#33 Have a Photo Shoot

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#33

Have a Photo Shoot

You may be part of the population that has an annual family photo shoot for the purpose of sending Christmas cards or you’ve hired a photographer to take generation photographs when the family is all together but have you ever just had a photo shoot for fun? A professional photographer is not required. All you need is a great location, a willing subject, and a smartphone or nice camera. The new iPhones take better photographs than the $1000 camera that is only a couple of years old.

Silly Fun

If you’re a professional model, this may not sound fun at all but if not – this could be an activity full of fun and laughter; especially with a bunch of friends or someone special. You can take turns using the camera to capture funny faces, funny poses, and action shots of all that silliness. After all, sometimes, the best photos are the ones that are completely spontaneous.

Boudoir Shoot

How about a sexy shoot with class? – that’s the idea behind the Boudoir shoot. It’s definitely NOT pornography and definitely DOES capture the inner sultry of whomever is the subject. They make wonderful gifts for both men and women.  And, you don’t have to be in a relationship to justify having the shoot – it can build confidence for people of all shapes and sizes. This may be an area where hiring a professional is best, their ability to position and light you to maximize your best features will pay off.

Natural and Candid

You could fashion a backdrop and ‘stage’ a session for your shoot but a natural environment where your camera operator is able to capture candid images is often much nicer. Find a playground, a creek bed, or another favorite outdoor place to take your pictures. You might even have a friend follow you while you engage in your typical daily activities so they can seize any moments that find you immersed in your truest self.

Glam Shots

If you can’t get the shot you’re going for, try Glamour Shots, a franchised photography studio that specializes in ‘glamming’ you up and posing you in an effort to capture your best features. They offer props and backdrops of all kinds to ‘set the stage’ for dramatic and beautiful photography. In some cases, they offer makeup, wardrobe, and styling services. Think one-stop-shop for professional photography.

It doesn’t matter if you take this suggestion and go professional or if you grab a friend, your smartphone, and get out of the house, you’re apt to have a lot of fun and permanent memories if you take the time to…

Have a photo shoot.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#38 Try Stand Up Comedy

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#38

Try Stand Up Comedy

I can only imagine how many people read this suggestion as a way to improve your life and laugh out loud because it may be the farthest thing from something that sounds fun. I suspect there are only two basic perspectives here…  one being that “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up and try to be funny because I’m not” or even if you think you could be funny… “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up in front of strangers”. And still… I stand by the recommendation.

Finding Funny

Everyone has a funny side or at the very least, comedic memories; stories of times when the absurdity of life found you belly laughing. The longer you’ve lived, the more you have to relate with. But, you don’t have to be on the older side if you are a good observer. There’s a lot of funny in the world and your ability to see it and describe it to other people is what makes good comedic material. In many of the basic struggles that we experience as humans, there is a humorous perspective. Some of the most famous comedians have been able to elaborate on the light side of everyday conflicts; relationships, work, raising children, proposals, traffic, etc.

Writing Funny

Where many of us lose the momentum is between writing the ideas and crafting the ‘script’ of the story. The website CreativeStandup.com offers some great advice about “understanding the principles of comedy” versus “applying rules and techniques”.  In some cases, it’s better to record yourself telling the tales and then have the recording transcribed and begin working from that point. In that way you are breaking the creative process into two distinct pieces but allowing the ‘material’ to flow naturally. There are several highly rated transcription services (apps) that are relatively inexpensive.

Presenting Funny

Once you have a few ideas and a routine you’re comfortable with, try an Open Mic night at a local comedy club. It’s a great way to face any fear of public speaking because people are ‘supposed to be laughing at you’. It’s a great night out with friends if everyone is participating and an awesome way to work on confidence and esteem.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘everyone’s a comic!’ – although notably it may have been a sarcastic expression at the time but there’s a little bit of truth in most sarcasm. Use this as fuel to recall some of your most memorable personal experiences, tell the story with as much absurdity as it can support, and …

Try stand up comedy.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#66 Help A Friend

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#66

Help A Friend

I imagine many of you do this without encouragement and yet in our very busy lives, we either fail to notice when a friend needs help and/or we don’t offer for fear of offending their autonomy. For some, a fear of getting into another’s business creates hesitation in offering assistance.

Of course this is a common practice when someone is sick, having a baby, or moving. We extend a helping hand eagerly. This suggesting is designed not for those times, but for the others that are not as obvious.

No Matter the Task

When you discover that someone is spending their weekend painting the living room or weeding their gardens, a dinner would be very helpful. After all, who wants to spend all day working up a sweat outdoors and then go inside to pull together a meal? Childcare or lending a hand may also be welcomed help. Do you have supplies that may make the job easier? An offer to come with the proper tools could prove to be invaluable. One of my dearest friends offers to come by and share my cleaning chores just to be helpful even though I like to think that my company is that entertaining! : )

Define Help

Before deciding what you think that your friend may need, make the effort to know what activity would be helpful. Some ideas of ‘help’ actually hinder without intent, sometimes, making a task even more difficult. What may seem as if it would make things easier for you, may not seem so by your friend. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to ask “How can I help?”, “I love to [weed] – can I help?”, or “Let me help you”.

This kind of help really goes beyond just ‘doing a good deed’ or a ‘random act of kindness’ as it is less impulsive and more intentional. It’s a way of ‘being’ with a friend while giving the most important gift. Perhaps for the new year we can all make the effort to be more aware of when our friends can use a helping hand and commit a piece of ourselves to…

Help a friend.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#82 Create a Plan

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#82

Create a Plan

Any good life coach or business development coach will tell you that the secret to success is a plan. We can easily relate to this concept if we understand that many aspects of our life are akin to building a house. Every house that’s ever been built began with a vision and then moved into the planning stage and a blueprint is designed.

Blueprint

The blueprint is the base ‘plan’. It’s a conceptual illustration of how things ‘could’ work with all systems in place and in the absence of major changes. It’s a starting point and a visual from which to work.

In your plan, this means writing things down… make a list – create a binder – build a vision board, etc.

Foundation

The next step is to lay the foundation. This may be the most important piece as everything else is supported by this base and many of us have witnessed first hand what happens to a house when there is a deficiency in the foundation.

In your plan, this means education – training – experience, etc.

Construction

Few of us have ever built a house single-handedly. Indeed, most of them are built with the cooperation and coordination of people who are there in support of the entire project and they are aware of the ‘plan’.

In your plan, this means family – friends – experts, etc.

Work Order Changes

Sometimes, as we move about the construction, the plan on paper doesn’t actually work the way we thought it would in real life. When something needs to be changed there’s a mini plan developed to accommodate the shift. Most often, it’s no big deal. Sometimes, it’s a major repositioning and we need the support of everyone involved and maybe even a bolster to the foundation. Some houses get built with very little deviation from the primary plan. When I did it, there were 22 work order changes; the irony of it is not lost on me.

In your plan, these modifications may be health – relationships – money, etc.

When the foundation is in great shape, the alterations are handled efficiently. When it isn’t – sometimes you go back to square one and adjust the original plan in detail.

It’s really very simple. Life is just one big, personal house that we begin designing in adolescence with a vision of who we are and what we want for ourselves. The biggest mistake that we make is going into adulthood without a blueprint for how it will unfold. Maybe you did but there’ve been so many ‘renovations’ along the way that you now need to go through each room to make sure that they meet the conditions set forth with the current revision. It’s a process many of us can benefit from every couple of years.

If you never did implement a formal design… it’s never too late. Take the time to consider your future and …

Create a plan.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#94 Celebrate a Friend

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#94

Celebrate a Friend

Friendship is a gift. In the longest longitudinal study of human development ever conducted, it was ascertained that friendship is critical to our mental health and directly impacts our physical health. A good friend wears many hats and by helping us make critical decisions, cope with stress, and rebound from illness. A good friend may literally make the difference between life and death at a critical point whether it is holding our hand during an emotionally weak moment or donating a kidney, bone marrow, or genetic material so that we can start a family. A good friend deserves to be celebrated.

Appreciation

When was the last time you demonstrated solid appreciation for the friends in your life? If you’ve been remiss, now is a great time to reconcile your gratitude. Consider hosting a “[Barbara]Appreciation Day”. It may look very simple – a handwritten card with expressions of acknowledgement. It could be a PB&J picnic or treating him/her to a nice lunch at their favorite restaurant. It could be a full-on surprise party or celebration that catches them off guard and for the sole reason that they’ve been instrumental in your life. The point is to acknowledge their contribution to your overall well being as you…

Celebrate a friend

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#107 Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#107

Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

Yesterday’s post – recommending that we occasionally ask for a hug – spoke to the importance of feeling connected – to  having a sense of belonging. This suggestion is another that will help foster the sensation of ‘belonging’ by bringing together those people that constitute our tribe.

Early Start

We may start developing the need to surround ourselves with favorite peeps as early as those playgroups that mom drug us to. For others, that desire began in daycare or school but either way – it only blossoms. Soon, we are asking for sleepovers and ‘hanging out’; we want to be encircled by other like-minded souls as often as possible. This is especially true through adolescence when we begin discovering how we are different from our family of origin and downright ‘need’ the sense of sameness.

Grown-up Play Dates

Our need for friendship and belonging doesn’t change as we mature. It does however, become more difficult to get those needs met as we marry, have children, full-time jobs and the daily responsibilities of home life. Our giggling late night conversations with our best friends are few and far between. Those nights that metaphorically ‘fill our gas tank’ are rare unless we make them happen. Hence, the need to have a girls or guys weekend.

Keep it Simple

While it’s great to get out and ‘do’ things while you’re with friends, some of the best parts of a friend weekend is to keep it simple. Life is busy enough as it is so a getaway weekend may best be served by taking it easy next to a beach, swimming pool, or fireplace with a bottle of wine or a bowl of popcorn. If there is too much planned activity, there may not be room for the conversations and connection for which the weekend was designed.

Likewise, the goal is friendship and bond strengthening so it can be short and inexpensive – one night at a campground; or longer and deluxe – a long weekend in Cabo. It can be just one friend or a dozen as long as drama, personality differences, and complaints stay home.

Gender differences

Generally, men like to ‘do’ things and can find comradery in building a barn, hunting, skiing, or gaming. Indeed – plenty of gents splurge on annual outings for many of those reasons and for some, it’s the only real ‘friend’ time they get during the year as family responsibilities prevail. Women seem to be better at planning short and sweet visits together more often, saving the long and expensive trips to enjoy with their significant others.

No matter the style, budget, or program – fostering, building, and strengthening a sense of belonging is the ultimate goal when you make plans to …

Have a Girls/Guys Weekend

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#111 Run or Walk a 5K

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#111

Run or Walk a 5K

The weekend before Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s typically a popular weekend for ‘Turkey Trots’ and other big, sponsored runs. Why not make the effort to participate?

Perspective

To put this into perspective – most walkers will complete a 5K in about 45 minutes. It’s only about 6000 steps for the average stride (a piece of cake – or pie – for all of you who seek that 10K step goal) and you’ll burn 300 calories. Running of course, will be faster and burn more calories.

Benefits

While walking a 5K once and only once will feel like an accomplishment to those who participate, making it a regular practice has tons of benefits for you body and mind.

Walking improves your mood.

Walking improves your body strength.

Walking improves your cardiovascular strength.

Walking improves your balance and coordination.

Motivation

Maybe the best thing about these ‘organized’ walk/runs like a 5K is that they motivate us to do it with others – to be ‘a part’ of something. We tend to do these kinds of things more frequently if we have moral support in the form of crowds. It’s easier to participate with someone than if we have to make the decision to get up and out on our own.

So, gather some friends and jumpstart your holidays with something that is good for you…

Run or walk a 5K.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#141 Drop in on a Friend for Coffee or Dessert.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#141

Drop in on a friend for coffee or dessert.

My mother used to say that if you were coming to see her home you needed to call first but if you were coming to see her… you could come at anytime. She had an open door policy and as such – she was loved dearly by all of the people who knew that the coffee was hot in the pot all day long.

These days, we monitor our doorbells from our cell phones and ‘dropping in’ has become somewhat socially awkward; a lost tradition it seems. Yet, the surprise that someone takes time to stop by and check on us – to lean on us – to engage, is timeless. It’s an endorphin shot if we can step back from the idea that our house isn’t clean, our bed isn’t made, and our mascara is from yesterday.

If you’re worried that you may not be received well by just ‘stopping in’ then I suggest you check with your friends to see if they’re game; kind of ‘advanced permission’ to stop by unannounced. With that consideration, you’ll have no excuses.

Another suggestion is to take the coffee or dessert. While this isn’t necessary of course, it’s a great gesture. These days it can be as simple as a drive through Dunkin on your way or showing up with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia! In both cases, your thoughtfulness will likely be appreciated in case your friend just drank that last cup of coffee or didn’t serve dessert that night.

In the days of social media and instant connection, I think these little traditions could use a comeback… Ask for permission if necessary or just go ahead and …

Drop in on a friend for coffee or dessert.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#162 Ask Friends and Family for Feedback

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#162

Ask Friends and Family for Feedback

One of the most basic tenets of self-awareness is to understand how you are perceived by people in your environment. There’s no better way to get honest feedback than to ask those who know you best. It’s one of the homework assignments that students in The Elevate Class complete and the results are always a major part of our coaching conversations.

Be Open

Being open to the constructive criticism that people share is a necessity. Your ability to hear their perspectives without feeling attacked or ‘bad’ can help you understand how you are perceived by others. Try to remember that people who love you offer a view that is shared from a place of acceptance; they love you – anyway! It’s always interesting to see things about yourself that can’t be seen from the inside out.

Changes

Not everything that is observed needs to be changed. You are who you are! If an observation suggests offensive behavior, of course you’ll want to consider how it is impacting someone you love and ask yourself if that’s what you’re goal is… It may be just something you want to stay aware of so that you can mitigate its negative impact – where applicable. Perhaps it is something that when changed, would benefit your relationship.

Seeing Ourselves

Sometimes, we look at something so long that we stop seeing it – having become so accustomed to its presence. The feedback we receive is important for a complete picture. If you’re concerned that the response may be too critical – qualify your request by asking this:

“Please offer gentle and constructive critique about my behavior/actions and how they impact our relationship: a mix of positive and negative observations would be appreciated.”

I suggest the response be written so that you can take time to consider their perspectives and your memory won’t be challenged in recalling the comments; email is fine… texting not so much.

Fear

The biggest pushback that I typically see to this suggestion is the fear we experience when we think that our faults are going to be highlighted. We have a deep seeded belief that if we bring attention to them, somehow people will think less of us. Interestingly enough – those traits are always exposed… just because we don’t acknowledge them, doesn’t mean they don’t show through. It’s always better to brave the exposure. Nothing changes if it stays packed away… even if no change is desired, keeping it out in front will make sure that it stays healthy.  So, give yourself an opportunity to grow and …

Ask friends and family for feedback.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Yolanda Sun on Unsplash