Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Success Strategies for a New Year

As a new year approaches, we tend to reflect on our lives and devise ways in which to make improvements. Obviously, a new year signifies a rebirth, of sorts – a time to review, revise, and perhaps reinvent. As I’m in the ‘makeover business’, I humbly offer the following food-for-thought as you make those plans for 2011:

1. Decide What You Want – We won’t find success and happiness driving aimlessly through life. We must come to terms with what it is we truly want. Years ago, I decided that full-time broadcasting wasn’t for me. I wanted to teach, and I did that in a traditional classroom setting for a number of years. I realized, however, that middle school English (as noble and rewarding as that profession is) was not where I needed to be. I wanted to instruct others on living well and abundantly. I wanted to help others find their style. I created a plan, and took steps toward bringing that plan to fruition. Scary? You bet! Sailing into unchartered territory always is. My faith and unwavering support from my husband, my family, and my friends helped guide my way.

2.Surround Yourself With Success – We won’t climb higher by hanging out in the ‘Woe is Me’ club. I encourage you to seek out others who have what you want. Hob-knob with the truly happy among us. Bask in the positive vibes of those who have your best interest at heart. Seek those who live serenely and joyfully. It’s time to divorce ourselves of those who bring us down and make us feel less- than-fabulous.

3. Act (and LOOK) the Part – One of the best keys I’ve discovered toward any sort of success I’ve had is by playing make-believe! I started to play the part of a successful person, and very soon doors opened that allowed me to achieve many of my dreams. Too often, people downplay their outer image, thus hindering their chances of reaching certain goals. Track suits, grungy jeans, and crocs do not scream success. Clinton Kelly says, ‘The way you dress tells the world how you expect to be treated.” Do remember that the next time you head out the door.

4.Find a Role Model – Whom do you admire? What traits do they possess that you wish you possessed? Find out as much as you can about that person, and adopt those habits as your own. For me, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis comes to mind. Her sense of style, her mystique, and the way in which she gracefully overcame tragedy are only a few of the things I admire about her. Insure that your role model is someone who contributes positively to society.

5. Turn off the TV – As I child, I learned the concept of ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. Whatever we put into our heads eventually comes out through our hearts. If we absorb the bad behavior we see on ‘reality TV’, then we’ll soon discover that we’re channeling a great deal of negativity. Say ‘no’, I implore you, to dumbed-down ‘entertainment’. Set your sights on only those things that uplift you. Get out and visit with your neighbors. Go for a walk. Talk to your spouse. Call your mother. Find ways in which to make real connections to real people.

6. An Attitude of Gratitude – When we choose to focus and give thanks for the good things in our lives, more good things come our way. It’s true! God, The Source, or whatever you choose to call it, reads our signals. When we feel grateful for what we’ve got, that higher power gives us even more. Ignore the bad stuff – none of it means anything, anyway. We’re here for only a short time. Let’s be grateful for every second of it.

It is my sincerest wish for you that 2011 will be your happiest and most successful yet!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

My online course, New Year, New You begins Monday, January 3. Details on my website.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gracious Guests and Happy Holiday Hosts

Preface: I wrote this little bit of tongue-and-cheek scribbling last year after a particularly trying holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the holidays, but I feel it’s in our best interest to review our behavior before we begin making our travel and party plans. Enjoy!

My grandmother, who’s just shy of her ninety-first birthday, keeps her home temperature at 140 degrees. On Christmas day, she usually entertains about 2,000 relatives (maybe not that many, but it sure seems like it at times) her in small house….all of whom become hot, sweaty messes within an hour. No one complains about the heat, though, at least not to Nanny’s face because a) it’s rude, and b) Nanny still hits really hard.

Having learned the finer aspects of being a gracious guest very early in life (“We’re all hot; just go outside and roll yourself in the snow!”), I’m compelled to review with you the finer points of what to do when spending the holidays in someone else’s home. I say review because, honestly, deep down, I know you know these things. Yet friends, family, neighbors, and clients have all relayed to me truly horrific tales of truly horrifying guests over the years.

Any hostess worth her salt will inform guests ahead of time of any home issue that might inconvenience her guests (broken heater, low water pressure, a sick cat, etc.) That’s your cue to figure out how to accommodate yourself (bring along a sweater and leave the extra-sudsy shampoo at home). It is incredibly rude to point out the obvious, especially if she’s already pointed it out. Doing so WILL embarrass her, WILL hurt her feelings, and WILL result in her silent vow never to have you back. Should Fluffy’s hairball issue prove too much to bear, feel free to politely excuse yourself and go home (but only after thanking your hostess for a wonderful time).

Body odor is never an acceptable form of protest. If problems exist with your host’s plumbing, you still must find a way to practice good hygiene.

Remember the old saying, “Guests and fish start to stink after three days” (and in some cases, after three minutes). Never overstay your welcome. If you notice your hostess yawning or appearing glassy-eyed, take the hint and leave. (A side note: if you’re co-hosting a ‘do, never tell your co-host, “I told so-and-so-to come over whenever”. By golly, you better call so-and-so back and tell them a specific time -2:00-2:30 sounds nice. Time frames are helpful and provide hope).

Never turn on the television in someone else’s home, unless you’re invited to do so. If you must catch ‘the big game’, there’s probably a lovely sports bar just around the corner.

If you’re an overnight guest, learn and live the rules of the house and always pick up after yourself. Keep your bags and toiletries tidy and as inconspicuous as possible.

Leave your dog at home unless your host gives you the okay to bring him. Don’t yell at other guests if Fido happens to make a run for it out of an opened door. Fido is your responsibility.

Having small children does not give you permission to tell others how to baby-proof their homes. Your hostess may like sharp objects – that’s why she doesn’t have kids. Take heart, though: a hostess with enough snap is already one step ahead of you, and has caged her pet raccoon and locked up her nunchucks.

Don’t take the liberty of dusting someone else’s home, unless you’re asked to do so. A guest who asks, “You know what would make this room look really good?” deserves to be smacked in the gob, so watch it.

Don’t bring brussell sprouts to a party.

If your hostess keeps a framed photo of a certain ‘80’s pop star on her desk, it’s okay to say, “My goodness, you’re so silly,” (trust me, she knows she is), “Hey, look, it’s that guy!” or “My god, that man still looks fantastic after all these years!” (because he does). It’s not okay to say, “Why on earth would you have that?” Your hostess may be tempted to respond with, “Why on earth would you wear those shoes in public?” But your hostess has class, and would never point out something she feels is ridiculous.

If the topic of conversation is the return of the legging, it’s a safe bet no one wishes to discuss the state of the economy. Parties and FOX News do not mix.

Remain mindful of your volume. If you notice other guests going to another room to chat, covering their ears, or waiting by the door for the cops to show up regarding noise complaints, that means you’re probably too loud.

If the party invitation states BYOB, then do it.

A huge difference lies between “Pour me another” and “Call me a cab”. Know your booze limits, and never assume your host will allow you access to her guest room, couch, or front lawn if you pass out.

If you notice a small fire in the bathroom, please alert your host immediately.

Our homes are our sanctuaries, and we should all feel honored when invited into someone’s home. We must remain on our best behavior at all times, even with our closest of kin and best of friends. We expect our children to act accordingly, and they certainly won’t learn that lesson unless we lead by example. Good guests are rewarded with invitations to come back, the fancy coffee (‘not the swill we serve everyone else, Darlene’), and increased admiration. Practice the Golden Rule, my friends, and treat others’ homes they way you’d like for yours to be treated.