Surprising Life Lessons from 14 Days in Greece (part 2)

July 12th, 2014

My husband George and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a 14-day Rick Steves tour of Greece. This was our first trip to Greece and we were both excited and a bit nervous about being away from our home and work for such a long time. Travel has a way of teaching you who you are, what you value and also new things about the world you are part of.

Here is the second installment of the remaining 7 important life lessons that became clear during this journey.

8. Indulge without apology: When on vacation, there are many tempting new opportunities to indulge in sweets, drinks and extra loafing around. If you are a health and fitness minded person, this may create some inner conflict. Relax! These moments are exactly the reason that someone came up with the 80/20 rule. Long-term health is not about diet perfection. As long as you have healthy habits to return to after vacation, you might as well indulge and enjoy. Your diet and rigorous exercise protocols will be there when you get home. It was interesting to me that in spite of my indulgences in afternoon cappuccinos, beer with meals and plenty of gelato and baklava, I was able to maintain my weight. I also found it puzzling that I never craved chocolate like I do at home while on vacation. I actually carried an emergency dark chocolate bar in my backpack for 2 full weeks and never cracked it open! My body somehow found a natural way to stay in balance without it. It sure was fun breaking the rules for a few days and also easy to get back on track too.

9. Tread carefully and alert others to danger: The ancient Greek sites seem to have one thing in common – they are all on top of mountains of rock. Thanks to thousands of years and millions of little feet treading on those steep stairs and uneven rocks, today’s visitor will find the paths are often slick and especially hazardous to someone who isn’t paying attention or wearing sturdy shoes. Our guides were good at reminding us to be careful. It is so easy to get distracted by an amazing view or when trying to take a photo that you can risk your safety. We were lucky to be traveling with a group of really kind people who constantly helped each other, pointing out hazards so that they could be navigated with greater care. May it be a lesson for life in general – pay attention and help others do it too.

10. Connect with stories: When you go to a place filled people, artifacts, archeological sites and ruins, stories are what make it all come alive. Our guides told stories to help us see the humor and practicality of ancient life, including myths, as well as stories of war, tragedy and loss. Some of the best tales we heard came from a modern perspective through our delightful and handsome bus driver George. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about modern Greece through stories he shared with us at dinner about serving in them military, how he met his wife, his recent wedding celebration, love of basketball and what it’s like working an olive farming operation. Stories are far more than information – they create beautiful bonds of connection.

11. Trust and say “YES”: Take a chance to have a little adventure. If you get an invitation for something new, unfamiliar or unexpected, AND you trust the person who reaches out, go ahead and say YES. During one of our stops in Greece, it turned out that there were not enough rooms at our assigned hotel. As a consequence, our guide asked for volunteers to go to another hotel. She explained it would require a climb up a steep hillside taking us further away from town. George and I quickly stepped up, without knowing where we would be going. In this case, the invitation turned out to be a 4 star hotel rated #1 on Trip Advisor. We had a prime room, beautiful gardens, friendly innkeepers and an outstanding view from our mountain perch. Saying yes got us something better than we ever imagined.

12. Dance! When you go to Greece, an invitation to dance will be a possibility. Our guide assured us that a night of music and dancing was planned as part of our tour itinerary. I intended to jump at the chance to dance, but figured this would not be something my husband would ever care to do. Imagine my surprise when George was selected to participate in one of the most animated parts of the show. Not only did he dance, he embellished, jumped, did a pushup to pick up a shot of wine from the floor and fully entertained us. After 30 years of marriage I never imagined that! Everyone in our group danced and laughed, sharing many memories that we no only witnessed, but fully experienced. Physical memories are unforgettable.

13. Honor conservation: European hotels have many measures in place to save energy, water and other resources. We were encouraged to reuse towels and every hotel we stayed at had a little slot inside the room where you placed your key to turn the power on in the room. This also meant that when you left your room and took the key, the AC, power and lights immediately shut off. While this was occasionally annoying when we wanted to charge our electronic devices, it was a smart way to save energy. Why don’t we do this in hotels in the USA?

14. Appreciate the comforts of home: One of the best parts about vacation is coming home to a soft bed, familiar foods and the creature comforts that are so easy to take for granted. Did you know that flushing toilet paper is forbidden in Greece? You’d think with all of the advanced developments that began in ancient Greece they would have solved the TP challenge by now. Alas, they are still working on it. In the meantime, appreciate the good stuff around you today and saluting the Greeks each time you enjoy the comfort of TP flushing!

No matter where you go, travel is an opportunity for relaxation, connection, growth, awareness and experiencing life in new ways. Planning a trip is half the fun too. I’m already planning my next adventure – a cruise to the Caribbean in late February 2015. Maybe you’d like to join us. We have a great group rate and some special bonuses, including free beverages if you sign up by July 30. Click on the link below to get all the details.

http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001WUrin08H7O-TXd5FTmQ1_IyUxujCFMcFxcW0inEXXVc63v55oU10cc9D2sEvUGK_JW37cdge9L5aZb9FO8btgo-8u308jsUN8WPsL_vxD30mGexTXN3_xAj4qs4uO_VlJBgmRtp72HzzdRJB6zg3go36woSG6sYP0y0DTcaPChJmgpNK0AAl9d_moB6R2AjjhfPwHpgoXE0=

Surprising Lessons from 14 Days in Greece (Part 1)

July 9th, 2014

My husband George and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a 14-day Rick Steves tour of Greece. This was our first trip to Greece and we were both excited and a bit nervous about being away from our home and work for such a long time. Travel has a way of teaching you about who you are, what you value and also new things about the world you are part of. These are great coaching lessons for anybody to apply. Whether you plan a trip or just want a better life at home, they are worth sharing.

Here are the first 7 of 14 surprising lessons that became clear during this journey.

1. Use THEIR words: Language is an important connector. My husband is a smart guy who immediately asked our Athens cab driver to share a few key phrases to convey “hello”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. George began using these phrases immediately and you could witness the change in the room and the emergence of smiles when he did. Even though most Greeks typically knew English too, his effort made a great impression. I soon followed suit. Wherever you are, using words most familiar to the person you are with creates immediate connection. Do it with intention and see what happens.

2. Thrive with less: Our tour required that we bring ONLY one carry-on bag and one small daypack. While this initially sounded impossible, with careful choice of clothing (white, blue and black) and 2 pairs of flat shoes, it worked beautifully. No need to check luggage, a money belt instead of a purse, and giving up high heels for two weeks was liberating. We moved swiftly from place to place, took the stairs with our bags and never had to worry about lost or stolen stuff. Life is about the memories, not the stuff. If you’ve got too much stuff, consider experimenting with less.

3. Try new things: A benefit of this kind of tour is that the tour provides an average of 2 of your three meals each day. The guide typically orders the food and choses local specialties. It’s often something you wouldn’t order if you were on your own, yet it arrives and you try it. Sometimes you love it and sometimes it’s just okay, but by the end of the trip, you have had some amazing meals that reflected the people, the land and their culture. The experience is priceless and memorable, even if you didn’t like what you tried.

4. Watch the world go by: Europe is a marvelous place for people watching and street cafes are the best grandstands on the planet. We had plenty of free time in our journey and chose to use it at cafes where we indulged in the local beers or a cappuccino fredo (iced coffee) with a complimentary dish of a crunchy snack. It was fun to try to guess where people were from before they spoke a word and to watch families, couples and groups interacting. You can learn a great deal about culture through observation. Add a cool drink and it becomes effortless.

5. Trust an expert guide: As in life, finding an expert to lead the way saves time and money while adding incredible value. Our tour provided us with Anastasia, a certified professional and native Greek guide with 20 years experience leading tours as our constant for the 14 days. She was funny, organized and well prepared for each site and knew how to tell stories that kept our attention. Her laughter was contagious. In addition, 4 other local guides were brought in as we visited each archaeological site or museum to help give focused expertise. They were exceptional at making history come alive and conveying their passion. If you travel to Europe on your own, seriously consider hiring a guide. The Rick Steves tour books (available at most libraries) provide names you can trust too.

6. Ask! Speaking up, asking questions and simply expressing your curiousity will make any experience in life a little easier. When it comes to travel in a new place, it is even more essential. It was easy to get lost in a country where the alphabet is different and street signs become impossible to read. Don’t delay when the answer may be right under your nose. Never underestimate the power of asking.

7. Find the humor: In all honesty, travel opens up many possibilities for physical discomfort ranging from hard beds, strange bathrooms, digestive distress and jet lag. If you can find a way to laugh about it as you commiserate with your new friends, the pain is neutralized and connections are made. At one hotel, remembering a moveable shower nozzle, a non-existant shower curtain and explosive water pressure, my experience could only be described as “wrestling snakes.” Now, as I think about how that shower experience completely destroyed that bathroom, I can’t help but crack up.

Stay tuned for the next 7 lessons coming soon. You can find some of my photos from the trip at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152493295251544.832366543&type=3

Two Stories from a Notably Absurd Day

June 20th, 2014


Today I found myself laughing about two scenes that happened yesterday. I am realizing that as bad as it seemed at the time, things could have been worse and there are lessons to be gained. I’ve decided that it is worth writing about so I might share if for the humor of it all. It’s always funnier when it didn’t happen to you.

Scene 1: Air Conditioner Installation
My sister is always hot and needs fans and air conditioning for happiness. She’d just had a sweltering 93-degree day at the Lakeside cottage when I arrived there on Wednesday evening for a quick overnight visit. She had purchased a window air conditioner for the living room, but because she isn’t handy at installing things was going to wait and suffer until her husband could install it on his next visit. “How hard could it be?” I said with confidence. Inspecting the unit, I soon realized that it did not come with a support bracket. Additionally, the side panels only covered a 35-inch width and this was a 40-inch window. Being the optimist that I am, I offered to do the installation because I knew she’d been really down and the cool air could lift her spirits.

After reading through all of the installation materials, which never mentioned anything about a windowsill bracket, I figured that maybe this installation could skip that step. Hoisting the heavy unit up on the sill, I suddenly realized this was not going to work. Unfortunately, just as this realization was made, my hand slipped and I lost hold of the AC unit. The whole thing tumbled out the window and crashed with a loud thud on the concrete below. The words that bellowed out of my mouth are not in compliance with my social media policy so you can simply guess what they were.

Accepting this loss, the next thought that came to my awareness was “Did anyone else witness my stupidity?” I listened for snickering from the house next door and scanned the perimeter. Phew! Even my sister missed the show, having gone into the other room for something.

Happy ending: The AC unit still worked when brought into the house and tested. Hurray! After an hour driving around town a suitable bracket for installation was found at Wal-Mart. The unit is now in it’s rightful place and working like a charm.

The lessons:
1. Support can make all the difference in the world.
2. Sometimes things end up okay even when you screw it up royally.
3. If nobody sees you do something stupid, it feels a whole lot better.
4. Installing a room air conditioner for the first time is a two-person job, even if you are in good shape.
5. Duct tape can correct the minor imperfections of any installation challenge

Scene 2: Explosive Projectiles in the Back Seat?
After a busy day of painting, yard work, shopping and a challenging window AC installation at Lakeside, it was time to hit the road for home. I packed the car and got Gracie my golden retriever situated in the back seat for our 80-minute drive. Everything was quite normal until about 35 minutes into the trip when I heard a funny noise in the back seat. Gracie was panting wildly and very restless. Usually when I command her to lay down, she does as told, but not today. Suddenly I smelled something really foul. Hoping that my dog had a little gas, I soon realized the worst – Gracie’s restless misfortune was explosive projectile diarrhea. Now what? You don’t just pull over on the highway. Opening windows wasn’t that practical either. I had nothing on me to clean up the mess which continued to flow in spurts for the remaining 45-minutes of our journey. The stench and the poor animal’s state of distress almost killed me, but what does one do?

Once at home priorities got sorted quickly. First, hose down the dog. Next, remove the foul remnants from the seats, seatbelts and carpet, followed by major cleaning, carpet shampooing and laundering of all the disgusting rags, towels and such. The odor and the mess were probably worse than all the diapers I ever changed as a mom. As I drove to a meeting the next morning, my car still smelled like cr@p, so detailing continued with new odor absorbing cleaning products. It’s getting there, but I won’t be taking passengers for a while! Gracie is doing fine now and I have no idea what this explosive episode was about.

The Lessons:
1. Don’t EVER put your bag with your laptop, calendar and important files in the back seat when you travel with a dog
2. Bring beach towels along when taking rides with your dog in the back seat and be grateful when the beach towel falls on top of you bag with the laptop in it.
3. Be grateful when something like this is over and you can finally take a shower.
4. Cleaning up a filthy dog and car will earn you about the same number of Weight Watcher’s activity points as a high impact Jazzercise class (which I missed because of this fiasco)

Have a nice day and may it be better than mine was yesterday.

For Those Who Need Help Letting Go After Loss

June 15th, 2014


Father’s Day and the many social media posts from friends missing their Dads certainly brings a touching reminder about the pain we carry when we lose someone special. Today it is fitting to feature and recommend a new book written by a friend and colleague, Sherry O’Brian, LCSW, DCEP. Sherry is a licensed therapist, a fellow member of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and a former presenter at The Indigo Connection’s retreat at Lakeside. The book is Peaks and Valleys – Integrative Approaches for Recovering from Loss Ozark Mountain Publishing 2014 and now available for purchase online at https://ozarkmt.com/index.php/authors/sherry-o-brian/peaks-and-valleys-integrative-approaches-for-recovering-from-loss.html

Something each and every one of us can be assured of in life is loss. Sherry O’Brian is a most capable guide for helping others face the inevitable. Peaks and Valleys is a guide for therapists who want to integrate energy psychology concepts into care for the grieving, as well as a suitable resource for any person in the midst of processing a devastating loss. Ms. O’Brian begins the book by sharing two heartbreaking stories that have touched her deeply and personally. So much of the research for this book obviously came through the quest to heal her pain.

Throughout the book readers are reminded that grief touches lives in many ways beyond the death of a loved one. Common situations such as job loss, divorce, physical injuries or illness, aging, the death of a pet and retirement are among those that are addressed.

The majority of the book is dedicated to the integration of effective methods and therapeutic tools to empower the grieving to accept and eventually find wisdom for life through loss. Sherry O’Brian’s toolkit includes energy psychology, hypnotherapy, Energy Medicine and a variety of other mind-body techniques she has discovered on this journey. An entire chapter addresses ideas for creating healing rituals to honor loss. Peaks and Valleys also includes step-by-step tapping scripts for common situations and a lovely meditation for mending a broken heart. Throughout the book, readers will delight in beautiful quotes, as well as helpful exercises to allow deeper insight into the power of letting go and allowing joy to return.

Whether you work with grieving people, are processing your own pain, or care about someone who has suffered a loss, this book will serve you well. Having an extra copy on hand to give away may be the perfect way to respond to with loving kindness.

Social Media Tips for Busy Holistic Business Owners

June 4th, 2014


Social media and the web have become the new word of mouth. It’s the primary way prospective clients find out about you and your practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Did you know that over 70% of prospects are more likely to do business with someone referred or mentioned through social media? Here’s your chance to be seen as a trusted expert. Allow your unique value to shine and attract the right clients as you explore the infinite possibilities of ethical social media marketing.

1. Post pictures with your content. Industry experts at Constant Contact have discovered that pictures create 53% more likes and104% more comments. This is significant, especially on Facebook because the formula used for displaying your content gives higher visibility to posts with the most likes and shares. When a friend likes your post, it also becomes visible to friends connected with the person who clicked “like” which exponentially expands the reach of the post. Pictures grab attention.

2. Ask open-ended questions. People enjoy responding to posts and also seeing how others answer. Have fun creating questions that might have something to do with your practice or specialty to encourage engaged conversation.

3. Serve your connections with valuable content. Be a hero and an expert by posting articles, ideas and tips to solve common problems or challenges. Humor, short videos, audios and human-interest stories can be valuable content too. You can also answer questions that are frequently asked.

4. Use the 30/70 rule. Make the majority of your posts informational and valuable. Allow no more than 3 out of every 10 posts to involve obvious selling or promotion of your business, product or service.

5. Interact positively with fans, friends and followers to humanize your brand. Dedicate some of your time online to liking, commenting, sharing, re-tweeting and thanking people for their comments. Engagement is very much like going to a party, starting a conversation, then listening and interacting. People enjoy knowing you and also revealing their personalities. Encourage that and make sure to be polite and professional, which includes monitoring the conversation you start.

6. Participate DAILY. If you post sporadically, you can miss a lot and you also send the message that you don’t take social media seriously. It may take you awhile to feel comfortable while learning and making time for this new routine. Block out at least 10 minutes each day to post and interact. If you don’t know what to post, pick industry experts you admire and share their posts with a personal comment. One idea could include sharing posts from ACEP, while also liking and commenting on ACEP’s pages. That ensures good content and helps expand awareness of Energy Psychology.

7. Don’t be a narcissist! If it’s all about you, it may become very lonely out there. Connection is key. Test a variety of posts and you will soon learn what your friends and followers like most. You don’t have to be perfect. You simply need to care.

Need some help with more ideas to market your business? Join me for a 6 week tele class series that begins June 16. Learn more at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e99yivur2854767e&llr=j75wdwbab

Creating an Imperfect Weekend with Smart, Confident, Funny Women

May 21st, 2014

A long forgotten bracelet from the first Indigo Connection retreat in 2006


Another lovely Lakeside retreat has come and gone, leaving behind so many happy memories, joyful photos and new connections. What began as a very small and uncertain retreat gathering in 2006 has grown to maturity.

Our first retreat included only six women and was held at my parent’s cottage in Lakeside. We had very little structure, yet many amazing things happened during that time. I fondly remember how often the lamplights flickered during our discussions, as if some invisible force was adding punctuation marks to important things said. All had Goosebumps. We agreed then and there that we needed to keep this going as an annual event.

In 2006 we began our tradition of including a creative art project as part of the retreat. This year it would be a beaded wrap bracelet including a special word we chose for ourselves. I chose beautiful beads in my favorite colors, as well as the letters to spell “CREATE”. Most of the beads were tiny and it took great concentration to get them all strung so that “CREATE” was placed in the center of the coil. I remember being upset at myself once the beads were all in place, only to realize that I had strung the letter C backwards. I’m a perfectionist and this really bothered me. I wore the bracelet for the remainder of the retreat, but found it irritating to look at. After the retreat, it was put away and soon buried by more beloved items in my jewelry box.

Just as a women’s life cycle takes her through a process of growing from maiden, to mother and finally to empty-nest grandmother, our retreat group energy has matured as well. We’ve always been diverse in age and have included some of the smartest and most well read women I know. The early years brought us a smattering of wounded hearts, low emotions and tears transforming to bright smiles by Sunday morning. The group has always had the power to lift the low ones in a beautiful way.

Our 2014 group of 25 was a diverse, happy, healthy and highly intelligent one. About 50% were newcomers. We began with a few watery eyes during introductions, but clearly a higher emotional state was in charge as we entered the weekend. Interestingly a surge of new participants from “left brain professions” brought many laughs during the opening introductions as one after another admitted, “I am an accountant”. Many in the group confessed that they enrolled in need of intensive “ME TIME”. One newcomer surprised herself by falling sound asleep during a meditation on Friday, only then realizing just how worn out she had let herself become.

As in previous years, our retreats include segments that teach, provide physical movement and allow artistic creation. This year’s program brought excellent presenters including comedian Kathie Dice, yoga and dance teacher Kathy Orazio (who is also an accountant) and artist Barb Quent to teaches a form of meditative doodling often known as Zentangle. We also had a 5-hour block of free time during the sunny Saturday afternoon. Our ladies used their time well taking walks, snapping photos, napping, shopping, enjoying a movie, reading, healing sessions and massage. Those who came alone were invited to join friendly groups and those who needed time alone found it. They took chances to try improv on Saturday night and honored quiet time when 11 pm rolled around.

Maturity means relaxing into whatever happens. As a leader I can truly do that this year and trust the process. As we ended our closing circle on Sunday, I suddenly realize that this is the first year that I am not sobbing. Scanning the faces in the circle, I see women who are strong and confident enough to handle whatever life throws their way. I’m not worried for them, but rather calm. It is then that the beaded bracelet on my right wrist catches my eye. I wear it proudly. As I fall in love with life, I am also falling in love with imperfections.

Check out our 2014 retreat photo album on Facebook at The Indigo Connection, Betsy Muller Founder

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Indigo-Connection-Betsy-Muller-Founder/177283722299618

Reflecting on Mom, Mothers and Motherhood

May 13th, 2014

It is a big deal to be someone’s mother. It’s also a big deal to have a mother. I don’t think I fully understood that until private coaching made me aware of the pain people experience when mom is missing in some way.

Only a few years ago I wondered what difference I’d made in the lives of my kids. As a working mom, I worried that the times I wasn’t there had left a negative impact. Today my adult children make sure to let me know life is good. On Saturday while searching through our craft closet, I stumbled upon a list of “Life Goals” my daughter Mandy had written in 2007 at the age of 16. We didn’t talk much back then, yet reading her list showed me that even then she was completely aligned with what I was teaching in my seminars and coaching work. Today I see her living those goals. What more could a mom ask for.

My husband lavishes gift on me each Mother’s Day, possibly because his mother passed away from a stroke over three decades ago. My mom has become mother to us both and we are lucky she’s still around. My mother suffers from dementia and has become very different than the mother who raised me. Somehow Mom’s creative spirit, love for books and passion for gardening have completely disappeared. She sleeps for hours, is silent unless you draw her out and moves very slowly. I find myself grieving for the part of mom that’s gone. Where did she go? Will it happen to me someday?

The mother daughter relationship is complicated. There is nurturing often followed by teen rebellion and the strong pulling away. Yet as a daughter becomes independent, she realizes she’s done so because mom helped her become confident that she could succeed.

It’s no accident that Mother’s Day falls in spring, a time when the natural world gives birth to new life. It makes perfect sense to honor the mothers of the planet. It’s time to stop being surprised by Mother’s Day wishes from strangers and do more to celebrate the mothers and daughters surrounding me every day.

Want Confidence? Set a Fitness Goal!

April 29th, 2014


I paused the other night when Kathy Underhill, my Jazzercise instructor, challenged class members to set an important fitness goal for 2014. Kathy shared that she had set a goal to run 55 miles in races this year and had just completed a half marathon as part of that goal. There is no doubt in my mind that Kathy will reach or exceed that goal. She’s been one of my fitness mentors for a long time and serves as a great role model because we share the same age – 55.

My pause at the idea of a fitness challenge comes back to my reluctance to set bigger fitness goals as I get older. There’s no way I even want to race 55 miles. Is it really safe to add more weight or intensity to my workouts or is there something else to consider?

My thoughts immediately help me realize why I pursue fitness in the first place – it gives me confidence, plus the benefits of health, clarity and strength to do whatever I need or want to do. It allowed me to effortlessly help my daughter move her possessions into a new 2nd floor apartment without an elevator last weekend by golly! Fitness keeps me emotionally stable because it gives me a channel for working out tension and diminishes excess stress hormones. Being fit helps me sleep deeply so that I awaken clear and refreshed each day. Fitness means I have core strength to balance, bend and lift with ease. Fitness allows me to be quick, calm and still be able to talk as I run through an airport with a suitcase and laptop. Fitness lets me splurge with a few extra calories on the weekend and still fit into the clothes I love. All of the above help me hold my head high and go through each day feeling more confident as I age beyond 55 years knowing that I can be a kind, healthy and respectful role model for others.

If you are setting business goals, I urge you to also set at least one fitness goal. It will provide you with breaks, take you out of your comfort zone and also raise your self-confidence. You will actually look and feel stronger. Your energy will project it!

What might you choose? Be sensible based on your current fitness level. Here are some ideas:
* Add a 15-minute walk to each day
* Wear a pedometer or fitness monitor and set a goal your device can track
* Get up and move for 5 minutes each hour
* Enroll in a fitness class and attend regularly
* Use online videos to inspire your workouts
* Join a Yoga class (I go to www.Bhumiyoga.com)
* Do the 5 Tibetan Fountain of Youth exercises daily

It would be horrible to ask you to do something I myself didn’t do, so here are my 2014 fitness goals:

1. Attend a total of 150 Jazzercise Classes by Dec. 31 (70 down, 80 to go!)
2. Log at least 35 points per week on my Weight Watcher’s fitness monitor
3. Continue 5 Tibetan Exercises every morning upon waking
4. Increase my regular workout hand weights to 10 pounds by September
5. Integrate daily fitness, even when traveling

I hope you’ll share your goals with me and most of all enjoy the time you spend on fitness. It can be lots of fun.

Engaging as Conscious, Kind and Authentic on Social Media

April 15th, 2014

Social media is a big deal these days. Many small business owners are still resisting, but the truth is, it is here to stay and if you aren’t using it to promote your brand, you may be missing out. It’s time to be consciously engaged!

As I prepare to lead a 2-hour workshop called Effective Social Media Marketing for Conscious Leaders at the 2014 ACEP conference in Phoenix in May, it’s got me thinking about the best tips I would offer to my holistic practitioner friends.

Below are 5 things a small business owner can do to put that conscious, kind and authentic YOU front and center on social media:

1. Reach out! People like to be included and invited. Send social media connection requests to your current contacts. Go through your Rolodex or phone contact list and make sure you are also connected with those people on LinkedIn and Facebook. When you speak, got to a networking event, get a phone call or new email inquiry, make an effort to connect digitally! On Facebook you can even determine how you are connected to separate your business, friend and personal connections for appropriate engagement.

2. Follow, friend and connect with conscious leaders in your industry who you already adore. Successful experts share valuable content and often have professionals managing their social media platforms. Let their example show you how it’s done. Notice how they use photos and a variety of topics. You can share what they post with your own comment and offer helpful content to your friends and followers.

3. Be the best version of yourself online 24/7. All posts should be the kind of thing that would NEVER make your mom cringe. It is best to avoid posting about politics, religion and anything that might be considered poor taste. Be very careful about liking and commenting on posts about those same hot topics and you will remain in good standing with your connections. It’s okay to have an opinion, but it also pays to be respectful.

4. Support and promote the consciousness of those you are connected with. Share, like and comment on the good things they post. By doing so, you help them by boosting their visibility with your friends and followers. Remember if you only post about you, but fail to engage in true conversation, you are wasting your time. When you give, people will return the favor. It is okay to ask others to share what you post, but use moderation.

5. Develop an honest profile and bio that positions you as a trusted expert. Be completely honest as you set up your profile, making sure to post a current photo. Carefully choose key words in your text to describe you and your business. If you decide to participate on LinkedIn, make sure your profile is 100% complete. Because LinkedIn feeds Google searches, doing this helps search engines find you. People are checking out your profile while you sleep, so take charge of this important matter and allow it to work in your favor.

I can assure you that by being the best version on yourself online, you will attract some amazing friends. There is nothing to fear and everything to gain. It astounds me time and again that people mention my posts in positive ways when I see them in person.

By the way, if you are kind and conscious person reading this, but not yet connected to my Facebook business page, The Indigo Connection, Betsy Muller Founder, or on LinkedIn (betsymuller) or Twitter(bbmuller), I hope you will reach out and connect with me there. You can learn more about the Phoenix Conference at www.energypsych.org.

Synchronicity, Rewards, Goddesses and Travel

March 14th, 2014

Running a business in the midst of the worst winter of the decade has had its challenges and I must credit leading the Awaken Creativity series and the synchronicity it stirs up as my saving grace. The 7 week series requires a commitment to daily journaling, a weekly “Artist Date” to indulge the inner creator and regular meetings with others who are creators. It’s like magic when you follow the formula – doors open, opportunities present themselves and life gets brighter.

The World of People, Dogs and Rewards
The first synchronicity was a connection with The Veteran’s Best Friend, a charity based just a few miles from my home. After learning about the incredible work they do helping Vets find and train their own therapy dog, it was effortless for my business to choose to support them. Through this organization I also found professional help for training my dog Gracie to be a suitable partner for therapy visits with me in the community. Gracie and I are both learning how positive words, practice time and delicious rewards reinforce desired behavior. It’s all about noticing the positive, which is also the way I choose to coach others. Once you are trained to pay attention to the good things, you have a constant supply of pleasant resources to keep your spirits lifted. It has been fascinating learning through the eyes of a devoted dog and these very savvy trainers.

An Audio Book Opens the Door
Another synchronicity came when my sister loaned me an audio book, Traveling with Pomegranates, written by the author of The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter Ann. Having great affection for Kidd because of that book and movie, and also because I will travel to Greece later this year, I looked forward to driving all over town, even in snow, so I could listen to this new book. It’s a mother-daughter travel memoir that includes historic sites in Athens, the Greek Isles and France along with open exploration of female roles and the complexities that each stage of womanhood brings to identity. I was touched to learn that Sue was going through writer’s block and Ann depression during these travels. Miraculously the goddesses and spiritual women of the past help both authors deepen their bond, as well as find clarity, creativity and joy. I was stunned to learn that Secret Life of Bees was Sue’s very first novel. The struggles, dreams, images and synchronicities from these travels were the seeds that brought this beloved book into reality.

A Seminar Takes Form
As I finished the audiobook, ideas were gathering nicely in my journal and my mind. I had been struggling to find a topic for a May 16 seminar to offer at Lakeside before the retreat. Suddenly, “Radiant Confidence for Conscious Leaders” emerged. From there the connection to strong women in history, goddesses and mythology moved it forward. Soon I had easily composed the description, knowing there was room to expand to meet the needs of the women called to attend. It feels right and women are enrolling, just as I had hoped. I can’t wait to be part of it.

A New Book Idea
Speaking of synchronicity, it wasn’t just this lousy weather that had me thinking about travel. The past week also included travel as the featured Indigo Connection breakfast networking topic, the arrival of my Rick Steves Tour Book for Greece and my upcoming trip to Amish Country with some special girlfriends. Then came a Facebook post caught my eye about a contest to win a writing sabbatical on a cross-country Amtrak train which I promptly shared as well as entered. My next book in the Energy Makeover Series will be about savoring the healing possibilities of travel. There are already several great travel opportunities you can take with me in the year ahead. Perhaps YOU too will be part of the next book!