Are You Lucky or Purposeful?

imagesCAADD1X9There are some days when it feels like everything is running smoothly and other times it may feel like the end of a long run can’t happen soon enough. It’s human nature to focus on what’s not working than to revel in the moments when you are in the flow and the Universe is cooperating fully.

• Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person?
• Are you someone who takes full advantage of opportunities, focusing on them as they arise?

“Things worthwhile generally don’t just happen. Luck is a fact, but should not be a factor. Good luck is what is left over after intelligence and effort have combined at their best… Luck is the residue of design.” – Branch Rickey

Buying a winning lottery ticket is sheer luck as the odds are certainly not in your favor nor did any scheme in particular give you better probabilities. The more sales calls you make will increase your chances of closing a deal. The more swings at bat, shots at a goal or auditions you attend will increase the likelihood of your success. Too many people excuse their own limitations to by crediting other’s achievement to luck.

Lucky people actually do things that allow them to take advantage of chances that they position themselves for. Not everything works out of course, but wishing, hoping and praying for success is not a formula for success. What’s you action plan, setting aside the rabbit’s foot or palming a 4-leaf clover?

According to Kevin Daum, there are 5 “secret” behaviors of lucky people.

1. Play to your strengths: We waste too much time and energy doing things that we probably don’t do well. Focus on what you do well and delegate the rest or find a partner to compensate for your weaknesses.

2. Prepare in advance: Unlucky people often get that way because they are reactive and unprepared. A business plan, for example is a template. The point in having one isn’t to follow it for the sake of staying on track. Rather, it is to establish a structure for smart decision making that allows you to adjust and succeed.

3. Start early: It’s not necessarily about rising early, but beginning projects well in advance. So many people want to put their energies into things that provide immediate gratification. The most fortunate people I know are the ones who planted the seeds early and are now in a better position to have choices and take advantage of the most promising ones.

4. Connect with as many people as possible: The key to success is access to opportunity. Access comes from influence. If you are influential, people will bring opportunities to you. The way to build a following is to provide value to many people. How are you providing the sort of value that will cause people to spread your thoughts and attribute credit to you?

5. Follow up: Opportunities come and go because people do not follow-up in a timely manner. Following up is often more powerful and impressive than the act of initiating.

What will you plan to do to increase your LUCK?




Achieve Your Summer Fitness Goals

imagescae2vkgaWill this be another season of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the summer begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one, wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely take pleasure in. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change require discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!

• Are you a biker, runner, walker, swimmer or outdoor enthusiast?
• Is variety important to you?
• Learn a new skill or mix in what you already know?
• Is your best time morning or later in the day?
• If equipment is necessary can you borrow it first?

Trying something new requires patience. As a rule of thumb, I suggest trying an activity at least three times. You will have low expectations at first. The next time, you are a still a beginner and on the third attempt, you will have a better feel for the activity. Perhaps you may look for something else or sign up for lessons with a pro, purchase the bike or dust off those old roller blades and get moving!


Please Stop the Whining

no-whiningWe have all experienced the “Debbie Downer” character in our personal or professional worlds. Complaining has been elevated to a high art by these individuals and while entertaining at times, it’s more frequently draining and off-putting. Fault finding is valuable when you identify what’s not working and look for a solution. Occasional whining may be acceptable but if it rises to the level of chronically finding fault, it’s time to take stock. When crankiness has become an end to itself and a legitimate issue actually does arise, how likely will others respond to it?

Life is imperfect and for some people, complaining is a way to get or even deflect attention. Notice your own behaviors:
• Are they energy draining or energy building?
• Are you feeling powerless in a situation or a relationship?
• What is your typical response?

Chronic irritability distances you from others. If only they would change, then you might not have anything to object to. Focusing on what others need to do rather than on your own actions avoids the possibility of personal transformation and empowerment. Turn that critical eye inward.
• Identify what you would like to create
• What are you choosing to modify or eliminate?
• Channel the energy
• Ask for support from others
• Create a plan of action
• Engage


Wherever You Go, There You Are!

career-changeThe Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu told the following story:

“There was a man so displeased by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased
with his own footsteps that he was determined to get rid of both. The method he hit
upon was to run away from them. So he got up and ran. But every time he put his
foot down there was another step, while his shadow kept up with him without the
slightest difficulty. He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast
enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping until he finally dropped dead.
He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would
vanish and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.”

When we make the decision to stop and be still rather than running away, we have the opportunity to connect with ourselves. Uncomfortable as it may be, “Wherever you go, there you are,” and then what?

Avoidance, denial, and anxiety get in the way of moving forward unless your image of progress is a hamster on a wheel. It may feel like a lot of activity is being generated yet it’s far better to take that energy and get to the gym for a true workout.

So, rather than run away, or play the blame game…STOP!
• Slow down
• Assess your situation
• What changes do you need to make?
• What changes are you willing to make?
• Choose one action
• Commit to doing it
• Take a selfie and record your success!


Hope is NOT a Strategy!

imagesCAGH4OS8“All we are is a result of our daily thought” – Buddha

So what are you hoping to achieve, change, fix, alter or revise in your life? What makes this “wish” to change have any greater likelihood of follow through now than before?

What prompts change as delineated by the 4-stages that we all enter and exit at different speeds? In pre-contemplation the seed of a possible notion to perhaps shift something occurs. If there is enough interest, we then move to contemplation where the thought takes on added importance. This is followed by preparation for the big step and lastly moving on to the actual change.

Where are the battle lines drawn? Who will win…the old habit or the new behavior? Unless we traverse the process and internalize the stages, the truth is that it’s not happening. Too often it is much easier to skip along, falling back on old behaviors like “wishing, hoping and praying” for divine intervention and the magical solution to reveal itself.

What’s at stake? Improved health and/or appearance, stronger relationships, financial stability or an uncluttered desk may all be goals we set for ourselves. What’s the reward? More time, a new wardrobe, clearer boundaries and a cleaner work area are all tremendous benefits. Most importantly is the personal satisfaction of seeing ourselves as a number one priority; capable of change and deserving of attention, love and care.

• What is one area of your life that needs immediate attention?
• What are you willing to do to about it?
• Choose one action that you can take TODAY?


Success Requires a Willingness to Act

happy-woman-fotolia_12331389_subscription_xxlSuccessful people don’t wait for success to fall in their laps, and they don’t wait for their lottery ticket to be chosen. They keep on doing the things that will get them closer and closer to their desired goals.

As David J. Schwartz puts it, “Life is too short to waste. Dreams are fulfilled only through action, not through endless planning to take action.”

“Success Requires a Willingness to Act” by Max Steingart

If you want to be successful, you can start at anytime.
But you must start.
Don’t make the mistake of not doing anything
because you can only do a little.
Do what you can do.
It will always be your attitude
at the beginning of any difficult task which,
more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
To be aware of what you want and not go after it,
to spend years wondering if something could have materialized,
and never knowing if it could have been,
is a tragic waste of your life.
The worst thing you can do is not to try.
To reach a port, you must sail.
You must sail, not lie at anchor.
You must sail off in the direction of your dreams, not drift.
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step.

Personality Flaw?

knight-in-shining-armorSo much has been written about what is “wrong” with us and how we can fix it. Well, the world is not so black and white, rather it’s more a shade of gray; not to be confused with the dubiously popularized novel. However, there are patterns that we may tend to follow that do not always serve us in the best way. According to Caroline Myss, author of Archetypes: Who Are You?, is it the key to finding out how you operate or how deeply you understand yourself and those in your world? Three of her categories may resonate for some of us and how we can turn the negative around to counteract these perceived flaws.

The Saboteur: If you are the classic underachiever, failing to live up to your potential, you may grow resentful and “sink your own ship by blaming others and self-victimizing. What if setbacks were actually growth opportunities and rather than setting yourself up for failure, you were taking responsibility for your own actions?

The Rescuer: Do you get a rush of satisfaction from “saving” others? You may thrive on this behavior of making people need you and then feeling angry and unloved when they aren’t appreciative enough? When you can step back and understand this, ask yourself. “Is this a healthy relationship and/or what does one really look like?” Take stock even if it’s painful to do so.

The Princess and Knight: Some women dream of a Knight in Shining Armor who will slay the dragon, swim the moat and rescue them from a terrible fate. The reality is that there’s no AAA truck waiting for your most current predicament to manifest itself. The person you need to rely on for the rescue is yourself. Devolving the myth and the shattered illusion is the antidote. Resist the urge to blame the other person and give up those fairytale expectations.

These are only 3 of the universal types that can be found in different iterations in other cultures. Identifying how you have chosen to examine your personally expanded knowledge of what makes you tick is a journey unto itself. Be kind to yourself and take it one flaw at a time.

©2015 M.Weisner

Attack the Hardest or Easiest Tasks First?

458You glance at your to-list and it’s overwhelming. Your initial thought might well be to run through the easiest, yet time consuming actions first. These may feel like many small annoyances; t he call you need to return or the quick review of a client project. Yes, we all know how good it feels to check off multiple tasks, send those e-mails out and lo and behold, your morning is gone. Instant gratification is seductive and the busyness feels like you are engaged in a series of worthy accomplishments. After all, these things need to be addressed and you are fresh in the A.M. However, according to Piers Steel, PhD, Professor at the University of Calgary and an expert on motivation and procrastination, this approach wastes your prime performance hours. “People have more attention and focus in the morning, so tackle the hard stuff first, while you have the most energy to do it.” As the day continues our energy is depleted, there are other demands on our time and so the list gets carried along with new additions.

Let’s try another slant on your typical plan of action. Getting started is key and tweaking your approach helps. Begin with a challenging chore that can be handled quickly. Like suiting up for a run or diving into cold water, the first few moments may feel awful but your body quickly adjusts and you are on your way, invigorated as you move. The same can be said for your to-do list actions as momentum takes over it helps you make more progress. How satisfying is it to cross things off your list, both major and minor and relax, if only for a moment of reflection.

• What’s you favorite approach?
• How successful has that been?
• What are you willing to change?
• Renumber your list for tomorrow, adding a challenging chore first




10 Things You Could Do Better Today

Woman Writing on Pad of PaperI am a list maker. It helps me to synthesize my thoughts and organize my activities rather than to operate freeform, without a plan. It is too easy to be in action for the sake of feeling like there is accomplishment. Yes, at the end of the day it is better to have cleaned closets, gone to the gym and emerged from the darkness with the purchase of proper wattage light-bulbs. However, task driven busyness is not a substitute for long term measurable results, improved relationships and clarity. Thinking in broader terms may be useful in creating your own list. Below is a sample of a place to start and #10 is a reward in and of itself.

1. Increase your response time to requests.
2. Improve the brevity and simplicity of your electronic correspondence.
3. Connect with 5 new people and 7 existing colleagues or friends each day.
4. Inspect your business process cycle from start to finish for improvement.
5. Rethink your approach to helping others succeed.
6. Increase the number of times you connect others to build new relationships.
7. Resolve 3 pieces of unfinished business, no matter how painful.
8. Live closer to your goals and your main points of focus, and less by reaction.
9. Take time to thank the people who make your life possible.
10.  Rest and unplug!

Your list may be quite different and it must be one that makes sense for you. Who wouldn’t want to be better at understanding the value of designing a process, an internal plan that is uniquely yours? How effective will you be when the questions you ask, the calls you make and the level of engagement you choose are consistently in alignment with your list!

• What are your most fundamental guiding principles?
• Too big? Begin with 3 or even 1 and add as you choose
• Notice the shift in your focus – what’s different?
• Notice the response of others to you – what’s different?

© 2014 Maureen Weisner

REDO Your To-Do List

Long-To-Do-List-shutterstock_106155491-e1350582020988You probably use some version of a to-do list. They seem look a good idea, but they simply catalogue tasks yet don’t help you accomplish them.

If all you do is make lists of the projects you need to finish, odds are good they will remain unfinished far longer than you like. Decades of research on goal pursuit shows that when it comes to execution, there are 2 major pitfalls that keep us from doing the things we intend to do.

1. We aren’t specific enough about exactly what needs to happen. There are actions we must take to reach our goals. If your goal is be healthier, you must break that down into component actions, like walking every day for 30-minutes at 7AM, packing a gym bag the night before M/W/F, eating breakfast, etc. So, to-do lists CAN work, if they contain specific actions.

2. The problem that lists don’t solve is finding the opportunity to take action.
• Did you really have NO time to work on that project today?
• No chance at any time to return that phone call?
You probably had the time but were preoccupied with something else or simply forgot.

Achieving any goal means grabbing hold of those opportunities before they slip through your fingers. One solution is IF-THEN planning. Not only decide WHAT you need to do but WHEN and WHERE you will do it in advance. So, if ____ occurs, then I will ____.
For example: When it’s 3PM today, then I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and work on that project. If it’s M/W or F, then I’ll go to the gym before work.

This kind of planning trains your brain to be ready for a certain action at a certain time. On an unconscious level, you are scanning your environment, waiting for the situation, 3PM to occur, so you are much more likely to notice 3PM when it happens and seize the opportunity to take the action you included in your plan.

With each action on your to-do list, add a when and a where. You can transfer your to-do list to your calendar/phone/device- just be sure to pair WHAT you need to do with the details about when and where you’ll do it.

MINI-Plan The Power of Habit

1. Create a routine- teach your brain a routine

2. Set small goals- habit formation is built on small wins

3. Choose a reward- you’re training yourself to associate a behavior with something you enjoy

4. Write it down- Identifying your routine significantly increases the chance that a habit will take hold

What’s one goal to focus on today and break it down into components?
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