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Develop a Can-Do Attitude: Success Principles Gleaned From Teaching the Deaf

Posted on 10 May, 2016 at 15:05 Comments comments (10)

When I was a little girl, my parents took me to visit our cousins. I noticed immediately that something was different in the way they communicated. They used hand gestures and had an interesting accent when they spoke orally. Their children were also using these hand gestures from the crib and play pen. I learned that my cousins were Deaf and that their two children were hearing, but were communicating with them in American Sign Language (ASL). I was completely and utterly enthralled to say the least. I loved watching them communicate and vowed to learn their beautiful expressive language. As I got older, I became interested in Helen Keller after watching The Miracle Worker, and decided that I wanted to teach Deaf children at some point in my life.

I realized that dream the year after I graduated from college. I chose to take a year off between college and law school, and obtained a position as an instructor and sometimes interpreter at the NY School for the Deaf. I wound up staying 3 years as I loved it so much! I attended law school in the evening instead of the day in order to continue teaching. Those three years were very important to me. They helped me develop my love of ASL and become an advocate for persons with disabilities. I wrote and published many pieces on disability law, taught disability law classes for a law school as an adjunct professor, and served as the co-chair of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee for the American Bar Association.

Eventually, I left my law career and that ended my official disability law pursuits. However, it did not end my love affair with sign language, or my support of Deaf rights. I carried many lessons with me that I learned from my years working within the Deaf community.

Did you ever notice that when someone is speaking to a deaf or hard of hearing person, they do the one thing that makes absolutely no sense? They start speaking a lot louder! Sometimes they even start yelling. This makes absolutely no sense because the one thing the deaf person can't do is hear.

In fact, the Deaf community has a popular phrase: "I can do anything but hear!" It is an empowering phrase that reminds them that although deafness may be perceived by the hearing world as a disability, that is their only limitation.

What is your perceived "disability"? How would you answer the phrase "I can do anything but _______." I am hoping that there is nothing after the word but. However, some of you may have something that came to mind. It may be a limiting belief, an outdated assumption, a block, an objection, a stereotype, a negative message that you were programmed to believe. Those things may be your version of a disability.

Here are 5 success principles I learned from teaching the Deaf that will help you develop a Can-Do Attitude and start breaking through your own limitations.

1. Don't Make Assumptions
We all make assumptions based on our background and experience. We often have a running commentary in our head that is like a broken record playing over and over. Be careful of that recording! I learned about not making assumptions from my experience working with the Deaf. For example, sign language isn't Universal. Not all deaf people can read lips. Not everything is as it appears in life. What "assumptions" are you holding onto that may be wrong, outdated or are not serving you in business and in life? Work on identifying them, turning them on their head and challenging them.

2. Make Eye Contact
You must look at a deaf person to communicate. In the hearing world, it is amazing how many people don't make eye contact when speaking to each other. Making eye contact is a great habit to cultivate in general, but it is even more vital for an entrepreneur, coach, consultant and certainly for a speaker. Pay attention to people when they are speaking to you. Make eye contact and show them that you care!

3. Don't Just Hear... Listen and Understand
Deaf people can't hear, but they do listen. A common phrase that the Deaf often use when having a conversation is "I understand". They are showing that they are paying attention to what you are communicating, and that they are truly listening to you. Many people are good speakers, but not good listeners. If you are not truly listening, try it. It can make a huge difference in your communication and relationships.

4. Keep Your Sense of Humor
Many deaf people have a wickedly good sense of humor, and can laugh at themselves. This is a great lesson for all us in life and business. It helps you to keep a positive attitude and draws people to you. Find the humor in everything and keep things as light as you can. I often think humor is a wonderful way of diffusing many difficult or challenging situations. Learning to laugh at life, and ourselves, is a great skill to cultivate.

5. Plan Ahead for Life's Bumps in the Road
If you know there may be a roadblock ahead, don't bury your head in the sand... plan for it. I had a student named Matthew that had Usher's Syndrome. He was deaf and was slowly losing his eyesight also. Usher's Syndrome causes loss of vision slowly over a period of time, first affecting your peripheral vision and then slowly affecting your entire eyesight like a tunnel closing up. Matthew planned ahead for this eventual vision loss by learning braille and sign language in hand so he could continue to communicate. Talk about dedication and planning ahead for a bump in the road! Take a page out of Matthew's book. When you plan ahead, prepare and face life head on. It helps you to not only obtain a better result, but possibly enjoy the journey and the process.

I hope you are inspired by these brave deaf individuals and their can-do attitude. Now ask yourself, can you develop a Can-Do Attitude? What success principles do you have in your bag of tricks to help you start overcoming your perceived limitations? Start tapping into those success principles and tools.

Here's to a Can-Do Attitude!

Copyright 2016 © Lisa Montanaro 
 
Lisa Montanaro is a Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker and Author who helps people live successful and passionate lives, and enjoy productive and profitable businesses. To receive her free Toolkit, Achieve Powerhouse Success with Purpose, Passion & Productivity, visit www.LisaMontanaro.com/toolkit
. Lisa is the author of several books, including DECIDE to be Organized: An Empowering Process for Change
. Through her work, Lisa helps people deal with the issues that block personal and professional change and growth. To explore how Lisa can help you be purposeful, passionate and productive, contact Lisa at (530) 564-4181 or by e -mail at [email protected]


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Lovin' this Up-Cycle Idea!

Posted on 4 November, 2015 at 16:35 Comments comments (1)
Okay, sure. You really need to be  handy with your tools in order to pull this one off and, at first, I was not even going to share it.

But, once I looked at the pictures of the finished products I just had to post this! These up-cycles really look nice.

What a great way to give new life to a family heirloom while  still honoring the memory of the family members - I love it!

Organizing Tip: If you are NOT handy, find a place that can do the work for you. There is no sense in holding on to  "things" if you know all they will be used for is taking up storage space. Both they and you deserve better than that!

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Organizing Socks: Don't Let Your Feet Get Ahead of You

Posted on 29 June, 2015 at 14:40 Comments comments (1)
When left unaddressed, socks can invade our homes like unseen bands of ninjas, slipping in through crevices and then, suddenly, you are surrounded.


Socks! Who has time for these pesky garments and their management? The dilemmas of whose are whose, what matches what, holes in the toes and the search and rescue mission embarked upon daily to discover why and where the 'other' sock has gotten to can drive a person mad! Or, right to the nearest department store where, in desperation, they just give up and purchase more. (..and more....and more...)

Yes, socks can present a challenge, but adding countless more to the fray only ensures that you are forever outnumbered.

Stay ahead of the game by employing organizing strategies and tools designed specifically to keep these sneaky rascals in line!

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Livin' the Dream

Posted on 21 October, 2014 at 22:20 Comments comments (0)
There's no time like the present so why not make today the day? The day that you decide that where you live can be perfect for how you live.

Things just don't fit right, you may think. Or, if there were only more cabinets in this darn kitchen!

Whatever it is about your home that's cramping your style, here's a way to address it all now.

Make yourself a map. Not a map of your home the way it is exactly, but a map of what you need it to be. 

Begin with what is unchangeable. For instance, if you are not prepared to do any reconstruction, all of your walls and fixed appliances and shelving are the first things that belong on your map.

Add in only furniture that you absolutely know is in the appropriate room. Leave out any large items that you think might not stay in place.

Next, it's time to dream. Fill in the blank rooms with a word or two for what you intend to do in those rooms. 



Take your map from room to room and be a detective. 


Does everything in this room relate to what it says on your map? Are there things that don't belong? Can everything that belongs be put away in some sort of storage in this room?









 
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Do You Have S.T.A.R.S. in Your Eyes?

Posted on 28 July, 2014 at 19:01 Comments comments (3)
After 6 years working closely with a wide variety of people looking to organize their homes, their offices, their files and paper, and their lives, I have come up with a term that describes a common experience that is a key factor leading many to the cluttered situations they exasperatingly find themselves in. 

The term is S.T.A.R.S.  "Shiny Things (© Annette Reyman) Syndrome". 

Want to know if you're suffering from seeing STARS? Here are the symptoms -  

Characterized by:
Distractibility
Impulse Purchases
Forgetfulness
Disorganization

Can sound like:

I love this, where can I use it?
It’s so much cheaper if we buy it in bulk.
This is a great price; I know I’ll find someone to give it to.
It’s so cute, I have to have it! (even though it doesn’t fit just right and I have nothing that matches it)
Do you know how much these used to cost? I can’t believe I found them at such a great price.


Can lead to:
An excessively cluttered environment
Feelings of overwhelm
Goal derailment
Anxiety & depression





Not to be confused with:
Healthy, natural curiosity
Imaginative minds
Frugality

Read more...
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Keep and Let Go Criteria: 37 Questions

Posted on 25 June, 2014 at 9:22 Comments comments (0)

We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. 
~ Joseph Campbell

 
Once you have decided that getting organized is in order, sorting through your belongings will be a key part of the process. Sometimes we can look at the same items over and over and not really know how to make a decision about what to do with them. This list of thirty-seven questions should help you in that decision-making process. Check down the list when you are stumped with an object and see what questions help move you forward.


THE BASICS
01.  Does it belong to someone else?
02.  Is it too worn/broken/unidentifiable to use?
 
LEGAL
03.  Are you legally required to keep it?
04.  Is there a tax reason to keep it?
05.  Would you need this check / document in a legal dispute?
 
USE IT
06.  Will you actually use it/refer to it? (Have you in the past?)
07.  Will you really read it?  When?
08.  Is the information still current? (or can newer information be found online?)
09.  Have you used it in the last year?
10.  Do you think you will use it again (or for the first time) and what circumstances will have to be in place in order for you to use it?
11.  Are you really going to finish this project?  When?

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Record it, Review it, Renew it - Managing Your Lists

Posted on 25 April, 2014 at 16:22 Comments comments (3)
Do you make lists? I do. Grocery lists, packing lists, party-planning lists, to-do lists…my list of lists goes on and on! 

The basic rules of list-making are to record all the pertinent information, review the list regularly in order to utilize it well and finally to renew or update the list as items are crossed off and new ideas need to be captured.

Yet, Sometimes, even with the best of lists, it can feel like time is galloping out of our control and we are merely trying to stay on the horse that is our crazy schedule – never mind the style points! 

When it comes to lists, there are some challenges that seem to be universal. Here's..well yes, a list! of some common hurdles:

  • Keeping track of the lists we make
  • Having incomplete or disorganized lists that let tasks get lost in the shuffle
  • No coordination of tasks and commitments between family members
  • Procrastination - moving the same items from list to list and never getting them done

Click here to read about tips and tricks that will keep you on the horse and set the pace that works for you. 




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Lighten up, it's Spring!

Posted on 29 March, 2014 at 17:48 Comments comments (0)
 
Ways to freshen up your home this spring:

Pantry purge. During the winter months, like many mammals, we may tend to stockpile supplies. Our cupboards can become stuffed with soups, cocoas and comfort-snacks. As this happens, more often than not, other food items get pushed out of sight. Set aside an hour on a nice spring morning to empty out a shelf or two at a time, wipe them down, discard outdated or unwanted food items and reorganize what’s left back onto the shelves.

Counter-attack. Throw open the kitchen and bathroom windows and take a look at your counters. The fresh air will help energize you while you remove all items and give the counters a good wipe-down. Throw out any trash or items you don’t need and put away anything that has wondered out of its appropriate home. Return to the counter only those things that you absolutely must have out or that make you happy. 

Want more tips? Read the full article here.
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Qualities of Organized People

Posted on 11 March, 2014 at 18:57 Comments comments (1)
Organized people are decision makers.
Professional Organizer Annette Reyman at The Container Store.
"In general, organized people can say, 'This is good enough,' and then move forward," says Reyman. "It doesn't have to be perfect, and we don't have to rehash it 10,000 different ways." Organized people consider their options, choose one and stick to it, without looking back with regret on the paths not taken, she says. 

(read more...)


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Do You Rent Storage?

Posted on 20 January, 2014 at 19:16 Comments comments (5)
I've got all the money I'll ever need, if I die by four o'clock.
- Henny Youngman


Hiring a professional organizer can save you money.

Are you one of those people who has so much money you just don't know what to do with it?  You know, extra cash just laying around collecting dust.  No?  Me neither.

I will be speaking at the Philadelphia Home Show this coming weekend.  Last year, Mark Brunetz of the reality show Clean House, spoke before me.  I really enjoyed listening to him speak about his experiences working on the show and with people who really needed help getting their homes back in order.  He also had a lot of great information to share.

One thing Mark shared was the statistic that one in every ten Americans rents a storage unit.  One in twenty rent multiple.

First, I just want to say that there are many good reasons to rent a storage unit, some of them being:

  • A place to house your belongings during an extended home transition
  • As a wear-house for business product inventory for a current business
  • A place to store your home items while living abroad

to name a few.

However, "I have more stuff than what can fit into my home" is not one of them.  If you have more than what you can fit into your home you either have too much stuff or need to buy a bigger home. 

If buying something bigger is not an option, think about this:  A 5 X 10 foot storage unit averages about $175.00 per month.  Would you rather pay $175 dollars to store things you don't use, or put $175 extra into your budget each month?  That's an extra $2,100.00 per year.

Consider what it's worth before you pay one more month's rent.

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