3/30/2008

Taking Daily Action: The Results

You've heard it said before, "if you want to be successful, you must take daily action." We know that if we move in the direction of our goals everyday, we bring ourselves one step closer to achieving what we want. Head knowledge is great information to have but let me provide you three examples of individuals who have taken daily action and how they have benefited immensely from this practice.

Jerry Seinfeld
According to Forbes Magazine, Jerry Seinfeld was the wealthiest celebrity in 1989 generating more than $267 million dollars in earnings. He also was awarded an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his comedic accomplishments during his professional career. Seinfeld was one of the most watched shows on television. This man has truly reached a level of success only enjoyed by few people. Before reaching that level of success, Jerry Seinfeld developed a habit that helped to chart his course. Lifehacker.com describes a meeting between Jerry Seinfeld and Brad Isaac. Brad asked Jerry what he must do to become a great comedian. Jerry explained that he had to write better jokes to become a better comedian. Jerry than began to detail how he would use a large wall calendar as a method to remain disciplined. Everyday that he would write jokes, he would put a big red X on the calendar. After several weeks of being consistent, he would develop a chain of red Xs. Once you have a chain going, the key was to not break the chain. Jerry made sure to emphasize to Brad that to make this method work, you must not break the chain.

Jack Canfield/Mark Victor Hansen
Who hasn't heard of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? With over 100 million copies in print in over 47 languages, the Chicken Soup series is one of the most popular book titles to date. Jack also appeared in the DVD version of The Secret detailing how success can be obtained via the Law of Attraction. Positive thoughts were not the only tools he used for success. I remember listening to an interview were he detailed his desire to sell 1 million copies of his books. At one point in time, both Jack and co-author, Mark Victor Hansen, were experiencing results just short of what they desired. They asked themselves how they could achieve the level of 1 million books sold. Not knowing the answer to this question, they went to the experts who have sold at least 1 million books in search of any obvious commonalities. After interviewing a countless number of successful authors, Jack and Mark uncovered the a major pattern. Most of the authors participated in daily interviews promoting their books. Once they found out that "secret," they decided to follow in the footsteps to take consistent daily action to reach the level of success they have today.

Steve Pavlina
Those of you who are not familiar with personal development blogs, the name Steve Pavlina may not ring a bell. A former game programmer, Steve began to detail his insights on personal development in 2004. Since then, his blog has become one of the most inspirational and popular on the internet. He even posted his financial success from his blog. He's making upwards of around $30,000 a month by sharing his valued insights on personal development. One of his most notable posts is 30 Days to Success. In this post Steve talks about how he uses a "do it every day" mentality for 30 days in order to instill a new habit or to achieve maximum results. He even provides details of several 30 day trials that he has completed in the past and the results.

So there you have it, concrete evidence of the benefits of daily and consistent action. You now have a choice to make. Are you going to commit to taking some type of action every day to reach your goal or are you going to give sporadic efforts in hopes of realizing the results you want? Take a quick moment and determine which action(s) would bring about the most powerful results for you and start your 30 day trail. Action speaks louder than words.



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3/22/2008

When was the last time you congradulated yourself?


I recently uncovered a habit I developed of letting others know of my accomplishments. Not in the healthy way of sharing great news with others. My tendency was to notify others of all of my small victories every step of the way. I was doing this to get some sort of affirmation from others of how great of a job I was doing. Those affirmations kept me moving forward with my progress. Was my habit of praise panhandling a negative thing? Not necessarily, but the motives behind my actions were causing me to become dependent of the acceptance and praise of others as a major motivator.

Once I realized what I was doing I immediately decided to develop the habit of congratulating my self for my accomplishments.....aloud. Yes, that's right, I congratulate myself for both my small and major victories. In doing so, I would not constantly seek out the reaffirming words of others to keep me going.

This past week I was working on a tedious project at work that requires a ton of data mining. I was able to focus my attention long enough to get a bulk of the work done. One of the senior managers who would benefit directly from the information walked by my office just as I was completing a major section of the report. I wanted so badly to call her in and tell her about all of the work I had done. If I had done so, she would have congratulated me on my progress and told me how good of a job that I was doing. The kind words would supply some motivation but the motivation would be of the external variety and short-lived.

I decided that if I were to get motivated, it would absolutely have to come primarily from myself. Not only that, I would have to genuinely receive my congratulations just as it were coming from someone else. I could not discount the praise simply because I was the one providing it.

When I congratulated myself for the work I did, it went something like this:

"You did a great job maintaining your focus and concentrating on a high valued activity. The information you gathered will make a huge impact on the effectiveness of the business. As you keep up that determination you will find it easier to get more done in shorter amounts of time. You'll have that project done even before the deadline. You are awesome! Keep up the good work."

When I give personal praise, I can talk about obstacles I overcame like procrastination or constant interruptions. I can get into the details that someone on the outside looking in may not be aware of. Therefore, my congratulations means more to me than one given to me by others.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with receiving a kudos from your boss, friend, or family member. But relying solely on this type of praise is insufficient and addictive. You soon find yourself telling everyone every little thing you did just to get a small amount of praise. This gives too much power to others and takes away the power that you have to motivate yourself.

Starting today, make yourself your number one fan. If you do something wonderful, even if it is a small step, acknowledge it. Tell yourself how great of a job you did when you avoided snacking, woke up earlier, completed your do-to list, etc. Do not forget to list all of the details of how you did it and how well you did. Once you make yourself the primary source of your praise, any external recognition will just be icing on the cake.



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3/16/2008

Giving away what you really need

My last post was my perspective on some profound lyrics I heard from a song. The lyrics went something like this:

"Sometimes we hold on to the things we don't want"
"Sometimes we give away what we really need"

Giving to others is an act that we tend to regard highly. But I do not believe the songwriter was describing the type of giving that involved physical possessions. I suspect that he was talking about things we need much more than our physical possessions.

*We give away our power when we allow someone's words to affect our behavior.
*We give away our future when we speak negatively about our current circumstances.
*We give away our potential when we allow someone else's opinion to hold us back.
*We give away our true nature when we suppress the little voice within us.

Giving is an admirable act but we need to be aware of how easily we can fall into the unfortunate circumstance of giving away more than we bargained for. What you need to remember is that you have complete control over what you chose to hold on to or to give away. Keep in mind that choice is a very powerful thing. As soon as you are able to accept this statement as true, you can begin the liberating act of taking back the things that you really need. Once you have taken them back, make sure you hold on to them for dear life.



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3/08/2008

Holding on to the things that we don't want


I heard these words in a lyric the other day and I had to stop and think about how true those words were to me. My first thought was to immediately dismiss the phrase as something that did not make much sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that we hold on to the what we do not want all the time. I thought of some examples of things we do not want such as:

* We do not want to carry around extra weight
* We do not want to be known as a shy person
* We do not want to struggle financially
* We do not want to be in a destructive relationship
* We do not want to be unhappy

The list goes on an on. I am sure that you can easily add to this list the things that you do not want in your life, yet you are holding on to them and shamelessly keeping them around. You may ask yourself, "why would I want to hold on to unhappiness if I do not want to be unhappy?" I actually do not know the answer to this question. You may have an answer for it, you may not. If after pondering the question you find yourself without a valid answer that satisfies you, then you have the responsibility to do what you must in order to let go of what you no longer want.

If you had an old smelly couch sitting in your living room that you no longer wanted, and you were given the opportunity to get rid of the old thing and get a modern couch and more fits your decor, would you hold on to the old couch? Would you give up the opportunity of having what you really wanted for holding on to something that was old and useless? I hope your answer would be no.

My point is that if you want to lose weight, every time you chose an option that feeds your overweight nature you are holding on to what you do not want. If you do not want to be a shy person, every opportunity to become more social that you turn down is your way of holding on to what you do not want. If you no longer want to struggle financially, every time you spend frivolously or take on consumer debt you are keeping your current situation the way it is today. You get my point.

So now is your time to reflect. Look at every area of your life that you say you want to change. As long as your choices consist of doing (or not doing) the same things over and over again then what you are really saying is "I hate the fact that....but I will be doing the same things that cause it to be so!" So what you really need to do is take inventory of what old smelly couches are just sitting around messing up your physical or emotional ambiance. Find that ragged old thing and chuck it! Make sure that everything you do brings into your life exactly what it is you want and (finally) let go of the rest.



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