Tag Archives: Master Key

Week 16 – A “Kind” Makeover

I’ve had plenty of makeovers over the years…

Several different makeup looks, different hairstyles, new wardrobes…

These makeovers are typically passive.  By that I mean you just show up and let the experts work their magic on you.

But the 13-Week “Total Personality Makeover,” is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!  This makeover requires awareness and action…it’s anything but passive.

Our makeover is modeled after a concept in Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography about heightening your virtues by becoming aware of these virtues, both within ourselves and the world around us.

You can read how Benjamin Franklin conducted his “makeover” – in his own words – here, or just read on for our “new and improved” version:

Make a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top as column headings and each row heading will be a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.

Now, pick a characteristic or trait to focus on for the week.  For this week, everyone in our group was focused on “kindness.”

Are You Ready? … Get Set … GO!

Put your antennae up and recognize every time you exhibit that trait or observe it out in the world.  The thought is that the more you see and do an act of kindness, the more you will receive, and kindness becomes a more natural part of who you are.

Every time you perform an act of kindness – or observe one – you put a dot in the square for that day.

Do at least 2 random acts of kindness a day…without getting caught!  (It’s not as easy as it sounds!)

I made a game out of it to increase my numbers every day (I’m pretty competitive).

If you go through this process with enthusiasm and treat it as an experience rather than an experiment you will notice some wonderful things happening both within – and around – you.

I had three main takeaways this week:

  • The more acts of kindness I performed, the easier – and more exciting! – it was to perform more.
  • The feeling behind the kindness lasts far longer than the act itself.
  • An act of kindness rarely exists in a vacuum.  It may set off a “chain reaction of kindness” with the recipient “paying it forward” to another.  Or it may inspire someone – especially children – nearby to do the same.

What’s one example of an act of kindness you performed or observed this week, and how did it make you feel?

Week 15 – Rise and Shine! You ARE a Diamond Mine!

When I was a kid, my favorite cartoon — and childhood hero — was Speed Racer.  Speed’s little brother Spritle, and Chim Chim the monkey, absolutely LOVED candy.  Every time the word “candy” was spoken, their eyes turned into these spinning peppermint pinwheels and they did a little “happy dance” with their candy.

Spritle and Chim Chim, from the Speed Racer Cartoon

Why do I bring up Spritle and Chim Chim?  Because my eyes felt just like those spinning peppermint pinwheels during this week’s MKMMA webinar when “diamonds” were mentioned.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a jewelry girl.  Perhaps it’s because I’m newly engaged and have diamonds on my mind…

…but the lesson in those diamonds was priceless.

Let me share a story with you…

Legend has it that there was a traveler in a remote area of South Africa, and one day he watched young boys playing with some small stones resembling marbles.  The traveler was mesmerized by these stones, as they were unlike any stones he had ever seen before.  He asked the boys’ father if he had any more of these stones.  

He sure did!  The man brought out a bowl full of these stones, and the traveler offered about 30 cents’ worth of tobacco for the stones.

Interestingly, the man thought he was taking advantage of the traveler, but he traded the stones anyway.

And this is how the largest South African diamond mines were discovered.

You see…the boys’ father was not aware of what he had.

And neither do most people.  Most people do not know what they have, and what lies within them.

file000981375454You see, we ALL have great riches within us…just like the bright, shiny diamond that lies within the rough.  Perhaps we don’t know we are that bright, shiny diamond yet.  Or perhaps we’ve been conditioned to believe we’re not that bright, shiny diamond.

In either case, we ARE that diamond-in-the rough, and it’s our responsibility to shine!

file7171273536699We just need to be KNOW that we have that bright, shiny diamond within us…and then set out to polish it up.

Ready?  Happy Dance Time!

So, this week we begin our 13-week “total personality and character makeover” to help us reveal the rich treasures that lie within us.

I’ll share more about that makeover in my next post.

Until then…

Rise and Shine…You ARE a Diamond Mine!

Week 14 – Cool Runnings, Mon!

This week we had an “assignment” to watch a movie and then observe and report the 4 Tiny Habits that create persistence.

Oh, no!  Watch a MOVIE???  Don’t throw me in that Briar Patch!  😉

I’m somewhat of a movie junkie…I’ve even been known to quote movie lines in everyday conversation…OFTEN.

So I chose the movie “Cool Runnings.”  It’s based on the true story of the 1988 Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Now, if you’re thinking “Jamaican Bobsled Team?  WHAT???”  Then you’re right there with me when I heard about the story.  If you’re familiar with the story, then I guess you were paying attention to the Olympics in 1988.  (I, however, was in my first year of college, and lived in what was affectionately known as “The Baylor Bubble” where only select information made it through to us students…)

But I digress…


  1. A Definite Purpose, Backed By a Burning Desire For Its Fulfillment
  2. A Definite Plan, Expressed in Continuous Action
  3. A Mind Closed Against Negative and Discouraging Influences (A Positive Mental Attitude)
  4. A Friendly Alliance With One Or More Persons Who Will Encourage One To Follow Through With Both Plan And Purpose


Derese was a track star and Olympic hopeful whose dream was to compete in the Olympics.  He “knew” he would make the Olympic team at tryouts, yet his dreams of running in the Olympics turned to dust as a fellow Olympic hopeful tripped and took down two additional runners…including Derese.

Yet Derese didn’t give up.  Far from it!

He was inspired by a photo of his father — a fellow track star — standing next to a man who was an Olympic Gold Medal Winner…in the Bobsled.  This gentleman wanted Derese’s father to be a bobsledder, as he believed that sprinters would make the best bobsledders.  Yet Derese’s father stuck to what he was good at…running.

With just 3 months until the Olympic Games, Derese set his mind on a new goal:  representing Jamaica in the Olympic Games…as a member of Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  And he convinced his friend Sanka — “the best push cart driver in all of Jamaica” — to join him on his journey.

Derese located this man, Irv, who, conveniently, lived in Jamaica, and “stalked” him until he agreed to coach Jamaica’s first bobsled team.  Derese then held a meeting to find teammates, and Irv did everything in his power to convince the attendees NOT to join the team.

Somehow they found two teammates (the other two Olympic hopefuls who lost the opportunity to compete in track and field), and a team was born.

The odds were stacked against them:

  • They were track stars…they could run…on LAND.  But what about running on ICE?
  • They didn’t know what a bobsled WAS…three months before the Games.
  • They didn’t have the ability to practice in the snow.  (Forget “snow”…they didn’t even know “cold!”)
  • They had a reluctant coach.
  • They didn’t have a bobsled.
  • They didn’t have the money to get to Calgary.

But they had the BURNING DESIRE to get there.  Each of the team members had their own burning desire, and their combined desire led to their living their dream.


These young men knew NOTHING about bobsledding.  They had to start from the very beginning learning the fundamentals of the sport…with just 3 months until the games.

I’m reminded of Vince Lombardi, who was passionate about the fundamentals:

Gentlemen…this is a football.

These men had to start with the fundamentals:

  • What is bobsledding?
  • Who are the team members, and what are their roles?
  • What is a push start?
  • The importance of cold weather endurance.
  • Running…on ICE.
  • The responsibilities of the Driver.

On top of the fundamentals of the sport of bobsledding, they team also had to raise the money to get them from Jamaica to Canada.  In the movie, the team raised money by street performances, arm wrestling, a kissing booth, and selling a very expensive car.  The first-hand participation in the fundraising events is proof of the BURNING DESIRE these men had to attend the Games.

The team — especially Derese, as the driver — continuously visualized their goal.  Derese studied photographs of the turns and mentally went through the motions of navigating the turns.  And the entire team went through the turns sitting in a bathtub.

Nobody had that much fun in a sled since Santa Clause!  ~ Sanka


Everyone laughed at these men for being the pioneers from their country in the sport of bobsledding.

They were different.  People are afraid of what’s different.

But they never lost sight of their vision…competing in the Games.  Representing their Country.

Other teams laughed at them.  These men brushed off their negativity, because they had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their goals.  They KNEW they could do it.

Rise and Shine!  It’s Butt-Whipping Time!



Sure, these men had a BURNING DESIRE to achieve their dreams of competing in the Olympics, but they couldn’t do it alone.

They needed the support of others.

They supported each other as teammates.

Yul to Junior:  

I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap from nobody!

They returned to their roots and expressed their authentic selves:

 All I’m saying, mon, is if we walk Jamaican, talk Jamaican, and *is* Jamaican, then we sure as hell better bobsled Jamaican.

When they became JAMAICAN bobsledders, they released their TRUE power.  Ah, the power of authenticity!

They changed their push-start lead-in from “eins, zwei, drei” to…

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! Cool Runnings!

That’s more like it!

Their bobsled was named “Cool Runnings,” which translates to “Peace Be The Journey.”  (Hmmm…talk about being in harmony with MKMMA!)

Even though the team lost control of their bobsled and never finished the race, they still won.  While they may not have won their medals, they won the respect of the world that watched.


The bottom line and moral of the story is summed up in this quote from Irv:

A gold medal is a wonderful thing.  But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.

It all starts from within.

Cool Runnings, mon.


Week 13 – Persistence: Cause or Effect?

When I was a little girl, my dad would go out and ride his bike.  Like most little girls who wanted to spend time with their daddy, I would want to go bike riding, too.

My dad was older than me (obviously!), stronger than me, had more experience riding a bike than me, AND he had a ten-speed bike.

I, on the other hand, was young, inexperienced, and had a one-speed bike…MINE.  My bike would only go as fast as my little legs could peddle.

Together we rode up and down hills that left me red-faced and huffing and puffing trying to keep up.  Dad would always ask if I wanted to stop and rest, and I would always refuse.

I can do it!  I can keep up!

Dad always said I was quite a “stubborn little girl.”

As I grew older, he began referring to me as a “determined young lady.”

Whatever terminology he used…I always considered myself to be persistent.

Persistence is defined as:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Yep!  That’s me!

I refused to back down, admit defeat, or request special treatment.

I will persist until I succeed.
I will persist.  I will win.
~Og Mandino

I have read these words as directed in The Greatest Salesman in the World, and I’ve been thinking about how I have persisted in my life…and how I have quit…and what that has cost me.

And I’ve recently changed my thoughts about persistence, because in the MKMMA we learned that persistence is a HABIT.  Persistence is not the CAUSE of success, but rather the EFFECT that is created as a result of four tiny habits:

  1. A definite purpose backed by a burning desire for its fulfillment.
  2. A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.
  3. A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestion of relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
  4. A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.


So…to develop the HABIT of persistence, I must first have a definite purpose, a definite plan, a positive mental attitude, and a friendly alliance.

Where I have succeeded in life, I have had a strong grasp on the four tiny habits.  Where I have quit, I have lacked one (or more!) of the four tiny habits.

We are only halfway through the MKMMA course, and I KNOW I am strengthening ALL of these habits…

…and the RESULT is the HABIT of persistence.

To create this new habit, I am reminded that I must start each day anew with my habits:

I forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this is the best day of my life…
…If I persist long enough I win.

I’m still that little girl:  stubborn, determined, persistent.

I’m just creating new habits.

I persist.  I win.


Week 12 – The Powerful Trio of Knowledge, Courage, & Faith

As a child I would drag books to my mother and ask her to read to me.  She would ultimately read each book to me so many times that I could “read” these book myself, because I knew what was said on each page.

That kicked off a lifelong obsession for learning.  I enjoyed school.  I enjoyed learning.  (Until I got to subjects like calculus…YUCK!)

To this day, I still enjoy learning new things, whether it’s learning a new skill, a new hobby, or something about myself.   Among the more unusual subject I’ve studied are salsa dancing, cooking, bartending, jewelry making, handwriting analysis, tarot card reading, reading body language, handgun safety & shooting, home organization…well, you get the picture.  It’s all over the board.

And that’s just the “fun” stuff.  Then there’s the skills and business development studies, as well as the personal development programs.

A big in-your-face lesson lesson for me this week is that I have been accumulating a vast array of KNOWLEDGE, yet over the past few years, I haven’t had the COURAGE to dare, much less the FAITH to do.


What’s wrong with that?


I have all the knowledge I need to succeed…if I would just apply it.

So why haven’t I had the courage to do it?

I never felt like an “expert” compared to the so-called “experts” out there…so I kept learning until my knowledge was “perfect.”

This habit of obtaining knowledge and seeking perfectionism has not served me well.  I have been on the sidelines while others have advanced.  So I am dismissing it.

So how do I summon the courage?
By taking a leap of faith.

Throughout the MKMMA course we’ve been told to “have faith in the process.”

That’s not always easy for me…especially when the process involves something that’s out of my comfort zone.

But I’ve kept the faith and trusted the process throughout the course, including this week’s task of creating two sets of “flash cards,” each with an affirmation or an achievement (big or small) on each card.

I kept a set of these “flash cards” with me at all times, and read through them several times a day.

And you know what?

It triggered something within me.

All the constant reminders of the successes I’ve had in the PAST have created a burning desire within me for successes in my PRESENT and my FUTURE.

And what does a burning desire plus the affirmation “Do It Now!” do?

It creates action.  Now.

I’ve done more this week — and more efficiently — than I have in a long time.

I’ve learned.  I’ve implemented.  I’ve made PROGRESS toward my goals.

Because I Have KNOWLEDGE of My Power,
The COURAGE to Dare,
And the FAITH to Do.
And that makes me UNSTOPPABLE!

Week 11 – I Don’t Give a Damn About My Reputation

You may be wondering about the title of this post…

Or you may be wondering about ME for making a post with this title…

That’s OK…


Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you REALLY are, while your reputation is merely what others THINK you are.    ~ John Wooden

Since the last few years have been “character-building years” for me, this quote really struck a chord.  Now, combine that with my being a child of the 80s, and what do you get?

I’ve liked Joan Jett’s music since the “I Love Rock n Roll” album debuted in 1981.  I didn’t realize until this week that the band was rejected by 23 record labels.

Does the phrase “I will persist until I succeed” mean anything to you?  Oh, hell to the yeah!

But I digress…


What truly impacted me this week was the importance of character.  I’ve always valued character, along with it’s twin sister integrity, and it’s a line I just don’t cross.  Furthermore, I don’t associate with those that cross the line.

Yet over the past few years I’ve struggled with maintaining my character and integrity and doing what is right…not because I didn’t want to…but because I did.

I was tempted (oh-so-many times) to loosen the reigns on my character after watching the “success” of another individual who believed in “winning at all costs,” regardless of the casualties left in their wake.

As a result,

My reputation suffered.  My confidence suffered.  My business suffered.

But my CHARACTER remained intact.  Neither my body nor my mind could take actions that went against my character, because that’s who I REALLY AM.  And I’m a better person for it.  I can look myself in the eye every evening and say – with confidence – I LOVE YOU, STACY RYAN!  (And mean it.)

I can rebuild a reputation.  I have the knowledge, the tools, and, thankfully, my confidence has returned from it’s sabbatical.

Character is everything.

So yeah,


Week 10 – The Power of Combinations

I’ve been thinking a lot about combinations this week.  We live in a world chock-full of combinations.

Think about it…

You go to a restaurant, and what’s on the menu? Combo plates! In fact, you typically order your food by number:  “I’ll have the #7, please.”

Why is that?

McDonald’s may have kicked off the combo movement with the phrase “Would you like fries with that?”  

And it caught on.


Because it worked.  Offering combos and “value meals” increased McDonald’s revenues, and not by a little…it increased revenues exponentially.

McDonald’s is a savvy business powerhouse…they’re not going to continue doing anything that isn’t making them money.  So that means we’re on to something here…

…but that’s not where the story ends.

Overcoming Adversity

In my kickboxing classes, they teach us combinations of moves, such as jab-cross-hook-front kick, because any combination of moves is exponentially more powerful than the individual moves.

Do you enjoy music?  (I do!)  Take any piece of music, and it’s a combination of different instruments, playing different notes at different speeds.  Individually, each instrument might sound good…but put them all together, and add vocals (or not), and WOW!  The sum of the parts is exponentially better than the individual sounds.

The same can be said for colors, dancing, cooking, mixology (a personal favorite of mine!), … well, the list includes just about everything!

I write this as my fiancé and I are combining households.  As we unpack, we learn that there are things we have duplicates (or triplicates, or even quadruplets!) of, things we have that are unique and complementary, and things we both lack…often items we’ve never individually had a need a for.

As individuals, we complement one another nicely, and the two of us are, indeed, exponentially better than our already fabulous individual selves.  Together, we are the creative AND the analytical.  We are the free spirit and the grounding force.  We are the warrior and the peacemaker.  We see different perspectives of the same issue, and are able to add value to the other person.

The same goes for our personal development.

By combining the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses together in unique and powerful ways we are “putting our foot on the accelerator” to reach our goals.

And now, my goal is to create a “Menu of Combinations” designed to help me reach my goals in life.


Week 9 – And That’s The Truth

I have a long-standing history as somewhat of a comedienne.  I can be quick-witted, sarcastic, and even self-deprecating at times…

So when one of the assignments in this week’s MKMMA course was to adopt and repeat the affirmation:

“I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.”

My first thought was “Pffft…yeah, right!”

Then again…

A lot of truth is said in jest. ~ Eminem

I had faith.

I trusted the exercises.

I trusted the process.

And I believed.

I realized that since this process began, I’ve been speaking the truth of my FUTURE self…the one that IS whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy.

Perhaps it was said in jest at first.

And over the past few weeks my subconscious has been changing it’s tune.

Because here we are…in Week 9 of the process…and I realize that much has changed –in both my world within and my world without — that has put me on this path to what I KNOW is the truth.

Wordle: MKMMA


  • WHOLE – I have everything I need within me…for love, success, and life.  It’s how I choose to share myself with others that counts.
  • PERFECT – (OK…Truth Moment here…I’m still working on this one… I don’t  believe anyone is perfect…so how about “I’m better than average.”)
  • STRONG – I am a woman with a strong will and determination to succeed in love, life, and business.  I am physically strong (as evidenced by packing, moving, and unpacking for 12+ hours a day)
  • POWERFUL – I have the power to choose my actions and reactions.  I have the power to make things happen for myself and others.
  • LOVING – I have a renewed love of life.  I am enjoying a better relationship with my family.  And this week I received “an offer I couldn’t refuse”…and am now an excited and proud bride-to-be.
  • HARMONIOUS – I’m in a new home on the water.  Nature is everywhere.  It’s peaceful. And that feeling of peace and harmony is extending to all aspects of my life.
  • HAPPY – Everything is coming together, and the result is a feeling of happiness and joy unmatched in my life…up until now.

And That’s The Truth.

Week 8 – Do What You Do

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.  ~Albert Einstein

This has long been one of my favorite quotes, and since we were really challenged to use our imagination this week, it was at the forefront of my mind.

Our challenge:  To take an object in our imagination — specifically, a battleship — and deconstruct it to its humble beginnings.  It makes you stop to think about the enormity of the project:  how many people were involved in the building, the design, the procuring of materials…

It’s overwhelming!

My problem:  I didn’t feel all that creative this week, since I was busy packing up a house I’ve lived in for the past 15 years.

That’s where I was wrong.

Have you ever moved?

That involves a BOATLOAD of imagination and creativity!

The coordination of people and activities…cancelling services, starting services, transferring services, hiring movers, enlisting friends and family to assist with supervising the move…and, of course…



The packing is easy at first…you get to choose what to pack first, and how it goes into the box.  You declutter.  You carefully designate what goes to the new home, what gets donated, and what is trash.

Some items bring back memories of where you bought it, who you were with, and how it’s been used in your home.  Then, using our exercise to take that item back in time, you can think about every involved in the process of creating that item.

Can’t linger too long on those memories…there’s too much packing to do!

The whole process is a well oiled machine…for the first 30 boxes or so.  Then you get to a point where every room in the house is partially packed, and navigating the household is done with precise movements to avoid the “land mines” of boxes neatly stacked throughout the house.

Now it’s time to get creative!

You’re getting creative with your meals so you can “eat down the refrigerator.”

You’re using boxes as “tables” to hold packing paper and roll glassware.

You’re using a pizza screen with a paper towel on it as a “plate” so you can pack your dishes.

There are items you want to pack, and yet you can’t find a box that’s the right size.

Or you have the box, and nothing else to go in the box that’s the right size, shape, or weight.

And then, in some cases, you are able to carefully — and even artfully — arrange items in a box to maximize space and efficiency, while simultaneously (hopefully!) minimizing breakage.

{NOTE:  Nearly every box in my house says “FRAGILE!” on it.  I LITERALLY live in a glass house!  Nearly everything in my house is metal and glass.  I’ve decided that when I finish unpacking I’m going to have a FIELD DAY rolling around on all the bubble wrap!  It’s THERAPY!!!}

But I digress…

It gets to the point — for me, 2 days before move-out day — where I just don’t care anymore.  Dump it into a box and just say FUHGETTABOUTIT!!!  (Or, sometimes, a more colorful term.)

So I’ve been thinking about the Einstein quote above, and came across this video that brought tears to my eyes.  The video is just shy of 9 minutes long, and well worth watching.  See the MKMMA teachings.  See the passion.  See the imagination.  See the INSPIRATION!

Now go be inspired to DO WHAT YOU DO!

(And do it NOW!)

Week 7 – Looks Like I Picked The Wrong Week…

Do you ever start a project and then think “I picked the wrong week to start this!”

I certainly have!  And this week is no exception. That phrase went through my mind SO MANY TIMES this week! Between the stress of having my house on the market, helping my boyfriend get his house ready to put on the market, buying a house together…

…it made me wonder “What was I thinking taking all this on at the same time?”

While the truth is that there’s never a “perfect” time to do anything, all I could think of wass the movie “Airplane!”

So, here’s the deal…

This week we were challenged to go on a 7-Day “Mental Diet” to eliminate negative thinking from our lives for 7 days.  OK, I’m a pretty positive person, I can do this…


The point is to catch ourselves entertaining negative thoughts and to get rid of them by focusing on something positive…it’s a chance to change your mindset.


I’m in the process of selling my house. I got the inspection report from the buyer.


Dealing with Xfinity/Comcast over billing issues…for the 3rd month in a row.


My coffee maker died. (On a morning I REALLY needed coffee!)


A rare south Texas freeze warning requiring me to drag the plants around the house to the garage in cold, windy, wet weather.


Getting sick from running myself ragged and spending the day in bed rather than packing.


Well, you get the idea.

It’s an interesting experiment, and one I will definitely be continuing beyond the 7-days…even if it’s not a requirement for the MKMMA course.

Why? Because I’m learning a few things about myself in this process.

  • It’s becoming easier to catch myself CREATING the negative thoughts, so I can stop them from entering my subconscious mind.
  • When I don’t catch myself creating these thoughts, I can at least banish the negative thoughts from my mind fairly quickly.
  • I’m becoming hyper-sensitive to negative people, and they’re just not fun to be around.

…And I Am A Fun Person People Like To Be Around!