Paula Swenson

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

the Creativity Switch

In Abundance, Art and Creativity, Business on April 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

I’m one of those people who cannot look up a word in the dictionary without stopping to admire at least 3 other words along the way, so you can imagine what happens to me once I plug into the internet!?!?

However, despite being deeply distracting and fine procrastination tool, the internet often yields up some lovely gems and this post on How to Flick the Creativity Switch is one of them. Joanna Patterson has multiple blogs about writing, and learning and this is her latest endeavor.

I think this post is important for two reasons, it gives a simple approach we can use to help our clients and it applies to other things as well . . . go read it and then think about what “switches” YOU need to turn on in your brain: the productive writer switch? the coaching switch? the money switch? the relaxation switch?

Me? I’m definitely going to turn on the “smart about money” switch as soon as I finish this post!

~peace, joy and prosperity~



Don’t confuse Service with Servant!

In Abundance, Art and Creativity, Business on March 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

There is a lot of buzz these days about SERVICE. Customer Service, selfless service, active service … the dictionary lists no fewer than 12 definitions for service, but the most basic, in the terms I’d like to consider here is this: work done by one person or group that benefits another

Notice that definition says nothing about being downtrodden, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, nor creating a situation of indebtedness.

Recently my colleague Trish talked volunteering at a Hospice, and Trish mentioned that she always leaves with a very full heart, feeling that she gets even more than she gives. I think perhaps TRUE SERVICE fills us rather than empties us. Which is not to say we don’t get tired, etc, and need to be kind and refill our own wells, but rather that Service provides some intrinsic rewards.

Service, in my view, has an extra value component — it is not just doing for others. I think about Service like Food. Anything you eat will stop you from being hungry (junk food, cold stale vending machine sandwiches, dirt, school paste . . .) but some things you eat also give you vitamins and nutrients, and the BEST foods (like the highest SERVICE) also give you full sensory experience; you enjoy the eating of them, the taste, the smell, the texture in your mouth – eating becomes a sensual meditation and you are totally in the moment, PRESENT and aware of how wonderful food really is! Likewise I think true SERVICE is fully engaging. You are aware of the impact of your actions on others and it brings satisfaction and joy on a very deep level.

It occurs to me that GRATITUDE and SERVICE are linked and that when we truly serve, we experience the true gratitude of others — not necessarily in words or thank yous (although that may be) but in seeing the shift or the change in the other(s): the student who ‘gets it’ , the patient who is resting more comfortably, the child who proudly ties his own shoe, the person smiling at the image in the mirror upon seeing her new hairstyle, the shoulders that relax as a burden is lifted, the coaching client glowing with success!

Nobody wants to feel like a servant — but we all benefit from giving and receiving SERVICE.

A Gift of Time

In Art and Creativity, Business, Time and Change on November 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Remember there is plenty of time, and every moment counts” is a zen saying that I have transferred from notebook to notebook for years now… it is so hard to remember to honor both sides of that “equation” at the same time. When we focus on “there is plenty of time”, we can get lazy and let big swathes of precious time slip away . . . on the other hand, when we focus on “every moment counts”, we tend to fret about not doing enough… it seems to be such a dilemma, but maybe, just maybe, it is not two things at all. Maybe it really is one thing. Time stretches into wonderful fullness when we make every moment count! Maybe the secret is to make the moments count so that we needn’t count the moments.

I’ve recently been energized by some projects that have come into my life and I find I have more time despite being busier, so I’ve been cruising along, be very productive until the other morning, when someone asked me, how do you find time to do all that?? From the moment of that question my day became a train-wreck of colliding priorities and unfocused actions. It took several hours of mayhem for me to realize that when the question was planted in my mind, I started to doubt that I had the time/energy to do everything I had taken on– wow, thoughts really DO become things–and so quickly! So I promptly sat down and gave myself TIME to refocus and resume my pre-question state of mind and sure enough, the rest of my day was quite productive.

When we are in a place of flow, it is easy to see that we have plenty of time. The task I’ve set for myself now, and I invite you to participate too, is to retain the calm and the focus, even when the flow is interrupted. I hope that will make it easier to recapture the flow and make every lovely moment count.

How do you give yourself the gift of time?

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© Paula Swenson 2009

What Would YOU do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

In Art and Creativity, Business on July 16, 2009 at 11:43 am

This question has come into my life in at least 3 different forms in the past 15 days. It is not a new question, I have encountered it before, however recently I have not been able to answer it. I’m not normally a person who has difficulty making decisions. In fact, most of my friends and family consider me not only decisive, but downright impetuous! So I found myself puzzled that I could not answer this question. Had I stopped dreaming? Did I lack a sense of purpose? What had happened to my goals?

The first time the question appeared, I was thumbing through an old journal, I had jotted the question in the margin of a page, in quotes, obviously having just read it somewhere. Further down the margin were a few answers scrawled in tiny, almost illegible print. I squinted at them and saw 1) travel more 2) live abroad 3) ride a bicycle again.

Well, two out of three isn’t bad . . . I have been living abroad for almost exactly 2 years, and taking advantage of my new locations to travel and explore. The bicycle thing hasn’t worked out so well. although I bought a used bike this Spring, the combination of knee problems and a lot of time passing since I last rode a bike (more than 15 years) have conspired against me. After taking a pretty bad spill my second time out on the bike, I rather lost enthusiasm, and courage, for it.

So, realizing I had at least attempted everything on the list, I felt pretty good, and thought, OK what’s next? I drew a blank. I put it out of my mind until a week later, when the question popped up again, in an article I was reading. I stopped to ponder what my new answer would be. Again I drew a blank. Quite odd for me . . . slightly disturbed, I set the puzzle aside.

Then 3 days ago, there it was again, in a book I was using to teach an English lesson. Following the lesson I took myself to a cafe and ordered a cappuccino, got out my notebook, and tried to answer the question. A dozen things eventually came to mind, but none of them satisfied me. I realized that they were all old goals, things I had once wanted but outgrown in some way, as I lived my life. It occurred to me that reaching goals is a tricky business . . . I’m living the life I chose and I like it a lot. In essence I am doing ‘it’ – the thing I would do if I knew I couldn’t fail. Wow.

I still feel I would like to be able to answer the question again, but perhaps my understanding of the question has changed. Perhaps the new question is “Since I cannot truly fail, as long as I make an honest attempt, what I am going to do next?”

© Paula Swenson 2008
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Get it right in Black and White!

In Business on March 11, 2009 at 11:27 am

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Please browse the columns here for some samples of my work, or click on the sub-headings above which will take you to dedicated topic pages.   Your comments are welcome, just click on >Comment at the bottom of each column or story.