Nov 10

Find Your Success At Any Age

By Celeste DeCamps | Uncategorized

"We're never too young or too old to find our passion."
I'm sure you've heard the expression, "Age is just a number." While I believe there's a lot of truth to that, we still have an unhealthy fear of it. I'm not sure there was ever a time I was completely comfortable with my age. When I was five, I was told I needed to grow up. I wasn't a baby anymore. When I was sixteen, I was old enough to drive, but not old enough to go where ever I wanted. When I hoped to go back to ballet, I thought I was too old to learn at eighteen. Throughout my life, I was either too young or too old. It's ridiculous.

We put too much pressure on ourselves to have all of our goals achieved by a set time. Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you be a multi-millionaire by thirty? Have you put in place your retirement plans? The truth is everyone finds success at different ages.

There's no set rule that says we have to realize our dreams by thirty-five. Vera Wang wanted to be an Olympic skater. When she didn't make the team, she entered the fashion world at age forty. Betty White was fifty-one when she made it big on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book series "Little House" at sixty-five. It would become the basis for the television show "Little House on the Prairie." There are many examples of people coming into their own at different stages in their lives.

I'm going to age until I don't anymore. I might as well learn all I can about anything that grabs my interest. It doesn't matter if it takes years to become adept or be an expert in it. Experience and knowledge are what's important. We can't be afraid that we're not an appropriate age to want to be involved in new adventures. Who decided this anyway? Too often, we get talked out of taking a chance because someone reminds us of how old we are. It took me a while to realize those people were projecting their own fears onto me. I'm not worried about what other people think. I decide what makes me happy and fulfilled.

I get information from anybody who has expertise in an area I need help with. My dad, who just turned ninety-one, is someone I can turn to for his vast knowledge of the stock market. Bryce, my twenty-year-old nephew, is a computer genius. I can call him anytime and get great advice. If I want to hear a lecture on The Titanic, my eight-year-old nephew, Kent, is glad to oblige.

The idea that we have to be a certain age to start a new career or take up a physical activity is nonsense. I read about people running marathons well into their eighties. There are women taking ballet lessons for the first time as adults. People are leaving careers and starting new ones instead of retiring. Young people still in high school are becoming activists and believing they can make their world better. I find it inspiring.

Our age doesn't matter at the end of the day. What matters is finding a purpose that fills up our days. Creating opportunities and connecting with others makes life worthwhile. Learn to play guitar, climb the mountain, and take a dance class. We're never too young or too old to find our passion.
Nov 03

Give Positive Energy and Get Back Even More

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Make your day by making someone else's"
My friend Carolyn was walking to her car when a young man said, "Excuse me, your shoe is untied." She looked down and found her shoelaces hitting the ground. She looked around to see where she could safely tie her shoe up. Without saying a word, the man bent down and quickly tied up her sneaker. She was so surprised by this. She thanked him, and he simply said, "You're welcome."

When Carolyn relayed the story to me, she said she felt wonderful that someone would go out of their way for her. I said I'm sure the young man also felt great to help you. She said, "Oh, I didn't think about that. I hope it did make him happy. I know it made my day."

We tend to take for granted the little acts of kindness we do for each other. If we're not making a meaningful impact on the world because we haven't figured out time travel, we feel our lives are insignificant. Some people seem destined to make incredible discoveries that can change our lives for the better. The truth is, we can contribute to each other's well-being, and that's just as important.

I would feel lost and very lonely if I didn't have my family and friends. I learned a long time ago to not only be grateful but to let them know how much they've added to my life. My husband, brothers, sister, and nephews have consistently played a part in supporting and encouraging me when I need it most. When I look for advice, my friend and dance partner, Dawn, always takes my call. My Toastmaster friends make themselves available to listen to my presentations. I don't take any of it for granted. I try to show my appreciation and love by always being there for them as well.

Small gestures can be a big deal to someone who has a hard time asking for help. Being mindful of the people around you and paying attention to their feelings contributes to our compassion and empathy. It's doing something nice without expecting anything for it. Selfless acts lift our spirits and give us a sense of community.

The next time you're feeling discouraged and unsure of your place in the world, think about what you can do to help someone in need. Volunteer work is a great way to give back to your town and to meet new people. It will also raise your self-esteem and confidence. Studies have shown that people who do volunteer work experience less stress in their lives.

On a smaller scale, hold the door open for someone. Compliment the person standing next to you. Pay for a stranger's coffee. It's a fantastic boost of positive energy that will wash away the blues. You'll have a great sense of satisfaction that your place in the world matters.

In the meantime, I'll let you know if I make any progress with my time machine.
Oct 27

Turn Your Light On In 3 Simple Steps

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Be Present With Your Presence"

The following is a story I read years ago, and it always stuck with me. It reminds me that we all have the ability to turn on a light inside us.

"I'll never forget the day Marilyn and I were walking around New York City, just having a stroll on a nice day. She loved New York because no one bothered her there like they did in Hollywood, she could put on her plain-Jane clothes, and no one would notice her. She loved that. So, as we were walking down Broadway, she turns to me and says, 'Do you want to see me become her?' I didn't know what she meant, but I just said 'Yes' — and then I saw it. I don't know how to explain what she did because it was so very subtle, but she turned something on within herself that was almost like magic. And suddenly, cars were slowing, and people were turning their heads and stopping to stare. They were recognizing that this was Marilyn Monroe as if she pulled off a mask or something, even though a second ago nobody noticed her. I had never seen anything like it before."

~ Amy Greene, wife of Marilyn's personal photographer Milton Greene

Some people have a natural presence about them. They walk into any room, and they immediately gain everyone's attention. It's a wonderful gift to have, but it's also one that can be learned. We don't have to be a movie star to feel like one. There are steps we can take to turn the light on inside of us and make people notice. 

Visualize. Before an event, picture yourself walking into the room. Your shoulders are back, your head is lifted, and you're smiling. Feel the confidence in your body and your mind. See a friendly face in the crowd and make eye contact. View the event playing out, knowing you're going to have fun. When you can play a scene in your mind ahead of time, you'll find that your attitude is more relaxed. When you feel self-assured, others will feel it too. 

Positive Energy. People can pick up on nervous energy, and it's not inviting. Before I go on stage, I pump myself up by playing music I like to dance to. I twirl around my living room and shake my whole body up. I walk with purpose to the train station. By the time I get to the venue, the energy I built up explodes when I enter the room. I smile, and people are attracted to me. Having a sense of fun energy is infectious. People feel it and enjoy being around it. 

Mindfulness. Practice being in the here and now. People can tell if you're distracted or merely waiting for your turn to speak. Focus your attention on the person in front of you. Use your new acquaintance's name when you ask a question. Everyone likes to hear their name, and it shows you're interested in them. You'll come across as more personable, and this adds to your presence. You'll notice how more at ease you'll feel when you stop worrying about yourself and listen to someone else's story. The best part is when your attention is reciprocated, and the other person wants to know about you. 

I've witnessed transformations in other people where they go from feeling insecure to feeling a boost of self-esteem. It's as if a bright spotlight has found it's mark, and they shine. Try it yourself. Visualize the event beforehand and see yourself enjoying it. Build up positive energy by walking with purpose and feeling dynamic. Moving your body by walking briskly, jogging, or doing aerobics helps relieve anxiety. Smiling makes you approachable. When you feel good, others feel it too, and they want to be near you. Recall a happy thought, grin, and see your smile mirrored back. Relax, breathe, and listen to the person you're engaging with. 

We all have unique talents, perspectives, and experiences to share. Have your Marilyn Monroe moment and tap into your power of presence and light. 

Oct 18

Player One

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I had an interesting conversation with my brother, Zach, about video games. He said, "You know, there's scientific research being conducted, as we speak, about the possibility that we are in a computer simulation. The movie, The Matrix may not be that far-fetched. Think about it. We all face different levels of challenges, a certain amount of success and failure, and new players are added regularly."

WHAT IS SIMULATION THEORY AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

I was not aware this possibility was under investigation. If I'm genuinely in a video game, I would like the opportunity to change players. I don't believe the person who's handling my avatar is very good at this particular game. I prefer someone who can jump to levels of progress more quickly. I want to be living the dream of having a house on the beach in Florida and a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. 

While we're at it, please decide on the direction of my life. I see other players knowing exactly what they want to do in this game. Their passion for business, sports, or the arts is quite admirable. I seem to flit around from one career to the next. I enjoy speaking to audiences to help inspire them to find their voice. Whoever created Tony Robbins, though, plays this game way better than my creator does. Everybody in this world knows him, but I'm pretty much anonymous. Wait a minute, are you programming this writing as well? Don't try to blame me for not being as famous. It would help if you took responsibility for not practicing this game more. That figures, I would have someone who wants to have an actual life and not waste time on stupid entertainment.

Does this mean I don't have to try anymore? Do I sit back and wait for my producer to figure out my next hurdle? I hope it's something easy like trying to decide which beach house my husband and I can agree on. Speaking of husbands, thanks for picking a magician for me. Evidence for believing this is all a computer game is the fact that I'm married to a magician. Of course, I'm still waiting for the house on the beach to appear. Again, maybe a little bit more practice in this game would be a great help. 

How do you know when you win? Does this illusion of consciousness have an end game? Do I stop pushing and pulling on my life because I don't have any control after all? There's a sense of relief if I don't have any choice in this world. To think that free will doesn't exist because all my direction is beyond my control. Then again, I'm not sure I want to give up power that easily. I prefer to believe that I have a purpose that goes beyond playing a computer program. 

The feeling of love and the pain of loss is real to me. If my consciousness is the result of a simulation, I still feel the need to do my best in this world. The only thing that is important to me in this lifetime is to be of service to others. I believe we are here to lift each other up. When we work to encourage and support everyone in our community, that's when we succeed. 

As far as The Matrix is concerned, I told Zach that it was easy to figure out that Neo was the One. All you had to do was unscramble his name. I know, mind blown.

Oct 13

Bad Rehearsal-Good Show

By Celeste DeCamps | General

An old saying in showbiz is, "if you have a bad rehearsal, you'll have a good show.When you've been working on a performance or presentation, most likely, problems will still need to be worked out. It's better to find them out during practice than on stage. You'll know to correct mistakes and become more aware of any other possible issues. The result is a fantastic show. 


It's the same with life. When you approach new challenges, the best way to look at them is a dress rehearsal. You'll make errors and bad decisions, but that's how we learn. I don't know of anyone that goes through life perfectly. Successful people are the first to admit all the failures and heartache they suffered to get to where they are now. Why are we so afraid to make a mistake? Because no one likes to be judged and considered insignificant. 

We're all familiar with the trolls on the internet and how nasty they can be with their worthless opinions. They tear people down while they sit at home, never putting themselves out there. It's easy to sit back and make fun of others. It's harder to put your ideas together in the form of writing, music, dance, or artwork in hopes of inspiring others. Granted, not everything is good or well done. Everyone has to start somewhere, and hopefully, the right help will come along. We should be willing to take constructive criticism. Listening to advice and suggestions will better our chances of achieving greatness. 

It's not comfortable getting critiqued, but if it's someone whose opinion you trust, it's a gift. I always appreciate the help I get when I ask for it. I'm lucky to have people around me that have no problem telling me the truth. I know that their goal is to help me and not hurt my feelings. There's a difference. Some people like to feel superior by telling you everything that they think is wrong about what you're producing. They don't offer any solutions. I find those people are insecure and would never put themselves in a position of being reviewed. I take their opinions with a grain of salt. 

The more we work and prepare our offerings to the world, the more impact we have on each other. Many inventors were laughed at or scorned, and it didn't deter them from creating. Our world would be dull if we didn't have people jeopardize their feelings to share their art with us. We wouldn't evolve or advance in technology, storytelling, music, dance, or sports without the risk-takers. 

We need to support each other to go after our goals and dreams and should not fear ridicule or shame for making mistakes. Success comes from forming new course directions and correcting miscalculations. Our time behind the scenes is all part of our journey to showcase all that we've learned. It's a never-ending process but one that keeps our lives interesting. Have your dress rehearsals, make your mistakes, and enjoy the applause when you're finally performing for your audience.

Oct 06

Fun With Customer Service

By Celeste DeCamps | General

I have an iPhone, which is different from a uPhone. This phone is supposed to be all about me. I say, "Siri, call Eric," and my phone will call my husband. Which is terrific, except that when I say "Siri," the response is not "What can I help you with?" the answer I get is, "Hmm?''

What is that? "Hmm." Somehow, I'm bothering my phone with a request. I'm not expecting a greeting of "How are you today, Celeste? You look lovely. How can I help you?" That would be nice, though. What I don't appreciate is, "Hmm?" I even told Siri that I'm not too fond of that response, but apparently, it's not going to change.

I'm reminded of the importance of customer service. When we're willing to part with our hard-earned money at an establishment, it would be delightful to be treated well. If I have a question or a concern, I want someone to help me. I don't want to be ignored or dismissed unceremoniously. I don't particularly like standing at a hostess stand or a receptionist's desk and feel invisible. I understand that you're on the phone, but after a few minutes of being in front of you, it only takes a second to acknowledge my presence. Look up and smile at me. I will smile back and know that you see me. It doesn't take a lot of effort, but the gesture goes a long way.

I've conducted staff trainings at various restaurants. I've explained that a place could have the perfect wine list, food menu, and decor, but if the service was terrible, that's all people will remember. If the server is personable and cares that the guests have a great time, the reviews will always be favorable. Everyone likes to feel special, and it's a wonderful experience when that happens.

I know dealing with the public is not easy. I've worked as a waitress and bartender. I've had customers come in looking for a fight. My philosophy was to "kill them with kindness." Of course, in my head, I actually want to hurt them. These people are doing their best to be rude and obnoxious. I recognize that they're not having a good day and want to take it out on someone. I've learned to keep smiling, stay upbeat, and tell them a horrible bar joke. Sometimes it worked, and they ended up enjoying themselves. Othertimes, if their behavior got out of hand, they were asked to leave. Consideration and respect is a two-way street.

By far, the worst customer service is calling a company because you have an issue with their product or billing system. We either end up in a holding pattern or trying in vain to reach an actual person. I understand that many questions can be answered online or choosing the correct number on a menu. The worst part is realizing you missed your window and have to start the process all over again. People like talking to other people and have the satisfaction of having their problems solved. I'll go out of my way to give a service rep an outstanding score when they get on the phone with me.

The time and energy spent trying to get a friendly voice on the line can lead to a lot of frustration. Many businesses would have more positive feedback if they took more time investing in their consumer assistance department.

I'll admit I've had some great conversations with the little chat box that pops up on most websites. I've found them, for the most part, to be professional and efficient. I still prefer talking to someone, but it beats the hell out of staying on-hold for twenty minutes.

Being courteous and pleasant should be the norm when we're working with each other. Everyone has a bad day, but we should do our best to be civil anyway. I try to be nice to Siri, but I must've hit the wrong button. It doesn't look like our relationship can be saved. Siri will not receive a glowing report from me anytime soon. 

Sep 29

Basic Instinct

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"My inner voice needs a cocktail."

I'm having trouble finding my intuition. I know it's around here somewhere, probably hiding under the bed. I'm letting myself be bombarded daily with bad news. If I'm not on my phone, then I'm on the computer. All of this noise is cutting off my internal voice. A voice that I rely on to help me navigate my place in the world. Decisions on the direction of my career, people that I can trust with my ideas, and how to keep moving forward are somehow lost on me right now. Luckily, there are ways to get back my gut instinct.

The little voice inside us is a real thing. Scientists have discovered that the feelings we have in certain situations elicit a physical response. It could be the hair rising on the back of our necks, goosebumps on our arms, or a feeling in our stomach. I can't tell you how many times I looked back on my life and wished I paid more attention to my hunches and warning bells that went off in my head. It would've saved me from a lot of heartbreak.

Research shows that our experiences, combined with our rational thoughts, helps our intuition work. There's a positive light that seems to shine within us when we feel good about a decision that we've made. The opposite is true when we feel a pain in our abdomen about a possible judgment call we "know" is somehow wrong.

When we need to make a snap judgment in a situation, our best bet is to go with our first idea. When we have time to mull over an important, possibly life-changing choice, we need to give ourselves time to listen to our inner dialogue.

Our instincts work better when we're in a good mood. We're more open and calmer to pay attention to our feelings. When we live in our minds, we can argue forever about our next plan of action. It leads to frustration and anger. Poor choices are the result.

Taking a long, quiet walk helps me unplug. I focus on my breathing and relax. I find meditating, yoga, and dance work to relive the anxiety that I know is building up. Self-talk gives me a chance to hear what my concerns are out-loud. Practicing mindfulness has a centering, healing effect. It helps me from worrying needlessly. I'm very good at worrying even though it has yet to prevent me from facing challenges.

We can't stop the news of the world from happening, but we can set limits on how much we ingest. We need to take time for ourselves to listen to our inner voice. It takes practice, but it's worth the effort. Our intuition is an integral part in guiding us to make the right choices, finding the best people to hang out with, and preventing us from possible regrets.

I know I can coax my inner voice out from under the bed. I have to promise that I'll stay in the here and now, be grateful for all that I have, and offer it a cocktail.

Sep 22

Fast Forward

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"I want a fast forward button to know how all of this will end."

I've wanted to fast forward my life for as long as I can remember. I planned my wedding and my funeral when I was six years old. On my first day of nursery school, I was already looking forward to graduating from high school. When I was in my first semester of a four-year college, all I could think about was starting an exciting career. When I began my television job, I wondered how big my retirement party was going to be. It may be normal to dream of the end game, but I do it with everything.

When I get ready to enjoy a night out with friends, I'm thinking about the close of the evening. In my mind, I'm home, back in my pj's. I like planning and being thrilled about a party or a trip. At the same time, I can't wait for the event or vacation to end. I imagine myself relishing a memory before it's happened. The problem I'm having with this speeded up timeline is, I'm not staying in the moment. I want the finish line without participating fully with the run.

I want to know the future and how my story turns out. I don't bother with psychics or fortune-tellers because I know my free will can alter my course at any time. I believe I have choices that can shape my destiny. I'm searching for a direction that will lead me to my purpose for this lifetime. I think this is the main issue. What is the reason for my existence on this planet? If I could get a glimpse that all will work out, maybe I could relax and dwell, happily, in the now. I realize this is cheating. I want the answers to the test because I'm not sure I'm studying the correct subject matter. Did I somehow miss a course of action, and now I'm doomed to wander aimlessly through my life?

I'm practicing being more mindful, and meditation helps. When I stay present, I'm aware of my breathing. I feel calm. The nervous energy that is always with me takes a break. When the feeling of not "being enough" comes over me, I stop and embrace it. The more I hold onto it, the sillier the notion becomes. I focus on my work or the person in front of me. I'm getting better at paying attention to the opportunities coming my way. I realize the foundation of all my experiences continues to build, and I can help others. When I'm working with someone to find their voice and create their message, I feel my best. I don't feel the need to rush their progress or race through the time I have with them. I've come to believe we are all here for various reasons, but in the end, it's to benefit each other.

I still want a sneak peek of the meaning of my life, but I'm not in as much of a hurry. When I do catch myself trying to decide where my ashes should be scattered, I bring myself into the present. I put on my favorite music, and I dance. I smile and appreciate all that I have right here, right now. 

Sep 15

The Crab Effect

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"When You're Ready to Take that Leap of Faith, Trust Someone Will Be There to Catch You."

I learned a long time ago to say "Yes" to any opportunity that came my way. I didn't worry about whether or not I was qualified or had the right job experiences. I had other people around me that did the worrying for me. I would hear, "Are you sure this is something you really want to do?" "Other people deserve this title more than you." "I don't think this is the right time for you to be experimenting with a different course of action." I'm sure they all meant well. I wanted to think that my future was important to them. I understood, quickly, that wasn't the case at all. I began to realize that they were projecting their fears onto me. They couldn't see that taking chances was the way to grow and find success. They were too afraid of failure. This phenomenon is called "The Crab Effect."

Picture a bucket of crabs. One crab decides to try to climb the wall and escape. Just as he reaches the top, the other crabs pull him back down. Instead of working together and seeing an opportunity to survive, the crabs keep each other from breaking free. They refuse to let one of their own take, what they believe to be, an unnecessary risk.

Many people find it hard to be a cheerleader for their friend or family member who wants to move in a new direction. The idea that someone wants to venture out on their own, be it self-improvement, relocate to a new city, or try for a promotion, seems too much of uncertainty. Instead of being supportive, a sense of hostility results instead. Phrases are thrown around to cause self-doubt to the person looking to improve themselves. "What makes you think you're special? "How can you leave the rest of us behind? "Don't you see how many other people are doing what you want to do? "You can't be successful, because you're not good enough."

It's not easy to have family and friends discourage you from reaching your goals. It's hard enough to convince ourselves that we deserve better in our life. I've found that once I set out for a different adventure, people came out of the woodwork to guide me. I've always trusted that I will get the encouragement I need when I stay focused on a new project. Suddenly, I'll find the right people who will offer advice, connect me with others who can help me, and find programs to further my education.

It's critical to surround ourselves with people who see and appreciate our talents. My tip, join a mastermind group where you'll be able to bounce ideas off each other. The internet is an excellent place to start. Find a community that is open to new members. You can try Facebook or LinkedIn. Many groups are now doing virtual meetings. You can connect with people from all over the world and ask for help. You may also find a mentor who will be happy to advise and keep you on track. It never hurts to ask people that you admire for guidance. Look for someone working towards a similar goal and ask if they would like to join forces with you. You can help each other stay accountable for the plans that you've laid out.

I don't believe that our loved ones deliberately keep us from pursuing our dreams. Their reluctance to step outside of their comfort zone should not be the reason that keeps us in the same bucket. Our choices for what we want out of life is up to us. I would rather learn from my failures than look back on my life with regrets. When you're ready to take that leap of faith, trust someone will be there to catch you. 

Sep 07

Relationships and Growth

By Celeste DeCamps | General

"Marriage: A lifetime commitment to convincing the other person that you're right."

I'm celebrating nineteen years of marriage. Time still gets away from me, so like everything else, it doesn't feel that long ago. I can picture the day of my wedding as if it happened yesterday. When I start to look back over the years, I realize that I've come a long way in myself and my relationship with my husband, Eric. I once foolishly believed that self-improvement was a solo job. The reality is we learn more about ourselves and others when we are in a committed relationship.

I grew up with brothers and sisters. We learned the value of sharing early on. We had to find ways to compromise and get along regularly. It wasn't easy. We had some terrific fights, and perceived injustices happened all the time. Our parents didn't want to be constant referees, so we heard the phrase, "work it out" a lot. Little did I know those three words would be the saving grace for my marriage.

My husband grew up with a sister who was eight years older. She was more of a mother than a sibling to him. He didn't have to share or compromise with anyone. There wasn't anyone to fight with. Oh yes, marriage was going to be a piece of cake for him.

The fantastic thing about marriage is the need to be right in all things. Play the video back, and you can plainly see that I was correct in my actions and words, and Eric was not. Of course, if my husband were writing this, it would say, "Celeste was wrong, not me." I took a friend's great advice, and I read the book, "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" by John Gray, Ph.D. It helped me understand that our experiences shaped our perceptions and opinions. Our disagreements, many times, stemmed from miscommunication. Each of us taking a stand believing that the other person was not listening or understanding our side of things. Our past is always with us, and that can color our position. It can make us dig in and not allow us to see another point of view.

Over time, we got better about not jumping to conclusions and taking the other person's feelings for granted. We try to avoid getting defensive when we have disagreements. I've had to learn to open up and be vulnerable. I talk more about my upbringing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Eric has become more communicative about his past experiences as well. We've gained a better understanding of each other, and in turn, we have grown individually. We have learned to "work it out."

Working on my marriage has resulted in understanding myself and others in a whole new way. I've learned to be a better listener. I want to hear about a person's upbringing, where they come from, and understand their perspective. It's easy to misunderstand other people's intentions, and they yours. I'm willing to talk about myself more and not be as guarded as I once was. I know I'm a constant work in progress, but it's nice to have someone who wants to take the journey with me.
Happy Anniversary, Eric!