Everything I Know I Learned from Listening to the Radio

Beach bag

I recently learned the true definition of a memoir. Manuscripts categorized in that genre must be based on a “life changing” event. The definition prompted me to search my soul. What major experience changed my life? While tripping down memory lane, I honed in on a habit that set the stage for living my “Life on the Sunny Side.”

Early in my career we moved to south Florida. Happily fleeing the brutal Michigan winters I chucked my windshield scraper and traded snow boots for flip flops, balmy ocean breezes and days dripping with bright sunshine. Jobs were plentiful in the technology sector. Our newly adopted city, Boca Raton means “mouth of the rat,” but for me life was a beach.

In addition to a home with a pool, a promising future in human resources and the Atlantic shoreline down the road, I tumbled head over heels in love with another area feature… a local radio station.  No, it wasn’t rock, cool jazz or country. In fact, the station did not play music. To my sheer delight I could tune into motivational radio 24/7. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen became my heroes before they published the “Chicken Soup” series. Brian Tracey, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar graced my personal top ten list mesmerizing me with their wisdom. At every opportunity I listened in as my personal mentors encouraged me to work hard, take risks, and maximize my potential.

Learning to set career goals, and increase my motivation I discovered possibilities in any given situation. These pros taught me the art of time management and how to boost my productivity. My college education paled in comparison to what I derived from such positive role models.

By applying lessons learned, my career gained momentum and I scored an exciting promotion and relocation to northern California. Before I could catch my breath, I was unpacking boxes in the Golden State scanning the broadcasting waves for the Silicon Valley version of motivational radio. Sadly, such programming was severely lacking. My solution was to load my home, car and office with motivational CD’s. To this day, I continue to fill my personal air space with my old favorites and a new generation of motivational masters.

Life changing events may not always strike like a thunderbolt spinning you into another dimension. Perhaps it is not one single explosive moment that turns the tide. I am living proof that sometimes life can change by simply flipping on the radio.


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Turning a Wish into Reality

The little girl on a lawn with a puppy in the sunny day

A particular television commercial fills me with delight. Perhaps you have seen it. An adorable little girl declares she would like a “chango machine” so she can turn her little brother into a puppy. Thank heavens I never got my hands on that magic machine growing up! My poor baby brother would have been a soft furry canine before you could pronounce “presto chango.”

As refreshing as it is to imagine instant change, we know changing course takes time and effort. But just for a moment, imagine you were granted one wish. Visualize stepping into the chango machine and then out again. What one thing is different? Did you find yourself in the corner office, or married to the woman of your dreams? Perhaps you now live in Hawaii, or you reappeared as an executive chef working at a trendy five-star restaurant.

What occurred in your fantasy machine you can duplicate in real life. You need no secret formula to accomplish the change you want most. It just takes planning, focus and a dose of grit as evidence by the story of a young college graduate named Ken Ilqunas.

Finding himself deep in debt upon graduating from the University of Buffalo, Ken moved to Alaska to secure employment and pay off his $32,000 college loan. With dedicated hard work he paid back every dime in two years. Determined never to pile up debt again, this enterprising fellow sought a master’s degree. Staying true to his vow, Ken creatively invented a way to live in his van while attending grad school at Duke University. Wow!

Not all of us have Ken’s super-sized moxie, but his inspiring story provides the impetus to move forward. Whatever it is standing between you and the goal line, I doubt it means working at a remote Alaskan truck stop or living in your van.

Now that you have a clear vision of that one thing in your life requiring change, commit to facilitating action. Draw up a plan and stay the course. Big leaps are made of many tiny steps. If you start today the time will arrive when, like Ken, you can take a bow and reap the benefits.

Time To Put on Your Big Girl Panties

Pretty little girl sits on potty.

While visiting family in Michigan I had the opportunity to coach my niece, Alina, through a life-changing event, one considered major in a toddler’s life. She was ready for toilet training. The little charmer took it very seriously. As we worked toward the goal, I accompanied her on bathroom trips that were sometimes a false alarm, occasionally an oops…too late, but much of the time successful. My role in the process, as requested by Alina, included reading to her from a children’s potty training book, which I did at least twenty-seven times. She listened intently, reviewed the pictures carefully and gave me that knowing smile proclaiming, “Don’t worry Auntie, I’ve got this.”

When I stop to think about it, giving up diapers and people who attend to your personal needs must be challenging. No one ever said change is easy. Not for a mere child, or a seasoned adult.

Many of us avoid change because it’s uncomfortable. What we really fear is the unknown. The perception of fear can immobilize us. Consequently, we create excuses and either continue our bad habits or lack new achievements.

Another common excuse for avoiding change is the difficulty factor. We imagine it’s going to be painful. In his book, “Excuses  Begone!” Dr.  Wayne Dyer advises “the belief it is going to be hard is only a belief.” Stop programming your mind with defeating convictions. Dyer recommends conquering our negative thoughts with positive affirmations. For example, perhaps you could increase your earning power if you moved to a different city where jobs are more plentiful. Don’t scare yourself silly with the thought that leaving your family and friends behind will cause immense loneliness. Instead, affirm you are a likeable person who makes new friends easily. Repeat the affirmation when fear tries to sabotage your new direction. Begin to embrace life changes.

Need some more pointers on gaining momentum when dealing with change? Start simple. Define one positive action you can take to can alter your life. Schedule it into your calendar for the next thirty days. Commit to it in writing and post it in a highly visible location. Then make a list of all the benefits of follow-through.

Want to run a marathon? Don your running shoes and start training today. Working your plan not only delivers results it builds your self-esteem.

After you run that marathon, celebrate! Reward yourself with something fun and meaningful. You DID it! Climbing that mountain proved you put on your big girl panties (or big boy boxers) and implemented positive change. Now, continue your journey onward.