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?

©MWeisner2017

 

 

Mid-Life Crisis or Opportunity? It’s Your Choice!

midlifecrisis“Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of life it may occur.” ~ Muriel Spark

At a recent gathering, I asked someone for the time as it was too dark to see my watch clearly and I did not have my cell phone handy for a quick check. “No one wears watches anymore. That makes you sound so old,” she pronounced. While I suspect people in droves are not tossing out their designer timepieces or condemning them to a junk drawer, her snippy observation gave me pause to absorb her words. Manners aside, I really do not care how you access the information; in this case it was a simple request for the time. Use a sundial if it suits you better but it was my reaction to being thought of as OLD that was noteworthy. Could one simple comment begin a rapid spiral of negative thinking or was something else available to me if I could step back and notice its impact?

Mid-life and the process of aging can take many of us by surprise. In fact, it can feel like a much faster trip than we planned for and not the ticket we intended to purchase…yet. In our youth oriented environment, growing older is not as honored as it is in some cultures. It may be a time for feeling marginalized; like someone who should take up less space, leaving room for the next generation, those who are energized with fresh ideas to lead.

On the other hand, at a recent workshop I conducted, participants were asked to name four words that best described “aging”. The responses were fast and furious, underscoring the negatives they associated with the word. As these descriptors were recorded, I suggested we look beyond our initial reaction and consider the following choices like:
• Wisdom
• Character
• Strength
• Confidence

How did that feel? It was as if a light switch had been flipped on and from this newly positive perspective, we were able to collaboratively fill pages with many more words that were energizing and a reflection of the pronounced shift in thinking.
The words you choose are very important. They can empower you as much as they can weaken you. Words can be used to create clarity or confusion; crisis or opportunity; motivation or disinterest. They are powerful tools with which you can shape your life. As always, it is your choice.

• Select a word at the beginning of each day as a focus for the day
• Notice the language you use positively or negatively
• Become aware of your choices and how you can influence others by making conscious selections

©MWeisner2017

When Opportunity Knocks…Listen to the Whispers!

imagescainpoc3Opportunity does not live in a vacuum. It is everywhere, provided we are looking, noticing, listening, but most of all, open, open to possibility. There are messages to be heard, relationships to be developed and different paths to be followed. Yes, they do exist and sometimes go unnoticed for years. Many of us expect the chance opening or the big break to also appear in neon lights; gift wrapped so conspicuously that it is recognizable from an aerial view. On the contrary, whispers can be like a gentle breeze or a slight tap on the shoulder, a nudge, a poke or a loving kiss.

Sometimes, the whisper can appear with such consistency that we still ignore it even when the tone rises to a SHOUT! A most memorable example for me came after a very windy and snowy night and an anticipated power outage. I was relieved to awaken to sunshine and a midday meeting so that travel would not be affected by the previous day’s storm. My optimism was short lived when mid-shower the lights went out and I was left wet and very frustrated. Fortunately the gym was open and a welcoming site to many of us in need of hair dryers and/or hot water. Returning home I left my car outside while struggling with the garage door and my gym bag. In and out quickly and the car keys were nowhere to be found as I prepared to leave. My husband was home that day; fortunate for me and perhaps not so much for him. He joined me in the snowy search and finally suggested that I use the spare set and look again when I returned. Logic is not always well received when the other person, (me), is in a panic and busily retracing over and over each step and move I had made after arriving home all the while working myself into a frenzy. Grabbing the proffered set, I left in a huff, talking to myself and blaming everyone and everything for the rotten day so far, when to add to my frustration I heard a tapping from the dashboard. I am not a mechanic, but tapping or banging in a car is rarely a good thing and at this point I made the tortured Linda Blair character in the “Exorcist” movie look quite normal.

At least the meeting was a temporary distraction until I was back in the car fumbling for the keys and praying that the ride home would be mercifully quiet. No such luck! The faster I drove, the more consistent the tapping became and the louder the radio to drown it out. Home once again, I expected my keys to be on the kitchen counter with a note saying where they’d been found. No such luck! Search part 2 was no more successful and I still had an evening event to get to. The roundtrip drive was a redo of my earlier tapping/loud radio trip, but with a welcomed twist. Perhaps it was the good speaker or the glass of wine, but I refused to end the day consumed by the day’s earlier annoyances. The keys must have been beamed up and the repair shop would fix whatever was causing the noise. Maybe it was the light, or the angle, but as I closed the car door, something caught my attention wedged next to the windshield wipers. Yes, indeed, there sat my missing car keys along with the quick replay in my mind of how they had gotten there. With my hands full, I had placed the keys on the snowy hood where they sunk and finally slid down towards the window, concealed from my view, but not from my hearing. I heard the tapping and paid attention only to the annoyance of it rather than to what “information” I might glean from listening.

How can we “hear” when we are often so consumed by action?
• What might you be missing?
• What would quiet time give you?

© 2016 Maureen Weisner

“Winning” IS Fundamental

images-handsdownYes, 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 “Bear” 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, and one that we can hope to emulate personally and professionally, off the field.

“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

These 5 points transcend gender or over-used sports analogies. Winners from the basement to the boardroom 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?

©MWeisner2014

Lucky of 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 4-leaf clover?

According to author Kevin Daum, there are 5 “secrets” 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, or ever in more cases than not. Following up is often more powerful and impressive than the act of initiating.

©Mweisner2014

A Peek in Your Wallet

StockCardsI recently attended a workshop where we were asked to turn to the person to our right and exchange wallets, temporarily. Participation was optional and the wallet would never be out of sight. We were instructed to open them flat on the table in front of us, not remove anything but take notice of the overall appearance. Was it a true reflection of the owner? For the most part, we were strangers and yet we were sharing a very personal item. Our wallets may mean many things from security to being strictly utilitarian to holding intimate details of our lives.

Glancing around the room I couldn’t help but notice the discomfort level rising. This was not intended to be a public shaming, rather an opportunity to see how we often make our wallets the unintended home for everything. For some it’s morphed into a catch-all and a traveling junk drawer that wastes time when looking for something, and isn’t a true representation of the professional woman you want to present to the world.

Was my wallet unique in its size or color or contents? While I think it is organized and meets my needs, I soon realized that there were some things that could be removed. Are you the woman pulling out a banged up, over-stuffed wallet that could double as a purse with receipts falling out and too thick to close? Is that the impression you want to leave a client or colleague with? What else does it say about you as a professional? Do I want to do business with you? Perhaps not!

Hope is not lost and the following tips may be of help:

• Invest in a quality leather wallet- people notice this
• $100 cash is a reasonable amount to carry and not a horror if lost or stolen
• Generally 2-3 credit cards and your debit card are sufficient for primary and back-up/worst case scenario
• Keep gift cards at home unless you know you will be shopping at the store on that day. Remember, they have the same value as CASH!
• Your driver’s license for ID purposes
• A family or pet photo to remind you of your other, real connections

©2014 MWeisner

OUCH! Stop Punishing Yourself

Mistakes-Precious Life LessonsMistakes, mistakes, mistakes…if we are human, we have all made them. We may have compassion for other people, yet too frequently we refuse to stop punishing ourselves for past missteps, indiscretions, poor planning, lack of judgment, etc. The list could go on forever. Too often we examine our own actions under a relentlessly unforgiving spotlight, long after the event has occurred. Yes, we have all experienced hurtful behavior and may have been the responsible person, yet for the most part it is possible to make amends or corrections.

From this moment going forward, put a statute of limitations on your mistakes. Stop punishing yourself. Give yourself a deadline. According to Dr. Alan Zimmerman, you might even create a short script for yourself like, “After this date (specify), I will not put myself down or beat myself up for this mistake or that failure (specify). It’s done. It’s over. I refuse to spend any more energy ruminating about it.” Moreover, hold yourself accountable for doing it. The blame game is so de-energizing and once you release yourself from the fatiguing dance, your confidence will improve, oftentimes dramatically.

With respect to the question of forgiveness, a bolder step is posited by Stanford University consultant, Dr. Fred Luskin , author of the book, “Forgive for Good”. He says, “You can let go of a grudge you’ve held against someone even if you never see or speak to that person again. Forgiving takes place inside the person who has the change of heart, not the person who is forgiven.” He never suggests that the behavior was okay or that the offender gets a pass on their actions. Rather, it is about taking care of oneself and not being the person who takes poison and waits for the other person to die. In fact, in the act of forgiveness you are the person who has taken back their power.

The same truth applies to self-forgiveness. When you forgive yourself for past mistakes, you also free yourself from the attachment to them. It takes a conscious effort to change old patterns of behavior. However, when you can take even a small step towards shifting your thoughts from blame and hurt to self-healing and peace, you are achieving a new level of self-care. Greater self-knowledge begets greater self-confidence and an opportunity to give “self-punishment” a rest.

ACTION:
• Who do you need to forgive?
• Write the script?
• Speak it aloud as many times as you find necessary
• Give yourself a BIG hug!

©2014 Maureen Weisner

Control is an Illusion

imagesCA01SOLH

“You cannot control the wind, but you can adjust your sails!”

I’m not a sailor. I’m not familiar with nautical lingo and barely missed being knocked overboard by the boom coming through. (Who knew that, “lower the boom” was not just an expression?) I can, however, appreciate the awareness and flexibility of those skilled at the helm as they focus on the mechanics of operation while I tighten the straps of my life vest. There is beauty in this ballet at sea as the wind is indeed the “engine” moving the boat along in concert with the sailor who engages it. On board everyone is involved in some manner by taking direction, shifting position or moving out of the way. Sometimes it is a speedy ride and other times it can be a struggle to get anywhere. Sometimes there is no wind at all and you are left floating in the middle of the river.

• What do you do when you are forced to slow down?
• Frantically seek a fix?
• What do you do when faced with an unexpected change?
• Dig in deeper or step back to refocus?

We are all experienced “sailors” in some fashion, perhaps not on water exactly, but in life’s situations. We cannot always control what happens. What we do have control over is how we respond. Experience teaches us that some things are salvageable and sometimes from the very worst chaos, from the least likely place, opportunity is revealed.

• What might you be missing?
• Which way is the wind really blowing?
• Who can you bring on board to create a solution?
• What if you did nothing?

©2013 Maureen Weisner