Encouraging Honesty

What was the last little (or not so little) white lie your children told you?  You’ve probably been told a lie, and told a lie at least once in your life.  It’s something that is second nature to us, and we lie for a myriad of reasons.  What can you do to help your children lie less and tell the truth more?  Here are 3 ideas.

1-reward truth.  If you’ve got a particularly difficult child, you’ll have to start here.  Stop punishing them for the lies, start rewarding the truth that they tell and rather than taking things away from them, give them more responsibilities as they prove themselves to be worthy.  We’ve gone around doing the wrong thing and just frustrating ourselves in the process.

2-let them learn from their mistakes.  Yes, it’s your responsibility to make sure your kids don’t get hurt, but the only way they’ll learn is if sometimes you let them learn the lesson themselves.  Don’t let them get into serious danger, but if there are little lessons they can learn along the way, let them learn them without your intervention.

3-set the example.  yes, they will learn from their mistakes, but the most important thing you can do is set a good example for them.  There is no amount of rationalization that can explain to them why you’re allowed to lie and they aren’t.  You don’t have to tell them the long drawn out story of why you are getting a divorce, or you’re always cranky after work, but it is good for them to be told the truth, or at least a watered down version of the truth (but not a “sugar pill”).

Raising your children on the truth will not only make them better people, it will also set them up to be more successful people.  Those who lie don’t get ahead in the long run, they merely get ahead only to be quickly buried by the truth.

By the way, don’t forget to forgive them (and yourself) when they tell lies.  They may have done something wrong, but that shouldn’t change how much you love them, so make sure they know you still love them and forgive them as well (especially while they’re young).

What experiences have you had with your children telling lies?  What have you learned and what tips to you have to share?  Share your thoughts below.

Autism Awareness

Autism is something that touches 1 in 110 children.  If you’re on Facebook, that means that at least one friend of yours on Facebook knows someone who has or is related to someone who has Autism.  Those are pretty serious numbers.  In honor of Autism Awareness month, April, I encourage you to get involved and help further the education, awareness, and research of Autism.

Get Educated:
This is one of the most important things you can do.  There is no reason to fear or be unable to interact with those who have Autism.  Two great resources for learning more and getting more involved are the Autism Society, and Autism Speaks.

Get Involved:
There are many ways you can support those with Autism.  Around the USA there are walks to raise money for Autism research.  Participating in a walk or financially supporting someone who does is a great idea.  You can also donate right to these societies on their websites.  Another really great thing to do would be to offer to stay with an individual who has Autism so their caregivers/parents can get out for a date night or run errands.  If you can’t financially support the research or care facilities, donating a few hours of your time to a family in need is an amazing gift.

Spread the Word:
Autism isn’t going away any time soon.  We all need to do our part to obliterate negative stereotypes and transform the world’s opinion of those who have Autism.  They are individuals just like you and me.  Often they have amazing gifts and talents, and they are some of the most amazing people you will meet.  If you’re on Twitter (Autism Society, Autism Speaks) and Facebook (Autism Society, Autism Speaks), you can share and retweet information about local walks, projects and campaigns that people can get involved in.

What about you?  Do you have a personal story of a family member or friend who has Autism?  Share your personal stories, as well as your favorite Autism charities below.

Learning What to Let Go

The changes in the world and economy have encouraged, and sometimes forced, people to adopt frugality as a lifestyle.  At the very least, many people in the world have cut back on what they buy and how they spend their money.  In light of organizing and helping you choose what you can and can’t be selective about, here are 3 things to remember.

Know Thyself: Only you know if you will truly need those 40 shirts or if that’s just too many.  Only you know if you need to buy 3 bags of napkins or if one will do.  You know if you need pens in every color or if you only use 1 pen.  You have to know what you use frequently and what you will truly use in the future, not what you think you may use in the future.   Take deep breath and be honest with yourself about what is true for you and what you really need or want in your life.

You’ll go through seasons: There will be times that you need all 40 shirts, and other times you’ll need just 2.  There will be times when you need a storage space and others when you’re content to live with little.  Be patient with yourself whatever the season is and be prepared when the seasons change again.  If you’re in a season of needed a lot of things, you will need to spend more time organizing your space so that you don’t get overwhelmed by clutter.

There will always be more: The amazing thing about the world right now is that we’re actually in a world of abundance.  It may not seem like it to many people, but we do actually have great abundance around us.  You most likely will be able to replace whatever you choose to get rid of now.  And you may find that you didn’t even really need it (or like it) in the first place after you release it.  You will replace your clothing in your lifetime.  You’ll probably change your filing system a couple of times.  The world is full of innovations and options, so don’t worry about letting go of things that were amazing in your life if it has served its purpose.

Don’t forget to ask for help if you’re struggling!  It’s healthy to know when you just can’t do it alone. Share your thoughts or questions below.

A Weekend of Celebration

There are a couple of holidays happening today, Friday, and on Sunday.  These are Earth Day, Good Friday and Easter.  Whether you’re religious or green or not, I invite you to open your mind to celebrating these 3 events for reasons you may not have considered before.

Earth Day is the day that around the world people celebrate life.  We’re so fortunate to have a place to call home and live our lives.  Recently I saw something that worried me; I saw clouds that actually weren’t white as they got closer to the sun.  Rather they were made up of similar hues that you see when a car is leaking oil onto the parking lot, those metallic pinks, greens and oranges.  Seeing things like that, garbage at the sides of the road or seeing fewer trees should make you think twice about how you’re living your life, and how you’re caring for Earth.  So as you celebrate Earth Day, plant a tree, recycle some bottles and turn off the lights when you leave the room.  Do whatever you can to help the earth last for many generations to come.

Good Friday is the day that people remember a death.  Death isn’t often celebrated in American culture.  Other cultures around the world actually celebrate and go through elaborate rituals when someone dies.  It is a sad event when someone dies, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t feel sad when someone is no longer with you.  But take time to remember what you enjoyed about them, the celebrations you had together, the things that made them such a special person.  Plant a flower or tree in their honor, do artwork in their honor, set up a fund in their honor, scrapbook your memories with them, or hold a party celebrating their life.

Easter is the day that people celebrate hope for the future.  Right now if you look around the world there are plenty of signs that things aren’t going well.  Honestly, I believe that there is hope for a turnaround in the world.  I believe that with a little discussion, lots of effort and many changes, not only can we get the world out of debt, help significantly reduce unemployment and turn around the path to destruction that the Earth is taking.  Some of those changes will happen through the green movement.  Others will happen as more people become entrepreneurs and the rest of the old style of business comes crashing down or transform.  Everyone is responsible for what happens around the earth, in the country they live and in their own personal lives.

How are you preparing for the future?  Are you trying to relive the past?  Contributing to the destruction of the earth?  Or are you celebrating life, death and doing your part to create an amazing future?   Share your thoughts below.

Your Choice of Attitude

Does your attitude hinder you from discovering or living your purpose?  This month as we’re talking about purpose it seems appropriate to talk about attitude as well.   I was reading Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch recently and had a realization about attitude and purpose while reading.  Check out this quote:

“The truth is God talks to everybody…Directly, personally.  Irrefutably…God was responding to my questions in direct proportion to my ability to comprehend.  That is, I was being answered in ways, and with language, that God knew I would understand.”

If you’re frustrated and tired of your life, if you’re not getting where or what you want, there are a couple of possibilities.  One consideration is maybe you’re not ready for it.  Another would be that you’re not open to understanding or accepting your life purpose.

Let’s think about the situation in Japan for a moment.  Japan wouldn’t be experiencing this much suffering if they weren’t able to handle it, if they weren’t ready, if there wasn’t a purpose in this situation.  Is it fair that they’re going through this, or that you’re working through the situations in your life?  No, but that’s not the topic of discussion here.  We need to stop thinking about what’s fair and instead see things as opportunities.  You have opportunities that have been given to you too and we all need to get over having what’s right and get to living with a better attitude towards life.

Your life is what you make of it.  You can choose to be miserable and unhappy, living your life aimlessly day by day. Or you can choose to open up your mind and attitude to the opportunities that life has to offer.  Stop seeing things as problems, as hindrances, and start looking for the purpose in things, the possibilities that will be created by or because of the current situation.

If you feel like you’re not comprehending your purpose or what ‘s going on in the world, maybe it’s time for a change.  Your willingness to accept life’s situations and approach them with an attitude of possibility will be the difference between what you’ve had in life and what you could have.

What will you choose today?  How has your attitude affected your life and purpose?  Share your thoughts below.

Do you know that Sinking Feeling?

99 years ago an event happened that has been the source of countless speculations, multi-million dollar deals, and stories that last lifetimes.  That event was the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912.  This ship was built to last, designed to impress, and created to carry people across the Atlantic Ocean.  It was also thought to be unsinkable.  Obviously it was not. Its builders thought they had created a structure that was impervious, protected and sturdy.  However, things that couldn’t be planned for happened and the boat sank, taking with it over half of its passengers.

Why share about the RMS Titanic?  Because unfortunately there are businesses out there that are sinking just as fast as Titanic did.  So in honor of Titanic, here are 4 suggestions you can put into practice immediately that will help you save your business.

1-Social Media.  Yes, I know it takes a lot of work. and more time than many people want to put in.   While I do suggest that you post and tweet great content that is relevant to your business, my suggestion today is to spend 10 minutes a day on Twitter and 10 on Facebook looking at the pages you have liked or people you have followed and commenting on what they’re sharing.   Why?  Because when you give people what they want, they often will return the favor.  Maybe it will be a tweet to their followers that you’re really encouraging and that people should follow you.  Or an invitation to share a blog post or thoughts on Facebook with their community.  Or maybe you’ll just find a new friend.

2-Website.  If you don’t have one, contact me ASAP.  You’re really missing out on an easy way to help people find you.  Second, update that website and make sure that it is fresh, has up to date content and expresses you and your business to your ideal clients.  There are many tools out there that you don’t even need to have a web developer to have a decent (or even great) website.

3-Get help.  Ask your friends, family, coworkers (or ex coworkers), club members or neighbors to refer you to friends.  Make it easy for them and email them your information (name, number, website, what you do etc), and give them postcards or business cards with your information on them.

4-Learn.  Take an hour a day, or at least 30 minutes a day and spend time either listening to a seminar or reading a book about business.  In my business newsletter I share lots of free online seminars that you can listen to, and there are tons of great business and personal books that will give you an edge, grow your business and help you interact better with your clients.

What step will you take today to save your business from impending doom?  Share your thoughts or other ideas below.

Earth Friendly Family Fun

Earth Day is right around the corner!  Are you as excited as me?  Earlier this month I shared some gardening ideas for National Garden Month.  Today, in line with Earth Day 2011’s official theme, here are 22 ideas to help green the planet!

1 plant a tree

2 eat organic

3 eat local

4 eat less meat

5 turn off the lights when you leave the room

6 recycle as much as you can

7 avoid these 10 household products

8 tweet and post about it on your favorite social networks

9 bike or walk instead of taking a car

10 volunteer at a national or local park

11 organize a neighborhood clean-up

12 wash your laundry in cold water

13 turn off the water while you brush your teeth

14 buy items in bulk or those with less packaging

15 don’t buy small bottles of water

16 use rechargeable batteries

17 blog about ways to treat the earth better

18 turn off the water while you wash the dishes

19 donate to the Earth Day Network and other organizations helping the planet

20 turn down the heat/air conditioning, especially when you’re not home

21 use reusable bags at the grocery store

22 share your Act of Green!

What will you do as a family to celebrate Earth Day?  Share your ideas below!

The Purpose of Others

This month, April, is all about purpose.  Today let’s talk about one of  the biggest challenges to living your life’s purpose.

Recently I was speaking with a client and she was telling me how she struggles with finding support from others.  It’s unfortunately common to have trouble being properly supported throughout life.  It’s hard to live your purpose, or live a happy life, without the support and companionship of others.  After all, we’re all on the planet together because we’re not supposed to be alone.  Your purpose is no good unless there are others who can benefit from your life purpose.  Your purpose isn’t just about you!

So in order to live your life’s purpose, you need the support (and interaction with) others.  Here are a couple of ideas on having support as you live your life’s purpose.

1-choose your friends wisely. If your current friends don’t support you, help you or truly want what’s best for you, find new friends.  You don’t necessarily have to cut them out of your life (although that may be what’s necessary), but make new friends who you can hang out with and support each other.  It’s been said before that you become like the 3 people you spend the most time with.  So if you don’t want to be like them, it’s probably time for some new friends.

2-have at least 2 friends that you can physically be with who support you.  These may be family members, or they may be just friends.  But actually having a person you can touch and be with face to face is important.

3-have friends around the world who support you.  I’ve made a couple of great friends through Twitter and Facebook.  I know if I’ve got a business challenge or need a bit of encouragement I can email them or Facebook them and they will be there to support and encourage me, as I am for them.  Because of how the world has changed it’s almost easier to make these friendships because there are so many people in the world and so few within your local area who are like-minded.

4-I’ve been alluding to this, but not only do you need people in your life who can support you, often you need to ask for support!  Don’t be afraid to ask if you need help or are stuck.  If you’ve got those right relationships set up, you should know exactly who to ask for guidance on a particular subject.

The bottom line is that we can’t go through life without others, nor should we.

Do you know your purpose?  Get some tips on discovering your purpose here.

Who do you have in your life that supports you?  Share your thoughts on support systems below.

Organize Your Files

April is Records Information Management Month.  Sound too complicated for you? Do you feel that stress build up as you read that as you think about the piles on your desk or in your computer?  How about we start with something a little simpler, Organize Your Files Week?  Let’s start there then.  The third week of April every year is National Organize Your Files Week.

Today I’m going to help you work through some of that paperwork overwhelm.

1-We’re almost at tax day, April 15th in the USA.  Immediately after you file your taxes, put ALL papers/documents in more permanent storage and away from your immediate reach.  You won’t need last year’s papers unless an issue comes up, so you should put them away to make room for new documents.

2-Set up new documents and folders for 2011 if you haven’t already.  It’s a lot easier to do this on computers, but you should already be well into your paper management for 2011 as well.  Create a new financial template or folder for this year’s numbers on the computer, and set up your folders in your filing cabinet or box so they’re ready to receive all the papers you get this year.  You can also clean out your email of things you don’t need anymore.

3-Don’t know what to keep or get rid of?  Try asking yourself “Could I replace it again if I needed it in the future?”  If it’s something you know you’ll be able to get your hands on again, you can get rid of it.

The best way, the only way, to successfully participate in organizing your files is to have some place to put your files!  Have a small storage system for frequently needed papers and documents, and a banker’s box, USB drive or another location to keep all old records that you want to keep longer that isn’t in your way and keeps them safe.

If you get overwhelmed by all your papers or computer files, hire an organizer.  Don’t let your frustration be your excuse for having a mountain of papers or unfindable files.

What will you start with today?  The papers, your computer or making that call for help?  Share your answer below.

Off to the Library

Do you know what one of my favorite places to go besides the beach, my home and coffee shops is?  The library!  I absolutely love visiting libraries and seeing what new books they have, who the new authors are and what programs they’re hosting that month.

April 10-16 is National Library Week.  It’s an opportunity to celebrate libraries and librarians around the USA (as well as the world).  The honorary chair this year is John Grisham.  You can learn more at the American Library Association’s website and the special page they’ve put up to highlight National Library Week.

Want to support and participate in National Library week?  Here are 4 ideas to get you started:

1. Get a library card!  They’re free to citizens and they’re an amazing resource that you shouldn’t pass up.

2. Read every day this month.  Take 5-10 minutes each day to read a book, preferrably a physical book that you borrowed from the library (reading a book with your kids counts if they got it from the library).

3. Make a bookmark!  Here’s an opportunity for the whole family to get creative and remind yourself to read too!

4. Make a donation to your local library.  This could be a monetary donation, or it could just be a donation of gently used books you don’t read.

How often do you visit the library?  Have you brought your kids there yet?  Libraries are a great place for not only individuals or students, but also for families to learn and grow together.  Go visit a library today or through next week (National Library Week) and share the books you brought home with us below.