Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: This You Won't Believe!

Ooohhhh, where to start today?!?!?!? Yesterday a brown bag over my head and now this... I have a little bit of disbelief about what today's post will bring and a lot nervousness. It was in the cards, though, so there is no getting around it unless you - my trusty readers - will help.

But first some business...
  • Happy Birthday Matthew. Today he officially turns four and, in his mind, is ready to move out of our house and into his "tree house" (a birthday present sponsored by us and both sets of grandparents). The kids pick dinner of their choice on their birthdays, so tonight it's off to Red Robin for us.
  • Pay It Forward: Patrick (one of our loyal and creative readers) generated a fabulous fundraising idea for Melanie last Friday, in order to help she and a group of students cover airfare and other expenses for their trip to Belize in May. The idea was to provide 5 groups $20.00 and to see which of the groups is able to turn their $20.00 into the greatest amount of money. I, of course, couldn't resist. My idea... I will sponsor a murder mystery dinner at my house for 8-10 women. Each woman will be asked to pay $20.00 for the fun-filled night of murder, mayhem, and... yummy desserts. My $20.00 will cover the groceries and in return, I hope to make between $160-$200. So all you Grapevine, Colleyville, Euless, and Dallas readers... wanna come? The dinner will be Friday, April 25 in order to assure having the money to Melanie by May 12 when she departs.
  • Today's Letters: Today is the final day for posting letters. You unscramble all 17 letters and be first to arrange them into three words - describing a colorful addition for any craft closet... and the item is yours. Today's letters are: M, A, P, P, A, C.
  • Six Degrees of Separation: Any updates on our progress with the 6 Degrees of Separation? With all these new readers lurking on our site and participating, the chances of reaching our goal will increase. A quick recap for those who are new. We are testing the premise of Six Degrees of Separation (everyone is connected in six people or less) by trying desperately to get in touch with Julie A. Cole. All we know about her is that she lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and works with the Girl Scouts in some capacity. Our goal is to connect with someone who might know someone, who might know someone ( you get the picture) who knows Julie Cole. It can start with a simple phone call or email.
  • Paper Bag Fun: Thanks, for the fun witches broom idea. I took a few minutes and tried it, using left over Easter candy. Tell me if it looks the way it is supposed to. Pretty cute idea and definitely a fun way to present a Halloween treat to co-workers, kids, or neighbors.

Welcome to Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: EXTREME Edition.

As usual, I lock into place the problem/issue/situation I want to address the night before. Then, first thing in the morning I open my Roger von Oech Creative Whack Pack, close my eyes and randomly select the card I will use to jar my thinking. If the deck works, a new perspective or solution presents itself by the end of the session. I also do not let myself swap a card for another one in the deck just because I don't like what it says or because I'm finding it difficult to apply. I feel like swapping cards would be cheating and undermining the whole point - to force yourself to explore problems from a position or perspective that does not otherwise feel natural. Ooooohhh boy, is that an understatement today.
Today's dilemma...

What to do if, in fact, we do not reach the aspired goal of 5,000 readers by tonight at midnight (CST). Do I just let it go? Hmmmm... I'm not sure I like the message. Ignore your disappointments and pretend they don't exist? No. Beat myself up because I couldn't get enough people mobilized in time? No. In one short week we did what took us five and a half weeks to do (reach 1000 readers). Say... "That's it, I should have known it wasn't possible?" No. my outlook on life and what we can achieve is way too positive to chalk it up to impossibility. Instead, I decided to consult a card and see what advice I could glean from it.

Today's Whack on the Side of the Head....

Have Something at Stake. A frozen-fish processor had trouble selling a new line of frozen fish because it tasted "flat." The company tried everything to keep the fish fresh including holding them in tanks until just before processing - but to know avail. The someone suggested: "Put a predator in there with them - that should keep them fresh." This idea worked like a charm. The fish kept moving and retained their vitality. Moral: have something at stake - survival, self-esteem, money, reputation - so that you'll be motivated to make your idea successful. What do you have at stake?

Hmmmm.... My interpretation. Keep trying to reach your goal, but have something at stake. Maybe that would have made the difference. I tried incentives, which was a fun and effective way to remove excuses (a lesson we learned last week), but maybe not quite what the Dr. ordered. So, I will set a new goal and this time I will put something at stake.

I spent about ten minutes starring into space trying to determine what I could possibly put at stake... survival? No. As much fun as I have meeting up with all of you each day, my survival doesn't depend on it. Self-esteem? Maybe. Money? We just paid an insane amount of money in taxes... I have none of that to offer up. Reputation? Reputation as what... the ultimate blogger? There's no future in that. So far, the only one that seems plausible is self-esteem.


As much as I want to tell you... a little more background.

About fourteen months ago I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine who was trying to figure out how he was going to discipline himself to complete his dissertation. This was at about the same time that I was trying to figure out how I was going to discipline myself to give up my Starbucks addiction and finally lose all the baby weight I gained after having Matthew (never recovering) and then having Jack. We lamented over our lack of discipline and then I shared this story with him...

Only the night before our conversation I saw a segment on either 20/20 or Primetime talking about the effectiveness of shame or fear as a motivator. Sounds crazy, I know. The special featured a group of approximately 15 overweight people who, to know avail, tried countless numbers of diets. The experiment was to see if shame or fear could serve as a better motivator than say an upcoming class reunion or other special occasion. To prove the point, the researchers took pictures of each person wearing a bathing suit and then sealed the picture in an envelope... NEVER TO BE LOOKED AT... provided the participants lost their weight. If they didn't meet their goal, however, the pictures would be posted publicly. The idea... the sheer thought of such humiliation would serve as all the motivation necessary for the participants to do whatever it takes.

You see where this is going right? PRIDE... that is what I am putting at stake. My colleague and I ran like *&$# after discussing the idea a year ago - because, frankly, we both couldn't stand the remotest of possibilities. Our pride would have been at stake! But... I think a year later and given this scenario, that's exactly what makes this idea work.

So, here's the deal... We will reach 5,000 readers by May 1 or... I will have to post on my blog a picture of me wearing a bathing suit! That's it. Absolutely my biggest, worst, fear and nightmare come true. Those who know me, know I would rather die of heat in the sweltering sun than take the looooooooooooooong walk down a public beach to finally reach the ocean. I'm the same woman who doesn't want to take an aerobic swim class because the idea of wearing a bathing suit in order to exercise seems like such an outrageous oxymoron. This, for those who do not know me, is the ultimate test of my belief in self... and in you, I might add.

...In YOU, because I know you will not let this happen. As one woman (and many - but not all - of you are women) to another... help me make sure it doesn't come to this. This is EXTREME blogging. I am truly trusting that this devoted, fun, friendly, AND ETHICAL readership will not leave me hanging I am crossing my fingers and putting my pride on the line, believing that you will treat this solution as though it was happening to you. You will muster up every possible friend, relative, neighbor, acquaintance, and pet that you know to help me reach 5,000 by May 1, 2008.

If I haven't conjured up a vivid image of me curled up in a ball, ruing the day I posed this unfortunate question and then drew this one ill-fated card, I simply haven't used enough adjectives or expletives. I'd go on and on, but I have to go now. I have friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and pets to call - not to mention laps to run and crunches to do!

Signing off until tomorrow... when I've picked myself up off the floor.

P.S. This whole thing could be avoided if you would just help me get another 1765 visits to my site TODAY (147 an hour)!!!!!

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