Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meditation As A Survival Skill

About a year ago I was told that for me, meditation was not an option. It was a survival skill.  At that point I had  incorporated a meditation practice into my life for a few years so that information resonated with me. Meditation had already made its way to the short list of things that I had to do every day, like brush my teeth and exercise.

It was something I had resisted in my corporate days. My excuse being that I simply did not have the time to do it. If anyone had ever told me then what I know now, that as little as fifteen minutes of daily meditation will actually create more time and space in your day, I would have laughed in their face. I've no doubt that those of you who are corporate types reading this now, are doing just that.

But it's true. And the survival skill aspect is becoming more crucial than ever.

The nosier our world gets, the more distractions thrown in our path each day, the more important it is to find the space to shut it all out. As little as fifteen minutes a day of  emptying our mind of extraneous thought and focusing on our breath can have profound effects.

While many of us are deluded into believing our smartphones are our life source, it is really our breath. Giving yourself this gift of quiet will allow you to sift through what is really important in all that is thrown at you from what is nonsense. It will also help you to get you clear on the direction you need to be taking.

If you don't believe me, I suggest you pick up a copy of A Mindful Nation by Congressman Tim Ryan who is on a mission to bring meditation into the schools and sees it to be as a way to heal our nation. If you are feeling really brave and ready to dip your toes in the meditation waters, I recommend checking out Deepak Chopra's website for some easy to listen to guided meditation challenges.

And if you find you can't carve out even fifteen minutes for yourself to give this a whirl, you really need to get a handle on your time and read  It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life. 

Like this post? Spread the word by clicking here to tweet!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Real Secret

Everyone is searching for it. That secret. The one that will solve all their problems. That magic key that will fix whatever they find lacking in their life.

The only people who seem not to be searching are the ones that tell you they are in possession of it. They know what you don't. They want you to believe the secret lies in their hot little hands. All you need do is sign up for their newsletter and you'll get the free video or PDF that gives it away. The one simple secret to earning a seven figure income and never having to work more than three hours a day. Or buy one of those glossy magazines that still fill the walls of the store where I buy my lottery tickets. The one that promises the secret to a flatter stomach without ever doing a sit-up. You might be encouraged to click on this link and find out the one fool proof secret to making your skin never age.  Or watch tonight's News at Eleven and discover the secrets your airline pilot will never tell you.

We are all so hungry for that secret that we buy into it. We click, we turn on, we scroll Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest. We are so sure someone else has the answers. Someone else knows more than we do that it's hard not to be disappointed when we get to the bottom of the article and find out we knew that already. Or we try what they suggest and it doesn't work.

I googled "Top Ten Secrets" yesterday and came up with 57,900,000 results from great sex to success to mastering your brand to having a happy family! Apparently we are spending a lot of time searching for our secrets of choice.

I know that if I share advice and  include the words tips, tricks, or secrets in the title my post gets more page views and/or is more likely to get picked up by an aggregate website. I openly admit I have done that and probably will again. Even though I know the real secret.

Which is this. There is no secret.

Yes, there is lots of information dancing around. That's why we call this the Information Age. Some of it is very good (my intention is to fall in that category, more often than not) and some of it is just a way to get you sign up for a newsletter or click a link so that website's impressions are increased and the owners can charge someone else more money to run an advertisement.  Or simply get you to plunk down your credit card and buy whatever it is they are selling.

You can read every article. Pay tens of thousands of dollars in course fees. Surf the Internet while you are watching a television show that promises if you just do this, this one secret thing, everything will shift. But nothing will, unless you stop.
And listen.
To you.

If you do, you will discover that the real secret lies within. You have all the answers to whatever is lacking in your life and the direction you need to go to create your change. But only if you dare, dare, dare to get quiet enough to listen. To your heart. To the messages your body offers. To the essence of yourself.

But most of us don't.  Or won't.  The excuse being you just don't have time to do that. To stop. To breathe. To be. To listen. We're too busy wasting time. Searching. For that secret.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Searching For Time?

If it's the time to write then, you need to stop over to She Writes today and read my featured article, Five Ways To End Your Search For The Time To Write 

And if it's time in general that is proving elusive, then I suggest you pick up a copy of It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life, in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Dream Come True !!!

Last week I realized a big dream. I became a best selling author!   Me. Joanne Tombrakos. My 3-Day Free Kindle promotion had taken my book, It Takes An Egg Timer, A Guide to Creating the Time for Your Life, to the #1 position for best selling free Kindle books in the Time Management category. For three days only. Just like the sale.

It was a heady, free-floating few days spent glued to my computer, watching my Twitter feed, sharing Facebook and LinkedIn posts while emailing for help and assistance far and wide. For seventy-two hours I got to feel the experience of what it means to say I am a best selling author, that dream that every writer who has ever thought about writing dreams.

I became addicted to my Amazon reports, tracking the number of downloads by hour. Even more so, to my ranking.  By mid-day of Day 1, my book moved into the #1 spot  in the time management category and stayed there for the duration. It went to #2 in Business/Life and as high as #5 in overall Business. I'm not sure what to compare this to, but 1584 downloads in three days was something that I was pretty proud of. Especially considering how I had struggled with the possibility that no one would download it, even if I gave it away for free.

I made myself a best selling author by  pushing out of my comfort zone. I agonized over this “free” thing for a long time. In the world that I come from of radio and television advertising sales, free is only given when attached to cold, hard cash. And while I never wrote the book just to make money, I am a for-profit entity. I had read all about how free promotions could be of benefit, but I had resisted.

I did it anyway. I jumped, knowing the worst thing that might happen was I would fail.

I’m not sure just yet what this all means in the long term for the sales of my book. I'll be back to you on that.  But right now, this is what I know for sure:
  • My book is in the hands of 1584 people who did not have it before.
  • The Internet is an extremely powerful tool, that if used properly can make a big difference in a short period of time, even if you are an entrepreneur working out of your house.
  • Every step of your journey thus far can help you moving forward. I applied my sales background and advertising expertise to the new tools of social media.
  • People are basically good and so very generous in helping and sharing , if you just stretch enough to ask.
  • People are kind, and will take the time, unsolicited to drop you an email and tell you they read the book  and loved the message and then spread it among  their tribes.
  • We live in a global world. Because of this promotion my book now has its first 5-star Review on Amazon UK!!  
  • Networking today happens on-line and off-line. I picked up a lot of new followers on my social nets  and made many new connections over the course of three days.
  • On-line connections can meet off-line. On the last day of the promotion I attended the S.H.E. Summit at 82 Mercer. A woman waved at me with a big smile as if we were long lost friends as she announced,  “I know you! I just read your book!”
  • Dreams can come true, not necessarily exactly as you imagined, but true nevertheless if you are just willing to leap out of your comfort zone and experiment.

I made myself a best selling author. I didn’t wait. I figured out a way to do it. For three days. 

What will you do today that takes you out of your comfort zone?
What dream are you willing to make come true?