Driving Stick

looking in rearview mirrir

Sometimes, life is like driving stick shift! If you’ve ever driven a manual transmission, you’re really going to grasp what I’m talking about here.

 

There are times in life when we seem to be coasting, enjoying the scenery and the ride. There are no potholes, speed bumps or uphill climbs. There isn’t a lot of effort required from us to get through each day. Life is good! It’s very good!

 

Then there are times when it’s not effortless at all. Especially when we are facing mountains. Occasionally, we must come to a stop in order to regroup and gather strength to continue on our journey. It’s in these times that we need to keep our foot on the brake to ensure that we don’t slide backwards and crash into what’s behind us. It’s not good for us to dwell on past drama.

 

When driving stick, you must keep your foot on the clutch and the brake when you come to a stop on an incline. When it’s time to go, you have to be ready to move forward simultaneously taking your foot off the brake and give it gas as you release the clutch. If you don’t give it gas, you will slide backwards and possibly crash into what’s behind you. Even if you have a slow start, it’s important to just go. You can’t be afraid to give it some gas!

 

In life, it’s never wise to focus too long on your past mistakes. Yes, we learn from them but we must keep moving forward because it does us no good to linger or go backwards and crash. It’s okay if you have to take it slow, just drive.

 

car-vehicle-measure-fast-large

 

 

Sometimes we have trouble getting started. We let fear paralyze us. This is why we need people in our lives to encourage us to step outside of our fear. It may even require a gentle push. That’s what good friends and family are for.

 

We all need people who will be there during the times we are stalled. But understand that not everyone wants to see you take off and go because they like the stall and the drama. It’s what they relate to. It’s where they are comfortable.

 

More importantly, we need friends who are willing to give us a push. People who have faith in us and genuinely want to see us fly!

 

If you need a little momentum and encouragement to get going, make sure you are surrounding yourself with people who really want to see you GO! It’s like popping the clutch. If you only hang out with those who want to sit in the car and talk about drama, you’ll remain stationary forever. You’ve got to have people who will give you a push and then sincerely celebrate your forward motion when you take off.

 

Me, a professional speaker?

Jerry Seinfeld | KathrynWheat.com

 

What makes you scared? For many people, the answer to that question is public speaking. It was for me for many years. The thought of standing up in front of a room and speaking was something that sent me running scared. I even hated standing up at networking events and saying my name and the name of my business. My stomach would be in knots until the ordeal was over with.

 

My entrance into public speaking was not something that I actually strived for. I was pushed. There was a monthly networking luncheon that I regularly attended and it was structured as such that each month a speaker was chosen to do a ten-minute spotlight. The host would draw a card out of a fishbowl to see who would be the next month’s speaker. Each time they did this, I would silently pray, “Please, please don’t pick me!” I had NO desire to get up in front of the group and speak.

 

My prayers worked for quite some time, but guess what? Yes, eventually my card was drawn. I could see my card being pulled out of the bowl and immediately started to panic and tell the person next to me to tell the host to choose someone else. Draw another card! I didn’t want to do it! But, to no avail, my networking neighbor said no. He told me that I could do it. I had a whole month to prepare and it was only ten minutes. He wisely told me that I should just simply tell my story.

 

You see, I had seen others time and time again get up in front of our group and put on the sales hat. It was always a sales pitch. They were so entrenched in the selling mode that no one wanted to listen to what they had to say. It was always so off putting to me and I didn’t want to be that person. That’s why I didn’t want to be a speaker. I didn’t want to do that to people.

 

I reluctantly agreed to do a ten-minute spotlight and I shared my story of being a woman in her late 40’s who, through life’s circumstances, had to reinvent herself and figure out how to make a living and support herself in spite of lack of experience, skill or knowledge. I told my story. It was authentic and simply me. Many people related to what I had to say.

 

Yes, I was nervous, to the point that I actually drank about half a glass of wine to calm my nerves. But it turned out okay! Nobody laughed at me or pointed fingers. People even came up to me and told me that my story inspired them and motivated them to not give in to frustrations. In fact, I started getting asked to speak at other networking events after that. I did it because I realized that each time, someone there needed to hear my message. Each time it got easier.

 

Now, a few years later, I’ve learned so much from speaking. I know that some people will like me and identify with my message and some won’t. Not everybody is meant to connect with me and that’s okay. I’m only there for the people that relate to me and need to hear my message.

 

None of us live our lives being un-judged by others. It happens every day no matter what you do. Whether you are in the spotlight or the one who silently walks into a room hoping to be unnoticed, people are judging you and it’s okay. Believe in your purpose and trust that you are here to share your best positive self with those that you meet.

 

When you approach public speaking from a service perspective, it makes it not about you. Thinking about all the good you will be doing for the people that need to hear your message takes all the pressure away. Speak up, share your message, have faith and trust that you are making a positive difference in someone’s life.

Eeeek! I have polka dotted legs!

Polka Dot legs

 

 

I have a confession to make; if you see my legs, the tan is fake! Yep, I use self-tanner/ leg makeup on my legs if I’m going to show them. If you have seen the cover photo on my new book, Networking: Naked & Unafraid, you know I’m showing a lot of leg. I’ve had all kinds of compliments on how my legs look in that photo. But I do have to admit that I used a miracle product called Air Brush Legs before I took that picture. It’s truly miraculous how that stuff works and I’m so VERY thankful to my friend who told me about that product. Who knew it was that easy?

 

You see, I’m really pale and I’m not excited about doing any further damage to my skin by sunbathing and getting a REAL tan. So, I try to take the edge off of my paleness by using a little self-tanner. I feel like it’s a public service. Trust me on this!

 

The problem is with all this rain we’ve been having this Spring! When I want to wear a dress, I apply a little self-tanner on my legs before I head out so I won’t blind people with my whiteness. If you’ve ever used this stuff you know that it takes hours for this stuff to create the perfect tan. It has to stay dry and “cure” for a while. But if you step out into the rain, you get wet and that counteracts whatever miracle product is in there that makes you look tan. But it doesn’t get wet all over, just in spots. Hence, polka dotted legs! It’s not a great look.

 

When I complained about this recently, I was told that this was a “white girl problem”. I had to laugh at this because I never really considered that before. So if you are fortunate enough to have a naturally tan complexion, be thankful that you don’t have to deal with polka dotted legs.

 

Here’s a pic from the photo shoot for my book cover.

Check out that flawless fake tan!

Book cover SI small

Hurry Up Patience!

 

Patience

Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while you’re waiting. ~Joyce Meyer

 

Frustration doesn’t open doors. Patience and perseverance does. This is a hard one to learn. Sometimes people don’t do what we want them to do or even what they say they will do. If we react with frustration, or even worse, cop an attitude, then it only shuts the door tighter. We can’t force people to act the way we want them to. We can’t bend others to our will. All that will do is alienate them and bring out the worst in them. We must show patience.

 

People let us down from time to time. We make choices on how we react and those choices determine the outcome. This doesn’t mean that you need to be passive. Being patient isn’t synonymous with being a pushover. We must have boundaries and recognize when we are being used, treated unfairly or facing unreasonable demands.  But when we do need to stand up for what is right, we can do it with compassion and patience.

 

I write this because I have found that I’ve needed a great deal of patience in my life recently. I understand that I am being given opportunities to grow but sometimes I REALLY wish the lesson could be finished. Like NOW! The reality is, I know learning patience will be a lifelong lesson and that I will continue to face the allure of frustration. My hope is to be patient with my progress.

 

If you believe in something enough, then move forward with patience, compassion and perseverance. Good things will come.

Embrace Your Uniqueness!

Be You Maritza Ortega

The other day I heard someone saying “Life gets easier when you figure out who you are and who you are not.”  I thought about it but it never clicked until today. Most of the time, I need to know how to apply things to myself so I can fully understand them.

How many times have you wished to be more like someone else? I have!

Plenty of times I have wished to be as funny, as talkative, as stylish, as crazy or as popular as someone else. I have also wished I could laugh or write and speak with colorful words like someone else. Trying and not being able to do those things only leaves frustration.

Stop wishing to be someone you are not. There are people who are into you and people who are not. That’s OK. Don’t try to be who you are not so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

It is easier said than done because we are always paying more attention to those things we are not. Identify those things you are not and accept them, but then identify those unique qualities in you and embrace them. Recognizing what’s unique in you will release you from the desire to be more like someone else.

The crazy part is that there are people who admire you and wish they could be more like you. Funny huh! Be you, you never know who you are inspiring.

For more about Maritza click HERE