Posts tagged success

The Optimist Creed

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I came across an inspirational piece today that I’d never read before.  It was written by Christian D. Larson, New Thought leader and teacher, as well as a prolific author of metaphysical and New Thought books.  Will Rogers, the cowboy/humorist, used this piece when he chartered the Beverly Hills Optimist Club in 1922.  He asked Mr. Larson if the group could use these lines as their credo – they changed the name of the piece to “The Optimist Creed” and it remains their creed today.

Being a natural born optimist, I enjoyed this and hope you do to!

“Promise Yourself” also known as “The Optimist Creed”
Christian D. Larson

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Don’t Network – Connect Instead

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“Relationships are all there is.  Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else.  Nothing exists in isolation.  We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”  Margaret Wheatley

Don't Network - Connect Instead

Here’s the whole thing in a nutshell:  When you help others, they often help you.  When you care about somebody, you want to help them.

Ferrazi suggests that instead of focusing on “networking”, focus on connecting and sharing your knowledge, time, energy and compassion.  He reminds us that if you strip any business down to its basics, it’s about people selling things to other people.  You’ve heard it before and it’s true: people do business with people they like.

Other tips:

1.  Share your passions. When you spend time with someone who shares one of your passions, you’ll both let down your guard and really get to know each other.  Have dinner with someone who shares your passion or engage in the hobby or activity.  For one period of time, I was getting lots of requests to have lunch with others -at the same time I was trying to lose weight so didn’t want to eat out as often.  I invited folks to take a walk with me instead and had many fruitful net-walking meetings.  You may like to meet people over golf, at a sports event or by inviting them to a book club.

2.  Treat business contacts like personal friends. There’s no need to draw a big line between the two types of relationships.  Build trust with business contacts by showing your human side -not just the polished professional.  Share what really matters to you including your interests and even your frustrations.  By being authentic and human, you’ll build stronger bonds.

3.  To Succeed, Make Others Successful. Be generous with others. Share your knowledge and your contacts.  I’ve built a very successful grant writing profit center by doing my best to help other grant writers succeed.  Your rewards may not come directly from those you are helping, but trust me, it comes back tenfold!

How to Focus

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What’s most important for you to focus on today? That’s a question I ask to start off each coaching conversation I have with clients. It’s a question I ask of myself each morning. I have many interests, and since you’re hanging out with me and reading my stuff, I’m guessing there’s a good chance that you do too. As a matter of fact, many of you lament the fact that you have “too many interests.” Hogwash.

It’s great to have interests but here’s a key to not feeling overwhelmed or ineffective. Choose at least 1 thing to do each day that will have a great impact and do at least 1 thing each day that just makes your heart sing.

What do I mean by “impact?” Well that will be personal to you, but it could be an action that will bring you recognition, or in the long run, continue to increase your income. It could change your career. Maybe it’s something that will make a difference in your community or make an important change to your personal life.

Here’s a way to figure out what to focus on. If you don’t already have an action list (to do list) quickly write out of all the things you think you should or want to do. Then look at each item and ask: How will this change my career, my work, my life? Will this have an impact a week, a month, a year from now? Does this task further a long term goal of mine…how important is this goal?

This might take a bit of time to do at first but once you practice, you can do this in just a few minutes. Don’t like this method? Try this one.

List the goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year. Then each day, choose at least one action that moves you closer to your goals.

And don’t forget to do at least one thing just because you love it. Because if you do, you’ll find yourself connecting with your “real” self…and that real self will guide you to do the things that are truly the most important things for you to do in order to live YOUR life, YOUR way.

Go ahead and share a goal with us here in the comment section. There’s great power in writing goals down and sharing them a supportive community. Want even more support and structure? Join our 30 Days to Get It Done group beginning October 6th…watch here for details on how to register or drop me an email at ann@authenticlifeinstitute.com with “30 days” in the subject line and I’ll send you the details.

A Life Without Goals?

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I’m returning from a month long August vacation.  I had plenty of time to think, to breathe, to observe my choices.  The idea of goals came up again and again in my thoughts.  Here’s what I think today.

I have a love/hate relationship to goals.  With them, I have accomplished a great deal in this lifetime and many of those accomplishments gave me great pleasure on the journey to achieve them.  These achievements enriched my life and I hope, the lives of others.

The hate part of the relationship is that when I’m focused on goals,  I’ve lost my freedom to choose moment to moment what it is I’d most like to be doing.

I think that in order to mature and grown into the magnificent being that you are meant to be you need to learn to set goals.  I wished someone had taught me this earlier in life.  I really didn’t “get it” until I was 27 years old.

When you learn how to choose and achieve goals, you begin to trust yourself.  Once you’ve had lots of practice at it, although it sounds counter intuitive, I think the next step in your growth is to begin to let go of goals and to live more and more in the present.  But I don’t think you can skip the first step -setting and achieving goals takes you inside into your inner world and “inside” is a place where most of us, Americans anyway, spend very little time.

In order to choose a goal you have to look inside and see what is stirring.  What desire is wanting to be fulfilled?  What is it you need to do at this time to be more fully expressed?  Once you name it, you need to change the shape of your days to accommodate whatever actions are needed to make that goal a reality.   Those small changes move you in a new direction that is closer to what you need to live a full and expressed life and to share who you are with others.

I’m now at a point where I’m wanting to let go of having too many goals.  I don’t think I’ll ever give them up entirely though.  Matter of fact, I have a lot of excitement as I set new ones for the year ahead.

But I’m beginning to experiment.  I’m going to leave more space in my days to follow my whims and see where they lead me.

Did reading this bring up questions for you?  Ask here and I’ll respond.  Or share your thoughts on goals… I’d love to know what you think.

Change: How Do You Handle It?

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I’m on the roller coaster called change in my work life.  And I’m loving it.  After more than a decade of successful self employment, my work felt stale.

I was itching to do something new, something really fun.  I decided to walk my talk about “you gotta do what you love” by combining my love of travel, writing and speaking into a travel agency business with a focus on cruises.  The journey that began with research at the end of 2010 and started officially in March has been filled with lots of learning, plenty of joy and some moments of “I don’t know what I’m doing!”   With this change, I’m learning to manage my time in a new way so I can continue to bring in income from my current two income streams while investing enough time to nurture the new businesses.

Lessons learned so far (or I should say relearned!)

1.  Start where you are.  You might as well be happpy to begin right where you are and grow.   “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly” said Henry Bergson.  It’ s ok to move on to new things.  When an interest is calling to you -explore it.

2.  Get in the game quickly.   I realized that I would become an expert more quickly if I put myself out into the world and talked with people about their travel dreams.  It ‘s a much richer, quicker learning curve this way.  I know it’s easier and feels safer to hide behind the computer and take all kinds of classes -this is good  – BUT it needs to be combined with action in the world.  Each action I take is a bit scary and that’s ok.  I’m only 3 months into the “game” and have made my first sales and have several other seeds planted that are about ready to sprout.

3.  You don’t have to figure out all the hows in order to get started.  Start with a small step and take it.  The “hows” remarkably fall into place in ways you can’t possibly see when you’re sitting in isoloation behind your computer.  Take a look at what successful people  in the field are doing.  Particpate in online forums.  Attend trade events.  And keep taking steps that engage you with your ideal client/customers.

How do you handle change?  Do you embrace it?  Push down the urges to grow and express yourself more fully because it’s scary?   Let us know what’s changing for you!

Success Starts With Your Thinking

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Here’s where I am with starting a new stream of income within my “Everyday a Vacation Day” vision – a travel agency. I chose a host agency and signed on with them. I’m now in the process of learning their systems, learning more about the industry, working towards certification and most important -letting others know how I can help them make their travel dreams happen in the easiest, most enjoyable way possible.

And I get to have beginners mind again! My other income streams -coaching others so they can do what they love and grant writing are already successful -I enjoy the work, it comes to me easily and I’m confident in my ability to deliver a great (and fun! yes, even grantwriting) service.

With this new venture, all the old beliefs around what the hell am I doing and how on earth can this ever make money are popping up. And I’m glad. I get to go back to the place where many of you are today and remember, at a cellular level, what it feels like to be scared, have huge doubts and face down naysayers. What will sustain me through this? First remember why I am doing this. Travel is something I am passionate about and driven towards. I can talk and read and write about travel and never get tired of it. I value travel experiences for the opportunity to stretch my mind, meet people who live life differently then I do. I love seeing the world through new eyes. And best yet, the way that travel reminds me that we are all truly one -as all us/they barriers melt away when you look people in the eye and share smiles.

Every single coach I’ve had, no matter how pragmatic, made me start a business by working on my inside first. You need to acknowledge your desires, beliefs and mindset in order to succeed in the outer world of delivering services, selling products and making money. Every successful person spends some time in introspection. So start here. More next time on what to do with eliminating those beliefs that stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial dream.

Are Your Habits Supporting YOUR Life?

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What are some of your daily habits? It’s worth taking a look at them. Your habits shape what you do with your precious time. You can decide for yourself which habits you engage in are “good” or “bad.” I’d say that the actions you take that positively contribute to your health, happiness, prosperity and relationships are worth keeping. Anything else -well, you might want to make some changes. Here are some habits that I find to be dreamkillers:

1. Email. In my opinion, opening email first thing in the day is not the best way to start out. You’re allowing others to shape your thoughts, actions and even your mood. I say make your first actions meaningful ones -something that makes you happy, something that inspires you to live a fantastic day, or something that contributes to a goal you have. Check email after you’ve done the most important things first.

2. Mindless eating. I think this widely accepted American habit contributes to obesity, poor health and a lack of enjoyment. When you eat – just eat. Don’t read, watch tv or keep one hand on the keyboard. Be aware of the texture of the food, the taste in your mouth, how it feels in your belly. Give thanks for all the people involved in getting the food to your table. Sure, enjoy good conversation in between bites -but other than that – mindful eating will enhance your health and your life.

3. Noise. Lord, there’s noise everywhere! When I pump gas there’s a t.v. blaring at me (I skip that gas station now). I got a new dentist after my former dentist installed flat screen tvs in each exam room. I’m sure some patients appreciate it, but I got nervous when I noticed the dentist kept looking up at the t.v. Silence is a good habit to cultivate for the soul. Your inner voice knows a lot -it just needs a little time to be heard. Allow for some silence each day.

Be a gentle observer of your habits. Don’t beat yourself up -just notice. Which ones make you happy? Which ones move your goals and dreams forward? Which ones are obstacles. Pick one and decide to change it. Here’s a cool tool I found today that might inspire you -and it’s free. www.habitforge.com

Would love to hear about a habit you’re ready to change. Post your comment here and let us know!

Are You In The Game?

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I’m a sports fan. Last night I watched my New England Patriots football team roust their arch rival the New York Jets. Yay! (Sorry to you Jets fans!)

Something I see often in working clients, is that dreams often get stalled and even die because the person just didn’t get in the game.

What do I mean by that?

Here’s an example. I want to explore a new profit center in the field of travel. I’m not sure yet what shape it will take -I have plenty of ideas.

I could create a niche travel copywriting service.

I could become a travel agent and focus on a niche in spiritual travel or “pubs and people” travel or both!

I could become a tour operator and lead tours myself.

Now if I don’t take some kind of action -all those great ideas will be lost and I will be withholding some great services from people who are hungry for them.

So how do I get in the game? Here’s my first four steps.

1. Books on my shelf research.
I have some books on good careers for people over 50 -I checked out the resources they recommended for the travel field.

2. Internet research.
I looked up some of the authors that were recommended. I found some upcoming conferences for travel. I found a potential niche that fits my background beautifully combining academia, nonprofit, writing and travel.

3. Read. I ordered some ebooks from a well known author after reviewing plenty of free content on his website.

4. Social Media. I signed up for some Linked In Groups and twitter feeds. Now I can have conversations with people who are already in the game.

Next steps? Read and complete a workbook on how to be a travel agent. Choose a niche. Participate in conversations. Ask questions. Get a WordPress page up. Create an easy marketing plan. Make money. Have fun.

What game do you want to get in? These first steps are no or low cost so jump in.

What I’ve learned is you can’t see how it’s going to turn out. That amazing, unexpected things happen when you get in the game.

I’d love to read your comments about how you are getting in your game.

I already know you’re a winner!

Potential: Are You Using Yours?

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Astronomers recently discovered that there are three times as many stars in the universe than was previously thought.

Up till now, they have seriously underestimated the number of other suns in other galaxies – and that means there must be many more planets orbiting them where other life forms might exist. Mind blowing!

Which got me thinking…where are you seriously underestimating yourself?

I see it all too often in people -I can see their amazing potential, their strong qualities, their unique way of looking at the world, yet they stay stuck in old, tired habits that aren’t fulfilling them.

Here’s how to see the three times as many stars in your personal universe that you just might be overlooking!

1. Make a decision.
Want to have a six figure income? A lighter body? A meaningful relationship? Decide today that you will have that and that nothing will stop you.

2. Get clear.
80% of your success comes from being absolutely clear about what you want to accomplish.

3. Plan every day in advance.
This simple habit is a practice every successful person uses.

4. Use simple project planning.

What does the end look like? What steps have to be done to get there? Organize the list of steps by priority and sequence. Be accountable to someone else for getting the steps done. Delegate what you can and hold others accountable.

5. Follow the 80/20 rule.
Make your first activities of the day be the 20% vital ones that will contribute 80% of the value to you.

6. Focus and concentrate without distraction on the most important thing you need to accomplish and stay with it till i’s done. If it’s a large task, break it down into doable chunks so that you can complete one piece at each sitting.

When you apply these practices and accomplish major things -you generate amazing feelings of well being. You’ll be happy and energized and motivated to take on the next task. And you will see that there is indeed an amazing bounty of all good in your universe just waiting for you to reach out and take it.

Give Your Goal 4 Days

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There is something quite magical and scientific about 4 days. When you do something once or twice or even three times, you don’t yet feel like a “person that does that.” Suppose you have a goal to start blogging. You know it’s a great no-cost way to get your message out and connect with folks. So you post one blog. Maybe the 2nd day you post again. Then you stop. Three weeks later, if someone asks you if you “blog?” you’ll probably say no…well, I tried it but… Now if you stick with it for four days, something shifts. All of a sudden if feels like something natural.

If it’s an important goal for you, you’ll want to string together 5 four day actions plus 1 more day. That means you’ll have blogged for 21 days straight. And science tells us that at that point, it’s more difficult to stop the new habit then to continue it. At that point you may decide 3 posts a week is enough. And that will seem simple!

So what goal would you like to achieve? Commit to it for four days. Want to boost your chances of success? Choose a small reward you’ll give yourself each day after you’ve kept your commitment. It doesn’t have to be a huge expense, it just has to make you happy. Maybe a lavish coffee at your local coffee house. Or reading a novel just for fun for one hour. Then choose a larger reward for completing your action for four days. This should be a pretty good reward -maybe a massage or a new book.

After the first four days, you’re really over a psychological hump. Give it a try and post your results here. We’d love to read them!

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