This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: This job ad will do it

If you're one of the writers who saw this ad today...

I need writers that can write on a variety of subjects. These are
mainly research articles in different formats and with varied
subjects. The subjects vary and include:

home and garden
art and culture
arts and entertainment
Health and fitness

Will train the right people. Pay varies but averages about .08$ per
word and articles range from 300 to 500 words. If interested please
email and I will have you do a test article, which you will be paid
for if its accepted.

...I hope you deleted the e-mail right away. Aside from the typos included in the ad, there are at least two other things wrong with this "opportunity": the pay (8 cents per word? Kidding, right?) and the fact that you'd have to do a "test" article first. Kidding again, right?

If this doesn't motivate you to get your work done so you don't feel like you have to resort to even considering an ad like this, I don't know what will.

In a phrase, content mills suck. And I think starving writers should unite against them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Your voice, your vote--be counted

Last night at 6:29 p.m., I realized, "Oh, crap! I forgot to vote in the primary."

So I quickly got dressed, fed my dog, and headed out the door.

Then, "Oops! Don't know where the polling place is."

Since it changes every year, and I'd trashed the mail-in documents with the information I needed on it, I couldn't be sure where I needed to go. So I quickly got online to find the location. I googled "Arizona polling sites," by the way, because I didn't know exactly where to search and didn't remember I could go straight to the Arizona Secretary of State's office to get the information I needed. Well, now I know.

By the time I found what I was looking for I only had 10 minutes left before polling closed. And wouldn't you know it? I got in my car to drive over and realized I had left the directions inside the house. No worries. Didn't need them. I'd been to the place before and thought I could find it easily enough. Nope. Took two wrong turns in my neighborhood before I found the street I wanted and saw the Greek Orthodox church I remembered from last time.

As soon as I started to walk up to the building, a man yelled across the yard at me, "Two minutes!"

I had to laugh because I thought I was down to one.

But I made it in time. As soon as I walked in the door, I saw my neighbor who was working the polls. She showed me where to sign, and I received my ballot. I was the last person to vote there that day.

Another poll worker stuck a sticker on my shirt. Whew! I served my duty.

The thing is. I didn't want to.

That was no accident that I "forgot" to vote. I didn't want to. I've been feeling more and more disaffected with politics and government in the last four years than I ever have in my entire life, to the point that I don't care to participate. And, yet, I know on some level, it has to make a difference when you do.

In my youthful years, particularly the college years and the early years of my career, I loved to talk politics. Loved it. Read every single thing that was newsworthy and politically-related. Subscribed to political magazines. Read biographies of important political figures. But I almost never do that anymore. In fact, I've avoided it altogether.

Until this year.

I've started to regain an interest because of the immigration bill my governor signed into law this year. It was horrendously controversial. And it really made me realize, "I don't have a voice."

At least, not unless I use it. So that's why I voted.

Will you vote in your primary?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Motivation for Mondays!

There's nothing so fun (and flattering) as discovering who else besides your publisher is carrying your book and selling it front and center. I made the above discovery on Sunday, while researching another book project I'm hoping to write in the future.

Can you see my book? It's right there on page 1 of the Southwest Books section at this online bookstore. It might seem like a little thing to some, but to me it was highly motivating! It made my day, as if it were a little shot in the arm for self-esteem health.

For the week ahead, so you're sure to stay motivated and productive, consider what little things like this have motivated you in the past, or what's pushing you now. Make a list, and stick that in front of your computer or somewhere visible near your work station. Let yourself be reminded of your contribution to the world.

Even if you haven't received any recent feedback, your work matters to someone. And sometimes we find this out unexpectedly, or by accident, as I did on Sunday. After I stumbled upon this site, I realized my book provides this online bookstore with product, and that's something that matters to them. It helps the store stay in business, and that's a nice way to think about what I created.

So think about what you're creating (a book, articles, artwork, etc.) or think about what service you provide to others. Who benefits from your work? Remind yourself why you keep doing what you do, and let that be a motivating force for you this week.

By the way, the discount offered for my book at this site is a better bargain than what I've seen lately at So if you know anyone who's looking for a great guide to Arizona's backcountry, spread the word. Send them the above link, or refer them to my site. I appreciate any and all referrals--and purchases. Thank you. Have a great week!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Where would we be without friends?

You can find out the answer to that and more over at Irene Levine's Friendship Blog.

Today, Irene, the author (pictured above with me in Quebec City this summer) of Best Friends Forever, features a post about traveling with friends--and lessons on how to do it right. Her post includes a photo with "yours truly" from a whirlwind girlfriend getaway I took with new friends through the Eastern Townships of Quebec this summer. Obviously, we were all enjoying fresh made ice cream right off the dairy farm.

Click over and guess which one is me!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Need a hug?

I do.

I need a hug or two, or three...[[[hug]]].

Why? I'll tell you why. It started yesterday, when I began experiencing technical difficulties with my computer/network/Internet connection. Missed a deadline. And the computer didn't seem to care. No matter how much troubleshooting I did with him. Frustrated, I went to sleep. It was already late for me, anyway.

Then, this morning, I was on the phone for THREE HOURS with the computer technicians who could only TEMPORARILY fix my computer. And you know how you have to answer questions, do all those things, check this, check that, disconnect this, try this, try that, and converse back and forth to the guy you wind up interrupting most of the time because you need to clarify a command or question? Well, I have a cold--a hacking, nagging cough kind of cold--and I kept hacking over the phone, not hearing him over that, and then finally we reached a conclusion. The temporary fix. It's probably my computer, not the connection. So I'll have to go through this again with someone else. But what else can you do when your computer goes on the fritz?!

Ya gotta do it. Just not now.

I need to give my voice a rest. And I have a meeting in a half hour.

Needless to say, I am NOT having a good day, and I just want to go sit in a dark room and cry. But I can't. I'm heading out to my meeting, and then getting right back to work. The deadline is still there, and now it's nagging me.

You know what else? Even exercise didn't help much, though it probably helped me suffer through the phone consultation with the computer guy who could not really fix my computer. At least he kept apologizing and was nice. Still, that whole situation was, well, you know, aggravating.

And did I tell you my eye is watering. Just my right eye. Don't know why. Allergies, maybe? Not sure. But it's probably not good, and I'm going to have to do my best to ignore it for now.

Yes, even the lady who usually motivates and inspires you has a bad day every now and then. And, boy, did it feel good to get that off my chest!

Anyone else need to rant? Post your lengthy rants here, so we can all commiserate together.

Hugs to you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Did you know?

You can subscribe to my feed--and the comments, too! Just scroll down the right-hand side of the page to find the RSS feed plug-in.

You can also search my archives. If you want to know more about a specific topic, or element of the BIKE, just scroll down the right-hand side of the page to find the search engine. Type in your key word and see what comes up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The best--and worst--way to express anger

Quiet angry voices behind me. Some shuffling. And then, "You. Disgust. Me," she told him, as he stood behind her in line at the check-out of a popular children's toy store in Phoenix. She was going to make the purchase. He, apparently, was annoying her. I was in front of them, checking out, trying not to overhear some obvious angst going on behind me.

But her words made me wince, and I wasn't even the object of her disaffection.

"You disgust me"? Those are mighty harsh words to offer a husband. Mind you, I'm only assuming the relationship, because I didn't know these people. They were mere strangers behind me in a public setting, revealing something about themselves they didn't even realize.

It wasn't just the spoken words that were so revealing, I told my BF after we left the store, it was the way she said those three words. "I think he's lucky she didn't have a knife in her hands, because I think she might have stabbed him with it." Maybe that's why he stepped away from her, I wondered out loud.

He laughed, but I was serious.

We were there to buy a present for my BF's niece who'd just delivered her first child--a baby boy--in Hawaii. So I wasn't expecting to run into something so unpleasant. We were having fun looking at all the tiny clothes, the toys that weren't on the shelves when our children were little, the colorful board books, the new baby gadgets for parents, the cool strollers for runners and twins, and everything else on wheels.

But this woman's angry words interrupted my happy thoughts.

After I told my BF what I'd overheard, he recounted what his mother used to tell his father when she'd get annoyed with him.

"You're making me tired."

"That's it?" I asked in disbelief.

"Oh, but she'd say it in a stern voice, 'You're making me tired,' and he'd slink away. He knew he'd overstepped."

With his mother also, it wasn't just the words she used to let him know she meant business. It was the way she said them. But she would have never said something like, "You disgust me." That would have been her overstepping, my BF explained. For the woman who raised his son to open my car door every time we go anywhere, I knew it wouldn't have been proper, either.

When I shared this story with my daughter, she laughed but didn't seem fazed. "I might have said worse than that," she told me, "I'd probably say, 'Fuck off, asshole.'"

Uh, okay. Can you tell? Times have changed.

Have we become angrier people? Do we really have so little control over our emotions that we'll say the harshest things without any consideration for the person those words are directed toward?

I must admit, I've said things I've later regretted. And I haven't always apologized for them, either. I felt justified in my anger. But what's so great about that? Convicted! I'm really glad I overheard this conversation. It's not so much that it matters to me how this couple relates to one another. I don't even know them. What struck me is that this stranger's words made me wince, which tells me I connected with a part of me that I don't like.

It means I might want to check myself the next time I feel anger toward another person. I must remember to use my Inner strength, the part of me that knows better and can take charge of what I might say or do in a moment of madness.

Moments of madness. You know what I'm talking about here, right? I'm talking about those moments in time when someone says or does something that really ticks you off. You want to lash out. You want to strike back. You want to get even. You might even want to say, "You disgust me." But when you are in control of yourself, you might behave in a way that allows you to do what my BF's mother said and simply respond, "You're making me tired," and walk away.

I like the sentiment behind her behavior. She was angry, and she let the target of her anger know it. But not in a way that could be damaging to him or their relationship. She simply responded in a way that showed she meant business, that he should cease doing whatever it was he was doing that angered her. Her words were in no way a stab or a jab. She rightfully took charge of her feelings, expressed them, and walked away. No damage done.

I think her line would be a great one for the Post-it Note--another reminder that there is a nice way, a loving way, to express anger.

What do you think?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Motivation for Mondays!

This week, I'm focusing on the concept of Inner strength. It's the letter "I" in BIKE. For the purposes of discussion, I'll define that with this question:

What fuels your mind, body and soul to commit to a specific action?

I think the answer, or answers, are probably different for each and every one of us. But I believe you have to know that it exists before you can use it. In other words, the use of your Inner strength requires awareness. So back to the question...

Let's start with the first part:

What fuels your mind? For me, that's knowledge. Once I have knowledge, I can have awareness. I've opened the door to understanding.

What fuels your body? For me, that's healthy nutrition, taking vitamins, exercising--the basics. It's also an ability to trust that I can do something physical or mental that might seem difficult at first.

What fuels your soul?
For me, that's my faith. Initially, that came from church, then the Bible, then discovery and discussion about other religions. Ultimately, that led to an absolute belief in a power greater than myself. When I am down, I know I have it within me to do what it takes to lift myself back up, and if I need assistance, I know where to go, I know who to call, I know I can pray for guidance and it will come.

So what does this mean in real life? To me, it means that the three go hand-in-hand. The body, mind and soul work together to create an overall ability to do that which we may think impossible, given certain circumstances that may threaten our core values or beliefs.

Our Inner strength is what allows us to return to our true self, to be the person we know we can be, to not let circumstances dictate who we are. By that, I mean, when you acknowledge the truth that you are capable, when you treat your body in such a way that it can be reliable, and when you let faith guide you, you will be able to respond to difficult circumstances in a healthy way, both physically and mentally.

The best proof I have of this assertion is what happened to me on the bike while I was going through my divorce. Initially, I felt alone, unloved, and unwanted. My husband of 10 years had lied to me. He'd been living a secret life that involved other women. And he'd left me for one of them. But even then, he was being sneaky about it, and manipulative, and untruthful. I did not know what to believe.

I did not see a way out of my pain. And I certainly didn't understand his behavior. I didn't want to believe his words. Yet, everything he told me made sense. Even his lies made sense. He explained a lot about himself without even trying. On some level, I think I must have been relieved, because, I would soon learn, his behavior explained a lot about mine. But I wasn't able to see that then. All I saw was pain. And I didn't know how I was going to get past that...until I saw that bike sitting in my garage.

When I started riding, I could barely ride a mile. I was out of shape, my eating habits were nonexistent, and I just didn't care about anything. I was numb. But, for whatever reason, I kept riding. Every single day, I got on that bike and rode. It's what got me up in the morning. I looked forward to the rides. I trusted in those rides.

And soon, my worries started to dissipate. With each mile I added, I watched my own physical strength reappear. I watched a rolly-polly belly become flatter. I began to believe there would be another life after divorce, and I started to call friends again. In fact, I needed them. I set up lunch dates with them so I could eat, because I could not eat alone.

For whatever reason, and I believe it was divine intervention, I had faith in this bike. After all, it appeared at exactly the moment when I needed it most (It had been sitting in my garage unused for eight years. Why had I ignored it till then?). And I let it guide me where I needed to go. I'm not just talking about bike trails. I'm talking about other means of a healthy return--to therapy, to church, to improv classes, to a lawyer, and on and on.

On the bike, literally, I soon noticed that I could ride 5 miles, then 10 then 20, and I could ride uphill, over and over again. Before, I might have looked ahead, seen a hill, and turned back around. I might have thought--and believed--it would have been too hard. I would have turned away. I'll never forget the day I noticed I wasn't doing that anymore. I smiled at the thought and kept riding ahead. I was very happy with myself, more than any other time in my life!

That moment symbolized for me the ability to think ahead and see progress. If you can't see progress, if you don't have hope, you won't continue to move forward. And there I was, looking ahead and seeing ability...a new life. I was recognizing my Inner strength. I had arrived at the ability to recognize my own personal power again.

Aha! I could achieve whatever it was I set my mind to achieve because I was really believing in the Bible phrase I had taped up in the kitchen near the phone:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My story is a real-life example of a person who hit bottom and was able to get back up again--only stronger. But this is not a story about what I've done alone. If it were, I wouldn't be here. The reason I'm here is because my special brand of BIKE is about what we can do together.

We all have amazing stories like this one. We just don't all recognize the power behind them. So, this week, in your free time, when you are in the doctor's waiting room, or waiting for dinner to be served, or waiting for your children after school, wherever you have a few moments to spare, consider what your amazing story is. What is that one thing you overcame that really seemed beyond difficult at the time? Write it down.

Then think about the steps you took to overcome it. Do you recall the moment you realized you were going to move past it? Write down what that felt like. Write down what you did to make that happen. What was it that you relied on most? Use these thoughts and feelings to reconnect with your own inner strength. You have it within you to repeat that success whenever you are in need. The BIKE Lessons you learn here are meant partly to remind you of this and also to help you develop your own.

So, c'mon, pick up your bike. Let's ride this thing together!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lessons from a productive week

I said last Monday,

" you move forward in the week ahead, think about what it means to be your Best self. Are you going to slow things down, drive more carefully, remember to think responsibly toward others, and be thankful for the goodness you already have in your life? That is my plan. That is my motivation for this week."

And this is what happened:

This project is one I'm working on with two other guidebook authors. The idea came to us at a book event, I believe, more than six months ago, shortly after we first met. And now it's done; we sent it out on Wednesday. Now, we wait for the willing publisher to grab it up and offer us a contract. The three of us really want to do this project and are hopeful it will sell.

I am clearly in book mode lately, as I came up with two more book ideas that I pitched to my publisher. He's in China at the moment, so it'll be a few weeks before I see a response, but I think the ideas are good. I realize the book industry is in a flux right now, but I think these kinds of books are still a draw. I cannot imagine a day where I walk into a visitor center only to discover there are no books available about the area. That will be a very sad day for me, as my shelves are filled with books I buy at visitor centers across the country and beyond. I still like books, in print, and I still read them.

A misunderstanding left an editor with whom I'm working without important detail she needed for the story I turned in last week. She hadn't told me she needed this detail when I received the assignment, and after checking prior issues of the publication, I even e-mailed her to be sure. We got our inquiries crossed, because, for some reason, there was a misunderstanding. I didn't turn the information in because I thought she didn't want it. Turns out, she did need it and notified me about this at 3 p.m., Friday. Of course, I thought I wouldn't be able to get to it till Monday. Luckily, I finished something else quickly and managed to gather the information she needed and get it to her before 5:30 p.m., just in time for me to get ready for my son-in-law's surprise birthday party and not be late for that. She got what she needed. I felt like I saved the day. And everyone had a great time at the party.

But they weren't my books. As part of the same trio of authors mentioned above, I am the main contact for any leads that might come to us, should someone want to work with our alter egos, the Arizona Authors & Adventurers. Lo, and behold! Someone did. I received our first lead last week from a woman who was planning a conference here in Phoenix in October. She was looking for a Phoenix-themed travel guide to send out to her 90 members as part of their marketing campaign for the conference. I understood she needed a response right away, as she wanted to purchase the books the following week. She had a two-week time frame and a budget to maintain. I saw it as an opportunity, of course, to possibly sell my books.

So I did what I do and responded right away. She e-mailed me back. She wanted to know the names of the books and to see a color photo of the covers. I faxed her the postcard our publisher created for us--it has all three of our books on it, and two others. By then it was Thursday evening. On Monday, I followed up, asking her if any of these books might work. She hadn't received my fax, but she had received my e-mail. She asked for me to try it again, or to send a PDF. I didn't have a PDF but did retry the fax, and sent her a link to our Web site, as well as links to each of our books via the publishing house Web site.

Affirmative. She wanted one of the books and told me exactly what she needed to make the decision.

I next contacted my publisher to let him know what was going on and if they could help. There were several e-mails back and forth. When I got an answer with all the pertinent details, I sent them to the contact. The publisher also volunteered to overnight a copy of each of the books to her office in Virgina.

Two days later, she'd made her decision. She bought one of our books--90 copies--but it wasn't mine.

I won't lie and tell you I wasn't disappointed. I had hoped like heck she'd buy 90 copies of mine, and I know the other author would have loved the same. All of our books were available at her budget price and could be shipped out in time. But, I knew going in what this woman wanted (a Phoenix-based book) and only one of ours is that. Each of us authors were aware of this, as I was copying everyone on all the important e-mails (both to update them, and to educate them on one way to handle any future inquiries like this).

Still, it felt great to be able to make this happen, to help the woman get what she wanted, to help my fellow author sell 90 copies of her books, and to not get overwhelmed by the rush and details. The whole experience provided a few lessons from which you might benefit:

_When it's necessary, multi-task. I was in the middle of several other projects, at the end of a pitching contest with other writers, and dealing with the finalization and deadline to get that book proposal out. But I still managed to make things happen with this inquiry. Follow-up was key.

_Follow-up is key. I stayed focused on the goal: to help this woman get the 90 books she wanted for her members. By doing that, I was able to follow up with specific questions and be persistent without being annoying.

_Provide what the customer wants. Though I wanted to, I didn't try to sell her what she didn't want. I showed her what was available, solicited help as needed, and made sure her needs were met. That's what made her happy and helped her make the purchase.

_When working as a team, work together--even if it means one of you won't get something tangible out of it. If you can make something happen, and you know you can, why wouldn't you try? It's the karma that will pay off in the end. And, in actuality, I did get something out of this transaction. I owed this author for which I sold 90 books some money for a dinner meeting; she said I'm paid up now. Nice!

_You can accomplish the impossible. Before last week, I couldn't say I'd sold 90 books in one single day. Now I can, and that's pretty darn cool.

_Win-win situations mean just that. Everyone wins. The client got her books and gets to make her marketing vision happen. The author, who is in royalty stage with her book (now in it's 3rd year) earns a little extra cash. And my publisher is very happy with me and willing to help further our promotional work over here. In other words, he's going to help us out more. So, we'll all sell more books in the end. Despite how much I wanted to say, "Please, buy MY book!" I didn't do that. If I had, we might have lost the sale altogether. No one would have won. In this case, we all won.

The final lesson for you: Find the motivation to do good and good things will happen. That's karma. That's good business. And it's certainly about being your Best self.

Next week, we'll focus on Inner strength. I have a few goals I need to work on in that area. How about you?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to catch your reader's attention

Since I make my living as a writer, I send out a lot of e-mails, using those as my main marketing tool; it's convenient and inexpensive. I just have to pay the Internet service provider and can avoid hiring anyone else to tout my skills. I can do it myself.

But am I getting anyone's attention?

That's the question I was asking myself this week, the last week of an eight-week query contest. In really great moments of marketing productivity (usually when I'm participating in a query contest), I will send out something like 20 letters of introduction and as many as 30 or more ideas to potential clients (generally, editors) in a given week--for eight weeks. Overall, that adds up to a lot of e-mails. I'm doing that, as well as answering the 100 or so I get on a daily basis and the 100 or so responses I'm sending right back out. And we haven't even discussed social media, or the assignments I'm working on in any given day! This seems like a normal pace of activity for most writers I know, less the heavy duty marketing.

Basically, in my highly productive marketing moments...

I get my name out there!

But how effective am I? That's another question I asked myself this week, after realizing how busy I was deleting a bunch of e-mails I had no intention of reading. Why? Why wasn't I reading this one or that one? What was it about them that led me to an immediate rejection of what the senders' wanted to tell me. I didn't even take a quick peek, or if I did, I still instantly knew I could let that one go, or this one, and that one, too. I didn't worry that I'd missed anything important, though I very well could have.

What are these folks doing wrong? Because THEY'RE NOT GETTING MY ATTENTION!

That serious thought gave me pause to consider my own marketing efforts. For all the e-mails I send out, for all the research that entails, for all the creativity involved in crafting what I hope to be the perfect idea for that particular editor, my response rate doesn't merit the time it takes, necessarily.

When I opened my eyes, I started paying more attention to the e-mails I'd been deleting, even undeleting a few so I could see for myself what wasn't doing it for me. In the process of rethinking, I collected a few tips I shared with a women's breakfast group I met with this morning. On my way back to the office, and in light of my focus on being my Best self, I decided you might get something out of what I learned as well.

So, if you want to be more effective in your e-mail marketing efforts, you might consider the following before you hit the SEND key next time:

If you write a message that's too long, and I'm in a hurry, I'm likely to delete it without even a glance. I bet the people I'm writing to feel the same, unless they're expecting something from me.

You can often capture my attention by what you write in the subject line of your e-mail. If it seems like you just want me to buy something, I'm more apt to delete your message. If it sounds like you're here to help, I'm probably going to perk up. So, either be clear or be funny. Seriously. Don't you prefer humor over hubris?

If you're going to write a long message, if you need to include all those details, then use bullets or a boldface font to make your points stand out. That way, your readers can quickly scan through your message (just like they might in a blog post) and see for themselves if what you have to say merits their attention.

Once you've sent your message, don't forget to follow up. Oh sure, you expect the reader to respond to your request. That's why you sent it, right? You need something from them, or you wouldn't have asked. But so do a hundred other folks. Yours is not the only e-mail anyone gets in any one day. Keep that in mind, and do what we do in the Query Contests--we schedule Follow-Up Fridays. Every Friday, we make it a practice to follow up on all the queries, ideas and letters of introduction we've sent out. We don't wait for someone to respond. We take action. That is what gets results. Plus, a follow-up e-mail gives you another opportunity to shorten your message, to be concise, and open the door to a response.

After opening up so many black and white e-mails, when the ones with color show up in my in-box, they're such a pleasant surprise. It's usually a newsletter, such as Sandra Beckwith's BUILD BOOK BUZZ newsletter, and hers always includes a splash of color. I don't always read it, but I always notice it. And I don't delete it. I save it to read later, when I have time. So maybe you can add a line of color in your e-mails as well. See what happens.

Now it's your turn. This week, take time to think about the e-mails you're opening up and those you're simply deleting from the start. Take note of the things that really capture your attention, like the lady on the bike in the picture above. I had to blow it up, and she may be a bit blurry. But on her bike, she'd placed a bunch of crazy attention-getting things (lots of colorful streamers and bows, for example) and caught my eye while I was driving home this morning. She's the perfect example of what stands out: color, boldness, a good message. If you hit her on the road, you certainly would not be able to claim you didn't see her--She stands out!

Like the lady on the bike, what can you do to stand out the next time you put yourself in front of a potential customer? If you see something in the e-mails that appear in your in-box that really appeals to you, take note of it, and don't be too timid. Borrow the idea for yourself.

If you come up with any new ideas to expand on this list, please come back and share your tips with us. I'd love to know what's working for you. Maybe it will work for us, too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Motivation for Mondays! Are you sure?

I realize that a photograph like this one, of a Jaguar that's just been run into a wall, may not seem like the thing to post as a motivator for your week ahead. I mean, isn't this the kind of thing you want to avoid, regardless of what you drive?

Yes, that's probably true. But it's also true that you can learn a few things about yourself from an accident like this--even when you're just a witness.

The background: The woman who was driving this car was hit by a man speeding past a light in his truck. He clipped her vehicle on the right while they were both crossing the intersection. All of a sudden...squealing tires, cracking glass, her car spinning around. Then, as if in slow motion, I watched as it came headed right toward me.

I was the first car at the light, stopped on red, the inside lane. Cars all around me. I wasn't going anywhere. Luckily--for me--she passed just in front of me before smashing into the wall.

When the cars behind me started honking, and I saw drivers drive away when the light turned green again, I was still left there, stunned. It took me a minute or two to realize what I'd just seen and be able to pull over into the closest parking lot so I could serve my duty as a witness--and get off the road so traffic could flow.

Young kids who'd also witnessed the accident were already at the car, checking on the driver. A man who'd been passed by the truck driver was there as well. The Jaguar driver's air bag had exploded, and smoke from the air bag was billowing out of her mouth. She was lying back, wincing in some kind of pain. Someone had already called 911.

The wall happens to belong to an insurance agency, and the owner (who would later tell me he's out here taking pictures of these kinds of accidents and damage to his wall at least twice a year) came outside and started taking pictures.

It took about 25 minutes before emergency vehicles arrived to help. To me, that seemed like an eternity. To the woman in the car, in pain, it must have seemed far worse.

You think about a lot of things when you're standing around, waiting for the police to arrive at the scene of an accident you just witnessed:

_Is the driver going to be okay?
_Has her family been notified?
_Who is she?
_I hope the EMT's grab her purse when they take her away on that stretcher.
_She's wincing, but there's no blood. I hope she doesn't have internal injuries.
_Is her car going to be safe?
_Oh, that's nice that you locked her car door, young man.
_I better call Christine who is waiting for me at the restaurant where I'm supposed to be right now.
_I'm glad I'm not in a hurry when I'm driving.
_I wish other people would slow down.
_Why are the police taking so long?!

Yes, a lot of nonsensical and not-so-nonsensical stuff goes on in your mind when you witness an accident.

But what is the take away? Where is the motivation? Okay, some of it I've alluded to already, but here are three things I'm reminded of when I think of that accident:

So what if you're going to be late to that meeting this week. Call ahead. Let your people know you're running behind. If the meeting's that important, they'll wait for you. Getting into accident, or worse--causing one--is not worth the cost.

Thankfully, the driver who caused the accident stopped and did not flee, though he very well could have. And while I questioned what role I had in staying around and serving as a witness to an accident that I'm not sure I saw well enough to report all of the details clearly and correctly, I thought I better do my best and offer whatever information I could. No matter that I was going to be late for my meeting. I did call those who were waiting for me and let them know, and they offered to cancel the meeting. But I was sure I'd be there soon enough. When the policeman arrived, all he did was take our names and other pertinent information. He collected about 10 names, and I've yet to receive a call. But at least I know I did the right thing.


I'm grateful that I only served as a witness to this accident. It could have been worse. I could be in the hospital right now, or dealing with my insurance company and all the paperwork involved in getting a car repaired.

These are motivating factors that remind me that life can change in an instant. So as you move forward in the week ahead, think about what it means to be your Best self. Are you going to slow things down, drive more carefully, remember to think responsibly toward others, and be thankful for the goodness you already have in your life? That is my plan. That is my motivation for this week.

What about you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Motivation for Mondays!

You never know who reads your blog. Friends, of course. Maybe a family member or two. But it's always the most fun to discover people you don't know reading your blog. Last week I discovered a new reader who runs her own bike blog, and I wanted to bring her to your attention:

She Rides a Bike

It's a fun blog with a ton of bike-related photos and stories, about her life commuting by bike--in heels, sometimes. It's a bike culture blog that I just spent an hour (when I should be working) visiting and reading past posts.

My regular readers know why I blog about the BIKE. It's not necessarily about the metal transportation tool. Mine's more of a mental tool. But it took a bike to get there. It's about forward movement.

Therefore, I'm always happy to find other interesting bike blogs, of any kind. She Rides a Bike is now a new favorite and motivated me to remember that it's not always about my BIKE. Sometimes, it really is about the ride itself--and encouraging others to hop on only makes sense. If you get a minute, stop over at She Rides a Bike for more good reasons to ride. I think you'll find some motivation there you didn't expect.

Enjoy your Monday and the start of a new week ahead!