Change Your Mindset…Change Your Life!

noregrets-movingonWhat if the only directional gear your car was equipped with was forward? You will still have control over the rate of acceleration, yet reverse will not be an option for the driver and neutral has a time limit. This would certainly impact your route planning and preparation. Would it slow down your process, or prompt faster decision making? Would it limit your choices or expand your vision? How would you adjust?

“Life is a one-way street. No matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back. Once you know and accept that, life becomes much simpler.” Isabel  Moore

Changing your mindset is not like changing your shirt. Preliminary to making a change is choosing a goal, creating a plan and committing to a course of action. Having good intentions does not get the job done and it is far too easy to lapse back into old actions that supported old behaviors. Once you set the intention, you must schedule the actions and honor the intention to incorporate change into your revised routine. Your calendar, like your road map is the tool you will use for incorporating new activities/destinations into your master plan.

Picture yourself standing at the base of a mountain, looking up and wondering how you are supposed to make it to the summit. Climbing the mountain may seem insurmountable, yet once you commit to the challenge, you commit to a shift in thinking and the knowledge that in order to accomplish this goal, you must make a plan. You hire a crew, make necessary purchases and proceed forward. What may have been an overwhelming goal, can now be broken down into doable, incremental tasks. Designing a strategy is the best defense against the potential of “analysis paralysis” and those accompanying fears.

If you are still having trouble breaking down a big goal into smaller tasks, imagine you’ve already achieved your goal. For example, visualize yourself taking photos from the top of the mountain, surrounded by your climbing team. How did you get there?

By imagining that you have already accomplished your goal, the path to success becomes crystal clear. Rather than seeing obstacles, you see results and what you previously imagined to be powerful roadblocks may even disappear.

Managing E-mails

imagesCA83X7I0Most of us cringe at the mention of managing e-mail, save for the occasional person who claims to have it completely under control and with a ZERO inbox. To those outliers, I marvel at their organizational skills and raise a glass to toast this accomplishment.

According to Jocelyn Glei, author of Unsubscribe, the rest of us generally fall into two categories; reactors or batchers. The former constantly monitors messages, whole the latter sets aside specific time to power through them. Because reactors will interrupt the work flow to check messages and respond to e-mails, their other work suffers. Glei suggests devoting 2 or 3 daily time blocks to your inbox and otherwise, keep it closed.

On the other hand, batching all communication doesn’t always work if there are individuals who must be responded to immediately. You can set special alerts on g-mail or your iphone for priority contacts enabling you to concentrate on your work and be responsive as you’ve prioritized your contact list.

E-mail can be a powerful and productive tool while also a distraction and an easy way to get lost and caught up in a feeling of making progress. With a goal of maintaining a zero inbox, you may believe that you are closer to an ongoing accomplishment. Should that be your goal or is it really the completion of tasks that lead to the successful conclusion of a meaningful work project?

If you are a reactor, old habits die hard. This is akin to a Pavlovian response
• Turn off audible alerts to incoming messages (except your VIPs)
• Block 3 times daily for checking e-mails
• Note the difference in your level of anxiety when you are not in responsive mode


Is Your Career on Life Support?

worryWhether it’s a matter of boredom or limitations in your organization, you have mentally checked out. The job may no longer engage you or the landscape has changed in other ways. Perhaps there is a new manager and the workflow has shifted. Other colleagues may have left for better opportunities or been promoted while you continue doing more of the same work you’ve always done yet with tighter deadlines. You no longer look forward to Mondays and you believe the compensation is below the industry standard.

Remember; do not turn a bad moment into a bad day, a bad week or more. You have the power to choose and there are always 3 options before you:
• Change it
• Accept it
• Leave
If you choose to change it, you need to create a game plan to include achievable goals.

1. Get paid more for the work you do. Check on-line resources like before approaching your boss for a raise. When you research and strategize beforehand you are in a much better position to negotiate an increase.

2. A promotion. Again, research the industry standard for the job you have and the job you want. Have you been doing the work but without the title? If so, you need to produce data to support that your job title and responsibilities are out of alignment and it’s time to negotiate both the salary and title.

3. Self-improvement. You’ve become lackadaisical, stuck and just getting by. It’s time to pump up your resume. Choose one skill to improve. With even a minimum of 15-minutes of daily focused attention, you can brush up on skills like writing and social media. Also, check out other industry game changers that will enhance your professional profile.

4. Work less. Has your workload morphed in to enough for 2+ people without a peep from you? Then it’s time to revisit your job description and how you and your boss can work together to determine a better way for the workflow to be managed. From temporary assistance to a full overhaul of your responsibilities, you need to negotiate for relief.

The workplace has also become a much bigger influence in our lives, from professional identity to social relationships, the lines are blurred making it that much more difficult to create strong boundaries. Yet, having that other life with other people does help to underscore the need for work/life balance and the importance of nurturing outside interests and relationships.


10 Things You Can Do Better Today


how-to-time-management-300x225I am a list maker. It helps me to synthesize my thoughts and organize my activities rather than to operate free-form, 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?


“Winning” IS Fundamental

screenYes, it’s fall and football season once again. Whether it is a favorite sport of yours or not, the words of legendary Alabama football coach Paul Bryant will resonate, and not just around the aspects of the game. Strategies in sports readily apply to teams in the workplace. Coach Bryant retired with 323 wins over 38 seasons, an amazing record of achievement to be sure.

“Bear” Bryant said that members of a winning team needed 5 things:
1. Tell me what you expect from me
2. Give me an opportunity to perform
3. Let me know how I’m doing
4. Give me guidance when I need it
5. Reward me according to my contributions

Winners need straight information. Sometimes a formula that seems too simple is ignored. However, when we communicate objectives clearly and simplify the points, everyone is more likely to be on the same page. From small to larger teams, setting consistent expectations and goals is foundational to successful outcomes.
• How clear are you when communicating directives?
• Are your expectations realistic with opportunity to reach beyond?
• Do you offer specific, targeted feedback to your team?
• As a team member, how do you ask for feedback?


Achieve Your Summer Fitness Goals

imagesCAE2VKGAWill this be another summer season of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the time to 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 like. “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!

10 Time Saving Workday Tips

how-to-time-management-300x2251. Set Goals
Each morning, write out a detailed to-do list of the things you want to accomplish that day.

2. Create a Plan
Determine when and how you’ll accomplish each item on your daily list – will you need help, supplies, etc.?

3. Prioritize by Importance
It’s inevitable that sometimes you’ll have to cut items off your to-do list, so decide early what the most important items are and prioritize.

4. Prioritize by Urgency
You’ll need to get to those projects that have urgent deadlines so leave the ones that are due next week for later.

5. Break Down Large Tasks
If your list includes some overwhelming items, break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks.

6. Be Realistic
Don’t expect to accomplish everything in an hour. Know your limitations and your abilities.

7. Track Your Time
In order to better understand how you really spend your time, take a few days and write down everything you do and how long it takes. Include breaks, email, social media and everything else, so that you’ll find out what your biggest time wasters are.

8. Set Deadlines
Need some motivation to complete a project? Set a deadline for yourself and tell others about it so they can help hold you accountable.

9. Keep One Eye on the Clock
You don’t want to constantly obsess about time, but you also don’t want to let the day get away from you because you weren’t paying attention. Stay on track.

10. Set Reminders
If you have a deadline or meeting coming up, set a reminder on your phone that will go off shortly before.

Career Change Tips

career-changeHow often have you contemplated doing something entirely different than what you are doing right now? Before quitting your job, look at the bigger picture and the implications of making a change or not doing so. Will you be proactive or just let things slide and continue? What’s really at stake? Let’s examine a more systematic approach to finding answers that work for you.

1. Look at the issues that make you crave change and outline your goals.
What are you satisfied with about your current situation? What are you dissatisfied with? Is it your boss or the culture of your organization? Or do you really want to change careers? Outline your goals- for example, more money, more time off or more flexibility. Write it all down.

2. Work to understand your inner critic.
Observe thoughts that trap you with fear and prevent you from achieving your objectives. Write these down on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and throw it away to symbolize your freedom from thoughts that interfere with your goals and dreams.

3. Recognize recurring patterns in your life.
What makes you happy? What are your recurring interests and social needs? What makes a work environment feel good or not so good to you? Write it down.

4. Network and investigate career interests that map to your goals and needs.
Once you’ve identified your patterns and desires, start thinking about careers that make sense for you. Give yourself one to three months to explore your curiosity by finding people who do these jobs and talking about the pros and cons of their work. Explore anything and everything until you’re satisfied — or until your time runs out.

5. Make a plan that takes your financial situation into account.
Change is never simple, but having a plan that outlines your steps and financial requirements makes it doable. Will your new career require additional education, a small business loan, time off from work or relocation? Make a plan with financial considerations and a realistic timeline that you can follow through on.


Kickstart the New Year!

Screen-Shot-2012-12-27-at-8_18_14-PMI always look forward to the various approaches to the process of behavioral change that take center stage at the end of each calendar year. Approximately 45 percent of Americans make self-improvement goals in January, yet by February much of that enthusiasm has slowed to a mere trickle. And despite our best efforts, only some 8 percent of us end up achieving those goals. Of course there are many reasons and faulty explanations abound, yet we are in good company with respect to the challenges surrounding change. Read on for Andy Horner’s other approach to kicking off the New Year with a fast track approach.

Instead of a resolution, each year I commit to a New Year’s Kickstart!

Here’s the idea: You start your year off with a big success by completing a relatively quick turnaround project that you’ve been putting off. It could be a website, blog, newsletter, new mini-business, or a presentation or webinar you’ve been wanting to complete.

It’s Your Spark Plug: Whatever your project, your New Year’s Kickstart should be the spark that ignites your bigger picture strategy for the year.

Difficulty: Hard: For your project, it’s best to choose something that will push you. Get out of your comfort zone, but avoid a challenge that’s too grandiose. I don’t want your Kickstart to end in a New Year’s Frustration.

Done in 2 Weeks: It should be something you can knock out quickly. One of the reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail is that the commitment, like losing weight, takes too long to yield results. (If you haven’t noticed, we’re an instant-gratification world now.)

I like the 2 week mark. It’s enough time to get most projects finished. It’s short enough to maintain focus. And it means you begin your year with an achievement to fuel you.

• Write it down
• Color code 2-weeks in your Kickstart calendar
• Celebrate your success!