I’ve been working with a counselor lately. It’s the latest attempt by me to get rid of the limiting beliefs and thoughts that have been holding me back for years. And better yet, to replace them with empowering beliefs.
We had a big freeze in Florida a few weeks back. And my beautiful firecracker bushes suffered. They were already weakened by a fungus that I was treating, but the freeze did them in. Every day, I would look out to my garden and see these dead branches. I’ve been busy the last few weekends, so I hadn’t been able to do anything about them. But finally on Tuesday, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I grabbed the saw from the garage and started sawing off the dead branches. In the process, I discovered that while 3 of the bushes were dead, the two remaining bushes had one branch each that was still alive and had green leaves on it. I couldn’t see that growth until I pruned away all the dead matter.
That’s the way it is with our thoughts, isn’t it? We have to prune away all of our limiting beliefs like, “I’m not good enough,” so we can have room for the empowering thoughts to flourish. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that our bodies are like a garden. When we nourish it with good food and good thoughts, our bodies and minds flourish like a garden. And sometimes, we have to go in there and do some weeding and pruning out of the negative beliefs, so there’s room for the good thoughts to take root and grow.
My garden’s pretty bare right now. I’m going to have my husband dig out the dead bushes so we can replace them with some new plants. And that’s another metaphor, isn’t it? I’m getting help with my garden. I’m not doing everything by myself. That’s why I’m seeing a counselor. She gives me some fresh perspective and helps me reframe my disempowering thoughts to be ones that do empower me.
I recorded a Facebook video after I went to work in the garden, so you can see the results here:
Oh, Mamas and the Papas*… what would I do without you?
(*If you were born after 1980, you might want to Google this musical group. They had such sweet harmonies…)
I was going to say today started out fine, but that would be a lie. It started out with an email from Turbotax saying our federal return was rejected because we didn’t use the right PIN. Sigh… No worries. Hubby found my PIN, we resubmitted and all is well.
Anyway, I soldiered on and got an article written for a client… and then the day went downhill from there. Right now, I’m fighting the urge to cry, not because it’s so much about grief over my sister (that’s still an undercurrent), but because I’m annoyed with myself for indulging in a bag of popcorn. Yes, an entire bag. Not one ounce, but 16!
Now you know my dirty little secret. I am a binge eater. There’s no good reason for doing it anymore either. I purposely kept eating even though my stomach quite clearly told me I was full. That’s emotional eating for you. The mind is clearly stronger than the body.
So why did I do it? Same reasons I’ve always done it I suppose. Fear of success. Fear of being accepted for who I am. What did my coach and I talk about last Friday? Fear of being alone? I guess I need to go back and listen because those old patterns just crept back in without much of a struggle at all. Sheesh!
I’m hoping that this blog will help me sort through this stuff and allow me to let go of these stupid negative beliefs once and for all. They don’t serve me and I’m sick of them! Not sick enough to give them up today, but I do firmly believe I’m getting there. After all, I’m taking the time to talk about them here. That’s a start, right?
I am so hard on myself. Why the hell do I have to be perfect? No one is for crying out loud. When did I decide that if I couldn’t be perfect, I couldn’t accomplish anything at all? Oh yes, I’m starting to remember what my coach and I were talking about last week. Nope. It’s gone. See, there’s that mind at work again. Blocking out what I don’t want to face. Hmmm…
Let’s try to get there from another angle. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? What’s my earliest memory? I remember going to pre-school. Had fun there, I believe. I remember my mom teaching me how to read using flash cards. I was only 3. I do remember these huge cards – probably 12 inches long – with words like mommy and daddy on them, I think.
I remember being in the hospital to get my tonsils out. I remember my mom taking me with her to visit a friend and I would hang out with her son, Teddy. Whenever we left, Teddy and I would call each other names. Don’t remember what we said, but I remember the affectionate teasing we did with each other.
I remember playing outside with other kids in the neighborhood – mostly boys though. Didn’t have any girls my age on my street. Had one or two who were younger, and another who was a couple of years older. Plenty of boys, including next door to us. Side note – I grew up in Michigan and years later, discovered that my next door neighbor now lives one town over from us in Florida. Why is he following me? LOL!
So those are some of the good memories. I have plenty more of them, thank goodness. But I also have plenty of not so good ones too. But why do I hang on to the crappy ones so much? Hmmm… this might be a good exercise to start. Everyone says to keep a gratitude journal. And that is a good practice. But maybe children of alcoholics should keep a “good memory” journal. We tend to focus so much on the negative memories, instead of the positive ones. I believe if we focused more on those positive memories, we could probably release those negative memories to the ether and start living a happier, gratitude enriched life.
So I’m going to start now. Here are 3 great memories from my childhood.
Sitting around the campfire singing songs at Girl Scout camp. That was my favorite activity. It was so relaxing, watching the fire, roasting marshmallows (I’m not a s’mores fan – so I ate the marshmallows plain), and singing songs like “Where have all the flowers gone?” and “Barges”. Let’s see if I remember the words to that one – “Barges, I would like to go with you. I would like to sail the ocean blue. Barges, have you treasures in your hold? Do you fight with pirates brave and bold? Out of my window looking through the night I can the barges flickering lights. Starboard shines green and port is glowing red, I can see the barges far ahead.”
For all the crap my dad put me through, I just realized one awesome thing he did for me. (He did more, but I’ll get to that another time.) Every summer, our town had a 4th of July parade, and kids would decorate their bikes and ride at the back of parade. I just remembered that my dad decorated my bike spectacularly one year. He created an American flag out of wood and streamers and attached it to the back of my bike. I’m going to have to see if I can find a picture of that. Wow! This is a great exercise. I’m feeling really grateful for my dad right now. He never said, “I love you,” that I can remember anyway. And I don’t really remember him saying he was proud of me either. (That’s what I was talking about last week with my coach! Finally, the brain cells have kicked in.) But decorating my bike was his way of showing how much he loved me.
Finally, I remember going to Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Michigan with my parents. It may have been for Memorial Day or right after school got out, I’m not sure. But we had a cookout there. I think we did this for a couple of years in a row. I seem to remember this tradition when I was in elementary school – so probably when I was 5, 6 or 7 years old. We would barbecue hot dogs and hamburgers and it was a nice afternoon. The park was on the Detroit River, and filled with a lot of trees.
Wow. This was a powerful exercise. The best part of it is that I’m not feeling terribly sad anymore. I’m feeling pretty good actually. I may even go dig through the old pictures right now and see if I can’t find that one of my bike. Oh… I almost forgot the best part of that story. I think I won best decorated bike that year! Pretty sure! This was around 1969, so you’ll forgive me if my memory is a little spotty. It might have even been 1971, which was the year my sister won the Miss Riverview contest. But that’s a story for another day.
It’s been a little over 3 months since my sister passed away. And yet, in some ways, it feels as if it were only yesterday. The sadness washes over me and it’s almost overwhelming at times.
I’m supposed to be getting my life back. No more traveling back and forth to Arizona to check in on her and help her through chemo treatments. But god, I’d give anything to go back to Tucson and see her now. I miss her so much!
It’s not fair. How did I end up as the sole survivor of our family? I know, it’s really not surprising. Despite all my hang-ups and feelings of “I’m not enough,” I think I have been the most mentally stable one. Alcoholic father. Depressive mother. Alcoholic, possibly manic depressive brother. Depressive sister. My main vice has been food. Thank God, I have never suffered from depression. I mean that sincerely, Thank you God!
My lovely sister was a writer. And she kept journals… for years! After she died, I went through some of those journals, and they just broke my heart. She wrote of her inner demons, of not feeling good enough and that she wasn’t worthy. Hell, she even thought the cancer was just more proof that she wasn’t worthy to live.
A good friend suggested this week that I adopt the mantra when I’m feeling sad that it’s ok. She’s been concerned that I’ve been keeping a “stiff upper lip” and she’s right. I so desperately want to get back to “normal” – whatever that is. But I have to give myself permission to grieve too. Losing a loved one hurts. Plain and simple. Life isn’t going to be the same. It never is. So, I’m going to write. I’m meditating. And I’m going to visit a grief support group next week.
I know that these trials and tribulations are what makes me uniquely me and the sadness will ease eventually. I’m grateful that I have good friends to support me. My husband and children don’t really understand what I’m going through and that’s because they haven’t had to deal with the loss of a sibling. And for that I’m truly grateful. I know they love me and care for me, but I’ll get support elsewhere. And I’m ok with that.
I’m so glad I decided to resurrect this blog and use it as a personal memoir, instead of for business. It’s helpful to have an outlet for my feelings. Even if no one ever reads this, I feel calmer for having released the pain to the page.
Once upon a time, ok back in 2009, I started a blog on WordPress for my SEO Copywriting business. This blog, to be exact. I wrote articles about search engine optimization, copywriting, and social media marketing to educate my audience and build my brand.
Fast forward to 2017, and I’m back at this blog. This time, it’s personal.
You can still read my business articles, but they’re on my primary website at gloriarand.com/blog.
I’ve been undergoing a personal transformation and I want to blog about it. My business is shifting and I plan to use this blog to help me figure out where it’s going.
Not sure how often I will post, but I’m excited about where things are heading. I may wind up moving these articles to a different site, but until then I figured I’d practice here. Stretching my wings. Figuring out what I want to say and how to say it.
That’s all for now… I have to get back to my studies. Last fall, I had an epiphany that I wanted to write a book, so I’m learning how to do that! See you soon.
All good things must come to an end, they say. So it is for this blog. But it’s not really an ending. It’s actually a new beginning.
From now on, you’ll be able to read my articles about SEO and social media marketing right from my website at gloriarand.com/blog. I’ve changed hosting companies, and launched a new website on the WordPress platform.
3D printers may be changing the world of production forever. According to “Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing,” these devices offer on demand production to people in a huge variety of fields. From doctors and professional designers to students and small business owners, users across the economic spectrum may soon see their work becoming easier and more customized.
While many have posited that cheaper, easier to build 3D printers would result in heavy home use, “Fabricated” suggests a different hypothesis. Instead of a printer in every kitchen, authors suggest that the world will see greater individualization in marketing and promotion fields, medical fields, and even every day consumer products. Most people won’t create their own specialized objects: instead they’ll have them printed by a specialist, then purchase them through an ordinary store or online retailer.
Many industries have already seen some of these effects already. For instance, custom-printed prosthetics have been targeted as a way to make these devices more comfortable to wear and more effective for their individual owners. Marketing companies are experimenting with printing three-dimensional logo images and other promotional products in substances ranging from chocolate to resin.
One designer in Amsterdam has even printed a shoe designed to hold an iPhone. According to Alan Nguyen , the shoe was created as a legal test. While the design is wholly original in itself, its purpose is to hold a device that has been fiercely defended by intellectual property lawyers. The iPhone shoe also includes elements of other case designs for the Apple product, as a mash-up and tribute to their original designers.
This type of printing also poses other potential quandaries. With designers creating and uploading the plans and instructions for all kinds of devices, anyone with a printer could potentially create one of those objects. When this is applied to scans of copyrighted or patented items, home and small business fabrication suddenly poses a much greater intellectual property risk. The possibility of 3D printed weapons and other black market items adds to many experts’ concern.
No matter what issues arise in relation to three-dimensional printing, however, it’s certain to expand horizons and change many people’s idea of how manufacturing works. The days of identical mass-produced objects may be giving way to a world of exciting new custom-created products.
Abbey Peschel is a Boston-area printing and marketing specialist. You can find her on Twitter @Abbey_Peschel
As a copywriter, one of the more common assignments I get from clients is helping them rewrite the About Us page for their company’s website. Over the years, I’ve noticed that companies make a few common mistakes when it comes to this all-important page,
Why is this page important?
After the home page, the About Us page is often the reason why someone will consider doing business with you. It must be written in a way that persuades your prospect to call.
Here are 3 three common mistakes people make on the About Us page, and what you can do to correct them:
1. Too much info – The About Us page should not read like “War and Peace.” Keep the content clear and consise. 300-400 words should be plenty to convey who you are, who your target audience is and why someone should do business with YOU! If you attend networking events, use your 30-60 second elevator speech as a guide.
2. It’s all about YOU – While your About Us page does need to talk about you, don’t mistake that to mean that’s all you talk about! This is not your resume. We don’t need to know the awards you won in high school or college, unless they are relevant to your profession today!
3. No Value Proposition – Remember, people want to know “what’s in it for me.” Your About Us page needs to explain WHY someone should buy from you. What are the benefits your product or service offers? If you don’t offer people something of value, they’re not going to do business with you.
About Us Template
Here are 6 elements that your About Us page should contain to be an effective marketing element of your website:
1. Answers question, “What do you do?” – The first sentence should be clear and to the point. Example: “I am an expert in…”
2. Answers question, “Who do you serve?” – State who your ideal client is. If you specialize in a certain niche, say so.
3. Professional accomplishments – Don’t go overboard here, but do mention the most important element that backs up what you do.
4. Credibility boosters – Mention any awards, certifications or memberships.
5. Past Projects – Briefly detail any past projects and work that set you apart from your peers.
6. Innovations – List anything novel or innovative that you’re doing in your niche that makes you more attractive to your target audience.
Facebook is tweaking its Insights again, and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a change for the better. Here is a breakdown of what’s changing:
The People Talking About This metric has been broken out into people engaged, the number of unique people who’ve clicked on, liked, commented on or shared your posts, and other page activity, which includes Page mentions, check-ins and posts by other people on your Page.
Virality (the percentage of people who created a story from your page, divided by the total number who’ve seen it) has been replaced with engagement rate, which is the percentage of people who saw a post that then clicked on, liked, commented on or shared it.
Viral reach (the number of people who saw a post from a story published by a friend) is included as part of organic reach, with total reach broken down into paid and organic reach.
I like several aspects of the new Insights. The graphics are simpler and easier to understand. You can see at a glance how many likes your page has gotten, your total reach for the last week, and how engaged your followers have been:
I also think Facebook has greatly improved their reporting of individual posts on a page. As you can see below, it’s much easier to see how well your fans have been engaging with your posts:
The photos above came from the overview section of Insights. Facebook also breaks down the numbers by Page:
You can also see when your fans are online. Facebook breaks this info down by day and time, so you can see when your content is getting the most reach. Now you can easily see at a glance when your audience is online, so you can make sure to post when they’ll be most likely to see your content:
And if you’re still not sure which type of posts get the most engagement, Facebook gives you that info in a new graphic format too:
Facebook is slowly rolling out the new Insights to users. If you get the option to try it out, be careful. Facebook says, “if you choose to participate in the new Page Insights, you can go back to the old version at any time, but you won’t be able to switch back to the new version until it’s available to everyone.”
What do you think of the new changes? I think it’s definitely going to help Page Admins map out a better strategy to boost engagement on their page. I have to admit that I haven’t paid as close attention to Insights for my own page as I should, but that’s definitely going to change now!
Stuck for ideas on what to write about for your company’s blog? It’s a common complaint, especially if you don’t think of yourself as a writer. But no matter what your industry or profession – be it plumber, landscape lighting contractor or chiropractor – you can come up with plenty of articles for your blog if you focus the topics on these three areas:
Price/Cost Blog Topic
Many businesses that sell services, or expensive products, are reluctant to talk about their prices online. They prefer to discuss pricing with prospective customers in person or on the phone. The reasoning is that their prices may scare off potential customers, who perceive the product or service as being too expensive. Or, businesses may be afraid that their competition will undercut them.
Here’s the problem with this type of thinking.
Why worry that someone can’t afford your products/services? Not everyone can. That’s just a fact of life. You should be more concerned about doing the best job you can, so you’ll attract people who CAN afford your products/services.
As for the competition — well, they probably know your prices already.
You don’t have to mention specific prices in a blog article, but you can talk about pricing in more general terms, such as:
Pricing forecast for your industry
Compare price ranges of two different products
New vs. used in terms of pricing
Write about Problems
Do your customers ever have problems with your products or services? Maybe you already have a list of Frequently Asked Questions that deal with problems on your website. These make great material for blog articles.
Address each problem in a separate article and of course, provide the solution. Try writing a, “How NOT to…” article for your business as well as a “How to…” article and explain the problem and solution with each one.
Odds are, for every product or service you sell, you can come up with at least 3-6 articles that relate to problems.
Compare and Contrast Articles
A third strategy to use for coming up with blog articles is the compare and contrast style. Write about pros and cons of buying your services/products. Present the best and worst products, services, etc. in your industry and justify your reasoning. If you offer a low-price item versus a more expensive one – contrast the two and make the case for when people should buy the inexpensive one, versus the deluxe model.
The key in all of these articles is to demonstrate your expertise about your products/services and your industry. Also, keep in mind the Golden Rule of Blogging: “they ask, you answer” which means you will endear yourself to your readers and prospects if you address customer questions and problems in your blog.
Before you write your next blog article, take time to make a list of article titles based on the three categories I’ve mentioned here: Price/Cost, Problems & Comparisons. Use an editorial calendar to plan out when you’ll publish each article. This way, you can finally stop stressing about what to write about and concentrate on providing useful content for your prospects and customers.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook, etc.