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Monday, July 06, 2009

Jury Duty - Your Commitment to the Community

I spent the last 2 weeks as a jury member in a civil case, it was the best and worst days I have lived in a long time.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Choosing a Powerful Name for Your Company

It has been said that one of the most agonizing decisions for many entrepreneurs is coming up with a name for their new business. Often, those drawn to the business world are not as strong minded when it comes to such seemingly creative tasks as giving a catchy name to their company. You might be interested to learn, however, that the best names have very little to do with creativity and imagination, and everything to do with business acumen and a thorough research of the marketplace. This should put some of you at ease, who feel as though they missed out by skipping that creative writing course in college and are now at the mercy of choosing a boring, unmemorable name you will hate before the paint is dry on your sign. Here are some things you can do to choose a powerful name for your company.

First of all, you’ll need to think about what you want to get across to people. What types of words or phrases could you associate with your business? You’re at the molecular level at this point, so just remember to take it one step at a time. Think about your business and the functions, products, and services it will provide. Think about your target audience and a few of the things they are likely to enjoy, other than your products. Think about some of your favorite business names and see if you can find a through-line that connects any or many of those names. Do they have a common theme? Think about not only your favorite names, but the names of those companies that are most successful. Consider Coca-Cola, Nike, and McDonald’s, for instance. Do you notice anything similar about these names?

Once you’ve thought about these things, take a while to simply brainstorm some name possibilities. Think of at least ten, and try to make them all fit in with the considerations above. If you’ve found a common element to those names you came up with, see if you can’t follow in kind with some of your own names. Don’t try to sit down and do this all at one time. Keep a notepad by your bed or on your desk and return to it anytime you happen to think of a good name to add to the list. Don’t stretch the task over the next year by any means, but it will be good to let your mind free to think about names and associate your task with different things.

After you’ve completed your list, it’s time to start crossing off the ones that won’t work and coming up with a final list of two or three from which to choose. One criterion for keeping or discarding is whether or not the name is too specific. For instance, if your business will be selling printer ink, you may not want to name your company Ink, inc., even though it is creative and catchy (and incorporates the hard K sound found in those businesses we brought up before). If a few years, you want to start selling a hundred other office products the name could be a limiter, don’t let it.

After you’ve narrowed the list, go with your gut. Choose the name you personally like the best and go with it, no matter what anyone else says. After all, in the end it’s your business, not your friends or family’s. If you like it, live with it. It’s your new business name.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Taking the First Step

If there are no negatives in your life; if you never have a problem finding positive influences; if you are that rarest of individuals who, when faced with making a decision, immediately does the right thing and never looks back; if you never suffer from self doubt; then you can skip this week's blemails.

But if you are like me, and second guess your decisions time and again, especially in the darkness of an early morning after a night of too little sleep, then this series is right up your alley.

I know that the only thing I can really change today is my attitude. And after I've changed my attitude, all things are possible. But an attitude change is a totally inside job. And it's HARD WORK.

Getting started is the hardest part. But the old adage "a journey of a thousand miles begins with just a single step" is so true. If you are going to build a house, there are steps you'd take, and in a certain order. First, you'd have a dream, a vision. And then you'd put the plan on paper. And then you'd get the tools you need. Only after these are accomplished would you begin to build.

Building (or rebuilding) a life is a lot like building a house. And these are the steps.

1. Dare to Believe.
2. Position Yourself for Change.
3. Use the Keys for Breaking Through.

This posting a new three series step by articles from writer and author, Patricia Thibodeau

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Dare to Believe!

First of three articles by Patricia Thibodeau.

Fort Delaware; 3 December, 1864
Andrew was almost asleep when he heard a voice from the next bunk say "Jackson, what you aiming to do when you get paroled?" Andy raised his head and looked into the gloom. The boy who spoke was tall, and no doubt hearts broke quite regular over him at home, but the months in prison had made him gaunt, gray face bones sticking out in a permanently grim grin that did not extend to his eyes. Andrew shook his head, mentally correcting himself. No, not a boy. He was seventeen and had fought like a man. But at almost twenty-six, Andy felt a hundred years older than the youngster.
"Now, Jim, I told you over and over what I will do!" Andy wasn’t put out, just wanted to tease him a mite. God knew they had little enough to laugh about in that place, and took humor wherever they could find it.
Jim pulled himself up on his elbows a little, looked the other man up one side and down the other, and said, “Not like you had some place to go real quick, now is it? Talk to me, Jackson. It makes me forget where we are when you talk. Tell me again. Please."
Andy smiled at the boy. "Well, you know those mountains way over there, west of here?" Jim nodded his head a little, and now his eyes did smile. "Well, when I get out of here I will walk south 'til those mountains end. When I see Pulpit Rock, I will know I am home."
Jim sighed a little, lay down, and was quiet. Andy lay back on his own bunk, then, hoping to soon be lost in his own dreams. But he didn’t forget the conversation. Next day, when he had time, he took his pencil and added to the steadily growing stack of paper that contained his thoughts.
‘That is all we have to do in this place, remember and forget and dream. We do more dreaming than either of the other two. Our daytime dreams are, I suppose, a little easier to handle because of the daylight.
But when the dreams come at night, screams rip through the darkness, repeated a few minutes later from another raw throat, remembered hell using up the energy of men who can ill afford the loss.
We are, most of us, in bad physical condition. We need more than one good meal to put us back in order, but we survive on what we have each day.
That is the word. Survive. Most of us were hardy stock to begin with. We came from the mountains of Tennessee, the foothills of Alabama, the backwoods of Arkansas, and occasionally the muddy streets of cities. Most of us had worked hard all our lives.
Deprivation was nothing new to us, for none of us were wealthy. If we had been wealthy we would not have been here - we would either be at home with a substitute in our place or dead because we would have been well off enough to be an officer.
All us boys knew how to forage during the winter, and plant during the spring, and harvest the fruits of our labors. We could build houses and shoot squirrels and ride horses and love our families and pray to our God, but we cannot leave the hell we wake to each day.
Now our only harvest is when we collect the dead each morning and take them outside. They say the officer’s prison is even worse than ours. How that could be is hard to imagine. Best not to try.”

And so it was with great granddaddy. Even with the horrors of being a prisoner of war, he had a dream for a future; one that did not include death. A year after that conversation, when they turned him loose at the end of the war, he went out the gate with a glad heart and turned south. It was not an easy journey home, as you can imagine. Afraid to travel at night, because of unseen dangers on the road, and afraid to travel in the daylight, because all he had to wear was his uniform and some folks in the north were still smarting over the war, he walked early morning and late evening. What would take us, today, about 14 hours by car, took him three months by foot.

But the point is, he took that first step. He could have stood there at the gate, doubting his ability to walk; he could have sat down just over the hill, not believing that anyone wanted him to come home; he could have gone to the nearest town and become a stolen whiskey drunk. But he did none of those. He had made it through four years of war, two stays in prison (eight days shy of ten months the second time), and was determined to see the fields of home before he died. Eight hundred miles later, he arrived, unheralded. There were no marching bands, no crowds of people waving flags, only one old cow grazing in the meadow to greet him. But to him, that didn’t matter. His dream of seeing Pulpit Rock was realized. He married, fathered eleven children that lived, ran a successful business, taught school, wrote letters to the editor and was published several times in The Daily Hot Blast (forerunner to The Anniston Star), was a respected member of the community, and at 63, from his own bed and surrounded by the people he loved, said, “I just wanted you all to see how a man of God goes, and is not afraid, to meet his maker.” With his last breath, he tried to voice his favorite hymn. "Oh, sing to me of Heaven. When I am called to die, sing songs of Holy Ecstasy to waft my soul on high. When cold and sluggish drops roll off my marble brow, burst forth in strains of joyfulness, let Heaven begin below." And then he squeezed Merilza’s hand, smiled at his children, and left this world.

We can be like Andy. Despite trials and tribulations, despite prison walls either real or imagined, despite the lemons, we can live life to its fullest. But first we have to have a dream. Immediately after a layoff, or a divorce, or a death, going forward is the last thing we want to think about. Getting through one day at a time, five minutes at a time, is paramount. And the longer it takes, the worse it gets. Doubt and unbelief stand between us and total victory. But what God challenges us to do, we can do. If we want to. If we believe we can. If we will just take that first step.

You see, we have a promise, that we are armed with “incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ep 1:19) I challenge you today to shake off the double conditions of life. Forget the if onlys. Take the word “fail” out of your vocabulary. We are the children of a great and awesome Father, who wants only the best in life for us. Do not forget the sorrows of the past, but learn from them, have hope for tomorrow, and resolve that the future will be better, brighter, more wonderful than even your wildest dreams. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

Blessings and hugs,
Patricia Thibodeau

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Position Yourself for Change

Second Article in the series by Patricia Thibodeau

We know what we want to accomplish. We have a dream. But how do we get from here to there? How do we find what Joseph Campbell calls “our bliss.” First and foremost is to believe we can do it. Second is to position yourself for change.

Look hard at what you enjoy doing. But be realistic. Not just anyone can be a pilot at age 50. But if flying is your bliss, take those lessons, and get your license. You may not do it for a living with a major airline, but you can still hire yourself out for friends.

Not everyone, even though the spirit is willing, can design clothes for the masses. But if fashion is your bliss, make your own clothes (and be sure to sew in a label with your name on it). And then don’t be afraid to tell people you did it yourself. People who cannot sew are always looking for someone who can.

If travel is your thing, work part time for an agent; you’ll learn the business and may just wind up with a full time job.

If you enjoy talking on the telephone, sign on as a fundraiser. The pay isn’t much, but ASPCA and several other non-profit organizations in our area have yearly campaigns, and are always looking for help.

If you enjoy meeting people, go to work as a greeter at Walmart. I’m serious. Those people want to be there, and it shows in their smiles.

If you like tools, if you are a weekend carpenter, if you can teach someone to make cabinets, then Lowe’s or Home Depot is calling your name.

If you enjoy gardening, buy a good lawn mower, print up some business cards and drop them on doorsteps in your neighborhood.

If you like makeup, sell Avon.

True, working at a hobby is different from working to earn a living, but you still should find something you love to do. Find something that lets you feel after 8 hours just as good as you did when you started the day. Work is a four-letter word, but if it’s not work, then it’s bliss. If you had your dream job, what would it be?

If you like cutting hair, get some good shoes with strong supports, and go to technical college for a degree.

If you love to tinker with cars and have an innate sense for what “that strange little noise” is, search out automotive courses at the community college and start your own business working nights and weekends for people are off only during those hours.

If you love to make jewelry, do it in your spare time. There are several shops throughout the Metroplex that will agree to furnish an outlet (on consignment) for your merchandise.

If you simply love cleaning houses, do that. I’m serious. There is always a market for someone who doesn’t mind dusting and mopping and washing windows and doing laundry for someone else who doesn’t have the time, the patience, or the want to. Now this one will probably involve you being bonded, and that costs money; but there are cleaning services in our area that are currently hiring, and they’ll help you with it.

Are you an out-of-work accountant with tax experience but can’t find a tax service to hire you? Call your friends. Tell them you are available. At discount rates. You’ll be busy at least half the year. Matter of fact, if you’re an out of work accountant with tax experience, call me and I’ll hire you.

OK, so maybe you need something a little more lucrative than part time or minimum wage. It’s hard to feed a family of four on a fast-food-window salary. But without training, that’s about all you’ll ever have. But if you truly enjoy food and like people, take courses in restaurant management at the community college. Did you know that the D/FW area has more restaurants, per capita, than any other area in the United States? Get the training, and then get the job.

And that sounds pretty good, but what if you quit high school before graduation? GED classes are offered at regular intervals in our communities. The cost for the test is $65. After you’ve passed the GED, you can pursue higher education.

Do you like computers? Would you enjoy being an admin or an office manager? Again, community college.

But what if you like computers and would enjoy working with them daily but simply do not have the time (or money) to take formal classes? There’s an answer for that, too. Ask a friend to teach you. And then if you don’t have one at home, use the computer at your local library to practice what you’ve learned. Be diligent about it.

The rule for learning is this: tell me what to do and I may remember; show me what to do and I will remember; let me do it myself and I will not forget.

No, it’s not going to happen overnight. But it will happen. You just have to have a dream, dare to believe in it, and then position yourself for the change.

Blessings and Hugs,
Patricia Thibodeau

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Keys to Breaking Through

Third and Final Article in the series by Patricia Thibodeau
OK, you have a dream, and you have positioned yourself for change.. So what’s stopping you? You don’t know what to do next? You just can’t seem to get it in gear? Well, let’s look at the keys to breaking through.

But before we begin, let me say that if you don’t believe in a Higher Power, you might as well stop reading right now, because the rest of this message is contingent on that belief.

1. Pray. Open your heart and ask for guidance. Ask for grace. Grace is God’s free gift, to do to us, through us, and for us, with love, what we could never do for ourselves. But we have to ask for it. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer, and don’t pepper it with thees and thous, just talk to God the way you would an earthly parent, or a close friend. God loves us and wants the best for us. Ask for what you want. And then listen for the answer. Too often prayer is me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, and then it’s off our knees and back to the same old thing. Prayer is us talking to God. Meditation is us listening for an answer. Spend time each day in both prayer and meditation.

2. Face the truth about yourself. The word of God confronts us. “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Rom. 14:12). Do you drink too much? Stop. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time. There are any number of support groups in this area that are willing to help. Ask your minister. If you don’t have a minister, ask your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, google “sobriety.” And then go to a meeting and listen with an open mind to what they say. Are you mired in an addiction of another kind? Get help. Are you lost in grief and feel like you simply cannot live another day without that spouse, or that child, or that job? Get help. Are you so depressed in general that you have lost the will to live? I don’t believe it. You wouldn’t still be reading if it was so. Depression is anger turned inward. Get help with your anger. Facing the truth about yourself, your circumstances, your part in it, and your world in general may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do in life. But you can do it. You must. And then don’t repeat the old behavior. You keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Poor me, poor me, pour me another. Pity parties are the easiest kind to throw but self-pity is idolatry. Guard against emotional impulses. Do you spend too much money when you’re feeling blue? Stay busy and out of the mall. And off the internet. Freeze (literally) your credit cards. By the time they’re thawed out, you’ll probably have realized that you really don’t need whatever the impulse drove you to buy. Volunteer at a hospital. Volunteer to teach English as a second language. Volunteer to type resumes for people who are looking for work. If you have the time and resources, volunteer to go on a mission trip. Help with Habitat for Humanity. Deliver meals on wheels. But whatever you do, take the focus off yourself.

4. Stop blaming everybody else. Ooooooooooooh, tough one. Oh, if only he hadn’t left me for another woman. Oh, if only they hadn’t laid me off. Oh, if only she hadn’t died. If only, if only, if only. Did you do something to cause the layoff? The death? The leaving? Then take responsibility for your own actions. I’m not saying you have to look like a fashion model, but quite frankly, ladies, if you can’t remember the last time you combed your hair, if you can’t keep yourself clean, if you can’t put a smile on your face, if you can’t be a “helpmeet” then don’t blame your significant other if they look elsewhere for those things. And gentlemen, you’re not off the hook; if you can’t treat your loved one with the same respect and consideration and admiration you want for yourself, don’t be surprised if that “loved one” turns into an “unloved one.” If the situation is something simply beyond your control, see step 3. If not, read step 4 again.

5. Don’t make a geographic change the answer to your problems. Because if you pick your troubled self up and move it someplace else, all that baggage will go with you, and you’re just the same old tired troubled person in a different location. And before you know it, it’s all back again. Doubled. Changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes works fine as a song, but only the change in attitude will get you where you need to be. Stop running from responsibility. You can’t repent if you won’t admit. Know the real problem. If you truly believe that a change in attitude will not help, that your problems are not of your own making, see step 1. If it’s you, say you’re sorry; mean it; and then resolve with everything that is within you to do better next time. And then do better.

Blessings and hugs.
Patricia Thibodeau

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Is a Do It Yourself Project!

If you have not realized it yet, no one is going to hand you the golden platter with your life’s forward path laid out on it for you to follow. You are the only one that can take the steps to improve your situation and life. Change is difficult; I’m here to help you take off. Get started with some very basic steps that will allow you to t can and I show some simple steps to follow in getting started. First let’s understand the three phases you are going to dive into; the what, how and when.

The *What* phase is digging into your self improvement psyche and brainstorming a list of areas to improve about yourself. This list should include anything about you requiring improvement. Dig deep and be honest.

The *How* phase is simply five steps that guide your through your list created the *What* phase, to actions you will take. Examples may include your desire to be a more creative and healthier cook at home, train for a 5k run, learn a foreign language.… the key is list than all. In this phase these five steps help me get going on my self improvement journeys; convince, create, categorize, prioritize and initiate.
1. Convince- you are the only person that can commit yourself to this whole process, if you can not convince yourself no one else can and you will fail. Why, because you will let distractions and setbacks stop you. Any doubts at this point, a close friend or partner may be able to review what you are engaging in a give you that push, I encourage you to talk with them as a way to convince yourself, *I can do this*.
2. Create – write out your list of improvement items, at this point put anything and everything you may think of on the list. Include areas specific to health, personal relationships, family, income, your job, education, sports, family, communication, relationships … the list is limitless as you can see.
3. Categorize – now that you have your list it is time to put the lists in common categories that are manageable. These categories should be such that some of the items may compliment each other. For instance, cooking or eating may fall under improving your health, walking, and swimming or running can fall under improve physical activity and appearance. You get the idea, simplify.
4. Prioritize – Take you categories and review them critically, pick out the top 3 or 4 ones that you seem the most interested in, put the others aside for now but do not throw away, remember this is a Life long journey. With your selection down to 3 or 4, now pick only two … you guessed it … now pick one. There may be more than one item under this category so you need to repeat this same prioritization exercise again until you have identified the one!
5. Initiate – What are the resources you can tap to learn about this subject, is it the internet, local continuing education, on-line universities, seminars ... seek out subject matter experts. This may take a little time a so be patient. A good starting point on the internet search is to identify key words regarding your subject; these will expedite the search and give you greater access to the resources that are available. I have found the resources at Success University to be among the best, here is a link for you -

For just $2 you have 14 days of unlimited access, how great is that!

Next comes *When*, this phase creates milestones and a timeline for measuring your achievement towards the self improvement goals. Do not underestimate or overestimate the time it will take you to achieve some of these life changing activities. Understand and remember how long it took you to be where you are, it will not be easy, but you can do it.
Include in this milestone and timeline chart, specific tasks required to get you towards your ultimate achievement goal. Keep this list with you and visible, not only will this keep you focused. If you are a visual person, stick-up reminders everyplace you can on the specific task to be accomplished as well as you ultimate goal. Many tools can be helpful, calendars, day planners or PDAs are terrific.

You are in control; now just dedicate yourself to giving the 1st project a try.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Good Memory Equals Greater Success

If you can learn how to improve your memory you will certainly be able to become more successful. Just think of how nice it would be to be able to recall little nuggets of information from your last business trip. Sure you can write down a lot of information so that you can refer back to it later, but you will not always have the ability to take notes. In a face to face, personal conversation with a prospective client, you may not want to take notes. In this case you will be relying on your memory until you can translate the information onto paper.

There are two important parts to your memory: concentration and recall. These are the two areas that you are going to have to improve upon if you want to have a top notch memory. There are a few ways that you can improve your concentration and recall skills.

The first thing to do is make sure you get the information correct the first time. It is very difficult to obtain bad information, and then replace it with the correct information. Pay attention to the speaker carefully so that you get everything right the first time.

Next, make sure that you understand what you are learning. If you do not have any concept as to what something means, you are going to have a very difficult time recalling the information. If you do not understand something the first time, go over the information again until it is thoroughly understood.

Also, being selective can also help you recall information. Instead of trying to recall the entire conversation that you had with a business associate, concentrate on trying to remember the important points. The less information that you have to remember, the easier it will be to recall it at a later point.

Concentrate on what is important, and try to test yourself as you move forward. If you are reading a manuscript and want to remember the main theme of every page, test yourself at the end. This will let you know if you have fully understood the page. If you have trouble recalling the information read it again.

Finally, remember to take everything that you have memorized and write it down. The second that you leave a meeting or classroom you will want to translate your memory onto paper. This way you can repeatedly study the information at a later date.

A good memory can go a long way in achieving success and reaching your goals. You need a good memory for everything from the business world, to the classroom, to social situations. The above tips are a very good place to start if you need to improve your memory skills.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Goal Setting - Why You Should Do It Now!

The only way to ever get what you want in life is by setting goals. Whether it is in the business world or in your social life, if you set goals you will have a much easier time getting what you want in the end. A lot of people do not set goals because they are afraid that they will never be able to reach them. But this is nonsense. If you know how to set a goal, and what to do to reach it, you will be able to accomplish what you set out to do. By following the five steps below you will be able to set effective and achievable goals.

1. Make sure that when you set a goal you know exactly what you want. It is helpful to write your goal down on paper so that you can outline the details of your goal. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is setting a goal for something that sounds good in theory, but would not actually fit their lifestyle and current situation. Be realistic.

2. More than likely you will have more than one goal in your life at a time. You have to remember that one goal cannot prevent your from obtaining another. If your goal is to buy a home on the beach it would not make sense for another goal to be receiving a doctorate degree from a university in Wyoming. Make sure that one goal does not contradict another.

3. Staying positive is an important part of writing any goal. Be sure to write your goals as something that you are striving to reach, not something that you are hoping to leave behind. Without recognizing it, many people set negative goals and while they are trying to achieve them they are just adding more negativity to their life. It is imperative to set positive goals.

4. Research every single detail of your goal before starting. Write down details. Instead of writing that your goal is to have a home on the beach, write down what beach you would like to live on, and how much you want your home to cost. This way you have exact details to work towards, instead of just a general idea. General goals are easier to abandon than detailed goals.

5. Even though you want to start out with goals that are attainable, you also want to make sure that you are getting something that is worth your time. It may be exciting to reach smaller goals, but after a while you will crave bigger achievements that make you feel like you are really getting somewhere. You owe it to yourself to aim for the stars. There is a great websit to help you get started on your succes oriented journey, it is just click away:

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Why is Failure the Stepping Stone to Success?

How does failure benefit you? I think it is quite simple, for every failure you experience you learn what does not work or a behavior you know not to repeat.
Do not be afraid of failure. The pervasive misperception is that failure is somehow bad for you.
I think failure is just the opposite and have identified 8 statements for you to think about on why failure is your stepping stone to success.

1. Failure fuels determination
2. Failure forces creativity
3. Failure makes you use your mind
4. Failure facilitates change
5. Failure separates the strong from the weak
6. Without failure you have no motivation to try again
7. Without failure there is limited opportunity to learn
8. Without failure you become complacent

The notion is basic, failure is the change agent to you becoming successful; do not let the negative perception surrounding it bring you down. You are in charge of your life and turning the failure into a positive experience.

Visit one stating point to success at:
Success University: http//

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