Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Great Gateway Home for Sale. Great Neighborhood. Great for Kids. Great Deal.

I want to share an experience with you about the power of the Internet and email newsletters. Our neighborhood has an email newsletter started by one of the business people, Ed Ryan, who owns Fort Myers Fitness. It's called the Gateway Gazette

This newsletter goes out at least once a week -- sometimes I swear it's daily -- to about 2,000 people who live and do business in and around Gateway. I work out at Fort Myers Fitness, so I asked Ed about placing an ad for my house in the Gazette. He included it in today's issue, and within 30 minutes or so, I had already received one call and one email about it! That's more activity than we've had in 3 weeks on the MLS!

One person I spoke with said they never would have known about the house if it were not for the Gazette! How cool!

Now, the Gazette is no ordinary newsletter. It's written by a very charismatic, opinionated (I mean that in the nicest way, Ed) person. People LOVE to see what he will say next! I think the Florida Weekly newspaper has given Ed an award for the Gazette two years in a row! 

Now, if you want to find out more about this fantastic family home in a fantastic family neighborhood, check out this link! Please share it with anyone you know who might be looking for a home in the Fort Myers area! You never know who might like it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I experienced an act of kindness last week that moved me to tears, and I have been excited to find time to share it with you.

Our family is without medical insurance for 2 weeks since Paul changed jobs. We realize that is a serious issue, and we discussed it. If something major came up, we would use COBRA, if something minor came up, we would self-pay.

As luck would have it, one of us came down with something that needed medical attention. You'd think it was one of the kids, but, no, it was me. I called the doctor's office and spoke to the nurse and tried to see if there was any way around coming in, but there was not. I knew they were right, so in I went, planning to self-pay. The office staff told me they would discount my price for the visit if I paid in full that day. I was fine with that, although stressed to have to spend that kind of money at all right now...and in disbelief that this would happen in the teeny, tiny 2-week window that I was without medical coverage.

My nurse told me I would have to see a different doctor -- one I had never seen before in all of my years at that practice. I was a bit nervous about it, but she assured me I would love him. She said he was sweet.

He was! I liked him right away. During my time with him, I explained the temporary lack of medical insurance and that I couldn't believe this would happen in this itsy, bitsy 2-week window, and, by the way, can we find a way to keep the prescription cost low? I was actually pretty stressed out about it, and I think the doctor sensed that.

My visit went well. The doctor was fantastic and assured me he would help out. That made me feel a little more relieved. Then he told me the prescription would probably only cost $10, or so. Sweet!

After the visit, I went to the check-out counter to pay, and the clerk said, "Oh, there's no charge today." "Huh?" I said. Then, she said, "Look, he circled 'no charge;' you're all set."

That's when the tears came. I was shocked. I didn't expect that at all. I didn't know what to say or do at that moment. I wanted to go back and say "thank-you," but I figured he was already in with another patient, and the tears might cause a scene. So I walked out to my car bawling and decided I would send a heart-felt thank you note, instead.

Why was I so moved by this? What that doctor did was about more than money. It was about taking care of patients – the whole patient, not just the symptoms. He took one component of my stress right out of the picture. He made it disappear. And by doing that, he helped my outlook on the other stressful parts of my life.

That experience has left a very big impression on me. It filled my heart with joy, hope, gratitude and motivation to pay it forward. Amazing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Michael Buble Has it Right

I love Michael Buble's song, "Haven't Met You Yet." But every time I hear it, I am drawn to the part where he says, "I give so much more than I get." What an awesome philosophy for relationships! It's how it should be. Ideally, we should be freely giving our love to our loved ones without expecting anything in return.

In relationships, I think we naturally tend to be selfish and constantly wonder, "What's in it for me? If I do this for you, what will you do for me?" It's nobody's fault. It's the way we were raised. That's how life starts as a kid. But now that we're adults, it's time to change that type of thinking -- especially when it comes to the relationship with our significant other -- the most important relationship of all.

If we focus on what we are doing for our significant other, instead of what they are not doing for us, we will feel so much happier.

Instead of thinking things like, "if only he would send me flowers," or "if only he would offer to help me clean the kitchen," shift your focus to thinking about what you can do for your spouse. What would help him or her out today? Could you make a call for him or run an errand for her? Maybe it's something as simple as telling them how great they look that day. If you take the time to try this tactic, I think you'll see it works really well!

I'm not saying you should never sit your partner down and talk to them about things you would like them to do for you, you should still do that. I'm just proposing that we should not to get so caught up in the negative thoughts about what they are not doing. Next time you catch yourself with a thought like that, replace it with something that you will do for your partner that day. A specific action like the examples I mentioned above.

Check out this story I found online:

A woman wanted to divorce her husband and make him really suffer. So she went to a lawyer and told him, “I want to divorce my husband. I know that I am going to get control of most of his assets, but I want to make his life miserable. What could I do?”

“Have you told him yet?” the attorney asked. She hadn’t.

“OK,” he continued. “Here’s the plan. For three months, don’t criticize him. Speak only well of him and build him up. Every time he does something right, commend him for it and tell him what a great guy he is. Do that for 12 weeks. When he thinks he has your full confidence and love – nail him! Tell him you’re filing for divorce. It will come as a complete shock!”

The woman loved the plan and was confident her husband would fall for it. For three months she complimented him, built him up, and said wonderful things to him.

One day the lawyer called her back. “Are you ready to file?” he asked. “Oh, no,” the woman said. “We won’t be needing your services. In fact, we’re having a second honeymoon!”

By taking a more positive tack and building up her husband, she actually helped to turn her marriage around and make it better than ever.

Food for thought!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Because I think it could improve the lives of everyone on this planet, I've been moved to share something I've learned through my work with my life coach. That something is the concept of putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

When you are having a disagreement or an argument with your spouse or a  friend or your mother and you are having trouble seeing eye-to-eye on the matter, STOP. Stop the conversation. Stop thinking about the issue from only your perspective. Ask yourself, "How does he or she feel?" It will work like magic! You will suddenly know what you need to do! It's amazing.

I'll put myself (and Paul and Tyler) out there and share a story with you. One afternoon, Paul, Tyler and I were walking outside in the grass. Paul and Tyler started roughing around, pushing each other. Eventually, one of Paul's pushes was too much for Tyler and he hit the ground. I gasped at the sound his body made when it hit the ground. It was a loud thump. Tyler started crying. Then, Paul accused me of making Tyler cry by gasping.

That thought was crazy to me. He wasn't crying because I gasped, he was crying because he hit the ground. I thought I was being somewhat rational and told Paul not to tell me how to react when my son hits the ground, and I wouldn't tell him not to push my son to the ground. We were at an impasse. Paul was convinced I made Tyler cry, and I was convinced I did nothing wrong by gasping -- what mother doesn't gasp when her kids fall?

At that point, we dropped the issue, but it was still bothering me. Here's where the magic comes in. I brought the issue up with my life coach, Lynne. The first thing she asked was, "How do you think Paul felt when his push caused Tyler to fall to the ground?"

I said, "Oh. I never thought about how he felt. I guess he felt bad. They were just having fun. He didn't mean for Tyler to get hurt." I continued with a little epiphany, "Then, when I gasped, he probably thought it was in disapproval for pushing Tyler, but it wasn't ... I knew they were goofing around. I gasped at the sound of Tyler hitting the ground."

So Lynne said, "Then, what could you have said to Paul after Tyler fell instead of defending yourself for gasping?" Honestly, I struggled with this -- I was still thinking about defending myself. I needed some coaxing from Lynne. She suggested I could have said something to address Paul's feelings like, "Oh, don't worry, he's fine. You didn't mean to hurt him. This was just an accident." That would have let him know I didn't blame him, which I didn't.

It wasn't until Lynne got me out of my own head and into Paul's that I could handle this situation. Thinking about what Paul was thinking and feeling diffused my own defensiveness and created a channel of understanding and communication.

After my conversation with Lynne, I shared what I learned with Paul and we both apologized for our part. It was a great learning lesson. And that's just a minor little thing. Imagine if you could use this technique on much bigger, emotional issues!! Give it a try! I assure you, it will make a difference in your life!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

Have you ever seen the Diving Bell and The Butterfly? It's a movie that was released in 2008. 

Here's a quick overview: On December 8 1995 at 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby, inventive and charismatic editor in chief of the French magazine Elle suffered a massive stroke and his brain stem was rendered inactive. After lapsing into a coma, he awoke 20 days later to find himself the victim of locked-in syndrome - mentally alert but a prisoner inside his own body, his only means of communicating with the outside world the blinking of his left eye.

Forced to adjust to this unique perspective, Bauby created a new world for looking into himself to find the only two things that weren't paralyzed, his imagination and his memory. At The Maritime Hospital in France he was taught an alphabet, a code in the order of the most frequently used letters in the French alphabet. Letter by letter, painstakingly words, sentences and paragraphs tell the story of a profound adventure into the human psyche and into the battle between life and death. This alphabet unlocked the prison of Jean-Dominique's body which he called his Diving Bell and travelled the border-less regions of freedom that he called The Butterfly. 

Watching this movie was an assignment for my life coaching class. Why, you ask, would a movie like this be a class assignment? Because it's so inspiring. It shows that anything in life is possible. It's up to us – we have a choice in life to suffer or to soar. 

Jean-Dominique at first wanted to die after waking up from his coma and realizing he was “locked in” – who could blame him – but when he realizes he still has his imagination and his memories, he uses them to write a book. Yes, this man wrote an entire book by blinking his one working eye.

This tells me that any excuse I have for not going after my dreams in life are lame. If a man who is paralyzed from head-to-toe and is unable to speak can write a book by blinking one eye, I can surely accomplish anything I set my mind to! 

This movie shows us that there is no obstacle too great. When the going gets tough, get creative, like Jean-Dominique's therapist did by devising the system for him to communicate. 

Although the prognosis was grim, Jean-Dominique's therapists did not give up on him. They never stopped trying to improve his quality of life, and he achieved one of his life goals of writing a book. He still lived his life to the best of his ability. Amazing. Moving. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How our Realtor got the kids involved in the sale of our home

When we hired Sandee Bozzuto to sell our home, we were looking for qualities like her knowledge of real estate, the current market and our community, but what we were not expecting was the way she involved our children in this life-changing event.

To start, I must say the kids took an immediate liking to her and made her little gifts the first time she came over. It was so sweet!

The next day, when she brought Paul and I our contract to sign with her, she also brought Tyler and Alyssa their own Coldwell Banker folder with a coloring sheet and a Kids Contract.

She spent time with each of them individually going over their contract. It was kid-friendly and printed in full-color -- really cute! The Kids Contract is the official agreement between Sandee and the kids that they will keep their room clean every day, pick up their clothes, put away their clothes and make their bed. She told the kids that their efforts will help her show the house and sell it.

They ate it up! I think she could have gotten away with that, because they liked her so much, but she promised to give them each a $25 gift card for keeping their end of the contract. Wow!

It was such a fun experience for all of us. I really appreciated that this seemingly minor effort for Sandee was doing something so significant for our children. As we all know, moving to another state is a very big deal, and part of helping children cope with it is to make the experience an adventure. This experience with Sandee certainly qualifies as that.

Not to mention the fact that Tyler made his bed today for the first time ever!!!!! How cool is that! Thank you, Sandee!