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

Get Happy Week 4: Fire in the Belly

I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, but in writing from a male perspective in my current work-in-progress, I’ve thought a lot about it, interviewed a lot of vets and have tried to immerse myself in the world of Jake, my twenty-two-year-old Iraq war vet amputee who is back home in a small town in Texas trying to start his life anew. For weeks I was bothered not knowing who the antagonist of the book was until one day it clicked that it was Misery – basically the black cloud of bad shit that had happened to him all of his life and seemed to continue to be happening. I bring up Jake and Misery in this week’s Get Happy post because it’s important for us to remember to use our pain and sit with the discomfort in figuring out how we can resolve issues (buried and new) and also the importance of having a tribe. Your peeps.Image

So this week’s potpourri of happiness includes: a) the importance of feeling loved and secure to get through the tough times b) having a tribe of people who understand and let you be your authentic YOU and where you feel you BELONG and c) having the will to take the journey to authentic living for a passionate life.

I stumbled upon Sam Keen’s work and because I’m a jump in kind of girl, I ordered and am simultaneously reading three of his books: Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man, To Love and Be Loved, and The Passionate Life. While each one is different, they share the foundation of the importance of knowing and loving yourself and sorting through the bullshit our culture and advertising and conditioning dole out. The central theme in his work is really understanding LOVE in all of its forms so that we can be better people and better lovers. From To Love… Elements of love: attention, desire, knowledge, sensuality, empathy, compassion, enjoyment, care, storytelling, repenting, self-love, commitment, co-creation, adoration, sexuality and enchantment. 

In The Passionate Life, Keen gives us the history of sexuality along with the psychology and philosophy of love, desire and passion and encourages us to wake up to the trivialization of the erotic and only thinking it’s for “certain people” such as celebrities or people who look or dress a certain way. He also give us a roadmap for defining and overcoming the barriers to progress to higher levels of love. He describes our journey (which is circular, not linear) as Child, Rebel, Adult, Outlaw and Lover.

Probably my favorite thing about diving in to a subject is how all the parts begin coming together to seek my own clarity and I hope you’ll do that, too. When you open your eyes to really “see” then it seems as if what you are looking for is everywhere. The timing in reading these books and taking the Blushing Wild ecourse with a group of fascinating women online with our own personal wounds from the battle of living and loving and thrashing WHILE working on my novel and WHILE working on my own awakening has truly been powerful. Thing is, we can only make those choices ourselves. No one is standing over you saying, “Hey, you. Time to make a little progress in this whole life thing. Time to love a little more. Time to forgive yourself. Time to forgive others. Time to let go of what isn’t working. Time to get rid of the shame and guilt. Time to love a little more. Wait, I said already, right? So what are you still doing sitting there?” 

Well, okay. I’ll be that person to tap you on the shoulder but it’s up to us to commit and go for it. While a lot of my work is cerebral and spiritual, I can see how it manifests in the real world with my interactions with others – whether that’s personal or professional. And people do notice our energy. Recently a retailer came up to me and told me I had a beautiful aura, that I was glowing, and that whatever I’m doing in life to keep doing it. Wow. I was stunned.

I don’t tell you that as a humble brag but that it served as a reminder for us to be aware of what energy we’re putting out there in the world. It was even more special because she talked about my aura and not my clothes or looks (though they are a reflection of mySelf, too.) Obviously she felt compelled to share that and I think it was important for me to receive it because as much as I seem confident, I am also full of doubt and questioning and unsure a lot of the time.

Question on our energy: Am I being negative? Am I bringing the past with me to the present? Am I being a good listener when others are talking?  Am I being an active participant in the outcomes of my life or simply reactionary? Am I making assumptions or projections instead of accepting what is and feeling it? (All can be hard!) But her words gave me a gentle affirmation that I MUST be doing something right. That I’m on the right track. I’m living my passions. I’m figuring out what’s next and letting myself be vulnerable and open and receiving. I can be confident and scared at the same time. I can feel joy and pain at the same time. Life can be ambiguous and a mystery and yet still full of joy and opportunity.

Questions to ponder this week:

Who are my tribes? Do I need to remove myself from some and find new ones where I might feel more authentic?

What elements of love do I need to work on? How can I focus on them?

Am I good at empathizing with others – understanding or at least appreciating others’ differences whether that’s gender or lifestyle or opinions? How can I get better at “taking a walk in their shoes?”

Is Misery a part of your life? Where and how can you deal with her? (In my book she’s a Her. And trying to bury her won’t work, because she’ll still haunt you. Creepy, huh?)

What’s the fire in your belly? 

As always, I’d like to close with encouraging you to Get Out and explore nature and include more adventure in your life for discovery and connection to something greater than ourselves. I’m thrilled that fall is here for football season and camping and the gorgeous fall landscape.  Will share pictures and stories along the way. Here’s to happy, through the pain.

xo,

Malena

 

 

Something New and something really new

Is there a time of year you’re most creative? A lot is written about the time of day we’re most creative (the brain seems like the 9-11 a.m. slot), but what about time of year? Place?

In case you want to play "guess the animal at the State Fair."
In case you want to play “guess the animal at the State Fair.”

Summer definitely slows down my creative output. It’s not that I don’t get new ideas, but with my current lifestyle (kids! 3 of them!) during the summer, I don’t get a lot of quality quiet. Even though I write/work while the kids are asleep, a part of my brain must think at any moment the kids could wake and I’ll get pulled out of the trance my writing puts me in. Plus, it’s hot. Ick.

Fall, though? Love every single thing about it. A few notables: college football, chili dogs, Halloween, costumes, cooler weather, State Fair, leaves changing colors, hayrides, KIDS IN SCHOOL, chili with Fritos, chili with cornbread. You get my drift. But on a deeper level, I love the settling in that fall brings. You settle into a new school year if your kids are still of age and the year is on the downhill slide. On the one hand you get motivated to “finish up” whatever goals you’d set for yourself that year and on the other, you begin dreaming about the holidays and what you hope to accomplish in 2014.

I find ideas falling as quickly as the leaves. I’m on the ground, making crispy leaf angels with a big smile on my face. I’m covered with my ideas and giddy at the prospect of which one I’ll turn to next.  I’m in that headspace already, excited about a new publishing idea I have (unrelated to books) but I’ll need partners to carry it off so I have to turn the passion into productivity with proposals, meetings and buy in. I love the puzzle new ideas put forth. How to turn an idea into a living, breathing thing is probably my favorite thing about creativity. Giving birth to something new is exhilarating. My mojo increases tenfold this time of year. What about you?

See what autumn gifts are waiting for you. I find not thinking can often produce the a-ha moments so long walks, fresh air and time to for those fun fall activities can rejuvenate you.

somethingnewcovernookOn a book note, I wanted to thank everyone who supported the “bargain book” deal for Something New this weekend. (.99 ends today on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.) People love a good deal, but also the price has to be right to try something new for them, so I hope it brings some new readers into my fold. The price will then go up to $2.99 which I hope readers still find is a good value.

Visiting a book club in Edmond to discuss my YA novel TWIN FALLS written under pen name Lena Brown.
Visiting a book club in Edmond to discuss my YA novel TWIN FALLS written under pen name Lena Brown.

I’d also like to thank PATTY RANKIN and her book club for reading my young adult novel, TWIN FALLS and letting me visit them in person at Sara Sara Cupcakes in Edmond last week. Great discussion and questions.

Okay, heavy note in the DO NOT PUT OFF LOVE OR YOUR DREAMS department; we know life is short and every day is a gift so let’s put aside hurt feelings and anger and drama and replace them with loving kindness and forging ahead with our dreams; supporting each other in our goals and cherishing our relationships. This past week a member of our movie club passed away so I’d appreciate a special prayer for the family of MIKE CRAKE as well as loving energy for the friends and family of HANNAH DUFFY #DUFFYSATUFFY, who I did not know but was overwhelmed with the tributes to her on Twitter, a 14 year old who passed this weekend from brain cancer. The image of her friends all around her, hugging her on her bed, is seared permanently in my memory bank. They’ll never forget her and I know she took that love with her. In my son’s elementary school, a young boy named HUGH passed, so it will be a difficult time for his classmates, teachers, friends and family as they deal with his unexpected death. Please lift them all up and go hug on your loved ones for me and give strangers a smile and helping hand.

Leaving you with this from Virginia Woolf, which I read at just the right time this week:

Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we—I mean all human beings—are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art

Where Does Creativity Come From?

Sometimes creativity shows up where we least expect it.

In the last week, I found creativity in a luxury home at an open house, at a gathering of beautiful 70 and 80 year-olds at a book club, and even at the state fair.

What does it mean to “find creativity” within yourself and witness it around you?

First, understand that all things have an origin, a purpose and can experience a transformation. New connections can be made to produce a new idea or solution and that gift is available to each of us. I consider my own creativity a series of connecting dots in my life.  It goes beyond the artistic endeavor to living a creative life of wonder and discovery.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty
ˌkrē-āˈtivitē/
noun 1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.
and from Merriam Webster:
1:  the quality of being creative
2: the ability to create
Ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. The term generally refers to a richness of ideas and originality of thinking. Psychological studies of highly creative people have shown that many have a strong interest in apparent disorder, contradiction, and imbalance, which seem to be perceived as challenges. Such individuals may possess an exceptionally deep, broad, and flexible awareness of themselves. Studies also show that intelligence has little correlation with creativity; thus, a highly intelligent person may not be very creative.
I get paid to find solutions for a living and while my creativity as a child began with insatiable curiosity and a love for learning, I’ve found the older I get the more important awareness to people and situations around me and limiting stressors are what keeps me creative and productive. (One’s ‘creativity’ never fully realized means they were producing ideas with nothing to show for them later.)
To be a creative success, we must finish what we start and actively seek out new connections. The very reason I wanted this blog to be about zen, mojo and creativity is because I feel they are so intrinsically connected as to warrant discussion on how to enhance each individually to elevate the whole.
When people ask me, “how are you so creative?” I know it’s not a simple answer, but living a life of engagement and awareness with a strong drive and zeal for identifying problems and creating solutions brings about not only my fictional stories, but an ability to do that for my branding clients. You, too, can become a Seer in the sense that you can accurately predict future developments by identifying the present and bringing about that change you want to see happen. You start connecting the dots with what’s missing? What should be added? What things need to happen here? 
In the case of the luxury open house, the book club and the state fair, I got little answers that I routinely pluck from the Universe like fruit being picked from a vine. I store it in my bucket and build on it from there.
In a future post, we’ll discuss ways to super power your imagination. I have some ideas on ideas!
Start seeing and plucking.
***Book News***
Special thanks to the Phoenix Book Club in Tulsa for asking me to be their guest this week. What an amazing group of ladies and a delicious lunch. I love, love, love getting to celebrate others’ successes so please check out Sonia Gensler’s new ghost story, THE DARK BETWEEN, out in hardback and digital. I’m about 15,000 words in on GEMINI, my second book in the Messengers trilogy, which is about 8K behind where I wanted to be on this day, but I have made time for some extra fun.
Onward! xo

Mojo Interview with Author Brenda Janowitz

First, welcome to all of my new readers who found me due to my sisterhood post last week. Thank you so much for sharing it and letting me know that it has resonated with you. One way I live the Symphony is to nurture sisterhood in my life, and that includes being a part of the Girlfriends Book Club where 40+ women authors share a blog and support each other. Not only are these great writers, but cool chicks. Today join me in welcoming Brenda Janowitz, whose novel, RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE recently launched. I was also fortunate to work on Brenda’s book covers for her first two novels she recently re-released, SCOT ON THE ROCKS and JACK WITH A TWIST.
810v7Y6d6sL._SL1500_Brenda, what makes you feel the most creative?
Everything inspires me!  A beautiful day, a great song, overhearing a conversation at the coffee shop!
Do you have any rituals that get you in a creative mood?
Waste a ton of time on the internet before getting down to it.  Okay, no, that’s not really a ritual, but that IS what ends up happening!!
I’ve always written in the spaces between– a few stolen hours here or there– so I don’t have any rituals.  One thing I always do, though, is keep a notebook and pen handy, and my iPhone Voice Memo app at the ready.  That way, whenever creativity hits– I’m ready to capture it.
My definition of mojo is passionate power of purpose – how do you keep your mojo up for writing?
I love that!  For me, writing is something I have to do.  When I’m not writing, I’m just not myself.  A few years ago, I was going through a really down period.  I was out for dinner with a friend and she asked: “Have you been writing?”  And there it was, clear as day.  I remembered that I needed to write.  It’s what I do.
About RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE
Brenda Janowitz
Author, RECIPE FOR A HAPPY LIFE (St. Martin’s Press July 2, 2013)
www.brendajanowitz.com
twitter.com/BrendaJanowitz
********
BOOK NEWS-

The dates for my FLY Sisterhood Book Tour to promote TWIN FALLS and FAMILY CHARMS has been set! Please save the dates for the following cities and message me if you’ll be able to attend! It’s a girls night out format – food, fun, friendship and books! Flyer coming soon!

Woodward, OK – Wednesday, July 17
Oklahoma City, OK – Thursday, July 25
Wichita, KS – Saturday, July 27
Tulsa, OK – Tuesday, July 30
Frisco, TX – Wednesday, August 7

Six reasons to fully experience the experience. #creativity #mojo

What does “experience” have to do with increasing creativity and mojo? I don’t mean experience in the past-tense as a cumulative effort, but the present moment. Right now, fully feeling whatever experience you’re going through and being fully present when you’re experiencing that moment. Your mind isn’t back in your work day or fast-forwarded to your butt planted in front of the TV or worse, tomorrow’s to-do list (unless you are actively sitting and writing down said list.)

I’ve had the most creative two years of my life as I make small adjustments to my schedule and routine and carefully curate who, what and where my life goes. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t fully present to know (deeply knowing as a feeling) how to make those choices. In the last blog I talked about the importance of taking turns in life – and giving yourself permission to spend time with people and activities. But now I’m taking that a step ahead with HOW you are experiencing those turns.

    1. Enhancing your creativity 

means being fully open to your surroundings – all five senses plus that important sixth sense (awareness of self having the experience, much like wakeful meditation.)

    1. Increasing mojo and learning 

comes from allowing yourself to make the most out of every conversation and situation. Even “mundane” situations can provide very beneficial interactions and even enjoyment. Happiness can simply come from smiling at the mailman. Which I do. Every day. And you *will* miss a learning opportunity if you aren’t fully paying attention. Or miss that turn. Which I still do.

  1. Amplifying gratitude brings more fulfillment and peace. I used to think gratitude was being grateful AFTER the fact, but have found if I practice 24/7 gratitude, I have more meaningful interactions all the time and it’s circular. I’m a witness to the gratitude as well as a beneficiary and messenger for the gratitude.
  2. Mindful living decreases stress. When people say, “I don’t know how you do it,” when they see what I do in my personal and professional life, I can honestly say it’s because I try to be mindful in my actions, assess my mind/body/spirit space continuously so I know when to stop or slow down. I do know the more physically active I am the less stress I feel. (That’s science, not a breakthrough.) But it’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself to “get.” Being mindful also allows that sixth sense (the higher self) to diffuse an ugly situation and not internalize it. I make mistakes ALL THE TIME, but I normally hear about them quickly, don’t freak out, and create a FIX IT plan, whether that’s a revision or an entirely different plan b.
  3. You don’t have to be “zen” to embrace experiential mindful living. However, you WILL become less uptight naturally. Which is the best, right? We’re not forcing ourselves to chill by checking it off a long to-do list. We naturally chill. If you think I’m a hippie “go with the flowy” type, that’s a label that probably wouldn’t stick because I am still a Type A Doer who sees that a Type B mindset can be beneficial to the harmony that we need to not give ourselves heart disease.
  4. You end up attracting what you want in life. (That means actually asking for it, too.) See Thunder story below.

For some us, Seeing/Watching comes pretty natural, too, but we’re also talking about engaging when we can instead of just watching/being. Writers and many creative types are people watchers and can give you amazing details about what they just witnessed or experienced. But that frequency is available to all of us. Tune in instead of tuning out. 

Last night my teen son and I were invited to the Thunder/Memphis NBA playoff in Oklahoma City  with seats in the corner pocket just a few rows up from the floor. The seats were amazing, the excitement and energy of an NBA game is palpable, and I soaked it in. Now the Thunder puts t-shirts they would like players to wear during the game on the chairs as a sponsored freebie during playoff games.) I saw some Memphis fans in the section over and thought, “why not ask them for the shirts?”  So I went up to the young guys, and they gladly handed them over. Then another Memphis fan two seats over gave me HIS shirt, too. And then when I told my friend about the three shirts I’d been given, he handed me his daughter’s shirt (it’s an XL, she’s 5.) So I asked for two shirts and ended up with four. I know that’s a small example of how the law of being mindful works. You often get even more than you ask for! You see an opportunity and have the confidence to go for it. I do the same thing when I’m pitching new client projects (which are valued in the thousands) and in taking risks which can have emotional and financial rewards.

I’ve mentioned before – and it’s worth repeating – that social media CAN enhance connection and mindfulness (such as taking a photo on Instagram to remember later and share your appreciation of it) as long as it doesn’t keep you from connecting with those IN REAL LIFE around you. I’m guilty of this and have to force myself to leave my phone or iPad in another room so I’m not tempted to see what’s happening online. But whatever works for you.

A small gallery from this week on moments I want to remember AND the covers for my upcoming summer books, TWIN FALLS and FAMILY CHARMS (click to see slideshow and captions).

Other Book News:

Get the young adult treasure hunt short story, TREASURE QUEST, by Cara Brookins, free in the Kindle store May 16-18th.

Will be announcing the summer “sisterhood” book tour (virtual and real life) soon! Stay tuned and thanks for reading. I’m also thrilled that my novel FIXER UPPER has overtaken LIFE’S A BEACH as my best seller. I love the story and am glad it’s being recommended and purchased more! I noticed it has only six reviews, so if you’ve read and loved it, I hope you’ll consider taking a  moment to leave a review to tell other readers about it. I appreciate you!

Is JOY on your True Do list?

Standing in front of sixty business people last week, a familiar friend surfaced.

She visited again as I sailed down the hill in my neighborhood on my bike, just feet behind my 7 year-old.

Even more surprisingly, she showed up yesterday afternoon in downtown Edmond while I stood with a camera in front of two girls doing leaps and jumps I won’t even pretend I can pronounce.

The friend? Joy. Not a flesh-and-blood girlfriend, but the emotion that seems to sneak up on me when I least expect it. Why? Because I haven’t put her on the to-do list – which I’ve renamed my True Do list this year.

Last year was my hermit year. I worked like crazy, made good money, and was productive as hell. But. Make that, “BUT!!!” I was a wee bit stressed out, even after I started a regular practice of yoga and meditation (which helps immensely.)

But JOY? Not so much. We had some good times, some good trips, some fun family memories, but I didn’t feel joy. Was it me? Was I so stressed I didn’t let her in or was she so buried under my to-do list I didn’t let her catch a breath? Maybe. But no more.

My True Do list means I’m doing more for fun, for me, for replenishing and recharging. At first I was afraid it would be selfish, but then I realized it included other people! I’m saying yes to getting out there, like speaking to the LOYAL leadership class last week in Oklahoma City. I had a blast speaking about branding and got some great feedback. I thought, “I need to get out more often!” And when my little guy who won’t be little for long asks me to go ride bikes, I say, “yes.” No matter what I’m doing, I take a break and go for a quick ride, which is something I’ve loved to do since I was his age.

In writing DANCE MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE I get to work with one of my best girlfriends and we get to include our dancing daughters, which brings us all closer. That photo shoot was fun because I let it be. The girls were loving it and I got caught up in their energy. I felt young and light and almost like I could jump in the air like them! (But, um, no.)

I think the key to making joy a #truedo is saying yes to the fun, diminishing stress where we can and staying in the present moment where there is only the now, not a what’s-next. If you’re a list-maker like I am, why not keep a list of things that bring us joy? From the little things like putting my favorite creamer in my coffee (mocha) to how much fun I have Saturday mornings in hip-hop to the bliss I feel while gazing up at the moon and stars from my hot tub. What would me on your list?

How can you incorporate more joy in your life? Let me know if it sneaks up on you, too.

xo,

Malena