Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page

Happy New Year

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Alan Kay, computer scientist

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Plan from your passion

Last week I received the audience feedback from a conference workshop I led in November. One respondent commented anonymously:

“So inspiring, clean. Made a promise to myself as a result of this session.”

This is what I live for!

I was leading my popular session “Plan to Thrive – how to shape, track, and follow through on your best business plans,” and while it’s impossible to cover the whole planning process in the 75 minutes typically allotted for a conference workshop, I aim to give people several tools that can take them from vague and disorganized to focused and motivated, with their plan beginning to take shape even during the session.

I am passionate about helping others get in touch with the possibilities in their business so that they can get the results they want with more ease. In that workshop session I spoke from that passion, and consequently I was able to tap that passion in the workshop participants.

As you make your business plans, remember to station your passion front and center. Planing isn’t merely about making a spreadsheet of what’s possible, or worse, probable.

A good plan also touches the passion that is the source of so much energy, creativity, and focus.

A good plan will help to propel you out of bed in the morning. It will hold your passion up before you, reminding you of why you bother.

A good plan will enable you to enlist others in your enterprise, so you don’t have to go it alone.

Success requires clarity about goals and how to reach them. It requires good execution; no plan can help very much if we don’t take the steps outlined in it. And long-term, sustainable success also requires tapping into our passion.

How will your passion inform your plan for the future? What are you excited about right now? Leave a comment here.

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Wishing you all the best,

Strengthen your success with a gratitude journal

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but also the parent of all the others. — Cicero

Gratitude journalsFor years I had kept a gratitude journal — a notebook in which I recorded things large and small in my business for which I felt grateful.

I knew that great thinkers from all ages and traditions had commended the practice of gratitude. Though I was never certain how the gratitude journal “worked,” I was aware that whatever I focused on was the thing I attracted, and I continued to find the practice helpful in combating the slumps that beset solo entrepreneurs, so I recommended it to many of my organizing and productivity clients.

Recently, I encountered scientific validation for the power of my gratitude journal (see source of original study below.) As described by Dr. Martin Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness, “(the researchers) randomly assigned people to keep a daily diary for two weeks, either of happenings they were grateful for, of hassles, or simply of life events. Joy, happiness, and life satisfaction shot up for the gratitude group.”

Here’s my method for keeping a gratitude journal: Find a small notebook that pleases you. As you finish work each day, jot down a few things for which you feel grateful. Here are some of mine:

  • I am scheduled to teach the GO System workshop at (a client) next month.
  • Steve Overman wrote a recommendation for me on LinkedIn. What he wrote was warm, gracious, articulate, and deeply felt.
  • (One of my board colleagues) told me she is glad I’m president of the organization. She feels the group is more inclusive and welcoming.
  • Tonight I arrived home at 7 pm after an 11-hour day. The dog walker had already taken care of the dog. It was heaven!
  • I was able to refer (a client) to Susan Tiner for bookkeeping and financial organizing. I think it will be a great match for both of them.

Start your gratitude journal. Begin by recording one to five thoughts daily for a few weeks. Then use your journal as often as it seems helpful.

As you prepare to do a review of your accomplishments as part of your planning process, be sure to scan your journal entries to remind you of past accomplishments.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? What have you observed? Leave a comment here.

(Original study cited above: Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2003). “Counting blessings versus burdens: Experimental studies of gratitude and subjective well being in daily life.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, No. 84, pages 377-389.)

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