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What if Your Ordinary Was Actually Extraordinary?

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. – Patti Digh

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I have been following along with the Trust30 writing challenge, although I think that they should have called it a “thinking challenge.” There are many who do not publically share their written answers, but are instead quietly pondering the prompts in the privacy of their own minds.

Patti’s piece really struck a chord with me. (Read the entire commentary here.) Too often we get caught up in comparisons and expectations. We are so quick to judge and condemn our work and ourselves.

And what are we using as the yardstick?

Other people’s accomplishments or perceived skills.

External expectations thrust upon us by a misguided or misinformed public.

Internal stories, arbitrary standards that don’t really fit who we are.

What if our “ordinary” is actually exceptional? What if what we view as our normal, everyday behavior, thoughts and skills are truly extraordinary to the world at large?

We will never know if we don’t put ourselves out there. If we don’t pursue that idea we have, if we don’t share our wisdom, if we don’t offer our talents to others we will never truly know what we are capable of.

I challenge you all…

Be your ordinary, not my ordinary or anyone else’s and see what happens!


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Have You Discovered Your Passion?

Some people ask. “What if I haven’t found my true passion?”

It’s dangerous to think in terms of “passion” and “purpose” because they sound like such huge overwhelming ideas. If you think love needs to look like “Romeo and Juliet”, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly. If you think you haven’t found your passion yet, you’re probably expecting it to be overwhelming.

If you find yourself glued to Photoshop, playing around for hours, dive in deeper. Maybe that’s your new calling. If you keep thinking about putting on a conference or being a Hollywood screenwriter and you find the idea terrifies but intrigues you, it’s probably a worthy endeavor for you. You grow (and thrive!) by doing what excites you and what scares you every day, not by trying to find your passion.

Instead, just notice what excites you and what scares you on a small moment-to-moment level.

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What Makes You Different?

AdventurousAre you boring? Come on tell the truth…Are you plain Jane, run-of-the-mill boring? Do you wonder why nobody is talking about you or beating down your door?

What differentiates you from the rest of your industry? A little better or a little cheaper is just not extraordinary enough to get you noticed!

This year try something unexpected, something that amazes your customers or competitors, even if it’s ridiculous. It works for Zappos, it can work for you. It doesn’t have to be huge – sometimes simple innovations can be astonishing in their brilliance.

Be bold, be remarkable, be memorable, be authentic or unusual. Otherwise you will just fade into the woodwork of the millions of blogs and companies out there!

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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 the basic differences between right and left brain people and a really fun quiz at

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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Golden Rules of Productivity


We are, most of us at least, creatures of habit and structure. We thrive when there are rules and guidelines to assist us through the veritable maze of life and work processes. Why should productivity be any different? Learning or developing any routine or program can be frustrating and confusing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t let those feelings discourage you from your quest for higher personal and professional efficiency. You will not master every technique for organization or effectiveness; you should not even try. I can hear the type A’s protesting out there – mostly because I am one of them – but if you strive for perfection, you will inevitably come away disappointed.  Seek instead; measurable improvement over time and your pay-off will be less stress, greater success and more time to enjoy your life.

So, with that in mind, I have assembled a list of the most crucial rules that will ensure your success in becoming more productive over time. They are a combination of strategies gathered by researching and studying highly successful productive professionals, juggling mothers and also what I have personally found works for me.

Productivity Golden Rules

  1. One Change at a time – you get the best results when you truly focus on one change at a time.
  2. Know Your Why – What is the purpose behind your goals or work?
  3. Clarify your objectives.
  4. Plan your day, every day.
  5. Energy management – Know your peak productivity cycle.
  6. Set boundaries – Protect your time and space.
  7. Play to Your Strengths – Delegate or automate the rest.
  8. Don’t overthink, don’t procrastinate, and just do it.
  9. Invest in yourself – Learn, grow, improve your skills.
  10. Focus, Focus, Focus!

For a more in depth discussion on these productivity rules, read their individual posts, where we describe them in further detail.

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