How to Create More Energy, Happiness & Prosperity

One of the big mistakes some people make is waiting for energy, happiness and prosperity to descend upon them.  Someday, things will be better, they muse.

Well, I’m here to let you know that you control how soon ‘someday’ arrives.

dredgeI was out on my morning walk the other day and spotted this dredging machine cleaning out a water canal of one of the local utilities. Over time, dust, leaves and trash accumulate in the canals and slow the flow of water. These ‘routers’ remove the debris so the water flows more easily.

This cleaning process made me wonder how often we rid ourselves of our debris in life.

If you want to create more ‘flow’ in your life, here are seven simple things you can do.

1. Set and communicate boundaries
We get resentful when people’s behavior doesn’t meet our expectations. Yet, we’re often guilty of not communicating those expectations. (They should just know, we righteously tell ourselves.) You have to let people know what makes you happy or not and what you need from them.

2. Un-volunteer from activities that have become a burden
If you’re involved in activities or responsibilities that leave you feeling unhappy or anxious, graciously remove yourself.  Don’t just run away.  Turn things over in a responsible manner.  Identify ‘next steps’, find someone to replace you, train them and step away.

3. Renegotiate relationships
Years ago, I realized that one of my best friends couldn’t keep her mouth shut.  I would share things with her as good friends do, but then learn that she had shared them with someone else.  I started specifying that this item is confidential, but even those disclosures got repeated.  I finally decided to only tell her things I wanted everyone to know. I never felt violated or disappointed in her again!

4.  Donate or sell your stuff
Our neighborhood organized a community garage sale this past weekend.  We didn’t participate but it did remind me to deliver that bag of items I had set aside for Goodwill or Salvation Army.  If you have things lying around ‘just in case’, get rid of them.  eBay is another good option that allows you to make a little money from your purge.

Stuff accumulates in our homes.  It becomes invisible to us but still drains the flow of ‘chi’, that life force energy that surrounds us and that blockage eventually drains our spirit.

5. List (and finish) your incomplete projects or items
Our soul gets burdened by the accumulation of ‘someday I’ll finish xyz‘ thoughts. Whether you’re afraid to tackle it or it’s just not high on your to-do list, it’s existence is weighing you down.

Empty your head of all of your ideas.  Write them down on paper.  Attach completion dates to them, even if the date is “Never”. Then get to work.  If you start with the scariest, you’ll feel amazing once it’s done.  If you start with something easy, you’ll feel successful too.  Just start somewhere and keep going.

6. Delegate
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  If your to-do list is too long, give some of the items away.  Even though you might do it best, it may not be best for you to do.  Give it to someone who can get it done well enough. It will get done faster and you’ll be relieved of one more burden.

7.  Deliver undelivered communications
One of the biggest thieves of our souls is stuffing important communications and tolerating unpleasant situations.  They consume our mind and energy.  They rob us of important progress we could make in our lives. Find a gentle way to broach the touchy subject,  get it off your chest and come to some sort of resolution with the other person.

Do these seven simple steps and you’ll discover energy, confidence and opportunities you didn’t know you had!

Balance the Drive to Attain with the Need to Sustain

I wrote an article recently about the strength of your will to survive using a decapitated dandelion as an analogy.

cactusflowerkillingcactusSmYesterday, on my morning walk, I spotted another example in nature of the determination of propagate itself. You can see the ends of the ‘leaves’ beginning to brown and curl.  (A more dramatic neighborhood example where the underlying plant was all but gone had already been excavated.)

If you live in the desert, you’ve undoubtedly seen these spires.  They are quite amazing. But if we watch them grow for too long, they begin to sap all of the nutrients from the rest of the actual plant and it eventually dries up and dies.

So what does this have to do with you?

You are probably feeling like you’re working harder than you’ve had to in the past to make sales and grow your business (or even stay even).  While it’s critical to focus on prospecting for or attracting clients, you still have to take care of the basics.

Here are some things you must continue to do while you seek revenue.

1. Document and update your procedures and processes
Make sure your documentation is current.  I recently had to update mine after the computer crash because things/applications didn’t work the way they had in the past. Always be prepared to replicate yourself and your team.

2. Create a delegation plan
Make sure you’re acting like the Captain of your ship, not an oars(wo)man.  It’s tempting to do the ‘easy’ administrative stuff but it can consume your time.  Being busy is a good thing…sort of.  Ask yourself if you’re busy and broke or busy and making money.

Look for work your employees can do. Then give it to them. If you don’t have employees, find things you can outsource to an intern, contractor or vendor.  Use your time profitably.

3.  Analyze your financial records and cash flow
My friend, Ellen Rohr talks about getting to a ‘Known Financial Position’. By that, she means ensuring that your accounting systems are recording each of your transactions accurately.  Don’t have an accounting system?  Get and use one.

While many programs ‘learn’ which accounts individual transactions should be linked to, they are not infallible.  Work with your bookkeeper or accountant throughout the year to keep your records straight. Notice if there are seasonal fluctuations in revenue and expenses.  Develop plans to even them out if appropriate.

4.  Survey your customers
The world is changing and so are the needs of buyers.  Find out how you’re doing serving them.  Make adjustments when necessary.  Ask what their current needs are.  Find out their goals.  This information will help you anticipate and respond to their needs.

5. Invest in your own development and help your staff grow
When budgets are constrained, companies often look to cut out training, thinking of it as an expense that can be postponed.  Think of it instead of an investment in productivity and profitability vehicles.

Think and act long term and your company will be long term.

Top 10 Tips for Surviving Anything

I’ve learned a lot of lessons having survived 10 years in business plus 30 years in Corporate America. I’m sure you have too. Here are some of the top tips that come to mind as I reflect back on my happy and not-so-happy days.

10. Admit your mistakes

This can be hard to do, especially if you’re the boss. However, people will respect you more when you show the courage to own up to your humanity. You will endear yourself to them in ways you can’t if you present yourself as infallible.

9. Make people feel important

I know there are a lot of egos out there and it’s tempting to not ‘fan the (already- inflated ego) flame’. However, it really doesn’t cost you much to be appreciative. People will love you all the more when you place them on what feels like a pedestal to them. I’m not saying to undervalue yourself nor ignore your own needs. Just put a little love in your heart and share it.

8. Take control of your own career

Time was, when you took a job, your future seemed to be controlled by the bosses. The employment ‘deal’ changed a few years ago. Career ladders aren’t what they used to be. Nothing is a given. Set your sights on where you want to be, experience and learn what you need to in order to best prepare yourself. Stretch yourself. Try new things.

Don’t blame ‘the system’ for your lack of progress. Take aim and steadily move forward (whether sideways or out). My husband, Karl has sometimes said ‘That person doesn’t have 20 years of experience. (S)he’s had 1 year of experience 20 times.’ Don’t be one of those people.

7. Ask for help

People are often afraid to admit they need help because they think it will make them appear weak. If you whine all of the time, that definitely won’t reflect on you well. But when working on something critical, in an emergency or when you just don’t know what to do, asking for advice or help could save your company or business a lot of money. The key is to ask the right person/people and to ask in a way that they see the benefit to them for honoring your request. Don’t make it about you. Make it about them and the business.

6. Have fun

If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong job or business. I realized decades ago that I spent too much time working not to enjoy it. So I’ve left a couple of ‘good’ jobs that I hated and let my personality out at work in the jobs I stayed in. (Encourage your team/staff to do the same.)

5. Stand up for what you believe in

Your perspective is important. What makes teams produce incredible results is harvesting the wisdom of everyone in the group. If you tend to be quiet, speak up more. Your voice needs to be heard. If you’re one of the ‘loud mouths’ your perspective is still important. Just don’t cry ‘wolf’ too much or you’ll lose your credibility.

4. Ask your clients / bosses / employees what they need, then give it to them

I fundamentally believe that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. If you want to be successful, the people around you have to be succeeding too. It’s hard to be a rock star with no fans or roadies. When you invest in others, you’ll gain dividends and rewards you were never expecting.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize

This presumes that you have a ‘prize’ – the reason you’re working or in business in the first place. When you’re clear about your purpose in being there, you’ll make better choices, set stronger boundaries about what you’ll tolerate or not and be less affected by the little things that don’t go the way you’d like them to.

2. Remember, this too shall pass

Whether it’s a bad economy, an intolerable boss or a project from Hades, it won’t last forever. Someone once said to me “Never take or leave a job because of the boss. They won’t be there forever”. (That may be less comforting in the public domain where I hear people can stay in jobs a really long time.) In any event, take heed of the earlier tips, do your best and remember you’re in charge of your life.

And the #1 tip for surviving anything…

1. To thine own self be true

I harp on this a lot. You have a purpose. You’re on the planet for a particular reason. You may not be entirely clear about your purpose just yet. If that’s the case, stay true to your values. They will point you in the right direction. (I presume you know what’s important to you. If not, take some time to figure that out.) Don’t engage in behaviors that compromise your integrity.

If something feels inherently wrong, don’t stand by and suffer in silence. Express yourself or extract yourself.

Your life is too important to waste your talents, time or passion.