Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gift Giving You Enjoy!

“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.”
~ Charles Dudley Warner

Gift-Giving You Enjoy!

With Thanksgiving memories still fresh, Christmas and Hanukkah are nearly here. To avoid the awkward gift-giving scenario of you got someone a gift and s/he did not get you one or vice versa, here is a tip that is easy to implement, and refreshing for most!
Whether it is in your office, your family, of your circle of friends, you know the deal, you are about to see someone in between Thanksgiving and New Year's and you wonder "do I get him/her a gift?", "if so, what and how much to spend?". These questions float quietly in our minds often and can just as easily be brought outside our heads and into a mature discussion with the other parties.

If you do a gift exchange with names, have people list a few things like favorite sports team, color, hobby, charity and stores along with their name to give the "secret" giver ideas what s/he might like and set a dollar limit as well. If you are not sure with friends/family/colleagues, suggest two options that you are comfortable with them selecting. For example, you could say "Sue, would you like to exchange $25 gifts like we have in the past or would you like to take each other out to lunch as our gifts to one another?", or "Joe, since we all have so much, do you want to skip the gift exchange and be grateful for what we have or give in each other's name to a charity?".

If you do receive a gift without one in exchange, it's OK, and the same is true for if you give a gift without receiving one back, as you ultimately are giving gifts because you want to, not because you are getting something in return. And, if you are the one getting a gift, the only appropriate reply is "thank you", not "yours is on the way" or "I'll stop by with yours later" (unless those are true statements). You don't owe a gift to someone, and you will likely avoid those situations if you talk about it this week before all the shopping is done!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lose "Honestly" and "Truthfully" to Gain Trust

What? Cant that tip title, Lose Honestly and Truthfully to Gain Trust be right? No way...

Yes, way...

When people preface statements or opinions with "To be honest with you", "Truthfully", "To tell you the truth", or even "Honestly", it implies other statements and/or opinions may not be the truth or from an honest perspective. Mentally people consider the notion of 'what, you haven't been in the past?'...hmmmmmm...and then, imagine statements following ones with "To be honest with you", "Truthfully", "To tell you the truth", or "Honestly" that now don't have one of those as a lead in, does that mean you now are not being honest or truthful?

Sure, these verbal crutches, as I call them, are intended for emphasis and impact, but they do not enhance or gain trust, rather they subtly imply you may not have been as forthright in the past, but, wow, now you are, so the receiver should 'listen carefully'.

Instead of "To be honest with you", "Truthfully", "To tell you the truth", or "Honestly", consider no words or "I find", Based on what I know, it appears", "With these circumstances, my position is". There are other options as well that may work to gain trust,'s just a funny thing that when we purport "honesty" and "truth", that is usually when people tend to question it!

So, keep those expressions like "To be honest with you", "Truthfully", "To tell you the truth", or even "Honestly" on the shelf and simply communicate without a preface to a statement or with something that doesn't work against you, and watch your trust with the person receiving the message grow...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quotations on Teaching and Learning

Some of my favorite ways of teaching and learning include reading, listening and sharing...

Quotations are a wonderful way to combine all of them in either a message, spoken in a group or written, so here are some of my favorites in regards to growth through classes/courses:

“Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.” ~ Confucius

“It's not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.” ~ Linda Conway

“Teaching is the achievement of shared meaning.” ~ D.B. Gowin

“The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence.” ~ A. Bronson Alcott

“The secret of education is respecting the pupil.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy them, and keep on learning, growing, teaching and sharing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Game/Event Tickets

A log time ago, I asked for tickets to an event at work and was thrilled to receive the entries for people who wanted to attend a highly anticipated sporting event.

I was equally surprised when I was told the tickets were $360. I was in my early 20's and $260 seemed like a lot...especially since I wanted free tickets!

And then I thought about it...I was in error in assuming about the tickets. I paid and I learned my lesson to ask before agreeing to a price and never had that situation arise again.

Flash forward to when I was in a Regional Management position and had access to some tickets. I began to dislike opening emails and answering the phone near big events because 1 in 4 people were looking for freebies! Who did I provide tickets for first? Customers, results drivers and then, after that, only people who asked if I knew of how to buy tickets or if they could purchase tickets. They were doing it the right way, and I appreciated that. Often they got free tickets for the sake of their offer to pay without presumption and the people who asked for complimentary tickets, even if their requests came in earlier, were not tops on my list.

I have talked to people in Sales and Marketing a lot about this, and we are all in agreement that there is great respect and subsequently, value in/for the person who is willing to pay and asks versus expects and offers versus take. So, the next time you are hoping for tickets, decide you are willing to pay before you ask, offer to pay and enjoy the game/event either way!

Monday, October 20, 2008

2 Things During the National Anthem

During the National Anthem there are two things someone should do: listen or sing.

This is one of the few times in our lives we are requested to respect a song and/or reference. It is not that long, and yet so powerful.

So, when you hear the National Anthem, look to the flag and either listen or sing...end of choices!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Trademark By Any Other Name...

“Reversing the Slobification of America” ™

It is exciting to know that my expression "Reversing the Slobification of America" has been accepted for trademark. I thought it had, and I received the official word last week in the mail for pursuing people who use it inappropriately.

While I do not want to pursue others for using it, I just ask for "™ Debbie Lundberg" to be inserted and for a reference to honored.

After all, isn't respecting the trademark and the process part of the reversal!?!

Success for All!

This is an option for my email "cards" through my website email address, and it is wonderful to see and be reminded of the order of things. (There is no copyright.)

Too many people seek fame, money or position, and if they ever get there, they are lonely or disliked.

The best approach is to seek happiness and enhance others' happiness with your input and ideas and watch the significance and success follow!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Learning is FUNdamental

As I remember the Public Service Announcements, PSAs, that stated Reading is Fundamental, I alter it slightly in my mind to Learning is FUNdamental.

It seems while many kids think "I have to go to school Monday", a lot of adults are thirsty for learning, and yet, once out of school, is there enough formal learning provided for them?

Speaking with a group of people at the Tampa Convention Center today, I realized that the professionals in attendance wanted to be there on a beautiful Saturday...yes, to enhance their work, yes, for the tools, and yes, to have some fun.

And fun we had! Learning is FUNdamental, and when each growth opportunity occurs, remember it is learning, and seek/create the FUN in it! Embrace the FUN and the fundamental is enjoyable and the learning is inevitable!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What a Difference a Mood Makes!

Being around people often once a week, some individuals I see more often than that. Once thing that is clear is that a mood makes a difference. You are responsible for your mood, and stating "I am in a bad mood" is not good enough. Decide your mood and embrace it. You do not need to be in a good mood, but if you want to be in an open mood or reflective mood, then do that instead. The idea of a good mood and a bad mood makes it look and feel like there are only two. Let your mood be yours and know that you own it, it impacts others to some degree, and that looking back, your mood is not an excuse for how you behaved, rather a reference to what you chose to to/be/have that day!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Respect - Not from Age, but Actions

While I write a lot about "reversing the slobification of America", I do not mean it only is an issue for youth, generation X or Y or any one group, for that matter!

Respect or lack of respect are often a reflection of how you feel about yourself, and while I am happy and respectful, I do not believe that children or adults can demand respect for their age or position, rather it should follow from their actions and personal leadership.

I was at an independent living facility and was moving things (in for my Grandparents) when a woman came up and basically refused to walk around the items being moved or act friendly in any way. I was chipper and greeted her with a "Good Morning", and then she and her cat, in a baby stroller, waited in the blazing sun for me to move about 40 pounds of things so that she did not have to go around in the clean grass or down the small curb. I did not mind, but thought how sad she chose to be...poor cat, too...

The same day, less than an hour later, another woman came upon us moving with different things in the way. Again, I was chipper and greeted her with a "Good Morning", and much to my joy and pleasure, she responded in kind. When I quickly tended to moving things, she said not to worry and that she was just fine walking below. Her openness and attitude reminded me, once again, that it is all in the way we approach things.

Who do I respect? Seemingly needless to say, the second woman. I am stating it, though, just to give her double the credit for acting in a respectful way!

Believe me, I was raised to respect my elders, and approach them that way at first and look for it to continue. Respect, after all, is a two-way street...even if it is a bit crowded with a new neighbor's moving items...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Share Your Voice...

At a public event this weekend, I had an opportunity to share my voice, so to speak. From that little bit of sharing my passion and voice, quite a few people have contacted me with questions or interests, and now, each of us is growing and changing...because each of us shared our voice.

How many times do you want to say something or have a way to do something but hold back or blow it off in your mind? If you would kindly remember that your voice...your, matter, so the sharing of your voice is a way to be heard and for others to hear. Consider it a way to learn and grow yourself and possible for others.

Here's to your voice...please let it be heard!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Allow Other's Inspiration, Make Your Motivation!

There are amazing and inspirational people all around us!

My friend, Melissa, just finished the Walk to Santiago, where she persevered in wind, cold, heat and dryness alone on a walk that was inspired by the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo (a wonderful, quick read!). She experienced inspiration in literature and found motivation in herself. She did it right...and with an amazing affect! Congratulations to Melissa!

Often people seek others' stories, ideas, experiences for motivation rather than inspiration. Inspiration is time-based and external, where motivation is internal and purpose-driven. When I meet someone and s/he expressed "oh you are a motivational speaker" after I share what I do, I simply smile, and offer the difference in motivation and inspiration. Quite a bit of the time people remind me that they had not thought of it that way. Then, almost as frequently, I am asked "then how come people call themselves motivational speakers?". I believe it is because a lot of people do think they can motivate others. I do not claim to be that powerful since motivation is what carries one through to the end. I will not be there for every thought and experience, just as the book was not those things for Melissa. Her motivation was sparked by the reading and story in the book, and that inspired her to tap into her own, pure motivation.

Like Melissa, those who seek inspiration in others and stories, knowing they are personalizing them and making a plan for themselves, will likely see their accomplishment through, for they are relying on themselves and learning and growing as themselves and for themselves...without the need for external pushing.

I am all for inspiration, that is part of what I provide, I am just humble and aware enough to know it only goes so far. When you see or hear something inspirational, personalize it, look for tools to make it your own, and then watch your own motivation drive you to your results!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Different Is as Different Does

So there we are, one of my best girlfriends and me, walking on the Old Gandy Bridge, AKA Friendship Trail, with our walking poles and our MBTs when we are faced with many strange glances, comments and even head-turning stares. That's fine with us, as we know we are different in our shoes and choice of exercise equipment!

The people we encountered who stood out most were:

1) The very young mother with her child in a stroller with another girl in her teens who simply had never learned manners or forgot all of them at that moment when she not only made ugly, contorted faces and stared, she gave her child an example of how not to make a good impression, demonstrate tolerance for differences or show even the slightest amount of couth and character


2) The upbeat woman in her late 20's to mid 40's who was fit, walking with a bounce in her step and hand weights who smiled as brightly as she could and cheered "don't you love those poles? I have them, too!" as she passed us at a fast pace.

The first woman brought out our pity for her for lack of exposure, lack of curiosity to learn and grow and for her child's example. We talked about the sadness and anger that drives behavior like hers and the way it negatively impacts others and perpetuates her own ways.

The second woman inspired us and put additional pep in our step and got us talking about how one person cheering on another has such power and is so appreciated. We talked about positive approaches keeping someone young and fresh and we couldn't say enough good things about the woman and the impression she made on us.

We smiled back at both women and kept on our way, and will likely forget neither soon. The questions posed to you are: who do you resemble most in this scenario and what does it cost you to be like the second woman over the first?

Invest in others even through words or a smile and you are investing in yourself...time and time again!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Question Bug Gets the Answers

Remember to ask, ask, every situation! It is rare that someone regrets asking a question, yet often it is heard and thought that someone wishes s/he did ask something...even if it is/was just one more thing.

The old adage that there is no dumb question is true...with the exception that the truly dumb question is the one left unasked!

So, without apologies or hesitation, please proudly and firmly ask quick, direct, thoughtful questions. And then, enjoy and learn/grow from the answers!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sure Your Hear This, and Yet, Not That!

Isn’t it curious how expressions become common, and we say them without even thinking about what they mean, or the opposite of them would mean?

For example:

It’s suggested “perk up” when someone is down, but I have yet to hear someone suggest people “perk down” when someone is high strung.

People “pull out all the stops” to make something spectacular, yet there haven’t been the acts of “pushing in all the stops” to slow something down or make something mediocre.

People excuse themselves to “shower off” when dirty or sweaty, and I just don’t ever get to hear that someone say s/he will be going to “shower-on”.

So many people announce they "haven't got any qualms with that" when an idea is proposed, and unfortunately I've yet to experience the time when someone interrupted to state "I have just one qualm with that idea".

And one of the ultimate oddities, is when someone states something is “Out of whack”, and interestingly enough, when the situation or item is fixed, they surely do not announce something is “Back in whack”!

So, in all the words and language choices we have, make your choices count, and have fun with the meanings, and even the reverse of the phrasing of what you are conveying!

No Apologies for these Three, Please…

While I am a huge proponent of excusing oneself and asking forgiveness when appropriate, there are three things where I believe there need not be apologies. These are:

1) For being intelligent

2) For being right

3) For sharing emotion when it comes from the heart

When someone is smart/intelligent (not being smart), it is something about which it is appropriate to have a delicate combination of humility and pride. I hear people saying they are sorry for knowing something. There is no excuse for flaunting things. The truly intelligent person shares things for growth of self and others at nobody’s expense, and therefore, no need for apology.

If there is a situation where one has been challenged, and s/he is correct, there is also no need to apologize. Being right is not about someone else being wrong, so done with kindness and firmness is not only the best thing to do, it should be the only thing to do.

When voice quivers, shakiness in hands, or body or even tears come, there is not a need to apologize if those emotions are from the heart. Sure, if someone uses emotions to manipulate people or get something undeserved, that is not alright, rather emotions that are real and heartfelt make someone both believable and vulnerable…and real.

If you are tempted to apologize for being intelligent, being right, or sharing emotion when it comes from the heart, just take a breath, smile inside and know that you not only do not want to apologize, but that you are proud of yourself for being you!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Give Back While You Get...Exchange-O-Rama!

What a better excuse than an Exchange-O-Rama to get together and eat snacks and drinks and swap clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, photo frames, hair products, make-up, perfume, lotions, shoes, personal items, home goods, purses, candles, etc.?

I just hosted the 17 of these since I created the name Exchange-O-Rama. I have heard of others doing exchanges of this sort in other places, and this message is to encourage you to organize your own, and I am providing the details on how to do it!

So, one of these upcoming days, you will want to go through your home/closet and make four piles: a keep pile, an repairs/alterations pile, a toss pile and a pile for EXCHANGE-O-RAMA!

At that point, if not before, invite some of your friends, colleagues, co-workers...anyone who love to be charitable and shop...and follow these guidelines:

The rules are kind and straight-forward:
1 - HAve everyone RSVP by 5 days prior to the event as a YES or a No (maybes at that time will be NOs). Evite is an easy way to send the invitations.
2 - Each person will commit to bring an appetizer and at least one bag of new or gently used clothes, shoes, home goods, make-up, hair care, etc. NO FURNITURE unless you have a large truck or own a moving company or van!
3 - Nobody can take more in volume than is brought
4 - Once all the items are out (and people put them out themselves - no displays or hangars, just piles, typically), the host/ess gives everyone a bag and say "go"
5 - If someone likes something, take it
6 - If someone does not like something, do not take it and say nothing negative
7 - When everyone is done, everyone will load the bags with the remaining items, and then load the car/vehicle that will transport the donations (we donate to The Spring of Tampa Bay, but any worthy cause is deserving!)
8 - When you see people out in your things, just smile and resist saying "that was mine!"

When people arrive, have them put the food on a table, have drinks ready for them and direct them to the rooms designated for the items (yes, you'll need full rooms for each category...we do three...Living Room (Clothes and Shoes), Dining Room (Health & Beauty), and Family Room (Home Goods like frames, candles, books, etc.).

Enjoy hosting an event and know it is all for worthy causes where maybe bad circumstances impacted good people...and they are in the process of bettering themselves!

Thanks, and happy exchanging at "The Swap" known as Exchange-O-Rama! Please contact me for any further guidance, ideas or successful stories about EORs...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Speaker Phone on the Run?

While training for The 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk Sunday on Bayshore, we were enjoying the weather, the sun and the opportunity our healthy selves provide for us...

That is until a runner came up toward us yelling. Was something wrong with her? Was she hurt? Did she require assistance? We sprung into action quickly...only to find she was yelling because she was on her mobile phone. No, that's not exactly right, as she was running with her mobile phone open with the speaker on.

What? Yes, it is true, this woman was pounding the pavement, sweating in the sun, and carrying on a (very loud) conversation! I was dumbfounded.

Seriously, folks, exercise is key to a healthy heart and life, but carrying a speakerphone is not only dangerous for the runner or walker carrying it and other people in the area, it is inconsiderate to those around who are not able to opt out of the call that should be private. Plus, imagine what message that woman was sending to the person on the other end of the line! The message is that the other person is not worth direct attention, and that there is no respect for privacy or the person.

So, forgive me if I do not run to rescue someone who trips and falls due to her speakerphone distracting her on a run...I'll be the one tossing an etiquette book her way!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Words...Confused, Abused or Diffused?

Sometimes we think and speak so quickly, our language gets blurred, or substituted...often incorrectly. It's easy to get in the habit of using non-words or words inappropriately, and in our passive-aggressive "say nothing" society, rarely will someone tell you to your face, but behind your back, or in the listener's mind, use of words incorrectly or non-words takes away from your positive impact on him or her.

Four of the most commonly heard poorly used language selections have been: flustrated, irregardless, orientated, and waylayed.

Yes, people get flustered (nervous or upset). Yes, people get frustrated (Thwarted or prevented from attaining a desire). People are not FLUStrated. Choose one of the words, and use it. Examples are 1) "She was flustered by the bees around the food and kept swatting at them.", and 2) "She was frustrated when it became necessary to move the picnic indoors." Sure things happen regardless of circumstances.

Regardless means in spite of everything. There is no need to make it the reverse of in spite of everything, and the "ir" in front of regardless does not make it "more so". An example is "I am going to the outdoor concert regardless of the weather."

Orientation is when we go through the process of being oriented. We attend school or work orientations. Getting oriented for direction or position in a location is correct, and is stated as "I got oriented quickly before driving in my rental car." in this example. One does not get orienTAted.

We are delayed, and that can make us tardy for events. We are not waylayed, unless we are first waylayed (surprised/ambushed), and second, delayed. People often think WAYlayed means DElayed, where waylayed means surprised by ambush!

So, imagine these all used together in this humorous statement "The construction detour waylayed me, which flustrated me, but irregardless, I got orientated quickly.", instead of the appropriately stated sentence "the construction detour delayed me, which was frustrating, but regardless, I quickly got oriented to the new routes and roads."!

Have fun with these, and if you notice others, please share them with me for further fun, growth and learning. Make it a well-communicated day...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Asking the Right Questions

When people ask the question "why?" it often makes people being asked the question defensive, yet an inquiry about "how did you come to that decision?", or "what lead you to that decision?" allows people to share without offense.

Really, test it...look in the mirror and ask a "why" question, and watch your face distort and hear your voice accuse. After that, stay in the mirror and ask a "how" or "what" question, and see the softness in your voice and face.

Keep your communication direct and without a wrongly-perceived attack by resisting "why" questions and replacing them with the "what" or "how" varieties.