Goals

A new year, a new me, blah, blah, blah. We hear that a lot, right? I’m even guilty of saying it in the past. I don’t want a new me. I’m a pretty good me, but…I want a better me.  So, I’ve got goals, yo.

I’ve got some pretty big business-related goals with Pure Romance, ones I’m already scaring myself with. A trip to either Paris or Jamaica? A cruise with the Future Leaders program? Senior Director? Board of Directors? Yeah, I’m already feeling the anxiety kick in, but that brings me to some other goals.

I don’t deal well with anxiety and depression. I’m on a medication that my doctor billed as a “mood stabilizer,” but upon more investigating, it’s really not, and I suspect that she’s using me and perhaps others as guinea pigs, but I digress. The anxiety and depression give way to side effects of unhealthy habits, so my goal is to work on some healthier habits in hopes that they’ll not only counteract the unhealthy ones, but also give me good outlets for the depression and anxiety. I’ll break them down a bit:

  • Writing – I don’t write as much as I used to. I miss it. It’s always been a great cathartic outlet, especially the more creative side and not just narrative writing. That’s where this blog comes in. One of my goals will be to sit down and write. If I’m able, it’ll be once a day, but at the very least, it’ll be once a week. Sometimes it might just be a random blog post. Sometimes I might tell a story, sometimes I might rant about whatever is driving me bonkers. With that, I issue a cautionary warning if you choose to follow me here. I won’t post every blog update to Facebook or Twitter.
  • Reading – Two kinds. I read for relaxation, but my business also means that reading is done for learning and self-betterment. Dividing my time appropriately between the two will be a bit trying, but I’ll manage.
  • Activity – This is not just for me, but for my family as a whole. My son is very active, despite being a great video game addict, but the rest of us could all stand to be more active. I was gifted a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas, and I’m already addicted to its functionality. Walking and just getting in the steps is great, but I’m going to make a solid effort to force my entire family outdoors whenever the weather and opportunity presents itself.
  • Time-management – Oh, this one is tricky. I’m a procrastinator at heart and I love putting off deadlines until the last minute, but I really have to stop doing that to myself because it just adds to the anxiety. It also leaves me feeling like I get nothing done some days. I’ve purchased a Passion Planner for the first time this year, so we’ll see how that helps and see how I like it and all that jazz.

None of that may seem all that huge, but to me, these a big steps (10,000 a day!) towards a better me. And I think I’m already off to a great start. This has been the first January 1st in a long time where I actually got something done and didn’t sit around all day doing nothing. Time will tell if I can keep this up. Wish me luck!

An Ending and a New Beginning

2015 new years illustration with christmas balls

2014 is on its way out, and I’m not sure what to make of it.  Aspects of 2014 saw me making great strides in my life and accomplishing goals.  But parts of it left me wondering what in the world I’m doing still making the same old mistakes and the same promises to myself that I ultimately end up breaking.

Things I’m proud of:

  1. I’m running a successful business that continues to grow, despite my occasional bouts of procrastination.
  2. My kids are so amazingly happy and they stay very healthy.  They make me smile and laugh on a daily basis, no matter what.

Things I’m not proud of:

  1. My weight is ridiculous.  I know what to do to make changes and most of the time I ignore my better judgment and just listen to my taste buds and stomach.
  2. I’ve gotten more and more unorganized in my life.  Maybe that’s a result of having kids, but I can’t continue to run a business with this level of disorganization.
  3. I let myself down.  This is something specific I don’t want to delve into because it’s too personal, but it’s something I have to figure out how to remedy this.

Changes:

  1. I know everyone says that they’ll lose weight in the new year, but I’ve known too many who’ve passed away this past year and others who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and it’s made me take a long look at my own life.  It’s not about becoming a skinny bitch, but about being around as long as possible for my kids.  So changes are in the works.
  2. The other change is working on my organizational habits.  I used to be great at staying organized, but it’s gotten a little out of hand.  I can probably blame kids and lack of time, but it’s making me a little crazy.  I’m already making changes to implement better habits and more organizing, but it’s a slow process.

Closing thoughts…

Yesterday has passed and cannot be changed.  The future is uncertain.  Make today count because tomorrow isn’t promised.  Love as many as you can, treat others with respect, and make the most out of all you do in life.  Goodbye, 2014.

Social Media Strategies for Public Relations

2014-06-09-SocialMediaStressSyndrome

The following article is the one in which I’m referencing for this blog post:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2014/04/28/winning-social-media-strategies-for-public-relations/

Social media can be great for keeping in touch with friends and sharing aspects of your life, but it can also be vital for public relations.  It allows companies to reach out to their audiences on a very personal level, so strategically utilizing those opportunities is key.

This article summarizes six steps for “winning” with social media.  I feel that these are ideal for larger corporations, but may not necessarily be realistic or prudent for small businesses.  As a Pure Romance consultant, I’m constantly looking for ways to best utilize social media for my business.

#1 Be Brief. Don’t be Boring:  If nothing else, this one is truly key.  On Facebook, if a post is so long that the reader has to hit “continue,” you’ve already lost them.  Not sure how to keep it brief?  Try to make it short enough for Twitter, then you can easily post for both.  But being brief isn’t enough.  If those brief posts don’t contain something interesting, then they aren’t going to read it.  The article suggests adding a picture, and that’s also a great idea, especially with Facebook because that visual graphic is an easy way to grab attention.

#2 Be Newsworthy: Corporations usually always have something going on, but what about small businesses? With Pure Romance being about sexual health, there are often related articles that can be referenced, but it’s key to use current articles and not ones written months or years ago.  If it’s not recent, don’t bother.  Also, following current hashtag trends can help you stay on top of what’s current and gain new attention.

#3 Be Helpful: This portion of the articles is more ideal for big businesses, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for a small business.  A restaurant could message a reporter and ask his favorite meal and have it delivered to him free of charge just to see if he likes it.  That could backfire if the food isn’t good, but at least there is the potential for news coverage.

#4 Avoid Facebook: This is where I’m going to completely disagree with the article.  Facebook is one of the most (if not most) popular social media site.  Avoiding it can be detrimental, especially to a small business.  Word of mouth can help and sometimes small businesses with a location receive check-ins and feedback via Facebook.  However, there is a way to do it and not to do it.  For a direct sales business like mine, it’s important to balance personal life and business-related posts.  Others need to see that I have a life outside my business.  Conversely, with the restaurant example, there shouldn’t be anything about personal lives of the restaurant workers unless maybe it’s to show them all participating in a charitable event, like a 5K.

#5 Be Live: For large corporations, this might be a struggle, but often for a small business being live is quite possible.  They may also not have nearly as many crises to deal with and therefore can easily manage small problems.  They also won’t have access to a “response team,” but usually just the owner or a manager, and both should be prepared for how to handle a major crisis with a specific immediate response strategy.

#6 Be Video Proficient: Videos are a great way to contact your audience.  They don’t just get to read you or see a picture of you and/or your business, but watching brings you and/or your business right into their immediate attention.  You can scroll past pictures, but videos require a moment or two of play time where the audience has to singularly focus on what your video is about.  But as before–which the article doesn’t mention–it needs to be brief.  If your video is 20 minutes long, they aren’t going to give you the time.  Just a few minutes tops or they won’t watch.  Also, this needs to be current.

Overall this article covers some very good points and a public relations professional would gain more followers and awareness of their brand if they follow these rules.  At the same time, someone doing their own PR for their small business would also get positive results by following these points, except maybe avoiding Facebook.  I think it’s too vital to ditch completely.

Alone Time

I’m up past my bedtime, and I’m definitely tired, but my mind is not quiet.

Mindfulness-and-Living-a-Busy-Life

Sometimes I think the reason I keep myself so busy is so I don’t have moments like these when everything else is quiet enough that my mind starts speaking to me.  I dwell on memories of the past and people no longer in my life; some of these people are dead and some are just…gone for one reason or another.  These quiet moments give way to thoughts I often struggle not to think about.

Did I make wrong choices in my life? Should I have said something different? Should I never have met that one person? What did that one occurrence mean in the grand scheme of things? Have I brought happiness to others? Have I hurt you?

I ask myself these questions, and others like them, often.

Maybe I don’t have enough of these quiet pauses.  Maybe I need to be able to let some of these thoughts out on the page so I don’t feel overwhelmed, like my brain is about to explode from worry and fear.

Or maybe I just need to go to bed.

Fiction Secured

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It’s interesting to note that I currently have no one in my life who reads any of my fictional writings. There was a time where many had access to particular stories that accompanied an online game set in a vampire world. Since I’ve left that part of myself behind, there isn’t anyone to share my work with. On a certain level, this is difficult for me to cope with. At one point, my writing was at such a caliber that I had requests for more. Perhaps it was those request that had me writing more and striving to perfect my skills.

Now, there is no one reading my work and encouraging me by begging for more. I don’t write as much as I used to, and when I do write, very little of it is fiction. It’s almost as if I’ve gotten too old to write–which is, of course, a silly notion.

I did, however, sit down recently and write something new. I convinced myself it was trash and deleted it. In hindsight, I know it was an abrupt move, and I should’ve just saved it. But if I’d done that, I’d still end up in this same predicament. So perhaps next time I’ll release the confines of my mind, only to nestle its contents securely in my hard drive.

Strength

StrengthMy mom once told me that I was raised to be independent.  At the time, I thought to myself, “Well that clearly backfired, seeing as I feel like I can’t function at times without being in a relationship.”  This was a sad fact.

I remember a time when I hated doing anything by myself.  It was as if happy couples were everywhere, always holding hands and kissing, even in the most mundane places, like the grocery store.  Of course, I’d go to the grocery store by myself if I had to, but once I was in a relationship, I would beg whatever guy I was with to tag along with me.  This wasn’t necessarily done just so I could enjoy their company, but more that I wanted to show the world that I wasn’t alone and that even someone as pathetic as me could get a guy, too.

I think back on those times and inwardly shake my head at my own foolishness and lack of self esteem.  I missed out on enjoying life because I didn’t want to do it by myself.  Recently, I finally came to the realization that I don’t need to be with someone in order to define who I am or in order to be happy.  At 35 years old, I finally get it.

There’s no one perfect person that will make me happy, except me.  I’m capable of standing on my own and doing whatever I want to do with or without anyone by my side.

Supposed to be…

I’m supposed to be studying.

In a little over three hours, I have my final in my Fundamentals of Online Media class.  This post isn’t for that class, nor is this blog going to continue on for its purpose, but for myself.  Right now, I’m just getting the thoughts out of my head so I can concentrate instead of watching all the students flock like lemmings into Alkek.

I’m supposed to be a good friend.

I have a friend who means a lot to me.  In the past few years, he and I have been through a lot together, and we’re now dealing with a lot of different things separately from one another.  He’s mentioned how he needs someone to talk to and be able to vent to, but I don’t think he wants that person to be me.  There are times when, instead of telling me he doesn’t want to talk, he ignores my texts.  For whatever reason, that really hurts me.  I’m not sure why, but there are things with him that affect me more than they do with other friends.  I could speculate and create scenarios for all the “whys,” but ultimately, I’m in the dark.  I’m just here.  And I wait.

I’m supposed to be a good mom.

There are times when I need to be away from my children.  Sometimes it’s because of school or some other obligation, but sometimes, it’s just because I need to not be near them.  I love my children, but sometimes I wonder if I deserve them, and I think I’m not doing the best I can be doing for them.  This is a constant fear.

I’m supposed to be thinner/healthier.

I started working out yesterday at Gold’s Gym Express.  Since it’s been a long time since I’ve worked out, I’m ridiculously sore, and I even feel almost sick from it.  I can’t explain that better than to say that it’s a similar feeling I get after a deep tissue massage; toxins in my system have been released and my body needs to flush them out.  I’m trying to be a better me though, and working out is part of that, and right after my workout yesterday, I felt really good.  I’m going back today, and I have a workout buddy, so I’ve got good motivation to stay on track this time.

I’m supposed to be successful.

At 35, it’s difficult to be a student and know that I should’ve finished my education many years ago.  It doesn’t escape my notice that my face is one of the oldest on campus, save for the professors.  One of my lecturers is even younger than I am.  At times, I feel like I haven’t done enough and that I’ll never be successful or be able to retire one day.  Those thoughts hit even more close to home when someone who graduated high school the same year as I did ends up being a guest speaker in class one day.   “If he made it, why didn’t I?”  That question resonates and continues to be repeated over and over again, sometimes more than once a day.

I’m supposed to be finished.

Ok, back to studying.