All posts by Rebecca Fegan

About Rebecca Fegan

To be a better anything, I have to be a better person. My results come from the quality of my thinking and it is something I always work on.

If/Then

If you eat a certain way, then your blood sugar reflects it.

If you exercise, your muscles respond.

If you keep track of your calories in and calories expended, you know why you’re gaining or losing weight.

If…then.

Why doesn’t it work then?

I eat Keto, and my blood sugar is all over the map.

I exercise, and my muscles get sore, but not stronger.

I keep track of my calories and in order to lose weight, I’d have to eat 1 egg, 1 piece of bacon, and 1/2 tomato, and be done for the day. I only have 200 cal of activity per day.

My watch says my stress level is up. How? I’m just sitting and reading!

Biology, then, is not predictable with any degree of accuracy. What a shock!

Unintentional consequences

See Gizmos.

I got the Garmin watch. It’s a touch screen. It has more features and benefits than any watch should have. Well, there are always unintentional consequences. It’s connected to my phone. So when I’m getting Facebook notifications, texts, and phone calls (especially spam), and mail notifications, I check my watch because it buzzes.

To do this, I lift my wrist and look at the watch…

So my Garmin thinks I am walking and I get step credit! I’ll take it!

The secret Ingredient!

I love chili season! The warm red sauce, the beans and meat, the spice…

Little known fact: Mexican chocolate adds a bit of cinnamon. The cinnamon oil, not just the stick. It’s quite spicy. If you add some to your chili, it gives it some heat but not the same as pepper heat. Then to bring out the flavor of the meat and the tomato sauce, you can add a bit of cloves and ginger. If you want it exotic, add just a touch of allspice and maybe nutmeg.

OH NO! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!

I put pumpkin spice in my chili! And I liked it! Abomination I tell you!

Gizmos

I got me one of them fancy watches that tells your heartbeat, your blood pressure, your bank balance, and your grocery list. I’m a little intimidated. I think It’s smarter than I am. It should be coming sometime next week. The watch is normal size, but I think the owner’s manual might be bigger than the one for my car… More to follow.

The reason for this marvelous invention? I keep track of my intake of calories, but the expenditure is only a guess. My fitness apps don’t assign caloric values for strength training. I cannot explain why my blood glucose is so wild based on my eating habits. I dropped 25 pounds and seem stuck now, but I have started doing weight training. You know how it feels the day after you do some new workout? Not so bad? So you go the next day. Then the second day after you’ve started your workouts, it hits you. BAM. It’s not just the stuff you did on the 1st day, but compounded on the 2nd and so the 3rd day you need a forklift to get you out of bed.

Ow.

Doing bent-over-the-bench lat rows, I can do 20 reps at 25#. Not sure what my max weight is. Then doing bench presses with dumbbells and those scare the crap out of me. I did 20# in each hand for 10 reps. That’s 40#. I was afraid to try the 25# weights. I think I’d need a spotter.

Wt: 202

So this morning, my Garmin is going off like crazy, every 30 seconds! I thought it was supposed to let me sleep, but I set my “get up” time for 7:30 so at 7:45 it says “Good Morning!” But it doesn’t stop. It’s off sleep mode now so it’s connected to my phone. Now I’m still not ready to get up, but I have to find out what is dinging the crap out of my wrist. It’s connected to my weather app, and although it’s been raining, lightning, and thundering since 3:00 AM, it’s so important that my GARMIN tells me that it’s RAINING. Then 5 min later, it’s STILL RAINING. Then 5 min later It’s going to continue to rain for the next 10 minutes. Then 10 min later, “See, I told you so!” Then 5 min later, it may rain in the next 15 min; then in the next 10; then in the next 5; and then Ohhh Kay maybe 6 more minutes. I’m learning how to turn off alerts.

It continues…

I went back to the gym today. It’s the first time since Covid in March of 2020. I may be sorry.

I had to establish a baseline for my initial exercises. I was supposed to do a gradual increase to see which weights I could lift easily until I got to one where it was really taxing.

I’m doing lat rows from bent over position on a bench and got to 5# each arm, then, since that was easy I thought I’d go to 15#. Someone had stolen all the 15# weights in the whole gym! Got to 20# though for 20 repetitions. 1st time in the gym for 3 years (since March of 2020).

Then I’m doing max weights today for bench press, and I got to 65# for 5 reps.

Then I did chair squats. Stand up, then take 10 seconds to sit.

Wt 202. (includes shoes and workout clothes, so no I didn’t strip.) Oh and I weighed at home because Someone stole the scales. Unbelievable!

I now weigh 6 pounds less than what I weighed when I started the blog eight years ago. https://ihavebetterthingstodo.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/it-begins/

RISE IRSE ISRE…

One of the exercises we did at our Elite Influencer’s Summit in England was one involving values. It was very intense. We’d tell our stories and describe our avatars and the traits and characteristics we admired and those we hated. From those conversations, our values were made known. Because we were on a tight schedule, we only listed 10 values…the 10 most important things in our lives. If you look around, you will see companies, organizations, school systems, and governmental entities claiming these qualities: Respect, Integrity, Sevice, and Excellence. However, the qualities and values we revealed were through our actions, our speech, and our relationships. The ones claimed by the companies were chosen because they resonate with the clients, customers, constituents, and children’s caretakers. They were not derived from their actions.

If you were to interview the top echelons of these entities, you would discover they have 20-30 of the values that are really important to them, and though Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence might be on the list, they’re not very high on it.

Here’s how the exercise went. After discovering the values expressed by the person’s way of life, their thoughts, and their actions, they were put into a list. Then their coach had the participant choose between them to arrive at a prioritized list.

Integrity or Independence? Integrity
Integrity or Truth? Integrity
Integrity or Freedom? Freedom
Freedom or Honesty? Freedom
Freedom or alignment? Freedom…and so on and so on until all of the values are in order of priority.

Our guinea pig had to choose among 30 of these values and it took 1 1/2 hours to get to the definitive list. It was a grueling exercise! You could tell he was exhausted! Have you or anyone you know ever done an exercise like this? I’d be willing to bet that none of these executives have.

One of my values was impact. I was unique in that aspect. Another participant had Dependability for his #1. Another had Contribution. Given the choice of Honesty, Truth, or Integrity, most chose Honesty 1st. Given a choice of Respect, Alignment, or Loyalty, most chose Loyalty. It’s not that those traits aren’t important, it’s that they’re less important than others.

Looking through the Toastmaster posts on the Facebook page, I would infer that Service and Integrity are something desired more by the membership than by the Leadership of the organization. They are high on the complaint list! What kind of values do the Leaders seem to stress? Alignment, Loyalty, and adherence to cultural norms within the organization. Respect seems to be an accessory and Excellence is a bonus. How do you measure excellence? With a contest, right? It’s why they have the Olympic games and Spelling Bees. It’s why there are Michelin Stars and JD Powers awards. Yet, if TM could get rid of contests, they would in a flash. TM is a non-profit business that sells the promise of competence as communicators and leaders while providing materials for study. Do they produce good communicators and leaders? How would anyone know? Yet, their core values are Integrity (doing what they say they’ll do), Respect (showing appreciation and consideration, and treating people with honor and dignity), Service (providing support and aid to further the members’ goals), and Excellence (celebrating the best of performance, quality, and merit).

Look at all the other organizations that present themselves with those same values. Are these traits apparent in their behavior, their advertising, or their relationships with their clients or students?

When have you ever done a deep dive into your core values? If people could look at what you write about, how you express yourself, how you behave, what makes you happy and what makes you mad, the people you surround yourself with and those you shun, what conclusions would they draw about your values? I tell you, I was surprised when I did this exercise.

Mine were these:

  1. Impact
  2. Autonomy
  3. Intelligence
  4. Quality
  5. Curiosity
  6. Creativity
  7. Integrity
  8. Beauty
  9. Open-mindedness
  10. Equity
  11. Choice
  12. Persistence
  13. Humor

Some of these values may not even seem like values to many people. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, and more values may bubble up to higher priorities as I continue to live on this beautiful blue ball.

If you claim values, you better live them. If you choose values because they help you sell cars, Integrity, honesty, or truth isn’t even on your list. Remember, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never write a blog if you’re depressed

And yet, here I am.

I am a teacher. I have been a teacher for 52 years. I KNOW I’m not supposed to be comparing myself to others; I’m doing what I love…

And yet, here I am.

Most teachers that have been teaching as long as I have, are dead. At the very least, they’re retired and living on the state pension. I’m working with 5 students and bringing in about $600/month. That is a full $1200 less than someone that lasted long enough in the system to get a pension. I would never have qualified because I got fired from all 9 of the teaching jobs I had after teaching there 1 year. So apparently, I’m not a GOOD teacher.

So, here I am.

I am a financial analyst. I have the highest level certification in securities and am also certified in life insurance. I have been in the business for 22 years. Most people in the company that have been working for 22 years have over 100 representatives and thousands of clients. They are making between $75K and $206K. I have 0 representatives on my team and less than 20 clients, and I average about $4500/year. So apparently, I’m not a GOOD financial analyst.

And yet, here I am.

I have been told I am a natural at coaching, but I need to unlearn my teaching approach to coaching. I somehow made it to a group that will (as of August 5) be accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. This is rare air indeed. Everyone in this group already has a coaching business and I’m hearing SMART goals that include making $125K in the next quarter. They are told to write a short book, to come up with a mailing list with daily emails, and to have products and services such as webcasts, master classes, masterminds, websites, and speaking engagements. They are told to have various funnels that bring prospects into their business where they are converted into clients.

So, here I am.

I am studying my butt off. I am practicing skills. But I have no clients. “Go get clients!” They say. So I try to get a website going. They say, “Why do you need a website? You have no clients! Go get clients!” So I try getting my book written. They say, “Why are you writing a book? You have no one to sell it to! Go get clients!” So now I find myself in the same situation as I am in the financial business. No clients, no income. No income, no marketing. No marketing, no clients to provide income. And round and round it goes. How do I get clients? Knock on doors, put up flyers, send out brochures, put events in LinkedIn and Facebook… Why would I think that this would be successful when I have few friends on Facebook and fewer followers on LinkedIn?

And yet, here I am.

I thoroughly believed that if I was REALLY good at what I did, I would have students and clients and recognition as a person you could go to that would help you solve your problems. I see people who are barely qualified to teach what I’ve taught getting accolades as Teacher of the Year. I see people who don’t understand money like I do making the rounds as a retirement specialist and giving seminars on how to have a mediocre return on your money. I’ve seen coaches who basically tell their clients what to do and get paid thousands of dollars per session and there is no transformation in the participant, they just check off boxes.

I write books that no one will ever read. I write music no one will ever hear. I’m a club-coach coach who has never coached a club. I am a cook that can’t hold down a job in a restaurant. I have choreography to music that no one will ever dance to. I have an unfinished 3′ x 5′ cross stitch project that will remain on my “to do” pile along with an afghan that took me 5 years to finish and came apart where it was sewn and a sweater my husband needs mending. I used to speak 5 languages but now can only parse together 4-5 word phrases. I have a 120,000-word novel that will never get finished or published, and that short book I was told not to write will also remain unfinished and unpublished.

So, I shouldn’t be here.

I don’t fit.

  • When I was taking ballet at the Omaha Academy of Ballet, I couldn’t stretch into the splits because I had an artificial and restrictive hip replacement. There were certain things I couldn’t do. So when we were doing combinations on the diagonal, I’d just stroll to the other side of the room. I wouldn’t even try.
  • When I was in fast food, they had production levels based on the average production on that particular day of the week. But they didn’t account for slow and peak periods and as a result, they overproduced during the slow periods and wasted a lot of food and underproduced during the peak periods, and ran out and lost customers. I kept my mouth shut because my background in statistics had no value there. I didn’t even try to change this system that didn’t work.
  • When I was teaching music in the schools, I was teaching kids to be creative and to integrate all the classes they were taking into the music they were making. I found this is not what the administration and the other teachers wanted. I quit trying to get teaching positions in the schools.

Do you know what’s worse than failing? Succeeding at something that doesn’t matter. There are so many things that I wanted to do and finish really well until I recognized they were worthless goals. I may have a gift for teaching, coaching, and music, but it makes no difference how good I am if people don’t want what I can offer. I’m to the point where I don’t even want to start anything new…just binge BritBox and complain to the world.

Have you got a book in you?

I am part of a collaborative group that puts out inspirational books. We just put out a practical book!!! This was strange because we were using the same principles we had chosen for the other books:

  1. explore one aspect of the subject,
  2. call to mind some stories that help people look at the subject from a different perspective,
  3. give the reader something to think about.

What was different about our last book? It was a “How-To” book on the Art of Speaking. The chapters included organization, incorporating humor, making use of body language and vocal variety (which was really tough because it’s difficult to get across those concepts without actually hearing them!), and the end result was something that could actually serve as a manual for the readers to follow.

What is cool about how our group works is that we keep getting invited to the local library for “local authors” events. There will be a table where we display our (Now 7) books and a hefty percentage of the authors in attendance. The number of authors for each book varies from 7 to 13.

While we sit behind our table we come in contact with other authors. Once we sat next to Preston Love!!! He was astonished that such a big group could work on a single project and still be friends afterward. We were displaying our latest book, “Spotlight on the Art of Gratitude” and he told us that after watching our group all afternoon, he still couldn’t tell who the leader was.

We also walk around and visit the other authors to see what kind of books they’ve got, how long they have been writing, do they have an agent, who does their publishing, stuff like that. Every once in a while, some of us may buy books. I tend to buy books on the history of the area.

There was a book that intrigued me after reading the back cover. It was about a businessman and his ex-girlfriend who had a daughter with him, and he was striving to make the world a better place. The writer of this book went to a self-publishing service. They did not proofread, edit, or format his book. After looking at their website, I’m guessing he got the Black & White interior with the glossy cover. He spent about $2000 on publishing the book, and he got 58 copies. The cost of printing that sized book is about $7.00 apiece. There was no way he would make a profit unless he sold over 275 copies. The chances of him coming out with a new book every 6 months (like we did) were slim and none.

Folks, this book was terrible. I couldn’t get past the first 40 pages and threw it away. Now those of you who know me know I would never throw a book out unless it was covered in duct tape and missing 20 of the interior pages. It was supposed to be a work of fiction. You’d think that there might be a plot somewhere in those first 40 pages. There was a back story on the main character, and there were 18 other characters introduced and all had superficial back stories–one or two sentences each. But we still don’t know why we’re interested in this particular character. And horror of all horrors, this author wants to make this into a series about the guy! So the saying is true…you can’t judge a book by its cover.

How hard is it to write a book? MONUMENTAL!!!! Right?

Nope. You have told stories all your life. There was that one time on vacation… I remember that bully in 6th grade… I entered a car into the pinewood derby once… See? You string these stories together. As you write, you start making up things that your main character would have to do to get from Zero to Hero. Give him a team or maybe pit him against his villain. You can go anywhere with this! Make an outline of what you want to say in your book whether it’s a story or a textbook. Fill in the details. Describe your setting and your characters. How did they get to be the person you’d see in this story? Why are they IN the story? You see?

Half, no 7/8 of what happens in your story is based on the questions you ask yourself. Take the part of the reader as he interviews the characters. Take the perspective of someone that wants to ask the author why this or that scene is in the book… If it’s an adventure, tell us who you want to win in the end. If it is a biography, make a two-dimensional person into a three-dimensional person. Don’t just tell us what he did and when he did it. Tell us about his character, his values, his loves, his hates, his fears… If it is inspirational, include a call to action.

Here’s the most important part: Have fun writing!

How to get away with murder on any Police Procedural Show

You know how this works. You’ve gotten to the end of the line with this jerk. He stole your company. He stole your wife. He brutally raped you or a friend of yours. He’s ruined your reputation. He cheated on you…whatever it was–he deserved to die. And you killed him. You’re guilty as sin.

You cleaned up the scene as best as you could, wiped down all the surfaces, cleaned up all your blood, and repaired the damage to the furniture and the walls. It won’t make any difference. Somewhere, maybe by the litter box, under the sink with the cleaning supplies, or in the bathroom, the Crime Scene Investigators will find the single hair, the drop of snot, a single teardrop that will give them your DNA. They will come to your house and send in the lab geeks to ask you questions. They will slam down a folder as thick as a doctoral dissertation and tell you all the evidence they have.

You left a single pine needle from the Pinus sylvestris which, though prolific in the area, is only found in one place within the 7-mile radius of the crime scene and it’s in your backyard.

“Confess you Dastardly Murderer!” they will say with Shakespearian glee.

This is when you do it. Here are your lines (with direction).

*Stand up and slam your hand down on the table. “YES! I did it!”

This might seem counterintuitive. You just confessed to murder, after all. This, however, is where it gets fun. At this point, you make up reasons why you killed him.

“He made fun of my favorite LOL cat meme!”
“He spray-painted his name on the bridge my father built.” Your father was a musician.
“His dog pooped on my lawn every morning!” He didn’t own a dog.
“He called my wife incessantly!”
“He heckled me at the Stand-Up Comedy Club.”

It doesn’t matter as long as you don’t tell them your real motive. They’ll figure that out later.

Then you describe your brutal murder of the victim in gruesome detail. But you have to give all the wrong details. Make sure you’re crying or yelling while you do this. Emotion sells. You pushed him off a building, so instead, you tell them you slit his throat, shot him straight in the heart, tied him to the garbage truck, or snipped his brake lines. After you confess, you ask, as innocently as possible, if your picture will be in the paper. Then you just wait. Do not giggle…look as guilty as possible. Evil masterminds will have discovered this trick and their whole modus operandi is to make the cops (especially the CSI) aware of how feeble their powers of deduction are. They tend to gloat and rub their hands together evilly when they think no one is watching. They may even smile or laugh. You are not an evil mastermind. Your modus operandi is to not get caught.

Even if the detectives DO come up with a motive, and they discover you had the opportunity, they will dismiss you because they believe you’ve made a false confession. They will look for someone you might be protecting. But since the only one you’re protecting is you, this is not your concern.

Most importantly, NEVER RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME! Remember that the total time from the discovery of the murder to your release will be between 24 and 48 hours. Then their department will get backed up and they’ll forget about you. Now you can go on your merry way.

Who knows? You might even see your crime reenacted on “Unsolved Mysteries.” Do not invite your friends over…