3 S.R. Johannes: My Lucky Unlucky Charms!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Lucky Unlucky Charms!

Marketing Muse
The other day, Sarah Davies from Greenhouse mentioned it was critical for every author to be sure they learn to speak well. The way you speak and present yourself in public is part of your brand. Are you funny? Engaging? How do you look? It is all a part of the brand image you are building.

For example: for me when I speak, I try to be organized in though but flexible, informative but engaging, funny, yet relaxed. I usually wear jeans when I speak - not trashy ones but I don't wear a suit or business attire. I want to be approachable. That is all a part of my brand.

Here are a few resources to begin learning speaking skills. Everyone can get a head start.
  • Toastmasters- International organization to help people overcome public speaking fears and speak more effectively.
  • SpeechSkills - help you achieve the impact you want to have on your audience.
  • SpeechMastery
Tips to to speaking well:
  • Be passionate.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Be natural.
  • Let your body language and/or voice reflect your personality.
  • Be there to genuinely teach the audience something
  • Dress well

My Unlucky Charms

Yesterday, I definitely had a lucky day.

After getting a lucky email on being a Quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel award (which BTW I am so glad it is not called the "This is a good read" award. Sounds much more dramatic with Breakthrough Novel! :)

All day, I celebrated how lucky I was to have my life, my family, and my friends.

Then, being the pessimist and sarcastic gal that I am, I started thinking of all the unlucky things that have happened to me that turned out to be lucky.

Here are just a few:

Should your proportions be small?
  • Unlucky - When I was 3 - 12, I was a competing gymnast which made my shoulders develop to be quiet broad.
  • Lucky - But now, no matter how big my mid-section gets, my waist always looks thin b/c my shoulders are so broad!

Out on the Streets

  • Unlucky - When I was about 10ish. I got dragged by a dog when I started my own dog-walking gig for the ONE dog that lived on our street. It was a huge sheepdog and I got dragged down the street on my face. A scab on my lip made me look like Hitler - at least that is what the kids said in my class.
  • Lucky - Now I know not to wrap my hand up in a leash and not to buy a sheep dog. Also I vowed to never be a dog walker.

Moons should probably stay in the sky

  • Unlucky - When I was about 11 and went to horse camp, I mooned a car. It so happened to be the camp director.
  • Lucky - I learned how to deep clean a horse stall and did not become a stripper due to the total humiliation.

Clean-up on aisle 9

  • Unlucky - When I was 15 my dad made me work at the local Kroger to make my own money. Kids laughed at me as I bagged groceries for their moms.
  • Lucky - Today, I am very aware of the changes in grocery prices. And I always let the person at the end bag my groceries so they feel included and useful.

Vans are all that!

  • Unlucky - my dad made me drive his huge Chevrolet Van as my first car. It was blue and white and had an airbrushed sign from Panama City, FL that said, USS Johannes.
  • Lucky - Lots of lessons here. 1) all the cheerleaders could fit in my car. 2) When I hit a mailbox, there were no dents (at least not in my car. Mailbox? Not so lucky.), and 3) I am a dang good parallel parker today because of it. Oh yeah - and I learned that being cool - is all in the attitude.

Don't drink and cheer.

  • Unlucky - When I was a senior in high school, I along with a few other cheerleaders each drank one beer before a game and....of course...got caught. How were we caught you ask? To make a long story short - I was the only one who told the truth in the Principal's office. We were suspended for 3 days and kicked off the squad right before Homecoming. Total despair at the time.
  • Lucky - Now I realize, honesty is not always the best policy but all you have in life is your intergrity:) Ok so that was a canned answer. I realized that one beer was not worth it - I should have gone for 6. Oh yeah, I also learned not to drink and cheer.

A broken heart

  • Unlucky - after 10 years and living with my colleg sweetheart who also happend to be my crush in 6th grade - the guy (who we can call - "Mr Jerky Pants" for fun) - called off the wedding 2 weeks before the date (and yes that was after after all the bridal showers had happened, all my money was put down, and the gifts received/open and some even used....by him! Can I get a collective groan from the peanut gallery?)
  • Lucky - I met my husband 9 months later and am the luckiest wifey in the world (trust me he has it made too ;)

A job is not everything

  • Unlucky - When I worked as a VP at a bank, I lost my job due to a weasel attack during a political windstorm.
  • Lucky - I decided I wanted to be a writer and started my own marketing biz. More importantly, I now do what I love....write and write and write.

See how that all works out?

So celebrate your unluckiness - if you study it hard enough - you may just find your great luck!

Thanks for all your congrads on my day yesterday!


Carrie Harris said...

I'm kind of strange; I actually like public speaking. (Okay, I'm strange for a lot of other reasons, but that's a pretty good one.) Still, I think you've got a good point... it takes time to learn how to do it right. Don't wait until the last minute, get a great chance to promote your book, and freak out because you've never tried public speaking before!

Darned weasels. ;)

Kelly Polark said...

I agree. When one door shuts, a window opens.

Casey Something said...

I'm absolutely terrified of speaking in front of people. Heck, I tend to mumble even in one-on-one situations. This is an area of self-improvement I plan to focus on.

I'll check out the links!

Unknown said...

Wow...I can't imagine having lost one guy (and in such a way--what a jerk!) and then finding the love of my life 9 months later...Wow, that must have been some year!

Unknown said...

I got a good chuckle out of your lucky/unlucky post.

I also liked the image lessons you were giving at the top.

I just got back from my parent/teacher conference. Wore some "slacks" and a nice top with my best pearls.

Kimberly Derting said...

"I learned how to deep clean a horse stall and did not become a stripper due to the total humiliation."

Ahaha! That is priceless!!! And a good lesson for young ladies everywhere...

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. You are hysterical. That is all.

PurpleClover said...

I LOVED this post. I could probably give lots of unlucky scenarios of my past and then a cute spinoff. Great idea!

By the way, I also had to drive a huge Chevy Astro van as my first vehicle when I was 17. It was dented on the hood, back bumper, rusted on the roof, guzzled oil like a drunk frat boy guzzles beer AND it did not have air conditioning. My good luck of it all is that I'M A GOOD PARALLEL PARKER JUST LIKE YOU!!! haha. Oh yeah, and I can tell when I've got a problem under my hood and just how to fix it. ;)

Suzanne Young said...

This post was wonderful. I laughed, I cried, I shook my fist at the sky!

Anonymous said...

Your bit on the job thing reminds me of how much I HATED doing the corporate thing. Now, if only I could make money with this book writing thing rather than spending it...

Sherrie Petersen said...

My first car was a blue Chevy van! And like you, I'm a great parallel parker and I had a LOT of friends senior year :^)

Kimbra Kasch said...

I agree when a door shuts... kick the thing down and keep on going.

And, if you're going through Hell-keep on going.

Corey Schwartz said...


One only has to read your AG and the milk bath episode to see that you are a born story teller!

Carrie Harris said...

I almost forgot to ask: I'm a terrible parallel parker. Will one of you teach me? :)

I'm trying to look on the bright side of that, but I'm coming up empty.

Robyn Campbell said...

Loved this post. I need to find a toastmaster group around me. I'm one of these folks that begins to sweat everywhere just before I have to stand up in front of anyone other than my hubby and kids. I HATE it! But will try to conquer my fear. To be continued! :)

Vivian Mahoney said...

Fantastic list! A great reminder to see the positive and make your own luck!

And congrats on being a quarterfinalist! Wahoo!!!

King of my Throne said...

OMG, I might as well throw in the towel!!! Has any one been to a Toastmaster meeting?
Those people get their kicks out of public speaking. I went to one 15 years ago and I still shiver when I think about it! SSShhhiivavering.

With that said… Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s video on Youtube on Creativity was absolutely awesome and I went right out to buy her book for myself and as a birthday gift for my sister.

Anonymous said...

What's the prize for the breakthrough novel contest?

King of my Throne said...

Unlucky: I got ring worm on the tip of my nose. This was the day before I was to star as Mrs. Santa Clause in the second grade play. Was teased by my sisters and brothers that I should play Rudolf instead.

Lucky: I remembered all of my words also the audience and Mrs. Obenhoff (Wonderful 2nd grade teacher) loved me! A big LUCKY is that it prepared me to become an adult Mrs. Clause!