Friday, April 25, 2008

Giving It All You've Got

The other morning I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I went for a longer run than I had in, gosh, at least a year, maybe more. The day before I had watched my son run in a track meet. He had done fine, but it looked like he could have pushed himself more. In fact he later admitted that he finds it hard to push too much when it is clear that he isn't going to move up or down in terms of position. Namely when the next runner ahead of him has an insurmountable lead.

As I ran along Wednesday morning, I thought of this not in terms of my running, but all of my activities, including... making phone calls in support of Barack Obama. I don't like to phone strangers for any reason. But I believe that Barack Obama is a genuine man who still believes that the government should serve people and I find him inspirational and want to be part of people working together to change government. So I've combined that with a couple of books that I've read recently which talk about how it is good to move outside one's comfort zone. So, my way of moving outside my comfort zone has been to make a few calls in support of Obama.

It is in fact uncomfortable and the temptation is strong to quit and think of other ways, better ways??, to spend my time. But, as I ran along (the other issue came to mind as I passed an Obama 08 lawn sign), I heard in my mind those words that I had wanted to say to my son after his run, "It looked like you had a little more left to give. It looked like you could have pushed a little harder." Do I want anyone to make that comment about my life? I don't think so. And therefore, I'm going to try to continue to push my envelope.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Success Guaranteed!

Isn't that what we all want? Success Guaranteed? How many make-money-online or investment advice products have been sold guaranteeing that they will make good on some pretty outrageous promises.

The trick is to consider your own success guaranteed not by someone else's know-how, but by your determination and vision.

In one of his books, Brian Tracy asks how much energy would you put into making sales, if you were given a list and told that 90% of the people on the list would buy the product you offered. Quite a lot, obviously.

We need to feel that energy, that certainty of the final destination, the final prize. We need that jolt to get up when we've set the alarm clock extra early or when we get discouraging news. Only you can guarantee your success.

I've been focusing on some longer term goals, having seen enough flimsy get-rich-quick schemes. In doing things the 'right way', I do feel that my success is guaranteed. I know I will make it, because I'm doing all the right things and what doesn't work, I'll try alternatives.

To your success. May you also claim, success guaranteed!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good News/Bad News

Well I fell off the no complaint wagon this weekend, big time. Going to have to make another run at that one.

But the good news is that I reclaimed one pair of pants from the does-not-fit pile. I have zero breathing room, but even small steps in the right direction count.

And I already have 7.5 miles of this week's 15-miles-per-week goal. I think I'll look myself in the eyes and forgive my mistakes and pat myself on the back for the successes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Marketing, Self-Promotion, Advertising

So I’ve been told to look at what attitudes I may have about marketing and advertising. My mother HATED telephone sales people and resented them interrupting her activities. She further resented that often when she tried to say, “No thanks,” to salespeople, they didn’t take no for an answer, but instead continued to badger her. I remember her hanging up the phone and muttering about what a nuisance they were and that next time she was going to say, “Sorry my baby just fell in the toilet, gotta go!” Clearly no one who called on the phone to sell something had anything useful to offer.

And of course what did we call the advertisements that arrived in the mail? “JUNK mail.”

Similarly the door-to-door salesman were also quite unwelcome at our house. My mother would say she already had enough of such-and-such thank you and that she really preferred to buy at a store. Don’t call us, we’ll call you, or a variation of that theme, was pretty much a guaranteed response.

So it still stands out in my mind that one day when I was in late elementary school (I’m going to date myself here), I answered the door and found a stranger in a suit who asked if my father or mother was home. I was old enough to know that the suit, the fact that I’d never seen the guy and that I was supposed to fetch a parent without knowing why, all spelled S-A-L-E-S-M-A-N. I trotted off to find my father, smug with the knowledge that the salesman was doomed. My dad could dismiss salespeople without breaking a sweat, as opposed to my mother who always seemed to be put into a bad mood by the experience.

You can imagine my shock, when I heard the salesman say that he had something he wanted to offer my father AND MY FATHER INVITED HIM IN!!! This had NEVER happened before.

What I later learned was that particular door-to-door salesman was selling cable service in our neighborhood where cable had never been available before. He actually had a service to offer that my father was interested in and that my father could not get anywhere else. Wow.

While I remember that one exception, the overriding attitude of salesmen = pest, is engrained in my mental makeup and I know that it’s an attitude that holds me back. I once had a college professor who I greatly admired who had a poster of a horse’s backside. The tail was lifted and the pile of horse manure getting deposited on the ground was labeled advertising. The professor made many references in lecture to our material wants and even what we consider material “needs” are created by the world of advertisement. Damn those New York advertisers for convincing us that we need stuff that we don’t and making us forget that the best things in life are free. Advertisers produced shit, as the poster made clear.

Okay, those are my thoughts for the day. My task was to identify attitudes that we know we have that hold us back. So there is mine. Task done for the day. Tomorrow I’m supposed to think of a more useful mental model.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No Complaints – Day 2

So I had a less-than-great afternoon at work. I was in a meeting and an idea I had proposed was deemed insignificant and not worth going forward with. The person making the comment wasn’t rude about it, but it hurt. I was just about to demonize the guy in my mind. I had adjectives such as “condescending” and “belittling” on hot stand-by when I remembered my vow to go one week without complaining, either out loud or in my mind.

So instead I limited myself to simply stating how I felt, “not good” and “like it wasn’t worth trying,” “discouraged,” and “embarrassed.” I realized that this is the sort of switch that therapists and social workers recommend we make during verbal arguments. It’s recommended that instead of stating, “You humiliated me,” that you would say, “I was embarrassed.” I have never heard any psychologist suggest that you stay away from, “you humiliated me,” in your own mind. But really, why not? I mean isn’t the way we phrase thoughts to ourselves just as important. Sure the other person can’t hear those thoughts, so they don’t get defensive. BUT.... what about us? By stating those negative feelings as a complaint and blaming the other person involved, don’t we confuse the real issue?

After this reflection, I took a walk in the beautiful spring air, then packed up to head home. On the ride I listened some more to The Millionaire Mindset. Ol’ Harv was talking about how to grow and become more successful, one MUST go outside your comfort zone. Going outside your comfort zone means being Uncomfortable. But we should remember
1) no one ever died from being uncomfortable and
2) if we are uncomfortable, this means we ARE pushing ourselves and we should pat ourselves on the back.

Well, yippee, I felt like crap today. Congratulations, Diana! Way to move outside one’s comfort zone. Of course I did it somewhat unintentionally as I did not expect this reaction I guess to truly move beyond my comfort zone, I would have to make a counter proposal to the same guy who dismissed my first idea. I’ll consider it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Latest Personal Challenge

This morning as I drove to work, I was listening to the audio version of, The Millionaire Mindset and an "action item" caught my attention. The to-do? The challenge?

Go one week without complaining, either out loud or in your head.

I thought, well I'm a positive person, I can do that. Until I remembered that 30 minutes earlier I had been complaining. Granted I had ended the complaint by saying, "well at least they.... and that's a good thing." BUT..... it was still a complaint. So I vowed to give it a try, from this Monday morning commute till next Monday morning commute, I will not complain, either out loud or in my head.

So whereas last Monday I complained about the weather a lot, today I am celebrating that spring is arriving and the air is gentle once again. Every day gets a little longer. My jeans are a bit looser and so my step must be a bit lighter.

Any day now the daffodils will be in bloom. I LOVE daffodils

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Twenty-one Minutes

According to my laptop battery I have 21 minutes left before... I like the fact that the battery indicator doesn't actually complete the thought. It simply says: Total battery power remaining 26%, total time remaining, oops now 18 minutes. As though the world will end when my laptop dies.

Still being short on time is a big issue for me. I'm trying very much to focus on the small amount of effort that gets the majority of results. I've heard of the 20/80 rule, that 20% of the people, get 80% of the pay. Or that 20% of your efforts get 80% of results. I know for a fact that this applies to my hair, though the ratio is probably more 5-10% effort gives 90% results. I can style my bangs and that makes the biggest difference, making sure they aren't sticking out at ridiculous angles. The rest of my hair takes forever to dry and I've had times that I did nothing to it where it looked better than when I spent a half-hour trying to control what happened.

I just wish all of my tasks were so easy to see where the big payoff comes from. I guess I'm think the baby carrots and cut celery and apples can probably boost my family's daily fruit and vegetable intake with only a tiny effort. But when it comes to learning?... How do you know which books, speakers, websites are going to return the biggest investment?

I guess you can't know ahead of time, but only can evaluate it periodically. I have been trying and I think now, upon reflection, that I'll step up the policy, of unsubscribing to newsletters and promotional notices. Processing email, just takes too darn long. I've also discovered that simply by hitting "This is Spam" button for Nortan AntiSpam in Microsoft Office is helping. I tried it in desperation as more and more emails were offensive and disgusting, not to mention a waste of my time and I will say that I'm now getting less trash.

11 minutes remaining... Oops after spellcheck, 9 minutes remaining.

I think I'll close with an affirmation. One good way to be efficient is to remain calm and I have found that simply stating, 'I can handle it. I'll find time. I can handle it,' can actually help me remain calm in nerve-wracking, stressful meltdown moments.

Gotta go, battery is threatening shutdown. I can handle it.