Archive for August, 2010

Time is free, but priceless…

Monday, August 30th, 2010

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” -Harvey Mackay

How often do you find yourself wishing for just a few more hours in the day? Telling yourself that if you just had ‘a little more time’ you’d be able to be more efficient, more accomplished, more successful?

Is it time, though, or direction that you are lacking? If there’s one thing that is certain in life (besides taxes!) it’s that time is finite. We cannot create any more time. What we can do is make sure time is working for us rather than letting it run over us.

One of the most common time wasters is confusing activity with accomplishment. Surely you’ve had days–like I have–where you were incredibly busy but you accomplished nothing of substance. That’s because you confused activity with accomplishment.

Big question becomes, then, how do you accomplish more and give in to activity less? This is where our good friend the list comes in handy. I’m not talking just about your normal ‘to do’ list, but a list of what you want to accomplish today. Do you have one? If not, you should. Write them down, the big things as well as the small ones, and take it with you. The more you can cross off the list, the more you stoke your motivation to keep going!

What’s on your accomplishment list? I’d love to hear about it–shoot me an email and tell me!

Defining Success

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

“Success doesn’t come to you; you go to it.”  – Marva Collins

Do you ever feel like you read something and it was written so vaguely that it’s trying to appeal to every single person who might run across it? Think of all the articles and posts you read about success and being ‘successful’. How can someone write about what it takes for me to be successful when they aren’t in my shoes? Do they have any clue what it actually means to me, to be successful? I realize we’re all looking for the same things: happiness, financial stability, love, acceptance. So how can our journeys be so different when we’re working toward the same goals?

It’s because we’re not working towards the same goals. What I define as happiness might be vastly different than what makes you happy. So how do we start on the same level, and speak in a language where we actually understand each other? We start at the beginning and ask ourselves a few questions to define what we really mean.

Question 1: What would I need to be perfectly happy? Write it all down, every little detail, of a life that would make you happy. Think about your family, your finances, your health, your recreation, your love life, your spiritual self, your appearance….write it all down.

Question 2: Where in my life, right now, am I NOT perfectly happy? A little tougher, because this forces you to look at the reality of your life and admit what isn’t working. Start from the time you open your eyes in the morning until your head hits the pillow again at night….write it all down.

Question 3: When I look back over my life, when and where was I the most happy? Write down the circumstances, why you felt happy, who you were with, what you were doing and everything else you can think of about that time. Be honest, look for themes or common threads…..write it all down.

That’s a good start and gives you the knowledge you need to be able to start crafting a life that fits your personal, unique definitions of successful.

Defining Mid-Year Goals

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Last week we talked about reassessing those goals that we set at the beginning of the year. While it is important to revisit those goals and see where we stand, I think it’s equally important to dig a bit deeper and consider why we set those goals in the first place.

Take a look at them. Are they wants or shoulds? There is a huge difference, especially when it comes to motivation. Consider the vast difference between these two statements:

“I should lose 30 pounds this year” and “I want to lose 30 pounds this year”.

Which one do you think has a head start? Of course, when you WANT to do something you work at it more diligently than if you feel like you should do something. Let’s take that a step further and define the motivation a bit more clearly:

“I want to lose 30 pounds this year because I will feel more energetic, sleep better and fit into my skinny jeans.”

Listing the specific reasons why you are setting a goal allows you to see the final picture in your head; it transforms your goal from a wish to something you can *almost* touch and motivates you to keep going.

So go ahead, pull that list out again. This time, though, make sure it lists goals you WANT to accomplish and that they are clearly defined. Only then will you really, truly, be on your way to success.

Teetering on the Brink of Believing

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

What could you do if you didn’t know that you could not do it?

I love that question.  I love to ask myself that, and I think it is a good one for all of us to answer.    At any given time, we can change our beliefs.   Many people think that our beliefs are stagnant; that we are born with them; and so the rest of our ‘being’ will just go along with that …. wouldn’t you know it?  That belief!

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I heard once that some people think a belief is a static concept – unable to change… or like a ‘frozen thought’.  This would mean that beliefs have nothing to do with our actions and results.  And they do.  In fact, there is no ‘one’ thing more than our beliefs that will decide how much of our potential we can tap into and how much we can accomplish.

Wow.  Think about that.   If we do not think we can do it, then we cannot.   IF we don’t know that we cannot do something, then we can try it, right?  Each one of us is creative whether we think we are or not.    We are unique and have our very own set of thoughts.   These are fluid, like beliefs.  And these can either give fuel to your ideas, or shut them down.  Please don’t restrict yourself.  Let go.  Know that you can do what you want to do.  Believe that you CAN.

There is a story that resonated with me when I heard Tony Robbins speak many years ago!  It is a simple story.   A young man fell asleep during math class.  He woke up when the bell rang and saw two problems on the blackboard, which he copied.  Assuming that they were the homework, he went home and worked on them day and night.  He could not figure them out.  He tried for the rest of the week.  Then he finally got the answer to one and brought it to class.  The teacher was speechless, completely stunned!  Apparently, the problem he solved was supposedly unsolvable.  If he had known that, it’s a pretty good bet that he would not have solved it.  Yet, the opposite happened.  He told himself he had to solve it and he found a way.

Do something today that you thought you could not do.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said that we should live our lives by surmounting one fear each day.   And since most fears are nothing more than:  False Evidence Appearing Real, another acronym: F-E-A-R.  Then we can change that belief ….that fear is fluid; it is stopping the flow of your ideas.  Put your foot down; don’t let it win.

So, what would you do if you did not know that you could not do it?  Go do it and have a great month!

August, a New Year.

Monday, August 9th, 2010

These past 4 weeks we’ve explored my GUMP philosophy: Gratitude, Uplift Someone, Meaningful and don’t take it Personally.  There’s a reason I say ‘GUMP it daily’; like showering or tooth brushing, practicing these disciplines every single day brings us in closer touch with not only ourselves but those around us, and reminds us of simple, yet profound ways of a life well lived.

I flipped the calendar this week to August.  AUGUST! I don’t know about you, but it sure snuck up on me. August is the 8th month of the year…which means that we’ve had eight full months to work on making 2010 the best year yet.

How’s that coming along for you? Have you kept up with the resolutions or goals you set way back in January? Do you remember what they are? Even if you don’t, the good news is that August is almost like a new year again…the school supplies in the stores, the beginning of a new academic year and for many companies a new fiscal year. It all adds up to a second chance at success.

So what are you waiting for? Dust off the list, add a goal or two, and get busy! You have a full FIVE months to go out and tackle the world! The even better news is that if you make the smart decision to NOT go it alone, telling someone your goals will hold you accountable to making better progress towards them. So find a buddy (or shoot me an email), hold each other to it, and kick it in gear!

P is for Don’t take it Personal

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

P–Don’t Take It Personal

“There are no facts, only interpretations” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Just like children, we often operate in an egocentric world. Think for a second about when someone cuts you off in traffic; what is your first thought? I’d venture to guess it is something like “HEY! I was driving here! Didn’t you see me? I’m in a hurry and who do you think you are pushing me out of the way to get ahead?”

Do you see the assumption here? The assumption that the person cut YOU off specifically. Seems silly when you really think about it, doesn’t it? The reality of it was you just happened to be there; the cutting off was all about the other driver and had absolutely nothing to do with you. That driver was in a hurry, late for an important appointment, preoccupied with stressors, reacting to an emergency, was simply rude…..or a multitude of other possibilities.

The rest of our life is just like this traffic example; we often assume that the actions and decisions of other people have everything to do with us when, in fact, the opposite is true.  The real truth, as Don Miguel Ruiz explains beautifully in The Four Agreements, is that nothing others do is because of you. Everything others do or say is a projection of their own unique reality.

One of the most important things we can remember on our own personal journey to success is that we must become immune to the opinions and actions of others. When we allow ourselves to embody the actions and opinions of others, we give our power away. We allow someone else to determine our mood, our actions and our success.