Blaze YOUR Trail

“When we truly examine who we are and what we are capable of doing, we know where to start and how to blaze a trail.” Carolyn Finch Body Language and LifeStyle Communication expert™

It’s been many, many decades since I was a camper at Four-H Camp Wading River, Long Island New York. But the experiences I shared with others is still with me daily. There were happenings every day that changed my life. It all started with my sister who had been enrolled for a week at camp. Our parents thought it would be a good idea if I also went to camp.

It was the end of my third grade year and it had been a huge turning point in my life. In third grade I was still going down the hall to the first grade classroom where I joined the bird groups for reading. It took me years to understand why I was a yellow bird for so long. In third grade I became a red bird and then a blue bird. By spring I was able to join my fellow students in the third grade classroom reading group. They weren’t birds at all, merely “reading Groups.”

I didn’t know as a young child that the bird groups represented yellow for third place like a yellow ribbon, red for second and blue for first. It doesn’t make any difference what you label something or someone, kids and other people, like adults usually figure out you are different. That was me. I always sat under the teacher’s nose in the front corner seat. The problem was that I couldn’t see the other students when they spoke out or read in class so I always had to turn around to look at them. I was supposed to be “following along in my book.” You figure out the consequences!

At camp I could be myself. I didn’t “have” to read and no one would make fun of me because my eyes wandered toward the wall. In those days we were called wall eyed, then it became lazy eye and now doctor’s operate for cosmetic reasons and appear to be unaware that eye training is brain training and that is the best alternative for centering the eyes.

At camp I learned to read my environment, make friends and blaze trails. It was at this time that we learned how to create trail markers that others could follow and we could see to find our way back to our starting point. The history of the word blaze comes from ancient times when the two leggeds discovered fire and could start with a spark and end up with a big blaze. Others would see the smoke and this began to unite people out of curiosity.

It is very simple to blaze a trail with signs using stones. Pile three flat stone on top of each other that means go straight ahead. Pile the 2 stones and put one to the left. That means take the path to the left or I have turned left. Likewise for the right. By blazing a trail, others can find us and we are able to return to our starting point without undue frustration and the chance of being lost.

I learned about myself and what I was capable of doing because I listened, looked around and learned. When we use the triple L approach we are capable of finding our way, retuning to our starting point when necessary and then moving on. I spent 4 weeks each summer for 8 summers at Four –H camp and another 3 summers at church camp. A couple of those summers I was a counselor but that’s another story. One summer was spent traveling across the United States with my parents and sister but that’s another story too. Wow! The experiences that prepared me to blaze many trails started in third grade!

Now it’s your turn. Go back to who you were in third grade. What did you listen to? What did you look around and see? And what did you learn? What trails have you already blazed? And where are you going? Now find your way back to a starting point, clear your mind and enjoy who you are. Start piling your stones and blaze YOUR trail.

P.S. This stone pile grew in size because it was considered good luck to add another stone when one went by.

What is Your Communication LifeStyle?

As I waited at the stop sign for the children to get off the bus, I noticed a mother with a stroller and a sleeping baby waiting at the bus stop. I was only about 15 feet from the front of the bus and could see parents standing around. This mother was holding her smart phone with her head bent downward and at times would stop and then text  or enter a number and then the phone went back up to her ear. I never saw her check on the baby in the stroller nor did she look up. Soon a cute little light skinned boy with curly brown hair about 5 or 6 years old jumped off the bus and waved a paper with a painting at his mother. Mom paid no attention to the boy so he grabbed her leg and shouted “look mom look mom”
She looked down at him and shouted “I told you not to talk to me when I’m on the phone.”

My heart sank and I wanted to cry as I’m sure that the little boy wanted to do. What an ideal time for communication. This amazing transition time when a child is enthusiastic about something he has created and at the same time happy to be getting home from school. Was this a dysfunctional communication moment?  It certainly appeared that way. Would this be the base to poor communication for the next few minutes, hours and maybe even days?

The  one major aspect of being a human being is that we are able to communicate orally. Have we forgotten to be thankful for this gift of true conversation? With the advent of smart phones we have a new addiction. Research shows that the average person with a smartphone texts an average of 100 time a day wow! This type of communication determines our lifestyle and our lifestyle determines our communication.

If we have an addiction of any kind such as shopping, drinking, drugs, sickness, foods whatever,
our typical conversation will include words, phrases and stories related to our addiction. Doesn’t sound like a learning listener and quality conversation to me. Therefore my challenge to you as a Blog reader is to look at everyone you speak with, eye to eye and belly to belly. This way you will be listening to the other person and as a reward you will learn something from what they say. So add to your communication lifestyle the ability to listen with your eyes.

You can improve your communication by helping yourself become more enlightened after hearing me speak at your next conference. Call now for more information or for  a one on one Speech Coaching session.203 405 3972.

Carolyn Finch, the Body Language Expert known for her “Oops! Your Body Language is Showing” Keynote Speech, also speaks about “The Trinity of Health: Moving Well, Eating Well, and Thinking Well.” You can contact her at Electrific Solutions Inc. (203-405-3972) for more information about how to engage her to speak to your group. You can also visit her website: www.carolynfinch.com, or send an email to: [email protected]

It is reprinted with permission from the Hartford Springfield Speakers Blog. (http://hartfordspringfieldspeakers.blogspot.com/2016/04/what-is-your-communication-lifestyle.html)

Muhammad Ali Leaves a Lasting Legacy

A week ago the news told us of the passing of Muhammad Ali, “the greatest.” Yes he was the one who would “fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee” according to him. I was especially saddened because I have looked at his picture daily for several decades. He had become a tiny part of my life. If you have ever been in one of my workshops or seminars no doubt you heard me tell a story about Muhammad Ali. Not so much a story about his Parkinson’s disease, even though that was the hardest fight he ever fought and he won the right to even share that with the world. He changed the way people looked at boxing, politics, personal beliefs and self-motivation.

The stories I shared were about how he painted signs with his dad, took up boxing when his bike was stolen and he wanted to stand up for himself. Maybe you heard the story about how his prize money would be used to send a boy to Sparring Camp or to a private school. He never wanted people to know some of the things he did because underneath his spirit there was a humbleness about him.

It was several decades ago when his Parkinson’s reflected his shaking and his posture started to change. I saw this myself when I shook his hand and stood with him at Macy’s, in Danbury, CT., he was one person I always wanted to meet. I got my wish when he came to Danbury promoting his men’s cologne. I stood in line with many people waiting to be in his environment. When I met him he carefully wrote his name while I mentioned to him that I spoke about him in my speeches. He reached out and shook my hand. Note the beautiful expression on his face. He then got up and his photographer and my husband Don took pictures. Since then Muhammad Ali’s picture has shared a frame with Zig Ziglar one of my mentors who encouraged me be a Professional Speaker.

They were two very different people but both messengers of the belief that doing for others first is doing for yourself as well. At one time Muhammad Ali was the most recognized American in the world. He believed and achieved. He was opinionated but aren’t we all? What lessons he taught us! What stamina he had,even when he burned his arm during the lighting of the Olympic flame from the torch carried around the world. Nobody really knew about his burn. It was because he kept his arm straight at his side to avoid the shaking from Parkinson’s. Thanks for being you Muhammad Ali and showing us all it’s okay to fight for what you believe in. I’ll be seeing you right there on my desk but do rest in peace.

Carolyn Finch, the Body Language Expert known for her “Oops! Your Body Language is Showing” Keynote Speech, also speaks about “The Trinity of Health: Moving Well, Eating Well, and Thinking Well.” You can contact her at Electrific Solutions Inc. (203-405-3972) for more information about how to engage her to speak to your group. You can also visit her website: www.carolynfinch.com, or send an email to: [email protected]

It is reprinted with permission from the Hartford Springfield Speakers Blog. (http://hartfordspringfieldspeakers.blogspot.com/2016/06/muhammad-ali-leaves-lasting-legacy.html)