Having a “TO DO” list is a long time productivity tool. Keep in mind that WHAT you put on the list is more important than anything else. Spend some quality mental time creating a doable daily list. Don’t forget to delegate or eliminate items that are not important. What you choose to spend your time on daily will define where you go and what you do over the long term.


The Secret and our $5,000 windfall!

My husband Greg winning $5,000 in Vegas in June of 2012

Two years ago Marcy Kokot recommended a book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, to my husband and me.  She actually handed us a copy of the book—a recommendation that includes the actual book is hard to ignore!

Marcy is a schoolteacher who also owns multiple rental homes.  My husband and I admire her business sense and respect her judgement, so we agreed to look at the book.

I read it first, while I was on a scouting trip with my daughter, and found it to be interesting but not altogether inspiring.  It was a bit “fluffy” for me and I had a hard time imagining that the methods described in the book would actually work.

The Secret focuses on “the law of attraction” and describes how we can get what we want (anything we want!) by believing and attracting it to us.  In The Secret, Rhonda Byrne takes several famous (and not so famous) figures from the past and present and illustrates how they possessed this secret.  She promises that anybody can use the secret and get exactly what they believe they will get.   Sounds pretty amazing, right?  I found it too amazing and had a hard time believing.

The ideas in the secret were pretty radical for me.   As an avid self-help reader, I was familiar with positive thinking, motivation and the power of believing in yourself.  The idea, however, that a person could literally attract things to them through their thoughts seemed a bit crazy.  I quickly dismissed the book and reluctantly passed it along to my husband to read.   Reluctantly, because I figured he would get a good laugh out of it at best and probably be annoyed that he was wasting time reading it.  I figured he would be disappointed.

You see, my husband Greg is an accountant and a no-nonsense type person.  He is  pretty quick to call something a fraud or scam (sometimes too quick!)  He is very cautious and not one to buy into anything without analyzing it and thinking it through..  I figured, at best, he would get a good laugh out of The Secret.

Much to my surprise–Greg embraced The Secret!  He even bought a second copy of it on audio so he could listen to it as he drove.  He talked about it all the time –he was constantly telling me and the kids he had “used the secret” to get a parking space or a fast moving lane at the store.  He was a 100% believer in this secret and fully believed that this world will bring anything you ask it to bring.

After my initial surprise at his new found “faith”, I didn’t pay much attention.  Honestly, I discounted it and sometimes laughed at him about it.   I wasn’t a believer and couldn’t imagine how the universe would line up to give me a parking space just because I asked for one.  I was busy building an eBay business and didn’t have time for a lot of fluffy, wishful thinking:)

Our vacation came up in June of 2012 and we joined a group of friends for a trip to Vegas.  Greg started talking about winning money about two weeks before we left.  He told me and the kids several times he “was going to win” in Vegas.  He said he wasn’t sure how much, but it would be significant.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but I did remind him that our gambling budget was limited.  I was a little worried that he seemed so certain.  I didn’t want to come back broke!

We were having some remodeling done on the house that summer and he told our contractor, with complete seriousness, “I am going to win enough in Vegas to pay your bill.”  The contractor caught my eye and smiled.  We were both thinking Greg was being pretty darn optimistic.

As you have already guessed, Greg did win.  He won $5,000 during his first 10 minutes (and first $20) playing the slot machines.  They brought the money to us in $100 bills!  We felt very lucky and a little bit rich.  $5,000 is a lot of money!  I couldn’t help but think he had been on to something with this “secret.”

We returned from Vegas and I decided to take another look at The Secret.  $5,000 is a pretty convincing amount of money.  I gained a new respect for that book (go figure!) and went on to read most of the books Rhonda refers to in her writing.  That book led me to a wealth of information and I’ve especially enjoyed Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles.

I know Greg used the power described in The Secret to win $5,000.  I also know we all have similar power within us.  I have brought a few great things into my life using the law of attraction (nothing as specific and exciting as this Vegas story) and would love to hear any similar experiences you have had.







An “Attitude of Gratitude”

Any avid reader of self-improvement books (I’m a bit of an addict) has read over and over about the importance of gratitude.    Oprah used to promote a “gratitude journal”–the idea is simple, write down 10 good things about your day just before you go to bed.  She swore it was a life-changer!  I’m not disciplined enough to do a gratitude journal every single day, but when Oprah calls something a life-changer,  I pay attention.

So, there must be something to this gratitude idea.  I’ve been trying to practice an “attitude of gratitude” this week.

A random list of things I am grateful for this week–no significant order–

1.)  My children are back at school!  I love them -and love summer too- but it was time!

2.)  I hired a great assistant.  She was worth the 20 that I spoke to in order to find her.  She is pleasant and professional and will be a great addition to my team.

3.)  Stuart Turnbull promoted my Grocery Store Goldmines book and we sold a bunch of copies.  I posted a “guest blog” on his site and it was a lot of fun hearing from all his followers.  This has led to email communication with new contacts.  I always enjoy hearing the stories of other entrepreneurs.  I am even further grateful to help them through my experiences.

4.)  Susan Whitehead contacted me to learn more about Grocery Store Goldmines.  We spoke for over an hour.  She has similar interests and comes from a similar place in life (she is also an internet entrepreneur and has a large family.)  I was very inspired to hear her story and learn from her.

5.)  My daughter Adrienne, who broke her collarbone 3 weeks ago, is mending!   Her surgeon said today that she will be able to play the last month of soccer season.  This is a big deal for a 10th grade soccer player.

6.)  My mobile marketing project is starting to build momentum!  I’ve been working with local businesses for awhile and this project is going to be a great way to connect these businesses with their customers.  I love projects that are win-win-win (the business wins, the customer wins and I win!)


7.)  My sister has found a stable home for one of the two kittens she found this week.  I am a huge animal lover and am always happy for adoption stories.

8.)  My husband found an eye doctor he can trust.  He had to drive 90 miles to Chicago to do this, but he has specific and specialized eye issues and I am grateful the right doctor is available for him.

9.)  My seven year old has found a new friend.  They have spent the last two afternoons playing, quietly(!), in our basement.  A friend is an important thing for all of us.

10.) My dad and his wife finally got brave enough to join Skype (we’ll work on Facebook next!)  My kids will be able to visit with them more often and in person.  Skype is awesome for those of us living away from family.  Welcome to the 21st century dad!

I find that what you focus on increases (I know, real Rhonda Byrne type stuff!)  I am going to embrace this attitude of gratitude and see what happens.




“You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

I am an avid reader, constantly devouring books on whatever subjects fall in the realm of my current interest (obsession?!).  Books are the rungs on my ladder that take me from one place to the other.  Usually (I hope) the ladder is pointing upward and sometimes (as it should be) it is laying flat–the ideas and wisdom within the books guide me from one step to the next.

My nightstand is always stacked with a fresh group of books.  An autobiography could be created just from photographs of my nightstand over the years.  From the very young years of Shel Silverstein’s Light in the Attic (a group of poems featuring Sister For Sale) to Judy Blume’s Are You There, God, It’s Me Margaret to Wifey (hidden under my bed after it was forbidden by my mom), I always sought out books that spoke to me and my current place on this amazing ride.

When the kids were “in the oven” and just beginning, that nightstand was covered with books about growing children.   When Adrienne wouldn’t go to sleep I became a Dr. Ferber fan (I heard he later revised the “let them cry it out” strategy–so sorry Adrienne!)  When Liz waited a very long time to speak, the nightstand quickly filled with books on toddlers and talking.  As the girls entered their school years my books were all about teaching, learning and education.  To home school or not?  There was a book.  Setting limits, disciplining, and loving logically–all the strategies could be found between the bindings.

When I was playing my SAHM role, the nightstand would bulge with gardening, cooking and ahhh…fiction books.  Elizabeth Berg, John Grissom and Anita Shreve were always great to have in the car or the diaper bag.

Sadder parts of my life are endured with a good book tucked into my purse.  I read a very funny book (Nick Hornby‘s How To Be Good) when my Aunt Susie was in the hospital for her final days.  I still recall the book I was into when my nephew Anthony died suddenly.  Books are sometimes easier companions than people when there are no words to make things better.

I haven’t been reading much fiction lately (although I fake it pretty good at our neighborhood book club), but every time I do pick up a good piece of fiction, I think “I should do this more!”  Frankly, I sometimes need to get out of my own head.

I have found that during these past years I’m always looking for practical answers when I read.  Last season I bought every eBay strategy book I could find and held tight onto Titanium eBay by Skip McGrath.  I was determined to learn all I could about internet selling.

Late last summer I became a big fan of Rhonda Byrn”s The Secret and steadily read through many of the books referred to within it.  The ancient ideas with these bindings are inspiring and life-changing.  I really believe this.

This season, trying to balance eBay, a new ebook, internet marketing and the rest of my world, I’ve been inspired by Tim Ferris’s Four Hour Work Week (the title idea is still quite elusive I’m afraid) and Seth Godin’s Linchpin (thanks San Diego friends for the recommendation!)  I am not sure what is coming next although I met an author on an airplane recently and he just sent me an interesting memoir–it is patiently waiting on my nightstand.

What are your reading?  And why?  I have a rule that if two friends from different social groups recommend the same book to me I try to read it.  Please share your favorite book or author with me, I’d love to hear about it.