Hard Habits and The Voice in the Trees

I have a long list of bad habits.

When I was a kid suffering from anxiety, my habits included nail biting, hair chewing, cover225x225plucking the hair from my eyebrows, and, worst of all, obsessive compulsive thoughts about my loved ones dying, which is how I would go to sleep at night. My “nightmares” were when I was conscious, lying under the covers in the dark when my brain “took over” offering up a a movie-style scene of…you name it — car crashes, fires, heart attacks, kidnappings and so on.

After a shit ton of self growth the last two decades through mostly reading and writing, but also cognitive behavioral therapy, I have been able to get rid of those nasty habits and rewire my brain. I no longer think bad thoughts before I go to sleep and if I catch an anxious thought worming through my brain, I call it out and stop it or reframe it. Yes, it’s okay to talk to yourself. If I see a catch my fingernail in my mouth, I know it’s usually a sign that I’m nervous or anxious about something and so I can tell myself to calm down. More gentle self talk.

As an adult, I have a ton of other habits that are both good (exercising daily) and bad (leaving half-drank coffee mugs around the house) and as someone who is into psychology and neuroscience, I’m fascinated with HOW we can change these habits and form new and better ones.

In my second episode of ONE BOW MANY ARROWS, I’ve plucked 5 Golden Arrows from Gretchen Rubin’s stellar book, “Better than Before” about just that: understanding self to break bad habits and create good ones. I read it on the flight to and from NYC in 2015 and I’m thrilled to share it with you. Yes, Aristotle’s quote, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit” is the truth. In business, if quality is not a habit, it means customer service and quality assurance isn’t staying on course. We have to put in the effort EVERY DAY and show up to want the change and do the hard work to make it happen.

fullsizerender-5WHAT?! OMG, I’m thrilled my podcast is now available on iTunes so if you want to give it a try, click on the iTunes badge below. I’d love your feedback as well as ideas for things you’d like for me to discuss in future episodes. I will tell you next week’s book will be about personality types! LOVE. Also a quick note about the ‘explicit’ rank on my podcast. After listening to many, many podcasts, I found that ones that let people speak freely, Like Elizabeth Gilbert and Danielle Laporte, includes some cursing and therefore, get the explicit title. My mom advised me that that could turn some listeners off – and readers here – but unfortunately, that isn’t dissuading me from using the words I (or my guests) feel compelled to use. I’ll try not to use them often, but just know whatever is said is coming from the moment, not a script. Staying real and vulnerable to what comes is what it’s about for me. I don’t get raunchy because that’s not my style, but “hell” and “damn” don’t even seem like curse words to me. My personal stories might be for adult audiences, too, so I’d rather be ‘safe’ and use the label than not, you know? In my personal life I like curse words because they say what I’m feeling. I don’t have to tip toe around the issue. It’s direct. I’m direct.

Cool? Awesome. I think you’re going to LOVE these books I’m reviewing in the first 12 episodes, so let me know if I’m right about that!

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In other THANK GOD IT’S ABOUT TIME NEWS, I’m also pretty pumped that I’m writing again, which is really editing a story I wrote four years ago, my first mystery, Away. It was supposed to be a novel, but I’m reworking is as a novella to STAY ON TARGET and bring it to the world in a way that’s realistic for me. As I learned in Gretchen’s book, I’m an “opener” which means I get way more excited about new things/ideas/products so finishing can be a problem for me. As I discuss in my podcast, my partner is a finisher, so he ensures we don’t waste food, whereas, I’m the one that will have four bags of crackers open. I’m forcing myself to finish things I’ve started, in part thanks to my mother Patricia, who told me I would be happier if I finished these stories. So…yes to KNOWING YOURSELF and getting it done.

I encourage you to take this time to figure out what that looks like for you….finishing something you are passionate about and making a plan for it.

For you Bow & Arrows marketers, makers and entrepreneurs out there, my latest video includes some of my favorite digital tools for sharing your content with the world. If you’d like to schedule a strategy session with me, we can do a live video session, so use the contact form to book it. These “Wake Up to Wonder” PJ Strategy Sessions are just $50 in September and October so let me know if you are interested! I’m interested in gaining some challenging creative work, so let’s see if we can help each other to grow.

Lastly, in our Bow & Arrows vocabulary, I’d like to introduce, “The Voice in the Trees”, which is to be aware of things others may say to keep you off track or tell you that you don’t need to change or try to diminish your dreams. (You don’t need to lose weight. You should be happy where you are. Just be thankful you have a job. This is your lot in life. You get the idea. While we do need to listen to others, it’s important to be able to discern the good advice from the bad and the intention behind it.

—xoxo Ready. Aim. Grow.—>>>

 

 

 

 

How to Win Friends & Influence People for Real

I guess we could just cut to the chase and say, “don’t be a d-bag, don’t be a beyotch,” but of course it goes way beyond that. (Good starting point, though!)fullsizerender-5

When I decided I needed a good ol’ kick in my party pants to get my own personal brand in order so I could help clients with theirs, I knew I wanted to start back up a podcast and I knew right away the first mentor & book I wanted to discuss: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Before I learned about Dale in my early 20s at my corporate gig as a marketing coordinator, I got my “start” in radio in high school and I did happen to get my degree in radio and TV at the University of Oklahoma, so, hey, folks, with my freshly frequent YouTube channel (latest video: STOP PLAYING SMALL) and my new podcast ONE BOW MANY ARROWS over on Soundcloud (and soon on iTunes when I figure it out), I’m feeling like I’m hitting a pace here. Why? I did for my own brand(s) what I do for yours – set an editorial calendar and guidelines and creative brief and marketing mix and BOOM! – here we are.

Putting your personal brand out there means connecting with people where THEY hang out with the media they prefer. For some, that’s reading, and others like video and even longer format podcasts.

Switching up your channels is a great way to get a shorter or longer message to the audience.

For VIDEO, I’m doing a Bow & Arrows themed message each week over on YouTube to discuss strategies to grow your personal brand and small biz. This week’s vid inspired by Glennon’s new book LOVE WARRIOR in which she was talking about people trying to keep you small/invisible. So I wanted to talk about the “voices” of people who believe they have your best interest…but they aren’t you and don’t know your truth.

Now to the PODCAST!

A podcast gives you as the host/messenger more time to discuss your message and relay STORIES. My first 12 episodes are book reviews in a half hour or less with my 5 GOLDEN ARROWS from each book. You can take a listen at Soundcloud for now...until I get the RSS feed up on iTunes. Leave a comment and share the podcast on social media and tag me @malenalott and you’ll be registered to win a copy of the book I’m reviewing in my first podcast, HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE IN THE DIGITAL AGE. Great freaking book. It was hard to just pick 5 lessons but each of them carry a lot of weight. Golden Arrow #1 is DEVELOP YOUR SOFT SKILLS.

What else?

Another format for sharing a message are workshops, and mine are 1.5 hours. For those in the OKC area, my next PERSONAL BRANDING POWER workshop is coming up so click through to read about it and register early for the discounted rate.

My home life has been just as busy, and I love this time of year. It’s homecoming week in my neck of the woods for my Pom daughter in high school and I have a big Alpha Chi Omega reunion to celebrate our Psi Centennial on the OU campus. If you follow me on social media, you’ll get to see all the fancy party pics and then game day pics as the Sooners take on #2 Ohio State. Wishing for a big win for my Sooners.

Also, coming soon are BOW & ARROW PJ STRATEGY SESSIONS! That’s a one-hour video session with me in the mornings certain days of the week so I can help entrepreneurs across the country with their branding and marketing questions. Super stoked about it. If you want to know about it before anyone else, use the form on my speaking page with what date/morning time you’d like (between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. CST time) and I’ll send you over the registration and confirmation.

I’m also adding MINI STYLE SESSIONS over at Sooner Spaces for OKC area folks who want a strategy session for their home or office space makeover OR a staging session if you are selling your home. I’ll be announcing that over on Facebook.com/SoonerSpaces.

Wow. Okay, time for the homecoming parade.

Onward xoxo,

Malena

Life Sucks or Rocks Based On This One Thing

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Martha Washington

The first First Lady is talking about attitude. It’s so easy to be miserable when life isn’t going our de16b590746cdae9a7300637a12c64adway – and happy when things are. But being cool when things get sticky…that’s the real test. I remember when I was especially stressed out at my ad agency back in my late 20s when I read, “I shall not let circumstances dictate my joy.” I tried really hard from then on to not let a bad situation define my mood and spoil the day. It is easy? Hell, no. But it DOES get easier with practice.

So what about other traits we need as the CEO of Our One Unique Life? As makers and entrepreneurs and managers, what do we need to possess to carry out our goals? In this week’s Bow & Arrows video, I share 6 traits of a great hunter – you hold the bow, friends, and the arrows our our choices, including how we react to whatever circumstance comes our way. By changing our behavior from the inside out, we can make these habits stick.

I look forward to seeing some of you next week for my next workshop, Hitting the Brand Bullseye. See the full list of workshops here and if you are seeking some branding help, message me to discuss. I’m already seeing some really cool things come out of this program, so I’m thrilled we’re creating this tribe to aim for greatness together.

xoxo Ready. Aim. Grow.

What is it you really want?

It was the summer of 2015 and I sat in my leased house in NW Edmond feeling a little lost and sorry for myself. My kids were with their dad and I felt the enormity of the silence. The quiet was yelling at me. “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?”  Because I’m an ENTJ (Extrovert, iNtutive, Thinker, Judger), I assume any voice is demanding some deep philosophical discussion, not like, “hey, what are going to do for…dinner?”

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Does she look like she’s leading a workshop? I’ll smile, I promise!

I let the question sit in the sunlight a bit and then I ran to my desk and grabbed a notebook. I wrote, “one bow, many arrows.” I have ONE BOW, ONE life – my own unique, imperfectly perfect life, and I have many, many arrows. The arrows are all of my choices, my thoughts, decisions, habits, actions. I quickly ended the pity party with the idea that I would turn my archery metaphor into a book someday. (And remind myself that my life is up to me. I alone have the ability to make it awesome or awful.) Fast forward a year later and I realized that a-ha moment wasn’t just for a BOOK. Why not use Bow & Arrows to help people with personal and small business branding?

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every brand has a story. even you.

The personal brand is you, inside/out. It’s your personality, yes, but it’s also philosophy, passion, purpose, perception and…power. It’s how you see yourself (reflection) PLUS how others see you. There’s often a disconnect.

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I’ll bring the wine, tribe.

We can’t really answer the blog header question, “what is it you want?” until you know who you are. And that, my friend, is always evolving. But we have to start somewhere and if you would like to grow your business, move up in your career, improve the relationships in your life…Bow & Arrows is a pretty cool way to turn awareness into analysis and action.

My first local workshop on Personal Brand Power is August 25th at The Collective in downtown Edmond from 7-8:30 p.m. It’s an hour and half immersive workshop to help you in your journey as the archer (hunter) with one bow, many arrows, and identifying the best targets to achieve success the way you want to define it. Oh, my other passion? Fine wine. Yeah, I’ll have that on hand, too. I know a guy.

Limited seating so register early over on Eventbrite. You can also download the PDF here: bow&arrows personal brand power.

Want to book the workshop for your team or organization? Contact me below ONLY FOR PRIVATE GROUP WORKSHOPS.

Lastly, subscribe to the blog to get the latest news, including a September brand workshop for small businesses.

 

 

Meet Pet Artist Jan Hellwege

If you’ve ever heard, “Yes, but that’s not a real job,” then you know where this post is coming from. You may have been nine when you heard it and said you wanted to be in the circus or 12 like I was and said you wanted to write novels or even 18 and said you wanted to race motorcycles. It doesn’t matter what “it” is, people will have an opinion on your passion turning a profit. YOU may not even believe it’s a real job! Today our mermaid made the bold choice to become an artist despite the “odds of success.” She’s also an example of a second and mid-life career, which I’m a huge proponent of. I believe we’re on this earth to constantly grow and evolve and that means you will end up doing many fantastic things in your one life. I love her tenacity and am thrilled to share her mermaid tale with you. Welcome Jan Hellwege to our sea and if you’re in O-K-C, go visit her in the Paseo.

ML: Tell us about the moment you made the deep dive for your dream.

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Artist Jan Hellwege

JH: It was always a dream of mine, to be a fine artist but I didn’t think that was a real job. My stepfather offered to help me go to my hometown college and take secretarial classes…blaah! So I did the only creative thing I knew at the time and that was to get a Cosmetology license and become a hairdresser. I worked for a year out of high school, then married my high school boyfriend and became a Navy wife. We started a family a few years later. The year was 1980 and my three daughters were in preschool, grade school and Jr. High. I had been a stay-at-home mom for about fifteen years when a friend talked me into taking a college class with her. I was not sure I could focus at the college level, after so many years of watching Mr. Rogers and reading Dr. Seuss books. But after realizing my brain could still function, I enrolled in some other classes including an art class. The art teacher was so supportive and encouraged me to carry on. That was a turning point. With no money in our budget for college, I had garage sales to buy books and pay tuition for the first couple of years. Art classes proved to be a good fit for me. I thought “At last, I have found my people!”

Halfway through college, divorce happened. The challenge elevated. With no alimony and unreliable, minimal child support, I obviously had to get a job. I knew life would be harder for a longer period of time if I quit than if I just kept going.  I needed a job with benefits and a retirement plan. So, I pulled out my old Cosmetology licence from 1964, which I had thankfully kept up-to-date. I got a job in a walk-in salon which allowed me to work around my class schedule. I cleaned houses on my days off and managed a cosmetic counter in a department store for one summer.

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Jan with some fur babies.

ML: I love this on so many levels. Mermaids know it takes a helluva lot of hard work to reach our goals and that means working like Cinderella before the ball. And even better, you didn’t STOP going to college just because you needed a job. Yes to keeping your dream alive while doing what it to get there. You mentioned your divorce and the extra financial pressure that put on your family and your dreams. How did/do you overcome adversity?

JH: Those were very hard years for me and my girls; emotionally, physically and financially. Some days, I was not sure if I could make ends meet but I learned to rely on my faith in God to provide for us a home, food, clothing, gas for the car and you name it. He never let me down, which is a whole, other story in itself. I was able to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Art with the help of academic scholarships, grants and loans and was hired by a utility company as their Graphic Artist. The challenge of learning was far from over. Between the time I got my degree and the time I got the job, the entire graphics arts industry went digital. I didn’t know anything about computers. My first day on the job, I was on a plane to Atlanta for computer graphics training. (I felt like the wife in the movie “Mr. Mom” when she reached over to cut up her boss’s steak). I had one month to learn computer graphics before a grand opening of the company’s economic development department. But after many tears and frustration, I did it! The first one through the door on the big day was the Governor, followed by TV cameras, newspaper reporters and almost every politician in the state of Oklahoma, all wanting to see what I could do with this new state-of-the-art equipment.

It all worked out for the good. I ended up in the corporate communications department designing the company magazine, logos, brochures and etc. I retired after twenty-three years with the company. Now, after putting my fine art on hold for all those years, I get to paint in my wonderful studio almost every day! My art is sold at the Contemporary Art Gallery on Paseo, Oklahoma City. Through it all, I learned that God will be with you through the worst times – no matter how confused you are or how insecure you feel and that you can live your dream.

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Beautiful Black Stallion painting by Jan.

ML: Ah, timing is everything, sometimes. I love that you circled back to your first love in fine art and that you found a niche in painting animals, too. What are your favorite tool(s) for enlightened living (presence, intention, action)?

JH: Write down your goals, put the paper away and get it out in one year. You will be surprised at what you have achieved. Yoga, tennis, kick boxing, ballroom dancing and travelling abroad are some of the goals I set when I turned fifty. I did them all and more and I’m still making lists even at age seventy.

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One of the pets that Jan paints available for adoption.

 

 

ML: Gratitude is the key to happiness, I think. What always brings a smile to your face?

JH: The pride I felt in earning that Art Degree under adverse circumstances does not even compare to the pride I feel in having raised four, strong, beautiful and intelligent daughters in the midst of such uncertainty. I strive to reflect love, peace and happiness in my work. As a lover of nature and an advocate for pet adoption, twenty percent of my commissioned pet portraits goes to a animal rescue. It’s my way of giving back.

Connect with Jan and see her beautiful artwork here:

Jan Hellwege

Contemporary Art Gallery

2928 Paseo St.

Oklahoma City, OK

73034

www.jandesignsart.com and contmporaryartgalleryokc.com

To living in the deep,

Malena

P.S. If you like the mermaid series and stories about Everyday Adventure, be sure and subscribe so it will come to you each week in your in box! And thanks for sharing the love. xo

Meet Makeup Mermaid Sharon Tabb

by Malena Lott

One of my favorite memories of my grandmother was watching her sit at her makeup counter and swipe on her red lipstick. I couldn’t wait until I could wear makeup and in the ’80s, I tried it all including the crazy neon phase.

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Makeup Artist Sharon Tabb

What I love most about makeup is primarily that it makes me feel on the outside what I feel on the inside. You can make up your face to fit your mood or your style from Girl Next Door to Girls’ Night Out to Date Night Diva. Or simply go with what works for you. How do you want to feel? Voila. Kind of magical.

I met Sharon years ago when we were doing a shoot for Prom Dates to Die For and I love following her career and seeing the exciting projects she’s working on. As a makeup artist for movie and magazine shoots, too, she transforms people to create character and she’s damn good at it. I love hearing her mermaid origin story because it shows that your talent and passion can show up at any time in the most unexpected places.

ML: Sharon, tell us about the moment you made the deep dive for your dream and a bit about your successes.

ST: I was a 19-year-old art major in college and had no idea what I was going to do.  I was basically told I could be an art teacher or graphic designer.  I didn’t want to do either. I worked part time at a local department store in designer dresses. I was #1 in sales but the older ladies in my department didn’t care much for the young social chatter box. I was told I talked too much and they demoted me as a floater. A floater was someone who just filled in where needed. Which is so funny because my first floating position was a month at the Chanel makeup counter covering the cosmetic girl while she was on maternity leave. I just started putting makeup on people and sold makeup like crazy. The cosmetic department wanted to keep me on and after a month they placed me at Estee Lauder counter. They said I was too young to continue work at the Chanel counter due to the clientele. It’s such a funny ironic story – at this time I thought “wow! I can do makeup and make money?” I didn’t want to stay in retail and I had big dreams of doing movie makeup.🙂 Of course I had no idea how to make that happen but I would figure it out. This was before the Internet and YouTube.  I couldn’t afford a makeup school so through the early years I just hustled my way and taught myself until I finally got into production work.  It’s been a long journey.  I’m proud of the movies, commercials, print work, celebrities, and everyone I get the opportunity to work with.

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Sharon doing make-up for jewelry designer Valerie Naifeh

ML:  How cool that what was seen as a weakness (age and talkativeness) led to exposing your talent! Tell us what always brings a smile to your face.

ST: I’m so grateful for being able to do what I love. Every day I thank God for allowing me these amazing opportunities. Part of that is making people look and feel their best is very rewarding!!!  Most people have such hang ups on certain things about themselves that others would never notice. It doesn’t help seeing all these models and celebrities always looking so picture perfect. I like to bring out the best in people and see their attitude change!
ML: Love that. I like to think of makeup as an instant mood booster. If I’m feeling blah I know a swipe of the right lipstick is going to do the trick. What’s been the biggest challenge in your life and how did/do you overcome adversity?

ST: The biggest challenge I’ve faced is having an anxiety and panic disorder.  I had my first panic attack while in Esthetician school around the age of 20 or 21.  It continued to get worse in my early twenties and I had no idea what it was that was happening to me. I was in and out of ER rooms then finally I was diagnosed. I was then put me on medication This was also before the Internet so I couldn’t Google what was wrong with me.  The medication helped the panic attacks completely go away but it also made extremely tired all the time and  I gained 80 pounds in one year.  But during this time it was good because it eliminated the panic attacks, and eventually was able to function without them.

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Sharon with her son and furbabies.

 

ML: Thank you for sharing that. What are your favorite tool(s) for enlightened living (presence, intention, action)?

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Sharon with her daughter.

 

ST: I love spending time with my family and pets.  My pets help me in so many ways!  I have 3 dogs and 2 cats, and  they are honestly my therapy animals.  Ha ha!  I have started exercising regularly and it is amazing!   I’ve started yoga and meditation but it’s something I need to continue to work on.

Connect with Sharon and see her work here:

Website: www. sharontabb.com

facebook:   www.facebook.com/sharontabbmakeupartist

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/sharontabb/

twitter: twitter.com/SharonTabb

 

To living in the deep,

Malena

P.S. If you like the mermaid series and stories about Everyday Adventure, be sure and subscribe so it will come to you each week in your in box! And thanks for sharing the love. xo

P.P.S. Red lipstick still rocks.

 

Believing in Love After Heartbreak

I combed my wet hair as thoughts of my friend’s divorce filled my head. I felt that familiar tug in my chest – a deep empathetic sadness – one perhaps only someone who has walked in those shoes can feel so richly.

As the voice in my head wondered, “When will they go public and how will they present the news? Will they change their status to ‘divorced” on Facebook and have a lot of comments like my ex did? Or go my route and just change their relationship status to ‘Ask’ and keep that divorce date to themselves and a few loved ones?”

BAM! A loud crash followed by the sound of breaking glass.

I screamed and saw in the mirror that my English Patient framed poster had fallen off the wall, behind my shoe rack. Now I was sad for another reason. I walked over, afraid to assess the damage. I read the tagline: “In love, there are no boundaries.”

IMG_9462Not only did I not want to pull the shoe rack out to see the broken glass at the bottom, but moreover, I had NOT wanted to connect my thoughts with the simultaneous crash. That somehow this message, this movie about what we do for love  (he leaves her behind in a cave to seek medical help for her only to return to her dead body later) was somehow WRONG. That maybe love DOES have boundaries.

I stood there for a long moment, sorting out my feelings. My blink reaction was that love is not always enough to make things work out the way you want or need them to. That certainly our relationships must have some boundaries – and also deal breakers – to create a healthy partnership and for being true to what works for you.

I knelt down and picked up the hanger off the floor. Even though it was the same hanger that had held up the frame for the last ten years, it couldn’t hold itself up anymore. Sometimes things that seem secure still break. 

IMG_9463I held my breath and scooted the picture out from the wall. The sound of breaking glass is unmistakeable and I was sure it had splintered on at least one corner. I could barely believe my eyes.

FullSizeRender-1There they were. Two hotties kissing with not so much as a shard of broken glass around them. Honestly, I can’t explain what I’d heard and I’m thankful it landed on carpet, but then I realized maybe (besides earthquakes shaking things around here) that it could’ve just meant I was supposed to write about this, which is something that has been on my mind a lot the past two years.

It’s important to still believe in love after heartbreak. Yes, we need time to heal and sort out the emotional blow that comes with heartache. Yet on the other side of the complete shit storm of heartbreak is that a rainbow will finally fucking emerge and it will be so damned beautiful that we will wonder why we ever lost hope that the love we were seeking was ever impossible or out of reach.

I’m a believer. Are you?

To living in the deep,

Malena

xoxo #mermaidmojo