Pages

Monday, December 30, 2013

The War of Art



The War of Art


This book was given to me a short time ago when I was going through a major slump. The much needed inspiration and direction in the book arrived just in time.

Steven Pressfield's, "The War of Art" speaks to not only artist, but everyone. The information in the book, however, can be applied to any goal you may have from losing weight to starting a business.

The book lays out what blocks you, and how to get unblocked.

From, "The War of Art" I learned that I was not alone in what I was going through. Anyone who is working to make any change goes through resistance.

If you have been struggling to start a new project, or see one through to completion, this is a book you need to read.

As we embark on a new year, I hope that this book will bring you clarity that will help you to accomplish your goals and stick to your resolutions.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas





Wishing you a day is filled with love, joy and laughter.


Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Scholarship Opportunities




Each year tons of money for college goes unclaimed because no one applied for the scholarships offered by various organizations.

It is so much better to get money for college that doesn't have to be repaid, rather than take out student loans which do need to be repaid. With just a little effort, you could be awarded scholarship funds to offset tuition and fees.

Take a look at the scholarships below, all of which adult/non-traditional students qualify for. If you are interested click on the links to find out more information and apply.


My Mentor Was MeDeadline July 31, 2014. This is a video application. You have to create and upload a short video that describes the impact your mentor has had on your success. The award is $1000

From Failure to Promise-Deadline July 31, 2014. To apply for this scholarship you have to read the book, "From Failure to Promise" and write a 1,000 word essay answering questions from the scholarship website. First prize is $1,500.

Corrosion in Motion- Deadline December 31, 2013.  This is a video competition, and the top prize is $6,500.

Avon Scholarship Program- Deadline February 28, 2014. Are you an Avon representative and a college student? If so, you may qualify for this scholarship. More than 100 scholarships of $1,500 - $2,500 are available.




Monday, December 9, 2013

Student Loan Debt is No Joke

Every year students who apply for financial aid receive student loans as a part of their financial aid award letter.

They can decide to take the full amount of loans, a partial amount or none at all.

As someone who didn't have much guidance when borrowing student loan funds, I now work to make sure that new students know what they are getting into before they borrow.

If, however, you are like me and already have taken out student loans, then you will need to know your options for repaying.

Here in my latest article for Fastweb, I give some tips for staying on top of your student loan debt without defaulting.

Read more here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Inexpensive Holiday Shopping


It is that time of year again. Most people are gearing up for some serious holiday shopping. Debates about when Black Friday shopping should begin are on every television channel.

If you are anything like me you may not have started shopping at all, and more importantly you have to stick to a budget.

Here is an article I wrote for Fastweb that gives ideas for making holiday shopping inexpensive and convenient.

Although the article is geared towards college students, the ideas in it can be used by anyone. With a little creativity, holiday shopping can be easy.

Read the article here.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving




Today, like every day, is the perfect time to acknowledge all of the many gifts you have been given in your life.

I know that I have more gifts in my life than I can even fathom. I'm grateful for my family, friends, home, health, and so much more.

Count your blessings. That saying may seem cliché.  I guarantee, however, if you did begin to take stock of each and every thing you have been given, you would see that your cup is not just full, but overflowing.


I wish you all a very happy and loved filled Thanksgiving.

What are you most grateful for today?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Extra Money For College


We all are aware of the image of the broke college student. With college costs on the rise, and an already hectic schedule, it may be hard to find extra money for your daily needs. Still money is often needed for laundry, food, entertainment, or to even contribute to books and school fees.

Here is my latest article from Fastweb which details some ways a college student can earn extra money while maintaining their already intense school schedule.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

International Literacy Month

In honor of International Literacy Month, I'm reposting this post about my own experience with illiteracy.


When I was a teenager my mother revealed to me that my father-- who was deceased-- had been functionally illiterate. I was amazed by this revelation. This was the first time I had a face to put with the issue of illiteracy. She explained the ways he got around his inability to read. How he was a truck driver and would match up the letters from his delivery orders with street signs, never really knowing what the streets were called. He would then memorize landmarks and various things to remember the streets. He would have her read his mail to him.

Finding out this information inspired me to want to help adults who were illiterate learn to read. I wanted adults to have a safe place to go to learn how to read without judgement. I became a tutor in an adult literacy program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The people I met came from all walks of life, and various countries. I met a couple from Italy who wanted to earn their GED so that they would be able to get better jobs. First they needed to learn how to read. They were eager learners and were never late for a session.

Then there was a man who was 80 years old. As I taught him his alphabet, I looked at the wedding ring on his left hand. "How long have you been married?" I asked him. "Over 50 years, but my wife died recently." He responded.  I felt so horrible for bringing up the subject. Then I realized over the course of working with him, that although his wife died, this man didn't roll over and die with her. He was working to accomplish a life long dream, learning to read.

According to an ABCNews article, "Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America"  7 million Americans are illiterate, 27 million are unable to read well enough to complete a job application and 30 million can't read a simple sentence.

Do you know anyone who is suffering with illiteracy in silence? Being illiterate impacts every area of a person's life as the above article shows.

 It's never too late to learn to read and change the course of your life. Check out my previous post, "Impossible Things"  which highlights George Dawson who learned to read and wrote his autobiography.

Monday, August 26, 2013

When the Whole Family Goes Back to School

It's that time of year again. Time for us all to tearfully bid adieu to summer, with its trips to theme parks and lazy days lounging by the pool.

It is time to go Back to School. Some parents may enjoy this time of the year more than any other. I've heard many people say that they will be happy to have the house quiet again. 

School being back in session can also mean a more stressful time, especially if you yourself are an adult student. Between balancing the children's school schedule, activities, parent teacher conferences, your full-time job, and taking classes toward your degree there may seem to be no time to get it all done.

Here are some tips for managing your time as a family:

Prepare-- Try to plan ahead as much as possible. Pack lunches, and iron the next day's clothing at night. That way there will be less rushing around in the morning.

Schedule all activities, including your own homework deadlines, on a calendar. If you keep all scheduled dates and times with you, it makes it less likely that something will slip your mind. Program the really important, non-recurring items into your phone. This way you will get a reminder that something is due, or you should be somewhere.

Study Together-- Being in school doesn't mean that you can't spend time together as a family. Make homework time a group activity. When your children sit down to do their homework, you can sit down to do yours as well.

Take a Book-- Most parents spend a lot of their free time driving their children to various extracurricular activities. Make the most of your time by keeping a textbook or lecture notes with you. You can get a lot accomplished in an hour so give it a try.


What are some other ways you balance being in school and being a parent?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Success At Any Age



I love any story about an adult learner accomplishing great things. Learning to read for the first time, earning a GED, or going to college as a non-traditional student are all great victories.

I came across two stories which highlight the will of adult learners to succeed at their goals.

Willadene Zedan has graduated from college at the age of 85. I know people who are only in their 20's who think it is too late for them to go back to school. Well it is not! Click here to read more about this amazing woman's journey.

Adult learners share their stories in this article. In it they talk about earning their GED's. It truly is never too late to get an education.

 I hope these stories will inspire you to go for your dreams and remember that anything is possible!

Monday, May 27, 2013

How Learning An Instrument Can Help Reduce Your Daily Stress


Our bodies are equipped with a stress response that can be triggered by work, relationships, finances or just about any aspect of our daily lives. It’s incumbent upon us to strike a balance between working hard and providing for ourselves and families, while also taking care not to overload our minds and create too much stress in our lives.

 

Having too much stress can affect our health, cause us to feel sick (whether we are or not) and cause us to needlessly worry and feel anxious.
 
If it gets bad enough, these stress responses can become the norm for our bodies, creating a constant sense of anxiousness, frustration and impending doom. We were never designed to take that much stress on in our lives; the negative effects are way too costly for the benefit of a few thousand extra dollars a year.
 
While we’re quite familiar with how to create stress, what eludes us most of the time are opportunities to alleviate it.
 
There are plenty of ways to give yourself a break, but one of the more surprising and possibly more consistent remedies would be simply to learn an instrument and play some music on a regular basis.
 
Research
 
Medical research has shown that making music with an instrument does actually reduce the stress response in our body and can effectively reverse what stress triggers set in motion.
 
The more regularly we’re able to play an instrument and enjoy it, the better off we’re going to be in terms of our stress levels. In fact, it has enough of an impact to be considered a healthy lifestyle decision, which like any similar decision, needs to be a matter of constant habit and not a one time thing.
 
Enjoying as Opposed to Working
 
For this to work, you want to find an instrument that fits one of the following categories so that you don’t really have to “work” to play it:
 
     You’ve already learned the instrument but haven’t picked it up in a while.
     The instrument is simple enough to put sounds together without a steep physical or mental learning curve.
 
The point of this exercise is to get away from work, not trade one form of work for another, so pick an instrument that’s easy, like the piano, or an instrument that you might have already learned earlier in your life that’s easy to pick up again.
 
When you do play, make sure you don’t allow it to turn into a pursuit or some kind of improvement game.
 
You’re not trying to turn into a musical genius or sell an album. Instead, you’re just trying to relax, enjoy yourself and make some simple music that will allow your body to de-stress. If you feel like you need to improve your musical ability, you’re getting back into work mode and will have less of a benefit from the time you spend playing.
 
Making it a Habit
 
Whatever instrument you choose, just enjoy the sounds that you are able to make. Above all, make it into a habit and spend a little bit of time every week (or every day if possible) engaging your mind in that fashion.
 
Know that it’s a proven method to lower stress, and if you stick with it over time, you’ll get to the point where you can probably put some energy and genuine interest into the instrument itself. Once that happens, you’ll have not just a de-stressor, but a creative outlet, which can also lead to lower stress days and more enjoyable leisure time.
 
 
 
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Los Angeles who writes on everything from marketing and social media, to gaming and tech, to health and beauty. She finds that playing music on a daily basis, whether it be playing an instrument or listening to an album, helps her eliminate a good amount of stress.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Money, Money, Money!

I'm a huge proponent of scholarships. Why borrow money if you can earn a scholarship? Most scholarships are available to college students of any age.

 Here are some recent scholarships opportunities I've come across:

GotChosen: This award is available to college students. The prize is $1,000. A winner is selected at random every month. You don't have to write and essay or have a top GPA. All you need to do is enter to win every month. It's worth a shot.

From Failure to Promise: This award is still available. All you have to do is read a book and write a essay answering the questions on the scholarship website. You also must have a 3.0 GPA to apply. Deadline: July 31, 2013.

Student Transportation Video Contest: Do you like to make videos? Well you could create one discussing some aspect of transportation in America and win a prize of $500. Visit the website for more specific information. Deadline: August 15, 2013.

Here is proof that students actually are awarded scholarships. Read about how one student earned $40,000 here.

What scholarship opportunities have you come across?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Visualize Success

"Anything you may hold firmly in your imagination can be yours."~William James

Positive visualization is not a new idea. It is something that many people do not practice, however.  If you want to succeed at anything, it is important to visualize yourself actually succeeding.

When athletes prepare for a big game they often create a movie in their minds of game, they see themselves making the touchdown or the 3-point buzzer beating shot. They replay these scenes over and over again in their minds. This positive visualization paired with hard work and practice often leads to a successful outcome.

Positive visualization doesn't only work for sports figures or celebrities. It works for anyone. I came across this story of a man losing nearly 300 pounds because of positive visualization.

Stephen Mariani loved baseball, but couldn't fit into the seats in the stadium. As he began to work on his health, he visualized the day when he'd be able to walk into the stadium, take his seat comfortably and enjoy the game. He kept this vision in the forefront of his mind every day. Then one day it finally happened just as he'd imagined!

Check out his story to see the ways positive visualization can help to improve your life today.

*Photo courtesy of sparkpeople.com.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Moment

In life we give up on our dreams for any number of reasons. Perhaps money issues, not being able to find a job in the field you desire, or the responsibilities of raising a family led to you letting go of your ultimate dream.

On the new show The Moment which airs on the USA network select people are given a second chance to live their dreams.

The Huffington Post highlighted the story of Derek James who always dreamed of being a chef at the White House. In his episode of The Moment, Derek got to work beside the White House executive chefs and apply for a job. He got the job!

Click here to watch full episodes of The Moment, and to remember that it's never too late.

These outcomes of old dreams realized aren't just for television. How can you take  your moment and make set aside dreams a reality now?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Post--Why the Homebuyer Should Utilize Leverage in 2013


People around the nation spend countless hours, days and years working toward the goal of buying a home. It’s part of the American Dream. While people understand that it’s a big deal, the astronomical amount of money required to acquire property in 2013 is still under noticed by most.

This article is an appeal to potential homebuyers that it’s time to utilize leverage. If you are someone looking for a home, you shouldn’t take your own money for granted when you jump into the real estate market. Don’t let a listing fool you, as you are the one forking over the cash. The traditional real estate listing is an advertisement, and to really make a calculated decision, you have to look beyond it.

 With so much money and your personal life at stake, it’s imperative to pick the right home and make sure the features of the property are the level of quality you’re paying for.

 
Why Leverage?

In most real estate transactions, there are negotiations that naturally cause fluctuation in the asking price. If you are a homeowner, make sure when these negotiations start that you have the leverage. You are in control and you are the one spending money on the ballpark scale of $100,000. It’s so important to not let a real estate agent or a home owner bully you into a higher asking price. There’s always another house you can find that will suit your needs and demands.

Just remember that you are the consumer. You are the one that gets to pick and choose whether a particular property is your dream home. It’s not up to anyone else, and there’s no hurry.
 

A real estate listing can be deceiving on a number of levels. If you’re a searching for a house, just as you should try and use leverage in price negotiations, it’s important to do so in the property evaluation as well. For instance, you have the right to be curious when it comes to major components of a house. There shouldn’t be anything that isn’t accessible to your eyes when you’re deciding whether or not to buy a home. Some areas to focus on:


1.     Quality and condition of roof: A common housing feature that’s not promoted or discussed in a listing is the roof. The roof is very important to your life and the value of a house. Not only does it provide you shelter from weather, it also protects the entire structure of the home. A faulty roof can lead to irreversible water damage and major renovations.

 
Not only do you have the right to inspect the roof of a prospective house carefully, but you should make it a priority. With legitimate money on the table, it’s worth it with regards to personal comfort and future financial obligations.

 

2.     State of floor materials: Regardless of the type of floor material in the house you’re looking at, it’s vital to accurately gauge the upkeep of them. All or parts of the house could be carpet, marble, hardwood or tile. When you’re in the evaluation process, take a hard look at the floors. Does it look like the hardwood has been refinished recently? Is the marble floor in the kitchen stained? Is the carpet in the master bedroom damaged to the point of a possible replacement?

 
The floors are where you will be walking and living in your new house. Make sure you are more than comfortable with both the style and condition of the floor material throughout the property. This is another example of something that won’t be listed in the advertisement but is very important when comfort and money are concerned. An extensive flooring project in your house will tack on thousands of dollars to your already hefty investment.

 
3.     Sewer line condition: The sewer line is a feature of any property that often goes unnoticed. They are underappreciated and undervalued. It is common, however, for people to get the sewer line of a prospective house checked out before purchase. You need to make sure to do this. In addition, take note of any large trees or major landscaping that is anywhere near the sewer route. These can lead to major obstructions in the future and can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

 
In addition to a standard check on the sewer line, look for other factors that may come up in the future. Replacements are expensive, and the road near your house often has to be ripped up when a big problem needs to be fixed.

 
Buying a house is a big deal even if you find the perfect house and the dream situation. It’s important to focus on both the listing and the features that exist behind the scenes. While scanning a property and applying it to your personal needs and desires, remember that you are the consumer and you have the leverage. It can go a long way in negotiations.

 

Tim Richmond writes about the mortgage industry, real estate, green building, personal finance and home ownership. He currently writes for the Native American mortgage specialists 1st Tribal Lending.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Post--Music To Get You Motivated


 



Image courtesy of jambase.com

 

Music is a universal experience. We clap our hands and sing songs in grade school to make music and are slowly introduced to more and more bands as we grow older. It affects how we feel, choices we make and people we meet. Beyond that it can enhance the way we experience any number of things. Music is a very powerful thing.  

 

How Music Affects The Brain

 

Music literally engages our body’s sympathetic nervous system --the same system responsible for getting us ready for a challenge in our environment. It has the ability to make us feel as though we are the most powerful person on the face of the earth, or the loneliest person in the universe.

 

Electrical activity in the brain helps us to develop perceptual, cognitive and motor processes --which is why it is suggested that even babies in the womb listen to music. The frontal and parietal lobes enhance neural activity on the top of the brain, literally acting as a changeable variable if whatever activity we are participating in.

 

5 Ways Music Can Help You

 

     Relax and fall asleep at night. Many people have trouble falling asleep at night because they have trouble quieting their thoughts. Music is a great way to distract your brain and drift off into a deep slumber.

 

     Focus on the task at hand --like studying or concentrating at work. Let’s face it, sometimes outside distractions can leave us looking up at and around the office, chatting with those around us and getting zero actual work done for the day. Music helps you center yourself and motivates you to finish your projects in a more timely manner.  

 

     Get you excited to complete a workout routine. The patterns in music can affect how much energy a person has. Athletes in certain competitions around the world have been banned from listening to music while they compete because it is said to give them a serious advantage. Listening to music while you exercise will give you the boost you need to complete the entire routine.

 



Photo courtesy of freshnessmag.com

 

     Cure boredom. Music is a world in and of itself. There are an endless number of solo artists and bands today and new ones emerge every day. If you go searching for new music you could get lost downloading offline or bouncing from one idea of what to listen to in Spotify for hours.

 

     Share an experience with a loved one. Music can not only give us a sense of having something in common with a friend, significant other or family member --but our hearts actually slow down and speed up according to how fast the tune of the music is. This literally means your heart is beating in time with the person you’re sharing a music experience with.

 

     Experience culture. There is more published (and unpublished) music in the world than we even have time to listen to. Cultures from all over the world have their own styles and distinct sounds. More than that, music can help you meet new friends with similar taste or create a deeper connection by understanding the kind of music they listen to.

 

Adding music to every aspect of your life a great way to get motivated for all the things you need to accomplish. You brain and music paired together have the ability to give you the energy you need when you’re feeling slugging or keep you level-headed when you are feeling down. 

 

 

 

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area who currently works with Arena, a music streaming company. Though her background is in marketing, she writes on everything from health & wellness, music, gaming, and technology.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

I came across this article about a woman who lost 180 pounds, but was still unhappy. As someone who has been working, and more often than not struggling, to get healthy I found this article helpful.

Whether you want to lose weight, start a business, buy a new home, graduate from college, etc. you can not base your happiness on the end  result.  What happens if you buy that new home, or get that degree, or new business and you are still not happy?

Happiness, according to this article, must come from within even while you are on the journey.
I have been guilty of thinking I will be happier once this or that happens.

I've learned, however, that I really do need to enjoy the journey. There will always be something to overcome. The change in my happiness level needs to come from within, rather than without.

What thing or event are you basing your happiness on? Check out this article and find out why being happy in the present is so important.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Never too Late

I love stories like these the most. A 79-year-old Mississippi woman is learning to read.
Rosie Corn has been fighting to learn how to read for most of her life. She's suffered a lot of interruptions from health issues, as well as having a family and working.

She never gave up. Now she is at a second grade reading level and is still working to get better.

Check out Rosie's inspiring story.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Choosing Your Legacy


Last Saturday I had the honor of attending a women's conference where a friend gave a presentation on what life is like for women in Ghana. It was very interesting to see what the daily life of a woman is like in another country. I was in awe of the women who owned their own businesses, and of the volunteerism I witnessed.

In addition to this presentation, there was also a moment when the women seated at my table talked about what choices they would have made differently in their lives. They also spoke about ways to help other women grow.

 Some of the women in the group said that in their day they didn't have the choices that women today have. One woman said that she lived through the women's liberation movement.
If she could have had more choices available to her she would have wanted be more and do more.

This conference inspired me and it made me think about the idea of choice. The fact that I can choose what school to go to, what career to have, and what volunteer activities to participate in is an honor.

While reflecting on my time with the women, I thought about the many ways I have neglected this honor of choice.

In the same weekend two people I know passed away. I heard about all of the great work they have done in their lives, including the many people they have helped. This encouraged me to choose to be the person I really want to be.

How many times have I wanted to do something, but then decided against it because of fear or silly excuses?

 I've decided to make choices every day that honor my freedom to choose what my legacy will be.

What will your legacy be? What choices are you making today that will make that possible?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Plan to Win

We are all busy. We all have commitments coming at us from every angle. If you are trying to accomplish a goal, however, you have to make time to work on it.

This is where planning ahead comes in. Some people are good at planning. They write everything down in a planner, or have electronic planners that beep or buzz reminders all day long.

Other people aren't so good at planning. They just wing it, and often end up disappointed when they do not accomplish anything.

I came across this article on Spark People, about planning ahead. While "Plan Today, Succeed Tomorrow" is speaking specifically about getting healthier, I think it's a good article for planning in general.

Check out the article for tips to help you plan ahead and win!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Post--5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers


 

Buying a home for the first time can be an intimidating process. There are appraisals to get, money to put in escrow, talk of "points," and so many "what if"s that could derail the whole process.  It can be overwhelming.

Learning what you can about the process before you begin can make it a little easier to navigate. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind if you are looking to become a first-time homebuyer:

Start Saving

No matter what kind of financing you're able to secure, you're going to need a lot of money to buy a home. Of course, there's the down payment, which can range from 3 percent to the traditional 20 percent. However, a lot more buyers are qualifying for 100 percent financing. Even if you don't have to pay a down payment, there's still the matter of closing costs, any repairs your new home might need, and all the other extras that come along with moving into a new place. Save as much as you can before you start shopping for your new home.

Use a Real Estate Agent

The process of buying a home can be complex and confusing for first-time buyers. Working with a real-estate agent can make the process a breeze. The agent can advise you on how to make the offer (including how much to offer), what the next steps in the process are, what professionals to use to close the deal, and so on. A good real-estate agent can be like your personal assistant in the buying process.

Compare Lenders

When you're ready to start shopping, you need to secure financing. However, you shouldn't settle for the first bank that offers you a mortgage. Be sure to compare lenders to make sure you get the best rate and the best terms. You could save yourself thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Shop Around

Once you have the financing, it's time to shop around for homes. Make sure you look at several homes and don't just fall in love with the first one you see. Even if you end up buying the first one you see, make sure you look at several other homes to get a real feel for what's available and to make sure you're getting the best price.

Negotiate

When you find your dream home, get ready to negotiate. You should never offer what the seller is asking. In addition to negotiating the sales price of the home, you can also negotiate any repairs or improvements that you want done, as well as payment of some of the closing costs. A real-estate agent can give you advice on handling these negotiations for the best outcome.

Don't let the process of buying your first home overwhelm or intimidate you. Use these simple tips to make the process easier and more accessible, and you'll be a pro in no time!

Carmen Guzlas is a writer and manager for Movoto.com, where she has recently been researching Boston Homes. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and making homemade soap.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post-- Too Many Choices


Why is it that we feel trapped even when we are not? The problem I have been dealing with lately is having too many choices. My whole life I have been under constraint. I have had a limited amount of time or limited funds or even a limited area to work in. By adding in all those constraints I was able to make the best decision I could out of a very small pool. But what happens when you take away limitations?

This is an idea that many people do not think about. Having virtually unlimited options is a terrifying experience. Unlike those school projects that ask you where you would want to live if you had all the money and time in the world, this is reality. And while my options are not that unlimited, they are a huge step up from my last experience.

Let me give you an illustration. When I bought my first house I was under a time crunch. I had to stay within the city I worked, had to get a house with a very small budget, and also had to do it all within a month. Whew! I did the best I could and it worked out okay, but this time around things are different.
I have a job that is more portable. I can stay in town if I want to, but I also can choose to move elsewhere. I also have a long time to look. Plus my budget is much bigger. All these changes mean I get to think of things I have never considered before.

What style of house do I like?  Do I want to live in the city or in the country? Do I want an old home or a new one? Do I want a fixer upper or something that is ready to go?

It is not just about houses that these kinds of questions come up. Maybe you are looking for a new job. Maybe you are planning on moving. Maybe you are considering dating or marriage. Too many choices can be just as bad, if not worse, than too few. Making the best you can out of what you have is one thing, but what happens when you are actually in control?

Well, here are a few ways to help you make the right choice:

1.      Narrow the field – The first thing you should do is to narrow your choices. Throw out the obvious nos. If you have a large selection, toss out the maybes too. Then just look at your ‘yes’ possibilities. If you can, rank them from best to worst in categories like time, price, color, etc. You may find it easier to see which choice is really for you.

2.      Write it down – Sometimes we get overwhelmed because we do not know what we really want. Write down your ‘must haves’ and your ‘would likes’. By having something down on paper you can make more informed choices and not end up just choosing at random something that you do not really want.

3.      Set a time limit –Even if you feel like your time is unlimited it is a good idea to set a deadline. Deadlines, even self-enforced ones, help you to stay on task and move forward. Without a deadline you could be looking at your choices forever.

When you have a lot of deadlines it can be overwhelming. Cut it into manageable pieces and set a time limit so that you can make a wise choice.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of  morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Your Academic Advisor is Not Your Parent


The academic advisor provided to you once you begin college is not your parent. "Duh," you may be saying to yourself.  It is surprising how many students know this in theory, but when faced with tons of college questions they behave otherwise.

Having friends who are academic advisors, I am amazed at the types of questions students ask them. Questions like:

  • Is a teacher nice or mean?
  • Why can't I just skip this math class? I'm 40-years-old, I shouldn't have to take it.
  • I emailed you ten minutes ago, why haven't you responded yet?
This prompted me to write my latest article for Fastweb.

Making the Most of Your Academic Advisor, explains the do's and don'ts of working with your academic advisor. An advisor is a great resource to have. You want to be sure to use him or her wisely.

Check out this article if you want to make the most of your academic advisor.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scholarships...You Must Play to Win

It has been a while since I have put up any scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are always available and usually the money goes unclaimed because students don't apply.

Why take out a student loan, when you can earn a scholarship?

Apply today for one of the following scholarships:

  • From Failure to Promise: I have featured this scholarship on this blog before. The deadline this year is July 31, 2013.
  • GraduatePrograms.com: This site offers a prize of 1,000 for anyone who is currently in graduate school, or has graduted from graduate school in the past five years. To be entered into the drawing, all you have to do is complete an application form and rate your school. It's that simple.
  • AP Google Scholarship: You have to move fast on this one. The deadline for this award is February 8, 2013. This  program will give 6, $20,000 scholarships to outstanding students who are persuing journalism degrees.
  • Collegiate Inventors Competition: This award is all about inventions. You must be enrolled in college full-time in order to apply. Winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to present their work to a panel of experts in Washington, D.C. If math, science, or engineering is your thing, this may be the opportunity for you.
  • Viral Video Scholarship Contest: High school and college students are eligible to apply for this scholarship. You must create a video public service announcement about driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The deadline is March 31, 2013.
It may take some time and effort, but it will be worth it. Apply for a scholarship today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rules for Business A lot Like Life

Many  people have an entrepreneurial spirit. They envision themselves running their very own business and being their own boss.

While working whatever hours you like may sound great, there is a lot more to running your own business than that. It is important to learn all you can about business before you set out on your own.

You can learn about starting your own business by taking college or continuing education courses. You can buy business books or check them out from your local library. Also, you can find out what it really takes to run a business from people who are actually doing it successfully.

I came across an article, Seven Things I've Learned Running a Business. Anne Day's advice seemed to sound like a lot of real life common sense. In the article she writes :

  1. You can't please everyone.
  2. Try out business relationships before signing anything.
  3. You must have balance. Simply put, you can't do it all yourself.
  4. Don't expect immediate success.
  5. Do your homework.
If you are serious about starting your own business, finish reading Anne Day's helpful article.

Need help writing your business plan? Check out an older post on the One Page Business Plan.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What If I Fail?

What if? What if I try something new and I fail miserably? What if everyone laughs at me for even trying? What if when I walk into a new classroom, job interview, volunteer center, everyone looks at me like I have four heads? What if I spend my savings to start that new business and I go broke? What if???

I'm sure that we have all had these thoughts. I know that I have had way more than those listed above. I remember Iyanla Vanzant called it "AWFULIZING." We often imagine a scenario that is way worse than what the reality of a situation will be.

I came across this article "Realizing Your Dream: Stop Dwelling on “What Ifs” " and could relate so much to the author. She too had dreams when she was younger that she let go of because of fear. Now, however, she has decided to go back to school and study biology inspite of being over 30- years- old. 

If you've been stopping yourself from going after a lifelong dream because of the "what ifs" now is the time to stop. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Say yes and go for it!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Change, Even When You Don't Feel Like It

We all have goals that we would like to accomplish. At this time of the year, people believe they want to change. Everywhere you turn there are books,  magazine articles, and television specials about improving your life. It's a very inspiring time really.

What happens, however, when all of the hoopla is over and you are left with all of the actual work you must do to change. For many people the goals they first created for themselves begin to fade. They lack the motivation or "will" to do what must be done.

A person once told me, "You keep waiting for something big to happen. You keep thinking that you're going to have this aha moment. No book, or tv show, or person has the answer you are looking for. Change happens when you simply take action."

This advice stuck with me for a long time. I ran the words over and over in my mind before I ever decided to make any changes. Really, change is that simple. If you want to change something, you take action. Then you repeat the action consistently.

I usually don't feel like doing the work involved in making my lasting changes, but over time I've learned to do the work anyway.

I heard a quote once that says, "You will never regret a good workout." I think this could apply to anything a person wants to accomplish in life. Often just thinking about something you have to do too much causes you to lose your energy.

Every excuse in the world pops into your mind to keep you from doing the work. I've learned that once you just get up and do the thing you are avoiding, you will never regret it. Instead you will feel accomplished and good about doing the necessary work to achieve your goals.

Every step you take brings you closer to realizing your dreams.

I came across these two articles in the Huffington Post which I believe have tips to help us all stay on track at any point in the year.

My goal for this year is to: Follow Through, and Finish What I Start.

What are some of your goals, not just for the new year, but for your life?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This Year I Will...

 
 

 
I thought this was a good thing to repost. After so many years of making resolutions only to not complete them, I've finally gotten the hang of making lasting changes.
 
 
This Year I Will...
M.J. Ryan
225pp. $12.00

I actually began working through this small, but powerful book at the end of 2011. "This Year I Will...How To Finally Change A Habit, Keep A Resolution, Or Make A Dream Come True" by author M.J. Ryan was the perfect book to read as I entered 2012.

I found this book to be entertaining, and the exercises were always easy to work through. They stuck with me long after I stopped working through each chapter.

This book lives up to its title. It teaches you how to stop going around the same mountain over and over again, while never accomplishing anything new.  Now you can break out of that cycle, and begin creating the life you really want.

The publisher's website writes about the book:

For anyone who has broken a New Year’s resolution, fallen off a diet, or given up on fulfilling a dream, the ingenious strategies, inspiring stories, and sheer motivational energy of This Year I Will . . . help you make a promise to yourself that you can actually keep.

M.J. Ryan is a bestselling author, speaker, change expert and as she calls it a "Thinking Partner." She is the author of nine books, and a life coach.

Buy This Year I Will...