Robin's CHIRP!

Robin’s CHIRP! YAY SPRING!!

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’
~ Robin Williams

I’m so happy to have spring just around the corner! Especially with the warm days teasing us every so often with the 70 degrees and sunshine, the daffodils turning their yellow faces up to the sky, and the Robins and Bluejays swishing up to gobble the food from the deck!

The yard is a muddy mess, and with all of the dogs we have, it isn’t easy to keep the mud at bay, but who wants to trade a happy face, tail wags, and all the love of a pup for a clean floor?!?!

Sadly, there have been several deaths in the past two weeks…and so much heartache for friends and families.

Life, death, winter, summer, time goes on…

Ecl. 3:1

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

We know that grief is personal and does not have a right or wrong. But we do know that peace and love, and joy and laughter will come again. Just like spring.

I’ll keep ‘chirping’!

Robin’s CHIRP!
Choosing Humor and Inspiring Real Positivity whenever possible 😉

Happy New Year 2013!

Birds never apologize for who you are

I am very grateful to Kathie Stamps, Writer and Editing Consultant, and Owner of Stamps Communications for prompting me to contemplate my New Year’s resolutions sooner than later this year! Not only that…she got me to reflect on 2012’s accomplishments and put 2013’s goals in writing and published for all of my community to read–WOW! Now I really feel some accountability and will probably begin to guiltily and creatively drum up excuses for all of my broken resolutions…

Here is Kathie’s well written article for Business Lexington focusing on four business owners in it’s entirety.

** Below her article will be my answers to her questions as first written so you can see that I always had an ‘out’ for my pledges to begin with…after all…I tell my clients, “Begin with the end result in mind!”

2013 To-Do List

Posted on January 3, 2013
By Kathie Stamps

Here’s to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two-headed sculpture looks to the past and future — or left and right, depending on your perspective. Since 45 B.C., calendars have started with January, marking the beginning of future goals and reviewing past ambitions. Four central Kentucky business owners share their business goals for 2013.

Barry Sanders, founder and CEO of Trail Blazers Auto & Truck Accessories:

Trail Blazers, the retail store on New Circle Road, started in 1977. We had stores in West Virginia, and in Louisville and Pikeville, but we sold the last retail store in 2006 to concentrate on our local store and our direct marketing online business, through two dozen websites. As a national direct marketer and Internet retailer, we have goals every day. We set standard levels of growth on a monthly basis.

We have lofty goals for 2013, one of which is launching a brand new Web platform that has taken two years of development, truckextras.com. It’s similar to our truckaddons.com site, with a more modernized user experience and a much better back-end solution for us, for developmental purposes. Our resolution is to complete this site and have it finished with over 100 manufacturers by February.

Also in 2013, some of our goals are to look more at our margin and not so much on our volume growth. Depending on the time of year, we have 49 to 55 employees. If the economy holds up we will probably be hiring close to 10 new Web developers, data staff and salespeople.

Robin Fleischer, owner of Robin S. Fleischer Counseling, LLC:

I am a professional career counselor and marriage educator. I like to set goals on an annual, monthly, weekly, daily — and yes — even hourly basis. I am a goal-setter. With my motivation activated, I have the following goals in mind for 2013. I don’t think that business and personal life operate in isolation.

My physical goal: I plan to actively use my membership at the Beaumont YMCA.

Spiritual goal: I will execute my Sunday morning church attendance plan.

Financial goal: Supposing I don’t find a long-lost family relationship to the two winning ticket holders of the Powerball jackpot, then I vow to establish a realistic budget and live within in it. If not within it, then only “reasonably” outside of the financial plan.

My personal goal for 2013 is to celebrate my strengths, cease apologizing for my weaknesses and continue to enjoy my personal and career life as I have crafted it.

Professional goal: Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? I do, because 18 months ago I was able to shape my job and work to play to my strengths, towards the things I do really well. This design of a job is called “job crafting,” and it allows me to increase the control I have over my own professional life, giving me greater enthusiasm, energy and enjoyment from what I do at work every day — not all day long, but every day.

And my professional goal is to keep these changes in practice, boosting positive results (more clients) in my business. I don’t want to get so invested in my client’s well-being and growth that I ignore my own. I can’t give what I don’t have.

My goals for 2012 included defining and refining my work and business goals. First, as the dogs (my long-haired Chihuahua assistants) did not increase my ability to do my work from home with clients, I relocated to meeting with my face-to-face clients at the SmartOffice Solutions on Main Street. A second goal that I was able to set and achieve for 2012 was multiplying my avenues of income. I accept individual clients for career counseling and marriage education, and I work with various organizations. Now, I additionally partner with two companies that offer employee-assistance programs with career counseling as a benefit to their employees and dependents. Furthermore, with my distance credentialed counselor certification, I became employed as a University of Phoenix career coach, offering career services to students and alumni in their preparation for education to work.

Teresa Gaunt Tayloe, president and owner of Kreative Solutions:

Kreative Solutions is a marketing and promotional products company. Every quarter, I re-evaluate my business plan and set new priorities to better serve my clients. My goals for 2013 will be to continue assisting my clients in growing their businesses and promoting their image by providing quality service and products. I pride myself on building lasting relationships, both professional and personal. Increasing my professional network was a priority in 2012, and I feel very fortunate that I was successful in accomplishing this objective.

Jane Fisher, professional organizer at Jane Fisher, LLC:

I set goals annually, and I revisit them weekly, if not daily. Goals for 2013 will include that I will complete the requirements to become a CPO (certified professional organizer), sitting for the test by June, and that I will complete the course of study to become certified as an organizer coach, sitting for that exam at the start of 2014. I will continue to maintain 20 billable hours per week. Other goals, once finalized, will include creating and increasing a presence on the Web, with specific actions and timing.

As a solopreneur, my professional and personal goals are very closely tied. I understand that targeted self-care (amount of sleep, eating healthy, exercising) will impact my productivity, endurance and clear thinking at work. My personal goals will take into account my needs in these areas.

My goals for 2012 included working 20 billable hours per week, which I accomplished by taking a six-month contract with one large client. This was advantageous, as working with one client allowed me the time I needed for study for the certifications that I will attain. This 20 billable hours goal will remain in place in 2013, but it will be much more interesting to work with a variety of clients in different settings. My other 2012 goals were related to start up and training, and these were met with determination and persistence.

Goal-setting tips from organizer Jane Fisher

• Be very clear about your goals. Quantify them and set them up on a timeline.

• Go ahead and dream big. Start with a lifetime goal that would make you proud as you look back on your life. Then write down what you need to do to make that happen. Take the one task from the list that would make the most impact, and write down everything you need to do to complete that one task. Repeat until your tasks can be accomplished in a manageable time frame.

• Start doing each task, one at a time. Because you’re choosing the task that will make the most impact, not necessarily the one that will be completed in the least time, you may find the initial tasks will require a long time to complete. By going for the most impact first, you’ll find your task completion will start to snowball as you come nearer to the primary goal.

• Three primary goals should be your target, one in each of the three areas that will foster a healthy balance: personal, family and professional.

• Don’t worry. Don’t give up. Keep working. Do at least one thing each day that gets you closer to your goal. Start now!

Kathie Stamps posts grammar tips at http://www.facebook.com/GrammarTips and has a 2013 goal of blogging about writing and business at http://www.stamps communications.com.

Copyright 2012 Smiley Pete Publishing. All rights reserved

[Robin Salyer Fleischer–unedited version of 2013 Resolutions]

Kathie asked:
— do you set goals on an annual basis (do you call them resolutions, goals, other?)
I like to set goals on an annual, monthly, weekly, daily, and yes-even hourly basis! Not just for myself but for everyone else. When I left Lexington for a business conference in sunny Florida in December I cheerfully told my husband that my goal list was made for him too, however, he can certainly use all 4 days to take care of the list while I was away. My sweet husband matter-of-factly responded, “Well that is one more list of things that isn’t going to get done”.

Yes- I am a goal-setter! According to Gallup’s Strength Quests I am an Activator (picture superhero pose here with my cape flowing in the wind!) and I like to put thoughts into action! However, Focus is not one of the strength sashes I wear, so follow through and action on my goals is elastic at best.

We all may have heard that it is motivation that keeps us from following through with our goals…For example author Dave Barry’s research indicates this fact. Barry writes, “In a team of psychologists, they conducted a study in which they monitored the New Year’s resolutions of 275 people. After one week, the psychologists found that 92 percent of the people were keeping their resolutions; after two weeks, we have no idea what happened, because the psychologists had quit monitoring. “We just lost our motivation,” they reported. “Also, we found ourselves eating Twinkies by the case.” What I find fantastic is that we don’t have to worry about Hostess products sabotaging our inspiration and enthusiasm in 2013! YAY—I already feel more motivated!
Kathie asked:
— what types of goals are you setting for 2013 for business (as generic or specific as you’d like to be)

With my motivation activated, I have the following goals in mind for 2013 (I don’t think that business and personal life operates in isolation):

1)Physical Goal- my two, tiny, long-haired Chihuahuas have gained a pound and half each this year; while that is typically about the size of a cantaloupe and is less worrisome for say, my height and weight, it qualifies my ‘boys’ as contestants on the Canine Biggest Losers. We three vow to put down the Milkbones and Caramel Crèmes and pick up the leashes at least 5 times a week. I plan to actively use my membership at the Beaumont YMCA too!

2)Spiritual Goal- Another ‘strong point’ of mine identified by Strengths Quest is WOO, describing that I relish social activities and can potentially meet a new best friend daily! After 34 years with my church, I have been able to identify my new church home by attending 5 events at the church; at one event, the executive minister dryly remarked to me, “Hey, we are open on Sundays too.” I accept that challenge and will execute my Sunday morning church attendance plan and join a Life Group! Remember…I have follow-through issues…

3)Financial Goal- Supposing I don’t find a long-lost family relationship to the two winning ticket holders of the largest Powerball jackpot from November 2012 in Arizona, the other in Missouri, then I vow to establish a realistic budget and live within in it. If not within it, then only reasonably outside of the financial plan. I say to my husband and financial advisor, “Define reasonably.”

4)Personal Goal- As a trained counselor, who has just reviewed my own strengths through the Gallup organizations’ Strengths Quest assessment, I agree that folks who know their own strengths and behaviors are most effective. And in having this awareness, I know that people are best able to develop strategies to meet and exceed the demands of their daily lives, their careers, and their families. My personal goal for 2013 is to celebrate my strengths, cease apologizing for my weaknesses, and continue to enjoy my personal and career life as I have crafted it! (I’m sorry, that sounds too Pollyanna, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be about me. What can I do for you?)

5)Professional Goal- Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? I do because 18 months ago I was able to shape my job and work to play to my strengths, towards the things I do really well! This design of a job is called ‘job crafting’ and it allows me to increase the control I have over my own professional life giving me greater enthusiasm, energy, and enjoyment from what I do at work. Every day. Not all day long. This isn’t Oprah! But every day. And my professional goal is to keep these changes in practice boosting positive results (more clients) in my business. My long-haired Chihuahua assistants are also planning to ‘play’ to their strengths.

Kathie asked:
— if you set personal goals, are they tied in with your business in any way?
Again, there is a link between self-awareness of our strengths and being engaged in our careers! The basic concept of strengths is to know what is right with each of us, and to gauge energy and conversation around the strengths. (We don’t want to ignore our weaknesses, but we focus on our strengths so we can suck less!) One of my top five strengths is WOO (again, picture champion pose and arms in air!) and this acronym stands for ‘winning others over’. What it means is that in taking action I should build networks with people, volunteer in organizations and on committees, and find the right words to explain to others why I’m so friendly thus people don’t just think I’m insincere or creepy. (I am sincerely not creepy.) I also have to be careful not to overcommit with my desire to be involved with rewarding, but unpaid, opportunities, so I practice saying, “Thank you for asking, but I couldn’t possibly.”
Knowing another of my top strength is Developer, where this strength naturally leads me to see the potential in others and the goal is my clients’ success!

As a ‘Developer’, I don’t want to get so invested in my client’s well-being and growth, that I ignore my own. I can’t give what I don’t have. I will be involved in my professional organization on a regional board level and attend several educational conferences. Certainly though, I am excited that tying my strengths to my work as a career counselor and marriage educator in my business lets me work in my ‘sweet spot’. (And I keep the bag of Caramel Crèmes in the right hand drawer of my sweet spot too!)

Kathie asked:— what types of goals did you set for 2012 and how did you meet them
My goals for 2012 included defining and refining my work and business goals. First, as the dogs did not increase my ability to do my work from home with clients, I relocated to meeting with my face-to-face clients at the SmartOffice Solutions on Main Street. Convenient, flexible, professional, and SMART! (Almost sounds like a great blind date doesn’t it?)

A second goal that I was able to set and achieve for 2012 was multiplying my avenues of income. I accept individual clients for career counseling and marriage education and I work with various organizations. Now, I additionally partner with two companies that offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) with career counseling as a benefit to their employees and dependents. Furthermore, with my Distance Credentialed Counselor certification, I became employed as a University of Phoenix Career Coach offering career services to students and alumni in their preparation for education to work.

My third goal for 2012 was to fully release my three young adult children upon the world! It’s done, and not without some bounce back, but this empty nest situation is amazeballs!

And so here’s my commitment for 2013 inspired by all people, Erma Bombeck:
When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say….”I used everything You gave me.”
~ Erma Bombeck

And if nothing else for 2013, if I don’t keep my resolutions, I hope I remember, and everyone else does too, that’s it’s okay not to be perfect!!!

Quotes from Buddha

Country photo

 

On execution: “An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

On mindset: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

On keeping your word: “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

On character: “Let them not do the slightest thing that the wise would later reprove.”

On responsibility: “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

On commitment: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

On excellence: “The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

On trust: “Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations.”

On supporting others: “In separateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength.”

On patience: “A jug fills drop by drop.”

The Cheery Song of ‘Robin’

The musical song of the American Robin is a familiar sound of spring. It’s a string of 10 or so clear whistles assembled from a few often-repeated syllables, and often described as cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up. The syllables rise and fall in pitch but are delivered at a steady rhythm, with a pause before the bird begins singing again. At dawn, the song is more rapid.

But did you know that American Robins often make a mumbled cuck or tuk to communicate with each other or a sharp yeep or peek as an alarm call. Yet, they also make a repeated chirr that rises in volume and can sound like a laugh or chuckle.
I love this last description because I often think that laughter is one of the best behaviors in life!

One of my favorite authors, Ann Lamott, writes, “Rest and laughter are the most spiritual and subversive acts of all. Laugh, rest, slow down.” While another favorite, Erma Bombeck, wisely advised, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” And both recommendations have served me well throughout the rollercoaster of life! Our immediate family of five; my handsome, mustached and quick-witted husband, along with our tall, dark-eyed, charming eldest son and his sharp wit and causticness, and the flash of clever absurdities and slapstick from our beautiful daughter, and the ensuing funniness of our youngest son with his twinkling mischievousness and good looks keeps me in stitches, smiles and tears laughing with them or at them!!! I can’t say how many times folks have told us our family should be a TV sitcom, while I wonder if we are actually on candid camera because I can’t possibly make this S^&* up and it’s so funny I have to tell somebody!

So for many years as a little girl, I didn’t like my name ‘Robin’ because kids can be so cruel and all of the ‘nicknames’ that were attached to my given name from my parents hurt my feelings. But as I’ve grown older, I think perhaps Robin is very suitable for me, because laughter, giggles and chuckles are common, and my name was given in love; after all what matters is what something is, not what it is called…and my life is full of laughter. I like going to comedy clubs, listening to comedians on Pandora radio, reading humorous books, sharing quirky ecards, and being around genuinely amusing individuals.

Ultimately, like Erma Bombeck also stated, ““There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

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