Category Archives: Communication

Talking to Our Kids About Feelings

Feelings. Is it important to talk to our kids about how to deal with their feelings? Many see it as an innate skill. It’s not something most parents think about. We are too busy making sure they brush their teeth properly and get to bed at a decent hour and get their homework done every night.

Why is it so important to discuss dealing with feelings with our kids?
The truth is we don’t even think about how we deal with our own feelings. We just do it and assume our kids will know how to do it naturally. But that isn’t always the case. This may be why we see so many of the future generations acting out their feelings by bullying and drama… because they don’t know how else to deal with them.

The Simple Truth:
#1: All of us are always having feelings.
#2: If we don’t deal with our feelings, we are doomed to repeatedly feel them until we consciously resolve them.

Good Feelings

Good feelings are easy to “resolve” so-to-speak because we naturally and fully want to accept them and experience them to our brain’s satisfactory completion.

During “good” experiences, our minds naturally say: “Yes, it happened. Yes, I am happy it. So I accept it and can move on.”

Bad Feelings

It’s the “bad” feelings we suppress and when we do this, our minds deny our brain the necessary resolution of the experience.

During a “bad” experience, our minds often try to process the information differently. “I don’t want to feel (insert feeling: scared, sad, bad) so I am going to pretend this isn’t/didn’t/or can never happen.” Avoidance of the feelings verses allowance and acceptance of the feelings your brain is trying to associate with the bad experience resolves nothing.

Suppressed feelings keep coming back to haunt you until you allow yourself to feel them.
Do you ever notice how a bad memory (perhaps of something that 1embarrassed you or 2scared you or even 3made you feel very angry because an injustice was done to someone you care very much about) can sometimes pop up in your mind at an odd or inconvenient time?
Emotion
You simply cringe and tell yourself: “Don’t think about it.” or even catch yourself saying something out loud like “I can’t believe you said that!” or “No!” – Chances are if you do this, someone is going to come into the room and say “Who are you talking to?” ;) It happens to everyone.

These are memories that have unresolved feelings associated with them that have not been dealt with. They have been suppressed because for some reason or another many of us have taught ourselves that it is better to “brush it off” and pretend it never happened.

But it did happen and when those memories come back to us, it is like our subconscious mind is bringing it back to our attention to remind us we need to deal with the feelings that happened during that experience.

In the book: “Organizing for Life” and it is very interesting that the author states that depression is your mind or body’s attempt not to feel. This is why suppressing your feelings is very bad for you, you can end up training your brain to stop feeling the way it needs to.

What We’ve Been Teaching Our Kids Might Not Be Working!

I have a 12 year old and I didn’t realize that many many kids (and even at very young ages) are taught by society (including us parents) and self to keep many of their feelings in check and conceal them as best as possible. People who do this well are even revered and thought of a “cool” and strong in our society. So we do know that to thrive in our world, we do need to do this sort of stifling and controlling emotions in the moment of the experience up to a point.

We say things like: “brush it off” and “shake it off” and even “let it go” has come to mean the same thing. It has become another way of saying “Don’t think about it. / Don’t deal with it.”

How to Teach Someone How to Deal with Emotions / Feelings

This is more difficult than you might think. First, we must know and deal with our own feelings well.

We must somehow teach our children that yes, controlling your emotions and “keeping your dignity” is very important. Learning to press on in the face of adversity is sometimes very courageous and can take them very far. We must also teach them to learn to deal with their feelings in the right time too.

To Deal: Feel, then Heal

Allow yourself to feel the disappointment, embarrassment, fear, sadness, and even anger when the time is right and your mind will probably not let you forget to do so. The very next time you are doing your homework (or are in the middle of doing whatever it is you might be doing) and a not-so-great memory pops back up in your mind. You must take a moment and allow yourself to feel the feelings that were suppressed during the experience. It’s not like you need hours to let yourself fully feel an emotion. It only takes a minute or two for the most part.

What Self Talk Might Look Like When Dealing With Your Feelings

Ok, so you’ve decided or been mentally reminded that now is a good time to allow yourself to really feel the feeling. It can go something like this:

“Ok, yes, that happened.” Feel it. “Yes, that kinda sucked.” Or “Yeah, that kinda stunk.” (If you are a parent who doesn’t like that word. Make sure you feel it completely like your brain needs for you to.

And then you can “let it go” and get your mind back on task.

Keep your discussion with your kids short.
Remember that kids have short attention spans. When discussing major, important issues like this: do your very best not to ramble or digress!

This is not a cure all for dealing with tragedy and may not help everyone all the time. But from one parent to another, I wanted to go ahead and write this all out in case you might have been teaching your kids to “sweep it all under the rug”. Remember, there is only so much room under the rug. We have to deep clean sometimes.

I wouldn’t even have thought it to be an important topic until I talked to my daughter about how she deals with middle school stress and all that wonderfullness. :)

We need to remember (even for ourselves) that bad feelings aren’t ever really bad, they are a part of a well rounded life and if we never had bad feelings then we’d never have good feelings either. There would be no distinction. It’s like if we never had Winter, would Summer all the time really be that great? We would have no idea.

3 Must-Haves That Make Business Email & Blog Posts More Readable

Are you ready to broaden your audience and save yourself the tedium of repeating info you’ve previously sent in an email?

Here are the three format rules you must follow to improve the value of your writing:

    1. strategically place bold print
    2. section off larger messages/posts with headers
    3. put key points into bullet points and numbered lists

*See bottom of this post for link to learn more about bullet points.

Save the Client’s Time on Project Updates

I have a long-standing client who used to call me up and she would never fail to ask questions that I had answered in a recent email. At first I thought she was just forgetful because she has so much going on in her business. After working with her for a few months I knew that the “forgetful” theory was not true. She is an amazing business woman and she has an great memory. One day I asked her about it and she said to me:

“Amber, you have been making so many wonderful improvements for my business, but I don’t really understand half of what you are talking about in your project updates. I just skim them for highlights and then prepare to be amazed by your results.”

See how she did that? With a bit of criticism followed by a great compliment she gave me some vital e-business advice.

All informative writing must be skim-able.

Clearly Separate the “Good Stuff”

The good stuff is the part of your message that the reader needs to hear the most and see first while skimming it.

Let’s face it: EVERYONE SKIMS. We have to skim. Can you image trying to read every single document, email, posted message, or terms of usage agreement thrown at you? If you actually read every privacy agreement and terms of usage policy for every piece of software or electronic device you ever used then you wouldn’t have a chance to use it until it was obsolete!

Streamline your communication.

skim emailsMaking documents skim-able or scan-able is very easy with bullet points and section headers. (If we can learn to write volumes within a 140 character limit, we can learn anything in communication!)

Be careful not to overuse bold print. That might have been the toughest one for me to work on.

The number one reason for hiring a virtual assistant is to save the clients’ time. It doesn’t matter if it’s for tedious work or work that requires a special skill set we must make time saving a top priority.

So remember! Paragraphs are dead. Long live bullet points, strategically bolded print, and clear sectioned headers for all informative writing.

Side note for bullet points: Check out How to Write Powerful Bullet Points if you are not familiar with using them. Follow their advice, it’s all very good.

@BarackObama @MittRomney @GovGaryJohnson on Twitter

I wrote about the politicos and their successful (or not-so-successful) use of Facebook in: Smolitics: Politicians on Facebook. It’s time to take a look at some Twitter stats and see who is more popular on Twitter!

Smolitics: a person or idea’s popularity/performance/ or general acceptance on social media.

Twitter Smolitics for the Three Most Popular Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates of 2012
Note: There is a 16 day lapse between the first and second dates collected because I collected these stats at 4:30pm EST on both dates.
There is almost an 18 ½ day time lapse between the second and third day collected because I collect the data just before 7:30 AM EST on Tuesday Oct. 23.
Dates Collected -> 9/18/2012 10/4/2012 10/23/2012
- Democratic Candidates -
Barack Obama 19,883,416 20,524,381 21,249,142
Joe Biden 154,878 178,115 285,650
- Republican Candidates -
Mitt Romney 1,137,759 1,275,938 1,556,597
Paul Ryan 260,009 271,829 308,420
- Libertarian Candidates -
Gary Johnson 57,463 70,617 94,041
Jim Gray 219 233 258

The following bar graph shows the increase in the number of followers for each candidate on the dates specified.

(Some browsers and smaller screens tend to make this image hazy. For a clearer view, try clicking on the image to view it separately.)

Obama’s large stats make this graph incredibly difficult to depict completely accurately with a small bar graph. Here is a closer look at the other candidates and how they compare to each other.

So, you have to ask: “Why does Judge Jim Gray only have 258 followers on twitter?”
– The first and obvious reason is that the last tweet he sent was July 31st, and before that was May. He seemed to get into the Twitter thing on March 4th! But his zeal for it apparently waned and he decided against hiring a Social Media expert to utilize this for him.

A social media expert can make or break your social media marketing strategy. For instance, what if he hired a very ambitious person to run his twitter campaign and they tweeted something for him like:

“I support the legalization of #marijuana.” While making it absolutely clear on his twitter profile that he is a Vice Presidential candidate for the #election2012.

I have to smile at that idea, because it could possibly help his popularity or just as easily hurt his campaign. Can you hear the right wing screaming tweets then? “He only wants to lead our country to drugs and and immorality!!” – add in a misspelled word or two.

– Yes, his campaign would have to be handled in a very serious manner. :)

QUESTION: Will social media popularity predict our elected officials?
– Even though many would probably say yes to this, the answer is still: probably not. However, it is important to know the three big reasons why it’s not a good assumption to say that the one who has more Twitter followers will win… (at least, not yet):

  1. Not everyone who will be voting (e.g. many senior citizens), has a Twitter account.
  2. Lots of people too young to vote can (and do) follow candidates on Twitter.
  3. And finally: All social media is GLOBAL. People all over the world are following Twitter, Facebook and YouTube campaigns of the future leaders of other countries.

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
More people of all ages are installing Twitter apps all the time and those young, passionate citizens are turning 18 – the first 2 gaps are closing.

Which candidate is aggressively using Twitter and “Promoted tweets” the most right now?
It looks like @GovGaryJohnson:

Promoted Tweets Gov Gary Johnson

A search on the hash tag #President and produced this promoted tweet by @GovGaryJohnson. (Click for larger view.)

Promoted Tweets 2 Gov Gary Johnson

A search on the hash tag #election2012 and produced this promoted tweet by @GovGaryJohnson. (Click for larger view.)

You Have 3 Minutes!

I am tired of hearing that old saying “Time is money”.
But here’s the real truth: Time is way more valuable than money.

Money can be earned, but time can only be saved. (And no, I didn’t get that from the book, I figured that one out on my very own. :) )

This week I read:

You Have 3 Minutes!

Learn the Secret of the Pitch from Trump’s Original Apprentice
Written by Richardo Bellino

Is it really possible to sell anything in 3 minutes?

“My answer is not only is it possible, but it is also the only effective way to sell an idea.”

- Ricardo R. Bellino, Founder, TRUMP REALTY BRAZIL

Set the Limit


A forward from Donald J. Trump precedes the content of this book. I read Donald’s carefully assembled opinion of Ricardo Bellino and how he decided to make him a partner during those first three minutes of meeting him.

More than anything else, it was his following statement in the forward that stood out:

“It’s surprising what people can do with a deadline.”

- Donald Trump

So simple in it’s structure and yet so complex in its meaning. Don’t you think? Well, maybe it was my state of mind when I read it that made it more profound that it actually was. You now how it is. Sometimes we are just more “inspire-able” than other times.

I was motivated to save myself even more time during my business day because summer seems like the most difficult time to stay on track. Maybe it’s because the kids are out of school or because it’s just so nice outside that I make any excuse I can to get out there.

How many amazing things could you have already accomplished in your lifetime if you always given yourself realistic deadlines and then been disciplined enough to stick to them?

Would you have started that business venture? or written that best seller? or broken that bad habit? or mastered that vital skill? or learned that foreign language? or permanently dropped those few extra pounds?

Optimize the Time Given

Read this book. Buy it. Borrow it. Whatever. It’s worth reading the tips on image (Are people buying your image?), negotiation (When should you listen to intuition? How should you make snap decisions?), and effective communication throughout a business venture.

It’s all there plus a lot more.

5 Reasons Why Blogs are Dying (Part 4)

Every day this week I am going to write about the five main reasons why so many blogs are dying out.
1. Lack of Time / 2. Lack of Content / 3. Lack of Focus / 4. Lack of Response / and 5. Lack of Tangible Benefits

Lack of Response

Appreciation for your blog posts mostly comes in two forms:

  1. Number one is lots of comments.
  2. Number two is more subscribers. (Number two probably being the most important.)

In October and November of 2006, Problogger.net and Copyblogger both posted articles about getting the coveted responses all bloggers want. Regardless of the dates of these old articles the advice is fairly timeless.

The information surrounding each point in each blog post earns a decent recommendation for reading from me to you.

10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog 10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers
Written by Problogger – Oct 12, 2006 Written by Copyblogger – Nov 14, 2006
1. Invite Comments 1. Make it Easy and Obvious
2. Ask Questions 2. Be Laser Focused
3. Be Open Ended 3. Offer a Bribe
4. Interact with Comments Left 4. Use Viral E-books
5. Set Boundaries 5. Dedicated Subscription Landing Page
6. Be Humble 6. Become a Guest Blogger
7. Be Gracious 7. Start a Podcast
8. Be Controversial? 8. Post in Forums
9. ‘Reward’ Comments 9. Networking
10. Make it Easy to Comment 10. Cross-Promotional Deals

The only one that no one seemed to consider is the fundamental importance of reliably and consistently authoring the stimulating kind of leading-edge content.

What Does the Last Quarter of 2010 Look Like for YOU?

Not to short change you or anything, but we only have three more months left in 2010. Some people might see that as a bad thing, but you know what? The end of the year is here. It’s not time to be shocked about how fast this year has flown by; it’s time start making sure that your 2010 goals are to be met or even exceeded!
Quarters Add Up
My goals for year 2010 were/are to:

  1. Finish college: This is my very last week. I am 90% finished with my final project! (YES!!!)
  2. Send my son to a good preschool: He loves it, but he doesn’t have to be there 45+ hours every week thanks to my virtual job.
  3. Take care of business while juggling work, school, and family: Now that goals one and two are being met, from now on I am going to be able to focus on Virtual IT Assistants! Before the new year, I am definitely going to overhaul a lot of my web presence and get to accept new clients. I am SO excited about my plans!! It’s going to be awesome!!
  4. Post on Work at Home Life every Monday: I have done this, and some of the posts have turned out to be some of my favorites. Your responses let me and the girls know that we are helping you and our message is coming across well. We have loved all the feedback. So, thank you. :)

Well, that’s enough about me. What about you? There are lots of holidays and school functions coming up soon, but what are you going to do to grow your business? Three months doesn’t seem like much time, but all of those quarters add up.

“If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”

- Benjamin Franklin