Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Time Management is a Fallacy

The concept of managing time is ridiculous.

A second is a second.

A minute is a minute.

An hour is an hour.

And a day is a day (24 hours long, no more and no less).

Time marches forward relentlessly. You cannot stop it and you certainly cannot manage it.

What you can manage however, is yourself.

How you use the seconds, minutes and hours each day is under your control. You can manage your schedule. You can manage your level of focus. You can manage distractions.

Do you start each day sitting and planning your day out on paper? Or do you end each day sitting and planning out tomorrow on paper? Or do you do neither?  (I do hope that it’s a not the last one).

Your level of productivity is tied to being organized and having a written plan of action.  Think about some of the most successful people you can. Do you really think Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Bill Gates or any other successful entrepreneur, entertainer or politician is just going through each day shooting from the hip? Absolutely not.

They get more done in the same 24 hour period as you because of the disciplines they have established for themselves. They allocate their time according to a plan. A written plan that takes into account what they need and want to accomplish in a host of areas: business, family, personal, community, civic, and/or religious to name a few.

Take some time to sit, think and write down all the areas of your life that are important to you and that you want to make an impact in. That list should become the backbone to your daily and monthly planning. Develop a simple template with each area of importance to you and fill it out for a month at a time. What do you want to accomplish this next month?

Once you have your monthly goals written down you can then use a daily planner. I know, it sounds a bit archaic, but I like having a pocket daily planner with me. I can reference it quicker than my phone and I find the act of writing things in it makes the items more important. Writing verses typing seems to make things more concrete in my mind; it makes me more committed to getting them done. For me, having the planner in front of me (on my desk or table wherever I go) with my goals written down is a continual reminder to stay focused and get things accomplished.

I would also strongly suggest that you keep your phone in your pocket as much as possible. You probably have no idea how much time you waste looking at email, Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or stock quotes (to name a few) as well as playing games. Those little screens chew up time faster than you realize. Yes- you can and should check email and respond as necessary BUT if you will just schedule set times each day (perhaps 10:00, noon, 3:00 and 5:00) you will be amazed by the fact that you are suddenly more productive and the world did not stop spinning just because you did not respond to every ping or whistle from your phone (muting email notifications doesn’t hurt either – and yes, I know I am crazy with that suggestion). I always tell my direct reports that email is for non-urgent communication. If they truly have an emergency or urgent need – they 
should be dialing the phone and speaking directly to me, not sending an email.

Always remember that you cannot manage time. You manage yourself. You manage your schedule. You mange what is important to you.  Simple truth - what is truly important is what gets done.  

Thursday, November 21, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

"Instead of giving myself reasons why I can't, I give myself reasons why I can."

We all have conversations running in our head almost all day long (which is why the practice of mindfulness and meditation is so helpful – but that is another blog for another day). And unfortunately for most people, these conversations run with a negative slant.

“I can’t do this.” “That won’t work.” “I am not smart enough to get that promotion.”  Etc., Etc.

Whether you realize it or not, those conversations in your head have great influence on your attitudes and your behaviors. You have to become conscious of those conversations and realize that you can change the ongoing dialogue.

Instead of letting the negative conversation run along uninterrupted, realize what is happening and change the thought pattern.

Change that internal conversation to highlight why YOU CAN do something; why YOU ARE worthy of being loved: why YOU ARE qualified for that job or promotion.

You have deep reserves within that you do not even realize you possess. You have let that negative wordplay ramble on in your head for so long you have likely starting to believe it, but that conversation is NOT at all accurate.

I urge you to start paying attention and to change that narrative. Make it a point to come up with as many reasons why YOU CAN. Write them down if you have to and review the list often. Read the list out loud. I know that may sound silly but the act of both saying it and hearing it helps reinforce that it is true. You mind will follow where you lead it. The more reasons you provide and the more times you review/reinforce these positive thoughts, the more you will effect and, overtime, change that inner dialogue.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Are you strong enough to fail?

Are you strong enough to fail?

What? You thought failure was for the weak?

Sorry to say this but you are dead wrong.

Failure requires strength of character, strength of conviction and strength of the mind.

You cannot fail if you are not pushing forward. You cannot fail if you are not stretching yourself to achieve maximum results. It requires no strength to not try; the weak simply go with the flow.

True Success requires you to go against the flow and to demand much more from yourself. True Success requires commitment and planning in all five success areas. True Success is a lifelong endeavor and one that requires your focus, your stamina and your internal strength.

There is a well-known Japanese proverb: “fall seven times, get up eight”. Simply put it means to never give up and to always keep moving forward. Clearly not something the weak will ever understand or accomplish.

But you are not weak. You know inside that you have incredible talents and gifts to offer the world around you. You also have dreams and plans for making those dreams a reality. You are smart enough to know that you will face adversity and at times feel like you have run into a wall. But you also know that you can go over or around those walls. It will not be easy but you are ready for the challenge.

Strength of mind, strength of character, and strength of will; these all exist within you and in greater abundance than you realize.  You have everything it takes to be as successful as you desire. But you will be tested along the way. No one obtains any worthwhile level of success without experiencing some failures along the way.

Failure teaches us so much more than success. Failure teaches you what not to do and helps refine your plans and your actions. Failure tests your resolve. And failures along the way make success taste that much sweeter in the end.

So I ask again: Are you strong enough to fail? I say you are but what I say doesn’t matter. It’s how you answer for yourself that will make all the difference in your life.

Commit. Embrace life with wide open arms and enjoy the ride. Go after your dreams. No one else can or will do it for you.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

What comes out of your mouth is determined by what goes into your mind.

I just love quotes that are simple and to the point. This quote nails it.

You cannot expect to sound educated if you are not educated.

The better your vocabulary and the knowledge you have on a wide variety of subjects the better you will come across to others.

The more you read, the better your vocabulary becomes. (Aim for at least a book a month to start)

The more you listen to educated presenters (think YouTube or TedTalks) the better your vocabulary becomes. (Aim for at least one per week – one per day is even better).

You will begin to assimilate the vocabulary you are feeding your minds into your own speech.

Same holds true for knowledge.

The more you read, the more knowledge you acquire.

The more you listen to educated presenters, the more ideas you are exposed to, the more your knowledge increases.

And the wider the range of subjects you read about or listen to, the more you will begin to see connections which, again, increase your overall knowledge (and value to employers).

Feed your mind a healthy diet of substantive information and ideas and you will find yourself able to speak more intelligently on a wider array of subjects.

The mind controls the mouth. Strive to provide your mind with good information to work with.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Do you have what it takes to achieve True Success? Part 2

Part 1 was about having the Stamina for the sustained effort needed to achieve true success.

Part 2 is about Mental Fortitude.

Do you have the willpower and attitude to achieve true success?

Everyone’s success journey is different, but every journey will encounter trial and tribulations, bumps and setbacks along the way. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort and achieving success is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

How well do you handle problems?

Do you have the emotional intelligence and emotional maturity to continue on when faced with adversity?

You have to make the choice to respond to adversity and not just react. Reacting is a knee jerk response. Anyone can and most do just react. The more mature and intelligent choice is to think and then respond.

Responding means that you take the time to understand what has happened and then to evaluate a range of options regarding the best course to move forward. It is not always easy – anger, pain, grief, and/or frustration often get in the way and sometimes you will need to let those emotions play out before actually responding and moving forward.

When my wife passed from her battle with cancer I knew I had to work through a grieving process. I knew it was coming, but I still had to go process my grief and my anger. I made a deal with myself that I would not make any life altering decisions until my head was back in the game. My response was to let myself deal with my emotions and then I would put my life back on track.

I certainly hope no one reading this ever has to go through a similar experience, but my point is that, unfortunately, at one time or another we all have curve balls in life to deal with.

The bigger point is to get you thinking about the difference between reacting and responding. Responding is the more mature and positive path. Reacting is often rash and negative.

Your success journey will no doubt have unexpected twists and turns, but the more solid your plan and the more focused you are on your ultimate goal, the more you can push forward during tough times.

Start working on your mental fortitude now, before you need to draw on it. Make a mental note of what you are thinking when issues crop up at work or at home. Are you kneejerk reacting, or taking time to respond? Work on taking a breath, taking a pause and then deciding on an appropriate, emotionally balanced and intelligent response.

Above all, know that you are worthy of the success you seek, and that you have within you all that you need to achieve it. Have faith that you possess the inner strength you need to move through both the peaks and valleys of your journey.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

This Week's Quote and Commentary

You cannot control the length of your life, but you can control its breadth, depth, and height.

None of us are born with a countdown timer attached telling us just how many more days we have on this planet. We just do not know if today, tomorrow or next Wednesday will be the last day we will be with our family, friends and co-workers. 

My intention with that somewhat sobering comment is not to depress you, but to get you to realize that you need to take control of each and every day as it comes. You can control what you do and how you react to events around you each and every day.

John Wooden used to say that you need to make each day your masterpiece. Not only was he trying to get you to bring your very best on a daily basis, but I think he also knew that we all have a finite number of days left and that we have a responsibility to ourselves and the world at large to make the best of each and every one.

When was the last time you took a moment to smell the air outside, to tell someone how much they mean to you or to try something new and scratch it off your Life List (those who know me know I do not like the term bucket list).

Life is all about experiences and about making a difference. That is the breadth, depth and height this week’s quote is talking about. What can you do each day so that at the end you can say to yourself “I lived a great day today”?

Try to make regular activities a bit more special. Simple things like eating dinner with the family around the table (instead of the TV) and on the good dishes (what good are they doing just sitting in the cabinet) and cloth napkins.

Try to make it a point to provide some words of encouragement or praise to at least one person each and every day. Simple gestures that let people know you care and that will actually lift your spirits at the same time.

None of know what tomorrow has in store, but we can make today a better day for ourselves and for everyone around us.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Do you have what it takes to achieve True Success? Part 1

Let’s jump right in and talk about stamina.


Yes, Stamina!

True Success, in whatever way you define it, takes effort. And effort takes stamina.

Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Contrary to stories that get told, success does not happen overnight. Those people who achieved “overnight success” actually had worked for years in the background. Just like almost everything else in the world, success has a price. And that price is sustained effort over the long term. And sustained effort takes stamina.

How is your overall health?

When was the last time you had a check-up at the doctor? And are you following the advice you were given?

What is your Blood Pressure?

What are your Cholesterol numbers?

Is your weight in-line with your height?

Are you still smoking?

Are you eating properly (lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meats)?

How many beers do you drink a week?

Are you getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 to 4 times per week?

Are you happy with the way your body looks in the mirror?

These are all important questions. Your health is nothing to take for granted. You have dreams and aspirations for your life. And you have people who love you and who want to have you around for many years to come.

You owe it to yourself and to those you love to do everything you can to improve and then maintain the best overall health possible.

You CAN achieve incredible levels of success, in all five success areas, but only if you have the stamina to sustain consistent effort over time. If you are not in optimal health, make today the day you truly commit to getting control of your health habits. Take it one day at a time and one healthy choice at a time. You CAN do this. You ARE stronger than you know. You ARE worthy of a long, healthy and truly successful life.

Click here to continue on to Part 2.