Saturday, October 27, 2007
It does not matter the label we give it, the bottom line is we ALL have choices. We make distinctions between one thing or another. We engage our free will in situations when we feel the need. We seek out alternatives or look for opportunities. We weigh our options. We even act on judgment. Why?
Because we have the power of choice.
We can choose to be bold.
We can choose to take chances.
We can choose to shy away from certain opportunities.
We can choose to see the positives in any situation.
We can choose to be angry or hurt.
We can choose to make a difference.
We can choose to be a martyr or feel sorry for ourselves.
We can even choose to grow and become empowered.
We can choose…
So here is the challenge; when faced with any situation (sticky, tough, wonderful, scary, amazing) ask yourself, “What do I choose?” and see what comes up. The more you exercise your power of choice, the stronger it will get. The power to choose is yours!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
As a coach I have many wonderful opportunities to meet some incredible people. A few years ago I was fortunate to meet (at a conference) a dynamic woman; Michelle Jamison. Today it is my privilege to be able to call her a great friend and wonderful colleague. Knowing Michelle, I can honestly say that she is a woman with heart, drive, and commitment to her work, friends, and family so it is truly an honor to be able to share her interview with you.
Pam: Michelle, please share with us a bit about you; the woman behind the successful virtual assistance(VA) practice , marketing book for VAs, amongst many other wonderful accomplishments.
Michelle: She's a wife and mother. A late night, curl up on the couch with a good movie and extra butter popcorn kind of girl. A lover of gadgets and gizmos and the person who will always hit the button that says "do not touch"...just to see what it does! She just can't help herself.
She's a writer, teacher, coach and advocate for the fantastic profession of Virtual Assistance. Her greatest assets are the wonderful, amazing clients she has the privilege of working with.
She is currently living the life she has always dreamed of and wants to support others in doing the same.
Pam: As a successful VA and business owner, how has virtual assisting made a difference in your life?
Michelle: Wow, great question! I've found early on that being a VA wasn't something I did, but it's who I am. It is and will always be what makes me, me! Beside the obvious perks of the profession, working from home, flexible hours, virtual assisting has made a much more profound difference in my life.
As a VA and business owner, I've had tremendous growth personally and professionally. I can't even begin to tell you the growth that I have experienced since I started my business.
I trust more, I listen more, and I know its okay to ask questions, something I struggled with throughout my life. I understand what it means to be a leader and how to provide unconditional support to others.
I've made some wonderful connections and friends, individuals I probably would not have had the opportunity to meet, if I wasn't a VA.
Pam: How has it made a difference in others' lives?
Michelle: The first thing that comes immediately to my mind is that my clients know they are not alone. They have a partner they can bounce ideas with, share their goals with and someone who has a sincere and genuine interest in their business.
When we are talking about virtual assistance we are not just talking about administrative duties, we're talking about a connection, a partnership between two people. Being a VA for me is all about relationship building.
My clients know that I have their best interest at heart, and they can share any thoughts, ideas, challenges with me and I will do all I can to support them in making those ideas reality and overcoming those challenges.
It may be as simple as creating and finalizing that ebook or something more difficult as coming up with a solid marketing strategy to increase business. I may be making a small difference or a large difference, but in some capacity I feel I'm making a difference. This is why I love what I do.
Pam: As the article written about you in York Region mentions, you were a single mom trying to make ends meet when you became a VA; what advice would you give others who are in the same or similar position as you once were?
Michelle: Those times for me were very difficult and the one thing I learned from that whole experience is we can all achieve greatness, that is our own individual meaning of greatness.
Greatness for me is not about being in a better place financially but about doing what I love, for people who I admire and believing in who I am.
Believing in who I am and what I do has been key to my success.
I know it's easier to say than do at times, I'm first to admit this, but it was what supported me through those tough times and gave me the strength to build my business. I believed and still do believe wholeheartedly in the value that I bring my clients.
Pam: What's on the horizon for you and for MJVA & Associates?
Michelle: MJVA & Associates is looking at an exciting 2008. We have some big marketing initiatives and are expanding our services and providing further value to our clients.
Ultimately our goals are still as they always were, educating the public on the benefits of hiring a VA, building solid working relationships with clients, and providing them with the tools, resources and support they need to grow a successful business.
As for me personally, I'll be doing a little more writing, a little more teaching and planning to take a little more time for me. :)
Pam: Michelle, thank you for your time and for sharing with us.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
When I was a little girl I thought that a hero was someone who saved the world; that fictional character that came to life on TV every Saturday morning. As I have grown older and matured some, I have come to realize that a true hero is not someone who comes out of a phone booth in a cool costume. Nor is it someone that can “leap tall buildings in a single bound”, has super cool powers, or carries a car to safety.
A true hero is;
The mom and/or dad that creates a loving home, runs the errands, goes to every one of their child’s sporting events or musical concerts, and keeps everything in balance.
The friend who offers a shoulder to lean on during difficult moments.
The person who puts aside their own agenda to support another in creating greatness.
The man or woman who can see the positives in the most trying of people or circumstances.
The individual who shares love unconditionally.
The person who is not afraid to take a risk, even if that risk is a bit scary.
The person who gives, just for the sake of giving without any expectation of receiving.
The individual who is not afraid to discover their own areas of improvement and is dedicated to becoming the best they can be.
The person who is willing to take a stand for what is right.
The man or woman who has heart.
Here is the challenge; when you are feeling at your lowest or feeling that something is impossible (or even when you are having the very best day) take a look in the mirror, my friends, and you too will see a hero. Then take a moment to acknowledge your awesome hero qualities, the big ones and the small ones. I can promise you this; there is not one person on this planet that doesn’t deserve hero status.
To all the heroes in the world; thank you for making a difference.
Saturday, October 06, 2007Phil Gerbyshak also known as the Make It Great Guy. Phil is dedicated to making each and every day great through his actions and words and if you have not had chance to check out his blog, please pop on over.
Pam: Phil, please tell us a bit about Phil Gerbyshak. Who is the guy behind the great blog and book?
Phil: Sure, start with the hardest question first :)
He lives with his wife, his library, and his laptop in a Milwaukee suburb and loves to work with people who want to improve their lives. Phil does public speaking and writes inspirational and customer service articles at Make it Great. He enjoys helping managers be more effective and is the co-editor of Slacker Manager
I am as a child of God, saved by grace, on this planet to change the world, one word, one person, at a time.
Pam: What inspired you to create "Make It Great"?
Phil: I read a few books every year, usually 30 or so. And few have actionable stuff that really hit me in the heart and offer me the tips I need to change my actions. And many people in this world are apathetic at best. That's why they say "have a nice day." So I thought, why not flip things on it's ear, put together the best tips that have helped me, and share them with folks. That's why it's "Make It Great!" instead of "Have a nice day" or "Life is fine."
Pam: What are some ways you personally "make it great" each day?
Phil: I write every day, and most days you can find that writing at my blog. That helps me focus on what's going on in my world and how I'm seeing things. When I look back at what I wrote at the end of the week, I'm often surprised to see where I was when I wrote those.
I also have a big attitude of gratitude. My life is truly blessed, and I focus on those things that are abundant instead of those things that are scarce, and I say thanks for them.
The last tip I'll share is I always watch what I put in my head. I don't listen to much talk radio, watch much TV, or read traditional newspapers. I fill my head with good stuff, because it's not what goes in your mouth that's going to kill you, it's what you put in your head that will.
Pam: Here is a hypothetical situation and a question for you, Phil. Someone comes up to you after a speaking engagement and says, "Phil, my life is not so great. I've had it pretty tough the last 5 years and I have no idea how to make it great. Where do I start and what can I do?" What three pearls of wisdom would you give them to make it great?
Phil: That's a great question Pam. Here are 3 quick tips that you can do to change your mind and make it great!
First, take 1 notebook and write down all the things that you're grateful for. These could be relationships, these could be things, they could be your health, or simply the fact you're alive today. After you're done with the list, say thanks for them. For instance, you might say "I'm thankful to be alive." Every time you feel yourself slipping into despair, look at this list, and repeat the list.
Next, begin at the end and work towards today. Think about your desired outcome. Then take 1 step right now that can move you towards that goal, or 1 step you can do to stop moving you away from this outcome. Every day, review this desired outcome, and take another step.
The last tip I'll share is surround yourself with people who can help you. Identify 3 people in your life that can help you with this outcome. Share what's going on with you, and ask them for help in making it great by sharing resources or simply by periodically asking you how you're doing. Do what you commit to these folks in a cheerful way and ask for help when you need it.
Pam: What's on the horizon for the Make It Great Guy?
Phil: I'm working on a book called The Million Dollar Pizza about the high cost of bad customer service. I'm currently using it as my keynote speech in my presentations, and I'll be launching a blog to support it as well at The Million Dollar Pizza
I'm also putting up a new site with audio, video and more at http://philgerbyshak.com by the end of 2007.
New in the last few months are my contributions at Slacker Manager
Pam: Phil, thank you for sharing a “Make it Great” moment with the readers of Make the Most of U and thank you for making a difference.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Let’s face it, we all have bad days. We all have days when “the funk” is staring us straight in the eye. I don’t know about you, but when I am feeling “the funk”, my energy drops, my mood gets cloudy, and I lack motivation and clarity. To be honest, I have had a few of those “funk” days recently; days where it felt all too tempting to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.
My most recent “funk, funk, funky days” got me thinking, if we all have choices (which we do), how can we choose to chase the funk away? Here are a few things I came up with:
1) Be in an attitude of gratitude. Start listing things you are most grateful for. And if that does not chase the funk away, how about
2) Be generous. Give of yourself in an authentic fashion. OR
3) Play some “funky” (not depressing) music and dance your booty off or sing your lungs out. If that does not grab ya, try
4) Exercising. Get that blood and endorphins flowing. And if you are still feeling “the funk”
5) Phone a friend and share. Get that funk out of your system.
Enquiring minds wanna know, how do you get rid of “the funk?” What’s something you have tried or would be willing to try to lift your mood and spirits?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I raise my hand and admit, I Pam Thomas was a blamer and past dweller. Yep, that’s right; I used to blame everything that went wrong in my life on things that happened in my past. If I was having a crappy day it had to be because Auntie So-and-So looked at me sideways when I was five. If I wanted to do something, but was scared to try, it surely had to be because my best friend called me “fat” when I was 13.
Then it happened.
I was sat on the floor of my apartment with my fiancé (now ex-husband) bitching and moaning about something not going right. As I recall it, I was actually placing blame on my parents for something they said or did when I was a teenager. Then all of the sudden my fiancé looked at me and asked, “Pam, are you an adult?” “Yes,” I said. To which he replied, “Then when are you going to start taking responsibility for your own actions?”
Wow! That was just the 2x4 I needed to dislodge my head from my posterior, to knock me sideways, and force me into the land of the present. You mean I have a choice? You mean I don’t have to stay stuck in the past?
Fast forward to today. I am here to tell you that it is quite a relief to release the past. (Besides it really sucks carrying around tons of past wounds, etc…. not to mention rather heavy.) It is empowering to know that I have choices. I can choose to respond to certain situations any way I wish. It’s my choice and no body else’s.
Let me ask you; is there something from your past that is holding you back? Is there something from your past that is causing you great pain?
If the answer is “yes”, then let me ask you this, how is holding on to whatever is holding you back (or hurting you) supporting you in the here and the now?
If you’re ready to let go and put the past behind you here are few things to try:
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I received this lovely nugget courtesy of Tut.com. Like most great pieces of information it stopped me in my tracks and made me think or rather question. How often have I justified, clarified, or explained myself? “Plenty o’ times” was my answer.
Then it dawned on me, if I am truly being my authentic self and if all my actions are coming from that place of authenticity (or heart), there is no need to clarify. There is no need to explain. There is no need to justify. It is when I come from that place that I am most confident.
Here is the Go Big or Go Home question (rather questions); when was the last time you felt the need to justify, clarify, or explain yourself away? Who where you being at the time?
Happy pondering and awareness creating!
Friday, August 31, 2007
To explain; about eight months ago I had an amazing conversation with my sister about how we;
- Get stuck in the rut of the day-to-day.
- Settle in a job that we don’t like all that much just to make ends meet.
- Forget who we are at our core.
- Live by others expectations.
- Lose sight of what we are really passionate about and what our purpose is.
Needless to say, this conversation inspired me to take action. I wanted to do something that would support others in achieving a life filled with passion, purpose, energy, fun, direction, motivation, and abundance of all kinds. I wanted to do my part to end the pain that I heard in my sister’s voice and the voices of others. Pain caused by the notion that success and doing what one loves most is for people like Oprah, The Donald, and Bill Gates, but not for you and me.
With that said, I am excited to share that I have launched a series of e-workbooks called Will the Real YOU Please Step Forward. This series is not another series of self improvement ebooks with cookie cutter solutions. It is a series filled with fun exercises, personal stories, and thought-provoking questions to support even the busiest person in taking action and creating the life they desire. So when you have some time, please pop over to the book site and take a peek. Also, please feel free to download the free e-workbook that is available.
(My heartfelt thanks goes out to my sister for the wonderful inspiration, support, and encouragement. Love you, Kiddo!)
It is true, if you have an intention that you truly believe in, and you are willing to take action, you can take that intention from thought to reality. What intention are you willing to take from paper to reality? What do you need to make it happen?
Saturday, August 25, 2007
OK, so I am not going fishing, but I am doing something really exciting. Tune in next weekend to find out. :) In the meantime, have an awesome week!
Friday, August 17, 2007
As I was deleting the massive amounts of spam that comes into my inboxes daily, I had a thought… spam and fear have a few things in common.
They can both be annoying.
They can waste time.
They can stand in the way of getting to the good stuff.
They can serve as a motivator to spur change.
So what if you were to think of fear as a piece of spam? Rather than read it, (falling prey to the falsehood of the message) why not filter it with a truthful message? For example, (in line with last week’s post) “I am not enough” could be filtered with the message “I am more than enough”. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works for you.
On a personal note
Thirteen years ago today a special person entered my life. It was thirteen years ago today that a wonderful bundle of joy was placed in my arms for the very first time. That day was most certainly one of the proudest, most blessed days of my life.
I can honestly say that I consider myself one the luckiest mothers on the face of the planet. I am so grateful to have a son who is bright, compassionate, intuitive, insightful, fun, loving, kind-hearted, talented and just a true gift of a human being. I have learned so much from him.
I have learned…
…that love runs deeper than one can possibly begin to imagine.
…that children are our truest mirrors so it is important to always be the best person possible.
…that hugs are the most wonderful cure-alls.
…to explore life with the eyes of a child.
and so much more.
Thank you, my amazing son for all that you have given this world and for all that you have given me just with your presence – thank you for being you!!
Happy Birthday, Sweetie! I love you oodles and oodles!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
WARNING: Semi-rant to follow. Proceed at your own risk.
Just recently I was listening to a recorded version of Lynne Twist’s keynote speech “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life” . This inspiring speech was not about how to create more money, but rather how to form a better relationship with money and life in general.
The main message was loud and clear; as a society and as individuals we live from a place of scarcity and lack. Why? Because we have been sold a bold-faced lie along the way!
As Lynne was telling the audience how we live with the lie that there is never enough it dawned on me just how easy it is to get trapped in that lie. We do it everyday in what may seem the most innocuous of ways. Consider some of the “not enough” messages we generate on a daily basis, most often subconsciously ;
Not enough sleep
Not enough money
Not enough smarts
Not enough clothes
Not enough skills
Not enough time
Not thin enough
Not handsome enough
Not pretty enough
Not courageous enough
Not witty enough
Not enough, not enough, not enough.
What’s it going to take for every single one of us to stop buying into the lie that there is not enough? That we as a collective whole and as individuals are not enough?
We are enough! You are enough!
Think about it, together as a nation we have banded together many times to raise awareness around important issues. As a matter of fact, we do it daily in the blogosphere. Frankly, I fail to believe that there is not one person out there who has never accomplished something really wonderful.
So you see we are enough and there is plenty of “enough” to go around.
Are you game and ready to stop living the lie of scarcity?
If so, here’s the challenge, for the next 21 days (since it takes 21 days to form a habit), I encourage you to stop feeding the lie by watching your own thoughts and feelings. When the “not enough” messages appear come up with a way to reframe them, to swap them out for a more empowering message. Then at the end of the 21 days, please come back here and let us know what happened.
Together we can stop the lie from spreading. Who's with me?
Saturday, August 04, 2007
This category is dedicated to inspiring words and any actions that can be taken to incorporate the chosen word into your day-to-day. My hope is that you have some fun with these words and maybe learn something new about you.
To be “open” is to…
Be present and aware
Go with the flow
Consider all options and potentials
Be in a positive frame of mind
How will you remain open? What one thing will you stake claim to today to demonstrate your own openness?
When we are open and receptive, good stuff begins to present itself and the receiving can begin.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Just recently I stumbled upon the neatest little presentation called The Eight Principles. I am purposely not going to share what it’s about so please pop on over and take a look. However I will share the great messages I took away…
1) Know who you are – the good stuff often comes from the “who” of who you are.
2) Realize that you matter – don’t ever put your own well-being or feelings on the backburner otherwise you will get squished repeatedly.
3) You can do anything – the only thing that ever really stands in your way of achieving the things you want is your own self.
4) Stretch outside your box – when you stretch, you not only grow, but you open yourself up to bigger potentials.
5) Lighten up & live – fretting the small stuff clouds your view of all the good stuff that’s just waiting for you.
6) Remove the clutter – in order to create space for the cool stuff to make its way to you, you have to remove the clutter first.
7) Set intentions and take action – an intention without action is just a wish that never sees the light of day.
8) Get it done – if you want something, go and get it. You can be, do, and have anything you desire with commitment and action.
Now it’s your turn, what’s your take away?
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I recently visited this cool site (Thank you, Jon) and came across this thought-provoking question, “Where does real magic exist?”
First, what is real magic? That got me scratching my head a bit.
I suppose some may think of magic as evil and coming from evil sources. And there may be some that think of it as flowers popping from sleeves, rabbits appearing from hats, which can only be found at children’s birthday parties. Some may think that magic does not exist at all. While there may be some (like me) who believe that magic is our ability to create marvels and that it comes from within.
Whatever you believe about magic, I respect your beliefs and am not trying to change them. I do have one request, however, and that is to consider the following:
If magic is the ability to create great marvels then we all have the potential to create magic in all that we do (personally and professionally); to make things work while leaving people in awe, wondering how.
Think about it.
We create magic when we make another person smile.
We create magic when see the good in an otherwise bad situation.
We create magic when we accomplish a desired intention.
With that, let me throw out a question, what magic will you create for yourself today?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
If you are a business owner you will undoubtedly be all too familiar with the various and assorted demands on your time; the paperwork, the administrative functions, the not so fun stuff that stands between you and doing what you really love. Oh, and if you have been following this blog for some time, you will know that I am all about removing tolerations. When we remove tolerations we create the space for more creativity and greater potentials.
If the perfunctory functions of owning a business are bogging you down, never fear there is a solution – a virtual assistant (VA). The virtual assistant industry is booming and it is no coincidence, as VAs provide valuable service to busy professionals in a very cost effective way.
With that said, I would love to congratulate a great person who has left behind Corporate America to bring her wealth of experience to the virtual assistant industry. For the past 14 years Davida has administratively supported some of the highest level executives and now she’s offering those amazing talents and services to her own clients. It is a pleasure to announce the grand opening of The Essential Office, a VA practice which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
This category is dedicated to inspiring words and any actions that can be taken to incorporate the chosen word into your day-to-day. My hope is that you have some fun with these words and maybe learn something new about you.
The word "authentic" brings up the following for me:
Actions that are congruent with who I am
Walking my walk
Speaking the truth
Being my authentic self and not a square peg squished in a round hole is vital to me. I am committed to showing up as me and not something or someone I am not. To show up in any other way leaves me feeling empty and fraudulent.
What does authentic mean to you? Has there ever been a time when you were not your authentic self? What happened?
What do you do to show up as your authentic self?
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Hmmm, that makes sense, doesn't it?
If you don't have time, you can't give time to someone else. If you don't have energy, you can't give energy to an activity or project.
My go big or go home question to you is this; what will you give to YOU starting today so that you will have more than enough to share?
Saturday, June 30, 2007
When was the last time you actually did something based on sheer faith and faith alone? What happened? Did that something turn out as you felt it would or were you disappointed by the results?
Just this past week I took a leap and had faith that the net would appear. And guess what? It did, and the net was even bigger and better than I could have ever imagined.
What did I do?
I went to Fargo, North Dakota to participate in the first of many Bigger Small Talk Summits
Why was that a leap?
Well, first I have never been to Fargo so I had no idea what that would be like. And second, I had never participated in a conference that used Open Space Technology. So here I was traveling 1200 miles to attend a conference with no true set agenda.
Where did the faith come from?
My faith was the direct result of the enthusiasm and energy that came from an amazing woman who held the vision of inviting and creating deeper dialog. It was utterly contagious so how could I not participate!?
What was the result?
All I can say is, “WOW!” I gained so much from being at this incredible, life-changing, positive impacting, action-driven event. I gained:
I could go on and on about all the great things I took away, but instead I want to invite you to experience it for yourself. Take the leap next year and join us for the second Bigger Small Talk Summit. I promise you that the net will appear bigger and better than you could ever imagine.
Monday, June 25, 2007
A good friend and awesome colleague of mine has created a great community for Canadian VAs called The Canadian Virtual Assistant Network (CVAN).
Here is a brief description of CVAN;
The Canadian Virtual Assistant Network(CVAN) is about building community, sharing resources, enjoying life and those around us. Learning, Supporting, Laughing is the CVAN way! Join the hippest, most happening place for Canadian VA's.
If you are a VA located in Canada and wish to receive more information, please check it out!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
I am taking a course called 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace lead by Dr.
Some take great offense to seeing a sweaty man running in the halls and others see it as a great idea and share their excitement. He refers to the ones that take offense as depreciators and the ones that see the potential as appreciators.
This got me thinking. How often do we go through our lives depreciating rather than appreciating? Seeing something as odd, rather than seeing the potential? Getting upset about something we have no control over, rather than looking for the good?
I would like to ask you to consider the following scenario. Being honest with yourself, which response are you likely to choose?
You are in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you has a ton of groceries. The grocery store clerk is new on the job and having difficulty using the scanner. There are no other lines to go to and you are in a hurry to get home because you have guests coming over for dinner. How would you respond?
a) You feel yourself getting annoyed and you comment on how long it is taking.
b) You take some deep breathes and tell the clerk that you think they are doing a great job.
Here is the challenge, for the next two weeks pay close attention to how you respond to different situations. Make note as to whether you are depreciating or appreciating. If you find yourself depreciating more than appreciating;
1) Go easy on yourself – depreciating yourself will only continue the depreciation.
2) Acknowledge and congratulate yourself for the awareness. (Appreciating)
3) Try and find one thing about each situation that you can appreciate.
At the end of two weeks please come back and share your experiences. I would love to hear how appreciating vs. depreciating worked for you.
In closing, just some final food for thought…
Depreciating blocks positive potentials and learning opportunities. Appreciating throws the door wide open to new experiences, good feelings, and growth.
Until next time, keep making a difference.
With deep appreciation,