Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” ~Author Unknown

Sometimes it feels like all I do is make lists. To Do Lists, Wish Lists, Honey-Do Lists, Grocery Lists… it’s an endless list of lists.

Over the weekend I bought a new phone, and in syncing it with my computer, I found yet another task list. It turned out, however, that I had already accomplished everything on it! It was such a great feeling to be able to “check off” every last task! It seemed that simply typing out the tasks put them in the front of my mind, and I got them all done without really putting in any extra effort.

When I started working this morning, already coming in with a sense of accomplishment from the weekend, I had another small organizational win! In my email were two questions from a potential new client, and since I had spent a good deal of time late last week re-organizing my files and actually putting everything away, I was able to very quickly find my proposal, and answer the questions. And, when another client called unexpectedly, I was easily able to get her all of the information she needed so quickly, that she essentially asked me if I had been anticipating her call.

I always knew that being organized was useful, and that making lists really worked for me, but it’s nice when it all comes together! It may take time to make the list, but the feeling you get when you have completed the tasks on the list is wonderfully gratifying.

I’m celebrating small successes today!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday: Motivation

If I had to choose one favorite song, it would most certainly be “Vienna” by Billy Joel. The lyrics speak to me. They almost always have. No matter what is going on in my life at a particular moment, there is a stanza that fits. Right now, there are two.

“Slow down, you're doing fine You can't be everything you want to be Before your time”

and

“You've got your passion, you've got your pride but don't you know that only fools are satisfied?”

They may seem contrary, but to me, Billy’s reminding me to be patient, but to keep going. I need that.

What songs motivate you?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday: Goals

Stephen Covey said that he is convinced that we can write and live our own scripts more than most people acknowledge. I do believe we create our own destiny, and we have the power to fulfill our dreams. However, I do also recognize that sometimes it’s hard to hold on to that belief.

I’ve worked hard to set goals. Some of my goals are easily achievable and are more like a to-do list for the day, week or month. Others are very long term goals which fit into a 20-year plan. And sometimes they seem like pipe dreams. I find myself questioning how achievable these goals really are, and if they’re worth the work. I find myself asking if they’re really what I want. I find myself doubting… second-guessing myself. And I can tell you from experience, that’s a slippery slope.

In an affirmation I chose for myself this morning, “I believe my inner wisdom”, I was reminded not to let this happen. I was also reminded to honor my gut feelings by exploring them. And my gut tells me that something isn’t working… so off I went in search of a quote for today, and this is what I found.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~Confucius

Ah! I GET IT! I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same things you’ve always done, the same way you’ve always done them, but expecting different results.

Sometimes you need to alter the path in order to get to where you want to go. And sometimes you need to have patience. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~Confucius

Another affirmation might be, “I allow myself to take small steps toward my goals.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

"I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." ~ Martha Washington

While attempting to fall asleep last night I found myself playing my “to do” list over and over in my head. I then started to think about all of the things that were not yet on that list, but that really should be. I began to stress out, which is really not a good thing as you’re trying to fall asleep.

Quite thankfully I remembered that I was actually in control here, and that my thoughts were just thoughts. I remembered that I was in control of how I thought about those thoughts. I was in control of my own feelings.

I made a conscious decision to be grateful that I had so many things to do, and even more grateful for the ability to think of so many more things that I could be doing. These things, especially the new ones, could really help propel me to new heights. I chose to get excited about this, instead of stressed. (…maybe also not the best way to fall asleep, but a lot more fun!) I decided that since these new ideas were things that could really help me achieve my goals more quickly, that I would begin to apply them today.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, reenergized, and excited!
"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it." ~ Jonathan Winters

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success; that is the way great spiritual giants are produced.” ~Swami Vivekananda

I listen to The Osgood File on the CBS Radio Network, and Dave Ross gave a great bit this morning on a recent study about multi-taskers who actually retain too much information. They can’t weed out the noise. In the age of social media and information overload, it can be hard to weed out the noise. It requires focus.

Focus. Focus on one thing at a time. Choose the task, accomplish the task. Move on to the next task. Make sure the tasks will help you accomplish your goals and take you to the next level.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday: Preparation

I watched a great principle in practice on Saturday. My best friend got married. She spent months in preparation of the great day. More planning went into this event than I can even begin to explain. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know what I’m talking about. It was stressful, at times even agonizing. But on the day of the wedding, the bride-to-be was more calm and collected than I have seen her in a long time. She knew she had done all she could to have the day be all that she wanted, and now, it was no longer in her hands.

I’ve heard it referred to as “turning it over”, “letting go and letting God”, “sending it up to the ether” and “sending it out to the universe”.

Whatever you call it, however you label it, I think it’s so important to remember that there is only so much we can do to control the outcome of our events. You can plan, prepare, set goals, and even set expectations. You can research, do due diligence, practice, role play… but at the end of all it, just have faith in that whatever happens, happens for a reason. And, while we may never understand what that reason is, it is always for the best.

One of my favorite all time quotes by Douglas Adams is, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

And, my father’s favorite quote, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday: Motivation

I am dedicating this post to my best friend. She is getting married tomorrow.

“In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principle contain it or stand against it.” ~Jane Smiley

When you know what it is you desire, nothing can stand between you and that goal, except you. Another oldie, but goodie… “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

I’m so happy for my friend, who had a desire, found her will, and got her way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” ~ Tom Landry

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~Thomas Jefferson

The one benefit of insomnia may be that I do a lot of thinking. I have goals, some lofty, some much more easily achievable which allow me to celebrate the small successes I’ve written about. The really lofty goals, like opening a 14 room Inn on Nantucket for example, I often refer to as “Lotto Dreams”.

The thing I came up with last night (or early this morning, I’m not really sure) was while it was important to have these goals, and have a plan to achieve them, I have to stop thinking of them as “Lotto Dreams”, because I don’t typically buy tickets!

I believe that if I change the way I TALK and THINK about these goals, as well as focus on the visualization of my achievement of these goals, I will realize success.

What are you doing to help yourself achieve your goals?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

"Everyone has his burden. What counts is how you carry it." ~Merle Miller

Enough said.

Choose to make it a great day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“The first rule of focus is ''Wherever you are be there.''” ~author unknown

Being present and staying focused on the task at hand is sage advice for the job search but also for life. Think of how great you feel when someone focuses all of their attention on you. In The Celestine Prophecy, a 1993 novel by James Redfield, this is called The Interpersonal Ethic, and it is said that people actually feel uplifted when others focus on them. I’ve experienced this. It is awesome. So, imagine what happens when you actually focus all of your attention on one thing. I go back to Tony Robbins who says, “Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” Today, I challenge you to pick one thing, and make it your focus for the day. Direct the focus, harness the power, be present in the moment, and enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday: Preparation

Tony Robbins asks this question, “How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. One of my biggest challenges right now is figuring out WHAT the tomorrow that I’m committed to actually IS. It’s hard to prepare for something when you are not sure what you want that something to be. Part of my challenge is that I’m easily distracted by the “clutter”. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to get back on track, because I’m not convinced I know which track I want to be on! Sitting down and preparing long term plans and really focusing on which tomorrow I want to commit to is going to be very useful. We started that a bit this weekend. I’m looking forward to this journey.

Also over the weekend, applying some of the few principles of Feng Shui I know, I made a decision to eliminate distractions; to get rid of the clutter, literally. I figure if I can do this physically, I can do the same mentally. I started in my closet.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday: Motivation

“You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

I speak with job seekers daily. That’s my job. They don’t always stand out. But, I spoke with one this morning who really impressed me. What impressed me was his ability to stay motivated. Despite the length of time he’s been out of work, in spite of the people who are unwilling to network, regardless of the adversity he’s facing financially, he’s motivated. He gets up every day, and works his campaign. He networks, he attends training, he looks for jobs online... He does what it takes, no matter what it takes, and he’s always on top of it. I have a lot of respect for him. And, I have a lot to learn from him.

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t lose that momentum! Keep it going! Just because it’s Friday, and sunny, and warm… doesn’t mean there is not work to be done! Just because you’re distracted, and there’s “a lot going on”, doesn’t make it ok to lose focus. STAY MOTIVTED!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday: Goals

“A dream collage is pictures of your goals. It is like your future photo album.” ~Bo Bennett

I have often spoken about creating a journal or scrapbook based on your goals and desires. I believe that being able to visualize your achievement of your goals is half the battle. If you write down what you want, you have the start of your plan, and the basis for your goal-setting. This can work for work! Draft your dream job description, the whole thing, responsibilities, compensation, location, all of it. Then, write your offer letter, and sign it to accept. Then start drawing or cutting out pictures of your office d├ęcor. Place yourself behind the desk, or on your customers’ locations. If there are words that inspire you, write them down. If there are affirmations or quotes, or stories, put them in. Make it yours; own it. Then make it real. Go Get ‘Em!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday: Positive Attitude

Is your tone for the day set when you get out of bed in the morning? Mine used to be. And it wasn’t always positive. Once I recognized that I could change my attitude, I invented an alter-ego, “the new me”. Now, whenever I wake up cranky, or if something happens during the day that causes me angst, I remind myself to find “the new me”, and “fake it until I make it.”

When my day is daunting, and lately that’s been happening a lot, I tend to panic. So, when I saw this quote, I actually printed it out in LARGE letters, and taped it to my computer for a constant reminder. I hope it helps you too!

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” ~William James

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday: Focus

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

An affirmation might be,” My inner vision is always clear and focused.”

Seeing clearly is a discipline that many struggle with as our emotions tend to make it difficult for us to truly see. But I do believe that we know. Staying focused on that inner vision, especially when faced with adversity, can be a challenge. Yet, it is so important to stay focused and strive to achieve clarity of today’s purpose.

Another favorite quote, “If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” ~Cavett Robert

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday: Preparation

“Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” ~William Arthur Ward

Pursue Persistently. "When all else fails try try again" (I couldn’t find the author of this quote.)

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, even when we don’t know what that reason is. If it doesn’t work the first time, it wasn’t meant to. But if you’re prepared and you proceed positively and pursue persistently, you’ll get there.

So today, I have a plan. I have prepared myself for the work that lies ahead. I have prepared my workspace, cleared my desk of all distractions, and even plan to turn off Twitter for a while! I will pursue my goal persistently. And, I will get there. I know I will.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday: Motivation, but slightly off topic

It’s been almost a full week since I’ve written a post. I actually feel guilty about that. All my planning and preparation (see Mondays) did not prepare me for not having reliable Internet Access, even with a wireless card. True, I got a great vacation, but the stress of not being connected actually wore me out! (No Psych evaluation needed; I know I’m type A!) I came back to 16 voice mail messages and almost 300 emails!

So, instead of my Friday Motivation post, I want to post on prioritization. We know that circumstances are what they are, and choosing our attitude about how to handle those circumstances is in our own control (see Wednesdays). But, how do you choose which priority takes priority? When all of your tasks are “Priority One”, how do you decide what to do first?

I still have not quite figured this out. I chose to answer voicemails, and then tackle emails, and put my social media tasks and blog posts off another day. I also have not taken any personal calls, or even looked at my personal email. Sorry, friends. I’ll get to you this weekend!

So my quote today: “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” ~ H. L. Hunt