Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Being Genuine and Successful

I follow with interest the blog of John Chow dot com for several reasons. First you never know what he will post and second because he is upfront and genuine in his blog. I am sure, like all of us, there are sides to John Chow that we don't see, but what we do get to see is consistent which adds to the creditability of his statements.

What has this got to do with success?

If you are genuine you don't have to remember the exaggerations, falsehoods (lies) or omissions you have told someone to better your image in their eyes. You are free to express your likes and dislikes and best of all you don't have to spend a lot of time maintaining your facade allowing you to use that energy more productively. You also can more readily ask for help when you need it, admit mistakes so that you can correct them and attract people that appreciate you for who you are. Even if they don't like what you say they will still respect your opinion. People are always ready to help or support people they like or respect.

Behind every story of long lasting success is a genuine person.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Secret to Changing Habits

We have our habits because they have a benefit for us. We don't have to think about them or make decisions. You don't want to go through a complicated routine to tie your shoelaces or to drive your car. Some of our habits are easy to change. If we are forced by road construction to find an alternative and we like it, we may never go back to our old route. Some of our habits are hard to change, like how we respond to criticism or how we treat money because we have had them a long time and are old friends.

So how do you change those long term habits?

If you have tried and tried to make a change and gotten nowhere; (smoking, weight, money...), it is likely that you took an all or nothing approach. With gritted teeth and armed with your willpower you decided it was going to change right now and got nowhere at all. The secret is that you don't try to replace your habit all at once. Remember your habits are there because they benefit you in some way so you need to change them in small doable steps.

For example I lost 118 lbs from a weight of 298 to my current weight of 170 by making a small simple change in my eating pattern. I started eating 5 meals a day instead of big meals twice a day. I still ate what ever I wanted but I found that I started to eat smaller meals because my next one was only a few hours away. Over time as I lost weight slowly I changed what I was eating and so on until 14 months later I reached the weight that was comfortable for me. It was relatively painless and intially I would fall off the wagon but I just continued back on my routine. It got easier the longer I did the routine. I eased into the change rather than fighting it.

If you have a long term habit you want to change then try being nice to yourself instead of fighting yourself.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Are you in Survivor mode?

You know that you are a survivor when you have lost everything and then were successful in rebuilding your life or it could be your finances or relationships and so on. If it is the third or fourth time that you are rebuilding the same thing then you may be in survival mode.

I call it survivor mode when someone pours all of their energies into protecting what they have because they believe it will be lost again and watch everything intensely for the slighest hint of it reoccuring. When they get that first hint they then act as if it has already happened and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Potential race drivers learn in driving school that if they are sliding towards the wall and put all of their focus on the wall they will hit it. I know that when I see and focus on a pothole in the road ahead of me I am sure to hit it everytime. 

So how do you stop from staring at the pothole?

By focusing on where you want to go. Focus  is like having tunnel vision or wearing blinkers so that you just don't see the problem because all of your attention is on what you want. Yes, it's easier said than done. It will take practice just like the race driver or when you were learning how to ride a bicycle. Each time you will get a bit better until it becomes a habit.



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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Using the power of over 1,000,000 searchers

Saturadays post: A tip or a tool that I have found useful.

Social Bookmarking Sites

 There are several advantages to belonging to a site like one of the popular social bookmarking (Wikipedia) sites on the web.

The first is that if you have a major crash or buy a new computer the bookmarks that you have gathered over time are not lost. The second advantage is you can search the bookmarks of all the members of the community which in the case of is over 1,000,000 members. The third is that you can put a number of tags (labels) on each bookmark that you can use to find a site that you have saved long ago that make sense to you. So a site for music that you want to save you could tag it with the site name eg. Pandora and add tags for music, online, radio or any other tag that makes it easy for you to find it again when you need it. is not the only social bookmarking site on the web. Web 2.0 Directory : eConsultant has a list of 54 sites. Read/WriteWeb has a good post comparing some of the different sites, well worth the read.



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Friday, February 23, 2007

Fear Hides in the Closet

I remember as a child watching a movie called "The Blob" starring Steve McQueen and for a week or two afterwards checking the closet to make sure nothing was there. I even left the light on and no matter what my parents said I wasn't buying it. After a couple of weeks I was finally able to stop checking and leaving the light on. However, for years afterwards I couldn't watch a horror movie without closing my eyes at the scary part or even changing the channel. It wasn't until I was older that I was able to put a label on my fear and deal with it by putting it in its' proper perspective.

Too many times we hesitate to start something new that takes us out of our comfort zone because of the nameless fear that's hiding in our closet. If you have not taken the steps to create the life you want then maybe you need to look in your closet and name the fears that are hiding there.

Once you put a label or labels on your fears then they become something concrete that you can address and remove or manage correctly in order to move forward.

What's hiding in your closet?

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Change Requires Creativity

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein


If we keep thinking the same way as we have in the past then our future will be what we have now. Want a different future? Then we need new ways to look at a problem or a goal to find new ideas on actions we can take and would lead to a different results.

How can we do that?

Edward De Bono  a famous thinker in one of his books '6 Thinking Hats' asked business groups to think differently about a topic by imagining themselves wearing different colour hats each representing a different perspective (black- Rational, white - data, yellow - positive, green - creative, red - emotions, and blue - thinking about thinking).

We can use variations on this theme to temporarily change our own thinking.  You could imagine yourself wearing a cowboy hat and imagine how a cowboy  would think about the situation. It can be a number of different hats, styles of clothing, being a movie star role, a famous person. It can be anything you choose as long as it forces you to use your imagination to think differently about your goal or problem. Make it fun because humour and creativity are seeing the same old situation in a new way. You should have a minimum of three different perspectives in order to generate enough ideas that will give you some choices to then evaluate.

I would be interested in hearing the creative solutions that you use to change your thinking and come up with new ideas.


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Building your Personal Team

Most of us when we run into personal problems have a support team in place to help us. They may be family, friends, confidants, or even our favorite astrologer. The team was built up over time and is instantly there we need them. If you are going to buy a car few of us don't at least talk to our team, perhaps do some research or search the web for information.

What about your financial team?

When you change careers, positions, companies there are lots of financial issues to consider. Are you in a pension plan? What happens to that money? Did you get a buy out offer? What are the tax implications? Do you invest your increase in pay? Do you use buy out monies for some tax planning? What about things like disability? What happens to your coverage? You just got told you were being downsized and you will be getting the package from Personnel today for you to make decisions. Lots of questions but unless you are in the financial planning field you have very few good answers.

The time to build your financial team is not when you are in trouble but just like your 'personal troubles' team it needs to be built ahead of time. You need to trust your team. You may need to talk to a number of different financial planners, tax consultants, investment councilors, insurance brokers and so on until you find the right members for your team. It is too late when you need them right now for advice. You are not likely to be at the same company for life so you know for sure that it will happen, just not when. 

What about your career team for when change happens?

    • professional resume writer
    • job placement firm
    • references
    • your network of contacts

Being a team builder is one of the skills you need to have.

If you have other examples please comment and I will include them in a future post.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Watch your language

"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right."  ~Henry Ford

How much attention do you pay to the language you use when you are thinking to yourself? Do you use the word can't and then promptly think of something else? The language we use in our thoughts can create a better life for ourselves or stop us dead in our tracks.

Which is better?

I can't or I don't know how to yet. Can't is final and allows no discussion (powerless) whereas the the second statement says I can do something about it (options).

We can have a job (something I have to do) or we can have a career (we have choices).

You need to be careful of how you represent things to yourself so that you are reminded of your basic right of choice rather than you have little or no say in the matter.

Spend some time thinking about how you talk to yourself and whether that is holding you back from the future you want for yourself.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Everyone is an entrepreneur

The responsibility for your future lies totally in your hands. There are few jobs today that will last your working lifetime with a single company. This makes the mindset of an entrepreneur a necessary skill that everyone needs.

The key ingredient in this mindset is accepting responsibility for your own future. You need to take control of the actions that affect your future. You need to be evaluating what is happening on a global level in the areas of your interest. You cannot afford to be blindsided when the company you work for is bought out, downsized or closed down. Are your skills still going to be needed next year? What new areas are opening up with more interesting possibilities? Can you have a better more lucrative career being self-employed?

Don't wait until you are in the unemployment line, working at a burger joint or facing welfare because you are no longer employable.

If you want the best for yourself and your significant others then pay attention; it's all in your hands. Be an entrepreneur.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

No Perfect Answers

Some people need to have the answer before they can start something new. The only problem with that is that by the time they get a perfect answer the need for that answer has passed. Things can move so quickly that time becomes a luxury we can't afford.

What can you do to get going without having the answer?

I use the concept of useful ideas to take my first steps on learning something new. Instead looking for answers which requires me to ask the correct questions, I look for useful ideas that move me towards my objective. For example, as I am new to blogging, I looked for ideas that I could tie into my current knowledge. After reading a number of blogs I came across the idea that blogging was having a conversation.
This idea allows me ask myself simple questions such as who do I want to talk to, about what, when, where and how. This allows me to start learning the skill of blogging by doing it without spending a lot of time seeking a perfect solution.

So stop looking for perfect answers and get on with what you need to learn.