Exactly what it says on the tin… or not.

Challenge Everything, Question Everything, Don’t Be Afraid to Change Anything!

I read this article – in search of something interesting – in the wee hours last night, and it made a huge amount of sense to me.

8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day and How to Avoid Them

Two very important things – knowing the difference between sunk cost and restarting and changing the goals. Ie, not giving up on things you know matter and are achievable, but also paying attention to the time you take out of misplaced loyalty such as disciplining yourself to complete something you know will not achieve your maximum input or desired effect, but continuing … because you started.

I started with point number three I guess, because I realised, I’m very guilty of this.  I would be the person in the cinema seat watching the whole film.  I have such a grounding of how important money is, that it horrifies me the idea of just wasting it and getting up and walking out.  But, I also know, and can see through reading this, that TIME is important.  You do not get back time, but you could make more money.

Say I had two races to run, cross country,  they are more of a practice run but I, rather not thinking straight, put my name on both lists.  I know, I cannot gain a great placing with the first one, I took a bit of a wrong turning, and my trainer lace broke, making it a bit loose so I’m having to balance that trainer so it doesn’t fall off, and there are still a few miles to go with this, I’m plodding along at the tail end, and I know everyone else is home and dry.  I want to finish, of course I do, but, what about that second one this afternoon?  Wouldn’t I be better to conserve my energy and perhaps do better trying again later, and with a different approach?  Not sure I’ve picked very good examples there but I’m thinking out loud.

I like to play – a lot.  I do this to challenge my mental agility.  I also find it a great de-stresser and a brilliant way to start focusing.   I’m also guilty of picking games that can take a lot of time.  I see my time on the ticker going down, and I know from previous attempts, that I can do better, go faster, spot changes better or be dealt a better deal with whatever it is I am doing.  But, I am also aware again of my discipline to stay with it and complete the game at a slower time than I have managed before.  Surely this is sunk cost, I need to refresh, and be more focused instead of tiring myself – feeling my spirit lower but gritting teeth in earnest, I will finish.

Going back to my race.  If this was a marathon and I was raising money for good causes – then yes, finishing is important.  But most things in life aren’t marathons, they are ideals where we are looking to maximise our achievement in the shortest amount of time and with the least amount of effort.  That’s not to say drop the quality, but up the output.  Feeling vulnerable to losing stops us from making good, clean cut decisions.

I found myself actually reflecting on successful friends, and I know, they don’t worry about changing the goals, they stop at the right time and restart.   They are not only successful, they appear confident, happy, warm individuals, bringing leadership, encouragement and example into all they do.

This kind of makes me reflect on point number one.  For many years, more than I wish to mention, being a lady, I kept with people who had probably totally the same viewpoints, same way of doing things, and the same lifestyles, I didn’t change any of that because I was fearful, I did things, because, you just did.  I hit forty  – okay, I’m not really that much of a lady –  and suddenly, this wonderful thing called the ‘Internet’ happened.  All of a sudden, social media allowed you to mix with people who did things differently, lived in different countries, had different cultures and upbringings.  I love this.  That example of ‘feeling vulnerable to losing’ also comes from allowing status to get in the way – the status YOU give yourself.

Looking at point eight and point one together,  the stereo-typing of Jane and Linda, along with point six on the anchoring effect show me where I often go wrong again in my assumptions of how I see other people and how I think other people see me.  I cloud myself with detail that isn’t there, or even if it is, is not important.  That’s an interesting reflection that tied in with my class yesterday looking at how to present information and leaving out irrelevant other projects.

As you can see by this blog article, I’ve a long way to go with the presenting information – but – this is a rambling, so to speak.

I was also drawn to another article yesterday in The Guardian –

How To Improve Your Luck and Win the Lottery Twice (possibly)

This one compounded with the above observations of mine in that,

“…lucky and unlucky people create much of their good and bad luck by the way they think and behave. …”

My ethos these days is to

“Challenge everything, question everything, don’t be afraid to change anything!”

The people I have met over the years have allowed me to see, it was not their attitude towards me, but MY attitude towards me that held me back.   Not once have I met a successful person who has said to me, you can’t do it, more, they will see what I do, and correct me with enthusiasm, when I try to use my defeatist bent on them.  ‘I am not invincible’, they say.  That is all that was needed.

And What Percentage Of That 20 Years Has Been Spent On Forums And Social Media? :)

Yesterday, I announced to my friends on Facebook, that 01.02.2015 has me celebrating the entry of my 20th year of self-employment. I woke up to see my friend, Chris, had posed me a question as the above title. Hmm, good question, Chris, and one I am very happy to answer (and digress on slightly because I am proud of my 20 years personal growth). Only, forgive me if I do not waste time trying to work out precisely what percentage.  I would have no use for this information at the end of the day.

So, back in 1995, I had two daughters, 7 and 5 respectfully. Up until that point, I was very much a lazy butt, I mean, *cough* full-time mother. I believed totally in being there for them, every minute and watching every single step in life they made. I involved myself actively in Toddlers (Toddlers Committee (Secretary)) Playgroup (Playgroup Committee (Secretary)) PTA (Secretary) Even at school, I voluntarily went in every single Friday morning (for the whole morning) to help a Teacher I got to know when my eldest started, by tying ties and tying shoelaces after gym, sitting with children who needed extra help during the daily dozen (maths and spelling tests). Sitting with children helping them with their reading, reading stories to the class (loved doing that – because I love children’s stories) whatever and wherever ‘teach’ felt she could use me.

In 1995, even when I started up, I continued many of these practices. We didn’t have home computers back then, we didn’t have internet. I had an electronic typewriter (daisywheels) and analogue transcription equipment. Everything was done with people coming to me having read my Yellow Pages entry in the big paper bound edition. It was great and I loved it.

In 1998, I bought my first home pc – 40Mb – yes, megabyte hard-drive. In 1999, I bought dial-up internet (expensive… slow). Towards the end of 1998/beg 99, I remember people being excited, reading over the net about time capsules etc. I decided, as a business, to put myself out there. I was still involved with my local school with all three children now there. Youngest in Nursery. I asked them how they would feel about having a book put together showcasing a piece of work from every single child who attended, including nursery? I told them, it would cost them nothing, they could sell it to fundraise, and give a percentage of the take to Rachel House and CHAS – Hospital for sick/terminally ill children – fairly local. I didn’t expect help. So, armed with my digital camera, and a permission slip from all parents that their child’s work could be included (this was near the start of data protection being tightened) I ventured into the school on an almost daily basis, scouring the corridors for beautiful displays of artwork, poetry, stories etc. Not everything could be photographed, Teachers gave me, pencil, handwritten stories and poems to be scanned.  Even photographs taken on walls needed to be sized, skewed (only photographers get to hold their cameras immaculately) rotated etc.  It was a mammoth task, and I only had Photodraw and Publisher (Office 97) back then, and Photoshop 5.5. I approached big companies to donate stuff. Hewlett Packard gave me the loan of a colour printer and tons and tons of toner cartridges, (they even finished off the job for me when I realised it was costing a bomb and only half way through?) There was a good chance even with me going as fast as I could, they might never get this printer back!  They never charged me a penny for this.  Tullis Paper donated special card to make the cover page – and HP donated even more special paper. I had a thermal binding machine and again I approached the makers to donate spines with clear perspex to complete this book. Now, I know it wasn’t like the ones you buy in the shops, but it also wasn’t a flimsy A5 stapled black and white effort. To me, it was beautiful. Sixty four pages with loads and loads of beautiful images, and yes, children’s handwriting.  No way did I want to change this to typed text.  There is beauty in our first attempts of forming words. I completed just in time for Christmas 2001 and stipulated that each book was to be sold at £10. Now, that sounds like a lot of money back then, and it was, but it was a lovely gift and memory for our community, and again, the money raised for charity and school funds. We raised approx. £800 for the school, no expenses and £48 to Rachel House on top – there was only 140 pupils in total in the whole school at that time. That to me, was my proudest moment.

Soo, onwards and upwards. In 2002, I moved house, and upgraded to broadband AOL that was not dial up! Corrrr. Still quite expensive to what we have now. I think I might have joined .net around that time – I honestly can’t remember. I loved that there were tech like people who loved playing with graphics (Photoshop comp.), where I learnt all my Photoshop skills! Those who talked about the ins and outs gubbings of the CPU – yes. I changed my first power supply by asking advice, taking photos of the inside casing, researching how to do it, posting on forums… using screwdrivers etc etc. Before that, I only ventured in to change a graphics card, memory and add sound cards. So, yeah, I played, but I also learned. I learned from .net magazine, how to do basic xhtml/css. The forums were invaluable, so that armed with my SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 hours… I built my first website. I got a huge amount of help from people like Dave and Sarah who gave their time helping others in display/coding etc. I played… and I learned. I now had a web presence. I spent time looking at the SEO forums and learnt a little about key words, important directories etc. I played and I learned.

At the same time I had joined Virtual Assistance forums – one on Yahoo, that gave me a vital networking place, helping me establish my skills and market them and often, if one of the more established members was overrun with a deadline and workload, they shared it, so, yes, income from networking on social media.

I joined Ecademy (now SunZu), LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, other working professional forums, you name it, I would be willing to explore it! On top of that, I’ve now joined quite a few online training courses, and am loving all the new skills I have gained from them, including now socially attending my local community centre and preparing for ECDL certification after being self-taught all these years. The internet absolutely is the key to so many avenues and opportunities.

As a self-employed person, it is purely like that, you are by yourself, almost 24/7. You work on your own on other people’s projects. There isn’t the office banter you get from group working. As I had moved and my children had grown up, I was alone. I don’t have any family – only one brother down in England. So, no support network. I turned to social media/forums to build myself company. I played, I learned, I acquired skills, I interacted, I became happy being alone.

By 2009, on a personal note, my family life was difficult and my family separated, even as early as 2001, there were difficulties I had no one to share with, and I kept everything to myself. However, I came online, and I had people I could call ‘friends’, who encouraged me, in my singing, my work, my coding, my designing, they gave me, a sense of being and a sense that I could turn to them for company, and they made me ‘laugh!’.

In 2013, I went through divorce and house-sale, and now, last year, I was back to having to set up again, advertise and market myself in a strange place. I am still isolated from physical friends, (probably my fault because I found it easier to live that way when my life was troubled, I didn’t want or have to burden anyone) but my online friends have been my inspiration.

I have always maintained, and people who know me from way back know, ‘the importance of play as an adult’. I stay with that. We absolutely do need time out to have fun.

As a self-employed person, hours are not restricted to 9-5, we can work whenever is best – for me, that’s often through the night.

My routine? I always, always time everything I do, even when task orientated (not on per hour payment – I also break down hours to minutes). If someone is paying me, they only pay for their work. At the beginning of my work, I note the time. If the phone rings, I note the time of the phone ringing. I then at the end of the call, note the time I recommence. If I go to make a cup of coffee, same again. Nobody is charged for my coffee drinking, online playing or anything like that. In an office people constantly put the kettle on and drink by their machines… all out of their employer’s pocket. They also use social media. If my phone rings, I don’t time the call or work it into my costs to clients, I don’t even charge for the time they come and visit me if they have to – I should do!

In summary, I probably spend a lot of time online using social media but none of it wasted, all of it, to my own personal wellbeing and benefit. Here’s to 20 years and 2015, my first post of the year and lots of interaction worldwide! Yes, from using social media and the internet – I work and am willing to work with you nationally and internationally as well as locally on my doorstep.

One Small Step…

Red MoonKyle-Greenwell-Flickr-Creative-Commons, all rights attributed to original artist and used with kind permission
Red Moon – Taken on Winter Solstice (21.12.2010) Nikkorz Flickr stream – all rights attributed to original artist and used under kind permission – Creative Commons licence

This day in history…
20th July, 1969,
“At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home:
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.”

However, Snopes, reports that Neil, his one incredible opportunity, which, incidentally I grew up believing he just came out with it, flubs his well rehearsed opening one liner.

In my mind when I was looking at events in history or in the present moment to inspire my writing today, as I take ‘one small step back’ into ‘business life’ and joining in, and I focused in on this, and I remembered watching with my family and thinking, wow, 240,000 miles from Earth and we can receive a transmission… wow, human beings travelled that distance and landed on my moon, they survived, they flew that thing! This is incredible. So many things, other than, did he get it right?

Now I wonder, how many hours did he sit there thinking, must get this right, I’m on soon, this is my moment to impress the world, this is MY moment, where’s my business card? Did we forget to bring the flag? (No pressure, Neil!)

It would be really wonderful if we saw the likes of something as significant and awe inspiring as the Moon landing in our history again. But let’s bring it down to a local level. Each and every day we as individuals are given opportunities to make ‘one small step’, and I’m pretty sure, I’m much like any of you, wanting to rehearse and get it right. At the end of the day though, I miss many opportunities because of this need to be perfect, I simply end up turning back round and walking away. Now, I guess, Neil couldn’t really do that. Well, I suppose he could have bottled out and said, Buzz, you do it, I’ve got stage fright. Nahhh. What’s important is that Neil, went down those steps to enjoy the first walk on the moon and say what he did.

I know if it were me, I’d be busy making sure my hair was just right (for me – it’s never right, as in ‘just right’). I’d be tottering on those steps scared I’d fall off, like a catwalk model just doing the final twirl and awkwardly falling over the side of my badly placed heel. I’d probably want to take a ‘selfie’ and post it on Facebook. What would I say? I’d probably cry a little, giggle a lot, definitely want to say something so astounding I could see heads nodding in approval, and more than likely I’d just say. Wow, gosh, oh my! And I’d definitely be ‘miffed’ I forgot to sing a song.

So as I sit here today, supposed to be thinking about, how do I sell myself to you? I am instead thinking, here I am, hello again, I hope today brings you good moments, small steps and a sense of opportunity around every corner. No rehearsing necessary.

By the way, I’d love to help you out on that journey, whether it be providing you with a CV, typing your first novel, audio transcribing your interviews/conferences, updating your website/blog/Facebook presence, phoning your prospective clients and booking an appointment, maintaining a diary, emailing on your behalf and so many other services, please, do get in touch.

I have now relocated to Cardenden, I am still able to provide you with the very best service, remotely worldwide, and within Fife/Edinburgh region for as many or as little hours as you require. Please check out my new website, Secfinder.com, this is my Small Step. I will now be expanding the Business Card Web Directory to Fife rather than only Dunfermline (It’s still very much a project in hand that got put on the back burner while life showed me how to become an expert trapeze artist juggling eggs with one hand tied behind my back – no, I’m sorry, you can’t hire me to do this for you). If you wish to include your Business Card, again, please get in touch.

I look forward to many new ventures from the beginning of August and will be updating this page with offers from time to time.

A Light Hearted and Loving Fictional Glimpse of a Modern Day Conversation with GOD

Hi Janet, I’m God, I have decided the day has come when I ought to embrace change and start up an account on Facebook. I’d like you to be my friend, will you add me?

Sure thing, God, only, I need to know a little more about you. Firstly, how do I know you are who you say you are? People often make up profiles of people they idolise, and in this world I live in, there seem to be so many faiths and they are all fighting with each other.

Yeah, that’s a bit of a dilemma. See, there really is only one God, me… only, people like to give me nicknames – Some call me Father, some call me Yahweh, El Shaddai, Ha-Shem, Jehovah, some call me Holy Ghost (probably because they can’t see me) Some call me unpronounceable names – I have so many, some even call me, ‘good’. It’s a bit like when you had a baby – you had a pet name for the little one whom you hadn’t met, but already loved, remember? Pookie, Muffy, and Percy? 🙂 Oooo, look I found the smilies!

Well, I kinda thought this might be the case, as – they all seem to love you, think of you as their protector, want to spend time with you, do good things in your name, get people to join them. But, yeah, then they kill each other and say, it’s in the Bible, it’s in the Koran, it’s here …

Again, just like you, many people try to express a kind of relationship with me in words – BTW that Kindle Fire looks real good, and gotta love Amazon. Something for everyone. It’s amazing really – how many people sell the same thing and in so many places. Some places have better savings, deliver on time, listen to their customers well, learn from their mistakes – I really love that you can do it all in your own home – no crowds to bustle and distract you, quiet moments, a nice refreshing drink and comfy chair. Competition isn’t so bad really, the most important thing is to get your message across. That’s why I joined Facebook. It seems everyone – no matter what they believe, no matter what shade or hue of skin they have, no matter what language – there is a common gathering ground and lighter moments, and they find time to come here and connect with others.

Thanks God, that seems to make sense – okay, I will add you. You seem nice. I look forward to getting to know you.

You too, Janet – gotta dash – if I’m not online too often you will understand, I love people – I need go chat with as many as possible, spread myself around a little, do some good stuff, poke a few, hug many. Have a lovely day…

Thanks, I have a lot I need to get on with, I tend to sit and think too much at times instead of doing. It really is a beautiful day here – I’ll just go and say ‘hi’ to some folks. Thanks for stopping my way.

EDIT: Thank you, Nica Mandigma, and your invite to join a 31 day blogging challenge. As I said, my head is in the clouds right now, but I’d love to join you all. I may very well become ‘off topic’.

I put this as my status on Facebook yesterday, and decided this morning, that indeed, it is good enough for a blog item, and so I enter it for day one… Elevator Pitch. I mean, come on, you can’t get much higher than a light conversation with God, can you? 🙂

Uh-oh. Just did a word count on main text? 524. Think I’m slightly over the er, 100-150 guideline! But, another elevator message: It’s the joining in that counts.

Happy New Year, 2013…

It is always nice to wish a New Year in, and although we all know we have the chance to change everyday, sometimes having a new building block can help us to focus on what needs to be done and ways to improve our lives, be it personal or business.

I don’t tend to make New Years Resolutions because one can almost feel that point of defeat before even starting.  However, I thought it a good practice to have something on which to meditate and reflect.  So here were my four points to ‘listen to’ and reassess.

During 2013 I will:

1) Try my very best to succeed in accomplishing the things I could not manage in 2012 with the understanding that changing the approach is more important than giving up.
2) Continue to reach out to my world in the hope that I can make you smile, spend time with you that leaves you feeling a sense of caring and honesty.
3) Unconditionally accept you for what you strive to be, whilst ever more hoping to strengthen my own vulnerabilities that lurk, and cause me not to trust or act – therefore creating an even better ‘me’ who can and will stride carefully and thoughtfully to help myself, and others.
4) Love, Live, and enjoy ‘Life’…

I also have been spending time today to think about ‘2013’.  Well, for starters, there’s that lucky number ’13’.

Over the last couple of years I have maybe struggled a little in my personal life to organise and prioritise the little things that keep a house going – I can do it later, often being my chosen venue of thought.  Then ‘later’ comes and there’s always ‘tomorrow’.  Sometimes kick-starting a day can take ages when in this frame of mind, and so,  I’ve set myself a wee agenda.

Finally, I am getting good at making lists – once upon a time even shopping would be random.  Still is, to a certain degree – I love that sense of ‘surprise’!  But, that’s not so good on a day when the shops are closed and you discover, yes, you forgot ‘something’.

My lists are different, because again, in order to kick-start myself, I like to ‘play’.  I’ve mentioned play before on my Fine Print Page on Facebook.  I believe it to be important, no matter what age you are, to find a sense of fun in life and if that means adding a twist to the mundane?  Why not?  So, I add points – I don’t actually do anything with my points at the end of the day, but it is interesting and rewarding in a strange wee way.

My lists are not essential to life – they are not competitive or do or die things, but they do help me feel a sense of achievement.

So – 2013 is my year of ’13’.

The aim will be to put 13 items on my list daily.

One will be a randomish act of ‘thoughtfulness’.  I use this word rather than kindness because well, it’s good to bear others in both thought and in acts that help out.  It is rewarding to oneself.  Does that make it selfish?  Quite possibly.  All I know is, it gives me a warm feeling inside, that itself, relaxes the person you greet as me, as in, I am more approachable and less ‘defensive’.  So yes, stopping and thinking about others in my world and looking at ways I can contribute will be a good meditation.

Again, because it is ’13’, for fun, I thought, why not set one item that takes me out of my comfort zone?  Believe me there are many of those, and I have to admit, unnecessarily so.  So that accounts for two.

The other ten will include five items that cause me to do something physical – ie moving away from my desk!  I like to live my leisurely life here as well, as my interest in the net and computers/art, knowledge can all be found in this remarkable little piece of technology.   So, some stretching is essential!

I aim to make my items – do able, start able.  They are not always concise and I’m not looking to move mountains.  But I do believe, I can start to create a good pathway in my life that can allow me to stay random and quirky, but also move closer to my goals and spread a little happiness.

Happy New Year everyone! May your lives be filled with adventure.

You Gotta Be In It To Win It!

This was my status, 11 hours ago at the beginning of the day… amazingly nobody asked why?

“Janet Ann Morden
11 hours ago
is trying very hard to suppress laughter, but try as she might, she’s a barrel of giggles… every time she thinks about it. Oh boy! 😀
Like ·
Dave *** likes this.”

Dave liked it – so that’s good 😀

Why am I posting it again? Well, see, a funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum… maybe not the forum, heh. When I was on Facebook would be more the case.

Or not. Let’s get back to the root of the story.

A few years ago, I worked for a Keynote Motivational Speaker as a PA – a Virtual PA. I really enjoyed those years. Robin has a very keen sense of humour and a way of making everyone feel positive about themselves. He’d delivered speeches to Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, IBM, Ford General Motors, Coca Cola). I was privileged enough to be able to transcribe at least two of his books. Best work ever – you wake up and start your day with a smile, and carry that smile throughout. No matter what I was tackling in my personal life, it didn’t matter, my work made me feel good.

Cutting to the chase here. This is the funny bit, to me. Robin would often say in his writing – “You have to be in it to win it.” His example could be how people would forever be down on their luck about never winning the lottery, but they never bought a ticket.

He’s dead right you know. You really do have to join in, put your faith in what you are doing, give it 100% commitment. If you don’t, why should anyone else believe in you? You know what it is you want out of life, you can see the steps you need to take but you hesitate and then… the moment is lost.

Okay, here’s the funny bit. Yeah, I kept you waiting long enough, right?

The other day my friend Bruce said, “Someone buy me a Powerball ticket!” I kinda thought this funny because, well, he’s an American – and er, surely … anyhow, sometimes I think Bruce is a teaser… and I said, “Be careful what you wish for…” And then, “What numbers would you chose?” … he did say, and then I started looking online – for a giggle. I’ve never, ever bought a lottery ticket in my life for me. I have no illusions about the probability of winning… but, a part of me, wanted to join in. In my head, I was smiling because, what could be nicer than to win something for a friend? And what are the chances of that? Yes, little things like this make me smile. A lot. He’s a great guy and always supporting others – about time he got a bit of luck come back at him. Or not. Did it matter? No, it was the thought that counts.

The other thing you would know about me, ‘if’ you know me is that I have the worse luck ever! It’s so bad it makes me laugh!

Sooo, yeah, Google found an online site, I checked Scamadviser first and then, I placed his numbers. Then thought about what numbers I would chose – a one off spurious moment, and yeah, I took the plunge. I then closed down my computer (late on Monday, I think) and thought no more about it until I received my mail this morning. Didn’t even bother to check the numbers!

Guess what?

I won!

Be careful what you wish for! LOL

I’d be happy to share this with Bruce but, heck… now, and again, I try not to giggle – my winnings? £3! 😀

BUT the moral of the story really is, “You have to be in it, to win it!”

I am not saying everyone should go out and buy a lottery ticket. What I am saying is… dare to live! Have a little fun, and chase your moments, but more importantly be positive in your approach to all things – it doesn’t matter whether you win or not, it really is about taking part.

Oh, the Caviar was Fisherman’s Pie and the Champagne was Irn-Bru! Magic.

Bruce! When I finally get to meet you… The coffee’s on ME!