Friday, May 05, 2006

God love you, you're a success!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but just in case you didn't catch it the first time, I'm a bit of a self help junkie. Not in a bad way (I laugh as I type this..."I can quit anytime I want - really!") I got introduced at a young age. My mom was taking a Dale Carnegie course, and I'm not sure why she decided to take it...maybe it was to support a friend, or maybe she wanted to Win Friends and Influence People. I don't know, that really doesn't sound like my mom though. Oh yeah, now I remember. She became an Amway sales all know Amway, right? The mother of all direct sales programs? Yeah, I shudder when I think about it too, don't be embarrassed. I'm kind of proud of the fact that my mom failed as an Amway representative, just as I've failed at selling lingerie and toys through direct sales (different time periods in my life...obviously). But I must be careful not to play to the end here (my actorschmactor friends understand that term...I don't know how commonly its used in the outside world, sorry if I've confused you.)

So anyway, self-help books, programs, courses, CD's, DVD's...I LOVE them. Not really because I'm a basket case. Really. Stop laughing. I MEAN IT, STOP! I'd kind of lost track of it all when I was in college when I accidentally got a copy of "Life 101" in a book club because I didn't mail the card thingie back...because I couldn't afford stamps, much less a book, but hey. Back then you couldn't put stamps on a credit card, but books you could. Unfortunately I didn't find the credit self-help gurus until way later in my life (read...last year...and yeah...I'm an accountant.) That book really spoke to me. And then I was on this journey...becoming more than a self help junkie. I realize I've officially become a self help aficionado. Now you know the difference between a junkie and an aficionado, don't you? It's the quantity versus quality thing. I got a lesson in that this week, at a time where the reminder that I'm a "less is more" person seemed amazingly appropriate.

You see even though I need it desperately, I haven't had time to return to my favorite authors and speakers for help through this rough time. And even when there has been time, I've been indulging in a lot of bubble baths lately, an interesting side effect of not having a husband. Bubble baths are essential to a reasonable separation. And because I've been neglecting my own deviant delight, I made a junkie mistake that an aficionado should never make. I tried to mainline some MOTIVATION. Now maybe you've seen the dark underbelly of the world of MOTIVATION up close and personal or maybe you've just glimpsed it through the veneer of a "harmless" Tupperware hostess catalog. For the former this may be the sound of Marley rattling his chains at you, and for the latter, try not to throw up and consider it a warning. And if you are a Mary Kay representative for the love of Pete get help.

So my company did this advertising trade with the company promoting an event called "GET MOTIVATED!" Subtle, isn't it? In trade we got twenty or so VIP tickets to this event which featured speakers like Suze Orman, George Foreman, Rudy Guilliani (sp?), Steve Forbes, and then that guy that is legend in MOTIVATIONAL circles, Zig Ziglar. He in fact was the reason I wanted to attend, though while I think back on it the only reason is because I know my mom heard him speak once and was giddy for a week. I should have known better. I should have really noted the fact that the only press this thing was getting was that it would create the worst traffic conditions known to downtown in history. History. But I have an attraction to disaster too, I suppose.

So Monday morning I got up bright and early and got chewed out by my downstairs neighbor for making too much noise. I shuffled my children off to their proper locals and I set out to GET MOTIVATED. Except of course for that damn traffic. I ended up driving to my office anyway and walking nearly two miles to the event. I was only an hour late and had only missed one speaker. I found a seat and wedged my way in between a platoon (?or whatever?) of Army National Guard dudes who all had shoulders the width of a compact car, and a newspaper guy from Bondurant who kept borrowing my pen to take notes. Not that my notes on the fatigues of Mr. Shoulders did me much good anyway.

I got an education first on what these people think entertain Joe Junkie in the front rows. Apparently it's really plastic version of American Idol. Barbie meets Kelly Clarkson on mind control drugs, if you will. But I digress. I could break down each speaker and what they said, but the truth is I only stayed until lunch and only that long because I couldn't move, really. And if I did break it down I'd probably offend SOMEONE for the wrong reasons. The final analysis is this. If you ever get the opportunity to hear George Foreman speak, GO. If you ever see the phrase "GET MOTIVATED!" "full day seminar" and "free tickets!" in an email, schedule the day off and lay in bed and watch Oprah instead. It will be much more fulfilling.

The thing I think they all miss is what my favorite honest to goodness motivational writer warned us about many years ago. I will only paraphrase, because I don't remember the exact words. But he said that the problem with SUCCESS and MOTIVATIONAL programs is there is this idea that life is all about plateaus and that in order to be a success, you need to keep climbing up to the next plateau. And sooner later you are going to climb up to that last plateau and they are going to throw some dirt on you and you'll be done. He says the really important thing is, if you get to plateau 2 and you are happy, stay there! There is no magic rule that says you have to start climbing again the next morning. My favorite line from this tape (which is right around thirty years old and I listen to it once a week) is this, "If you are a janitor, and you are happy, and your wife loves you and your kids love you God love you, you are a success!"

Less is more see? Okay, except when it comes to how long it takes me to get to the point in a blog.

Much success to you my friends.

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