A New Kind of Resolution

A New Kind of Resolution

Decades ago, when we were young and eager for success, my friends and I challenged each other to set the most unachievable New Year’s Resolutions and actually attempt to achieve them.

Patti, a fledgling singer/songwriter, vowed to write a Billboard top-ten hit.
Greg, an early adapter of the fitness industry, promised to create a yoga center for the stars.
Leslie, Chuck, and Vince set excessive salary goals for their next job searches.

And I’d be spending my days huddled over the typewriter, pecking out NYT best-sellers one after the other.

You probably guffawed your way through that list, even if you had similar resolutions of your own back in the day. According to Forbes, 80% of people abandon their resolutions by February—so why should this year be any different?

Maybe the issue isn’t the challenge of “keeping” a resolution.

Maybe the issue is the type of resolution we set.

John Lennon famously wrote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” which should give all of us cause to consider whether we want to spend our days focused on the future, or being “in the now.”

These last few years—dealing with COVID restrictions, political unrest, and the general ups and downs of daily life—I’ve had some time to give that quote and a few others some thought. Maybe attempting to regulate how I behave or what I consume is of less importance than some other things.

Meister Eckhart, the 13th Century German philosopher, said, “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”


What if, instead of barreling into the day intent on accomplishing as much as possible in the shortest amount of time, we decided to slow down, and let each experience of the day come at us as something new? What if we asked ourselves, “How would a total stranger view this situation, and might that make a different for me today?”

I am quite clear that this is no easy task, and it flies in the face of what many of us have been taught all our lives. But what if asking What if? opened up new possibilities for us or those around us?

Maybe instead of a New Year’s Resolution to be or do more, we should make a resolution to do or be less. “Today I won’t respond to anything without first considering the opposite approach to the one I held yesterday. Today I will play a mind game with myself.”

That could be far more interesting and life-changing than “Today I will do 10 more reps of each exercise,” or “Today I will cut my calorie intake by 10%.”

The quote that got me thinking the most is this: “Every year you make a resolution to change yourself. This year, make a resolution to BE yourself.” (author unknown).

It’s not easy to be yourself, surrounded as we are by hundreds of marketing messages for products, and the constant pressure to conform to fashion in looks and behaviors.

It’s not easy to be yourself.

But what if you gave it a try?

Even if it’s just till February first.

How My Company Came Back From the Dead

Image of a bridge with post title

It was July 3, 2009, almost Independence Day – a day I celebrate four ways: as an American, the mother of an American Government professor, a single woman, and a small business owner.

It was almost Independence Day when the biopsy showed I had uterine cancer. Over the course of the next three years, I would come to realize just how deeply dependent we humans are on each other, and how my tendency to be fiercely independent would be tested.

I had owned and managed a successful copy writing and graphic design company for the better part of nine years on that day. I worked with Fortune 100 companies, regional nonprofits, and hundreds of small businesses across SE Michigan. I and my company –  The Write Concept, Inc. – were well known and well respected.

Fast forward past radical surgery, a year of chemotherapy, and two more years of exhausting residual side effects, and my business would have been in the morgue had that “fiercely independent” side of me not risen from its chemo stupor, demanding immediate action.

Resuscitating a mostly dead business requires strategy, energy, and patience. Many of my previous clients had changed jobs or retired; some had gone out of business in the economic downturn. I had to study and adjust to the dramatic technological changes in the marketing arena, update my social media skills, and reconnect with my network. Slowly, things began to happen, projects and revenue came in, and my friends and colleagues celebrated the 14th birthday of The Write Concept in March 2014.

The truth is, every small business goes through life cycles, and you must be on guard every day, filling it with life and energy, to stay strong during the downturns – and they do come – whether it is a slow season, or for a challenging reason such as cancer.

Four Things that Brought My Business Back to Life:

  1. Self-determination. I knew that I could have no doubt of success, that if I was not convinced of success, or depended on a “safety net” of any sort, I would fail.
  2. Good People. I aligned myself and partnered with those I knew would support me and my business, and I turned a deaf ear to the naysayers – especially the “little voice” inside my own head.
  3. Give Back/Pay it Forward. I’ve always been into social entrepreneurship, doing all that I can to promote and support my network. Whether you call it karma or the law of reciprocity, sooner or later what you do comes back to you in the same manner in which it was given.
  4. Tending to myself. Working 12-16 hours a day did not make me a champion. It made me ill, short of temper, and less effective. I created a new schedule for myself, which includes eight hours of sleep, time for family, and time for the golf course.

What are your tips/suggestions for breathing new life into a nearly dead or failing business? Share them here, please!


Fear vs Inspiration in Sales

Find their pain and exploit it… that’s the basis of most sales training programs. Find their pain, find their fear, and get them at the gut.

Yes, it’s true.

Going for the gut increases your sales. And the question remains: Do you really serve yourself and your customers/prospects when you come from a space of pain/fear?

If the Law of Attraction is invariable, then focusing on people in pain or in fear will bring you more of the same. That’s great, if that is the space you want to claim as your own. More people with no money, more people with bushels of objections, more people who live in fear of their competitors.

What if you came from a higher consciousness? What if the people you want to attract are those with a chronic positive outlook, the calculated risk-takers, the “I can do it” folks?

What if your elevator pitch was less about what info you can pack into an elevator ride and more about how much you can elevate the thinking and lives of the people you meet?

Just for Today

Look only for the Joy points:

  • Instead of “I help people who don’t know how to…” try “I help people who are excited to learn to…”
  • Instead of “I help people who fear that…” try “I help people who dream of…”
  • Instead of “I help people who lack…” try “I help people who have room for…”

We’d love to hear how your experience of the day changed as you looked for ways to elevate those around you. Please comment below.

The Dropout Hall of Shame

So there you are, loaded with years of experience, capable of way more than most in your field, and every job posting you see that fits you to a “Tee” lists some sort of degree as the first qualification.

And, that would be the degree – any degree – that you don’t have.

Throw your discouragement out the window. You’re actually in great company.

Here are the top six on my list of current-day dropouts:

  • Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College after six months, saying “I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or how college was going to help me figure it out.”
  • Peter Jennings,  top news anchor on ABC, flunked out of 10th grade and went to work as a bank teller at age 16.
  • Michael Dell, the founder and CEO of Dell, Inc., dropped out of college at 19.
  • Bill Gates was 10 points away from a perfect score on the SAT. He dropped out of Harvard College after two years and never went back.
  • Steven Spielberg was denied acceptance to film school and dropped out of California State University in Long Beach.
  • Simon Cowell, TV producer, dropped out of school at the age of 16.

And then there are the Degree-less from History:

  • Henry Ford never completed high school.
  • Andrew Jackson, 6th president of the United States, never went to college.
  • John D. Rockefeller Sr., the first American billionaire, was a high school dropout.
  • Andrew Carnegie, one of the first mega-billionaires in the U.S., dropped out of elementary school.
  • Thomas Edison joined the railroad at the age of 12.
  • Benjamin Franklin had less than two years of formal education.

If they could succeed, so can you.

Einstein once said that he was no different than any other man except for one thing– that he never gave up, and stuck with a problem till he solved it.

Ray Bradbury, the gifted author of Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and so many other brilliant novels, said “I never went to college. I went to the library.”

Now please, go to the comment box below, and leave your thoughts. There’s also a box you can check if you’d like an email notification when a new post is added to this blog.


The Joy of Adversity

For those who haven’t learned how to be two places at once, and thus missed Linda Angér’s talk at the MCC Birthday Bash and Leadership Expo, here is a transcript…

Your feedback is requested – Thanks!


My name is Linda Anger. I am one of the founding members of MCC, and the founder/president of The Write Concept, a 10-year-old marketing communications company based in Rochester Hills, and I’m here today to speak on the Power of Perseverance.

I can stand here and tell you the platitudes – you’ve heard them a million times. What I really want to share with you is the value of drawing strength from facing the adversity inherent in perseverance. Success, in my book, is not about coming through a challenge unscathed – because adversity isn’t a obstacle to “get around” – it is a part of our life.

I believe things happen FOR us, not TO us… I repeat: things happen FOR us, not TO us. I know that every single thing that has occurred in my life, no matter how positively or negatively I perceived it, happened FOR my ultimate benefit. I hope that 6 minutes from now, you will understand what I mean.

The first story I want to share with you is the tale of Matt Weinstein, a workplace humor and team building expert.  Matt was a self-made and quite wealthy man. One day, while cruising Antarctica on a Russian ice-breaking vessel, he got a satellite call from his wife, who said “Bernie Madoff has been arrested. His entire fund was a scam.” In that moment, Matt Weinstein went from a self-made and very wealthy man to a self-made and virtually penniless man. In January 2009, he said “What we came to understand was that Bernie Madoff stole all of our money – but it was up to us to make sure he didn’t steal the rest of our lives.” What an amazing catalyst that experience was FOR Matt Weinstein and his wife. They refused to allow the Madoff madness to happen TO them, and saw the ultimate benefit in their lives. THAT is the basis of Perseverance.

I ask you – when was the last time something you perceived as negative became a blessing in your life?

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers, and even Bloomsbury – the small house that finally purchased the manuscript, told her to get a day job.  She was in the midst of a divorce, her mother had just died, and she was living on government subsidies. She ignored the naysayers, kept on writing, and wrote herself into a $15 billion dollar brand.

How much of a deaf ear do you turn to the naysayers in your life?

Greg Mortenson, founder of the Central Asia Institute, and author of the book “Three Cups of Tea,” tells the story of a mullah in Afghanistan who refused to allow education for girls in his village. It took Mortenson 8 years of conversation and thousands of cups of tea before the mullah relented and allowed 1 girl to go to school.

Would you have the patience to stay with an unlikely prospect for eight years? Would you?

We have become a culture addicted to fast food, instant response and gratification, but Mortensen says “Anything truly important is worth doing very, very slowly.”

Who among you feels comfortable in saying you know me fairly well?  Would any of you say that I was shy, distant, and most of all, a negative thinker?

I didn’t think so, but I will tell you that for the first 23 years of my life, that was the absolute truth.

At the age of 12, and again at 15, I was subjected to experimental bone surgery that only served to make the perceived problems with my legs worse.  For all those years, I was told in many ways – subtle and overt – that I would never be “normal” and shouldn’t bother trying to do any of the things the other kids did without thinking. I was “Different,” and “Different” was not a good thing. For the first 23 years of my life, I believed it and let it rule me. I couldn’t see, at the time, that it was a blessing for me.

Then came the day that a friend challenged the “victim” mentality I was trained to carry. He laid down a challenge I couldn’t refuse – I was determined to show him that he was wrong, that I was physically incapable of doing what he challenged me to do. I surprised myself and did it, and I loved it. That young man’s insistence on getting me out of the psychological straitjacket I wore for so many years changed the course of my life forever. I thank the gods for his persistence – he was the one who taught me to drink deeply of every opportunity, and never substitute “I can’t” for “‘I’m afraid to fail.” It was one of the greatest things that ever happened FOR me.

From the time I started writing stories at 9 years of age, I was told I could never earn a living as a writer. But I have, inside the corporate world for several decades, and as as a small business owner, for over 10 years. That’s Persistence… and trusting that the Universe will always conspire in my favor.

12 years ago, my house burned to the ground. When all you have left is your life, you quickly realize that “stuff” doesn’t matter, and you become far more persistent in pursuing the things that do matter, like – friends, and Wisdom,  your capacity to love, your willingness to give of yourself.

For the better part of the last year,  I’ve been conquering cancer. Many of you have been with me through this journey – and it is your part in it has made cancer an amazing blessing that happened for me. My gratitude to each of you is boundless.

For those who can’t fathom how cancer could be a blessing,  I invite you to contact me and we’ll talk.

My doctor and my chemo nurse tell me they have never seen anyone come through cancer and chemo as cheerfully and uneventfully as I have.  I told them what I learned from Aimee Mullens, a parolympian who holds world records in the 100 meter dash, and long jump. She once said, “Opening ourselves to adversity, dancing with it, is natural and useful. No prognosis can be as powerful a determinate as WILL.”

No prognosis can be as powerful a determinate as WILL… and I’ve determined that I am and shall remain a cancer Conqueress.

I ask you: what role does WILL play in your life so far? and, I tell you: no matter how outrageous or scary it seems, when you can see and feel your dream in your minds eye – leap like your pants are on fire!

This amazing universe will surely catch you.

I came here today to talk about the power of perseverance… to honor the unstoppable spirit of Terry Bean in his vision of building the best networking group in Michigan…. he’s succeeded, as this day proves.

And I leave you with this:

Sir Edmund Hillary, the famous explorer, said,  “It is not the mountains we conquer… it is ourselves.”

Another wise person said “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

And finally, the saying from the Chinese that has been my mantra for many years:

“Those who say a thing cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

My name is Linda Anger, from The Write Concept.  THANK YOU for your attention.

Now go out there, and make your day magnificent!

You Say You Want a Resolution

Blame it on the astrologer—and a New Year’s Eve full of Beatles records—but I’m engaged in a resolution revolution. I’m asking 100 people to commit to holding only positive thoughts for Michigan, America, and the World, throughout 2009.

The astrologer tells me it is in the stars—that it’s my job to be a lone voice of vision, inspiration and faith in the future; it is my job to uphold and prove the power of positive thought in the thick of a horde of negativism, and that 2009 is an important year for this “talent.”

My first thought was, “Yikes! How am I supposed to do that when I’m surrounded by reports and predictions of doom and gloom?” Seemed kind of a heavy assignment, even for a perennial Pollyanna like me.

Then I received an email from another member of my favorite networking group, Motor City Connect, saying, “I think you’ve been one of the true inspirational leaders in the MCC community with your 6 word challenges and seeming omnipresence in the MCC community. I don’t know how you find the time but you have emerged as a point of positive energy within the community. So keep doing that!”

And, I realized that one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is a simple, often underrated, four letter word: Hope.

Existence is against all odds, according to scientists. Happiness is against all odds, according to pessimists. And yet, existence and happiness “are.” We have all that we need, internally, to make miracles happen in us and around us.

Here is my resolution for 2009:

I resolve to ignore the odds… because predictions for tomorrow based on the beliefs and behaviors of the past don’t factor the immense power of human spirit and passion into the equation.  I’ll be counting every tiny bit of joy, achieving what I need, and supporting the causes that make my heart sing.