April 2016


Three years ago, I traveled virtually to outer space. The star nurseries and spectacular views from the Hubble Telescope grabbed me. The immenseness of the Endeavour was impossible to imagine without seeing it. Endeavour 2And I appreciated the engineering and creativity that went into the design of the shuttles and even the small space capsules that started off the US space program.

Today’s visit to the California Science Center captivated me. I visited the Endeavour and again marveled at the intricate tiles and bolts. Endeavour 04262016Wide-eyed, I watched the video of the lift-off. The IMAX of various shuttle missions and man’s accomplishments in space are astounding.

But what really bore into my soul today were the scenes from right here on earth. We watched the IMAX of the National Parks. Happy Anniversary National Park Service! Through Conrad’s eyes and the eyes of his team we toured the larger parks. On earth we have incredible natural wonders: geysers at Yellowstone, majestic redwoods, and the Grand Tetons. How did the geysers form? Where does the Colorado River get its incredible power from? It’s a power that bore through solid rock!

My soul soared with the climbers’ accomplishments. I held my breath as the new climber scaled the mountain and made it. I flew over the deep blue lakes and ice-capped mountains marveling at the creations. I smiled at the memory of trying to negotiate rapids—albeit smaller than the Colorado River—and recalling that we portaged over the dangerous parts.

How can humans climb the solid rock surface? How can Conrad climb ice? What does it take for them to overcome their fear?

I don’t have answers. Could I scale mountains or climb ice? No. I admire the courage and confidence.

The team we saw in outer space and in the National Parks were determined, dedicated, and they practiced. Perhaps I can borrow that courage and confidence when I have to scale my own non-natural mountains, my challenges.

Determination, dedication, and practice, and start with small steps.

So don’t look for me on the mission to Mars. Or on the next trip to Mt. Everest. But I’ll be right beside you on the next earth-borne mission to climb a man-made challenge!

Let’s go!
Bird on Plane-closeup

**

All photos ©Sherri Leah Henkin 2016

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If I Could Play All Day

©Sherri Leah Henkin, 2016
With gratitude to my grandchildren for their whimsy and to Dr. Seuss for inspiring the rhyming scheme.


I might write the day away,

Or I’d take the kids to play.
Perhaps we’d chase the sun’s ray,
Sun's Ray

And we’d find fun things to say.

“Let’s choose colors,” I might say.
“But why?” asks the child, that day.
“To paint light blue, like the bay;
The color of sky in May.” 

Sky in May

“What about the sun’s bright ray?
What do we paint it this day?”
“Yellow, red, orange,” I say.
“I want red and purple–yay!

yellow, red, orange, purple

I’d eat mint ice cream that day.
And treat the kids the same way.
We’d jump and skip and race all day,
Then under the sun we’d lay.

That’s what I’d do if I could play all day!

 Catch the Run

 **
Photos © Sherri Leah Henkin

 

 

 

 

On March 30, 2016, Jeff Goins conducted a dynamite presentation: How to Get 10K Fans, Publish a Book, and Make $100,000…in 18 Months! Jeff walked us through four basic steps he took to get to his milestone:

Step 1. Find your voice.

Step 2. Write for a worldview.

Step 3. Find what resonates with you.

Step 4. Getting Paid

All steps are important, yet the one that grabbed me was Step 2. What’s my worldview? How do I want to reach my audience?

Jeff outlined five categories that aren’t mutually exclusive. However, he said that we’ll lean toward one more than the others. To figure out our worldview, Jeff suggested we examine the type of actions we enjoy.

♦Are you curious? Do you ask a lot of questions? Are you fascinated by other people’s stories? Do you enjoy bringing back the data to your audience?

→You might be a Journalist.

♦Do you have a bone to pick? Are you able to stand up for the truth regardless of what your audience fires back at you?

→You might be a Prophet.

♦Are you creative? Do you have an eye for beauty? Do you see events in a unique way?

→You might be the Artist.

♦Do you have a thirst for knowledge? Would you enjoy presenting data/hard facts? Do you enjoy taking complex things and making them simple?

→You might be a Professor.

♦Are you an extrovert? Is your attitude, “If I can do it, then you can do it”?

→You might be a Star.

Jeff’s guidance:

♦pick one type

♦write from that point for 30 days

♦re-evaluate after 30 days

Exploring my worldview enlightened me to what I value most. Of course I’m curious and am fascinated by people’ stories. And I relish making the complex simple. But when I think serious about what gets me going, it’s when I can present information in a unique way. I enjoy my writing when describe a standard subject from a new dimension…the Artist!

Jeff’s charge to writers: “If you have an idea that you want the world to hear, you no longer have the excuse that no one will let you.”

→What ideas do you want the world to hear? What’s your worldview?

**

To learn more about this webinar or Jeff’s publications and podcast, visit http://goinswriter.com/.

A few weeks ago, Lizzie Davey sent her weekly motivational email and asked this question.

…And, while it WAS my most successful week financially so far, I didn’t feel any different at the end of it. I didn’t feel the high I got when I landed my first client. I didn’t feel the joy I feel when I can get out the house in the middle of the day for as long as I want without having to answer to anyone.

I felt exactly the same as I did at the beginning of the week.

And now I’ve figured out why I wasn’t ordering in the champers and donning gold chains around my neck. It’s because money doesn’t equal success for me.

For so long, I thought I’d feel “complete” and “happy” when I earned X amount each month. But when I reached that and exceeded it, I just felt the same as I’d always done.

Success for me is about personal achievements: getting great feedback from a client, landing a job I absolutely love, and being able to create a schedule where I have the freedom to come and go as I please.

Then Lizzie asked her readers, like me:

What does success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve “made it”? Is there a financial amount attached to it, or is it more about time and inner achievements for you?

**

I emailed Lizzie, thanking her for bringing up this topic. She challenged me to define success. I responded that I wanted to explore my thoughts in writing. While I don’t yet have a complete description of success, I have made progress in the definition.

Success ≠ my bank account. While I need money to give and live, my bank account does not define success.

Success = achievements? Others consider someone successful if that person is an Oscar-winning star, or has won awards. That would mean that only if I achieve something you recognize, then I’ll be successful. That means you’re judging me on what you see me do. What about the inner conflicts and challenges I overcome? Someone on the outside doesn’t see those, and those achievements may be even more powerful than what I show on the outside.

Success defined by outside visible actions doesn’t define what success means to me.

To paraphrase Lizzie, getting great feedback from a client or landing the job are achievements from the outside. I may look successful. But the process—inside work—is what really led to the success. I built on the talents I was given and worked on the confidence to become the person who could achieve the goal.

Overcoming the inner challenges is the success; the job/client/kudos are manifestations of the inner achievement.

As Lizzie said “But when I reached that and exceeded it, I just felt the same as I’d always done.” In part, I agree. I did the work, performed well, and achieved a payment. Yet I don’t feel the same inside. I probably faced some inner conflict while working on the job/client and I overcame those challenges. Now I feel grateful for the internal accomplishment, for the Divine assistance I received that led to the external payment.

The internal accomplishment is my success.

On the Creative Freelancers Unite (Facebook community) we talk about wins. I learn to define an action as a win even if it’s small and I don’t attain the ultimate goal.

A publication may reject my submission. Does that mean I wasn’t successful? No! The action of submitting is a win. I overcame the fear of submitting an article, I overcame an internal obstacle and was successful in that battle!

Inside-Out. Perhaps success starts from the inside and moves out. I need to feel positive inside for me to be successful from the outside. My internal accomplishments are my successful wins!

**

What’s your definition for success?

**

Ralph Waldo Emerson had some thoughts many years ago:

On True Success

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of a false friendship;

to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others,

to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child

or garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

to know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

–I truly hope I leave the world a bit better because I have lived!

 

I wanted to dedicate time in my schedule for personal writing—activities that build my writing skills—and simply to enjoy the process of writing.

OK, I had the goal. Now how do I build the time into the schedule? What does this activity look like?

Enter my writing coach, Shifrah Devorah Witt. Shifrah Devorah suggested finding a time, place, space, and a ritual.

Whoa…that sounded a bit overwhelming. I think I’ll quit now!

Not so fast. We broke the process down into manageable parts.

Time

  • look at my high-energy time of day: morning
  • find a time that I won’t be distracted: late morning, by then I’ve completed early morning tasks, checked and responded to emails, and followed up on some network and business activities
  • define the amount of time that I can consistently devote: half hour, with the option of going over if I’m on a roll!
  • add the time slot to my schedule

Place

  • a physical location for the writing practice
  • consistent spot that says, Write Here
  • the position: sitting on an office chair, comfy couch, bean bag, or rocking chair

Space

  • Shifrah Devorah views space differently from place: space is in the mind
  • activities that I turn off so I can focus on writing
  • turn off the phone ringer, access to emails, don’t answer the door

Ritual

  • engage my senses
  • something physical that says, It’s time to write!
  • options range from prayer/meditation to smelling a specific scent, or perhaps a steaming mug of my favorite coffee or hot chocolate concoction

Wow! I get to have hot chocolate once a day while I write? I’m in!

And so I began…

  • at 11AM
  • using my laptop on my drop-down dark wooden desk
  • with my phone on silent and email program closed
  • a short prayer to write clearly
  • and my hot chocolate

desk for writing practice

♦Interested in a writing coach? Contact Shifrah Devorah via her blog: http://sdwitt.blogspot.com/.

I’m not a prophetess; nothing clairvoyant in what I have to share. I am transitioning from foggy vision to seeing clear, crisp lines and colors. During the past month I underwent cataract surgery, truly an eye-opening experience (pun intended)!

I went into the surgery thinking that right after the out-patient operation, I’d see clearly immediately. I didn’t really understand that there was a process to attaining the vision clarity!

I didn’t really understand before the surgery what it would be like to not get the eye wet for four or five days. Taking a shower involved wearing tight-fitting goggles. goggles

At night, I covered my eye with an unattractive patch that the surgery center graciously provided. They also provided the opaque tape and instructions. patch

Going outside—sun or haze—includes wearing oversized sunglasses. eyeglassesAdmittedly, they’re kind of cool, although rather bulky. And when the sun shines brightly into my home, I close the window shades and wear these eye shades!

I couldn’t understand why my eyes were blurry for several days. Reading a book or online content, or even writing, was painful. Those activities stressed the eye muscles. Late yesterday afternoon, my eyes sent a loud message to me:

“Lady, close us on your own or we will shut down until further notice!”

I listened; I didn’t need a second warning. I shut all the lights except for one nightlight so that I could see my dinner. I turned off all digital devices. I felt my head relax because my eye muscles weren’t strained.

“Thanks, Lady. We’re starting to feel much better!”

As I type these words, one eye is still blurry…it’s only been a week since that surgery. This vision transition is a process. I get to learn patience, and I learned that this character trait is one of my weakest! Sigh. But I seem to be catching on quickly.

Signing off now so I can go rest the eyes before they start screaming to the neighbors about “Eye Abuse”!

**

A note to my in locus support system—THANK YOU—for…the grocery deliveries, the goggle purchase, driving me to and from appointments, getting up before dawn to take me to surgery, and supporting me through this process!