This is No Hoax; There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Leader.

It’s true. This is not a hoax. There is no such thing as a bad leader.

Look at these magnificent quotes about leadership:

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

 

“A Leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalyn Carter

 

“True Leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It’s not about exalting themselves but lifting others up.” Sheri L. Dew, Author, and CEO of the Deseret Book Company   

 

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan

 

“To be a leader is not to have a huge position. To be a leader is to see your job as a chance to inspire the world, no  matter what your job is.” Robin Sharma

 

“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people.” Simon Sinek

 

“If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” Anonymous

 

I could keep going….and going…..

 

Leadership is about inspiring others. It’s not about position, it can’t be awarded or appointed, and you can’t buy it.  You have to earn it.

And there are truly no bad leaders.

It’s kind of like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t. There is no middle ground.

It’s like playing basketball.  The ball either goes through the net or it doesn’t. There are no points for hitting the rim.

You are either a leader or you’re not. A ‘bad leader’ is not a leader. If you are bad at leading, you are not a leader.

Sure, there are better leaders. There are GREAT leaders. The scope of leadership can go from adequate to superb but it can’t be bad. It simply can’t be.

 

Darren’s Story:

Darren is the owner of a small regional hotel chain. He prides himself on staying closely involved in the day to day operations at all 5 of his locations.  He thinks he’s a leader. If there were such a thing as a bad leader, he’d be it. But he’s no leader. Far from it.

He rarely seeks out feedback from his employees, they dread his visits, he doesn’t inspire them to think for themselves or seek out growth opportunities, and he has made it very clear to each of them that making money is the most important aspect of their job.

The customer service ratings, as you can imagine, are not good at his hotels.  His employees aren’t empowered to make decisions so customers have to wait on Darren to give them an answer. The budgets are tight and crafted to preserve the asset only – not please the customer or enhance services. And he’s not very understanding of the occasional sick day or family emergency that his employees deal with.

He thinks he’s a leader because he’s an owner.  He thinks he’s a leader because he has employees. Darren thinks he’s a leader because he’s part of the hospitality trade association board of directors.

He’s not. He’s not a leader because there is no inspiration or service in his dealings with others. And leadership is all about inspiration and service.

Darren isn’t even a likable guy, and likability is another key component of leadership.

High Turnover

The employee turnover at Darren’s company is high. Surprised? Nope.

The housekeeping staff is like the waves of the ocean. They come and go almost daily.

The maintenance staff is sub-par because no self-respecting service technician will stay for long.

One of the longest term managers just recently left. She told me that she took a job at a smaller hotel for less salary.  When I asked her what pushed her to do that, her response was this:

‘I want to work for someone I can be proud to follow.  I didn’t want to follow Darren anywhere.’

Well, there you go. She didn’t want to follow him so he can’t be a leader. Darren is not a bad leader. He’s simply not a leader at all.

Life. Enhanced. and its Parent Company, Enhancement Talent Development, LLC, may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.

Marissa’s story:

Marissa is a shift leader at a large call center.  She’s one of 20 shift leaders the company currently employs so while she has supervisory responsibilities, it could be said that she’s a small fish in a big pond.

She’s been with the company only about 15 months. She does a great job, is looked to for guidance from the other shift leaders, and the customer service reps talk practically non-stop about Marissa’s impact on the moral and culture of the organization.

 

Marissa, even though she’s not in a top-level position, is a true leader. She listens to the employees, seeks out feedback and input from others, provides ongoing feedback to her team (both positive and constructive), and she takes every opportunity available to let others have the spotlight.

I had the pleasure of attending the holiday luncheon at Marissa’s company and even though I knew she was a leader prior to that, her actions during that event solidified that.

Marissa was one of the last in line to eat. (Leaders eat last! – Simon Sinek.) After devouring a small plate of food, she started circling the room, refilling tea glasses, taking away plates, and chatting with the team members.  She was serving them.

SHE was SERVING them.
And THAT’S what leadership is all about.

What do you think?  Do you agree that you’re either a leader or not – there is no in between?Mindy McCorkle Signature


Ride or Die: Learning the True Meaning from a Bunch of Street Racers

I’ll admit it. I’m a big fan of the 405 Street Outlaws in Oklahoma.  A BIG fan. The drivers are fearless, hard-core racers who drive some amazingly fast cars.  And I’ve always loved fast cars, especially American muscle cars. I enjoy the action, camaraderie, and crazy antics of the show immensely but am frequently surprised at the lessons I learn from watching the show.  True, I am the nerdy learner that looks for a ‘lesson’ in practically everything but I was so inspired by the Bristol episode this week I just had to share! In that episode, these fearless street racers show the true meaning of ride or die!

 

Ride or Die?

According to the Urban Dictionary, ‘ride or die’ applies to the people in your life who are there through thick and thin. They’ll do whatever it takes to make it through with you. These are the ones that’ll stick with you till the end.

I hear people talk about their family and BFFs as their ‘ride or die.’ Sometimes I think it’s more of a ‘cool’ thing to say rather than an actual ‘there until the end no matter what’ sentiment. But when a true ‘ride or die’ moment happens, it’s a big deal.

 

Setting the stage:

The races in this episode took place at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee with 32 of the baddest cars around competing for $100,000. The contenders drew numbers to see who they’d race against (after a few grudge call-outs) but the hope was that the OKC guys would dominate.

Big Chief was one of the drivers in the chase for the big bucks at Bristol. Right after crossing the finish line, he lost cabin pressure and his passenger door blew off!  If this had happened prior to crossing the line, he would have lost the race but since it happened afterward, he won his first-round race.

But…. his car locked up and had to be towed back to the pits. With no right door and a car that wouldn’t drive, he wasn’t sure he would make the round 2 race.

He didn’t give up though. His team went to work on the car but soon learned that the car needed a new rear-end.

And here’s where the ride or die demonstration happened!

Murder Nova (aka Shawn), one of the other OKC drivers who had lost his first-round race and was out of the running, offered to have the rear-end taken out of his car and put into Big Chief’s car.  Uh, what??  A competitor offering to dismantle his own car to help another driver? Yep, that’s what happened.

Big Chief also needed a welder to get his door put back on. He put a call out for a welder and yet another competitor who had already lost out came to his rescue.

These actions are also exemplary examples of ‘coopetition.’ Cooperating with those that are technically our ‘competition’ is hard for some but extremely rewarding!

Round 2:

With only minutes to spare, the crew got Big Chief’s car – The Crow – ready for the round 2 race. No one could know if the work that was done to Big Chief’s car would allow the car to make it through the next round, but they were sure going to give it a shot.

And it was a shot worth taking because he blew the doors off his competition in that round. Not literally – Chief’s door was the only one to actually blow off – but his car made one of the smoothest, fastest passes ever!

 

Fast Forward to the end of the race series:

Big Chief, in his pieced-together, borrowed-parts car WON the final round.

Here’s an excerpt from a conversation with Big Chief after the big win.

“….as I’m putting on my helmet I hear the announcer say “who’s gonna’ get the 100 grand folks? Kye Kelley, The Probe, Chuck, or the Fireball Camaro?” said Shearer. “And my core temperature went up about 30 degrees. Not even gonna’ mention my name as a contender? This is the best parts we could afford (or steal from Shawn), this is the best crew I’ve ever had, and we showed ‘em that sometimes it don’t matter how much motor you got, how big your toter and trailer is, nor how many folks you have on the payroll. Sometimes it’s about heart…..and this was one of those magical times. Every single thing that happened and every single person that touched this car or brought over parts, advice, data, welders, etc., all of them had the heart of a [expletive] lion. Wildest group of degenerates I’ve ever had the pleasure of racing with, and they put me and my beat up car with that little bitty motor at the starting line in front of a sold out Bristol, Tennessee crowd, and we ate all their [expletive] faces off!”

 

 

To read the entire article, click here.

The real lesson here:

Surrounding yourself with people who share your passions and have the heart to help others excel even when they themselves have lost is what it’s all about.  And when a ‘ride or die’ comes to your rescue, you all win!

 

To learn more about the Street Outlaws, click here.

Want to watch the full Bristol episode? Click here! 

It’s a long episode (2.5 hours!)   If you can’t watch the whole episode, start at about the 35:00 mark and watch for about 15 minutes.

What does ‘ride or die’ mean to you? Mindy McCorkle Signature

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A Life Aligned with Purpose yourlifeenhanced.net

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about A Life Aligned with Purpose, click here.

For more information about 100 Awe-Inspiring Quotes by 100 Astonishing Women, click here.

How This Summer Girl Learned to Embrace the Winter

Yep. I’m a summer girl through and through. I prefer flip-flops to boots, sundresses to coats, and fans to heaters. I used to spend most of the winters months longing for summer to arrive.  Or at least spring.  I really don’t like being cold. But as part of my commitment to myself to live vividly every day, I’ve also committed to NOT wish my days away.  So here you go: how this summer girl learned to embrace the winter!

#1:

I posted a “stop” sign in over my desk.  It reminds me that wishing for summer every day during the cold winter months is the same as wishing my life away.  My momma used to tell me not to do that.  When I’d say things like, ‘I wish I was old enough to _______,” she’d remind me that I may one day regret not embracing that particular time in my life.

STOP wishing your life away!! yourlifeenhanced.net

She was right.  There have been numerous times when I’ve looked back on my younger life and wished I had lived more in the moment versus using all my energy to wish for something else.

 

 

And life is short.  Certainly, too short to wish it away.  And by wishing for summer all winter long, that’s essentially what I was doing.  So, I stopped.

#2:

I treat my body as if it’s summer.  I know that sounds weird but think about it.  Most of us, especially women, treat our body differently during the winter months, and our bodies act differently, too.  My skin is drier in the winter, I don’t shave my legs as often (there. I said it!), and I don’t worry about the extra few pounds that I pack on.  After all, that’s my ‘winter weight’ and it helps keep me warm, right?  And I rarely paint my toenails during the winter – who sees my toes in the winter anyway?

WRONG!  I see them! And that extra winter weight makes me lethargic and have to work harder to get swim-suit ready in the spring!

Last winter, I stopped treating myself like it was winter.  I shave my legs as frequently as I do in the summer. My toes stay painted (and my feet stay soft and pretty). I use more moisturizer to keep my skin from feeling like winter skin. And I track what goes into my mouth to avoid putting on that extra winter weight.

 

#3

And this is the big one, folks!

Each morning, I think of one thing I can do today that I can’t (or wouldn’t) do in the summer. And then I do that thing!  Over the last few weeks, those things have included snuggling by the fire under a warm quilt with a good book, drinking hot chocolate on a brisk walk around the neighborhood while enjoying the smell of wood fires in my neighbors’ homes, and rocking a cute pair of leggings with riding boots and a fuzzy sweater.

I remind myself while doing these things that they can’t be done in the hot summer months. It’s a mind thing really.  We listen to ourselves when we talk, so if we talk about the good stuff happening right now, our minds will believe it.  If we tell ourselves how cold it is and how much we are longing for warmer weather, we’ll believe that too.  And I don’t know about you, but when it’s really, really cold (like it has been here for the last few days), the last thing I need to do is to say, ‘it’s cold.’ There is no risk I’ll forget so why say it?!

 

#4

As the season progresses, I sometimes start feeling like it has already lasted forever.  I let myself give in to being tired of the cold weather and all that comes with it.  When I start to feel myself slipping into those feelings, I make it summer for a day.  I crank up the heat, brush some blush on my face to mimic sun-kissed checks, put on a cute sundress and flip-flops, and fix myself a frozen Jamaica-me-smile complete with a little umbrella (sometimes virgin; sometimes not!).  Grab a beach towel and voila! It’s like being at the beach without leaving my house.

Sometimes I even go as far as putting on my cute sunglasses and a floppy hat and sit by the sunny window reading a trashy magazine (because that’s what I do when sitting on the beach!)  I play summer songs (like ‘Suntan City by Luke Bryan, ‘Toes’ by Zac Brown Band, and ‘Pontoon’ by Little Big Town) and pretend it’s summer for a day.   Sure, tomorrow will be winter again, but it won’t seem like it’s last so long since it was just summer yesterday!

Another little mind-trick that works well for me!  Try it!
Life. Enhanced. and its Parent Company, Enhancement Talent Development, LLC, may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.


More on mind over matter!

Are you a summer girl? Or guy? How do you get through the winter without wishing your life away?

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What’s Your WORD OF THE YEAR?

What’s Your Word of the Year for 2018?

Why do you need one?

Much like a theme song, a ‘word of the year’ can help you stay focused on your goals.

For instance, the first year I was in business for myself, my word was FOCUS. I posted quotes about focus all over my workspace, I read them over and over, and I chanted ‘stay focused’ frequently. Think I’ve lost my mind?

Your word of the year should be used as part of your life affirmations.

What’s an affirmation? It’s an emotional support or encouragement. To affirm something is to state it as a fact. To assert it strongly and openly. Some synonyms for the word affirm are declare, proclaim, swear, avow, and guarantee.

You get it!

An affirmation is a word or statement that you wholeheartedly believe and commit to yourself you still achieve.  So when I chose ‘focus’ that was my commitment to myself that I would stay focused on my business goals and mission, and not let anything get in my way or pull me in a different direction.

In 2017, my word of the year was POSITIVE.

In my personal life, I vowed to approach every situation, even the hurdles life threw at me, as a positive experience. I made the commitment that I’d eliminate negative influences from my life and maintain the most positive attitude I could possibly maintain.

In my business, I made a point to focus on services that would have a positive influence on my clients. I eliminated some of the things I was doing for client’s that were remedial or that didn’t have a definitive positive influence.

For instance, I offer individual coaching. And from time to time, clients would hire me to coach away bad behavior. While on the surface, that sounds like a good thing, it was often done in a remedial way. The client would present the coaching to the employee as ‘do better or else.’ And that didn’t fit my positive approach.

I started asking more questions at the get-go to determine if the client was approaching the coaching process in a helpful way or as punishment. If it was the latter, I’d walk away from the business.  (Yep, that was hard. But hey, I had made a commitment and I was sticking to it!)

I didn’t always achieve the goal of always being positive – there were a few hurdles that almThere's always a silver lining word of the year yourlifeenhanced.netost pushed me to the ground. But because I had made that self-commitment, each time I’d feel negativity creep into my life, the little voice in my head would shout out, ‘stop! that’s not a positive approach!’ and I’d redirect my thoughts to finding the silver lining.

 

 

speak to yourself with kinds words yourlifeenhanced.net

When I’d go to that dark place where I’d start berating myself for not being good enough, or for making mistakes, that little voice would remind that someone very important was listening!

 

 

 

I had always thought of myself as a fairly positive person anyway, but I also knew that I was prone to letting negativity through the door more than I should. After a few months of locking the door on negativity, I realized that it was easier than I thought it would be. It’s less stressful, more inspirational, and I was happier. I slept better. I felt better. It was an all-around win.No One Ever Injured Their Eyes word of the year yourlifeenhanced.net

For 2018, my word is DIFFERENT.

I chose that word for several reasons.

Reason #1:

We know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, right?  Well, there were some things in my life that I had been doing the same way for a really long time.

So I’ve made the commitment to myself to do things differently.

We often only change the things that aren’t working. And that makes sense. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?

That’s true to a degree, I guess. But

A goofy example:

I had been using the same laundry detergent for years. It worked fine, it smelled nice, and the price point worked with my budget. A few weeks ago, I had someone give me a large bottle of laundry detergent (not as a gift, they couldn’t use it and didn’t want it to go to waste.)

I took it and said thank you, but I thought I’d probably either leave it sitting on the shelf, or give it to some else.  It wasn’t my brand. I had never used it before. And I didn’t want to take a chance on it.

But a few weeks later, I found myself out of laundry detergent and of course, I had clothes to wash!  So I grabbed the gifted detergent and set about the process of washing my clothes.  And it did a great job! It cleaned as well as my old detergent, smelled way better and the smell lasted long after the clothes were put away, and I learned that it was cheaper than my old detergent.  Woo-hoo!

Now, I wasn’t only talking about household supplies when I committed to doing things differently, but that little experience inspired me!

Reason #2:

I’ve become robotic in some of the things I do and that’s no fun.

On the days I’m in my office doing administrative stuff for my business – invoicing, client follow-up, paying bills – I was routine. I’d do the invoicing first because that was the most fun. I’d then do my client follow-ups, meaning that I doing them late morning/mid-day. And then I’d pay my bills and do the other admin stuff that I hated.

That process worked OK. But the order of those things meant that I was catching many clients who were getting ready to head out to lunch or were eating at their desk. And it meant I got voicemail a lot of the time.

By switching things up and going client calls FIRST, I bet I’ll see a difference in how many of them I actually reach. Can’t hurt to try, right?

And since the invoicing part is the most fun, I’m going to save that for the end of the day. It’ll feel like a bonus for doing all those other mundane admin tasks I don’t like.

There are other areas where I’ve fallen into doing things the same way for a long time – I’m going to work on those, too – but I won’t bore you with all of them.

Reason #3:

Life is hard right now. My family is going through some difficult times with difficult decisions. Several family members have moved into a new phase in their lives. And some of them are somewhat removed from the family nucleus – either by nature of their geographic location or the things going on in their own lives. So it’s harder than ever to keep the family unit strong and connected.

And the world is hard. There are daily events happening that create fear, conflict, and controversy.

I’ve always considered Gandhi’s quote about being the change we wish to see in the world to be my mantra. But I admittedly haven’t been living it lately.

If I do some things differently, I can make a difference.  It might be a small difference – I’m only one person – but a small difference is better than no difference.

That made me think of one of my favorite songs! That's Why I Pray by Big and Rich! Here's an excerpt:

I wanna make a difference even in the smallest way
I’m only one person, but I can feel it working
I believe in better days.

I’m not sure what all those things that I’ll do differently are yet but I’ve started a list and I’ll be spending some soul-searching time over the holidays expanding my list and making plans.

And I’m betting that there will be several future posts where I’ll share my ‘different’ journey.

Have you picked your 2018 word of the year yet?  I’d love to hear what yours is and why you picked it!Mindy McCorkle Signature

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3 BIG Reasons I Went BACK to an ACTUAL PAPER PLANNER

For the past few years, I’ve organized my life with technology. My calendar, contacts, projects, tasks, meetings – everything was done digitally. For 2018 however, I’m going back to an actual paper planner.  Old school? A little. But here’s why. Read 3 BIG Reasons I went BACK to an ACTUAL PAPER PLANNER.

 

Reason #1

I use Outlook for email so that seemed like the most likely place to handle all the appointments and to-dos that come along with owning your own business. Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, it worked well for a while.

And then I started seeing social media posts from people asking for contact info because they had lost all of theirs.  GULP. It seemed like several times a week I’d see a post from someone who was devastated by the loss of all their calendar appointments and contacts due to a computer crash, lost phone, or other disasters.

 

And the mere thought of that happening to me was a horrific thought.  That could mean the end of my business altogether.  Imagine if I don’t show up for a speaking event, or am a no-show for a certification class.  BIG GULP!

 

Right about now, you’re thinking:

Backup!              Cloud storage!                  Redundancy Data!

And you’re right.  Backing up your devices is certainly critical to preventing data loss.  We should all do that.

BUT that’s NOT a fail-safe. What if the backup file gets corrupted? What if the crash happens between back-ups? You may not lose everything, but you could still lose some important stuff.

So yes, I have automatic back-ups scheduled for my laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod (yes, I still have an iPod and I use it daily!) and even for my external hard drive. And I check the backup files several times a week.  Just to be sure.

But I never want to risk losing the details of where I’m supposed to be and when. I don’t want to lose my contacts. I can’t lose my calendar info. And I’m not keen on losing my project lists since that’s how I generate income!

Yes, there is a small possibility that I may lose a planner. But I’ve used notebooks for years and have never lost one.  (Hope I didn’t just jinx myself!)

I will continue to keep meetings and appointments in Outlook. And I’ll continue to back up my data frequently. But I love my paper planner, too.  I’ve already set up my planner for 2018 and will carry it with me everywhere I go.

 

Reason #2

While technology is a big part of the work I do – slide decks for presentations, social media marketing, calendar invites, invoicing, I could go on and on – it’s not the CORE of what I do.

 

I made a commitment to myself when I started my training and coaching business.  That commitment was this:

When in a training session, client meeting, coaching session, or presentation of any kind, I will give my audience – whether one or thousands – my undivided attention and focus.

In order to fulfill that commitment, I put my phone away during those times.  (There is 1 exception to that rule that I’ll explain in a minute. But 99% of the time, my phone is on silent and zipped in my purse during business interactions.)

I don’t want to get distracted by an email from one client when I’m with another one. It’s common courtesy. We all know how it feels when a conversation is interrupted by the buzz of a phone. Even when they are on silent, they aren’t truly fully silent. And when they vibrate the entire table, well, that’s plain annoying.

I had been only bringing out my phone when I needed to schedule a meeting or check availability. And that seemed reasonable. But I can’t tell you how many times I did that and saw a notification on the home screen that took my focus off the business at hand.

So I don’t even do that anymore. I can check my schedule in my planner without digging my phone out of my bag.  It feels less rude to me to open a book than pick up my phone.  I don’t risk getting distracted with other stuff while trying to schedule a meeting.

 

Now for that 1 exception:

When teaching a particularly difficult subject or when there is a larger than usual audience, I let the audience know that if they have questions that they don’t want to ask out loud, they can text me the question and I’ll answer it without anyone knowing who asked it.  In those situations, I keep my phone handy and check it periodically – but I open the Message app and turn off all other notifications so I’m not distracted by other things.

Being sure that I am 100% focused on my clients and audience, and that they KNOW I am 100% focused on them is very important to me. It’s part of my company mission and my clients DESERVE my COMPLETE FOCUS.

Reason #3

It’s FUN!  Seriously!  There are tons of things you can do with a paper planner that you can’t do with an electronic calendar.  Like using different colored ink (I love a colorful Sharpie!) and putting stickers on certain days. Having each month be a different theme. Or pasting your favorite photos of your family members on their birth date.My paper planner yourlifeenhanced.net

You see, part of life is doing things you love. And I love color, and flowers, and happy quotes.  And I get to use all of these in my paper planner.

PLUS I can keep shopping lists, project details, and other notes right in the same place as my calendar and contact list.

I’ll be honest, some days I get totally carried away with stickers and changing pen colors.  But it’s FUN and I enjoy doing it so it’s a WIN.

 

So how did I get started?

I started by purchasing a Create 365 The Happy Planner Box Kit.  It comes with a planner with a pretty plastic cover, stickers galore, sticky notes, and bookmarks. You can purchase the planner and select different accessories separately, but I found the box kit to be the most economical way to get started.

 

Life. Enhanced. and its Parent Company, Enhancement Talent Development, LLC, may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.

Here’s the exact one I bought!

I got this cute carrier for my planner that has room for my planner, colored pens, stickers, and extra note pages!

These planner pockets are perfect for receipts, notes, business cards, and more!

And of course, I had to get some extra stickers!

I grabbed some cool colored Sharpies:

Here are some other fun options:


And then I found this great blog post from DIY CANDY that lists tons of places to grab FREE Printables for your planner.

I went a little crazy with the downloads and even created some sheets of my own.  Give me a little bit to get the sizing right and I’ll share them with you.

What do you think? Are you going to get on The Happy Planner train?  Let’s GO! Let’s make 2018 our BEST.  YEAR. EVER!Mindy McCorkle Signature

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Death to These 3 Words!

I’m a nice person. I don’t wish death on any living thing. But I do wish it on these 3 words!  DEATH to these 3 words in 2018 is my mission!

Here’s what started it.

As I started planning for the new year, I spent some time reviewing this year’s blog posts. What I saw during that review was an inordinate amount of the words really, just, and very.  Ugh!

Perhaps I was so aware of those words because of a few Pins I’ve noticed on Pinterest lately. Pins that talk about words that are used far too often and what to use instead.

Not only are these words way overused (and not by only me!), they are superfluous; they junk-up our communications, and they demonstrate our laziness.

A bad habit!

I’m 3 paragraphs into this post and I’ve already had to eliminate just and very twice each and really once.  It’s a bad habit.  (The old me would have said ‘It’s habit, really’ right there!) Like many of us, I have fallen into the habit of using the word really and very to create emphasis. I wasn’t using my brain or a thesaurus to come up with alternative words to provide the emphasis I’m looking for. I was going with the easy-out.

death to these 3 words yourlifeenhanced.net

Instead of saying, ‘I’m exhausted,’ I rely on ‘I’m really tired.’

Instead of saying ‘I’m furious,’ I say, ‘I’m very mad.’

 

Not only are the first phrases clearer, and quicker to type since they have fewer words, they are more entertaining to read!

 

I’m not sure why I use the word just so much but it’s getting on my own nerves.  I think many of us use it to try to soften our messages like ‘just thought I’d ask; do you have time to get that project finished today?’

Or to try to sound humble, like when I answer questions about my company with things like ‘it’s just a small training and coaching company.’

I recently heard a customer ask, ‘are you the manager?’  The employee answered by saying ‘No. I’m just the sales associate.’

What?!?!

“Just” a sales associate?  That’s not right!

Now in the blogging world, the more words you have, the easier it is to achieve the level of SEO you need. But the focus should be on quality words, not filler.  And that’s all words like very, really, and just are. They are filler words.

So I’m on a quest to kill these words from my writing and from my conversations.  It won’t be easy. It will be difficult. And it will take time. But I can do it. And you can, too.

 

Here are a few articles that may provide you with replacement words and inspiration!

128 Words to Use Instead of Very

Why You Should Stop Using the Word “Just”

More Communication Posts:

4 Words You Should Ban From Your Organization NOW!

How to Accept a Compliment like a SUPERSTAR!

No More Good Luck!

What changes do you want to make in your communication? Any words you want to kill?Mindy McCorkle Signature

 

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Holiday Decorations: Why I Don’t Do It

It’s true. I don’t put a Christmas Tree anymore. In fact, I decorate very little during the holiday season. It’s not a bah-humbug thing.  I love the holidays. I love the reason behind Christmas. But I don’t decorate much for the holidays anymore.

Please don’t judge me….at least not until you read the rest of the story!

***At the very moment I was finalizing this post for publication, Live with Kelly and Ryan was airing a story about how psychologists say that people who put up their holiday decorations early are happier. They say that decorations make us happy during the holidays.  I understand that may be true for some people, but it’s not the case for every single person!***

I was perusing Facebook over the weekend after Thanksgiving and saw a flood of ‘It’s beginning to look like Christmas’ posts with lots of pics of Christmas trees, mantel scenes, twinkling lights, and holiday vignettes.  They were all gorgeous in their own way.

Quite festive indeed!

It made me think about how my own decorating has evolved over the years.

When I was a newlywed the first time (that one didn’t stick – thank goodness!), I decorated the entire house.  I had Christmas linens in the bathrooms, kitchen, and bedrooms. Most of the prints on the walls were switched out with holiday prints. I brought in real holly, cedar sprigs, pine cones, and magnolia leaves to decorate the mantel and practically every other surface in the house.  I think I thought the editors of Good Housekeeping were going to pop in any minute.

 

It took days to do it all.

And it took days (or longer) to undo it.

 

One year, it was almost St. Patrick’s Day before I got all the holiday stuff put away.  <gulp>

 

Years later, when my forever-husband’s kids were young and came to stay with us every other weekend, we went all out.  There were lights on the front porch railing, a wreath on the door, little Christmas knick-knacks everywhere, and a velvety Rudolph and Clarice under the main tree in the living room.  There were smaller themed trees in the kitchen, both kids rooms, and the guest room.  Martha Stewart would have been so proud.

And again, it took days to do, and days to undo.

But I did it. Every year.

Until I didn’t.

 

Several years ago, we had a lot going on during the holidays. And we had travel plans for the week between Christmas and New Years. So we scaled back the decorating. Way back.

 

In fact, that year, I put up the table-top ceramic tree with the tiny plastic lights that my sister had made for me many moons ago. And I put the holiday wreath on the door. But that was it.  That’s all the decorating I did that year.

 

For a millisecond, it felt a little weird. But we weren’t really at home much that year so the weirdness didn’t last long.

 

And after the holidays were over, when I realized it took less than 10 minutes to undo the decorating, I thought to myself, ‘girl, you’re on to something here!’

The next year, we were able to spend a good bit of time at home during the holidays.

And I thought I’d go back to the big way of decorating.

But I didn’t.

I kept thinking about how long it takes to get all the boxes out of the attic, unpack the ornaments, fluff out the tree, sting the lights, yada yada yada.

Nope. Not going to do it. Don’t need to.

 

You see, that first year of minimal decorating made me realize a few things.

While I enjoyed the decorating part – a little – I dreaded the undecorating part. A lot. And dread should never be part of the Christmas season.

The time I saved from decorating and undecorating was used Why I Don’t Decorate for the Holidays Anymore yourlifeenhanced.netto do other things that I do love. Like baking more goodies, and making more handmade gifts. Spending more time with friends and extended family. And cozying up on the sofa with my fur-babies and hubby watching movies.

I didn’t have to re-decorate every few days when the cats would pull down the stockings or remove ornaments from the tree. And thus, I didn’t find ornaments under the couch, under the bed, and behind the dresser for months after the decorations were packed away. (Cat parents will understand!)

The decorations didn’t spark the Christmas spirit in me, or in my husband. The things we experienced together did. It didn’t feel any less like Christmas with fewer decorations. And I was less stressed.

Christmas became less about the glitz and glitter, and more about slowing down, rejoicing in being together and giving to others.

What about Presents?

Along about the same time as my first ‘minimalist’ Christmas, our family decided to stop getting each other presents.  Our family had become pretty big by then and it was burdensome for some of us to buy for so many people. And we all knew full well that wasn’t the reason for the season anyway.

So we decided to stop buying presents. (Except for the littles; they still get presents!) Instead, each of the 3 girls – me and my 2 sisters – take turns picking an organization to support during the holidays.

The money we would have spent on presents now goes to those who are less fortunate and need the help way more than we need more stuff.

Some years, it’s the Children’s Home in my hometown. Other years, it’s the food bank or the crisis center. This year, it’s a center for battered women who need work clothes and other essentials to get their life back.

 

It feels good.

And is more in line with the season’s reason AND with my life purpose.

Now, I’m not writing this to encourage you to stop putting up all those beautifully adorned trees, or stringing all those lovely twinkling lights. But please only do that if you really enjoy doing it. Or if you do it for the little ones in your household.

Don’t stress over the perfect tree. It’s not about the tree. It’s about family.

Don’t let the gift giving take over the season. There should be no dread during the holidays – especially the credit card bills that come in January! It’s not about the gifts.  It’s about joy and love.

 

For the last 5 years, we’ve had virtually zero stress during the holidays in my house.  Little time spent decorating, only a few ‘gifts’ purchased for the selected charity, plenty of time for home-baked goodies and handcrafted gifts, and way more time for family, friends, relaxing, and rejoicing.

 

Yep, that’s how we holiday at my house!

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I can’t say that I won’t drag out the boxes and bins of ornaments again one day. I kept the sentimental ones and the vintage irreplaceable ones. But for now, I’m content to let the spirit within me and my family be all the holiday glitz I need!

Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays and the merriest Christmas ever – no matter how you decide to celebrate the season!Mindy McCorkle Signature

Interested in giving back this holiday season? Here are a few options!

Second Harvest Food Bank

The Dove’s Nest for Women