Archive For July 31, 2014

GRIT Defined

First the definition:

“The ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.”

Now the word:


The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success.

For example, successful people are great at delaying gratification. Successful people are great at withstanding temptation. Successful people area great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do. (Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared–that does mean they’re brave. Big difference.) Successful people don’t just prioritize, they consistently keep doing what they have decided is most important.

All those qualities require mental strength and toughness–so it’s no coincidence those are some of the qualities of remarkably successful people.

Here are ways you can become mentally stronger–and as a result more successful:

1. Always act as if you are in total control.

There’s a quote often credited to Ignatius: “Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.” (Cool quote.)

The same premise applies to luck. Many people feel luck has a lot to do with success or failure. If they succeed, luck favored them and if they fail luck was against them.

Most successful people do feel good luck played some role in their success. But they don’t wait for good luck… or worry about bad luck… they act as if success or failure is totally within their control. If they succeed, they caused it. If they fail, they caused it.

By not wasting mental energy worrying about what might happen to you, you can put all your effort into making things happen. (And then if you get lucky… hey, you’re even better off.)

You can’t control luck, but you can definitely control you.

2. Put aside things you have no ability to impact.

Mental strength is like muscle strength–no one has an unlimited supply. So why waste your power on things you can’t control?

For some people it’s politics. For others it’s family. For others it’s global warming. Whatever it is, you care… and you want others to care.

Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change–but don’t try to make everyone else change.

3. See the past as valuable training… and nothing more.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Then let it go.

Easier said than done? It depends on your perspective. When something bad happens to you, see it as an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, don’t just learn from it–see it as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong but only in terms of how you will make sure that next time you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

4. Celebrate the success of others.

Many people–I guarantee you know at least a few–see success as a zero-sum game: there’s only so much to go around. When someone else shines they think that diminishes the light from their stars.

Resentment sucks up a massive amount of mental energy–energy better applied elsewhere.

When a friend does something awesome, that doesn’t preclude you from doing something awesome. In fact where success is concerned birds of a feather tend to flock together–so draw your unsuccessful friends even closer.

Don’t resent awesomeness. Create and celebrate awesomeness, wherever you find it, and in time you’ll find even more of it in yourself.

5. Never allow yourself to whine. (Or complain. Or criticize.)

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems always makes you feel worse, not better.

So if something is wrong don’t waste time complaining. Put that mental energy into making the situation better. (Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to make it better.)

So why waste time? Fix it now. Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t just serve as a shoulder they can cry on. Friends don’t let friends whine; friends help friends make their lives better.

6. Focus only on impressing yourself.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

(Sure, superficially they might seem to like you, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship not based on substance is not a real relationship.)

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll only form genuine relationships when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

And you’ll have a lot more mental energy to spend on the people who really do matter in your life.

7. Count your blessings.

Take a second every night before you turn out the light and in that moment, quit worrying about what you don’t have. Quit worrying about what others have that you don’t.

Think about what you do have. You have a lot to be thankful for. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

Feeling better about yourself is the best way to recharge your mental batteries of all.

Reblogged from Inc.com.


That Little Voice Inside

I consider myself really lucky to have worked and studied with some truly great people. One of those people is Lin Morel. I can’t even tell you how many times she has saved my butt or gotten me back on track when I needed it with her innate wisdom.


One of the things that Lin has helped me with is learning how to trust my intuition even more. This has been a lifelong process for me. I rely on it so heavily in all that I do and yet I still sometimes find myself overriding it with my head. So, this week has been about hearing it and taking immediate action. I highly suggest this. One week might change your life!

We all have a little voice inside that tells us what we should do. And, if you are like most people you have also wondered whether that voice should be listened to or whether it is actually just fear, doubt, escapism or fantasy. (If you are new to the little voice inside it might help you to know that this “voice” can be a feeling, words, or even colors and tastes.) When we develop our ability to listen to this inner voice we gain a lot of power to navigate our way through the world. So, how can we develop it?


First let’s start to look at some things that people mistake for their inner voice:


Fear and Doubt: Fear and doubt are sneaky and they quickly jump in the way of our highest and best self and potential. They tell us that it was all a mistake. Or, that this could not really be the right way. Or, sometimes they just shut us down completely.


Escapism and Fantasy: These two feel good but they keep us looking for something other than what we have. They are usually used to avoid the hard work that we might need to do. 


Now let’s look at what might help us hear that inner voice more:


When it is good it is simple and clear: A client and brilliant yoga instructor and therapist, Grace Dulude said on the phone with me today “You go in the direction of the energy.” If it is intensely fearful or intensely good that is where you want to go. Why? Because, the energy is drawing you to the next step. 


Ok! Well, I think you might have a clue of how challenging that can be at times. Especially when we are feeling intense negative emotions like fear or anger but give it a try. You will find that you inner guidance is a powerful GPS for your success and fulfillment.


What does it mean to be on your path?

What does it mean to be on your path? What does it mean to have a sense of deep purpose? A person who is connected to their life’s intentions does not do good because of sheer willpower. They do it through a combination of humility and faith connected to something beyond just themselves … they hitch their wagon to a higher meaning, which is a power more powerful than self-will.

Such a person is at ease with the essential goodness of life in spite of in the tumult of daily life, with all it’s burdens and setbacks, because they have connected the spark of goodness in themselves with the universal goodness inherent in every atom or creation.

Such people become a Gandhi or a Nelson Mandela or a Rosa Parks or YOU. This is the soil on which greatness gives birth.

reblogged from quora.com


Have To vs Get To

Have you ever noticed how stressed most people seem to be on a regular basis? People are tired, burnt out, and mentality fried. This is something that is completely avoidable. I believe a large reason why this occurs is people possess a “have to” mentality. They really don’t want to be doing something be feel obligated or burdened. They “have to” do it. This week we’re going to discuss why life would be a lot more enjoyable if we all possessed a “get to” mentality.

First, lets talk about having kids. Too often it seems as if parents “have to” do something with their kids. We have a pretty cool neighborhood pool for kids, it has water slide, lazy river, swings, fountains, and lap pool. I take my three-year old son up there quite regularly and we have a blast playing in the pool. What’s sad is that I notice too many parents at the pool who possess the “have to” mentality. They have to take their kids there. These are the parents who don’t pay attention to their kids as they sit and gossip with other parents, sunbathe, or play on phones. My mentality is that I “get to” take my son to the pool and play. Right now it’s cool for him to spend every minute playing in the water with dad, especially repeatedly dunking me under water! I cherish those moments. I “get to” have them.

It’s important as parents that we maintain this “get to” perspective. My wife and I were talking about this the other day about our two-week old son. Right now we are in the middle of three-hour sleep shifts and feedings throughout the night. But it’s like the Darius Rucker song; It Won’t Be Like This For Long. Things change so quickly, time flies by, and the time will come too soon when our boys are all grown up and out of the house. It’s important to remind ourselves of this when our child wants to read the same book, watch the same movie, play with same toy over and over again. We are going to miss those precious moments when they’re a teenager and those things are not cool anymore. Whether it’s late night feedings, cuddling and tucking in at bedtime, we need to cherish those moments while having the “get to” mentality.

We can apply the same “get to” mentality with work. Too many people are unhappy with and dread going to their jobs. I’ve never really understood this; if you’re unhappy, do something about it. Change your job or career path. People should be more thankful for being physically and mentally able to work. There are many people who are not so fortunate throughout the world. They’d gladly trade positions. Many people struggle to pay bills and feed their families. If you’re able to do this comfortably you’re one of the lucky ones. When we adopt the “get to” mindset with work it will take us to new heights. Our energy, outlook, focus, and production will all improve. I love teaching and coaching. It’s not something that feels like a job. It’s not I “have to” go to work, it’s I “get to” go to work.

One of the guarantees that we all have in life is facing obstacles. At some point in our lives we all will face hardships. The difference between those who overcome them and those who don’t is all in how the obstacle is approached. If we use the “get to” mindset we can see an obstacle as an opportunity for self-improvement. A setback will be seen as an opportunity for a comeback. We will only see this hardship as a bump in the road and not the final destination. By using the “get to” approach we come out better, stronger, and more confident through overcoming the challenge.

The great thing about sports is that no matter the sport, this lesson can and should be taught at all levels. As coaches, we can make a positive impact on the world by teaching our athletes to attack everything with the “get to” mindset. Those who have it will be the most successful.

reblogged from Kyle Elmendorf‘s coaching blog.


23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Do DIfferently

I have worked with thousands of coaching clients over the years.  Together, they have given us incredible insight into what the average human being needs to do to go from “loathing” to “loving” their life.  And, of course, we’ve successfully helped the vast majority of them gradually get from point A to point B.

What most of these people never suspected is that they would have to learn how to do lots of little things differently.  Because the truth is, there are specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world that we all have to master before we can awaken to a simpler, happier, more fulfilling life – a life worth loving.  And that’s precisely what this post is all about.

No matter what part of life’s path you’re traveling on, the list below will always be applicable.  These are simple, positive habits that thousands of people who have learned to love their lives, now live by.  Here’s what they do differently…

  1. They flow with life, not against it. – When everything in life seems to be going wrong, mostly it’s meant to go wrong so that you may outgrow the things you need to outgrow.  Keep this in mind.  Life may wreck your plans when your plans are about to wreck you.  For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.  You don’t have to accept it; it’s just easier if you do.  When you try to control too much, you enjoy too little.  Sometimes you simply need to take a deep breath and appreciate what is.
  2. They let go of self-defeating thoughts. – Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret and frustration.  Let go of the need for approval too.  You don’t need any of it.  The world is as we are inside.  What we think, we see, and we ultimately become.  So choose your thoughts wisely.  Think how you want to live.
  3. They prove themselves to themselves, not others. – If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone else, you’ve already forgotten your value.  Don’t do this to yourself.
  4. They believe in the possibilities ahead. – You are a victim of the beliefs you live by.  And a belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses, it is an idea that possesses the mind.  So believe in yourself.  Believe in your capacity to succeed.  Believe that there are many roads to what’s right.  Believe in your intuition, especially when you have to choose between two good paths.  Believe that the answers are out there waiting.  Believe that life will surprise you again and again.  Believe that the journey is the destination.  Believe that it’s all worth your while.
  5. They find the positive in every situation. – The most underrated trait of all successful people I’ve ever met: Positivity.  Your attitude directly determines how well you live your life.
  6. They appreciate what they have. – Every now and then it’s good to pause in your pursuit of happiness, look around, and simply be happy for what you already have in your life. 
  7. They nurture their own inner peace. – In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.  Take a few deep breaths, a relaxing walk, or a moment to meditate.  When you find peace within, you who can live at peace in any situation.
  8. They find the courage to be real. – It takes courage to grow up, grow wiser, and turn out to be who you really are.  Find the courage to own your story.  To speak your truth.  To ask for what you need.  To set boundaries.  And to reach out for love and support when you need it.
  9. They maintain high personal standards based on strong values. – Goals are important but they are temporary.  Values on the other hand are forever.  Raise your standards by taking a values-driven, not just a goal-focused, approach to life.
  10. They walk the talk and always set a great example. – Be the change you want to see. Give what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, and mirror what you admire.
  11. They help themselves by helping others. – We all die.  The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will… an idea or gesture that helps others live better.  Strong people stand up for themselves; stronger people stand up for others too.  Remember this next time you feel like flexing your muscles.
  12. They use self-reflection as a tool to keep things in perspective. – Never forget where you’ve been, lose sight of where you’re going, or take for granted the people who travel the journey with you.
  13. They make their important relationships a daily priority. – An incredible thing happens when you pay close attention.  It’s by participating more in your relationships that you breathe life into them. 
  14. They accept that not all relationships are meant to last. – This is a harsh truth.  And what we do with our pain is nearly everything.  To punish people for not loving us is a heartbreaking, broken sort of justice.  It just doesn’t work out for anyone.  So let the wrong ones go, willingly.  Ultimately, you will meet two kinds of people in life: those who build you up and those who tear you down.  In the end, though, you will thank them both.  Because the wrong relationships eventually lead to the right ones.
  15. They leave the past behind. – Don’t let the past steal your present.  Your past has not defined, deterred, or defeated you.  It has only strengthened who you are today.  Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask yourself if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.
  16. They make every day count. – What you do daily matters more than what you do every once in awhile.  Your life will not improve unless you start making daily improvements.  It’s not about being the smartest, it’s about making the smartest decision. It’s not about being right, it’s about doing the right things.
  17. They do the work. – The near-term cost of discipline is always less than the long-term cost of lack of discipline.  At some point you have to stop wishing for it and start working for it.
  18. They focus on effectiveness, not busyness. – The great paradox of our time is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time.  Busyness and effectiveness are two different things. 
  19. They get uncomfortable. – You can’t learn, grow and succeed until you get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  The best wins in life often come only after you dare to lose.
  20. They break-up their routines to seek new insight. – You will often see what is wrong when you are doing it right.  But you will rarely see what is right when you are comfortably in the routine of doing it wrong.  If you want a new tomorrow, then make new choices today.  Mix it up!  Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need.
  21. They take action in spite of their fears. – Dreading is often far worse than just doing the thing.  Dread rehearses a scenario over and over without progress and success ever showing up.  So just do it already!  Stand strong.  Do what you fear, and fear disappears.  Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions speak louder than your words.
  22. They use change as an opportunity to grow. – Life is change, but growth is optional.  Choose wisely.  To be a success in life you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to remain perfectly capable of improving.  Let your mistakes, and life’s twists and turns, strengthen you.  Growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.
  23. They always give themselves another chance. – Sometimes the bad things that happen in your life put you on a direct path to the best possible things that could ever happen to you.  You just have to give yourself another chance to get there.

Do the best you can to smile.   Be so busy loving your life and the people in it that you have no time left for hate, regret or unnecessary stress.  In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience.  It’s a long-term journey. You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way. 

Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds – struggles and all.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.

reblogged from Marc and Angel Hack Life.


They Wanted Me To Be Stupid

You know what people have been telling me my entire life? That I need to hide my intelligence. I started hearing this when I was in third grade. Ironically, this is when my learning disabilities started to manifest so while I certainly wasn’t feeling too intelligent , I would none-the-less hear things like “Don’t use such big words.”

As I got older it continued. While I struggled with time, dyslexia and spelling I was simultaneously told that I should dumb it down my ideas.

I didn’t know how to dumb it down because I didn’t understand how I made it smart.

When I started growing my business, I heard it all again. In fact, I still hear it! And, I did have a lot to learn about getting my message out there. That was the whole reason I went to school – so that I could clearly speak to people in a way that would help change lives and the world for the better. So, believe me I listened!

After I learned a lot about what I was doing to get in my own way, I arrived at a simple truth as a result of hearing what my clients said week after week. THEY LIKED THAT I WAS SMART!!! For them, my intelligence was why many of them were working with me.

So, what did I learn from this that I think might benefit you?

A few simple things:

We often have to leave behind what we know to learn enough to come back and use it in a new way.

NEVER, EVER, accept someone telling you that one of your gifts is something you should hide.

Listen to all feedback that you get to help you become MORE of who you are rather than less.


How To Solve The Work-Life Imbalance

Ditch the guilt and self-blame—and change the conversation about work and life, says the author of MAXED OUT. A new dialogue starts here…

Q: Most working moms feel maxed out. Yet we rarely say more than, “I’m tired” or “What a week!” What are we NOT saying to our friends, family, each other?

A: I hear from a lot of women who say they have the life they always wanted (kids, career) . . . and it’s killing them. They feel like they’re always letting people down, like it’s somehow their fault that they can’t be all things to all people.

My message to them is: You’re not alone, and it’s not your fault.

Society and the workplace have not caught up to the fact that most mothers today are in the workforce. We’re expected to give 100% to our jobs, and then somehow simultaneously give 100% to our families. But of course, we can’t. No one can. We can’t be in two places at once, and we only have so much energy.

Where to start?

The cold economic reality is that most families need two incomes today just to live a basic middle class life. About 70% of American kids are growing up in households where all adults work.

So parents today are doing double duty, trying to work full time and somehow take care of all the things parents do—take kids to the doctor, do the parent-teacher conferences, show up for the play, etc. Yet schools still get out at 3pm (or earlier) and take summers off. Parents are lucky if they get two weeks of vacation a year. These things are incompatible. So it’s vital to recognize the flaw in the way our roles as working parents have evolved—while schools and most employers have not—and begin to communicate more about those realities, not getting stuck repeating messages of self-blame and guilt.

Q: How can we change the way we talk about the overwhelm so that people will listen and respond?

A: We have to stop treating this overwork issue as a personal choice—something we’re doing to ourselves—and communicate that it’s a societal problem. It’s a public health problem. Companies are burning out their workers, and it’s costing them hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity. So it’s even a business problem.

When we see the problem for what it is, that’s when we’ll get serious about solving it. We need better government policies (like paid parental leave), true. But there’s a lot we can do in the workplace, too, that would address this issue. By having forthright discussions about the competing demands of modern life, we can change the conversation around flexible schedules, telecommuting, job shares, and other changes in work culture.

Rather than being apologetic, it’s reasonable to request policies that empower employees to get their work done when and how they can best do it. These are the kinds of things we should be talking about.

Q. How do can women talk about these problems in a new way, so the conversation shifts from “What I’m doing wrong” to “Let’s improve the situation for everyone”?

A: The most lasting way to change the conversation is to change our actions, to show that we really are all in this together. At the end of my book, I list 10 things each of us can do to address this “maxed out” problem, here are a few:

1. Practice saying no—Working moms have to find ways to say no. It’s not about letting other people down; saying no to others is about saying yes to yourself.

2. Tell your partner what you need—Communicate with your partner about how to make your roles as egalitarian as possible (and see #1 above!).

3. Be an ally to other women—We’ve all felt judged at one time or another about our choices as mothers. Remember the cultural and institutional forces that make working and parenting difficult, and cut other women slack.

4. Sign up for MomsRising—10 percent of the proceeds of Maxed Out will be donated to this leading advocacy organization for moms and the people who love them. They lobby for parental leave, flexible work, other policies that improve the lives of families.

5. Let your HR manager know about ROWE—A management strategy gaining traction in corporate America, Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE) emphasizes employee results over traditional measures like the number of hours worked. Companies are finding that it actually saves them money and boosts productivity.

I’m Still Not Clear – What Is My Vision?

I am often surprised how few of my clients are clear when it comes to the difference between goals and vision. Below is an except from David Neagle’s blog where he clarifies the issue:

“A vision is a clear picture of what you’d like for your life or business.

When I was just starting out, my vision was pretty simple. I could only see a few things.

I wanted a boat and I wanted to buy property in Central Wisconsin for when I retired.

Some people have grander visions like a house in Italy or speaking on huge stages.

The key piece with a vision is that it is not about anyone else. It’s what you want for you; and it maybe hidden in your secret thoughts that you’ve never told anyone about.

A goal is a step toward that big vision.

It’s something you need to do that will take you closer to realizing your vision.

My vision was to buy a boat, so I set a goal for myself to double my income.

By increasing my income, I would be closer to having the ability to buy that boat.

Think of goals as the rungs of a ladder that leads to your vision at the top.

Keep in mind that as you take steps toward your vision, it may begin to change.

As your vision changes continue setting goals to take you closer to that vision, and when you see opportunities, always ask yourself: Is this taking me closer to my vision or further away?

Let your vision be your guide.”

This periodic reassessment of vision is key. As you may know I am making some changes in my business and these come from a refocusing of my vision

When is the last time you gave your vision and update? I suggest you take an hour to walk, journal or do anything that gets you in a calm meditative space. Focus in on what You want for You. If your vision is in need of updating, you may have some surprises!


Taking the Leap

Donald Trump has failed as many times as he has succeeded and ultimately he has succeeded, at least financially.

While I cannot claim to be enamored with his personality (or his hair) I think he illustrates a very powerful point: Your life and your work depend on you being willing to take risks.

You have very likely heard the expression bold action gets bold results. And, well, it does.

So, if it does, then what scares us so much? The plain fact is that the results of our bold action are bold for sure but not always positive. A certain amount of the time we are going to fail. If it was a guarantee, then it would not be a risk, right?

Somewhere along the way many of us learned that failing was bad. Maybe it is our grading system. Where else in the course of life is the goal 100%? For example, what if in soccer players got 100% of the goals? We don’t even consider this. Under these conditions getting a CHANCE at the goal is seen as an accomplishment.

Embracing failure as a likely outcome and being willing to learn from it and make adjustments is the cornerstone of success. Perhaps this is why so many successful entrepreneurs were C students!

Ok, so if you are convinced now that taking risks and even failing might be in your best interest then how do you get yourself to take action when you are on the edge and gearing up to take that major leap to create the life, love or work that you really want?

In the book that I am currently writing a book called “Apathy is Noxious”, where I talk about this very subject. One approach to move out of inertia you need to intensify the discomfort of staying the way that you are.

Another approach is to adjust your perception of what “good” results are. What if instead of success and failure you looked at the outcome of your bold action as valuable information that is letting you know how to make your next bold move?

*A footnote for those of you who leap before you look. LOOK. Taking risks requires reviewing the situation and taking educated risks.


Don’t Multi-task???

Multitasking can be counterproductive. Do less better.

Being busy as a bee is an occupational hazard in sales. Take a lesson from busy bees. They only do one thing at a time. The temptation is always with us that when we want to get more done, we decide that doing two or three things at once is the answer. This is particularly true while driving.

Your brain is a wonderfully adaptive organ, but pushing it to its multiplexing limits assures that concentration by necessity is lost. One task becomes primary and all others suffer accordingly, with the primary task losing focus in the process. Those are the things that automobile accidents are made of.

Business disasters follow the same pattern. Get too much going and everything will go to pieces on a regular basis. Set sales priorities. What must be done now? What can wait until this afternoon or tomorrow? Slow down; you will make more forward progress. Focus on the thing at hand. Budget the time necessary to get the job done professionally. Don’t hustle customers. Doing less better will produce more results.

Talk slower; drive slower; don’t run through airports. You will live longer, and although you may not think you are getting enough done, compound interest will have its chance to make you wealthy. All good results take time. You can listen to books while driving and you can walk and chew gum between sales calls, but with those exceptions and few others, take things one at a time.

Now, go out and have your best week ever!

reblogged from an article by Linda Fitzgerald in Affiliated Women International