Looking for Someone to Blame

If you’re on the “2016 Sucks” bandwagon, I get it. Lots of stuff went down this year – deaths of beloved icons, a heated presidential election – but bad stuff happens every year – and it’s never, ever the year to blame. Was the year that innocent kindergarteners were gunned down in their classroom worse? For my mental health, it sure was. But that still doesn’t mean it was the year to blame. It was the madman. It was the gunman’s mental health. And in the deaths of Carrie Fisher, Prince and George Michael, it was years of self-destruction to blame, not the year. That Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds died a day after her daughter, is a sad reminder of our own heartbreak. We want to feel good, stay high on life, so when an icon dies, our dreams die a little bit, too.Image 5

As I said in the last post, the thing to do when life gets you down is to throw gratitude like confetti. Yet that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get real about the shit going down. The key, then, is to be able to ride the waves – to not emotionally drown in the highs or lows.

Eckhart Tole tells us we have three choices when we encounter a situation we don’t like:

  1. Leave it.
  2. Change it.
  3. Accept it.

Note he doesn’t say, “complain about it on Facebook!” or “let it ruin your day and affect everyone around you”. Of course we all share our frustrations with life in various ways, but if we want to truly be at peace, we have to decide if we are going with 1, 2 or 3 every time the job prob, relationship issue or Thing You Don’t Like rears its head. Leave the job or the relationship. Change the job or relationship. Accept the job or relationship. Trump and politics in general? Same. Change what you can but don’t beat yourself up about the things you can’t control. We’re not talking about burying our feelings, but about acknowledging them, deciding what we can do about it, and then going forward. Life is all about going forward.

A friend’s sewer pipe burst the other day, two days after they had just moved in. Was she going to let it ruin their Christmas? Nope. You act on what you have control over (getting it fixed) and simply accept that these things happen (because they do, over and over.) That’s it. Move along.

2016, like every year, had its ups and downs. I made a lot of money until I didn’t. I went out of the country for the first time – along with my kids! I got engaged. I didn’t accomplish a lot of things I’d hoped to this year, but I did accomplish learning how to give myself grace when I don’t check something off of my list. That’s pretty big. In my “one bow, many arrows” philosophy, I realize that I try to pack too many arrows into my quiver.

I’m ending 2016 by spending the day with my kids and the evening with my beloved and one of my best friends at a wedding. I can’t think of a better way to close out this year and begin the next one. Love.

If you get something from my posts, why not subscribe? My book, Personal Brand Power, will be coming out in late January, so stay tuned for more content on how to power up for personal and professional success.

Latest video: Radical Presence – let’s do this!

Getting Empty to Find Your North Star

Can you see where you’re going on a really cloudy day?

Can you find your favorite shirt if it’s in a messy closet?

Do you know how you really feel if you’ve buried your feelings?

Can you promote your personal brand and attract the right customers if you are so busy that you’ve lost your passion and don’t even know who you are anymore? 

In all of these scenarios, the busy-ness and clutter of life and “shoulds” and “muchness” can keep us from clarity and what it takes to feel – and live – the way we want to. In business. In relationships.

In writing novels, our stories begin with an INCITING INCIDENT. It’s what gets the story rolling and is often a problem that kicks off the plot and motivates the protagonist with both inner and outer goals.

IN REAL LIFE, we all have inciting incidents. We have major events that shape our lives and even minor events that shift our perspective. We are constantly growing and changing which is why I encourage my clients to practice self-compassion and give them some grace regarding where to take their businesses if they feel they have lost their passion or are struggling with what to do to balance growing a business and still rocking their personal life. What are yours? Write them down. Think on them.

So, how do we find our north star? In my newest ONE BOW MANY ARROWS podcast, I review Martha Beck’s book, FINDING YOUR NORTH STAR. Check out the 5 Golden Arrows from the book by subscribing to my iTunes podcast OR listening here:

In the journey to finding our true purpose, we are on a teeter totter of dealing with the concepts of EMPTINESS AND FULLNESS, which I discuss in my latest Bow & Arrows video. (Below and on my Video page.) Sometimes we feel LOST because we feel empty – no direction, no passion, confusion. Other times we feel TOO FULL because our lives are too busy and we feel BURIED IN OUR TO-DOS. Yet emptiness can be a good thing because we NEED to get rid of the clutter to identify our core desires and how to get there. If you are feeling empty, you are already PRIMED FOR FILLING YOURSELF UP. Yay! Awareness is the key to our journey and where ALL THE ANSWERS LIE. This doesn’t mean that you will ACT on them, but I promise you the answer is there. Doesn’t mean it isn’t damn hard to deal with that “gem” when you’ve uncovered it.

How it works: I call it the Artemis Infinity Loop. You are the hunter and your loop goes like this – AWARENESS, ACTION, ASSESSMENT. It’s a PRIMAL instinct so it’s not like we can stop it from happening.infinity

You’re in the cave, you hear something like a tiger outside in the bushes, AWARENESS. Your heart is pounding – you feel fear, yet you must protect yourself and family. You gather the courage and decide to check it out with your spear in hand, ACTION. You quietly tiptoe out, all senses blazing, and see that the noise is only a raccoon foraging, ASSESSMENT. So you go back to bed. The loop begins again. We make a thousand choices a day. THEREFORE GETTING BETTER AT MAKING DECISIONS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. The loop is your friend, yet we are often terrible at all three steps! We stay “unconscious” so we lack awareness or our minds are stuck in an untrue story about ourselves and our lives. When we act we might be afraid or ignore the awareness. Or we skip over assessment and find – ta-da – that same issue WILL ARISE AGAIN, because we didn’t deal with it properly the first time.

November is a great time to do this exercise for assessing what you accomplished this year – how you felt about it – and where you want to take your personal brand and business in 2017. Isharktooth_arrow_quiver_inventory_icon‘m teaching a workshop tonight MODERN MARKETING FOR A KILLER 2017 at The Collective in Edmond and have a few seats left (I’m keeping it small so we can discuss your goals) so INVEST IN YOUR BRAND and come if you can make it a priority. I think we’ll pop over and have a beer at the Patriarch after. I’m also offering the workshop as an e-course so use my contact form to let me know you are interested and I’ll send you the registration. Course is $99, four classes including a Powerpoint, video and worksheets PLUS a personal follow up via phone call to discuss your plan.

Coming up I’m also featuring The Collective Mermaids as part of my ongoing Mermaid series here on my blog. These are kick ass business owners and entrepreneurs I office with that I think you should know. They have amazing stories to tell. Subscribe to the blog so it will always pop into your email when I have a new post (which is about every other week if I’m managing my time right.)

Now…In personal news…I’m engaged! Life is full of pleasant surprises and my fiancé

14523088_10211346107275371_5008870287711201643_n
Pic snapped after Chris told our guests our big news. Love.

has been a huge gift in my life the last two years. We told our friends at our annual Halloween party and since then we’ve been busy making plans for a May wedding. I was the Bride of Frankenstein. Appropriate, yeah?

Let’s finish 2016 strong! I’m here if you need me. xo

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!

get_it_on_itunes_badge_us_1114

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

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?”

Unknown
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?

bowarrowslogo
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.

FullSizeRender 2
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.

 

 

2015: The Year for Living Boldly

“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”

Image 4


― 
Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Happy New Year, readers! While a new year may just be another number, every day is an opportunity to fully live, right? If you are like me and last year threw you for a loop, it’s refreshing to turn the calendar and start anew.

Thanks to a lot of work on mindfulness, I made it through an emotional year and am going to carry that through to the new year with this year’s theme, “Every day, adventure.” That also includes everyday adventure, appreciating the extraordinary within the ordinary. Last year’s Get Out posts were among my favorites and I loved hearing how some of my adventures inspired you to get out and explore nature and add more adventure into your lives. Let’s do some more of that this year.

  • What’s holding you back?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • What could you do each day to make you smile?
  • What new adventure could you fit in on the weekend?

I plan on doing a lot more traveling, hiking, biking, exploring and trying new places and meeting cool people. I also intend on making the most of every day and staying present to experience all the good stuff that happens right here, right now. I’ll share some work and leisure adventures and hope to give you some new stories soon, too. I put my manuscript on hold for a bit but have worked on some short stories I’m excited about. I should get my rights back on Dating da Vinci soon so I can do a new cover and publish that under my Buzz Books brand.

One of my new adventures in 2014 was starting a side business decorating and ended up doing eight projects with my fabulous friend Jill Martin. I’m planning on doing more of that this year, so if you love interior design ideas, you might want to follow our Facebook page Sooner Spaces where I share decorating projects and cool Oklahoma spaces. Jill and I are starting on a 2500 square foot 1918 historic home in Heritage Hills this week so we’ll be posting lots of photos and finds. I’ll try to post here every other week with my new adventures and ideas for you to explore, too.

Every day is a great day to practice gratitude and I’m so grateful for the friends who stuck by me and lifted me up last year and went on all those adventures with me in the great outdoors and just drinks and deep conversation indoors, too. My kids are amazing and always an adventure. Life is messy but wonderful, isn’t it? Let’s make more wonderful this year.

Here’s to a fresh start!

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” 
― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

xo and cheers,

Malena

Congrats to Broadway 10 Bar and Chophouse in OKC on a stellar space (10th and Broadway, of course). Enjoyed kicking off New Year’s Eve there with my sister and friends.

Image

Thanks + Top Advice from Team Get Real

Happy Thanksgiving! In counting my blessings this year, in addition to family and friends and servant hearts, I’m so thankful for the great advice and quotes I got all year from Team Get Real (counselors, friends, wise famous people). If you are in a place where you are seeking clarity or simply trying to expand your peace and happiness, perhaps these might help you, too. xo

1. 600153_488335651213960_1166027072_n

2. When you don’t know what to do, my best advice is to do nothing until clarity comes. Getting still, being able to hear your own voice and not the voices of the world, quickens clarity. Once you decide what you want, you make a commitment to that decision. -Oprah

3. If you are pretending or performing, you aren’t living from your authentic self.

4. I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises. – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray Love

5. You’ve spent so much emotional energy defending yourself. Clear the layer of guilt away. Your feelings aren’t all of you.

6. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. –Anais Nin

7. You need to give yourself permission to be human. I want you to want what you want.

8. What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting of of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? – Brene Brown, author

9. Stay neutral. Use your shield.

10. Love stretches us, but time often snaps us back to our original shape. Love takes us further than we thought we could go, but it does not take us past the limits of our nature. And that is a hard thing to know. – Amy Bloom, author

11. Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.  ~ Lao Tzu

12. You can’t save others from their process. It’s important to you to choose everything with precision. Get out of prettying up words.

13. Stay the course. Give yourself a break. Give people time.

14. Yoo-hoo, Life, pick me! – Mandy Steward, author (makes me smile every time!)

15. There’s a weird combo of relief and doubt that comes from fear. It takes a while to find your footing.

16. Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge. ~ Eckhart Tolle

17. The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Albert Einstein

A Note on Perspective:

While I was nervous about my first Thanksgiving on my own, it turned out to be one of the most special 10686739_10205622387785961_7263301546956882154_nholidays. My daughter (14) ended up not going to Colorado with the rest of the family so she volunteered with me at City of Thanksgiving. We spent the morning making (a lot of) stuffing and then delivered meals to three families in S. OKC which gave us a lot of time for conversation and music. In hearing about some of my friends’ divorces, mine is pretty easy in comparison. My ex didn’t lock me out of the house or refuse to give me my things, I’m at least not being called horrible names to my face and there won’t be a long drawn out battle. Obviously if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know my belief is to choose peace over drama in all situations. While you can’t control the other person, you can at least control how it impacts you. Believe me, I’ve cried more this year than I have maybe all other years of my life combined, but clarity and action doesn’t come easy nor without an emotional toll. I read an article that equated going through a divorce as the emotional equivalent of having a second full-time job. That makes sense. No wonder I’ve felt so zapped. If you are going through a tough time, give yourself time to relax and recuperate. It may feel like staying busy is the answer, but often the opposite is much better: take a long bath, read, go to bed early, drink lots of water, exercise every day and smile at everyone you see. (But do go out and have fun, too. My girlfriends get an A+ in the fun department.)

Perspective doesn’t mean you should repress your feelings or talk yourself out of them. Feel them, acknowledge and accept they are there and then try to let them go or find a way to change them. I let myself be sad, but made a plan (volunteering) and a friend reached out and invited us to Thanksgiving at her house after (thanks, Anita!). The Universe has a way of working things out but we must ACT, too.

We are wise to remember that there is AN UPSIDE TO EVERYTHING. I know in our darkest hours that’s hard to grasp, but it’s true, even if that upside is learning how to deal with pain, survive (and thrive) through transformation and GROW.

xoxo