Punctuating Life With Exclamation Points Instead of Periods!

Sorry, But I’ve Been Busy

My new DW Performance Series and cool new drum head!

My new DW Performance Series and cool new drum head!

I realize that I haven’t posted in several weeks, and I am really sorry about that.  It doesn’t mean that I have not been really busy though, or writing other stuff, as I have been doing just that.  This should give you an idea of what I have been up to.

Earlier this year I started writing a weekly column for the Houston Chronicle newspaper.  A couple of months ago, that was increased to 2 columns a week that are published in the Real Estate and Employment Sections of the newspaper on Sundays.  In addition to that, I now have also been given a Houston Chronicle Blog entitled, “On the Move – Exploring Houston Relocation with Michelle Sandlin.”  I am very proud of this work that I am doing for the Houston Chronicle, and have to pinch myself almost daily that this is really happening.

Basically, I am a writer first, last and always!  Being recognized as an accomplished writer though, takes it to a whole new level.  I am receiving emails, texts, Facebook and LinkedIn messages several times a week from people near and far congratulating me on my columns and complimenting me on my articles.  I can’t tell you what an awesome feeling that is!

I am also receiving messages from people seeking career advice and information on how to get into the relocation industry.  So, writing these columns also comes with a big responsibility, and I am very happy to help and have enjoyed connecting with so many new people.

Apart from my writing (and my day job), I spend a lot of time playing the drums.  Below is my latest YouTube video.  The song is “Gimme Sympathy” (acoustic version) by one of my favorite Indie bands, METRIC.  If you aren’t familiar with them, you should really check them out.  Anyway, on this video, I have added the drums (just some very simple footwork), but I think it turned out pretty good. You be the judge!

And now for my shameless plug…

Please watch my video, but also (if you do actually like it even at all), please click on the thumbs up button when you finish watching it.  Even better, also consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.  I just got these cool new DW Performance Series drums that you see at the top of this post.  And…the very cool drum head on my bass drum was a surprise gift from my son and daughter-in-law. Very cool, right?

By the way, links to all of my articles can be found on my Facebook Page.  While you are there, please “Like” my page. I know, that was another shameless plug!  Anyway, here’s the link to my articles: Michelle Sandlin’s Houston Chronicle Articles.

Cheers!  Lots more writing and drumming videos coming SOON!

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Dreaming Out Loud

Michelle Sandlin

I really wanted to write something awesome and post it on my birthday, which was on Tuesday. But as luck would have it, I was completely blocked the night before. I am rarely blocked, but when I am, I know better than to force it.  Although, I have to admit that I painstakingly spent 2 hours doing just that.  By midnight the night before my birthday, I had nothing but a few disconnected sentences that were anything but awesome.

So the next day, on my birthday, I decided that if I couldn’t write, that I could at least make a new drumming video.  I was short on time, so my goal was simple:  Do it as close to perfect as possible on the first take, make sure you look cool doing it, just in case your timing is a little off, or you drop a drum stick, or something, and post it to Facebook. Thankfully, I achieved both!  I nailed the drum stick twirls, and the drum cover of “Headlights” by Morning Parade (my favorite song of the moment).

For your entertainment pleasure, I hope you enjoy my video, which now has a permanent home on YouTube.  I ask only one thing of you.  If you like it, even a little bit, please do me a favor and click the thumbs up button so that I will know.  It’s a little thing, but means a lot to me.

Here’s the thing…

I love playing the drums!  I know that I have a long way (a really long way) to go before I will be really good at it, but I am having fun.

Right now, I am dreaming out loud.  I have never really done that before, or at least not to this degree.  It is very freeing, and I highly recommend it.

I have spent my whole life dreaming quietly about “one day…”  Now, I am finally seeing to it that a lot of those dreams play out in real life.  That’s really the point, isn’t it?

I cannot stress enough that if there is something you have always wanted to do, don’t wait any longer.  Just do it. You know, feel the fear and do it anyway.

Finally, the image at the top of this post is my new logo!  It will be featured soon on my new website, which is in the final stages of a really cool redesign. I hope to be launching it within the next 30 days, so stay tuned…and keep creating rock star moments!

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Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway – Part 2

"Feel the Fear...And Do It Anyway" - Reviewed by Michelle Sandlin

“Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway” – Reviewed by Michelle Sandlin

This is Part 2 of my previous blog post: “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.”  I had not intended on writing a Part 2 until I saw the popularity of my previous post (it was shared throughout Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter), and I heard from several of my readers that they were buying the book based on my review and blog post.

I figured that there was more to learn about the author, Susan Jeffers, and I wanted to see what other books she had written.  So, I googled her, and quickly found out 2 very important things.  First, she had written many books, and second she had passed away in October of last year.  This immediately felt like a loss.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know her; it only mattered that I felt connected to her in some way through her book.

I found most of the information that I was looking for on her website including her “official and unofficial bio.”  As I read through her life, I found other commonalities, thus deepening the connection.

Much like me, Jeffers had gotten married and had 2 children, before continuing her college education. For me, the academic path was as clear as it had been for Jeffers.  I sought my Journalism degree, and Jeffers found her calling in Psychology.

But, it was the first sentence of her “unofficial bio” that drew me in.  It read: “I think of myself as someone who seems to be constantly reinventing herself.” Wow, I thought…this is me!  Then I thought again…no, this really isn’t me.

I am not constantly reinventing myself, although it may appear that way to the outside world.  I am actually just taking the person that I am already, and following my instincts more, while being more aware of where I want to be, and where I want to go, and what I want to do, and what I need to do to get there.

Here’s the thing: I am basically finally acting on the things that have only existed thus far in the space of thought, and doing everything I can to make them a reality. Isn’t that the point of feeling the fear and doing it anyway?

The past 12 months have definitely been a time of significant self-discovery and growth for me.  I have finally adopted the “it’s now or never” attitude, and I don’t want to let anything hold me back from achieving the things that I know I am meant to achieve and want to do.

Michelle Sandlin on Drums!

Michelle Sandlin on Drums!

It all started with playing the drums.  Not that I feared playing the drums, but I feared that if I took it off my “Maybe One Day” list and actually did it, that it might not have the positive outcome I had always dreamed about. In the past, I always feared taking certain chances because I was afraid of a negative outcome, instead of focusing on the possibility of a positive one. That is not the case anymore!

Learning to play the drums has turned out to be one of the most positive things I have ever done for myself, thus fueling my motivation to check other things off of my list with gusto.

I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

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Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway

Feel_the_Fear_Book_Cover2One of the most ironic things to happen to me recently, was when I was asked by Worldwide ERC® to review a book for their April issue of MOBILITY Magazine.  This was for a special section that they are calling, “Member Picks: Books That Make Us Better.”

So, why is this so ironic, you ask?  It’s simple, I am not a reader! I have never been a reader! Don’t get me wrong, I have bought tons of books over the years, and downloaded samples of many more, but when it gets down to it, I just don’t have the attention span for reading an entire book. My mind wanders. I guess you could say that I start a lot of books, but I rarely finish any of them.

But, when this particular opportunity presented itself from Worldwide ERC®, I instantly agreed to do it.  That’s because I knew exactly which book I was going to review and why.

The book was, “Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.  Not only was it one of the few books that I had actually read in recent years, but it was one in which the title alone had affected many fundamental changes in me. Reading that book had come at a very pivotal time for me, and changed many of my personal and professional strategies and philosophies.

The words, “Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway,” say that anything is possible, and that it is OK to feel scared, but that feeling scared should never stop you from doing anything. It’s about hitting challenges head-on, and using your fear as a motivator for building personal strength. It’s a practice that I have adopted in all areas of my life, and one that works very well for me.

I am hoping that you may find a few take-aways from my book review, and that you might even consider reading the book for yourself.

The format of the book review was question and answers, which appear below:

"Feel the Fear...And Do It Anyway" - Reviewed by Michelle Sandlin

“Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway” – Reviewed by Michelle Sandlin

MOBILITY:  The author of the book you chose describes fear as “crippling” and says it is often rooted in uncertainty about change and lack of a strong self-image. You seem like such a confident, flexible person—what made you want to read this book?

MICHELLE SANDLIN:  Yes, I am a confident person now, but I wasn’t always. Several years ago I found myself at a critical crossroads in my career. I needed to make a change, and as much as I knew that this change was necessary, I agonized and struggled over it for months before finally pulling the trigger. It was definitely the fear of uncertainty more than the fear of change itself that was crippling to me at the time. Even as I felt the fear, I knew I had to do it anyway, and so I did. Shortly thereafter, I was given a copy of this book. It was serendipity. I had to read it.

MOBILITY:  Give us a crash course on the plan for action the book outlines that can help readers unlearn their misconceptions about fear and replace them with strength and conviction.

Michelle Sandlin:  The book explores the barriers that hold us back and the common fears that stand in the way of achieving our goals. The author says that by shifting our thinking, we can transform our lives. It’s really about empowering yourself and boosting your confidence level through positive thinking, which really isn’t anything new. It’s mind over matter. Fear is about taking us out of our comfort zone and the feeling of empowerment we gain in doing so. The idea is that each time you do something that is outside of your comfort zone, you become more powerful, and as your power builds, so does your level of self-confidence. Thus, each time you step out of your comfort zone, you are building more self-confidence, which causes the fear to diminish.

MOBILITY:  What’s the one best lesson you learned from this resource?

Michelle Sandlin:  I have learned how truly empowering it really is to feel the fear and do it anyway. I never let fear stand in my way of doing anything anymore. I see it as a challenge and hit it head-on. I want to have the power over my fears and not the other way around. As the book says, “All you have to do to diminish your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.”

MOBILITY:  If you wrote a business book, how would you title it?

Michelle Sandlin:  That’s an easy one! It would be called How to Create Rock Star Moments. One thing that I have learned is that you don’t have to be a rock star to have rock star moments. I actually write about this all the time, and the idea of being a rock star in whatever it is that you do is ingrained in my personality. This is a book I am writing every day; it’s how I live my life!

Reprinted with permission from the April 2013 Issue of MOBILITY, published by Worldwide ERC®

For a link to the full article, please click here:  Michelle Sandlin – Books that Make us Better.

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Go Ahead, Procrastinate…Or Wait Until Tomorrow

procrastinationflowchartI am actually writing this from Starbucks. I have been having some Internet trouble at home today, so after a very frustrating morning, I decided to hit the road with my computer. I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to be very productive or creative here, but as luck would have it, a change of scenery turned out to be just what I needed.

Even with all the noise and distractions all around me, this place is full of energy.  And energy is always a good thing. I just wasn’t feeling that at home today, if you know what I mean.

My plate is so full right now that it is absolutely overwhelming. When I feel like I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start, I usually decide to do none of it until I have exhausted every other possible thing I could be doing instead. Yep, procrastination is a trademark trait of mine. I have always saved things until the last minute. But, I don’t consider it a character flaw.

Proactive procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For me it is all part of the creative process, and the end results are always positive.

I was never that person in college who started studying for an exam days or weeks before the exam date. Nope, I usually lightly studied until the day before the exam, then crammed. The same was and is still true with projects and presentations. If I know that something isn’t due for a week or two or three, I keep it on the back burner until it is absolutely staring me in the face, and always end up finishing it the night before it is due. It’s pretty common for me to pull an all-nighter.  But again, it’s just part of my process.

And what about the results, you ask? Always positive! In college I always scored very high on my exams, papers and projects. And in my professional life, I always create a much better end result on those projects that were put together the night before a big presentation, meeting or event. Since I know that about myself, I don’t beat myself up for procrastinating anymore.

Here’s a little sneak peak into what typically happens. See if you can relate to this…

procrastinateI turn on my computer, open whatever program I am going to be using for my project, then minimize that program and open up my Internet browser. From there my ADD kicks into overtime as I switch between things like my Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, watching drumming and music videos on YouTube, checking out the latest articles on Mashable, reading my BFF Cheryl Howe’s latest blog, checking out the latest music from my friend Bon Evans, shopping on Amazon, and general surfing around. (I think you get the idea). Then, before I know it, an hour (sometimes two) has passed, and it’s about 10:00 pm, at which time I start doing math problems.  You know the kind: If I go to sleep by 1:00 am I will still get 5 hours of sleep.

Anyway, then I get busy…really busy. And when it’s late like that and quiet in my house, my brain kicks into high gear and I tap into all sorts of creativity. And somewhere around 2:00 am or so, I look at my finished project and think, “Ah, another masterpiece!” Then I go to sleep.

The fact is, if it didn’t work so well, I wouldn’t do it.  But years and years of successful execution has proven that this is the correct process for me. And that’s the point really. It’s all about what works for you.

Here’s an analogy for you (my husband has an analogy for everything, so I thought I would give it a shot). It’s like taking medication. If you and I take the same medication, it might keep me up all night, while putting you fast to sleep. It doesn’t affect us both in the same way. I have to take what works best for me and you have to do the same for you.

So, are you a procrastinator too? Or do you start working on something the minute you know about it and finish it well before it’s due? If so, more power to you!

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