Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's put some things in perspective...

If you know what you're supposed to be doing and you're not doing it, you're procrastinating. If you don't know what you're supposed to do and you're not doing it, you're not procrastinating, you're thinking.

There are times when you aren't ready to take something on for one reason or another. It may be that the first step to whatever goal you've set for yourself is that you need to freewrite about it, in other words brainstorming to yourself.

If the project is new, unfamiliar and intimidating, it's easy to look up at the wall in front of you, turn around and put it off for another day. I've found that just sitting down and writing it out, thinking it through on paper, letting your thoughts flow and capture them can make the wall come down.

Once something like this is faced in tangible form, composed by your own handwriting, it takes on a new dimension of possibility. It will force your brain to search itself for ideas, connections and neural responses that you will read later and wonder who wrote them.

Keep a notepad or some other kind of "thought capture tool" handy because once you start this, ideas will come to you at the oddest moments. Get them down... listen to yourself, the answers are there, you just need to trust the process.

Do this for what's facing you now, and go jump start your day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action. ~Frank Tibolt

It's easy to get it backwards in the feelings we seek: happiness, inspiration, energy, etc. Too often we'll wait until we're inspired before starting that project, we'll wait until we're happy before we enjoy life, we'll wait until we have the energy before we start exercising.

Flip it around...

You will have inspiration when you start working on the project, you will be happy once you step back and decide to enjoy your days, and you will have energy once you hit the gym. Here's some thoughts...

Have you ever finished a workout and said, "Gee, I wish I hadn't done that"? Of course not.

Have you noticed that when you start working on something is when the ideas flow?

Somewhere along the line we got the idea that feeling precedes action. It's the other way around, action is the mother of feeling. You want to feel better? Take action.

Waiting for the time to feel right before taking action is going through life unconscious...become the change you want to see by your actions...and the feelings will follow.

Now go jump start your day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Going somewhere...?

If you're not, you should be. Aim for something, or run the risk of becoming a rudderless ship. The human mind is not meant to be idle for too long, we are hardwired to achieve goals, solve problems, take care of things. Once these stop, problems begin.

The recent financial scene may have you reevaluating your retirement plans, 401k's, and lamenting the fact that you might have to work longer than you planned. I'm here to tell you...

That's a good thing.

Staying in the game is vital to your well being. Embrace the fact that we aren't meant to retire at 65 like our parents did when life expectancy was in the low 70's. Today people are leading productive lives well into their 80's and loving it. This works for two reasons...

First, retiring early is an unnatural state of being, you'll miss the challenge, the reason to get up, the feeling of your importance as a cog in the machine.

Second, you'll worry less about saving for retirement. Grinding away at life to amass a certain amount, "the number", in your retirement plan, only to check out of the stressfull and unecessary. Enjoy the journey, quit stressing over getting a certain account balance by a certain age, you'll be better for it.

The happiest people I know are also the most productive people I know, and I would bet that if you looked around your circle of friends you'd come to the same conclusion.

They aren't productive because they're happy, they are happy because they are productive.

You have the rest of your life to enjoy, make it a life of purpose and direction.

Now go jump start your day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Are you tense about the future, or in the present tense...?

If you take care of today, and are consistent about it, your future will take care of itself. Where you are now is the result of several days just like today, strung together into a group of habits, personality traits, fears and desires.

To improve your future, improve your days...

Starting with this one.

There is no perfect time to take on any pursuit, and the surest bet out there is that there is always a reason not to start today. As I've said here before, your brain will do whatever it has to in order to keep you in your comfort zone, especially those "someday, maybe" goals. Nice to dream about, always pushed off into the future.

Your future is the result of what you do when you finish reading this, and what you do tomorrow and the next.

Make it what you will, because the longer you wait...

the more of your future becomes your past.

Now go jump start your day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jets, ships and rockets do should you...

Mid course corrections.

No goal was ever achieved in a straight line. No destination was ever arrived at without an adjustment along the way, and so it goes with you. Setbacks, diversions, obstacles and
adjustments are inevitable in the game of life. Your attitude towards these will play a key part in how close you come to getting where you want to go.

If you look at setbacks and obstacles as things that will keep you from your goals, throw you off the track, make you think you really aren't cut out for this...then you'll have a hard time, while being passed by others who have a different attitude...

The attitude that obstacles are inevitable, expected, and as much a part of the game as the score itself.

When something is expected, and known as inevitable, it gets easier to handle when it does show up. At the same time, we all think our obstacles are "special", that if it was a run of the mill obstacle we could handle it, but this...well this is unsurmountable.

The obstacle is the path.

There is always a way, you just haven't thought of it yet.

Treat obstacles as speed bumps, detours, rivers to cross, mountains to climb. Go around, under, through or over...and take the attitude that was passed down to us from the stoics...

Expect what shows up. Now go jump start your day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The key is...

There is no key. We keep looking for that thought, process, insight or technique that will get us where we want to go. Turning from one source of inspiration to another, looking for the elixir that will make it happen. You know where this is going...

It isn't where you're looking.

Don't look outside yourself to change things within, look inside. The places you are going, the dreams, goals and aspirations are already in your brain cells, you just need to let them happen. Stop looking for the Holy Grail, turn inward and write down what you want to happen, what it takes to get there, then let your brain take you down the path to fulfillment. If your goal is strong enough your brain will seek out the steps needed by pointing your conscious actions in the right direction. This is where the saying, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear" comes from.

Be in tune with your goals and aspirations, and trust youself to be the guide down the path. You're the only one who wants it as much as you take the first step, look inward to overcome the mountains lurking inside your thoughts.

Now go jump start your day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obsession isn't just a perfume...

It's a conscious choice...

If someone asks you why you didn't succeed at something and you reply, "Well, I just didn't give it my all..." or something along those lines, you have given yourself the perfect out.

If you don't give 100% to what you've set out to accomplish you will always have that excuse to fall back on...your brain figured this out a long time ago and decided to hold you back just enough to fall back on the fact that you kept some in reserve, didn't give it your all.

You know where I'm going with this... if you gave it your all, devoted 100% to it...

There is no way you'd fail.

It's a paradox and the odds are stacked against you, it's why so many get close but never over the line...your own DNA is holding you back to preserve itself from the rejection of its own tissue...

Your total obsession to what you've set out to accomplish assures that it can be done, but you need to overcome your own obstacles to success, namely the fact that your brain rejects total obsession to preserve its ego from the shattering display of rejection after having devoted so much...

You see what this must get out of your own way. The greatest obstacle to success lies within the same organ that has the power to propel you to heights you've only dreamed of. Recognizing this is the first step, the second step is more of a challenge...

Get out of your own way, don't hold back, become the obsession you know you have inside you...the rest is pure alchemy.

Now go jump start your day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Commitment isn't just a word for getting serious...

It's the real deal.

You commit to something and the world will step aside for you. Opportunities show up, contacts respond, your blood flows, the adrenalin kicks in,'re off.

You pull back, show weakness of resolve, a crack in the wall of commitment... and all that vanishes. Suppose a rocket or an airplane was serious about taking off but not committed? The results would be disastrous, the engineers humiliated, and it would never get off the ground.

You are the vessel of your life...are you committed, or just blowing off steam? Are you really going to get off the ground with what you're putting out, or do you need to turn on the afterburners?

What will it take to get you launched? Are you doing that? Untie the bowlines and let your ship sail...the world wants to see how far you can go.

Now go start your day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yogi Berra was once asked what the time was...

his answer... "You mean now?"

How's that for living in the moment? The great teachers drill into us that the past nor the future do not exist, all that does is this moment in time. What are you doing with yours?

The great majority of our moments are spent anticipating and planning for the future or regretting the past. As we move forward in life our future becomes the present, then the past, and we end up looking back wondering what happened.

What happened is you lost your sense of intention.

Intention means living right now with purpose...not with regret, not with anticipation, today is the day you looked forward to when you planned your future...become the person you planned on being today.

I'm not saying this is easy, but as a wise man once said, "I might not succeed all the time, but I sure have fun trying".

Now...go jump start your day.

PS. I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks, the posts will keep showing up daily, but I won't be able to respond to comments until I return.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Procastinators aren't lazy...

When you think of procrastination it's likely you picture someone who's lazy, unmotivated and irresponsible. Far from it.

Procrastinators can look like the busiest people in your office.

Procrastination is a symptom of something else...the fact that your brain will do whatever it has to do in order to keep you in your comfort zone. If you're putting something off there's one of two things going on...

Either you're really not ready to do it, which can have some legitimacy.

Or, it's something that can make you grow as an individual, which means change, which means out of that warm and fuzzy comfort zone...zap, you procrastinate and do something else. With internet access on every desk you can look like you're researching, tasking, checking things off when in reality you've just found a way to look busy without doing "that thing".

So what to do? What I've found works is to set a timer for 3 minutes and begin the project with the idea you'll just give it 3 minutes. You can do anything for 3 minutes, after that you can go back to procrastinating.

What will happen is the law of physics kicks in and you'll keep going, reaching the conclusion all procrastinators do...

"this isn't so bad, I wonder why I put it off so long".

For more you can read Leo Babauta's book "The Power of Less" go jump start your day...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2 minutes to enlightenment...

Ran across an interesting blog the other day,

He has some smart things to say, what struck me the most is this video he put up:

Do yourself a favor and watch this, it's an entertaining 2 minutes that is a metaphor for life and will change the way you think about things.

The message is clear, and anything I say here will just detract from it. Check it out, and your day will be jump started.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What gets measured, changes...

What are the ingredients of a successful day? Two things, both related to each other...

1. You must have measurable goals, what I would call deliverables.

2. They must be something you have control over.

If you're in some kind of selling position, and who isn't these days, and you set a goal to reach a certain level of transactions or volume, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

What you need to focus on are the activities.

Write a certain number of pages, make a number of contacts, set things in motion with some e-mails to key people...whatever your situation is, make the goals measurable, achievable, deliverable.

The goals must be in place either the night before or early in the day. If you show up and just "let the day happen to you", the odds of you pulling off a successful day drop considerably. Have an action plan in place, make them achievable, measurable, do win.

If a great career or life is a series of great years, which are a series of great months, which are a series of great days...shouldn't you start today?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You... are your own economy.

It's too easy to get caught up in the negative news out there. Unemployment, layoffs, plant closings, housing, credit crisis, etc. It's a daily distraction and the trick is to find alternate sources of information to keep you moving in a positive direction.

What's happening out there is a whole army of fresh voices are blogging about things that matter more than the unemployment rate or the GDP. Concepts such as how to create your own positive mind set, changing your belief systems, and finding out what truly makes you happy.

The news has become generic, commoditized, repetitive, and as always...negative. Traditional news sources are an energy drain, and I promise you this: no matter what your career or portfolio looks like...watching CNBC never made you a dime.

Sure, be informed, scan the headlines. But get into alternative channels of information and motivation. I'll be linking to some of my favorites as we go along.

Because when the dust settles and you look back on your career, life, achievments and milestones...they were not the result of the economy, tax policy, or the S&P 500. They were as a result of your actions, and those you have complete control over.

You are your own economy, make it what you will.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sometimes one line in a movie says it all...

In the 1984 movie "Flashpoint" Kris Kristofferson and his buddy are in a predicament that gets worse by the minute with no solution.

Kris looks at his buddy and says, "Like my daddy used to say, 'If you can't get out of it, get into it'".

It's a metaphor for life...

We're here, situations come up, sometimes it seems there's no way out of them. You can make the choice to complain about it, regret it, wish it away, want more, be bored...

Or you can embrace it.

Simple, but not easy. Embracing life means taking it by the wheel, realizing now is your life, and living it with intention and purpose.

We run the risk of going through life planning things for the future, worrying about things in the future, the future gets here and becomes the present...and the cycle continues.

Here's the tough question...

Where you are right now is the future of your past, when were you going to decide to "really" live your life?

Friday, February 6, 2009

The fool is only happy when his cravings are satisfied, the true happy.

When the philosopher Seneca wrote those words 2000 years ago, he obviously had no idea of the state our civilization could reach. Yet even with all modern life has to offer...most people are unable to say they are truly happy.

If you say to yourself something along the lines of, "I'd be happy if all my debts were paid off", or "I'll be happy when I get a different job, or marry someone else...", the truth is...

no you won't.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who talk like the example above, and those who have made a decision to be happy in spite of whatever circumstances happen to be in their life. It's not a change in circumstances that governs your happiness, it is a change in your thought process.

One person can be happy with seemingly unsurmountable odds in life, while others wallow in misery over trivial matters. The difference is one has made a decision to live a life of happiness, the other is waiting for something to happen before being happy...

and that wait has the potential to become your life.

Great thinkers from Shakespeare to Henry Ford have spoken to this concept, and the idea is to work on your mindset and beliefs as much as you work at improving your life, and in the meantime enjoy the journey. In the end it comes down to this...there really is no goal out there that will change your life, your life is the journey... enjoy it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In the classic film "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"...

Humphrey Bogart is sitting at a bar in Mexico, destitute, trying to figure out how he and his buddies can raise some money to buy the tools they need to mine gold in the mountains.

A young boy approaches Bogie and asks if he wants to buy some lottery tickets, Bogie tells him to scram. The kid asks again, same result. The kid starts pleading, "Please sir, I know you'll pick the lucky one." After this Bogie tells the kid, "If you ask me one more time I'll throw this drink in your face."

The kid asks again, Bogie throws the drink in his face.

Wiping his face off, the kid approaches and asks again. Bogart buys a ticket, it wins and he's able to get the mining tools.

Is what we learn from this story to buy a lottery ticket when we need money? No, as happens so many times what we need to get from this story is the spirit of the kid. Would you keep going even if a drink were thrown in your face?

If you watch the scene it is obvious the young boy's approach to adversity was as if it wasn't there. He saw Bogie's actions as something he had to go through to accomplish what he needed to do.

What's your view of adversity? It's always going to be there, it's how you deal with it that makes the difference. Let it stop you in it's tracks, or walk right through it...the choice is entirely up to you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Decide who you are, and do it on purpose...

We know what we're supposed to do, we've read the books right? Daily affirmations, positive thinking, visualizations, high self-esteem, etc. But sometimes it's just not enough, it feels like we need more traction than these exercises can give us.

The missing link is intensity of conviction.

Your belief system must be solidly in place before your brain will allow meaningful changes to occur. In my opinion the best way to do this is to take some time and make the decision of who you are. Right now schedule a time for yourself to reflect and write down who you are and where you want to be.

Once you've taken this step, your entire being must then embrace the change you want to see.

It's not enough to just repeat it to yourself every morning, it must be felt in your body as if you were already there, it must occupy your thoughts to the extent that you have become a new person in thought alone. When get to this level you feel stronger, your actions take on new meaning, and you become the change you want to see.

Is it easy? Not a chance, it took you a lifetime to become who you are, but your brain has the power to turn it around if only you give it the right tools.

Go be who you are, and jump start your day.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Joe Jackson was on the right track...

In the early '80's Joe Jackson came out with a song that went "You can't get what you want 'til you know what you want". This is true enough and a good first step, but there's one more piece...

Your brain needs to know the why.

Your brain will take on any goal you put in front of it once it knows why the goal is there in the first place. A goal such as an "income in the mid six figures", or a "book written by December 1", isn't enough to get your brain cells to buy into it. Try this: "my goal is to reach an income level in the mid six figures which will enable me to pay off those credit cards, get that vacation home in Mexico, and send my kids to the private school in town".

Now that's a goal your brain can get it's arms around.

It is specific, has emotional ties, can be visualized, and has measurable and tangible outcomes as a by-product of the goal. All of these ingredients are necessary for your brain to buy into your goal.

Right now take one of the goals you're working on and if it doesn't have a visualizable "why" in it weave that in, embrace it, visualize it, take a moment to get your brain to wrap itself around it, and go do one thing today that puts it closer.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Work backwards to move forward...

Every long range career or project is a series of months, weeks and days used to take one step closer to achieving them. The issue with long term goals for most people is they continue to be just that, long term goals.

What's missing is action.

Take your long term goal and give it some milestones, points along the way that are measurable and achievable. Put a deadline on the milestones, turn your long term goal into a series of shorter term goals that have visibility, dimension, and a high probability of success.

Every longer term goal has within it a series of tasks that when completed, get you there. While some of the tasks may seem insurmountable, there is always a smaller element of it that gets it started...and that you can do today.

Today, take one step forward. Is it a phone call? Making a list of options? An e-mail to a contact looking for information? Anything can be broken down into smaller, manageable tasks, the trick is consistency. Doing one thing every day to get you closer to your goal puts you on the path to achieving it. Everything else is just planning and dreaming.

We humans are hard-wired to move forward, being stagnant is an unnatural state of being, so fulfill your destiny and do one thing today. Isn't it time for you to make your move?