Monthly Archives: March 2013

one precious life

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?Grasshopper
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from New and Selected Poems, 1992    Beacon Press, Boston, MA

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What do you want to do with your life?

What kind of success do you want to pursue?

Are you living a life according to your values or are you living a life aligned to your material desires?  Are you intensely focused on what is most important for you and your life?  Have you defined the right priorities for you and your life?

For the grasshopper being present is life.   What about you?   Are you being present or are you filled with so many things that you can’t possibly pause to enjoy life?

Honor your priorities.   Honor your values.   Be crystal clear on what is important to you and honor that and that will help you find value in your one precious life.

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The roadmap to success

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
C.G. Jung

Success in an Organization - Sticky Notes

The best set of plans, the best of intentions, are meaningless unless there is action to back up the plans.   Results come from taking action and completing things.   The plans are the roadmap, the goals that you set out in front of you for a short period of time or five to ten years.

Plans guide action.   A good set of daily plans, with time blocked out for getting the most important work done each day is essential, some would say critical for success.  Plans allow you to see clearly what is important and not so important to complete each day.    Creating blocks of time where there is a singular focus on completing one thing allows you to produce more in less time than the myth of multi-tasking does.

What does your day look like?   Is it planned or is does it just come together?  How do you feel when your day doesn’t come together?

Many people I work with struggle with getting the most out of their day.   I find that they don’t have a plan for their day and they are just taking things as they come.  In their mind they have these ideas of what they would like to accomplish and when that doesn’t happen they feel disappointed.

For those that create plans and make choices at the start of the day on how they want their day to unfold there is a greater sense of accomplishment.   In fact many people start getting more things done and have more time to do other things.  For those who let their day just happen there is more frustration and fewer accomplishments.

Create your roadmap for success each day.  Plan out the day so that you can get the most out of the day.

the subtle difference

“Humans are fragile.  Mistakes are guaranteed.  Our concentration is always shifting.  There’s no reason, except that this is the natural constitution of the mind.”  Sean Foley (Tiger Woods golf coach)

Tiger Woods

The difference between winning and losing is small.   The physical skills to master the game are well practiced, the data is analyzed, the numbers studied and it turns out the key factor may be the psychological attitude.   The mind.  The skills may be tweaked to maximize every opportunity but the mind can be the adversary that can’t be conquered by numbers alone.

Small changes in brain patterns can mean the difference between achieving your goal or not.    Think about your attitude when you are trying to do something important.  What  do you notice about your own internal self-talk?    Do you have a sense of excitement or a sense of dread?

Your mental framework does matter.  It matters everyday.   How you start your day and how you finish your day matters.   If you start your day with complaints, irritations (such as slow traffic),  or anxiety you’ll find that your timing if off, your words aren’t clear, your patience low and your tension high.

Find a way to shift the negative postures to positive ones.  Relax, reframe and re-engage in the world.   You’ll find that with a more positive outlook that pains will go away, tension will fade, your smile will be genuine, your word kinder and supportive and your results will be larger.

The subtle difference is in how you think and what you think.   A small change in your psychology can make the difference in the day.   Find time to be grateful in the midst of disappointment.  Find the time to say “Thank-you”.   Find the time to smile.   Find the time to say a kind word.   As you shift your attitude towards the positive so will your day shift to the positive.

Shift your brain patterns so that you are thinking and doing more positive things.   Think about the possibilities.  Think about the opportunities.  Think about making your life better.

Notice what the subtle difference can do for you here:

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
― Ashley Smith

Six steps to better results

There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.
~ Ken Blanchard

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What is your process to create great results consistently?   Do you have a process that you are aware of to achieve great results?

Top performers know how to get results and they create great results by following a process.   A process is a sequence of defined steps that structure their work.  Getting more out of each day, each month and every year is important especially in the highly competitive global market that every person participates  in whether you want to or not.

There are six basic steps to get better results.   Employers want more from their employees and many employees are stuck guessing what it is that they could do to improve their results.  In part that is due to the fact their plates are full and there is little time to do more.

Here are six steps you can start doing right away that will boost your productivity.

  1. Know what do you really want?   (be specific)
  2. Know how or when you will be  done?
  3. Know how will the result manifest itself?  (Who, where, when,what)
  4. Know what can stop you from having the result right now?
  5. Know what resources do you need to create the result?
  6. Know how are you going to achieve the results?   What is the first step to take?

These six steps can be the foundation of a daily plan.  If you have a list of things that need to be done,  then do you know what you want to do to get the results that are desired?

Do you know what “done” looks like.   Many people don’t have a clear idea of what the finished outcome is supposed to be.   Perhaps it is because the person making the request wasn’t clear on what done looks like.  Get a clear definition of what it means to be done before starting.

Knowing what the result looks like will provide clarity in understanding what it will take to complete the work.  Know the what, where and when the result is to be produced.

Make sure you start with all the right materials before you start.  Organize your materials before you start so that you can focus on getting the work done.  It is easy to find that something isn’t ready when you need it and have your focus and productivity fall flat.   Be ready to start and when you start push through to the end.

Ensure that you know how to get the results.  Do the research up front.  Find out from others if you don’t know how to do the work.  Focus on being productive.

Those steps may look simple and they are and what you’ll find is that most people don’t follow a process to achieve their results.   Many people approach their work routinely and allow interruptions and other issues interfere with getting results.

Use the process and examine it.  Find out if you are getting more work done in less time.

job related stress

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.”
― Tina Fey

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Are you among the many who are feeling overwhelmed by the expectation of work and home? Do you feel there is never enough time to complete all the things that are being asked of you? Do you feel like you are only able to do mediocre work? If you are you are not alone.  More and more people are feeling like work expectations are growing ever higher.   Employers are demanding more from their workers, more time, and more results without any new forms of compensation.   Employers  realize that they can squeeze more out of each person especially when there are so many people looking for work.

Fear drives the actions we take in many cases.   Stress increases, frustration increases and life satisfaction decreases with each  new thing that is being asked of us to take on.   When will it all stop?

Where does stress show up at work?

The Wall Street Journal (March 5,2013) shows the following:

32% of women and 30% of men find that there isn’t sufficient opportunities for advancement.

33% of people are challenged to balance work and life.

31% of women and 27% of men don’t think employers have plans to help manage    stress.

39% say that there is too much to do.

38% of women say they aren’t compensated well for their work.

Stress is rising.    Stress is taking a toll on women at greater numbers than ever before.      Some people quit their jobs rather than having stress create health issues.   Some people move to places where there is less stress, jobs with less stress and perhaps lower pay.

Pay helps reduce stress to some degree, but if the work demands are too great the pay doesn’t compensate for the stress.   Look at your life.  What is working for you and what isn’t.   What is the cost of stress in your life?

Understand what works for you.  Know what you are good at.   Know your purpose and live that out.  You’ll find that happiness is worth a lot more than a big paycheck in the long run.

Take time to smell the flowers.   Take time to look around and observe the beauty.  Be kind to yourself and stress less.