Thursday, July 31, 2008

Know Thyself

One of the more disturbing realizations I've come to about myself is that my attention span isn't that much longer than that of my almost-five-year olds.

I've been reading a book in which the idea of setting goals was written in great detail. I reflected on the dozens of books I have read and the hundreds of audios I have listened to which addressed goal setting and its importance to order to move forward and be who you want to be.

Why have I been so unsuccessful in setting goals, when I am fully aware that it's important? Why am I disheartened to set 30-day goals, 3-month goals, 1-yr, 5-yr, 20-yr goals?

Then it hit me. I have failed in setting 24-hour goals. How could I possibly hold in my consciousness 30 days, let alone 20 years, when I haven't even mastered, on a consistent basis, one day?

Discipline is the key.

And all discipline is, is remembering what you want. I know what I want (aka dreams). I know what I don't want (aka nightmares). Oh, but it's not knowing what you want, it's remembering what you want.

That's when I realized that I forget several times a day.

In the past, I've written down what I want. The challenge was, I'd forget to read what I'd written down, and I'd get swept up with the day-to-day demands on my time and attention.

So this time, I wrote what's important to me on a very red piece of paper that sits in my kitchen (where I seem to spend an awful lot of time). And rather than post it, like I've done in the past, the paper sits on the counter, having to be moved out of my way many times day and night. And as I move it, I read it.

I've set two alarms on my cell phone. One in the morning and one at night, bracketing my day, to remind me to read these desires of my heart.

Remembering what I want then affects the way I plan my time, and the thoughts and attitudes I choose to dwell on.

So though it's a bit embarrassing that I'm almost as easily distracted as my Kindergartners, it's empowering to know this about myself, and adjust accordingly.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Ode to Soap

Most people think of soap when they hear "Amway." And they are right, sort of. Almost 50 years ago the very first Amway product was a soap, Liquid Organic Cleaner. Amway was “green” before the term even existed.

However, I’m not very passionate about soap. Don’t get me wrong. Now that I have children and actually clean my home, I am very appreciative of the cleaners.

What I am passionate about is great health. People want to feel good, they want to have energy and vitality. And I believe that physical ailments, which prevent people from feeling good and energized, are directly related to what they put in their bodies.

That’s why the two product categories I use and promote the most are Health and Beauty.

When I say “beauty” I’m actually concerned about the health of one’s skin. So what you put on your skin —including skin care products and cosmetics—affects the health of your largest organ.

Nutrilite and Artistry are the two brands that the corporation is promoting in their national ad campaign. This makes good business sense, since both are at the top of their industries and generate more than 60% of Amway’s almost $7 billion annual revenues.

Here's the one-minute commercial:

A couple of weeks ago I attended the National Spotlight for Amway Global/Quixtar at McCormick Place in Chicago. The expo was 40,000 square feet. (To put that in perspective, a football field is about 48,000 square feet.)

Artistry and Nutrlite dominated the area, with XS Energy Drink having a sizable booth in the Nutrlite area.

And tucked in a corner, like crazy but lovable Uncle Charlie in the basement, not measuring more than 10' x 15' was the “Soap” section, aka Home Care. Not sexy. Not hip. But reliable green cleaners.

The guys in lab coats were demonstrating the L.O.C. Kitchen Cleaner, which kicked the crud out of 409. And they also had the SA8 Laundry Detergent on display next to Tide.

What’s in Tide to create all that cloudiness?

Notice the serving size of Tide.

And all the lovely residue left on the Tide clothes.

Hey, come to think of it...most of the time we are wearing clothing...and clothing sits right next to our bodies, our skin. So maybe SA8 should be in the Health category since skin is our largest organ, and what we put on it has an effect on health.

Hmmm...Someone call Marketing!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not A Lazy Sunday

One of the benefits of having little ones, is being "forced" to have a good time and explore, even when I don't necessarily want to put in the effort.

Today was one of those days when I would have been perfectly content with a lazy Sunday, enjoying our air-conditioned home in this 90-degree heat.

Instead we took a drive to The Morton Arboretum.

We got there in time to watch some students of Japanese Drumming. Here's a tiny snipet of the wonderful 45-minute performance we happened upon.

A few years ago, the arboretum smartly added the Children's Garden. Cater to the kids, and everyone else will follow.

After climbing and exploring in the garden, we made friends with some of David Rogers' Big Bugs.

The final stop was the Maze Garden. For close to an hour, the Maze captivated the kids. The first time we found our way to the 12-foot high watchtower, I stayed there, enjoying the view as Matt and the kids found other pathways. Our son's loud giggles let me know where they were even when they were out of my sight.

An added bonus on these not-so-lazy days is the kids go to bed and sleep very well.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good Response

About 40 minutes ago I destroyed our kitchen/dining room table.

Unintentionally, I did something stupid, which resulted in the top of the table being broken in two.

I’m all alone right now, as Matt took the kids downtown while I tend to some “chores”.

After the initial shock of what I did, the few moments of regret, and the even fewer moments of beating myself up for my moment of idiocy, I realized that this would mean we’d have to buy a new table.

Great. Not. I can think of other ways I’d rather use our money.

I texted Matt: “I just severely broke the dining room table beyond repair.”

His response: “It’s about time!”

Well, that sure put things in perspective. We purchased this table brand new---17 years ago.

New perspective: “Wow! How grateful I am that our table lasted 17 years!”

Thanks, honey.

Okay, back to my chores.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forcing Apologies & Forgiveness?

There’s been a discussion on my Twin Moms Forum about whether we should insist on our children apologizing when they’ve done something wrong. One of the moms stated that not only should we have our kids apologize, but we should also make them say “I forgive you.”

I have some adults very close to me who say “I’m sorry”, not because they are truly sorry and seek forgiveness, but in order to avoid any confrontation (dialogue about the offense) and want to just “move on.” So I hesitate to teach my kids to just say the words.

Because one of my children has this temperament (causing them to say they are sorry at a drop of a hat), I believe that demanding my children say “I’m sorry” would produce superficial results that don't get to the heart of the matter.

On the other end of the spectrum, my other child's temperament is strong-willed. When I’ve attempted to “force” an apology, that one’s response is explosive and angry.

Does it mean that I don’t point out the “errors of their ways” when my children do something wrong? Absolutely not. Speaking from experience, it’s harder to change later in life than earlier. It wasn’t until my late 20s when I encountered true accountability--people willing to confront me (kindly and gently) when I messed up.

I’d like my kids to learn now what has taken me decades to learn.

We want thoughtful and kind children, not ones who just act thoughtful and kind.

I am reading a parenting book that emphasizes dealing with the “heart issues” rather than the behavior issues.

“What is going on in your heart that would make you hit your sister?”

“What is going on in your heart that would make you say such unkind words to your brother?”

“What is going on in your heart that would make you not want to apologize?”

“What is going on in your heart that would make you not grant forgiveness?”

It takes a heck of a lot more time to discuss the heart issues. But in the end, and why my husband and I go through this long process over and over and over again, we believe that changing our hearts will lead to behavioral changes that are lasting and authentic.

Why do we apologize? Why do we forgive? Ultimately, isn’t it about reconciliation? Because we are imperfect humans we will, intentionally and unintentionally, hurt people and they will hurt us. It’s unavoidable if we strive to have real and meaningful relationships filled with intimacy and depth.

In a world of so many broken relationships, the lesson I want to teach my kids is that relationships matter. Above all else, people matter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Don't Wanna Bore You With It But...

Yesterday we celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday. After a morning meeting and a stop at a new specialty shop to pick up a birthday present for himself, Matt decided to scrap any more work for the day and spend the afternoon with our children and me. So he got to experience the more mundane things we and the kids do while he’s being Big Shot Media Relations Trainer Writer Guru Guy.

Like an eye doctor’s appointment for our daughter. For the record, on my 40th birthday, I’d rather spend those three hours getting a massage, manicure, and pedicure. I'm the self-centered selfish one of the duo. :)

Matt suggested we visit my recently widowed grandmother who turns 90 next month. We hadn't visited in several months due to my lack of effort. So we headed on over to her home and Matt loaded her up with his attention and love, as he facilitated the conversation between our little ones and their great-grandma.

Later, Matt, the kids, and I went out for dinner. We came home, and as I lay down recovering from a carb coma induced by my rigatoni with spinach, ricotta, and marinara sauce, and chocolate-covered gelato size-of-an-orange ball, Matt, unbeknownst to me, cleaned our kitchen and got the kids ready for bed.

There are days when I wonder if Matt’s paying attention to anything that’s going on around him.
I wonder how he doesn’t see the papers and books piling on top of his dresser—s o high that they start tumbling down on to the ground.

I wonder how, even with a checklist, he can forget to pack socks for a family trip and has to resort to wearing mine for those four days.

I wonder how he buys a different butter than the one I explain (specifically) to buy.

And then, like yesterday, I am reminded that Matt is paying attention. He’s paying attention to what matters—people.

Thank you for nineteen years of “going steady”, fourteen of those as husband and wife, and five of those as “mommy” and “daddy”.

You light up my life. You're my endless love. Your love knocks me off my feet.

And other sappy stuff that only a love song could express. And only people like Stevie Wonder can sing.

Happy Birthday My Love.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mailbox Money

The other day I got another check for my "work" on the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

It all started when I answered the phone at 5 am on my 16th birthday. Who would've thought that almost 23 years later, I would still be making money from that day's events?

I had one meager line, "Hi Jeanie!" which I said to Ferris' sister, played by Jennifer Grey.

It was raining on that September morning, so the company had to go to "cover set". That meant they couldn't shoot their originally scheduled scenes of outdoor beautiful Chicago. Hence the sudden notification that I was cast in the movie, and the sudden notification that they needed me on set in the next two hours.

I had auditioned for another role, which was given to Lara Flynn Boyle, a fellow Chicago Academy for the Arts student. I was disappointed that I didn't get that particular part -- until I saw the movie and learned that Lara and that scene ended up on the cutting room floor. No scene, no residuals.

I got paid for that day's work, and have received "mailbox money" since the day it went to video. I also have gotten cash for it being played overseas, played on cable, when it went to DVD, played on pay-per-view, and so on and so on and so on. I've never figured out how much I made total. But these days, I get a couple hundred bucks a year.

I'd say that all the residuals I've received over the years, for movies, TV shows, commercials, have totaled over $25,000. And since I was 11, when I first entered "show biz", I've been fortunate to have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars, both as a performer and as a crew member.

The real value, though, is not the cash I've made. It's how I've made it. Making money in a non-traditional industry and in a non-traditional way has fostered an open-mindedness that I don't think I'd have otherwise.

We live in a land of opportunity. Having participated, it's not theory to me. It's reality.

I see opportunity and possibility everywhere. How about you?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Continuing to Find My Voice

Last night we went to a book release event for my aunt. I am so excited for her! Her first book is a compilation of writing exercises to facilitate even novice writers in getting their memoirs on paper.

Her book, Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories: 167 Ways to Write Your Life Story by Carol LaChapelle, sold out last night. So I haven't been able to read it yet, though I did see a few pages. Guess being a niece didn't give me enough clout. :)

(Note: The book is listed with a publishing date of September 1st, but it is available to order/buy now.)

Acey's (Aunt Carol's) "fan base" overtook the small bookstore, and it occurred to me that her book has been a work in progress for over 20 years.

I went last night to support Acey. Nothing more, nothing less. But after hearing the handful of people read their stories which appear in the book as examples of the fruits of the exercises, I realized that this book is deeper and more meaningful that I ever imagined. I caught her vision.

Matt and I became a part of the journey back in 1992, when we were paying participants of a private writing workshop. It was very private. Just the three of us. All great accomplishments have humble beginnings. ;)

I've never been comfortable with writing. Not even today. And as I reflect on last night, I cannot deny Acey's influence on me and my writing. Her love for the written word, her passion for "ordinary" people's stories and her tenacity in getting them told, has brought me to this point, in this moment, as I type these words, on this "page".

Thank you Acey. I love you. I am so proud of you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ada and The Impromptu Meeting--Part Four

The final stop on our journey was with Char. At the last minute before leaving for camp, I emailed Alison, who is the Director of Training and Education, to let her know of our visit. I had met Alison about six months ago at the Center for Optimal Health.

It was a very brief interaction in which I introduced myself, and she introduced herself. I realized who she was and she realized who I was--"Blogger Bridgett". I then apologized for being a bit harsh in one of my blog comments over at Opportunity Zone regarding the distracting acting abilities of an actress on one of the Quixtar University videos. Alison was more than gracious to me. :)

So I had emailed Alison, guessing her email address. Not all that challenging to do, but I digress. I guessed accurately and she said she'd be on vacation but that Char would love to speak with me.

Okay, so Char, Matt, the kids, and I enter a conference room. I scope out the place like only a mother of almost five-year-old twins can, and wonder how much time we have to talk before my kids slowly rip the place to shreds.

Char brilliantly sets them up with Sharpies and large pieces of presentation paper at the conference table, while she, Matt, and I sit in the cozy chairs set up like a living room.

To my recollection, Char has a background in academia in the classroom, and so her command of the English language and ability to communicate and gather (dig) for information is impressive. She's also good with numbers. A pretty powerful combination of skills to have when you're attempting to help IBOs with their selling skills.

She and Matt were in Words-and-Numbers Heaven as they bantered back and forth with great ease.

I hope the spur-of-the-moment meeting was helpful, though I really can't recall if I said anything intelligent or relevant. I look at it as an all-too-brief introduction to future conversations. :)

Our time was up and Char guided us out through the maze back to where we started.

We checked out the cafeteria, bowed down to the XS Energy Drink Vending Machine and also discovered that all employees get complimentary Double X, the premium supplement in the world.

We got back in the van, headed back to Chicago, the kids drifted off to sleep, we drove through a downpour of rain, and Matt and I tried to make sense of the three-hour whirlwind that had just occurred.

Gilligan's Island Theme Song Fade In: Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...for a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ada a.k.a. Land of Gazillion Products--Part Three

Our next stop was meeting some neat ladies--Brand Managers for Ribbon and Personal Accents.
Laura and Kim showed me the newest addition to the Ribbon Gift Albums/Cards available in September called "Celebrate!" Veeery sharp.

Ribbon is the way to go for gift-giving, for so many reasons (perhaps more on that in a later post).

Amy told me that the photography for the new Personal Accents Jewerly catalog has improved. Not that the photography in the past was bad. It wasn't. It's just that the jewerly looks even more amazing live and in person.

Amy flipped through a mock-up of some Personal Accents literature with me being quoted as a "Personal Accents Consultant".

There it was in black and white: a quote, my name, and the title "Personal Accents Consultant".

Two things came to mind in that moment:

1) Being quoted in print. Matt's been in journalism for almost 25 years (he started young) and crafted thousands of stories, containing words that people have uttered. Now being one of those people was a bit unnerving. I would never make it in the public eye!

2) My title. Am I Personal Accents Consultant? Sure.
That would then also mean that I'm:

*a Nutrlite Consultant
*an Artistry Consultant
*an XS Energy Drink Consultant
*a Ribbon Consultant
*an eSpring Consultant
* an iCook
*an Atmosphere Consultant
*a Perfect Water Consultant
*an SA8/L.O.C./Pursue/Dish Drops Consultant
*a Body Series/Glister/Satinique Consultant

and, the most attractive one to me is Gihugic Business Opportunity Consultant.

Try to fit all that on a business card!

To be continued in the fourth and final installment...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Land of Ada--Part Two

So we chatted with Anna way more briefly than I would have liked, and then Susan kept the train moving. We were on our way to a different department, when I passed by an office with a nameplate I recognized.

I said, "Hi Randy! I met you in January out in California!" If there were two people who had polar opposite personalities, it would probably be us.

Randy was cordial, stepped out from behind his desk and greeted us in the hallway.

It was mentioned, maybe I explained how I knew Susan, of my online presence. And the mere mention of the conversation occurring online about this business was met with...quiet reserve.

He let me know that he never goes online to check out the conversation. I was a bit caught off-guard. Was he being dismissive?

Given the nature of his work, overseeing those who work with the IBO Plats, wouldn't be helpful to know what "the field" experiences in regards to online reputation and how it affects their ability to grow their businesses?

I had questions to seek clarity but time was ticking and we were moving down the hallway.

(Update 7/11: I got some clarification. He's very on top of the conversation. Just not directly spending the time online. Smart guy. This conversation takes a heap more time that I ever would have imagined! My apologies for any mischaracterization.)

To be continued...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Too-Brief Visit to Ada--Part One

It’s not every day we are in Michigan, and only a stone’s throw away from Quixtar/Amway Global. So on our way back from camp, I thought we’d drop on by for a couple of hours.

I arranged our visit with Susan, a lovely woman and one of the most responsive employees at the Corp. I “met” Susan through her blog and she’s someone, who, regardless of our Q/AG connection, I’d befriend.

We arrived in "Mecca" and we had no idea which building, exactly, we were to visit. The place is a small city, about a square mile. No joke.

So first we came upon a gate with this sign.

1.9 or 19 miles an hour? Either way, very specific these Q/AG folk are.

Wrong building. Make a call. Within three minutes, we get to the correct building.

Susan brought us upstairs to meet some folks. The place was rather quiet, with many people on vacation, including Beth. Beth’s assistant Teresa kindly gave the kids and my husband lollipops, as well as other food items that they raided from Beth’s office.

First we found Robin in his palatial office, and I took a quick pic. The only pic I took of the gang, since I didn’t want people to feel awkward with "Blogger Bridgett" in the building.

Robin, whom I also met through his blog, and later met in person in Prague, used us as an excuse to get off the phone with someone who, apparently, talked an awful lot.

We then met Anna, who’s known of me through my comments on the Corporate Blogs. And this is when I knew that a couple of hours was just not enough time for a visit.
To Be Continued...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Family Camp Highlights




Rock Climbing

Me Upside-Down Ziplining

And, one of the most bizarre games I've this video shows: "Steal the Bacon".

Having not grown up going to camp, this was an "experience" for my hubby and me as well as the kids.

Camp is definitely not where you go for some R&R.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

XS Energy Drink--Heaven on Earth

Okay not really, but those were the words Matt, my husband, uttered yesterday when we discovered an XS Energy Drink vending machine in the Quixtar/Amway Global cafeteria.

We had been away from home and away from XS for about four days. We stopped over at the Corp and met some lovely people (more on that later) on our way back to Chicagoland.

As we are leaving, Matt was craving an XS. I mean, here we are at the Corp that has exclusive rights to the stuff, and there isn't any to be found.

We are about to leave, and I notice a cafeteria off the lobby. So we venture in and notice a few things (more on that later). Matt's ready to go and starts to head out with the kids to the van.

I then notice, way in the back, the very last vending machine is selling XS for a dollar!

I run, yes run, back to the lobby and as I see my family exiting the building, I yell, "Matt! There's XS for a dollar! In a vending machine!"

The receptionist probably thought we were nuts as Matt hurried the kids back inside as we made a mad dash to the back of the cafeteria.

Needless to say, after we figured out how to use the vending machine (as this video shows) we bought seven cans, all different flavors, and drank four of them (two each) on our three-hour drive back home.

Oh the simple pleasures in life...some have their Starbucks, we have our XS Energy Drink. :)