Who Are The People Around Me?

Who Are the people around me (g).png

Hi everyone....check this out....

WYF Upmarket May 2019

WYF Upmarket May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

Hi everyone, this weekend I was at an Upmarket, better known as a Fleamarket, but here we pay for a table and you're able to sell your products, whatever they may be. I set up my table to sell my artwork. I had done quite a few landscapes, in a challenge I gave myself. They were painted quickly to ensure the easy flow of the watercolor.

I did fairly well in that I sold 3 pieces. This post though is about the people I was surrounded by. At this market, we greet each other with hugs and glee especially if we haven't seen each other in a whole or if you haven't been to the upmarket in months. I realized that I really liked most of the vendors at this market, some more than others. We are people of like objectives.

We all create something we love, enjoy or are passionate about. Some of us do this on the side, for some this is our only means of making a living and for some this our second business. We talk shop, we share information, we share goods, and we help each other. I got help to sell one of my pieces. A woman showed interest in one of my pieces, she asked if I had a credit card machine but I didn't so she left. I asked one of the other vendors if there was anyone who had a machine that I could use and they indicated Johan.

I know Johan and I liked him, he was really cool and very hip. So I asked him if he would let me use his machine to sell my art and he said no problem, so I looked for the woman, went up to her and told her that if she was still interested, then i had a credit card machine.

She was still interested, so we went to Johan to do the transaction. While he did the transaction I conversed with the woman, she was very nice and we talked about the daughter she planned to surprise with the art piece.

After the sale, Johan gave me the cash and I had to go to home for my second sale, and again he was most accommodating. You have to understand that these transactions cost, then you have to get the money to the person. Johan takes 5% but he is right to do this as he has to pay a fee for every transaction. This is just one example of the connection between everyone we are a family in this upmarket and although we don't know each other intimately, we are still close.


We are all in this to get our products to the customer, to make money to live or to make money to give us the acknowledgment that what we have created is worth something. There are vendors who create their own soaps, creams, artwork, gluten-free food, clothes, woodwork, jewelry, and more. It's an amazing thing to see, all these creatives in one place all in one accord. I love it, it's very inspiring and fun.

There is one downsize sometimes. You get a little jealous when you see others making sales and you aren't, yet on the other side, you are very glad that they're getting some sales as we all want the other to do well. What you learn from this short burst of jealousy and even a level of demotivation is that you have to build a high level of faith. In yourself, your work, your determination and your persistence in getting your work/product out there.

Faith in your product and hope that customers will get to know you, love your work and then buy from you. I grew to realise that although I don't make a sale that day, I will make a sale at another time. During one period I wasn't making sales for quite a while and it was tough to stay positive and I almost stopped painting, then God stepped in and I was invited to an event at my old school and there I made enough to make up for the 3 other Upmarkets where I didn't make any money, not even my table cost. You have to be strong, determined and love what you do so that despite the down times you keep going because you're determined to share your product/artwork with those who love it (when they realise that they do) , that's why I keep doing this.

So who are the people around me?...Family who encourages me to keep painting, my husband who is my biggest fan, my friends who buy my work and support me, my fellow artisans who encourage, motivate, are your fans and also buy your work...yes we tend to buy from each other not just for support, or because we want to encourage buying local but because we truly love each others' products. I buy my herbal tea from a friend, perfumed oils from another who makes it herself, gluten free food and deserts from one and jewellry from another. I get everything I want and really like that is of quality at these markets. That is why they are valuable and I surround myself with these people. I hope you surround yourself with people who build you up, support you, encourages you and is your biggest fan. Check youlater,

Luv you all

 Gafra

Why is it so Hot??!!!

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Hi everyone..... well lucky for me today, my afternoon appointment was canceled. Yes, I'm an Artist on the side and apart from painting, I run my own Leadership Development Business alongside my husband. Anyway, I ended up free for the entire day, except for the telephone interview I have to do at 9:00am, sooooo.....what did I decided to do? My daughter and I decided to do breakfast at Starbucks then later we would have lunch at one of our best Malls.....The Falls at West Mall. We also did some work while in Starbucks as she is writing a book and she takes every opportunity to write a chapter. While she does that I write this post as well as complete some reports I have for work.

It's nice ever so often to work outside of the office and luckily for me, I can do that, especially if I don't have any appointments. I also tend to use my time at these coffee houses to create some more products for my websites and my Etsy shop. I completed another planner last night at home and I know it will help a lot of people as soon as people realise what they can do.

 
Professional Business Planner at www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint
Elegant Time Management Planner available at gafra.org or www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I went off track there. When I got home last night, I zoned out working on the New Problem Solver planner then it started to rain, which was odd as lately rain has been pretty scarce. In fact these days it is so hot I've been pretty dehydrated because I'm not a great water drinker. everywhere is dry and I think this has been the worst dry season we've had. Normally it is bad but this year the water levels have been so low that they are now scheduling when different communities will receive water. I went through years of not having enough water to fill the 2 small tanks I had. My house was littered with water containers in every corner or cranny I could fit one. It took us a few years before I got really fed-up with bathing in a bucket or not having enough water to wash clothes, or not having the water truck arrive to replenish my tanks. So finally we bought 4 huge tanks and to date, we no longer have to wonder when water was returning or if there was enough water in our tanks.

Compared to last year when the dry season was bad but not too bad, then the rainy season arrived and the rain was crazy. Last year, we had the worst rainy days EVER due to tropical depressions. It rained almost every day in a 3 weeks period. It was so bad those few months and especially the last week of the rainy season month, that people's houses were flooded out and they had to be rescued. It was bad!! My assistant lost everything as did a lot of other people/clients, plus one or two of my friends...and I mean they lost fridges, stoves, entire living room sets, vehicles, etc.

Fortunately, in times like these people come together to help and give. There were drives everywhere to get items to those in need. We persevered and people were re-instated. But some homes couldn't be saved and that is the difficult part. In comparison, with the dry season, we have to be very wary of the bush fires. One man has already lost his life when the bush fire spread and consumed his house while he lay asleep. Very sad and unfortunate situation.

What is interesting though, is despite this dry season where everything looks dry and barren when the rains arrive, and they will soon, the vegetation changes back to being as green as ever as if it was never dry. This island just amazes me with the weather changes that occur. But right now this place can get pretty warm even at night. This brings me to a piece I did one weekend when the weather was a bit dismal and foggy. Yes, I said foggy. I live in a valley that is surrounded by mountains so when it rains and the temperature drops it gets very misty in the mornings. It is so lovely and cozy. I love it. Do you see what I mean when I say the weather here can be so different at different times? Dry, breezy and brittle one time, rainy and foggy at another time, cool and breezy some other month.

The piece is called "Rainy Day in Santa Cruz". It has a somber look but I hope you like it. Any feedback is welcomed. Don't be too brutal though. Thanks.

 
Rainy Day in Santa Cruz.

Rainy Day in Santa Cruz

Watercolour painting I did.


Going back to the bad dry, hot, sunny weather. It's also very interesting that while some have been devastated due to fires, there are others who go on with their everyday lives and are untouched by all the chaos and calamity. Life is funny that way. Some get hit hard and others don't.

Is it that we need to learn something when these things happen? Or is it a message from the great God above? Or does he want us to think about how we're treating with the environment and is there a reason for the insane, confusing changes in the weather patterns? One thing is for sure...at these times it pushes home the question...Why is the dry season so bad, why is the rainy season so different and starting earlier followed by major flooding. And why is everything seem to be getting worst? What isn't something being done or is there anything we can do in the first place?

I know that here in Trinidad we need to be more considerate of our environment. Trinidadians treat the environment very badly. Trash is an issue, with the indiscriminate dumping, so watercourses are strewn with garbage. I hope their level of awareness improves at some point because I saw a documentary recently called Our Earth, and I was appalled by the information on the melting of the ice caps and how this is causing the increase the heat because the ice caps act as reflectors of the sun so there is less heat so less melting but when they start to melt more than there are more open water (black) patches which absorbs the sun's heat. The heat melts more icecaps etc. Melted ice caps affect the creatures that other larger animals feed on so they start to die off and the cycle continues until it reaches a point of scarcity for man. The heat of our planet also rises and there is also increased melting of the icecaps which causes increased floods or really horrific floods.heat of the sun the level of heat in the world, animals which in turn affects the human race.


Global Climate change

You may have heard about global warming. It seems that in the last 100 years the earth's temperature has increased about half a degree Celsius. This may not sound like much, but even half a degree can have an effect on our planet. Scientists who assess the planet's health see indisputable evidence that Earth has been getting warmer, in some cases rapidly. Most believe that human activity, in particular, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, have influenced this warming trend. In the past decade, scientists have documented record-high average annual surface temperatures and have been observing other signs of change all over the planet: in the distribution of ice, and in the salinity, levels, and temperatures of the oceans.


Melting Ice Caps

Melting Ice Caps

Scientists point out that sea levels have risen and fallen substantially over Earth's 4.6-billion-year history. But the recent rate of global sea level rise has departed from the average rate of the past two to three thousand years and is rising more rapidly—about one-tenth of an inch a year. A continuation or acceleration of that trend has the potential to cause striking changes in the world's coastlines. This higher temperature may be causing some floating icebergs to melt, but this will not make the oceans rise.

But the rising temperature and icebergs could play a small role in the rising ocean level. Icebergs are chunks of frozen glaciers that break off from landmasses and fall into the ocean. The rising temperature may be causing more icebergs to form by weakening the glaciers, causing more cracks and making ice mo­re likely to break off. As soon as the ice falls into the ocean, the ocean rises a little. Rising sea level produces a cascade of effects. Bruce Douglas, a coastal researcher at Florida International University, calculates that every inch (2.5 centimeters) of sea-level rise could result in eight feet (2.4 meters) of the horizontal retreat of sandy beach shorelines due to erosion. Furthermore, when salt water intrudes into freshwater aquifers, it threatens sources of drinking water and makes raising crops problematic.

Melting Ice Caps

Melting Ice Caps

Oceans, in effect, mimic some functions of the human circulatory system. Just as arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the extremities, and veins return blood to be replenished with oxygen, oceans provide life-sustaining circulation to the planet. Propelled mainly by prevailing winds and differences in water density, which changes with the temperature and salinity of the seawater, ocean currents are critical in cooling, warming, and watering the planet's terrestrial surfaces—and in transferring heat from the Equator to the Poles. Oceans are important sinks, or absorption centers, for carbon dioxide, and take up about a third of human-generated CO2.

How to Fight Climate Change

A single molecule of CFC-12 can hold nearly 11,000 times the heat of carbon dioxide, making it an extraordinarily potent greenhouse gas. CFCs hold the same heat as the carbon dioxide emissions from burning 16 million gallons of gasoline. Last year, a coalition of scientists and policy experts at the nonprofit Drawdown ranked the top one hundred climate change solutions by level of impact. No one guessed that refrigerant management, which includes CFCs and two other classes of chemicals known as HCFCs and HFCs, would top the list. But it did. The Drawdown study estimated that properly disposing of old refrigerants, rather than letting them leak into the air, would be equivalent to preventing nearly 90 gigatons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere. That’s more than 17 years of U.S. CO2 emissions.

So the science is clear: cleaning up the world’s legacy CFCs would help prevent additional greenhouse gases from further changing the climate. Yet actually doing this, particularly in developing countries, is still being worked out, thanks to financial and logistical challenges.

Human activities are causing climate change and polluting the environment to such a degree that the future looks bleak indeed. However, it’s vital to remember that humans can turn it around if they work together and plan for a better future. Rather than feeling pessimistic and helpless, there are simple things that each person can do that can help. Collectively, those small actions make a significant impact as our society realizes the importance and necessity of going green.

Recycling: It’s not just for plastics

Most people with an interest in going green are actively recycling. In addition to recycling the usual items like paper, plastic, and glass, we can recycle things like used motor oil, used batteries, used tires, and even appliances, electronics, light bulbs, and furniture. The best part is it can be as simple as making a purchase at a store that offers a recycling service. For appliances, you can try calling local small appliance repair shops. If they aren’t interested in obtaining the items for parts themselves, then they will likely know who will.

Simple ways to conserve water

Trinidadians waste water even when we do have it. Plus there are the leaking road pipes and more. But consider you can save 80 gallons of water each week, just by turning off the water while you brush your teeth! Pretty remarkable, right? And it couldn’t be simpler.

Another relatively simple way to conserve water is simply to repair leaky plumbing like toilets, faucets, and sinks. Making repairs to those items can seem daunting, but may be much simpler than you think, and will prevent big expensive home repairs in the future.

Reduce chemical use

Consumers have much more power than they give themselves credit for. We can all influence what corporations do by choosing to buy products that are better for the environment. If you have the option, choose biodegradable, natural products. By doing so, it keeps some of the harsh and toxic chemicals from entering water supplies.

Other simple ideas for going green:

  • Ride in a carpool to work

  • Ride your bike if possible

  • Take public transportation

  • Buy a hybrid or electric car

  • Slow down to save on gas

  • Compost your table scraps

  • Grow your own food

  • Buy from your local farmers market

  • Landscape with drought-resistant native plants

  • Choose plants that help native wildlife

I hope that we all can make a great effort to change our environment and therefore save the earth, our planet. We take our planet for granted but we need to be more aware that it is a living thing, with the water courses are its arteries and vegetation are its nerve endings, animals and people, the Planet's cells. This is my view of the environmental and the planet. We need to love it, take care of it and it will take care of us.

References:

  • National Geographic: The big Thaw by Daniel Glick

  • If the polar ice caps melted, how much would the oceans rise by Marshall Brain

  • One overlooked way to fight climate change? Dispose of old CFCs by Juli Berwald

  • Simple ways everyone can move toward a greener, more prosperous future today by Green and Growing

I Don't Want a Job

Hers why?

Hers why?

Hi guys....yes...I mean what I said above. I don't want a job. No, I'm not lazy.....welllll, I am sometimes, as is everyone at some point. No I know we all need to work human beings are built to work..." by the sweat of thy brow".....so we gotta make the money to pay the bills to be able to do all the other things we want to.

What I'm talking about is the fact that we are all....or at least most of us here in Trinidad and I think the world.... we are brought up to go to school, do well maybe get more education then get a job while looking for the wife or the husband then settle down and live until retirement then die. Noooooope.... that just wasn't enough for me....there must be more to it than that.

I especially felt that there was more than just doing a job. I did...or started off doing what everyone else does in my country because thats what our parents did and their parents before them. I went to school, did ok, got my qualifications, got the job, met the man then had the kids and then settled down towards retirement.....ur nope...back up a bit.

I didn't stay in the job until retirement. I always felt and knew there was more to it than that, plus I didn't feel like I wasn't reaching my full potential, so resigned. I know and believe that you don't have to work for a company to be happy or to survive. I knew that wasn't enough for me, so what did I do?

I resigned without knowing if there was a job available for me. But in doing this, it forced me to scrutinise myself and list out what was my true ability. What am I great at? Know this, I set out to find another job but one where I was fulfilling me. I found it in a contract where I worked to my own time, made the money and then had half of the day to do anything else I wanted.


I, therefore, got involved in my hobby, which was interior decorating. So while I was a Program Coordinator for a company from 8 to 22noon with the rest of my day I got involved working with an interior decorator as her assistant and I started teaching myself online, photoshop. Why? Because one company we liaised with I noticed that their website was a mess, so I offered to update their site for them.

They agreed and I taught myself....by using Youtube...how to design a website.....and I think I did a pretty good job based on that period and they still have that website to this day. Plus, I also made some money, while at the same time working part-time with the interior decorator. I was having a ball!!!!

I was still using my business skills, doing my hobby and loving it and also using my creative skill to design websites. I eventually ended up offering to upgrade the website of the company I worked with part-time in addition to being their coordinator. God is good and life was great. Who could ask for more, this was the life!!!

The Interior Decorator asked me to come work with her full time after assisting her for a few months and I did. Again, a great decision, I had an even greater time. Working with joiner/carpenter and seeing furniture the clients chose to be transformed from mare pieces of wood to gorgeous, well-made pieces of furniture that you knew would last a lifetime.

In this job, I felt to some extent that I had a level of freedom, unlike the Bank job. I was again in my creative element, designing kitchens, living room layouts, etc. The best of times. I traveled to design and outfit a house in Curacao, it was heaven and gave me the taste to know that I needed to be doing a job that I love. I stayed on this job for 2.5 years but as with everything with small family companies, you can go only so far.

I knew it was time to move on and that was because I met the sister of a friend who told me about this business I'm in now, which is leadership coaching. I knew immediately that this is what I needed to be doing and also where God wanted me to be, so I said goodbye to my boss who I really loved and became an associate with my friend's sister. I stayed with her for 2 years then moved out on my own because again I felt I wanted to own my own business, make my own decisions, go in my own direction, I wanted to soar and achieve my goals.

I opened my own business in 2004, set up my office, started my licensed leadership facilitator and that's what I and my husband do still. I steered my kids to know that I don't expect them to go the traditional route. It's up to them to take their lives where they want to take their lives. The decision was theirs. I didn't dictate what they should do or become because I feel I know what's best for them because of any difficulties I or my parents may have encountered in their lives.

No! I'm there to support, guide and help them achieve their dreams. They don't have to work for a company or someone else. They can have their own business, be an entrepreneur, innovator, business owner, and that's exactly what all four of my kids did. They are all doing what they love and they all have their own businesses that they are working hard to grow. They know what they want and the direction they want to go. I am proud and pleased with my kids.

I don't want a job, I want to work at something I love, that feeds me and feeds others. The corporate world has its issues, I see them every day but I love my role of going in to help not just the organization but the individuals themselves. I love people no matter what type of personality they may have, but I will call it as I see it.

If they aren't performing as they should but its something they need help with, simply because they have to get organized, then I'm their person. Within organizations, I meet people with a lot of internal challenges that they are far too close to to see the situation and ask themselves the right questions to be able to solve their problems, that's where I step in, and all with love and the call to get them back to wholeness.

So I don't want a job, I want to do my own thing at my own pace, in my own way, to help others find their potential and find whatever they might be looking for or what they want to become. These are my thoughts on that whole job thing.....if you agree, let me know if you have a different view let me know. I'm interested to hear what you've got to say on the matter.

Later, luv you guys.



HOW TO START A LIFESTYLE BLOG

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Hi everyone....I have to admit that for the past few weeks I've been totally dry when it comes to writing my next post. I felt like I had writer's block, but in listening to the famous Seth Godin, where he said that there is no such thing as writers' block because once you can talk there is always something to talk about and if there is something to talk about then there is something to write about. I am a woman after all and as most men like to insinuate....women are talkers, so here goes.


Blogging


I've been wondering what is the key objective of my blog because every article I've read on Pinterest says that you need to know what is the objective of your blog and if you plan to or want to monetize that the blog then you definitely need to choose a niche and one area of specialty, but I don't really want to go in that direction. As I've always stated I want this blog to be my medium to express my thoughts, feelings, opinions, ideas and more. I want to share what I've learned in all the different areas that I've encountered or had to use to be able to accomplish some means/end/goal.


The unique Elegant Problem Solver Planner only available at www.gafra.org at my Etsy Shop at www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

Monetising my blog has now become secondary. I want to share knowledge, share what I've learned for different skills. If one is starting a blog what are the key things one needs to do to start, but firstly what is a blog?

In short, a blog is a type of website that focuses mainly on written content, also known as blog posts. In popular culture, we most often hear about news blogs or celebrity blog sites, but as you’ll see in this guide, you can start a successful blog on just about any topic imaginable.

Bloggers often write from a personal perspective that allows them to connect directly with their readers. In addition, most blogs also have a “comments” section where readers can correspond with the blogger. Interacting with your readers in the comments section helps to further the connection between the blogger and the reader.

At its heart, blogging is about sharing your knowledge with the world. Choosing a topic that you are passionate about makes the process of starting a successful blog so much easier.

 

To be a successful blogger one must be passionate about one's topic

  • Make money from home

  • Share your story.

  • Recognition for yourself or your business.

  • Find a community


How to Start a Blog (on the Side) in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Pick Your Blog's Name and Domain.

  2. Find a Hosting Provider - Bluehost, Siteground, GoDaddy

  3. Choose a Blogging Platform - like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix , Site builder

  4. Find Your Niche and Decide What to Blog About.

  5. Choose a Theme and Design Your Blog.

  6. Create Your Essential Pages (About, Contact, Blog)

  7. Develop Your Content Strategy.


Blogging platforms www.gafra.org

Blogging platforms www.gafra.org

The best blogging platforms for beginners.

  1. WordPress.org. WordPress.org is the world's most popular blogging software.

  2. Wix. Wix is a hosted platform to build websites.

  3. Gator by HostGator.

  4. WordPress.com.

  5. Blogger.

  6. Tumblr.

  7. Medium.

  8. Squarespace

Chose your platform, then get started on your blog

Chose your platform, then get started on your blog

Eight best free blogging sites to consider in 2019

  1. WordPress (www.wordpress.org) Best for…people who want to 100% own their blog and customize it.

  2. Wix (www.wix.com)

  3. Medium (www.medium.com)

  4. Ghost (www.ghost.org)

  5. Blogger (www.blogger.com)

  6. Tumblr (www.tumblr.com)

  7. Weebly (www.weebly.com)

  8. Joomla (www.joomla.org)



Getting More Views and Traffic

  1. Help search engines find your site.

  2. Blog regularly.

  3. Use Keywords On Your Site.

  4. Use appropriate tags.

  5. Connect to the Community & Spread the Word.

  6. Read and comment on other blogs.

  7. Share on Social Media.

  8. Bug your real-life friends.

Creative Blog Post Ideas

  • Do A (Number) By A (Certain Age) Post.

  • Put Together A Gif-Filled Post.

  • What Would You Love To Learn How To Do?

  • Write A Parody Post Of Some Sort.

  • Set Up A Contest On Your Blog.

  • Use Questions On Forums As Blog Ideas.

  • Find The Best Jokes In Your Niche And Share Them In A Blog Post.

I went through continuous research to be able to start my blog. With my first blog, I didn't know much about how to share it online. I created it on Wordpress but I didn't know about or how to create the covers (which are easily done in Canva, photoshop, picmonkey) or know how to share it properly. Now I have a blog I enjoy sharing and I also enjoy writing and spreading my thoughts. As mentioned all the research also preaches that your blog should be a business as well, or you ask yourself if you want more from your blog.


VISIT MY STORE - TEAPRINT

Well lately, although initially, I wanted to monetize my blog, I've been totally turned off by the barrage of emails from people I started to follow trying to get me to buy into a course of some sort. I'm also tired of the blogs that have interesting headings but only give you a minuscule drop of info then a barrage of sales commentary. HATE IT!!! Now if a blog doesn't keep my interest with interesting writing, but is filled with sales talk, I move on. I love what Seth Godin said about permission marketing. Don't be shoving the sales, get to know your readers and I add that If they want to buy, great but if not, no problem, once they enjoyed reading what I shared. I will offer my planners and my art because I am an Artist first and foremost. That to me was the traditional objective of a blog and I'm going that route.

Check you on Thursday and hope you get where I'm coming from.

 

Reference

  • ryrob.com

  • the blogstarter


Holidays Galore....Now its Easter

Easter In Trinidad, our traditions at gafra.org

Hi Everyone......It's Easter and as usual in this country we have a few back to back holidays coming up. We have Friday to Monday off.  This Monday I'll be running around with my mom as she is 78 years and I use Mondays to help her do all the tasks she needs done that she wasn't able to get done during the week..You know how that goes. So we are having another holiday on Friday. Yea!!!!!  In Trinidad and Tobago we have lots of holidays, we had one two weeks ago and we have another one this week. Friday is Good Friday, a Religious Holiday. We have a very mixed culture of religions here and its the best. We have Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Hindu, Moslems, Mormons, and many more.

There are lots of traditions that are followed with this holiday. Many masses and Lenten resolutions and no eating of meat etc. The Lenten season or Lent as it is widely known begins on the Wednesday after Carnival, known as Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday, the last day of the Holy Week. Many Christians observe Ash Wednesday by attending church services nationwide, where ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on their forehead to symbolize repentance before God. Lent is observed for forty days as a time of fasting and prayer in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

HOLY WEEK


Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday commemorates the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem, where people waved palms and laid them on the ground along his path. In Trinidad and Tobago, many churches observe this event by the distribution of palm leaves to followers during Palm Sunday services. On Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified, the Roman Catholic Church in particular retraces the steps of Christ on his journey to crucifixion. This is called the Stations of the Cross. There are church services throughout the rest of weekend, ending with the largest celebrations occurring on Easter Sunday.

Our Traditions for Easter are as follows:

Hot Cross Buns


Hot Cross Buns a typical tradition in Trinidad

Hot Cross Buns a typical tradition in Trinidad

 

We try to get a hot cross buns on Good Friday then good luck! Most bakeries would have been sold out from the night before. In Trinidad and Tobago hot cross buns on Good Friday are a staple. The tradition dates back to the 12th century when an Anglican monk baked buns and marked them with a cross in honour of Good Friday. There is no clear reason why and when it became so popular.

Beat De Bobolee

One dying tradition on Good Friday is the beating of the “bobolee”, an effigy, symbolic of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ. Like everything in Trinidad, this has taken a complete turn of its own. People now design “bobolees” as politicians who are not favoured in the society or even as social outcasts from their specific communities.

Good Friday Meals

Fish must be cooked on Good Friday because Catholic doctrine prohibits eating fleshy meat on Good Friday. Since it commemorates the day that Christ sacrificed his flesh it would be seen as disrespectful to consume “flesh” on the anniversary of His death. Not all Trinidadians are Catholics, but this is still commonly observed in many Trini homes. Eating the seafood with “ground provision” such as yams, cassava, dasheen, and eddoes is also traditional.

Flying Kites

The tradition of making your own kite for an Easter Sunday kite flying competition has become entrenched in Trinidadian culture. The practice began as a religious event, with the kites being made to look like a cross and meant to represent Jesus’ ascension into Heaven. Traces of religious symbolism have been all but lost now, but colourful squares battling against the wind on Easter Sunday is still a comfortingly familiar sight.

Going to the Beach

It seems like Trinbagonians celebrate everything by going to the beach, for obvious reasons. The beach is awesome.

Hope you learned a little more about my beautiful culture of Trinidad & Tobago.

 

 

Typical beach lime as part of our Easter Trinidad Tradition

Typical beach lime as part of our Easter Trinidad Tradition

Boosters to Improve your Self Esteem and your Ego

Improve your self esteem, read this at gafra.org


Hi Guys…I would have mentioned in one or a few of my blogs that I am a Leadership Development Coach. I coach executives almost everyday and the one thing I always encounter is that people are people and executives no matter how high level they are everyone has some level of low self esteem about some aspect of their ives. This comes out in different ways via different behaviours. So I wanted to share a bit about that because I believe everyone can overcome their self esteem issues by first acknowledging what it is you’re insecure about then finding the source, counter act the source and then move on.


Do you want to develop an better ego with perpetual self esteem? I want to look at how to develop an stronger ego and always have high self esteem. So lets start at the beginning as I tend to do.


What’s Self Esteem versus Ego


Self-esteem means feeling good about yourself. People with self-esteem: feel liked and accepted. are proud of what they do. believe in themselves. Self-esteem is a positive or negative orientation toward oneself; an overall evaluation of one's worth or value. ... Self-esteem is only one component of the self-concept


  • · Your ego is your sense of self. It is your identity and your concept of self.

  • · The ego strengthens your capacity to keep your self esteem intact despite psychological distress, internal turmoil and the changing conditions of the world around you.


Ego and Self esteem are not the same. Having a big ego is a negative trait. Having a high self esteem is a positive trait. Many have a big ego and they think they are building their self esteem


In reality the opposite is happening, the bigger the ego, the lower the self esteem. And vice versa, the higher the self esteem, the smaller the ego. Ego is an inflated fake self image. Like thinking you are always right, or thinking that you are above everybody else. People with big ego are so blinded by their grandiose self image that they cannot see the difference between the ego and their real self. They actually cannot see their real self. All they see is their ego and they think it is “self.”

But you can easily spot others with a big ego. People who come across as arrogant, manipulative, selfish, “always right.” are probable culprits. You know the people you can never win an argument with? because they always twist the truth so they end up being right? Bingo.


Self esteem on the other side of the spectrum is a feeling of content and acceptance with self as is. It is not complacency. It is more of seeing self as is, with its strengths and flaws, and accepting that while we can seek to become better people, it is OK to have flaws. It makes us human. Most people will testify to this statement, but few act upon it.


GET YOUR CIRCLE OF LIFE PLANNER

GET YOUR CIRCLE OF LIFE PLANNER

How to know if you have high self esteem? It is ironic, but people with high self esteem accept others as they are. They are not critical. They do not feel the need to judge others. To the opposite of big ego people who are very critical and always judge others. No body measures to their standards. Even if they admire someone it will be short-lived. Soon enough they will find a flaw and regret ever liking the person.


What is self-esteem?

  • 1. like and value yourself as a person.

  • 2. are able to make decisions and assert yourself.

  • 3. recognise your strengths and positives.

  • 4. feel able to try new or difficult things.

  • 5. show kindness towards yourself.

  • 6. move past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly.

  • 7. take the time you need for yourself.


Signs of Good Self-Esteem

  • · You are ok with making mistakes: ...

  • · You don't use self-deprecating language: ...

  • · You have good posture, and you hold your head high: ...

  • · You don't take criticism personally: ...

  • · You take chances: ...

  • · You allow yourself to shine: ...

  • · You don't put up with abuse or maltreatment from others:


Self-esteem is like that, except it is yourself that you love, care for and feel proud of. When children believe they are valuable and important, they take good care of themselves. They make good decisions about themselves which enhance their value rather than break it down. High vs. Low Self-esteem.


EGO


Your ego on the other hand is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your "self." If you say someone has "a big ego," then you are saying he is too full of himself. “Having an ego” is usually associated with arrogance and is a term used to describe someone who thinks they are better than others. Yet this is only one part of the ego. ... Together, the negative and positive esteem forms our ego. Fear is the emotion that underpins the ego. The ego is really the false self. The self that has forgotten that it is one with everyone around it and one with the Divine Source, with the universe, with cosmos, with every energy possible. When we have thoughts about our self that we agree with we construct a self-image.


The kinds of thoughts that contribute to the self esteem or ego structure are:

“I’m not good at math.”
“I am smart.”
“My freckles make me ugly.”
“Nobody likes me.”
“I am better than you.”


The ego is difficult to define because the ego isn’t one specific thing. It is actually made up of many different beliefs that a person acquires over their life. Those beliefs can be diverse and even contradictory. To further complicate it, each person’s ego is different. If someone were to clearly identify and describe all the parts of their ego and what it drives them to do, you might not get a good description of what yours looked like. The challenge of becoming aware of what your personal ego looks like becomes more difficult because our culture doesn’t reward us for directing our attention inward and noticing such things.


How to Spot the Ego?


The ego is difficult to see, because it hides behind opinions that appear true – our attachment to descriptions of our identity – and because we haven’t practiced looking. You can get a glimpse by noticing certain thoughts, similar to those listed above. The easier way to spot the ego is by the trail of emotional reactions it leaves behind: Anger at a loved one, a need to be right, a feeling of insecurity in certain situations, feelings of jealousy that are unexplained, the need to impress someone, and so on. These emotions can be attributed to the false beliefs that comprise the ego.


Letting Go of the Ego


Because the ego has multiple aspects, it is not practical or effective to dissolve all of it at once, nor is it likely that you could do so. Much like a tree or large bush that is overgrown in the yard, you don’t just lift it out and throw it away – you cut off manageable pieces instead. The same approach is effective with letting go of the false beliefs that make up the ego. You begin by detaching from individual thoughts that reinforce the ego, then let go of beliefs, separating yourself from the false identity of your ego.


Why We Need to Develop a Better Ego?


We are a remarkable species, but the idea we’re as good as it gets is patently false. And our ego is the perfect example of how our mind can often work against our own best interests.


What’s Wrong With Our Ego?


I will defined ego as that ensemble of feelings of either pain or pleasure that we derive from who we are, how we behave and what we achieve. It’s composed of identity, projected identity, behavior and the connected feelings. Our default ego is built to project a positive image of ourselves to the people around us. It doesn’t matter if that projection is fake, it make us unhappy or if doesn’t help us reach our goals. Our ego is built to make us look good. To others first, and to ourselves second.

You will realize our default ego is not about long term growth, happiness, life enjoyment or achievement. It’s mostly about faking, short term thinking and, of course, sacrificing our unique contributions to please the crowd. Our default ego sacrifices our true self and our most honest expressions to seek positive confirmation and people’s approval. It also makes us less confident, because a major trait of confidence is that of acting accordingly to our identity.


Identity Drives Behavior


Our identities, who we are, drives our behavior. Importantly, our identity can drive our behavior even when we don’t feel like doing something. That makes identity an incredibly powerful tool in reaching our goals. It’s because we humans have a tendency to seek consistency within ourselves. When our actions are not aligned with our identity we feel discomfort (called cognitive dissonance). The tendency to keep our internal identities, values and actions in balance is called, as described by Cialdini, is the commitment and consistency principle.


Low Self Esteem: Gap Between Identity & Behavior


Self esteem is our evaluation of our own worth. When we live up and uphold our standards and values no matter what, then we feel worthy. Our self esteem goes up and we are proud of ourselves. For most of us, we rarely do and say as our identities tell us though. That means that for most of us, our behavior is very much out of whack with who we really are. It’s because identities are deeper, which makes them a bit more impermeable to external influences -albeit not fully impermeable-. But our actions instead are strongly influenced by environment and social conditioning, which leads to a disconnect between identity and our actions. Basically, in an effort to look good, we want to project a different identity with our words and actions so that people around will like us, accept us and welcome us.


The problem is that a disconnect between our identity and our actions leads to low self esteem. It’s because we’re not being true to ourselves and we feel like we’re not really in control of our lives.

Social conditioning affects behavior more than identity

Do you know what’s the number one regret of dying people? The biggest regret of dying people is that they’d had the courage to live to their true self! The first step towards a high self esteem and happy life then is to heed your identity a bit more and a bit less what people want you do say and do. Like Tim Grover said, to get what you really want, you first must be who you really are.


How To Have High Self Esteem


When our behavior is in sync with our identity, we have much higher self esteem. But don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Indeed the very highest self esteem is when our behavior matches our ideal identity. You probably know the feeling. It happens when you manage to follow through with actions on what your ideal self would love to do. For example:

  • · You disagreed but were fearful of saying it publicly. But you do it anyway

  • · Confronting your neighbor wasn’t easy, but you did and you’re proud of yourself

  • · She had a boyfriend, but you asked anyway and you’re glad about it


Let’s see first how to eliminate your current limiting identities:


How To Change Self Identity

This is from the wonderful Tony Robbins’ Creating Lasting Change. Also look at how to develop a growth mindset since the changes are similar.


1. Create Disturbance

First of all, you need to challenge your current identity and limiting beliefs. Do you see yourself as guy who is poor socially? No wonder you avoid social situations! Think of all the times you were not poor socially. Think of all the times you enjoyed social situations. The idea is that you want to draw on so many experiences that you naturally and rationally start doubting your beliefs. Maybe there was a time you had a good conversation. Or maybe there’s someone who likes you. Think about those daily If you can’t think of anything, imagine it.


2. Discover What Caused Your Identity

If you can go back to childhood and understand why you adopted a certain identity, that can more easily help you to let go of that identity.


3. Link Pain & Pleasure

Link pain to your old identity and link pleasure to your new identity. Think of the consequences your current identity is bringing you. Think of what you’re missing because of your limiting belief. No friends, no partner, no fun.. That sucks. Now start imagining yourself as a popular man. How good would that feel. With a growth mindset and a stronger ego that’s fully within your reach. Commit to drop the old identity and embrace the new one.


4. Change Physiology

Associate a new physiology to the new identity. The new you moves and speaks differently. Stand straight, shoulders rolled back in and head held high. Your new physiology will help break away from the past and serve as a cue for your new mindset as well.


5. Say It Out Loud

Repeat to yourself who’s the new you. A social man who enjoys people. Say it to everyone so you will have peer pressure to keep you no course as well (Awaken The Giant Within).


6. Change Your Environment

As we’ve seen the environment plays a big role on your ego pyramid. Cut out bad influences and make friends with people behaving more like the man you want to be.


7. Change Your Actions

This is the most important step. Daryl Bem in 1972 first proposed a radical idea at the time: identity doesn’t just drive actions, but it’s (also) the other way around: actions drive identity! It’s because our brain looks at our behaviors and then infers that if we behave a certain way, then it must because we are a certain way (also read Incognito by Eagleman). You can then first develop the habits of the man you want to be, which with repetition will solidify your identity. Eventually, you will not need to force yourself, because what you do is just… Who you are.


8. The Daily Mental Grind

Especially in the beginning you will tend to slip back to your old mental habits. It’s important you stay vigilant and every time you catch thinking or saying anything not in line with your new identity, change it immediately.


Your New Stronger Ego

Some people suggest you should destroy your ego. I’m not sure that’s necessary. A high self esteem is useful. Pride is useful. You should use your ego to propel you forward. All aspects of self are useful. Wouldn’t it be great if the more you fail the stronger you get? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Changing identity is easier than it sounds. It’s because when you know how it will help you, you will be motivated and you will find pleasure in the process -that’s the beginning of your framework happiness-.


Ego: Summary


Identity drives behavior. When identity and behavior are in sync, it means we are living to our true self and we have a healthy, high self esteem. The highest self esteem is when our behavior matches fully with our ideal identity -the person we would really love to be-.Finally, we can and we should change our identity (ie.: what we build our self esteem around) in a way that empowers us and best helps us reach our goals. When you live and act like the person you want to be, you will move towards your goal while living a naturally fulfilling and joyful life (and with perennial high self esteem).


References

  • Ego versus Self Esteem: The Illusive Difference by Ammar Mango

  • What’s the driving emotion of the ego by Dr. Shefali

  • What is the ego? By Gary van Warmerdam

  • Lucio (M.A. in communication sciences) is a member of APA and a researcher of human nature.





How to Delegate, Coach and Handle Interruptions via a Planner

Hi Guys....I wanted to do a bit of advertising...yes I know I hate that to but I want to mix it with a bit of info about what I do for a living. Kinda like a day in the life of Gail (gafra). So as you know I recently set up an Etsy store and in it I sell digital planners. The planners are for different types of uses but mainly, the business planners were created based on my knowledge of coaching. I own my own Leadership Development business that I run with my husband and our job is to go into companies to help managers and executives lead their team better and even make moves forward to develop their personal lives.

I meet so many corporate people who give everything to the companies they work for but they put hardly anything into growing their personal lives. The stories i could tell....but I won't as that goes against client confidentiality, but what I want you my friends to know is that I designed the planners to help individuals who have a team and aren't sure how to delegate properly or how to coach their team mates, or how to handle interruptions be they from your team members or your family and friends....that the planners are built to carry you through a process to help you solve that challenge.

 

So for example, the delegation planner has forms to help you determine how do you personally feel about delegating and if you're open to doing it then what are the tasks you want or ned to delegate. This can be for your small, in-house business with you and your team of one or two or even a bigger business or simply with your family members, because yes you do delegate at home it just isn't called that. Even at home you need to determine what tasks you should and shouldn't be doing then decide, as with a business, who should do what tasks, or who is best suited to do the particular task or who would do the task best.

The Coaching Planner, like the delegation planner also has forms to help you plan out who needs some coaching within your small business or even within your family. Is there someone in your family who needs some help understanding how to deal with a particular situation or challenge...all that involves coaching. the forms help you understand what you ned to look for and what is the process to start doing the coaching process.

 

Interruptions...we all get them! Some more than others and we tend to not deal with them in the right way, to decrease them. If you have a team or if you have friends or family, then you will be interrupted and sometimes at the worst times when you really need to concentrate. My coaching planner like the others is designed to carry you through a process to better determine what needs to be done to manage these interruptions or even reduce them to nothing...wouldn't that be marvellous.

OK so I'll share a few learning on each area so you can learn more compared to me just babbling and selling my planners.

 

Delegation

Delegating is a critical skill for anyone with a team. Delegating involves working with an team member to establish goals, granting them sufficient authority and responsibility to achieve the goals, often giving them 1) substantial freedom in deciding how the goals will be achieved, 2) remaining available as a resource to help them achieve the goals, 3) assessing the quality of their effort and attainment of the goals, 4) and addressing performance issues and/or rewarding their performance. Ultimately, the person in charge retains responsibility for the attainment of the goals, but chooses to achieve the goals by delegating to someone else.

The successful delegation of authority as a leadership style takes time and energy, but it's worth the time and energy to help employee involvement and employee empowerment succeed as a leadership style. It's worth the time and energy to help employees succeed, develop, and meet your expectations.

 

How do you delegate?

  1. Learn to let go. ...

  2. Establish a firm priority system. ...

  3. Play to your workers' strengths. ...

  4. Always include instructions. ...

  5. Don't be afraid to teach new skills. ...

  6. Trust, but verify.

The Advantage?

The Advantages of Delegating Tasks. To be effective at work, you often have to delegate tasks to others. Assigning subordinates responsibility over a task not only takes some of the load off your shoulders, it can also help your junior staff members to grow and develop.

 

Coaching

coaching leader must not be confused with a coach, but does have coaching skills. The leader has these skills when he is able to develop and improve the performance and competences of his employees. The basis of the Coaching Leadership Style is the dynamic interaction between the leader and the employee.



The Approach

A direct approach involves a transfer of wisdom, where the coach provides advice or direction, probably based on their experience and expertise. This is a widely-recognised, fairly traditional approach.

It's stated that coaching is an ongoing partnership that supports clients to produce fulfilling results in both their personal and professional lives. The coaching process allows the leader to deepen their learning, improve their performance and enhance quality of life.

good coach offers support and assistance to those he or she is coaching to help them implement change and achieve desired goals. Professional development is a team effort. It's usually not wise to simply cut the person free after a session and expect him or her to achieve everything on their own.

Successful Coaching is a powerful relationship in which client and Success Coach work to improve the quality of the client's life. Through dialogue, inquiry, goal setting, accountability and general motivational techniques, the Success Coach supports the client to assume full responsibility for creating a fulfilling life.

Benefits?

Benefits to coaching an individual include: improvement in individual's performance, targets and goals. increased openness to personal learning and development. increased ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues.

 

Interruptions

  • To cause or make a break in the continuity or uniformity of (a course, process, condition, etc.).

  • To break off or cause to cease, as in the middle of something:He interrupted his work to answer the bell.

  • To stop (a person) in the midst of doing or saying something, especially by an interjected remark:May I interrupt you to comment on your last remark?

 

How do you manage Interruptions?

  1. Keep an Interrupters Log. ...

  2. Analyze and Conquer Interruptions. ...

  3. Put Your Phone to Work for You (Not Against You) ...

  4. Catch Your Breath. ...

  5. Learn to Say "No" ...

  6. "Available" and "Unavailable" Time. ...

  7. "Invitation Only" Time. ...

  8. Uncontrollable Interruptions.




How do you manage distractions?

  1. Clear Physical and Mental Clutter. ...

  2. Create Your To-Do List. ...

  3. Avoid multi-tasking. ...

  4. Have Regular-Timed Breaks. ...

  5. Know The Best Times To Work. ...

  6. Remove Distractions. ...

  7. Limit Your Caffeine Intake.

So to go back to selling a bit...ugh...My planners are created to help with these processes without you having to now find a way to do some of these activities. So I encourage you to try one or if you have a friend who needs help with this let them try it. If they have any issues or questions I'm here to answer them just let them email me at gfrancistt@gmail.com. I'm here to coach.

Steal Like An Artist…by Austin Kleon….. The Review

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon……My Book Review. www.gafra.org

Hi everyone…I wanted to talk a little about this book that I really enjoyed. I read most of his books because he touched my artistic mind and touched on areas that I was in two minds about or upon which I needed some direction. His books helped me allot when I needed it. His other books were:




· How to sell your art online

· Steal like an artist

· Show your work




I’m going to talk about his book “Steal Like An Artist. Work by artist and writer Austin Kleon has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and on PBS NewsHour and NPR’s Morning Edition. He is also the author of Newspaper Blackout. The concept of the book is based on:

Creative License

Artists and creators throughout history have known that, as Pablo Picasso said, “Art is theft.” Every innovator has built on the work of others, using ideas, formats or things in fresh and exciting ways. Originality doesn’t exist. Everything is a confluence of influences, thefts, mutations and interpretations. Even the Bible says, “There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Whether you’re an artist or you’re simply looking to add some creativity to your life, consider these 10 ideas:




Read this book, really good. www.gafra.org

Read this book, really good. www.gafra.org

He made me realize through this book and the others that Artist have many opportunities out there are we don’t have to live by that old slogan “poor artist” One things he said, “ You can’t go looking for validation from external sources” because once you place your work out there you can’t predict how people will respond to it. Some may like it and others may not. I have seen that happen many times. Pieces that I disliked even hated were the pieces that were sold first or the pieces people loved the most. So strange…




Kleon said to get comfortable being misunderstood, disparaged or ignored because it comes with the territory. Just stay busy creating so that you don’t notice or you don’t care. But still hold on to the complements and even comments of appreciation especially if they were written as we all as artist need that encouragement or boost when we’re in that period of decline. As he said keep a praise file.




Another point that caught me was to keep your day job because it will take a while to get to the point where your art sustains you financially. I haven’t reached that point yet. I make a small amount to balance back what I put out to create my art plus a little extra but from my balance sheet I can see that most times my expenses far outweigh my sales income, so I have a ways to go to be comfortable leaving my job to paint full time.




He encourages us to get a Calendar and plan out your work and your goals for achievement , so that when you complete or accomplish something and tick it off you feel a swell of achievement and this gives you a boost to continue and it also build your self confidence. Included here is keeping a log book of all that you do everyday down to the smallest detail. I’m not sure I would do this, I prefer a journal to write my thoughts or simply listing out my to do tasks and goals. Tracking everything I do isn’t something I think I need. He says that in having a log of the small details it helps you to remember the big details. Again I don’t think its necessary but it can be valuable for someone who tends to forget things and wants a reminder




This point I really liked….”do business with who you befriend, who you choose to be around” and “a good partner keeps you grounded”…I like this because I know my husband is my biggest fan and he is always encouraging and always open to giving me feedback and he points out the pieces he likes and those that may need a little more work. I’ve tried to get him to paint as well but although he tried it once he just wasn’t into it. His creativity comes out in his gardening. He can bring any plant to life and he has converted our small back yard into a peaceful sanctuary…I just love sitting and relaxing there. When I need to take a break and commune with nature I simply go in my backyard…I don’t need to go any further and its all due to my husband’s “green thumb”.




Kleon mentions that when you’ve gone blank creatively then do less to get over the creative blocks.. Place some constraints on yourself, such as, paint a painting with one colour, paint a painting in only 10 minutes, shoot a movie with your iphone, create something with what you have at hand right there and then. This can sometimes lead to your best work. I’ve done this, for example, I gave myself a 30 day challenge to paint landscapes in 10 minutes every morning, just before going to work so I don’t have time to think about it too much, if at all. It has really prevented me from becoming too detailed and I feel a lot freer to simply do whatever I feel without the restrictions/rules of drawing/sketching first.



Another idea he shares that made me feel better is that we all steal ideas from each other but what you don’t do is plagiarize or copy exactly what the other person has done, you put your style to it and eventually you develop your own style. That used to make me feel bad because when I was learning to paint we got exercises to paint or try to copy someone else’s piece to get an idea about what technique they used to get the painting to look the way it does. My art teacher then, after many classes we would then have to acquire our own photos and paint them so that we got the basics of composition and then used our new learnt style to paint our photo.



I am very good at copying and it comes easy for me but I hate knowing that it isn’t mine or that I didn’t think of painting a piece that way



Kleon ends the book with the quote by Saul Steinberg, which says “ What we respond to in any work of art is the artist’s struggle against his or her limitations.” So what makes us interesting is what we leave out of the painting versus what we put in, the same goes for people…Kleon states…what make people interesting isn’t just what they have experienced its also what they haven’t experienced yet. So we need to embrace our limitations and move forward. I struggle with that everyday of my painting journey. Some days are better than others and some are not but I continue on my journey of artistic discovery until I reach where I think I want to be, for now I’m not there yet. I absolutely loved the idea and concepts behind Steal Like an Artist. I often think the same , but I don’t put it as eloquently and so well written, plus I couldn’t agree more with the author.



So check this summary of Austin Kleon’s Book….Steal Like an Artist:



Steal Like An Artist – The Content

1. Steal like an artist.

2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.

3. Write the book you want to read.

4. Use your hands.

5. Side projects and hobbies are important.

6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.

7. Geography is no longer our master.

8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)

9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)

10. Creativity is subtraction.



Bullet Summary

· There is no such thing as original art: everyone builds upon others

· Immerse yourself (/steal) from your favorite artists: imitate and then emulate

· When you realize you’re not quite like them, you’ve found your own voice



AMAZON’S REVIEW OF THIS BOOK.

Give Up Originality

There is no such thing as a completely original form of art. No person lives in a vacuum and no art is created in a vacuum.
Everyone is influenced by the world and the artists that live around you and came before you.

Some artist can be pushed against the wall by the erroneous concept of “originality”. Don’t let that happen to you.

Austin Cleon says that art creation is a bit like making children. Same as the DNA of two people combine to give new life, new art new art is the mixture of different influences to create something new.
That means that the artistic process start when you find the right art to build upon -or to steal from-.

Start Imitating Your Heroes

Sure you can’t plagiarize, but you can imitate them.
Steal Like an Artist recommends you live and breath the artists you like. Learn what makes them tick, reproduce their own art for your own consumption. Then branch out to the three people that your favorite artists most learned from.

Eventually, you will realize that you are not quite the same as any of your artist -the author calls them “weaknesses” that you can’t quite replicate the same way-. You have your own style and you can make your own contribution .
You’re another branch in the tree.

Keep Hobbies And Leisure

The author recommends that as much as you love your art, you shouldn’t drop other hobbies and passions of yours.
They make you a more rounded individual and they are creative sources that will inspire you in your art.

Similarly, don’t hole in at your workplace or home studio. But go out, or even change city and live in some other country.

Share Your Work

The author says there are benefits in being unknown and obscure, such as the total freedom of failing and experimenting.
Eventually you want to reach a certain level of fame though. The best way to do that is to share everything you do.

When you share you will receive some harsh criticism. The author says it’s important you don’t allow the negativity to drag you down or sidetrack you through anger.
And if you can’t stop anger from getting to you, then you can use that anger for a source of creativity.

Praise File

Austin Kleon recommends not only that you use anger as fuel, but also that you save all the praises you get.
You can then read through all the praises you got when you need an uplift.

My Note: I personally am strongly against idea as it trains your ego to depend on other people’s praises. Praise should only be used as a feedback tool, but not to derive ego satisfaction. Sophia Amoruso I recently read also is of the same opinion.
Read more here:

Real Life Applications

Stop Stressing About “Copying”
I write a lot of reviews here so I end up speaking with authors. And quite a few of them hold many grudges against anyone who “copied” their work.
Yet I rarely think their work has been copied. It had quite a different flair in my opinion. Don’t stress about copycats too much. As Prada CEO said:

We’re not interested in creating products that nobody wants to copy

Just make sure, of course, that they’re not copy-pasting your work and that you find your own voice even when you re-interpret old concepts.

CONS

One-Idea Book
Albeit I like the idea, Steal Like an Artist rotates around one single idea basically. I felt the same for the 5 Second Rule for example.
But that might be a bit unfair to say as some of the other tips can also add quite a bit of value.

PROS

Brief and Easy
I might even been even shorter -but I often think that-, but it’s certainly not long and drawn out. And it’s very easy and pleasant to read.

Great Concept
I loved the idea. There’s no such thing as new and 100% original. So don’t stress about it, consume all media and feel free to say what’s already been said… But with your own unique

References

· The power moves by amazon (book reviews)

· getAbstract AG

Credit Card Fraud, What do you do?

Credit Card Fraud, what to do when it happens. www.gafra.org

Hi everyone…can you believe my card was hacked?. You hear about these things happening, like your identity being stolen or your card being hacked but you never think it would happen to you. I have to admit though that as I was doing more business online via the blogging, setting up my Etsy shop and having to ensure my sites are well done and presentable I was registering for more platforms that had to help me do all the different aspects of a website, my mind ran on whether my card would get hacked.

But I thought I was safe well it seems I wasn't. The worst feeling in the world is when you use your credit card and it’s declined when you know it has money on it or at least supposed to, not only that, you know you haven’t reached your limit or gone on any shopping sprees, so whats going on? So I did some research because I realised that something was wrong so I checked my account only to see a set of transactions a that I definitely did not do, especially as I live in Trinidad and these were transactions that took place in California.

Someone bought food, and sneakers with my card. I definitely couldn’t order food from a restaurant in California while living in Trinidad. I immediately called the bank manager and he put me onto the officer who deals with these issues. They told me to complete forms for each transaction that I didn’t do and then send it in to them.

It will then take 2 and a half months to know the results based on their investigations. Still no surety that I would get it back. They stole $750USD, most of which belongs to my daughter, so I definitely want it back. It’s a shame I’m not a hacker so I could go online myself and find the thief and make them pay for what the've done. Cyber crime is just to difficult to solve, it makes you feel helpless and there is so much of it going on today.

These days thieves don’t wear masks and they don’t arrive on horseback totting guns; they do their dirty deeds from the comfort of their own home. Whether they steal your actual identity or they hack your credit card, all it takes is for one fraudulent charge to ruin your day.



Credit Card Fraud, You never think it will happen to you. www.gafra.org

So let me share with you what I learned about Card breaches from the research I did:

Our credit card information can be stolen right under your nose without your credit card ever leaving your possession. Unfortunately, most victims of this type of credit card theft don’t find out their credit card details have been stolen until after the credit card has already been used. Often, fraudulent credit card charges are the first sign that credit card information has been stolen.

How Thieves Steal Credit Card Information

In many instances, thieves don’t steal your credit card information directly from you. Instead, they get it somewhere else in the credit card processing chain. Here are a few ways thieves can get access to your credit card information.

1. Hacking into other businesses. Thieves can steal your information by breaching a company where you’ve used your credit card or a company that handles some aspect of credit card processing. Since data breaches target entire organizations, sometimes millions of consumers have their credit card information stolen. Most mega data breaches – like Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase, and Anthem – make headline news

2. Skimming. A credit card skimmer is a small device that captures your credit card information in another otherwise legitimate transaction. Thieves secretly place credit card skimmers over the credit card swipe at gas stations and ATMs then return to retrieve the information captured.

Sometimes a counterfeit credit card ring recruits cashiers, waitresses, or other workers to skim customer credit cards. You hand your credit card to the cashier for processing and when you’re not looking, the cashier will swipe your credit card through the skimming device.

3. Installing malware or viruses on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Hackers can design software that’s downloaded in email attachments or other software and sits on your computer undetected. In one instance, hackers take advantage of public wi-fi to trick people into installing malware disguised as a software update. The software monitors your keystrokes or takes screenshots of your page and sends the activity to the thief.

4. Tricking you. Thieves set up traps to trick consumers into giving up credit card information. They do this by phone, by email, through fake websites, and sometimes even via text message. In one scam, for example, you verify some personal information in a call that you think is your credit card issuer’s fraud department. It’s important that you only give out your credit card and other personal information only in transactions you can be sure are safe.

5. Old-fashioned dumpster diving. Throwing away documents or receipts that have your full credit card number printed puts you at risk of theft. While dumpster diving doesn't happen as often as in the past, it's still important to be aware of the possibility. Always shred these documents before tossing them in the trash. Unfortunately, you can’t control how businesses dispose of their records. If they fail to shred records that contain credit card information, the information is at risk of being stolen.

What Do Thieves Do With Your Credit Card Information

1. Use it to make online purchases. Thieves can use your credit card information to buy things over the internet.

2. Sell it. Credit card information can be sold over the internet for $5 to $100 in the U.S., depending on the type and amount of information that’s sold.

3. Create cloned credit cards. Thieves can make legitimate-looking credit cards by programming your credit card information on a gift cards or prepaid credit card. When the card is swiped, the transaction processes just like it would if you swiped your actual credit card.

How to Know If Your Credit Card Information Has Been Stolen

This kind of credit card theft can go undetected for several months. It’s not like a physical credit card that you notice is missing. You likely won’t know until you notice unauthorised charges on your credit card account.

Don’t count on your bank to catch instances of credit card theft. This is so true as I was the one who noticed due to my card being declined. I don’t think the bank would have noticed anything, at least it depends on the bank. Some banks call you to double check any transaction they feel looks suspicious as per your spending trend. Your credit card issuer may call you or freeze your account if they notice purchases outside your normal spending habits, but don’t take for granted that your bank will always notify you of potential fraud.

Card fraud is happening all the time. What do you do to protect yourself?

What to Do If Your Credit Card Info is Stolen

  • · Monitor your credit card often and

  • · Immediately report fraudulent purchases, regardless of the amount.

  • · Read through your transactions once a month when your credit card statement comes.

  • · Once a week is better and daily or every other day will let you spot fraudulent purchases before the thief can do too much damage to your account.

  • · Some credit cards can send real-time transaction notifications to your smartphone.

Sometimes thieves test to see which credit card numbers are valid by making a small charge of a few dollars or pennies that would likely go undetected. If the small charge is successful, the thief knows the credit card number work and will go on to make bigger purchases with the credit card information.

  • · Don't ignore small, seemingly innocent credit card purchases. Even something as small as a few cents could be a sign that your credit card information has been compromised.

  • · Pay attention to news regarding hacks and data breaches. News reports will often include the name of the store affected and the date or date range the data beach occurred. If you shopped during that time period, there’s a chance your credit card information was stolen.

Do You Pay for Fraudulent Purchases?

Legally, you are not responsible for any unauthorized purchases made with your stolen credit card information – as long as your credit card is still in your possession. (With debit cards, you must report unauthorized transactions within 60 days of your bank statement being sent to you.)

You must report the transactions to your credit card issuer so they can investigate and remove them from your account.

Keeping Your Credit Card Information Safe


If you use your credit card at all, anywhere, your information is at risk.

There is a number of things you can do to keep your credit card information safe.

  • · Use strong passwords,

  • · Be cautious about where you use your credit card,

  • · Always use secure websites, and

  • · Avoiding storing your credit card details in your web browser.

Protecting Accounts That Use Your Credit Card

It’s not just your credit cards that are at risk. Other accounts that use your credit card are at risk, too.

  • · PayPal,

  • · Netflix,

  • · HBO GO,

  • · ITunes, and other accounts.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to circumvent theft with these services, considering many require you to store your credit card information to even sign up for an account.

As mobile payments becomes mainstream, you can expect digital pick pocketing to increase. There’s already an Android app that allows thieves to wirelessly steal mobile payment information just by standing near a person who has credit card information stored on their phone.

What to Do If Your Card Data Is Breached

1. Cancel Your Card

Call your bank or card issuer and request a new credit or debit card. If a debit card was involved, you'll also want to change the PIN on the account. Some banks and issuers automatically shut down your card and send a new one when they know it's been compromised.

2. Check Your Accounts

You'll also want to check bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity or purchases, as well as going online to check recent activity.

If your card is used before you're aware of the data breach and its used by a thief, you'll need to make sure you dispute the charges with your bank or card issuer immediately.

This process can be a bit lengthier with a debit card, but you'll want to flag any potential debit

3. Change Passwords

Your next step is to change your passwords on those accounts, as well as the password to any account that's been breached. If you re-use some form of those passwords on other accounts, it's a good idea to change those, too.

Other Options After a Data Breach

Assuming you've reported any unauthorized transaction immediately to the credit card or debit card issuer and since a card can easily be canceled, you may not need to take additional action other than keeping an eye on your card statements and credit reports.

What Do You Do?

1. Yes, it’s serious, but don’t panic.

2. Call your bank and the credit reporting companies.

3. Send written notification to your creditors.

4. Monitor your statements and correspondences.



References:

1. How Your Credit Card Information is Stolen and What to Do About It by Latoya Irby

2. 4 things to do after your credit card has been hacked by Pamela Britton- Baer

3. 3 things to do if your credit card or debit card is involved in a data breach by Brian O’connor







How To Share Your Work With Your Team

As a Business Owner. How do you share the work with your team?. www.gafra.org

Hi guys…do you know what I do? Well this post is going to give you an idea of what I do daily as a business coach, at least one of the areas I cover in that capacity, but I’m doing it through one topic at a time, that I encounter and have to assist my clients with almost everyday…DELEGATING. Delegating to your team members. Yes the entire aspect of delegating is normally seen as simply giving someone something to do, but it encompasses way more than that. For example, say you have 4 team members who work with you. Out of those 4, two work well and are reliable and you’re sure they will finish what you give them, but then there are the other 2 who don’t seem to be as reliable or tend to make errors and never finish on time.


So what tends to happen because of this? You tend to give the 2 that work best most of the work and give the other 2 less…. but is that fair? NO!! it’s not. Don’t worry, I understand why it happens that way, you have deadlines and you want to get the work done and you don’t have time to give up to deal with the other 2. However, as their leader, the right thing to do and what your responsibility is, is to make sure the work is evenly distributed despite each individuals’ ability or lack of. What you need to do is track each person and after tracking them and evaluating their individual strength and areas for improvement, then take note of what tasks you need to delegate and decide who can do each task best. Those who fall short then some level of coaching, training, guidance or instruction has to be provided to those individuals.


A delegation planner for the business owner available at www.gafra.org or www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint.

So lets look at this activity called DELEGATION. What is that?



Delegation is assigning responsibility and authority to someone in order to complete a clearly defined and agreed upon task while you retain ultimate responsibility for its success. Delegation incorporates empowering your teammates through effective leadership, and may be directed in any direction and used in any organization.



Delegation is important for 1) efficiency and 2) development. Delegation improves efficiency when it allows work to be transferred to people whose skills are a better match for the work. So one purpose for delegation is to save you time. Delegation is your most powerful time management tool, and it is also your most powerful learning and development and empowerment tool.



The Advantages & Disadvantages of Delegating Tasks. To be effective at work or your business, you often have to delegate tasks to others. Assigning team members responsibility over a task not only takes some of the load off your shoulders, it can also help your junior team members to grow and develop. Delegation enables you to focus on more important tasks or tasks for which you are better suited. The increase in time reduces pressure and stress. This allows you to concentrate on your remaining tasks and allocate more time for other tasks.

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Hi I’m GaFra

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1. Imporve time management

2. Build trust within the unit and team

3. Allows you to spend time on other more important tasks

4. Helps develop your team members



What you need to consider when you delegate:



1. Always provide feedback.

Make sure to contribute both positive and negative feedback, so the person you're giving responsibility to will understand what he or she is doing well and how they need to improve.

2. Be sure to keep an eye on things.

Monitoring the work of people will both motivate them and help you to catch problems as they arise. An inexperienced team member will need more oversight.

3. Be clear about what you want your employees to do.

Make sure employees understand the responsibilities they are assuming and that they accept them. Ask them to confirm their understandings with you.

4. Delegate the right things.

Delegate recurring tasks, detail work, attendance at some meetings, and activities that will be part of team members' future responsibilities.

5. Provide guidance when necessary.

If the work veers too far from the planned guidelines, take immediate and decisive corrective action. You're not doing anyone any favors by stepping back entirely from your assignments. Mutually agree on a plan to return to the targeted goals. If the situation doesn't improve, end the assignment and move on.

6. Give employees the authority they need to get the job done.

Any delegated task must be accompanied by a delegation of authority--that is, the power and resources to get the job done. Authority may include giving the employee power to spend money, seek assistance from others, or represent the department or company.

7. Have the right attitude about delegating.

Leaders sometimes view planning as a hindrance to getting their best work done, but planning to delegate is an investment in your people, your company's culture, and in your business. It's a good thing, not a bad thing.

8. Consider the skills and interests of your people.

When assigning a task, consider each person's demonstrated skill, interest in the task, and current workload. Know his or her record of success on similar assignments--how they work with others, when they operate best, and how well they work under pressure.

9. Set clear expectations.

Explain both the overall goals of the task along with the standards that will be used to measure results. Make sure the goals are specific, attainable, relevant, and measurable.



Get Business & Personal Printable Planners for all the different ways to organise your life. here at www.gafra.org or on my Etsy store www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

Daily I see leaders who aren’t delegating properly so work is piled on a few who get frustrated and overworked, then begin to complain or may simply leave after a while. You simply need to take the time to get those that are slower or are making errors, to train them up to a higher level to be able to handle the tasks assigned to them. If after continuous coaching and training the individual does not improve then they are not a good fit for the position and may have to be moved to another position where the work is simpler or it may be a case where their competency has reached its peak and they are unable to process the type of work being dealt with in their unit. Then serious decisions need to be made about the individual with some consultation with them.

Be a great leader and if you know you suck at delegating and things just aren't going as they should then I hope this short post helped in some way. Even if all it did was to make you aware of some of the things you need to do when you delegate then I'm glad for that small benefit you got. If you're interested, my Delegation planner can help you to delegate better, it isn't expensive and you'll gain great benefits on how to follow the process, just follow the forms as they are and soon giving your team members work to do will become a breeze. and this time you will rake in the rewards via smooth sharing or work and deadlines being met.




This is just one topic I deal with daily. I’ve simplified it as much as I can here for this post but Delegating is a process and as I created in my Delegation planner, there are forms in there than can guide you through the proper process for delegating. Check it out.

See you soon and I’ll be talking about another area I deal with and that is handling interruptions.

Reference:

· Wikipedia

· Management Skills blog – what is the purpose for delegation

· Advantages & Disadvatages of delegating Tasks by Dianne Heath

· Delegation is an art by peter economy