Tag Archives | Success

10 Things to Stop Caring About Today

truth-about-successWe waste so much of our lives caring about unimportant things, foolish things, and unchangeable things. So much time, energy, and stress unnecessarily squandered. There is so little of us to go around and so much out there that is worth caring about.

Some things you can feel free to stop caring about

Other people’s expectations for your life

This is your life. You are the one who has to live it. You have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make and the actions you take, so you should make them according to what you want for and from your life, not what someone else thinks you “should” do with your life. We care way too much about what other people think about us and far too little about what we think about ourselves.

How much you weigh

It’s just a number people! We live in such a weight-obsessed culture that our weight is often a measure by which we are judged and worse by which we judge ourselves. I’m not saying to stop caring about being healthy, that’s a completely different thing, and one definitely worth worrying about. Just don’t fixate on the number on the scale. Care about healthier food choices, care about how strong you are, how much exercise you’re getting, just stop attaching your value, your success, your confidence, your attractiveness and your health to this one single number.

How other people live

Let other people live their own lives, just as you’d like to be able to live yours. Stop judging what other people do and how they live. That’s their business. If it doesn’t affect you, stop caring about it. Stop comparing what you have, how you look, the money, the status, the possessions, the beauty to what you “think” others have. Don’t measure yourself against other people, measure yourself against your own yardstick.

How many Facebook friends you have

Same goes for Twitter followers. The number of social connections you have is not a good indicator of either the strength of your network or your true popularity. True connections are measured by the quality of interactions and the people you who actually care about you and what you have to say. How people respond to you and share with you is a far better indicator or your social status.

Perfection

We suffer so much anguish caring about being perfect. Perfection is nearly unattainable and our striving for it, costs us so much. Perfect is a waste of time, perfect is unreasonable, perfect is a recipe for stress. Pretty darn good is a better goal. It’s usually more than good enough and far less stressful. (Note: If you’re a brain surgeon or a pilot, please try for close to perfect, but as long as you leave my gray matter in place and get me on the ground safely, I’m good.)

Aging

You can’t stop the clock. It’s a fact, no matter how much you worry about it or how much money you spend trying to hide it, time is going to keep right on ticking and taking you along with it. Stop caring about how old you are. It’s not a good measure of the quality of life anyway. Or maybe it is…Studies have shown that people are actually happier as they age. So stop caring about your biological age and wrinkles (whether you have them or worry about getting them,) and start caring about what how you want to live the years you have left.

Fitting in

We place too much value on conformity. If you like to listen to jazz and wear purple shoes, go for it. If you are the sculptor in a family of accountants, good for you. No make-up, big jewelry, cowboy boots, bow tie, thrift store clothes, dinner on cushions, no TV…it’s all fine. You’re not hurting anyone, and though they may judge you, that’s their problem, not yours.

Star Watching

Why are we so obsessed with celebrities? From reality shows to magazines, entertainment news shows to paparazzi photos, clothing lines to hairstyles, we are so infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous. Why? Are we so unhappy in our own lives that we have to get our excitement and pleasure by watching public figures live theirs? Stop wasting your time caring about what famous people do, good, bad, crazy, sad or fabulous. It has nothing to do with you. It’s only a distraction from your own life.

Being right

We all want to be right. It must be intrinsically bred into our DNA, but more times than not, it’s very destructive. When we’re striving to be right, we’re focused on proving other people wrong. We’re grasping for power by trying to prove our infallibility. Care about finding solutions, collaborating with others to find the best answers, and cultivating relationships. Care about the result, not who is right or wrong.

Anything you can’t control

Stop caring about things you can’t control. If there’s nothing you can do to impact the person or the situation, then don’t waste your energy. There are so many important things in your life, in this world that you can affect. Focus on what you can change, where you can have the most impact, make a difference, and let the rest go.

Post originally written for lifehack.org

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5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Promises

promises photoWe make commitments to others and ourselves all the time. The question is: Do we keep them?

When we fail to keep a promise, it communicates to the other person that we don’t value him or her. We have elected to place something else ahead of our commitment. This can result in an erosion of trust in our relationships.

More importantly, we are telling ourselves that we don’t value our own word. Not keeping a promise to yourself is the same as disrespecting yourself. Eventually, it can harm our self-esteem, confidence, and experience of life.

Make it concrete

Make sure that are certain that you will be able to do something before you commit to it. Then be clear on the expectation, action, or result that is agreed to. Then set a firm deadline. Firm promises that are set in stone are more likely to be kept. Never make a promise that you are not sure you can keep.

Get it in writing

Businesses and professionals most often get themselves into trouble when they have made a verbal agreement. The difficulty with verbal agreements is that they are often vague and tend to be perceived differently by both parties. You may not even agree when a promise or agreement unfulfilled, because you have differing views on what precisely was promised.

Memories are faulty, perception is skewed, and wording tends to be unclear. Make it a practice to get professional agreements in writing. This makes is much easier for both parties to keep their word. When both parties are very clear on what is expected; it is more likely that agreements will be upheld.

Small promises count

People often dismiss small promises as unimportant, but that is just not true. You don’t call back when you say you will, you don’t repay a loan that’s outstanding, or maybe it just doesn’t seem important to keep a confidence. If you fail to take the minor promises seriously, you destroy trust and damage your reputation.

Failing to keep these small promises gives the appearance of being disorganized and irresponsible. You make the other person feel dismissed and unimportant. Conversely, you can build trust by demonstrating that you keep your word even on seemingly inconsequential things.

Perhaps even more important, when people realize that you consistently keep smaller promises, they will reasonably believe that you can keep your word on important things. This will actually help build your reputation as a trustworthy person.

Do it anyway

Don’t rationalize or make excuses for yourself. Push yourself a bit, work a little longer, sacrifice something else, persist, and persevere, despite what it costs you. Both the external and internal cost of failing will be much higher.

Following through on a difficult promise not only gives you satisfaction, but also raises the level of respect you receive from others. If you truly want to be successful in life, have high quality relationships, and advance your career or business, hold promises as sacred agreements, don’t miss deadlines, and make a practice to follow through on your commitments. Don’t make excuses.

That said, on rare occasions something truly unavoidable prevents you from making a deadline or keeping a promise. When this happens, ask to alter the promise or be released from the agreement. Most people will understand if you have consistently kept your promises in the past.

Expect the same of others

Most often, people will keep their word. You should expect the best of people and give them your trust until they prove they are not worthy of it. Don’t make the mistake of taking agreements you make with others lightly. Be clear about what they are promising, and then hold them to it.

However, when someone fails to keep their word, don’t excuse them. Be clear and honest in your disappointment. Remind them of their broken promise and let them know how failure to act on their part has inconvenienced you, cost you, hurt you, or let you down.

When this happens, don’t expect them to keep their promise in the future. Trust once damaged, must be earned again. Be sure to surround yourself with those types of people that you can depend on. Then you can be relatively confident they will follow through on their promises and you don’t need to check up on them.

Post originally written for lifehack.org

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10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back

1balanceLife balance seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind of late. We have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new-found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!

  • Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!
  • Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!
  • Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.
  • Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible
  • Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!
  • Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.
  • Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
  • Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!
  • Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.
  • Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

This post originally written for Lifehack.org

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A Flexible Mind = A Successful Mind = A Happy Mind

flexibility

 

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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