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Where your focus goes, energy flows…

…And where energy flows, whatever you focus on grows.

After several days of shooting abdominal pain, I finally gave in and went to an urgent care center.  Within minutes of seeing the Doctor I was told, “you need to be admitted to a hospital.”

They called the ER and notified them that I would be coming.  The next thing I know, I am in the ER.  Before I could even give them my insurance card, I hear my name being called.  Next came a barrage of blood work, an injection for the pain, an ultrasound and then waiting…waiting…and more waiting.

ambulanceFortunately, there is a happy ending.  No issues with my appendix.  The cause of my pain…self-induced, over production of cortisol (stress hormones).

For weeks I had been accepting the wrong self-talk, that inner dialogue we all have between our two ears.  Being obsessed with all that could go wrong, rather than all that could go right, was wreaking havoc on my nervous system.  Literally, my emotions (thoughts and feelings) brought on phyical pain.

The underlying truth here is that when we constantly analyze and place our attention on what “could” go wrong – we are contributing to things going wrong.

I learned a valuable life lesson – how to predict my future…

The best way to predict the future is to create it.  Make sure your self-talk is focused on daily possibilities rather than potential disruptions.

What thoughts will you pay attention to when you get up tomorrow?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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The Greatest Gift is…

The greatest gift of all – your presence.

birthday bow box card
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Are you already feeling some stress at the very thought of the upcoming holiday season?  If so, you are not alone. And, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Instead of being overwhelmed or exhausted by the many demands of the holidays, take a different approach—one that involves involving more “being” and less “doing.”

According to research* from Harvard University, you are happier when you are present, and the ones you are with experience a greater sense of wellbeing.  When we are not centered in the present moment our minds are torn between two worlds – the past and the future.  Don’t get me wrong, there are times to reminisce and/or daydream, but when we habitually are thinking of something other than what we are doing, life can pass you by.  That is why we must stay focused on our presence in the present.

Develop the mental fitness to let go of distractions and overcome the mind’s natural tendency to wonder.  Don’t let a long to-do list of the holiday season distract you from what really counts.  Be present when talking with family and friends.  Be present when working with your JFC team.  Be here now and be fully present!

Challenge yourself to be in the moment.  As you do, you will surely be home for the holidays, and your family and friends will receive the greatest gift of all – your presence.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.  Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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What makes the most successful teams truly tick?

Many of the best teams – the ones that deliver results, wow customers, and always hit their goal – share a few key traits:

  1. They share a common promise for a customer.
  2. They coordinate action to fulfill that promise.
  3. They take care of each other.
low angle photo of people doing huddle up
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When each team member understands their role in the big picture, great things happen.  They share a common promise, meaning there is unified agreement on the objectives and how each individual brings a unique set of skills to the mission at hand.

Teams coordinate to fulfill a promise always looking toward the end goal.  When they have healthy relationships consisting of high-quality interaction, characterized by trust, open communication, and a willingness to embrace “constructive” conflict – they become great.  These teams willingly assume and embrace both personal and shared responsibility for fulfilling their common promise.

They take care of each other – the environment is supportive, open, and expressive.  Make no mistake, successful teams don’t agree on everything.  When disagreements arise, they tackle them in a respectful and constructive way, with appreciation for the ideas, skills, and perceptions of their team members.

In our professional life teamwork plays a vital role.  We engage with and depend on others to accomplish virtually every task.  Don’t leave it to chance, follow the formula above (the three traits) and be part of a great team!

What will you personally do to help improve your team for the better?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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How many hours will you work in a lifetime?

A quick Google search will reveal that we can expect to spend 90,360 hours on the job, working.  That is 1/3 of our lives!  How do you spend each of those hours?  Are you engaged in what you do?  Another Google search, and you will find that 70% of U.S. employees are not engaged by their jobs.  The scary fact is that 7 in 10 people are exhausting 1/3 of their lives slogging into a job feeling stuck on a treadmill of emptiness.  Sounds nonsensical, right?

While there are numerous aspects to fulfilling work that engages our hearts and minds, I pose that it boils down to one essential factor – purpose.  The desire for purposeful work is a fundamental human need.  It is a need just like love and belonging.  When we lack a sense of purpose in our jobs we disengage; we join the masses stuck on that treadmill of emptiness.

steps

First step:

My advice is that you start infusing your work with purpose immediately!  Identify with your company’s mission.  If you can’t or don’t then it is time to seek out a truer calling (employer/job).  A role that has you working towards a big picture.  One that brings fulfillment to you and the many others your job will impact.

Second step:

If you DO identify with your organization’s overreaching mission…Take two minutes each afternoon to think of one purposeful moment you had that day. If you do this for a month you will find that you are doing more things everyday that bring you purpose and that you also come to appreciate them more and more.

Know that the possibilities of creating purpose in your work/job are vast and growing.  Start with the big picture (mission) then work backwards tying meaning to every task.

Make that 1/3 of your life worthwhile…make it count…start today what you should have started yesterday…ACT!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Make your current job a DREAM job!

“Your job comprises a set of building blocks that you can reconfigure to create more engaging and fulfilling experiences at work.” – Harvard Business Review, June 2010

refocusThink about the lens through which you view those less favorable tasks of your job. We all have them!  Rest assured in the fact that there is a way to make these necessary “to do’s” more meaningful and intrinsically rewarding.

How? 

Choose a new outlook!  Look at those less favorable tasks and begin to consider how to incorporate your own unique personality/strengths into them.  Often it is not the task itself that’s daunting, but rather the way you view it.

Take for instance the many phone calls experienced each workday…

Sales calls – Scrap the idea of them being “sales” calls, and instead approach them as learning calls.  After all, the intent is to inquire, gather facts, and build rapport – sales will be the by-product.

Whether it be incoming or outgoing phone calls, don’t be nerve racked, just change the way you look at them.  See each call as a pursuit of learning about the other person.  After all, have you ever heard of anyone getting in trouble for being a “good listener?”

It is important to successfully execute even those less favorable work activities (ring-ring-ring).  Now you know how to make them meaningful and intrinsically rewarding.  You simply just choose the lens through which you view them, whatever they may be!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Pay attention to your attention!

Pay attention to your attention! – Really that is not a typo!

To achieve our goals and dreams, the ability to harness our power of attention is critical. This has never been truer than in modern time.  Our ability to focus is constantly impeded by pop-up notifications, alerts, texts, emails, and so on.  Each one threatening to hijack us away from the task at hand and derailing our forward progress to success.

Fortunately, attention is a skill; and like any skill it can be strengthened.  You simply need to pay attention to your attention.  Consciously choose where to direct your efforts and take back control. pay attentionHere are some tactics for winning the war on distraction:

  • Each morning jot down your “focus” list. Set multiple reminders for referencing it.
  • Do less, then obsess.
  • Push back against distractions as they arise.

In any moment, we can choose to be successful by giving our 100% focus to the most essential tasks at hand.  Be mindful, be deliberate, and always be strengthening the power of your attention.  Distractions will begin losing their power and you will be on a straight track towards achieving those goals and dreams.

You got this…take charge of your attention!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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You have options – work hard or work smart?

 “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I can move anything.”  – Greek mathematician Archimedes

That’s working smarter – that’s quality activity!

smart kidLet’s apply this concept to a modern-day project.  Imagine this scenario, you must move a heavy piece of old furniture out of your garage and to the curb.  You have options – work hard or work smart!

One scenario, working hard, would be to solicit a group of friends/family to tackle this project with you.  This would entail having to select and contact multiple people, coordinate a date and time among their varying schedules, and (if you are a good friend) providing some adult beverages afterward for their effort.  This is a perfectly viable option that will provide the desired result, yet it requires a lot of steps.

Another scenario, working smart, call that one friend or family member who owns a dolly and ask to borrow it.  Then you can do the job yourself and save those coveted adult beverages for the remainder of the weekend.  Another option producing the same result but this one demands far less time, energy, and effort – and keeps the fridge well stocked for the weekend.

Admittedly parts of every job will have tasks we can’t just eliminate.  Still, most jobs do have parts we can combine, delegate, or remove.  Ask yourself, “What existing activities of little value should we eliminate?  What existing activities of high value should we increase? What new activities of high value should we create?” 

Reflect on the questions posed above then take action!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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“Work smarter not harder.” – Duh!

The way we approach annual goals, meaning our specific work practices as opposed to sheer effort, does indeed provide greater results.  Think about those goals you have previously identified for the year.  Are you making forward progress?  Is your pace of progress on track?

Confined only by walls you buildWith the mid-year mark approaching, circle back on those goals and key activities being engaged.  Are you working harder? Smarter?  Neither? Both?

If you find yourself working harder, be aware!  You are spread too thin and falling into the complexity trap.  Thus, working smarter holds great truth.  Confirm that you have clear direction, reclarify your goals, and literally focus on “fewer” activities.

The smart way to work is literally “do less, then obsess.”  By no means does this imply slacking off – quite the contrary.  Author of Great at Work, Moten Hanson, sums it up perfectly – “As few as you can, as many as you must.”  By this he means we should do everything possible to discard non-essential activities.  Take the fewest steps – while retaining everything necessary to do great work.  Rather than “do more, then stress” we should “do less, then obsess.”

Reconfirm those goals.  Recognize the most critical activities needed.  Invest huge efforts into each activity and obsess over them!

What will you obsess about?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Visualize this…

What does a successful tomorrow look like for you?  No really, what does it look like?

VisualizeThe most successful athletes and business people can tell you. They take the time to actually visualize success of their next goal.  Do you ever take the time to visualize what a successful tomorrow will look like for you?  You should – it’s a great exercise!

And once you have that picture in your head, you’ll see that you start planning to make it happen.  It’s just the natural progression of how your mind will flow.  That picture of “success”, whatever it might be, becomes your goal, and one that you don’t want to fall short of.  So, close your eyes – picture success for tomorrow – and start mapping out how you will achieve that success!

Mentally rehearsing success is both easier and more difficult than it sounds: easier because the ability to do so is entirely within your control; more difficult because it requires discipline and perseverance.

Your thoughts matter.  Give more attention to this practice.  Make it your morning routine.

No matter what your goals are for tomorrow, if you want to increase the chances of success, give   visualization a shot.

What dream/goal/ambition will you start with?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Behind Goal? Channel your inner-infant self!

Do you ever find yourself struggling to make progress on a goal – what do you do?  Act like an infant! …metaphorically speaking.

infante walkingGoals are meant to be big.  They are meant to take time; yet too often we outpace ourselves early on which can be detrimental to overall success.  Ambition turns into defeatism as we begin telling ourselves the finish line is out of reach.  This is precisely the moment where we must act like an infant, because all infants are successful!

“When you were still a small child, you made your way around the world crawling on your hands and knees. Everyone else was walking, and one day you got into your little head that maybe you could give that a try to. Once that thought appeared, there was suddenly no “maybe” about it: you had to give it a try.  There was no way you were not going to attempt it, fail at it, and then keep attempting it until you mastered it.  Step-by-step, quite literally, we started working to develop the skills needed to walk.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Could you imagine if you gave up when you were an infant?  Today you’d be crawling around on your hands and knees as a grown adult.  Of course you didn’t give up then – and you shouldn’t today either!

Embody the relentless determination you had when learning to walk.  Approach your goals moment to moment.  Like learning to walk you should expect to fall.  And just as you did when you were an infant, you get back up and keep working at it.

You first had to learn to crawl before you could walk.  Similarly, you must break down annual goals into smaller (more manageable) milestones.  Begin with a walking pace  towards your goals; and before you know it, you will be running towards the finish line.

This is the power of continuous effort…this is the power of acting like an infant!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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