The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

The Catholic School Nuns Got It Right: What You Need to Know to be Successful

All but one of my Catholic Grammar School teachers has long ago departed this world. I am sure they made their trip to Heaven in a Nano-second. Certainly, they earned Premier Seating Status immediately to the right hand of Jesus Christ.

As I look back, I am so appreciative on the twelve years of schooling I received from The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. Those women were saints. They earned their angel wings for enduring the classroom stress of thousands of belligerent, unruly, button-pushing, sometimes naughty Catholic boys and girls.

Despite numerous disruptions, those nuns graduated many well-educated kids who knew the difference between right, wrong, white-lies, alternate truths and “rounding off the edges.”

The Grammar Patrol
Catholic kids excelled in grammar. We knew how to diagram sentences and religiously made sure every sentence had a subject, a verb and an object. We knew where to place adverbs and adjectives. And for gosh sakes, we survived Spelling Bees, Phonics and mastered lists of 10-20 new words every week as we increased our vocabularies exponentially. We knew how to identify a subordinate or independent clause.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Clean-up Your Mess
I assure you that if Sister Beatrice were still in the classroom, she’d take out her ruler and swiftly wrap the knuckles of politicians that assassinate our grammar and language. The internet and social media expose the good, the bad and the ugly lawmakers daily who should return to grammar school for the basics.

Tweets, photos, and videos have all changed the way we look and perceive our political leaders.  They cannot hide, nor can they permanently remove misspelled words, racial rants, and promiscuous photos from the digital world with their “fixers.” Back in the day, offenders had to wash chalkboards and paint over defaced walls.

They do not receive good marks for creativity when they make-up names for countries, rivers or mountains they can’t find on a map. Nor are they rewarded when they attempt to bluff their way through a speech or conversation by misquoting scripture in a pious tone of voice, as if they were Biblical scholars. Folks, if you don’t know what the Big Book says, pick it up and read from it. Life is an open-book test.

True Confessions
And what about the dust-up that would certainly occur when it came time to experience a First Confession? Confession was the time that all good Catholic boys and girls admitted their misdeeds and transgressions to the priest regarding poor judgement, profanity, name calling, and half-truths uttered about friends and family members behind their backs. Sometimes the brazen kids had even taunted and confronted “enemies” on the playground at recess. Those kids were known as bullies. They did not attract many friends.

At confession, we owned up to casting insults and aspersions on someone’s character by creating an embarrassing nickname. Confession came with stiff penalties assigned for lying, making false accusations or ridiculing someone for their physical or mental disability.

The parish priest would not let anyone off the hook with an excuse like “I Misspoke” or a suggestion that the priest should consider viewing the situation from my perspective.  Children knew the real consequences for their sins. They had to fess up and say, Yes, Father, I Lied!

And in Arithmetic, when pressured to quantify a problem or add up a column of figures, would Sister Mary Exactamundo allow for an estimated response like “I think the answer is Billions and Billions?”

The Future is Bright
However, do not worry about the fate of children not exposed to the Benedictine Sisters. There’s still hope for those who flunked out of Catholic School. They can aspire to serve in Congress, become a Senator or maybe even President of the United States.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

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7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

7 Life Lessons from a 5-Year Old

In August of 2013, while in the Austin, Texas airport, I sat sipping a cup of coffee at the airport café before boarding my flight to my next workshop in Denver.

As I wait for my departure time announcement, I people-watch. The next encounter would be one I will always remember. I had a 7-minute education from a lovely 5-year old little girl named Natalie, dressed in pink from head to toe, pulling her compact pink and purple backpack. She and her mom, dad and big brother were on their way to Disneyworld when our paths intersected.

Natalie became the teacher and I was her student that day as she taught me: 7 Life Lessons To Remember No Matter What Age You Are!

During our brief conversation, I learned that her birthday is June 27thand her favorite colors are pink and purple. She was fascinated with colors and hoped to teach me a few in case I did not know my colors. Her lesson began by naming every color she saw around us. As I recall, she knew them without one mistake. And each time she saw a color, like a blue suitcase rolling by, she quickly added other “Blue Things.” The sky is blue. My brothers bike is blue. My mommy’s eyes are blue. The next color to catch her eye was green. And off she went into a litany of green things.

When I asked her about her trip, she admitted that this was her first airplane flight and that she was a little afraid. Her primary fear was of getting lost. We discussed holding on to her mommy’s hand so that would never happen. She spontaneously grabbed her mommy’s hand and mine as well. I was surprised at her immediate trust of someone she’d just met.

As we continued to talk, topics bounced around. Next to pop into her head was that mommy had told her she must eat her vegetables. And that she was supposed to take a nap on the airplane so when she woke up she’d almost be at Disneyworld. Unlike grownups, Natalie had no notion of what topic would be appropriate “airport conversation.”

As her mother and dad indicated it was time to move on to their gate, I asked Natalie to promise me to hold on to her mom’s hand and eat her vegetables. At that point she walked very close to me and locked her tiny little finger into mine. I had never been asked to make a “Pinky Swear.” The serious look on her face indicated she definitely would keep her “Pinky Swear” promise.

She then put her arms around my neck and gave me three hugs. Waved goodbye and began the long walk  down the airport hallway, holding her mommy’s hand. She took a few steps and turned around and waved to me. The pauses and goodbye waves continued for what seemed to be an eternity. She probably did not see the tears rolling down my face. All sound ceased. People disappeared. All that remained was the tiny figure of Natalie turning the corner and waving for the last time.

It’s been 5-years since that chance meeting and recalling it still brings me to tears.

What are Natalie’s Seven Life- Lessons?

  1. If you’re lucky and look, you’ll see a favorite color everywhere.
  2. Be brave. Help others to be brave even if you’re doing something for the first time ever.
  3. Hugs are free. Give three.
  4. Pinky Swears must be locked to be binding.
  5. Share stories and toys.
  6. If you’re afraid, it’s ok to hold someone’s hand.
  7. It’s Ok to keep looking back when you wave goodbye. However, once you turn the corner, it’s time to look ahead for your next adventure.

Natalie, thank you for teaching me those essential and practical instructions.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.

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To Eliminate a Bad Habit, Track It, Count It. You’ll Change it.

To Eliminate a Bad Habit, Track It, Count It. You’ll Change it.

In the words of Harvard Business Review writer Anthony K. Tjan, “…there is one quality that trumps all, evident in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader. That quality is self-awareness. The best thing leaders can [do] to improve their effectiveness is to become more aware of what motivates them and their decision-making.”

When we become aware of a personal behavioral shortcoming or an area that needs improvement, will we begin to correct it without being conscious of making changes?

Behavior changes, can include attempting to eliminate using filler words such as: “um”, “uh”, “you know” “and” “like” in our presentations. Changing habits might also include our energy consumption in the workplace.  Awareness of how we waste energy can be minimized by simply monitoring and tracking it.

In an #IFMA Kansas City Chapter Meeting today, Dennis Murphy, Chief Environmental Officer for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, shared information with the Chapter about the #Energy Empowerment Ordinance enacted in 2015. What I found especially encouraging is that when companies began to track their energy consumption and report it as required by the ordinance, their energy consumption decreased by 10%. No fancy program was initiated. Awareness was enough to make the decision to change.

Maybe my dad was right to keep reminding us to turn off the lights in a room as we left it. At my Bonner Springs Toastmasters Club, we track how often we use of filler words in speeches. I have almost eliminated that behavior simply by becoming aware of it.

What habits do you need to change? Start counting and tracking them. You’ll change! I guarantee it!

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speakerauthorconsultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

 

 

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The Seven-Second Window

The Seven-Second Window

Nothing happens in 7-seven seconds? I can’t change my life in 7-seconds…can I?

Consider what is possible:

  1. High-speed Hot Rod: The Tesla can go from a dead stop to a speed of 65 in 7 seconds.
  2. Quick Decisions: Researches say we decide if we like someone within 7-seconds.
  3. Fleet Footed: The cheetah, the fastest land animal, can reach 60 mph in less than 3-seconds.
  4. Motor Mouth: In 1990, on the British television show, Steve Woodmore spoke 74-words in 6-seconds and could utter 637 words in 1-minute.

What can you do to today in as few as 7-seconds that will improve the quality of your life?

Ten Guaranteed Actions To Change Your Life That Won’t Cost You A Penny

  1. Pause before giving your boss a fast “NO” response to a new idea.
  2. The payoff for returning the smile of your flight attendant on an early bird flight will certainly make you feel better than if you frowned at them.
  3. Affirmatively nod, lean slightly forwards and LISTEN CAREFULLY to a customer who seems to be giving you a list of reasons why they can’t buy your product.
  4. Hug and kiss your child before they fall asleep. Both of you will get a better night’s sleep.
  5. Hold the door open for someone carrying a load of packages as they enter or leave a building. Don’t worry about their gender or yours. It’s all about helping another human.
  6. Take a deep breath from your belly when you’d rather return a verbal insult from a rival.
  7. Be the second car to proceed through an intersection after stopping at a traffic light. You might avoid a collision with someone who is late for work and decided to run a red light.
  8. Just say “No thank you” to a second helping of dessert at the next holiday dinner. You really will feel better the following day and self-esteem will grow.
  9. Apologize as soon as harsh words have passed your lips. It may not erase the pain and hurt the recipient of your words feels but it can start the healing process.
  10. Thank your creator for a full and productive day and the chance at another even better one tomorrow.

All ten tips will take a few seconds to implement. I promise your life will be a whole lot more fun, your health will improve and your outlook about your future will be brighter. That beats a ton of anti-depressants, hours in therapy or huge liquor bill at the local neighborhood bar.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

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NO or I Don’t Know. Which No/Know is More Powerful?

NO or I Don’t Know. Which No/Know is More Powerful?

There is power in saying NO. Guru’s preach that if we say that simple one-syllable word-NO-we will:

  1. Establish office and project boundaries quicker.
  2. Manage time more effectively. Be a more successful, productive sales or territory manager.
  3. Control or eliminate excesses like eating unhealthy foods, drinking excessively or smoking.
  4. Be happier, more contented and fulfilled.
  5. Avoid over-volunteering for activities. You’ll recognize this pattern if your community nickname is “The Always Go-to Soccer Coach” or “Fund Raising Chair Extraordinaire.”

Brick and mortar bookstores contain huge Self-Help sections. Amazon lists 1.5 million book titles containing the word NO. If there are so many resources available to instruct us on how to say NO, why are we unable or unwilling to say that 2-letter word?

I believe it has a lot to do with difficulty in uttering another phrase, “I don’t know”, which is usually followed by the phrase, “I want to talk it over with….”

Somehow or at some time in our cultural development, it became imperative to respond immediately to a request with either a Yes or a No. Delay in decision-making was unacceptable. We feared that decision delay was a sign of weakness. Maybe it was an indication that we didn’t control our own destiny, personal lives, service territory, company future or world peace.

Uttering the phrase “I don’t know, I’ll get back to you on that” was as challenging as watching a cat passing a hair ball.

As children, if we were smart, we relied upon the excuse “I’ll have to ask my mom or dad for permission.” We maintained peace at home and avoided punishment when we asked an authority for approval of a scheme or plan.

As adults, who is our go-to for counsel? We’re fortunate if we have someone to consult prior to decision-making. The title we use is not as important as that there is someone we go to for guidance.

We may refer to them as an adviser, coach, mentor, business partner, counselor, colleague, spouse and occasionally attorney. Their title depended upon the issue. The point is that we have someone to discuss a decision with before saying yes or no. For some of us, we refer to our guide as a higher-power.

There is another possible challenge on the way to “I Don’t Know.” It’s the ego, our sense of self-esteem, self-importance and personal identity. A strong ego is an asset but can be a liability if it overrides humility.

When the ego is strong enough to admit that Smart People Say I Don’t Know, you are on your way to more personal fulfillment and success.

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!   

 

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Do the Rules of Right, Wrong and Honesty Still Apply to You?

Do the Rules of Right, Wrong and Honesty Still Apply to You?

I visited my hometown recently for my Aunt’s funeral.The funeral Mass was held in the Catholic Church our family has attended for over a century.

It’s the church in which my family had the priest baptize our new babies and the one from which we said our good-byes to loved ones as they went to “their final reward.”

Ghosts of my too-early-gone mom and dad, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins fill my thoughts as I sit in the second row surrounded by an aging family. We’re all aging. There are very few Redmond babies born to take our places.

In this Church, I learned about truth, honesty, respect and obedience. The payoff for good behavior came with rewards, recognition and gold stars on the Behavior Chart in the classroom.

As Catholics, not only did we learn about consequences for breaking the Ten Commandments, we also were drilled with facts about eternal damnation, Hell, Purgatory, Original Sin, Mortal and Venial Sin, Penance and the Seven Sacraments.

My parents raised us to understand that there were right and wrong actions. Taking toys from my brothers or sisters was wrong. The price paid for that evil deed was either a spanking or scolding.

However, my first big act evil deed was that of theft. I stole seven cents worth of candy from our neighborhood grocer, Mr. Hochman.

When Catholic children reach 2nd grade, they prepare for their first confession and communion. I knew that I would enter the confessional booth, kneel down and tell our parish priest, about all the broken commandments of a very bad girl of seven.

I was going to face the music. Pay the piper. Bite the bullet. Take my medicine. All those over-used idioms for making amends for wrongs done. In this case, the priest told me I had to pay Mr. Hochman back for the candy I stole. What I was relieved to know was that I did not have apologize to him, face-to-face. I could do it anonymously. The priest advised me to put the money in an envelope and leave it on the shop counter.

I feared that if I did not make restitution, I would go to Hell for all eternity. I certainly did not want to pay for my candy for eternity so I did what I was told. I slipped the money on the counter and ran out the door.

This experience made such a strong impression on me that I can still recall the creaky wooden shop floor, the huge cash register and how I stood on tip-toes to slide the envelope discreetly onto the counter before running home.

How do each of us learn what is right and wrong? For most people, we learn to be honest from our parents. Reflect back on your early lessons about honesty.

Do those rules still apply to you as an adult?

Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach.  She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!

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