Do You Want To Sell More?

Acts That Can Change Your Life Starting Now

In a study of sales professionals funded by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company “agents or consultants” who scored the highest in optimism sold 88 percent more than those who ranked as pessimists.
An old adage states that “attitude determines your altitude.” But, what if you are just a natural born negative Nellie, does that mean you will fail? What if you were brought up to believe “the hammer is going to fall” at any moment? What if really bad things have happened to you, then how in heavens’ name can you be optimistic and have a great attitude?

I am a recovering negative Nellie and fight every day to stay positive. I was brought up in a critical and harsh environment that left me struggling with perfectionism and obsessive compulsive disorder. A bona-fide medical diagnosis with a side of lithium to combat my issues. Nothing was ever perfect enough and most things were about the appearance rather than the experience. We looked like a made for TV family but behind the scenes there was much angst.

I escaped as a child by hiding in the closet to read, making grand plans to escape to far away places. But my environment left an indelible mark that has taken many years to face. Because I have unknowingly carried it with me into the world. That mark is a negative mindset.

We as a family called it realism or “just being honest” not wanting to sugar coat anything. Honestly it was painful and harsh, leaving us ostracized and lonely. Stymied by our own thoughts, help back by the reality of what we were sure would happen at any minute. We were Christians and read both Old and New Testaments, choosing to believe in the doom and gloom prophecy of the Old rather than the Grace and Mercy that Jesus Christ himself came to preach.

A failed marriage is nothing to be proud of but sometimes there is a bigger plan and I firmly believe “that all things work together for them that love the Lord God, and for those who are called according to His purpose.” My failed marriage painfully pointed out the fact that I was very different than most and coping with life itself was a struggle. Through this marriage and into “divorcee” status I learned a lot about myself. Primarily I learned that I was full of great creative ideas, talented and well- accepted but self sabotaging with my inner dialogue of “what if” “I should have” “I could have” “I would have”. When I was in my thirties and forties life seemed endless and “some day” was my mantra. Some day I would exercise, some day I would weigh what I should, some day I would travel, some day I would feel heart fluttering, deep love.

I was holding myself back from success but still looking and pretending to be successful. Remember, in my world and mind’s eye it is appearance over experience.

Fast forward many years through numerous near suicide moments and feeling like a fraud. I acquainted my state of mind to a smashed on the asphalt chocolate truffle, a failure on the inside but successful and yummy on the outside. Relationships destroyed I marched ahead, leaving a pathway of broken hearts, hurt feelings and lost dreams.

Three years ago I woke up in the hospital, my diagnosis “fog and depression” with a slap on the back and a side ways glance I was sent home with too many medications and no real solution. It was then I remembered a technique that a mentor had mentioned in her attempt to help me when I was still in my teens.

This life habit was simply that of “the act of gratitude.” Yes, gratitude can change everything. You may say “I am thankful,” “I am blessed,” “I am very grateful.” Those are words and this technique is an act or a verb of Gratitude.

My mentor’s advice: Write it down or it won’t become real. Write it down hourly, daily, weekly, monthly until you write with joy.

So, I began the process of finding 5-10 things per day to be grateful for. At first it was difficult as those prescriptions and the pain was still staring at me. Then I listed: running water, electricity, sun, rain, the geese outside my window, the mail person, etc. Some days the list took a long time, other days it was pages. I saved each journal, each piece of paper and loved watching them grow in number.

Amazingly but proven through science and the Bible is that the act of joy and thanksgiving turned my attitude from defeated to determined, from sad to glad, from sinking to soaring. I felt the fog lifting and the optimism setting in. It was my new drug of choice, the medicine flushed away as I had found the cure.

Gratitude had literally changed me inside out. I began to feel the urge to sell again (I had resigned from my job) and to lead again. Sales came naturally as I focused on others and consulting was natural for me. I desired to serve and love others.

If you are in sales and succeeding but feeling unfulfilled or like you need to be somewhere else then start with observing your life. Start with your attitude. Is your attitude one that will attract greater levels of achievement or are you leaving a wake of broken promises? A path of judgement and negativity? Is realism and supposed high level training stealing your joy and thankful heart?

The key to being an Optimist begins with Gratitude!

A Year’s Worth of Gratitude

Through my struggle to be optimistic I have discovered other amazingly easy keys to happiness that truly can change your life. These are life practices that must be repeated daily, hourly if need be. Watch for the next installment on Acts that Will Make Your Life Better Right Now.

Gratitude Changed My Life

the practice of gratitude leaves me with 11 revelations

Is happiness possible in today’s world of political battles, mass murders and untimely death from horrific diseases? As I write about gratitude and happiness I am sometimes accused of being “out there” new age style or having my head in the sand like an ostrich. But without a single hesitation and doubt I can tell you that the practice of gratitude can change your personal world and the way you live. This beautiful scene is an example. I am extremely grateful to have experienced this view not once but twice this summer. One time with the love of my life and another with my beloved parents and brother. It is a breathtaking scene looking out over Lake Erie. Through the practice of gratitude (putting at least three things daily on a scrap of paper and saving) I experienced revelation and epiphany Here are my top ten plus one:

  1. It’s hard to be grateful for only three things per day as my cup is overflowing with thankfulness and blessings. 2. My life is still imperfect (financial stress, hearing loss, vision loss, shots in my hip joints, sick and hurting family, loss etc.) but there is still a lot to be grateful for. 3. I feel more sympathy and empathy for others than ever before (the killings, the holocaust events that are going on in other countries, the diseases and suffering.) 4. I have never felt closer to God. 5. My marriage is better than it has ever been! 6. I sleep soundly and wake up refreshed. 7. Experiences make me happy, materialism never has. 8. We probably only have 20 years left in our marriage due to our ages and mortality statistics. I strive to not waste one minute on anything that is not love based. 9. Gratitude has greatly nurtured my attitude as I no longer feel angry, bitter, depressed and distressed. 10. Even in our darkest hour or worst moment that are many things to be grateful for. Plus one:  11. I used to over- complicate a lot of my life striving for perfection. Nothing on this earth that I can impact is perfect.

I hope you will join me in a practice of gratitude. A journal, a jar, a bowl or a box. Scraps of precious paper that hold your prayers of thanksgiving.

Ephiphany–leap of understanding!!!Yellow Bike

We Need Front Porches Today

Grandmother Hunt's PorchI have so many awesome memories of my two grandmother’s porches, one lived in town and one lived in the country. Neighbors and family sat together every night that the weather permitted. Adults chatted, snapped each other’s green beans for canning and drank sweet tea or lemonade. The children listened in and when bored ran off to catch fireflies, steal a kiss or find the croaking frog. The passing car slowed down or honked to say “hello” and it meant something. There were no fears. Some politics were discussed, always a talk about religion and it was okay, no one was offended. It was “networking” at the finest and highest level. Hearts poured out, problems were solved and relationships were cemented. (more…)

Back To School

crayonsToday is International Youth Day and the First Day of School for many young people. This date was set aside to celebrate the world’s youth by the United Nations via a resolution passed in 1999. The theme for this years celebration is “Youth Civic Engagement.”

Ironically when I checked into social media accounts this morning my news feed was filled with wonderful photos and family moments of “first day of school” or “first day of kindergarten, first grade or high school.” Smiling precious faces in new clothes, fancy backpacks, stylish lunch boxes and the latest in school supplies. As a childless person I am delighted by the news feed and found myself commenting on each and every picture because I truly love and care for these kids.

I am reminded that there are large segments of our world’s youth who won’t be featured today on any social media. They may not have shoes to wear for their walk to school, will struggle to get a drink of the clean, cool water they so desperately need, and their stomachs may ache from hunger. Not just in “other countries” but also right here in our USA. While the young people I know  are heading back to school well fed and rested, with stable home life waiting when school is over for the day, others are stressed, hungry and longing for love. An organization in the city of Columbus, Ohio gives local children new and stylish attire, backpacks and all the back to school necessities. Charity Newsies members work tirelessly in the rain, cold, snow and ice to serve in the community raising money so this can happen. You can help wherever you are and at any level by starting today. Civic engagement can mean teaching your child to make a difference by sharing an extra sandwich, a cookie or taking in a pair of sparkling new sneakers to the teacher for him/her to hand out as needed.

I have always loved art and loved color. Something happened in third grade, a long, long time ago but it comes back to me now in emotionally charged detail.  Even though things were very tight financially at home I asked to take a box of “Crayola- 64 Crayons” in to a classmate. I can’t remember who the classmate was, I don’t remember anything other than the feeling that it was the right thing to do and that I had made a difference in a child’s life, a child just like me.