Perspective: Advice To My Cousin Who Is Feeling Rather Blah Today…

One of the most valuable things that I have learned in my life is that “feelings pass” and “we are not our feelings”. You are loved, adored, and damn good at everything you do. Yesterday, I had a blistering headache for hours and hours and hours. Pain meds didn’t help. Coffee, diet coke, none of it seemed to help. I was convinced that I was going to have a stroke or something ominous (you know how we get crazy in our heads sometimes). I told my friend and she said, “Oh, did you drink any water yesterday? You sound thirsty.” Huh???? I sound thirsty? I realized that I had not drunk any water for days… just coffee and diet coke. Lesson learned? When I feel like crap, take it to basic life 101 and ask myself the following questions: am I hungry? thristy? tired? Some days, I just need to be like a baby: eat, drink, and go take a nap. Thankfully, I don’t poop in my pants still!

Relationship Building

Every day you are either building a relationship or tearing it down. With your co-workers, your clients, your family: everybody. It bears keeping in mind that our actions and attitudes either grow or kill something. Little by little. Drop by drop.

Death by a thousand cuts.

or

Life by countless acts of kindness.

Turning Over Mistakes

I made two mistakes today.  None were business related, but mistakes none-the-less. I ordered the wrong thing on Amazon: twice. And then I did something unintentional while eating out.

Donk. Donk.

In general, over the past five years or so, I’ve made it a point to be a person of integrity. Despite the embarrassment, it might cause me to admit out loud that I made an error. So, I made some calls. And got a refund from Amazon and a “no problem” at the diner.

What does it mean to be a person of integrity? I think I know. It means doing the right thing even when it is awkward. Being consistent in it so that you can be counted on as a reliable person. And that is what makes people want to work with you over and over again. Because they can count on you to say what you mean, mean what you say, and own up when you make an honest mistake.

Hmmph. Who knew?

Write It Down

Today, for my work in self-improvement and therefore my business improvement, I’ve been listening to a bunch of TEDx talks by folks like David Allen and Jeff Sutherland and somebody whose name I’ve already forgotten.

That’s the point. I’ve already forgotten.

Our brains, as amazing as they are, simply can not hold all the information we need to stuff into them. Because it’s not meant to do that. It’s meant to come up with ideas. But we still try to stuff it full of things that have little to do with primal survival. Still, it tries. It’s very good at holding about four different important things at once, but if your “to do” list is longer than that (especially if you are juggling multiple projects), then you are going to drop things, no matter how well-intentioned.

So, here’s some things I’ve learned today that I will share with you (and save you a couple of hours of your valuable time in the process):

  1. Write it down. Just get it out of your head and onto either paper or a digital format that you can consistently use. You don’t have to do anything about it, but be writing it down, you’ve let your brain know that it has done its job and can move on to more creative thinking. So, put it down.
  2. Decide what to do with it. Sometimes, it may just need to sit there. Sometimes, it can be dealt with in 2 minutes. If it can be dealt with in 2 minutes… do it. Immediately. Now, that is done, you can mark it off your list and move on to the next thing. Other things may take a little time or a long amount of time. Beside each thing, decide whether you want to invest the time needed to do “the thing”.
  3. Ideas. Now you are going to come up with a bunch of ideas on how to solve the problem. Some of these will be good ideas. Some bad ideas. Every idea gets a place down on the page. Take just 2 minutes to write down all the ideas that spring to mind on how to solve the problem/task. From this a loose structure gets formed.
  4. Action steps. Based on what you just spent 2 minutes blasting out of your brain, what is the next, single, immediate thing that you can do to move towards progress. Do it. And then the next. Repeat. Repeat.

And that’s all I can remember at this moment, and proved my point. I’ve spent all morning listening to these things, taking notes, being diligent. You’d think it’d stay in my brain longer. After all, I am not a dummy.

So let’s start with what I do remember:

Write it down. We can get stuff done.

Bonus: this is the planner that I am using and am finding a useful tool. I was called a nerd yesterday when I showed it to a friend. I laughed. Yeah, I’ll take that. I’ll be a successful nerd. No problem.

Note: this is what a note written on my phone looks like with my pudgy fingers: seriously ridiculous, but I guess it’s better than trying to remember it. 😉

The Myths Inside Your Head

We all have myths inside us that we believe are true.

Myths like “eating carrots will make you have perfect eyesight”.

Or, “If I buy this franchise, I’m going to make a million dollars.”

Or, “Advertising doesn’t work, so I don’t have to do it.”

Or, “I can put off for today the work that needs doing to actually succeed at this craft.”

Or, “I’m naturally gifted, so this won’t be hard.”

Take a moment and think about the myths you are holding onto. Myths about ourselves and myths about business and our business in particular. Write them down. They are the elephants in your room/life.

wabi-sabi in your business

So often, we feel that we can not be successful until we are perfect. As a result, we balk, stifle and hold ourselves back for fear of falling flat, disappointing or embarrassing not only ourselves but others.

Consider giving yourself permission to allow the principle of wabi-sabi to flourish in your business efforts. Yes, we strive for perfection, but we are not perfect. We become more perfect in the practicing and in the doing, but until we give ourselves the freedom to do, we are frozen in our ideal and not in our expressive or creative uniqueness. So, we become stale, flat and disappointed by more and more opportunities wafting by.

For example: I have good thoughts. They can either swirl around in my head and do nothing or I can share them.

Being allowed to express them creates even better thoughts and gives insights into how I can improve the thoughts I gave voice to. I learn to listen to myself and strive to craft those ideas as perfectly as possible.

Sometimes, my ideas need tweaking.

Perhaps tweaking is a kinder way of saying “correcting” or “falling short”. A tweak certainly doesn’t sound like punishment or ridicule or humiliation.

We’re learning. Breathe deep and give yourself permission to wabi-sabi.

Let’s give ourselves the freedom to learn and grow in the process. Accepting that we will not always be perfect, nor do we have to be.

Good things will come as a result! I can feel it!

In Praise of Solitude

January 2, 2018

Food for thought today comes from an article posted that I recently read regarding the importance of being alone. The difference between being alone vs being lonely. Why society sets up “alone” as a thing to be avoided at all costs and the false, maddening logic behind it.

Sara Maitland’s School of Life book: “How to Be Alone” (I’m getting her other book as my January “read”)

Brainpickings quote,

She enumerates the five basic categories of rewards to be reaped from unlearning our culturally conditioned fear of aloneness and learning how to “do” solitude well:

  1. A deeper consciousness of oneself
  2. A deeper attunement to nature
  3. A deeper relationship with the transcendent (the numinous, the divine, the spiritual)
  4. Increased creativity
  5. An increased sense of freedom

Read the full article.

What’s Hiding in Plain Sight?

January 1, 2018
So, here we are: a new year all bright and shiny with possibilities. Full of wishes, resolutions, intentions, good vibes and hope.
This is good and as it should be. After all, we don’t sing funeral dirges when babies are born, neither should we moan and bewail the new year ahead.

For many of us, today was a day of “non work work”… you may have been recovering from a wild night, or (like me) traveling back home from holiday, or like others, using the day home to “catch up” on things that need doing. Like, I found those missing receipts I thought I’d accidentally tossed!

To start of my 2018, I’m taking a course in Simplifying Life. It is part of my “work hard when you work and be have genuine down time when it is non-working hours”… part of that intention I wrote about earlier.

The mentor speaks about discovering what’s hiding in plain sight. For me, this struck a chord for several possibilities:
1. what work opportunities are hiding in plain sight?
2. who am I bumping into and not really seeing… or listening to?
3. what is another way that I can do this project more efficiently?
4. how can I make this list have credible value?
5. where is there 20 minutes in my morning that I can carve for mindful walking?
6. how do I stretch that budget in a way I had not considered before?

It’s good stuff to chew on as I drift off to sleep and gear up for the first work week of the year 2018. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very good year!