Engaging in activities with others leads to enhanced feelings of connectedness as opposed to the acquisition of objects, which leads to feelings of separateness. When we shop and buy things, it is usually to impress others, as opposed to immersing ourselves in “experiences” which connect us to others. This may seem counterintuitive since many of us use shopping for things as a leisure activity and welcome break in our day. However, if you ever note how you feel after purchasing a new pair of shoes or fabulous handbag, the pleasure you receive is usually short lived and unsatisfying—hence leading to the desire for more purchases in the hopes that more things will lead to more satisfaction, which it never does, but usually leads to a shopaholic addiction instead. Next time you are considering a leisure activity or how to spend bonus cash, consider the long lasting purchase of an experience over something material as much more fulfilling solution and enhanced enjoyment of your life.
Opportunities are everywhere but the trick is bringing them into your awareness field, identifying them and then acting on them. When an opportunity does come into your awareness field and you have a strong conviction about it, act on it right way! Here are my top 5 ways to identify an opportunity that should be grabbed versus an every-day event that may not have the same dramatic impact. When an opportunity is staring you in the face, here’s what you can expect:
1. Something on a gut level feels right, even if all logic dictates otherwise.
2. The event, if acted on, will further a long-held dream but likely in a way you never expected. In other words “the how” is a big surprise.
3. You have physical feelings of excitement, joy, maybe even peace, around acting on the event, but this does NOT translate to feelings of an adrenaline rush, stress or anxiety.
4. People around you may be encouraging you to move forward, but not overly so.
5. When you imagine what life would be like after the opportunity has been acted on, you feel as if “this is doable”, or a sense of comfort that stretches you a little but not too much.
What opportunities are in your path this very moment? Look for them. I’ve learned over time that they are omnipresent and as close to the divine as you can get in this lifetime.
Over the years, I’ve learned some lessons about the importance of creating agendas. Whether you’ve scheduled a half hour call or a two hour meeting, agendas are vitally important for setting priorities, keeping everyone on track, and maximizing meeting participants’ time. Even an introductory “meet and greet” session can benefit from mapping out goals and priorities in advance. Here are some quick tips for developing effective agendas while still allowing for flexibility and brainstorming to take place:
• Designate someone (preferably on your team) to take the lead in starting the agenda; circulate a draft via Google shared docs (or the equivalent) so that all meeting participants have access to add their items. This establishes a “same page” mindset and allows everyone a preliminary understanding of each other’s goals.
• Prioritize most important items first: Have a method to your list.
• If an agenda feels too formal for an introductory meeting, hold a preparatory session with your internal team and determine what the goals are of the upcoming meeting: Ask yourself and your team: What do I / we want to accomplish from this meeting? What is the best case scenario? Worst case scenario? Middle of the road outcome?
• Prepare for next steps depending on which scenario unfolds and determine in advance how you want to react to each outcome.
• Allow yourself to be open and have fun!
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It is easy to see the faults of others. In fact we can easily observe the choices others make, and actions they take to create undesirable results in their lives. However, when it comes to ourselves, we fall short of seeing “the truth”. Studies have shown that we tend to see ourselves as less self-interested, more altruistic and more important than our peers; however the same studies show that when put to the test, we are all on equal ground, acting equally as self-interested and altruistic in comparable situations.
Consider this: Although having overly positive thoughts about ourselves may have worked as a survival tactic during the hunter / gatherer days, when we were fighting (literally) for our lives, if not kept “in check”, this mindset could result in failure and an unhappy life today. What we do know is that while positive illusions about oneself do work to our advantage in many instances, (confidence and high self-esteem being necessary to make anything happen) in their extreme, they result in feelings of entitlement and the notion that we “deserve” more than those around us. This way of thinking backfires in business negotiations and will keep us from getting what we want. As a rule of thumb, if you want to reach your goals, make a habit of putting yourself, constantly, in the shoes of others. Compassion, empathy and ultimately, reciprocity, will pave the way for choices that will lead to growth in the long run, regardless of how they may appear at the outset.
Encountering setbacks is difficult no matter how strong, confident or successful we are. In my world, a setback is defined as an event that throws us in reverse, thwarts our plans or creates paralysis. It could be a rejection, a shortcoming or an oversight. Although we may have little control over the event once it has occurred, we can always control our reactions to the event. We can make “corrections.” Making corrections as we go along is an incremental yet powerful way to keep moving forward without feeling overwhelmed. With each “correction”, we come closer to achieving our goals and we gain confidence in our ability to dictate our lives and make choices that fulfill us. Making corrections requires that we “check our work” or “check in with ourselves” periodically on our preferences, our forward movement, our success.
When you make it a habit to check in with yourself once a day, once a week, or once a month, you are more likely to catch your mistakes which opens the possibility for fixing them. Your check-in checklist should consist of the following questions: “Am I getting the results I want?”; “Am I living the life I want?”; “Is my business facilitating and integrating with the life I want to live?”; “Do I feel happy?”. If you answer “No” to any of these questions, start with one correction; make a different choice; keep moving.
You may have heard of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the pioneer of positive psychology best known for his discourse on “flow” as a means for characterizing and defining happiness. In moving our businesses and projects forward, I’ve found that it can be helpful to refresh ourselves on the core values behind “flow” and why it is relevant to our success. In a nutshell, “flow” is defined as the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Put another way, the key elements of “flow” may be interpreted as follows:
1. Clear challenge that fully engages your attention
2. You have the skills to meet that challenge
3. You get immediate feedback about how you are doing at each step
All too often we celebrate the big successes but fail to acknowledge and celebrate the positive feelings we experience when meeting and achieving small goals along the way. Take a moment to take the temperature of your “mental state” throughout the day. How much time do you spend in “flow”? Can you restructure your life and your mindset to spend more time in it? Note that experiences of worry and anxiety are indicators that the challenge level of the activity is too high. On the flip side, feelings of apathy and boredom are signs that the challenge is not high enough. As entrepreneurs, we want to strive for being in the perfect state of “flow” for as much time as possible, letting others to the things that fail to take us there.
Transitions can be the bane of a motivated entrepreneur’s existence, yet they are necessary elements of growth and the key to moving forward. Ultimately, adjusting to transitions in your business or life requires a drive to push through discomfort, letting go of strategies that don’t serve us, even when there is strong temptation to do otherwise.
We often hang on to routines and rituals simply because they have been around for so long, that we might feel lost without them. We fail to ask ourselves why we are still doing the same old routine when it may no longer be in our best interests. Sometimes, we barely have an awareness at all—we act on autopilot. But the truth is that staying relevant with frequent business and lifestyle updates is the key to growth and momentum. There is a reason that as human beings, we have an innate ability to adapt to change. If only we could spend more time embracing this part of ourselves, we might expedite growth and success and reach our goals faster.
Start with small updates to your life. Try a cutting edge yoga class or a raw food cleanse. Turn your life on its ear for moments throughout your week. See how it feels and keep pushing through discomfort as much as possible. Discomfort is usually a sign of the next big breakthrough, indicating you are on the path towards getting what you want.
What if we could tap into higher levels of consciousness? And what if coincidences were really just a result of that; tapping into higher levels of the brain without having an awareness of the “how”? What if we understood how our brains create coincidences and we could create them in any moment to work in our favor? What if, indeed!
There really is no such thing as luck or serendipity—there are other, dynamic forces at work and it is our job, if we want to be happy, to trust and believe in them, and to establish optimal environments for them to thrive.
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Lonoia Murphy, Lance Brooks International
Expertise: Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Personally Speaking… Branding YOU! Organizations worldwide brand themselves. When I speak of branding, I mean the logo, colors, marketing materials (i.e., website), tone and pitch of messaging, etc. That is, the collective package that identifies who you are. For example, think about McDonald’s. The infamous golden arches alone can be spotted a mile away. You know their logo, their colors, and even that signature smell of their French fries…. Ahhhh! We usually think of “yum” when it comes to McDonald’s… Well, some of us do.
But, what about you? What’s your personal brand? What message do you send to people via the clothing you wear, the words that you express (whether by mouth or social media postings), the way you treat others or the way you allow them to treat you? This is all apart of YOUR brand.
Questions for Lonoia:
– How to increase visibility of my company and products/services on a shoestring budget
– How do I drive traffic to my Facebook and Twitter pages
Lonoia’s area of expertise:
Advertising/Marketing, Advertising/Media, Business Services, Consulting and Other
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Chapter 5: Energy Shifting
In the last chapter we talked about not forcing an outcome and releasing resistance. This chapter discusses how to shift your energy so that can happen.
Invariably, letting go of resistance means letting go of control. Letting go of control can be scary territory for many of us because it leaves us open and vulnerable to the possibilities of things happening that we may never have imagined. If you are uncomfortable with new ways of looking at things, this can seem especially daunting. The goal is to operate from a place of inner heart guidance and not from a place of control. Control represents an unnatural and inauthentic perspective, often leading to undesirable results in some area of our life (even if other areas of our lives are working using the “control” strategy). Note that when some area of our life is working using the “control” strategy, we are often mislead. We trick ourselves into believing that the same strategy can be applied to other areas of our lives with similarly positive and desirable results.
Often, however, this is not the case.