Goal Achievement

10 Easy Ways to Infuse Optimism Into Your Culture and Life

Choose Optimism image by Aaron Davis with quote by Ray McLean

 

Part 2 of 2: Last week – Looking On The Bright Side: The Real Secret To Success

Generally, organizations and people find change arduous and overwhelming. So, I hope it’s encouraging to learn that there are many very small things you can do to increase optimism, as well as practices that you can encourage in your corporate culture that can make significant change natural and easy.

Allocate special time for these mini-practices and communicate clearly, but concisely, that the purpose is to increase optimism to enjoy the many benefits:

  • Improved problem solving
  • Enhanced motivation
  • Higher performance and productivity
  • Lower stress
  • Better mental and physical health
  • Longevity
  • Increased resilience
  • Better income

Perhaps at the beginning of each meeting, you could allocate 5 minutes, or you can send a friendly reminder each morning that promotes the benefit of a particular mini-practice. None of these practices take any more than 3 minutes. They work best when they are encouraged, not mandatory. Doing one ore many of these will benefit individuals as well as the organization as a whole.

I learned some of these mini-practices from Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, who I saw speak at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women in 2017 and I attended his online masterclass through MindValley. Others came from Dr. Mark Waldman’s book, NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success. Others are the culmination of a lifetime of research and practice in personal and professional development, neuro-hacking, quantum physics, and mind-body research.

Each of these mini-practices has benefits that reach far beyond optimism. Experiment to find which of these practices are sustainable and have the most impact for you. Sustainability is key!

If you’ve tried one before and it didn’t work for you, you can either choose to try it in a new way, or move on to the next. It’s not all or nothing. Make modifications as you see fit!

  1. Meditation as a way to optimism

Before you roll your eyes and abandon reading the rest of this highly impactful post, remember that this is promoting mini-practices – things that take 3 minutes or less! I have spoken to so many people who have been discouraged by their experience trying to meditate. Listen, there are some very complex ways to meditate and there are some very simple ways to meditate. Here are the simplest ways I know:

  • Focus on your breath – the sensations of the air coming in and out. Set a timer. When your mind wanders, notice it without judgment and bring your focus back to your breath.
  • Focus on your muscles – from your head to your toes. Become present to each muscle and fiber and consciously instruct them to relax. I personally find this easier to maintain focus for 3 minutes. Actually, I can spend a good 5-8 minutes here and find it more helpful than a nap in restoring my peace of mind and focus.
  1. Visualization as a way to optimism

The key to visualization is using your imagination and acting as if what you want has already happened. We all used to do this as a kid a thousand times a day. When was the last time you allowed yourself to get into a fantasy where your life is exactly as you’d want it?

  • Imagine the most ideal outcome and let your senses in on the fun. Get into the details – What are you wearing? How does it feel against your skin? Who is with you? What are they wearing? Where are you? What is the weather? What do you smell? What all is possible for you in this magic moment? Who is happy for you or proud of you?
  • Spend 5 minutes per day imagining your best possible self. Optimism starts to increase from day 1 because it helps you shut down some of the chatter of negative self-talk that comes from your logical left brain and engages more of your creative right brain.
  1. Expansion as a way to optimism

Sometimes our growth happens so gradually that we hardly stop to reflect on just how much we’ve grown. If we’re only focusing on the gap ahead of where we are to where we want to be and don’t take time to see how we’ve grown, we take for granted our ability to grow and expand and underestimate what we’re capable of accomplishing.

  • Reflecting on growth is one way you can start to appreciate our own ability to expand and grow. This means looking back at a certain point in time, perhaps a year, or perhaps to the first three months on the job, and recognizing what skills or expertise did not exist in your repertoire. Perhaps there was an influential co-worker or mentor who helped you understand something or helped you gain a new perspective. Maybe you attended a conference where you learned a new practice or tactic. Start compiling a list and add a few at a time.
  • Another way to induce quantum expansion is to try something outside of you comfort zone. This can be, but doesn’t have to be, work-related. I recommend taking a look at the area of your life where you tend to feel the worst about where you are compared to where you want to be. This may be an area of your life you avoid for exactly that reason. For some people initiating a meeting with the CEO is an exercise in expansion. For others, attending an event full of strangers is a highly uncomfortable endeavor. Some need a little more thrill in their life, and may choose activities with a higher level of risk. These are intended to be mini-practices done first thing in the morning, but perhaps a lunch hour is delegated to hit the rock climbing or parkour gym.
  1. Kindness as a way to optimism

The more you practice helping other people without expectation or obligation of anything in return, the more you will expect this from others as well. Even when you experience people being selfish or unkind, you will be more resistant to adopting a pessimistic worldview, because you know that kindness is an individual choice, and if you choose it, others do, too.

  • Send a note of gratitude or praise. This doesn’t have to be a long note – a short paragraph will do. Even in a few short lines, however, be specific about the action or quality you are acknowledging and express how it made you feel or how it impacted you or others. Not only will this make you feel great, it will create positive ripples that continue well past the recipient.
  • Perform a random act of kindness. This doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe it means picking up someone’s favorite yogurt on the way into work and putting their name on a sticky note in the fridge where they’re sure to see it. You can choose to be anonymous, but there’s also nothing wrong in this exercise with choosing to be found out, either. In this case the note could read, “I noticed you like this, Jan. Enjoy! ~ Karen.” You could give the violinist in the subway a big tip, or let your waitress’s manager know that she’s doing a great job. It’s doing a little more than being polite, such as holding the door open. Politeness is also something that, when practiced, will increase your faith in people, but this is mini-exercise expects you to go a bit further out of your way, but not much further – 3 minutes.
  1. Gratitude as a way to optimism

If you can take notice and feel appreciation for good things, regardless of how small, and spend time in their significance, you will see how each good thing is really a tiny miracle, and if tiny miracles are possible, larger miracles are also possible.

  • Start and/or end your day thinking of 3 things you are grateful to have occurred over the past 24 hours, regardless of how simple they might be, such as someone letting you merge.
  • Take one thing that happened and “rampage” about it mentally, verbally or in written word, which is really letting yourself get wrapped up in all the good that something is, following one great thought to the next. For example, “I love that I got to spend time with my family yesterday, because when we spend time together playing games we get to know each other on a deeper level and create memories that we’ll cherish for many years to come, which is really what life is all about, and I love the time that I spend creating memories and feeling closer to my family, and knowing that we have each other; it makes me feel safe, secure, and loved….”

How to execute these mini-practices:

As I said above, you can encourage these mini-practices in small ways, such as taking 5 minutes at the beginning of each meeting for one or several, but you will enjoy exponential benefits if you can garner wider participation without obligating anyone while still supporting consistency.

I recommend that you do a 30-day challenge for yourself, and then promote a 30-day challenge for your workforce. It might look like this: Every work day for 30 days you will send an e-mail first thing in the morning that will encourage people to take 3 minutes or less to try a mini-practice, selecting a new mini-practice each day. You may opt to choose a focus for each week, or you can delegate a day of the week for each mini-practice category, e.g. Mondays are for meditation, Tuesdays are for Visualization, Wednesdays are for Expansion, Thursdays are for Kindness, and Fridays are for Gratitude. Have them also take 2 minutes at some point in the day to reflect on whether the mini-practice made a difference and send this to you. After this 30-day challenge for you is over, reward yourself for completing in a way that is meaningful for you.

Then, initiate a 30-day challenge for your workforce to pick one or several of the mini-practices that was most impactful for them and start their day with a mini-practice every work day for 30 days, allowing them 15 minutes after work begins to do this, though people can still opt to be done in less than 3 minutes, plus 2 minutes of reflection sent via e-mail. A standardized form for feedback will help you convert these reflections into usable data that may be very revealing! You may opt to reward all who participate with paid time off, or some other tangible reward, or choose one participant to receive a large reward.

At the end of the 30 days, aggregate and assess the most significant reflections and share the findings with everyone, whether they participated or not. If you find that these mini-practices made a significant impact in a way that is meaningful to your organization, consider instituting a permanent, consistent time allocation for them.

You can also engage Epic Careering to perform a morale and engagement assessment and conduct a more comprehensive participation program, including a workshop. By investing even a half-day immersing your workforce in learning the life skill of optimism:

  • You will send a strong message that their happiness is paramount to everyone’s success
  • They will understand at a deep level why it’s such a critical area of focus
  • You will get more buy-in to the mini-practices at a more meaningful level
  • Everyone will enjoy the exponentially increased benefits

Share with us your optimism initiatives past, present or future.

Beatles “Getting Better” (2015 stereo remix)

This is “Beatles “Getting Better” (2015 stereo remix)” by Lance Hall on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

 

Change in Altitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Skyline Drive, VA by LindaDee2006

I’m driving through the clouds on Skyline Drive right now on my way home with my family after an epic road trip. I’m feeling more grounded, and yet also delightfully detached from my earthly obligations.

I’ve had time to reflect on things from multiple physical and psychological perspectives.

Sometimes, attachment to a mission or outcome is what’s necessary to create movement, and sometimes detachment is what’s needed.

If you experience chronic resistance in achieving outcomes, detachment is a great tool to use to allow the flow of new ideas.

I know a lot of job seekers who deny themselves time for guilt-free fun. Some of you need permission, so here it is:

You are allowed, encouraged and absolved to put your career challenges completely aside for many short or few long intervals.

Consider it your spring renewal tool.

Go on. Adventure on. If anyone asks, let them know it’s coach’s orders.

Jimmy Buffett- Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

No copyright intended uhh yeah

The Low Down on Willpower: Why It’s Often Not Enough and How to Compensate

BEAT THE DIETER S DILEMMA WHAT TO DO WHEN WILLPOWER FAILS TEXT WORD CLOUD CONCEPT by aihumnoi on Shutterstock

Here’s what we know about it: It’s limited, but with the right motivation and the right conditions, it can be THE thing that helps you create the change you want in your life.

But what if… you didn’t get enough sleep one day? What if something stressful happens in your life? (That’s inevitable.) What if your blood sugar is low one day?

The right conditions for willpower can be very tricky to control all the time.

Gretchen Rubin, aficionado of good habits and author of several great books on forming habits, has pointed out that forming one good habit tends to eventually create a ripple effect of other good habits. One of the reasons is because willpower is like a muscle, and if you exercise it regularly, it gets stronger over time. Another reason is because our brains release dopamine when things feel good. When change feels good, we crave more of it.

However, using willpower can consume so much mental energy that we become less effective at work, in our workouts, or at solving problems. Have you ever noticed when starting a new diet that you feel more exhausted or less competent? As I already stated, you can gradually build up a larger and larger reserve of willpower, but you have to overcome those conditions on a very regular basis.

Another great point by Gretchen Rubin is that forming a new habit is so consuming because you have to constantly consciously make the decision to NOT engage in the bad habit and TO engage in the good habit until the new habit becomes automatic and you no longer have to even think about it.

My biggest frustrations as a coach were when my clients simply would not do what I was advising them to do. In my early years, this took a toll on my relationship with them, as I would grow very frustrated. By digging deep into the everyday individual challenges of engaging in a new activity with integrity from my own perspective and getting some coaching in emotional intelligence, I developed a greater sense of empathy and compassion. As much as my clients appreciated my patience, compassion, and validation of their feelings, it kept them comfortable in their challenges instead of moving them past them.

In my quest to be the most effective force for personal transformation I can be, I was left with a couple of nagging questions:

  • If our conscious efforts can so easily be sabotaged and have such a cost, what can we do to get our subconscious to be on board quicker so that new habits become automatic?
  • If being tough and no-nonsense doesn’t inspire change in my clients, and being too compassionate doesn’t inspire my clients to change, and I know that they want change, what is the right balance to use and the right tools to use that will help them love themselves through the change and create a safe space for them to transform?

As a leader, have you ever asked yourself these questions? The drive of a leader is to oversee the development and transformation of others into leaders. I have to imagine that all leaders have discovered the same strengths and shortcomings of tough love and compassion. Finding the balance takes trial and error and experience. Even with the wisdom of experience, we have to be able to apply that wisdom when conditions, like lack of sleep, low blood sugar, stress, are present.

For the answers, I turned to science: neuroscience and psychology. What they have discovered in the past 10 years negates much of what we knew prior and a lot of what I learned in college, but some fundamentals remain. Planting roots for good habits is still very much based on the cognitive learning methods of positive and negative conditioning, but we are finding that negative conditioning has some detrimental side effects that contribute to mental health declines, even though it appears to be more effective in the short-term. This is why positive psychology branched out as a practice in 1998. Public perception of this practice has held it back, as people believe that positive psychology is merely about “thinking positive,” which many struggles to do with much regularity. Much the same way, the media/Hollywood and a few mal-intended practitioners of NLP (like hypnosis, but using regular conversation to induce trance) have given hypnosis a very bad reputation.

Take the highly-nominated Academy Award film Get Out. Ugh. It’s a shame that people will not seek out a solution with such potential to change their lives for the better because they believe this portrayal of hypnosis as some malevolent form of mind control. I have already had people claim that hypnosis is “too invasive.” If you watched this film, I couldn’t blame you for getting that impression, but you must realize that this was a movie created by the imagination of Jordan Peele. You might also get the impression from watching this film that white people are wackos, or that Peel thinks so. You might not know that Peele is half white himself.

The truth is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it’s a way to get you into rapport with your subconscious mind, and if I were to give you suggestion under trance that was out of alignment with your values and morals, you would come out of trance. The other truth is that I am not using hypnosis to impose my will on you. I was trained to make sure that the ecology and well-being of the client come first, and your words are the most effective words I can use, so before a session, I am capturing how you feel, words you use and what you want most for your life post-session.

I had to clear up my kids’ perception of hypnosis, as they have seen cartoons where characters bark like a dog. I did see a hypnosis show in which fellow college classmates did some crazy things, but those were the same people who would be seen doing crazy things without the influence of hypnosis, and perhaps under the influence of something else that would lower inhibitions. I noticed that the hypnotist sent some people back to their seats. These were the people who would not have wanted to do something crazy.

Psychology was my career of choice as a high school Junior. But someone had said to me that people become psychologists because they’re crazy themselves. This turned me off to that career path. I don’t regret my communications concentration – it had a lot of cross-over and I certainly use it heavily as a coach. However, I know enough now to feel certain about the contribution that I can make with hypnosis, and I’m not going to let the perceptions of a practice discourage me from promoting it and using it.

You may decide that it’s still too mysterious, or that you want to build up your own willpower muscle. I believe that it’s an admirable endeavor, especially if you can afford the time it takes to do that.

If, however, you can’t afford to take a lot of time, or the pace at which you need change has to keep up with the pace of business, technology, life, etc. consider hypnosis as a safe, natural alternative to a fallible, limited reserve of willpower.

 

Schedule your individual session here: https://calendly.com/epiccareering

For corporate change initiatives, including leadership transformations, e-mail Karen@epiccareering.com to schedule a consultation.

Ben Harper – The Will to Live

The Will to Live (1997)

Where Else Do You Experience Limits, and What More Can I Do?

Daniel Cukier on Flickr

It is said that how you do one thing is how you do everything. I first heard this from T Harv Eker. I personally have found many exceptions to this rule in terms of “everything”, but this insight has proven helpful in helping my clients.

For instance, if a client had yet to reach their full potential on the job, it could be because they had yet to have the opportunity to apply an innate strength. So while they may not have been approaching their job and their career by using their strengths, I can look for clues into their personal life and projects to see what their strengths are, and how they can start applying them to their job and career to bring them to the next level.

I can also look at other realms of their lives where they have not achieved their ideal vision and get clues as to what could be holding them back in their career.

For instance, if a client has not yet found love because they have a distrust of other people. Does that distrust of other people lead them to not delegate what needs to be delegated at work? Does it impact their leadership abilities or relationships with their boss and coworkers?

If someone has a low number of connections on LinkedIn and claims to not have a rich network, a reason has been that they had a low level of self-importance and figured people would not want to connect with them. This same low level of self-importance can also hold them back from pursuing promotional opportunities.

Many of my coaching coaches have taught me that we as coaches have to stand for other people’s transformation when they won’t, because it is truly what they want when they come to us, and what holds them back from investing in themselves is what will keep them from reaching their goal.

I have had two types of coaches give this advice; one encourages employing coercive sales tactics, but even if I want to stand for people’s transformation, I can’t bring myself to fight against someone’s will. It’s not in my nature and hasn’t had a good outcome for me.

Other coaches have helped me understand that I need to make my offer of help a no-brainer – affordable, flexible payment plans, tons of bonuses, free stuff, and money back guarantees.

This makes so much more sense to me, but even though this is what I’m offering, and I know people desperately want to land quickly in a job that makes them feel alive, appreciated, and well-paid, I am surprised at how few people watched the free module of my group coaching program that I offered (and am still offering until the group is full – http://bit.ly/FreeDJBSreplay).

I have received some really great feedback on the free module, and people have expressed how much they want in, but have yet to pull the trigger.

While I know that what is holding them back is most likely the thing that is holding them back in other areas of their lives, and as a result of going through this program, they will gain new awareness and tools to not let that stop them anymore, I have to take accountability – there’s something I failed to get across, something I failed to communicate, something I failed to offer.

Help me out ­–

If you truly desire some kind of improvement in your career, what is stopping you from taking the first step of watching every module, and also taking the steps after that, which I have made as simple, easy, and fun as possible, requiring a lot less of your time than a conventional job search.

From my perspective, I have removed all possible objections that you might have to creating that change.

What am I missing? Why have you not acted yet?

 

Please comment or private message me.

Foo Fighters – Best Of You (VIDEO)

Foo Fighters’ official music video for ‘Best Of You’. Click to listen to Foo Fighters on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/FooFSpotify?IQid=FooFBOY As featured on Greatest Hits.

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 3 of 4

What does 2018 have in store?

Some things may seem out of your control, but there is no good outcome that can occur by spending time thinking about them. Rather, invest time in creating a vision of your new year that inspires and empowers you to do what is in your power to do so, which is all you can do, and yet, is much more powerful than you might expect.

Already the days are getting longer, and the dawn of a new era is always just a decision away.

We will talk about 3 new categories this week, with 3 more remaining. These categories are all important to your overall happiness and fulfillment. We tend to think that we can compartmentalize our life, and even having such categories might imply that, but what we need to realize if we are ever to achieve mastery in our lives, is that each category impacts the others.

Whether you have someone to kiss at midnight this year or not, we are going to start by recreating your vision of romance.

7. Love Life

Who has a relationship that you envy and why?  Some may tell you that envy is unhealthy, but that’s only if your admiration of someone’s life makes you sad instead of inspired. What would your life be like if you were able to have the kind of love that you admire?

If you have been in a long-term partnership, as I have (married 12 years, together for 17), you might feel as though it has already been as good as it will get. We can’t go back to the past, but we can infuse fresh life into relationships. I have seen miracles happen in this area. The magic comes from communication, compassion, and generosity.  Tony Robbins has some great videos of moments that he transformed relationships in minutes. It is possible!

If you are unattached, but wish to be, I have some friends in your boat, too. I have no answers for you. You probably have gotten a lot of advice, and perhaps even been set up more times than you care to have been. Some may think your standards are too high, or perhaps even feel like you choose the wrong matches. It’s still worthwhile, in my opinion, to create a vision of your ideal mate – the qualities, physical features, etc. While you are doing so, be in the feeling of having this person, rather than the feeling of missing this person.

The same method works for an established relationship:  it is the emotional component that activates the law of attraction. When American Indians did rain dances, they didn’t pray FOR rain, they prayed FROM rain – from the feeling of gratitude that rain was already coming.

You may have a great relationship, in which case, enjoy making plans of how you can deepen your relationship in the New Year – adventures you can have, ways to test yourselves and grow in new ways.

8. Lifestyle

From what I see, most of us start out our lives determined to live a certain lifestyle and then make decisions that we think will lead us to live that way. Sometimes, however, we want to live a different life than the one we were raised in, and may struggle to know what different decisions could be made that would help us transform our lifestyle.

Do you know someone who has a lifestyle that you would like to attain? Are there biographies available? Are they accessible? Could you interview them? Perhaps they might even be willing to mentor you. In my experience with successful people, many of them enjoy their blessings even more when they are able to pay it forward and help others.  A willing student is like a brand new canvas they can paint.

You may not need a full transformation of your lifestyle, but perhaps just a level-up in 2018.  Maybe you have been sacrificing travel for family obligations and next year’s level up is to travel more often. Where do you want to go? What are the costs of going? What are the landmarks you want to visit or adventures you want to experience?

Other things you can look to level-up:  vehicle, technology, garden, kitchen, office décor, organization, automation.

This category can seem superficial to some, and therefore unimportant. I want you to consider that while the true measure of a person is not what they possess; we often tend to measure ourselves this way anyway. We may even determine that we should deprive ourselves to be a good person, or that we are less than because we don’t possess what others do.

I don’t condone this thinking, but it happens, and society supports it, even breeds it.

Sometimes, things make us happy. Should we measure our lives by them? I’m not one to say “should” or “shouldn’t”.

I do know that there are scientifically-proven benefits to feeling happy, and if something makes you happy, you would be doing yourself good to allow yourself to enjoy it.

9. Character

How often have you thought about what kind of person you want to be, or how you want to be remembered?

The classic movie and book, A Christmas Carol, always makes me think about what impression people have that I might not know they have about me.

Did you ever picture yourself at your funeral? What do you think people would say? What would you want them to say?

One exercise a coach brought me through years ago was making a list of the top 5 people I admired, and then listing their top 3 qualities. It was said by this coach that these qualities are actually your true self, and that is the reason these qualities appeal to you.

We may not always operate in accordance with those qualities because what we learn and endure throughout our lives may take us out of alignment with those qualities, but they are intrinsically a part of us.

To help these qualities manifest more often, we must first raise our self-awareness and notice when we are not exhibiting those qualities. Then, we keep recreating and reinforcing a vision of ourselves as someone who consistently exhibits those qualities, and soon we make more decisions from this place of being. Then we also start enjoying the outcomes of making those decisions in terms of our relationships, improved habits, and peace of mind.

I know this makes it sound so simple. The truth is our brain defaults to make this type of change very challenging. It is possible, however, with a clear vision of the desired changes, resolve to stay self-aware, and commitment to sticking with it.

Which of the 9 areas covered so far feel the hardest to you?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

We’ll cover the last 3 categories next week.

 

Have a memorable, safe, EPIC new year!

Europe – The Final Countdown (Official Video)

Europe’s official music video for ‘The Final Countdown’. Click to listen to Europe on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/EuropeSpot?IQid=EuropeTFC As featured on 1982-1992.

What do you want to leave in 2017? What do you want to add to 2018?

Part 1 of 4

Notepad Art by Stephen Dann on Flickr

As the year winds down, and holiday activities kick into full gear, not all of us are focused on the reflection that actually comes naturally this time of year, nor are we always thinking about the new year until we make it through the other winter holidays.

However, before a commercial, consumerist, highly socialized society created new traditions for this time of year that keep us busy rushing around, the tradition was very much focused on peace, quiet, reflection, and resolution.

In Vishen Lakhiani’s book Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he recommends reflecting on 12 different categories of your life and rating where you are and creating a clear vision of where you want to be to know where to focus on improving and determine how. We’ll go through all 12, 3 at a time, leading up to the New Year. Starting…now!

  1. Money

There are the administrative tasks, like making sure your financial records are in order, that need to be done. This gives you the chance to pay attention to a very critical part of your world, your income, where a lot of us derive our value, right or wrong. Even if what you see when you confront the financial part of your life isn’t what you sought, noticing a contrast sets the foundation for creating a new financial goal and vision for the new year. Many people save this reflection for last, or might find it ironic that I appear to be discouraging materialism toward the beginning of this article, but quickly put the focus on money. This says a lot about your relationship to money, actually. Have you been taught that money isn’t spiritual, or that having money means not being spiritual, or even that it’s evil, or to love it is? How do you treat money? If money were your lover, would it want to be with you based on how you treat it? We all know that money is essential to living, but often we resent it, neglect it, or even fear it. I am not promoting making money the most important area of your life, but I am saying that if it is the area of improvement that you want most to focus on improving in 2018, give it the focus and attention it deserves.

If you hadn’t reached your 2017 goals, what accountability can you take for that, and what new knowledge can you gain, people you can meet, or habits can you create to bring about a better result in 2018?

Also, in regards to bookkeeping, here are 5 tips for people who changed jobs in 2017.

2. Career

Speaking of jobs, there is also a very good reason I started with money. While there is a “market price” for most positions, did you know you can still reverse engineer your income to match your desired lifestyle? If there is something that you LOVE to do so much, that you would do it for free, but it traditionally doesn’t pay well and you need to make a good living, there has never been a better time to build an income infrastructure that allows you to do what you love WHILE earning a healthy income. There are formulas you can follow, depending on what kind of life you want to create, and while I’m not saying they’re easy, or even simple, if you have the resolve and vision to pull you through the challenges, you can absolutely follow steps that will lead you to freedom and empowerment in your career. Too many have settled for the “safer” path, but how safe is it really?

“Life is all risky, if you think ‘trying’ is risky, wait til’ they hand you the bill for NOT trying. Wait til’ you get the tab for not investing. It’s all risky, getting married is risky, having children is risky. Don’t worry, in life, you’re not going to get out alive” ~ Jim Rohn

Is your health suffering because of stress at work or based on finances? Do you ever go to work with anxiety, or even physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches that could be caused by anxiety?

Do your relationships suffer because of the time and energy required of your job? Is there a level of joy in life you have yet to experience because your priority was financial “security”? Is your job that secure?

Here’s the most important question: Does your job give back to you as much or more than you give to it?

Most people have not yet tasted what it is like to be exhilarated by their jobs, and if you have tasted it, have you been striving ever since to re-create that feeling but landing jobs that continually fall short?

There is a formula and a system (with tools) you can follow that will put the power back in your hands to bring this experience into or back into your life. We previously made this available to you, have since dropped the price dramatically so that it’s affordable for most people, and intend to bring you a new and improved format that maximizes retention, application and FUN in 2018.

3. Health

Speaking of health, our life expectancy just went up dramatically, but we will only live that long if we take proper care of our self-healing bodies. This, I know from experience, is no easy feat. But good health enables all of the other areas of our lives to operate. Without it, we can’t expect to achieve fulfillment in any other area of our lives, so it’s pretty important.

So many people struggle to create better habits in this area. We all have heard by now that diets don’t work, and that aiming for a healthy lifestyle of moderation instead is a more realistic goal. That sounds like a commitment, though. It’s scary. From 2015-2016, I was in great shape. I started small, with subsequent 21-day challenges. Within those 21 days, I lost enough weight to motivate me to continue my journey, developed better awareness of old habits and created new ones, and improved my relationship with my body, which was an unexpected, but a very welcomed, outcome.

Honestly, my habits now are a far cry from those, and a year is a long time to sustain results, but it wasn’t a lifetime. I had began to crave better and better results, and dove into more and more intense exercise regimens, and stricter and stricter diets, until – I needed stitches in my arm and wasn’t able to lift for a month. When I read Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin pointed out that often when we develop good habits in one area of our lives, we find it naturally easier to develop good habits in other areas of our lives, as well. From my observations, health is the area in which I see that trickle down impact most powerfully, and I can say that when good health habits deteriorate, good habits in other areas tend to go downhill, as well.

It seems counter-intuitive, because if we devote more time to health, we’ll have less time to sustain all of our other habits, but I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, to creating a habit of devoting time to exercise and nutrition, starting simply. I will exercise 5 days per week to make it a habit, even if it’s only 10 minutes, but it has to challenge me at least 3x per week, in other words, I will work to my limit. I will also make sure that I eat something plant-based with every meal before I go for a starch, meat or treat. I am not committing to depriving myself of anything. I will make this about ADDING what is good for me, which I feel will naturally lead to a decrease in cravings for what I know isn’t good, but I enjoy.

Starting small worked for me at the beginning, and I believe it’s sustainable for a lifetime, though I may not experience the initial large weight drop that motivated me so much the last time.

It’s all about finding what works for you, and if you form healthy habits, but they don’t have the desired outcomes, such as massive weight loss, you know at least you are gaining better health.

Next week, we will explore 3 more critical areas of your life to evaluate as 2017 winds down and 2018 approaches.

Remember to rate yourself in these areas and write down a vision in each of these that inspire you to make changes in 2018.

Counting Crows – A Long December

Listen to more from Counting Crows: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/Essentials Explore the incredible history of Counting Crows here: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/artists/counting-crows Stream a playlist of their biggest tracks: http://playlists.udiscovermusic.com/playlist/counting-crows-best-of Experience Counting Crows on Vinyl LP: https://CountingCrows.lnk.to/f6ubC Follow Counting Crows https://www.facebook.com/countingcrows/ https://twitter.com/CountingCrows https://www.instagram.com/countingcrows/ http://countingcrows.com/ Music video by Counting Crows performing A Long December. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 2,037,577.

You are a unicorn

Part 4 in the MindValley Reunion=Mind Blown series, which continues next week

 

I was never in a place where I could not afford diapers for my babies. Can you imagine that? However, I can absolutely relate to some financial low points in my life and very scary times when I wasn’t sure how we were going to keep our utilities on. You probably have a financial low point coming to your mind right now.

When I heard Lisa Nichol’s story many years ago, I was clear that she had decided and was committed to never being in that place again, and she was willing to do whatever it took. I had not yet learned what that really looked like until I saw her speak in the flesh at the MindValley Reunion last month in San Diego.

She was already an inspiring figure to me, and I had already been re-teaching what I had learned from her to my business students at Drexel University. She taught me the “Dip” formula for telling your story in such a way that the media and your audience beg to know more, and then also how to use your body and the senses to bring people fully into your story. Let me tell you – I was enthralled, and so were the other 800 people there. She captivated and MOVED the whole room.

By the time she was done, there was not a person there who had an excuse left to play it small in their lives.

She shared her story, including what “whatever it took” looked like, and I wondered how many would be willing to do what she was willing to do – to sacrifice what she was willing to sacrifice.

There is a quote that kept me going during leaner years when I had to forego family trips, nights out with the girls, clothes and new shoes, that kept me from feeling sorry for myself, and here are a couple of variations on this:

If you will live like no one else, later you can live and give like no one else. – Dave Ramsey, Author of Financial Peace and financial savior to millions!

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” – Warren G. Tracy’s student

Sometimes a few is more like 8 or 9, if you have the resolve and can maintain your means of living.

Lisa committed herself to writing a check to herself out of each pay check into a savings account with the memo note “funding my dreams.” Each week, she committed to giving more than the last. She had no role models to teach her about savings, and she sacrificed the small things at first that I would imagine you or I would be perfectly willing to go without – getting her hair and nails done, eating out (even McDonalds,) etc. Then she moved herself and her son out of her place in with a friend. She sold her car. She sacrificed and lived the words she spoke, “Conviction and convenience don’t live on the same block.”

After 3.5 years, she went to check her balance, and all the tellers knew her by name and from her memo line. “Hey, it’s the ‘funding my dreams lady!” And soon they were all there to share the miracle of the news – that she had managed to save $64,000!

You might have seen Lisa Nichols in The Secret, on Oprah, Steve Harvey, The Today Show, and any number of other platforms, including, of course, MindValley, where I was re-introduced to her.

While I cannot capture Lisa’s enigmatic presence that had an undeniable impact on the room, I captured some other very powerful quotes and phrases that I hope you will spend some time contemplating and ask yourself what you are willing to do for your dreams.

“Scare yourself [with your goals.]” That’s how you know they’re big enough.

“Hang out with people who aren’t keeping score.”

“You don’t need the rest of the 10,000 miles laid out before you step.”

“Play full out while you’re learning through it. Love yourself through the breakthroughs.”

“Hook your caboose to someone else’s train” if you need to gain some momentum.

“Speak to inspire, not to impress”

“Be willing to walk alone to attract a crowd.”

“Don’t buy in to who you see; see who they are becoming.”
I.E. Don’t assume you can tell someone’s station in life!

“Intimacy – In-to-me-I-see.”

“Care-frontation.” The act of speaking up and standing up for someone’s growth.

“Love so loud you can’t hear the noise” – AKA “radical love”

Consider what happens when you create a big goal… “When I reach for it, good stuff happens. Will I reach it? I don’t know, but I know this feels good.”

I did not take any notes during the time when Lisa walked through the crowd, as I was completely mesmerized by her and the obvious impact she was having on people, but I know she had us all convinced that we are unicorns – miracles, really, and we are doing no one any favors by neglecting to acknowledge our uniqueness, nor the gift that we are – we only diminish who we are by pretending that we can just take our unicorn horns off and be “normal.”

I made a sketch in my notebook of wings and a halo with a thought as I checked in with how I was feeling at that moment…

“I feel like a vibrational angel.” This would not be the last time I had this feeling during this weekend, with the pinnacle being when Don Miguel Ruiz spoke on Sunday morning.

More on the MindValley Reunion speakers next week. Make sure you follow me and/or subscribe to be notified of future posts.

 

In the meantime, be Epic, and share how these quotes impact you.

Peter Paul & Mary ~ The unicorn song

When I was growing up my best friend was a unicorn The others smiled at me and called me crazy But I was not upset by knowing I did not conform I always thought their seeing must be hazy. The unicorn and I would while away the hours Playing, dancing and romancing in the wild flowers And we’d sing…..

Step 6 to Career Happiness: Refine! It is and it isn’t a Numbers Game

Numbers by MorebyLess of Flickr

 

A lot of people do not follow step five to happiness, asking for help, because they assume that the reasons they are not able to land the job that they want after making a concerted effort are beyond their control, or worse, that the problem is them. In other words, they feel beyond help. This is a dangerous and wildly inaccurate perspective, because it can lead to hopelessness and depression.

There has been a trend in the past year on LinkedIn I have been watching with concern. Against personal branding best practices, people are pouring their heart out about their despair in their status updates, as comments on other viral status updates, or even calling out people that they blame for their situation.

Even though most get what they seek with these actions, sympathy, encouragement, sometimes even advice or offers to help, there is a detriment to doing this, which I cover in my vlog, Get Interviews Through Your Network – The #1 Key Ingredient Most People Are Missing. However, some advice people give is good, and some of it, unfortunately, can actually make people feel worse in the end.

The advice that can be most damaging is that it is a numbers game. By the time someone has gone seeking advice online, they have usually already exhausted themselves replying to anything and everything for which they could possibly be a fit.

To hear that they just have to sustain that somehow can be very daunting. And, I do not think I need to repeat the definition of insanity.

What they really need to hear is that some of their activities are going to produce really great results, and when they discover what that is they do not have to spend nearly as much time and effort getting those results.

To be clear, the results you want to see in your job transition of course are interviews, but not just any interviews. Interviews are a big expenditure of our effort and energy. To do them right you have to do a lot of research, practicing and mentally practicing, making yourself look and feel professional, and then there is the adrenaline needed to just travel there and get through the interview. Then, of course, there is the energy that you spend after the interview wondering how you did, when you will hear something, when the appropriate time to follow up is, do you even want this opportunity, did they like you… On and on.

While momentum in your job transition does look like multiple viable opportunities in play at the same time, the key is “viable.” Judiciously give time and energy for opportunities that are a good fit for you and you for them.

Backing up a few steps, other results that indicate that you are doing the right activities, are introductions to other people relevant to your goals, whether they be in a target company or not. Even one introduction to someone who is well-connected can lead to multiple high-quality leads, if you can teach them how to develop those leads for you.

That is the other key – not only do you have to do the right activities, but you have to do them in the right way.

Though many people do not know what the right activities are and what the right way to engage and execute is, anyone can learn them. It is also true that this can differ from person-to-person based on individual goals, challenges, and strengths.

You can discover these on your own, which means instituting a good activity tracking system that also tracks your results, evaluating that on a regular basis, and experimenting with and tweaking your activities.

I estimate that if you were disciplined with inputting your activities, strong with data analysis, and bold enough to try various activities, that with some trial and error, you could be much more productive and efficient by week five or six.

If you do not have five or six weeks for trial and error, you do not consider yourself disciplined, strong in analysis, or bold by nature, but you are coachable, you can be more productive and efficient in half the time by engaging a career coach like me who has the systems, tools, expertise, and a strong track record of results.

Besides the pragmatics of your activities and what you do, there is also another how that must be addressed, because some people are doing the right activities, but who they are does not inspire the action of others. I’m not trying to say that people are being wrong, but what I am saying is that some people are not being their full, complete selves. Before you invest in a coach, you have to find one with whom you can be completely open and vulnerable, otherwise your investment could be in vain. A coach worthy of your investment will be able to identify and promptly, compassionately share with you when you are not thinking or acting in your highest good. Furthermore, besides tools and systems to help you and your activities, they will also offer tools and systems to help you heal and restore so you show up as a person that you would hire.

So, while you know you are doing the right things in the right ways from the right frame of mind when you have multiple viable opportunities in play, the key is to getting there is not to continue activities at a high volume for the sake of activity.

If you have come to an unfortunate and inaccurate conclusion based on lack of results that you are the problem, please have a free consultation with me. You are actually whole, complete, and perfect by nature, though you may have been taught and believe otherwise. You do enough, you have enough, and you are enough. You may need some help accepting that, or you may not have answered the call to adventure that is true to you.

 

Success and happiness is yours for the taking.

This is the final part of my six-part series. If you have missed previous entries please see steps one, two, three, four, and five.

 

Step 5 to a Happy Career: Action

Work by Hamza Butt of Flickr

Nothing feels better than when you are facing a challenge or trying to achieve something by taking action. But does taking any old action make a difference? Or does it have to be the right one? The answer is they are both right.

You may have of heard of a phenomenon called “analysis paralysis.” That is when you think through all of your actions so carefully that you scare yourself out of taking that action. Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum where you act before you think and then your actions can actually have negative consequences and put you further away from your goal. There are so many benefits to being in action, however, there is such a thing as a wrong action, and if you are uncertain what the right action is, the best first action is to ask for help.

There is a right and a wrong way to ask for help. The wrong way is to obligate anyone to help you. Depending on the volume of help that you need, you may also use the wrong medium, and that is a more difficult thing to understand. Everyone has their own preferences about communication. Some people in the professional world would rather you not find them on Facebook to ask them for help. Keeping that in mind, you might be starting to see why there’s so much to consider and some people spend so much time in consideration that they do not act. Let me go back to the benefits of action.

When you act, you let the world know that you are serious about what you want. It is not always true, but most commonly people do not receive the help that they need and ask for because they have not inspired people to believe that they will follow through and make them look good. When you think about it, most of what we do all day, every day is to make ourselves look good, or make someone else look bad. Hopefully, we do not spend as much time doing the latter, but if you have been in a CYA corporate environment, you know that making other people look bad is sometimes how you survive. It is an awful existence, and nobody needs to spend their days that way, because they have options. However, these types of environments can do a lot to diminish your belief in better things.

That is when people get stuck, like my mom. That was one of the major reasons this line of work resonated so strongly with me. I get to help people renew their hope and get into companies that have more nurturing conditions where they can thrive. There is also the benefit of pride. There is so much that can happen in a job search that can make you feel bad. When you take action, you feel like you are doing something to make your situation better and that feeling can develop into greater confidence and self-worth. These are two things you need in order to convince an employer to hire you. However, when you take action and have high volumes with your results, it can actually have the opposite effect and make you feel worse.

There are five different categories of action that you can take that will move you toward greater opportunity. Any given day you can decide that you are up to tackle one of these kinds of activities, or you can do all five in one day and really feel accomplished. The key to this, just like anything, is balance – do not rely on any one kind of activity too heavily; they all need your attention and action.

 

  1. Administration

You need to have systems in place to track your activities and you need to actually input those activities in order to see where you can make improvements and get better results.

 

  1. Research

Before you even ask for help, you need to understand who you are asking, what their experience and expertise is, and what kinds of things they have going on that you can provide value for. You may even be able to discern how this person prefers to be contacted based on what they say or share. If there are several options, pick the one with the least volume. Other things we can research include potential careers, positions, and companies. Find out what a day in the life of someone whose footsteps you want to follow in is like. This research does not have to be purely online, in fact, the more you get away from your computer, the better. Head to the library and read a biography. Attend a professional organizations event and come with questions.

Asking questions is a deceivingly simple action, but actually doubles as massive action, which is the next type of action.

 

  1. Massive action

This could really be any action that requires you to have courage and be bold. While it is recommended that you make research the step before this action to make sure that your action is as strategic and effective as possible, this is something that you want to do at least weekly. For most people this means picking up the phone. The action should scare you and excite you at the same time. Not only is it intended to help you make quantum leaps toward your intended goal, but it is also intended to expand your comfort zone and test yourself. If the phone just seems way too scary, then pick an action that isn’t as scary and build up to the phone. For instance, send someone a direct message through social media. I would advise against sending an email, even if it is something that you find to be uncomfortable, simply because it is such a non-urgent form of communication, and some people like short emails while others want you to tell a compelling story. It is too easy to spend a lot of time crafting an email, get no response, and make that mean that you are not worthy of a response. If the phone is easy for you, do something in person, or whereas you might feel comfortable reaching out to a director or VP, reach out to a C-level executive.

Before you take action, set your intention. Know and visualize clearly the outcome that you want. Determine that it will happen. If you need to, remind yourself of all of the great value that you have the potential to offer.

It may help you to practice what you were going to say, and you can also over-practice what you were going to say. It does not really matter what words you use as much as it matters where are you are coming from when you speak. When you come from a place of high confidence and intention for the highest good, the right words tend to naturally follow, and they flow with powerful heart-felt inspiration that leads people to know you are serious and want to take action on your behalf.

 

  1. Network Nurturing

Do something to help someone in your network without the expectation that it will be returned. This could be making an introduction for someone else, sharing a resource, sending relevant news or articles, or letting people know about an event. It could also be a random act of kindness. Volunteering is absolutely one of the best ways to satisfy this action. You may think that your volunteering has to have something to do with your profession, but, in fact it does not. However, I will say that the better volunteering opportunities are the ones that enable you to interact with people and work on a team. Perhaps you can even be the one that organizes a community event. If you do this, then your massive action can actually be combined by having a conversation with someone there about your goal. Just make sure that the conversation is actually satisfying that action- what you do for others is the number one agenda.

 

  1. Take Care of You

Some may argue that YOU should come before nurturing your network, just as they teach you on the airplane to put the mask on yourself before you help other people. If that resonates as true for you, then do that. I did not put this item last because it is the least important. I simply put it last because I’m planning your week, most people use Friday as a day for personal things, and if you are doing one thing per day, Thursday would be the better day to nurture your network. However, it is worth noting that you can evaluate your own cycles of high and low energy to determine when you do different types of action. For instance, massive action requires high energy. Maybe you have the highest energy on Friday. I have actually had more personal success reaching and engaging VIPs on Fridays.

Taking care of yourself can look like doing yoga, watching your favorite show, having tea or a drink with a friend, taking a nap, playing an instrument, coloring, seeing a concert, calling your best friend far away… I think you get it. It could really be anything that makes you feel alive.

Yes, as you probably guessed, the importance of this is to replenish yourself, but it is also important because the more time you spend happy, the more your chances of success increase.

We used to recommend number five as a reward, but I learned from Gretchen Rubin that rewards are more effective than reinforcing positive habits when they are tied to the goal itself. So, if you seek to reward yourself for a week of great action, perhaps you can reward yourself with a nice pair of dress shoes for interviews, or invest in a personal brand touch up with us. You could reward yourself by getting a ticket to a high profile event or conference. There are things you can do that cost no money at all. A great way to come up with this type of reward is to think about what your ideal job could offer to your life, and sample that in some way. For instance, if what you are aspiring to have by landing a new job is more time with your kids, reward yourself by going on an adventure or playing a game with your kids. This type of reinforcement will produce good feeling hormones in your body and train your brain to condition you for even more action. In other words, implementing a reward system will help you form better habits.

For a better idea of how these five activities could look in your schedule, refer to this blog post.

It is unfortunate that so many people do not reach out for help from someone like me because they know that they have been making very strong efforts, so they conclude that I do not have the results that they want, or there are external conditions that they cannot control. Unfortunately, they are destined to stay stuck. The ones who actually do change their situations are the ones that recognize that they need to do something differently; I learned specifically what the most effective different things to do are. If you are unsure, ask. You can even ask me.

 

If you want to know if you have been doing something wrong, take action and have a free consultation with me.

 

Step 3 to a Happy Career: Freedom!

Soaring Bald Eagle by David Lewis of Flickr

Are the people you deem as successful really free?

The answer may surprise you.

Freedom, by definition, means unrestrained, able to do as one chooses.

Some of the most successful people are severely accountable to many people, and while they may have power to make decisions, they have to make them under heavy constraints with serious consequences.

Success, as in career achievement, does not equal happiness.

Do you look at other people and think they have it easier than you? Do you resent them, even just a little bit?

Not everyone strives for success. Few people strive for a simple life – just enough to get by. Are they happier? Not always. Do they have fewer problems? Not necessarily.

So if you aren’t striving for success, but you aren’t striving for simplicity, are you striving for balance? Is it working? Are you happy?

While happiness and striving are contradictory forces, freedom is elusive to most of us. Some may enjoy certain kinds of freedom, such as the ability to work from anywhere, or to be able to afford travelling to exotic places, but still are on some level enslaved by the need to please others, to be accepted, to be understood, or to be loved, even.

Before you reject this, think about what you learned at a young age about what it took to be loved and accepted.

Many people spend their lives pursuing achievement because at some level they feel that it is what they need to do to feel like they are worthy of love.  Many others gave up a long time ago and settled for that which they felt was worthy. Some were taught that successful people were unethical, and therefore being successful was undesirable.

Are you resisting success, even though it is what you “want?” You’ve heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.”

One of my Facebook friends who recently graduated law school shared that one of her professors taught her a theory that all millionaires – every single one on the planet – at some time took advantage of someone else, and that is how they were able to become millionaires.

“No one ever *earned* a million dollars… Someone, somewhere was taken advantage of. Someone, somewhere lost in order for the millionaire to gain.”

Wow!  This post caused much debate on both sides, and revealed how differently we can think about financial success, corporate success, and what is fair, especially when it comes to compensation. What did I think? I thought the poster was sure to never become a millionaire with that belief, or if she did she would feel such shame and guilt that she could not enjoy it, though I hope she proves me very wrong and, therefore, proves the theory wrong and obliterates the belief that wealth equals greed for all who hold that as truth.

Last week, I challenged you to vividly visualize the career circumstances that you consider to be ideal. This week, I want you to dig deep into your feelings to see if, upon achieving this ideal future, you will be free from experiencing anything negative that could keep these circumstances from really making you happy.

It may be easy to say, “Of course, I’ll be happy!”  However, if you need circumstances to change in order to be happy, you are not really free. You are enslaved to those circumstances. You would be dependent on those circumstances to make you happy.

You may also notice that there are resistant thoughts – the dissonance between your current world and that future world is too extreme, and, therefore the feat is overwhelming; you would be resented by your family/friends/neighbors/community; you would become someone you don’t like; you will contradict things that you have said and believed.

These are real obstacles to your ideal vision. You will ultimately find at some point the efforts to achieve your ideal future will cease, and you will lose momentum because these thoughts are essentially inertia.

 

Exercise your freedom by choosing to make decisions without the restrictions of these beliefs.