Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Power of Positive Thoughts

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Blog posting from Erick Pettersen from People Connect:

I will stay healthy, during this pandemic of the Swine Flu, because I think positive thoughts.  Positive thoughts got me through a 1984 brain surgery (A.V. Malformation).  Positive thoughts got me through a 2003 car collision, in which I hit the back of a stopped minivan, while going 70 mph.  And they will get me through the Swine Flu outbreak.  Throughout my life, positive thoughts helped me get from one day to the next. 

Sometimes positive thoughts are like lifting mental weights, other times they are like a mental tug of war match.  When they are like lifting mental weights, the results depend on your thoughts.  Those are the times when you want mental spotters who believe in your goals, but achieving those goals depends on you.  When they are like tug of war, you can think positive thoughts all you want, but if your opponents (less than positive thinkers) outweigh your positive thoughts their less than positive thoughts will prevail.  Of course, in the mental tug of war example, you need other positive thinkers, but they take a more active role. 

I think forward.  I see myself in my mind’s eye signing books after my first novel’s published, celebrating a loved one’s birthday, running with my dog on the beach, and just enjoying life.  I learned the power of thought during my early childhood, when I noticed many of my thoughts came true.  When I thought positive thoughts, positive things happened; but when I thought not so positive thoughs, not so positive things happened.  Over time, I trained my mind to think positive thoughts by visualizing positive outcomes. 

Think positive thoughts.  They will get you through this economic crisis, they will get you through the Swine Flu pandemic.  So, what happens if you think positive thoughts and not so positive things happen?  Keep thinking positive thoughts.  

I know this blog is a little off topic, but I thought you might need some encouragement.


Here are some news sites that focus on positive thoughts.

Good News Network Happy News Good News Daily


Keep Connecting,


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Friendly and the Friendless

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Blog posting from Erick Pettersen from People Connect:

Last week, a couple of friends of mine from Boston came to my house for dinner.  I reminisced with them about how I befriended their son a few years earlier.

When I moved to the Boston area, from San Diego, I started out in Salem.  One night after work, in down town Boston, I walked to TD Bank Garden North, where the Celtics play and trains depart.  On most nights, large metal partitions hide two escalators that lead from the train station to the Celtics’ stadium.  On game nights, and a few other nights, people ride up and down those escalators.  On that Friday night, after I arrived at the train station, crowds of people streamed up and down those escalators.

I looked at my watch, checked the train schedule, and decided I had time to venture to the top of the escalators.  At the top, I stopped, turned, and asked the first person I saw about the cause of the mysterious crowd.  Three years later, his parents sat on the other side of my dining room table.  For two years, while I lived 3,000 mile from home, my friend and his family made me feel welcome in Boston.

That friendship started with one question that led to an answer that led to a conversation that led to the realization of mutual interests that led to exchanging phone numbers that led to many afternoons of coffee and evenings of meals.  Do you understand how the chain works?  If so, can you explain it to me.  There is no scientific method, there is only trial and error; though, it only works if we’re willing to let go of our preconceived notions and befriend the friendly and the friendless. 

People Connect is about connecting with people, in order to meet common life goals, not about shallow business relationships.  Hey, if more business comes of it, great. If a greener world comes of it, even better.  If a you receive a richer life, due to a great friendship, that’s awesome. 

Perhaps you came to this blog via AgentsPayingForward or a set of keywords you typed into Google.  Maybe you’re a friend of mine on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter.  However you came to this blog, you most likely found it because you want to connect with people who want to connect with people and are striving toward goals beyond themselves.  People Connect is about developing relationships, in order to meet goals. 

When I moved to Boston, I shook the hand of every person willing to shake mine. When I moved back to San Diego, I did the same.  Most of my friends from college had moved on, so I needed to make new friends.  Less than a year later, I continue to shake hands with whomever I can, chat on line with new Facebook friends, try to remember to return notes via my Twitter followers, and know my efforts to connect with people will lead to a goal greater than me.

Ten years ago, someone asked me what I saw myself doing in 10 years.  I answered, “I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 10 years, but I do know this—if it’s not bigger than me, we’ve got a problem.”  Ten years after she gave me an awkward look, followed by silence, and a long, drawn out “Okay,” I am on the right track toward my goal.

Now the question is, are you?  In the wave of technology that causes us to lose more and more of our humanity, relationships become more and more valuable.  Whatever your goal, I encourage you to connect with people, not the potential for money or business leads or other.  I urge you to connect with the friendly and the friendless without expectation.  

If you connect with people like one wave connects with another, you will find your shore.  

I would love to hear from any of my followers, or anyone else reading this blog, about your journeys, how those journeys are going, and the type of relationships your building.

Keep Connecting,


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sacrificing for Our Goals

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Blog posting from Erick Pettersen from People Connect:

Last week, I looked at five principles of connecting with people, in order to achieve your goals.  This week I want to look at three things you may need to sacrifice, in order to achieve your goals. 

The first thing you may need to sacrifice is your time.  If you want to get your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, start a business, or buy a house, it may mean studying or working on a Friday night.  It may mean working overtime, so you can earn the extra money to start that business or buy that house.  If you’re not ready to sacrifice your time, in order to achieve your goals, perhaps you should consider setting new goals.

You might need to sacrifice your money.  In this economic climate, no one is safe and everyone is making sacrifices. Parents seem to sacrifice more, so their kids don’t need to.  Never the less, whether you’re sacrificing so your kids won’t suffer, you can afford that new house, you can buy that new water heater, or you can put food on the table, you may need to make financial sacrifices. 

There are many other things you may need to sacrifice in order to meet your goals, but the last one I am going to talk about is relationships.  Yes, that’s right.  Relationships.  Now, please do not think I am promoting divorce.  I am not. In fact, if you’re married, I believe you should work toward a better marriage. 

Sometimes people come in to our lives who stand in the way of our goals.  If it’s a roommate, consider moving out or asking them to move out.  If it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, consider breaking up with that person.  If it’s a friend, consider either talking to them or letting the friendship fizzle.  In my experience, true friendships may hit bumps in the road, but the common goal of a friendship will always allow you and your friend to come to terms.  For those friendships, or any other relationship, where the goal is not mutual, that relationship is doomed for failure.  We all need and want friends, but those friendships that require us to sacrifice our goals or ourselves, won’t last.  It’s better to let go of those relationships before they take an emotional toll on you and cause you to lose sight of your goals.

I tend to live by quotes that sum up principles of my life.  One of my favorite, which I cannot claim, but don’t remember who said is, “If I am no good to myself, I am no good to anyone else.”  There is a good reason life guards are trained to put the person they are saving between them and objects they might collide with.  There is a good reason flight attendants tell passengers to secure the oxygen mask over their mouths before a child’s.  There is a good reason those military snipers took so long to ensure their absolute safety before taking aim at those pirates.  If we want to achieve our goals, if we want to create a better life for those around us, if we want to connect with people, it requires sacrifice. Those sacrifices may hurt us and those around us; but if our goals are righteous, our sacrifices will be like that of the vinedresser who sacrifices a single vine for the benefit of the vineyard.


Until next week, keep connecting.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Five Principles of People Connect

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Blog posting from Erick Pettersen from People Connect:

"Today, I want to talk about how you can begin to connect with like-minded people. Though, before I get too far into that, I want to tell you about my recent work with non-profits.

This last weekend, I went to a launch meeting for a new non-profit in San Diego, which will focus on connecting readers and writers. It’s not a legal 501 C3 yet, but the executive committee is moving in that direction. At the meeting, which brought in a group of about 25 people, the director (Karla Olson) talked about the vision. After she talked, everyone broke off into one of the four preset committees. Of course, I joined the web/marketing committee; and, of course, when the head of the committee asked my specialty, his ears perked at the sound of “SEO Content.” Everyone with a web site needs SEO content.

Within the last four months, I’ve connected with people on the ground floor of two non-profits and one entrepreneurial venture. I also connected with another literary non-profit, called Dime Stories, which is in its early stages and growing. That is what my vision is all about—people connecting with people. So, for the rest of this blog, I want to lay out some steps I believe everyone can take to begin to connect with like minded people.

First, choose your goal. Several years ago, just out high school, I decided to step out of my comfort zone. Since my favorite sport to play was basketball, I found some basketball courts. Though, rather than going to the basketball courts in the uppity neighborhoods, I went to the courts in the barrios. San Diego has no true ghettos, just barrios—Hispanic versions of ghettos.

Many times I was the only white guy, sometimes I was the only guy who couldn’t claim affiliation to a gang, sometimes other guys told me we had to leave because the park became gang territory at night, every time I knew I had earned people’s respect for stepping out of my comfort zone. Before Oprah calls me for an interview, I will set the record straight and say I never ran drugs or anything like that. I don’t want to become known as the James Frey of bloggers. I went to those parks with a goal—to begin to break down walls—to set a precedent

Second, create an environment for yourself that allows you to nourish your goals. That can happen in several ways. For me, I believed in my goals so much that after 3 years of studying philosophy, I completely back tracked, lost way more than 50 credits, changed universities, and changed my major to literature. Along the way, I developed relationships with people; though, I kept my goals in mind. I learned that if I was going to accomplish my goal of graduating from college, I had to surround myself with people who encouraged me toward that goal. Not all of my friends went to, or had any plans to ever go to, college; though, all of them respected that my studies came before going out on a Friday night.

Third, speaking of studies coming before going out on Friday nights, be willing to sacrifice for your goals. If your goal is to start and raise a family, it’s time to hang up your bachelor/bachelorette shoes. If your goal is to make money, spend wisely. And, along with creating an environment that allows you to nourish your goals by developing relationships with people who support your goals, be willing to let go of unhealthy relationships. However you sacrifice, don’t plant daisies in a field of weeds.

Fourth, and this is one I am passing onto you from former New York State and U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, when I asked him about pursuing my literary goals, “Don’t expect it to happen over night . . . Let it move into the center of your life.” My ultimate goal is to connect people to people; to break down social walls. My writing is a means to that goal. Give your goals time to flourish, just as a caterpillar’s goal of becoming a butterfly requires patience.

Fifth, reflect your goal. This goes along with the Law of Attraction. If your goal is to start a business, and you’re just sitting at home and watching television and thinking of great business ideas, you will never meet other people who might like your idea. The Law of Attraction works, because if you create an environment that allows you to nourish your goals, at some point others with similar goals and environments will see your environment and be attracted to your similar goals. Of course, the fastest and best way to find like minded people is to join organizations, such as San Diego Writer’s Ink or GreenPeace.

Those principles are the ones that work best for me. I welcome any questions or comments. Also, I want to start connecting, so tell me about some of your goals. I have begun to connect with people, because I’ve set principles into my life, and I follow those principles. It’s come because I respect people and their ideas, and they respect me and mine." See ConnectingPeopleToABetterTomorrow.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Financial Literacy & AgentspayingForward

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Another New Charity Joins – The Financial Training Center

I’ve been in the mortgage business since 1984, and one of the things that has amazed me is the lack of “financial literacy” demonstrated by many of my clients. Most of the clients were taught that buying a home was a good investment, but they didn’t know what steps were necessary to obtain the home. More than that, after buying their homes, many of these same clients discovered they were “duped” into loans that were set ups for disaster.

Had many of the clients that are struggling today been able to meet with Dorothea Bernique from the Increasing H.O.P.E Financial Training Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, they may have been able to avoid the current situation they are in. I’m not a fan of laying fault, since it doesn’t have enough value to me: I would rather solve the problem. People like Dorothea Bernique are working hard (she was emailing me at 11:30 PM with information) to fill the void left by an education system that is not teaching basic budgeting techniques. Take a look at an article below that tells about Dorothea, and the Increasing H.O.P.E Financial Training Center. More importantly, if you are a Realtor looking to serve your clients, send them to Dorothea so they know how to prepare for buying a home! Furthermore, by all means help support Dorothea and her great organization – she truly is of service to your clients and our country!
The Post and Courier (2/19/2008)

City pushes financial literacy. Even in these days of online banking and other technological conveniences, at least 26 million Americans nationwide do not have a bank account, financial literacy advocates estimate. In the Charleston region, thousands of people walk around with their pockets stuffed with cash because they don't know how to open an account or worry they'll never see their money again if they hand it over to a teller.

"It's a trust issue and a fear issue," said Dorothea Bernique, director of the Financial Training Center in North Charleston, a nonprofit that offers individuals assistance with money matters, such as budgeting and decision-making. The consequences of poor money management and a lack of understanding go way beyond the risks of losing cash to thieves and scam artists. Many people who don't use banks have no credit and can be susceptible to predatory lending and high-interest cash loans, Bernique said.

To underscore the importance of personal financial management, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is scheduled today to sign a Proclamation for Financial Literacy for the city. Riley said Monday that the national mortgage crisis illustrates that many home buyers did not understand what they were getting into when they signed their loans. Financial literacy can lead to financial security and a more successful life, Riley said. "Financial literacy is education," Riley said. "For people who have little leeway financially, it's important they understand the services that are available.

"The Financial Training Center targets low- to moderate-income households. It it set up to help people understand local banking options and how interest rates work, as well as the benefits of establishing credit. Bernique said participants at the center will learn that the more money a person carries around, the more they're likely to spend. Many people simply do not appreciate the concept or importance of saving, she said. "They learn how to manage the money they have and what it can do for them," Bernique said. "It can either be working for you or against you." Increasing H.O.P.E Financial Training Center, 2154 N. Center Street, Suite 416-D N. Charleston, SC 29406 www.increasinghope.org 843-225-4343

Dorothea Bernique
Increasing H.O.P.E Financial Training Center
Helping Others Prosper Economically
Office Phone: 843-225-4343
Fax: 843-574-0943
Listen to graduates:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=861WFSkHp2Q
Read about us:http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/feb/19/city_pushes_financial_literacy31072/

Sunday, April 5, 2009

People Connect with Agents Paying Forward

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For this blog, I am going to compare The Women’s History Museum and Educational Center to the Wyatt Earp Museum. The Women’s History Museum and Educational Center continues to thrive, while the Wyatt Earp Museum closed their doors. I believe if those of us who believe in a Pay it forward system connect with each other, we can help more and more museums and non-profit organizations thrive.

The Women’s History Museum and Educational Center focuses on three things: Reputable link partners, such as North County Times and Tinkem Museum of Art; keyword density, such as ‘women,’ ‘history museum,’ and ‘history reclamation project;’ and getting people involved, through community events. Good SEO content drives traffic to their Web site, which leads people to signing up for their e-mail list, which leads to e-mails about events, which leads to more members and more donations.

When I compare the Wyatt Earp Museum to the Women’s History Museum and Educational Center, I notice well written SEO content and reputable link partnerships on the Women’s History Museum and Educational Center Web site that the Wyatt Earp Museum Web site does not focus on. Rather than focusing on a few key words, repeated over and over again, the Wyatt Earp Museum uses various words and terms scattered through their site.

Since the Wyatt Earp Museum Web site does not consist of many pages, it does not give Web spiders and Metacrawlers much to search. For that reason, they would do well to do two things: add more pages with more content, so the Web spiders and Metacrawlers can search through a deeper bed of keywords; and develop better link partnerships, other than Gothere.com and Americanwest.com.

While I hope the Wyatt Earp Museum finds a new home soon, I fear they will not unless they take lessons from organizations like the Women’s History Museum and Educational Center. I fear various non-profit organizations will lose funding, unless they focus on keyword density and developing link partnerships with reputable organizations that will drive users to their Web sites, get people involved in their organizations, and lead to more donations and more funding.

So that is where my vision for People Connect comes in. I would like to develop a team of people, who believe in the potential of these organizations, and organizations just like them throughout the United States. People Connect will consist of reputable professional all over the United States, and perhaps even beyond, who believe in getting things done through a pay it forward model. For those who want to help a favorite non-profit, through a more indirect pay it forward model, Tom Ash, founder of Agents Paying Forward and ACN paying Forward, offers ways for people to continue to do what they love while offering a portion of their earnings to non-profits they designate.

If you want to get involved with People Connect, Agents Paying Forward, and/or ACN Paying Forward, or If you are a museum or other non-profit organization, I encourage you to contact me or Tom Ash. Many of these organizations cannot pay that much money; though, I believe if we develop a pay it forward model, and connect people to people, we will reap the rewards.

Until next week keep connecting,
Erick Pettersen


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