Dec 31, 2008
Do you find that you keep promises to everyone but yourself? Do you tell yourself you will do something, but then not do it? It seems much easier to make commitments to others and keep them, than it is to honor ourselves.
To me, the definition of accountable is that you do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. People can count on you. You’re responsible. You’re reliable. You honor your commitments. You show up. You’re on time. If you are accountable to others, are you accountable to yourself? And if not, why not?
Why would you put the needs of others above your own needs? Why would you keep appointments with others but not yourself? Could it be an issue of self-worth? Do you hold others as more important than you? Is being there for others a way of giving more than you receive because you don’t feel worthy? Or do you show up for others in order to make yourself feel more important?
Are you less accountable to yourself because you’re not ready to face the consequences? So you break agreements with yourself to give up smoking, or overeating, or overspending, just so you won’t have to do without. Or do you avoid activities you just don’t enjoy, like cleaning house, walking the dog, or exercising? Even though you promised yourself you would do them. Maybe you’re resisting taking action toward a goal because you’re afraid of failure or increased responsibilities. So you don’t follow the steps on your action plan and figure you can’t fail if you don’t even try.
I’m sure it doesn’t feel very good to break promises to yourself. You have great intentions, set goals, schedule tasks, and then find yourself not doing what you said you would. What do you think you could do to become more accountable to yourself?
Have you ever considered finding an accountability partner? As a life coach, I serve as an accountability partner to my clients, and it helps them over a lot of hurdles. They start noticing their patterns, and we work together to find ways to change their habits.
You might consider working with a coach, or find a friend who would enjoy being your accountability partner. If you’re not sure you need one, here are some signs:
1. You make excuses and rationalizations: Do you talk to yourself and rationalize excuses for not following through on your actions? “I worked hard today, I’ll exercise tomorrow,” or “It’s a special occasion, I can cheat on my diet this one time.” Finding an exercise buddy or diet partner for accountability can help you stay true to your word.
2. You put yourself last: Do you run out of time to do the things you want to do for yourself because your boss, spouse, children, or friends’ needs come first? A coach or accountability partner will remind you that you are the most important person in your life. If you don’t take care of you, you won’t have the energy to give to others.
3. You rarely achieve your goals: Do you find yourself constantly making the same goals and never reaching them? Each New Year’s Day it’s the same goals as last year. I have a colleague who I’ve been meeting with for years every New Year’s Day to review our goals together. Then we check in with each other from time to time. It really works!
4. You break appointments with yourself: Do you keep a calendar that is so full you rarely have time to do everything on it, so you break appointments you’ve made with yourself? It may be for some time out, to play golf, get a haircut, or take a short vacation? With your accountability partner, you can support each other in taking time to do what’s important to keep your life in balance.
5. You procrastinate: Do you find you have a pattern of putting off doing certain things? Maybe you promised yourself you’d clean out the garage over the weekend, but decided to go into the office to catch up on work instead. Procrastination means you’re avoiding something, so discuss this with your coach or accountability partner.
6. You don’t get important things done: Do you have a list of A, B, and C items but tend to do the C items first? This is another form of procrastination. A coach or accountability partner can help you prioritize so you get to what’s most important first.
Whatever you want to accomplish in your life takes commitment and action. If you’re not getting as much done as you’d like, an accountability partner like a coach, friend, or associate might be the perfect solution.
Dec 24, 2008
“People with high self-esteem are the most desired, and desirable people in society.” ~ Brian Tracy
Can you recall the last time you were in an emotional slump, such that your beliefs in yourself and your abilities were slipping away?
How can we maintain the beliefs we have in ourselves, such that we can live with less anxiety and more joy?
Just imagine the things we would accomplish if we had the belief that we could do absolutely anything, especially if we could maintain a level of self-esteem that no circumstance could shake. What would you be doing?
Self-esteem comes from positive self-imaging, and it is something that we proactively build for ourselves.
Self-esteem doesn’t happen while we wait passively. When we leave it up to external factors, we build our self-esteem on sandy ground. What we want is a rock-solid foundation, and this only comes from building it within.
Throughout our daily routines, our minds are very good at picking up all the things we’ve done wrong, and it makes sure we are aware of them. With such a counter-productive force at work, we can benefit greatly by regularly working towards establishing and building our own self image.
I’ve learned that the way we view ourselves directly affects everything we do. People with high self-esteem get along easily with others, rarely get sick, and seem to have high energy reserves. Also, their high level of self-esteem corresponds with their high level of productivity, capacity of happiness and state of well-being.
A Personal Story…
... Without a manager to report to, deadlines, or set schedules, I am responsible for enforcing these on myself - intrinsically. I must do these things if I want to achieve my professional goals, even though it can feel like a burden at times.
Last month, after several previous hectic months of intense work, I had fallen into a lull. Maybe you can relate with me… It started with a few missed to-do items, then failure to deliver on a few commitments. I could feel the self disappointment building inside. I felt stressed.
I woke up each morning with the thought of making up for the previous day’s failures, only to find myself failing once again. Iin this vicious cycle my work started to accumulate, and for days I needed to push back on obligations and commitments.
I felt the grip on my self-esteem slipping, and was now scrambling to hang on to the remaining scraps of what was left of it. I kept making excuses and rationalizations for why I wasn’t getting stuff done, and as my integrity waned, I started to lose faith in myself and procrastinate even more.
This was me a month ago.
It has been a beautiful learning experience being able to observe myself in this state of mind, and ultimately learning how I overcame it.
A Closer Look
Self-esteem = how much we like ourselves.
How much we like ourselves = level of self-dominion.
What is self-dominion? It is our ability to get ourselves to actually do, what we want ourselves to do; in other words, self-discipline and self-trust.
A person who has dominion over themselves has self-integrity - staying true to their words and commitments.
Every time we fail to listen to our inner voice, and do not take action in something that we need to, we lose trust with ourselves and our abilities. This lack of self faith continues to spiral downwardly as we flounder to fulfill more commitments.
Turning Point: How to Start Building Self-Esteem
Most of us are familiar with the concept of momentum. When we do something well, regardless of how small the task, we build positive energy and momentum, which can fuel other tasks on our list.
For example, if you have just washed all the dishes, mowed the lawn, and made calls to all of your clients, it will be easier for you - psychologically - to quickly move on to and complete the next task. You will have built the momentum necessary to getting things done, and you are simply riding on that energy and building on previous successes.
On the flip side, when we put off what we want to do or know we should do, we lose momentum, and more importantly, we lose trust in ourselves.
Another way to view this is to pretend we have a personal assistant. The better they perform on the tasks assigned to them, the more confident we will feel towards their abilities to handle responsibility. Gradually, we will assign more important tasks to them as trust is established. We now have faith in their abilities to follow through. We trust them.
Conversely, if our assistant procrastinates and misses deadlines regularly, we will lose faith in their abilities to follow through. We stop trusting them. We stop giving them tasks (at least the important ones), and we start to look for a replacement assistant.
Now, think of ourselves as our own assistant. The more we follow through with actions, the more confidence and trust we’ll establish with ourselves. We will then gain faith in our ability to take on more tasks.
The small wins with ourselves, directly affect how much we like ourselves. Each time we successfully follow through, the experience becomes a building block towards a more positive self image.
13 Tips to Gain Self-Esteem
In order to build your self-esteem, you must establish yourself as the master of your own life. Every single minute of your life is a moment you can change for the better.
If you’ve been delaying some action for half the day, don’t dwell on it or beat yourself up for it, shift your focus to the present moment and what you can do right now. Start with the smallest or the most important task.
The following are tips to help build continuous upward momentum towards higher self esteem.
1. Start Small - Start with something you can do immediately and easily. When we start with small successes, we build momentum to gain more confidence in our abilities. Each completed task, regardless of how small, is a building block towards a more confident you. What are some small actions you can take immediately to demonstrate that you are capable of achieving goals you’ve set for yourself? For example, clean your desk, organize your papers, or pay all your bills.
2. Create a Compelling Vision - Use the power of your imagination. Create an image of yourself as the confident and self-assured person you aspire to become. When you are this person, how will you feel? How will others perceive you? What does your body language look like? How will you talk? See these clearly in your mind’s eye, with your eyes closed. Feel the feelings, experience being and seeing things from that person’s perspective. Practice doing this for 10 minutes every morning. Put on music in the background that either relaxes you, or excites you. When you are done, write a description of this person and all the attributes you’ve observed.
3. Socialize - Get out of the house or setup a lunch date with a friend. Socializing with others will give us opportunities to connect with other people, and practice our communication and interpersonal skills.
4. Do Something that Scares You - As with all skills, we get better with practice and repetition. The more often we proactively do things that scare us, the less scary these situations will seem, and eventually will be rid of that fear.
5. Do Something You Are Good At - What are you especially good at or enjoy doing? Regularly doing things that you are good at reinforces your belief in your abilities and strengths. I (Tina) can be very efficient with completing errands or administrative work. Whenever I have a few hours filled with ways in which I’ve maximized my time, I feel highly productive and this boosts the confidence have in my abilities as an organized and efficient person.
6. Set Goals - According to a study done at Virginia Tech, 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals. And the people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetime as people who don’t. By setting goals that are clear and actionable, you have a clear target of where you want to be. When you take action towards that goal, you’ll build more confidence and self-esteem in your abilities to follow through.
7. Help Others Feel Good About Themselves - Help somebody or teach them something. When you help other people feel better about themselves and like themselves more, it will make you feel good about yourself. See what you can do to make others feel good or trigger them to smile. Maybe giving them a genuine compliment, helping them with something or telling them what you admire about them.
8. Get Clarity on Life Areas - Get clarity on the life area that needs the most attention. Your self-esteem is the average of your self-concept in all the major areas of your life. Write down all the major categories of your life, e.g., health, relationships, finance, etc. Then rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each area. Work on the lowest numbered category first, unless they are all even. Each area affects the other areas. The more you build up each area of your life, the higher your overall self-esteem.
9. Create a Plan - Having a goal alone won’t do much. Get clarity on your action items. One of the biggest reasons people get lazy is because they don’t have a plan to achieve their goals. They don’t know what the next step is and start to wander off randomly. When you’re baking a cake, it’s a lot easier to follow a set of clear instructions, than randomly throwing ingredients together.
10. Get Motivated - Read something inspirational, listen to something empowering, talk to someone who can uplift our spirits, who can motivate us to become a better person, to live more consciously, and to take proactive steps towards creating a better life for ourselves and our families.
11. Getting External Compliments - As funny as this point suggests, go find a friend or family member and ask them “What do you like about me?” “What are my strengths?” or “What do you love about me?” We will often value other people’s opinions more than our own. We are the best at beating ourselves up for things not done well, and we are the worst at recognizing what we’ve done well in. Hearing from another person our strengths and positive qualities helps to build a more positive image of ourselves.
12. Affirmations & Introspection - Use affirmations, but in the right way. Some people think that when they’re in a slump, using positive affirmations will help them get out of it. I love affirmations, but I’ve realized you have to use them in the right way. Sitting on your couch and saying “I am highly motivated and productive” does nothing. Say something like “I am sitting here being very unproductive right now, is this the ideal me? What would be my best self?” Your affirmations have to be the TRUTH. Once you’re honest, take the first step towards doing the thing, no matter how small.
13. No More Comparisons - Stop comparing yourself to other people. Low-self esteem stems from the feeling of being inferior. For example, if you were the only person in the world, do you think you could have low-self esteem? Self-esteem only comes into the picture when there are other people around us and we perceive that we are inferior. Don’t worry about what your neighbor is doing. Accept that it’ll serve you more to just go down your own path at your own pace rather than to compare yourself. Pretend you’re starting over and begin immediately with the smallest step forward.
Self-esteem comes from self-dominion. The more power you have in getting yourself to take the right actions, the more self-esteem you will have. Your level of self-esteem affects your happiness and everything you do.
Dec 21, 2008
Why Self Renewal is Important?
A man(A) was sawing down a tree and there come upon a guy(B) asking,
B:What are you doing?
A:I’m sawing a tree.
B:How long have you been at it?
A:4 hours so far, but I’m really making progress
B:Your saw looks really dull, why don’t you take a break and sharpen it?
A:I can’t you idiot. I’m too busy sawing!
Story from Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens
Who is the real idiot here? Your probably guessed it. Guy A! He will probably make 3 times more progress in the same amount of time if he just take a rest and sharpen the saw.
How many of you are guilty of being too busy to renew yourselves? Being too busy in work and neglected take care of your health by exercising or bringing your work back to home and lessen your time spent with family. Just like a car that needs regular servicing, we need regular rest and time out to rejuvenate ourselves.
Imagine a table with 4 legs. What if one of the legs is broken. Is it still possible for the table to keep standing? Maybe yes, but we know that the balance of the table with 3 legs is not as good as a table with 4 legs.
The 4 legs are…
Life is just like a table, we need to keep up with our balancing act to maintain our balance. When any of the legs is gone, we are bound to lose our balance. It is important to maintain our balance because one dimension of our life can affect the other 3 dimensions. It is not possible to be happy(heart) when you are in a sickly(body) condition nor it is possible to focus on your studies(mind) when you are tired(body).
Caring for your body
Are you taking care of your body? Are you eating healthily and exercising regularly to maintain your body in good condition? How about sleep? Do you have good sleeping habits?
Our body is really a magnificent machine. We can choose to take care of it or abuse it. We can either control it or let it control us. There will be no doubt that if we take care of it, it will take care of us in the long run.
Why don’t you take up sports that interest you or join your local community gyms or go for yoga. The important thing is to find an activity that interest you, so that you can do it for the long run. It does not matter what is the “in thing” to do now. If the “in thing” is to join a gym for weight lifting sessions and you totally have no interest in it, most probably you won’t stick to your exercise regime.
We are what we eat, so do mind your diet. You can still eat the burgers and fries or the occasional ice cream, just don’t make it an everyday fare. The best advice is to eat in moderation. If you need a guideline, the food pyramid will be a good guiding plan.
Caring for your brain.
Our future are determine by how strong our brain is. So how do we have a strong brain? The relentless pursuit of education will provide us with a strong brain. Whether it is getting a degree or learning a new skill, be sure to pursue an education and you can definitely reap the benefits later.
Don’t ever think that education is expensive and be reluctant to spend money on it, because being ignorant is more costly.
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”
Even if you need to work doubly hard to get the money for your education, do it. It will definitely turn out to be worth it. Some other ways you can expand your mind is to keep on reading(newspaper or magazine), engaging in challenging board games or watch TV programs that shows useful information such as the Discovery Channel.
Caring for your heart.
Caring for your heart is actually building relationships with others and yourself. Building relationships with others will include actions such as keeping promises, no backstabbing, loyal, and doing small act of kindness.
Another important aspect is to build relationship with yourself. What is worst than you don’t even trust yourself? Always keep your own promises to yourself and don’t ever over commit. I am guilty of this too. If you know that you can’t complete all the tasks that you set for yourself, why bother adding more tasks into your to do list? Instead keep a “Maybe list” and leave those tasks there. If you have the time, you will then go and complete it. This ensure that you do not break your own promises and also help in getting things done.
Start a collection of great jokes or comedies. So whenever you feel that you need a great laugh, refer back to your humor collections and start laughing. Laughing will help us to to relax and reduce our stress level.
Caring for your soul
For me, going for a walk in the park, reading inspiring books and watching inspiring movies can help me to nourish my soul. Being close to nature helps too. It never fail to let me have the feeling of tranquility and I always feel refresh after it.
Taking the time out to meditate, pray or reflect, definitely help you to feel more connected to yourself. Just choose the one that works for you.
I personally don’t keep a journal but I have heard lots of positive feedback from people who keep a journal. Maybe it is time to try to keep one and having a journal definitely help to increase our level of awareness because we can always see our growth and progress written in it.
Someone asked Abraham Lincoln,”What would you do if you had 8 hours to cut down a tree?” He replied, “I’d spend the first 4 hours sharpening the saw.”
Are you sharpening your saw and making sure that your life is in balance on 4 pillars?
Dec 17, 2008
Fears come in many different shapes and sizes. There are extreme fears (or phobias), fears about your future (worry), and fears from stepping out of your comfort zone.
Fear is a natural part of life. Success comes when you move beyond fear. It is not that you won’t feel the fear, but you will feel the fear and do it anyway.
What are you afraid of? You may have fears in each of the categories above. This article will focus on the fear of trying something new or doing something that might cause rejection. This might be the fear of starting a new business, of making a sales call, or of making a speech. This is the fear you fear when you ask someone out on a date or when you need to make a presentation in front of an unfamiliar group of people. We all carry many fears in this category.
“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
- Rosa Parks
You may have heard that FEAR can be considered an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real. It is not that the fear is false, but that the expectations that are false. One result is that fear can cause a paralysis of procrastination. As we are afraid of something we are procrastinate and find other things to do. This is the wrong approach. Instead of being paralyzed by fear we should run towards the fear. Feel the fear of something and do it anyway.
This summer, I had the privilege of attending the Olympic Games in Beijing. I went with an organization that works with athletes, and had the goal of networking and meeting lots of athletes. Doing this meant overcoming significant fear. It is easy to think that successful athletes won’t want to talk to you, or that they are too busy. You can build up a lot of reasons in your mind why you should not approach an athlete. Of course these are generally all false expectations. Athletes are normal people and generally are excited to meet people. This is especially true at the Olympics where the international camaraderie is extremely high. Approaching an athlete didn’t happen without fear. I would feel the fear and do it anyways. Of course my fears (false expectations) never did happen, and moving past the fear was very rewarding.
“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
- H. Jackson Brown
One of the first opportunities to connect with an athlete this year happened on my flight to Beijing. After getting on the flight I noticed an athlete come on. Normally, I can identify athletes by the team clothing and credentials, but I didn’t need any of that for this particular athlete; I recognized her immediately. She is a multiple medal winner from previous Olympics. Naturally the fear of approaching someone so successful was high. The false expectations appeared very real to me. In that situation I chose to act in spite of fear. I used the time before take off to walk up to her seat and have a conversation. It was a great conversation where I made a valuable contact; feel the fear and do it anyways.
Another place that people experience this sort of fear is in business prospecting. Perhaps you are looking for a new customer or client, or searching for a business partner. There can be significant fear in making the next contact. This is a major reason why so many people fail in the sales related businesses. They have fear of making the next call and that fear paralyzes them into procrastinating.
As mentioned earlier one of the main reasons that we face fear in our lives is because we all live in a comfort zone. Your comfort zone includes those activities and events that you are comfortable with. It includes the friends you hang out with, the types of activities you do at your job and how you spend your free time. You become comfortable with what you do now.
“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.”
- Cheri Huber
Unfortunately, if you stay in your comfort zone you will not grow and achieve anything more than you have now. Growth requires moving out of your comfort zone. The good news is when you move past fear and move out of your comfort zone your comfort zone will expand. Think about your first day on a new job. You are likely nervous because you are not sure you can do everything required of you. Perhaps you felt like the new job was above you. Now, over time you likely became comfortable with the activities on your job. Your comfort zone has expanded by doing the things you feared.
Chances are the things that you fear because they are outside of your comfort zone are the very things that you need to do to become more successful. Making the sales call to that potential customer that you are afraid of may be the very call that will grow your business. Asking the girl you like out on a date might help you start a wonderful relationship. Run towards the fear and you will move into a higher level of success.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Those people who most quickly move towards their fears and move past them will be the first to succeed. What are you afraid of? What are the false expectations in your life? Identify them so that you know what to run towards. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to move towards the fear instead of away from it.
Dec 14, 2008
“Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.”
How many times have us let fear breed in our mind and hence leading to inaction. Fear can be helpful for survival when it warn us of the dangers that we are facing and cause us to be more mentally prepared to deal with the problem. It definitely serve us well until it got to a point that it is inhibiting our ability to take actions.
How do we overcome fear? First of all, we need to determine what is the cause of fear.
Fear is basically what you are thinking and portraying it to your brain. Basically it is all about thoughts. How you think about something will make it either scary or not.
Fear is basically what you are thinking and portraying it to your brain. Basically it is all about thoughts. How you think about something will make it either scary or not.
Breaking your personal comfort zone is one of the trigger to fear. When you want to quit your current job, you will feel fear. When you are going to give a first speech in your 30 years of life, you will feel fear. When we break out of our comfort zone, where we are entering is an area of unknown and most people hate unknown areas.
The funny thing about fear is sometime things that we worry and fear about doesn’t come true. It is just the accumulating of negative thoughts in our mind that cause it to snowball into a huge issue. This mean that all the time you spent on worrying and fearing for something that most probably not going to happen are actually wasted.
Let me state an example.
Scenario: Giving a speech in an auditorium packed with 1000 people
You are still joking with your friend a moment ago until one of the backstage staff came over to you and inform you that you have 15 minutes more to your speech. Suddenly your brain switch to high gear and start churning out images of you stuttering, tripping and fall, audience don’t laugh to your jokes and you are booed off the stage. Your face suddenly turned pale, you feel the butterflies in your stomach and your palms start to sweat. Fear had conquered you. But will most of the things happen? No. It will maybe happen if you keep thinking of all the negative ideas and start to act them all out.
Can fear be overcome? Yes! Definitely.
Let us decipher the word, FEAR
F - False
E - Evidence
A - Appearing
R - Real
E - Evidence
A - Appearing
R - Real
Whenever there are time when you feel fearful, remember this and self talk to yourself and decipher the word FEAR.
When negative images start to fill your head. Stop! Control your thoughts and think of positive images. For an example, think of how the crowd cheers for you and the amount of applause you will receive after the end of speech. You can fill in your own positive thoughts for any scenarios.
Nike Just Do It!
I love Nike’s slogan “Just Do It!”. Learn from it and apply it in your life. It can help to crush fear. It is due to inaction and too much thinking that cause you to breed fear in your mind. Whenever you want to do something, don’t allow fear to have the time to breed, just do it!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Learning from Fear
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
The quote from Eleanor Roosevelt states that once you look fear in the face and face it bravely, you will learn from the experience and be able to deal with the fear that come next with more confidence and strength. Doing things that you fear will turn it into part of your comfort zone and this this mean that fear is conquered.
One more lesson from a quote.
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
If the Wright brothers and Thomas Edison fear of being eccentric and being laughed at, what will happen to us now? We will be saying good bye to air planes and light bulb. Welcome ferries and candles.
Being curious is the opposite of living in fear. Curiosity empowers you with excitement of venturing into the unknown areas for greater rewards. It spur actions and actions are the seeds to success.
Dec 10, 2008
It is a rare person who lives without fear of one kind or another. You may fear heights, or spiders, or new situations, or rejection–whatever your fears may be, you can either let those fears form boundaries beyond which you can’t move or grow, or you can face them head-on and allow them to become opportunities to move into new places in your life. The choice is truly yours.
Fear can be paralyzing, literally, for some people. As a camp counselor many years ago, I helped teach rappelling to high-school students, and there were some who were eager to step off the edge of the cliff and experience the thrill of zipping down on a rope. But there were some who were so afraid of heights (or more specifically, of falling), that no matter how much I tried to assure them that the rope would not break, and that they could completely control their rate of descent, they simply froze up and could not take that first step over the edge.
Fear is not always a bad thing. There are obviously some things about which we should be afraid and in which we should exercise appropriate caution. But if our fears control us, or prevent us from taking certain risks, we allow those fears to define us, to limit us only to courses of action that we deem sufficiently safe, and as a result, many of us never achieve our potential–or we cheat ourselves out of the richness that life could otherwise hold for us.
1. Realize that everyone is afraid of something.
I am the only person in my household who is not deathly afraid of spiders. If a spider of any size or species turns up anywhere in my house and my wife or one of my children sees it, I have to drop whatever I am doing to deal with it. Once, while I was out of town on a business trip, I got a phone call from my wife, who was in a state of panic because there was a spider in the kitchen. (I had to make arrangements for a neighbor to come over and kill it.) Spiders don’t bother me, but if a wasp gets anywhere near me, I simply have to leave. On one occasion, I jumped from the top of a twenty-foot ladder while painting a house, fearing a wasp that was hovering nearby far more than the risk of injuring myself seriously by jumping off the ladder.
Others may not fear the same things you fear, but everyone fears something, and understanding this can help you not to feel isolated in your fear. You’re not alone, and the fact that you are fearful in some area doesn’t make you a weak person.
Try this: find someone to talk to about your fears–you may find that someone else has faced the same fears as you, and has found a way through them that can help you.
2. You don’t have to overcome your fear all at once.
When my daughters were very young–still toddlers–we enrolled them in swimming lessons with a friend who taught children as young as six months old to swim. She didn’t do this by just tossing the kids into the water on the first day. She gradually introduced them to the water, holding them and allowing them to get used to it, teaching them how to float on their backs and so on, until eventually, they were able to jump in and swim on their own.
If you are fearful of public speaking, for example, you may not want to begin addressing this fear by booking a speaking gig in front of a thousand people. As a high-school student, I was abnormally shy, so as you might imagine, my sophomore speech class was a serious challenge for me. My first speech assignment was to introduce myself to the class with a five-minute talk about myself, and after about two minutes of stuttering through my notes in abject terror, my field of vision literally began to narrow, and I thought I might actually black out on the spot, so I just stopped and went back to my seat without finishing. I got an “F” for that assignment, and my teacher, knowing that I was really struggling with stage fright, asked me come see her after school. She was understanding and encouraging, and let me give her my speech one-on-one, and the next time I had to give a speech, I did much better. I went on to study broadcast journalism in college, which involved reporting and occasionally anchoring our college television newscast, and one of my first jobs after college involved weekly talks to groups of teenagers. These days I face a crowd of several hundred people every week, and although I still get a few butterflies now and then, I’m far more at ease than I was that day in high school. But it didn’t happen all at once. Remember: baby steps are okay.
Try this: write down something you are afraid of, some fear you want to overcome, and make a list of three small steps you think you CAN make to begin facing up to your fear. Choose one and do it tomorrow.
3. Approach your fears as opportunities for growth.
You don’t really want to be afraid, do you? If you think about what your life might be like if you weren’t afraid of that thing, whatever it is, you know that things would be better. If you look beyond the fear to the benefits of overcoming the fear, you may see a world that might just be worth taking some risk to live in.
Take a few minutes and make a list of the pros and cons of dealing with the thing that you’re afraid of:
- What are the potential benefits of overcoming that fear?
- How might your life be different if you weren’t afraid of it?
- What would you be free to do that you aren’t free to do now because of your fear?
- What do you have to lose by giving up that fear?
If you can objectively appraise the advantages to moving past your fear, you may come to see your fear as an opportunity to grow. The adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” and all of its various permutations (e.g., “no guts, no glory”) are based on the time-tested principle that we can’t grow if we don’t allow ourselves to be stretched. You know this is true in the physical realm–a muscle that isn’t regularly used eventually atrophies and becomes useless–and it is no less true in other areas of our lives.
Try this: write a paragraph or two about how your life will be different when you overcome that fear that has dogged you for so long, and why the potential benefits are worth some risk.
4. Be careful how you talk to yourself about what you fear.
Sometimes we are fearful of what we imagine might happen if we step outside of our comfort zone. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that your reasons for being afraid are all valid. I once heard a wise man say, “More important than what happens to us is how we talk to ourselves about what happens to us.” This is so true–we can imagine all sorts of negative things when we contemplate something we’re afraid of, but this doesn’t make those things real.
It is entirely natural to be fearful of the unknown. You don’t know what might happen if you make that phone call to the person who intimidates you, or you’re not sure how the boss might react if you really speak your mind. Why not go ahead and make a list of the possible outcomes? What do you really have to lose if you take the risk? Seeing that list on paper may help you see how irrational some of your fears really are. Don’t forget to include in your list the possibility that things might turn out for the better.
Try this: instead of convincing yourself to believe the worst about something you fear, try imagining the best.
5. Failure isn’t necessarily the end of the world.
If there is one fear that is common to nearly all of us, it is the fear of failure. While there are some scenarios in which failure is potentially devastating, or perhaps even life-threatening, most of the time it isn’t. Yet the fear of failure short-circuits ideas, stymies careers and deprives us of experiences and opportunities that could enrich our lives.
If you have an idea and don’t try it for fear of failure, you’ve just given someone else the chance to try it instead–and someone else will, if you don’t. Thomas Edison is often credited with the invention of the incandescent light bulb in 1878, but the truth is that the light bulb was actually invented decades earlier. In 1802, Sir Humphrey Davy discovered that electricity could make a thin strip of platinum glow and give off light, but because platinum was so expensive, he didn’t develop the idea much further. In 1840, James Bowman Lindsay put a platinum filament into a glass bulb and removed most of the air so that the filament wouldn’t oxidize, and thus the first working light bulb was created. But again, the expense of platinum prevented him from producing the bulb commercially. Edison came along more than 30 years later, bought the previous patents, and experimented with thousands of different materials for filaments that could be commercially produced, eventually developing a filament from carbonized bamboo that would last for 1200 hours. He didn’t stop there–Edison went on to design an electric power distribution system that would make the use of light bulbs practical and profitable.
One could argue that all but one of Edison’s attempts to perfect the electric light bulb was a failure. Edison considered each failed filament to be an important lesson–he had learned yet another material that would not work. But perhaps more importantly, he didn’t let the road blocks that others had met deter him.
Our failures can be dead-ends or learning experiences that can lead us to try other routes to success, depending on how we treat them. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That’s a very old saying, but it’s great advice.
Try this: if you’re afraid to fail at something, make yourself a list of the things you can try if you do fail at first. It never hurts to plan ahead. (They put redundant systems on the Space Shuttle for this very reason.)
So what are you afraid of?
Dec 6, 2008
I’m going to ask you something you’ve probably not been asked before in the context of your work: Are you a ninja, a pirate, or a zombie? Or a bit of all three?
The Ninja Attitude
The Ninja is sickeningly efficient. He gets up at five am. He reads blogs about “....habits”. He custom-codes his own Firefox plugins. He multitasks by listening to audiobooks at triple speed whilst jogging to work. He sets up complicated systems to manage every aspect of his life. He knows twenty uses for a paperclip. His computer is, frankly, a bit terrifying.
You might be a Ninja if people have said:
- “I don’t know how you get so much done.”
- “Why do you need three computer screens?”
- “What do you mean, hack a moleskine notebook?”
The Ninja is efficiency taken to its extremes – without much regard for effectiveness. He has no hacks for finding purpose, joy or meaning in life. He treats all work as equal, and gets bogged down in trivia. The Ninja has achieved an empty inbox – but at the cost of an empty life.
You can escape the Ninja trap by:
- Unsubscribing from blogs with “habits” in their name.
- Taking some time out to focus on the big picture (even if that means letting the emails pile up for a while).
- Remembering that “fun” isn’t usually found on a to-do list.
The Pirate Attitude
The Pirate lives life on his terms. He rolls out of bed late (and questions why the rum is all gone). He doesn’t work unless he wants to. If this leads to client or boss issues, he’s always got an excuse and a cheeky grin. He’s driven by profit, and won’t waste time on anything that doesn’t make money immediately. He cuts corners, drops commitments, ignores emails and rarely answers the phone. If it’s not fun and/or profitable, he won’t do it.
You might be a Pirate if people have said:
- “I don’t mean to rush you, but you said we could have it three months ago…”
- “Is that ethical? Is that even legal?”
- “You %&*$!”
The Pirate can be quite effective – for a while. His ruthless focus on the bottom line means that he “cuts the crap” and focuses on what makes money. But after a while, the hordes of furious customers, disappointed clients and irritated fellow employees start to cause problems. The Pirate goes for short-term fun over long-term fulfilment, and inevitably ends up disappointed.
You can escape the Pirate trap by:
- Being willing to put in hard work for future, rather than immediate, monetary reward.
- Focusing on good relationships with customers, clients and co-workers. (It’ll pay off in the long run.)
- Thinking about your values. Are you really only driven by profit at all costs?
The Zombie Attitude
The Zombie is a model employee in many ways. He shows up bang on time. He gets on with the work assigned. He never asks for more work. He never asks for a pay rise or promotion. He never offers to take on anything outside his job remit. He never shows any initiative. His desk is unadorned with any personal items. He still uses Internet Explorer 6.
You might be a Zombie if people have said:
- “This is a bit of a boring job, but I know you won’t mind.”
- “You’ve been working here for twenty years?”
- “What’s your name again?”
The Zombie is unconcerned with being efficient or effective. He just keeps going through the motions. He avoids taking on any tasks which might involve his brain. He obeys orders unquestioningly, and never shows any initiative. The Zombie is going to stay in the same job, on a fairly low wage, until he retires. The Zombie will be confused if anyone asks what his purpose is, or what his goals are
You can escape the Zombie trap by:
- Waking up! Your work should be something that you’re passionate about (at least most of the time).
- Thinking about what you really enjoy in life. What makes you feel fulfilled?
- Taking a big step outside your comfort zone: quit your job, go travelling, live life.
What’s Your Work Style?
I could end this article with some supposedly perfect example of the right attitude to work (“the Superhero”, perhaps). But there isn’t one single way of working that suits everybody. The trick is to find your own style, to figure out what you want to get from your work – or what you want to contribute through it. That’ll depend a lot on what you value. Fortune? Fame? Family? Fun?
What would it take to make your daily work as fulfilling as possible for you? And, just for fun, how would you describe your work attitude in terms of popular figures (cowboy, spaceman, princess, etc…)?
Dec 1, 2008
- Mistakes are the seeds of evolution and change. It is said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. And it’s within this single step that lessons are learned, directions are given, and mistakes have already been made a thousand times over. It is in fact this single step that provides us with an opportunity to learn from all those who came before us and to lay down the seeds of personal evolution and change. Learning from another’s experience could be the most important factor towards achieving any kind of success in life. (by Adam Sicinski)
- Be careful when comparing yourself to others. You know everything about yourself: your strengths, your weaknesses, your successes, and your failures. All you know about others is what they’ve chosen to show, and that would usually be only their success. List everything good about yourself and say, “Hey, I have a good personal résumé. Look at all I have achieved and what I can learn and achieve.” You can then go out feeling good and prepared for whatever challenge the world presents for you. (by Colleen Dick)
- I am grateful for… To ensure that you do not take things for granted, begin a Gratitude Journal. Each day write on a blank piece of paper ‘I am grateful for…’ then write down as many things that you are grateful for. Believe me, you will realize how lucky you really are. Date each sheet, and when you aren’t feeling all that crash hot, look back over what you have written and it will certainly boost your spirits! (by Viki Slough)
- Persist until it pays off. Most people give up right before they are about to succeed. Never, never, never give up! (by Jeremy Day)
- Eat chocolate. If you’re in a bad mood, or want to become more positive, have some chocolate! When I am unhappy, angry, or feeling negative, I often have a few pieces of chocolate. It helps to calm me down and seems to have a great effect on my mood. Fair Trade chocolate can have an amazing effect, because you know that you are helping to make a difference. (by Andre Livingstone)
- Have a personal hero. Mine is the late Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Anytime I am trying to solve a difficult problem, I invoke the pragmatic spirit of Feynman to guide me in the ways of rationality and the scientific method. When writing technical prose, I eschew jargon in favor of clear and precise language to communicate the ideas to my peers. When someone is presenting ideas or theories to me, I think of Feynman to hone my powers of critical thinking and my BS detector. (by Mike Yoke)
- Practice meditation regularly. Learn a proven and effective method of meditation, set a manageable routine, and keep to it. The objectivity and clarity of mind produced will help in all aspects of your life, from the mundane to the elevated. (by Reddy Kilowatt)
- Use mind maps to quickly review books you’ve read. As I’m reading a book, I populate a mind map that I have started for that book. I jump between the book and the mind map after completing a major section or sometimes a whole chapter. This method has increased my comprehension of the topics covered in books 1000-fold. What’s more, I can look at a mind map of a book and within minutes recall important lessons learned in the book. I also use the mind map to point me to those parts of the book where I want to quickly review a specific topic. (by Llewellyn)
- Serve. My personal excellence tip is just that - serve. If in all that I do, I do in a spirit of being of service to the other, I win all the time. This has been my experience and the reason for my very successful life as a professional manager. (by rummuser)
- Break the cycle of self-inflicted junk mail. Stop deleting, “marking as read” or archiving newsletters, forwards, and RSS feeds you don’t read. Processing these items wastes valuable time every day. Instead, archive them in a “Self-Inflicted Junk” folder. Once a month, review what is in that folder, and unsubscribe. Use services like StopForwarding.us to stem the tide of junk from your friends as well. (by Sid Savara)
- Practice being selfish. Stand firm behind the airplane/oxygen metaphor and put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. To be able to help others you have to take care of your own needs. When I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of other people. So I find time to relax and refuel on a daily basis (alone time), weekly basis (mom’s night out), monthly basis (girl’s night out), and yearly basis (vacation). (by Stacey Hoffer Weckstein)
- Your goals: keep your eyes on ‘em. Know what your goals are in the important areas of your life such as family and friends, work, spirituality, etc. Then use this knowledge to be sure that your hours, days, weeks, and months are working towards these goals. The minutes of your life support your major purposes in life. This tip is also practical: it prevents you from taking on too much (if something is not working towards a goal, don’t do it!), as well as keeps you in balance (you need to look at goals in different areas of your life). (by How to Cope with Pain)
- Discomfort is a prerequisite for success. Trying to stay in your comfort zone and letting fear get the best of you will always choke your creativity and sabotage any chances you might have of succeeding. In order to achieve any worthy goals, you must start realizing that discomfort is a prerequisite for success. (by Andrew Bolis)
- Learn one sentence in a foreign language. Whenever my training and experience seem irrelevant, whenever I need to try something new, but I can’t think of a fresh solution, I just stop the task and learn a sentence in a foreign language. The “more foreign”, the better. My theory is that it opens a new pathway into the brain. I discovered this tip when I was invited to sit in on a Hindi class while I had writer’s block. During the class, I actually felt physical movement, a tingling behind my right eye. I went home and finished the writing assignment that had been plaguing me in record time. (by Kate)
- Use Google Reader to keep track of websites. Using Google Reader (or a similar service) can help you save hours of time by having all your RSS feeds and updates in one place. You don’t have to constantly keep checking websites - they come to you in one easy place, where you can store or delete items. I check my Google Reader once in the morning and once in the evening. It has saved me hours of time and made me more efficient! (by Glen Loveland)
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes. When you are angry or having a bad day it is easy to make a mean comment or tell someone off. Before saying or doing what’s in your mind take a moment to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel on the receiving end of that comment you’re about to make or that action you’re about to take? Showing a little compassion often prevents me from saying things I’d otherwise regret or helps me decide what to do (or not do). If you treat people like you want to be treated, you’ll be able to avoid useless arguments and be surprised with all the friendly people around you. (by Anke)
- Show up. People say they want to achieve things, but then don’t show up for the things that would help them get there. They want to be writers, but don’t show up at the word processor. They want to own a business, but they don’t show up for the educational seminar. They want to be actors, but then don’t show up for the audition. (by Lyman Reed)
- Take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you. Even if it seems like an accident, you are 100% responsible for everything that happens to you. I got in a car accident that wasn’t my fault according to the law. How do I take responsibility for that? I had forgotten something at home and went to get it on my way to a meeting. If I had a better system for remembering items, then I wouldn’t have been in the accident. If you are not getting what you want, it is because you are not taking responsibility to educate yourself or working hard to achieve it. Will you be 100% responsible or will you take the easy way out and settle for less then you are worth? (by Chris Elliott)
- Make personal excellence… personal. Bring a part of yourself into everything you do. The more your work reflects your individuality, the more it will stand out from the crowd, the more people will relate to it (and you) and the more “real” your achievements will seem to be. And when your efforts involve other people, involve them on a personal level as well, so that the project becomes a relationship that brings out the best in everyone involved. (by Tori Deaux)
- Spider-map. A spider-map is a scheme where you place the main concept in the center and then, around it, write ideas generated from the central theme. You will end up having a web of linked keywords, great for those who rely on their visual memory more often, like I do. (by Lucia Grosaru)
- Health, the neglected point. There will be tons of people writing about how to be more productive or how to excel in time management, etc. Yet the first thing we must remember when we are talking about personal development is taking care of our health. You can have all the fancy techniques to get more done, but neglecting your health does not help to increase productivity in the long term. Exercise regularly and make the conscious effort to eat healthier food. (by Vincent)“
- Detach from the outcome. Probably best illustrated by the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” I find that my life flows much smoother and is less stressful when I can remember to detach from outcomes. (by Lora Adrianse)
- Stop expecting bananas from people who have no bananas. If you are not getting what you want, then maybe you are looking in the wrong place… Whenever I feel frustrated or stuck with a situation in my work or personal life, I find that this maxim helps me to see things objectively, take responsibility and move on. (by joy)
- Learn to develop a ‘productive mindset’. A productive mindset is one that makes the best use of your resources — your time, your energy and your effort. It’s making the most and best of what you have while enjoying the process. It is a mindset that encompasses curiosity, open-mindedness, desire, critical thinking and a positive outlook among other qualities. (by ZHereford)
- Getting realistic. My kids made up this phrase. Every time someone says something like “I wish I had…”, “Why didn’t I…”, or “Why did I…”, my kids always say: “That is in the land of shoulda, coulda, woulda!”. This means that what happened has already happened and you need to choose the way you want things to go from now on. (by Maureen)
- Create multiple memory palaces. Memorize multiple settings, or palaces, to categorize your lists. I have one setting I use to remember items to buy, another setting for things to do, and another setting for items I want to communicate with my family. When the visual setting comes to mind, I know whether I’m in action mode, communication mode or list mode. This keeps my lists from getting jumbled and keeps me in the right frame of mind. For me, there is an added benefit of productivity because I feel the need to clear the action items from my memory before the day is done. (by S. Sipes)
- Time management is key for huge plans. When it comes to developing a major project — whether it’s a blog, business, or a contest — always plan everything in advance. I always plan my blogging projects almost a month in advance because things can always change at the last minute. If you plan thoroughly enough, changes toward your deadline won’t hinder your plans. Time management is a major key to productivity in anything you do. (by David)
- Count your blessings and cheer up! Remember and appreciate all good things in your life that you might have taken for granted, e.g., your ability to see, hear, think, and walk. Many people don’t even have clean drinking water. Think about people who lose everything during natural calamities and then imagine if you were in their shoes. Shifts my focus every time I feel sad and hopeless. (by Pearl)
- Don’t presume… ask! How many times in life have we missed an opportunity, created a misunderstanding or just plain got it wrong because we presumed we knew what someone meant, was thinking or their motivation? Don’t presume — just ask! Ask questions that connect: “What’s going on for you around that?”, “What’s important to you in this?”. Ask questions that clarify: “What is it you need me to understand?”, “What did you take from that?”. Ask questions that go to the next level, that is, beyond their current strategy: “Is x,y,z really important to you in this situation?” (by Leona Dawson)
- There is no reason to hate anything in life. You are separate from your thoughts and emotions. Once you realize and feel this separation, you will discover that there is absolutely no reason to hate anything (including your job!). Then you will discover that everything in life is awesome. (by Jarrod)
- Make your mind your playground. Your mind is your ultimate tool (if everything else fails, you still have it). Making it fit, alert and ready to play is the best approach to make it your greatest asset. So make your brain healthy by providing it healthy food and plenty of sleep, and make it happy providing themes for it to play with. Give your mind a workout (e.g. play chess!) and you’ll see the results immediately! (by Luciano S. Fier)
- A chronometer by my side. For me, tasks are challenges. My motivation is to think of them as competitions in which I always want to win. So, for example, if I need to learn something, I set up a clock by my side to 1 hour. I concentrate as hard as I can in that hour — no Internet connection allowed, as it’s totally distracting. If someone asks for a quick task, I do it as fast as I can and then I note down how long it took. That’s a great way to give more excitement to my routine work. (by Tiare Rivera)
- Attitude. “I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” This is a sentence from an essay titled “Attitude” by Charles Swindoll. Since adopting this as my daily mantra I no longer get angry and I’m a calmer, happier and more productive person as a result. A lot has been written about maintaining a positive attitude, but this statement and the essay are the most profound and have had the greatest impact of anything I’ve read. (by Gary J. Hawk)
- If you don’t have space for what you want in your life, it will never come to you. Work out what’s currently in your life that takes up the ’space’ and is preventing something better to slide in. Aim towards cutting it out. This will allow you to jump on new opportunities when they appear. It could be a person, bad habit, job or other commitment; you’ll know what it is for you, and you know it’s stopping you moving on. (by Josie Sawers)
- Combine the Law of Attraction with realism. Everyone knows about the Law of Attraction, but many people reject it as supernatural nonsense. They’re missing the point. Don’t take the genie metaphor literally, but simply as a model for improving your awareness and control over your thoughts. As a species, we’re really awful at positive thinking. It’s not meant to be a replacement for action, but the source of inspired, unrelenting persistence through the toughest challenges. (by Hunter Nuttall)
- Follow your inner voice. I spent many years trying to follow the voice of others, believing others knew better than me. I would come up short and feel like a failure… Until I started to hear and listen to my own voice. We all have this inner voice / intuition and it is the only place where we will get the answers we are seeking. (by Ellie Walsh)
- Paying gratitude. Paying gratitude for what you have shifts your subconscious mind from lack to abundance, allowing for more good to come. I say my gratitude list to myself in the morning and before bed to ensure I recognize what is going right in my life and all that I have. It puts me in a positive state of mind and just as a bad mood can snowball, so can a positive mood when you begin to realize just how fortunate you are. (by Jenny Mannion)
- Leverage mind map templates for creativity and productivity. Using templates as starting points for your mind maps — instead of starting from scratch every time — is something I found very useful. Manufacturers of mind mapping software have a wide range of business, educational, and personal productivity mind map templates. These templates give you ideas and structure when creating a mind map. (by Chance Brown)
- Think rationally. Think rationally about everything. If something isn’t working for you, whether it’s an aspect of your job, your productivity system or your relationship, think logically about why this is so. For instance, just because you have an emotional attachment to a Moleskine (”It looks really nice!”), it doesn’t mean it’s a good tool for you. Think about what you can change, fix or alter to improve every situation in your life. I’ve seen so many people make the same mistakes because they just don’t stop and think critically. (by James Mallinson)
- Tomorrow is another day. All too often, when trying to establish a new habit — or break an old one — I don’t manage to keep on the straight and narrow! When in a diet, I occasionally forget about it and eat something I shouldn’t. But then I remind myself that just because I forgot once, it doesn’t mean I have failed — and that I should just get back to the diet tomorrow. I apply this to every project that I start and, gradually over time, the number of times I fail reduces to a well-established level. (by John Mullarkey)
- Gift of attention. Practicing the gift of attention offers the perfect mirror for our self-centered tendencies. As we engage in deep listening, the need to fix or offer opinion is recognized in stark contrast to the mindful presence arising from the practice. Thus, these moments of ego are allowed to pass without resistance. (by Kate Loving Shenk)
- Do The Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work. This is my all-purpose tip from the land of Extreme Programming. Not the easiest, the cheapest or the quickest thing. The simplest. Often, in the everyday rush of pushing tasks out of my queue and into others’, I spend more time making things more refined than necessary. So I ask myself: “What really needs to be produced to keep the project or the day moving forward?”. This goes for menu planning, party planning, gift buying, writing, etc. Plenty of time to make things more complicated later! (by Mike Brown)
- Align effort with personal values. Kulia i ka nu’u is my Hawaiian value-alignment for excellence. It means ’strive to the summit’. Be your best. Don’t settle for less, for there’s no honor or fulfillment in aiming lower than you’re capable of achieving. My tip is to harness competition in this way: Do not compete with, or compare yourself to others; if compete you must, compete with your previous self. (by Rosa Say)
- Just do it. Get tasks started and finished quickly: don’t spend too much time planning or perfecting your work beyond what is required. Endless planning or endless revising is just an excuse to procrastinate while feeling like you’re doing work. When you don’t know what to do in the first place, that’s the time to plan. When it’s done, get someone else to check it over, and if they say it’s good enough, don’t waste time trying to make it even better. (by Elena Kelareva)
- * Internal conflict questions passion.* We have both passion and forces that pull us away from that passion. Even when we are passionate about doing something, we often don’t know the true reason why we’re doing it. I know many people who have wanted to write great blogs (including myself). They have two reasons to blog — one is to help others and the other is to make money. And that’s when the internal conflict arises: you must be sure of the reasons behind your acts. Be it one reason or another, be 100% sure of it. (by Praveen Sherman)
- Optimize your life with the SWOT matrix. The SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your life and finding creative ways to optimize it. The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This matrix enables you to focus on your strengths, to minimize weaknesses, and to take advantage of every opportunity. (by Mary Jaksch)
- Be more conscious of your goals at every moment. Before taking any action, always ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Why are you doing it? This has made a huge difference in my life. Now I am much more focused when doing something and reach my goals more often. It also helps me to stop doing stuff that is irrelevant or opposed to my goals. Often we are living on autopilot and forget what we are trying to accomplish. (by Jorge Pena)
- Listen to your inner voice. We all have intuition that guides us through our lives. That quiet inner voice, that knowing beyond logic. Following your intuition can be scary at times, but I can say from my experience it’s the most effective advice I could ever find. I can recall a number of incidents when I ignored my intuition and regretted later, but had no regrets when following my intuition. So after you read, discuss, brainstorm, take a quiet moment to listen to your intuition. (by Akemi Gaines)
- As you think so you are. July 10, 2000. A car accident took me to hospital with an arm, leg and hip crushed. During the months of recovery (one of them motionless), my wife was diagnosed with an incurable illness and my mother died. I was sent back home on a wheelchair. By chance I came to read “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It led me to take charge of myself. In the months ahead, I never gave up until I could walk again. I took an examination to become a high-school counselor and passed it, although I was in my fifties. “Take charge of yourself” is the motto I always say to myself and the students I am counseling. (by Joel Cardigan)
- Be real! Rather than trying to figure out what someone else wants in a friend, partner, colleague, lover, boss, employee, then contorting yourself to fit what you believe they’re looking for… just be you. In all your glory. If you’re a dork, be a glorious dork. If you’re a geek, parade around in your geeky radiance. Quiet, outgoing, artistic, analytic, whoever you are, honor that essence and build out your world with people and experiences who support your authentic self (by Jonathan Fields)
- Set aside a specific time each week for personal reflection. Having a consistent weekly review is one of the most powerful ways to better focus your attention, realign your priorities, and make sure you’re making progress towards your goals. Block off 30-45 minutes at the end of each week, ask questions, and write down your answers in your system of choice: What did I learn this week? What did I accomplish? What do I still need to focus on for next week? Have I made progress towards my long-term goals? What new ideas do I have? What did I learn this week that inspires me? (by Eric Blue)
- Record instantly, process appropriately, execute effectively, document fully. A personal workflow process that I try to make a habit. When a new task/project/issue arises, make sure you record it instantly. Then at an appropriate time, process it, doing your planning and sorting out the tasks involved. Next, execute the task(s) and make sure you document it fully. When I follow this process it makes my life much easier both in the short term and the long run. My biggest challenge personally is to record every issue instantly. The moment you put down the phone, finish a conversation or finish reading that email, record what has arisen instantly. (by Brian Bullen)
- Gung Ho Juggernaut vs. Beatific Buddha. Perseverance is two things, and you must befriend them both to get where you are going. I constantly ask myself whether it is time to persist in my efforts, or to be patient and wait for better circumstances. Always ask this question because the persistent juggernaut can destroy, the patient Buddha can stagnate, and only the wise application of both can deliver you to your destination. (by Samir Bharadwaj)
- Set ‘Target Zero’ for something you want to avoid, eliminate or improve upon. Basically a Quality Management technique, I use it for my personal development and self-improvement. For example, you can make a list of 10 books you wish to read and set Target Zero for the end of the year, which means “By the end of the year, you will have zero books that remains to be read”. The target needs to be time-bound and result-oriented. Even if you end up not achieving the target, you’ll certainly make a lot of progress. (by Sandeep)
- Use your whole brain. Most of us are left-brain oriented. Yet our most creative self is in the right brain. Use the left for understanding the problem and collecting information and use the right to create solutions. Learn to spot which side you are on and then shift to the other side for holistic thinking. Discover your best techniques for shifting to the right brain and practice them. My favorite R-Mode techniques are meditation, copying art upside down and silently playing with Knex and Magz toys. (by Eric Palmer)
- Be strict with yourself. This was the factor that made me leave the teenager years behind, turning me into an adult woman. I used to be too nice to myself, rarely admitting my mistakes and often blaming other people for my own problems. Nowadays, I reevaluate my behavior on a regular basis and am not afraid to recognize my wrongdoings. It may be painful sometimes, but there are plenty of rewards to reap from this habit, like continuous self-growth and healthier relationships. (by Karen Zara)
- Be human. People sometimes forget they’re human. They overwork and overindulge — and get overwhelmed. Being human means taking care of your body first and foremost. You can’t enjoy life with a congested nose or artery. Being human also means having a purpose in your life. Having a purpose allows you to better do things within your limitations, because you already know what the desired end result is. Lastly, being human means comprehending mortality. Always ask yourself: what would be my legacy after I’m no longer? (by Ismail Fan)
- Plot the future. The best predictor of what lies ahead for you is not your past, it’s your future. The personal calendar you maintain might appear to be just a series of days, months, and years, but it’s much more than that. It’s a sneak preview of your life and what is to come. Be deliberate about what you put on it. Make sure it contains what’s most important. Add lots of interesting stuff and schedule fun. Even create blocks of absolutely nothing. But always have something to look forward to! (by Todd Worthington)
- Journaling to Done (JTD). Start journaling! It helps your personal development. It’s useful to de-clutter your problems, process your emotional baggage (such as anxiety and worries), track your thought processes, and identify what actions you can do. You can simply use pen and paper, PostIt notes and a system to get it organized. JTD is journaling with purpose: it ends with the next action you can do right now. Focus on it and you’ll get many things done. (by Robert A. Henru)
- Be passionate about getting quality sleep. I have a somewhat nerdy passion: trying to attain the perfect night’s sleep. In the past I have underestimated the importance of quality sleep, but this year I have come to realize that being well rested is vitally important for getting things done and generally just enjoying what life has to offer. If you find yourself getting tired frequently, I suggest jumping on Google and going in search of the numerous resources out there with information to help you to sleep better. (by Peter Clemens)
- Learn from the best first. If you want success, learn from how others achieved it and then choose a similar direction and imprint it with your own style. When I thought about start blogging, I subscribed to the biggest blogs about blogging and their equivalents in my chosen niche, and then tried to understand why those bloggers were so successful and what I needed to do to match their achievements. You’ll avoid making mistakes that others have made many times before. You’ll also learn insights that only the elite can give, significantly increasing your chances of becoming one from that elite. (by Jacob Share)
- If I could do only three things today… It’s easy to get busy and just react to emails and phone calls all day. After a day like this I’m left feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything. So when I get up in the morning I make sure that I stop and write down the “top three things” I choose to get done today. These are activities that bring me closer to my goals faster than anything else I could be doing. Three things doesn’t sound like much but I find it supercharges me when I get my top three things done before lunch every day! (by Don Campbell)
- Getting clear leads to success. Using a contrast versus clarity worksheet helps me get clear, regain my focus and get back on track. I especially use this when I am feeling overwhelmed and wonder what happened to the day, the tasks are piling up and I can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. (by Suzie Cheel)
- Happiness is a choice. Happy people know that their happiness depends on their state of mind, and that they have the power to choose their response to external events. They avoid ‘if only’ fantasies, are grateful for simple pleasures, figure out their strengths and direct them toward achieving meaningful goals. They’re engaged in their work, look for ways to get more pleasure out of life, and are kind toward others. In the words of Aristotle: ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves.’ (by Marelisa Fabrega)
- Write your fears out. All of us have deep-rooted fears inside. Writing them out on a piece of paper gives a strong message to the subconscious mind — which in turn suggests creative ways to overcome them, one by one. This technique helps me concentrate on my fears/weaknesses, so I can strive hard to eliminate them. When I get past one fear, I strike it off — and that makes me feel proud! Sometimes even making a quick sketch illustrating your fears work wonders! (the attached URL shows what I sketched when I was afraid of writing) (by Chinmay Gupta)
- The ‘Zen Zone’. When I want to give my all to a project or task, I place it into what I call a ‘Zen Zone’. I do everything to avoid potential distractions: this includes shutting my door, clearing my desk, turning off the phone, and even unplugging the Internet if possible. I play non-vocal music at a low volume (to prevent unwanted noises from reaching my attention threshold). With an absence of all distractions, I find that focus, inspiration and motivation flow freely. It takes commitment to place an item into the Zen Zone, but the results often exceed my expectations. When I leave the Zen Zone, I feel refreshed and proud of the accomplishments made while in it. (by Jim Krenz)