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Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
Speaking Information at (727) 467-0202 or e-mail info@fawngermer.com

Archive for the Living Large Category

What the negativity does

Don’t be so skeptical of the value of positive self-talk until you really look at the wonders of all the negative self-talk with which you’ve filled your brain. Yes, isn’t it a wonder how some of us voluntarily build ourselves up to be worthless, unattractive failures?

If you look in the mirror and see “fat,” you will be fat. If you look at your career track and think “average,” you will be average. If you look at possibility and see impossibility, you will encounter impossibility. You know it’s true that when you say you can’t, you can’t.

So this blog will, in part, teach you how to believe you can, because you can.

The beauty of it is, it is not hard at all to erase those negative tapes and overwrite them with positive ones that will drive you to a less stressful, more productive and happier life.

The power of repetition

The tapes inside your head are powerful. If you repeat a negative remark enough times, it will load itself into the permanent memory on your personal internal hard drive. I don’t believe you have the power to completely erase those tapes because it does seem like they are ready to play themselves again, as soon as you stop repeating your revised versions through affirmations. But, you have great control over the tapes and possess the ability to write over the bad ones, recording positive, constructive and productive affirmations that your psyche will absorb and use if you repeat them enough.

Like I said, I am no different from anyone else. I have had good times and bad in this life. When I am in a bad spell, I have to remind myself how easy it is to fix things by saying the right words to myself. It’s so easy, but it can be so hard to get started.

So, make up your mind. You want an easier way? You can have it.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

You Can Do Better

“You can do better than this.”

I can still hear my mother’s voice.

I was in the tenth grade and I had brought home a report card that boasted a few As, a couple of Bs, a C and the only  D I’d ever gotten – in geometry. I didn’t see anything wrong with that report card because it wasn’t much different from what my friends brought home, except for that little episode with geometry, for which I still don’t apologize.

But, Mom did see something wrong with that report card.

“You are not average,” she said, “So you can’t bring home a report card like this. If you were average, it would be all right. If I knew this was the best you could do, it would be all right. But, it isn’t the best you can do and you know it. You can do better.”

I hadn’t really thought about it before, whether I was smart or talented or anything else. I was just a kid who wanted desperately to fit in despite being hindered by a major case of nerdiness. I wanted to be average because then I would blend in with the others. Teenage life would be so much easier blending in with the crowd. No one would expect me to do anything more than the minimum. Hanging there with mediocrity seemed like a pretty safe way to get through high school.

If you think about it, I was right. And it applies to our work situations today. Mediocrity is a very safe place to hang. You don’t have to deal with the risk of being extreme – either too excellent or too poor. You aren’t a problem child that needs to be put on probation or dealt with. You aren’t a model of excellence who is a target for people who are jealous or threatened. You’re just in the crowd.

My mother’s tone of voice made it very clear that I would be making a few changes with regard to my academic approach.

It’s amazing how quickly I turned things around after that lecture. All As, and a B in geometry. I just had to make the decision.

I’ve had to make that decision again and again throughout my career. It is a conscious decision to ratchet things up another notch, to produce more, to concentrate harder, to work longer, to deliver. It is a decision to leave the pack and be excellent.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books, including an Oprah pick. She speaks to corporations and organizations on courageous and creative leadership strategies taken from her interviews with the best-known leaders of our times.

The Rules of Journalism

One of the most decidedly decadent things I have ever done for myself is put my nonfiction on hold to write a novel. Gone were the rules of journalism, and suddenly I had the freedom to twist and turn and create and invent. Mermaid Mambo was released last year and it’s been one of the more joyful risks I have ever taken.

In my acknowledgments, I note, “Novels are scary things to writers like me, who have built careers in the nonfiction world. If your nonfiction stinks, it might be the topic. If your novel sucks, it’s all your fault.” Because of that fear, I’d been too chicken to let go of my fiction. I asked Stephen King how he got the confidence to let go of his fiction and he told me, “You just have to know you are brilliant.” It’s a hard thing, putting your work out there in full view, where it can be ridiculed. That kept me from letting go of it and receiving all the wonderful mail from people who loved my characters and story. Mambo has been out there for a year now, and it is the most joyous project I’ve had.

My central character is a 78-year-old former Weeki-Wachee mermaid who needed to get back to the 60th reunion of the mermaids at the faded Florida tourist attraction. She winds up on a crazed road trip and it’s kind of a combination of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Thelma and Louise. In doing my research, I was embraced by the former and current Weeki Wacheemermaids who have filled my world with levity and perspective.

Some people tell me they are impressed by the litany of famous people I have interviewed for my nonfiction books. They want to know what Hillary is like and what I thought of Susan Sarandon. They ask about the presidents and prime ministers and CEOs. And the movie stars and Nobel laureates.

Those icons gave me such great material for success and leadership strategies. But, the people who gave me the greater insight on life were the mermaids of Weeki Wachee. I go tubing down the Weeki Wachee River with them and I am suddenly 20 again, and so are they, even though most of them are in their 50s and 60s. I’ve often told the story of mermaid Vicki Smith climbing a tree, letting out a yell and swinging through the air from a rope before making a remarkable splash into the river. At the time, she was 67. That said everything about living. Mermaid Barbara Wynns introduced me to this world and I marvel at how she redefines herself every day with more whimsy. That’s her helping me get into the tail in the above photo.

They are mermaids. They put on fabric tails and swim through the water, performing synchronized routines in a pristine Central Florida spring that has called to them since they were paid mermaids in their teens and 20s. They have their issues and their hardships — like all of us. All of that fades when they are on that river or are together sharing the bonds of friendship that have so deepened over time. I meet many people who measure their worth by the title on their business cards or the number on their paychecks. They miss the point of living.

Life really is a big adventure where we become rich with experience — if only we open ourselves to accept all the magic the world offers. We can live closed and limited lives by focusing on things or achievements that are temporary or ultimately inconsequential, or we can find great joy in the moment, daring to take in all the energy that surrounds us — if we just let go and live.

Mermaids Susie Pennoyer, Crystal Robson and Bev Sutton continue to crack me up with their river antics because they are free-spirited women who don’t care about pretense. They care about celebrating good times — even when they have their own challenges. We have a lot we can learn from them.

That’s why they inspire me.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations  and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

In a Rut

Years ago, the argument for my inertia  was strong: I had a secure job, decent pay, good health insurance, five weeks of vacation, the best friends I’d ever had. On top of all of that, I got to live in glorious Colorado. My argument for change was rather short: I was in a rut and was unhappy at work.

Someone wanted to hire me in Florida. The job looked good, the pay looked fine and I’d be near my family. But, I couldn’t seem to take the leap.

One of my mentors told me: “Don’t let security be your dangerous anchor.” And then, she said it again. “If you aren’t doing something,” she said, “you’re doing nothing.”

I took the job and never looked back as I created a new life of challenge and adventure, quickly learning that change is nothing to fear.

Ruts are comfortable and comforting. We know what to expect of our outside world, but there isn’t much cause to challenge ourselves. Our measurement of what we accomplish tomorrow is too often based on old goals that have lost their significance.

How often do you celebrate the goals you have reached, then take a moment to dream a little larger? Don’t measure yourself against the expectations of others, and don’t focus on competing against your peers. What do you want for your life? More money, more time, more freedom, more wisdom, more credentials, more perks, more love, more adventure? Know yourself, and measure yourself against your own dreams. Don’t fear change – seek it out. Don’t let security be your dangerous anchor.

The Ten Tell Tale Signs that you are in a Rut

1. You aren’t having fun

2. You aren’t challenged

3. You enjoy your job less and less

4. You don’t feel like talking about your work with your friends and family

5. You are smarter than your bosses

6. You keep reminding yourself of the good attributes of your job, and they all have to do with “golden handcuffs” – good pay, benefits and time off

7. You can predict your future and it looks exactly like your present

8. People say, “Are you still working there?”

9. You are jealous whenever someone “climbs over the wall” and quits

10. You feel stuck

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of four books and speaks to corporations and organizations about courages and creative leadership strategies.

 

Own Your Calendar

Own Your Calendar

Going crazy because you’ve got no time for yourself? Stop right now. Get into your calendar. Pick an hour — any hour — and make an appointment with yourself. Then, learn this important lesson: You own your calendar. You don’t need to complain about work-life balance, you don’t need to ask for tips on work-life balance. You just need to balance your life by owning your calendar.

Just as you find ways to make time for your hairdresser and physician, you can make time for yourself. All you have to do is decide to own your calendar. It’s your time.

Really. You get one life. Your time is spent the way you spend it. You do have many, many, many obligations, but those are your chosen callings. You can say no to a few things. You can do a few minimums on other things to create time for yourself. But, it is an amazing thing when you just write the word “off” in a slot on your calendar. Everything else fits around it.

This may sound overly simplified — especially if you are a parent who is truly juggling too much. But your time is your time. You can still, love, honor and adore the people around you, as well as be devoted to your work and community without putting yourself last every single time. You matter. You can’t be good for everyone else when you aren’t good for yourself.

There are times when you don’t have time to do anything except the insanity at hand. But those are exceptions. They must be exceptions. If they are not, then you need to make life changes that will give you enough calming moments in your day so you can function and actually live your life.

Look at your calendar. Give yourself an hour tomorrow. A day off within the next couple of weeks. Take the time, because it is your time. If you give every minute away, were you even here on this earth?

Bestselling author Fawn Germer is popular worldwide for her inspiring keynotes. She is recognized as one of the premier experts on work-life balance. To check availability for motivational speaking keynotes or workshops, or for information on life and executive coaching sessions, call (727) 467-0202 or write info@fawngermer.com.

 

On Adversity: You Never Know How Close You are to Turning the Corner (Until You Turn the Corner)

Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Well, who wants to go through hell? Nobody. But the greatest learning and growth almost always comes when you push through a series of obstacles that take you to the brink.

Dealing With Adversity

The truth is that it can be as hard to quit as it is to persevere. Both options require a different kind of courage, but the end result and growth experience are very, very different. In one experience, you feel loss. In the other, you feel victory. Sometimes the victory is just one of endurance — that you hung in there long enough to see things through, even if things didn’t turn out as you expected.

But, quitting, that takes some work. You have to figure out when you are going to quit and how. Sometimes, all you need is to give yourself permission to quit in order to find the energy to keep pushing through a difficult experience. So, delay quitting until the very last minute. Hang in there as long as you possibly can.

How do you find the courage to stand in the pain and take one more step?  Where does that  strength come from? How far deep within you do you have to go? It is painful, but the pain is just part of getting through life’s obstacles. You keep moving forward until you suddenly realize you’ve made it. You’ve accomplished something that you thought was completely impossible.

You never know when you are going to turn the corner until you actually turn the corner, so just keep moving forward and start dealing with adversity.

Bestselling author Fawn Germer is popular worldwide for her inspiring keynotes. She has credibility because she has interviewed more than 300 famous leaders for their strategies and tips. To check availability for motivational speaking keynotes or workshops, or for information on life and executive coaching sessions, call (727) 467-0202 or write info@fawngermer.com.

 

Live Now

Live Now

Most people walk through life with their eyes closed. They show up for their day as if they had an unlimited number of healthy days to live and they put off doing the things they love the most. They are scared to live now!

You’ve got to make a living, but you aren’t living if your work consumes your opportunities for joy. You don’t get an unlimited number of days to do the fun stuff and the day will come when things will change. People you love will get sick, or you will get sick. Your body will wear out and you just won’t be able to do the things you always meant to do.

Why aren’t you doing those things right now? Dive into your day. Consciously live it. Smell the fresh air. Feel the sun on your face. Talk to people you love and enjoy hearing the sound of their voices. Enjoy your health. Feel gratitude. Let yourself be happy.

And when you are at your work, take a moment to just enjoy what you are doing. The hubbub. The challenge. The opportunity. Because, even your routine won’t be yours to enjoy forever.

There is a saying that “These are the good old days.” Live them now.

Bestselling author Fawn Germer is popular worldwide for her inspiring keynotes. She is recognized as one of the premier experts on work-life balance. To check availability for motivational speaking keynotes or workshops, or for information on life and executive coaching sessions, call (727) 467-0202 or write info@fawngermer.com.

 

A Healthy Body is a Beautiful Body

A Healthy Body is a Beautiful Body

We have so much control over our self-esteem, yet most of us invite negativity to move into our brains and drag us down. Isn’t it interesting that most of our self-esteem issues are rooted in our own personal attacks on our physical appearance? We get stuck on our weight, our skin, our hair, our height, the size of our breasts, the size of our feet — whatever. Most of us look in the mirror and see room for improvement for our body. LOTS of room for improvement.

That negativity is so destructive. And it is false. You can look at the best looking woman in the room and you can just about bet that she’s said some pretty ugly things to herself today. Sure, you’d take her body or her hair or her eyes or whatever, but she sees the tiny zit on her forehead and nothing else.

If you are healthy, you have a perfect body.

PERFECT.

If you doubt that, imagine how you would feel about your body if you suddenly were diagnosed with cancer? You’d want your old, flawed, healthy body back in an instant. You would suddenly realize how good you had it, even though you’d been beating yourself up for your imperfections despite your perfect health.

It is time to wrap yourself in a self-appreciation because negativity makes your body an unhealthy host. Negativity attract stress and illness. If your body works, it is perfect. It will let you live well and explore the world. It will let you enjoy so much.

Why not appreciate it?

Why not thank your body for getting you where you need to go? Because, a healthy body is truly a beautiful thing. Appreciate it while you have it.

Bestselling Oprah author Fawn Germer has personally interviewed more famous leaders than any other leadership speaker. To check availability for motivational speaking keynotes or workshops, or for information on life and executive coaching sessions, call (727) 467-0202 or write info@fawngermer.com.

Long Live Wilma Mankiller

Wilma MankillerWilma Mankiller died of pancreatic cancer today at age 64. She is the first woman to lead the Cherokee Nation as its principal chief and instantly became an icon of women’s history. I interviewed her for Hard Won Wisdom and was so moved by her insight and kindness. She was one strong woman, and I want to share some of her hard won wisdom with you.

On how she was raised: “Nobody in my family ever told us that there were things we couldn’t do because we were female, or things we couldn’t do because we were poor, or things we couldn’t do because we were Native American. When I hear such admonitions from other parents, it makes me grateful for how I was raised. We didn’t feel there were limits on what we could do.”

On attitude: “The single most important lesson I learned by watching people in my community was that it is important to have a good attitude and keep your mind free of negative thoughts. That’s what I observed. I saw people facing the most daunting sense of personal or financial problems, yet they always found something positive in their situation. That had a profound impact on the way I looked at the world. And, it impacted the way I look at other people. They looked at the positive, rather than the negative. That’s important. When you meet people, you can focus on the positive attributes rather than the negative ones. It’s your choice.”

On her health obstacles: Throughout her life, she faced unbelievable adversity, surviving a terrible car accident that forced her to undergo dozens of operations, a neuromuscular disease and a kidney transplant. Of her adversities, she said, “The biggest challenge in my life has been to try to continue with my life and my work while dealing with an unbelievable array of health issues. I’ve dealt with that the same way I dealt with the opposition I had because I was a woman. It’s a problem, I acknowledge it and I try to deal with it the best way I know how, and then move on. Just like I don’t let my energy be siphoned off into questions of whether women should be in leadership, I won’t let my energy be siphoned off by a question of health. I can control my mind when I don’t control my body. I can do what I can to keep myself well and continue on. It’s really a choice. You can dwell on hard or bad things if you want. You don’t have to.”

On her triumph as a woman running for chief: “We live in a relatively conservative area in eastern Oklahoma and I expected my politics to be the issue. I’d been involved in many things that would be considered liberal or even radical. I thought those would be the issue.They weren’t.

“The issue was my being a woman, and I wouldn’t have it.

“I simply told myself that it was a foolish issue, and I wouldn’t argue with a fool. I ignored it and focused on the real issues.When it would come up and someone would say,‘You’re a woman, how will that affect your leadership,’ I said ‘Thanks for asking, now lets talk about health care.’“I did have my tires slashed.And one time when I was marching in a parade, a fellow folded his hand into the shape of a gun and did a pretend shooting of me as I walked on the parade route.That somehow bothered me more than anything. There were other things, like people burning down my signs on the billboards, but it was that man that I remember most. I could have dwelled on the hateful things people were saying to me, but I’d have lost the election.”

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