May 242016
 

 

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How many of us approached parenting with all the love in a plan like this?

We know for sure that OUR children will never feel “apart” from other family members. They will always understand how very wanted they are and this will create a closeness unlike  other families we know. They will be happy because we understand them so well.  Their basic needs will be so well-provided for that they’ll be able to direct their energies toward passions like sports, the arts and, of course, their educations.  They will excel. And, of course, this overflow of love will inspire them so much they will gladly share their prized possessions with their siblings….

That optimism is a wonderful thing and reflects the almost overpowering unconditional love that parents can feel.  It’s a love that motivates us in ways that are hard to understand. It makes us want to do the impossible. It can also be a little scary and make any one of us a touch crazy.

We hover and helicopter and try to control every interaction in our children’s days.  It’s almost as if we have come to  believe that discomfort equals disability and that letting our kids learn from trial and error (their own — NOT ours) will bring about permanent injury or harm. Fantasy and reality don’t quite match up.

This morning I heard a woman speaking about one of her most embarrassing moments. Unfortunately for her? It was televised. (Yes, fellow introverts, my skin is crawling and I’ve got giant butterflies in my gut just from imagining typing that.) The speaker was one of those remarkable, outgoing, super sales-y direct sales people who used the story to explain the role of failure in her life. Her embarrassing, unprepared-for-TV-moment never, ever came around again. In fact, it taught her to treat many other moments as if she were about to be beamed onto millions of screens all around the world. Good lesson, no?

 

crying baby

 

What does this have to do with loving your kids? Reality isn’t always pretty and it’s probably pretty darned close to perfect. Relax.

Think about the things you know for sure.  How easily did your own big lessons come to you? If you’re anything like me (and this morning’s speaker), I’ll guess at least a few of those important life lessons came as a result of a big belly flop off of life’s high diving board. Splat! Unfortunately, lots of life’s best lessons come to us that way.

To grow as parents we are required to grow as people —  the lessons we model through the way we live our lives carry much more weight than the ones we try to create with rules, words or even our well-intended fantasies.

It’s painful to watch kids struggle, but let’s be realistic.  Can we love them enough to put our own feelings aside? To let our kids be kids? Can we trust that our love — in all of its’ messy imperfection — is perfect enough?

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Today I am a “Love Ambassador” for my online friend, Intuitive Psychologist, Dr. Debra Reble and her newest book. We’re celebrating the release of Being Love: How Loving Yourself Creates Ripples of Transformation in Your Relationships and the World just released by Inspired Living Publishing.  Order your copy today and receive over 50 gifts from Debra and her community.  www.BeingLoveBook.com

 

May 032016
 

Balancing business and family can be fun

Whether you call yourself a solo-preneur, a work-from-home mom, or a direct seller: you started a business for reasons that were important to you, right? I think it’s important to regularly review those reasons.

Why did you start your business? To set your own schedule, to make more money, to have more freedom?  To serve people in a brand new way? To share a unique product, message or service? To provide opportunity to others?

For the past several years I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of women in direct sales. I love it.  I’m part of a four-generation direct-selling family; the challenges in this type of work make sense to me. An added bonus? I admire people who achieve success in what can be a very difficult type of work. I try to use what I learn from them to increase book sales.

Authors and direct sellers have a lot in common. We can learn a lot from one another. For example, while many people choose to work from home to create a better work-life balance, we also sometimes struggle with creating  boundaries. How do you figure out what’s flexible enough for “home” but professional enough for business? And when being near the kids is a high priority, setting limits about office hours can really push that “guilty parent button.”

Too many people apologize for their home-based business or for carving out the time they need to write. They speak to  others in a way that lacks confidence. Perhaps they don’t realize that home-based businesses contribute over $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy. And authors? Apparently the industry is growing so quickly it’s hard to count: 500,000 to 1,000,000 new books are published in the U.S.

As you can see from the picture (my friend Lisa Wilber and her daughter) growing up in a family business can be a great way for kids to learn about  confidence, creativity, keeping  a positive attitude and problem-solving. (Lisa is also an author.)

Authors and direct sellers who take what they do seriously enough to get the support they need — and run a business like a business — pass along those lessons every single day.

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Hey… what if your team doesn’t need more training or motivation? What if all they need is to learn how to stop stopping themselves? To turn that #InnerCritic into a source of strength? Check out The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head on Amazon. Or contact me about wholesale opportunities or doing a training call with your team.

 

 

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Nov 032015
 

jump in

Since nobody is immune from life’s ups and downs, it seems that a positive attitude about overcoming adversity is a great gift to give our kids. And gratitude seems to be a good place to start. What if we could teach them to be just as grateful for bumps in the road as they are for the Santa-lists?

Let’s face it: eventually experience can teach us that most clouds have silver linings and that setbacks make us stronger. Wouldn’t it be nice to have learned that a bit earlier in life? How can parents balance our powerful protective instinct with building “bounce-back” muscles? Without overwhelming the little people?

You can start almost anywhere. Have you ever been to a Pinewood Derby, science fair or similar event? Of course. Here’s the hard question: were you the parent who ‘over-helped’ or the one whose child had the ugly little car or slightly primitive, bumpy science project?

To learn new skills, we all need to stretch. The results are not always pretty, but the simple act of being able to complete a task and bring it to an event offers a feeling of competence and mastery. And when your child’s project is not judged “best”? What then?

I think that’s one of the reasons I participate in National Novel Writing Month every November. I’m not a novelist by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not not even sure that’s something to which I aspire. I like non-fiction and sharing practical ideas that could make someone’s life a bit better.

But ever since my husband challenged me to try this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo I’ve been hooked. 50,000 new words in November is a challenge and this year is no different than any other: birthdays, holiday gift shopping, travel planning, visitors, and Thanksgiving are upon us. Still, I’ve joined a few hundred thousand others who have decided to create “a sh*tty first draft” in just thirty days.

Maybe it’s my parents’ “fault”: kids who get support for taking risks and giving their best efforts will try again. In time, they can learn to compete with themselves. To look for improvement over their last best effort, find creative ways to reach their goals and achieve the desired results.

Apparently I’m still “that kid,” willing to try something outside of my comfort zone with an eye toward getting better in other areas of my life.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to come up with 1667 new words this morning!

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What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement by Andrea Patten and Harry S. Patten is available in Korean and Russian.

 

Aug 252015
 

 

A Mom I know told me she was feeling stressed because her parents did not “approve of” her approach to her elementary school-aged son’s less than stellar grades. As the conversation unfolded she shared a number of important thoughts.

She was proud of her child.  According to Mom, the young “offender” was:

– kind and compassionate
– a bundle of energy
– very curious and interested in learning
– socially motivated, with great people skills to match
– fairly disinterested in grades

The “prevailing wisdom” — both from her in-laws and several elementary school teachers — was that this “live wire” should be grounded from sports, outdoor breaks and extra-curricular activities until his marks improved. This Mom disagreed.

“I know people think that I’m  far too easy on him, that he’s lazy, and that I’m making excuses that enable poor school performance.  I just can’t figure out how to turn teachers’ comments into a currency that’s meaningful for him.  And, I still think, if you’re trying to raise a life-long-learner, education needs to be its own reward. Am I wrong?”

Perspective is an interesting thing.  Is this kiddo reflecting his Mom’s values?  Clearly she did not consider test scores or grades the holy grail of learning.  She worried that turning the whole grade thing into a battle of wills would have a detrimental effect on her child’s considerable curiosity and desire to learn.

“Maybe I’m wrong but I think that punishing him because he learns differently will do a lot more harm than being a ‘C’ student ever could,” she said.

In an era that sees parents challenging students’ grades on behalf of their kids this is an unusual attitude. A child appears to be performing below potential and receives grades that reflect that reality.  Isn’t that as it should be?

What do you think? Is she being short-sighted?  Limiting her child’s future opportunities by not demanding high scores?  Or is she choosing her battles wisely and  accepting her child as is, regardless of the opinions — and grading standards —  of others?