Give Yourself the Gift of Exercise

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Give Yourself the Gift of Exercise

The holiday season is here. As you’re filling those Christmas stockings, don’t forget about yourself. This year, decide to give yourself the gift of exercise:  the true anti-dote to aging. Research has consistently shown that exercise is the best weapon against age-related diseases and disabilities. As I encounter elderly people (and the challenges they face), I am again and again reminded that regular exercise and a healthy diet can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy life at age 75, 85 and well into your 90s. A friend who works with the elderly is sometimes overwhelmed by the health challenges of many of her clients. Once she remarked that many of those challenges resulted from the poor health and lifestyle choices made – consciously and unconsciously – twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. For many, that meant eating whatever… and never engaging in any sort of physical exercise. For a reminder of some of the benefits of exercise, see my September 27 post:  4 Reasons to do Strength Training. Begin the New Year with YOU in mind. Resolve to take better care of yourself. Your body and mind as well as your loved ones will thank you for it.

This week I am not introducing a new super woman. I am posting a photo of last week’s super woman, Janice Beaumont, the 75 year young diva from my stretch class.

 

Meet Janice, a work of art. 

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"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."

-       Eleanor Roosevelt

 Do you know other works of art you would like to tell me about? I would love to hear from you. 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! See you in 2012.   

The Secret to Aging Gracefully and Beautifully: Exercise

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The Secret to Aging Gracefully and Beautifully:  Exercise

 Recently, Jane Fonda was on The View. Needless to say, she looks phenomenal. She has had a little face work (as she readily admits), but, most importantly, her body, her energy, and her spirit is amazing.  Looking like a trillion bucks, she stressed the importance of “moving” and staying active. Exercise has been her anti-aging routine for years.  At 74, she is still making exercise DVDs and writing books.  She is one celebrity who is an example for all women – no matter the age – on what aging gracefully and beautifully looks like. 

While I am giving kudos to Jane, my non-celebrity superwoman of the week is Janice, an attractive, petite Asian woman from my Wednesday noon stretch class.

My encounter with Janice... Last week, at the end of my stretch class, I was approached by Janice who commented on a fabulous photo she had seen of me in a local weekly (paper). During our brief conversation, she inquired about my work as a personal trainer. I told her that I only worked with women, aged 55 or over. She remarked, “Well, I am 75.” I was speechless because she looked and moved as if she were many years younger. She told me that exercise is the secret to aging beautifully. She explained that she has been exercising all of her life.  And, the only thing about her that had aged was her arthritic hands. While this condition did halt her career as a hair stylist, it didn’t stop her from exercising. She walks, does Pilates, and stretches regularly. Her advice: Make exercise a part of your daily life. Find something you can do and enjoy doing. Then, DO IT! She also mentioned the importance of attitude.  

Now, some people would have allowed arthritis to take over their lives or slow them down. BTW: Jane Fonda has had a hip and knee replacement, and she is still going strong.  Neither Janice nor Jane allows discomforts like bad or weak knees, hip or back pain, and/or arthritis stop them from moving; from exercising. It motivates them to keep moving. They know that there is truth in the saying “use it or lose it”.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people say, “I don’t exercise because I have problems with my lower back, my arthritis, my knees, my ankles... For many, these aches and pains give them a justifiable reason to be inactive when, in fact, this is the absolute worst thing you can do for those aches and pains.

Exercise is truly an antidote to aging. And, everyone can do some form of exercise. So, when your lower back hurts (as does mine on most days of the week), keep in mind this simple fact: use it or lose it!  

 “It’s not that very old people…can exercise because they are healthy…rather, they achieve a healthy old age because they exercise.”          - Jane Brody, New York Times health writer

I am still looking for non-celebrity (everyday) women who have aged or are aging beautifully and gracefully. Are you one? Do you know someone?  I want to know your secrets. Let me hear from you.

18 Things Every Woman of a Certain Age Should Have

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18 Things Every Woman of a Certain Age Should Have

There are a few things every woman of a certain age (in my case over 60) should have in order to age with dignity, style, and confidence.  In this post, I list 18, based on my own experiences. A few I have; others I am still working on.

  • An attitude of gratitude. 
  • A healthy self-image.
  • A positive attitude.
  • A little black dress that makes you feel and look gorgeous.
  • A good bra to give “the girls” a boost.
  • A good body shaper to wear under that fabulous black dress, thus hiding a few flaws.
  • Good teeth and a dazzling smile.
  • At least one pair of shoes that are sexy and comfortable.
  • Two good (leather) purses.
  • A strong, healthy mind and body.
  • A “drop-dead” gorgeous (recent) photo of yourself.
  • A strong savings account.
  • At least one good girl friend who knows all of your secrets.
  • A healthy, vibrant companion who shares some of your interests – i.e., walking, traveling, dancing.
  • Something (or someone) you are passionate about.
  • A big screen TV.
  • Several pairs of reading glasses.
  • An Ipad or e-reader.

If you’re wondering why I have listed 4 – 9, the best answer I can give is this: These things make you look better. And, when you look good, you feel good.

What do you think? Did I miss something? If you would like to add to this list, please do.

Super Woman of the Week

My super woman of the week is Matilda Lowe (79).  Til, as we call her, is an avid golfer.  At 73, she took up running; at 77, she completed the Disney Goofy (a race where she ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) on day 1 and a full marathon (26.2 miles) on the following day (day 2). At age 79, Til recently had a PR in the Savannah Inaugural Rock N Roll Half Marathon. She is now training for the St. Pete Inaugural Half Marathon, coming up in February. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had another PR. Oh! Til runs with a brace on her foot. The woman just keeps on ticking.

Meet Til.

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“Everyone is the age of their heart.”  ~Guatemalan Proverb

 

 

86,400 Seconds

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86,400 Seconds

Each day, we are to practice gratitude. However, this is the week (Thanksgiving Day) we set aside time with family and/or friends to give thanks in a special way.  What are you thankful for?  I say give thanks for everything:  the good and the bad.  For example, today, my right hip/leg is still aching from that last half marathon. Yet, I remain grateful that I was able to accomplish such a phenomenal task especially when I think of all those women (and men), no matter the age, who can’t even walk a mile– not to mention run13.1 miles. 

This week’s superwoman is my running friend Donna D’Agnostino. On Sunday, Donna ran the St. Pete Women Half Marathon. Her unofficial finish time: 2:05. Donna is 60 years young and just keeps getting better. For her, it was another PR.  She ranked #5 in her age group (60-64) out of 100 women. What an accomplishment. I can imagine that she is still saying thank you. I know I would be.

Happy Thanksgiving! Other than taking a few of those 86,400 seconds to say thanks, how will you spend Thanksgiving Day?  

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.” – Meister Eckhardt

207 Women Who Are Aging Beautifully

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207 Women Who Are Aging Beautifully

On November 5th, I ran the Savannah, Georgia, Inaugural Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I set a new personal record (PR).  I broke my old PR of 2:34:37 and set a new PR of 2:23:39. Out of approximately 15,000 people registered for the half, there were 207 women in my class (60-64 year olds). I placed at #32. The 1st thru 4th place runners in this category all finished in less than 2 hours. WOW!  I was again reminded of the number of everyday women who are aging gracefully.  It further reminded me that age really is just a number. And, with preparation, the right attitude, and a little bit of luck (of course, you make your own luck), we can accomplish things we never dreamed possible.

If I interviewed all 207 women, I am confident that they all possess many of the qualities and characteristics mentioned in previous posts describing women who are aging well. However, without interviewing even one woman, it’s safe to say that they all have at least three things in common.  They are all fit, fabulous, and fearless. How else could we run 13.1 miles? And, get to talk, brag or write about the experience.     

So, this week rather than highlighting one woman, I am highlighting all 207 women in my class (age 60 -64) who finished the Savannah Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I am also giving a special shout-out to two of my fellow Sarasota runners (in the over 70s class) who finished this race: Adine Wittig (74) and Matilda Lowe (79). These two women, who are biological sisters, are simply amazing. They truly represent women who have aged gracefully and beautifully.

Do you have women who are aging gracefully or who have aged gracefully?  I would love to hear from you.

Here’s Another One…Isn’t She Lovely?

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Here’s Another One…Isn’t She Lovely?

For the next few weeks, my goal is to highlight everyday women (non celebrities) who have embraced the aging process.  From reading about and talking to these women, they have several things in common. For example:  they are physically active (i.e. they engage in some form of exercise regularly); they have strong family, social, and/or community ties; they are spiritual; they make use of technology; they are positive and optimistic; and they exude confidence. It also struck me that these women do not deny who they are. They make no attempt to “hide” their age. They celebrate birthdays; and see them as blessings.  To these women, age is just a number. They all seem to have the belief that “I can age, but I don’t have to get old”.

Last week, I introduced you to Ms. Ernestine Shepherd (www.ernestineshepherd.com). This week, I am introducing you to a woman I met on my last visit to Ghana, Ms. Brenda Joyce. When I see her, I am reminded of Stevie Wonder’s hit song, Isn’t She Lovely? I can use many words to describe Ms. Brenda, but “diva” comes to mind. For Ms. Brenda is definitely a diva (glamorous and talented). This woman, in her early 70s, is amazing. She knows who she is, what she wants, and where she is going.

Just looking at her and listening to her, I assumed that she was about my age or younger. However, I soon learned that she was almost 10 years older than me. Of course, I wanted to know her story. Here is a snapshot of Ms. Brenda’s life. She started her career as a lobbyist in the oil and gas industry in Washington, D.C. In her late 50s, she relocated to South Africa. At age 58, she went back to school for a degree in gemology. Her passion is and always has been entertaining. Today, she is a gemologist and jazz singer. When not exploring diamond mines in Ghana, she is living life (jetting between South Africa and Ghana) and performing.      

Meet Ms. Brenda Joyce.  No, this is not an old photo. This was taken in November, 2011 at the Living Legends Banquet in Accra, Ghana, where she was performing.

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“You're never too old to become younger.” – Mae West

Do you know of women who are aging gracefully or beautifully?  If so, please let me hear from you.

Another Woman Who is Aging Gracefully

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Another Woman Who is Aging Gracefully

Yesterday, Oprah’s Lifeclass on OWN was on “aging beautifully”. It pleases me that highly visible celebrities are now letting women know that aging is a blessing. I was especially pleased to hear Oprah say that she doesn’t dread birthdays; she sees them as blessings. I, too, see birthdays as blessings especially when I consider the alternatives. I was happy to see Jamie Lee Curtis sporting her silver mane. Love the look and love the silver hair (slightly mixed with black). We both wear it well. 

All of Oprah’s featured guests were celebrities (Cybil Shepherd, Ali McGraw, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bo Derrek). As I watched the show, I thought to myself, “What about those beautiful women who are not celebrities?” There are many. So, again, I will feature ordinary (i.e., non celebrity) women; some I know personally, others I have only read about and admire from afar.

 In last week’s post, I talked about one impressive woman– yours truly. I have definitely aged beautifully.  As a matter of fact, I look better now than I did when I was in my 40s.  Sure, my skin is not as tight, my hair is gray, and there is a bit more of me, but overall, I look and feel terrific.  Today, at 63, I appreciate my looks a lot more than I did at 30, 40, or even 50. When I look at old photos, I think to myself, “I was a knock-out and didn’t even know it.” Well, now I do. Better late than never.

In this week’s post, I am introducing you to another woman who is aging gracefully as well as beautifully. I could be this woman’s PR agent because I tell everyone about her. I have even downloaded a photo of her to show my clients and workshop participants. Some people even think that I know her personally. I don’t.  I have only read about her but she is my #1 role model.  She is Ernestine Shepherd.  Mrs. Shepherd is in better shape than most people, including those of us that are decades younger.  At 74, she holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the oldest female competitive body builder, ever.  What I find so amazing about Mrs. Shepherd is that she didn’t even start exercising until she was my age, 63.  I am inspired by her story because it reminds me of four things: 1) Anything is possible, 2) It’s never too late develop healthy lifestyle habits, 3) It’s never too late to change your life, and 4) Any woman, at any age, can be beautiful. To learn more about Ms. Shepherd’s story, check out her website: www.ernestineshepherd.net. I know you, too, will be inspired. If not, keep reading my blog.   

      "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."

                                                                                                    – Eleanor Roosevelt

Are you aging gracefully?  Do you know of anyone?  I would love to hear from you.

Women We Are Aging Gracefully

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Women We Are Aging Gracefully

This post begins my introduction of women who have aged gracefully or in the process of doing so. Some I know personally. Others I have only read about or met briefly.  

I can’t talk about these amazing women without first talking about myself.  Yes, I am one of those amazing women. It appears that we share several characteristics and/or personality traits. We are fit, fabulous, and fearless. We are active. We are not fighting the idea of biological aging. And, we are moving forward in a manner that doesn’t deny who we are. In other words, we have embraced the aging process with gusto and we are having the time of our lives.

Let’s begin with me.

I am 63 years old. I am more active than I was in my 40s. And sometimes I actually forget my age.  Then, something happens to remind me that I am no longer in my 30s, 40s, or even 50s.  I am usually reminded of this when I am attempting to engage in some activity with someone 20, 30, or 40 years my junior.  For example, last week, I went hiking in the Grand Canyon with my 33 year old niece.  She kept remarking about how much fun she was having and I kept asking, “Are we almost done?” and mumbling to myself, “What was I thinking when I decided to do this?”  While hiking in the Grand Canyon is not for the faint of heart, it was an experience that I am happy to have had.  I am so pleased that I had the courage, energy, stamina and attitude to accomplish this amazing task. Next month, I will run a half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles).  My goal is to finish in two and a half hours. This will be a personal best for you.

Oh! Last month, I had another new experience. I made my debut as a volunteer model. New experiences and opportunities just keep happening to me.

In the next post, I will tell you about another amazing woman. Meanwhile, if you know of women who are aging gracefully or establishing a solid foundation for aging gracefully, I would love to hear from you. These women do not have to be over 50. They can be young women who are developing healthy lifestyle habits as well as qualities and personality traits that are going to make them attractive at any age. These qualities include things such as confidence, elegance, style, warmth, humor, wisdom, and resilience.

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Women Over 60

Andy Rooney, the 92 years young 60 Minutes (CBS) correspondent, is retiring. He certainly knows a lot about aging gracefully. And, apparently, he has amassed a wealth of knowledge about women over 60. In case you missed it on 60 Minutes, here are some of his thoughts about women over 60.

“As I grow in age, I value women over 60 most of all.  Here are just a few reasons why:

  • A woman over 60 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

  • If a woman over 60 doesn’t want to watch a game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She goes and does something she wants to do and it’s usually more interesting.

  • Women over 60 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

  • Older women are more generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it‘s like to be unappreciated.

  • Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 60.

  • Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 60 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

  • Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk or if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.”

Isn’t Andy Rooney a really smart guy?  If this resonated with you as it did with me, let me hear from you. 

4 Reasons to do Strength Training

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4 Reasons to do Strength Training

A necessary ingredient for aging gracefully is adopting healthy lifestyle habits. I can’t talk about healthy lifestyles without extolling the importance of a total conditioning exercise program. Such a program includes:  cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility (stretching). Yet, most people only focus on cardio. Cardio (walking, jogging, running, swimming, biking, raking leaves, and other activities that get your heart pumping) is great. But, it is not enough to sustain you as you enter your 50s and beyond. It is imperative that you engage in the other three if you want to age gracefully as well as remain active.  

Many women readily understand the importance of balance and flexibility, but shy away from strength training.  They equate strength training with lifting weights. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard a woman say, “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want bulging muscles.”  First of all, lifting weights is not the only way to train for strength. But if your program does involve lifting, it is highly unlikely that you will develop bulging muscles unless that is your goal.  And, even then, it takes a lot more than lifting to a few weights to build huge muscles. 

So, because I want my readers to start doing strength training, here are four compelling reasons to include it in your fitness program.

  • Increased mental and physical stamina.  Strength training helps you to get stronger, leaner, and healthier. And, leads to increased mental and physical stamina so that you can better handle the stresses of everyday living. 
     
  • Strengthens your bones. Strength training strengthens your bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis. Stronger bones mean that you can enjoy daily activities with more confidence and ease. 
     
  • Prevents injury. Strength training strengthens muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones thus lowering the chance of injury.
     
  • Slows down the aging process. Strength training is the only exercise proven to slow down the aging process. It prevents muscle loss that normally accompanies aging. 

If you don’t include strength training in your regular workout program, you’re missing out on a key component of overall fitness and health.

What are some of your thoughts and stories about exercise, graceful aging, or strength training? I want to hear from you.  

5 Memorable Quotes for Aging Gracefully

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5 Memorable Quotes for Aging Gracefully

 While researching the topic of graceful aging, I ran across several interesting and memorable quotes. Several resonated with me, but here are 5 of my favorites.

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." -Betty Friedan 

“To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.”   -Ben Franklin 

“There’s always a lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it.  For example, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt.”  -Unknown

The time to begin most things is ten years ago.” -Mignon McLaughlin

"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."

-Eleanor Roosevelt 

In future posts, I intend to provide commentary on these quotes as well as many others.  Meanwhile, if you have some great quotes about graceful aging or you have stories or know people who are aging gracefully, please let me hear from you.  

About Aging…What I Know for Sure

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About Aging…What I Know for Sure

Here are a five more things I know about aging.

It’s never too late.  Ideally, one should start early if the goal is to age gracefully. As a matter of fact, it’s never too early since technically the aging process begins at birth. But whether you start at 30, 40, 50, or you are just getting started (at age 60), it’s never too late to develop healthy lifestyle habits and other anti-aging steps to slow down the aging process.

Take care of yourself.  If the goal is to age with dignity and confidence, you must take care of yourself in every way. You must make fitness, health, and wellness your top priorities. Taking care of yourself means caring for your mind, body, and spirit by: making better food choices, exercising, getting enough sleep, associating with right-minded and positive people, staying active, and just having balance in your life.

Accept and embrace the aging process.  Don’t fight it; embrace it. Contrary to what we may have been told, aging is not a disease to be avoided at all cost.  It’s not about gloom and doom. It’s something to look forward to. If you don’t think so, consider the alternatives. When you accept and embrace the aging process, you decide how you want to live this phase of your life. 

Feel good about yourself. When it comes to aging gracefully, feeling good about yourself is at the very top of the list of things I know for sure. I know for sure that if you don’t value, appreciate and feel good yourself and what you have accomplished, the aging process can be downright scary and can lead to gloom and doom, depression, and unhappiness. Feeling healthy and feeling good about yourself is not a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity.

Never stop learning.  Learning is vital to graceful aging. You can never stop learning. And, thanks to technology, learning is so much easier. Technology makes your life easier, more comfortable, and it helps you to maintain your independence. With technology, the whole wide world is just one click away.

What are some things you know about aging? I would love to hear from you.

 

Graceful Aging

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Graceful Aging

 Aging gracefully…what does it mean?  While it means different things to different people, the bottom line is this:  if we live long enough, there is no way around it.  We get older, we age. Aging is simply another stage in our lives; a stage that can be exciting or humdrum.  Whether it’s exciting or humdrum is entirely up to you. On this, you are 100% in control. For that stage to be exciting it requires energy, stamina, and the right mental attitude.  For it to be humdrum, it requires virtually nothing.  Just be still and watch life pass you by. 

For some, aging gracefully means: staying active, not fighting the idea of biological aging, and moving forward in a manner that doesn’t deny who you are.  For others, it means accepting the inevitable changes of aging, finding meaningful activities, and being optimistic. For me, it means all of these things.  However, it also means accepting yourself for who and what you are; accepting and embracing the aging process and the changes it’s bringing; and making the necessary adjustments – emotionally/mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and otherwise – to adapt to those changes.

While there is a lot about aging I don’t know, there are some things I do know. For example, I know that aging gracefully is focusing on those qualities that accrue with maturity and that make us attractive at any age. I also know that aging gracefully isn’t just about looking good; it’s about feeling good in every way – physically, psychologically, intellectually, occupationally, socially, and spiritually. And, finally, I am convinced that the three most important ingredients to graceful aging are:  attitude, lifestyle, and the ability to accept change. 

What do you think?  Next week, I will share a few more things I know about graceful aging.

Be Relevant, Helpful, Authentic, and “Do You”

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Be Relevant, Helpful, Authentic, and “Do You”

This is my 8th post.  And, I have learned that everything is easier when you are relevant, helpful, authentic, and most importantly “do you”.    To “do you” is another way of saying, be yourself.  So, in this week’s post and from this day forward, I am making a commitment to always be relevant, helpful, authentic, and “myself” – no matter what I do or where I go.   When I started this blog, my mission was to empower women and girls to be advocates for themselves. I have now become even more focused in my mission. It is now to add value to women who want to age gracefully. This comprises all women – regardless of age – because one is never too young to start the process of graceful aging.  As a matter of fact, the process starts before you enter your teens.  My vision is women – regardless of age – who are fit, fabulous, and fearless. So, in the coming weeks, every post will provide at least one tip for graceful aging. My discussion will start with what it means.

Aging gracefully.  What does it mean to you? I would love to hear from you.

Guard Your Inner Circle

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Guard Your Inner Circle

This is my first full week back from Ghana. It has taken me a few days to get my rhythm back But, I am getting there.  This week, I am returning to my theme of “Developing a Possibility Mindset”.  To recap, the first 2 strategies were:  1) read book, articles, and blogs on possibility thinking and 2) develop a possibility mindset.  This week I will introduce a 3rd strategy: Guard your inner circle (the people you hang out with).  As I so eloquently stated in my book, Big Eyes…Big Eyedeas, surround yourself with the right kind of people. And, keep your inner circle small and tight.  Only allow people in who are going to love, nourish, support, and sometimes challenge you. Now, this doesn’t mean you are to only surround yourself with “yes” people. Nor does it mean that you are to surround yourself with people who are going to challenge you to the point of exhaustion.  It means, however, that you are to include people in your inner circle who will challenge you to be the best you can be, and help you to “see possibilities” – no matter the circumstances. 

Reflect on your inner circle.  How do you evaluate the quality of your inner circle?  Do they love, nourish, support, and sometimes challenge you? Are they possibility thinkers?  As you think about your inner circle, think on this:  “Not everyone is healthy enough to have a front row seat in our lives.”  - Anonymous

 

Another Opportunity to Discover Hidden Possibilities

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Another Opportunity to Discover Hidden Possibilities

Monday presented some unexpected challenges.  But, as I so often say: a challenge is either “another opportunity to excel” or “another opportunity to discover hidden possibilities”. Here is a brief synopsis of what happened on Monday.  I was scheduled to change hotels. Inadvertently, there was a mix up and my reservation was made at a location other than the one intended.  So, imagine my discomfort when I went to check in and there was no record of anyone having made a reservation for me at that particular hotel; but, at one much further away in a less desirable section of the city.  Now, imagine trying to get a taxi in a city where your native language may not the dominant language of the taxi driver – even though English is the official language in Ghana. 

Since it appeared that I had no other choice because all of the reasonably priced hotels were booked to capacity, a taxi driver noticed my distress and offered to take me to the other location; and wait to make sure I was registered.  Turns out, he was the best Ghanaian taxi driver since arriving in Ghana. He spoke 3 languages (English and 2 Ghanaian dialects).  I had finally met a taxi driver who wanted to talk and was not afraid to talk.  He spoke of his dream:  to get an education.   He also told me about his love of farming and his desire to take care of his family, including his extended family.  Learning of his quest to achieve higher levels of success for himself and his family, I gifted him with a copy of my book, Big Eyes…BigEyedeas for Achieving Optimum Success as well as the accompanying CD album, workbook, and success journal.  The gratitude he showed was overwhelming.

In this young man, I saw a diamond in the rough; and unlimited possibilities.  Had it not for the mishap with my hotel reservations, I would not have been able to be a blessing to Emmanuel.

On today, my last day in Ghana, Emmanuel called to wish me a safe journey home and to, again, express his sincere appreciation.

P. S.:  Oh! I ended up in a much nicer, 5 star hotel.

Turning Possibilities into Opportunities

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Turning Possibilities into Opportunities

 

Africa is considered the last frontier. There are 6 billion people on earth. And, of the 6 billion, 1 billion make up the African continent.  Africa is on the verge of an economic explosion, and Ghana leads the pack.  In Africa, especially Ghana, there is extreme poverty amid countless possibilities and untapped opportunities.  In this post, I will provide 3 tips for turning possibilities into opportunities – whether in Africa or any other part of the world.

  1.  Be open to possibilities.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, look for what’s possible. To do that, you have to be able to see what’s not right in front of you; you must be able to see beyond the present moment. Sometimes, to get the results you want, you have to look past or through a lot of unpleasant “stuff”.  And, as a good friend of mine often states, “To get past the stuff you must focus your attention on where you are going and stay in your lane”.  In other words, keep your eyes on the prize.
     
  2. Know what you want.  Many people don’t get what they want because they don’t know what they want. And, if you don’t know what you want, it’s hard to focus and “stay in your lane”. Not knowing what you want will cause you to bounce “all over the place”— wasting time, energy, and money.
     
  3. Prepare Yourself.  Once you know what you want, it’s then time to commit to learning everything you can about your chosen venture. The statement, “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity that never comes than to be unprepared when one does come” says it all.

How do you turn possibilities into opportunities?  Let me hear from you.

Possibilities are Infinite

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Possibilities are Infinite

For the next 3 weeks I am posting from Accra, Ghana (West Africa).  So, I may divert a little from my “strategies for becoming a possibility thinker” posts.

I arrived on Friday, July 15th. The entire trip, which included a 4-hour layover in Atlanta, was approximately 23 hours.  The trip started with a visa glitch because the agents in Sarasota had limited understanding of how to interpret a Ghana issued visa. And, was intent on convincing me that my visa would be expiring in 2 days, and therefore, could not be allowed to travel. It took about 45 minutes and a call from my contact in Ghana for them to realize that they were confusing my passport expiration date (which had been renewed and in their possession) and my visa expiration date. 

On travel day I experienced challenges that taught me these valuable lessons: 1) When you know that you know (and you’re without doubt), remain calm and state your position with confidence in a non-threatening way, 2) have a back-up plan 3) get to the airport early with enough time to calmly address glitches and 4) DO NOT check more than 2 bags.  The cost for a 3rd bag:  $200.00.

Since the start of my Ghana trip, God has been rapidly expanding my territory and blessing me in ways I never imagined. For example, my seatmate on the flight was a born and bred Ghanaian businessman and U. S. citizen who provided me with some invaluable information including local networking opportunities; appeared on my first ever morning TV show to promote my book and 4 cd album; and met and connected with a dynamic 71 year old African American woman who moved to South Africa (S.A.) over 15 years ago at the personal invitation of Mr. Nelson Mandela.  Now, I can say with confidence that I have a “sister” who lives in S.A. This woman showed me what 71 looks like when you take care of yourself –physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

All that is happening to me and for me again confirms the truth that “possibilities are infinite.  And, that each moment of each day is filled with possibilities”. All you have to do is open your eyes wide and be open and receptive.

Anything good happened to you lately?  I would love to hear from you.

The Power Behind Affirmations

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The Power Behind Affirmations

There is power behind the consistent use of affirmations. However, that power doesn’t come from just sitting and chanting all day or night. It comes from doing something. It comes from taking specific actions.  For example, if you desire to “always see possibilities”, you must make a conscious effort to engage in some sort of identifiable activity that will make this a reality.  That activity may be something as simple as changing the way you talk or think about a situation; or monitoring your internal dialogue (your self-talk) – in general. For example, instead of referring to an unresolved or troubling situation as a problem, you may start referring to it as a “challenge”. Better still, you may tell yourself that a troubling situation is just “another opportunity to excel”.  

Monitoring your internal dialogue can truly be “another opportunity to excel”. For many of us, that dialogue is non-stop.  There is always chatter, chatter, chatter. And, much of the chatter is negative, destructive, and counterproductive. By becoming aware of the chatter, you can quickly take control and replace it with talk and words that are positive.  When I catch myself engaging in negative or counterproductive chatter, I use these four words to replace it: peace, happiness, success and wealth. 

There is also power behind affirmations because you are dealing with the subconscious mind which only responds to what the conscious mind impresses upon it. It doesn’t know the difference between what is true or false. It only responds to what it is told. For example, if the conscious mind says, “This is an impossible situation.” The subconscious accepts those words as true. And, act accordingly.  The subconscious mind believes anything you tell it repeatedly.  Any idea can be planted firmly in the mind through repetition. 

The use of affirmations along with specific actions can not only help you to become a possibility thinker, it can also help you change the entire course of your life.  What experiences have you had with affirmations?  Let me hear from you.

Using Possibility Quotes to Develop Your Mindset

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Using Possibility Quotes to Develop Your Mindset

The first two strategies for becoming a possibility thinker were: 1) read book, articles, and blogs on possibility thinking and 2) develop a possibility mindset. This post is a continuation of strategy #2. In it, I will show you how to use these quotes to help you develop a possibility mindset or consciousness.

 From my booklet of quotes, choose some of your favorites (see my previous post for 10 of my favorite quotes).

  • Post them in a conspicuous location (e.g., on your bedside table, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator).
  • As soon as you get out of bed, choose one quote to focus on for that day.
  • Think about what that quote means to you.
  • Develop an affirmative statement to support that quote.  (An affirmative statement is a strong positive statement that declares something as true.  It’s written and spoken in the present tense as if it were true.) For example, if the quote you have chosen to focus on for the day is “The future belongs to those who believe in possibilities”, then your affirmative statement might be something like this.  “I believe in possibilities”. 
  • Silently or aloud, repeat your statement 5 or more times. Then, throughout the day, repeat, “I believe in possibilities”.

 For at least 21 days, repeat this ritual every day until you begin to internalize the truth that possibilities are all around you – even during your darkest hour or when faced with what you see as insurmountable challenges. Again, for a free download of my 100 quotes, go to the articles page on this website. 

In my next post, I will talk about the power behind using affirmative statements, not only to become a possibility thinker but to make significant changes in every aspect of your life.

 Post some of your favorite life affirming quotes here. I would love to hear from you.

10 Quotes to Inspire Possiblity Thinking

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10 Quotes to Inspire Possiblity Thinking

Sometimes the only difference between having a power packed day filled with possibilities or a down in the dumps day filled with impossibilities boils down attitude – i.e. whether you have an attitude of possibilities or impossibilities. In my last blog, I promised to post 20 of my favorite quotes. But, I had a change of heart and decided on 10. These quotes will inspire you and serve as a reminder that every new day begins with unlimited possibilities…and in every moment, there are possibilities. I hope they resonate with you as they do with me. They require no commentary, they speak for themselves.

“The future belongs to those who believe in possibilities.”-Daisy Saunders 

“Our aspirations are our possibilities.”- Robert Browning

"Your mistake does not define who you are...You are your possibilities."  -Oprah Winfrey 

“Before you can do something you’ve never done before, you have to imagine it’s possible.”  -Jean Shinoda Bolen 

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.” -Gloria Steinem

"Often, the only difference between the 'possible' and 'impossible' is persistence.  That is, what we call 'impossible
to achieve is merely something we gave up on."  -Chuck Gallozzi

"A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us." -Friedrich Nietzsche

Everyday holds the possibility of a miracle”  -Elizabeth David 

 "So many things are possible as long as you don't know they are impossible." -Mildred Taylor 

“I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.” -Henry Ford 

 

For a free download of all 100 quotes (from my booklet 100 Quotes to Inspire Possibility Thinking), go to articles page on this website. 

What are some of your favorite possibility quotes?  I would love to hear from you.

Developing a Possibility Thinking Mindset

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Developing a Possibility Thinking Mindset

It would be wonderful if one could wave a magic wand and poof, everywhere you looked and as far as the eyes could see, you only saw possibilities. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Becoming a possibility thinker does not happen overnight.  Like anything else, it takes commitment, determination, and practicing some specific actions. It starts with developing a possibility consciousness (awareness or mindset). This means programming your mind to – no matter the circumstances or how bleak things appear to be – look beyond what is happening at that moment; to look for the possibilities outside of that moment. 

To help me develop the consciousness, specific actions I took included devouring books and articles on possibility thinking and positive thinking. And, I watched any television show that had anything to do with positive or possibility thinking. Even then, it was clear to me that possibility thinking and positive thinking, though related, were not the same. Two of the first books I read were Dr. Robert Schuller’s, Possibility Thinking and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking. Recognizing that neither possibility thinking nor positive thinking were concepts I could grasp overnight, I had to find a place to start. I decided to start by changing my consciousness – i.e., the way I thought about the concepts. I had to develop a possibility thinking and positive thinking consciousness or mindset. 

I developed that mindset by writing down quotes and positive statements (or affirmations) on possibility thinking and positive thinking. I placed these quotes and statements on index cards and carried them around with me, reflecting on them throughout the day.  Each morning, I would select a quote, repeat it, and meditate on it for a few minutes.  Over the years, I collected hundreds of quotes.  In my next blog, I will post 20 of my favorite quotes taken from my booklet, 100 Quotes to Inspire Possibility Thinking.

 

The Ultimate Possibility Thinker

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The Ultimate Possibility Thinker

 

How many of you are suffering from the Oprah withdrawal syndrome?  Oprah …. The ultimate possibility thinker has positively impacted the lives of millions. Unless you have lived under a rock for the past 25 years, you have heard the Oprah story – the story of the little black girl born into poverty in rural Mississippi; who overcame all kinds of obstacles. And, is now listed among the richest, most powerful and famous people in the world.  Oprah is living proof that “anything is possible, when you believe”.

Are you a possibility thinker?  Regardless the circumstances, are you always aware of the hidden possibilities?  If you are, how did you get this way?  What are some of your strategies?  We want to hear from you.  Tune in next week for some of my strategies for becoming a possibility thinker.

Become a Possibility Thinker

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Become a Possibility Thinker

Rethink Possible. That’s AT&T’s newest slogan.  Each time I hear or see it, I am reminded of possibility thinking; the mindset that helps you to move from the seemingly impossible to the possible.  You may be wondering, “Is this just another way of saying think positively? Although I firmly believe that you have to be a positive thinker in order to be a possibility thinker, they are not the same. Possibility thinking takes you beyond positive thinking. While positive thinking helps you correct faulty thinking patterns, possibility thinking helps you to become aware of the hidden possibilities – even in a bad situation; to see possibilities even when faced with impossible odds.  Let me state here that I firmly believe that you have to be a positive thinker in order to be a possibility thinker. Sometimes, when faced with a distressing situation, the only way out is to see what your world would look like when the situation has passed.  And, for better or worse (of course, worse is in the eyes of the beholder) everything passes. Remember the saying, “This, too, shall pass.” 

To affirm that everything passes, many years ago, a friend’s 14 year old daughter had a serious health challenge. One day, out of desperation, she asked, “How do you keep going when things look hopeless?” I answered, “See her the way you want her to be – healthy and happy; see the possibilities”.  To this day, she thanks me for that little nugget of advice.  It is now 15 years later and her daughter is a beautiful young woman who is healthy, happy, and the proud mother of 3 beautiful children. I truly believe that anything is possible when you focus on what’s possible and have a knowing (in your gut) that there are infinite possibilities in every situation. I consider possibility thinking one of the great keys to success. 

So, how does one become a possibility thinker? Where and how do you start? I would be remiss if I did not give you some specific strategies or actions to take. But, not today! See my next blog for tips on becoming a bona fide possibility thinker.  Until I get the hang of blogging, check back here weekly for some more of my thoughts. 

Do you think that there are hidden possibilities in every situation - - no matter how dire?   I would love to hear from you.