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Reading good books is one of the best ways to gain new insight and knowledge to help you grow your business. If you aren’t at the place where you can afford to attend seminars and lectures to hear the great minds speak and share their wisdom, insights and experiences, then you must read their books so that you can Keep up with all of the changes going on, learn from those who have survived life in the trenches, and get inspired to keep on keeping on even when times get tough.

So, take a look at these books that I have selected and see if any of these will inspire you to kick things up a notch in your business in 2009:

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

by Timothy Ferriss

Run Your Business So It Doesn’t Run You

by Linda Leigh Francis

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

by Michael E. Gerber

Power of An Hour: Business and Life Mastery in One Hour A Week

by Dave Lakhani

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

by David Allen

Your Portable Empire: How to Make Money Anywhere While Doing What You Love

by Pat O’Bryan

The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything

by Stephen M.R. Covey

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Yoga has been a passion of mine for about ten years now. I took my first class when I was pregnant with my now ten-year-old and it helped me to remain limber and feel wonderful about my blossoming body during pregnancy. Now, I try not to let a day go by without doing either my physical or hatha yoga practice, and I do my best to meditate as often as I can. Part of the philosophy of yoga is captured in Patanjalis’ eight limbs of yoga. These eight limbs include the Yamas and the Niyamas or the ‘do’s and don’ts’ for the life of the yogi seeking enlightenment.

Lately, Santosha, meaning contentment, has been the niyama that has had my attention and focus. During this time of great transition in this world there is a lot of panic, fear and worry in the air. Each day the news reports the downward spiral of the economy and the great uncertainty about the future. Banks are failing, people are losing their jobs, and major industries are crumbling all around us. This world is undergoing a massive shift and change, while it happens constantly, can be unsettling when it happens in such epic proportions each day.

Santosha speaks to being content with where you are and what you have right now. Take a deep inhale. OK, that means that you are alive, your lungs are working properly and that your eyes work well enough to read these words. It is good. It is all good. Contentment crowds out worry, fear and panic. It is not denial rather it is acknowledging the situation as it is, but choosing not to participate in destructive thoughts about it. Take whatever action you must take, but do so in a peaceful, mindful, thoughtful way that will create the best possible outcome for all concerned.

It is not easy to embrace Santosha when everyone around you is indulging in worry and fear. But if you resist the urge to join them you will create a more peaceful environment that will provide a contrast to their nervous energy. They might wonder how you can remain so calm in the face of such chaos. Santosha does not ask for you to hide away and hum a little song pretending that all is well. Santosha sees the swirling confusion and beckons you to rise above it in a place of peace and bliss. As you hold the space for peace, calmness, and contentedness you in your own way changing the world.

Seizing the Moment

Nov
2008
18

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Today we got our first flurries of snow of this season in the DC Metro area. I was on a field trip with my first grader’s class on a visit to the Museum of the Native American on the National Mall in D.C. We were walking home from the museum as the first flakes began to fly. There was a chilly wind causing the snow to swirl in dramatic fashion and we all squealed and giggled as the kids tried catching the delicate crystals on their tongues. Soon the sun burst out from behind the clouds and the wind died down and the mini snow squall ended as quickly as it began. We felt the warm sun on our faces and before we knew it we were back at school.

I mention that little scene because it was enjoyable to me to be able to experience that with my daughter, but also because if we had chosen to take the bus as the other first grade classes did we would have missed the fun of tasting the first snow. We seized the moment and enjoyed the rewards of it.

This year is quickly drawing to a close and soon it will be time to plan ahead for the new year. We spend so much time both looking backwards at the past, and looking ahead and planning the future that we often lose sight of the most powerful moment of all–right now. This moment is really all that we have, and while I know how important it is to take an assessment of what has happened and plan for what I would like to have happen going forward, It is my intention to learn to live more in this moment right here.

We have some exciting days ahead in D.C. and for the country as a whole as we prepare to welcome a new president. These are strange and turbulent times for our economy as we ride through this downturn. It is interesting to watch how those who were living far beyond their means learn to make wiser choices and “tighten their belts” as the old folks used to say.

Today I want to focus on making the most of every opportunity and doing my best to stay in the moment as much as possible. I am working on developing my writing goals for the coming year and I will share them here when I have them all shaped up. I am trying to act more on inspiration rather than putting it off until later and then never quite accomplishing all that I can.

What can you do to seize the moment today? What ideas can you act upon quickly to set them in motion? Who can you encourage and make their day even better? How can you inspire yourself?

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Lifestreaming is a convenient way to gather together all of your online projects, social media communities, microblogging platforms into one place to facilitate sharing all of that content more easily.

Freelance writers often join lots of communities and have contacts and lots of content to share. Lifestreaming can be a good time saving device to keep all of that together and give you more time and energy to devote to your writing.

So now all of your Facebook friends, your flickr photos, your blogs will be accessible with one click rather than having to log in to each of these to update them and keep up with all that is going on there.

Lifestreaming is, according to wordspy.com: “An online record of a person’s daily activities, either via direct video feed or via aggregating the person’s online content such as blog posts, social network updates, and online photos.” So, lifestreaming can be considered a very immediate, concise aggregation of all the social media sites that you are involved with collapsed into to a single, convenient stream. Now, rather than referring your friends to a string of links on your blog to your various social media communities, you can send them to a single page where they can keep track your fresh updates online.

Here are some Lifestreaming sites for you to try to see which one best meets your needs:

Lifestrea.ms is still in private Beta right now. Their tag-line is: “It keeps you in the loop with what’s going on around you in almost real time and keeps the world in the loop with what’s going on with you.” At this point, you have to send an email requesting an invitation to try the private beta.

FriendFeed.com, has exploded on the scene and has become a prime example of the consummate Lifestreaming destination. Users can import feeds from many of the popular social media sites, and rss feeds. They can join or create groups and share their resources with everyone. Embedding your FriendFeed link on your blog, will provide a constant stream of fresh content to your home page.

Tumblr.com is a combination microblogging platform and a lifestreaming application. Tumbler aggregates all of your your social media accounts, videos, photos all in one place in addition to the microblogging feature. You can even view and update your tumblr page from your smart mobile phone.

Ping.fm, which is still in private beta, but allows new users to sign up and use the service looks like another great site where users can organize their lives online.

There are many sites online now where you can organize your online life. Lifestreaming is a convenient, elegant way of collecting your online projects in one place allowing you to save you time, and save your friends, contacts and clients time as well by providing a space for them to access all of your fresh content in one convenient place.

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Barack Obama has won the 2008 election and in the process made history as the first African American to be elected to the presidency of the United States. The reaction to his victory was unprecendented as Americans, and people all over the world poured out into the streets in spontaneous celebrations of his victory.

Obama’s victory can be attributed to his campaign which was incredibly organized and utilized the power of the Internet more effectively than any other campaign. Sara Lai Stirland of Wired.com wrote:

“The Obama campaign has been building, tweaking and tinkering with its technology and organizational infrastructure since it kicked off in February 2007, and today has most sophisticated organizing apparatus of any presidential campaign in history.”

Obama’s campaign utilized the Internet and social media tools to fuel their organization appeal to young people and galvanize their support. They were able to successfully integrate good, old-fashioned field organizing with the effecgtive use of technology to engage with the electorate.

The use of technology such as text mesaging to announce his VP pick, and that huge electronic map of the U.S. at the DNC that lit up as people sent text messages to their friends around the country. They partnered with Facebook, allowing users to organize their friends and feed that data back into the campaign. From very intimate and innovative uses of email communication Twitter, Youtube videos along with the traditional GOTV activities such as phone banking and door knocking all worked together to ensure success. The Obama campaign was able to successfully translate the online participation and enthusiasm into inspiring supporters to take action and do actual work on behalf of their candidate.

The Obama campaign machine used a bottom up approach to encourage supporters to invest their time and energy into this campaign and doing their part to get their voices heard and to support a candidate that supports the ideas and ideals that they stand for.

Obama’s challenge is to now find a way to utilize all of this energy and enthusiasm and engagement of the newly minted young voters. These people feel empowered that their vote in their first presidential election was so historic and ushered in such a tremendous potential for change in this country. They must continue to use these social media/ networking tools to keep the electorate engaged and feeling as if their input and ideas matter and can be translated into real and lasting changes in our society and in our world.

Downloads

Oct
2008
30

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Here are some free downloads for you.

Affirmations for Writers

Thank You!

Oct
2008
30

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Thank you for subscribing to the Productive Pen e-Newsletter. Please download your free gift:

Setting Up Your First Blog

Oops!

Oct
2008
28

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Things look a little different around here because somehow, I completely lost my original blog. I was happily installing plugins the other day, because I suddenly considered myself to have become a WordPress plugin guru after having successfully installed some nifty new plugins, when whoosh! my blog disappeared. So please consider this a cautionary tale and please, please, please back up your blog! I lost eighteen months worth of work, and now I have to start again from scratch and rebuild it. In my despair I found this post from daily blog tips to be quite useful. I have downloaded and installed the WordPress Database Backup on all of my WordPress blogs now so that I will never be in this sad situation again.

So, I’m making a fresh start here and I hope to get back on track and restore some order around here.