Category Archives: Personal effectiveness

7 ‘C’s that Create Champions

achievement-Sign

I’ve been watching some of the Summer Olympics games.  I’m always inspired by the performances of the Olympians.  Their drive and commitment to excellence…perfection, even…are truly admirable.

Whether you’re an athlete, entrepreneur, employee, executive, homemaker, artist or fall in some other category, if you have dreams and ambitions, the concepts below will help fuel YOUR achievement.

1. Clarity
True champions know their ‘end game’. They are focused and have a deep sense of what they want to do and why. It’s a priority for them. It defines them and they organize their lives around their goal.

2. Competence/Capability
They may have natural skills and abilities. But it’s possible, they may have developed their skills out of a decision to do so. In other words, their skills have been cultivated from years of classes, practice, coaching and hard work.

3. Curiosity
Many of the things I’m good at now are the result of developing an interest and learning everything I could about it.  People who excel in certain arenas may have just been curious in the beginning. They wanted to know how things worked. They studied and continue to wonder how to become even better, faster, stronger, more adept…

4. Centeredness
To experience peak performance, one must ignore distractions and stop listening to the naysayers.  Can you imagine doing your best with hundreds, thousands, millions of eyes staring at you? Excellence arises from within. Focusing your attention on the quiet part of Self who knows exactly what to do or say and how to do or say it.  At some point, you have to shut down outside influences and trust that you know enough and are enough to be excellent.

5. Courageousness
Google defines courageous as ‘not deterred by danger or pain; brave’. I didn’t know Google was in the dictionary business, but I liked the expression they offered. Being undeterred is what allows champions to move forward in the face of outside obstacles and internal insecurities.

6.  Confidence
Many people, unfortunately believe confidence is a prerequisite for accomplishment. It’s not. Confidence is what arises generally after a significant, momentous event has ended.   It’s often only after overcoming  obstacles and confronting internal fears that one feels truly invincible (or at least, prepared) for the big event on the horizon.

7.  Caring
I’m always moved by the celebrations of love and appreciation for team members, even rivals at times, I see as they watch each other perform.  Nothing bolsters a healthy, human ego like being able to empathize and care for someone else. Bullies may make apparent progress, but (I believe) their souls are suffering and their accomplishments, hollow.  As Theodore Roosevelt said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

 

 

 

 

How to Create a FABULOUS Life

fabulous2_by_demkittykat-d8e804dAs you set goals and think about your future, you might wonder what it takes to make those ‘dreams’ a reality.

Accomplishing them takes more than just stating them. You must create an emotional and psychological environment that supports their realization.

Below are the F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. requirements for living a fabulous life.

Free from fear
By this, I don’t mean the absence of fear. If you’re living and growing, from time to time, you SHOULD encounter situations that require you venture outside your comfort zone. It’s hard to expand when you stay under the radar of safety and predictability. And those situations often evoke fear.

Living free from fear, means not allowing fear to be the determinant of the action you take (or don’t take). You’ve heard the phrase…”Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

Action orientation
When you stop allowing your fear to dictate your decisions, you’ll be more free to do what it takes to move forward toward your aspirations.  When you’re inspired to do something, follow your inner guidance and start it right away. Don’t dally. Don’t procrastinate. Take action.

Buoyancy
According to The Merriam Webster Dictionary, buoyancy is ‘the tendency of a body to flow or rise; the power to exert an upward force; resiliency of spirit.’

Undoubtedly, if you’re living free from fear and taking courageous actions, you’ll likely encounter occasional situations that don’t go as planned.

The key is not to avoid risk, but to learn from it and move forward. Buoyancy will support you in that effort.

Upgrade
I believe we’re here on Earth to learn and grow, to experience and contribute, to express and expand.

Sometimes, people slip into (and stay) a rut. It’s easy to do.  But resist that tendency.  Be conscious and stay vigilant. Always have something you’re at work on. Strive to improve a skill, an attitude, a project, your relationships.

Love
…is the answer. Self-love, love of life. Sometimes my clients confess they doubt themselves. They doubt their abilities and the value they bring. One thing is certain…EVERYONE has a contribution to make.

Many people, however, discount their gifts believing if they find something easy to do well, everyone is equally competent. Sometimes they recognize their gifts but have a hard time feeling worthy and deserving of being paid well
for them.

Loving yourself more deeply will allow you to trust your instincts, honor your desires, and feel more optimistic in life.

Identify YOUR gifts. Appreciate them. Value them. Love them. Show them the respect they deserve. Express them and allow others to benefit from them. And…feel great about getting paid handsomely for them.

Optimism
This one quality will make all the rest easier to experience. Feeling a sense of hope and possibility will support you in more readily attracting and seeing opportunities that exist, taking calculated risks and feeling happier in the process, no matter what happens.

Urgency
While it can be self-defeating to act quickly without thought, acting purposefully with speed will accelerate your forward momentum and create outcomes you can build on.

Serenity
Practicing the experience of tranquility and peace will promote the possibility of optimism mentioned above. These positive feelings will promote a healthy lifestyle, a peaceful attitude and a sense of gratitude.

fabulous1_by_yoshilovesauto-d32gnrfSo include these practices into your daily life and enjoy your FABULOUS life!

5 Critical Components for Exceeding Your Dreams

Dreams VS Fears 7617662772_6198fd5fc5_o

What does it take to excel? What does it take to soar?

I’m sure you have goals and aspirations. (If you don’t, create some!:-))

It takes more than just setting goals though. It’s even beyond working hard on achieving them.

To excel and soar, you must adopt and cultivate a mindset that frees you from your mental and emotional constraints, then uplifts you and propels you forward past what your logical brain might have thought possible.

Sitting in the conference this weekend, listening to inspiring speakers and generous teachers, it became clear to me where MY brain had been ‘protecting’ me and holding me back and what my HEART was now prepared to do to break free and fly.

I’ve identified 5 components that are critical to encouraging your heart and life to take flight.

1. Hope
According to Dictionary.com, hope is ‘the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best’. This feeling is crucial to creating an environment where your dreams can thrive. Too many people talk themselves out of their dreams because they (inaccurately) believe, ‘that’s just not possible for me. Their dreams die on the vine without even a chance of coming true.

I think the dashing of hope arises from past dreams that didn’t pan out and from naysayers who spit on your dreams and call you foolish for even having them. Don’t listen to them! If a dream comes to you, it’s possible for you. Don’t bury it away with negative self talk. Nurture it. Feed it. Let it grow.

2. Decision
One of my coaches brought this distinction to me years ago and the concept has been reinforced over and over
again. One of the early steps in reaching your dreams is to DECIDE that you will. Often, people sit on the fence about their dreams. Their hope isn’t powerful enough. Their fears are too strong. They avoid deciding to move forward and so out of inaction, nothing happens. Think about times in your life when this phenomena played out.

Circumstances weren’t in your favor. But for whatever internal reason, you DECIDED it was going to work out. So
you went to work and then it did.

DECIDE you deserve it. DECIDE you can have it. DECIDE it will work out…and more likely, it will.

3. Faith
This component will keep you going once you’ve made your decision. It’s also the thing that will support your ability to get off the fence and MAKE a decision. Circumstances may still look unfavorable, but your faith in yourself, your abilities and serendipity will allow to to navigate through the hurdles and continue to move forward.

I received this quote from a service I subscribe to at www.tut.com, “A Note from the Universe”. Here’s what the
quote said…

“Within any clearly imagined dream, far beyond the curtains of time and space, lies the intelligence and energy to choreograph the entire sequence of events necessary to make it manifest as soon as possible. And if you physically move toward that dream, demonstrating both faith and belief, making yourself available to ‘accidents and coincidences’ not insisting on the hows and rolling with what may come, the sequence is permitted to pay itself out.”

4. Focus
Another dictionary.com reference, focus means ‘a central point, as of attraction, attention or activity’.

Hold your dream in focus. Keep it in your heart and mind. Think pleasant thoughts about it. Imagine it’s true NOW. Feel the pleasant feelings TODAY associated with what you believe the future will bring.

Pay less attention to distractions and naysayers. Don’t waste your time and energy on less important matters and activities. “Keep your eye on the sparrow.”

5. Gratitude
This one component will support you in living the other four. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘what gets measured gets done (or managed or improved). Living in gratitude makes life more enjoyable.  Finding things to be grateful for will make apparent more items for which you can feel grateful.

Think about how you feel when you’re complaining about life and how different you feel when you’re happy.

Your happiness is not dependent upon the circumstances of your life. Yes, happy circumstances make it easier to feel happy, but to limit yourself to feeling happy ONLY when things are going well is a vastly wasted opportunity and an under-utilization of your ability to direct your experience of your life.

Focus on and express what you’re grateful for constantly. Be thankful for small things, little surprises, big treats, situations that make you smile, happy memories from the past.

Be grateful for the sunshine, the rain, the flowers, your job, your pet’s wet, cold nose – ANYTHING! Look for occasions to be happy.

Create occasions to be happy. Be grateful for your dreams.

Don’t worry. Be grateful.

Your dreams deserve your very best and will make your life its very best.

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How to Be and Stay Happy with 5 Simple Tips

Happy-kitten5817271029_e671acbc62I was watching a morning news show the other day and one of their segments resonated so strongly with me, I decided to write an article about the subject: being and staying happy.

It’s a topic I always address when I’m speaking. Keeping yourself happy is a critical success tool.

People mistakenly think happiness is a result of their circumstances.  Happiness is purely a result of your response to your circumstances.

Case in point…recently I attended the National Speakers Association’s annual convention. One of the keynote speakers captivated the audience of over 1700 people.

Her name was Immaculee Illibagiza. Immaculee lost her entire family to genocide in Rwanda while ‘living’ for 91 days holed up in a tiny (3ft by 4ft) bathroom with seven other women. Hard to even imagine.

During her entire speech,  she fondled the rosary over which she prayed during those horrific days as she spoke about how God answered her prayers, saving her life, those with whom she hid and those who hid her and why she now travels the world speaking of love and forgiveness. Let me repeat that…love and forgiveness.

I was transfixed. Her talk was transformative.

Listening to her made me experience grace, immense gratitude and humility.

Recalling her talk now as I write this article, seems to almost trivialize the necessity of even talking about the absence of happiness for the rest of us who’ve probably never experienced anything even close to what Immaculee went through.

Yet, we all face challenges in life that seem to eat away at, even destroy, our joy.

So, what to do when you’re faced with something that’s bringing you down?

Here are some simple ideas.  I’d love to hear yours too. So after reading this article, scroll back up to the top and leave a comment about practices, rituals, actions, beliefs you have that help you maintain your emotional state at optimal levels .

1. Find one tiny thing in your life that brings you joy and focus on it.
It may be the touch of an infant, the cold nose of your favorite pet, the love (emotional/physical) of your partner, the sound and sights of nature.Identify that item your you and turn your attention away from the thing that’s distressing you.Consciously direct your thoughts toward the more pleasing topic instead.

Find something to be happy about and think about that. Ignore the stressor. Use the relief you feel to help you ‘problem solve’ if necessary.There is a phrase from my corporate life that says “What gets measured, gets managed. What gets managed, improves”. It’s a business process/improvement tactic.

When you take the time to track something you want to improve, you observe it, you learn about it, you catch and correct issues before they go too far astray.It’s similar concept for improving your happiness. Keep track of the things that make you happy.

At the end of the day, think about (or better yet) write down all of the good things that happened to you that day.  Some people keep a Gratitude Journal. Noticing good events, makes other good events in your life more visible to you.  (It’s like what happens when you buy a new blue car and start seeing that same model and color everywhere.)

It’s easy to forget about all the positive events that occur when you’re so fixated on the ONE BIG problem that’s clouding your vision. Don’t let it consume you. YOU are the captain of your ship. Steer it!

2. Take one small action that moves you closer to happiness.
This might be picking up the phone and calling someone you’ve been hesitant about reaching out to for some reason. Play your favorite tune on your favorite device. (Mine is “Happy” by Pharrel Williams,
interestingly enough.)

You don’t have to solve your vexing issue all at once. What is one tiny step you can take that moves you even just a little bit closer to happiness?I remember when my ex and I used to fight over money. We had a joint checking account and ran a business together with one account. I was bringing in most of the income, yet he was spending a disproportionate share…and not mentioning it. I’d find out when I wrote a check (yes, it was a while ago) and it bounced.

We’d talk. We’d fight. Nothing changed.

Exasperated, I approached my Minister just to feel like I was being heard by someone. In the midst of my complaining, she calmly suggested “why don’t you just open up a separate account?”Duh! and OMG! That was the answer to my prayers, yet it took me a couple of years of frustrations to be able to ‘attract’ that idea. One trip to the bank for new signature cards (he was still part of the business), and  one conversation to obtain his signature and within a day, my stress was gone!

3. Listen to and heed your intuition.
As I was packing for the conference referenced earlier, a new pair of  brown sandals were on the short list of what might get packed. I was looking at them on the floor in my bedroom, when a quiet thought
went through my head “Do you really need to take them?”

I didn’t, but I liked them, so I packed them.

Well, somewhere between the hotel room in D.C. and the 3 airports my unlocked bag traveled through on my way home, the sandals disappeared. Darn! I hadn’t even worn them during the trip! They could have stayed home.
Next time, I’ll listen to those whispers more intently.

4. Decide that your true happiness is the most important priority in your life.
I learned this listening to/reading Law of Attraction material from Abraham-Hicks. It sounded selfish at first, but intuitively correct.

It’s analogous to what flight attendants tell you to do if the oxygen
masks appear when you’re traveling with small children: “Put your mask on first”.When you’re alive and safe (or sufficiently happy), you can help other people.  If you’re unconscious or sad, you can’t.

5. Focus on the inside and shut out outside influences. Then, ask for what you want.
When I was younger, it was sometimes difficult to ask for what I wanted. I was afraid of what people thought and afraid of how they might react.In order for me to figure out what really might make me happy, I had to pretend no one would know what I had decided.

Without the pressure of how people might react to my wants and desires, my true feelings and hopes could more easily surface.Asking doesn’t guarantee you’ll get what you want if someone else has control over the thing you’re trying to get. (Keep in mind, like you, their happiness is their #1 priority.) But you’re more likely to get what you want if the people around you know what you want. Expecting people to know or guess or read your mind is not a productive strategy.

No one is responsible for your happiness but you. People and events MIGHT make you happy, but it’s not their job. YOU are the controller of how you feel.

People and events might make you sad, but it’s not their fault. YOU are the controller of how you feel.Events occur. No matter how exquisite or horrific, your response to them is completely within your control.Jenn Lim, Chief Happiness Officer at Delivering Happiness which she co-founded with Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos.com) cites 4 items  from Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose that are behind the science of happiness:
1. A sense of control
2. A sense of progress
3. A sense of connectedness
4. A sense of vision and meaning
……all of which, in some area of your life, you can influence. Find them. Focus on them. Create happiness for yourself.

How to Stay More Focused in 5 Simple Steps

We live in a multitasking world. We are constantly bombarded by messages via email, LAN line phones, TV, radio, mobile devices, text messages, pop-ups on the internet, global conference calls at weird hours…the list goes on.

We think we can handle it, but all this multitasking and gear-switching robs us of our productivity while deluding us with thoughts that we’re accomplishing more than we are.

In order to get more things done, it’s important to follow some simple rules. I know rules are a challenge for creative, free-flowing types but trust me, incorporating a bit of structure will facilitate the achievement of your goals faster flitting from one thing to another.

Here are 5 simple steps to getting more things done faster.

1.  Look at the task.
That may seem like a weird statement. If the task, for example, is to clean your messy desk, looking at that messy desk is likely to overwhelm or even frustrate you.

It may make you want to run out of the room screaming and find something more pleasant to do like chat with a co-worker or get something to eat.

What if the task is a writing an article or an email? Sharing at a blank piece of paper or empty ‘new message’ window, could paralyze you.

So why do I suggest that you look at the task?

Because it will allow you to focus.

Take a few slow deep breaths. Allow yourself to relax a bit. Don’t judge yourself, the task or the person who assigned it to you. Just breathe and relax.

Close your eyes if that helps you relax. Imagine what the finished ‘project’ looks/feels like. Allow yourself to feel grateful and proud that you’ve completed it. Hold that vision and those feelings of accomplishment in your mind for several moments.

2. Think about the steps.
With your now calm mind and still closed eyes, map out your strategy. Think about the actions you could take, the points you want to make, the words you could use. Think it through first. Visualize the steps unfolding in natural order. If you’re writing, think about the person/people you’re writing to. Consider the points you want to make.  Then open your eyes and do, write, move the first thing(s) that comes to mind. Trust yourself to accomplish your goal with grace and ease.

Even if you’re under a deadline, allowing yourself to get centered and focused will allow you to take more effective action. It will be time well spent.

3. Focus your attention on the task.
Avoid distractions. If music stimulates you, turn on your favorite tunes. I find classical music conducive to deep thinking. I find dance music stimulating for motion tasks (like cleaning). Do what works for you but stay focused on your task. Don’t drift off into reverie about any distracting memories that get evoked with  your tunes. If that happens, turn the music off and focus on your task again.

4. Try your best to ignore distractions by others.
Shut off the ringer on your phone. Tell the kids/spouse/best friend at work, you’re not to be disturbed until… If an idea comes to you that you need to take action on, write it down. Resist the urge to do it, even if you think it’s quick. It probably won’t be as quick as you imagine and even if it is, you will have lost the momentum you’d gained on the original, important project you were working on.

5. Stop working only when you’re done.
If it’s a big project, consider setting a time limit. Staring down the throat of a monumental task, can indeed be overwhelming. Work on huge tasks 90 minutes at a time. Take a short break, then go back to work for another 90 minutes. Stay on task. Don’t move to another project. Stay on this on until it is complete or until you’ve reached the time you had allocated for it this go round.

BONUS STEP: When you’re done, reward yourself!
Give yourself a ‘High 5!’, ‘Atta girl! or Atta boy!’

Wallow, for a bit, in your sense of accomplishment, pride and relief. You’ve just completed something that was a big deal or had been sitting around nagging at you for too long.

A celebration is well in order. Don’t cheat yourself out of enjoying the moment!

Imagine yourself at the Olympics, having just crossed the finish line ahead of everyone else. Hear and feel the crowd cheering for you in all your glory.  Feel the pride yourself and bring the memory of your accomplishment to the next daunting task you have to perform.

‘Cause you know there will be another one coming. But this time, you’ll be more prepared.