How To Stay Grateful, Even When It’s Hard

Segment From The Lisa Valentine Clark Show

Being grateful can be easy, but we all do have hard days. This week on The Lisa Valentine Clark Show I discussed how to stay grateful, even on the hardest days. Listen in.

https://www.byuradio.org/episode/a819a833-da04-4f17-8090-fb2d4f538446/the-lisa-show-motivation-moment-forgiveness-after-tragedy-the-bathroom-writing-a-resume-investing-in-art-coding-literacy

45 Free, Cheap or FUN Date Ideas

One of the keys of High Performance and Happiness is making relationships a priority.  If you’re married or have a significant other in your life, I HIGHLY recommend weekly date night.  Making time for the ones you love helps them to know that they are important to you AND keeps the relationship alive.  Memories and connections keep relationships thriving.

Not sure what to do? Do you ever spend half of your date saying, “What do you want to do?” with the reply, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

Make a list!  My friends and I came up with a list of things we could do in our community that were both free or under $5, as a reminder that dates DON’T have to be expensive. They also don’t have to be “dinner and movie”, or our usual, “run errands and go to Costco.”

Your budget may be different, so choose some free things and some things within your budget.  Make the list now, and then you’ll have weeks worth of ideas waiting.  Check out your city’s recreational website for community events, concerts, activities, farmers markets, and more!

While this list is specific to where we live, perhaps it will give you ideas to generate your list!

Things you can do for free in Utah County & Provo, Utah:

  1. Go dream house hunting.
  2. Go for a drive up the canyon. (Provo Canyon, American Fork Canyon and Nebo Canyon are close!)
  3. Go for a drive up to Squaw Peak.
  4. Go to Pioneer Museum on 500 West in Provo.
  5. Go to BYU Art Museum for the free exhibit.
  6. Drive to Sundance and walk around the grounds.
  7. “Rent” movies from friends.
  8. Take a picnic to the park.
  9. Go to the Deseret Industries or Good Will and look around in the back for treasures.
  10. Go visit an elderly or widower in your neighborhood.
  11. Do service somewhere together. (community options available at justserve.org)
  12. Go to one of the free concerts in Provo in the summer.
  13. Go to free movies in the park in Provo in the summer.
  14. Put the kids to bed and have a candlelight dessert in the front room.
  15. Play a game together after kids go to bed.
  16. Go for a walk and talk about what you want to do when you are empty nesters and retired.
  17. Go to a new development and walk through unfinished homes.
  18. Walk on the Provo River Trail.
  19. Go “window shopping” at a mall.
  20. Go dream furniture shopping. Sit on every couch to find the one that’s most comfortable.
  21. Go to the library or bookstore and read magazines or books. Talk about the funny things you find.
  22. Go somewhere crazy and people watch. Don’t you ever wonder what their lives are like?
  23. Go to the Springville Art Museum.
  24. Take a tour of your Youth. Drive around to different places and tell funny stories.
  25. Drive to Bridal Veil Falls and wade around in the water.
  26. Drive up to Vivian Park with a blanket and watch the stars come out. Take bug spray!
  27. Find festivals. Peach Days, strawberry days, art festivals in small towns, Llama Days etc. Often free to get in to watch the concerts and see the booths. Can also be great for people watching.
  28. Go for a hike.
  29. Put the kids to bed and pull out old pictures of your marriage and of each of you as kids. Again, tell funny stories.
  30. Drive somewhere remote. Turn up the music in the car and dance outside. (or make-out inside).
  31. At Christmas time – drive around and look at Christmas lights. Play Christmas music or the radio.

 

Things you can do for under $10:

  1. Buy of bag of popsicles and go hand them out just outside or at the testing center at BYU.
  2. Go get ice cream.
  3. Go to the grocery store. Each person has $2.50. Split up and come back in 5 minutes with the biggest thing you can find for $2.50. Pick a winner and take your food to the park.
  4. Get a foot long sub sandwich and share. Take it to a park.
  5. Rent a movie from Redbox or Amazon Prime.
  6. Take $10 to the DI and find a treasure you want to take home. Or, each person gets $5 to buy the other a gift.
  7. Go to the Farmers Market and try 3 new fruits or veggies, or buy a loaf of fresh baked bread.
  8. Go Karaoke (available in downtown Provo)

Splurge date ideas:

  1. Go to a trampoline park.
  2. Go see a play
  3. Go to a concert.
  4. Take the tram ride at Sundance.
  5. Walk the Thanksgiving Point Gardens.
  6. Get pedicures.

25 Recommended Books That Will Change Your Life

Need Something on Your Reading List

I attended a mastermind this month with Kirk Weisler and he turned the mic on the attendees. He asked everyone to share two books that have changed their leadership or personal lives.  It was fascinating!  I compiled the list to share with you.
How many of these books have you read?  What would your two books be?

Here are the books I recommended:

Of all the personal development books I’ve read: How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen is my favorite https://amzn.to/2IUwjQ3

This book changed my business and made it more profitable in one easy read. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz  https://amzn.to/2GUCb9H

Here are the books recommended by the other folks in the room.

1.    The Leaders Voice by Clark and Crossland https://amzn.to/2DoU3ay

2.    Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath https://amzn.to/2IuNwyZ

3.    Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss https://amzn.to/2IuOrQi

4.    Yes You Can by Natalie Turner https://amzn.to/2HnduD2

5.    It’s Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff https://amzn.to/2GuOZU0

6.    Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek https://amzn.to/2DlAK1M

7.    Power of Storytelling by Ty Bennett https://amzn.to/2GuqPZJ

8.    Atomic Habits by James Clear https://amzn.to/2XnUdGw

9.    Rejection Proof by Jia Jang https://amzn.to/2IrTD7t

10. Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller https://amzn.to/2Is0GwH

11. Where There’s Hope by Elizabeth Smart https://amzn.to/2UJwR1b

12. The Coaching Habit Say less, ask more and change the way you lead forever by Michael Bungay Stainer https://amzn.to/2Gs9gbE

13. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuck https://amzn.to/2DhrRpJ

14. Good To Great by Jim Collins https://amzn.to/2GuQce0

15. Dog Poop Initiative by Kirk Weisler https://amzn.to/2DmMtNx

16. Dare to Lead by Brene Brown https://amzn.to/2UMZXwH

17. Radical Candor by Kim Scott https://amzn.to/2VbahxY

18. Four disciplines of Execution by Stephen Covey and Chris McChesney https://amzn.to/2VaTye8

19. Energy Leadership by Bruce Schneider https://amzn.to/2Pmsofa

20. Killer Angels by Michael Shaara https://amzn.to/2IurBYI

21. The Once & Future King by T. H. White https://amzn.to/2Pf8zpQ

22. Flow by Millay Csikszentmihalyi https://amzn.to/2IuAUYD

23. Execution by Ram Charan https://amzn.to/2GlcKwk

24. The Forgotten Man – Amity Shales https://amzn.to/2PhdZRn

25. The 12 Rules for Life and Anecdote for Chaos – Jordan Peterson https://amzn.to/2DlR3LM

AND…If you haven’t read it, can I shamelessly plug my book: The Make It Happen Blueprint?  Yep, it’s my blog, I can! 😉 https://amzn.to/2PEauVh

Time Management Advice From A High Performance Speaker & Author

VIDEO - Time Management Begins With A Time Mindset

You’ve probably heard the phrase “either you run the day or the day runs you.” And I wholeheartedly agree!

In this video I share a foundational principle to time management, something I learned the hard way!

What do I do if my kid is getting bullied online?

Question and Answer series with Michelle McCullough

October is National Bullying Awareness Month and with a cell phone in the hands of almost every teen, the subject of cyber bullying deserves attention and discussion.

Today I’m going to share three tips to help your kids if they are being bullied and two tips to help your kid if THEY are the bully.

This post features some frequently asked questions on cyber bullying.

Question #1:
It seems like cyber bulling cases are becoming more and more frequent. What would you say is the first step if they’re being bullied online?

Michelle: Take it offline. Don’t continue to engage in the conversation virtually. Stop the digital dialogue because you won’t be able to change their minds. Decide if you need to address it with the person or parents over the phone or in person and involve any other parties that may need to be notified. Use the three D’s to work through serious situations: Document, discuss and delete.

Question #2:
Once things are said, even if it’s deleted, it can stay with someone for a long time. Maybe even forever. How do you start to process and resolve the situation?

Michelle: It can be tempting to back go the scene and see what else has been said and get back into the conversation, that’s why it’s important to make a change. Perhaps limit social media use, if it happened on Instagram, give it break for awhile, let the “news cycle” change if you will. Fill the time with something else completely. Go to a movie, read a book but change things up.

Question #3:
What do you recommend if it continues to happen or if your child isn’t “bouncing back”?

Michelle: Don’t be afraid to get additional support. Your child may need counseling or support at school with teachers and administration. Don’t wait. The longer things go unresolved the worse they can be long term. That’s why the acting is SO important. Resolve the issue with the kid or parents, but make sure your child gets professional help if needed.

Question #4:
Now let’s turn the tables, what if you find out your kid is the bully?

Michelle: This is where we use the three Cs. Collect, Clean and Checkup.
Before you dive into the convo with your kid, make sure your facts are straight. Collect information to make sure you have a good picture of what happened.
Talk to your kid and clean it up. If they need to delete something, make sure it gets done, if they need to make amends, make sure they do it verbally or in person – not just online. Help them understand that seeing someone and having to say it to their face makes the difference.
Finally, checkup. After the events check in with your kid, with the platform used and continue to keep the conversation going.

Only a few things I’ve learned in 2017

What Have You Learned?

I have learned to allow my body more time to rest and heal than I think I need. I have learned to rely on my support team in bigger ways. I have learned that it’s never wrong to put my family first. I have learned that when my priorities are right I make more money than the hustle. I have learned that it’s not about the money. I have learned that the new things we think will solve our problems won’t. It’s not about finding something new, it’s about realizing the classics and the true. I have learned that my self-confidence cannot be based on what others think about me, want me to be or about what size I am. I’ve learned to be a little more and do a little less. I’ve learned about patience. I’ve learned that people grow and change and there’s still a core to love with them. I’ve learned that my kids are my bucket list. I’ve learned how to consume the news in a way that helps me live in knowledge but not fear. I’ve learned to spend more time with the Lord in his word and with the words of the prophets (and that I still have more to learn). I’ve learned that I’m still doing some things because I think I should instead because it’s something I want to do. I’ve learned that I was too busy and next year will be different. I’ve also learned that my life is awesome, my kids are awesome and love truly is the answer to everything.
What have you learned?

Why Travelling with My Kids is SO Important

  • be980738-92ad-4db3-b081-6d3ee06769adI come from a long line of world travelers.  Some ancestors pass on dimples or bushy eyebrows (I got those, too…sigh), my grandparents passed on the travel bug.  My dad’s father was a travel agent and toured the world many times over.  In his home he has a map with all the places he’s been marked by colored pins – different colors share the number of times he’s been to a specific location.  My mom’s father was a tour guide for Brigham Young University’s Travel Study program.  He, too, was a globetrotter visiting every continent multiple times.

My mom carried on this tradition and took us kids on a family trip once or twice a year.  Even as a single mom she carted four kids all over.  We went to New York City, San Francisco, Anaheim (Disneyland & Universal Studios), Mexico, Idaho, and what felt like hundreds of national parks.  She didn’t let her single status stop her from taking us on amazing adventures. I’ll be forever grateful.

I know that’s one reason I LOVE my job.  Opportunities to speak and consult all over the country help me scratch the itch of travel.  I dream of the days when I take my kids on solo trips, paid for by event planners.

This year included many travel memories I won’t forget. In October I went with my mom to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, a bucket list trip in celebration of her 60th birthday.   In September I got to go with my husband to Germany where he checked off his bucket list item: driving a German car on the Autobahn at unlimited speed.  (We topped out at 240 kms, which is about 150 miles per hour).  In both cases I went along for other people’s bucket list’s and my mom asked, “What’s on your bucket list?”

Quite frankly, I feel like travel of any kind checks things off my bucket list and I don’t have to go far.

This summer I took my kids to Universal Orlando Resort.  My brother Merlin joined us from Philadelphia and my sister Melinda flew with us from Salt Lake we had a great time!  My kids enjoyed interactive wands and we explored the new Volcano Bay.  It was a week I’ll never forget.

I live by the philosophy, experiences beat stuff, hands down.  We can fill our kids room with things (that never get played with) or we can take them on trips, take a bajillion pictures (I’m still an avid scrapbooker) and talk about the fun we had for weeks and months to come.  Seeing a new place, or even visiting an old favorite lasts longer – even if the price tag is higher.  Yes, yes, my kids still have stuff, but we save our pennies for trips.

I also believe that it’s important in our family to let my kids earn money and pay for trips – they’ll appreciate them more.  One of the reasons I love being an entrepreneur is because I get to create my own money.  I want to teach my kids that money doesn’t show up, you get to work for it. Both of my kids are under the age of 10, but they have been earning their trips since they were little.  Now they earn money, but then they earned stickers.  We don’t do this for family reunions and ALL trips, but we love to have them earn at least souvenir money, but often it’s a lot more.

Whether we can afford to pick up the tab or not, something magical happens when my kids get to earn their own money.  They learn the value of money and that trips aren’t cheap, and they get to have a sense of pride when they’re there – they appreciate it more than if mom and dad pay for everything.  It was super nice this year to tell them that they needed to earn all of their Universal spending money.  My son spent every dime in the Transformers store (his favorite ride from the trip) and my daughter spent $5 here and $5 there buying churros and pretzels and her last $12 was spent on a Minions fanny pack, but there were no fights or begging for me to buy stuff.  They had the money or they didn’t and it was great all around.

They sold cookies and ties, did extra jobs for me and others and worked really hard.  I want my kids to know that if they want something, they can work hard and earn it. While we were walking through the Diagon Alley and riding Gringots for tenth time I was so grateful that I hadn’t just caved and paid for it.  I probably spent 50 hours in the kitchen helping the kids make cookies, and if I had spent that time in my business, I would have made 50 times the money.  But it felt good to teach the kids the value of a dollar and it turns out we all liked the trip a bit more because we put some time into it.

In the end I’m collecting memories.  Sure, I’d love to go to Italy or see the Great Wall of China, but right now, travelling with my kids and helping them make solid memories is my bucket list.  I love the theme from the park, “Dreams are Universal.”  Being with my family this summer felt like heaven and I’ll have those memories forever.

Accidental Celebrity

Accidental CelebrityI shared this memory the other day, but didn’t share the story. So here you go:

Here’s a Throwback Thursday from the Embarrassing Adventures of Michelle files… About a decade ago, my grandparents took 40+ of us on a cruise. On the first night we all met up for karaoke (my FAVE!). I ended up getting there a little late. A girl was singing a little Gloria Estefan when I arrived. After she was done, the MC said, “Who else would like to sing some Gloria Estefan? Who thinks they can sing it better?” I like a good challenge and let’s be honest, she has some great tunes. I sing an entertaining rendition of 1,2,3 (what I don’t have in voice, I make up with groovy moves and not taking myself too seriously.) After I’m done, the MC has me stay and brings the other girl up for a clap off. I win that with flying colors and then hear “Michelle is the winner! She gets to sing in our finale performance on Saturday Night!” (Insert record scratch) Huh? I missed that part. I thought this was just a friendly Gloria competition and it was really a crowd sourced group audition. So. For the rest of the cruise I got to attend costume and wig fittings, practices and sweat feasts as I look at how many people fit in that auditorium. Including three rows of my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. My brother won the Ricky Martin competition by the way. Well, there you go. One time I accidentally played a very white, a very uncoordinated Gloria Estefan on a cruise ship for hundreds of people! Turns out the “Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya” for reals. Should you need further proof, I have it on DVD and will gladly have a viewing for $100 a head.

Letting Go Of The Past For A Powerful Future

Like you, I’ve had circumstances in my life where I had to choose to hang on to bitterness or forgive and really be free.  My parents divorced when I was 7.  My dad died tragically of SARS when I was 22.  He never met my kids, and they didn’t get to meet him.  I was fired wrongfully from a position over a scheduling mix up, that a company wasn’t willing to resolve.  The list goes on, right?
I heard a woman say once, “You can be bitter or you can be better.”
It’s easier to be bitter, but we can only let go of the past if we let it go and truly choose the better path.
Here are three exercises I use to leave the past in the past:
1. DO SOMETHING: Pick an old situation that still festers in your heart and do something about it.  Apologize, right a wrong, do an act of service for someone who hurt you, or if nothing else – write a letter.  You may never get to send it, but write a letter sharing your thoughts so that you can get everything you’re feeling on paper.
2. WRITE A LEARNING PAGE: Take an experience and write 10 things that experience taught you.  Maybe you’ve learned how to respond better, or how NOT to do something.  Maybe you learned what’s in your control and “no control” column. Maybe you learned that no matter what people do to you, kindness back never hurts.  This can help you reframe the past and choose what you can learn from it to move on.
3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE EVERY DAY: When you find yourself stuck in a victim mindset, it can be easy to look for everything that’s going wrong.  Train your brain to look for everything that is going right.  When I was in the middle of a heart breaking divorce, I felt like I was justified to feel sad and wronged.  I carried this attitude about me for weeks.  After reading Sarah Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance” I reluctantly took on her gratitude journal challenge.  I did it to almost prove her wrong. I wanted to prove to her and the world that sometimes you just can’t find things to be grateful for.  It took a couple of weeks of consistently writing down 5 things a day to start to really SEE things differently.  Instead of pointing out all that went wrong, I started to find all the ways God was preserving me through the trial.  An out-of the blue call from a friend, a kind package left on my step, birds chirping out my window, a test that went easier than I had planned, etc.  Gratitude didn’t change my circumstances, it changes me.
I am moved by the story of Viktor Frankl.  Sent to a Nazi concentration camp, he survived on positivity and forgiveness, when it would be so easy to hate.  His parents died, his wife died, his brother died.  Only his sister survived.
You could survive an experience like that by blame and becoming a victim or you can choose to rise above.
I had the opportunity to sign Viktor Frankl’s Book of Greats when I spoke at a TEDx event a few years ago.  There was such a powerful feeling when I signed it.
We’re human.  Life will throw us some curve balls.  Our greatest challenge is not avoiding these trials, but figuring out how to rise above them and move on.
To your future!
– Michelle
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