Begin with the end in mind

Posted this piece at Manpower’s Experis page to help remind you of the importance of managing your busy life, controlling your time, making more effective decisions, and becoming more proactive, productive, efficient and balanced in the way you live your life.  Please add your comments!



Strengthen Your Leadership

Everyone can be a leader, regardless of title. You just need to be willing to step up. Many leaders are self-created, not born or designated, by their organizations.  In this link to my blog post at Manpower’s site, you’ll learn  some noteworthy behaviors that can help you be a strong leader regardless of your position within the organization.

Adjust Priorities

When emergencies or catastophes strike, cars break down, accidents occur, or health issues arise, priorities often shift on a dime. It could take just seconds to temporarily or permanently change your entire life.

As your time and attention changes to more pressing matters, what do you do with whatever is still left on your plate? How do you continue tending to the important when the urgent is so compelling?

Reflecting on the recent tragedies in the world, including the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, the major flooding, the bus accident on Route 95 in New York and other such events across the globe I wonder how people cope.  Although I had no one personally from my family, friends or professional colleagues in the World Trade Center when the tragedy of 9-1-1 occured, we were fixated with the events. Those like me, in the peripheral, went on with our lives and work and continued to focus on other priorities.

However, when it affects you personally, you may be immobilized and fixated on the necessary actions although other priorities continue to exist in your life.  Balancing your other needs and those of your loved ones is likely a challenge. For those who have lived through a death of a loved one, accident, sudden emergency, natural disaster big or small….how did you cope? What are some suggestions you have for others who may now be going through similar experiences?


A client of mine highly recommended “Mastering Rockefeller Habits“. I just placed my order for it and am looking forward to getting it in a couple of days. We will work together with his leadership team to define their core values, vision, mission and key strategies. This is a key part of strategic planning to help exponentially grow a business.

On HIGH Alert

When we’re in new situations, most of us either consciously or subconsciously go into a high alert status. We’re more aware of our surroundings and cautious to protect ourselves.

As I walked my dog this morning, I chose a different path than ordinarily because I had a little more time and wanted to explore a bit further.  When I noticed a loose totally unsupervised German Shepherd dog just ahead several houses from where I was, I immediately took precaution and ducked down a nearby street before either dog saw each other.

Surprisingly, I found a paved path behind the homes with a nice wooded area to my left. Most of the homes had fenced in yards so this looked like a safe alternative. As I walked down that path, I was startled to see a group of seven white-tailed deer bedded down under a large tree. You’d think they would be on high-alert and run away but instead they watched me and my dog gracefully stroll by. Wow, what a beautiful sight! (Wish I had my cell phone or camera with me!)

I started becoming more alert to my surroundings, both to enjoy nature and to insure our safety. I noticed several other loose dogs, a large man walking towards us (I crossed the street to walk on the other side of the road!), a friend pass by in his car and wave, and I heard an approaching motorcycle and a speeding car coming towards us. It’s amazing how much more alert I was, when I was conscious of this action!

I wonder, how often any of us get so caught up in what we’re doing, go through the motions with routine tasks, or use music or conversations to enhance what we’re doing. What do we miss when we’re not alert to our surroundings?

Especially when you’re in a new situation—a new job, new work/project team, a new route, a networking event—you can raise your awareness and be more observant. Use your eyes to see what’s happening around you (and what’s not!); use your ears to listen to conversations, sounds, and the silence; watch body language and notice the aromas in the air. Use all of your senses to zone in to everything happening around you! Listen and observe at least twice as much as you talk!  Use your senses to monitor the situations around you so that you can more consciously choose the best way to respond.

Turn it OFF!

That’s right…turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA and other electronic communication devices for the next 60 minutes!  Don’t just put them on vibrate or silent mode but turn them off (as if the battery died). During this period, fully concentrate on whatever task you have at hand. Give yourself the opportunity to perform at your best! Although you may feel some anxiety (or withdrawal) see how it affects your productivity. Let me know the difference!!

Reality Hits the Road

You may have had some sort of training along the way that helped lead you to your success, organizing, time management, goal-setting, right?

This isn’t about the basic time management skills or stress management 101.  Take those principles you’ve learned like, (Covey’s) four quadrants, (Morgenstern’s) categorizing using the A, B, C’s for your task priorities, (Allen’s) integrated system of stress-free productivity and put them to the reality test.

What happens?

Unfortunately, many of these outstanding systems don’t work. Not because they’re not effective systems, but because people don’t fully implement them. Then, they give us and resort to their old ways, sometimes thinking that their situation is hopeless.

For instance, you start your day with a list or framework of what you are going to accomplish. You know what’s most important, you know what decisions need to be made but then, unfortunately, reality hits the road—

…the phone rings endlessly, the system goes down, your boss has a crisis that needs your immediate attention, you have some irate customers, a colleague plants themselves in the corner chair in your office to talk about her personal issues, you get an urgent message from the school that one of your kids has gotten hurt, etc.

The problem isn’t about managing time; it’s about managing all these interruptions. These distract you from accomplishing what you set out to do each day and if you don’t re-prioritize on a dime, ask questions to clarify importance and timeline, focus on what’s most important, delegate, be flexible (to a point), block out distractions, and say “no” when appropriate you may increase your stress, decrease your productivity and feel dissatisfied in what you’re able to accomplish on any given day.

8 Days a Week…

As I was walking the dog yesterday in the cold rain, one of my old favorite songs came on my headset, “8 Days a Week”.  As I reflected on the lyrics, I thought about preseverence, dedication and commitment.

Although Paul McCartney attributed the inspiration of this song to two different sources, Ringo Starr and later his chaufer, the song and it’s title recognized the feeling of overwork.

So, I began wondering even further. I wonder how many people ever really experienced unwavering dedication, commitment, persistence, or perseverence “8 days a week”. I wonder what it looks like when someone is at that 110%? I wonder if it’s healthy? I wonder if it’s something to strive for?

Then, I refocus on walking the dog and think, gee, “I’m walking the dog ’8 days a week’!” Through rain, snow, frigid temperatures and the heat of summer, I get out there at least once a day and walk my dog for at least 20 minutes, usually more. If I were to bring this same level of dedication to other tasks, other goals, even my clients, what would be different?!?!

I arrived home with a renewed sense of energy. Please share your comments on this post, especially, what you are committed to ’8 days a week’ and read more at my blog post at MyPath, too.

Ask Powerful Daily Questions

If you’ve ever felt stuck, doubtful or dis-empowered, try this out!  

I’ve been using this technique recently with some of my clients and they are experiencing amazing results.  

Read the questions below and write them down so that you can keep them with you until they become second nature. Ponder  and think about the questions regularly. Talk to supportive friends, colleagues, family and your professional coach about it. Meditate and journal about these questions, too!

Question 1:   What is the easiest, quickest, and most enjoyable way to (my desired result?)

Question 2:   If I knew that it would work out in a way even better than I could imagine, what would I create for myself?

Question 3:   What is working in my life right now? (What am I grateful for in my life?) 

When you ask yourself powerful questions, such as those above, regularly and keep asking these same questions again and again,  answers will begin popping into your head (sometimes when you least expect them!).   As you continue doing this, answers will come more rapidly as you condition your thought patterns and train your brain to think more positive empowering thoughts. When your brain accepts a new possibility and negative thought patterns are blocked, more positive solutions can flow effortlessly. Rather than spending days or weeks contemplating a problem, you’ll more quickly be able to think about solutions.

Let me know how this works for you. Leave a comment on this blog!

Set Value-Based Goals

When working with successful clients, I’ve observed that those who experience the greatest levels of fulfillment and personal satisfaction as they achieve their goals, have aligned their goals with their personal values. If you follow good goal-setting practices in addition to aligning your goals with your values by writing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and trackable (S-M-A-R-T Goals) action plans, you have a better chance of success and knowing what your true priorities are.  You spend the majority of your time on what matters most to you!

The first step in the values-based goal-setting process has to start with making an inventory of your values.  Goal-setting is important but unproductive unless it is set on a foundation of your values.

Your values are the intangible aspects of life that make you feel in alignment, complete, on track, and functioning at a high level. Values are the essence of who you are. They are at your core. Although they may change over time, a life that aligns with one’s core values will feel more satisfying, even in the most difficult and challenging times. Values are the things you do that you find very attractive, an emotional state that you feel is very important. As life changes, it is important to re-examine your values. What was important to you at 20 may not be the same thing as when you’re 43.

Some examples of values include adventure, fun, service, creativity, connection, etc. When we consciously design our life to align with our values, life gets immeasurably richer — and easier! Gaining clarity of your values and designing your life around them is a process.

To discover your values, ask yourself:

  • What is most important to you in your life?
  • Then ask, what is important to you about that? What does this give you?

For example, if you answered that family is most important to you. Dig further to discover the core underlying value by asking what does family provide for you; you may find that family gives you a sense of connection, belonging or community. As you see in this example, the underlying value extends beyond family. Focus on what the value gives you to be sure you’re uncovering the core value because this will help you set your goals around your values.

Once you identify you values, choose activities or goals that are aligned with them.  When you set goals to experience more of what you value most, life gets immensely richer – and easier!

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