Book Review: The Power of the Heart: Finding Your True Purpose in Life

The Power of the Heart: Finding Your True Purpose in LifeThe Power of the Heart: Finding Your True Purpose in Life by Baptist de Pape

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not only a beautiful book visually, but the words, contemplations, interviews and quotes are just as beautiful. It shows how we can use the power we have within us-within our hearts-and expand it out into the world.

This is a book I will refer to when I’m looking for uplifting reading, or when I need to unwind from the stresses of the everyday world. Certainly a book that belongs on the shelf of anyone who follows and is enriched by spiritual topics. (Received a review copy.)

The Power of the Heart: Finding Your True Purpose in Life on Amazon.com.

 

3 Martin Luther King Jr Quotes that Inspire Me

Like a lot of people, I collect quotes. I use them in my non-fiction writing and sometimes in my fiction. These are 3 quotes by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. that have inspired me to be my best self.

faith2“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

The first time I saw this quote was in the movie, The Secret.

It stuck with me and it’s become one of my favorites of all the quotes I’ve collected. (I also included it in my book, Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.)

If you’ve ever been indecisive, or unsure about what to do next, this speaks to you. And who hasn’t ever been in that situation?

When you’re at a point where you feel the next best step, but you’re still afraid, this quote says: take the chance. Take the step. Believe that it’s the right next thing to do. Have faith even though you don’t know how it will manifest.

 

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” MLK2

So what if you can only take small steps, or you don’t have as much money as you’d like, or you’ve got some other issue that you’re dealing with–don’t stop moving towards your goal.

At times when things seem really tough, this is a powerful quote. To me it says, yes, things are going to be tough. You’ll feel like shit. You’ll be exhausted and worn out. You’ll want to quit. But don’t. Even baby steps are steps forward. Whatever you do, keep moving.

 

MLK3“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

There have been times when I’ve been tempted to fight fire with fire.

To be just as rude, snarky and mean as the person who’s pissing me off. To just wallow in the mud with people who get joy out of trying to pull me down to their level.

But at the end of the day, it’s not going to work. Getting down and dirty with people like that isn’t going to make them stop. Meeting hate with hate isn’t going to fix them. But it is going to change me into someone I don’t want to be.

Stand up for yourself, but do it from a place of self love. Be a light, if you can, by staying connected to the truth of who you are. By staying in integrity. Is it easy? Hell, no. But  is it more important to be right, or to do what’s right for you?

 

 

“Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change” Book Review

Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life ChangeEmergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change by Derek Rydall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A perfect book for those who want to merge practical action steps with metaphysical principles. Author Derek Rydall is not shy about sharing his own journey, and never sets himself up as a “guru.” His examples
are very much rooted in the real world, and understandable to anyone who’s searching for more meaning in their lives.

His “Seven Stages of Emergineering” gives the reader a blueprint on how to work through the process. The stages include visioning, creating a plan, and acting “as if” the conditions you desire are already in your life. He includes exercises and meditations to assist you along the way.

I’ve read a lot of self-help books, and this one stands out. Rydall’s sincerity and belief that a better world is possible through self understanding, made this especially inspiring.

One of of the most helpful sections was where he discussed how to deal with habitual behaviors. When we’re in a rut it can be hard to get out and make positive changes. Because of this, I found his sections on “kicking old habits” and “finding your emerging edge” to be incredibly motivational. This is the type of book you’ll pick up time and time again. (I received a review copy of this book.)

See this book on Amazon.com.

 

 

3 Things to Do Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

6781673594_e6daa1582d_bIt’s a New Year and it’s tempting to create yet another list of resolutions.

But there’s a better way. How about giving this a try instead…

1. Decide What You DON’T Want This Year

Years ago I wrote down a bunch of goals for myself. Needless to say, the sheer number of them ended up overwhelming me, and I didn’t end up getting many of them achieved.

So instead of getting lost in goals and more goals, start by deciding what you want to eliminate from your life. Not sure where to begin? Make a list of the things you don’t want to experience this year — or ever again.

I saw a joke that said, “my resume is filled with things I never want to do again.” Once you decide what you don’t want for 2015, what  behaviors can you change right now?

How about things like getting out of a dead-end job, paying down credit card debt, or adding exercise to your life? It could be as simple as sending out a resume a day. Or networking with one new person a week. Or taking a daily walk, or picking a healthy food choice.

Decide what you want to release in your life, then pick one thing you can do to reinforce that.

2. Write it Down

Maybe you’re really not into journaling, and if not, that’s okay. But writing down what you don’t want will help you get your desires out of your head and into reality.

For instance, if you want to reduce credit card debt, list the actions you can take to get started. If you write down something like,  “stop impulse buying,” you’ve identified something you can stop doing right away.

Instead of writing down a goal and having no idea how to reach it,  you now have an action step to take.

3. Keep It Simple & Don’t Dwell on the Past

Unfortunately, having a long list of things we don’t want can be just as oppressive as holding on to a list of goals we’re always stretching to reach. Keep it simple by starting with the items that you feel are the big irritations in your life.

It takes a while to get used to new habits. And in my opinion, it takes a hell of a lot more time than the 21 or so days it’s “supposed” to take.

Forget about what hasn’t happened in the past. That’s over now. Be willing to take baby steps. No matter how small the action, you’re still making progress.

Remember, we’re always reinventing ourselves, not only at the beginning of the year, but throughout our lives.

*A few years ago I wrote a post for Working World Magazine about taking what you don’t want, and creating goals for the New Year. This post is based on that article. If you want to read the original, check it out here: “Get off the Goal-Setting Treadmill” in Working World Magazine.

Copyright © 2015 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: nicola.albertini via Compfight cc

Stop Waiting for Permission to Live Your Life

download“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves. They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” -V.S. Naipaul

Have you ever shared an idea or a plan with someone, only to have them tell you that it wouldn’t work?

Or maybe you were told that you were crazy or had no common sense.

I’ve had that experience many times over the years, usually when I’ve mentioned my writing.

I’ll usually hear things such as: “books don’t make any money” or “writers don’t make any money” or “you’ll never be as successful as…” Fill in a famous writer’s name.

I think there are two reasons for this. It could be because the feedback is reflecting my own fears of being a writer.

Or it could be that the people giving the feedback have compromised and set aside their own dreams.

When you have a strong desire for something the next step is to create a vision for what you want. You have to see it and want it so much that there is no settling for something less. You’ll also be less likely to be sidetracked by “well meaning” people who will share their opinion (whether you ask for it or not).

When we’re not really sure what we want we can end up conflicted and frustrated. Any opinion will seem better than our own, and we’ll be locked in an internal struggle between what we desire and what we think we should do.

While all this is going on, our dreams will fade into the background as we accept limitations and focus on more “practical” avenues.

Are you prepared to look back on a life of compromise and “what might have been?” Do want to live with the regret that accompanies missed chances? Stop listening to people who feel it’s their duty to tell you what you can’t do.

Some people will discourage you because they didn’t have the courage to step up themselves. Listen to them at your own risk.

It’s time to stop hiding in the shadows. It’s time to live out loud.

Copyright © 2010 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life.

“The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur” Book Review

From time to time, I’m sent books to review and feature on my Secrets of Success blog. Since this book fits the entrepreneurial theme, I wanted to share my review of it here.

The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your LifeThe Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life by Kimberly Palmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’ve ever been stressed out trying to make financial ends meet, or worried about losing your job, author Kimberly Palmer’s new book provides a roadmap with steps for adding a “side-gig” or going into entrepreneurship full-time.

Starting out by describing her own story of gaining control over her own schedule so she could balance out demands of family life and making a living, Palmer gives her own take on this new economy by showing her own journey.

One of the things that makes this book enlightening is that she tells the stories of many other entrepreneur and employees with side-gigs. Each person has their own reasons for wanting to create a new product or service. Some are following a dream, while others are replacing an income lost through a lay-off or business failure. But they’re all driven to have more control over their lives and create an income outside of (or in addition to) the traditional job market.

In addition, Palmer includes a list of the “Top Fifty Side-Gigs,” and “Five Common Pitfalls to Avoid” along with worksheets and exercises to help you get started. If you’re looking for more control over your schedule, and more freedom to express your passions while getting paid, then this book is for you. Whether you want to become an entrepreneur or create a new revenue stream to add to your full-time job, The Economy of You provides a snapshot into the new economy a new way to look at work. (Received a copy of this book for review.)

View all my reviews

7 Steps to Get Moving & Get Free from What’s Holding You Back

491214032_06d57d2f6a_bHave you ever felt that if you had more money, or more degrees or knew more of the “right people” you’d be okay?

Perhaps you feel that you’re too old to go for your dreams.

Or maybe you believe you don’t have the advantages that others do.

Ever had these types of thoughts?

It’s so easy to become blocked by your own fears and limited beliefs. But what can you do about it?

If you’ve been reading my book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life,” you’re already familiar with the steps I recommend to create a success mindset.

Here are some additional tips:

1. Forget about being an overnight success. No matter what their PR says, most successful people did not achieve success overnight. They worked on building it step by step over time. If you’re holding yourself to some standard that you think you should be following, stop right now.

2. Be willing to make mistakes. Successful people are risk takers. Instead of beating themselves up when they fail, they learn from their mistakes and make better choices next time around. You’ll never know what will work until you are willing to take a chance on failure.

3. Stop waiting for permission. Successful people are leaders. They don’t wait for others to tell them what to do. Ask for what you want. Don’t wait for someone else to validate your choices. If you do, you might be waiting a very long time.

4. Get used to hearing the word, “no.” The way to get to “yes” is to be willing to hear a lot of “no’s.” The popular series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was rejected by over 100 publishers. Imagine if the creators had quit before their “yes?”

5. Be good to yourself. It can be tough to go for your dreams. Practice self care and treat yourself with respect and love. Successful people believe in their dreams because they believe in themselves. If you see the glass as half empty (or believe that you weren’t even good enough to get a glass) you won’t believe you can have what you desire.

6. Release resentment. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Once you define what you want (and believe you can achieve it) nothing will stand in your way. That may sound too easy – but it really isn’t easy to stay focused on our path. It takes work to really believe in what we can accomplish.

7. Define your own success. Success is not the same for everyone. For some it means a certain dollar amount, for others it may mean living in a big house. Believing in one definition of success is a trap. Create your own definition and set your own goals. Only you know what is right for you.

Back when I worked in corporate, my idea of success was defined by my manager or by what I saw others doing. But I prefer to define my life path myself. Instead of following the crowd, I decide what’s right for me.

One of my long-time goals became real when I wrote and published my first book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur.” It was exciting to see my book finally in print. That’s when I realized that I could make my dreams into reality, but I had to believe and take action on those dreams.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

You can find the ebook, print and audio book versions of “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life,” on Amazon.com.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

Originally posted on the Secrets of Success blog.

Feeling Stuck? Why You’ve Got to Leap Before You Look

203433676_6d05c3f43f_o“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

A lot of times we get stuck because we’re afraid to take the next, best step.

We know what we desire. What we crave. But we’re afraid to go for it. Or we think we don’t deserve it.

So we suffer through terrible jobs, un-fulfilling careers, and all kinds of compromises that only make us feel like shit.

What happens when someone who has multiple talents wants to do various things to express themselves in the world?

The desire to do more than one thing is what draws a lot of people into the entrepreneurial world. It was a big draw for me. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand it.  And some might even be threatened by it.

Years ago, I was told I was “too technical to write.” That’s an exact quote from an HR manager. At the time, I was a software developer and I’d finally made the decision to transition back into writing.

So, I applied for a writing position at a very well-known financial publication. My resume listed my previous writing positions, my B.A. degree in English, my A.A.S. in Advertising & Communications degree, my experience as a copywriter–but none of it mattered.

When the HR person saw the IT experience on my resume, she refused to accept that a writer and a coder could exist in one person. So she dismissed it. I even offered to send writing samples. She said, no.

On another occasion I interviewed for a position as a development writer at an arts organization. This time the HR manager was fine with my technical background. But when he sent me to talk to the department manager, she ignored my portfolio, the book I’d written, the blog posts and articles I’d done, and focused entirely on my technical writing.

Yet again, according to someone’s limited thinking, I could only do one thing.

I’m sure you’ve been to interviews like that. Where you knew the decision had already been made before you even opened your mouth. This was one of those times.

Funny how after I became a freelance writer, no one had a problem with me having a technical background. They hired me to write copy, articles, brochures, etc.–and never questioned my previous work experiences.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably had someone sell you short. They’ve dismissed you, or overlooked you or been sure you weren’t the right fit.

Not because you couldn’t do the work, but because you didn’t fit their expectation of what  you should be.

We can go into the whys and wherefores. The limited thinking, the fears, the “-isms” that some people are unable to get past–even when they have evidence to the contrary.

But nobody’s got time for that.

That’s one of the reasons I decided to explore entrepreneurship. Why I was ready to break free of the restrictions of the corporate world. I wanted to chart my own course. Control my own destiny as much as I could. Stop trying to fit into a box that I didn’t belong in, just to make other people more comfortable.

Have you ever limited yourself? Talked badly about yourself to make others feel better? Been afraid to claim your gifts because of what others might say?

Lowered yourself to a level where no one will accuse you of thinking you’re “too” good, or too valuable?

How did it make you feel?

If you’re doing that now, how is it working for you?

My guess is, it isn’t.

There comes a time when you’ve got to step out in faith. I’m not talking religion here. I mean faith that you know what’s best for you. That you have to follow your star, your destiny, and go where your heart is leading you.

I’ve learned that you can’t find your fulfillment outside of yourself. Validation isn’t coming from outside. Wining someone over who doesn’t get you (or like you), is not going to do anything to help you get what you need.

It’s about feeding your soul. Answering your call. Doing what’s right for you.

It’s about stepping out in faith, even when you don’t see where you’re going to land.

You really can do it. No matter how crazy, scary, bleak it might look at the moment.

I believe in you.

Just have faith.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: moriza via Compfight cc

Diving in the Deep End

Lane linesAfter years of wishing and hoping, I wrote and published 2 novels in a little over 2 years.

So of course after the writing and publishing came the promoting–which is probably the hardest part.

Like a lot of writers, I’m an introvert. I can interact with people and give talks in front of them without fear. But I’d much rather be reading or writing than out socializing.

Recently I connected with 2 other writers and we’re going to do 2 workshops at a local writer’s conference.  Though I’ve taught classes and workshops in front of people, I usually don’t seek out opportunities to present fiction writing topics. Besides, there are so many authors with more novels and more experience in the fiction world. What could I have to offer?

That’s wrong thinking, of course. If I really believed that, I wouldn’t have taken any risks at all in my life. If you only do things that you have years of experience doing, you’ll never do anything.

So while I was registering for the workshop, they had options for a reader/writer mixer. Usually I’d say no because, as I mentioned, I’m an introvert.

A couple of years ago at this same conference I went to a workshop with a very successful author – NY Times Bestseller successful. She was so nervous that she was almost shaking. I felt for her.

Later when I had a chance for a brief encounter at the mixer at the end of the day, I could tell she was more at ease within a smaller group. Yes, I get it. It can be tough to put yourself out there, no matter what your level of success.

Not only did I sign up for the mixer, but for the book signing too. I’ve only done one book signing, years ago at Borders for my Think Like an Entrepreneur book.

Unfortunately Borders was on its way out at that time, and this particular store was tucked away with limited foot traffic. Most people either came in to look for a specific book or were just wandering around to kill time.

But even with the small amount of exposure, I did sell and sign 5 books–one to the store manager! (Who knew by then that her job was going away, and that she’d better start planning her next career move.)

At the conference, not only am I doing workshops, but I’m also going to sign books and participate in a mixer. My first in-person activities as a published fiction author. This won’t happen until next March and I’m already getting nervous. Being vulnerable will do that. And when you’re about to take a step towards your dream, it’s easy to find reasons not to move forward.

What if no one wants a signed book? What if the mixer is makes the introvert in me want to run away? What if I put myself out there and nobody cares? I’m not a NY Times Bestselling novelist. Not only that, but I’m an indie publisher to boot. In some circles, being an indie publisher is on level with having the plague.

But I have to start someplace, don’t I? Even if no one’s clamoring for my autograph, or if I don’t get to mix with the cool kids, I’ve still accomplished something. I actually finished two novels. I didn’t just dream it. I did it.

And though I feel like I’m about to jump into the pool without a life vest (Yes, I was one of those people in high school who found excuses to get out of learning to swim.) it’s going to be worth it.

They say that if you decide to do something and it scares you, it’s a good thing.

If that’s true, then this is a stop on the path between where I am now as an author and what I’m becoming as I continue to write and publish.

I’m not going to let fear stop me from diving into the deep end.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Powerhouse Museum via Compfight cc

Is Work Supposed to Make You Miserable?

3412124019_1677173f6e_oYears ago I had a coworker who used to say that work wasn’t supposed to be fun, that’s why it was called, “work.”

He also said that the corporate world was a “necessary evil.”

I’m not sure what he meant by that.

At the time I interpreted it to mean that it was necessary because (at least at the time) corporate jobs paid more and provided  benefits and perks.

The evil part was the crap we had to put up with. If you’re in corporate (or a recent escapee) you know what I’m saying.

For some reason in the corp world, it’s not enough to come in and do your job. You’ve got to navigate the politics, the inertia, the pressure not to announce that the emporor has no clothes when he’s bare-ass naked.

We make those compromises in order to stay employed. To pay our bills and keep food on the table. We detach from the bullshit and check out of our lives for 8, 10, 12 or more hours a day so we can get by.

But does work have to be this way?

It isn’t that way for everyone. There are corps where the environments are more positive and encouraging. More innovative and more healthy.

So, I’m not saying every large corp is just waiting to suck your soul dry. Some are and some aren’t–and you don’t have to necessarily go to a large company to have that experience either. I’m sure you know that there are just as many smaller workplaces that can make you run screaming. Or already have.

When I was a kid, people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. The future
was limitless at that point.

But as you get older, you get different messages. From your family, from the people you hang out with, from people who love you and from those who hate you. You get hammered into shape like hot metal. You can do this…you can’t do that…who do you think you are to want to…

Depending on your experiences you might have been encouraged or pushed back
at every turn.

Right now you might be broken and bloodied. But know this, what you are here to create and produce, will call you forward.

You may not hear the call.

You may ignore it.

You may have to fight to realize it.

But it’s calling you.

It’ll be hard to hear it if you’re disconnected from your thoughts and feelings, sitting in a grey cube, just trying to get through the day.

Recently, a question was posted on Clarity.com (where I have a page). The poster was frustrated because he wanted his work to matter. He was tired of being put into positions that led nowhere.

As I read it, I felt like I was reading a question I could’ve posted at one time. I could feel his desire to know where he should go to do work that excited him. The despair at all the well-meaning advice steering him this way and that.

I’ve been there. It’s tough to try to fit into a box, knowing that you don’t belong there. Yet feeling a lot of pressure to conform to a “norm” for working.

From time to time I’ve had to return to the corp world as a contractor. Freelancing
can be feast or famine. Sometimes the lean times last longer than I’d like. But that’s still a work in progress as I add other income streams–and as I listen to my own call that’s pulling me forward.

My desire is that work shouldn’t be something miserable, or frustrating. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the desire to do good, fulfilling work and get my bills paid.

That’s what inspired me to write Think Like an Entrepreneur four years ago. That’s why my own words continue to keep me moving forward. I’ve been on the employee and entrepreneurial sides of the working world.  I know perfectly well that it’s not easy.

But what I know for sure is you won’t get anyplace if you don’t get your mind right first.

You must have a way to push out the naysayers…the haters…the status quo keepers.

Your work is your expression in the world. It’s what you’re here to do. Whether you do it in your own business or in someone else’s, you must do it.

Once you discover what you’re here to do, you have the right–and the responsibility–to do it.

To live it and share it with the world.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Photo Credit: Hartwig HKD via Flickr cc