SuzeMuse http://www.suzemuse.com Create. Share. Learn. Be Brilliant. Exploring creativity, social media, productivity and life. Mon, 04 Jan 2016 14:05:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 My Three Words for 2016 http://www.suzemuse.com/2016/01/my-three-words-for-2016/ http://www.suzemuse.com/2016/01/my-three-words-for-2016/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 14:05:23 +0000 http://www.suzemuse.com/?p=4898 For the past several years, I have followed the Chris Brogan method of new year vision-setting. Instead of resolutions, I choose three defining words for the coming year. I’ve found it really helps me to focus on what’s important. Three defining words can’t be “broken” like new year’s resolutions. They are more concrete. In 2015 […]

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shutterstock_294665606For the past several years, I have followed the Chris Brogan method of new year vision-setting. Instead of resolutions, I choose three defining words for the coming year. I’ve found it really helps me to focus on what’s important. Three defining words can’t be “broken” like new year’s resolutions. They are more concrete.

In 2015 my three words were Moment, Movement and Mindful. How did I do? Well, some days were better than others. I’ve definitely gotten better at taking each moment, each experience as it comes. Am I perfect at it? No, but I don’t think anyone is. I did move my body more, working out at the gym on a semi-regular basis. I didn’t meet my weight loss goals but I certainly learned the value of exercise, and how much better being active is for my mental and physical state. And finally, I worked hard on mindfulness. Being prone to suffering from anxiety and depression, I’ve had to work hard at keeping tabs on my mental state from day to day. Developing a mindfulness practice has definitely helped with that.  Sometimes it means meditation, sometimes it means just sitting back and taking a few deep breaths, and getting centred in the moment. Overall, I think 2015 was a success from a 3 words standpoint.

That brings us to 2016, and my three guiding words for this year.

Planning. No more flying willy-nilly into my life. I’m going to work harder to keep my schedule from getting out of control (read: say “no” more), and I’m going to make an effort to plan the things that are important to keeping life flowing smoothly – planning mine and my husband’s meals every week, doing the grocery shopping once a week based on a list – those are seemingly small things but they add up to something big when you consider the impact on our health, our busy lives and our pocketbooks. Work-wise I’ll be spending more time looking at the big picture of what needs to get done, keeping my task lists in check and looking forward.

Direct. This word means so many different things, and that’s precisely why I like it. This year I intend to be more direct about the things in my life. This means being more direct with friends and colleagues (i.e. don’t beat around the bush), but also it means directing my life more, instead of life directing me. That means making decisions about who and what I choose to spend my time on, eliminating distractions and dramatic things and people, and taking control of the things I can control.

Discipline. This is a big one, because it’s something I’ve always struggled with. I’m 45 years old and terribly out of shape. I need to develop the discipline to fix this. That means every day, waking up and making the decision to do something towards that. I also need to develop the discipline to stick to my budget, work within the hours I designate, and nurture the relationships that are most important. It’s not going to be easy, this discipline thing. But I’m ready.

There you have it – my guide to 2016. I’d love to hear your three words, or your one word, or your intention for the year.

Happy New Year.

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The Dark Days of Social Media http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/11/the-dark-days-of-social-media/ http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/11/the-dark-days-of-social-media/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2015 10:42:48 +0000 http://www.suzemuse.com/?p=4889 It’s 5am and I just had a conversation with a friend who, like me, can’t sleep. We talked briefly about how all of the things going on in the world these past days are worrisome…so worrisome that slumber escapes us. This is intensely troubling to me. Not only are we living in a world that is […]

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shutterstock_118828141It’s 5am and I just had a conversation with a friend who, like me, can’t sleep. We talked briefly about how all of the things going on in the world these past days are worrisome…so worrisome that slumber escapes us. This is intensely troubling to me. Not only are we living in a world that is in turmoil, but it’s affecting us so much that we can’t seem to escape it, even in the quiet, early hours of the day.

We live in a crazy, messed up world, made all the more crazy and messed up by our 24/7, always on channels of communication. My streams are filled with concern, bad news, and more often than not, hate and misunderstanding. I want to shut it off, close my eyes to it, and make it go away. I know I can, at any moment I choose. I can unfriend and unfollow at will. I can. And I do.

But that only makes the negativity stop in MY world. The stream keeps flowing, whether I choose to dip my foot into it or not. People are outraged, up in arms, and unfortunately, many are now taking to these channels to spew misinformation, racism, and hate. People I once respected have said things and shared things that are, in a word, shocking.

We are indeed, in dark days.

But what’s still so incredible and amazing, is that I have the freedom to choose differently. I don’t need to get mired in the bullshit. I can choose to walk away from it. I can surround myself with goodness, and cat videos. I can turn away from the hate. I can choose to not be a part of the conversations that only proliferate the negative.

I can choose to be helpful, funny, informative, and compassionate. That’s the real beauty of this world we are in. Social media doesn’t have to be dark, because I get to choose. And so do you.

So, my challenge to you is this…today, share one thing in your social channels that isn’t all doom and gloom, that isn’t political or filled with war and hate. Share something good that’s happening in the world, or in your home, or in your soul. And please, tag me if we’re friends on Facebook, or on Twitter (@suzemuse), and I promise I’ll share it too.

Because Lord knows we could all use a little more good news.

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Taking a Break From the News http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/06/taking-a-break-from-the-news/ http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/06/taking-a-break-from-the-news/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:47:44 +0000 http://www.suzemuse.com/?p=4839 I have always been a self-professed news junkie. Just ask my husband, who I force on a daily basis to sit in front of the nightly newscast on TV. Or look at my Facebook or Twitter streams, chock full of the news feeds from newspapers, online publications and TV news. I’ve always thought that consuming the […]

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shutterstock_83129002I have always been a self-professed news junkie. Just ask my husband, who I force on a daily basis to sit in front of the nightly newscast on TV. Or look at my Facebook or Twitter streams, chock full of the news feeds from newspapers, online publications and TV news. I’ve always thought that consuming the news was a good thing. After all, as my father says, “You gotta know what’s going on in the world.”. But recently, a friend of mine mentioned that he doesn’t look at the news. At first I was kind of shocked. How could one go about their day not knowing what’s “going on in the world”? What if something major happened that everyone MUST KNOW RIGHT NOW???

Later that day, I sat down to get my fill of the evening news, and to be quite honest, it was not a pleasant experience. People killed in car accidents. People getting arrested or on trial for heinous crimes. Political battles. People complaining about things. Animals being abused. There was maybe one positive story for every ten negative ones. I got up and turned off the TV. And I haven’t looked back. For the past couple of weeks I haven’t looked at the news once. I removed all of the mainstream news sources from my online streams too. I just gave it up, cold turkey.

So how has life been since going on my crash news diet?

I don’t miss it.
Not once have I been in a situation where I thought, “gosh, I miss knowing what’s going on”. Not once.

I’m choosing differently.
I’m finding new and interesting things to read online. Things like Brain Pickings, and I $@#%ing Love Science. The stories on sites like these are newsworthy, but not sensationalized. They are inspirational and educational.

I’m happier.
I didn’t realize the impact looking at depressing news every day was having on my life. But it’s been significant. And as someone who suffers from depression, doing things that don’t depress me is, well, logical.

Originally, I was just going to give up news for a few weeks, to see what happened. Now, I’ve decided to make it permanent. I no longer need the news. And it feels good.

 

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What To Write About When You Don’t Know What To Write About http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/05/what-to-write-about-when-you-dont-know-what-to-write-about/ http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/05/what-to-write-about-when-you-dont-know-what-to-write-about/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 11:35:08 +0000 http://www.suzemuse.com/?p=4823 I have a confession to make. I don’t know what to write about today. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas, things to tell you, insights to share, and I’ve got nothing. Nothing! It happens to the best of us. The ideas dry up and it seems the more you think […]

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shutterstock_212138536I have a confession to make. I don’t know what to write about today. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with ideas, things to tell you, insights to share, and I’ve got nothing. Nothing!

It happens to the best of us. The ideas dry up and it seems the more you think about it the harder it gets for any inspiration to come your way. That’s the situation I’m in right now. It’s frustrating, especially when I WANT to write. I truly enjoy the process of writing, and publishing, and of learning from you based on how you react to what I’ve created. It’s the highlight of my week sometimes.

But for now, I’m all out. Oh sure, I could just give up, turn on another episode of “Lillyhammer” and go about my day. But that’s not the practice. If I’m watching TV I’m not honing my skills. I’m not accessing that part of my brain that creates. I’m merely consuming. So to create, I must plant my butt in the chair and do SOMETHING. Anything.

I could take a walk, do something different besides staring at a blank screen, waiting for my muse to arrive. That often helps, it really does. But I tried it yesterday and nothing came. The important thing is, I’ll try it again today. And maybe tomorrow, too. I’ll persevere.

I could do that thing my friend Dave suggested, and go back through some of my more popular past posts, and see if there’s anything I can expand upon, take from a new angle, or give a fresh start. That’s some solid advice right there.

Or maybe I could read for a while. Pick a favourite author or blogger and dig in for a while. That would certainly get my brain working, and it might just spark that idea I’ve been waiting for.

I could ask you. What do you want me to write about? Anything in particular you want to hear, or learn? What insights might I be able to share to answer your questions? I’d love to hear it!

What I won’t do is nothing. Taking no action isn’t going to get me anywhere, and it’s certainly not going to get more words on the page. But, the truth is, I still don’t know what to write about today. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

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Give Up Excuses and Your Business Will Thrive http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/05/give-up-excuses-and-your-business-will-thrive/ http://www.suzemuse.com/2015/05/give-up-excuses-and-your-business-will-thrive/#respond Wed, 13 May 2015 10:27:27 +0000 http://www.suzemuse.com/?p=4816 I am part of several online groups made up of people from all walks of life. Many of them are business owners, like me. I contribute to the groups when I have something to offer, but often I just listen in on the conversations. I’ve noticed a curious trend in these groups, and it’s gotten […]

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shutterstock_97686605I am part of several online groups made up of people from all walks of life. Many of them are business owners, like me. I contribute to the groups when I have something to offer, but often I just listen in on the conversations. I’ve noticed a curious trend in these groups, and it’s gotten me thinking about some things.

The truth is, I sense a real desperation from people. They are trying so hard to make their business work, but just aren’t able to get it to the next level. At first I was sympathetic, but then I dug a bit deeper, and saw what was really going on.

The following are the main reasons I’ve observed as to why people say they can’t grow their business.

  • I’m not techie enough to learn tools like MailChimp and WordPress.
  • I don’t have the time to write daily.
  • I have an idea for a new service offering but I don’t know how to communicate it to my prospects and clients.
  • I want to build an online course but I don’t know how.
  • I don’t understand Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram well enough.
  • I can’t afford to attend conferences.
  • …and the list goes on.

See any similarities in this list? I’ll give you a hint. I don’t. I’m not. I can’t.

I hate to burst everyone’s respective bubbles, but these are not reasons. These are excuses.

My parents are in their 70s. Mom has an iPad and and iPhone, Dad has an iPad and is an expert at digital photo manipulation. Your excuse is invalid. There are thousands of online tutorials out there that help you learn new technology. Or you can contact me and I’ll teach you. Not being techie enough doesn’t fly in this day and age if you want use online tools to grow your business.

Don’t have time to write, or learn a new social network? That’s unfortunate, because I can tell you from experience that my ability to crank out 800 words in under 15 minutes and my 80,000 plus Twitter posts have helped to drive a lot of business to my company over the past 6 years or so. Saying you don’t have time is an excuse. There’s always time. I am writing this post at 6am on a Wednesday morning. I write most of my posts at 6am, when the house is quiet and before the rush of the day. How do I manage to get up so early? I don’t stay up half the night bingeing on House of Cards. I go to bed at 9:30pm at the latest. Every. Night. There’s always time. Find yours and reclaim it.

Don’t know how to do something? I learned everything I know about digital marketing from the Internet. Back in 2006 when I first got interested in this stuff, there were no courses. There were very few books on the subject. Everything I learned I had to learn one of two ways…by observing others and by just buckling down and trying stuff. Look, I’m all for taking courses (I’m a teacher, after all) and I think they can provide a lot of value. But until you actually APPLY what you’ve learned, you haven’t really learned it. So if you don’t know how to do something, stop making excuses and figure out how you’re going to figure it out.

Can’t afford those fancy conferences that all the cool kids seem to be going to? There’s still plenty of opportunity to learn. TEDTalks are free and accessible any time. There are lots of webinars by really smart people like Chris Penn and Scott Oldford and Owner Media Group that are free or almost free, that can teach you as much if not more than some fancy conference will. And those online groups I mentioned before? There’s no better place for networking, in my opinion. Check out Dave Delaney’s NBN group or The Secret Team. You won’t be disappointed.

The bottom line is, your excuses need to be shown the door. If you want to, really want to make a go of your business, then you need to stop making excuses for all the things you don’t know or can’t do and figure out how you’re going to make it work.

Deal?

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