Ultimate Personal Branding

What do you want your legacy to be?

Forget for a moment about marketing materials, your website, social media, referrals and that sort of thing.

Think about what I like to refer to as your ultimate personal branding; your tombstone, your obituary, your legacy. What do you expect or better yet, wish people would say about you at your funeral? Be honest, what do you want to be said in the conversations behind closed doors? At the coffee shops? In the grocery store? Or the board room?

I was in the middle of writing this post when I happened to get my Tip of the Day from Michael Neill at Supercoach.com. I was shocked to see that he had written almost exactly what I had been thinking. So in keeping with my productivity strategies, why duplicate work? Well said Michael!

Here’s Michael’s post:

Deathbed Goals

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Have you ever heard the question “How many people on their deathbed they wish they’d spent more time at the office?”

For me, this always begged another question:

When people are on their deathbed, where do they wish they’d spent more time?

One of the more famous answers comes in this essay, often attributed to a woman named Nadine Stair but originally published in 1955 by humorist Don Hero

If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes. I would relax. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of very few things that I would take seriously. I would be less hygienic. I would go more places. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less bran.

I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles. You see, I have been one of those fellows who live prudently and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I have had my moments. But if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them – a lot more. I never go anywhere without a thermometer, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had it to do over, I would travel lighter.

It may be too late to unteach an old dog old tricks, but perhaps a word from the unwise may be of benefit to a coming generation. It may help them to fall into some of the pitfalls I have avoided.

If I had my life to live over, I would pay less attention to people who teach tension. In a world of specialization we naturally have a superabundance of individuals who cry at us to be serious about their individual specialty. They tell us we must learn Latin or History; otherwise we will be disgraced and ruined and flunked and failed. After a dozen or so of these protagonists have worked on a young mind, they are apt to leave it in hard knots for life. I wish they had sold me Latin and History as a lark.

I would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and fun. I had a few of them, fortunately, and I figure it was they who kept me from going entirely to the dogs. From them I learned how to gather what few scraggly daisies I have gathered along life’s cindery pathway.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted a little earlier in the spring and stay that way a little later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I would shoot more paper wads at my teachers. I would have more dogs. I would keep later hours. I’d have more sweethearts. I would fish more. I would go to more circuses. I would go to more dances. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I would be carefree as long as I could, or at least until I got some care – instead of having my cares in advance.

More errors are made solemnly than in fun. The rubs of family life come in moments of intense seriousness rather that in moments of light-heartedness. If nations – to magnify my point – declared international carnivals instead of international war, how much better that would be!

I first came across the phrase ‘deathbed goals’ in the book Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks, and I immediately resonated with the idea. What are those goals which, on your deathbed, you will either be glad you achieved or regret not having achieved?

By devoting your life to these goals now, you ensure yourself a meaningful life, regardless of how things turn out…

Today’s Experiment:

(I’ve filled in my own answers to these questions below. If you would like to share your answers with me, please send them to michael@successmadefun.com!)

1. When you are on your deathbed, what are the four or five most important things you will wish you had done or be glad you did?

My answers :

1. Been a good father
2. Been a good husband
3. Been a good friend
4. Been a good person
5. Lived a good life

2. Imagine your funeral (or if you prefer, your 80th birthday). What would you like each of the important people in your life to say about you?

Turns out, I won’t really care if I was successful in the eyes of the world. I’ll settle for being successful in the eyes of Nina, Oliver, Clara, and Maisy! Here’s what I’d love to hear them say:

He always endeavoured to live what he taught and when it mattered, teach what he lived. The truth is, we liked who we were when we were with him. We became experts, geniuses, capable, resourceful, funny, loving, caring, and kind. Eventually, we realized we were that way even without him there. He was always supportive, but it turned out he was only holding us up long enough for us to get used to the altitude and realize we could fly.

3. How would you like your epitaph to read?

A friend to life and all who dwell within her.

Have fun, learn heaps, and live your life by the mercy of what matters most to you.

Reprinted from Michael Neill’s Supercoach.com

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That Guilty Overworked Feeling: How to Reduce It

Guest post from David in Australia!

Everyone is feeling overworked these days. But stress relief is on the horizon. Take a look at these ten tips on how to avoid that guilty feeling that you’ve been overworking yourself beyond what is good for you.

1. Stop Complaining
If you think you’ve got too much work, the most important aspect is how you react. If you do nothing but complain, think about how you react to someone else complaining about their job. Stop your complaining before your life is ruined. Remember, complaining is a toxic poison that will kill you. Top performers do not talk about how they’re being overworked.

2. Prioritise
Prioritise your work by realising what work you have to do, what work you should do, and what work you can skip doing entirely. No matter how much you think you can do everything, realise that doing everything is simply not possible. Cutting corners is not something to avoid; embrace the fact that you cannot do everything all the time.

3. Organise Your Time
Your time is your most valuable resource. Use a system to set up your tasks for every day, week and month so that you can see your commitments at one glance. Set aside some time every week for leisure time, for family time, and for hobby time. Take time for a vacation, and keep your personal relationships at the top of your list.

4. Cut Back on Busy Work
There’s that work we all have to do that does nothing to produce what we want. Concentrate on the 20% of the tasks on your To-Do list that return 80% of the profit. Don’t worry that you’re ignoring work; take pride in these unproductive work tasks you can forget about because you let them fall away. Delegate if you have to.

5. Stop Working
Keep track of the time you spend working, and do not let the rest of your schedule suffer. Understand that an extra few hours you spend on work when you’re exhausted is not worth the effort. Get a good night’s sleep, and come back tomorrow to that task refreshed and better able to do what needs to be done.

6. Dedicate a Space
Besides dedicating time and effort for work, set aside a workspace where you do your work. Let everyone know that when you’re in that spot, you are working and the DO NOT DISTURB sign is up and blinking away in bright neon. It goes beyond privacy; it’s all about focus on the task.

7. Set Expectations
Let your co-workers, your manager or supervisor, and your clients know what they can expect from you. Tell everyone what your commitments are at the start of any task related to them, what your boundaries are for that task, and the structure of the working relationship. Be ready to stand by what you say.

8. Learn to Say no
In conjunction with the last tip, learn how and when to say “No.” If you take on a task that will eat up all of your time and effort, yet you know you cannot commit those resources, have that word ready. Think of alternatives, though. Can you pass the job to a freelancer looking for work, or out-source the job?

9. Talk and Listen
Having someone just listen to you is great. Cultivate friends and colleagues and even mentors and managers who will sit down and listen to you unburden yourself -remember, no complaining. And be ready to return the favour and let your ear be available for them.

10. Stay Healthy
Do not take your health for granted. Sleep, diet and exercise are all important, and must be fit into your schedule. Get at least five hours of sleep a night – we know no one has enough time every night for eight hours. Eat good healthy food, and avoid the unhealthy stuff as much as possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get fit and stay that way.

This post was written by David who is co-founder of www.CreditCardCompare.com.au, one of Australia’s leading comparison websites where he contributes reviews of credit cards for many of the best business credit cards with rewards such as cash back and frequent flyer points. You can read more of his work at their learning centre or follow @thecreditletter on Twitter.

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Are You a Right Brain or Left Brain?

Stick figure with eyes and smile
Image via Wikipedia

I find the concept of right-brain/left-brain is fascinating. Does how our brains are wired really affect how we live, what we do, our personalities and the type of success we achieve? There’s a really good article on About.com about the basic differences between right and left brain people and a really fun quiz at Similarminds.com.

This is such a fun topic. Play around with this and figure out what type of brain you are! In the interest of full disclosure – I am almost totally left-brained, which is why I am super-organized and balance my checkbook every week; and also why I am hard pressed to draw a recognizable stick figure.

But the good news is;

  1. We can encourage the other side of our brain bu engaging in different types of activities.
  2. No matter what type of “brain” you have, you can learn to be more productive, organized, successful and fulfilled. It just looks differently.

Keep this in mind when developing strategies, choosing methods and such. Do not try to follow a very rigid and detailed plan if your mind values flexibility and fluidity. Take bits and pieces and find what works for you, not the guy down the hall.

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Are You Experiencing or Achieving?

We are so achievement-oriented that we often surge right by the true value of relating to what’s before us, because we think that accomplishing things will complete us, when it is experiencing life that will. ~ Mark Nepo

Ok. Who else out there is guilty of this? Uh…pretty much everyone, I think.

I know I succumb to this way of thinking quite often. Don’t get me wrong, achievements and goals are, in my opinion a necessary part of life. It’s all about keeping it in balance. The problem lies in getting so caught up in the quest to get things done and move ahead that we develop a tunnel-like vision.

The rest of life is cast off to the periphery much like the view out your window as you are driving down the highway. You might notice the scenery, the activity and the beauty, but you aren’t really a part of it. You just watch it go by instead of truly experiencing it. Life can be that way sometimes; much too easily.

As we go through our days over the coming weeks, let’s pause from time to time and make sure we are “living” and not just “doing.”

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Can You Give the “Tough No” Even if it Costs You?

A Red X

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard for most of us to say no.

It’s even harder when we really want to say yes! It can be excruciating when it costs us financially or emotionally to say no. But…there’s always a “but” isn’t there?

I submit that the toughest no is often the most necessary and the most valuable both at work and at home.

What do I mean by a “tough no?” How about when you are offered an exciting project at work, but just can’t fit it in and juggle your other work? Maybe you are asked to volunteer for that cause that is near and dear to your heart, but your plate is already full? You are offered your “dream job,” but there’s a catch, you have to travel all the time and you have small children? Or maybe it’s a career move that sounds wonderful, but isn’t the direction you want to go in? How about the possibly lucrative client that just sucks your energy?

You know what I mean. Your arm is being twisted either by money, pride or guilt, but in the pit of your stomach you just know it’s the wrong choice…or maybe a right choice, but the wrong time.

Can you say no? Should you?

Yes, you can! Yes, you should!

I have struggled with this from time to time and have always been glad when I managed to choke out the “NO” even if it half killed me to do it. I just recently wrestled hard with a “tough no” that might have cost me financially in the short run, but would have taken me down the wrong path and stood in the way of long-term goals. It was the right choice for me…at least I hope it was.

If something is not a good fit for you…the best answer is no.

Stay on course.

Know where you’re going.

Have your priorities straight.

Listen to your gut.

And most importantly…when the decision is made and the NO is given, move on and don’t look back!

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