Monday, January 31, 2011


“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” ~Ursula K. LeGuin ~~

As important a role preparation plays along the path to success, and as much as it is not only useful, but sometimes imperative to survival, it is not possible to be physically prepared for everything. Life happens. And you need to be able to roll with it.

I’ve been asking myself lately how to deal with that, and how that fits in to my premise… Is it true that you need to be prepared to be unprepared sometimes? Or, can it be that you need to be mentally prepared to handle whatever comes your way? Maybe “being prepared for anything” is more about preparing your mind and choosing your attitude than making your lists and checking them twice… Now, I’m not suggesting that lists are not important. And, I’m not suggesting that you don’t need to study before the exam… but maybe, just maybe there’s more to it than that.

I’ve written a lot about preparation through planning, and through clearing clutter and removing physical distractions. I’ve written about “to do” lists, and daily, weekly and monthly roadmaps. I’ve suggested getting mentally prepared through meditation and getting a good night’s sleep... and I still believe all that to be necessary and real. But I am now also exploring the possibility that preparation goes way beyond those things. Being prepared to handle whatever comes your way, being able to navigate through uncertainty and hardship takes a lot more. And it may be even more important. It takes confidence and a strong sense of self. It takes learning from our past and applying what we’ve learned to new situations. It takes adaptability and flexibility. It takes friends and family helping you through. It takes a coach or an advisor acting as a sounding board. It takes a village.

So today, prepare to be successful. Build your network, build your support system, and take charge of building your self-esteem. Believe you can, and you will, no matter what happens next.

“Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process.” ~~Harold S. Geneen

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Physician, heal thyself.

So, I snapped last night. In a good way, I think. While wallowing a bit in self-doubt (and self-pity) my wonderful husband reminded me that all I really needed was a swift kick in the pants! I write all this great stuff in here! I know WHAT to do… I just actually have to do it. How many times have I said that preparation is critical? And yet… I was feeling unprepared. I know that focus is necessary and I know how to minimize distractions, and yet I was feeling “all over the map.” I have a great attitude (most of the time) and I certainly know how to motivate others… so allowing myself that pity party was just unacceptable! I have a confession to make; I’m human. I make mistakes. I say I’m going to do something, and it doesn’t always get done. I have intentions that don’t always get realized. The best laid plans…Well, so what?!?!? I’m human. Good. That makes me real. That means that I have room to improve! That means that I can grow, and learn, and be excited, and have passion! So, I turned over a new leaf last night. I am actually going to take my own advice. All of it. I will do what I say I will do. I will practice what I preach. No more lip service. I am determined. And, oh yeah… I am focused and efficient! I achieve my goals!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


“Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.” ~~ Marcus Antonius~~

Loss is hard to handle. There is no way around it. True, there are varying degrees of loss, and some substantially more debilitating than others… and true, everyone processes things differently… but loss is hard to handle. Period. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, or even just losing your wallet or keys, coping skills are required to get through.

I am a firm believer in the power of a positive attitude when coping with loss. Logically I know it’s helpful. Emotionally I’ve benefited from the freedom of maintaining a bright outlook. Realistically, I also know it’s not easy. In fact, it’s near impossible to stay focused on the positive when you feel sad, dejected, or beaten down. It’s hard to not be negative when you’re experiencing loss. It might even seem like you’re not honoring the loss if you don’t suffer a little… But can’t you honor the loss by appreciating the good things? I’ve lost loved ones. It sucks. But once I’ve cried, can’t I focus on all the good things that person shared with me, and be happy they’re no longer in pain or unhappy? I’ve even chosen to “lose” loved ones… “dissolved a friendship” so to speak. That’s also hard, but instead of being bitter, can’t I choose to focus on the things that were good, when they were good, that made that person special? I’ve lost a pet, in fact my first pet of 12 years recently passed, and I was really sad. Now I’m choosing to focus on the love I felt for her, and am adopting two new pet. And, I’ve lost jobs. More than I’d like to think about. And while I was angry and felt beaten down, I am now able to focus on all of the great experience I gained, and how I held progressively responsible positions which have enabled me to do what I do today.

I am not preaching. This post is serving as my reminder that I do not have to suffer. I can choose to maintain a positive attitude even while I allow myself to feel the pain of loss. And, I dedicate this post to a dear friend who today, is undoubtedly suffering the loss of her dad.

Today I choose to stay positive.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


“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 way great spiritual giants are produced.” ~~Swami Vivekananda~~

Staying focused amid distractions may be one of the most difficult things to do. At least it is for me. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a work task, a household task, a strictly “for fun” activity or a conversation with a friend… Being “present”, staying focused only on what’s in front of me is sometimes really hard! And it’s not just the physical distractions that cause problems for me. Mental distractions are equally as difficult for me to ignore. Not letting my mind wander is one of my biggest challenges. And sometimes I just get frustrated and let little, petty thoughts take over. I guess it stands to reason, or Murphy’s Law, then that arguably the best thing you can do for yourself is focus. Being present, truly focusing on the person or task in front of you might just be the one thing that sets you apart. If you can master that, you can likely master anything! It’s like studying to be a Jedi! Or a Yoga Master! A surgeon needs focus and precision… well so do I! And, that’s my new mission! I’ll repeat my affirmation again today, “I am focused and efficient!” This may become my new mantra! It seems to be working for me!!

Again, I ask you, how do you stay focused? Do you have tricks or tips you’d like to share? I’m all ears!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


“Even if there is nothing to laugh about, laugh on credit.” ~~Author Unknown~~

There are days when nothing seems to go right. This morning was starting out that way. But I followed a car home from dropping my son off at day care, and there was a bumper sticker on the back that read, “Laugh Every Day!” That inspired me. 5 minutes ago I certainly did not feel like I had anything to laugh about. And then I thought of you. Those of you reading this at least make me smile. So, thanks. And then I thought of the GREAT group of people I spoke with last night at my presentation on Social Media for the Job Search. You all made me smile, and at times last night, we definitely laughed. So, thanks! And my friends; you all help me laugh so often that there is certainly enough laughter “on credit” to last a lifetime. So, thanks! A little motivation for my day today… laughter may really be the best medicine, and remembering that is a great way to choose my attitude!

What can you laugh about today?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~~Lyn Yutang~~

After a not-so-unexpected day off yesterday thanks to almost 30 inches of snow(!!!), there is much to do on my to do list today! I am grateful for the preparation and short-term goal setting process I complete weekly! It sincerely helps me prioritize and feel substantially less stressed about my workload. I know what needs to get done, and I’m happy to say that it all will! Anything else after that is a bonus! Short term goals, even day-to-day goals, are crucial in managing my stress level and helping me feel like I am accomplishing something. I really appreciate celebrating small successes. My affirmation again today, “I am focused and efficient!” And, my goals help me stay that way!

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Focus - your opinions, please

“Most of the time multitasking is an illusion. You think you are multitasking, but in reality you're actually wasting time switching from one task to another.” ~~Bosco Tjan~~

True or False?

I loved the responses I got on yesterday’s post! Thank you! It seems most share my views on the importance of preparation. I enjoyed reading about how people prepare; research, writing things down, cleaning (really?) and meditation were a few. I also thought it was interesting to learn about when they feel preparation is necessary, versus when they feel “winging it” or “coming from the heart” was more appropriate.

So, today I ask, “How do you stay focused?” When you have 30 things to do and multitasking in ingrained in us from birth, how do you (or DO you) do one thing at a time? What tools do you find helpful? Do you listen to music, do you meditate? Does yoga or breathing exercise help you? How about “to do” lists; are they enough to keep you on track? When you have so much on your mind that you can’t seem to stop thinking, how do you get to sleep? Any tips or tricks you have to share are most appreciated! Thanks again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Preparation - your opinions, please

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ~H. Jackson Brown Jr ~~

Or, is it?

I’ve written often about my opinions on preparation. As I prepare my thoughts for a public speaking event, I turn to you… Rather than a post on why preparation is so important to me, today I’ve decided to “ask the audience”. How do you prepare? What do you consider well-prepared? Do you feel that too much preparation and planning can hinder creativity? Is there a point when you feel you should stop preparing and just “go with it”? How important do you feel mental preparation is to your success? How do you mentally prepare? How do you prepare your workspace? Do you feel that a well-prepared space helps you to stay focused and more productive? I’d love to hear your opinions, your best tips and tools, and any thoughts you may have on the subject. Whether it’s as a comment on BlogSpot, a LinkedIn comment, a Facebook response, a Tweet, or an answer on Quora, I welcome your responses. Thanks!

Friday, January 7, 2011


“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” ~~Tennessee Williams~~

Some great comments on my post yesterday really got me thinking about how we get and stay motivated. I was reminded by a colleague Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady) that we’re not in this game alone. It really does take a village, and we can rely on our networks for support. So true! My personal advisory board helps me not only stay on track, but is a huge support to me when I feel I need a little something… And, that something can be anything, really! Sometimes it’s motivation and encouragement. Sometimes it’s a sounding board. Sometimes it’s advice. Sometimes it’s a swift kick in the pants! It’s not only motivating, but extremely comforting to know I have a village out there! Social media applications like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, (and now I’m exploring Quora) have helped make that village even larger. In fact, that’s how I know of Sheree! It’s wonderful to know that there’s a whole world of people out there who are willing to help!

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart; I'll always be with you.” ~Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goals (and an interesting question)

“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about.” ~~Mark Victor Hansen~~

I’ve been thinking a lot this morning about motivation and goals, and how they work together. I know that I like a good, solid “to do” list to cross off daily as I accomplish tasks. They help me feel productive each day, even when what I am working on is administrative and tactical. I know short term goals set weekly or monthly (or even annually) help me focus and stay my course. But I think it may be my long term goals, my 10 year plans, that really help motivate me, and provide me with that extra stick-to-itiveness I need when I just don’t feel like taking action. So, now I’m curious… What motivates you? Which set of goals do you feel helps you most, or do you think all three are equally as important?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


“You must start with a positive attitude or you will surely end without one.” ~~Carrie Latet~~

at•ti•tude (noun)


1. personal view of something: an opinion or general feeling about something
a positive attitude to change

2. bodily posture: a physical posture, either conscious or unconscious, especially while interacting with others

Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Don’t you just KNOW you’re going to be more productive when you’re in a good mood?!?!?! I would love to bottle the energy and exhilaration I feel when I wake up, am able to just jump out of bed, and start my day off with a bang! I can literally feel the creative juices flowing through my fingertips! Well, while I may not be able to actually drink that tonic, I am certainly able to choose my attitude! I will remember this feeling, and recreate it whenever I need to. I will make every day a great day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.” ~~Wilfred Peterson~~

The ability to stay focused may very well be the most important ingredient in the recipe for accomplishment. While I believe that all of the tools that I write about are critical to success, staying focused on the tasks at hand (short term) and keeping your eye on the prize (long term) are paramount. And, HARD! There is so much noise out there. And, there’s just so much going on! How many emails did you come in to this morning? How do you manage all of them? If you have separate work and personal email accounts, how tempted are you to check your personal email the second you sit down? And, I know that it’s a challenge for *me* not to get “sucked in” to Twitter or Facebook when I sit down at my computer. Even LinkedIn is in the process of beta testing a tool which will help people weed through the garbage to glean useful and relevant information from their networks. ( But it’s not just the online noise that can sidetrack you. What about your own thoughts? What about the things you said you had to do, and haven’t done yet? What about all of the outside stressors in your life; your household chores, your family commitments, your good news, your bad news, your friends’ news… There is always something, and because of that, it’s imperative that you learn how to stay focused! I am practicing some new tools this year, and hoping to perfect some old ones. Meditation and affirmations are key for me. My mantra right now,” I am focused and efficient. I accomplish my goals.”

What do you do to stay on task?

Monday, January 3, 2011


“Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now.” ~Jonatan MÃ¥rtensson~

It’s the first “work day” of 2011 I took the last few weeks “off”, literally. I took advantage of the down time and prepared myself mentally for the year that lies ahead. I feel as if I am ready for anything. I relieved myself of disappointment from unfulfilled expectations. I absolved myself from leftover guilt caused by not always doing what I said I was going to do. I meditated. I relaxed. I spent a lot of time thinking about what this year will bring. I believe this is going to be an amazing year…one filled with things by which to be amazed. It’s not just me… friends of mine have stated they also believe that this will be a year of great change. And, I for one, am very excited about that change. I’m not yet sure what it will look like; I do not even pretend to predict the future… but I have a plan.

I spent a lot of time physically preparing as well. I stretched a lot. I rested a lot. I laughed a lot. I also feel as if my physical space (my home office) is almost perfect. All I need now is a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and I am good to go. I love that my space is 100% conducive to accomplishment. It’s a “power” office complete with a desk fit for the CEO, a white board filled with roadmaps to success, a fountain, scented reed diffusers, “tokens of gratitude”, inspirational artwork made by my son, and of course, quotes everywhere to help me stay on track. There is a door I can close when I need to really focus, and speakers to play whatever music suits the mood. (Thanks Pandora!)

I am ready. And, I am excited by the possibilities. If you’re not feeling prepared for 2011, there’s still time! It’s never too late to take action!

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on man unless they act.” ~G.K. Chesterton~

Happy New Year! I wish you all great things in 2011 and beyond!