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Archive for the ‘consideration’ Category

Time is Valuable No Matter Who You Are

Learning by Observation

You can find the associated Facebook Live here.

I learn a lot by watching other people and especially when what they do inconveniences or outright annoys me. (Before you say it, I am aware that if I’m annoyed, it’s because I allowed myself to be, but hey, I’m still a work in progress too!) One of the things I’m especially conscious of is time. I believe that if we set an expectation to be at a particular place at a specific time, we should do everything in our power to be, if not a few minutes early, at least on time.

I understand that people like doctor’s, hairdressers, and other service people are at the mercy of patients or clients who either arrive late themselves or take up more of their time than expected. But I also appreciate it when their receptionist tells me when I check in that they’re running a few minutes late. Stuff happens, after all.

Your Time is Valuable to Me

Recently, I signed up for a series of free webinars. I knew the purpose was to generate interest in future paid webinars so I’d have thought timeliness would have been a priority. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and even if I had found the program to be something I’d benefit from purchasing, the lack of respect for participants’ time was enough to put me off. Don’t get me wrong. Being a little late on the first one, or really, any one of them wouldn’t have been a big deal. But to be 15 minutes late for every one of them tells me that either the people who had signed up for the free classes were low on her priority list or she was just disorganized as a rule.

In the long run, it didn’t matter as I’m not really in a place where I’d benefit from her expertise anyway, but I did come away with a lesson which wasn’t part of her package. When the time comes that I offer webinars, free or otherwise, I will make sure I do a few things beforehand:

  • Check all systems and equipment to be sure they’re functioning properly
  • Have all notes and material ready and reviewed well before the beginning of the event
  • Make sure I’ve set things up so the image people see is frontwards (a typical issue with Facebook Live which is easily resolved)

In the event that the Murphys check in unexpectedly as they so often do, I will do everything in my power to communicate with my viewers and give them an estimate of the delay. In short, I’ll make sure they know I not only appreciate, but respect the time they’re investing in me.

Communicating Without Offending

Over the years, I’ve learned more about what not to do from others than what to do. In all honesty, I suspect others have done the same with me. We’re all human. We make mistakes. Most of us own up to them if we’re aware of them, but often, nobody thinks to make us aware. They simply work around us or worse, get annoyed with us and allow that one-time annoyance to affect our interactions forevermore.

I do try to let people know if they’ve done something that bothered or inconvenienced me. What I lack right now is the proper level of tact, so often, my message simply causes them to take offense. As a result, they tune out anything else I might have to say (again, simple human nature).

As I write this, I realize we all have messages we’d like to impart. Though we believe what we have to say is for the greater good, we’re all a little myopic. We’re not really set up to determine what constitutes the greater good as none of us has a complete world view which encompasses everyone’s wants, needs, or situations. We’re at different stages in our development, whether it’s emotional, social, or intellectual. Thus, what works for us won’t necessarily work for someone else, or even resonate with them, any more than it did for us prior to this point in our own development.

I’m learning that the rule of writing, show, don’t tell, is also applicable to life and the messages we wish to convey. The best way to communicate the lessons we’ve learned and want to share is to be a living example. In other words, we have to walk our walk. This is something I, for one am still working on. I don’t see it as ever being perfect, but if it was, I’d have nothing more to strive for. I keep raising the bar on my expectations of myself, so perfection only means I’m ready for the next level. If you’re anything like me, you raise that bar long before you perfect the place you’re in. That way, you never hit a rut where you feel like you’re making no progress. You never get bored with the place you’re in because there are always new places and things to discover and learn.

Showing Appreciation Subtly

This particular place has taught me that I have things to learn if I want to ensure that my listeners feel appreciated. There are underlying processes and techniques I’m not yet aware of, any more than I was aware of how to pull off a Facebook Live a few short weeks ago. I may not appreciate those who offer me something for free to promote their product if they consistently show up late. But I have come to respect the fact that for me as for them there will be challenges to overcome. I just hope others will be more understanding of my mistakes and judgment errors than I have been of those whose only real mistakes are showing up late and not communicating.

Two of the most valuable lessons I’m learning as I traverse this road called “Life” are compassion and humility. I have a long way to go before I surpass even a novice level in either, but recognizing where we need to improve is always the first step to healing and resolution.

In All Places and Thing, There is Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for examples of all kinds.
  2. I am grateful for my imperfections. They allow me to find newer, better ways to improve.
  3. I am grateful for those who put themselves out there in their own imperfection. It gives me the courage to be visibly imperfect too.
  4. I am grateful for the courage to step outside my comfort zone over and over and over again.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; peace, love, joy, lessons, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, butt-kickers, friends, celebrations, remembrances, offers and acceptances, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Evolution: The Person, The Blog

A Time to Restore Order

I’ve been thinking a lot about the direction (or lack thereof) of this blog lately. I’ve come to the conclusion that in some ways, it’s time to return to the original, underlying premise when I began writing publicly and believe that is truly where my heart is.

What this means is in the coming weeks, I’ll return to my focus on personal challenges, growth, positivity and inspiration. The topics may not be Google search-worthy, but the truth is, I love sharing what I’ve learned (even the painful parts) and inspiring others, if only by assuring them they’re not alone.

I’ve also learned that inspiration is a two-way street. The people I inspire invariably inspire me as well. You could say we create a mutual inspiration society, and my most heartfelt desire is that the inspiration and supportiveness continue to spread. We’re all in this together, folks, and not one of us is getting out alive!

Knowing Which Trees to Shake

One of the best ways to get past a traumatic event is to talk about it, but it’s not always that simple. Upbringing, societal standards and embarrassment are exacerbated by our very real fear of being judged. As open as I’ve been here, there are things even I am not ready to discuss openly; things I’ve experienced, choices I’ve made which would rain too much havoc on my head to broach right now. And that’s a choice in and of itself.

We all make choices every day and one we choose most often, I believe, is to hold our tongues. Just as we wouldn’t come out and bluntly tell a friend “You look fat in that dress”, there are many times when things are better left unsaid. It might be to spare someone’s feelings or simply to avoid someone’s hot buttons to prevent unnecessary arguments. Either way, as adults we have learned to be tactful and not just blurt out whatever comes into our heads (there are, of course, exceptions to this and the results of their absence of tact is the basis for some rather interesting drama).

The most obvious topics are religion and politics. I’ve learned through some painful experiences to be extremely cautious about the first. People can be quite dogmatic about their beliefs and contrary to my own viewpoint, think what they believe is the one, true way. Rather than screaming “Bullshit!” in their faces, I’ve learned to bite down very hard on my tongue, smile and walk away. Such people will never, ever admit that we all have a right to our own beliefs and that ours is just as valid and meaningful as theirs. What astonishes me most is that some religious circles still hold fast to, and continue to propagate such an egocentric concept. But it explains a lot about the continued existence of religious persecution.

Politics, on the other hand, is such an unholy conglomeration of social, moral, religious agitation-inducing nonsense fueled by a desire to distract everyone from the real problems…the elephant in the room, if you will that to attempt to debate any of the issues is, to me, about as satisfying as trying to find the end of a tightly wound ball of string without the slightest opportunity for a successful outcome.

Taking the High Road and Keeping the Peace

So for now, I will continue to share the inspirational and the painful, the cheering and the sobering while carefully avoiding anything which would give way to heated, emotion-based discussions where nobody wins.

As always, I’m grateful to those of you who continue to visit and even, on occasion, share your own thoughts and experiences. Without you, I might have stopped writing this blog years ago. But here I am, 7 years later, still writing somewhat regularly, and it’s all because of you.

My gratitudes tonight are:

  1. I am grateful to be regaining my focus.
  2. I am grateful for friends, old and new.
  3. I am grateful for lessons I’ve learned, lessons I struggle with and lessons yet to arrive.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities the Universe gives me to help others. They’re beginning to appear in unexpected ways, and make me glad I asked.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, sharing, caring, kindness, compassion, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

September 20, 2014 In the waning hours before the dark dawn of a new day.

Tonight’s title sounds a bit ominous, doesn’t it? But all I really mean is that I began tonight’s post at 11:57, just before my computer and WordPress will tell me that it is now tomorrow, despite the fact that it is dark as pitch outside, hardly what I would consider the dawn of a new day! As often happens, I sat down to write tonight’s post, my mind a blank as to what the topic would be or what might come from my fingers. But today has been a good day for writing and idea flow, so why should my blog be exempt from such fortuitous energy?

I finally sat myself down in front of the computer, a picture in my mind of the scene I wished to set, and lo and behold, the words flowed! (That was accidental poetry, I assure you. My poetic talents are the stuff of which literary nightmares are made which is why I stick with prose.) Suddenly, I found that ideas where coming so hard and fast, it was all I could do to keep up, much less put them in an order which resembled sensible. Even while I meditated, drove to my Saturday night dance spot, and sat chatting with friends, the ideas still flowed. Thank goodness for the notes function in my phone, else some of those ideas would now be lost in the ether. I’ve learned that if I want to save something that just pops into my head, I’d best jot it down somewhere before it is overtaken by 27 more random thoughts and ideas. Though for some reason, the ones which came when I was trying to meditate managed to stick with me until I once again sat before the computer and got them down. Persistent little devils they were!

At any rate, I believe I resolved my editorial issues with obsolescence, but will know more over the next couple of days. That isn’t to say that I won’t override opposition to my solution, if I feel strongly enough about it. Clearly, the things I’ve re-done, when met with criticism/opposition were not strong enough to justify my full and complete support of their continued existence. Such is the writer’s life. Constantly having to justify our logic in including this detail or that.

I’m also learning that the reader’s perspective, especially when that reader is critiquing my work, is definitely relevant. A reader who read very little as a child will have a very different perspective on things than I, who read as voraciously then as I do now, would. They may have little experience with the type of story I’m choosing to write, so I must take that into consideration when sifting through their critique and suggestions. Regardless of their perspective, I am sure to glean a few gems from what they have to say, and as such, am working hard to keep my mind and eyes open to be sure I don’t overlook anything which might be useful now or somewhere down the line.

To be sure, in just the last week, I have learned a great deal, including the realization that the seeming compliment about my editorial abilities was probably not a compliment at all, but the speaker’s attempt at humor because he was unimpressed with my contribution to the read and critique. Even when I’ve had several books published, there will always be those who are unimpressed with my work, and that is very much their right. It is also my right to refrain from taking what they say to heart, so we both leave happy.

For now, the biggest lesson I’m learning is to listen a lot, take a few notes and walk away a little wiser. Then, take what I’ve learned and try to implement what will make my own work better. At this point in my process, I do not expect rave reviews over what is clearly still a rough draft of the final product. What I do expect is honesty. If I let my feelings be hurt by someone who is notably unimpressed by my first serious efforts, I am not only following the wrong path, but I’m taking their words personally. The topic under discussion is the words I’ve put on paper, not me as a human being. And while I’m on the subject, what others think of me as a human being is really none of my business. They are entitled to their thoughts, no matter how unflattering they might be to me. I only have a problem if I start believing those unflattering thoughts!

One lesson I have learned very well is to look myself in the mirror several times a day and remind me how special and wonderful I am. I might, at times, also accompany my words with a “You’re looking especially good today!” despite the fact that I know full well that appearances are merely illusions. But as I immerse myself in the mindset of “Author”, why not also immerse myself in the mindset of “You look Mah-velous, Dahlink!”

There was a song in the play “The King and I” which has taken on new meaning for me lately. In the song, she sings “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold myself erect, and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect I’m afraid.” It goes on to say “…the happiness in my tune convinces me that I’m not afraid.” That pretty much sums up my current attitude. I convince myself that I am an author or I’m worthy or any number of things, and before I know it, I have risen to the occasion. Not only that, as I, like a butterfly, emerge from the cocoon of disbelieving, I find that my energy is better, my posture improves and I just feel taller, lighter, stronger…all of the things which go along with the self-portrait I allowed myself to grow into.

Confidence is a funny thing. In order to have it, you have to be confident, but to be confident, you must have confidence in yourself. Rather a Catch-22 if you ask me. What is happening in your life at a particular moment might not be the best confidence booster, but the key, I believe, is not to focus on what is going on in the moment, but on what you expect to be going on in another moment or two. In other words, you create a reason to be confident and the confidence itself will follow.

Thus, I am confident in my ability to be a successful writer/author, and abracadabra, it is done! Try it yourself! You’ll be amazed at the results. All you really have to do is believe!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I have learned to believe.
2. I am grateful for criticism as it teaches me about what I’m doing as well as more about myself as a person. It’s all in how we respond to suggestions for improvement, regardless of how they might be wrapped.
3. I am grateful for a wonderful night of dancing with my friends.
4. I am grateful that the words have begun to flow more readily, and that I realized I needed to take a couple of steps back to allow the blocks to clear.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, creativity, friendship, love, support, imagination, confidence, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.


August 29, 2014 What price, fame?

Sadly, it’s not just the paparazzi who believe it’s OK to infringe on the lives of the rich and famous.

Today, one of the supposedly spiritual sites I follow posted this rather disturbing comment on their social media page.

“YES or NO: Do you think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s marriage will last?!”

It made me think, once again, What price, fame? The wedding cake hasn’t even had time to be digested, and anyone with a following thinks they can disparage the marriage and impinge upon their lives? It’s very sad, indeed, that not only do people have nothing better to do with their time than to stick their noses into the lives of others when they write such a post, but that a post like this would get over 800 likes, nearly 50 shares and over 350 comments! Is it any wonder that we have yet to find a way to keep children from starving, people from being murdered and our environment from being abused? Can you imagine how many diseases might be cured and wrongs might be righted if people spent even half of the time they currently spent reading or writing about the lives of the rich and famous, on making the world a better place for everyone? The mind boggles!

To me, this is even worse than coveting their lives or comparing what we have to what they have. To even consider wishing ill on another person is nothing short of criminal. They live their lives in a veritable fish bowl, simply because they chose a career which puts their faces in front of the masses in the form of entertainment. Is there something in their contracts which gives the media and every individual in the world the explicit right to pick their lives apart and publicly ridicule them and wish that their lives would be filled with disaster…simply to add more to their entertainment value? Is it any wonder that people like Meg Ryan and Kurt Russell chose to live their personal lives, as well as the lives of their children, outside of this unforgiving limelight?

I would love to see what a profiler would do with someone who spends their life digging up or inventing dirt about celebrities and public figures, then writing or talking about it in public places. I can’t believe these people represent the true artists in the writing and photography communities. From where I sit, they are nothing more than bottom feeders.

Think about it. The majority of the world goes to work, then comes home and lives out their lives without anyone needing to know what they do during those personal hours. They may share it with friends and family (some might share more than others!), but nobody is following them around with cameras and tape recorders on the off-chance that they step out of their home looking less than perfect. Nobody follows them to the bar where they are blowing off a little steam with their friends in hopes of catching them doing something they shouldn’t. Shouldn’t movie stars and sports figures be given the same courtesy?

Mind your own beeswax!

Just once, I would love to see Brad and Angelina, Jennifer, or any of the folks whose least mistake is blasted all over the media, just stop and look at all of those vultures and say “Are your lives really so empty that you have to try to make mine out to be just as ugly, messy and pathetic, if only to make yourselves feel better? Go volunteer at a homeless shelter or an animal shelter. Help an underprivileged child learn to read! There are so many far better uses of your brief time on this earth than trying to drag another human being through the mud, simply because of their career choice!”

My heart goes out, not only to those who are put under the microscope by scores of strangers, but also to their children who have to hide or watch their parents’ good names dragged through the mud on a regular basis under the auspices of reporting or basic human interest. Sorry, folks, but that isn’t “interest”.

Bullying comes in many forms.

There has been a lot of publicity and public outcry against bullying lately. Yet printing or posting speculation as to the failure of famous people is no better, if you ask me. It’s really no different than my former life as the wife of an alcoholic. His primary purpose was to drag the people closest to him down to his miserable, self-hating level; typical behavior for one who is a substance abuser. Now, I’m not saying that everyone who digs up dirt and writes about it is a drunk or an addict, but their behavior towards those who have more money than they do (which doesn’t necessarily mean they are happier, mind you!), bears similar qualities. It’s as if they can’t stand the idea that someone is rich, famous and happy too!

As far as I’m concerned, attacking or abusing someone because they are different in any way is bullying!  But I guess it’s like a lot of other things. Drama sells advertising which keeps newspapers, magazines and television shows alive. Seeing the mighty fall, even if the whole thing is fabricated, sells crap because people are going to tune in and try to escape from their own, unsatisfying lives, hoping to see that even the most blessed (in their eyes) are not completely happy either. What a shameful waste of time and energy!

To all of the movie stars, political figures, and anyone else who is famous, both because of exposure and because of how many dollars are in their bank accounts, I humbly apologize for my fellow humans. Even those who are horrendously unethical in their public and business practices deserve to have their private lives left alone. I am baffled by what they believe gives them the right to intrude. They’d sure raise a stink if the positions were reversed!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who show me by words and action how important it is to be kind.
2. I am grateful for my anonymity which keeps me out of the cross hairs of people who have too much time on their hands.
3. I am grateful that, despite how idle I might be, taking potshots at celebrities is not one of the ways I alleviate boredom.
4. I am grateful that there are good people out there who respect the privacy of everyone, no matter their social or financial status.
5. I am grateful for abundance: inspiration, motivation, health, harmony, happiness, joy, friendship and prosperity.


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