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Category: A Personal Note

NSA-Arizona Member of the Year

NSA-Arizona Member of the Year

Linda-Ann Stewart- National Speakers Association-Arizona Chapter 2021 Member of the Year
Linda-Ann Stewart- National Speakers Association-Arizona Chapter 2021 Member of the Year

I was stunned and thrilled to be honored with the 2021 Member of the Year award by National Speakers Association-Arizona Chapter! It recognized my six years of work as the newsletter editor for the chapter. Being editor was challenging and rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot from it.

I’ve been a member of the Arizona Chapter since 2004, and was a newsletter proof reader for five years before I took over as editor. I was also a member of the board for two years, and won the 2013 Member of the Year award for my work as Membership Chairperson.

Unfortunately, due to personal issues, I’ve had to resign my position as editor. I didn’t think I’d be able to fulfill my responsibilities through this period. My award was a wonderful tribute to my contribution, and I am so very grateful!

National Speakers Association-Arizona Chapter provides speakers with valuable insights and proven strategies to build a successful speaking business.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Podcast Interview – Courage Rises

Podcast Interview – Courage Rises

Susan Jeffreys is a life coach I met through a networking group we both belong to. Oddly enough, we met because most outside contact has gone virtual in this past year because of COVID-19. If not for that, we probably would not have met, because she belongs to one chapter and I belong to another. But we were able to virtually visit each other’s group.

Susan’s coaching specialty is helping people recognize and nurture  their courage so they can take their next step in their business or life. One day, as we were talking one-on-one about how change requires courage, Suki invited me onto her podcast, Courage Rises.

She’d been interviewing people about their personal stories of courage, but wanted to do something different. We decided to discuss how change takes courage, and some of the obstacles and stages that a person goes through as they’re changing. It’s a subject dear to my heart, as change is what I’ve helped people with for over thirty years.

We had a lively and interesting conversation about how courage affects the choices and changes we make in our lives. She commented later that, “You have a way of describing feelings and resultant actions that I really like.”

We chatted how change is a process, with several different components that people may not be prepared for. She had some great insights about the points we covered and talked about her experience letting go of a long-standing habit.

We discussed what happens when someone starts utilizing their courage and start changing. And I gave some suggestions on how a person can exercise their courage so they can stretch that ability. We ended with my personal story about courage, and how, as a young child, I had to cultivate that quality.

She is passionate about helping others understand that courage is within everyone. Her caring and compassion shines through her, and wraps people in warmth. I consider this a silver lining to the COVID-19 isolating, in that it gave me a chance to meet and get to know this awesome lady.

I hope you enjoy this interview on how change takes courage and find new ways to cultivate courage in your life.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Our Vacation at Four Corners

Our Vacation at Four Corners

Four Corners is the place where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet. In the area, there’s a lot of natural beauty, as well as Pueblo Indian ruins. On this vacation, our purpose was to visit a lot of those ruins.

Our first day in New Mexico, we visited two Pueblo ruins near Farmington, New Mexico. Salmon Ruins had a wonderful, educational guide that explained a lot about the ruins and their culture.

Salmon Ruins
Salmon Pueblo Ruins, Bloomfield, New Mexico

The same day, we visited Aztec ruins, a magnificent example of architecture inspired by the Chaco civilization around 1000 CE.

Aztec Ruins
Aztec Pueblo Ruins, Aztec, New Mexico

The second day, we explored ruins of the Chaco Canyon pueblos. This was the jewel of our vacation and on my bucket list of places to visit. Chaco was a hub of trade and spiritual influence for about 400 years, starting around mid-800 CE. Not a lot of people brave the last several miles of rutted dirt roads to get to it. But it was well worth the rough ride to experience it. These photos are of the biggest house in the area. The canyon is dotted with them and has some on top of its cliffs.

Chaco Canyon - PuebloBonito
Linda-Ann at Pueblo Bonito Pueblo Ruins, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon - PuebloBonito
Interior room, Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon - Pueblo Bonito
SE Corner of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon Pueblo Ruins

On our third day, we went to Mesa Verde. Unfortunately, both of the cliff houses that we wanted to enter were closed. One due to the danger of rocks falling, and the other had closed three days earlier for the season. But we still enjoyed viewing them and others from a distance. This was Cliff Palace, the one that had just closed its tours.

Mesa Verde - Cliff Palace
Linda-Ann at Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde Pueblo Ruins, Colorado

On the way back home, we spent time at Canyon de Chelly.

Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

This photo of the twin spires is Spider Rock. The Navajo believe that a deity called Spider Woman taught the women how to weave. And they believe the deity resides in Spider Rock. Because I’m a weaver, this rock holds a special place in my heart.

Canyon de Chelly
Linda-Ann in front of Spider Rock at Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

We spend our last day and a half at La Posada in Winslow. La Posada is a former Harvey House and has been renovated back to its original glory. We just sat on their patios, or in their gardens, or watched the trains go by in back of the hotel.

La Posada
Patio at La Posada, Winslow, Arizona

It’s hard to get back into my current life, after spending so much time in the past. Time is fleeting, civilizations rise and fall, but life goes on. I’m just grateful that we have these remnants of former civilizations to visit and honor.

Expert Series Podcast Interview

Expert Series Podcast Interview

Kelly Podcast-Expert Series-sm

Recently, I was interviewed on a video podcast by Coach Kelly Chisholm. Kelly is a great interviewer and we had a wonderful time talking. She and I met at a retreat some years ago, and have kept in touch. This summer, we met for coffee/tea while she was visiting Sedona.

She coaches women who are going through or who are healing from divorce. The podcast was specifically for members of her group program, From Splitsville to Sanity. It covers the mental, emotional, legal, financial topics around divorce and more.

Women who are divorcing face a complete transformation in their lives. Not only does their marital status change, but their self-image does, as well. She seeks to make the painful process more manageable, so they’re able to heal more quickly and easily.

On the podcast, we talked about various issues about mindset and how they relate to women going through this painful transition. In our conversation, we wandered through why a positive mindset is so important to these women, tips on how to change their mindset and steps they could take on a daily basis to achieve a more positive one.

I was delighted and honored when she asked to interview me. Although I’ve been interviewed in person or by phone before, it was the first time I’ve been interviewed on a video podcast. The time flew by, and we were both sad when it was time to sign off. I hope we’re able to collaborate on other projects in the future.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

The Myth of Hypnosis in Entertainment

The Myth of Hypnosis in Entertainment

Image result for incredibles 2 images downloadMy husband and I recently went to the movies and saw Incredibles 2. It was a fun movie and worth the 14 year wait since the first one. However, as Hollywood tends to do, it once again promoted misconceptions about hypnosis. *SIGH* The fictional device about hypnosis was a major plot point.

A lot of movies and television shows perpetuate the myth that hypnosis will make the subject into a zombie. That the hypnotist will have complete and utter control over what the subject says and does. This is utter nonsense. Hypnosis is a normal process you move in and out of every day.

Whenever I see a show that uses the mythology of hypnosis to build their plot around, I get frustrated and annoyed. Too many people will believe that it’s true. I know. I’ve talked to them and have been dispelling this myth for 30 years. If you’d like a little more explanation about hypnosis, watch my short video, Break Your Trance.

Fortunately, this time, I was able to set aside my frustration and (after a few groans) enjoy the movie. After all, it was a cartoon. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you. If you do see it, have fun. Just remember that the part about hypnosis is as fictional as Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible or any other super hero.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Figuring Out Plan B

Figuring Out Plan B

phone-569669This month, our phone service went down before noon the day before I held my teleclass, Vision Secrets to Accelerate Your Success on August 10th. Both landline and cell services were unavailable throughout the region.

Workers on a local road construction had cut a major fiber optic cable. Fortunately, I still had internet service, since it didn’t run on that cable. For that I was very grateful, because many in the area weren’t as fortunate.

This is not the best thing that could happen the day before holding a teleclass. I choose to use a teleconference line for my classes, rather than a webinar service, because our internet service in rural Arizona can be unreliable. It was ironic that the generally reliable service I’d chosen to use was down for the count.

After a few moments of panic, I remembered that I had a ‘Plan B.’ My teleconference service has a webcall, or VoIP, option. So if the phone company didn’t get the cable fixed, I could use that. Not a great solution, but at least I could hold the call.

Fortunately, they were able to fix the cable about 12 hours after it was cut. So I was able to hold the call as I’d first planned. The teleclass went smoothly and harmoniously, and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes there are bumps, and you don’t know why. When this happens, you can get upset, get angry, and waste your energy. Or you can work to figure out what your options are and how you can continue to move forward. How can you make that shift quicker in your life?

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

A Guide to Address Harassment

A Guide to Address Harassment

Hand holding seedlingI try to keep my postings apolitical, because I respect everyone’s choice. But I’m concerned about the increased incidence of overt bullying, verbal and racist attacks that have been taking place in the U.S. since the beginning of this presidential election cycle.

These issues have been in the shadows (barely) for a long time, but now some people feel encouraged to act out in hateful ways. These problems have always bothered me, and now I see them becoming more common. Unfortunately, there have also been protesters against the election results who have acted in ways similar to the very ideas they stand against.

I believe that now that the bigotry and hate are out in the open, they can be addressed by standing up against them. Only when we stand back and keep silent can they thrive. In the past 50 years, we’ve made great progress against prejudice and bullying. We can continue that progress if we choose to be part of the solution and stand up to the problem. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

If you encounter someone being harassed, there’s a great cartoon that explains how to respond. This is one way you can help. The cartoon was designed to assist against Islamaphobic harassment, but it can be used in any situation. It’s based on a psychological technique and is very effective. You can watch a video describing it and showing what to do, and read the original cartoon that inspired the video. Watch A Guide for What to Do When You See Islamophobia.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Giving Thanks for a Nail in a Tire

Giving Thanks for a Nail in a Tire

Road to SuccessIn the U.S., we just had our Thanksgiving holiday. As the name suggests, it’s a time for us to be thankful for our blessings. And just in time for it, I had an experience that brought forth a lot of gratitude. I discovered I had a nail in the sidewall of my tire. So why should I be thankful for that? Well, everything worked together to ensure I didn’t have a flat tire from it.

Apparently, I’d driven 200 miles with it in my tire, and it didn’t go flat while I was on the lonely stretch of highway between Phoenix and N. Arizona. My husband discovered my tire pressure was very low during his monthly car fluid and tire check, postponed from the week before. Unfortunately, the nail was in the sidewall. The tire couldn’t be fixed and I needed a new one.

Since it was getting close to my needing to get 4 new tires, I went ahead, got a quote for all of them and ordered them. It turned out they were going to cost considerably less than I expected. When I had them installed, the garage had instituted a new system, which charged me a lot more than the quote. But because I’d gotten the quote with the old system, they honored it.

I had a lot to be grateful for. The timing of everything worked to my advantage. I didn’t get a flat, it was discovered the day before I was heading down to Phoenix again, and because I bought them now, I saved money on the tires.

Even when you have something challenging happen, you can find something good in it if you look. What blessing can you find in your current challenge?

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Grand Canyon Anniversary 2016

Grand Canyon Anniversary 2016

Jeff and I spent our 2nd anniversary at the Grand Canyon. On our first full day there, we hiked 1.5 miles down the S. Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge, 1120′ down from the rim.

A view of the S. Kaibab Trail across a side canyon. You can see it as a diagonal line below the rim.

“Fortune favors a prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur. It also favors a prepared body, when hiking into the Grand Canyon. I hiked down the Bright Angel trail 30 years ago, and knew what kind of preparation was necessary for this hike. We spend the summer walking and getting into shape for the steep trek. But we also did our research, preparing our minds, and knew how much water and food to take with us.

S. Kaibab Trail, just before Ooh Aah Point.

Our first milestone was Ooh Aah Point, .9 mi and 760′ down. We took our time, and had frequent breaks, drinking water and eating. Just before it, during one of our breaks, the 2nd and 3rd mule trains passed us, on their way up to the rim.

Mule train.

From Ooh Aah Point, we descended steps, hollowed out and filled with burro urine, to Cedar Ridge, another .6 mi. We had to balance on the ties between them, rocks beside them, or narrow sections beside the rocks. 3/4 of that part of the trail was like that.

Trail from Ooh Aah Point down towards Cedar Ridge.

Once we got to Cedar Ridge, we wondered how we were going to get back up with legs feeling like rubber. Fortunately, by the time we started our ascent, most of the urine had soaked into the soil. It was so much easier going up than we’d expected. It took us 2.5 hours to get to Cedar Ridge, and less than 2.5 hours to hike back up.

Linda-Ann Stewart at Cedar Ridge.

Many of the people we saw or talked with on our way up didn’t have enough water, if any. And some of them were having difficulty with the altitude. They hadn’t mentally or physically prepared enough. Fortunately, there was water at the trailhead, so they’d be able to hydrate as soon as they got there.

It’s a long way up. These are the switchbacks up to the S. Kaibab trailhead. If you look closely, you can see diagonal lines going up in the shadowed section.

Because of our preparation, we weren’t as sore as I expected we’d be. I also believe that taking frequent breaks factored into that. I’d learned that during my Bright Angel hike.

Grand Canyon and Colorado River.

The next day was our anniversary. We hiked some more on the relatively level Rim Trail, and ate at Bright Angel Restaurant that evening. The next day was our last at the Canyon. We hiked the Rim Trail some more, then drove along the East Rim, visiting some of the points along the way.

Late afternoon in the Grand Canyon.

We have an advantage over most visitors to the Park. We visit it 1-3 times a year, and have acclimated to the altitude and weather. Also, through research and experience, we know what’s needed to safely conclude our visit. On your next adventure, take the time to mentally and physically prepare so you can enjoy it completely.

2016 Sedona Hummingbird Festival

2016 Sedona Hummingbird Festival

Linda-Ann Stewart and Ross Hawkins
Linda-Ann Stewart and Ross Hawkins, founder of the International Hummingbird Society

The founder of the International Hummingbird Society, Ross Hawkins, and I met at a monthly meeting of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association several years ago. It was ironic that we’d get to know a fellow Sedonan there, especially since we’d lived a couple of blocks from each other.

A couple of days before this year’s Hummingbird Festival, he called me in distress. The person who’d planned to emcee and introduce his speakers had to back out due to illness. Although Ross had performed that function before, he had so many responsibilities that he really didn’t want to do it again. So he asked if I could step in. I couldn’t on Friday, due to clients scheduled, but I said I could for the weekend.

Friday morning was the only time I had to prepare for the event. Most of the presenters hadn’t sent in formal introductions, so I edited their program descriptions and bio’s so they’d be more interesting when they were read.

Book Signing Table at 2016 Hummingbird Festival
Book signing table from right to left – Jule Zickefoose, Marcy Scott, Dr. Jacques Ducros, from southern France

On Saturday and Sunday, I was honored to meet and introduce several speakers on an array of topics, from photographing hummingbirds to plant that attract them, to current scientific research. Due to one of the presentations, I was inspired to buy a book on “Hummingbird Flowers of the Southwest,” by presenter Marcy Scott.

There were also delightful vendors of all things hummingbird. In Sedona, we have two hummingbird themed shops, and they had booths. There were paintings and photos of hummingbirds, books and feeders, information about the tiny creatures, and lots of other hummingbird inspired products.

It was stressful to have so little time to prepare for the event, but I’m so glad that Ross thought of me and called. Not only did I enjoy participating in the festival as emcee, I loved meeting vendors, attendees, and speakers who share a love of this magical bird.