Archive for October, 2006

Getting to “Ah-Ha” Moments

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

I’ll never forget my first Ah-Ha moment - I was 19 or 20 years old, and I was desperately trying to make changes in my life - or perhaps more accurately stated - I was desperately trying to change myself.

I wasn’t very nice about it, either, to be honest. I was kind of railroading myself into becoming someone I wanted to be - but I certainly wasn’t that person yet.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change - but my Ah-Ha moment came when I finally admitted to myself that part of me didn’t want to change. It was a moment of unbelievable relief: I at once realized why I was resisting myself and for the first time, had an experience of truly listening to myself - even when what I was saying wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear.

I have had hundreds of Ah-Ha moments since that day - and I think part of the reason I have a passion for self-help and self-improvement is because these Ah-Ha moments are so enjoyable :: addicting, even ;) .

I had another Ah-Ha moment this morning - I’ll share that one separately - and it led me to question Ah-Ha moments in general. What are they? Why do we want them? How do we get them?

So what are Ah-Ha moments?

I like to describe Ah-Ha Moments as those when the intellectual mind, the emotional mind and the physical body all come to an agreement at the same time. It’s when you have an idea or problem that you have struggled with in your mind, it caused icky or conflicting emotions, and your body usually tensed up or got stressed out when you thought about it.

Then in one fell swoop, your mind “gets it” - you have a flood (tiny or huge) of good emotions, and you feel a physical sense of relief and happiness, joy or resolution.

Why do we want to pursue Ah-Ha moments?

I can’t answer for you - but perhaps you will find a bit of yourself in my answer: Ah-Ha moments are the times when obstacles disappear; when problems are solved. They are the moments when decisions are made, and when I am suddenly able to access new resources within myself to find answers to questions and solutions to problems.

To me, Ah-Ha moments are the most priceless moments in life. They are the times when I look at both the past and future of my life and I see everything as a gift, when I appreciate the road that has led me to today, no matter how rocky it was to get here.

So how do we get to Ah-Ha moments?

As I review my past Ah-Ha moments, I find that they have several things in common:

  1. Usually Ah-Ha moments happen not when I get a new bit of information, but when I finally am able to understand and put into action an old bit of information that I already knew.
  2. Ah-Ha moments happen not when I know what is going on, but when I am a bit confused, or when I am more open to solutions because what I am currently doing is not working
  3. Ah-Ha moments happen frequently when I am seeking help - meaning that even though I may already know what I need to know, I’m willing to be wrong or admit I don’t have all of the answers (how’s that for irony?!)
  4. Ah-Ha moments happen when I am not expecting them - which means that even though it is noble to pursue Ah-Ha moments, it’s when we aren’t pursuing them that we are open enough to allowing them to happen

One last thing to note - can you remember a time when you had a big Ah-Ha moment? Can you go back to that time now? If you can, and you can pick apart the ingredients that made this an Ah-Ha moment, you can use this as a recipe to plant the seeds for future Ah-Ha moments.

And on that note, I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite people in the world:

It is very easy to see how many seeds are in an apple. You can cut open the apple and count the seeds. However, you never know how many apples lie within each seed.

-Todd Gaster

Are You Really in Charge of Your Business?

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

One of the subjects that most fascinates me is the unconscious mind and how it affects our emotions, decisions and our lives. Something I learned recently (which was a bit surprising) is that ALL learned behavior change happens unconsciously. This means that even when we make conscious changes in our behavior, it’s only because we are aware of a change that happened on an unconscious level.

So when we make decisions, there are both conscious and unconscious factors that our brain uses in our decision making strategy. Which leads to the question, are you really in charge of your business if you aren’t even aware of some of the factors that affect your brain when you make business decisions?
I read an unbelievably great quote recently on the subject from Milton Erickson. He’s talking about his patients in this quote - yet the lesson behind what he says is applicable to anyone who wants to make a change:

“Patients are patients because they are out of rapport with their own unconscious… Patients are people who have had too much programming - so much outside programming that they have lost touch with their own Inner Selves.”

-Milton Erickson, 1976

So what does this all have to do with being self employed? Well, if you are like most people on the planet, you might have some areas of inner conflict, or some walls that you simply can’t seem to break down in order to take your business to the next level. There are a ton of reasons as to why this can be, and simplistically we can boil it down to negative emotions and limiting decisions and beliefs.

Do you have any limiting beliefs? Beliefs about what you can do with your business? Beliefs about how much money you can make? Beliefs about how much you can accomplish in a day? Beliefs about how long it will take to be a success? Beliefs about whether you are worthy? Beliefs about whether you are enough to handle it all?

The big question is, are they really YOUR beliefs? Or did you learn them from others, adopting them as your own without even realizing the consequences of the decision you had just made?

Perhaps you made these decisions for what seemed to be good reasons - yet you find today that the decisions aren’t serving your highest good - they are in fact limiting you. Or you might not even be aware of them - yet they are guiding your actions and you are at the effect rather than the cause.

So what limiting decisions have you made in your life? And where would your business and life be today if you could remove them?

What is NLP?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Well, I have at least one person who doesn’t know what I am talking about when it comes to NLP. I wanted to give a longer answer to the question in a post because I’m sure that more than one person is wondering the very same thing… and it’s a good thing to wonder, isn’t it?

NLP is both the art and science of how the brain codes information. The brain uses our 5 senses to intake all information that the world presents us with. Then the brain “codes” this information - kind of like a complex filing system.

For example, can you think of a time when you felt totally motivated? I mean totally and completely motivated?! Do you have a picture in your mind of that moment? Go back to that moment now and really look at the picture. Is it in color or black and white? Moving or still? Are you looking at the picture through your own eyes, or looking at yourself in the picture? How big is the picture? Where is the location of the picture? And are there any sounds that are important - do you hear something outside of yourself, or do you say anything to yourself? What feelings are important? Where are they located in the body? Is there a size or texture to the feelings?
Take a quick moment to adjust these settings. If it’s in black and white, make it in color - does it make you feel more or less motivated? Move the feelings around in your body - does it add to your motivation or take away from it? Fine tune the settings so that you feel like you are about to jump out of your chair and into action right now.

You have just elicited your motivation strategy. Your brain codes motivation with these exact visual, auditory and kinestheic inputs.

Want to test it? Make notes on what things created your optimal feelings of motivation from the above example. Then think of a time when you felt totally lethargic and lazy. Do you have another picture? Notice the differences between the two pictures and start changing the lazy picture. Add the color, location, feelings and all of the details you noted from your motivational strategy. Especially important is the location of the picture and whether you are looking through your own eyes or watching yourself in the picture. Ensure these match your motivational strategy.

If you followed my directions correctly - you will find that you added at least some (or perhaps a TON) of motivation to a state that once made you feel lazy. And you may, like I used to, dismiss this exercise as something so simple that it couldn’t work - yet as you try it now, you’ll find that indeed it does work - and it just may surprise you as to how WELL it works!!
That’s just one example of how the use NLP can change your experience. It’s uses are as varied as the individuals on this planet. It has applications in therapeutic processes, in HR (as CJCM rightly pointed out), in sales, in relationships, and… believe it or not, in home businesses too (bet you saw that one coming!! ;) ).

I’ll be sure to weave more of this knowledge into this blog - and also have a ton of ideas as to how to incorporate it in more ways - so feel free to let me know if you have more questions about it - I’m happy to answer them publically so that everyone can learn more!

Blogging eCourse Fixed!

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

I started getting dismayed emails from you asking if the eCourse is over. It is ONGOING and I have fixed the “problem” - my “free trial” expired when I was knee deep in my NLP course!

Whoa - my bad everyone! I have handed over my cash and set my account to “auto renew” - so from now on, all emails in the eCourse will go out on time and without interruption.
My apologies to all of you - and please come back to sign up for the free 10 Days to a Better Blog eCourse now! :)

Look Out, I’m NLP Certified and I’m not Afraid to Use it! ;)

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Ah - it feels great to be back home and to get back to work!

I just wrapped up a very intense course in which I am now certified as an NLP Practitioner, an NLP Coach, and have all the training I need to get my certifications as a HypnoTherapist and Time Line Therapy Practitioner.

I took this course for several reasons. My primary reason is because my life took a drastic turn for the better when I was the recipient of an NLP intervention in early 2004. I used to live with constant depression, self-sabotage and chronic under-achievement. I had spent nearly 20 years working with different therapists, reading self-help books, and studying different psychological approaches to find a way to get myself healed and whole. It may sound surprising, but my intervention lasted all of 6 hours and I immediately became a different woman :: healed and whole.

That next week, I ended my ongoing therapist appointments. Within 3 months I moved into a new career making 500% more than before. And within 6 months I had learned enough about NLP on my own to start using the approach to ‘pay it forward’ and help others remove their own obstacles to success.
Was my life ‘perfect’ after this intervention? Of course not. Was I suddenly able achieve EVERYTHING I wanted? I was able to do a lot of things, but not everything.

After nearly 3 years, I decided it was time to really understand NLP, to know enough about it to apply it to myself whenever I need it, and to truly take on formal intervention work to be able to help others on a larger scale. The course was far more intense than I had anticipated. I thought I knew a lot about this stuff - there was SO much more to experience. I am a pretty together woman - yet was surprised at how much of my own old limiting beliefs came up this week! But to now have the tools to move through any negative emotion and blast out any limiting belief is the greatest gift and I”m super-excited to apply it in all aspects of my life and business.

So what does this all have to do with eMoms at Home? Well, the class gave me a lot more tools and abilities than I had anticipated. I had previously just planned on incorporating the knowledge into this body of work. Now I know there is so much more I can do with it, so I am taking a few days to put together a new business strategy. For now, I am tending towards launching that personal development blog I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago - along with a new NLP practice perhaps :) .

I would be curious to hear from you wonderful readers on what things you want the most help with - from blogging, to believing in yourselves; from procrastination to overcoming limiting beliefs about how much money you can make - please drop me a comment or an email and let me know what I can help you with. Make it BIG - that if I could actually help you overcome this really challenging problem you have struggled with for years, you would be able to do ANYTHING you wanted.

Yes, THAT big!! Go ahead, tell me about it now! :)

MVB for Friday October 13th

Friday, October 13th, 2006

Since I haven’t been around a computer hardly at all this week to stay on top of the Most Valuable Posts, I am going to honor the person who I believe is the Most Valuable Blogger of the Week.

Robyn Tippins!!

Robyn has been one of my favorite bloggers for a while. I first stumbled upon her at SleepyBlogger - which is still one of my faves where she writes about  blogging, social networking and online marketing and media (can you tell she is a woman after my own heart?!).

Robyn also writes for AllBusiness with her Innovative Advertising blog. She has been super-helpful in the past - we have swapped more than several emails on the subjects of AdSense optimization, podcasting and forum creation. She’s a wealth of knowledge in these areas, and at the same time, she’s such a great resource. I hope she grows this part of her business into more consulting gigs because she’s really good at it. :)

She also just kicked off a new blogging forum ProBlogWriters - I’m excited to see where this one goes!

I was also super-excited to hear she landed a new gig recently writing for InsideMotherhood. As if I didn’t dig Robyn’s writing enough with all of the above - she goes and adds a mom blog - I [heart] this woman!! :)

But above all else, Robyn really stepped up in two ways that have made a difference in my life. First of all, it was because of Robyn that I found the LinkedIn Bloggers - which led to getting my first Blog Boost, and then to the creation of the BlogJolt project. So everyone that has been touched by the BlogJolt can also thank Robyn for the critical piece of the puzzle that she can take full credit for putting into place.

Secondly, she made a difference personally as she took over moderation of the BlogJolt group while I was down for the count for the last week and a half. I’m so grateful for her help and her willingness to help someone she has never met (though I do hope this changes soon!!).

So I suggest that if you have ANY interest at all in visiting Robyn’s blogs, that you do so now! Leave her a comment and let her know she ROCKS. Link to her stuff that is cool, smart and fun. And if you apppreciate her as much as I do, drop her a line and let her know about it. She deserves it. :)

Free Stuff for Improving your Blog!

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

HUH? Yes, I am still working to entice you to send me your testimonials and feedback on  the free 10 Days to a Better Blog eCourse. I have only a couple of books left. In case you missed the first announcement, I am giving away 5 copies of Andy Wibbels’ BlogWild book for those of you who complete this eCourse.

Spend some time improving your blog, tell me about it, and get a free book to help improve your blog even more! It’s a win win — NO, it’s a win win win situation! ;)

I Have the Best Blog Readers on the Planet

Monday, October 9th, 2006

I’m coming back to my online life… slowly! Our week couldn’t have gone better last week - we got a ton of family time, honored a great woman who passed, and my hubby and I grew closer than we ever have before. I hardly plugged in my computer at all over the last 4 days, and the time spent with my family was worth every second.

Yet going unplugged drove me a little batty at times. I got over 500 emails in this downtime and I am anxious to respond to everyone - yet with this NLP certification course now underway, it’s 9:24pm and I have a few hours of homework to accomplish before I hit the sack.

So I just wanted to drop by and first of all let you know that I’ll be responding to emails by Wednesday - so hang tight if you are waiting on me to reply to an email.

And I also want to thank everyone for your wonderful comments and emails offering such warm and wonderful support (and much needed, too!!). I feel honored to have such kick a$$ readers and have to say YOU ROCK! :)

Work. Life. Balance. Not.

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

I know this is not my typical headline. And this might not be my typical post. But after the last two weeks in my life, the post is happening whether I like it or not.

I know I tend to expect quite a lot of myself and take on a ton of commitments. I also usually do a good job of counterbalancing my work and business time with my family time. Usually, the time left for me is a bit marginal, but I’m so fulfilled with all of the choices I have made and with how I live my life that I don’t really need it - my “me” time is going for a walk with the kids, or brainstorming business ideas, or swapping emails with my new blogging buddies.

Yet “me” time is important. I haven’t gotten any for the last couple of weeks and I’m not going to get it anytime soon:

My mother-in-law passed away yesterday.
We got two new guinea pigs from a chain grocery store (I know. Stupid.). One died in less than two weeks. The kids were devastated.
Next week I have my 7 day certification course from 10a to 8p (with 2-3 hours of homework nightly) starting Sunday.
And to top it off, my period just started today (I might just delete that sentence before I publish this post. But I feel so crappy right now!!)

I can tell you how I used to handle life when it got like this. I used to go into overwhelm mode. And I used to take my mis-handling of the situations and make it mean something about myself - that I was a bad person, a bad mom, etc.

Thankfully I handle this stuff a little better today. But it doesn’t mean I handle it perfectly. Far from it :( .

In times like these, I don’t have a ton of words of wisdom. I need massive time for my business, I really need some time to reconnect with myself, yet my family REALLY needs me now, especially my husband.

So what do we do? Do we balance it all? No. We choose to let some things go.

What I didn’t do:

I didn’t BlogJolt last week (Sob). This weeks’ BlogJolt is totally late (Grr). I didn’t Blogtip this week (Boo). I didn’t finish my commitments this week for my Mastermind Group (thankfully they gave me a reprieve from my leverage this time around). And my site traffic is down because I have let go of my traffic building tasks for a little while (deep breath - people WILL come back!!). And I totally forgot to send $ to Blog for Chickens (Poop!).

What I did do:

We went to say goodbye to my hubby’s mom Betty this last weekend - she was lucid enough to be able to at least know we were there.

I have cleared my calendar to be there for my hubby for the next few days and to go to Indianapolis for the funeral - including blowing off some work to go out to lunch with him today.

I played more games with my kids this last week.

I did some journaling last night and even uncovered a limiting belief I had been carrying around (more on that in another post - good stuff came of it!!)

And I’m writing this post to share this with you - I’m frustrated, I want to cry (I think that’s the hormones, though!), and I wish my business was more mature so that more of it could run on autopilot right now. AND I want you all to know that even faced with all of this crap, I may not be perfect, but I continue to choose to live my life and run my business as an example, not a warning.

So for the next couple of weeks, posting will be a bit light. It’s a choice I don’t like to make, but it’s a choice I hope YOU would make when your family needs you.

Big hugs to everyone and I look forward to returning to my regularly scheduled posts!

How to Choose the Perfect Blogging Topic

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

I’m not the first person to write about how important it is to be passionate about the topic you blog about - but what other factors should you consider when you want to launch a blog? And how can you know that the topic you choose is going to be a good one for you?

I certainly can’t tell you what to blog about. I can provide you with some great questions and some guidance to help you determine what is right for you.

First of all, come up with a list of potential subjects that interest you - the longer, the better. Once you have your list, ask yourself the following questions about each of your ideas. Some ideas will quickly fall out of consideration, while others will start to emerge as stronger options for you.

And you don’t have to pick just one - especially if there is some crossover between a few ideas. Kittens, finance and art may be a stretch - but you could blog about kittens and breeding as a business, or building a business as an artist, or a create a kitten art blog. :)

1 :: Are you certain you know enough about this subject to write about it on a consistent basis?

Alternatively, if you are writing a learning blog, are you certain that there is enough for you to write about as you become more proficient in this subject area?

You want to have a LOT to say about your blog topic, so if this is a subject you can talk a lot about in life, chances are you have a lot to write about for a blog.

2 :: Will this subject offer you enough variety and opportunities to go off on a tangent or two?

You want a topic that is specialized so that you can attract a niche audience - but ensure that you don’t box yourself in too closely or no matter what your passion, you’ll run out of things to say.

3 :: Does this subject offer you a way to connect with other people, with yourself, or with the outside world?

We are social creatures - and blogs are a natural tool for connecting with others via trackbacks and comments - but does your topic offer a way connect? For example, can you be a little personal every now and then if you wrote about this idea? Does this topic require that you dig deep within yourself to come up with content? Or will creating a blog in this niche eventually foster a community as the blog matures?

The more you can predict your chosen topic will foster a sense of connection, the more enjoyable it will be to write about it. Even if you can’t predict it right now, that’s fine - it’s just a factor that will greatly enhance your desire to continue to write as your blog matures.

4 :: Can you write with some authority on this subject?

Call this the ego factor - do you know what you are talking about? Will readers look to you for guidance, advice, leadership? Are you a guru in this field?

We all need to feel important - so as you review your ideas, consider how each of them helps you to feel significant.

At the same time, too much ego tends to diminish the previous factor of connecting with your readers - so make your choices wisely when the ego is the one influencing your choice!

5 :: Do you really love this subject?

I don’t know how much more explanation this needs.. ;)

6 :: Is there room for growth in this subject area?

Is this a topic that is continually changing or expanding? Or is it just hot right now, but in danger of extinction? (Read: Brittany Spears). Consider the long-term viability of your ideas, as well as the growth opportunities the topic will offer you. Do you have more to learn on the subject? Will it stretch you a bit to take on this topic?

Growth is good. :)

7 :: Is this blog topic one that gives back and contributes to others?

To really be fulfilled long-term with your blog topic, you can’t just write for you. We are here to make a difference in this world, and each person has their own unique experiences that offers value to others.

Successful businesses are ones that add value to their customers’ lives - your blog is no exception to this law of physics. ;)


Your answers to each of these questions will help clarify what will be the best fit for you as you consider launching your first blog - or a new blog. The more you can say “yes” to these, the more you will enjoy writing about the topic.

If, on a scale of 1 to 10 you are at a level 15 for all 7 questions, you have found yourself a winner. But then you had better watch out for blogging addiction… which is another post for another time ;)