I Need to Watch my Big Mouth

“You’re killin’ me!”  I heard my four year old say this to my two year old and I cringed.  I have become uber-conscious of the words I use and I know this is a phrase I used often.  Recently I found the books of Florence Scovel Shinn.  Her primary work is The Game of Life and How to Play It.  I’m reading this now, and will review it with you once I’m done.  It’s typical for me to power through a series of books by a single author, once I form an interest in his/her writings.  To date I’ve read Shinn’s both The Power of the Spoken Word and The Magic Path of Intuition – which I loved.  They are very repetitive and seem to be comprised of Shinn’s personal notes and journal entries whereas The Game of Life is a standalone book she made with intention. Even so her message resonates so clearly with me, that I see the repetition as a boon. Continue reading

A Lesson from Teresa Giudice & My Upbringing

I have a dirty little secret, and it’s called The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  I love this show.  I’ve watched it since its first season and have never missed an episode.  People are always surprised when I tell them this, considering how my usual topics for discussion are finances, development, and growth.  Admittedly this isn’t the only reality show I watch since I’ve already written about my appreciation for Fixer Upper, but the RHONJ is the only one I regularly DVR.

Partly I love watching this show to see the gorgeous homes and stylish accessories, but also because of all the shows in the Housewives franchise this one pays homage to an “old school” mentality.  My mom was German and I very closely identify with that part of my heritage, but my dad grew up in an Irish Italian Catholic household.  While my mom set the tone for our family traditions and holidays, my dad set a discipline that aligns closely with old world values.  On top of gender expectations on how to be good girls and do our part, my sister and I were taught about standing our ground, not snitching and the hierarchy of loyalty.  Because RHONJ is centered around the lives of Italian American families, many of these themes are shown.  The women all say they align with them…even when they don’t, and that’s when the drama happens. Continue reading

Formula to Improve Confidence

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a profound book that teaches you how to leverage your creative powers to manifest your goals. I’ve previously a summary of Hill’s review on leadership qualities.  As a third topic, I want to share his Confidence Formula.  He encourages people to memorize, and then regularly repeat it to themselves. I think it’s too much to memorize (yes, I can be lazy), so I made a cheat sheet and keep it in my life planner for daily review.

During a spring vacation I fell out of the habit of reading it. Last week I stumbled across m cheat sheet while cleaning out my agenda. As I reviewed it, I got excited.  I remembered how this formula shifted the tone of my thinking which, in turn, shifted the overall tone of my day. Continue reading

Listen to Your Inner Critic: It’s giving you tough love

As an advocate for positive thinking, I have spent a fair deal of time silencing my inner critic. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it’s a remnant from my willful dismissal of the outrageous thoughts I had  while suffering from depression; and secondly, it’s a fearful reaction of wanting to shut down negativity before it grows. These efforts have undoubtedly helped me to more fully appreciate where I am in life. Yet that nagging voice wouldn’t go away no matter how much I tried to ignore it.

In April I read From Business Woman to Housewife: My Journey to Finding Inner Peace by Mina Irfan. After many years of trying to silence this critic, Mina’s book introduced me to an entirely new way of handling this internal audience (a term coined by Dr. Doug Lisle). She writes, “Impressing our internal audience raises our self-esteem…. It’s almost ironic since this mechanism came to exist through millions of years of evolution so that we can make the right decisions when it came to impressing our clans, tribes, or communities, which increased our rate of survival. As long as we make diligent effort to impress our internal audience, our self-esteem will continue to rise, and it will matter less and less what others actually think of us.” She decided to listen to her internal audience and pursue actions that would take the power out of its criticisms. Continue reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The KonMarie method for decluttering your home was developed by Marie Kondo. She describes it succinctly on page 1 of her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She writes, “Start by discarding. Then organize your space, thoroughly, completely, in one go.” Next she makes the bold claim that if you take her approach, you will not rebound into a cluttered state.

It just so happens that I love sorting and organizing all manner of things. I learned about the KonMarie method during a flight home from work travel and was thrilled that it was a Friday afternoon because I was ready to tackle my home promptly after arriving. Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d have much to do since my family already has a rhythm for semi-annual edits on our belongings. I was wrong! I was surprised by the outcome of using the KonMarie method. Continue reading

Getting Things Done & Email Productivity

David Allen believes he mastered the art of Getting Things Done.  In his book, he puts forward some valuable tips.  One in particular is how to handle email.  Before I outline his email process, however, I will explain his philosophy regarding stress free productivity.  As I applied several of his techniques, my own stress decreased, and that is a great feeling.

Allen explains that  when we juggle multiple projects, jobs, personal responsibilities, and household chores we can become overwhelmed by “loose ends.”  Continue reading

Think and Grow Rich: Leadership Attributes

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, explains what he considers to be the major qualities all strong leaders must possess.  I outline these eleven characteristics below with my interpretation of what each means.  Before we get to that, I want to highlight a specific quote from the book which explains what I consider to be the most foundational quality of all leadership.  Hill writes, “Most great leaders began in the capacity of followers.  They became great leaders because they were intelligent followers.  With few exceptions, the man who cannot follow a leader intelligently, cannot become an efficient leader.  The man who can follow a leader most efficiently is usually the man who develops into leadership most rapidly.” Continue reading