Monday, February 28, 2011

Preparation: Are you prepared for success?

**prep•a•ra•tion [ prèppə ráysh'n ]

1. preparing something or somebody: the work or planning involved in making something or somebody ready or in putting something together in advance (often used before a noun) "a preparation time of about 45 minutes"
2. readiness: a state of readiness "Twenty place settings lay carefully arranged in preparation for the guests."
3. preparatory measure: something done in advance in order to be ready for a future event ( often pl ) "Preparations for the next Olympic Games are already under way."

The work or planning involved in making myself ready for success…putting something together in advance of success… preparing for success… experiencing success… these were the thoughts on my mind last night while laying in a relaxation yoga pose for about 30 minutes. Yes, I know I’m supposed to clear my mind and concentrate on my breathing, but it seemed much more productive (and proactive) to contemplate my success. I “saw myself” successful, stress-free, and exactly where I wanted to be. Call it the belief in the power of positive thinking, call it affirmation, call it “calling on the universe”, call it what you will. I’m calling it “awesome!” It was invigorating as well as relaxing. I felt focused, confident and powerful, and because I was also extremely relaxed, I slept really well. I even dreamt of coaching someone through the attitude adjustment process and readying them for success. I kept asking them, “How good are you willing to have it?” It was a wonderful dream! I woke up feeling well-rested and eager to start my day! I am re-energized, ready for anything, and prepared to take in all the great things coming my way! What a great way to prepare for my own success! How will you prepare for success?

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

Friday, February 25, 2011


“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” ~~Mark Twain~~

I guess it’s kind of obvious that different people are motivated in different ways, by different things. While deadlines may motivate one person, they may completely overwhelm someone else. While some find affirmations helpful, others believe they’re nonsense. People spend a lot of time figuring out what motivates them, or, at least I hope they do… One thing seems to be true, however, across the board. Momentum breeds motivation. For even the most negative, unmotivated person, staying motivated in the heat of the moment is easy. I find that once I get going, and those proverbial juices start flowing, there’s no stopping me! When you can multiply that energy it becomes even more powerful. When you bring likeminded people together to work towards a common goal, it’s virtually impossible NOT to be motivated. Brainstorming becomes fun. Planning becomes exciting. Things get done! Whether it’s in a networking group or a one-on-one meeting with someone inside your sphere of influence, find and tap into that energy. Surround yourself with great people and take action!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Goals: Something to think about...

“Pooh went into a corner and tried saying 'Aha!' in that sort of voice. Sometimes it seemed to him that it did mean what Rabbit said, and sometimes it seemed to him that it didn't. "I suppose it's just practice," he thought. "I wonder if Kanga will have to practice too so as to understand it." A.A. Milne - The House at Pooh Corner

While reading this Bedtime Story to my son last night, this passage really got me thinking… It’s about Rabbit’s elaborate plan to “steal” Baby Roo from Kanga. In Rabbit’s plan the exclamation “Aha!” is supposed to mean a whole lot more than “Aha!” And, Pooh, even though described as a “Bear of Very Little Brain”, wonders while he’s practicing his “Ahas”, If Kanga will also need to practice.

So, I wonder… when you have a goal in mind, do you communicate it to others in such a way that it becomes possible? Interestingly, I had this very conversation with my Dad yesterday, which is likely why this passage struck me so… Communication is key to just about everything from a healthy relationship to a happy workplace, and communicating clearly and effectively is a skill. Listening (and understanding) is also a skill, so it stands to reason that both sides need practice as relationships are cultivated.

Are you a good communicator? Are you able to articulate what you want, and what your value is to others in a clear and concise manner? Do you make your goals known such that others can help you achieve them, or at least help you to stay on track? Or, do you have (unrealistic) expectations that people will just know what you mean and therefore assume things will go your way? Just something else to think about…

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Focus: To multitask, or not to multitask, that is the question.

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

I’ve noticed a lot of buzz recently around the topic of multitasking. The thought used to be that if you could multitask, you were ahead of the game. The ability to focus on more than one thing at a time was seen as a great quality. If you could actually work on multiple things simultaneously, you were a tremendous asset. It seems ironic to me that the tide seems to be turning.

In this electronic age where it is so copiously possible to do so many things at one time (tweet while watching TV; comment on social media posts while sitting in a classroom; play on your laptop or tablet while doing just about anything; texting while also sitting and socializing with live people…) the buzz now is about focusing on a single task and not multitasking at all. Research is being done, and to some extent it is actually showing that people who work on one thing at a time complete more than the people who multitask. Studies are suggesting that the level of multitasking does matter, but at a certain point it actually becomes counter-productive. I find it ironic, but not surprising. Isn’t over-multi-tasking synonymous with a lack of focus? It seems to me that I should be able to switch gears quickly, be flexible, and be willing to change direction… but that I should focus on one thing at a time and see it through to fruition. I know that like the sun, when I put all my energy towards one thing, I burn through it with ease.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Preparation + Taking Responsibility

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~~Norman Vincent Peale ~~

I could have worked all weekend. That’s a powerful statement for me, because a week ago, I might have said, “I *should* have worked all weekend.”

I could be entirely stressed out right now… and I’m not. I am prepared to tackle the challenge of fitting a week’s worth of work into two days since I have chosen to go on vacation.

I started to stress last night as I was preparing for my week. I started to feel “overcommitted” and was wondering how I would get it all done. But, I stopped. (Kudos to me!) And, I took a deep breath. And, I remembered that I myself set these deadlines. I myself set the priorities. I not only *can* get it all done, I will get it all done. I am prepared. I am focused and efficient. (Yes, that one is still going strong!) And, I have help! There will be no slacking off. There is no need to stress out. Being overwhelmed doesn’t help the situation. I am motivated to achieve, thanks in part to my awesome new accountability group, and thanks in part to some new acquaintances I made (soon to be friends I am sure!) But even more, thanks to me! I am happy that I remembered to stop and breathe. I am grateful that I took the time last night to prepare for today. And I am proud that I believe that I can and WILL get it done. My thoughts do affect my actions, and I am in control of my thoughts!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Motivation: On being held accountable

“Sometimes the only way you can take a really good look at yourself is through somebody else's eyes.” ~From the television show Scrubs

Can someone please tell me if Mercury is in retrograde? Seriously! I’ve spoken to 4 people in the last two days who are just so sad and feeling so alone. Stress takes its toll! It affects your health, your family, your life. Whether you’re in a job you can’t stand, or you don’t have one at all; the feelings you’re experiencing can be overwhelming. I remember those feelings all too well. And if there is one pearl of wisdom that I can share from that experience, it is this: You are not alone. There are people around you who can and will help you. We will listen, we will advise, we will motivate, and we will hold you accountable. (And, yes, that’s a GOOD thing!) If you could only see yourself through someone else’s eyes! You would see that you are capable; you do have the power inside you that you need to succeed. You can change your circumstances, and with some support and guidance, you will make things better for yourself. And, you don’t have to do it alone!

I went to my first new accountability group meeting yesterday. Three of us who are in similar places in our careers met to share our goals and “to-do” lists. We discussed some strategies which may help us get to where we want to be. We will talk (or meet) weekly and hold one another accountable. We will make sure that each of us does what they say they were going to do. We will offer suggestions, provide support and direction, and keep one another focused on the “right” stuff. I already feel more productive!

I’ve written in the past about the importance of this kind of support, and I think for a career campaign, it really makes sense! When you’re looking for a job, you are basically self-employed. You set your own rules and you set your own timeline. The only person you hurt when you don’t do what you said you were going to is you! When your self-imposed deadlines go whooshing by, the only person who suffers the consequences is you! So, you continue to spiral down. You continue to feel guilty. You may even begin to even feel sorry for yourself… and the only person who can make it better???? You guessed it. YOU!

What if instead you had people holding you to those deadlines? What if you had a group of people relying on you to get things accomplished? What if those people held you accountable? Wouldn’t you be more likely to take action and get things done? And imagine how much better you will feel when those people are actually helping you pull yourself up, offering words of encouragement, and giving you ideas that you may not have come up with on your own! It’s always easier to give someone else good advice, isn’t it? And, the very act of helping someone else might just help you help yourself!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goals: An Epiphany

“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.” ~~Charles DeLint~~

I had a bit of an epiphany last night. I seem to be clearing out the clutter (literally and figuratively, hence the closet thing yesterday) and making room for clarity. I love that. It seems, that even though I have always thought of my “to –do” list as sort of a short term goal… I may have been missing an important connection. “To-Dos” may be the tactical components of getting us TO our goals! OK. I know that sounds like “common sense”, but bear with me…

I am entering into a very exciting new stage in my career. I am, as stated, gaining some clarity around questions I have had for a long time. Things are really coming together. So, I was writing down some goals last night; goals to hit before 3 months, and goals to hit by the end of 2011; and then started making a “to-do” list beneath where I listed each set of goals! In other words, I asked myself what it would take to hit each of those goals, and I wrote myself a little step-by-step guide on how to get there! It was a thrilling realization for me. I have a plan forming. I have small, achievable tasks that are not overwhelming when you take them one by one. And I have some lofty (although attainable) goals set that I am really excited about hitting!

Have you thought about HOW you will achieve your goals today?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I’m actually sorry that I missed yesterday’s post. And, I’m not apologizing to YOU for my not blogging yesterday (although if you missed it, I *am* sorry…)… I’m actually sorry that I didn’t write because I could really use some focus. Here’s what I’m remembering today… It’s not hard to get focused. It’s hard to get focused on the right things! I made my list, have my Pandora trance station playing softly, and have been 100% focused since 9:30 this morning… and while I did complete a deliverable that I really needed to get out today, I have spent the last hour cleaning out my office closet… and that is NOT what I should be focusing on. So, I decided to blog to set myself straight.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program!

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” ~~Albert Einstein ~~

It’s all about the attitude! I know… I say that all the time. But please don’t tell me that you’re tired of hearing it, because I will simply reply that it’s all about your attitude! How about saying, “thanks for the reminder!” And who couldn’t use a friendly reminder about something that will only help you feel better?

I attended a great networking event last night* and found myself surrounded by people who really get that it is all about their attitude. This event is fashioned to be a mix of employed executives, entrepreneurs, and those in transition, or “between successes”. Everyone, the working and the not, is invited because they add value. And, everyone last night added so much value. There were no sales pitches; there were no sob stories; no contacts were held back; there was absolutely no shortage of great advice, gentle reminders, and sincere help. I spoke with someone who has been unemployed for over a year. I spoke with someone who owns his own (and quite successful) business. I spoke with someone who is just staring her own business. I spoke with someone who is a successful VP of HR. And frankly, the only thing different about each of them was what they happened to be passionate about. They were all so positive. They were upbeat and grateful to be included in this well-orchestrated meeting of the minds. So, once again, my hat’s off to networking, and the power of the positive attitude. I have no doubt that every person in that room last night who was in transition made at least 3 connections that will help them land their next role. I have no doubt that each of those connections will be better off themselves for making it so! And I have no doubt that if the attitudes had been different in that room last night, none of that would have happened…

*Thanks to Jay Rovert, Financial Services Representative, MetLife for setting up these renowned dinners!

Monday, February 7, 2011


“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”
~~Maya Angelou~~

Preparing for your attitude adjustment:

I had an interesting conversation this weekend about the “attitude adjustment” movement. We were discussing ways to become more positive ourselves in order to be a more positive influence on others. It was said that it is imperative that you take care of yourself. I agree wholeheartedly. It is critical to your own happiness that you are, and that you stay, aware of your own needs, and that you do not lose your sense of self in a world that is so chaotic and often cruel. I was asked how one could be a positive influence to others; how one could help someone else have an attitude adjustment, if they themselves are unhappy. I raised the possibility that the act of helping someone else feel better in its own right could help you feel better yourself. Giving to someone else could help lift you out of your slump. The process of helping someone adjust their perceptions could be just as helpful to you as it is to them. So, if you’re not quite yet feeling up to it, prepare for your own attitude adjustment by helping someone else adjust theirs. You just might be surprised at how good you both feel.

I would like to add a special note of gratitude and acknowledgement to someone who inspired me to write about the “attitude adjustment” movement… Paul Sutherland, known on Twitter as @BreakThruGuy. Thanks Paul, for allowing me to be part of your “positive posse”.

Friday, February 4, 2011


“In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~~Albert Schweitzer~~

Today’s call to action: Rekindle someone’s inner spirit! Be part of their “positive posse”!

I want to take this time to thank all of you who rekindle my inner fire every day. Some through reading this blog, some through inspiring its posts, some by just being there… I am grateful for you all.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Goals (and The Attitude Adjustment Movement)

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world…” from “Revolution” – The Beatles

Well, I want to change the world! And to quote another legendary musician “I’m starting with the man (or woman) in the mirror!” So to start my “attitude adjustment” movement off on the right foot, I’m setting a goal! (Well, I had to tie it in somehow to Thursday’s Theme!) My goal is this: To help at least one person feel happier every day.

My plan is to express my positive attitude by seeing the good everywhere possible and by inspiring others to help make this world a better place for all of us!

Are you with me? Let’s start a “positive posse”! It’s the beginning of a revolution!

Read yesterday’s post for further details.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” ~~ Phillip E. Berstein~~

I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining lately…. I think it has a lot to do with the weather. It’s been the snowiest month on record here in Connecticut. It’s cold, it’s gray, roofs are laden with snow and ice…and the economy is still in “recovery”. There are a lot of things out there that could be better. People’s attitudes are one of them. Complaining about your situation will not actually change your situation any more than complaining about the weather will change that.

I propose a shift in consciousness. Let’s start a movement. Sort of like the “pay it forward” or the “random acts of kindness” movements. Let’s start an “attitude adjustment” movement!

My dad often asks the question, “How good are you willing to have it?” The concept is this: what if, no matter how good things are, you believe they can get better? What if no matter how bad things are, you believe they *will* get better. This is two sided; let’s look at two very different sets of circumstances.

1. You have a great job. You love going in to work every day. It’s fulfilling, it pays well, and you’re appreciated. On a scale of 1 to 10, you figure you have a 10! Well, what if could get even better? How good are you willing to have it? What if you decide that it’s not a 10, it’s a 2. What can be done to improve upon an already good thing? Maybe you can begin a special project that will have even more of an impact. Maybe you can suggest something that will improve efficiency and output. Maybe you can bring in an apprentice or let someone job shadow so you can train the future of the organization… Things get even better, because you allowed yourself that possibility.

2. Now, consider this: You don’t have a great job. You’re unemployed. You can still put food on the table, but it’s rough out there. On a scale of 1 to 10, you figure you’re at about a 3. So ask yourself, how good are you willing to have it? Is complaining about your circumstance going to help you make things better? Unlikely. Instead focus on what can be done to make it better? Think about what you can be doing to improve your situation. Are you networking? Are you asking for help? Have you increased your online presence? Have you looked at your resume and made sure it was targeted to the right kinds of opportunities? Have you hired a coach to help improve how you articulate your value to a prospective employer? Are you surrounding yourself with positive people, and positive energy to help keep you out of the slump?

I know it’s hard to stay positive in the face of challenge. I also know it’s easy to rest on your laurels. So here’s how this will work: If things are good, relish in them, enjoy them, appreciate them, but don’t stop improving upon them. I believe that positive attitudes are contagious and that the happier we are, the happier those around us will be. And on the flip side, if things are not so good, find ways to stay positive. Surround yourself with helpful, positive people and strive to make things better. Agree to adjust your attitude, and commit to always focus on how good you’re willing to have it.

Spread the word. The world will thank you for it!