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!

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.

Face Your Biggest Fears…Most of them Won’t Kill You.


Unless the chute fails to open. Alternatively, your tandem instructor decides not to pull the ripcord because he has a death wish. By now, you’ve probably guessed this story is about skydiving, one of my biggest fears.13592406_1049624141792932_7132323744764427168_n

Last year, at a luncheon of an organization of Business Women, the foursome at my table began to discuss “Bucket Lists.” My Bucket List at the time, included skydiving. I casually asked if any of the others had that on their list. Nancy excitedly said yes she had wanted to jump since she was 15-years of age. She volunteered to be my accountability buddy and would do a tandem jump too. Rats, there went the excuse of “I’d never do this alone.”

The other two women said they thought we were both a bit crazy but they’d cheer us on from a safe spot on the ground. Nancy and I researched jump locations safety records, instructors, prices and personal jump site recommendations. Excuses and delays caused us to push the jump into the summer of 2016.

Jump day, Sunday, June 5 arrived. The weather was perfect. However, I was on day 16 of the worst head cold I have had in years. I had every excuse to not go through with the jump. However, I knew that if I backed out that Sunday, the odds were extremely high that I would never reschedule the jump.

Forty years before, I had taken a parachute jumping class and never made the jump. For a stack of reasons mostly having to do with an extremely rainy spring, I never put on the chute and jumped.

Facing fears is a subject I speak about frequently in my keynotes. I love to challenge my audiences to be courageous and face fears. Here are a few of the fears I’ve faced:

  • The fear of not making payroll as a small business owner for 14-years.
  • At age 30, I quit my job, loaded my car with the essentials I thought I’d need to live and headed west with no specific destination in mind. I had clothes for 4 seasons, a tent, sleeping bag, propane cook stove and my favorite cookbooks. I saw five states and settled for the next three years in Boulder, Colorado.
  • In my 30’s, I traveled to seven European countries alone for six weeks.
  • As a single woman, I purchased my first home in my 30’s before that was a common occurrence.
  • After receiving a traumatic brain injury while riding on my bicycle, a few months later, I got back on the same bicycle and rode over the spot where the accident occurred.
  • I’ve para sailed, skinny-dipped, spoken in front of an audience of 1,000 and visited someone at a maximum-security prison where I was informed that most of the inmates visiting with their families in the cafeteria around us were murderers.

What I’ve learned is when I face any fear, I grow stronger. The next fear is always easier to face.

Marilyn Ferguson, the author of The Aquarian Conspiracy said it succinctly, “we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.”

If you are anything like me, you yearn for freedom to live life to its fullest. No shortcuts or excuses, following the Nike slogan “Just Do It.”

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!

 

 

You Taught us How to Love—Unconditionally

st-francis-of-assisi-1235348As our large Irish Catholic family prepared for the final days of our Aunt Muriel Redmond’s life, we each took our turn saying good bye.

My mother had died 42 years before Aunt Muriel. Although I was 22 at the time, Aunt Muriel became my touchstone, my moral compass. When I was confused about marriage, or if I should accept a specific job offer or move to a new city or when I needed to hear someone loved me, no matter what, I called Aunt Muriel.

In August of 2015, all of her children and immediate family members, friends from her church, friends from the community where she had resided for 11 years, neighbors and many more had gathered to toast her 100th Birthday.

Aunt Muriel was a woman of wisdom, grace, patience, courage and compassion. In addition to listening and comforting her own children and grandchildren, she took time to be a “mom” to numerous nieces, nephews and others.  We may never know how many looked at my aunt as their “other mother.”

At her funeral, her son, Thomas closed the eulogy for his mother with the Prayer of St. Frances. As I listened to the words of this well-known prayer, I finally knew how blessed I had been to know the love of this amazing woman. She lived the words of this prayer, every day of her 100 years.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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!

Joy, Thanks and Life 17 Years later

Seventeen years ago, I took my first step towards a new, unexpected and joy-filled life.

The journey has been full of blessings, new deep, life-long friendships, surprises, struggles and challenges.

The big difference is that before that night, 17-years ago, I had few tools to manage life’s tough times. I dreaded those roller coaster days, terror filled nights that lasted for what felt like 12 or more hours. With morning came regrets and a litany of trite phrases directed towards my husband. They usually began with “I’m sorry for what I said last night.” Followed with, Honey, today will be different, I promise.”

On other mornings, with a rotten and bitter taste in my mouth, I’d ask, “Did I do something dumb last night? I can’t remember much after 10:00pm.”

The words: hope, faith, acceptance, honesty and forgiveness were not in my vocabulary. My soul was filled with feelings of hopelessness, fear, guilt, resentment and anger.

That was then. Today I look forward to each new day. Monday’s included. Usually that is…

I said I’m more honest now. Some Monday’s are not that great.

There are a few Monday’s, after a particularly precious weekend with family and friends, where I wish Sunday would last for 48-hours.

One recent “rough” Monday was the day after returning from a fabulous 6-day girl friend trip to an exclusive Mexican Riviera resort and spa vacation.

On that Monday, I wished for just one more vacation day of sun, beach, guacamole, salsa and chips, plus hours more of laughing until the tears rolled and our bellies hurt.

Today I live blessed life. If you were checking out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, the chart is almost complete. I’m covered in the basic needs: physiological, safety, love/belonging and esteem. I spend most of my self-development working on the Self-Actualization phase that includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, acceptance of facts and lack of prejudice.

I live in our beautiful dream home with my dear husband of 26+ years. My professional speaking business is running at a wonderful pace. I’m working on a book and from time-to-time, I am asked to mentor other less experienced businesswomen.

My friendships are gems that shine like diamonds, rubies and emeralds. My roots in the community are deep. My God and I are on a first-name basis. I never knew life could be this good. If you’ve been on the journey with me, thank you for your support and love. Life is a team-sport. I could not have done this without you.

Amen! God Bless You.

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!

I’m Uh, Glad to be Your Uh, Your Uh Speaker Today

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As a professional speaker, I attend many conferences throughout the United States. Recently, I attended a luncheon with an audience of 500 business professionals. The speaker was a Vice President of a worldwide corporation with thousands of employees. My expectations for a highly informative  and detail packed speech were high.

The speaker had content of interest to the audience but the delivery was horrible. Why do corporations send out people who represent them poorly? Our speaker could have spread corporate good will, community pride and enthusiasm. Instead, they droned on for an excruciating 40-minutes.

Common Mistakes that Non-Professional Speakers Make

  1. Dependence Upon Filler Words: Examples of fillers are “uh”, “um” “and” “you know” and “so.” The speaker used the word “uh” over 100 times in 40-minutes. That’s 2 ½ “uh’s” every minute.
  2. The 100-Word Sentence. Excessive dependence upon the conjunctions “and” or “but” to string idea after idea into a boring soliloquy.
  3. PowerPoint Boredom. Each Slide was on the screen a minimum of 1 minute 20 seconds. That is too long to stare at the same screen with 20 or fewer words on it. Think of how long a 60-second commercial feels. We have become a nation with short attention spans.
  4. I Can Read. The Speaker recited the words on the slides to the audience. The audience was of an educational background that one could assume had the capacity to read.
  5. Give ‘em the Cold Shoulder. The speaker turned away from the audience and towards the screen, to read from the slide. The speaker flashed the “cold shoulder” every 1 and ½ minutes.
  6. Repetition. An effective technique, used by many professional speakers’ politicians and religious leaders. This speaker clearly was ill-prepared and lacked confidence.
  7. Don’t Read to Me. The only time the speaker did not use filler words was when they were reading directly from their prepared remarks. The “script” is an outline.
  8. Smile. An occasional smile helps to gain the audience’s attention, empathy and respect.
  9. Be Excited About the Topic. If the speaker was as bored with the presentation as the audience grew to be, we could have all gone home after coffee and dessert. No Harm, No Foul
  10. No Humor. A stand-up comedy routine was not expected. However, the question is often asked: “Does a speaker have to be humorous?” The answer is No, not unless they want to: A. Get Paid. B. Connect with the Audience. C. Be Remembered or D. Cause a change attitude, actions or point of view.

My next blog will give you some helpful tips. Be prepared for the next time you find yourself speaking in front of a small group, board meeting, your staff, a jury or even scarier, an audience.

Must I KeepOn Keepin On?

FearCourage

Announcing Change! Irritating emails fill my Inbox. Memos cover my desk.

Take action now! However, the little voice in my head screams:
1. I’m tired of change.
2. Why can’t things stay the same?
3. This isn’t the way we used to do it.
4. I refuse to make more changes. I quit.

Sound familiar? It’s the curse of every employee and manager in the world. Escape is impossible. Change occurs at work, home, at our children’s school and in our place of worship.

I’ve accepted that despite protests, headaches and temper tantrums, change is inevitable.

Consider this your final warning! Accept change, and move forward or you’ll sink like the Titanic, clinging to the status quo boat anchor.

There is a lifeboat waiting. I reserved your seat. Join me. You’re invited to face Change!

The G-HOW Plan
Grateful: Acknowledge the good things, people and conditions in your life.
Honest: It is easier than making up lies and forgetting what you said.
Open: New experiences can be fun. Trust me here.
Willing: Temper tantrums at age 30 or 50 aren’t attractive.

Grateful:

  • No less than twice a day, give thanks for what you have and for what you don’t have. Those with an ex-spouse know what I mean.
  • Make daily entries in a Gratitude Journal.
  • Be grateful for your health, even if it’s not great. I have a friend fighting bone marrow cancer for the second time. She fills her Facebook posts with words of thanksgiving for family, friends, doctors, the sight of a butterfly in her garden and for the cardinal’s song as he perches near her window.

Honest:

  • Be truthful in all communication whether it’s written, verbal or only in thought.
  •  Pause before responding, especially when angry or frustrated. Restraint is wise. No apologies to make later.

Open
Remain open to new and scary experiences. Most of us fear that which we have not experienced. Remember, fear is an emotion like love or anger. It’s not a fact of life.

  • Face fear. Running away is no longer your preferred option.
  • Ask for help from those who’ve survived challenges.
  • Celebrate success and those pesky “learning opportunities” (formerly called failures).

Willing
Be willing to face fear, take action and live to share your success. When you suit up and show up prepared to face the day, you demonstrate willingness to move from the guaranteed present towards an unknown, untested future.

Courage is found at the intersection of Fear and Faith.