If You Have Nothing Nice to Say…

By Joan Herrmann

If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. Ah… a mother’s wisdom. I’m sure most of us have been told this many, many times. But, how many of us actually follow this sage advice?

Words are a powerful force and the powerful effects of negative words cannot be underestimated. Words are remembered long after they are spoken. They have the power to destroy one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, making someone feel less than adequate and fearful. Words leave invisible bruises that can last a lifetime.

Most of us understand that negative words hurt, and yet, how many of us actually stop and think BEFORE making a negative or disparaging comment? Do we ever think about the impact our message has on the recipient or is it so important for our opinion to be heard that the consequences are insignificant to us?

And it is not only personal comments from others that can be damaging.  Being in the company of people who frequently complain or see the bad in everything can be just as emotionally detrimental.  Such people project a negative energy that soon infiltrates everything and everyone around them.

Case in point. My 18-year-old son recently completed a certification course at our local fire academy and is currently working toward becoming a fireman. This is his dream and he is taking the appropriate steps to that end. He is attending college to earn a degree. He has been a volunteer for two years. He strives to learn everything about his chosen profession. After he completed the certification test, I posted on my personal Facebook page about his status. Someone immediately commented that her son took the test a few years back and is number 5,000 waiting for a job. She went on to say that it is impossible to get a job and anyone who goes into the profession is crazy.

I’m not sure why she made that post. Perhaps she was trying to relay information. Maybe she is upset about the fact that her son has not been hired. Maybe she was having a bad day. I don’t know her motive, but I do know that a comment like that has the power to cast doubt in a young man’s mind, cause him to question his direction, and possibly even shatter his dream.  Once a thought like that gets planted in someone’s thoughts, it’s more difficult to stay on course. How often does this happen to you? How often are you the one making this type of comment or how often are you the recipient?

A new year is approaching and this is a time when many self reflect and try to enact positive change. I encourage you to become more cognizant of what you say. Stop and think BEFORE the words come out. You have the power to impact another positively or negatively. You have the power to be a mentor or cheerleader of a dream, or the destroyer. Remember that mother always knows best and if you have nothing nice to say, pray one of my favorite prayers: “Lord, put your arm on my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

I wish you all a blessed holiday season.

You Are What You Think

By Joan Herrmann

“You’re fat!” “You’re stupid!” “You don’t have the right education!” “You’ll never be able to get the promotion!” “No man will ever want you!” “You’re old!” “She doesn’t like you!” “You’re ugly!” “You can’t do anything right!”

Do any of these words sound familiar? While most people would never consider speaking to another with such negative, degrading words, we have no problem saying these things to ourselves. The rant of self-abusive language runs rampant for most on any given day.

It is estimated that the average person has approximately 60,000 thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative (and this is a conservative estimate). Imagine 48,000 negative thoughts running through your mind every day of every week, of every month, of every year – year after year! It’s no wonder we feel beaten up, insecure, fearful, and anxious. No one could survive that abuse unscathed.

You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” Well, just as important, “You are what you think.” Your thoughts influence your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and they have a profound impact on your physical and emotional health.

So, how can you eliminate negative self-talk, especially when you may not even be aware that it’s happening? The following exercise is designed to help you recognize your thoughts and learn to replace the negative with a more positive, self-affirming thought.

  1. Get a notebook or journal and create four columns on each page. Label the top of each column, “Thought”, “Location”, “Activity”, “New Thought”. For one to two weeks, write down your negative thoughts and where you were and what you were doing at the time. Every time a negative thought comes into your head, write it down. Note where you were at the time and what you were doing. Leave column four blank. If you can’t write down all of your negative thoughts, make a commitment to jot down at least five to 10 per day. Do not evaluate during this period.
  2. Reread your journal after the one to two weeks. Determine what underlying themes or messages are behind your negative thoughts. What were some of the triggers? What activities or people triggered negative thoughts?
  3. Evaluate the validity of the thoughts. Ask yourself if there is any truth to what you’re thinking. Are there things you can change? Which thoughts are garbage that must be deleted?  Now work on deleting them.
  4. Ask yourself how can you change the negative thought to a positive one. Instead of looking at situations in the worst light, try to find the positive aspects and focus on them. For instance, if you worry about the results of a test and start thinking of the negative consequences, such as failing a class, turn it around. Focus on the fact that whether you pass or not, you did your best and learned important information. Avoid thinking about the worst-case scenarios. They usually never happen. Write down the “new thought” in the fourth column.
  5. Monitor your thoughts. When you are thinking negatively, stop yourself as soon as you realize it and replace the negative thought with your “new thought”. Even though negative thoughts will always come up, the perseverance you develop will keep you going and after time the old thoughts will be replaced with the new ones.

To learn more about this topic and exercise, listen to Joan’s discussion with Michelle at: http://michellephillipsblog.com/2013/09/12/joan-herman-change-your-attitude-change-your-life/

Follow Your Intuition…It Knows the Way

By Joan Herrmann

1383332_93148085Throughout the last four years, my professional life has taken many twists and turns. There are times that I operate by the seat of my pants learning as I go along, praying for the best possible outcome, following my intuition and my heart.

Recently I began to work with a person that was assigned to my company’s account. From the moment I met him, my entire body screamed, “be careful!” There was something about him that told me not to be too trusting. All the warning signs were there – my intuition was on the job.

Now I’m the type of person who wants to trust everyone and I usually give people the benefit of the doubt many, many, many times. I want to believe that others have the same agenda and motives so I push my inner guidance aside.

This person dangled golden opportunities in front of me; he offered me more than I could have imagined – everything I wanted. It would be easy for me to get caught up in his promises. But there was always that nagging feeling inside of me.  Something didn’t add up. There was never a straight answer to my questions, always a tap dance.

After our first meeting, I couldn’t sleep for a few nights. Even though I was excited about what was to come, I felt sick every time I recounted the possible opportunities to my friends. My body tightened and sometimes I actually shook. My nerves were on end.

But because he was answering my prayers (or so I thought at the time), I pushed the warning signs aside and worked with him. I took what he said and turned it into what I wanted to hear, what I wanted him to say.  But there was always that nagging feeling inside of me.

As time passed, he began to request more and more from my company in return for the promised opportunities, which by the way, never materialized. I finally decided to listen to my inner guidance, which was SCREAMING by this time, and I called him out. Once I stopped taking what he said at face value and held my ground, all the promises immediately disappeared. He showed his true colors.

It took months of anxious moments and many sleepless nights before I found the courage to follow, what I knew from the beginning, to be the right direction. I knew all along what was right for me; I just chose not to listen. Thankfully I found the courage.

Does this story sound familiar? How many times do you make something fit the way you want it to while all the time knowing it’s wrong for you?

We all want to believe in others and try to please others, but at what cost? How long can you stay in a dying relationship or in a job that’s making you sick? How many times can you keep saying “yes” while inside you’re screaming “no”?

We all have inner guidance to point us in the right direction. The problem is, more often than not, we don’t listen. It’s not always easy to stand up for what we want – sometimes it seems impossible – but it’s always worth it. The moment I stood up for myself I began to sleep better and feel more relaxed – I could breathe. While I may not have gotten what I wanted at this time, I know something better will come.

Learn to trust yourself. Follow your intuition – it knows the way. You are stronger than you think and wiser than you know.

Is it time for you to be a rookie?

By Joan Hermann
220px-Rookie02posterJuly marked the fourth anniversary of the creation of Change Your Attitude…Change Your Life. When I began the radio show and then the magazine, I never imagined that it would become what it is today, that I would be able to turn personal tragedy, transition, and transformation into something that has the potential to positively impact thousands of lives. When I began, there were naysayers who said I was crazy, that I would fail. For some reason, for the first time in my life, I didn’t listen. I pushed their words aside and have held my ground. The result? I am making my wildest dreams come true and evolving into someone that I never thought I could be.

It hasn’t always been easy. I have had many obstacles to overcome, financial problems to solve, betrayals to survive, and endless business lessons to learn. But in the end, I emerge stronger and more self-confident and I face each day with renewed passion and joy. I receive countless rewards. I always say that a blessed person is someone that can find life work that serves others, adds something positive to the world, and gives your life meaning. I am truly blessed!

I celebrated the fourth anniversary show by interviewing Jim “The Rookie” Morris. You may know Jim’s story from the movie The Rookie, which starred Dennis Quaid (if you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend that you do – it’s a wonderful story!). Jim was a want-to-be professional baseball player turned high school teacher that coached the boy’s baseball team. One season, in an attempt to motivate the team, he made a bet with his players: if you win the district championship I’ll try out for a major league baseball team. The players won the title and Jim held up his end of the bargain, going to a tryout and throwing 12 consecutive 98 mile per hour pitches. Three months later, 35-year-old Jim Morris was striking out big league hitters in front of his high school players and family. The Rookie was born.

Jim could have reneged on his agreement; there were a million logical reasons why he shouldn’t have attended the tryout starting with the fact that he was 35 years old! But he took a chance, risked looking foolish (in his mind), and reaped tremendous rewards. That day, that tryout, changed the course of Jim’s life.

There were a million logical reasons why I should have given up creating a radio show starting with the fact that I had no experience doing this type of work and I was 46 years old! But I took a chance, risked looking foolish (in my mind), and have reaped tremendous rewards. The past four years have changed my life. I too am a rookie.

What about you? What do you want to do but fear looking foolish (in your mind)? What action can you take that will bring you closer to reaping tremendous rewards? Isn’t it time you took action and became a rookie too?

Like a fine wine we get better with age.

photo_1839_20060807On June 6th I turned 50 years old. 50 YEARS OLD! Like most other 50 years olds, I’m not sure how this happened – it feels like a blink of an eye. One day I’m a college girl, the next a young mother, and now one half a century old. How can I be 50? Most days I feel, think and act like a 24 year old, so I know it’s only a number, but when that AARP membership card arrives …

When I was growing up, I thought 50-year-old women were old; they were on the downside of life. Or were they???

I know I’m not the first half centurion to say age is only a number. We have to say that, right? Growing older can be a challenge. We must work hard at looking good, keeping our mind sharp, and maintaining our weight and health. Nothing comes naturally any more. But, to be honest, I truly feel the best I have felt in many years. I am stronger, more confident, much wiser, and doing work that I never dreamt possible. And, this transformation began at age 46! An age that most feel the best is behind them.

I think the reason I feel so great is because I never bought into ageism. Sure I joke about getting older, but I don’t really buy it! People always say 50 is the new 30, but if you look around it’s true. Middle age people are accomplishing more than ever before and doing it at later ages. Growing older does not mean it’s time to retire, I truly believe that it’s time to refire! Have you seen Roger Daltry, Mick Jagger, or Paul McCartney lately? At their age, they aren’t the grandpas I knew when growing up!

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Diane Gilman (you may know her from Home Shopping Network). When she was younger, Diane was a fashion industry “it girl”, but in later years she found herself at age 50, widowed, overweight, unemployed, and depressed. She created her DG2 brand, which was met with a negative response from fashion industry experts. She did not let that deter her and went on to create a brand that has sold more than 7 million pairs of jeans and leggings. Now, at age 66, her life is rewarding in every aspect possible.

My advice to you, don’t let age be a factor in your life. Don’t buy into ageism. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too old to embark on a new journey. Follow the example of so many people that have achieved greatness during the 2nd half of their life.

So … happy birthday to me (and to you)! To turning 50 years old I say, bring it on baby!