Showing posts with label Mental Preparation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mental Preparation. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Performance Management For The Rest Of Us

“It's not what if, it's what now.” ~Author Unknown

It has been far too long since I’ve written a blog post. I went looking this morning for an old post to reference, and I was completely inspired to write! So here goes!

It’s that time of year again. There’s a chill in the air, Christmas lights are popping up everywhere, the shopping mayhem has begun… And at work, it’s likely time for performance evaluations. Performance management is a necessary practice in human resources. Making sure you have the right people doing the right jobs at the right time for the right price is critical to business success. So, why do we as people not employ the same practices? Isn’t it possible that evaluating our own performance could be critical to our own personal success? I think so. I wrote this post about goals and priorities changing over time and how giving myself a quick evaluation was an eye-opening experience. And I haven’t done another since…
It’s time. I can’t possibly set appropriate goals for next year without evaluating what I’ve achieved (or not yet achieved) this year.
So, whether you’re a job seeker, a business owner, a homemaker, or an employee, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started.

1. What have I accomplished so far this year? What goals have I achieved?
2. What have I been proudest of? (Or, what made me the happiest?)
3. What should I continue to do next year?
4. What should I NOT continue to do next year?
5. What goals have I not yet achieved? What stopped me? Will achieving them still take me down my intended path?
6. What goals can I set for next year? What should I start doing that I have not yet started?
7. What resources do I need that I do not yet have? Where can I get help?

Knowing (or at least pondering) the answers to these questions will most certainly get you started down the goal setting path for 2012. And there’s no time like today to get moving!

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.” ~Babatunde Olatunji, a similar version is also attributed to Alice Morse Earle (

Monday, May 23, 2011

Preparation: Choices Made from Lessons Learned

“You may not be able to prepare for everything, but you can certainly be prepared for anything!” Jennifer Scott

I have a shining example of the importance of preparation as evidenced by my 5 year old yesterday morning. He decided he wanted to paint. This was a big decision and required many little decisions to be made before he could begin. First, he needed to have enough forethought about his end product to determine what kind of painting he wanted. Was it to be large, or small? Was he going to use white paper or manila? Was it going to be a gift? Was it to hang on the wall? And, perhaps most importantly, what type of paint was to be used?

You may be wondering why exactly this was all so important. Let me rewind for you… The last time my son decided he wanted to paint he did not think things through. Lessons learned were many. Number one: Poster paint and water colors do not work the same way. Water colors blend and make pretty shades. Mixing poster paint makes mud. Number two: Manila paper holds more paint than white easel paper, which when wet, rips very easily. Number three: You have to be willing to part with a gift, or at least be willing to paint a second masterpiece. Number four: Paint spills easily.

So, choices made from lessons learned, and preparation continued. Next came set up. He decided to paint at the kitchen table. He needed the paper, his paints and brushes, water, and a roll of paper towels. We set him up and off he went. Sort of. My son is very particular... (I wonder where he gets that from…) He wanted to decide what the subject matter was to be before he began (another critical step in preparing for success demonstrated…) I won’t get into the end results in case there are any child psychologists reading… but suffice to say I have a beautiful painting now hanging on my office wall.

What I was reminded of was that preparation for any task, large or small, work or play is an absolute requirement for success. If we hadn’t remembered the paper towels, for example, the blue paint which ultimately colored the river would have been the size of a lake, and on my kitchen floor instead of on the paper. Mental preparation (getting over the fear of the giant mess form last week), careful planning, and physical set up of workspace all came into play. If it’s so helpful to a 5 year old, imagine what it could do for me…

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparation: Doing Nothing

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson~~

Sometimes the best preparation is to do nothing. Well, maybe “doing nothing” isn’t exactly what I mean. Taking a break; resting, relaxing, recharging, taking care of yourself. Not worrying about when or how things are going to get done, but trusting that they will when you’re in a better place to take care of them…

I took a semi-long weekend. I recharged. I started to think about the workload in front of me, and then I reminded myself that in order to be at my best, I needed to feel my best, and what I needed was a break in order to have that happen. And, here’s the thing… I gave myself permission to take a break and not feel guilty about it! Well, ok, I’m still working on the not feeling guilty part a little, but I am ready to face the week ahead with renewed energy, renewed vigor, and a renewed sense of empowerment. Taking my cues from the buds popping up on every tree, from the dandelions poking through the bright green grass, from the birds and even the bumblebee I saw yesterday, all who “took the winter off”, I am revitalized and ready to go! And, all it took to prepare for that was “nothing”.

Are you prepared for the wondrous week ahead?

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.

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!

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

Monday, January 3, 2011


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

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!

Monday, December 20, 2010


“A winning effort begins with preparation.” ~~Joe Gibbs ~~

A little preparation goes a long way! I had an odd expectation last night. I expected to be stressed. I expected not to sleep well. I expected that I would lay in bed and not be able to stop thinking about how much work I had to do today, about how far behind I was, about what I *should* have done over the weekend… I am happy to say that I was WRONG! And I believe this is why:

I planned out my week on Friday. I made a list of everything (and I mean everything) I have to do this week. Personal, work, holiday-related, you name it, I wrote it down. On paper, it just didn’t seem so bad!

I got a lot of my “honey-do” list completed on Saturday. My husband jumped in, and we just got so much accomplished. So, cross off some of that personal stuff, and some of that holiday-related stuff… Nice! And then I RELAXED yesterday. I mentally prepared for this week. A little rest, a little E.F.T. (Thanks Stephanie Dalfonzo!), a little meditation, a lot of visualization…

I slept quite well, and I woke up this morning ready to attack my day! I will accomplish all I set out to do. I am not stressed out. I can get it all done, and it’s not nearly as overwhelming as I expected that it would be. The tools work! A little preparation, both mental and physical, really does go a long way!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Focus (and a string of affirmations)

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” ~~Buddha~~

I am focused and efficient! I have what it takes to get what I want. I have the capacity and the knowledge to achieve success as I define it. I achieve my goals and accomplish all I set out to do. I am happy, healthy, wealthy and successful. I give all I can. I am surrounded by love and friendship. I focus on the positive.

What are your thoughts today?

Monday, November 1, 2010


“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.” ~~Olin Miller~~

I find it very easy to procrastinate. People ask me often how I have the self-discipline to work from home, and the answer is, truthfully, I don’t. Not innately anyway. I find it. What I do have is a strong desire to succeed, and not enough of a need to rent office space. It is the preparation, both physical and mental, which allows me to appear disciplined. I know what I have to do, and I am prepared to get it done. It is my “to do list”, the picture of my 20-year plan, the mental affirmations and the consistent positive messaging that helps me at least get started. Then the rest of the week (and my writing of this blog) helps me with the rest. Staying focused, staying positive, pushing towards the goal and staying motivated make it all possible. Starting my day HERE sets my path. It is the very mental preparation I need to not procrastinate! So look out Monday! Here I come!!

Friday, October 22, 2010


“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~~

Today I remind myself to get out of my own way!!

I had a great coaching session this morning. I had a client come in who was feeling a bit demoralized about her job search. She’s in what she called a holding pattern… She’s waiting to hear back from a final round of interviews and she was really struggling with moving forward with her search while she was waiting. We talked through some of this as much as we could, and then I started talking to her about her 10-year plan. She really does have a dream, and thinking about it kind of made her smile, but it has no real shape or form. She couldn’t really define it and as such has no idea what it will take to achieve. (I’ve already talked about the importance of a plan… here is a great “case in point”.) As we looked at her dream, talked about it in some detail, and put some thought around how to actually make it possible, she started to get excited again. We talked about what proficiencies she might need to acquire, what certifications she could get, what alliances she could build, and what she could be doing now in order to make that 10 year dream actually possible. ** I suggested she think more about this. I suggested she do some research. I suggested she talk with her husband and her kids to get their input on this plan. I suggested that she graph out what she can do between now and then to really help her get there. And then I suggested that she make it “look pretty” and hang it on her wall! Maybe she could even cut out pictures or take photos of what this could “look like” in 10 years, and remind herself why she is doing what she is doing now. This visual could be just the motivation she needs to stay ON in this job search…

Well, fast forward to one of my favorite sayings, “physician, heal thyself!’

I have a dream… in fact, I have several. And sometimes I lose sight of them. Sometimes I forget why I am working so hard, and I forget what I’m working for! So, today, I remind myself to get out of my own way because my dreams CAN be my reality, and I am worth it!

“Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it's me. ~Author unknown, variation of an excerpt from "The Serenity Prayer" by Reinhold Neibuhr

** 10—year plan format credit goes to Linda VanValkenburgh at If you want to talk with a phenomenal career coach about developing an individualized career campaign, I highly recommend giving her a call!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Preparation AND Focus

“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” ~~Aesop~~

This quote may best sum up the discussion from last week. Focus and knowing your desired outcome may be the most critical components of actually achieving your goals. I guess I’ve come full circle. Preparation is critical to knowing what your desired outcomes are and actually achieving that focus. Preparation may include research, due diligence, having conversations, networking… and it also may include mental training such as mediation, affirmations and other exercises to help you get and stay focused. Zeroing in on the substance is only really possible when you can successfully “weed out” excessive information.

I am reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell right now, and he actually talks about this quite extensively. It‘s in a different context, but it’s gotten me thinking… Gladwell gives several examples when having too much information in fact causes incorrect action. He says, “…truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.” Deliberate thinking comes from preparation. Instinctive thinking comes from focus. Put them together, and you have a winning combination.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” ~~Robert Brault~~

It was brought to my attention yesterday that my plea for no whining at a Whine and Dine event was rather ironic. While linguistically this is very true (and very funny!), in the reality of those in transition, it is a real problem. Which brings me to my “goal” post… (hehehe)

When entering into any situation, you need to understand your goals before going in. This is true whether it is joining a live networking event, creating a profile on LinkedIn, engaging followers on Twitter, talking with a coach, going on a sales pitch, or even going to see a doctor. Thinking about your goals, having an idea of what you want to get out of the situation, will help you act accordingly during the situation. If the person in my Whine and Dine example believed that the goal was to network with a potential hiring manager to be considered for that ideal job, then being negative was not the best course of action. If, however, that person’s goal was to vent with like-minded professionals in a judgment-free environment, then they should not have been upset or worse, not have any idea why they were not selected to interview for the opportunity. My point, in case it is not yet clear, is that your actions should reflect your desired outcome. Actually knowing what your goals are in advance will significantly increase your chances of achieving them.

Monday, July 12, 2010


“If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.”
~~ from The Man Who Thinks He Can by Walter D. Wintle~~

I’ve been thinking a lot about mental preparation. Do you say things like, “You’re killing me!” when someone annoys you or does something you don’t agree with? Do you say things like, “I’m never going to get all this done!” when you’re overwhelmed? Or, “I’m so stressed out!” when you’re feeling that way? I do. I have forever. And, that changes now. I am committed to practice speaking positively regardless of my current feelings. I can say things like “WOW! I have so much to accomplish today!” or “I am really feeling the excitement of being busy!” This may sound silly, but it’s my little experiment. I started this morning, and I already feel better!

What will you do to mentally prepare?