Category Archives: Career

Visualizing Your Success

Watching the Olympics last night, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. Many of the women about to compete in the hurdles competition were swinging their arms and seemed to be talking to themselves while they gazed down the track. What they were most likely doing was visualizing their race – running it in their minds before they physically ran it. And by doing so, they were seeing themselves winning by projecting success in their minds before the race.

Visualizing success this way is not new. Sports coaches do this regularly when they are coaching their teams. In one of his many interviews, Michael Phelps mentioned that his coach “taught him to use his imagination” – probably starting when he suggested to Phelps at age 11 that one day he would be on the Olympic swim team.

Many health, career and life coaches also teach their clients to imagine succeeding to make success a reality.  Self-improvement gurus often tell clients to “act as if” what they want to happen has already happened. The Secret is built on this premise – that by keeping a thought in your mind, you will attract that wish into your life.

Anyone can use this to succeed at whatever they want. The question is, why doesn’t everyone use visualization to attract everything that makes life delicious? Instead, so many of us project things that we don’t want – worrying about the future, or living in the past.

But it’s easy to turn things around – just start today by visualizing something that you really want and seeing yourself getting it. Imagine your new job in the most ideal work environment, surrounded by people that you like and appreciate. Imagine finding that significant other, and how wonderful and beautiful they are and how they make you feel. Imagine yourself in the best shape of your life and enjoying your strong, healthy body. The clearer your picture is of your goal, the more likely the chances you will achieve it. If you can see it, and stay focused on how you can achieve it, you will find and seize it when the opportunity arrives.

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Loving Your Work Too Much

It’s one thing to love your job. It’s another if you can’t seem to tear yourself away from it – obsessively checking e-mail outside of the office, calling in while on vacation, or even not wanting to take a vacation.

If this sounds familiar, you may be a workaholic. Pick the Brain has a good article about  work getting in the way of life that can help you determine if you are a workaholic, and tips for how you can start to overcome it.

Day 31 – Review and Renew

It’s the last day of 2007, and everyone is getting ready to start fresh with a new year. What will you do differently?

First, acknowledge yourself for everything that you’ve accomplished over the past 365 days. If you have a list of goals that you wrote out at the beginning of the year, look over them and see how you did. Were you able to accomplish everything you wanted and more? Or did you fall short? If you did what you wanted, give yourself a nice pat on the back for all the good work you did over the year. If not, think about why you fell short. Maybe your goals were too ambitious, or maybe you didn’t focus on them on a regular basis. Whatever you decide, see how you can do better next year.

Then take the time to renew your list of goals, adding on fresh priorities and getting rid of old ideas that no longer suit you. The more specific you can get about what you want, the better your chances for achieving it. Then keep your list where you will be able to review it on a daily basis to keep your goals top of mind.

What are your goals for 2008?  How do you plan to achieve them?

Day 21 – Plan the Future

Did you acknowledge yourself yesterday? If not, please go back and do that exercise first before you work on this one. If so, good job! Don’t forget to recognize yourself on regular basis.

What do you want to accomplish next year? Do you have specific goals in mind? Start making them a reality by writing down a list of everything you could possibly imagine happening – and even some things that you think are unimaginable. Pick out your top goals and write them in a list that you can post some place where you will see them on a daily basis. To reinforce this exercise, for each goal you can write out a list of reasons why it is important for you to accomplish it. This way, you will have greater reasons to go for them.

Where is your roadmap?

I gave a speech at my Toastmasters meeting this evening based on a quote that I received in e-mail today. The quote:

People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going

-Earl Nightingale, author The Strangest Secret, Lead the Field.

Imagine hitting the open road without a map to reveal where you’re going. It’s the same with trying to succeed without explicit goals established. But once you take the time to write down your goals and action steps to obtaining these goals, you’re more likely to find the professional and personal successes for which you strive.

After receiving it, I realized that I made some major mistakes when I set my goals this year. And I wanted to share some thoughts about how to set better goals so that people don’t make the same mistakes that I made:

1. Get clear on what you want

The more detail you can visualize for a specific outcome, the more likely it is that you can make it happen. That’s because you can actually “see” it in your mind.

When you can visualize yourself shaking the hand of your new boss as you get the job offer, crossing the finish line of the 5k run doing your best time ever, or approaching the podium to receive your first award for Best Table Topics, the goal is so clear to your mind. You can almost see your future before it happens. Visualizing each detail helps you create your own future.

Even if you don’t have all of the action steps that you need to take, the clearer your goals are, the easier it will be for you to achieve them.

2. Write them down and post them somewhere visible

Writing down your goals is a powerful act. Once you translate your thoughts into ideas that go on paper, you are much more likely to achieve whatever it is you set out to do. When you can see it on a regular basis, you are constantly reminded of what it is you want to achieve. That way, it never strays from your mind.

The good thing about at least writing down your goals is that you can sometimes still get them accomplished by just putting them out into the universe. You make them real by taking them out of your head and putting them on paper. Even though I had lost track of my goal list, I had accomplished about half of my goals. But just half – imagine what would have happened if I had posted my list somewhere that I could see every day. What might I have done?

3. Refine your goals

Sometimes you may not have all the details, or once you start working towards a goal, you’ll see that it’s not exactly what you wanted in the first place. That’s ok. It’s better to start acting and correct your direction as you are making progress than it is to wait until you have all of the details.

You could wait forever for the perfect plan to suddenly come to you, and then where would you be? You’d still be at square one, waiting for inspiration. Meanwhile, you would not have learned by experimenting with what wasn’t quite right. Better to fail forward fast than to wait until you perfect your vision.

4. Set time limits

It’s not about just wanting to accomplish a goal; it’s also important to define when you want to accomplish it. When do you want to be a published author? When are you planning on achieving your competent communicator designation in Toastmasters? By when do you want to make a million dollars? All of these time frames will help you determine what steps you need to take and by when you need to take them to achieve everything you want in life.

How to attract “great” in your life

Attached to my tea bag this morning was this quote:

“To be great, feel great and act great.”

The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like – so, accordingly, if you feel and act great, you will become great. This is the theory.

But even if you don’t believe in the Law of Attraction, don’t you feel better when you’re focused on what’s working? Or, as I like to ask people, what’s new and good in your life?

If you take a look at whatever that is, your mood will naturally lift, and you will smile more often. As you walk down the street, your smile will attract other smiles – your positive energy inspires others and causes them to smile, too. And then, there you are, all silly-grinning, wondering why you’re so happy. And it was all because you started thinking about the new and good things in your life.

Work vs. Prison

Recently, I received one of those “funny” e-mails – this one was about work and compared it to prison

Work vs. Prison: Just in case you ever get these two environments mixed up, this should make things little bit clearer.

@ PRISON – You spend the majority of your time in a 10X10 cell
@ WORK – You spend the majority of your time in an 6X6 cubicle

@ PRISON – You get three meals a day fully paid for
@ WORK – You get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it

@ PRISON – You get time off for good behavior
@ WORK – You get more work for good behavior

Etc.

Sure, work isn’t fun every day, but comparing it to prison? At least you can leave when you want to. And as far as I’m aware, most jobs are “at will” situations – you and the company both have the right to terminate the relationship whenever you want and for whatever reason – and you don’t even have to give a reason.

Why should you work in a job that you hate? Most people spend eight hours a day at work. Assume seven or eight hours for sleeping and the rest of the time for meals, relaxation, time with friends and family. Half of your waking life is spent at work. Wouldn’t it be better to find work you love, or learn to love the work you have instead of wasting energy hating it?