Our Journey

Our journey of life is about progress, not perfection. It's not about doing one thing 100% better - it's a matter of doing 100 things, 1% better each day. Progress is evolutionary not revolutionary, and most days we measure our progress in inches, not miles. What matters most is showing up for your life whether you feel like it or not. Ask yourself, "What two or three little things can I do today that would move me forward?" You'll be amazed at how much distance you can cover by taking it in increments. The little things add up; the inches turn to miles; and we string together our efforts like so many pearls. Before long, look what you have - a whole strand!

Who Wins?

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

The Heart of our Teachers!

I am constantly amazed by our teachers.  Our childrens lives are affected each and every day by these fabulous individuals who are dedicated to their lives and futures.  Stop and take just a few moments to watch this video and remind ourselves of what happens after the bell rings!

Success -

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"To laugh often and much

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded"

Determination and Leadership - What a combo

I found this amazing video and was so impressed with this coach and what he accomplished with his team!  Words don't begin to describe what you'll see and feel watching this video!  I promise - you'll be glad you watched! The Million Dollar Challenge

All comments welcome!

Honor our Teachers!

Aside from parents, who makes the biggest impact on our children?  Their teachers!  Bless these men and women who dedicate themselves to the growth and development of tomorrow's future leaders.  Take a few minutes and view this video.  Then do something special to acknowledge those amazing men and women! 

Making a difference in the life of children.....

I've been working with children (mostly teenagers) for lots of years.  Encouragement to our youth seems to be something that is needed and unfortunately with today's economy, seems to be lacking.  At a recent Chamber Board meeting, I listened to a proposal from our local school district Superintendent as he explained how many teachers will receive pink slips, what courses will be cut, and how class sizes will increase.  A parcel tax was proposed and passed for endorsement almost unanimously for a special election by mail in May.  A temporary "fix" for now. So - what else are we going to do about the lack of education to the future leadership of our country?  I'm proud to be a part of Rotary International who puts great emphasis on literacy.  As this week is "Literacy Week", many of us have found our way to local elementary schools to "read to the students".  It was most satisfying to have those little faces full of attention as they listened to stories about everything from the alphabet to animals.  Not only are we lacking in the schools - but how many parents take (or even have) the time to just read with their kids.  I can remember back to my own childhood and my parents encouragement to read.  I started like most kids with Dr. Seuss, moved on to Nancy Drew, and from there, a continuous library of reading has been a good part of my life and learning experiences.  My mind opened up to all kinds of possibilities and dreams.  Adventures of story book characters kept me enthralled and as a bi-product improved my vocabulary and imagination.

So, here's where I encourage you, my readers.  Choose a school and volunteer.  Get involved.  Find alternative learning opportunities.  We have a wealth of life experiences to share.  So let's share it.  My kids are grown now with kids of their own.  They love reading and being read to.  My daughter was reading to my granddaughter while still swaddled.  Now, at 10 years old, Anya reads voraciously, sometimes 2-3 books at a time.

Don't wait for a week especially created to "read to our youth".  They need us now!  And that's just the beginning.....

Want to design a joyful 2010? Here’s a couple of tips....

New Years

I am thrilled to have a wonderful friend and colleague like Michele Lando!  I often refer to her as "the most articulate person I have ever met"!  She is an expert in so many areas, and has helped me numerous times with my branding and communications.  So, I am most excited to share with all of you her latest article on getting a head start on 2010!  I know we're all caught up in the holidays, but remember 2010 is only a few weeks away.  No matter if you're a student or adult, these handy hints are for all of us! Tish

After the decorations, celebrations and communion with family and friends, Monday morning will reappear.

My holiday gift to each of you: a few tips from the IndiBrand™ Individual Branding Workshop series.

Even in this economy. There is much to be grateful for:

The future is the present moving forward constantly. This means that whatever you envision for your future is being impacted by your choices right now—this very minute—and the next, and the next, and the next.

The future is connected to your present (which has just this instant become your past). As you consider what you want 2010 to be like for you, engage all of your senses. What do you want it to smell like? Taste like? Look like? Sound like? And feel like? The more visceral your imagination of your future, the more real it becomes and the easier it is to make choices in this instant and the next that truly support your goals for your future!

When I am considering my future I make sure I am specific and engage each of my senses across multiple areas of my life. Like good marketing, the more targeted I am in my focus on each area of my life, the more impactful my connection to it is! The more likely I will actually create it, and the more joy I experience in all areas of my life as a result. Following are some of the focus areas for my future. What are yours?

  • Social: Relationships with family, friends, organizations
  • Spiritual: Practicing faith, prayer, self-exploration and development, awareness of others.
  • Romance: Husband, travel, celebrations
  • Creative: Writing, music, ideation
  • Health: Exercise, yoga, quiet time, food prep, breathing
  • Professional: Contribution, self-growth, mentoring, learning
  • Financial: Abundance, philanthropy, saving, planning, insurances, spending
  • Play: Silliness, laughter, light-heartedness, outings, new experiences

There is always room for changing one’s vision. Don’t let your fear of commitment or your belief that you cannot control what the future holds, or anything else, get in your way. It’s the distinction between making choices that lead to something that fulfills you or not.

Author: Michele Lando, president of Skilset Communications, Inc., and author of the internationally acclaimed IndiBrand™ Individual Branding workshop series. To reproduce any portion of this article, you may write or phone 626-792-0032.

Thanksgiving – One of my favorite holidays!

the whole family

Gratitude – this is the common thread that runs through Americans this week.  As I was taking my morning walk this morning at 7:30 along the beach, the town was just waking up.  The famous Venice boardwalk which is usually populated with strange and wacky people and shops was locked up tight.  Just a few café’s were open for early breakfast customers.  The ocean was blue and sparkled as the sun was shining brightly on the water.  As I walked along the boardwalk, breathing in the fresh air, I began to think about how much gratitude I have for life.  As other’s do this week, I started to make a mental list of things I appreciate and try not to take for granted.  There are simple things such as good health, family, love, and friends.  There is a roof over my head, and food in my kitchen.  My little dog Laci, rubs up against my leg with affection, knowing that she is unconditionally loved, and loves back the same way. Love - the emotion that is most expensive, yet most gratifying.  I’m so fortunate to have found love with my husband of 32 years.  We’ve shared so many journeys.  Some wonderful, and other’s painful.  Each journey has offered timeless lessons and layers to our life.  My husband has cheered me on, comforted me in sorrow, and taken care of me when I was ill.  He has supported my activities and several careers throughout the years.  We’ve shared some really tough times, and come through as better individuals and a stronger couple.  Yes, we’ve used the “sickness and in health” commitment, and the “for better or worse”, too.  If I had it to do over, I would do it in a heartbeat!

Family – can extend to anyone you want to include.  Some of my closest family are my friends.  When I was a young girl, I was told that if you could count your true friends on one hand you were truly blessed.  Well, that’s me.  I’m so fortunate to have the most wonderful friends.  They have offered such loyalty over the years.  No matter what, my friends have been there when I needed them, as I am for them.  There is a circle of life and what goes around DOES come around.  My sister, although living thousands of miles away, is as close as my cell phone.  When we're together, it's as if we've never been apart. If I need her, or vice versa, we're there for each other.   Our children mean the world to us, and we love the appreciation that goes both ways as they are now adults.  Our children have given us angst and pride over the years.  More lessons!  All in all, we’re blessed.  Our 3 kids, their spouses and children are tremendous blessings.

Health - We don’t take this for granted.  We’ve both had some pretty serious health issues and as a result, don’t take anything for granted here.  Gratitude for getting through these challenges and what we’ve learned as a result is a given.

So, I have a lot to be grateful for, and this is just a small list.  Take some quiet time this week, and just contemplate your blessings.  When you sit at your Thanksgiving table, grab hands and say a blessing of gratitude.  We all have much to be thankful for.  What are you grateful for this week?

Comments to this post are welcome!

So, you want to communicate with your teenager?

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Are you a lucky parent raising a teenager in today’s world? Pretty scary! We all want our kids to like us. We know they love us, but liking us is another thing entirely. We want communication open and flowing – how do we make this happen?

Does this sound familiar?

You: “How was school?”

Teen:  “Fine.”

You: “What did you do today?”

Teen: “Nothing.”

When was the last time you spent some one on one time with your teen?  How can you have a good relationship with your teenager? Nothing takes the place of getting involved and interested in your teen’s life. We often think of quality time for very young children, but this term still applies when they are teenagers. We forget about it because they’ve seemingly reached that age of “not wanting to be seen with us.”

It’s really the quality of time, not the quantity.  It may take a bit of work to figure out the best way to do this, but trust me, it’s worth it!  What do you think they might say if you asked them to teach YOU something that they’re good at?  Ask them to teach you the “quirks” of texting so that you can communicate with them on their terms.  Ask them what they like best about what they’re studying and YOU study up on that subject so that you have another commonality.  Take walks, hike, bike, attend art, music or dance classes, etc.  Make sure it’s their choice of activity.  Don’t go to the movies unless you both commit to 15-30 minutes of discussion of the movie once it’s over.  The object of this exercise is to communicate, not be entertained.

Do you really Listen to them?

Always pay really close attention to what your teens are saying to you.  Look them straight in the eyes and let them know you care about what they are saying!  When they realize you’re really interested, they typically will let go and really talk to you.  You’ve got to be prepared to stop what you’re doing and listen if they want to talk.  They want to share something with you!  How cool is that?  Isn’t this what we’re striving for?

Everyone has ridiculous schedules in today’s world.  Finding family time can also be difficult, but to keep communication open, you have to make the time.  Meals are a terrific place to start. Try to have at least one if not more sit-down family meals per week. Find a common topic for conversation, and let the family know ahead of time so that everyone can find a tidbit or two to add to the conversation.

Now here’s the glitch – even if you don’t agree with their opinions, find a way to listen, really listen to theirs.  This can be a difficult task, as it can be hard to really listen when all you want to do is tell them your opinion about something with which you don't agree. Whatever you do – Don’t judge them!  It may be best to admit there is a disagreement  and postpone the discussion until you can calm down and be rational.  Then you can go back and say something like, “I’m not sure I agree with all you said, and there are some things I don’t understand.  Let me think about this and we’ll pick it up tomorrow night at dinner.”  By setting a deadline for the conversation, you are acknowledging the importance of their opinion to you, and they will come back to finish up.  Isn’t communication the goal?

A celebration of Heroes!

new firefightersIt was my honor and pleasure to Chair our Chamber’s 15th annual New Educator and Hero’s reception last Thursday evening.  It’s such a lovely tradition that as far as I know is only held in Santa Monica.  We gathered at the gorgeous Le Merigot hotel courtyard to welcome all of the new educators, firefighters and police officers to our community.  The food was generous and hearty and absolutely delicious.  Each new person was recognized and welcomed by our Chamber members, and City officials.  When you take a look at all of the people who are dedicated to our children's education and our safety – it’s quite impressive.  I’ve been involved with this event for the past 14 years, and every year I’m reminded again of my gratitude for these amazing people.  We raffled off about 40 fabulous gift items, from video games to gift certificates for dinners and hotel stays.  Items like this are meaningful as most of our guests don’t have the opportunity or the funds to be frivolous.  We collected countless items from fellow chamber members and handed out “goodie bags” to each guest.  The bags were filled with everything from discount coupons to water bottles, key chains, pens, and amusement park passes.  Our members really stepped up with their offers of support.  Our school Superintendent, Fire and Police Chief were thrilled and excited to participate.  These people are the role models for all of us and our children's futures are in their hands. This is what it’s about my friends.  Giving back to your community and honoring those who selflessly give of themselves is exactly what the term “paying it forward” means.  There’s no better sense of satisfaction than contributing to others.  I left feeling proud and full of pleasure that I was a part of something so meaningful.  Yep – I still have a huge smile on my face and a light heart just thinking about what a great evening we all enjoyed!