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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten of Hearts

We measure time in 10-year blocks, or decades. The 1960s are known as a time of change and progress for America. When people think of the 1970s, they remember the music and the fashion. The 1980s are recognized for the beginning of the technology era. Things that are now common were introduced during this period - microwaves, cellular phones, etc. Technological innovation exploded during the 1990s. We all got on the information superhighway and can no longer remember how we got information before the Internet. The first decade of the new millennium was 2000 (Y2K) - 2009. It will always be associated with September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina. Unquestionably, these were two of the most horrific events in our history.

However, there were good things that happened during the last decade. Maybe you got married, had a baby, or graduated from school. The Ten of Hearts will be used to represent those things that blessed our hearts in the last 10 years. Often times, attention is given to those
people, occasions, and things that break our hearts. This week, the Ten of Hearts can be used as a mirror to reflect happy memories. Deal the card to someone to remind them of a good time that you experienced together.

It might be helpful to look through your photo albums or digital picture files. The images can remind you of some of the fun and positive events that you attended or hosted. You may have heard the saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words". I have a friend who was an avid photographer and she used to put captions with each picture. Her narrative always helped to put context around the snapshots. Another activity that may put a smile on your face is reading old greeting and holiday cards that you have received in the last 10 years. They are evidence that others were thinking of you and wishing you well.
As you look back over the last decade, remember the laughter, celebrations, and victories. Hopefully, they will bring a smile to your face and encourage you to look forward to the new opportunities that will present themselves in this decade. Recognize when these moments arise and take advantage of them. They will be important contributions to the next chapter in your life. You are the author of your 2010-2019 story.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ten of Spades

Let's have fun with a Top 10 list this week. You see them all the time for a variety of topics and categories. The Ten of Spades will serve as a bottle that contains several of the top vitamins and supplements that are recommended to strengthen our bodies. We will use the familiar labels for the vitamins and supplements, but will assign different meanings for our purpose. As always, our purpose is to motivate and inspire you to reach new levels of success. This list is not in any particular order.

1. Vitamin A = Attitude
You own your attitude. Each day it impacts how others view you and how you judge situations. Attitudes are contagious. Good ones are passed on to make people feel better and bad ones are spread to aggravate those who come in contact with them. Everyone has negative attitudes sometimes. Try to recognize when your attitude needs an adjustment. Be patient when you encounter others who are having a bad day. Let your good attitude be a vaccine for someone else's bad one.

2. Vitamin B = Benevolence
    Be generous, kind, and sensitive to the feelings of others. You may be familiar with the golden rule that instructs you to treat others as you would like to be treated. This is good advice because it reminds you that relationships require give and take.
3. Vitamin C = Confidence
    Confidence enhances the effect of the other vitamins and supplements. You need it daily in the right quantity. Too little does not help you and too much can make it difficult to work effectively with others.
4. Vitamin D = Discipline
    Discipline is the key that removes many of the obstacles that we encounter on the way to our goals. Whether you want to lose weight or finish school, it requires discipline. If you want to accomplish anything that will improve the quality of your life or position you for success, you will require focus, dedication, and patience. In other words, you need a healthy dose of discipline.
5. Vitamin E = Enthusiasm
    Identify your enthusiasm triggers and activate them regularly. As you identify and work toward your dreams, do so in a way that makes others want to pull for you. You should be the head cheerleader for Team You. When you are excited about what are doing, it shows.
6. Vitamin K = Knowledge
    How do you acquire knowledge? Do you take classes, read books, or learn from experience? A combination of formal study, self improvement, and life lessons is the best formula for a well rounded education. A continuous pursuit of knowledge leads to an unending discovery of wisdom and opportunities.
7. Iron = Environment
    What people, places, or things serve as a source of strength for you? Maintain contact with them because they are part of the environment that shapes you. It is important to recharge and replenish your energy, determination, and creativity.
8. Calcium = Calculation + Podium
    What calculations are necessary for you to achieve your goals? Do you need to add new tools and practices to your routine? It may be necessary to subtract some people from your advisory board. Multiply the tasks that yield results and divide your attention and time for maximum impact. The formula will need to be modified regularly as you make progress toward the podium that will elevate you and showcase your talent.
9. Potassium = Potential + Compass + Helium
    Sometimes we strive to live up to our potential, or capability. However, once we reach that target, what happens next? How do we continue to grow and develop beyond our expectations. We need a compass to point us toward new challenges and achievements. The compass may be our internal drive to succeed or external influences that motivate us to keep going. We should also take advantage of any helium (encouragement, opportunities, connections, etc.) that will help us expand and rise to the next level.
10. Magnesium = Magnificence + Esteem + Auditorium
What image do you project? Is it one of magnificence and honor? If you have a healthy self-esteem, others will recognize it and respond to it. Always be prepared to share your plans and accomplishments with others. Your auditorium may contain one person or one hundred people. Remember opportunity may knock when you least expect it.
Remember to take the recommended daily allowance of your core vitamins and supplements.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jack of Diamonds

What do you think of when you hear the word "accessories"? If you are a lady, maybe hats, scarves, handbags, and belts come to mind. For the men, it might be ties, suspenders, hats, or handkerchiefs. The items mentioned above are usually associated with clothing. They are the things that add the finishing touches to your wardrobe selections. There are also jewelry accessories. Examples include earrings, necklaces, brooches, watches, cuff links, bracelets, and rings. This week, the Jack of Diamonds will serve as our jewelry box that will house some of the hidden accessories, or skills, that we may need to use more often.

Earrings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are large hoops, small hoops, dangling designs, studs, and other variations. Since we are talking about ear ornaments , let's examine how they may represent different listening styles. Hoops are circles. That is a perfect shape to represent communication because it should not be one way. We should strive for continuous and interactive communication in our relationships. One way to accomplish this is by listening attentively and asking questions when you need to clarify something that was said. This will enable you to accurately convey what was said to the next person in the circle. The dangling earrings are visually appealing but can sometimes be noisy and distracting. If you are listening to someone in a dangling way, you may not be giving them your full attention. That is not considerate. You would not want someone to listen to you that way. If you have too much going on, let the person know that you will be able to listen better at a later time. Sometimes, you need to pause at that moment to listen to what is being said and let something else dangle for a minute. Studs tend to be smaller, but they are often more valuable than the larger pieces. Diamond or pearl studs may be reserved for special occasions. When you see them, you take notice. For the listening analogy, they represent the key points being communicated. Some people ramble when they talk to you. They have a lot of fluff around the central message. If you practice "stud" listening, you can separate the filler material from the essential components that comprise the core of what is being said. Choose your earrings, or listening tactics, carefully to fit each conversation.

When you go into the jewelry box for a necklace, you are reaching for a rope to encircle your vocal cords, or speech. Ropes can be used for jumping and having fun. If you are rock climbing, the rope is a safety mechanism to keep you from falling. For practical purposes, a rope may bind loose items or be used to attach items for towing. I know that we don't think about all of that when choosing which necklace to wear. We just want it to match our earrings, handbag, or shoes. But let's consider how necklaces fit into the speech analogy that was mentioned earlier. Fun necklaces, or jump ropes, are the ones with the big colorful stones, odd shapes, or unusual materials. You might find them at craft fairs or flea markets where artists display their works. These types of necklaces are comparable to a motivational speech. They remind you to use your voice to encourage and uplift others. Let them know that you recognize and celebrate their individuality and creativity. If you want a safer choice for a necklace, you might choose a string of pearls. You really cannot go wrong with that selection. Pearls represent your words of comfort and compassion. Sometimes people just need to be told that you care about them. They don't want you to try to solve their problem or chastise them. Keep the conversation light and positive. There are times when a choker will be the appropriate choice. They are usually tight and can be restrictive. Be sensitive enough to know when less is more where your words are concerned. Lockets or charm necklaces are symbolic of the ropes that are used for transport. There is often a story behind the pictures in a locket or the charms displayed on a chain. These conversation pieces can build a bridge between you and others allow them to go on a journey with you based on the answers to the questions asked about the photos or trinkets.

Brooches are pins that may be worn near your heart. Use them to help express the feelings and emotions associated with different environments and scenarios. You may wear a certain pin to work, but another one on a shopping spree. While some brooches may be appropriate for church, you may choose other ones for nights out on the town. They can serve as a reminder that your behavior will vary dependent upon who are interacting with and where you are going. Watches, bracelets, and cuff links are in contact with your wrist. They are connected with the pulse, or pace, of what you are doing and where you are going. Lastly, the rings on your fingers impact the impression you make as you interact with others. Are you able to greet them with a firm handshake that denotes strength and confidence? The number and position of your rings will determine what someone else will feel when they shake or hold your hand. The rings go on your fingers which also have nails for defense and prints for identity. They are there to remind you to protect the essence of who you are and be careful of the image you project.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jack of Clubs

When you get an idea, what does the image look like to you? Do you see the big picture first? Most of us envision the finished product before we think about the individual pieces that must fit together. This week the Jack of Clubs will represent a jigzaw puzzle to illustrate how it helps to break down large plans into smaller components. If you can determine what pieces should connect, you can begin to build a framework for your end result.

A jigsaw puzzle has a picture on the box of what the completed product should look like when you have assembled all of the pieces. When you are pursuing a goal, do your research to find examples of successful outcomes. Your representation will not be identical. It will be unique to you. However, it should have characteristics of the model, or template, you are following. It is important to identify your four corners, border framework, and interior components.

The four corners serve as anchors for the puzzle. They help it take shape and keep it from shifting. Stability is important for any display, or road map. Before you start down the path that will lead to your desired destination, identify the people who will be in your corners. These will be the people who are there to advise, guide, and encourage you. They may share things with you out of their own experiences or wisdom they have learned from others. Think about Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She had four corners to assist her on the journey and help her reach her goals. The Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion provided sound counsel as she encountered obstacles and sometimes became discouraged. So you may be asking who would be the fourth corner for Dorothy. It could be Toto (constant companion and faithful friend) or Glenda the Good Witch (intermittent presence and voice of common sense).

The border pieces of the puzzle connect the corners and provide support for the remaining pieces that will fill in the middle. You can identify the border candidates by looking for a straight edge or level side. Borders protect you from distraction, enhance your presentation and provide a sense of direction. This is true whether you are talking about jigsaw puzzles or your network of family, friends, and other associates. The people who surround you should help you focus, make you better, and share knowledge that will benefit you.

Once this frame is formed, you can shift your focus to the core, or substance, of the puzzle. This is the essence of what others will see when looking at the completed project. Examine the remaining pieces and identify similar patterns and shapes that will help you join the correct ones together. There is usually more color and detail in this section. As you pursue your goals, this would equate to your vision and mission statements. Let people know what you want to do and how you will accomplish it. Your preparation and confidence will enable you to succeed when you are given opportunities to prove yourself.