December 22, 2006

Thank you & Merry Christmas


Thank you to all of you for reading this year and to many of you for becoming friends first, and then clients. It has been wonderful interacting with and impacting you.


Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful time with your families and travel safely.

Just before I go, don't forget to book your early bird place for the
From Drab to Fab workshop

and also remember to reserve your place in the 2007 Goals Programme.

Until 2007 (ooh, isnt' that exciting?), I wish you much love and success

Marcia Francois
the Take Charge coach
http://takechargesolutions.org

December 21, 2006

Don't settle

I first laid my eyes on this beauty when I was shopping for a colleague's going-away present.

I couldn't get it out of my mind and longed for the day when it would be mine. (A lot of you have this same obsession with shoes - mine is handbags and wallets).




Then we went to Thailand. I promised myself that I'd look around Thailand and Malaysia and if I found a better one, I'd get it. Otherwise, I'd buy it when I got back. Well, I kept my eyes open and looked at wallets galore but nothing compared to this one.

So the day after we landed back in Johannesburg, I went and got it. I'm so glad I didn't settle…

It seems that everyone loves this wallet as much as I do – everywhere I go, I get comments from friends, cashiers, complete strangers, like "wow, that's so beautiful" and I beam with pleasure.

I'm so glad I didn't give in to instant gratification and settle for a quick-fix wallet. Or a more acceptable colour. I totally went with my heart.

Because if you settle with things like this, you'll settle with the big things in life too, like a marriage partner, a house, a job, etc.

My message to you today is Don't Settle!

By the way, go over to the
organising blog to see how I organise my wallet.

December 19, 2006

Please help me out with some research


Hi everybody

Are you having a good week so far?

This week's organising challenge is posted here http://organisingtips.blogspot.com. You can read more about the Christmas challenges and please feel free to comment! You can also catch up on the other organising articles and check out the photos.

_________________________________________
Please give me a few minutes of your time
_________________________________________




Now that I have your attention, please go to this link and answer the quick questions. You'll be helping me with planning for next year and I'll help you with your holiday spending! How? Read on.

As you complete the last question, you'll be directed to the download link for your gift.

Oh, and before I forget, remember to read more about the new goals programme and remember to book your place now. You can make 2007 your best year ever.

Thanks in advance and have a great week!

Love and success
Marcia Francois
www.takechargesolutions.org

P.S. For your free gift, Organise your Home, go here.

December 15, 2006

Make 2007 your best year ever!

Do you want 2007 to be your best year yet?

Yes?

Well, I'm pleased to announce the first annual Take charge of your Goals programme.

Keep reading and you'll find out exactly how you can make it happen next year.

I keep getting emails from people saying "I can't believe the year is nearly over" and "where did this year go?". Can you relate?

This is the time of the year when I start to think about what I achieved this year, what I could have done differently and what my goals for next year will be.

I'm sure you do the same???

This year, I'm very happy with my progress in most areas of my life. But you know what? It wasn't always this way.

I remember a time when I used to get to the end of the year and feel frustrated and unfulfilled because it seemed like nothing went right and I'd wasted my time. You see, I was busy but not effective.

I didn't know that I could achieve my goals through putting a few simple things in place and that it really would be easy steps!

Now I've learnt about planning my steps, I accomplish way more than I intend to every year. And it's been this way for the last 8 years!

I learnt the hard way but there's no need for you to do the same. As your coach, I know you can be more productive, and have more time and less stress, all while getting exactly what you want out of life.

I know that you want more for your life. And I want it for you too.

So, going back to the first question I asked you, do you want 2007 to be your best year ever?

How would you feel at the end of next year if you accomplished what you'd set your heart on?


Think about this year again.
1. Are you at your goal weight? Do you have health, vitality and fitness?
2. Is your family thriving? Do you have an awesome relationship with your spouse and kids?
3. Is your home an organized sanctuary?
4. Is your business ticking along as you want it to?


Do you usually kick off the year full of hope and big plans only to settle back into your usual habits by the second week or Jan, or 1 Feb?

Would you like to start 2007 off on the right foot?

Do you want next year to be different? The year when you can say it all clicked into place.

Wonderful - then you're in the right place.
_____________________________________________________________
So what is the Take Charge of your Goals programme all about?
____________________________________________________________

http://takechargesolutions.org/tcg.html

What it is:
A chance to work one-on-one with me to identify your key goals for 2007 and start achieving them. You'll set a realistic personal plan with ways to navigate any obstacles.

Duration:
A one-hour first session followed by three 20-minute sessions once a week for the next three weeks.

Start date:
A mutually agreeable date, either this year or in January


Type of coaching:
Either telephone, on-line chat or email

How it works:
After your payment is received, I will send you a goals questionnaire to complete and return by email 48 hours before your first session. This questionnaire allows you to focus on your goals and allows me to see what ideas you have thus far.

After each session, I will email you a short action plan together with any resources/ tools/ etc. that we agree on.
You have unlimited email support during the course of the 4 weeks.

First session:
This is to review the questionnaire, brainstorm and work with me to define your goal and plan your action steps.

Subsequent sessions:
Feedback from last time, brainstorm further ideas, tackle more action steps and keep you on track.


Bonuses:
Every person who registers for this programme will receive a free copy of my goals workbook,
12 steps to achieve your goals and also unlimited email support.

Investment:
The package I've put together for you, which includes the four coaching sessions, goals workbook, summary action plans and four weeks' email support, has been valued at R1600. But I've decided to offer this programme for only R750 because I want you to have a great 2007!


OR if you just want the first one-hour session, then book for a laser coaching session. You still get the goals workbook and a summary action plan but you only get one week's email support. This option, while valued at R620, will only cost you R300.

Claim your spot now!

I will be restricting the participants to only 15 people in order for me to give the highest level of support and service.

Don't miss out on (what could be) the best year of your life.

Let's make it happen in 2007!

December 12, 2006

My dentist is a hottie

So I'm watching TV a few months ago and I see my dentist in a Colgate toothpaste ad. Imagine my surprise/shock!

Me: That's my dentist!!!! (I actually do talk in exclamation marks)

D: You didn't tell me your dentist was a hottie (she's female)

(good thing I'm secure, hey?)

So there you have it, people - my dentist, Dr Shaffner, is a hottie.

In addition to being a hottie, she is also the kindest, most gentle dentist ever! And exactly the right type of dentist for me (a true scaredy-cat).

When I first phoned up the Bedford Centre, I told the receptionist, "I need the nicest, gentlest dentist you have." And she said (without missing a beat), "oh, that'll be Dr Shaffner".

She was right and 4 years later, I still feel right at home with her.

I went for my annual check-up on Thursday last week and got the low-down on the whole ad/ filming thing. That, and a filling, of course.

So if you're looking for a good dentist, I heartily recommend her. Just remember, even before this burst of stardom, she was already in demand.

So don't be surprised if you have to wait a month before you get an appointment. Remember, she's a star!

December 06, 2006

What's your "ness"?


I went to see the movie You, Me and Dupree with Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and Matt Dillon a few weeks ago. While a lot of it was quite silly (I don't go for slapstick comedy as a rule), the end was just beautiful.

Dupree is a loser-type person who moves in with his friend and his new wife (Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson). He continually messes up throughout the movie but helps the newlyweds to sort out their problems by helping his friend, Carl, to find his "Carl-ness".

He really comes into his own at the end and becomes … a motivational speaker, just like Tony Robbins. If you don't know who Tony Robbins is, then that's sad. Please do a google search.

So at the end of the movie, Dupree himself finds his "ness" motivating audiences to find their "ness".

My "ness" is helping people to reach their goals and I do this by helping you, yes you, find more time, less stress and increased personal productivity.

So people, what is your "ness"? What makes you tick? What is your passion and life mission?

Leave your answers in the comments below.


If you want to find out what your "ness" is, I can help you through a personal coaching session or through my
Find your Mission worksheet

December 01, 2006

The Dec newsletter is out - Enjoying your holidays


Hi everybody

This month's issue of the newsletter can be found here.

In this issue
1. Inspirational quotes
2. Featured workshop – From Drab to Fab
3. Marcia's monthly motivational message - Enjoying your holidays
4. Products and services
5. My reading room

6. Organising challenges
7. On a personal note
8. In the blog

9. Coach's corner
10. About Marcia

Read this month’s issue…but before that, let me take this opportunity to wish you a fabulous Christmas and a very merry New Year!

Love and success
Marcia

World AIDS day


Today is World Aids Day.

Here in South Africa, approximately 6.5 million people are HIV positive. Most of those 6.5 million are between the ages of 19 and 34, so basically if you take a group of my peers, statistically speaking, 1 in every 5 people is infected.

Scary, scary thoughts. There were some more scary stats on the news like…less than 50% of all current 15-year olds will actually reach retirement age!

About two weeks ago I was changing the channel on TV when I happened upon a documentary about HIV & AIDS in a mining community in SA.


The journalist was interviewing sex workers in the community who all said that none of the men want to wear condoms and if they do, then they have to give them a discount. So instead of paying R150 (about $20), they get to pay R120 (about $17).

I was horrified and could not believe it. These women are knowingly risking their lives for so little money.

Then she interviewed the men and asked them if they use condoms. ALL of them without exception said, definitely not! Why? Because "it's like eating a sweet with the wrapper on".

Can you believe it?! I was horrified at the carelessness and thoughtlessness.

And to top it all off, they go back to visit their families once every couple of months, sleep with their wives and infect them too.

My view is fine, if you want to kill yourself, go right ahead, but please don't hurt innocent bystanders like your wives and kids.

I couldn't help thinking that no wonder the AIDS pandemic is so widespread. It is not a new disease and everybody knows people who are dying from it, and yet...these men don't care enough about their lives to take precautions.

Just today, a guy at work said this - every Saturday in the township, just in his neighbourhood there are about 10 funerals.

Isn't this crazy? Or am I being overly dramatic?

November 30, 2006

Why complicate things?




Look at these gorgeous muffins I made the other day.


They tasted even better than they look and you know what? They're from a pre-mix with just a dash of creativity*** added.

So I got to thinking about how we like to complicate things and why. Is it because we want to be "perfect" or do we just over-analyse things?

Especially us women! We want to be Superwoman, doing everything from scratch, cooking a "perfect" meal every night, taking two hours to make an authentic dessert, (fill in the blanks) ________________________ and so on.

It's okay to use cake, muffin and cookie mixes. It's okay to ask your guests to bring a dish instead of stressing and trying to do it all yourself. It's okay to say no if you don't want to go to a function. You get the picture...

So now, especially as we go into the Christmas season, try and simplify your life.

Make a To Not Do list for this period and stick it up on your fridge so you are constantly reminded.

P.S. These are the Golden Cloud muffin mix and I thoroughly recommend it.

I've used the Vanilla, Chocolate and Savoury mixes and they are all good. The other day when I stocked up with some more I practically raved to a mother and daughter in the baking aisle.

***This recipe is Vanilla Muffins and I added a 100g Cadbury Caramel Chocolate slab which I roughly grated into the mix. It gets messy in preparation(with all the chunks) but the end product is oh so yum when all that chocolate melts during the baking process. Enjoy!

November 29, 2006

Matching lunchboxes



How cute is this?!

This is the counter top where Dion and I pack our lunch every day. We are usually never on the same schedule - he unpacks straight away when he gets home and packs it the next morning.

I usually do mine while I'm cooking (non-gym nights) or while waiting for the kettle to boil (gym nights).

So I thought this was so cute and so very blogworthy too!

November 28, 2006

You know those new business cards???



Well, here they are.

Aren't they beautiful?


November 27, 2006

New Simple Savings calendar


Hi everybody

Just a quick post to let you know that Simple Savings, an Australian website, has their new 2007 calendar out.

You can download it and start setting your FINANCIAL goals for next year.

How it works
Each month you set a financial goal.
You decide how you will work it into your lifestyle.
You also mark off how much you save every week and month, and how you will reward yourself at the end of the week and at the end of the month. (If you've bought my goal-setting workbook, you know that I always suggest that you build in rewards).

For example
Let's say you usually pay R15 every day for lunch at your canteen.
Your goal is now to bring your own lunch every day. This might cost you R5 at most (and I'm being very conservative).

Daily saving R10
Weekly saving R50 and monthly saving R200

Now you can reward yourself with a nice, long bubble bath every week and maybe at the end of the month treat yourself to a coffee date with a friend.

You see? Easy.

Now go over there to get your calendar so we can get you to your financial goals!


November 22, 2006

Success is like...growing watermelons


Remember I told you a few months ago about year to success? They send you an email every week day on a different aspect of success - it's really cool. You should go sign up. Click the link and it will take you directly to the page.

Anyway, in today's success email, Bo Bennett talked about having it all.

Success is "like growing watermelons... you have to sacrifice some watermelons by cutting them off when small to give other watermelons a better chance to grow to full size".

This is SO true. I like to say that you can have it all, but not all at the same time.

And Bo is right - sometimes you have to reduce some activities in your life to give your other watermelons the opportunity to grow to full size.

An example is cutting off or reducing your social life when you're studying for exams, trying to get a business off the ground, focussing on a big goal.

Now, especially as we go into the Festive Season, it's impossible to do everything. So think about which watermelons you have to sacrifice in order to let your bigger watermelons (family, etc.) grow.

November 20, 2006

It's annual increase time!


I wish it was more exciting than this but the truth is I'm talking about annual increases in medical aid, insurance, and so on.

I received a letter from my broker last week advising that our insurance is going up as at 1 December. Don't you hate that?!

Last year when I got the same letter, I phoned another insurer looking for a cheaper quote. I found more cost-effective insurance from one of the companies who don't use intermediaries (I don't want to be sued on the blog!!!) and phoned my company to cancel.

They asked me if I'd consider staying if they matched the quote. Of course I said yes. The service over the last 5 years (then 4 years) has always been outstanding and I have absolutely no complaints.

This year I'm doing the same. I phoned up the competitor and the cheaper rate this year is not great. I do know that my current insurer is the cheapest I will get if I go through a broker (I do an analysis every year and nobody can beat them). It's tough when you get used to a really good rate!

I have one or two more companies to phone before I make the decision. And the search continues...

So if you get letters like this, don't just accept it at face value. Phone around and see who can help you out. Even R50 less is better than nothing.

Post your success stories on the blog so we can all learn from you.



*** I will update this post to let you know how I do
Right, here's the update. I found cheaper insurance by 8,4%. Have joined up with the new people and cancelled the old one (quite sad after 5 years but money talks).

November 18, 2006

Ask the coach about focus & discipline

J: My biggest challenge is focus & discipline.
I have been struggling with this for months....and I am starting to identify the problems that arise in my life as a result of this...
J, thanks for your question.
I myself battle with focus in some areas and I find that what works for me is to write things down. Otherwise you get distracted, don't you?
At home, I have a whiteboard on my desk with the week's activities I need to do in my business to bring me closer to my goals. At work, I have my to-do list in front of me all day long. As more and more things crop up, I just add it to the list. Of course, you do need to prioritise your tasks.
Another thing that helps is a timer. I can't say enough about a timer. If you set it, and then work on one thing until that timer goes off, you'll find that you get a lot more done.
As for the discipline, there is no easy answer. You have to make a quality decision to create that habit and then do it.
When I wasn't eating breakfast and wanted to create this new habit, I set a reminder on Outlook every day for a whole month. It sounds crazy but it worked. I'm extremely results-oriented (as my clients will tell you) so I'll do whatever it takes to get me the results.
Remember, successful people do what unsuccessful people are not prepared to do. And as always, if you need a cheerleader, I'm there for you.

November 17, 2006

Someone's looking out for me

and it's God!

Two things happened this last week that just made me feel so special.

1. When we were in Thailand, the vendors sold a lot of these types of handbags which I instantly loved. However, I didn't quite like the fabric (lots of very dark colours which I find boring) or the price in most instances.

So on Saturday I went to Pick 'n Pay (as many of you know, I'm a proud and loyal P&P shopper) to do some shopping and saw these. They were so gorgeous and at such a good price (R59,95) I just had to have not one, but two! I love the style and the beadwork.



2. Do you know the magazine Every Woman?

Well, I am on their events mailing list because I love learning and going to workshops. In fact, if I wasn't doing so many myself, I'd go to more! So I got an email advertising an event on Sat 18th Nov from 7pm that I really want to go to.

Only thing is, we have a pantomime from 10 - 2 in the morning, a lunch for Dion's gran straight afterwards and I want to go to this in the evening. A bit much but I know it would be a wonderful opportunity to show off my fancy new business cards, as well as have some fun.

I emailed to check if they're doing another one and... this one's been postponed to 2 Dec when my calendar is completely free. I just about did the happy dance!

Of course, I booked, paid, emailed proof of payment all immediately.

I love, love, love when things like this happen. Don't you?

November 16, 2006

Ask the coach - on being a good wife and parent


My biggest challenge is how to be the best parent and wife possible on limited time while working and trying to discover my faith - F

Thanks for your question. I love this question because it's where so many people are at.

First off, F, it is clear to me that you define success for yourself by being a good mom and wife.

This is great because it already tells me that you are focussed on this as a goal for your life. And you know that the Law of Attraction states that whatever you focus on, you naturally attract more of into your life.

You also mention that you're trying to discover your faith. You're going to need time for this to reconnect with God.

So here are some practical tips:
  1. Realise that you're not superwoman and that "good enough" is okay. Everything doesn't have to be perfect and we all have 24 hours in a day.
  2. Decide on 1 small goal every week in the different areas of your life - family (as wife and mother) and spiritual. It could be something like have a coffee with just your husband, spend 30 minutes quality time with your child every day and 10 minutes praying.
  3. Schedule the time in because you will never just have time. You have to make time.
  4. The key is to start building some good habits. Once you have the habits going, you can always add different things.
And before you know it, 2 months will have passed and you'll see that your relationships will have improved with your husband, child and God, and this all in BABY STEPS!

November 14, 2006

Living with integrity - guest article by Sarah Robinson


Grownups Behaving Badly: A Case for Living and Working With Integrity By Sarah Robinson, Hot Pink Success Coach© 2006 Hot Pink Success Coaching

Three events happened to me this past week and inspired this article. The first happened when I was in the drive through line at Burger King. As I was placing my order, a car whipped in front of me in line. I calmly got out of my car and told the driver that she broke in line. She replied that she had called in her order that since there was a space in line, she took it. When I pressed the issue, she used a few expletives and invited me to a physical fight. I politely declined and simply asked that she use nice manners. My husband says I was lucky I didn't get killed.

The next event happened as I was leaving my son's school. The back entrance is on an alley and a woman stopped traffic in the alley as she stopped her car, popped her trunk, and got out to deposit her trash in someone else's trash can.

Did I mention that the alley is one-way? This is important because the very next day, a dad brought the entire traffic flow to a grinding halt as he came barreling up the alley the wrong way. Everyone in line had to back up to accommodate him.

Is it me, or is that just plain Bad Behavior? Would any of these people be pleased to see footage of themselves on the evening news? Do they not know this is Bad Behavior or do they honestly believe that the rules don't apply to them?

To me, the opposite of Behaving Badly is Behaving with Integrity. So that I could write a meaningful article on the subject, I wanted to be sure I was clear on the definition of integrity, so I looked it up in Webster's Dictionary and here is what it said:

Integrity:–noun1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character, honesty.

Now I don't know anyone who would argue that living and working with that definition of integrity is a bad idea. As a matter of fact, I bet the three people whose behavior I witnessed honestly believe that integrity is a firm part of who they are. So,then, where does the slippery slope happen?

I believe it happens when
1) We haven't concretely defined our core values and principles
2)We think "just this once, it's okay",
3) We see a shortcut to get where we want to go and the thought of getting there in a faster, better, smarter way overrides our better judgment,
4)We don't think anyone (or anyone "who matters") will see us or
5)We find a way to cleverly twist our principles to fit the action we want to justify taking.

This last one is the most dangerous. How much damage has been done, for example, by comments preceded by "I just want to be honest"? Some people use this to justify unleashing a torrent of unnecessary, hurtful observations. Hiding behind the value of honesty is a real desire to be unkind.

Here is a personal example of how I got myself on the slippery slope of living out of integrity with what I say is matters to me. I want to teach my son to be patient with others and I tell him that this value is important. But has he ever heard me yelling at a car that won't "GO!" because my personal agenda and schedule are so terribly urgent? You bet he has. He even asked me about it once. "Mommy, why are you yelling at the lady in that car?" Nothing like having your integrity called on the carpet by a four-year-old!

If any of these observations are hitting home for you, you aren't alone. Do a quick Google search on Living With Integrity and you'll find pages and pages on the subject. Everyone knows it is important and yet struggles to do it. I've put together a few quick tips that I hope will make it just a little easier:

Tip #1 If you haven't already, define your core values and principles. Whom do you admire most? What values do they embody?

Tip #2 Have a conversation with the important people in your life about core values and principles to live by. Let them know you are trying live in line with your core values. Ask for their help and support. If they call you on something, try not to get defensive. They may see something you don't.

Tip #3 When you slip up - and you will, we are only human - clean it up as soon as you can. Apologize if at all possible. If it is not, make a note to do better next time.

Tip #4 If you are faced with a choice about something that is in a gray area, use the Nightly News Test. If you were seen and heard on the nightly news doing and/or saying the thing that is in question, would you be proud of your behavior? Would it be in line with who you say you are?

A mentor of mine long ago told me that if I am living with integrity, I will know it because who I say I am, who others say I am and who I am are all the same person. It's another way of saying "live so that others won't have anything bad to say about you" - even if it's only the lady behind you in the school drop off line.

WANT TO REPRINT THIS ARTICLE? You may, as long as it remains intact and you include this complete blurb with it: Sarah Robinson, Hot Pink Success Coach and founder of Hot Pink Success Coaching and The Hot Pink Revolution, teaches Mary Kay Sales Directors how to reduce the stress of their career, increase the profitability of their Mary Kay businesses and find time to have fun and live the life they desire. For free tips on creating an extraordinary business and an extraordinary life, visit www.hotpinksuccess.com.

November 13, 2006

How Do I Put Into Practice What I Know?


That's a great question, M.

I think we all battle with this to a certain extent. We know what to do but we don't do it.

The answer is simple but it's not easy to do!

1. You have to be motivated by why you want to do it, and then have the discipline to start doing it daily. It takes 21 days to build a habit and once the habit is created, it becomes easy.
2. Make yourself accountable to someone. This is why coaching is so great - you're checking in with your coach every week or two and if nothing else, this will accelerate you towards your goals of more time, more purpose in life, more money, better relationship, etc. Whatever the specific things are that you want out of life.

Personally, the best way for me to make any life change is definitely to make myself accountable to someone.


The only time I ever have sustained weight loss is when I'm on Weigh-Less and I go to group meetings to weigh weekly. Now the thing is they're not teaching me anything new because I knew 90% of those things before. It's the holding myself accountable that does it for me. That's how I put good eating habits into practice.

With other life issues like in the past when I had BAD time management issues, I got myself a coach and accelerated to a "normal" life in a few short weeks. Then we could move onto the fun stuff like achieving some of my other goals - promotions, more money, those sorts of fun stuff.

Hope this helped you, M, and remember, if you need some coaching, email me on coach@takechargesolutions.org

November 12, 2006

How Do I Remain Patient While Dealing With Taxis On The Road?


ASK THE COACH. Which ONE thing is the biggest challenge in your life?

Thank you for your question, A.

In my opinion, it comes down to a simple choice - you can choose to let it affect you negatively or you can just take it in your stride.

If you realize that it is nothing personal against you, it does become easier to deal with and the bottom line is this - do you want your day ruined or not?

Practically speaking, you can…
1. play some good music to distract you, or listen to a teaching tape. You're stuck in the traffic anyway - might as well use the time constructively.
2. pray
3. plan your day at work
4. phone some people and catch up with your calls (if you have a hands-free kit)

There is a lady who lives near me who drives like a maniac. My Success Principles group suggested that I start praying for her. I did this (more for me really because I don’t want to be anywhere near that kind of recklessness on the road) and stopped seeing her for many months.

I've started spotting her again which probably means I need to start praying!

Subscribers, what other suggestions do you have?

November 10, 2006

Friday's meme


a) Four jobs I have had in my life:
Saleslady - holiday job while still at school
Admin Manager
Customer Relations Manager/ Admin Compliance Officer (my longest job title to date)
Personal life coach

b) Four movies I would watch over and over again
My best friend's wedding
French Kiss
Spanglish
How to lose a guy in 10 days

c) Four places I have lived
Port Elizabeth
Grahamstown
Johannesburg
-

d) Four TV shows I like to watch
Dr Phil
The Apprentice
Amazing Race
Survivor
clearly I'm a reality TV junkie

e) Four places I have visited
Singapore
Australia
Thailand
Malaysia

f) Four websites I visit regularly
Encouraging Coach
Sweatpantsmom
Ali's blog
Mindi's blog

g) Four places I would like to be right now
New York with Dion
In my lounge, reading
In my study, on the computer
At Exclusive Books, using my vouchers

h) Four of my favourite foods
My mother's chicken lentil curry
Fettucine Alfredo

Thai Mussamen curry
Pancakes

i) Four bloggers I'd like to respond
Feel free to respond. I want to hear from all of you, whether bloggers or not.

My self-esteem is high 96% of the time

You Have Low Self Esteem 4% of the Time

Which can be translated to mean, you have high self-esteem and a healthy sense of self worth.
You believe in yourself, and you know how to be the real you. You love yourself, imperfections and all.
Our next Drab to Fab workshop where I help you to improve your self-esteem will be held on Saturday 27th January 2007.
The cost is R500 per person but we are offering you a 10% discount if you register and pay before 31 December.

November 08, 2006

Out with the old, in with the new


I have had some new business cards made which are just stunning!!!! Or so I think. (I'll have to take a photo and blog it).

Why? Well, mainly because when the first lot was printed, the website wasn't up and running and so when that happened, I started writing in the URL which I don't like because I'm lazy and prefer things to look nice all on their own.

So now we use those to give out our addresses and phone number, and I used them as luggage tags (I read this tip somewhere and loved it).

The process of doing these was so very different compared to the way I did the first batch way back in January.
  1. This time, I knew exactly which colours and fonts I wanted.
  2. I didn't ask anybody what they thought - I did what felt right for me. Last time, I was back and forth with friends "do you like this or that?"
  3. I knew what "image" I wanted the cards to portray
  4. I knew what to put in but more importantly, what to leave out.

If you see me around, remind me to give you a new card. Otherwise if you attend any workshops, you'll definitely get some.

And if you have more than one, help me to advertise by saying something like this to your friends (assuming you have some LOL)...

I think you'll be interested in this site. There are some cool checklists and tips and stuff... And people who are like us will get excited by that. Trust me!

November 05, 2006

Thailand Neighbours & self-esteem


Every evening before supper, Dion and I would go back to our room and read a bit before our showers.

I would read on the balcony and our neighbours would do the same. The one evening we got talking and had a good old chat.

They were two 22-year-old Australian girls from Sydney. During the course of the conversation, I found out that they'd both been abused in their relationships - the one verbally (they'd finished with one another) and the other physically (she was still seeing the guy).

Of course I was horrified - two charming, attractive girls with "heaps" (I think it's an Ozzie thing) of enthusiasm and zest for life. They appeared to be so confident but there must have been some self-esteem issues. Why else would they stay in relationships for so long with men who have such a little respect for them?

If you know me, I really have to hold myself back so that I don't just take over and say "you must leave him immediately. Like phone him right now and get rid of the loser".

I did my coaching thing though, trying to encourage them but not come across too pushy which is soooo difficult.

Anyway, I am seeing more and more of these kinds of issues which is part of the reason I'm doing the From Drab to Fab workshop. You can read more here.

If you need a confidence or self-esteem boost, please come along and let me help you.

Nov 2006 newsletter is out

Hi everybody

This month's newsletter is out and the theme is SIMPLIFY.
You can find it here.

In this issue


Introduction to Group Coaching

1. Inspirational quotes
2. Featured workshop – From Drab to Fab
3. Marcia's monthly motivational message - My favourite organising tools
4. Products and services
5. My reading room

6. Organising challenges
7. On a personal note
8. In the blog

9. Coach's corner
10. About Marcia

have fun reading and remember to pass it on!

Love and success
Marcia Francois
Visit www.takechargesolutions.org for your FREE success pack

October 25, 2006

The importance of speaking up

This is the other great thing that happened last week...

I noticed that in our work newsletter, they feature people's personal lives, like so-and-so had a baby, so-and-so got married and so-and-so produced a hip-hop album.

Well, I thought if they can feature all these people then I'm going to ask for a feature too, so off I sent an email. About 2 minutes later, I get a call from the marketing guy who wants to come see me in 30 minutes.

We interviewed, he took a picture and that was that. In the middle of the interview, I told him that my plan is to be coaching full-time in 3 years time, latest. He had some good ideas for me when he heard my current workshop is From Drab to Fab, and that we're covering self-esteem and confidence.

He suggested I speak to another markting person who is apparently organising something on self-esteem for the ladies at my company. I sent her an email which she then forwarded to our organisational transformation manager. We know each other from a committee we both serve on at work.

So we had a coffee on Tuesday afternoon and she is very excited. She is keen to have me do a one to two-hour lunch session once a month, each month on a different topic. This will all start next year. It's important for them that the somebody is a person our employees can relate to.

I'll put together a proposal for them when I'm back at work and we can take it from there.

Now how's that?

October 24, 2006

Accountability


The reason I've been so quiet is because we're in Thailand!

I just wanted to blog this quickly because two wonderful things happened last week as I was finishing up and preparing for my trip.

First
A coach I admire greatly (in fact, her one e-course is listed on my website under Recommended) emailed me to see if I'd be interested in being an accountability partner with her. The weird thing is I had been thinking about getting together with someone for exactly this reason.

If you've been following my work for a while, you'll know that with my goal-setting courses and workshops, I strongly suggest that you make yourself accountable to someone. I've kind of kept myself accountable to you, my subscribers, in the past as whenever I want to work on something, I tell you and then go for it.

How did she find me? I commented on her blog in my usual straightforward fashion and it seems she appreciated my forthrightness.

Just goes to show - be yourself and good things will come to you!

Hope this encouraged some of you today.

I'll blog the other good thing in a day or so because this internet connection in the hotel is slow!!!

October 17, 2006

Twelve Step Internet Recovery Program


Here's something fun for all of us computer addicts!


I will have a cup of coffee in the morning and read my newspaper like I used to, before the Internet.
I will eat breakfast with a knife and fork and not with one hand typing.
I will get dressed before noon.
I will make an attempt to clean the house, wash clothes, and plan dinner before even thinking of the Internet.
I will sit down and write a letter to those unfortunate few friends and family that are Internet-deprived.
I will call someone on the phone who I cannot contact via the Internet.
I will read a book... if I still remember how.
I will listen to those around me and their needs and stop telling them to turn the TV down so I can hear the music on the Internet.
I will not be tempted during TV commercials to check for email.
I will try and get out of the house at least once a week, if it is necessary or not.
I will remember that my bank is not forgiving if I forget to balance my checkbook because I was too busy on the Internet.
Last, but not least, I will remember that I must go to bed sometime... and the Internet will always be there tomorrow!

[ Author Unknown -- from 'keepAhead' (IwantTwisted@keepAhead.com) ]

www.skywriting.net

October 15, 2006

Quick update - travel plans, etc.


If you're a regular reader of the Take Charge newsletter (and if you're not, go sign up at http://takechargesolutions.org to get your free Success Pack), you'll know that we're going to Thailand on Thursday. You can read more at our travel blog.

I'll send you the organising challenge on Tuesday evening as I'm coaching on Wednesday evening after my dance class.

In the meanwhile, please answer these 3 quick questions for me.

Have a great "take charge" week.

Marcia

October 06, 2006

The difference between dreams and goals


This is one of my favourite things to talk about because most people confuse the two.

We've heard it said before that a dream is just a dream, but a goal is a dream with a deadline.

There's another difference between the two and this is it:

Do you want to do something (dream) or are you willing to do it? Example - I want to lose weight but am I willing to do what it takes to get there?

Do you see the difference?

So many people want lots of things in life - better health, weight, fitness, money, time, increased productivity but they're not willing to do what it takes to get there.

I read an excellent article similiar to this blog post on Chris Widener's site. It's called Seven “Have-to’s” to Achieve Personal Growth

Enjoy and have a good weekend.

October 05, 2006

Do you have goals?


If you do, then answer this?

How are you progressing with your goals for the year so far? There are only 3 months left of 2006!!!

Over the last couple of days, I've been revising and updating my own goals. When I see the 2007 diaries and calendars in the stores, I know that it's time to review the goals I set in Jan.

I made some new goal maps (read more here) and worked out exactly where I am with my business goals and, more importantly, what I have to do to achieve them.

I now have a step-by-step plan for the rest of the year but enough about me - how are your goals going?

(If you need some help with your goals, I've written a workbook called "12 steps to achieve your goals". If you're interested, go have a read here).

Until next time, have a great week.

October 03, 2006

My new car

Oh.My.Word - glancing back over previous posts, I realise that I forgot to tell about my new car!

So I took the old car to the dealer who was buying it from me on Thursday 21st. It was a very sad moment - I love that little red car (VW Citi Golf) - so I asked the guy to take a last picture of me in the car. To be honest, I think I was behaving strangely because he gave me a really weird look.

Anyway, they deposited the cheque early the next morning so all was fine on that front. I borrowed some money from the bank (as little as I could get away with because I hate, hate, hate debt) so had to wait for this money to be paid before I could collect the car.

The whole Friday I was on the phone to the bank about probably 10 times in total trying to get them to hurry up and pay (and isn't it strange that they promised that their money would be in first and they were last).

It was stress stress stress because I'd organised a lift to the dealer based on timelines promised and nothing was happening. Normally I would have been a lot more relaxed about it (!) except that it was a long weekend and I wanted a car (I am fiercely independent and don't want to share D's car). Eventually I got on the phone yet again and explained to the nice people at the bank to please put me out of my misery if they were not going to pay on time because I am not going all the way through to collect my car and they turn me away because you haven't paid.

I don't know what did it but that girl got her act into gear. She phoned up managers all over the place and got them to email through a release on the car.

So then I collected the dirtiest car in the world. Went straight to a petrol station to clean the windows so I could see. At least it drove beautifully.

And it still is doing so. I am now zipping around Jhb in my gorgeous black Opel Corsa. I feel positively sexy.

October 01, 2006

The October newsletter is out!

Hi everybody

The latest newsletter has been posted here.

In this month's issue...

1. Inspirational quotes
2. Featured workshop – Discover yourself
3. Marcia's monthly motivational message - SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
4. Products and services
5. My reading room
6. Organising challenges
7. On a personal note
8. In the blog
9. Coach's corner
10. About Marcia

Get a cup of coffee and
have a read.

Love and success
Marcia

September 29, 2006

Inside my Heart - Robin McGraw

Good morning to you

I can’t wait tell you about this book!

Robin McGraw has written a book and it’s out now. It’s called Inside My Heart - Choosing to Live with Passion and Purpose. Robin is Dr Phil’s wife (for those of you who don’t know) and I suppose I bought it because I’m such a big Dr Phil fan AND I’m insanely curious!

************************************************************************************

Do you want to discover how to live a life of purpose? Visit
www.takechargesolutions.org/dy.html for more info.

************************************************************************************

I bought it on Monday afternoon, read it straight through and finished that night (except for about a 2-hour window to cook, eat and sort out a few emails).

It is really good - you get a real sense not only of her and her family, but also of how to make choices for your life. She really talks a lot about choosing the life you want (so there already I’m sold LOL).

I even brought it to work for a friend and marked off sections for her to read because we’d been talking about a specific aspect of marriage just recently.


Anyway, it’s really good - go get it and let me know what you think! Exclusive Books sells it for R123.

Happy reading.

Please comment once you've read it so I can see what you thought of it. Thanks

September 27, 2006

The beginning of wisdom

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. -Theodore Rubin, psychiatrist and writer (1923- )

Now for some words of wisdom from my better half...

I think I realised this at varsity & stopped putting such an emphasis on head knowledge & education - overrated.
- er, Dion Francois, pseudo-psychologist and writer (1970- )

September 12, 2006

Guess who's in this month's House & Leisure?!

Hope you're having a stunning week so far!

I just wanted to quickly post to tell you to check me out on page 47 of the October issue of House and Leisure.

You'll find a picture of me with my handsome husband and our friend Carmen. Of course they got the names wrong so I'm called Marcia Dion!

We were at the House and Leisure/Old Mutual Bank Home of the Year function at a swish mansion in Houghton, hobnobbing with "200 of Gauteng's elite style-setters". Cool!

Love and success
Marcia Francois aka Marcia Dion :)
Read more about organising your life

September 11, 2006

Lesson learnt from Roger Federe/ Andy Roddick match

I heard on the news this morning that Roger Ferere beat Andy Roddick to win the US Open (tennis for those of you who don't follow) yesterday.

When I heard the score of the last two sets 7-5 and 6-1, I was not surprised. It so often happens that after a tough set like the 7-5 one, the next one is (in my opinion) easy 6-1 or 6-2. This happens in the majority of matches that I've watched.

I thought about this and wondered why:
  1. probably because the winner of that difficult set got stuck in and determined to win
  2. or... the loser of that set figured "i've lost anyway", gives up and is easily defeated
This happens a lot with life.

Our victory is often just around the corner of a difficult situation.

And more importantly, we have a choice - we can either determine to win and push through, or we can give up.

Which choice will you make?

Disclaimer - I did not watch the match and this is in no way a comment on either of these two players.

September 04, 2006

It's okay to say no

Hi all

This month's newsletter is ready for viewing here.

In this month's issue:

1. Inspirational quotes
2. Featured workshop – Discover yourself
3. Marcia's monthly motivational message - it's okay to say no
4. How I can help you take charge of your life – take the coaching readiness quiz!
5. My reading room

6. Organising challenges
7. On a personal note
8. In the blog

9. Coach's corner
10. About Marcia

Happy reading!

Love and success
Marcia

September 01, 2006

I wanna be a firefighter

Wednesday was one of the best days ever!

I am our OHS (Occupational Health & Safety) Rep at work and we went on Fire Training. All I can say is wow...

We had an awesome trainer, Gavin, who was absolutely passionate about fire! Can you believe it?! Those of you who know me know how I feel about passionate people - I just LOVE being around them.

Even all the theory was fascinating - yes, I have a science background but honestly, even if it wasn't your "thing" you would have loved it.

But the best was the practical. The only way it could have been better was if we had cool uniforms to wear.

The trainer made a Class B fire (using liquids) and each one had a chance to put it out. So cool! Then we each had a chance to use the fire hose - my word! That hose was so heavy!

At the end of the day, I was soaked and dirty but we had such fun. I would do it again anytime.

I almost, almost want a fire so I can extinguish it!


***last night, Dion and I went to the movies. Afterwards, I inspected their cabinet to see if their fire extinguisher had been recently serviced and if the pressure was correct. How cool is that?!

August 19, 2006

NKL353GP - you ROCK!

Yesterday I was driving home from work.

I travel along a very busy street with hundreds of other type-A personality drivers. [Notice I admit that I'm just like the rest of them] It's like survival of the fittest although, instead of a jungle, it's only Louis Botha Avenue.

If you, by any chance, get stuck behind a taxi driver who just stops without indicating, or a turning car, and your reflexes are just the tiniest bit off, that's it.

You will sit there in your car waiting and waiting until the road is clear again because nobody, and I mean NOBODY (not even I) will let you into the traffic flow again. Although to be honest, the cars whizz by at such a speed that you actually don't want to venture out at those low speeds.

Anyway, back to my story. So I'm driving behind a huge 4X4 so I can't see the road in front of me. Suddenly the 4x4 swerves into the next lane and I see why, but I'm just fractions of a second too late to do anything about it.

A taxi has just stopped without any indication. What's new?!

But then... a miracle happens.

I turn on my indicators to get back in the traffic and a car actually slows down, flicks his lights at me (which is Jhb-speak for "move it and get in front of me before I change my mind").

I was stunned beyond belief but I thanked him and moved to the right lane.

As I drove off, I felt so good about this random act of kindness that I smiled and waved to him again.

Now that was a good start to the weekend and it absolutely made my day!


So if anyone spots a metallic army green Renault, hoot and give him a thumbs-up!

August 16, 2006

Things I learnt from an Idols finalist...

I was listening to Jacaranda FM yesterday when Kieno was chatting to the latest two girls to get kicked off Idols.

Disclaimer - this is not an Idols commentary so please carry on reading!

Anyway, they told him what their plans are for the next few weeks. I can't remember what the one girl said (and don't ask me what their names are) but the other said that after she takes two weeks off, she is going to carry on working her business plan.

Now I'm going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy but for such a young person, I was very impressed and because of this, I know she'll do well.

Why? you ask.

  1. She has goals.
  2. She has a business plan to reach those goals.
  3. She made herself accountable to whoever was listening.
  4. She knows how to regroup from so-called failure (in the Idols competition).
  5. She is resilient and can laugh at herself.
  6. She knows to take time out for fun.
  7. She knows how to navigate obstacles.
  8. She believes in herself and her ability to be successful

Now, over to you. Do you have goals? And more importantly, do you have a plan to reach those goals?




August 08, 2006

Kaya FM

Photo courtesy of www.dreamstime.com


I had a wonderful interview on Kaya FM today with Pat Cash and Ed today.

I was featured as a clutter control expert and we spoke about ..... wait for this.... decluttering!

Photo courtesy of www.dreamstime.com

Was a lovely interview and I got some really good feedback from it.

August 04, 2006

This month's newsletter - saving time for what matters most

Hi all

This month's newsletter is available for viewing here.

Enjoy reading it and have a great weekend.

~M~

July 13, 2006

Weigh less vs Michael Connelly

So Dion sends me an email on Tuesday advertising a Michael Connelly talk (with cake & tea) and asking me if I want to go.

If you don't know who Michael Connelly is, you are dead to me. Dead! I'm joking but only just. Go right now and get any one of his 17 novels from Exclusive Books. And I am soooo serious - you will love his writing.

Being my usual doing-10-things-at-once self, I just see the heading, scan for the date (Thursday) and reply yes!!!!!!!!! So for once he doesn't procrastinate (!), books our places immediately and that night, wants to discuss transport with me.

I then realise that I have agreed to something right in the middle of the day AND it clashes with my weigh-less weigh-in. For most people this is no problem but I fear that I have become a tad obsessive about weighing. I will go weigh, knowing full well that the scale will not be kind to me, every single week. More about this later...

Anyway, after I calmed down and began to think rationally (the next day), I decided to go.

And wow - it was so good. He is such a normal, down-to-earth guy. The weird thing is he was sitting at the table next to us and we were chatting away ABOUT HIM at our table, totally unaware that he probably heard everything. After he was introduced and stood to go forward, my brain was racing, trying to figure out exactly what I said. D reassured me that I only said good things. Thank you, baby.

Anyway, I love knowing how he thinks and why he writes the way he does and I can't wait to read my next one - should start this weekend.

Back to the weigh-less story, I tracked my group leader down to another group in Houghton just so I could weigh in today. Lost 0.2kg.

There - I feel so much better. Now who said I'm obsessed?

July 10, 2006

World Cup fiasco for France

OH... MY... WORD!

I still can't believe what happened last night.

For those of you who didn't watch, Italy won the World Cup Final and I was sooooo disappointed.

In my opinion, France lost it when their captain head-butted the Italian guy. I could NOT believe it. Yes, I know there must have been some provocation but Zidane was wrong.

  1. First off, he was the captain and at the very least should have been setting a good example as a leader.
  2. Secondly, it was not a round 1 match - it was the FINAL, for goodness sake. You just don't do dumb things at that point.
  3. Thirdly, knowing that he was retiring, he should have had his emotions under control. I know this is asking a lot of soccer players LOL. If it had been me, I would have wanted to retire in the best possible way. Crazy me :)
What was important at that precise point was for him to respond in a WINning way. WIN stands for What's Important Now.
He clearly didn't think in a WINning way (what's important now?)

Right afterwards, you could see that the body language of the French team was different. They were already defeated and I would have been very surprised to see them win after that.

So hat's off to Italy but what a sad way to go, isn't it?

July 06, 2006

What saddened me on Tuesday...


A colleague and I were chatting today at work…

Her: Marcia, don’t forget to fill up with petrol tonight.

Me: Oh thanks – I’ll have to go either on my way to or from church.

Her: You go to church in the week?

Me: Well, yes… but to assess people (I help people to discover their passion and God-given gifts), not church church. Although we sometimes go to a cell group on Wednesdays but then again, that’s at someone’s house.

Blah blah blah – thought nothing further of it.

Later, another colleague comes up to me and says, I heard you chatting to so-and-so earlier and you were talking about church.

Me: Yes… (thinking, so what?)

Her: oh I just didn’t know you’re a Christian.

So I explain how we walked into our church and knew that God called us there and that was 13 years ago, and and and …….

The conversation disturbed me and I was thinking about it on the way home. I realised that it’s because I don’t hide my beliefs and I NEVER wanted to be known as a secret Christian. So why has my behaviour changed that people don’t just know this about me?!

I generally hold myself to impossibly high standards but to be fair to me, that lady has only been working at that desk for about a week. She is also very quiet and doesn’t talk to anyone but still!

In true Take Charge style I started thinking about how I can improve my walk with God. The obvious things like more reading of the Bible and praying come to mind.

I also thought that I should perhaps play more Christian music at work. As it is, I can’t get 94.2 at work because the 94.7 signal is too strong and I only turn it on from 10 – 10.30 for the time tunnel (classics).

Now I’m fanatical about my CDs leaving my house and going missing/ getting stolen so tonight when I got home I quickly copied some of my favourite CDs to the computer and burned a couple of discs.

I am now all set.


UPDATE
It has been going great. I am playing Audio Adrenaline's Live Bootleg at top volume in my car and loving it!

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