Monthly Archives: June 2011

7 Positive Pears

“Anybody can do just about anything with himself that he really wants to and makes up his mind to do. We are all capable of greater things than we realize.”
 
“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”
 
Norman Vincent Peale was a minister and the author of the famous book The Power of Positive Thinking. That book and other works from Peale went on to sell tens of millions of copies. During the depression he, JC Penney and Thomas Watson – of IBM fame – spent time on philantrophy. Peale also had his own radio show for over half a decade.
 
Here are 7 of my favourite tips from Peale.
 
1. Focus on today.
 
“Don’t take tomorrow to bed with you.”
 
Focusing on this day today and on tomorrow when it arrives can save you a lot of stress and improve your focus and performance. Of course, you may need to plan for tomorrow. But thinking about it compulsively will just shatter your focus and ensure that you won’t be able to concentrate on what’s in front of you today. You can – over time – build a habit of spending more time in the present and less time in imagined future scenarios or old memories. You may do this through things like focusing on just your breathing for a few minutes to reconnect with the present moment again.
 
2. You may be surprised if you just step up and face your obstacles.
 
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
 
“The “how” thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile “ifs” but goes right to work on the creative “how.”
 
It’s very easy to spend your time thinking and imagining all the horrible things that may happen if you stand up and face your obstacles and troubles in life. But if you actually do that those negative images seldom come into life. They are just huge monsters that you build in your mind. Just like you did when you were a kid and imagined monsters in the closet or under your bed.
 
When you actually stand up and face your obstacles you may find that the experience isn’t as bad as you imagined. Sometimes it’s actually a bit anti-climatic. You think to yourself: “What?! Is this it?”.
 
So, after having done some thinking, research and planning on how you can accomplish something just stop thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of overthinking and monster-building. Just go and do what you need to do instead.
 
3. Understand to overcome.
 
“Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.”
 
Talk to people, do some research – in books, online, etc. – and the mist of anxiety and fear often vanishes. A situation may seem scary because it’s not understood and undefined and so your mind projects your worst fears upon that scary looking mist. It can seem like just about anything may jump out of it and attack you.
So understanding can be useful. Overthinking, as mentioned in the previous point, not so much.
 
4. Find the upsides of the problem.
 
“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.”
 
“Problems are to the mind what exercise is to the muscles, they toughen and make strong.”
 
Problems can provide insights and give lessons in how you can grow. So don’t be totally discouraged when running into a problem. Realize that there are usually one or more opportunities in what you perceive as a problem. Doing that regularly makes it easier to not take your problems overly seriously because you aren’t seeing them as totally negative experiences anymore.
 
So when facing a problem, ask yourself a question like: what’s awesome about this situation? Or ask yourself: what can I learn from this situation?
 
5. Check your phraseology.
 
“Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.”
 
“Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory.”
 
There is a good amount of power in what words you use. If you use negative words you tend to feel more negative and find more negativity in your world. If you use positive and uplifting words you tend to feel those emotions. This may sound a bit corny or silly, but when you get into the habit of actually using more positively charged words you find that it affects your mood and outlook on things.
 
6. Don’t go too fast.
 
“To go fast, row slowly.”
 
It’s tempting to go fast. But if you go too fast your boat may tip over. You may stumble unnecessarily and make mistakes that you wouldn’t have done if you had just kept a slower pace. Or you may be tempted to grab on to the next big idea, the next “magic pill”, instead of steadily keep going on your current path. To actually get where you want to go a slower pace may be more useful and effective than a hurried and quick pace.
 
7. Learn not only from your mistakes.
 
“We’ve all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it’s more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.”
 
“Check what you did right and don’t get lost in basking on your glory. It will make it easier to repeat whatever you did that created the success.”
 
I thought this was an interesting reminder. Our mistakes are interesting because they can often teach us something valuable if we just take a closer look at what happened. But, of course, the successes are really useful to analyze too.
It is here we can find perhaps a crucial detail or something that we did that we missed the other 10 times we tried.
 
So, as Peale says, don’t get totally lost in basking in your glory. Or make the mistake of seeing your success as just having a bit of luck for once. Take a close look at what happened and what you did right. Preferably sooner than later as memories can quickly become a quite fuzzy. And write down what you come up with to prevent that the conclusions become fuzzy.
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Formula for Success?

Is there such thing as formula for success?

Probably not, but this is something as close as it might be

1. Know your outcome

2. Know the compelling reasons why you need the outcome

3. Plan out how are you going to achieve it

4. See what is working and what is not working

5. Modify your approach until it works.

Try it! It may just be the “formula” you are looking for!


Living Life to the Fullest

Rock stars appear to have it all. The admiration of others. Opportunities at every turn. Pride in their accomplishments. The life of their dreams. Being a rock star isn’t as impossible as you might think. Here are some of the special ingredients to becoming what you dream about:

1. Have the desire

Do you really want to be a rock star? Someone who is respected for their success, has personal pride and self-esteem and lives a fulfilled life? Then decide this is what you really want and let your passion drive you.

2. Take control of your destiny

No one but you controls your actions, decisions and the life you create. You can decide when to exercise or tell yourself it’s too late; go to graduate school or get too busy to apply; create an outline for the book in your head or meet your friends instead for a drink. You’re a grown-up. You decide. The sooner you accept that your future is in your hands, the sooner you can begin creating the future of your dreams.

3. Create a breakthrough goal

This is the golden nugget of success. Don’t just create goals for yourself. Create a breakthrough goal that once achieved will seriously up-level your life – your career, your relationships, your income – everything around you. A breakthrough goal might be to land a big-name client, or be the keynote speaker at your industry conference, or lose 50 pounds. Whatever it is, breakthrough goals are just that – a goal like no other that will move you to another place. For me, it was writing a book. It changed my career and ultimately my life.

4. Develop a strategy

Think about it. What will it take to achieve that goal? Don’t worry about what’s required to do it. Just focus on the direction you need to take. The number of miles doesn’t matter. Being on the right road is the point. Once you have a direction, begin writing down all the little and big things you need to do. Make a list – a detailed list of activities on the path you see ahead. Creating your list will help you begin to see the path ahead.

5. Follow the Rule of One

I love this ingredient. It makes everything doable. And nothing could be simpler. Do one thing every single day towards moving you closer to your goal. No matter how big, no matter how small – one thing each day propelling you towards what you want most in your life – living your dream. Imagine if at the end of the week you have accomplished five things towards your goal; at the end of the month, 20 things, and so on. Before you know it, you have made enormous progress, just one small step at a time.

6. Be positive

Your attitude will drive your momentum. Choose to go forward with a good attitude. Don’t create barriers to your personal success and ultimate happiness. Attitude is contagious and it will help to motivate you, and even those around you, to drive you towards your goal.

7. Be persistent

Never give up. Keep moving forward one small step at a time. Progress will become a habit and success will come naturally. According to Donald Trump: “positive attitude and persistent are inseparable.” After all, it worked well for him.

8. Stay focused

Figure out the relevant over the irrelevant and focus on the few things that will move you towards achieving your dreams. Even the woodpecker knows, he can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay very busy. Or, he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner. Stay focused or you will go hungry.

9. Love deadlines

Deadlines are the pixie dust of life. Without them, nothing gets done. But a deadline has to be just right. Make it too short and you’ll end up frustrated. Give yourself too much time and you’ll lose interest and get distracted. Make a deadline the causes you to stretch, but not break. You’ll feel fulfilled every time you meet one.

10. Ask questions

A follower asks: when is it due? A rock star asks: why are we doing it? Be inquisitive. Challenge the status quo. Always look for a better way.

11. Never make excuses

Is it right or is it wrong? Are you proud of the results or do you wish there was a better outcome? No one cares about excuses, so don’t bother. Making mistakes is not the problem, making excuses is. Learn from your mistakes and move on. There is never time for excuses – ever.

12. Do what your CEO wants

No matter where you are in the organization, ultimately your job is to help the top honcho move the company forward. If you are not focused on the priorities of the organization, there’s really no need for you. Never lose track of what you were hired to do.

13. Reserve your prime time for you

Let’s face it – you’re not productive every minute of the day. Many people say they are most productive early in the morning; others claim late night is their prime time. Whatever your best time is, don’t waste it on distractions. Save your “smart” time for your priorities and schedule everyone else around you.

14. Always have a prioritized list

Without a list, you are at the mercy of the current demand or loudest scream in the room. How can anyone keep track of what’s most important when you can’t compare what’s expected? A list allows you to see everything on your plate. When a new request comes in, it’s then up to you to decide where it belongs on your list.

15. Conquer procrastination

Good news. You’re not alone. Everyone procrastinates. It’s a skill we have developed from a young age and perfected over time. But, a rock star has learned that procrastination is the enemy. It robs you of time and will derail your success. Turn it around. Promise yourself a reward for finishing a task and reap the benefits of defeating procrastination.

16. Delegate for results

Whether you’re delegating to an employee, a babysitter or your gardener — delegating well can mean the difference between satisfaction and frustration all around. Delegate the result; the process is none of your business. This usually works. When you ask your significant other to cook something special for dinner, expect a delicious meal and stay out of the kitchen.

17. Don’t let e-mail control your life

We love it; we hate it; we can’t live without it. Most professionals say they receive about 100 e-mails every day. Many agree that it takes an average of two minutes to deal with each e-mail. If that’s accurate, then it takes the average professional over two hours to read and respond to e-mail daily. That’s 40 hours per month! Stop the insanity. Take e-mail breaks during the day. Respond to e-mails in the morning and in the evening. Don’t let other people’s ramblings control your day.

18. Make small changes that will have a big impact

Ready to make some changes? Choose carefully. Make small changes that will have the greatest impact on your performance and the results you achieve. Those are the changes worth making.

19. Don’t sweat the small stuff

As they say: pick your battles — especially with yourself. Don’t lament small failures, especially if they are not important. Concentrate on the things you do well. Enjoy your success. Focus on the results that really matter and let the others slide. In the end, your success will rest on a few big wins.

20. Have fun in the process

Isn’t fun and fulfillment what it’s all about? Make it fun. Laugh at yourself. Laugh with those you love. Enjoy the ride and you’ll be cooking up something great on your way to rock stardom!

Dream it. Do it. Live it.


Active Listening

Active listening is the best way to engage in a good conversation.

Some of the pointers might help

1. Use open questions to encourage the other person to talk

Can you tell me which issues you would like to discuss and why

2. Paraphrase what they say

So as I understand it, what you are saying is…..

3. Reflect the implications

So that may mean…

4. Acknowledge the underlying feelings

That must have been really hard for. How did that make you feel?

5. Encourage further contribution

Tell me a little more, what happen next…

6. Use encouraging non verbal responses

Eye Contact, nodding, humh…

Deal with facts, not opinions when arguing!