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Archive for July, 2008

Today I was feeling down and unmotivated. Getting irritated with myself I said, “What is going on?”

And in a moment of clarity, I realized that I don’t have a concrete, short-term goal that I’m working on. I have this amorphous, foggy sense of wanting to grow my business and serve more people. But where are the details that get me juiced up and psyched?

I learned from my coach and colleague Stefan Doering the value of defining my goal as a GAME. Why? You WORK toward a goal, but you PLAY a game. A game is something you play to win, yes. AND you play to have fun. If there is no fun, it’s no longer playing.

There is not much practical difference between setting a goal and creating a game. You have outcomes you want to achieve, and a plan to do so. The main difference is in how it FEELS.

So here is my idea for a 90-day game, hot off the presses of my imagination: Write my book and announce it to my list of 2000 ezine subscribers.

For those of you paying attention, there are two targets in that goal:

  1. Writing my book in 90 days
  2. Building my list of ezine subscribers to 2000

Lofty objectives, both. I feel fear. But is it any different than the fear I felt last night as I stepped onstage for the first time in about 15 years and performed a song on my guitar? No, and I did just fine. 🙂

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Today I’m feeling a whole bunch of “I don’t wanna!”

I had two very productive days. Do I think I “deserve” a break? Is that it? Not entirely, there’s something else.

I have a deadline today in that I will be headed out for the evening at about 4:30 PM or so. I’m feeling pressure from that deadline, and a skepticism that I’ll get done all I want to do before then. So why bother?

And it’s more complicated than that because these are not tasks I “want” to do, but tasks I feel I “should” do.

So all three of these factors — “deserving” a break, not believing I can accomplish my tasks, and feeling the “should” judgment about them — combine into a big, fat “I DON’T WANNA!”

Okay, so I’m going to do some physical exercise for about 10 minutes and see how my state of being changes…

Well, I have more energy! My attitude is a bit better. I’m psyched up for getting some stuff done. But I’m not too attracted to the idea of sitting at my computer. I rather go outside and dig some holes or move some heavy boxes. 🙂

I am aware that the “I don’t wanna!” feeling has dissipated. So what I’ll do is whenever I feel that feeling, I’ll drop to the floor and do some push-ups. And I’ll report back on how well that works.

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I’m in the middle of an Integrity Day right now, and I learned something important about myself and my relationship to time last hour:

When things don’t go according to my plan (especially when they are small, relatively inconsequential things that cause big delays), I get angry and resentful at the universe. I personalize the delay as if someone or something has it in for me.

Sounds silly in the light of day, yes. In the dark recesses of my consciousness, it runs the show.

So when the anger builds, I know what to do. It’s the same thing I do when someone cuts me off in traffic. I yell, “Roar!”

The energy is expelled, and in its place is silliness, which brings a smile to my face.

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So I came up with a new system for managing my contacts, appointments, tasks, and projects.

I identified 5 different tools I was using:

  1. Spreadsheet to manage my follow-up calls
  2. Microsoft Entourage for my emails
  3. Now Up-to-Date calendar for my appointments
  4. Now Contact for my contacts
  5. Aweber for my mailing lists

I went through each tool, describing the functions of that tool. And what I noticed was LOTS of overlap and duplication from tool to tool. So I looked at each function and chose the tool that handled that function the best (for me), and eliminated the duplication.

Today I converted this week’s “stuff” to my new system so that I can begin using it. And I had an incredibly productive day. That could be due in part to my excitement about the new system. There were some feelings of anxiety about the change — wondering if I’m actually making things better. But I think once I become used to the new way, I’ll see a clear positive shift in my energy.

What needs to be done:

  • Converting future events to the new system
  • Creating records for contacts in my spreadsheet and email that are not in my contact manager
  • Choosing where to track my business metrics that are currently in the spreadsheet

My intention is to be at least 90% converted by the end of the week.

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I have this spreadsheet I use as a call sheet for all of my clients and prospects. It allows me to know very quickly when to follow up with who, and why. It’s a great tool, yet my energy around it is often negative.

I reflected on this a bit yesterday and today, and I believe it has to do with conditioning. Over the past few years of using it, I’ve often felt like I was “behind” on my follow up calls on the spreadsheet. For any given day, I would have several calls that did not get made or emails that did not get sent, and they would build up as a backlog. So I typically related to that list as if I was playing catch-up with it. And over time, I’ve conditioned myself to feel negative (stress, resentment, overwhelmed, etc.) when I think about or use that list.

Today I will come up with a plan to break that conditioning. To somehow radically change how I relate to that list. To make structural changes to how I use it that work better for me. Possibly even get rid of it and replace it with another solution (yikes!). This may not be completed today, and it may take several tries before I find something that works better. But I’m committed to breaking the current pattern, whatever it takes.

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Today I did another Integrity Day and here’s what I learned:

  1. My tendency is to get very rigid about my plans. For example, at the beginning of the 4 hours, I planned out what I wanted to do. As I worked that plan, I discovered additional tasks that needed to be done but weren’t a part of the original plan. I felt resentment towards those new tasks but they put me “behind schedule.”
  2. I skipped my meditation in the morning because I felt like I didn’t have time. But when I noticed my resentment and resistance during the first half of Integrity Day, I decided to sit quietly for five minutes and center myself. That’s when I had my awareness about how I was relating to my plan (#1 above). And I experienced a shift that gave the second half of Integrity Day a completely different feel than the first half. And all it took was five minutes.
  3. At the end of Integrity Day, I came up with the idea to sketch out my plan in more detail next time. When the plan lives in my head, it seems very clear cut and simple. When I bring it out of my head through the doing of it, that’s when the subtleties and unexpected details appear. Many of those things can be anticipated by getting the plan out of my head and onto paper before I even begin. Couple that with a flexibility that comes from feeling centered, and I think I have a recipe for Integrity Day bliss.  🙂

I will do this for my next Integrity Day on Monday.

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How funny that I realized last week just how important it was for me to have a productive Monday…

Today the power went out and is not due to be repaired until 10 PM tonight. So I spent the morning cleaning up and going through some piles of paperwork. But it amazes me how dependent I am on electricity to feel productive. Or to say it another way, the types of tasks I judge as productive tend to require electricity.

This brought into focus the idea of life harmony, and how do I see the different parts of my life as being integrated or not.

(Some background: Lots of people talk about life balance but I find the word “balance” can be disempowering in that it implies a single precarious point, a static state of balance, which can be disrupted easily. I emphasize “life harmony” in the work that I do with my clients because harmony is synergistic and allows for change and flow.)

So what I did was intentionally view my life as a whole, not competing pieces. Big deal if I could not make phone calls or work on my computer. There are other parts of my life that integrate with those things, and today is an opportunity to focus on those.

So there are two lessons/insights for me:

  1. I can expand my sense of what “productivity” means by looking to intangibles like my relationships and my feelings. For example, visiting with a friend is productive; meditating to quiet my mind and cultivate peace is productive.
  2. I easily lose sight of how the different parts of my life are connected, but I can get that perspective back pretty easily, too. And when I do see my life as a harmony of interconnected parts, I feel more peaceful and more productive.

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