If at first you don’t succeed …

Edison-Quote-PhotoI always did have an entrepreneurial spirit 🙂

… just having a chuckle to myself looking back at my various business ventures over the years, and relating to Thomas Edison when he talks about how it took him over 10,000 attempts to invent the lightbulb. The 10,000 that didn’t work he didn’t see as failures, he succeeded in finding 10,000 ways it didn’t work.

Apart from my 8 years running a business that I absolutely loved, but had to give up for what turned out to be medical reasons, my entrepreneurial spirit began at least at age 16 when my gran signed up as an Avon rep, but it was so I could do it. I couldn’t sign up myself as I was too young. I remember being the first rep in my area to win the ‘promotional bag’ that was on offer at the time. My ventures I’m sure began at an even earlier age. I’m sure I’ll remember what they were at some point.

Anyway, what inspired this post was my reminder email to renew one of the domain names I own, www.datesgalore.co.uk. I was trying to set up Speed Dating events in Middlesbrough oh about 10 years ago. They were popular in the big cities like London, Manchester and Newcastle and I figured I’d give it a go. Well, I had a venue booked that would cater free food. I built the website myself where people could read about speed dating, and could book and buy tickets through the website. I made very professional leaflets and cards, all myself and by hand, laminated and everything. It cost me several hundred pounds to do. I went out onto the streets of Middlesbrough and Yarm, with the help of my younger sister, on busy nights out for people, and we had a lot of fun chatting and giving out leaflets and cards. I even got a great feature for free in the Northern Echo local newspaper about my first upcoming event. It was good. A barmaid and barman from the venue posed for the article picture, them sitting across a table from each other, me standing by with a stopwatch and a whistle. I had loads of hits on the website. I even got a ticket sale through the website. I understood that sales could be slow right up until the event because it was new and people often booked things like this last-minute on the spur of the moment, but the day before the event there was still only the one ticket sold. I ended up calling it off, because I got scared that the pub would cook food for a non-event, and I refunded the one buyer his ticket money with my apologies.

About 9 months or so later, I went to the same venue to book for my son’s 18th birthday party. I got talking to the barmaid, the one who posed for the newspaper article, about my failed attempt to get speed dating going in the town. She told me that shortly after that had happened, her and the barman had actually started dating and they’d been together ever since and still going strong. So really, if my aim was to bring couples together, my speed dating venture did have a success story after all. In fact, you could call it a 100% success rate, as I only put one couple together at a table and they got together. Maybe it was the catalyst they needed and the Law of Attraction brought me to them to get them together. They even had a picture of them dating before it happened in real life 😀

I’ve actually just found the article from 2003 online, although it doesn’t include the picture that was in the newspaper article – On Your Marks, Get Set, Date

On a more personal level, they say the only people who never fail are those who never try, so I’m looking forward to many more attempts, and inevitably a few more failures 😀

Hand of Gratitude

hand of gratitudeA couple of weeks ago I completed, and passed, a course at college. It was a Certificate in Mentoring Skills. It was a small group, just 6 students, and we all got along really well, as to be expected from the nature of the course. I hadn’t studied for several years. This was something I had been drawn to studying for a year or two.

During the course, I had hit a point where I was struggling, not with the course but with personal issues in my life; ill health, financial complications, and my home being burgled. This manifested in my taking ill at college with a panic attack. I was very embarrassed. Had it not been for the support and kindness of my classmates, and one in particular, and my tutor, I’m not sure I would have returned the following week or at all.

At the end of the course, the final session, our tutor asked us all to get a sheet of paper, write our name at the top, and draw around our hand on the paper. We then had to pass this around to all our classmates, who were then to write something nice about the person whose name was at the top.

It was lovely to think about what we appreciated about everyone in the class, and to receive their kind words back. The comments were so varied. They showed what nice aspects one has, that other people notice even if you don’t notice them about yourself.

I remember saying how I had read about something similar on the Internet, and related the story the best I could, but not completely accurately.

I have just found the actual story again, so thought I would share it here. It contains a powerful message about the value of kind words, and why we should use them as often, and as soon, as we can.

This is the touching story of a teacher at a Catholic school in Minnesota. She describes an unforgettable elementary student named Mark Eklund who had been likeable but frustrating because of his inability to stay quiet in class. The teacher transferred to teaching junior-high and later had Mark again. One day asked everyone in the class to write down each student’s name and also write the nicest thing they could think of about that person. Years later, the teacher got word that Mark Eklund had died in Vietnam and she was asked to attend his funeral. Mark’s family showed her that the piece of paper from junior-high with other student’s kind remarks about him had been carried in his wallet until the day he died. The teacher then heard that other students had also saved their pieces of paper from that day and how much it had meant to them. The story closes with encouragement to tell people how much we care for them and how special they are to us while there is still the time to do it.

MAKE SURE YOU READ TO THE END YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary’s School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischievousness delightful.

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving – “Thank you for correcting me, Sister!” I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher’s mistake. I looked at Mark and said, If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!” It wasn’t ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out, “Mark is talking again.” I hadn’t asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark’s desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room. As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me. That did it! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark’s desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were, “Thank you for correcting me, Sister.”

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the “new math,” he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third. One Friday, things just didn’t feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week, and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, “Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend.” That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday I gave each student his or her list Before long, entire class was smiling. Really?” I heard whispered. “I never knew that meant anything to anyone!” I didn’t know others liked me so much.” No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip, the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply says, “Dad?” My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important. “The Eklunds called last night,” he began “Really?” I said. “I haven’t heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is.” Dad responded quietly. “Mark was killed in Vietnam,” he said. “The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend.” To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, “Mark, I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me.” The church was packed with Mark’s friends. Chuck’s sister sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps. One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. “Mark talked about you a lot,” he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates headed to Chuck’s farmhouse for lunch. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. “We want to show you something, his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. “They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.” Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him. “Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.” Mark’s classmates started to gather around us. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. I keep it in the top drawer of my desk at home.” Chuck’s wife said, “Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.””I have mine too,” Marilyn said. “It’s in my diary.” Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. I carry this with me at all times,” Vicki said without batting an eyelash. “I think we all saved our lists.” That’s when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

… to all my cracked pot friends :-)

cracked potI love this – I hope you do too.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’

‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path! 😀

Wishing on a Star – FREE Hypnotic Meditation

WISHING-ON-A-STARI am a huge fan of daily meditations to help calm, relax and balance me. I prefer guided meditations to the silent meditations and have quite a large library of them now.

Some of my absolute favourites are by Collin Rosati, Director of Hypnosis Vancouver. He has the loveliest, calmest voice of any hypnotist I have ever heard, and never fails to relax me.

If you sign up for his newsletter at http://hypnosisvancouver.com you will receive a new one for FREE each month. The one I have just received in my email is called Romantic Magic – Wishing on a Star, and really is as beautiful as it sounds. I am feeling so blissed out right now 😀

P.S. I just discovered that Collin ‘Sonny’ Rosati has an associated website, with a blog, where you can listen and download some free meditations direct from the site here, without the need to enter your details, although I’m sure you will want his newsletter and more audios after hearing him. Happy listening 😀

3 of the most inspirational guys in the world

When I began my journey to recovery, I found so much to inspire me to move forwards. There is a wealth of inspiration to be found for free on Youtube.

This is a selection of some of my favourites. I hope you enjoy them too.

Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs. He openly admits that as a young child he wanted to kill himself. At the age of 17 he founded the non-profit organisation, Life Without Limbs. He is now an amazing motivational speaker.

He now has a wife and a son, whose hearts he can hold.
Read more about Nick Vujicic here.

Sean Stephenson was born with a genetic disorder commonly known as ‘brittle bone disease‘. This has not stopped Sean being an inspiration to many. He began delivering motivational speeches at the age of 17, and has published many inspirational and motivational books. I love his philosophy of ‘Life is supposed to be fun’ and this video demonstrates his sense of fun perfectly. Sean married his wife, Mindie, in 2012.

Read more about Sean Stephenson here.

Tommy Franklin, found fame as The Dancing Man of Byron Bay. I discovered him while searching for ‘dancing in the rain’, which inspired the name and nature of this blog.

At first glance, one might think ‘What’s got into that guy? Is he drunk or something?’ I later discovered that Tommy Franklin has a powerful back story too.

Tommy says his purpose is to make people smile, because he didn’t know how to smile. He now puts smiles on the faces of many people. I can relate to that; during my illness I realised I had probably not smiled in over a year. I now love to smile, and help others to smile too. A smile is a precious gift that is free to give and blesses the giver and the receiver.

Visit Tommy Franklin’s website here.

arrow_backwardsWhat these three amazing guys all have in common is that they all faced adversity beyond that experienced by many of us. Yet it was through that adversity and challenge that they discovered their own innate strength and were led to the opportunities and discovered their blessings.

Take a few moments to consider the blessings you have discovered from the challenges you have experienced. Then give yourself a big pat on the back for finding your strength.

NOW GO AND USE IT! 😀