Results for category "Living Positive"

You Must Declare This

Dana Houser 0 Comments


I want to talk about two things today. Independence Day(that’s what we celebrate, NOT the 4th of July), and declaring YOUR independence. In my opinion, I think Independence Day should be the second biggest holiday that we celebrate in America, next to Christmas. Sadly, a lot of our younger generation doesn’t even know why we celebrate Independence Day. They think it’s just a day off from work to grill out, drink beer and light fireworks. And those are all great and fun things to do. But they should at least know what the hell they’re celebrating for.

Independence From Great Britain

The colonists were sick and tired of being told what to do, how to run their lives and taxation without representation. So, it all came to a head, and the course of history was changed forever on July 4th, 1776.

It’s Time To Claim Your Dependence

What or who are you tired of controlling you? Is it a person, your job, your physical health or something else. We all fall prey to something and we wish it would change. We’re all sick and tired of this or that, but a lot of times we don’t do anything about it except wish for something to change.

Well guess what…

Nothing’s going to change until you change it. That’s right, you. That person staring at you in the mirror on Monday morning when you’re dreading going to work at a job you despise.

The Good News

Whatever it is that you think is holding you back can be changed. And I say that you think it’s holding you back because that’s all it is. You’re letting whatever it is control you, control you. When you decide to do something about it, when it hurts bad enough, you’ll change it.

One way is challenge yourself. Decide what it is that you want to change and improve about your life, commit to doing it, and do it. I’d suggest taking a look at and doing the 100 Day Challenge. But I can only suggest what to do, you have to actually do it.

Now, I want to share an article from a Steve Roller. He’s a copywriter, a friend of mine and shares a great perspective on this same subject.

Enjoy, and Happy Independence Day.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

I’m a bit of a U.S. history buff.

I once stood in line for three hours to get a 30-second glimpse of the original Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington D.C. I carry a pocket copy of the Declaration of Independence in my iPad case, and I can recite from memory the first 108 words of it.

Some of the most beautiful words in our country’s history start with “When in the course of human events … ”

So what does one of the most important documents in U.S. and world history have to do with your career as a freelance copywriter?

Plenty.

You see, the colonists were fed up with Great Britain’s control over their future. Things had been brewing for a while. First, the Stamp Act of 1765. Then the Boston Massacre. Later, the whole taxation without representation thing.

It all came to a head when the Second Constitutional Congress met in Philadelphia in early July, 1776.

You could call it the “defining moment” for the colonists.

July 4, 1776, changed the course of history forevermore.

What are you ready to kick to the curb?

Like the colonists, I believe each of us has a defining moment. That moment when we get fed up with the status quo and decide to do something about it once and for all.

It could be when you first make the decision to check out this idea of being a copywriter because your job is no longer fulfilling. Or further along when you make the leap to launch your full-time freelance business because you know if it doesn’t happen now, it may never happen. Maybe you’re an experienced pro and just need to redefine your niche (and bid good riddance to the old one that’s no longer in demand).

No matter where you are in your journey or what your particular issue is, the exercise I’m going to describe for you in a minute will work.

The “Great Britain” I needed to separate myself from

Recently, I realized that I had been plodding along for about a year at a moderate pace. I was bringing in enough to pay all my bills and then some, and I had gotten to the point of equalling my most recent best year.

But then I hit an invisible ceiling. I think it was the idea that I was making as much as I used to, had gotten comfortable, and wasn’t pushing myself like I did in the beginning.

On top of it, I was spending too much time with a client who wasn’t overly profitable and hanging onto another client in an industry I didn’t enjoy.

I was stuck in a rut, and I couldn’t get past it.

Time for another declaration, like the one I made three years ago, stating that I would leave my job within six months.

I needed to declare my independence from the shackles of mediocrity, and I did.

I actually wrote out, in declaration form, that I was no longer going to wallow in the average income, modest lifestyle, and relative obscurity of a mid-level copywriter.

Enough of underpaying, demanding clients! Goodbye to all clients in the niche I hadn’t chosen but fell into.

No more middle-of-the-road complacency. Time to bust out and move on to the next stage of my career!

It wasn’t complicated to write out my declaration, and it didn’t take me long.

On Walden Pond (kind of)

But first, I took three days off.

Grabbed some books, a journal, and headed for my brother’s cabin in northern Wisconsin. Not quite a Thoreau experience – I had Wi-Fi, a stocked refrigerator, and a nonstop pot of coffee going. But a good head-clearing experience nonetheless.

I took a personal inventory, like I described in “What’s on your Freedom Trail map?” Figured out where I’ve been, why I’m not satisfied, and where I’m going. When I emerged from the woods a few days later, I had crafted a one-page document suitable for framing (as long as no one else ever sees it).

And you know what?

Making that bold declaration served as a turning point! It’s exactly what I needed to get the ball rolling. I wake up with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, I’m thrilled about focusing on a new niche, and I have prospects in the pipeline again.

Now, before I go further, let me tell you what this exercise is NOT. This isn’t at all about …

  • setting goals
  • writing down your goals
  • creating a mission or purpose statement (I’ve never been able to figure those out)
  • visualizing success
  • positive expectations
  • the Law of Attraction

None of those things. This is quicker, easier, and I believe, more effective in moving you in the direction of your dreams.

You won’t instantly, magically hit all your goals. But it’s a starting point, a catalyst to help you move forward.

A declaration, plain and simple

Your Declaration of Independence is simply declaring to the world that you are fed up with your current situation. Explaining why you’ve come to this boiling point … what you’re separating yourself from … and why things are never going to be the same.

That’s all.

Only, it’s not really for the world.

This is one piece of copy that is for you.

Your simple 4-step action plan

The reason I love this exercise is because it packs a serious punch in a simple little document. I took three days because I needed a little vacation, but you can easily do it in three hours or less.

Here’s the plan:

Step 1: Identify it.

Spend some time thinking about the chasm between where you are and where you should be.

What’s been holding you back?
Why is it taking longer than you planned?
What challenges are proving difficult?
Who or what has gotten in your way?
What are you really getting annoyed with in your current situation?
Do you have any toxic people or things in your life that need to go?
Are you starting to get mad?! Good.

When you get frustrated with yourself and where you are right now, that’s the starting point. Identify exactly what you’re fed up with and what current connections you may need to break.

Step 2: Write it.

There’s serious power in the sheer act of writing something down. More than writing down your goals (which I also advocate), this is making a bold declaration and making it official!

Here’s a suggestion. If you want to have some fun with this, read the first two sentences and the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. You’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Mine starts out, “When in the course of my copywriting career, it becomes necessary to dissolve the unprofitable connections and habits I have developed, and to assume among the powers of the earth, my rightful place alongside rising copywriting greats like … ”

Craft some cool language that fits you. No one else has to ever see this, so don’t worry about how it sounds.

Step 3: Frame it!

I’m serious. And put it in a place where you can see it from your desk. We’re talking about a document that’s going to help change the course of your career, right? Make it count!

I did this three years ago when I declared that my loyalty to King George III (my employer) would be ending soon. Somehow stating it and posting it made it real.

Step 4: Use it.

Let your bold declaration, whatever it is, change you.

First, you identify it. Then you write it out. Then you post it.

Now stake your claim on the new territory and move in.

What next?

Think of your Declaration of Independence as a starting point, a launching pad, not a goal to be achieved.

Let it be a daily reminder that you got to a point where you had to change course.

I can tell you this. When you’ve formally made a declaration, even just to yourself, things naturally start falling into place.

Then, in the words of Thomas Jefferson: ACT

I think Steve shares some really good stuff there. If you’re ready to claim your independence and improve your life, the time to do it is now. Don’t put it off. Challenge yourself and make it happen.

Make The Most Out of Your Ticket

Dana Houser 0 Comments

I’ll never forget the first roller-coaster I saw that went upside down. I had been on several other rides, and I loved them. But for some reason, I just couldn’t get on that one that went upside down.  The anxiety was horrible and I remember almost getting physically sick. My cousins wanted me to and I wanted to, but I just couldn’t do it. However, numerous people kept boarding that roller-coaster and it kept right on going with or without me on it. And this time, it was without me.

Unlimited Rides

I’m not exactly sure when or where it was, or even how old I was when I finally got the courage to jump on one of those roller-coasters that went upside down. But once I road one there was no looking back. In fact, ever time I’ve gone to an amusement park since I’ve gotten there when they opened and stayed until the park closed down. And I try to go when it’s not peak season and the lines are short so I can ride the coasters as many times as possible.

Taking Full Advantage of My Ticket

I used to go to the State Fair when I was younger I would have to buy tickets for each ride. I could buy in bulk and get a discount and then each ride would cost ‘x’ amount of tickets. However, the amusement parks charge one price to get in the gates and you ride the rides as many times as you want. A much better deal.

One ticket and the good times begin.

If you’re an adrenaline junkie you run to get back in line. If you don’t get on the ride fast enough, the gate closes and it takes off without you because there are people strapped in and ready to go. You’ll have to wait for the next one.

Ticket to Life

You need to approach life in the same way. You’ve been given one ticket and you’re already on the ride. It’s not going to start at some point in the future when you’re finally ready and think you have everything in order. The train is moving. And

The train is moving. And

And unlike an amusement park ride, you have no idea how long this ride we call life is going to last. So don’t wait another second to start enjoying and making the most of it.

Uphill Battles

The first part of almost every roller-coaster is climbing the “big hill.” The gears lock in and there is clanking and crunching but that sucker makes it to the top. And as soon as it crests the peak it’s on. That baby starts down the first hill and the fear from climbing instantly turns into adrenaline. You start screaming and throwing your hands in the air while you’re smiling ear to ear. You blow through the twists and turns and go flying upside down so fast you don’t even hardly realize you’re upside down. You want this ride to last forever because you’re having so much fun.

Then It’s Over

But on a roller-coaster, you can get back in line and ride it again. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. So start enjoying it now. Make the most out of every moment. Even the bad ones because they are usually just stepping stones or tests to get you to the good stuff. We all have uphill battles. That’s just part of life. But when you know what’s coming on the other side, all the fun and rewards, you’ll climb that hill before you know it.

You have your ticket and the ride, your life, is in motion. It’s not stopping for anything but you’re the one who’s in control. Make the most of it.

Enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

It’s Called Christmas, Let’s Keep It That Way

Dana Houser 0 Comments

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Here in America we celebrate several holidays each year. I’m not sure what the exact number is, but the main six are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. These all have their own significance.

New Year’s Day is the celebration of a new year. That one’s pretty obvious. Then we have Memorial Day where we honor the nation’s war dead from the Civil War onwards. After that is Independence Day on July 4th. This is the day we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence from British rule and it’s often referred to as simply “The Fourth.” Next, comes Labor Day which celebrates the achievements of workers and the labor movement & the unofficial end of the summer. After that, we move into the fall and celebrate Thanksgiving where we traditionally celebrate the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. Then comes the biggest one of all, Christmas. This is the holiday, at least for Christians, where we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas

Many people, who are not Christians, join in this celebration. It’s a beautiful time of year where friends and families gather to spend time with each other, and in many cases, exchange gifts.

Christians are not offended by the non-Christians joining in this celebration. Although they aren’t exactly doing it for the same reason.

But that’s ok.

It’s NOT Happy Holiday

The issue I have, along with many other Christians, is the people who claim that they are offended by this. They are ‘offended’ when people say “Merry Christmas” to them or someone within earshot of them. These people have raised so much ruckus over this, that retailers have been ‘scared’ into dropping the term ‘Christmas’ from their ads and replacing it with ‘Happy Holidays’ instead.

This is ludicrous!

Why?

Because Christmas, yes, I said it, Christmas, is the only reason people are out shopping for gifts. It’s called a Christmas Tree that people place in their homes and decorate. They put up Christmas lights and sing Christmas songs and wear ugly Christmas sweaters.

There’s not one other holiday that’s celebrated by Americans that’s referred to generically as ‘happy holidays.’ And Christmas, I believe, is the only holiday that’s acknowledged worldwide on December 25.

You’re Offended?

If anyone should be offended it’s the Christians. Christians don’t try to change or discredit the holidays of other religions. They respect what they believe and encourage their celebrations.

Can you imagine if someone said they were going to go light some ‘holiday works’ on Independence Day? It doesn’t even make sense. Or if they said ‘happy holiday day’ on all the other holidays in order to not offend someone. And what’s “Merry Xmas?” I mean who was the ‘genius‘ that thought that up? I’m not even going to expand my thoughts on this, but X is not a substitute for Christ.

Merry Christmas is a very pleasant greeting or departing phrase. It has absolutely zero connotation of anything offensive. If you don’t believe in Christmas, just say thank you and move on. It’s nothing to get all bent out of shape over. The person is wishing you well.

Now go enjoy your friends and family.

Merry Christmas!