Archive | February, 2013

Motivational Monday ~ Stay Away from the Joy Suckers

18 Feb

photo (90)Last week I was reading The Buffalo News* and  I came across Lisa Earle McLeod’s column titled, “What is the poison person costing you?” As I read the article, I found myself nodding in agreement. She divides co-workers into three categories: Nitpickers, Subversives and Eeyores.  I think we’ve all had to deal with people in each of these groups.  I’ve long described a few people I know as Eeyores and I wholeheartedly agree with Lisa Earle McLeod’s description.

Eeyores: Their calling card is heavy sighs, beleaguered looks, and endless complaints. They’re always searching for someone who will finally listen to their tale of woe. Being around an Eeyore is Chinese water torture. You’re dying, but it’s one slow drip at a time.

I also describe these people as Joy Suckers. I have no idea how people live with them, nor how they live with themselves.  If you’re like me and work at home, you can still find poisonous people all over the internet. I have learned to tune out these poisonous people on social media. If you’re a writer, you may recognize a few on this list.

  • The person who badmouths publishing professionals or publishing houses.
  • The writer who tears another writer’s work to shreds.
  • The writer who constantly complains about how hard writing is and how she never has time because of her kids, her husband, her mother, her job, her (fill in the blank.)

Sure, writing is hard. Bad stuff happens. But if you fill your head with negative comments, it will zap your creative energy. You will begin to believe all the bad stuff and only the bad stuff. Instead we need to focus on the positive.

  • The writer who signed her dream agent.
  • The writer who had fabulous success with her latest novel.
  • The writer who took the time to give you advice.

I prefer to surround myself with positive people. Life’s too short.

Do you naturally gravitate toward positive people? Have you taken active steps to move away from those who poison your dreams? I’d love to hear from you.


Alison Stone

*Why, yes, I do still subscribe to my local newspaper. I read it old school, too — spread out underneath my bowl of cereal. Since The Buffalo News’ website is by subscription only, I linked to Ms. Earle McLeod’s syndicated column in The Huffington Post. This side note reminds me of a funny exchange I heard on iCarly. Yeah, I have preteens. They watch iCarly.

Carly : What’s going on?
Spencer : I’m shredding newspapers with an industrial gasoline-powered paper shredder. How was school?
Sam : I don’t remember or care. [picks up a newspaper] Man, why do they even make these things anymore?
Carly : Some people still read newspapers.
Sam : Yeah, hobos and the elderly.

I think of this every time I renew my news subscription and it makes me smile.

Motivational Monday ~ Going Back in Time

4 Feb
My alma mater. Isn't it a gorgeous building?

My alma mater. Isn’t it a gorgeous building?

On Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking at my alma mater’s Career Day. This wasn’t the first time. Over the twenty-five years since I graduated (you do the math!), I’ve spoken twice about my career in engineering and twice about my new career as a writer.

My parents made huge sacrifices for me and my 4 siblings. We all attended private Catholic schools. When I walk back into the building, it looks the same, it smells the same, it feels the same. Stepping through the large wooden doors transports me back in time. I am once again the insecure fourteen-year-old who went from a teeny-tiny elementary school to a new school where I hardly knew anyone. Over the course of four years, I grew into a young woman ready to take on the world. Or so I thought.

Flash forward more than two decades later and I’m still trying to figure things out. As I stood in front of the class and talked about writing as a career, I stressed more than anything that, God willing, life is long. You will make many choices. Some good. Some bad. But don’t be afraid to make changes, to follow your passion, and to take advantage of all the opportunities that lie ahead.

I love the expression, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I don’t think they realize how fortunate they are. They can still carve out their futures. They have so many choices! Then I take a step back and remind myself that we all have choices. No matter our age, we can all take steps to move in the direction in which we want to live.

If you could go back to your 18-year-old self, what would you tell yourself? I think I’d tell myself to relax. To enjoy the journey. It’s the same message I remind myself of today!


Alison Stone