Positive Shift Happens: the excerpt

Many of the practices shown by research to increase happiness are simple, and most of them are not hard to do. But life is so busy and full of distractions that we often fail to fit the building blocks into our days. The solution is a framework to help us remember them, strategies to practice them, and the certain knowledge of benefits that result when we do so. The soon to be released book, “Positive Shift Happens: the power of a pause,” provides the tools to make a positive shift and practice the building blocks often.

The excerpt of the book is now available! Check it out If you want to learn:

• the BE MEASURING building blocks of positive shift
• the power of a pause with the SOS method
• the Four Ps of Positive Psychology: Power Up, Pause, People, and Purpose
• The four power tools: exercise, meditate, communicate, and follow values
• focus themes to include more positive shift


Stay tuned for the upcoming release of the full book on Amazon. In chapters organized by the 4 Ps of Positive Psychology, you will learn:
• benefits of practices shown by research to increase happiness and well-being
• practical ways to implement the BE MEASURING building blocks
• exercises to develop strengths in each area
• productive time use, goal setting, and motivation strategies
• skills for relationships and communication

Positive shift happens – if you make it happen. The information in the book provides the tools to make a shift to a positive life and increased well-being. Many resources are already available at the Positive Shift Happens Toolkit. Now it’s all up to you!

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Posted in Books, personal development, positive shift

Scary Screen Reads

With Halloween around the corner, it’s time for horror stories. When it comes to movie adaptations based on books, there are a few available.


What’s New

From the King of Horror, Stephen King, there are lots movie adaptations to choose from. Lisey’s Story is one of the latest, a mini-series on Apple TV+. There is an IMDB list of 50 more possibilities for Stephen King movie adaptations, with The Shining, Misery, and Carrie at the top!

Adam Nevill is a writer who is new to me, with two to choose from: The Ritual from 2017 is currently on Netflix, and No One Gets Out Alive is a new one.

There’s Someone Inside Your House is a new movie release coming to Netflix October 6th, based on the young adult novel by Stephanie Perkins. (a list of more young adult horror books here)

Did You Know?

Perhaps you know that The Exorcist is based on the book by William Peter Blatty. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is based on a book by Robert Bloch? The Birds is based on a story by Daphne DuMaurier.

One of the scariest movies ever in my opinion, The Silence of the Lambs, is based on a book by Thomas Harris. Red Dragon and Hannibal are equally creepy.

Watch Interview with the Vampire, based on the book by Ann Rule.

Watch Bird Box, based on the book by Josh Malerman.

You is a Netflix series based on the book by Caroline Kepnes.

The Classics

Read Dracula by Bram Stoker at Gutenberg.org. Watch the 1931 classic movie with Bella Lugosi.

Read the ebook of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley at Gutenberg.org. Watch the 1931 classic movie with Boris Karloff.

Read The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe at Gutenberg.org. Watch The Raven (or the 1935 version with Boris Karloff and Bella Lugosi) and The Lighthouse based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

Read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving at Gutenberg.org. The movie at IMDB.

How many scary screen reads have you read and/or watched? Try the List Challenge!

Posted in Books

The Power of a Pause for Positive Shift

Positive shift happens when we practice the building blocks of positive psychology. The first letters of the practices that have been shown by research to increase happiness and well-being, happen to spell BE MEASURING. (although it is not usually important to measure them.) The building blocks divide into four areas, with three in each area. These 4 Ps of positive shift are: Power Up, Pause, Purpose, and People.


Many of the building blocks are quite simple and easy, although some take a little more time and effort. Either way, even when we know that they are important to our happiness, we still often fail to make them happen. We may be so busy that we are distracted by other things. Or we may not know enough about how to implement them, or about the science that demonstrates the benefits of practicing them. My goal is to show you how to make positive shift happen with persuasive evidence of the benefits and a simple plan to add them into your life.

Positive shift begins with the power of the pause. SOS is a method used to manage emotions that works like this…

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – engage coping skills

The SOS method can be used to insert a mental pause in the seconds before the brain is hijacked by chemical flooding in response to situations that we perceive as threatening. When chemical flooding occurs during a fight or flight response, access to the thinking part of the brain is cut off. It can take 20 minutes to return to normal. When we use the SOS method, we can stop and notice what our body is telling us, and identify our thoughts and feelings. We can then shift to engage coping skills like taking a walk, deep breathing, and disputing irrational thoughts. By inserting a mental pause to add calming techniques and thoughts, we can respond appropriately. This method can be used to make all kinds of positive shift happen. To apply the power of the pause for a positive shift looks very similar:

Stop Observe Shift +

Stop – pause
Observe – events → thoughts → feelings
Shift – to the 4 Ps of positive psychology

With a regular pause, we gain the ability to notice what we are doing, and then choose the right shift from the 4 Ps of positive psychology.

Make Positive Shift Happen

Shift to the positive. If you are in a negative place, use the building blocks to make a shift to the positive. It may not be possible to be completely positive all of the time, but improvement is always an option. Even when times are hard, the building blocks are coping tools that will help.

Shift between the 4 Ps of Positive Shift with the power of the pause. Notice when it may be time to shift your focus to another area. Some of the building blocks require an inner focus, like meditation. Others, like relating and noticing, require an outer focus. Shift from inner to outer focus as needed.

Shift between time perspectives. Many of the building blocks have a focus on a positive present. But for some, a time perspective shift is needed. To aspire to a goal is to look forward to the future, and to notice a happy memory is a positive look back to the past. Shift as needed between your inner child for playfulness and creativity, and your inner adult for self-discipline and strength.


Shift to follow values. The Purpose building blocks of Aspire, Inspire Flow, and Spirituality require knowing your promise so you can show your promise. A value statement or personal mission statement that pinpoints what you do and why provides direction to guide you. Learn how to map your values and more with the Brand and Purpose Toolkit.

Shift to GREAT skills. When you learn and follow the practices within the BE MEASURING framework, you gain a richer personal life and GREAT skills that are in demand in the workplace. The GREAT skills of Goal Setting, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, A+ Communication Skills, and Time Management Skills, are all part of the building blocks.

The Power of the Pause

Life goes by in such a rush that it is easy to forget about the power of a pause. With a pause we can savor the sweet taste of ice cream, or take a deep breath. With a pause we can consider whether the best choice is an excuse or a goal. With a pause we can think before we react. In the moment that we notice, lies the potential for change. The more we practice awareness, the more we have the ability to pause and make a shift.

Two of the building blocks increase the area of the brain responsible for executive functions, and strengthen our ability to stop, observe, and shift as needed. Use the three step process of SOS for a powerful pause that makes all kinds of positive shift happen.

Posted in positive shift

Sharing is Caring

Sharing is one of the building blocks of positive shift that happen to spell BE MEASURING. The following ideas for simple, inexpensive gifts are easy to share.

Simple gifts to relate with and uplift others.

A “share file” makes it easy to give simple gifts. A free downloadable pdf – a Share File with 3×5 cards includes:

Appreciation Gifts
Simple Gifts
Random Acts of Kindness
Muffin Mania
Entertain Menus & recipes for desserts


Recipes for Seasonal Treats:

Find activities and games to share at Don’t Wait, Relate.

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Posted in positive shift

Know Your Target Audience

A brand is all about communicating in a very targeted way, regardless of whether for a business or on a more personal level. A brand is about getting very clear on purpose, promise, and personality to deliver a consistent position. A brand connects a carefully crafted message about what you offer with the right people.


To know your target audience, develop a persona or profile that includes the demographics, psychographics, personality, and motivations of those who need what you offer. Download the CustomerPersona pdf.

  • Bio – location, education, occupation
  • Demographics – sex, age, marital status, children, income
  • Psychographics – hobbies, interests, favorites
  • Personality – Myers-Briggs and more
  • Motivations – of typical Archtypes
  • Channels – preferences for social media or other channels
  • Pains – who has the problems that you solve?

Some information can be located with research, or you can ask with focus groups, interviews, and surveys.


When you know your target audience, you can reach out to them with content that communicates the value you provide and helps them. You can design and deliver a delightful user journey that meets their needs.

Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

Always Be Communicating Value

The goal of branding is to always be communicating value. The most effective marketing concentrates on how a product, service, or individual meets needs. That is the value that you provide, and that is the best way to interest people in what you have to offer.

Ultimately, people always want to know the benefits and value for them. (what’s in it for me?)

The examples below outline the features, benefits, and value provided by a product, service, and an individual.


Features are how it works. Features are distinctive characteristics. For a product, the features are what it is, for a service, the features are what it does. For a person, features are often what they do, especially expertise or skills, and personal characteristics. Shine a light on features by all means, but be sure to be crystal clear about how the features help to meet needs.


Benefits are about how it helps. The Value is about the needs that are met.


My favorite brand example is Dollar Shave Club. Their tagline goes straight to the value that they provide. Dollar Shave Club delivers quality razors…to provide convenience at a fair price…so you can save money, save time. (and avoid hassle) If you look at their online shop, to be sure features of the service and products are described. Their handle is: Sleek, matte black finish, Designed for a balanced hold, and Easy to grip in or out of the shower. They are designed for the benefits of comfort and control. Ultimately, what you want most is the value they provide: to shave time and money.

Use this feature….to…so you can…

Coca-cola is a tasty drink…to satisfy your thirst…so you can open happiness.

Listerine is a mouthwash that kills germs….to give you fresh breath…so you can get a date.

Life insurance pays money if you die…to provide for your loved ones…so you can have peace of mind.

Dave Ramsey provides education for financial literacy…to teach best practices for managing money…so you can have hope.

Download the Features & Benefits pdf for more examples.

For a personal brand:

Collect concrete examples and testimonials. Use CARE to look for times when you faced a Challenge and took Action to achieve a Result for Examples. Showcase your homerun accomplishments and highlight their value with numbers when possible. For example: “reduce training time by 50% with interactive training program.”

Look at:

  • Projects
  • Accomplishments
  • Skills
  • Expertise
Describe value:

  • Challenge
  • Action
  • Result
  • Example
Quantify results with numbers:

  • Saved, served, sold, supervised
  • Time
  • Amounts
  • Money made
  • Percentages

To Design Creative marketing materials that express Personality and the Promise (Step Three of Marketing U): Connect with emotion, and Capture attention.

Learn more

Remember to always be communicating value – concentrate on the value of the benefits you provide. The Daily PlanIt shares insights and information to build skills so you can succeed.

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Posted in Ideas That Work

Seven Beats of Brand Storytelling

Effective brand storytelling aims at the heart. Seven stories that brands can tell for heart BEATS are:

  • Beginnings & Behind the scenes
  • Explain & Excitement of the mission
  • A Cause
  • Tell Customer stories
  • Seasonal


BEGINNINGS This story about how LEGO began is highly engaging.

BEHIND THE SCENES Warby Parker shows how they make glasses.

EXPLAIN The founder of Dollar Shave Club demonstrates the brand personality as he explains why “our blades are f***ing great!”

& EXCITEMENT This “Think Different” ad from Apple captures the excitement of their mission.

A CAUSE 4Ocean works to solve the problem of plastics in the ocean.

TELL CUSTOMER STORIES “Make Movies Like the Movies” highlights how customers use the iPhone 12 Pro.

SEASONAL Haford Hardware captures the spirit of the Christmas holiday with this one.

And there you have the heart BEATS of powerful brand storytelling.

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Posted in Ideas That Work

Emotional Brand Storytelling

The most effective brands commuciate with stories that are emotional. They aim at the heart.


Five ways to aim at the heart are:

  • Humor
  • Engage
  • Animals
  • Reveal
  • Tearjerker

HUMOR Cube Pillow uses humor to simultaneously entertain and inform in this commercial.

ENGAGE Google’s “Loretta” tells a bittersweet story as it shows how it works.

ANIMALS Budweiser effectively combines a puppy, Clydesdale horses, and storytelling in a series of ads, including “Lost Dog.” Another commercial, “Someone waits for you at home,” conveys a message through storytelling.

REVEAL Novelty and surprise can be very attractive to humans. See how Guinness combines a heart-warming message with surprise in this commercial.

TEARJERKERS Thai Life Insurance has mastered the art of heart wrenching storytelling. (see their channel for more examples)

Brand storytelling often targets positive emotions, but a bonus letter T can be for the negative emotion of TERRIFY, like in this commercial about the Real Cost of smoking.

Metro chooses a more humorous way to communicate a safety message in “Dumb Ways to Die.”

The Creative Commercials Youtube playlist includes these and more examples.

Storytelling is a powerful way to communicate. How can you aim at the heart in your stories?

Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

The Power of Telling Stories

“He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.” Did you recognize the last line of Harper Lee’s classic story, “To Kill a Mockingbird?” To speak about story telling, what better way to lead than with the number one choice in the Great American Read, and the book found at the top of Novels Everyone Should Read from Information is Beautiful? This one sentence summary from the Famous Film Plots Generator, describes the story well: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice. Told from the point-of-view of young Scout, the story begins like this: “When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”

Stories Are Powerful

Stories provide meaning. Stories entertain, engage, teach, and connect us with others. Good stories capture and hold our attention, and make us care.

The Elements of Powerful Story Telling

All stories need the following parts.

PURPOSE – why the story matters. What is the message? A story has a meaningful theme or main idea.

PEOPLE – who the main characters are. What makes you care about them? Characters seem real when they make mistakes, struggle, and overcome adversity.

PLOT – what happens on the journey. What events take place? Create scenes that grab attention, explore themes, and advance movement.

PERIL – what could be lost or gained. What struggles are faced? Without conflict, there is no story. Action and adventure add tension.

Also important to include in a story are:

PLACE – where the story takes place. What is the setting of the story? The time period and setting can convey tone.

PASSION – the emotion that fuels purpose. What do the main characters want? Characters are motivated by a desire.

PERSONAL – what it means for the reader. How does the story help them? CARE – use a conversational tone, add value for them, make it relatable by connecting with emotions.

PICTURES – what it looks like. How do descriptions bring the story to life? Touch on the senses to paint a vivid picture with words.

In Ten Ways to Use Storytelling to Improve Your Ability To Connect and Communicate, Sarah Peck says, “A story is what you take with you.” Think of a story that you have loved, and what you took away from it. She also says that we tell stories (and I would also add read, listen, and watch stories) to connect, dream, and imagine. Sometimes we want to go on a journey to a place we have never been, or to see how others experience the world. We may want to learn about something we never thought about before, or maybe just escape for a little while. Whatever the reason, when a story captures our attention, it is a powerful way to communicate.

More Information

Reading Comprehension Cubes at Phonics Pow. Storytelling Pinterest Board.


Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

Design and Deliver a Delightful User Journey


It is a journey that we have all been on as we attempt to solve a problem. We seek answers, consider options, and make decisions about the best solution. When we succeed and discover a product or service that meets or exceeds our needs, we are delighted and eager to repeat the experience.

The first step in the journey is AWARENESS. The user becomes aware of pain, and needs to resolve a problem. This need can be met with IKEA: Intigue them, Know user needs, Educate and entertain, and Attract with advertising.

The next step of the journey is INTEREST. As the user becomes interested and needs to learn more, they often explore the website. The “I” in interest, is all about them – the user. To meet this need, your website should:
  • Inform – clearly convey what you do and how it will help them.
  • Invite – welcome them with easy navigation.
  • Include why you do what you do, and answers to FAQs.
  • Inspire trust and belief in the value you provide.
Next the user CONSIDERS and evaluates options. They need to choose the best solution to their problem. Use POV to meet this need.
Provide testimonials,
Offer free trials or samples and
Visual demonstrations to present a convincing point of view.
The user may have a question that needs to be answered before they make a final decision. At this point, they may reach out and CONTACT you. To meet this need use EQ – be:
Easy to contact, and
Quick and accurate with a response.
The next step in the user journey is when they COMMIT to action and choose to purchase a product or service. They need to receive it and use it quickly. To meet this need, ensure EASE:
Easy shopping and check-out
Accurate and fast delivery
Special packaging that may include tips and recommendations for additional purchases.
Extras like a discount for a referral, and remember to THANK them.

For a COMPLETE user journey, the user should be delighted with what they receive. They need to change the pain into a gain that provides a solution. To meet this need, ASK:
  • Ask for feedback and reviews.
  • Satisfaction and Support – follow-up to be sure they are happy and able to use the product or service.
  • Know what they think – survey users to find out.
The final step in the user journey is CONTINUE. If you have succeeded, the user becomes a loyal advocate. They want to share their experience with others and repeat it. They need to continue with the solution. To create EAGER users:
  • Exceed expectations. Provide:
  • Amazing product or service,
  • Great customer service.
  • Engage with them- invite them to join you on social media and to return.
  • Remind them to repeat the process!


CORRECT complaints to keep your reputation (and customers). If a mistake happens, the proper response to a customer complaint can create an even more loyal customer. Use REP and you will likely keep your reputation and your customer. Keep your REP: 1. Respond quickly 2. Express apologies 3. Problem solved – Right the wrong.

Meet user needs every step of the way to design and deliver a delightful user experience! For an example of a delightful user journey, read 10 ways to be like Dollar Shave Club

Learn more at Pinterest boards for User Experience and Key Performance Indicators

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Posted in Ideas That Work, information management

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