumor to many German citizens) and declared the war already lost.

It was treason.

It was also truth.

Sophie was a promising young woman. Intelligent, responsible, compassionate. During her trial the presiding “judge” expressed bewilderment at how such a well-bred German girl could get into such trouble.

But she stood tall throughout her interrogation. She stood in her truth and never backed down.

The night before her trial, Sophie had a dream.

It was a sunny day, I was carrying a child in a white dress to be christened. The path to the church led up a steep slope, but I held the child in my arms firmly and without faltering. Then suddenly my footing gave way … I had enough time to put the child down before plunging into the abyss. The child is our idea. In spite of all obstacles it will prevail.”

On February 22, 1943 Sophie Scholl was tried, convicted and beheaded along with her brother and their friend Christoph Probst.

As she walked to the guillotine, Sophie is quoted as saying

Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

…What does my death matter…

Sit with that a minute. The idea of inspiring thousands of people was more valuable to her than even her young life.

Fate would see to it that Sophie’s death was not in vain.

One of the infamous White Rose pamphlets was smuggled out of Germany and found its way into the hands of the allied forces.

Less than a year after her execution, millions of propaganda copies of Sophie’s pamphlet were dropped over Germany.

Her words poured from the skies like a cleansing rain. Her truth papered the war-torn streets, white-washing park benches and rooftops.

…The child is our idea. In spite of all obstacles it will prevail…

What obstacles stand in the way of your ideas? What prevents you from becoming a source of powerful inspiration for others?

Fear? Money? Depression? Lack of support?

The thing about this community we’re building here is, we all want to be a force of change in the world. I have yet to work with anyone who’s main motivation is not to leave the world a better place than when they arrived.

But our obstacles are often less corporeal than a sociopathic despot. There is no madman for us to point our fingers and say “This! This is the problem.”

No. We must face more elusive foes. Climate change. Corruption. Consumerism. And our own internal conflicts.

Still, we have much to learn from young Sophie’s faith and courage. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


[message type=”warning”]I was just reminded that Live Your Truth is the ever-awesome Elizabeth Potts Weinstein’s “tattoed-on catchphrase.” WHUPS! Goes to show that there are no original ideas. Especially here. I do only borrow from the greatest though. (Thanks for the poke, Chris and my apologies, Elizabeth.) [/message]

Drowning in a Sea of Balls Isn’t as Much Fun as it Sounds

I’ve been dropping the ball lately. A lot. I’ve dropped personal balls, business balls and bill balls (don’t you dislike those the most?)

Basically I’ve been drowning in a sea of dropped balls. Not pleasant.

Fact is, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on balls and their droppings. I believe it can be broken down into three types:

1. Bowling Ball

Heavy, expensive, when dropped can leave a hole in the floor. Its designed purpose is knocking things down.

Dropping bowling balls should be avoided at all cost. The dropping of this type of ball can leave you feeling empty and burned out.

2. Basket Ball

Less heavy but still has a good weight to it. Reasonably priced for most budgets. Bounces a few feet when dropped and won’t leave a hole in the floor unless the floor is made of wet cardboard…which is unlikely.

The designed purpose is to be thrown through a hoop not much larger than the ball itself. Typically when this type of ball is dropped one feels torn between picking it up and throwing it towards the hoop again or simply walking away from the game altogether.

3. Bouncy Ball

You know the ones, they’re small rubber balls you can get by putting a quarter in the grocery store’s vending machines. These balls were made for only one purpose: to bounce higher than any other ball when dropped.

If a ball must be dropped I highly suggest this last design. Not only does the bouncy ball create momentum within its space, it is inexpensive enough that you won’t care much if it bounces right out of your life.

According to Newton’s Law of Motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The hole in the floor caused by the bowling ball is equal to the force with which it was dropped. The same holds true for how high the bouncy ball will bounce.

Here’s the good news: When dropping balls in life or work, the dropper gets to choose what that opposite reaction looks like.

It is the dropper’s choice which type of ball gets dropped.

So what’s it gonna be? A gaping hole in the floor or a leap to new heights?