Quote of the Day – The Habit of Focus

Habit of Focus

Are Your Stretch Goals Stretching You?

Think about some of the things people have accomplished that previously seemed impossible: examples include the Wright Brothers’ first flight, stretch-goals space exploration, face transplantation, and the eradication of polio in India.

We can achieve greatness by setting extremely ambitious goals – these can push people to new heights and inspire them to do amazing things.

What is a stretch goal? For our purposes, we’ll define a stretch goal as a goal for which you don’t appear to be well suited, based on past experience.

For example, if you’ve always struggled financially, the goal of becoming a millionaire would be a stretch goal. Getting in great shape would be a stretch goal if you’ve weighed over 400 lbs for many years.

We all have dreams that would be stretch goals for us. Plus, everyone is different – what might be a stretch goal for you could be more easily achievable by someone else, and vice versa.

You can easily spot when a goal is going to be a big challenge because the following symptoms are frequently present:

  •  The thought of achieving the goal is physically uncomfortable. We all have a spot in our bodies where we get that feeling of dread.
  • You feel a strong inclination to procrastinate. If you’re having trouble getting started, that’s a warning sign.
  • You indulge in distractions. The TV, Internet, food, sleeping, socializing, or drinking all become a lot more interesting than they usually are for you.
  • When you do actually try, there is resistance everywhere. Now we’re talking again about that feeling of dread, as well as the appearance of numerous obstacles in the way.

Once you’ve determined that a particular dream is a stretch goal, how can you accomplish it, when it seems so challenging?

This process is particularly suited to achieving a stretch goal:

  1. Write down your goal. Also write down the experience of achieving it. Imagine having just lost those 50 pounds. How would you feel? What would that experience look like? Focus on your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Keep writing, reading, and imagining. Put down on paper the experience of having achieved your goal. Try to relax with those feelings until there’s no negative emotional charge, like fear, associated with the goal. Repeat as often as possible until the negative feelings are completely gone.
  3. Stick with the winners. Hang around other people who’ve done what you’ve set out to accomplish. In our weight loss example, join a gym and find the folks who have successfully lost a lot of weight. Notice that they aren’t remarkably different from you.
  4. Make a plan. Now you can make a plan and move forward with the more traditional approach of putting your plan into action and refining it until you reach the results you desire. As you put your plan in motion, continue to use your positive meditations for daily motivation and clarity.

 Constantly monitor your feelings and your behavior throughout the achievement process.

Are your thoughts mostly positive? Do you feel good when you think about achieving what you’re aiming for? Are you taking enthusiastic action toward reaching your goal? If not, you need to eliminate negativity. Repeat steps two and three.

Stretch goals are challenging because they aren’t in alignment with our previous experiences or our opinions about ourselves. The negative feelings that arise when you attempt a stretch goal need to be dealt with effectively to help bring about your success.

Following the process above will move your stretch goals into the realm of possibility. Even your wildest dreams truly are within your reach.

Quote of the Day – Management Your Time Manage Your Life

Time Management

5 Easy Strategies to Break Bad Habits

Let’s face it: we all have a bad habit or two that we would like to get rid of! Whether it be smoking, biting our nails, overeating, or a host of other break-the-bad-habits-and-make-better-onesafflictions, it may be easier to eliminate it than you imagine.

First, Let’s Define the Word Habit

According to the dictionary, a habit is an acquired pattern of behavior that has become almost involuntary as a result of frequent repetition.

Even though your habit may seem automatic, behind it stands a thought, a choice, and a decision. You are going to be developing the skill of awareness throughout this empowerment course. You will be conscious of your choices and why you choose them. All actions have consequences. It’s time for new actions that bring new results.

With a little perseverance, willpower, and determination, you can be free from that nasty little habit!

Here are five strategies that can help:

1.  Commitment. Make sure this is something you truly want to accomplish. It’s wonderful to “talk the talk,” but you’ll need to back that up by “walking the walk” as well. Be honest with yourself. Do you truly believe that this is the right time to kick your bad habit? Remember, it has to be done for the right reasons.

  •   Don’t let yourself be pressured by others.

2.  Start a journal. Jot down every time you practice your bad habit. This isn’t to be used as a punishment, but to give you more of an idea when your undesired behavior is occurring, so that you can better devise ways to break it.

·         Include your thoughts and feelings that precede or accompany the behavior.

3.  Choose an alternative behavior. This behavior can either remind you of your desire to quit or be a permanent replacement of your bad behavior with a desirable one instead.

  •   One of the things I love to do is to take a walk.  You can also try  reading a book, singing a song, or cookomg. Any activity can be used as an alternative behavior. Of course, you don’t want to replace one bad habit with another one, but anything that can redirect your focus works well.

4.  Start a replacement schedule right away. Start immediately replacing your bad habit with your alternative, but a gradual shift may work better for you than a complete change.

  •  Remember, this won’t happen overnight, so please practice patience. People learn different behaviors at a different pace. Don’t be discouraged if your best friend stopped smoking in three weeks and you’re on your fifth week and still craving a cigarette.

5. Don’t keep this a secret. If you’ve made the decision to break a habit, tell others. This is the time when you need the support of your family and friends to help you be successful.

 ·         Whether you succeed or not, you’ve taken a major leap in a positive direction. That’s why it’s so important to share what you hope to accomplish with family and friends. Those who love you will be there to encourage you, offer support, and help you wherever they can.

Breaking a bad habit can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Use these techniques to make your journey easier, then celebrate your accomplishment when you’ve succeeded – you deserve it!


Persistence and The Bamboo Farmer

One of the classic writings about living as a champion and reaping the rewards of successful living is Napoleon Hill’s “Think and images (1) Grow Rich.”  There is an entire chapter devoted to persistence.  In fact, he references the word 97 times throughout the book.

He was good friends with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. He said that the only difference between these men, both innovators and inventors, was persistence.  They stuck with their vision until they succeeded in bringing it into the world.  And they changed the world, Edison with incandescent light bulb and Ford known for his automobiles and the assembly line.  People with a champion mindset are able to carry on even when everyone else has given up.

There is an Asian bamboo plant which offers a great metaphor for the concept of persistence.  There’s an old Chinese tale of a farmer.

He lived in a small rural community and had farmed traditional crops like corn and wheat of his life, just like his neighbors.

But this farmer wanted more than what his neighbors had, so he started researching alternative crops.

After studying a variety of options, he decided on bamboo.

The climate, soil conditions and equipment at his disposal could make growing and harvesting bamboo a profitable business. He was convinced he was making the wisest choice and began making the changes needed to become a bamboo farmer.

Upon telling his fellow farmers his idea, they mocked him, calling him foolish, all the time warning him of his impending peril.

However, our farmer remained unshaken, he had done extensive research and was confident that he was making the right decision.

If you know anything about bamboo, you know that the first year after it’s been planted, nothing happens.

You don’t get so much as a twig or a leaf!

His neighbors mocked him. They had all harvested their crops while he had nothing at all to show for his efforts.

He was undaunted and confident in his decision.

The second year nothing happened either, not a sign of a bamboo tree anywhere.

Again he was forced to endure a year of ridicule by his heartless neighbors.

And a third and a fourth….

Then suddenly, his crop grew a foot a day!

By the end of the fifth summer he had a virtual bamboo forest. He harvested his crop and sold it for a huge profit. His neighbors were astonished. It looked as if it happened overnight.

Or so it seemed. Did the plants lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?   Or, were they silently growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?   The answer is, of course, obvious.  This bamboo plant lies practically dormant for 5 years.  The bamboo farmer is persistent in believing that one day he’ll be able to harvest the bamboo and build a hut for his family to live in.

Sometimes, we have a goal and take action towards that goal, but it looks as though we aren’t making progress.

Perhaps it’s a business that hasn’t taken off yet.

Or a blog that’s yet to find an audience.

It could even be a parenting goal that has yet to be fully realised.

Let me encourage you today to hang in there.

If your goal is noble and your actions right, the day will come when you will reap a harvest.

Thinking Point

Amazing and true.  So here’s the question for you to ponder. Did it take over five years for the bamboo to grow 90 feet, or did it take 6 weeks?

Let me know!

Take Care of Yourself Set Boundaries Not Endless Acts of Generosity

If you are a natural giver like me this is actually tougher then it looks to implement.  For a natural giver it can be difficult to say no 1808642and set boundaries.  But I will tell you this natural takers will never stop taking.  You can never out give to them and they will never feel like they have taken enough.

We all learn that it is important to act unselfishly, but can you take it too far?  In 1984, psychologist Nancy McWilliams coined the term “pathological altruism.” It refers to someone who has a compulsive need to offset guilt, shame, or other negative feelings at the sight of another’s suffering by devoting their life to humanitarianism.

This altruism turns destructive when people end up hurting the very things they want to help. Think animal hoarders.  However, there are various shades of grey which can appear in your professional or social life.

It may be you turning into a pathos altruist or perhaps an employee or co-worker.  Similar to hoarders or cults, the behavior does require some intervention as it can lead to tension and bad feelings in the workplace.  It can also affect work deadlines and family priorities when you are tied up helping everyone else.

According to Lynn E. O’Connor, director of the Wright Institute’s Emotions, Personality, & Altruism Research Group, there’s a practical solution.

If you feel the urge to swoop in as someone’s savior, take a moment to consider whether the target of your altruism actually wants or needs your assistance.

It’s a lesson in learning to say “no” and setting personal boundaries of involvement.  Establishing a champion mindset means asking yourself how this type of commitment helps you achieve your goals.  It’s not all about selfless service.

Is Your Office Sending YOU the Wrong Message?

Mindset is everything.  When you’re office ain’t right your business ain’t right.  Have you ever walked into your office and though49297833873e912fcd152c9716908c13t

“where to I start”

“How do I start”

“Should I start”

Well if that’s happened to you you’re not alone.  Having an organized messy office creates a messy work environment and that in turn creates messy work.

Something a simple as rearranging your office furniture can communicate a better message about your strengths.  Your office space is a statement about you and your brand so it pays off in impressions by arranging your office space to portray the right visuals.

Also, your furniture arrangement can improve collaboration and agreements.  Consider where a member of your team or client sits when discussing a project with you. Is the chair directly across from yours? Does the person sit a bit lower than you and have to look up when speaking directly to you?  This positioning places them at a disadvantage and elicits a more competitive than collaborative spirit.

Try placing the guest chair to the side of your desk instead of across the space from you.  If space allows, create a conversation area away from your main desk.  A smaller circular table with 2-3 chairs placed around it is more conducive to collaboration.  King Arthur had the right idea using a round table for strategy sessions with his Knights of the Round Table.

Action Step

How does your office space look?  Is it cluttered and disorganized? It’s time to clear the desk and evaluate your office setting.