Tag Archives | Success

A Flexible Mind = A Successful Mind = A Happy Mind



How flexible are you? Your mind, not just your body…

The DailyOm has this great explanation of mental flexibility and it struck me how inflexible I can be at times…actually most of the time…

Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, as well as a continual willingness to change or be changed in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to shifting their course when necessary or useful; they are not overly attached to things going the way they had planned. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that a more rigid person would miss out on. It can also make life a lot more fun. When we are flexible, we allow for situations we could not have planned, and so the world continues to surprise and delight us.

I tend to have rigid plans and rather specific expectations…and I find it very difficult to accept and appreciate new possibilities when the road swerves into the unknown. I certainly could do with a bit more flexibility and I am not alone.

It’s one of those things that really can’t be practiced, instead it has to be allowed. That makes it very scary. We don’t like things we can’t control, but ultimately our clinging to inflexibility is really what is controlling us and in leaning toward flexibility we will find freedom…and a lot less stress.

What about you? How flexible are you? And do you think that’s good or bad?

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18 Minutes That Can Save You Hours

It’s so easy to get off track…and sometimes we need a reminder. I was just listening to an interview by one of my favorite podcasters, Accidental Creativewhere he was discussing time management, or maybe more accurately ‘priority management,’ with Peter Bregman. I love Peter Bregman’s philosophy and process and am a fan of his book “18 Minutes.” In fact it has a prominent place on the bookshelf in my office…but I had sort of forgotten it was there. It was a good reminder that had me reaching for the book once again.

While I don’t follow Peter’s plan precisely, I do think he lays out a simple solution to a problem that plagues most of us; too much to do, a never-ending task list, and the overwhelming struggle to master the issue of time management.

To be fair, his 18 minutes a day process alone is not the entire solution. He goes beyond daily task management, to address the larger issues that overwhelm us, not being happy and fulfilled with what we’re doing, feeling like we’re beating our heads against the wall and becoming more clear about where we want to go with our lives.

With strategies like using the Four Elements of Focus, hourly reminders and learning to pause.

“A brief pause will help you make a smarter move. Know what outcome you want before you respond.”

- Peter Bregman

Here’s a quick summary of the “18 Minutes” process…Read the book for the full explanation…

STEP 1 (5 Minutes) Set Plan for Day. Before turning on your computer, sit down with a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful. What can you realistically accomplish that will further your goals and allow you to leave at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive and successful? Write those things down.

Now, most importantly, take your calendar and schedule those things into time slots, placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day. And by the beginning of the day I mean, if possible, before even checking your email. If your entire list does not fit into your calendar, reprioritize your list. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.

STEP 2 (1 minute every hour) Refocus. Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour. When it rings, take a deep breath, look at your list and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 minutes) Review. Shut off your computer and review your day. What worked? Where did you focus? Where did you get distracted? What did you learn that will help you be more productive tomorrow?

The power of rituals is their predictability. You do the same thing in the same way over and over again. And so the outcome of a ritual is predictable too. If you choose your focus deliberately and wisely and consistently remind yourself of that focus, you will stay focused. It’s simple. This particular ritual may not help you swim the English Channel while towing a cruise ship with your hands tied together. But it may just help you leave the office feeling productive and successful.

And, at the end of the day, isn’t that a higher priority?

Let me know your thoughts on this book?

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The 3 E’s – What Do They Mean? Why You Should Care?

To my way of thinking there are three aspects or necessary components to growing in life, work, fulfillment, success, balance, relationships, anything really.

Explore, Expand, Evolve

This sort of sums up my philosophy of both my work and my life.

You really need all three to be your most effective, to live your best life, to have your most successful career. They work together, building on one another and circling back and forth to form an intricate web which is the foundation for all growth, in business and in life.

But what do these words mean? How do they apply to you? To your business? To your life?

Here’s the boiled-down Cliff Notes version of my understanding and my practice.

Explore = Assess

  • Look at the situation, the problem, the reality, the goal
  • Learn more about options, choices, motivations, thought and behavior patterns
  • Generate ideas, contemplate possible solutions
  • Who am I? As a person, as a professional?
  • What am I doing? Or not doing?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What is missing? Or what is not working?

Expand = Move forward

  • Be more productive
  • Formulate a plan
  • Take action
  • What do I need to do to get from A to B, or A to F?
  • Where can I get help?
  • How can I best use my time?

Evolve = Change

  • What do I need to change?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Where am I stuck?
  • Do I need to shift my focus?
  • How do I need to revise my plans and strategies?
  • Do I need to modify my behaviors?
  • Are there patterns or habits that need to change?
Your Mini-Mission for this week: How can you apply the 3E’s to your life or business?

Leave a comment or share on our Facebook page.

Just joining us… Find all of the Mini-Missions here…

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Mini-Mission: Take Up One Idea



“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, and every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda

I confess, I have no idea who Swami Vivekananda is or was…and it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that he or she, was apparently brilliant, or at least had a momentary flash of brilliance.

“Take up one idea…and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” Wow. I’m still digesting that…what a life changer that mind shift could be…

What would our lives, our careers be like if we placed our focus on one idea instead of the fragmented approach that we generally take? How would that affect our level and timetable for success?

Perhaps we’re reluctant to put all of our eggs in one basket so to speak or we’re hedging our bets, or maybe we’re not sure what that one idea is. But think about it – how much more progress we could make if our energy and focus were continually more targeted, rather than distributed among many endeavors.

So, this week’s Mini-Mission: Take up one idea

What is your one idea? If you don’t know yet…then that is your first step.

Having trouble choosing between ideas? Which one has been around, hanging out in your mind the longest? Which one makes your heart race, elicits fear or trepidation? Any strong emotion is an indicator of importance.

Got your “one idea?” Where does it stand? How committed are you to it? Have you done anything to pursue it? What’s the status? What’s today’s reality?

Now, what are you going to do about it? You don’t have to dive in, toss your career aside and turn your life upside down. For now, just knowing what that idea, focus, goal, purpose is and moving it into the front of your mind and making it the center of your focus is enough.

Something to think about… I’m curious to know what ideas you uncover, and what you’re going to do about it…  Comment or post on our Facebook page!

(Just joining us… Find all of the Mini-Missions here…)

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Why a Clean Sweep Just Might Be The Key To More…of Everything

Photo by Jesse Gardner

Some great year-end advice…

Every once in a while I get the urge to just dump everything…well almost everything… that I’m doing and clear the decks. Just sweep them clean. Create a blank slate on which to write our aspirations, goals and dreams. We get so tied up and bogged down in everything we have on our plates; projects, commitments, habits, that we have no room to breathe. No space to experiment. Not even the tiniest crack in our schedule to stop and think.

Do I truly care about the projects I’m involved in?

Why am I doing this again?

Do I really need to do that thing?

Here’s the harsh reality. If you haven’t made any progress on those goals you set earlier in the year, you need to question if they really matter.

Now take a deep breath and let them go. Make room for new goals, fresh ideas, creative projects.

What would you do if only you had the time?

It’s almost a new year, time for a fresh start.

Time for some house cleaning, both literally and figuratively.

Originally published December 2011, but relevant and worth a re-print while I enjoy some much needed down-time with my family.

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