Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving Day!

Written by Karen D. Swim

Happy Wednesday! Well, this blog has moved. If you typically access this blog from the tab on my website, I have not yet updated the navigation. Please bookmark our new address. Although I have talked about this move for quite some time, the execution has not gone as planned. Thank goodness for MERRY tips! The move and brand new design were to happen simultaneously. However, I could not bear the frustrations any longer, so last night I picked up and moved (with help from my awesome web host!).

So, no Men with Pens pretty custom design (yet) but commenting will be easier and I will have comment luv (yippee). I was so excited last night I woke up at 3 am and watched the news! Yea, bad idea, but the 3 am ABC news is very interesting, kind of BBC mixed with Good Morning America mixed with carnival. Hmm, this could explain the later dreams about Bette Midler.

I'll be back tomorrow to hit you with the happy stick in the blog's new space. I'll be sure to update you on how to keep subscribing too, one of the many things that must be figured out today.

Have an awesome day and if you've got wordpress tips, I'm sure to be asking lots of questions on Twitter or Plurk today!

Peace and love,


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Making MERRY from Failures

Written by Karen D. Swim

Are you familiar with the sound effects that accompany total failure? It sounds a little like this...did you hear it? Exactly, it is so silent you can hear dust move across the floor.

Public failure can be especially difficult. There is no covering it up when you blow it while others are watching. Yet, it's not often humiliation that stings the most, it is our own heartbreak when our results don't live up to our expectations. The reel of negative self talk plays in a never ending loop. My MERRY tips have helped me to hit the pause button on the torture tape and move on.

  1. Mourn the Loss. Yes, it is a loss! To deny what you feel only prolongs it. I give myself a specific time period to mourn the loss. I find that 6 1/2 minutes works magic. I can cry, brood and feel sucky and then it's time to move on.
  2. Examine your Expectations. Were your expectations realistic? There's a fine balance between aiming high and setting yourself up for utter disappointment. The balance lies in managing your expectations. Aim for the moon, but if you land in the stars, celebrate your accomplishment rather than mourn your failure.
  3. Re-evaluate your motive. If you launched a product to make a zillion dollars, land on Oprah and party like Diddy with no thought of the end user and their benefit, well your profits may fall short of expectations. Yes you rock, but you must rock with purpose.
  4. Roll up your sleeves and learn. Failure teaches us tremendous lessons if you're willing to learn them. Perhaps the results fell short of expectations but there is much to be gained from the experience. Be willing to honestly examine your process, preparation and attitude. Take notes and use what you've learned to continue to move forward.
  5. You're not done yet! So you bombed, it's not the end of the world. I can prove it, you're here reading this post aren't you?

So there you have it my MERRY tips for recovering from failure. How do you move on when something has not gone quite as expected? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Belief + Preparation = You Taking the World by Storm

Written by Karen D. Swim


Actress, comedienne, and author Mo'Nique exudes confidence. She has overcome barriers and created her own reality in a town where that is not easy to do.

So, it should come as no surprise that while mindlessly flipping channels I stopped to hear her share the secret to her success. I expected to listen in for a few minutes but finger on the remote I sat transfixed for the next half hour rapt with attention.

I feasted on the meal of her wisdom and now I'd like to share a few morsels with you.

Belief + preparation = any d*** thing you want!

Talent is meaningless without belief and preparation. There are many great novels tucked away in bottom drawers, canvases shoved into the corner of basements and songs never heard all by people with tremendous talent. When you believe that you deserve success, you will prepare for it. In fact you will prepare relentlessly knowing that you will make it. And when that break comes, you will be happy but not surprised because you believed.

My big break came not when the big deal came but when I decided it was my big break.

The book deal, promotion, award, appearance on Oprah, and huge check are not what will define your success. Your success begins within, when you decide you are worthy enough to have it.

When they speak of me of course I want them to say, she was funny, or she was a great actress but most importantly I want them to say I stood for something.

Fame, fortune and even wealth are window dressing. Living with integrity and standing for something has a lasting impact on the people you will touch in this lifetime. Go out and grab your success but make it count for something bigger than you.

Do you believe? What are you doing about it? Share boldly in the comments.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Inspiration

Words and Photo - Karen D. Swim

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another."--John 1:16, New International Version (NIV) Bible

I am painfully aware that I cannot live one day withoutGod's grace. Today I am thankful that the supply of unmerited favor is not finite. Grace has given me more than I ever deserved or could ever earn in a lifetime. The knowledge of grace bows my head in humility and fills my heart with thankfulness.

Grace enables me to look upon others with a compassion that comes from the knowledge that we are all in this race together. Imperfect creatures faced with the same 24 hours in a day to strive to be better, to do better. Grace humbly reminds me that I am not worthy to judge your perceived faults for I have many of my own. Grace encourages me to reach across the divide and extend the hand of friendship, understanding and love.

As I pour from the cup of grace, it is continually refilled from the source that will never run dry.

Yes, today I am so very thankful for grace. Are you?

P.S. I took this photo several years ago in Maui with a disposable camera. It is a triumph that my thumb does not appear in the photo, so please extend a little grace as you view it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Are you a commitment phobe?

by Karen D. Swim, Photo: Jeff Belmonte,


”Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.” --Peter F. Drucker

Do you have a fear of commitment? According to, "Commitment phobia is the fear and avoidance of having to commit, particularly to relationships." The site offers a commitment readiness test to help you assess if you are commitment phobic or "ready to take the proverbial plunge?"

Commitment phobia is not exclusive to relationships. You may fear making a commitment to yourself. You will not invest the time and resources in your goals and dreams because you are not quite ready to take the plunge.

Commitment to yourself requires a willingness to accept change, and that can be scary. However, change is necessary as standing in the same place, doing the same thing will yield the same results.

"The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt." --Rollo May

Commitment moves your "I Want" to "I Will." When you are fully engaged, losing is no longer an option. Tiger Woods did not delay surgery because he wanted to win the US Open. He made a firm commitment, stating his intention to win the US Open.

Melanie Roach captured the #1 one spot on the four woman 2008 Olympic Team. Melanie has a full life as the mother of three small children under the age of six, one of whom is autistic, owner/operator of a gymnastics training facility with over 500 students, wife of fourth term incumbent Washington State House of Representatives legislator, and Sunday school teacher! Yet, she committed to her dream of making the Olympic team and made it happen.

As in relationships, commitment does not come without bumps in the road. You are certain to hit some speed bumps along the way. Work through them and keep moving forward. As you move through challenges you will find that your commitment will deepen. Do not fear the challenge, fear quitting!

Are you willing to take the plunge for YOU today?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gone Fishing!

Words For Hire has gone fishing (metaphorically not physically) but will return tomorrow with the catch of the day. Got any fish tales of your own to share? Feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Song Are You?

by Karen D. Swim

Musical notes

What song are you today? Are you a lilting melody with haunting string accompaniments, or a stately, solemn piece with a repeated bass? Perhaps, you are a symphonic harmony building to a crescendo, or a song with shifting moods and busy texture.

What song does your family hear when you greet them at the breakfast table? What song do you play when you stop at the morning coffee shop? Are you a hard driving bass line with raging guitar chords as you make your daily commute? When you arrive at the office, is your greeting Vivaldi or is it humming in angry dissonance and tortured angst?

I rose this morning a song of praise, counting my blessings and rejoicing at the start of a day. My lips dripped sweet melodies as I greeted those I encountered. The soft sweet melody rose to a resounding crescendo of CAN, WILL, BELIEVE as I reviewed my goals for the day. With the sounds of belief firmly implanted, a rising drumbeat transitions me to a heart pumping, energy charged beat that screams Let's Get It Started!

What tune are the chords of your life playing?