Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jan 24 - Autoimmune Smiles

Daily Report
Lesson: Get dress and smile
When you live with any autoimmune disease, especially one with too many names, you learn to design a life you can live with.  It may not yield financial gain, but it will make you happy on those days when you aren’t in pain, you can breathe, your skin is not throbbing with hives, and you have come to peace with your forever thinning hair. So I have one rule for living with Antiphospholipid Anitbody Syndrome/Lupus Anti-coagulation/Huges Syndrome (because someone couldn’t settle on one name for my misery), COPD, pulmonary embolisms and hypertension, and an enlarged heart that keeps everyone on edge. Just one rule. 
Chicos Reece Pants and Loose Shirt
Get dressed everyday so you can do something. And I don’t mean in sweats. I’m talking slacks, top and shoes. Personally, jeans are too hard for me most days. But, get out of your PJ’s. PJ’s are just an exclamation point that says, hey, I’m sick! It might take you an hour, or two to get dressed.  What’s the rush?  Get your comfy slacks with no elastic, no zipper, and autoimmune friendly.  I buy mine at Chicos. I have one pair in 5 colors – summer white, black, tan, a color that reminds me of reddish mahogany, and emerald green.  I also have 5 long tunic no-iron shirts: red, shocking blue, white, black, bright lime green. For me is an issue, so this is best covered with a long tunic shirt. I shop when there’s a great storewide sale, and pile up on what I know I can handle. I like bright colors.

Yesterday I didn’t feel half bad.  I predicted today I would probably be on the top of my game. Our “game” has different rules than the rest of the population, so I only compare it to my average 30 day health chart. But with no humidity, not too cold, no real aches, and a clean meal of protein and salad, I knew it was going to be a good day. Ok, I declared it!

If you know me at all, you know I keep homemade soup in the house at all times. I have been sipping on it for about 3 days with light meals, no gluten, minimum sugar and more sleep than normal (about 5 hours a night – split into two or three segments of course). You know the routine. 

So when I saw an open casting add for a TV food tasting commercial, I sent in my pic, and information.  I was chosen. I had nothing to lose.  Today was the filming.  I practice smiling every day anyway so how hard could this be.  So, diuretics taken early, three hours to dress, four layers of make up (I’m sure), and albuterol in hand, I turned off my oxygen tank, and drove the 2 miles down the road for a 45 feedback - interview on the food product.  Of course, I arrived ealry.  Like all of you, I have to find parking close to the door, stress causes pain or more shortness of breath than normal, so early is!   Prep time: 5 hours

While waiting for my makeup touchup, I shared small chat with 5 other participants.  We laughed, I stole their good energy, and obvious good physical fortune.  My turn to the make up chair.  Well, that was fun. She brushed on press powder, she removed my under eyes’ shadows, and applied on eye-shadow on my lids.  When was the last time I actually wore eye shadow?  Feeling quite glamorous to discus food and filled with positive energy from all, I was ready to be interviewed. 

Yes, I came home exhausted.  It’s not even 7:30pm and I’m already in PJ’s. But, tomorrow I will get dressed and find another reason to smile.

Get dress, and smile! Yes, I was dressed in Chicos today for the TV commercial shoot. 

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Monday, January 15, 2018

Jan 15 – Inversion Therapy

Daily Report

Lesson: Flying Exercise is a Metaphor
After twenty-five years of any chronic illness, you are ready to try anything toward bettering, or at minimum, stabilizing your health.  Years ago, I read of a woman who worked in her garden. And as she picked weeds, she imagined one more part of her illness was being plucked.  This may have been from a Louise Hay's book, I can't remember. It was one of the gentle nudges that pointed me to Metaphysics and Metaphors. That should be a title of one of keynote presentations.  (To other health coaches, I have dibs on that title). 

Over the years, I have extended my experiences past traditional medicine, chiropractors and homeopathies, and meditation to acupuncture, reiki, zone tapping, yoga, and pilates.  Today I started a series in inversion therapy. Some call it anti-gravity therapy. Why not? Another mindful practice, that focuses on my breathing, body placement, flexibility, and strength.

I believe my Kansas City Pilates 1901 studio has adopted the workouts invented by Christopher Harrison.  Harrison was a former gymnast and Broadway choreographer. According to several quotes, the “exercises [were] inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus, in order to achieve a total-body workout.”

Today I learned to get into and out of the hammock,  and a few basic positions, like tulip, honeysuckle, pouch, and… I can’t remember I was too busy getting my hand, hiney, arms and legs in place while still trying to breathe.  I loved it.

My biggest issue was, the training was at 9:30AM.  I don’t usually leave the house before 10AM, due to the time it takes to diurese, and start breathing, but except for a bit of ascites that kept my abdomen bulging, I was able to do all the exercises. I came home with energy, and the first thing Hubby said to me, is "You look good.  Your skin looks great." Hmmm…is it already working? 

I don’t think Cirque du Soleil perfomers will have any competition from me.  I was imagining this:

But, our secret, ok?  I never got further than 6 inches off the floor.  It was more like this. 

But that was the first day, and I was able to breathe through it.  And it was fun! I'll let you know when I begin to fly.  

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Note: All photos featured are from unknown studios. If you can identify them, let me know, and I will add the links. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jan - 14 Spoons of Energy

Daily Report
Lesson: For the Chronically Ill 

Do You Feel Up To It?
When you're healthy you seemingly have an unlimited number of energy spoons. When you live with a chronic illness daily spoons of energy are limited. For me on good days I might be able to expend 15-20 spoons of energy.  But living with lupus anticoagulation, also known as antiphospholipid antibody syndrome or Hughes Syndrome, blood clots in my right atrium caused permanent scarring, COPD, pulmonary embolism and pulmonary hypertension and an enlarged or should I say compromised heart. I still have a quality life, and I manage to fit all of it in, just not all on the same day or same week. 

Plan your day and know your limits.

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Jan 13 - Gracias Curandera - The Healer

This is a classic about a Curandera

In 2005, a trip to Mexico helped me get correctly diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, also referred to as lupus anticoagulation or Hughes Syndrome.  This illness had already changed the course of my career and daily life. After suffering since before 1993, the Mexican doctors returned me to the USA with their diagnosis, which was found to be accurate and confirmed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Here is just one unedited chapter that discusses "the turning point" of my undiagnosed illness. I have posted other excerpts and will continue to do so.  

If you are keeping track, to date, I have written over 5100 words. Keep in mind at this point, it is unedited.  

In 2005 I received professional development monies from the Metropolitan Community College - Penn Valley in Kansas City, MO.  I had been awarded an intensive two-week study program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. By this time, my corporate motto of “I can sleep when I’m dead” had been replaced with “I can be sick "there" (fill in the blank), as well as here.” Mother agreed.  She did not believe God was only in Kansas City, so where I was he would travel along and keep me from all “hurt, harm, and danger” and would watch over me. Plus, as a faith healer, my job was to pray, anoint myself when away from the elders, and keep living my life.  So there was no resistance from Mother or Hubby.  Hubby knew I was not the victim kind and I wanted to live, until I died.  Yes, that was another one of my frequent sayings.  So although I was going through one of my worse breathing cycles and I was extremely uncomfortable with a bloated abdomen, later diagnosed as ascities, I packed a couple pairs of sandals and elastic skirts and tent-like sundresses and landed in Mexico City.  By the time I arrived, I could barely walk through customs.  My legs were swelling. The airport express bus to the hotel was excruciating, but I had lots of tip money.  I tipped the airport red cap, the taxi driver, the hotel valet and the room delivery.  I settled on soup! 

I did not sleep that night. I soaked in the bathtub most the night.  I was gasping for air, I could not get in a comfortable position.  Even my thighs were swelling.  After a night of weighing all my options, I decided it was jet lag. This shortness of breath began in 1993.  The periodic abdominal swelling had been an issue so long, I can't remember when it began. This too would subside, I shared with my husband that evening. But, it was the worse episode I’ve ever suffered. For one brief moment that night I had considered returning to Kansas City for the elders to pray or even perhaps medical attention, but after deliberation, I decided I would continue on to Cuernavaca as planned.  Mexico has doctors too. 

Early the following morning, I took the hotel shuttle bus back to the airport, and waddled to the Cuernavaca transport bus. The ascities made me look pregnant, and I was okay with that, as everyone treats pregnant women with kindness. I sat in the front passenger seat, because a kind man gave up his seat after witnessing my struggle to climb the few bus steps. My ankles throbbed from the swelling. With my eyes closed, I meditated and prayed. I did breathing exercises.  And about 45 minutes into the trip, I was interrupted.  A woman who had been several seats behind me, had curiously found her way to the front. Had she been summoned?

I flinched when I felt gnarly fingers touching my forehead. Without asking she laid her warm hands on me, one on top of my head, the other on my forehead.  It was my first experience with a curandera. At the community college, my students were required to read the book Bless me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya for my Latin American Literature class. I had read on the topic of curanderas when I studied Latin American Humanities and Literature.  I was quite familiar with both true practices and myths of the curandera. I shut my eyes and soaked in the warmth of her hands.

My weathered grandma-ish curandera still holding my head  and forehead muttered inaudible words for seemingly 2 minutes.  I kept my eyes shut and prayed. I heard her ask for one of her many bags. It could have been from pure exhaustion or perhaps instinct that gave me the will to keep my eyes shut as she took her hand off my forehead. While she still held the top of my head, she sprayed my face. I had read once where a curandera sprayed the infirm with urine.  Was that a fiction or nonfiction book? No smell. I surmised it was just purifying water. I did not care. I had read enough books to know what was going on. As I leaned against the window, she lifted my legs and swung them to be raised on my carry-on bag that she had placed in the aisle seat next to me.. She spoke to me in a soft tone. I only responded in one word.“Gracias.” Somehow she knew I was not pregnant.  She knew I was scared.  I was grateful.  She took the aisle seat across from me.  It had miraculously become vacant.  She muttered prayers for me all the way to Cuernevaca, periodically laying her hands on me. I fell asleep. Gracias. 

Another Excerpt: Jan 8 - It's Not Easy Living with Diseases and Stuff.

Kathleen Brandt, Keynote Speaker
Women, Health, and  Entrepreneurs

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Jan 11 - Worth It? Professional Membership Fees

Daily Report
Lesson: Make "Them" Accountable 

I belong to several industry specific professional organizations. My fingers are in a lot of pots.  I’m on the board of four, and am active in two. They all, have one thing in common. They are acutely and comfortably aware that their members do not read the minutes. 

The two board positions I deem unworthy, I made the commitment, so I’ll continue to execute my committee work as assigned even though I do not see the value promised to their paying members, their fees are bloated and in both cases, they are poor stewards of membership dues and it’s acceptable to behave unprofessionally. It’s all that I teach NOT to do in board meetings. One association saddens me! There’s so much hope and opportunities waiting. Yet, the board appears to be rather morally bankrupt. To be fair, it’s possible they really are so myopic they can’t visualize options.

When board term is over, however, I will be quickly exiting. Sometimes change can be made from working outside the circle of “that’s how we’ve always done it.” That’s an indelible culture to penetrate. So I’m calling on members to invoke change. Get the value promised from your memberships.  That’s not to say that 50% of the professional organizations are poorly managed, but my goal is to encourage all to evaluate their annual membership dues. Give the professional organization or professional association a grade.  Do it annually!

As I mentioned most members do not read the minutes. They have no idea how the board members are voting on issues that affect the members and the future of the organization. If members read the posted minutes, and looked at the financial ledgers of many of the professional organizations they would be appalled.  Where’s the benefit to the member?  Some of these not-for profit organizations spend well over 50% of the money on the board members. Sure you get a newsletter, maybe even a professional journal, and if you are lucky, training worth talking about with others in your field.  But, are you actually taking advantage of the training offerings or even reading the newsletters or journals? If not why are you a member?

I’m not judging, I am on one board, just because I thought they were going to make a positive change for their members.  That’s what they promised.  But it is clear that change is not what they want. There’s a lot of ink wasted on writing their forsaken ideas on paper, but I haven’t seen a step toward that effort.  They seem to be happy with both their oversight and under-achievements. 

You are probably wondering why I am a member.  The same reason most of us join associations.  It looks good on a proposal, on a resume, and if they have a Christmas party, you can attend.  People take us seriously if you say “I’m a member of…” But, where some organizations actually contribute to your success, increase your networking opportunities, have mentoring and coaching programs, and training that isn’t freely offered on the internet, others are just dead weight to our budgets and time-suckers to our busy lives (especially if you are on a committee or a member of a voting board). 

It’s time to evaluate your professional associations and professional organizations.  Are you wasting your money?  Or maybe, just maybe, you can be “that” voice that invokes change from within.  Consider running for an office or position.  The experience is invaluable, and the view from the board table is revealing. If only walls could talk.
Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jan 10 - The Mindful Alien in the Room

Related image
A Guide to Mindfulness At Work
I'm still trying to get a grip on the use of the word "mindful." It's everywhere.  How can it be so invasive, so universal, and on every page you turn?" It's like a troll? When you aren't expecting it, it rears it ugly head. Be mindful! Mindfulness in the work place! mindfulness on social media!When did mindfulness practices get here? And, where did they come from?  Right when I think I have it in a box all neatly packaged with it's parameters and practices contained, there's another mindful troll that pops up.  The Mindful Social Networking triggered this rant!

Every year I start the last two weeks of December planning and the first two weeks of January networking. It works for me.  It sets the tone of the upcoming year. These weeks are filled with lunches, happy hours, planning meetings, ordering office supplies, and sending out proposals.  I do more meditating and mindful practices, and I take lots of classes.  These classes help me stay abreast of social media, for developing new skills, and honing in on self-improvement. I give myself a C or C- on active mindfulness practices.

Did I mention I'm in two intensive French classes? That was a 2017 goal, and I began in September.  In spite of six or more hours of homework a week, I'm really enjoying rekindling my first love - foreign languages. And mindfulness in my studies is probably a B/B-.  Maybe because passion is included.

Perhaps mindfulness in 2018 will be my new replacement for "resolutions."  The word resolutions ring false to me, especially since these activities are Career and Life Practices.  Dare I say "Mindful Career and Life Practices?" That wording does make it so much more inviting and inclusive.  I will keep trying to incorporate and welcome mindfulness to my vocabulary and daily practices. But right now it's still an alien concept. I give my self a C- on overall acceptance.

P.S. Oh, I was picked up by a print/TV commercial talent agency.  I'll keep you abreast. 

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Jan 9 - Brickwall Buster

Daily Report
Lesson: Is It Really a Brickwall? It Looks Flimsy
Lack of planning or poorly built structures do not create brickwalls.  Brickwalls are solid structures, with reliable foundations that are practically impossible to penetrate, ascend, or avoid.  What we mostly have are inconveniences. There’s a solution. We might not like our options, but that’s not a brickwall. It sucks, but it’s not a brickwall.

This past year, I attended a few executive coaching meetings.  I seem to be invited often to these monthly events. These events are intriguing.  One was for small business CEO’s that have a payroll of about $2million and sales of over $10 million, the other was for sales under $5million and up. Enrollment fees, should I wish to join, would be between $1000 to up to $7000 plus.  I’m not interested in joining or doing peer coaching for free. I do it for a living.  But, one day I was invited to a meeting and as usual I attended a peer coaching meeting.  It was an American company who was being purchased by a Japanese company. There were cultural differences, disgruntled angry employees who were on the American transition team who did not want to cooperate.  There was one accountant who refused to share his books, and the CEO who thought his job was to keep peace. Really a seven figure peace maker.

The perceived brickwall to the CEO was that the deal was not yet finalized, and it was months off schedule.  But I pointed out that wasn’t his brickwall.  The brickwall, were the hard choices.  No one had an incentive to cooperate.  The Japanese company could keep making interest on their money with no hard deadlines, and no penalties.  Who did this deal? The employees, who have been living in this community were not going out without a fight, this was a generational company for most of them.  Grandma and Grandpa had even worked there. And everyone was running on fear of losing their jobs. A real fear. The peacemaker could not be the guy in the middle.

“Who is your liason to the Japanese company? I asked”  “Me” he proudly announced. “Who is leading the transitional team?” “Me,” he repeated boldly.  “Who is meeting with workers and giving updates?” Once again the answer was “Me!”

There was no way, this CEO could see pass the wall that held him and his employees on the inside and the Japanese on the outside.  Where was the door? And why were they all crammed in that one walled space?  Plus, if you are working internationally, you really need to understand the culture. Deadlines can be expectedly very fluid.

When you discuss brickwalls with small business and corporate 500’s alike, you get the same “but…” responses.  There’s never a shortage on “but” answers. I know I’m wearing them down when it changes from “but you don’t understand” to “I understand, but.”  Most are stuck in their myopic view.  Yet, it’s the big picture, the long view that will get you to the correct solution.  And rarely can we get there alone. 

I became known as the Brickwall Buster! 

The five roles of a Brickwall Expert?  The person who can do the following
  1. Assess the situation – The Scout
  2. Analyze the solution for optimal results - The Prospector
  3. Plan a successful strategy to conquer the problem at hand – The Visionary
  4. Put all the players in place – The Project Manager
  5. And implement the plan – The Coach 
It doesn’t matter the size of your dream - sole proprietor, budding entrepreneur, small business, corporate or in a state of personal transition, you must be able to see past the wall you’ve built, and be willing to tear it down, in order to reach your goal. 

Truly, it’s sometimes just making hard choices, because most walls in front of us are pretty flimsy.

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Monday, January 8, 2018

Jan 8 - It’s Not Easy Living with Diseases and Stuff.

Daily Report
Lesson: Why I Joined Weight Watchers in 2000

I suffer from many ailments and discomforts, all caused by an autoimmune disease – Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, also called Lupus Anticoagulation or Hughes Syndrome. I fight for a quality of life.  There are somethings we have to live with, but there are still steps we can take to make our lives better. Here’s an excerpt from my unedited book. 

Unlike most, the Ebony Fashion Fair, of 1999 was a changing moment for me.  Mother and I entered the Music Hall venue with 1000 or more of our best dressed friends, outfitted to impress, or perhaps compete against the rather tall, slender fashion models.  At the door, I was pulled aside, and the ticket handler noted my name and commented on my outfit.  I thought nothing of it. 

Mother suggested it was because I was dressed differently than the other attendees.  I had reached under my bed, and pulled out the one African dress garb that I had.  It was like a one dish casserole.  It was a tent over my distended belly and growing body, and it came with its own headdress for my bad hair day, which were becoming more frequent. Remind you, many attendees were clothed in their best St. John’s suits, or Sunday hatted suits that I have yet to figure out where people buy those brightly colored outfits.  I’ve never seen them on the racks of Nordstrom or at my favorite Kansas City store, Halls.  But I decided this was a great chance to wear this African dress for the second time.  The first being at my godchild’s baptism in Washington D. C.  It was an African baptism and theme, and I had purchased this inexpensive outfit at the River Market in KC. 

My dress and the matching headdress was stunning and full of gold, and maroon.  I carried a fan in my hand.  It was necessary, functional, and not part of the outfit, but a comfort for hot-flashes which were God’s way, I was convinced, of reminding me that I was unworthy of a life of comfort. 

Seated during the last act before intermission, I pulled out the fan.  I was hot and miserable from sitting and watching people march around half naked in outfits that I would never buy, when a woman slid up to the aisle and beckoned for me to follow her.  I glanced to mother, but it was one of her best friends, Mrs. Helen Boswell, that gave me a nod as to say, follow her.  Mrs. Boswell was an Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sister.  It was this group that was sponsoring the Ebony Fashion Fair.  I got up and followed the woman who escorted me to a back room.  There was a panel of judges that asked me a few questions, and made me walk, turn around, and walk some more.  If you’ve ever been to the Ebony Fashion Fair, this scene might be familiar to you.  Somewhere in the fashion show they habitually highlight regular shaped people from the audience to model their own fashion. I was chosen to model my $65.00 outfit on stage in front of the crowd.  I was embarrassed and miserable. 

The others who were chosen were hams.  I was shy and unsure of myself, knowing that at any time I would break out in a sweat.  And actually, the hot - flash that began when I got on stage, did not end until I strolled offstage.  So I modeled my African garb while nervously fanning myself and praying for a quick exit.  I did not enjoy my fifteen “seconds” of fame.  But, I did join weight watchers the next day.  First meeting was Jan 2, 2000. Just because I was sick, was no excuse for me to be ashamed of my weight.

Take charge of the small things and seize the moment. It wasn't an easy 9 months to get to my goal weight, but I reached it, and have maintained for seventeen years. One of the best gifts I ever gave myself. 

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Jan 7 -The Bad Dog

Photo Cover by Steve Mason
Daily Report
Lesson: Shame,  Honesty, and Transparency
Some things I don’t want to share.  It’s not that I’m in denial, but it seems a bit personal, or embarrassing. Actually shameful.  Two of my friends have daughters in high school. One talks freely about her daughter who gives her fits being a teenager. Nothing terribly bad, but she’s tried marijuana, well she does live in Colorado; and she has obviously tried alcohol.  The other one ties her teenage daughter’s actions to her own parenting.  I can’t tell if she’s more shamed by her daughter’s extracurricular activities, or by what she deems as indictment of her parenting skills.  She literally is taking her daughter’s behavior as a personal affront. I am the motherless friend that says, “she’s a teenager.” “She’s testing parameters”  “Show her tough love and punish her fairly”  “Be a team.” “Did you see that Dr. Phil episode with the mother and daughter…?” You know the kind -the friend no mother with a rebellious daughter wants or needs. Looking at it now, I think I haven’t been empathetic. 

Tuesday of this past week, Chewey, our 85 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback mix went to doggie daycare.  He’s had a time outs before, but they seem to be more frequent.  We immediately paid for extra attention with the on-site trainer to identify and hopefully handle this behavior issue. He’s never bitten another dog, but he wards them off, with aggressively barking. It has been determined that we have reached a critical point, when he was expelled by the doggie daycare closest to our home.  They were kind. “I don’t think this is the best environment for Chewey.”

Two things you should know. 1) I’m not comparing my dog’s aggressive behavior to my friends’ daughters’ rebellious actions.  I’m not comparing my dog to my friends’ teenagers at all.  But I am comparing my friends shame to mine.  I did not want to talk about my dog being expelled. It was kind of cute on his first time out, when the “principal” called and said my sweet docile pup was in a scuffle.  But now it’s impacting my life.  The doggie daycare is less than one mile from my home. It was easy.  The housekeeper comes, dog is dropped off at daycare.  I’m out of town, Hubby drops dog off at daycare on way to work. Now we have to go to plan B.  2) The other thing you should know is that I don’t want my dog hurting another dog.  I don’t want him hurting a human trying to get to another dog. I need my dog to behave.  Keep in mind he has never shown teeth, just “in your face” barking.

So this is about Shame, about Honesty, about Transparency.  And a recognition that my Chewey issues are also as important to me as your daughter issues.  Just like someone’s stubbed toe can be as painful as someone’s toothache.

But before we could do anything about it, we had to assess the situation. So Thursday, we took Chewey to another daycare.  Before he went to our neighborhood doggie daycare, he went to a rather elite, lovely, inviting doggie daycare and kennel, 17 miles from our home and out of the way of our “inner circle of life.”  But we took him anyway, to see how he would behave.  Within 20 minutes we were getting a call from the attendant telling us that Chewey was in time-out for bad behavior.  I tried not to cry on our way to pick him up.  My sweet puppy misbehaves.

Tough love. 
Plan 1: Chewey starts behavioral training 20 June.  
Plan 2: If Plan 1 doesn’t work, (but the teacher thinks it will), he will go to doggie boot camp for two weeks.  I guess that’s like Military School for rebellious teenage girls.  And I’m sure it will cost as much! The pain and shame is real.

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jan 6 - Unexpected Validation

Daily Report
Lesson:We All Make A Difference, Even When We Don’t See It

Today a surprise package came in the mail. When I saw the envelope was mailed from Norway, I knew it was from longterm client Stein.

I have not heard from him in a year. But today, Stein sent me a book he authored. In it my name and company was mentioned throughout. First of all, I’m honored he acknowledged my efforts and appreciated the work. But secondly, I was able to reflect on the wonderful people who have contributed to my life’s work. Not an easy task.

I love writing notes. I keep stamps and cards even in my car. But the manner we chose to thank those who invest their time, money and emotion on us, those investors deserve a Thank You.

This package came on the best day of the week. I needed this validation of “job done well.”

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Friday, January 5, 2018

Jan 5 - Philanthropic Efforts

Daily Report
Lesson: What Would You Do With the Money?
I'm in the habit of doing a daily self-check.  Am I being thoughtful? Am I suppressing greedy tendencies? Have I been kind to those I have met today? Am I a good steward of money?  And in the middle of my deep assessment, I saw the billboards. Mega Million $450 Million, Powerball $570 Million.  The conversation with Hubby abandoned our mindful self-assessment to where’s the closest Quick Trip.  They sell tickets. The conversation changed.  
Hubby: What would you do with that kind of money?
Me:  [Always willing to take the shallow road first], “I’d pay off the house, and buy a car.
Hubby: The A7?
Me:  No, we don’t have a garage. [We live in a historic district and most have small carriage houses, but nothing for modern day cars.]  It would look silly sitting out all winter with no covering.  Hmmm…so I’d pay off the house, build a garage then buy an A7 or a Tesla
Hubby:  You’d still have a lot of money left. 
Me:  I’d help others.

I’ve always wanted to be a philanthropist.  But you don’t go to college for that.  You are born into it, or acquire it, but it’s not a degree, it’s an action.  I lacked the one thing that philanthropic efforts require. Money.  I do community service, we donate on a regular basis, we support charities and  runs, we go to fundraising galas and such, but I’m referring to philanthropic efforts on a different scale. 

The car went quiet.  I bought my tickets, and the excitement of getting the money was on the back burner.  The truth is, I want for nothing.  Ok, maybe that trip to a sunny Caribbean beach when it has been under 10F in KC for a week. But I really “want” for nothing.  We almost arrived home before I gave an answer.

What would I do with $million dollars? “I’d help people in need. Chemo is so expensive.”  Hubby takes a daily pill that would be over $12,000/month without insurance.  We hear stories of people who try to stretch their chemo pills out by taking it every other day or infrequently. We are the lucky ones.  We have insurance.

“I’d set up a foundation to help others get insurance,” I said. I’d work with fiscally responsible organizations to establish a fund to help others on a sliding scale.  I’m a bit of a fiscal conservative, but I’m not greedy. 

That's what I would do today!

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jan 4 - I'm Joyful

The Book of Joy
Daily Report
Lesson: Coaches Have Coaches Too

I began every year with renewed arsenal. It always involves networking and learning.  So I scheduled myself into several entrepreneurial and social media classes for first quarter of the new year.  And, I got a mentor: Janice.  Sometimes I just need a second opinion, an opinion from someone who has no reason to agree with me.  I need someone blunt and willing to coach me.  This is not a job for the soft hearted. 

My first phone introduction with Janice was full of blunt talk. I’ve never met the woman, but she’s invested in my success, or her coaching success.  Either way, it’s good to have had the introduction. I was left with a list of action items.

A good mentor will make you accountable.  That’s what I do with those I mentor.  You coach, guide, and prod.  You get off the phone with action items and a scheduled time to meet again. Those are the basics of a good mentor or coach.

One of my action items is to write.  Today, I wrote 1474 words.  That brings my Death Sentence word count to 2437. I’m even enjoying the discipline of writing it. 

One of my own action items is to make it real.  I have a goal, I’m ready to make changes, transform and nourish my future.  For me that means share it.  People are reluctant to share personal dreams and goals.  I’m just the opposite. I believe sharing fuels life.  So, after Pilates today, I engaged in a conversation with Beth, the soccer mom from California and Madeline.  I believe Madeline is a practitioner of all things new age, or as we say nowadays “mindfulness.” I loved the energy.  I shared my state of transition.  One suggested TEDx, the other gave me a confidence boost on how I came across.  The conversation was based on Happy vs Joyful

I’m Joyful. 

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

1-2-3 Expand Your Reach!

Rethink Your Business Model
The world is not that small, Heck, your business is not that small.  But, your vision may be.  So let's adjust and see our business with a tilted lens to get a clearer view.

December should be titled the "Month of Meme's." How many ways can we share holiday greetings. But I thought this one was most creative. It shows the power of taking a more creative look for a powerful outcome. This has actually two messages.

Well that's what I want you to do with your business.  Expand your view to expand your message, allowing you to expand your reach.

Entrepreneurial Spirit
So, in 2008 I hung my shingle on yet another business.  I sold one in 1997 in Washington D.C., and another in 2007 in Kansas City expanded internationally. My experience in New Business Development for an international company allowed me understand the importance of expansion and revenue streams.  So I applied the principles to my entrepreneurial efforts.  And it worked.

What are the Steps? 1-2-3
You may be a baker, a manufacturer, or in the service business, but you must have a minimum of three revenue streams to expand and get to the top of your small business / entrepreneurial market. but remember, this is also the basis of big business.
1.  Provide a service or product. Know your business, become the expert. But this isn't enough. Clients want you to show them you know your field - you are the expert!

The next two is to generate $$$ while showing clients you are the expert.

2.  Presenting / Speaking. This is more than just  sharing information on your service / product. It includes your experiences.  How did you become successful?  What is needed in your market? How did you use social media?  Share a few not-so-secret Secrets.  Get a platform locally, or at the Chamber of Commerce, explore webinars, and test out periscoping.  Offer to speak at the industry conference, association, or society.  These are often paid presentations, because everyone wants to hear from the expert.

3.  Write, Write, Write. Why are you writing? To remind everyone that you are the expert, and you have knowledge to share. You have products and services to sell.  You can help others to grow and are willing to share your knowledge and experiences.

Does This Work?
From 2008 - 2010 I concentrated on my newest entrepreneurial efforts - a historical research firm. By 2011 my client base expanded from the Americas to Australia and Asia.  I was no longer writing for industry online magazines but was featured in AARP magazine, Jet Magazine and more.  I presented to Tim McGraw on national television, appeared on NBC and the History Channel, researched for TLC, PBS, Travel Channel and History Channel.  My services expanded international and I was even featured internationally on Asia Business News.  Eight years and I now serve six of the seven continents.

 New Business Development (NBD) Coaching
Yes, it works! I have applied this same method on 3 other business, as I mentioned. I use my 20 years of international corporate leadership and specialize in New Business Development (NBD) Coaching - sharing and helping others is my passion.  I now sell NBD Coaching packages and others have been just as successful as they gain experience and expand their reach.

Let me know if I can help you!  And of course, I offer individual and company coaching and group presentations.

Kathleen Brandt

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

3 Jan – The Book I Never Wrote

Daily Report
Lesson: Tell Your Story

Death Sentence 1
Death Sentence 2
Death Sentence 3

In 1997 I was given my first death sentence.  “We don’t know what’s wrong, we don’t know why, we just know we can give you blood transfusions as needed. (sigh) Long enough for you to get your 'affairs’ in order. You need 6 units of blood.” [That’s what my notes say.]

I was thirty-seven years old.  I didn’t have affairs.  I had a house on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., a 1989 Saab convertible, and a marriage that had gone kaput. Oh, and I had a job - a six figure international job.  Oh yeah, one more thing. I owned and operated a dance studio on Capitol Hill a block from my home.

I talk about my life, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, COPD, and dealing with compromised heart, lung, blood and oxygen when I speak to groups about living with physical challenges. Heck I talk about it when I’m addressing overcoming sales obstacles, or branding failures, or topics to encourage to create, to move, to grow, “in spite of…”   I talk about it when people declare their life hard, because they don’t yet have that Tesla.  It’s part of my “Reaching Your Dream” speech.  I tell parts when I talk about your DNA Says So! Oh and it all started with my own mantra “You Are a Pioneer.” I coach others to overcome obstacles.

Most have not been three definitive death sentences.  This little spill usually begins with “in 1997 I was given my first death sentence.”

I talk about moving in spite of…, taking charge of defining you. I talk about seven essential steps to help ascend an invisible staircase to realize your ideal you. And, I’ve been asked on several occasions to put it in a book. Well, of course, I should. I’m a motivational keynote speaker. It’s what I do.  I coach others to build their dreams in spite of the life they have to juggle.

Today I wrote 963 words. I just wrote.

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2 Jan - Spoofed and Annoyed.

Daily Report
Lesson: Clean up Messes Immediately

The phone calls today began at 9:48am.  The first one was from Minnesota.
Caller: “Someone called from this number.”
Me:  “No, I’m sorry, but there have been no outgoing phone calls from here.”
Caller:  “Hmmm. But I just called you back.  Ok.  sorry.”

Nothing suspicious about that call. 

Shortly after lunch there was the hang-up call.  No voicemail.  This happens sometimes. People call the business line, listen to my “Hi, This is Kathleen” spiel and hang up.  Again not really suspicious about that call.  But, then there were two more hang-ups.  It was the fourth call around 3:00pm that made me jump into action. 
Caller:  “This is Mike.  You just called”. The call was from Missouri.
Me:  “No, I did not call.  But you are the second call today that has said that, and this is my business number. I would know if I made out going calls.”
Caller Mike:  “Oh…you’ve been spoofed.”

No reason waiting on this one.  There are times I just add it to the “Task List,” but a quick assessment and I realized this could get ugly quickly.  The mental game plane went to work.
Step 1:  Find out the meaning and consequences of “spoofed.”
Step 2:  Call cell phone provider and ask for help, change all security and passwords.  Well that was their suggestion with the assurance that the person or company that is spoofing my number may come to them to ask for personal information.  Ugh!  Well they noted my account with extra security and told me to call the FCC.
Step 3: Realize this is 2018 and I should be able to make a report on the FCC website. Yes -spoofing is a thing.  But I had no information.  Let me make sure you get this.  A legitimate person called me because they had my phone number on their caller ID.  They did not have the “spoofers” number, name, or information.  Just the “spoofee’s number. The spoofee would be me.  I didn’t have anyone’s name or number except the legitimate persons who called.  I refer to them as the “spoofets.”  No that’s not a word, but there were three players in this scenario that so far took me one hour to clean up from start to finish - the spoofer, the spoofee and the spoofet

Well that was an hour out of my life that I will never get back!

Kathleen Brandt
Put It Into Action Series

Monday, January 1, 2018

Jan 1 - Brandt 2018 Daily Report

Put It Into Action Series

I declare 2018 the year of Action. And, everyone who has attended one of my corporate workshops, entrepreneur coaching sessions, or motivational keynote presentations know I believe in accountability.  Here’s to 2018 and 365 days of movement and the Put It Into Action Series.

Daily Report

1 Jan - This Isn’t A Holiday, People!
Lesson: Social Media "Dostadning"

If you aren’t sure you understand the Swedish word Dostadning, then we are going to walk through it this New Year, beginning today. Dostadning is referenced in America as “Swedish Death Cleaning.”  But it’s not like it sounds. Yes, it literally comes from the Swedish words “death and cleaning” Dostadning is a slow steady decluttering that starts now, and ends when you exit - exit this world, that is.  Well, I really don’t like the phrase “Swedish death cleaning.” It seems so permanent and irreversible, and well frankly like a massacre. But, dostadning sounds thoughtful, maybe even culturally exposed and full of action. Plus, why not add another Swedish word to your vocabulary.

Unlike the traditional dostadning, where you slowly declutter your home so your loved ones don’t know what a pack-rat and weirdo you really are, but allows you to leave this world with your legacy intact, the social media dostadning that I’m suggesting, is for you.  It all includes, reviewing, remembering, and saying “ahhh” a thousand times at images you had forgotten or at that sweet note your little brother sent you (probably was under some influence or had his own death scare – what else possessed him to be so sweet?) 

When I was younger I moved about every 2-3 years.  Actually, by the time I was 40 I had moved my piano and other belongings to ten dwellings in seven states within a twenty years span.  So a natural dostadning or death cleaning was inevitable with every moving exercise (even though I still have my piano that I haven’t played seriously for 20 years).  But for social media we have to make an effort - an concerted effort.

My business twitter account was posting another company’s newsletter.  I noticed it about six months ago.  It was annoying, but the guy wasn’t paying me to spread his brand, and I needed to boost mine.  That had to be fixed.  It was here that I realized that I had apps, even apps that had created apps. I had no idea what they were, how to use them and which one was doing the automatic newsletter posts.  In the meantime, my real scheduled tweets were no longer posting with images.  I have no idea how my blog was posting to google+, and to be honest,  I’m not sure I even knew my blog posts were posting to LinkedIn.  Then I received this comment on my twitter account from a follower: “I was wondering why your twitter account was looking so spammy.”  Well that wasn’t the social media results I was looking for. Time for action.

In my hunt for which app was doing the newsletter tweets, (which I’m still not sure I know which one it was), I learned about a lot of apps.  There’s Feedblitz, that one could have been the guilty party,(not sure), and then there’s the free version of that sends out less than sensible tweets in my name to promote its brand (that’s what I’ve gathered).  Friend Jenna asked me if I had used IFTTT. No but it is intriguing. And colleague George told me to delete cache and cookies.  Did that! It’s been 6 hours and no new tweets from the newsletter.

No reason to stop there. Twitter has its apps, then there are the facebook apps, Google Apps, and more. I’ve been app deleting (is that a verb?) for over 5 hours today. But the plus is I’m learning about apps!

Social media dostadning, was a great investment, but I must stay vigilant. Remember, it is a slow steady decluttering that starts now, and ends when you exit - exit this world, that is.

Put It Into Action Series
Kathleen Brandt