Winning Deal

I’m committed to establishing a sense of balance in my life. I looked at my mobile phone and noticed there were a lot of business apps.

My friends play with Fruits, Candy and Zombies in their downtime, so I figured Solitaire couldn’t hurt. I added it to my phone and started it up.

This was the first thing I saw:

Choose wisely. Photo credit Me.

Choose wisely. Photo credit Me.

How interesting. I get to choose what kind of deal I get. Of course, I chose “Winning Deal” and went all in.

I have never played with such abandon. I tried out new things, made interesting patterns with my cards, and when I missed a chance to finish out a pile, I didn’t care because I knew it didn’t matter to the outcome.

What if you played your life like that?

You have already been given a winning deal. You are the source of your success.

So what if you played all out, had fun making mistakes, and knew– in your heart of hearts– that it didn’t matter to the outcome?

You can always win, if you start from the right frame of mind. Photo credit Me.

You can always win, if you start from the right frame of mind. Photo credit Me.

It doesn’t.

It never has.

What happens is that we believe in other kinds of “deals”, like the ones above. And what you believe will show up in your life. I’m going for the winning deal, and I’m going to play full out.

Play your life all out because it doesn’t matter to the outcome. In fact, it makes the outcome better.

What would you do if you knew you had a winning deal?

Give In To Your Fear

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Back when permed hair was in, and Halle Berry hit the scene.

Me and my mom are really close.

No one really knows you like your mother. She’s seen me grow and evolve. She’s seen me succeed and she’s seen me fall miserably.

Our relationship has grown past mother-daughter into friendship. As least, that’s the lie I try to tell myself.

I figured out what a faker I was after church last Sunday. I had an appointment to plan world domination with one off my business partners later that evening, and wanted to stop by my mom’s house to visit.

I saw Mom at church, and she said she was going straight home. I had a short meeting with the minister (more world domination in the works), and headed over to her house.

When I got to her parking lot, her car wasn’t there.

That’s weird, I thought.

I waited for a few minutes.

Maybe she took another way home, I thought.

What if something happened? I called her cell phone. No answer. Continue reading

The Surprising Reason You’re Sick

Yuck. Sick again? Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Yuck. Sick again?
Photo credit: Andriana Mereuta

Recently, I’ve been sick. Being both an entrepreneur and a teacher, illness is no joke.

In my spiritual practice, it’s even more serious. Our bodies’ natural tendency is toward health and growth. You see that in nature. Grass, plants and trees have to be cut to maintain a certain look, and even then, they must be cut on a continual basis. If you’re sick, you’ve wandered away from a consciousness of God.

Your immunity is your body’s system of resilience. Immunity is “exemption from obligation, service, duty or liability; being insusceptible to disease or punishment.” It is your body’s way of maintaining integrity in the face of anything that is contrary to what you are supposed to be.

Now, you can take this one of two ways:

1) A compromised immunity can be a punishment from God: you’re sick because you forgot you were God’s child. If I feel I’m a smart person, then that could be embarrassing. People who believe this don’t show up for Sunday service when they’re sick, and they stay away from our Bible studies and prayer meetings.

or…

2) A compromised immunity is a warning from your heart: you’re sick because you’ve taken on obligations, duties and liabilities that weren’t yours to begin with. Your energy is being spent on the wrong things, and it’s time to make some choices. In that case, you reach out to your circle of friends, spiritual partners and spiritual teachers for support, and you look within for guidance. You practice extreme self-care and enter what I call a “no-guilt zone.”

I chose the latter.

My sickness reminded me so much of my natural state of being that I looked through everything in my life that I felt obligated to, uneasy about, punished by and liable for. Anything that wasn’t true to who I am called to be was up for debate. Anything that didn’t contribute to my bliss didn’t make the cut. Even while sick, I wrote my blogs, and I taught my classes. I mentored and planned events. I went to the beach and spent time with people I love.

We can’t fear sickness. Sickness is a tool for growth. A tree with damaged limbs must be pruned so it can bear fruit. (Like this quote? Click here to share it on Twitter.)

If you’re sick, don’t just recommit to your physical health. Use the time of self-care to look at the mental, emotional and relational obligations that compromise your integrity. Then, choose joy. Even if your physical healing isn’t immediate, your true healing will begin.

What about you? Do you muddle through sickness, or is it a time of self-reflection?

Why the Right People Don’t Care: Part 2

You got 'em!  Wait...You lost them.

You got ’em!
Wait…You lost them.
Photo credit: http://benedikawidyatmoko.wordpress.com via Bing

Last week, I posted 3 of the 6 great reasons the right people don’t care about your cause. If you missed them, read more here.

Today, I share the other 3, and one crucial thing everyone misses when looking for a sponsoring partner.

Who are the right people?

They are people with a) connections you need, b) the resources your cause requires or c) the talent that will take your cause to higher level of contribution to the community.

As stewards of their resources, they won’t invest in your cause without thought.

And you can’t change the world alone.

Don’t make these mistakes:

4.            You’re telling the wrong story.

Successful people and companies will not waste their time with someone who isn’t working on the things they care about. Once you get yourself in front of the right people, are you telling them the story that most aligns with their own vision?

5.            You’re depressing us.

Telling the most depressing story about your cause is not going to win you a deeper contribution. It will make a funder feel like they are dropping their talent or resources into a black hole of despair. Why should we invest if what you’re doing is hopeless? Find the light.

6.            You have no space for us.

This is the most important. You’re standing in front of the right person, you’ve wrapped us in a compelling, hopeful story, and your organization is going to save the day! Great!

Then why do you need us? Somewhere within your story you need to find a space for that right person. If not, you just told us a great story, and raised our awareness, but didn’t give us room to be a part.

Here’s the crucial thing that everyone people misses. Ask for a referral. Birds of a feather flock together. If you’ve won over one company (and even if you haven’t), they may know another organization that will also believe in your work. Ask to be introduced.

My hope is that these tips will help you make the connections you need to continue your great work. Click on the title above, and comment!

5 tips to get your cause into print media (and why you’d want to)

They say getting into the media in a positive way is difficult. “If it bleeds, it leads.” Without a PR agent, I’ve been able to get at least one major feature for my events in print media every year consistently since 2005. (I took a break last year to produce a Broadway show for a local elementary school.)

Print media is still a very important media outlet, because more established sponsors and partners recognize it as unbiased media. Also, older patrons who are committed donors still look to newspapers for local news. Since advertising revenue determines paper space, a newspaper feature is a hot commodity. At the end of the day, no matter what other priorities exist for a newspaper, the newspaper is a storytelling outlet.

Knowing this, I always create “reporter bait”, which are press releases that fit what a newspaper needs. If I create the press release and it’s distributed as I recommend, the event will get press.

If you’ve got a worthy cause, you may not yet have the resources to pay someone like me. And as urgent as your work is to our community, the newspaper doesn’t need your story…unless you tell a story they need to write.

Here are some tips to get your very worthy cause some well-deserved press.

1. Know your newspaper.

It’s your local paper. Do you read it? Who is your favorite reporter? If you don’t know who is writing the stories, you won’t know who would be interested in your cause and your event. I was a featured story on WLRN’s ArtStreet because the producer and I communicated about their work. I mentioned the work I was doing with arts advocacy and it fit one of her upcoming shows. She worked with the newspaper– but also had a connection with a TV outlet.

Get to know the paper and its staff—and definitely honor their time tables.

2. Your press release should be a story, not just facts and names.

Yes, you know  the fundraiser will help needy kids. The community will look better because of that beautiful mural. But a title, event description and a location isn’t enough to warrant space in print. You can find that out on Google.  Tell them why did you get involved. I should know that you’re fundraising for the homeless shelter because of the little girl who walked into her own bedroom for the first time. Reporters and editors are storytellers too, and the best stories are the ones that remind us about the hope in the community.

You’re it—so tell the story we can’t wait to hear. This event and our cause struck home with the reporter, who had a personal affinity to the organization we were supporting.

Teach-a-Thon - My first foray into a public school classroom

Teach-a-Thon – My first foray into a public school classroom

3. Have high-quality photos.

Deadlines for news media are fast. They have to research the story quickly, and many times, run with the story within a day or two. Pictures are 90% more likely to catch a viewer’s attention than text alone. They can’t always come out to take pictures. Make their job easier. Provide pictures with at least 300 DPI—and forward it to your media contact in a separate email from the press release. The reporter thanked me for having photos ready for him for this spread.

Re:Vision (Art and Collaboration for the World)

Re:Vision (Art and Collaboration for the World)

4. Connect your event to a current event or a current issue.

What’s important in your community? Who are the major players or the major influences in your part of the world? Prior to the event featured in this article, there had been a lot of press about employment, career transition, and the need for companies in South Florida to retain their best talent.  My perspective was that our best talent needed to take ownership of their careers, and build their own creative businesses.

The Artist in Business - the first of a rising tide of new entrepreneurs

The Artist in Business – the first of a rising tide of new entrepreneurs

What a refreshing angle to take on a hot topic. What new angle does your cause bring to light? Make sure it’s in your media.

5. To keep the media coming back, have a quality event.

So, yeah, you can tell a great story and get press.  Eventually, the media will come out to see what you’ve got. I had spoken to the reporter for a few weeks prior to the event featured here, and she wouldn’t say whether or not they would cover the story. She came, introduced herself at the event, and she wasn’t disappointed. When I saw the spread, I celebrated with my collaborators.

Sharing the Word - Poetry in Spirit

Sharing the Word – Poetry in Spirit

Have a quality event that really serves the greater good. If you don’t deliver on what you promised in your press release, just burn your media contact list. In fact, don’t mention I gave you any advice either.

Try any one of these tips, and get yourself in the news. Feel free to let me know how it goes!

P.S. I hope I don’t need to say this. For the love of Pete, spell-check and grammar-verify your press release. Thanks!

An Empty Shampoo Bottle

I was in the shower the other day.

Well, I take a shower EVERY day, but on this particular day, my favorite hair product was almost finished.

I felt a bit disappointed, and squirted only a little bit out. Now I’ve got a lot of hair, and that little dime-sized portion they talk about just doesn’t cut it.

The Empty Bottle

This is how we live life, y’all.

But then I remembered that I was going to the mall and I could pick up some more easily.

I squirted a healthy portion and got busy styling my hair.

This is how we live life, y’all.

We have a whole lot of love and talent and genius to give to one another. We’re so stingy. We wait for the right moment, the right person or the right opportunity.

God help us if the person we gave our gifts to uses them in a way that we didn’t plan for. Our feathers get ruffled, and we get self-righteous.

That’s because we think we have a limited amount of brilliance and love to share. We hoard it, because we forget how much we continuously have to offer. Your talents don’t disappear. You have more love even when your heart has been broken.

hair, beauty

My Fabulous Healthy Hair with Plenty of Product

And despite reports to the contrary, people still give to great causes. You just need to tell a story that speaks to your givers.

Give inspiration and honesty– don’t hoard yourself– and the right people will respond.