See Yourself Clearly

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It’s easy to be grateful when you receive compliments because they validate who we are, who we want to be. Positive feedback feels good. And some people believe that we should only be giving encouraging, appreciative feedback. However, while positive feedback is satisfying, it doesn’t always help us get to where we want to be.

To succeed, we must be willing to hear what works and what could make us even more effective. For example, for a business to thrive and be financially stable, it must be open to continued examination of its assets and liabilities. And, in order for a business to see it so clearly, it needs to hire outside consultants. It is the same with us. The key is to select someone we trust to tell us the truth.

When we see ourselves clearly, we gain a greater sense of freedom because our character defects can, and do control us. The more we deny their existence, the more control they have. Self-knowledge can also free us from secrets. We are sick as our secrets, as the saying goes. The more secrets we keep the more imprisoned we feel, the more our character defects surface. Finally, self-knowledge enhances our ability to love others. The more willing we are to receive feedback, the more human we can become. The more human we can become, the more we can connect with the humanity of others.

There are many reasons for not wanting to know the truth. Perhaps were afraid of what we might find, or we are afraid people will judge us. Maybe we have an investment in maintaining a certain image, or we’re afraid people won’t like us once they know who we are. So how do we get past the obstacles? We can take action by the following steps:

  • Do an inventory of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask for feedback from friends and co-workers.
  • Identify conflicts with others and ask, “what part did I play?”
  • When someone gives your feedback or criticism, ask yourself, “could what they say be true?”

So, let’s take your inventory. Let’s begin with your strengths. Identify six of your strengths; these are traits that make you likable, productive, and effective as a parent, spouse, employee, or friend. Sometimes we are afraid to admit things we do well, for fear someone will think we are conceited. No one will read this but you, so don’t worry. Just to it!

Next identify six of your challenges: these are traits that, improved, would make you even more effective than you already are. Be honest as you can. Everyone has areas that need improvement.

Thereafter you are invited to really step outside of your comfort zone and solicit feedback from others. No doubt this one is of the most courageous things you’ll ever do. You will get valuable information about how to be the best you can be, and you will get to walk through your fear.

By now you’re getting a better sense of yourself, and for a moment, you might even start to think you’re the worst person in the world. Well, you’re not; you’re just a work in progress. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of the work to be done. Today is your opportunity to improve. Think of two things you continue to become more effective than you already are. Now go do them.

Be Silly. Self-Esteem. Have Fun.

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Smile. Silly.

girl and dog playing aroundAfter speaking at a recovery convention, a fellow speaker approached me and said, “Francine how come you’re so serious? You need to lighten up! You never smile. You say you’re grateful, but you need to tell your face. You look like it’s the end of the world.”

Well I thought to myself, “Who does he think he is telling me to lighten up?” I’m light.  I have a sense of humor, ha, ha. I can take a joke – sometimes.” As you can image I was just a little peeved. But you know, he was right. I never smile. I’m always serious, and my face looks tense, as if I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. What’s with that? I hide behind the fact that I am a left-brain thinker and never allow the little girl – the silly person, the humorous person that I believe I really am – to come out and play.

Since that time, I made a conscious effort to lighten up. The first time I practiced this was at a conference where I unhappily forgot what I was talking about.  I got conversational with my audience, went off on a tangent, and couldn’t remember where I was. In the past when that happened, I was devastated –  and you could tell. My hands got sweaty, my body tensed up, and my mouth got dry. I looked scared and I was. But on this particular day, I simply stopped for a minute, took a deep breath and blurted out, “Oh my God, I’m having a senior moment.” The crowd roared. I didn’t die, and I demonstrated that I had a sense of humor about myself. I’ve been doing it ever since.

Sense of Humor.

When we lighten up we see the world through new eyes. Problems become more manageable. And mistakes aren’t the end of our world. We learn to delight in all that God has created, and we become full of joyous expectation of the good that awaits us. Plus, we don’t age as quickly because we allow our inner child to come out and play.

What does it take to allow yourself to be silly in the moment? Well some people are natural humorists. They have the capacity to see something funny in all things, starting with themselves. For many, they have been making people laugh from the time they entered the world. Recall the kids you went to school with you who made everybody laugh.  They were funny; it was natural for them. But for the rest of us, being silly or lightening up is a learned skill.

This week you have permission to get silly. Silliness is an experience of joy. If we are really feeling joyful, then it’s to our advantage to show that in all we do.

 

How do you let go of stuff that gets in the way?

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Goals. Dreams. Fear.

With 2016 almost at a close let’s take some time to reflect on goals for this year and where you are at with those goals.  If you’ve not quite reached your goals, today’s blog post outlines fourteen steps to help you stay focused on your dreams!

dream or realityStep 1#: Admit stuff gets in your way: Denial is the enemy of success. Excuses prolong the misery and keep you further from the solution.

Step #2:  Take responsibility for your part: The more time you use to blame your habits on others, be it your parents, your spouse, your friends, the government, or anyone else, the less time you have to do what you need to do to move forward.

Step #3: Feel your fear and take action anyway:  Fear keeps you in bondage. Walking through fear sets you free.

Step #4: Share with another person: Acknowledge on paper and to another person what’s really important to you in this moment.

Step #5: Remind yourself of your agreement: Reflect back on the promise you made with yourself and the agreement to live your dreams. Keep it uppermost in your mind. Repeat it over and over again, perhaps in the form of an affirmation.

Step #6: Break the hard stuff into small pieces: It’s easier for the mind to accept a small piece than a big chunk that appears too hard to handle. So reduce all tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and then do something.

Step #7: Alternate between the easy and the hard tasks: For some of you the best approach will be to tackle the hard tasks first. For others, it will be more rewarding to do the easy tasks, and then move on to the more difficult ones.

Step #8: Take it a day at a time: There will be days when you’ll feel as if you’re on top of the world, in the flow, in sync with the universe. Then there will be days where nothing goes right. Consider this time an opportunity to take a much needed break or regroup.

Step #9: Schedule everything: Visual reminders are powerful and scheduling is a visual reminder. Schedule time to do the things that will take you closer to what’s important to you.

Step #10: Delegate tasks when you can: Delegation is a learned skill that begins with selecting the appropriate person for the job. If someone else is willing and able to perform a task for you, let them!

Step #11: See discipline as a good thing: In today’s “I want what I want when I want it” world, the quick fix is the order of the day. We are always looking for the faster and easier way around every situation. And sometimes our quest for all things immediate has us bypassing the real lessons to be learned, such as patience and discipline.

Step #12: Avoid being a perfectionist: Understand that every time you say “I’m just a perfectionist,” you’re giving yourself permission not to try. It’s good to want to do a job well. But, when your best becomes an excuse not to try, that is not a good excuse.

Step #13: Don’t wait for the right time: Forget about waiting to be in the right mood- it will never come. There is never a right time to do the hard things you’ve been avoiding.

Step #14: Even if you don’t believe you can complete the task – just do it anyway! Act as if you are enjoying it, and then before you know it, you will be where you want to be.

Right now, get up from wherever you are and do something. Perhaps it’s writing out your goals or creating a visual that will help you stay focused on what you want to do. Whatever it is, just do it or tackle a small, manageable piece of it today!

So what steps can you do today toward moving past your procrastination, past your fear?

Love Life. Live life quotes.

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I Ain’t Dead yet!

Live life.

Live life.

One of the good things about my life is that I have all kinds of friends and acquaintances. Some are moms.  Some are dads. Some are childfree. Some are retired. Some work. Some are gay. Some are straight. Some aren’t sure.  Some are dreamers. Some are not. Some like their life just like it is. Some do not. Some are willing to take risks and try new things. Some live in a self-created prison and allow their fear to stop them (even though they are afraid to admit that).

The friends I am most grateful for are those who believe that their life is continually evolving and are willing to stay in the game and discover the next chapter.  I especially love my girlfriends who are in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s who look amazing and who are active participants in their own lives.  If they are retired, they are still DOING things instead of waiting around to die. To them, retirement does not mean the end of life. In fact, for me at 63, I believe I have a lot of good, productive living left to do.  Why would I retire and drop out of life when there are so many more great places to visit, wonderful new people to meet, and fabulous new adventures to experience.

High heels, facials, and pedicures.

On top of it all, I’m still getting pedicures & facials, and wearing heels!

It’s kind of funny about the heels.  I still wear high heels and often women will ask me with great interest, “how can you wear those heels?” Then they proceed to tell me, “well you’re still young, so you can walk in them.”  I laugh, first because they think I am younger than I am, and often, they even think I am younger than they are.  I just take it in and laugh because my attitude is that I will continue to wear high heels until the moment I can’t.  I don’t wear mini-skirts, hot pants or dresses cut to my navel anymore, but I do love me some high heels!

So are you letting other people define you simply based on your age? If you are, you are doing yourself a great disservice and missing out on what can be a fun, productive, and yes, even an exciting life. Time doesn’t discriminate. Those who are 21 today will one day be 71 and 81, if they are lucky. Yes, our culture has become more biased in favor youth, but you don’t have to live in the box society places you in. You can live your life on your own terms.

As for myself, I ain’t dead yet, and I’ll live my life on my terms for as long as I can. Won’t you join me?  I’m Francine Ward living my life every second of the day. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. LinkedIn.

 

 

Contracts. Agreements.

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UNDERSTAND Those Agreements BEFORE Signing.

Agreements. Contracts.

Agreements. Contracts.

I can’t tell you how many times I have warned people about signing a contract without complete understanding of the terms. Unfortunately, people still make the same mistakes over and over by signing contracts that are not in their best interest. Often these mistakes can cost a person everything they worked for.

Here is just another unfortunate case that proves my point.

The Camellia Grill, a landmark New Orleans restaurant, popular with both locals and tourists for nearly 70 years was severely damaged by hurricane Katrina and remained closed for over a year, when owner Michael Shwartz decided to sell it in 2006. The sale was finalized with 3 separate contracts, one of which was the “bill of sale.”

READ Those Agreements BEFORE Signing.

The new owner, Hicham Khodr, also signed a contract for a licensing agreement regarding the use of the iconic Camellia Grill trademarks and logos. The contract agreed on a payment of $1 million, as well as ongoing royalties. This contract was contested, and eventually declared null and void by a Louisiana court. This ruling then led to a slew of other lawsuits between the two parties.

With the licensing and royalties contract terminated, the seller filed a lawsuit against the new owner claiming trademark infringement, since the restaurant continued using the original name, signage and logos. The new ownership contended that the use of the logos and trademarks was covered in the “bill of sale” contract.

When the smoke from the lawsuits finally cleared in July of 2015, the court ruled that the new ownership had complete rights to the name, trademarked logos and all materials specified in the bill of sale. The contract specified transfer of all “tangible personal property located within or upon” the Camellia Grill.

Michael Schwartz argued that intellectual property was not part of the “tangible personal property.” However, Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ruled that the language in the bill of sale was “clear and unambiguous.”

Obviously, Michael Schwartz and his attorneys did not cover all the bases in regards to the specific language of the bill of sale contract. They assumed that the licensing contract covered the trademarks, but when that contract was voided by the court, the bill of sale became the primary documentation of the terms.

When you sign a contract on the dotted line, you had better be absolutely sure that the terms are exactly as you want them, with all avenues and possibilities considered, especially when dealing with multiple contracts for the same deal.

Please don’t enter into a contract that can affect your livelihood and future without seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney who specializes in the field. Not all lawyers are created equal. Your real estate lawyer is ill-equipped to counsel you on intellectual property law issues, and truly not your criminal lawyer. One oversight on the contract can lead to devastating consequences.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/2013/05/court_rules_camellia_grill_mus.html