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Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger: Lisa Hammond

July 27, 2011 940 Views

Here's a post from Lisa Hammond, author of Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me!

I have a quote hanging up that says, “At worst a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.” Rose Macaulay already had that figured out back in 1881. She was way ahead of her time!

Summer seems like the perfect time to follow Rose's lead and really start living your life. When was the last time you went off to play hooky? If you can’t remember, I suggest you carve out some playtime for yourself immediately. The work can wait, skip the meeting, let the laundry pile up, and take a break.

I have a friend who used to say he wouldn't take a day off because he was sure the company couldn't function without him. He told everyone he was the guy holding up the sun. Well, it turns out, after he retired the sun still managed to come up every single day without him.

I think a lot of us are convinced we are the ones "holding up the sun." News flash, we aren't. The sun is okay without our help.

The world—yes even your own company—will get along just fine without you for a few days, even weeks. In fact, I truly believe it will even benefit from your absence if you take some time off to recharge your batteries. As Larry Eisenberg said, “For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.”

Women especially seem to have forgotten the being part of human being. We somehow bought into the human doing theory. It is easy to forget that we are multidimensional women, and we need to nurture all aspects of our lives. And that includes pleasure.

You are the only one who can schedule down time for yourself. Make it a priority and enjoy the blissful summer sunshine—because it turns out you aren’t the one holding it up!

Lisa Hammond

The Barefoot CEO ®

Guest Post: An Old Role Model

June 21, 2011 716 Views

Terry Crenshaw, guest bloggerToday, I'd like to share a submission from one of our readers, Terry Crenshaw! Please enjoy her motivating blog post:

As far as the economy goes, we're going through some rough times; that's not a big secret, and while it's not particularly pleasant to think about, there's hardly any sense in denying it - especially because with the current set of challenges there are also ample opportunities. I've been overhearing a lot of young people recently - soon-to-be college graduates, in particular - discussing the relative dearth of jobs on the market right now. I empathize with them, and I also see a lot of value in youthful vigor and exuberance. That said, I can't help but think that this is one area in which we can learn a thing or two from older generations.

Let me create a contrast with the young people I just mentioned. I know an older man who recently retired from a job he had held down for many years - and less than a week into his retirement, he had already launched a brand new business enterprise! This is an almost comical exaggeration of an entrepreneurial spirit that can't be bottled up or held down, but it serves to illustrate a larger point. Simply put, there is something to be said for courage - for having the audacity to take initiative even when it isn't what's necessary, what's expected, or what conventional wisdom dictates is right.

This is the kind of spirit that I think would behoove many of our young people. Feeling inhibited by a less-than-favorable economy is completely understandable, but my challenge would be to consider surveying the current economic landscape from a new perspective. So there isn't as much work to be found from other companies as you might like - isn't that an invitation to do something creative, courageous, and totally outside of the box? Isn't that a golden opportunity to go into business for yourself?

Looking at it as an opportunity is something I feel members of the older generation would smile on. I know that men of my grandfather's generation, or even my father's generation, would never believe there could be a time with no success to be found, no money to be made, so long as there's some hard work involved.

And lest you think I'm espousing a kind of blindly romantic version of the old elbow-grease, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps creed, let me hasten to note that many entrepreneurs have chosen to view the current economic roughness as a blessing rather than a curse, and the results have often been quite impressive. Consider the fact that big businesses and large corporations are less able to provide their services than they may have been in the past. This creates an opening for the little guys.

As such, more and more go-getters with an inventive spirit have taken to starting their own small boutique companies - businesses that can provide what larger corporations now leave untouched. The great irony is that many of these boutique companies are actually providing their services directly to these larger companies. Big businesses are finding that it's less costly to outsource than to maintain full-time staffers, which is a real boon for these newer start-ups.

It's also proof of the wisdom of the older generation: There really is something to be said for courageous thinking in times likes these, not just on a philosophical level but in practice as well. Are you allowing the fear of failure - the often paralyzing implications of a challenging economy - to box in your good ideas? Or are you interpreting those challenges as opportunities, and allowing your creativity and courage to truly flourish? The answer is more important than you might think - and it could spell the difference between failure and success.

Terry Crenshaw covers economic trends in the United States and writes for Terry is especially interested in tracking the ideas of Peter Orszag and other economic experts as the economy attempts to recover from the recent recession.

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Sharing the Pangs of Working Mother Guilt

May 8, 2011 525 Views

Today, I'm happy to share a special post from BJ Gallagher, author of Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me!, Oil for Your Lamp, and other Simple Truths books. I hope this inspires you this Mother's Day:

BJGallagherWhen I first started working full-time, my son Michael was 11. I had spent the previous seven years in college, earning my BA and then pursing a PhD, while single-handedly raising my son. Shifting from full-time student to a full-time job was a big change. I was accustomed to spending lots of time at home studying and writing, with only about 25% of my time in classes. And Michael was accustomed to coming home from school to his mom and a snack.

Now suddenly, I was gone all day every day, and Michael became a latchkey kid. It was hard on both of us.

One day I complained to my boss Karen: "I feel torn. When I'm doing a great job at work, my kid gets lonely and starts acting out. Then I start spending more time with him and I feel like my work suffers. No matter which way I move, it seems I'm not doing justice to one or the other - my family or my work."

"Join the club," Karen replied. "Welcome to the world of working mothers. I can guarantee you - all working moms feel the same push/pull that you're experiencing ... and I'll be some fathers do, too."

"What do you do about it?" I asked her, hoping for a magic bullet to solve my problem.

"Deal with it," she replied. "There is no easy answer. Just learn to live in the tension between work and family ... do the best you can."

I shared that story with Lisa Hammond recently, as we were comparing notes on being working mothers. Lisa had founded her own catalog company almost 20 years ago while she still had young kids at home. She understood exactly what I was talking about - feeling torn between career and family. Attempting to console me, she shared her own story:

"I always wanted to be the best mom in the world but I've rarely been able to live up to that standard.," Lisa said. "I stayed at home when my kids were little and didn't start my business until they were both in school. When my daughter Harlie was in fifth grade and my son Bridger in kindergarten, I gave birth to my new business. I had so much going on - kids, husband, home, and now, a start-up. What I didn't have was sleep!

"I recall it was late October and I was scrambling to get ready for my first serious holiday season at work. Bridger's teacher had scheduled a Halloween party for his class. Since I am not Martha Stewart, rather than sew Bridger's Halloween costume, I ordered it from a catalog. On the day of the party I got Bridger all dressed up in his green tights, green shoes, bright orange round pumpkin and matching stem hat. He looked adorable. We raced out the door and I dropped him off at school on my way to the office.

"I had only been at work for about five minutes when I received a phone call - it was the school. Bridger was on the phone in tears. 'Mom, you had the wrong day!' he sobbed. 'The Halloween party is tomorrow!' He was the only child at school in a costume. He had been hiding in the bathroom when his teacher found him. Now I was in tears, too.

"I made the 'drive of shame' home to get Bridger's school uniform and then back to the school so he could change. I'll never forget this angry little boy with a tear-stained face - dressed like a pumpkin - waiting for me. The look on his face still haunts me and I cringe when I think about it - a 'bad mother' day, for sure!"

Lisa and I shared a good laugh. And the wise words of British author C.S. Lewis came to mind: "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.'"

Courage to Persevere by Martyn Green

March 24, 2011 511 Views

Today, I'm happy to share a guest post from a friend, Martyn Green. Martyn is a Master Mind Mentor, and has devoted his life to inspiring others. To learn more about his efforts to motivate others, check out the Master Mind website. Please enjoy a special article from Martyn!

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To begin with I would like to ask you a question and to think carefully about your answer. "Have you ever been faced with an opportunity but declined to take it because of a lack of courage"?

Before answering that we need to know exactly what is courage? The Merrian-Webster online dictionary defines it as: Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

I like to think of it as choosing the right thoughts to give me the mental strength to persevere in the direction of my goals without allowing fear or difficulty to stop me from reaching them.

15 years ago I was struck down with chronic back pain which totally turned my and my families life upside down! The pain was so bad at times that I could only relieve it by lying down and on some occasions this involved bed rest for up to 6 months! Not good when you have a young daughter aged 3!

Even sitting and driving was so painful that it made day to day life impossible at times. The Doctors could only give me pain killers and the prognosis wasn't very good!

But with courage in my heart I never once entertained the thought that this was how my life was going to be and that I just had to accept it! I knew with certainty even through my darkest hours that one day I would be pain free and lead a normal life again! Thankfully I can say that with courage and belief in myself and my abilities this is now a reality!

This now asks me to pose another question "why is courage such a vital ingredient to want success"?

A friend of mine answers it this way:

"Courage is essential to achieving success because without it you go nowhere. It is the opposite of fear, it is preceded by the essential ingredient of faith that belief in certainty and it is at the heart of action and the muscle needed for us to persevere."

"Courage is the element that causes us to press on in spite of the naysayers and all kinds of adversity. It is one of the major defining points between success and failure.

So how do we supplement courage?

First of all we need to sit down in a quiet place and ask our self what is important to me in life, what values do I have, what interests and resonates with me and how do I want to express this?

This leads us to realise what our definite chief aim and purpose in life is and to turn this in to our major goal.

For me it was the realization that from early childhood, I had always enjoyed helping people and that this has now developed into helping people achieve their goals by becoming my definite chief aim and purpose in life.

Once you realise exactly what your own definite aim and chief purpose is it starts to become a part of you and is constantly in your thoughts. It becomes a white hot desire that spurs you on into action.

It is this action that then leads to positive results which in turn gives you the courage to press forward into unknown territory to make the changes that our goal will make.

As we start to make these changes in our life we will all get moments of fear. Fear is in essence just a flashing red light or a warning signal. Fear is not a cause to quit. Ironically, we should be grateful for a good dose of fear, as this is what heightens our awareness, intensifies our thoughts and gives us a bit of an edge.

We should also be grateful when we experience fear, because it's a strong indicator of change and that we are getting nearer to our goal!

To quote Napoleon Hill from his all time classic book "Think & Grow Rich" - "Nature has endowed human beings with absolute control over only one thing - and that is thought. This fact coupled with the additional fact that everything that human beings create begins in the form of a thought; an idea leads one very near to the principle by which fear may be mastered".

In other words by knowing our chief aim and definite purpose, by making this our major goal and by choosing the right thoughts we can endow ourselves with the courage to master all our fears and succeed in our goals no matter how big they may seem to be!

Now that we know how to supplement courage, how do we start to implement it in the development of our chief aim and goal?

A good way to start is to form a mastermind alliance with like minded people and this is where Mastermind to Personal Power can help.

MasterMind to Personal Power's work is based on Napoleon Hill's Law Of Success. We teach people who join a MasterMind group the principles behind "The Science of Consciousness". The group learns to "harmonically cooperate" in manifesting each other's goals. Everyone grows in the self confidence derived from participating and experiencing the unconditional love and support their MasterMind group affords them.

Each member of the MasterMind group continues to meet for an hour weekly. The training lessons are short but complete and prepare each of the members to become the facilitator of their own group if they wish. New MasterMind groups form and begin the process all over again. In this way members of our company learn about the most important information in the history of mankind and pass it on and on.

To summarise:

Courage is having faith, that certainty and belief that you will succeed in reaching your goals even in the face of adversity.

To quote Winston Churchill "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

Courage is essential to achieving success because without it you go nowhere. We supplement courage by choosing goals that resonate and are in harmony with us.

At the beginning of my article I asked you the question "have you ever been faced with an opportunity but declined to take it through having a lack of courage"? Now in closing I have two other questions that I would like to ask. First "how are you going to apply what you've learned today"? And secondly "if you knew you could only succeed and that failure wasn't an option, what is the one thing that you would truly want to do with your life"?

Think about that right now and make a decision to act positively and make a leap of faith to do it right here and now!

International Women's Day

March 8, 2011 639 Views

Today is International Women's Day, and I would like to share a special blog post from BJ Gallagher. BJ specializes in encouraging for women, and if you've read Oil For Your Lamp; Oh Thank Goodness, It's Not Just Me! or The Best Way Out is Always Through, then you seen BJ's passion for inspiration.

Here's an interview that BJ wrote for the Huffington Post. If you'd like to see the original, check it out here:

March 8 is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, which seems like the perfect occasion to get the scoop on the "State of America's Working Women." So I contacted Dr. Ken Nowack, who knows a thing or two about women. As an organizational and health psychologist, he has been studying the emotional and physical well-being of working women for over two decades.

BJG: Tell me about your research on working women. Do you study a wide variety of women's issues or mostly health issues?

Nowack: As a researcher, I have been asking one basic question for over 20 years: "Who are the most hardy and resilient in the face of work and life stress?" My colleagues and I have explored the answer to this question for working women and men in many different industries. We use a validated set of scales measuring stress, hardiness, coping, lifestyle practices, Type A behavior, social support and happiness.

BJG: Some people may not know what Type A means. How do you define it in your research?

Nowack: The concept of "Type A behavior" has been around since the 1950s when two cardiologists, Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, first noticed that patients who were wearing out their waiting room furniture seemed to express a behavioral pattern of being impatient, hard driving, competitive and quick to anger.

Type A behavior is measured using a standardized 10-item scale derived from research on the classic Framingham Heart disease studies. In my own research, higher scores on our measure indicate both a need to achieve as much as possible (hard driving) and irritability when things move too slowly, or if they work with incompetents or jerks (impatience).

Our current research suggests that these two different Type A concepts of hard driving and impatience predict different outcomes -- but only those who are prone to be hostile, quick to anger and frustrated when things don't go their way are at risk for cardiovascular problems. So, some aspects of personality such as hostility, impatience, high neuroticism and high social anxiety (Type D personality) are still risk factors for cardiovascular illness -- even after controlling for smoking, diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. This is particularly important for women because heart disease is their number one killer.

BJG: I've heard you talk about "Hardy Type A" women. Are these women who actually thrive on stress?

Nowack: Let me share with you some current findings that we haven't yet published about Type A women (as well as men). We did an analysis of 345 working men and 510 women in diverse industries and job levels exploring the relationship between work-life stress, Type A behavior (driven, impatient and achievement oriented style) and cognitive hardiness (optimistic disposition; viewing change as a challenge; having an internal locus of control; high self-efficacy and self-esteem; committed to work and life activities) from our data base. We found three interesting outcomes:

1. Women reported significantly higher levels of overall work and life stress compared to their male counterparts.

2. Type A women (and men) who were also high on hardiness reported significantly less work and life stress overall. Hardiness seems to be an important buffer of experiencing stress and coping with it (mobilizing your social resources; employing more healthy lifestyle and coping skills). I wouldn't say that Hardy Type A women thrive on stress, but they let more things roll off their backs and react in more positive ways to life's challenges.

3. The highest level of stress was reported by Type A women who also reported low hardiness. Women who are highly competitive, driven and impatient are most likely to experience a high level of stress when they are more pessimistic, and view change as a threat rather than a challenge. These findings suggest that hardy Type A women can, indeed, "have it all" and remain healthy -- both physically and psychologically.

BJG: Okay, I like the sound of that! So now tell me, based on your research on working women, what advice would you give us?

Nowack: Women are naturally primed to be more emotionally expressive and nurturing under stress due to the release of the pro-social hormone oxytocin, so reaching out to network and avoid isolation comes pretty naturally to most working women. While men experience a "fight or flight" response to stress, women go into "tend and befriend" mode. Women should definitely keep doing that.

And if I had to pick three top resilient factors, they would be increasing physical activity; improving sleep quantity and quality; and feeling and expressing emotions with closure (e.g. through giving forgiveness, keeping a journal, gratitude giving). Our profile of a Hardy Woman:
  • Possesses and cultivates a strong social support network
  • Gets adequate sleep (increasing research is showing a link between stress, sleep and health)
  • Exercises at least three to five times a week for 60 minutes or more
  • Eats heart-healthy foods
  • Feels her emotions and puts closure to them
  • Minimizes any self-critical or self-blaming internal dialogue
The trick, of course, is to put these into practice on a daily basis!

BJG: Isn't that the truth? We know what's good for us, but we often don't do it. But that's another blog for another day. For today, let me ask you one final question: Do you have any sense of how the recession has affected women? Are men and woman both affected similarly, or are there significant differences?

Nowack: The recession has been an equal opportunity stressor for both men and women, although financial strains for women seem to have increased relative to their male counterparts. The American Psychological Association's "Stress in America" survey last year revealed that women reported less work stress but more financial stress than their male counterparts -- 73 percent of men reported money as a significant stressor, compared with 79 percent of women. Women also reported an increase in overall stress compared to men over the last five years (49 percent of women versus 39 percent of men).

Data produced by the Gallup and others have consistently shown strong parallels between psychological well-being and the ups and downs of the economy. These studies show that the lowest "happiness" ratings for both men and women occurred in 1973, 1982, 1992 and 2001 -- each year at the center of a major recession. Not surprising.

On the plus side, women seem to have more experience handling and balancing different social roles (partner, parent, bread winner), so they tend to have more flexibility about their work identities compared to men -- particularly those who are in the Baby Boomer or older generation.

BJG: Thank you for your time and all this great information, Dr. Nowack. I'm sure that working women everywhere -- and the men who care about them -- will benefit from your insights.

For more information, check out Dr. Ken Nowack's blog and follow him on Twitter: for regular research updates.

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