2nd decade, 3rd millennium

Today is the last day of 2010.  (No surprises there.)

The fact that 2010 is ending, got me thinking about how it began.

Remember all the hoopla when we heralded 2000 in? Celebrations worldwide were huge, the word “millennium” appeared everywhere – it was the beginning of the 21st century and of the 3rd millennium! (I love the sound of that “3rd millennium”; it’s futuristic and retro all at the same time. Oh, and remember Y2K? Talk about retro, that was something – or not.)

My little walk down memory lane inspired me to make a personal timeline of the past decade. (A very nerdy, life-coachy thing to do, but that’s just the kind-of gal I am.) I decided to focus on major events – turns out there were tons of them. 

Really, it floored me, so many events and activities from a time in my life, which I thought would be quite uneventful. You see, I am a part of that baby-boomer generation, who as teens in the 60’s and 70’s were bombarded daily with messages not to trust anyone over 30, and to believe that life was pretty much downhill after 40, and all but over after 50, so how was I to know that my 40’s and 50’s would be my best years yet? 

How? Why?

Realizing how warm and wonderful the last 10 years have been for me, led me to think about how and why the decade turned out so well. Surprisingly, it did not include the most exciting events of my life – that honor still goes to the birth of my sons and being their Mom, and yet the decade is a still a clear winner.

And, just as surprising, the past ten years harbored some of my most heartbreaking moments: relationships crumbled, mentors passed on and some major embarrassing moments evolved (thank you for not asking), and yet, the 2000’s remain tops with me.

Perhaps, you’re thinking, this decade looks good, because the preceding ones were horrible, but that’s not true either, the preceding decades were filled with family, friends, fun, jobs, and achievements.

So what was the difference?

I think the difference was, the past decade was more me, not about me, but more me.  Me – failing, flailing and flourishing as I went.  And, me fully admitting my dreams, big and small, and, then attempting to make them real.

  • I did more big scary things than ever before
  • and many more teeny tiny tedious things,
  • and more than ever before all of them were aimed directly at my dreams.  

But, the most important difference was – I believed. Really believed, at first just for a second, and then later for days, weeks, months, and years that the things I really wanted were okay to want and worth believing in. I believed in me. It was a scary and brave thing to do.

All of which brings me to this moment – the last day of the 1st decade of the 3rd millennium and a life filled with wonderful, warm, witty and wise family and friends – old and new, here and there.    

And, now, at the risk of sounding a bit too Tinker Bell-ish, I would like to wish you, my readers, clients, family and friends, a very Happy New Year and a decade full of wishes and dreams and the courage to believe in yourself enough to make them happen.


Happy New Year


Aww, what the heck, it is the beginning of the 2nd decade of the 3rd millennium, I say we Tinker Bell it all the way – all together now . . .

I do believe, I do believe, I do believe in me!”

My work here is done. 

Happy New Year,


Wishful Thinking Works


The other day I was in a McDonald’s bathroom (hope this isn’t TMI – not sure what is worse: mentioning I was in a bathroom or admitting I have eaten at McDonald’s) anyway, because I was in the stall – yes, yes, I know TMI again, I missed seeing the women involved, but that really doesn’t matter, because it was their conversation that got to me.

One of the women had done something – I got the feeling she was a McDonald’s employee – and was apologizing profusely for it. I have no clue what she did, and it seemed likely from their interaction that they did not know each other. (No names were mentioned, and they left separately – these astute observations are no doubt a result of my listening to Sherlock Holmes old radio shows recently).

Here’s the thing – oh, and this was a few days before Christmas when everyone was rushing here and there trying to get all their last-minute-to-do’s done – the woman, who was at the receiving end of the apology said:

Don’t worry, honestly, there are some things we are responsible for and some things we are not, it is no problem.” 

Or something like that (I wasn’t exactly in a position to jot her words down – more TMI, I know, I know), but the point is, she responded with calmness and kindness when it was pretty clear from the other woman’s elaborate apology that she could have gotten uppity, acted snippy, or responded angrily, but she didn’t.

I liked that. It was nice. It gave me a warm and cozy feeling – yes, I am now admitting to having a warm and cozy feeling in a bathroom stall.  But I did.

Their brief conversation inspired me to be extra nice to people – you know the pay-it-forward (PIF) kind of little things:  I took a woman’s grocery cart back after I had already taken mine back, made sure I really looked into people’s eyes when I was talking to them in stores, and paid someone’s toll. (Yes, these are really little things. Yes, I should do them all the time. And, yes, I am embarrassed to admit I don’t always remember to do that.)

Being more aware of how I interacted with folks, instead of the upcoming holiday and what was next on my to-do-list, made me feel better and the people I interacted with responded with extra kindness.

So I hope before this year ends and throughout the new year, the reaction of a kind anonymous woman in a McDonald’s restroom inspires you to pay it forward (PIF) – in a big or little way, to someone you know or someone you don’t. It really doesn’t matter, because the bottom line is  – the nicer we are, the nicer the world becomes.

PS When writing this post I discovered there is a PIF Foundation started by the author of the novel that led to the movie.  I like this quote from the site:

“It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just seem that way, depending who you do it for.”

Have a great day!

Today is her birthday

I am adapting a previous post for today, and posting today instead of tomorrow, because today is my Mom’s birthday; I am thinking about her and didn’t want to wait until Monday! (Did you follow all that?)

For years, many of my siblings and I, along with our spouses and children, gathered at my Mom and Dad’s to celebrate Christmas on December 26, her birthday. I always thought it was kind and patient of her to host us on her birthday, because that meant we didn’t have to drag our little ones from house to house on the other days, and combining the celebrations stretched out the holiday fun. 

My Mom in the 40’s.  She was born in 1922, and unfortunately passed away much too young at 71.


My Mom hung as many as possible of our 2-parent, 9-child household items on the clothesline.  My Dad devised a pulley system for the clothesline from our back porch to one of many tall trees nearby, because our suburban landing was at least 10 concrete steps up. 

I thought that was very cool, and believed that somehow his system alleviated all the effort associated with the task, until my Mother required me to be a part of the process, and I experienced first-hand that lifting and hanging a never-ending supply of wet double bed sheets and terry cloth towels was hard work.  And, for many years to come that is the only way I perceived the task – as hard work.  

My  Mom shared a different perspective on the process. While I cannot say she loved hanging our sheets outdoors, I can tell you she adored and never tired of instructing and asking us to “Smell them, doesn’t that just smell wonderful?”  I would roll my pre-teen eyes, without realizing that there was a very valuable life lesson for me in her actions – my overworked, often-on-the-verge, not-a-moment-to-spare, Mom was taking time to stop and smell the sheets!    

There she was amidst all the chaos and clutter of her completely overloaded and overwhelming life, taking time to savor the moment, and then taking extra time to share her experience with us.   

In retrospect, my Mom did that in other ways, as well – lifting a tablespoon from a simmering pot of her homemade soup or spaghetti sauce to say “Taste this, isn’t it delicious?”  We would drag our whiny, sorry little selves from our chairs or stop for a quick taste as we whizzed through the kitchen on some important kid business. Our responses were often half-hearted, some of us – okay me – begrudging the fact that the soup or sauce being offered was homemade when the majority of my friends were being treated to cans and jars of much more modern fare.    

I now smile each time I replay those scenes in my mind, she was offering me her gold and I was turning-up my nose at her treasures, but that’s what kids do.  

Thankfully, her lessons did seep into my life.  I learned to enjoy the feel and the scent of air-dried clothes, to create, enjoy and savor my own culinary creations and many, many of the other wonderful moments life has to offer. 

Thank you, Mom.  I like that.

Hope you take time today and throughout the week to stop and smell the sheets, the roses, the Christmas tree, a candle or the wood burning, or the scent of snow in the air, and to notice and acknowledge when someone is trying to share their life or their special gifts with you.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Time and Words – It’s a wrap.

My book of choice each holiday season.

I try to round out my reading by adding a few new stories each year, and have used Project Gutenberg, a wonderful free online source of books and stories, to find some of them. (I listed a classic tale from the Project for you below. It is one you may have heard of, but never read.)

Another great place to find, and to listen to, holiday tales is NPR’s Tinsel Tales, which features humorous and touching stories including one of my favorites, “Santaland Diaries” by David Sedaris. David’s trauma-filled memories and moments never fail to make me laugh, and to make my upbringing and family sound perfectly normal. I like that.

Santaland Diaries

For a completely retro holiday season, you can tune into old-time radio shows – 12,000 of them! I completely missed this era (my way of making sure you know I am not that old), but have had lots of fun listening to these “A Christmas Story”era shows. Even though they are 50+ years-old, their situations are as current as today’s sitcoms – check-out this 1948 holiday gift episode of Ozzie and Harriet. (The commercials are almost as fun and dramatic as the stories – and there are almost as many as today!)

Ozzie, Harriet, David & Ricky Nelson

I hope you can find a few minutes to slip away this holiday season and read or listen to a tale or two, and then return to the world a happier, more relaxed you. Or, perhaps, you and the ones you love can spend time with the lights low, the TV off, your laptops closed and your phones on mute, reading or listening together.

I truly believe the best gift we can give this holiday season is time, time with the people we love, and if you wrap it with words letting them know how much they mean to you –  life, not just the holiday season, will be merry and bright.

Happy Holidays.


PS.  Here’s the story I mentioned, and I would love to hear about your favorite holiday titles and traditions. I won’t be back until after Christmas – may you and yours have a peaceful Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas.


The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of “Dillingham” looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the Queen of Sheba[13-1] lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still where a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie, Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practiced hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain, simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation—as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value—the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the eighty-seven cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror, long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do—Oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”

At seven o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please, God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two—and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn’t live through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again—you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas,’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice—what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet, even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with a sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year—what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there is anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs—the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims—just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, Oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hand under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are the wisest. They are the magi.

Good Morning!

As promised, I have combined and condensed (slightly) my OTAT, One-Thing-At-a-Time series of post, so you can easily access the information to make 2011 one of your best years EVER!

Check out “Success in 2011 = OTAT, Work on One-Thing-At-a-Time”  under the Resources tab above.

The OTAT option, is ready for you – one-size-fits-all – whenever you are ready to work on your one and only one New Year’s resolution. 

In the meantime, have a great day and a wonderful holiday-filled weekend.

PS. The page is perfect for sharing via email or on FB, etc., and yes, I am shamelessly self-promoting and I know it! Happy Holidays!

My Perfect Party Planner

Have you ever dreaded going to a family, office or neighborhood holiday gathering?

Have you ever worried your own event might not turn out “right.”

Well, my “Perfect Party Planner” may help you deal with your holiday happening woes.

“Patrice’s Perfect Party Planner”

Tip #1: If you are dreading a gathering, don’t go. Okay, okay, just kidding – although sometimes not attending is a valid option – try this instead: 

  1. PREDICT BETTER: Parties and life, get better when we predict better. Take a minute or two and picture the party working out great.  Picture yourself leaving the soiree thinking, “Wow, that wasn’t so bad. In fact, I had a great time.” or “OMG, that was wonderful.” Envision whatever works best for you; the more details you throw in the better. If you are hosting an event, and nervous about how it will go, picture everyone complimenting your food, decorations, (or whatever you want them to compliment) and telling you what a great time they are having. The point: is thinking about a positive outcome – even for a few minutes, will make you much happier than worrying about a negative outcome for weeks, days or hours in advance, predict success! 
  2. CREATE PLAN B, C, D: Come-up with what you will do if you do find yourself getting frustrated or bored.  “When I start feeling _________ (frustrated, angry, annoyed, impatient, bored, etc.) , I will ___________(check on the kids; compliment someone; help with the food or dishes; walk outside; ask about someone’s vacation; dance; sneak a peek at presents, etc. )  Special note: try not to fill the second blank with “Eat and drink everything in sight”, because as you might imagine that could lead to other problems. The point here is to give yourself options in advance, it will help relax you and if you are creative with your blanks, may even give you a few laughs. 
  3. EYE CONTACT: When people are talking to you, stop thinking about what you are going to say in response or worse yet, looking around the room, and simply notice their eyes, take a second to really look into their eyes. (Please remember we are talking momentary eye contact here  – going much longer might be misinterpreted and scare your colleagues or give your neighbor Nancy’s husband ideas – keep it short, okay?) The point is, notice them not you.
  4. GO WITH A GOAL:  Make a game out of the event. I do this almost every time I attend a party where there will be lots of folks I don’t know or know well. Although I am an extrovert, I am a closet introvert at parties. I absolutely hate mingling at parties. I did PR and special events for years and I am completely comfortable in that realm; I can talk to anyone just about anywhere, but for some reason small talk at social gatherings is really difficult for me, like run-out-of-the-room-screaming-difficult. So I have learned to make a game out of it, and decide ahead of time at least three things to find out about folks attending. Last week, I focused on learning what at least three people love to do in the spare time and what they enjoy about their professions; I met 7 or 8 really nice people and exchanged emails with one. No big deal? For me it was huge, and allowed me to enjoy the party. The point? Divert attention from your worries and put others in the limelight.

Each of these ideas is cost and calorie-free, and can improve any event. Pick and choose what works for you to create a fantastic holiday experience, and reduce your stress level in the process. Some take more practice than others, but since holidays parties are here to stay, pace yourself and enjoy. 

The Twelve Days of Christmas

And, now for my party planning piece d’resistance, I have recreated the classic Christmas carol Twelve Days of Christmas! (Aren’t you excited???)

To create my version, I used some tips that I offered a while back – in a post I wrote titled, “I hear you”, (but whose plugging previous posts), which was about a presentation I heard by author and life coach Marianne Ford. Marianne reminded us that being right isn’t a right and sometimes conversations and life go better when instead of sharing our wisdom, i.e. rebutting the comments of others or offering advice, we simply respond with a friendly, “I hear you.”, or a non-committal but respectful “Ah- huh.”, “ Wow!”, “Okay.”, or “Really?” 

I need all the help I can get in this area, so I wove her words of wisdom and some of my tips into . . .

“Patrice’s Twelve Days of Christmas”or “Twelve Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings”

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Patience for the party.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Two sacks of courage.
And, patience for the party.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage.
And, patience for the party.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Five “Oh, that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Six “Tell me more’s”
Five “Oh, that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Seven “That sounds fun.”
Six “Tell me more’s.”
Five “Oh that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Eight I-can-do-this
Seven “That sounds fun”
Six “Tell me more’s”
Five “Oh that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Nine “Okay.”-“Wow!”-“Really’s?”
Eight I-can-do-this
Seven “That sounds fun”
Six “Tell me more’s”
Five “Oh that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And patience for the party.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Ten “That sounds hard.”
Nine “Okay.”-“Wow!”-“Really?’s”
Eight  I-can-do-this
Seven “That sounds fun”
Six “Tell me more’s”
Five “Oh that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Eleven “Oh my goshes”
Ten “That sounds hard.”
Nine “Okay.”-“Wow!”-“Really?’s”
Eight I-can-do-this
Seven “That sounds fun”
Six “Tell me more’s”
Five “Oh that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s”
Two sacks of courage
And patience for the party.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Twelve I got through it’s!
Eleven “Oh my gosh’s.”
Ten “That sounds hard.”
Nine “Okay”-“Wow!”-“Really?’s”
Eight I can do this.
Seven “That sounds fun.”
Six “Tell me more’s.”
Five “Oh, that’s great!’s”
Four smiling nods
Three “Ah-huh’s.”
Two sacks of courage
And, patience for the party. 

And, just in case you are wondering, the twelve days of Christmas are the evening of December 24/January 6 (Epiphany) or December 25 to January 7 – depending on the Calendar, Julian/Gregorian you are following.

Feel free to share this new holiday classic with your friends and family, not that I am shamelessly suggesting you email it to everyone you know, or share this post on Facebook or anything, but if you want to . . .

And, for those of you, who are now trying to remember the real lyrics to the “The Twelve Days of Christmas”,  here they are:

Twelve drummers, drumming,

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree!


Happy Holidays!




Take the OTAT Plunge in 2011

Quick review . . . last two weeks: 

Then I asked three questions, well, actually I asked two questions, the third item listed was a statement – my mistake. I corrected it below, and changed the first two questions!  Please answer the new ones below:

  1. What do you want to accomplish? (That’s your one thing.)
  2. Have you tried in the past to accomplish this goal? (Delaying or Denying)
  3. How long do you think it will take to accomplish your “one thing”?

1. What do you want to accomplish?

Okay, now that you have your one thing, state it as though it has already occurred.  Begin with:

“I am”  . . .  as in,  “I am so happy I am a non-smoker”; “I am excited I have a new job”; “I am so excited I registered for the GMAT”; “I am so pleased to be earning $______ annually”; “I am glad to be eating healthier” or “I am so happy I decided to ________”.  Create your intention in the present tense and make sure it is a positive statement vs I am glad I am no longer smoking, drinking, gambling, spending, shopping, etc. etc. The more descriptive you make your intention the better.

Please remember this process is about you. What you want – not your spouse, significant other, friends, boss, parent, etc. You, and only you, get to pick what area you want to focus on.

2. Create a gratitude related to your intention.

Now, find a way to be thankful for what you already have related to your intention.  If you want a new job, you could be thankful for the one you have, or if you do not have a job, for the one you had before, or the training or education you received in the past – dig deep if you have to, but write a gratitude, or two or three. Then savor them. Take a moment to think about them and the good they have brought into your life.

Believe it or not, this step can really flip that switch in your brain and light-up your future by helping you focus on what you have and what’s ahead.

3. Develop an action plan.

Okay, you knew this was coming . .  . make it measurable, specific and detailed.  (You can do it, no doubt in my mind.)

Remember this is about radical change in your life. Change involves action, and action is physical and interlaced, if not dependent, upon deadlines.  Create and keep them.

Make sure your action steps are relevant.  Ask yourself how they impact your intention.  If you can’t come up with a good answer, choose different action steps. 

Next, ask yourself,  if the steps are realistic and something you will stick to.  The key to success is being successful.  Huh?

What I mean is, if you really want change, select action steps that no matter how small will lead you in the right direction. Action itself is so key to the process that the value of small doable steps far outweighs long lists of  lofty, exciting, extremely difficult or unachievable steps. Yes, you want to stretch yourself, and yes, your steps should reflect that, but so many of us have an all or none mindset – we do nothing or create grandiose plans, and then throw in the towel the minute the going gets tough, which amounts to well, doing nothing. Doing nothing is not conducive to change. I don’t recommend it.

Keep asking yourself as you create your plan, “Is this step relevant and realistic?”  “Am I stretching myself enough and still leaving room for success?” And, then listen to your answers.  If you have tried working on this intention before and it hasn’t worked, why not?  (Question #2 above.) Figure out how to deal with that in your action steps. 

Put all these steps in writing and keep them in front of you everyday.  Find a way to weave them and the changes you are working on into your daily life. Send yourself messages, emails, letters, etc. as reminders. Find small ways to reward yourself along the way.  Tell others, who you trust, about your plan.  Cut out and post pictures.  Do whatever works for you. And, last and absolutely not least, do not let anyone, even those naysaying, nagging little voices we all carry around in our heads, talk you out of realizing your intention.

Okay, you are ready.  This is it!  2011. The year you get to say, ” I am ______________________”, and mean it – to savor and relish your success. 

So how long will this take?  Hmm, Question #3, the big one. I am suggesting a formula used by life coach, author and radio talk show host, David Essel. David developed and has successfully used the “One Thing” theory with his clients for years along with a timeline he swears by, which I am going to share with you. (I have used it myself, so that is a double-vouch for it.)

The “20/5/90” Formula

If you have selected a realistic intention that you truly care about and will radically impact your life; created a related atmosphere of gratitude; developed relevant, realistic, time-specific action steps, which you work on at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 90 days – you will experience success.   

That means by April 1, of 2011, you will be reaping the rewards of starting an OTAT trend by setting and implementing one and only one New Year’s Resolution. Take the OTAT plunge. You can do it!  

New Year’s Day will be here before you know it, begin working on your plans today. Later this week, I will have an OTAT page under the Resources tab above, so all the details will be in one place.   

If you have questions or would like to use life coaching to help you make changes in your life, email me, Patrice Koerper at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com, and you will be on your way before the New Year.

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