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Remember I wrote about Froggy who wonders what made that annoying wart wander away? Well, every now and then, I think about Froggy and his human friends who experience wellness, somewhat mystified as to how the healing really occurred.
I committed to writing Froggy’s story and I’ve made some progress. I’ve dipped into my own well, my reservoir, my creative source for exploring wellness. I needed a place to hold what pokes through the gray matter and created a template for my new book. I simply took the file for my earlier book, stripped away the content, and had place savers for a book title, subtitle, front matter, chapters, and end matter. I had styles for headings, paragraphs, lists, and quotes. With a container all set to go, I pasted my start to Froggy’s story into a chapter. With the momentum building, I was on a roll.
About This Book started to take shape.

Wellness is all encompassing. It touches all aspects of one’s being. Wellness permeates—and transcends—the person. When one is well, there’s a sense of wholeness, a sense that all is right with the world.
Annoyances, irritations, aches, and pain subside, fade away, dissipate, and disappear. One becomes open to the light. One is free to attend to the good, the sacred, even the holy.
Experts in various disciplines know something about wellness. The doctor… The nutritionist… The athlete… The naturalist… The musician… The entertainer… All have their take on the subject.
Yet, the composite from the many disciplines is not the whole story. A mystical ingredient exists. In the process of writing this book, I am hopeful that the known ingredients of wellness and the mystical might just meet.

The Dedication helped me to establish a timeline.
With my late mother’s 100th birthday one year from now, I have a goal—to honor the occasion with a book in hand, one that serves as an expression of a daughter’s love and admiration.
Progress is sweet.
What I have, thus far, accomplished are little steps toward turning an idea into a book. Yet, little steps are steps nevertheless. Progress is sweet. I feel good.

Back cover for A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way

Back cover for A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way

A new look

This week, I dressed up my blog! The old header, which highlighted Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal, my first book, is gone. A new, impressionistic splurge of colors now appears. Just above it, there is a new menu item, Eating Our Way. Just above that, there’s a new book title, A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. And to the right, there’s a new image, showing off one very tasty dish―part cookbook, part inspiration, part memoir―that is now hot off the press! With this facelift completed, I sit back, look, and enjoy it.

A new book

The reason for this new look? I wanted to include my new book in this blog. The original blog focused on how to transition successfully from one phase of work or one phase of life to another, based on the process detailed in Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal.

This refreshed, revitalized blog retains the existing blog entries and categories and additionally showcases the results of paying attention to the many earlier postings in this blog. Being mindful of Capabilities, talents, and strengths; Decision-making, problem-solving, and organizing; Motivation and inspiration; Self-discovery and self-actualization through exploration and reflection; and Work and life balance; I now have A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way as an addition to my Products, services, and offerings. It is now among my Success stories!

A new opportunity―for you

Look over this blog. See what resonates. Let the postings, the comments, the books, the menu, and the categories evoke something positive in you. Let the impressionistic dots, patterns, ripples, waves, and colors splashed in the new header allow you to picture an opportunity that is waiting just for you. Perhaps it is a project, a product, or another creation. Tell us about it. Tell the world!

Sometimes, we look at the end result of a new endeavor and get stuck. The effort needed to start and the energy required to persist are just too much. So, what can we do? We can take a first step. We can take a second step and a third.
I recall hearing a new year’s resolution a while ago, in which someone wanted to start an exercise routine. She committed to taking this one step every day—after getting dressed, she would put on her running shoes. The next thing she knew, she was outdoors every day and walking. As the days wore on, she picked up her pace, making good use of those running shoes.
For all of us, in time, the momentum builds, and the results become apparent. Making progress and achieving a goal no longer seem difficult or insurmountable. I took a first step a few months ago on a family project.
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If you are a communicator of technical, marketing, business, and other information, at least one of your projects today likely involves organizing content. You might be wondering, “What should I consider when deciding on an effective organizational pattern to use? What’s a good way to structure topics into a logical, orderly flow? How can I combine multiple topics into fewer topics? What are some of my options for organizing content?”

In the previous webinar I presented to the Society for Technical Communication, Patterns for Organizing Content—Many More than A to Z, participants had activities to work through independently. Let’s look at one activity together as preparation for the second webinar on the subject of organizing content, Upside Down, Inside Out, and Other Acrobatics for Organizing Your Content.

Organize Our Content Deliverables for your employer.

Your department is developing a promotional piece, Our Content Deliverables, for your employer or your client. How would you organize the following content deliverables?

case studies, catalogs, courseware, diagnostics and troubleshooting, instructions, marketing collateral, online help, operations and maintenance, parts lists, proposals, reports, scripts, service manuals, software instructions, specifications and requirements, speeches, standard operating procedures, strategic plans, style guides, theory of operations, training material, user guides, and website content

You might agree that this alphabetical listing is one option for organizing a list, but it is not particularly effective. There is no logical flow to assist the reader. Consider how your employer is accustomed to thinking about content. Perhaps your employer organizes work according to lifecycles, in which a product progresses through various phases. To be in step with your employer, try organizing your promotional piece according to where each content deliverable belongs in the product lifecycle. For example:

  • Developing and testing the product might include reports, specifications and requirements, standard operating procedures, strategic plans, and style guides.
  • Marketing and selling the product might include case studies, catalogs, marketing collateral, parts lists, proposals, speeches, and website content.
  • Servicing the product might include diagnostics and troubleshooting, operations and maintenance, service manuals, and a theory of operations.
  • Training the end user of the product might include courseware, instructions, online help, scripts, software instructions, training material, and user guides.

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Every month can be a busy month. Yet December with holidays, festivities, and year-end wrap-ups can make us feel especially frenzied. What to do? Apply what you already know about good health and happiness. Find ways to keep your reservoir full. Wellness and happiness can be as easy as A, B, and C.

A. Know when you are in a downward spiral. You might be working less efficiently and productively than usual. Perhaps you are experiencing boredom or displaying negativity at those with whom you work and live. If you do not feel motivated and challenged, there might be too much stress or insufficient positive stress. Take time to figure out what you need to remove from—or add to—your daily routine.

B. If too much to do seems to be converging on you, lighten up! De-clutter. Put projects away. Take them out only when you are working on them. And if you do not need that rarely used tool, that outdated furniture, or that stack of old magazines, books, and games, get rid of it! If others can use your discards, then sell them or donate them. If not, recycle them or toss them.

C. Get physical. Get mental. See what classes are available to keep your body and mind in motion. Your health insurer, community center, school district, supermarket, sporting goods store, or library may be offering just the right program for you. Whether it’s aerobics, dance, or zumba; healthy cooking, weight reduction, or nutrition; first aid, anger management, or a book club—find a new activity and find it now!

As for me, I am going to:

A. Laugh each day.

B. Say adieu to oversized clothes.

C. Stretch my brain by making Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal the first book in a trilogy. Yes, that means two more books are waiting to be authored!

How about you? What are your happiness and wellness plans? They can be as easy as ABC.

Poker

Poker! (Courtesy of Viri G, flickr.com, Creative Commons)

My book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal, offers a step-by-step approach to creating a successful life at work, in a career, and beyond. Laying out the steps to achieving goals makes the journey manageable. A topic that comes up frequently for me—and likely for you—is identifying and conveying the value that our work, our products, our services, our offerings provide. In business terms, that translates to a value proposition—the savings in time and cost, the improvements that result, the ability of our client to succeed, and more. A value proposition lets our clients and others know that we understand them and that we have goods—in every sense of the word—that are different from and better than those of others.

This takes me to my 12-step process—Step 3: Own Your Competencies. After all, our competencies are integral to the value we provide clients, employers, employees, colleagues, and just about anyone with whom we interact. Our competencies include our knowledge, abilities, talents, skills, and gifts that add up to our strengths. They become the differentiators that make each of us and our offerings unique. Read More

Practicing for our Singalong with Gert

Summer means it’s time to prepare Ma’s picnic for our extended family and her ever-evolving circle of friends. My role is to compile the list of invitees, send out the invitations, and, most important of all, prepare the handout, Singalong with Gertrude. Recently, I sent her the list of songs we discussed—a combination from previous years and a few new ones. I created the list and sorted it alphabetically. That way, I could easily identify and delete duplicate titles from the list. When I sent her the alphabetical list, she did not like the sequence! A singalong should not progress from Aba Daba Honeymoon to Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Musically, it makes no sense.

Of course, as a good daughter, I went through several revisions, and I think we now have it right. We start with Hail, Hail, the Gang’s all Here. We sprinkle some of the happy, smile songs throughout—Just Let a Smile be Your Umbrella; When You’re Smiling; and Smile, Darn You, Smile. We made sure that Ma’s favorite songs are at the top of the list, since with 50 songs, we may not sing them all. We will, though, conclude with the last song on the list, May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You. So variety and importance factored into the organization. Read More