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Entries in copywriting (4)


...and then we are fragile.

It’s the season of courage.  Springtime.  Being a “beginner” is not only inevitable, it can be scary.  It’s easy to walk outside this time of the year and take in the birds chirping, the bright green of new foliage and the anticipation of browns and grays turning to vibrant colors.  Fresh starts and new beginnings envelop us.

As a witness, we could consider the explosion of new life to be to be easy, since it’s simply what nature does, right?  Sprouts are pushing with all their might through the safety of the soil, exposing themselves to sun, wind and rain so they can grow leaves and eventually sprout buds.  Baby birds are poking through the dark familiar surroundings of egg shells, to expose themselves to light so they can transform fuzz into feathers.  Transitions abound everywhere as nature is doing what does – ever expand.  Growth is happening with fragile beginnings everywhere you can see or imagine.  It appears to be a cakewalk, yet is it really?

I was talking to a friend the other day about how transitions are a natural part of life and, unlike children who love learning and curiosity and adventure, adults seem to fight being a beginner, or an explorer.  She said it’s because adults don’t like the “V” word (vulnerable).  I said it’s because they don’t understand the “F” word (fragile) as being a natural part of life.

What’s that saying…“Change is inevitable, Growth is optional”?   Sure, the new sprout, because it’s tender, could be eaten by whatever eats tender sprouts.  Predators stalk bird or turtle nests of eggs or newly hatched babies as the way nature works.  I won’t even touch on the horror stories of what happens to some fragile children in our world who aren’t given love, care and attention.

The lucky who made it to adulthood, however, have evidence that they have been vulnerable countless times, because natural life transitions are inevitable to attain maturity.  We go through many new phases in order to grow up.  The chicks found they could no longer survive in the egg, so they needed to break through the shell into the light so they could grow feathers and wings…and then they were fragile.  Soon enough, after squawking for their food and getting too big for their nests (think teenagers) it was time to leave the space that nurtured them so well, even though they weren’t experts on flying yet…and then they were fragile.

It’s at those new beginning times that something miraculous happens, there is a constant theme – we are taken care of.  Frail baby birds are kept warm under mama’s wings and have chewed up food dumped on their gaping beaks until they can “survive” well enough in the nest.  Once the nest is “no longer working for them”, even if it is familiar, they plop out and hop around.  Before being able to fly solo, the adult birds give flying lessons and watch out for danger.

Mother Nature continues to give us examples that it doesn’t matter how good we are at something, when we get too big for our current environments, it’s time to suck it up and be vulnerable, even though we will be “fragile” as a beginner in our new phase.  Our lesson is courage – to know that we will eventually “die” (emotionally, spiritually, financially, intellectually) if we don’t move on, because we no longer “fit”, even if we are damn efficient within our current experience.  Here’s the clue:  When being excellent at something shifts from being effective to uncomfortable, stagnant or suffocating…it’s time to move on. The longer we wait, the more pain and suffering we will endure.  Period.

The harsh reality then becomes:  If we don’t move on our own, something else will force the issue.   When it’s time to shift to our next “learning” for our souls’ growth, the logistics of change sometimes seem too much to bear.  Similar to a butterfly’s fight to escape its cocoon, the struggle doesn’t need to be pretty, it’s designed to be effective.  How upside down could find yourself after you got fired from your job (and lost your “identity” because your given “title” is no longer under your name on a business card)?  Remember walking into the giant high school on the first day of school as a terrified freshman?  You found your locker, the seniors didn’t kill you and your heart is still beating till this day.  How do you manage to live with “just you” after a divorce, your baby went to college or your lover and best friend of 65 years is no longer around to give you your daily “love tap” with his/her cane?  These times of turmoil are when our courage muscles really get tested, so eventually our new light can shine even brighter.

This spring when you experience the joy, beauty and bounty that new growth can bring, think of what’s next for your life experience.  Remember that when you “no longer fit” your current experience, it’s nothing but a clue that something wonderful awaits on the other side of your letting go and becoming a “beginner” again.  Knowing that “fragile” is ok, it doesn’t last forever, and your next blessing to the world is being born holds a certain magic.  Be inspired by your courage and your  brilliance.  We’re all waiting to experience it, too!




Casual or Causal?

"Casual, Causal, Casual, Causal…", said the voice that awakened me before the alarm even went off one morning last week.  I have mind chatter on an ongoing basis, so I presumed it was simply another “distinction” or message I might get to pay attention to that day for myself or one of my clients.  I like distinctions – they denote clarity.

I did my internal wonder and rationalization as I do when I need to get the “conversation” removed from my brain.  Sometimes I even jot some notes, as I did in the damn morning pages that day.  Causal means I get to be focused on getting something done.  Causal is the opposite of formal or maybe means a slower, relaxed pace.  I probably can’t be casual and causal at the same time because things would move too slowly for me, blah, blah, blah.   I let the idea drop, figuring it would show up when it needs to be a message.

Alas, the concept couldn’t leave me alone as it came back this week.  Mother Nature decided to teach the lesson. Never at a loss for a sense of humor, “Mom” evidently thought that the aesthetics of my property were somehow diminishing and she needed to do something.  The snow banks have finally been shrinking on both sides of my driveway from face-height to hip-height over the past week or so with our 50 degree heat waves and some rain.  We’ve only had about 80” of snow to shovel this season so far to create the nice tunnel effect that I get to drive through from the street into my garage.  So for good measure, Mom Nature decided to take matters in her own hands and dropped about 6” of the nice heavy March snow – you know, the stuff perfect for snowball fights and making snowmen?  As I was shoveling that no-longer-fluffy white stuff off the sidewalk and driveway in order to amp up the snow banks, the casual-causal idea showed up again - with story analogies this time.

About half way down the driveway as I was energetically, methodically getting my equivalent of a P90X warmup, the Hare and the Tortoise story came to mind.  Both the rabbit and the turtle were causal as they both had strong intentions to finish the race.  Yet, which one of the two, if any, was casual?  Based on my original thought last week, both probably couldn't happen simultaneously, right?  Certainly, the hare dashed multiple times to his next stop so he could hang out and rest.  He could be considered casual, even unconcerned in his arrogance, knowing he would certainly win a race against a slow reptile.  Arguably, the determined tortoise could have also been deemed to be casual as he plodded, albeit unwaveringly, toward the finish line.  That said, my original theory from last week is incorrect.  "What's the point of this....my fingers are getting cold!", I found myself muttering.

The point:  What value could inspired actions, whether dramatic or diligent, offer us if our approach to a desired end was both causal and casual?  Could we land at the finish line more sanely?  Would someone who is used to a faster pace be bored or anxious?  Not really…I was casually (although not slowly as it was 30 degrees) and causally uncovering pavement and it was lovely because the all-encompassing hyper-focus of get it done at warp speed was missing.  The combo of casual and causal allowed me to enjoy the weather, the quiet and uninterrupted thinking time.

The purposefulness of being causal is what gets us into action toward a goal dream or end result.  The ongoing forward movement affords a sense of accomplishment. Considering a casual action plan, whether using methodical consistent baby steps (think tortoise) or big leaps followed by resting or regrouping (think hare), doesn’t mean jobs can’t be done quickly or without focus.  Steven Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw” analogy is an excellent reminder of the need to be “on purpose”, yet make time for self-care and improvement along the way.  Getting all wrapped around the axle pushing ourselves to a frenzy or burnout point serves no one in the long run.  Working casually often can take the rigidity away from the need to have something “look a certain way” while still creating a desired end.  Given our often hectic lifestyles, could that offer you a different perspective?

I wonder if Michelangelo, while chipping away at the rock that contained “David”, thought his work had to be done a specific, formal, rigid or hurried way.  Or was he simply intent to artfully remove any parts of the stone that weren’t David?  If your inner artist (yes, we all have one) were to master something in your inspired life, causal intention is necessary.  Would you do it casually, too?

BE the inspiration YOU are!



Mirrored Wallpaper, Madness and You

Remember the popular wallpaper from back in the 70’s or maybe early 80’s that had the reflective mirror-like backing with some gaudy design overlaid on top of the mirror effect?  Yes, by the early to mid-1980’s many people wanted that stuff gone and chose to update their décor.  I hung (and stripped) a lot of wallpaper in a lot of houses back then, having homeowners much happier when the “mirror effect” went away.

Fast forward to today.  A few weeks ago I moved.  A new beginning of sorts since I moved to a different suburb after living in Eden Prairie, raising my family, doing my businesses and volunteering there for almost 24 years.  I’m in a home older than I’ve been accustomed to and guess what adorns my foyer?  Yup…wallpaper from hell.

When one of my nephews, then one of my son’s friends, who helped with my move saw the walls in my entryway for the first time, they marveled, “Wow!  This is SO cool!  I wish I had this in MY place!”  Keep in mind, these guys are 19-23 years old and have never seen the mirrored wallpaper phenomenon since most of it was (thankfully) gone prior to their births.

What does that have to do with you?  Let me explain. 

Note:  For those of you outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you can continue to read for an idea or two, yet the promotion might not be something you can take advantage of for logistical reasons....just sayin'.

As I was stripping wallpaper from what was the pretty Pepto-Bismol Pink bathroom this weekend (my adventure isn’t limited to the foyer walls), I had the best idea.

It occurred to me that there are 2 things that happen in early March that can help me expedite this house project dilemma.  Not high school sports tournaments.  Not Spring Breaks.  It’s that time of the year for both March Madness Sales and The Minneapolis Home and Garden Show. 

When I worked in someone else’s office years ago, I used to take a vacation day every year to go to the Mpls Convention Center on a weekday before the big weekend rush to visit the home improvement vendors and smell the flowers and dirt they brought in for displays.  A date I couldn’t deny myself when there were typically snowbanks everywhere on the way to all those blooms just waiting to show off downtown.  Loved it!  I like upgrading houses and I enjoy gardening, which is a bonus, since the place I moved to a couple of weeks ago has given me more than ample “opportunities” to do both.  Translate:  LOTS of work to do.  In EVERY room (literally).   Before gardening season starts.

As a gardener and artist, it’s one thing to be curious with anticipation and another thing to expect a major project.  I don’t know what’s under the 4’ of snow in my new backyard other than some evidence of a wire fence in the shape of a square doing its best to peek out for air.  “Grandma”, the lovely 90-year old lady that lived here for the past 35 years, promised there is a garden back there and listed a few surprises I may find if – I mean when – the snow melts.

Yesterday, as my best buddy, DIF, and I tackled layers of glue on the walls in anticipation of Spackle, Sandpaper and Blue Tape to do their duties next before the main event (paint!), the genius idea came to me:

Have a March “Stop-The-Madness” Sale!

I’m admittedly a bit creeped out about doing a sale this extreme, yet I really need to fund this house overhaul project this month – before I have my own madness AND before the fence in the backyard is uncovered.  If you feel inspired to get some clarity about your own “madness” (you know I’m not alone when it comes to that) and are willing to come into my “construction site” for the Deal of the Year, here are some things to consider if this Stop-The-Madness promotion is for you or someone you love and/or respect:

March indicates the end of the first quarter. 

  • Are you on track with your goals and aspirations for 2011?
  • Have you been one of the many to abandon the gym for the year (be honest) because your New Year’s Resolution was just SO long ago and that commitment has come and gone as quickly as a satellite in orbit?  You know what your "gym" is that you blew off already, so just fill that in the blank.
  • Do you have a nagging sense that you are “up to something”… and are having a heck of a time defining what “it” is – or what action you might take to execute “it”? 

I can inspire some insight.

FROM NOW THROUGH MARCH 10Almost all of my services* are ½ priceGulp.

  • 1-Hour Ideation/Effectiveness  Strategy sessions:  $75 (reg. $150)
  • 1-hour hand analysis reading:  $60 (reg. $120)
  • ½ hour hand analysis reading:  $35 (reg. $70)
  • $300 off 6-month Executive Coaching Program

This sale applies only to services purchased and started on or before 3/10/11.   Note that although I've recorded the readings I've done for the last 15+ years that I've been reading hands, at this madness price, they won’t be recorded unless you bring something along to record for yourself.  However, if we do any Ideation work in person, you can take my notes with you.  

*This promo does not apply to gift certificates, corporate events or appointments scheduled beyond 3/10/11.  It also does not include copywriting services provided by WordQueens, although you may want to check out that fun site if you need some irreverent, effective content writing for your marketing materials, website, etc.  www.wordqueens.com

Now it’s up to you.  Call or email me to see whatever time you and I can match our calendars and I’m yours!  Since we both have several things already on our agendas for the next week and a half, it would be important set this up sooner than later, because on March 11, my madness is technically over.  Ok, as soon as the paper is gone, it’s officially over.

Thank you for your contribution to yourself, your well-being, your success and the ripple effect you cause when you contribute to your inspired self when you get a handle on your own madness this March! 

Oh, and HUGE GRATITUDE for beautifying our world (no more mirrored paper!) by supporting my project.  You’ll have to stop by for tea in the summer once the surprise in the back yard unfolds. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

BE the Inspiration YOU are!





Just Do It

Just do it?    That sentence is incomplete.

Yes, those three short words are an effective marketing slogan for Nike, right along side of their internationally recognized swoosh symbol.  For practical purposes though, the sentence isn’t complete.  Before we get started, I’m disclosing that I have nothing against Nike, and own products of theirs.  That’s not the point of this commentary.

Here’s my point:  An ad may have an example of a decent athlete doing some activity, say jogging.  That must mean that if you buy a product with a swoosh, you would conceivably be able to “just do it” even though you haven’t put on a pair of running shoes in 10 years...or maybe ever, right? 

When it comes to a majority of us actually taking any action on whatever our “it” is that were supposedly able to “just do”, the fun little 3-word sentence really doesn’t work well or consistently . 

For years I’ve had a number of my clients finishing that sentence for themselves:  Just do it afraid.  Just do it alone.  Just do it because I can.  Just do it anyway.  Just do it because it’s the right thing to do, etc.

This website is a classic example.  This is the first post I’ve made in months.  I’ve owned my domain name for years.  If I would “Just Do It” and create a website by myself out of thin air, it’s reasonable to assume I wouldn’t have a crater-sized lapse in time since my last post and this one.  My problem was that I didn’t have MY correct ending to my “Just do it...” sentence. 

I fully grasp that I could be (and have been referred to) as a poster child for “technologically inept”, despite that I have interacted online quite a bit and also do website copywriting for WordQueens.  But html is a language I understand as well as Swahili and I didn’t find myself all that motivated to “just do it”.   

Once I was able to finally tell myself “just do it because it matters”, I had my inspired purpose and became interested and motivated to find solution to creating my website with a format that I didn’t break out from hives from doing AND would import all of my old WordPress blog postings.  Thank you squarespace!  Oh, and .... YAY!  I’m no longer “Under Construction”.

As the page turns to uncover YOUR very own 2011...the one involving you, your business, your friends and family, and our society at large, how are you proposing to accomplish your dreams, desires and goals for the upcoming 12 months?  What “purpose” will generate some inspired action?  First of all, think of something you would really, really like to DO.  Now write it down, because you’ll get further instructions in a minute.

(Side Note:  One way the sentence, “Just do it”, makes sense would be in response to a “should I ...” or “shouldn’t I....” scenario.   That’s not the thing you’ll be writing down as the thing you would really, really like to do (or it wouldn't be a "should" for you).  Your intuition already knows the correct response for you on any “should” question you could come up with...so that’s easy.  Do that another time if you’d like.)

Even more inspiring and motivating for both the initiation AND completion of your “thing to do” would require that you have a purpose.  Your purpose is a deep desire of yours for a compelling end result, even if that result means getting the monkey off your back. 

Now, look again at what you wrote down for the thing you would really, really like to DO and read it s-l-o-w-l-y out loud to yourself.  Ok, now keeping that thought in your mind, then answer this:   “How would I complete my ‘Just Do it________’ sentence in order to have that happen?”  Stop and close your eyes for about 20-30 seconds while you ponder that question.

See?  I bet your inner voice just whispered an answer to you, didn’t it?  Yes, the first thing that popped into your brain is a CLUE - a meaningful place to start your inspired action.  Congrats!  I’d love to hear your thoughts about what your inspired action is all about for your 2011!

Thank you for joining me here at cindydaniels.com.  I’ll be updating material, promos and more sources, you might find of value.  Love it if you would stop by again soon.

Keep inspiring!