Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deep Breaths

You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you're excited? Like you can't quite catch your breath?

I am so exhausted right now and I need to sleep. It's 1:30 in the afternoon and I did sleep last night from 1 in the morning until almost 9 a.m. when I heard my own voice at the tail end of my answering machine message. Daughter was still knocked out beside me. Son was at a sleepover. Mr. T was working. It's a beautiful Saturday but all I want to do is sleep.

Since I was up, I checked email and Twitter followers. I am still trying to get that Twitter email under control and I am almost there. I saw I had another great comment on an article I wrote. Made me happy. I thought about all the work I needed to do to get the business blog moved back where it was - here, Blogger, a better place for it right now. I was ok with the work. I thought about all the stuff I had learned to improve our Facebook fan page and it's a lot but I'm ok with the work. I thought about the next article I needed to write - and the one after that. And the one after that. I saw all the subscriptions I had to my blog feeds just since YESTERDAY when I redid everything and added the ability to email for a subscription - both here and to the business blog. I'll link it here later.) So you guys ARE out there, huh? Nice. Again it was hard to catch my breath - in a good way.

Fact is, to do what you love to do means simply doing it because you love it. I went to a new Twitter follower's profile and he had tweeted to the marketers he knew, "#Marketing people! Can someone go to this site and tell me why not a single person has requested this #free book?" I took a look. It actually looked interesting, but I won't check it out until later because, as I said, I am sleepy right now. But he made me think more about doing what you love. I don't know what his gameplan is, but it looks like he's going to give away a book. That's no small thing. But if you love something, you set it free, right? And if it's your talent, it will come back to you more than two fold.

I think I see it in the distance. I have to take a nap before it gets here. Oh, and fix tacos. They are waiting for me right now to fix tacos. Then I'll take a nap. Then I'll be ready.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Straw

No really. It was the last straw. I have come home to undone homework, trashed rooms and yes, juice box/CapriSun straws on the floor for the last time. How many times have you read me complaining about my messy daughter? Numerous. And countless times have I told her to have her homework done before I come home. She's home by 3:30. I am home by 7 most times. She really can't get it done?

Undone homework is maddening enough. Repeatedly asking her to clean her room put me over the top. Do you see this mess?

I refuse to go in it to hang up her clothes so some of that mess is me tossing clothes on her bed. But coming home to the undone homework and pigsty, I swear I was going to develop an ulcer on the spot. For sure my head was hurting. My son isn't perfect but his mess I can tolerate and when I say clean it up, he does. The girl is just stubborn and unmotivated by the loss of her DS, going to bed early, the loss of allowance, not being allowed to go to a cheerleading class....unmoved. I knew what I had to do and it requires commitment on my part. The hard part about teaching these kids a lesson is that usually YOU are deprived of something as well. But my husband can't seem to get as riled up by this as I am so unless I am home to have a fit, the crap continues.

Not anymore.

The undone homework - again - sent me into a spin. I had called her over an hour before I got home to tell her I would be home and to get the work done. I checked. Not done. Why? No reason. Then I see the room again. That's all I can stand. She goes to get a pencil to finally finish the homework. I refuse to let her. "You had your chance. Leave it, take a bath, brush your teeth, go to bed."

She's not too fazed. Umm hmm. OK. After she gets in the tub I am still fuming. Before long I snatch a trash bag from the drawer and storm to her room, tossing clothes and school papers and books to pick up whatever toy my hand lands on. She hears it and begins to ask what I am doing. Before long she is wrapped in a towel at the door and it has hit her.

"Please, wait!"

Too late. I ignore her crying and pick up toys until the bag is full. The tears are flowing and suddenly she is fazed.

You think it's easy hearing a child begging you to do or not to do something? It's not. I had no desire to start trashing things. But the I-don't-care attitude had to go. For the first time in weeks I had her attention. The bag went to my car as swiftly as I had picked it up, leaving her to stand crying in her mess.

She has no clue how pissed off I am at the relentless mess. She has no idea how it hurts my heart for her to be sad in any way. But this was a war and she had to go down.

"If I come home tomorrow to this mess STILL here, you lose more," I tell her with the best poker face I have.

All she could do was ask me to help her button her pajama top. Kind of pathetic really and freaking cute. But I am standing my ground.

"If I clean up my room, can I have my stuff back," she sniffed. "I don't know what I am going to do," I tell her without feeling. "The only reason it's not at the dump now is because it's closed."

Threats are pointless. You can't start something like this and not follow through. I can't say the bag is going to the dump and not dump it so I won't go there because it's not what I want to do. But of course if cleaning once gets her her stuff back, then what's going to make her keep cleaning? It's a conundrum. Thankfully, her being 6 may be in my favor since she most likely won't think quite this far. Let's hope I'm right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh, My Word!

It's been a busy week. Writing articles for the sake of our puzzles. Writing for publication in a women's networking magazine.

So far I'm here:

And here:

And here: (I'm not sure if you have to be a member to see this one. You can tell me.)

Submitted to here:

And working on here: (Yes. She is expecting me here.)

And now, I am looking at virtual assistants and social networking help. It's been a good month.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ahh, The Genius is All Around

It's been awhile, right? Well, a week. It's like it's been a month. There is this woman in one of my networking groups, Savor the Success, and her name is Christina Morassi. Christina sent a message out to the group about a project she is doing for the next month called 30 Days of Genius. I am a very introspective sort and I also love figuring people out, so this is right up my alley. I went to her site and learned that the agenda was to call people into themselves; get them to figure out or acknowledge the thing that spoke to them and that made them shine and then move toward living in that for good. Precisely the plan, Christina.

Christina came at an interesting time when stars were aligning and sown seeds were blossoming. It's like she came to provide the commentary for all I am seeing in my life at the moment and to help me recognize them for what they were - me living in my genius, as she says.

The business has been at the forefront of my mind. Last time, I told you about the coaching group I joined with a woman I wanted to work with anyway, so when this opportunity came along, I jumped. I thrive when I am accountable to people so it's been great reading what other people are doing and getting even more inspired; sharing what I'm doing and getting great responses. One of the members asked me to write about the benefits of jigsaw puzzles for the brains of seniors who suffer or could suffer dementia. It was a thrill to do it. Because of the group, I finally figured out what to write for another online friend who asked me to write something for her networking group in exchange for an ad. Sure thing, I said. But then I couldn't figure out what to write. Now it's all ready to go in my head. Pen to paper. Or key to screen. This one is about how my partner and I do this thing called business. Boy do I have some words on that - now that I know what I'll say. I have one more writing opportunity to take advantage of that will put us in a new magazine out of Atlanta. I haven't figured out that focus yet but I suspect releasing this story already in me will be the key to finding that focus.

It's been a busy time. Last Friday we secured a relationship with a manufacturer that makes our puzzle production process as smooth as silk. They can't do EVERYTHING we may ever need but they can do the stuff that costs the most money and that is what matters. Now let me tell you about the power of words, my friends.

Late last night, Bizzy Girl and I were discussing yesterday's most recent event - finding out that we are $1,500 away from breaking even for the first time. Talk about celebrating! You know she was excited because we were on the phone after 10 p.m. I am the night owl. She is not. As we talked, we gushed at how we had ALWAYS said, without really thinking (and that is the mistake here because we are Christians and we know that life and death are in the power of the tongue), that oh how we wished we could make our puzzles a very specific way. I can't tell you that part. Gotta have SOME trade secrets you know. But it was specific. We wished we had someone who could do it in a certain way, pretty much in a certain place. Now, forgive my vagueness here but the key is that we wanted something specific. As we talked about the limitations of our new-found process, something made me think.

"Hey, Bizzy Girl. Remember when we said a million years ago how we wished we could do this a certain way? Well, his limitations are making me think. Weren't those the very same limitations of the process we had in mind?" No, it wasn't exactly said that way, but you get the picture.

So we Googled. And lo and behold, we found the connection we were thinking. This was the very same process we had aspired to years back. ALLLL the way back to when we first started researching how to do what we wanted to do and even since then. And not only the process but it was even down to the type of people, my friends. It was like they had walked out of our vision and we didn't even recognize it at first.

The power of the tongue was reinforced yet again. Bizzy Girl said she did think about some other connections to our past discussions and it motivated her to tell her daughter they need to do a vision board. This is a major thing for her to say because Bizzy Girl appreciates the creative but she'll tell you in a heartbeat that she's not the creative one, I am. She would be the one to look at someone's vision board and say, "Ohh nice!" But she wouldn't think to do one for herself. The power of these past few days has her thinking differently, and that's a good thing for a creative business like ours.

The genius is all around, as Christina recently discussed. She wanted us to note the genius in others around us. And I thought a moment today about former co-workers. One left to start a business as a life coach. I just saw her on The Today Show two days ago. One left to focus on her writing, have a baby and be there for her moviemaking hubby, whose movie was the hit at Sundance this year and he's got another script sold and on its way. One is leaving now to go help his wife with her small business. They will be on Martha Stewart in about 2 weeks talking about their chicken business. The commonality is they all walked away before the stuff really blew up. That's not to say these things weren't in the works while they were here. In two of these cases, spouses had the ball rolling already but them leaving here really helped things to take off. Now, that's a risk I'm not quite willing to take and I already told God that yes, I will take risks but this one will require a bridge so I don't freak my family out while doing my thing. Life and success are in the power of the tongue. I'm not worried about getting it the way I need it to be.

The genius is truly all around rubbing off on me. I wonder what will happen next.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

This may be hard to see and that's fine. The details of the picture don't matter. It's the big picture that counts. This is the beginning of revamping our business plan and I'm excited by it because it finally reflects ME. How did I get here?

1 - I asked my new business coach, Sandy Martini, about her timeline for the program I am participating in with her called Get It Done Right the First Time. "But this isn't your first time, Monica. You're already started!" I know, I know, but it's never too late to get it done right. Anyway, she told me and I thanked her, telling her that I need to see the big picture before I could get mired in details. She thanked me for telling her my preference for receiving information.


2 - I am preparing some thoughts for a meeting I have with Bizzy Girl and Design Guru next Friday as we start to create systems for soliciting new business from our target market. My telling Sandy about my big picture preference and thinking about the systems made me think of our business plan, which I never loved because - believe it or not - it was too wordy. Me - a runner-up in the Mrs. Loquacious Contest (I've met people worse than me) and it was too many words. "I am creative," I remember. "How do I learn best?" Seeing then jumping in and doing. (I'll read the instructions later.) "Of course! I need a visual business plan!"

3 - That led me here to a man named Andrew Smith. And I really appreciated the simplicity of what he was saying and his visual examples.

4- I then went to the site a guy who was talking about circular business plans and I got dizzy right away. I already had circles in my head. Didn't need more. So I ended up here on the site of a woman named Julie Stuart who draws these AMAZING visual business plans. You can even see her portfolio on her site. Good stuff. Still not quite right for me, though I did sign up for her newsletter. She was on the right track at least. She asked the right questions about my ideas spiriling out of control.

5 - I need a mix of the spotaneity you see with Julie and the clarity you see with Andrew, but a little linear thoughts too because I need things to be visually organized. Julie stuff is great but I can't look at her plans and see the direction like I could in Andrew's example.

Thus the picture you see at top.

I stood in my living room racking my brain, wishing I had a chalkboard or white board or a way to write on my walls that came off easily. I needed to write the vision, not type. Not yet. I thought about that chalkboard and imagined making something to use on my refrigerator so I could stand and write. Then Mr. T's not-yet-discarded-40"-inch-TV-box winked at me. I remembered I had brought home a dry erase calendar that my boss couldn't use and I thought I could. I had paper and markers. I would make something to help me purge. And I would perch it on my ironing board because the next best place was downstairs on the table in my office and it's cold down there in the winter when you're just wearing a long shirt!

Now, on my makeshift white board (card board?), I could write and still take the paper with me later. I could see the mess dumped on paper in every possible category. I could ask the questions and write whatever answers I had and then leave it there while I continued to think of things to add. Then, when I think I've purged it all, I could start working on whatever details I had for each section of the brain dump. Only then could I see maybe typing some stuff up, but not yet. I've got to finish getting the stuff out of my head. I need to sleep on it, come up with more stuff if there is any and then call Bizzy Girl to see what she can add to it. By the weekend, I should be able to start getting details down.

This is good. It helps to know how I think and learn. We may just get organized yet.