Are You Making Progress a Habit?

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I ran into a writer buddy of mine at a party this weekend. We discussed the hardships of working a demanding career job PLUS kicking out novels each year(ish) PLUS simply being a home owner. Nobody promised living the dream would be easy.

How do we and others like us do it? We CHOOSE to do it. Our creative projects become a priority. We schedule time to work the projects, because they’re important to us. Making progress becomes a priority.

CHOOSE TO:

  • Set aside time each day to work on your creative project. Even 15 minutes a day will help you make progress toward achieving your goals. Make progress a habit
  • Set a deadline for each short-term goal and the ultimate goal of completely finishing your project
  • Visualize what your creative project will look like when you’re done.

DON’T:

  • Beat yourself up if you miss a day or a week of working the creative project. Stuff happens
  • Try to swallow the whole enchilada at once. Bite size pieces of your project are easier to tackle
  • Quit

Stick with it! You can do it! Sending best wishes and encouragement your way!

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DCC Fans Assemble!

Denver Comic-Con 2018 is just around the corner! I’m very honored and excited to join the legion of guests, artists and authors in this outstanding convention. If you’re in the Denver Metro area June 15 – 17th, put on your COSplay gear and head on over to Author’s Alley. I’ll be signing my Heart of The Warrior series books.

  

Catch one of the Author Panels to hear discussions by your favorite Colorado Authors. I’ll be participating on some of the panels as well. Schedules of panels and signings won’t be solidified until June(ish), so stay tuned to my website (www.crrichards.com) for updates.

See you there!

Three Things to Avoid When Submitting A Book or Freelance Proposal

Over the years, I’ve scanned through hundreds of document submissions. Some of them completely nailed it. They’re clear, concise and tell me exactly what the guidelines instructed. Others, not so much. These submissions are full of topic specific jargon or unrecognizable acronyms. The submitters have failed to take into consideration not everyone shares their knowledgebase or experience.

It occurred to me this situation is much the same as submitting a novel or a business plan or even a freelance proposal. Is the information you’re providing clear? Are you making the extra effort to briefly explain points or theories most people may not know? It could cost you a book deal or a freelance job.

Are You Showing Me What You Mean or Are You Assuming I Know?

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Avoid Undefined Acronyms – Unless the acronyms are common enough to be known and understood by everyone (Example – FYI or CNN), avoid them in your proposal. Best Practice is to spell out the words and put the acronym in parenthesis the first time they are used in a document. Example – Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Don’t List Unexplained Industry Methodologies or Theories – Say you’re submitting a proposal for technical writing to a small business. Will they understand the intricacies of the Systems/ Software Development Lifecycle? Maybe. Maybe not. Giving a very brief summary of the lifecycle not only helps them understand what you mean, but it also shows them you know what you mean.

Don’t Be Lazy – Try not to be vague about your experience or knowledge. It gives the impression you’re skimming over the information, because you have limited knowledge about the subject. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is a red flag for me.

Be Clear. Be Brief. Be Considerate. Remember – the person reviewing your proposal may just be a gatekeeper. Only the best submissions move onto the next level.

You Attract What You Seek

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I woke up this morning to a lovely twitter post from the Dalai Lama. He wrote about the importance of compassion and opening our hearts in order to understand others. Then I ran across a blog post about Happy People who create their own internal Happiness. Both messages were a nice surprise from an encouraging Universe. I’ve been actively seeking positive change for my life.

I attracted what I am seeking.

There is a flip side to this, however. Like attracts like. If you are a miserable person seeking kindred spirits who will hold you down in the muck, then that is exactly what you’ll get. We’ve all been through tough times. Not everyone is super positive all the time (if they are, then they’re faking it or on happy pills). Consider how long you want to stay in the Pit of Misery. The more time spent in that dark hole, the harder it is to climb out. I know. I’ve been trapped there a time or two.

© Krasimira Nevenova – Stock.Adobe.Como.

Seek out those small moments of Joy. Spend time with the folks who encourage you. Our time on the planet is short. We have important and positive things to accomplish. Don’t waste time in the pit. Get out there and make a positive difference in your world.

Sending positive thoughts and encouragement your way!

Taking Your Life in A New Direction? You’ll Need a Map

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Back when I was a fresh-faced graduate with a shiny new diploma in Computer Programming, I created a Vision Board. It was covered with pictures of successful women, houses, nice clothes and fine foods. I’m happy to report every single one of those pictures came to fruition in my life. Some of the results were not quite what I expected, but they did help me build a very successful career.

Today, I’m in a place where I’m preparing to make major life changes as I head toward retirement. Hmmm. I guess what I really mean is I’m bursting out of my employer’s clutches and dancing toward new adventures. Can you see me giggling and clapping my hands?I have a few ideas to build up my current personal business and may even start a completely new one. Time to make a new Vision Board.

What’s the Point of a Vision Board?

  • Helps you figure out what you really want in life
  • Puts your ideas and dreams in a format you can see
  • Meditate on the images every day. You’ll start to see these goals appear in your life.

Vision Boards are Great, but…

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  • As with any map, you first have to know your destination before you start
  • Do research on steps to achieve your goals
  • Be smart! While Leaps of Faith are super inspiring, the landings can be brutal. Aim for the deep pools of success. Avoid the jagged rocks of failure

Creative Visualization may sound like some hippie dippie notion, but I’m living proof it works! Knowing what you want in life is the first step in achieving your goals.

Boundaries are Good. Limitations are Bad.

I’ve been a corporate mentor/ coach for over a decade. While every person and situation can be different, they have common themes. One of the highest reoccurring issues is the feeling of being overwhelmed.

A new project manager is afraid to delegate and tries to do everything herself.

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The job asks an employee to travel for the third week in a row. Despite being exhausted and getting grief from his family, he says “yes.”

Sometimes this horrible feeling of being overwhelmed lands my mentees in what I call a “five-week rest in breakdown town.”

The folks I coach are smart and talented individuals. They understand you can’t keep pushing your body and mind to the point of breaking. Such behavior has consequences. They come to me for advice and I remind them about Healthy Boundaries.

What Are Healthy Boundaries?

  • Imagine a force field around your body – You control what gets in (negative remarks, job demands, needy people)
  • Keep your force field strong – Find that “One Thing” that matters most to you. Use your passion to feed the boundary
  • Remember: IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO! Don’t want to go to a contentious family holiday? Don’t go! Work wants you to travel, but you’ll miss your kid’s birthday? Say you aren’t available that day!

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What’s the Deal with Limitations?

We talked about Boundary walls being useful. Limitations are also walls, but rather than keeping unhealthy things out…they keep you and your potential in a little box.

  • Face those barbed impenetrable walls. Take a hard look at how and why you are limiting yourself
  • Be absolutely honest. Is your wall made up of fear or bad memories? Failure can hurt, but it shouldn’t keep you from trying again
  • Make a list of positive and encouraging goals you could achieve if you get past your self-imposed limitation
  • Take the Hammer of Courage and smash that wall down!

Final Thoughts: You must take care of YOU! Corporations and selfish people will try to drain every ounce of energy from you if given the chance. Build up your boundaries to stay healthy. Knock down your limitations to stay passionate.

Celebrating the Season of Renewal

Spring is beginning to um, spring in my little corner of the world. Tiny green leaves are reaching up to the sun. Crocuses and hyacinths are blooming in bold colors. And me? Well, I am entering into my time of renewal.

My Spring Mantra:

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Positive change is beginning to bud inside my heart.

I will throw out the old dead negative notions.

I will help the new bud to grow by feeding my dreams with positive thoughts.

 

What about you? Are you ready to throw away the outdated thoughts that no longer stimulate your growth? My best wishes and positive thoughts headed your way!

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