Top 5 Posts

This week I’m sharing the 5 most read blog posts. Take a look:

  1. What Does Being Happy Mean?
    What’s the difference between “being HAPPY,” emphasis on happy and “BEING happy,” emphasis on being?

  2. The Risk and Pain of Change
    Three different quotes about the risk and pain of change, with slightly different meanings. What are your thoughts on it? (the comments here are very good)

  3. Who Are You Exercise
    When you to tell someone about yourself, what do you say?

  4. How To Choose Priorities When Everything Is Important
    Have you ever had this situation: You’re looking at the list of things you want to accomplish this week and it feels like everything really should be done today.

  5. Being Happy – The Conclusion
    This post is the end of a series that “What Does Being Happy Mean” is a part of.
    Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

And one of my favorites (and most commented on) is: Throwing a Pity Party. It walks you through how exactly to throw your own personal pity party. 😉

How Much Is Enough?

Hundred dollar billsUsually when we talk about enough, we ask ourselves something along the lines of: How much is enough money or enough possessions?

And in business the question might be: How much is enough success?

It’s almost a trick question though.

We tell ourselves: I’ll have enough when I meet this goal or reach this level. And then you’re almost there and you change the goal, you up the ante just a little bit.

The result? You never quite meet your goal – and that’s the nasty trick we play on ourselves a lot.

No wonder you’re frustrated and stressed out! You do all the work to meet that goal and once it is in sight, you move the goal just out of reach.

We do this with our time too, have you noticed?

We never have enough time to get everything done! And at the end of the day you’re not thinking about what you accomplished, you’re thinking about those tasks you didn’t have enough time to finish.

We have this pattern of raising the bar a little higher, so we never actually reach it.

And what happens when you have enough? Is that when you finally get to be happy? When your business is officially a success? Maybe it’s when you finally get to have a little more me time?

So, what is enough? That’s for you to decide. However, I challenge you to look at it a little differently.

The problem with asking, “When will I have enough _________?” is the question assumes that you currently don’t have enough!

What if you do have enough? What if you changed your focus slightly? What if you allowed yourself to be happy, successful and have me time exactly where you are right now?

What if enough isn’t something that’s out there but appreciating what you currently have?

This doesn’t mean that you don’t set goals for yourself and your business. It means you celebrate where you are and the steps you took to get here. And you look to the future for your next steps.

How does that feel? What does celebrating where you currently are change for you right now?

What does having and being enough, exactly right now change for you? What does it change for your business?

I’d love if you shared your thoughts in the comments below.

Wondering how you’ll ever go from feeling like you don’t have enough ______, to feeling like you do have enough _______? Wondering what’s getting in your way? This is exactly what the Productivity Insight Process reveals. Through this process, you’ll discover what beliefs and defaults are holding you back and how to change them. Find out more here.

Image courtesy of cooldesign /

How Do You Want Your Morning To Feel?

Portrait_Of_Pensive_WomanIt’s the beginning of your workday and you’re already frustrated and tired. You pull yourself away from your email and think about everything that has to be done today. You should make a to-do list, but quite frankly, you just don’t have time for that.

So, you mentally go through the list kept in your head and pick the most urgent task. 30-minutes in you remember that you promised to email something to someone you met networking yesterday. That should be a quick 5 minute task, so you start doing that. It takes a bit longer then expected to pull that information together and 20 minutes and a Facebook check later you’re trying to remember what you were working on at the beginning of the morning.

You get frustrated because you don’t have time to sit around trying to remember what you were doing! You suddenly think of something else that needs to get done and 15 minutes into that task you remember what you were working on earlier.

You’ve only been working for a couple hours and you’re already exhausted and frustrated and you have this nagging feeling that you’re forgetting a really important task. Annoyed, you get up and go to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee, maybe that will jog your memory.

But really, wouldn’t it be nice if your morning looked like this:

It’s the beginning of your workday and you’re calm, collected and a bit excited to get started! You look at the to-do list you created for yourself last night. There’s a couple high priority tasks that you want to do and some phone calls and emails to send.

Good thing you have systems in place for these things.The highest priority task is for a presentation late next week that you almost forgot about and some of your phone calls are to reconnect with people you talked to a few months ago – you would have totally forgot!

You smile thinking about the possible opportunities that will present themselves today and start with your highest priority task, thinking about the people that will benefit from your presentation next week as you work.

After a couple hours (and a quick break for water) you’re done with the first draft of your presentation. You put it away and head to the kitchen for a snack and a break. You’re feeling happy and looking forward to the rest of your day.

Which scenario most looks like your morning right now? Which one do you want it to be?

There’s more going on here than one person took the time to plan their day and the other didn’t. That’s more a symptom than the cause of the exhaustion and frustration.

And it’s not that one person is just more driven than the other, more committed to success (although some people might disagree with me).

The energy between the two mornings is completely different. The first morning is stressful, scattered and tiring, while the second morning is calm, confident and focused.

So, if the planning and to-do lists are just a symptom or side effect, what are they a symptom of?

Take a look at the difference in language between the two. The first morning is full of have to‘s and should‘s, with feelings of worry and stress. The second morning is want to‘s and opportunities, with feelings of excitement and focus.

Again, the language is a symptom, but it get’s us closer. Your language can give you insights to your thoughts and beliefs that might not immediately be obvious. The first morning’s thoughts and beliefs are around not having enough time. While the second morning’s thoughts and beliefs are about opportunities and effortless focus. It doesn’t even occur to her that there’s not enough time.

So, what can you do? One small change you can make is to update your language. When you hear yourself say “I have to” or “I need to” change it to “I want to.” If that seems impossible, ask what would need to happen to be able to change that to an “I want to”?

And of course there are other things you can do too. In the Productivity Insight Process I go deep with you into these topics. We identify exactly where you are and I give you a personalized suggestions for how to shift from the stressful day you’re currently having to the calm, opportunity filled one that you want.

Share with me below what your morning looks like, or what you’re going to change.

Image courtesy of iconmac /

Choose To Be Happy At Work

Choose each day to be happy at work, sounds easy and some days it is. And then there are those other days. The days where everything seems to go wrong, when you’re running around putting out fires and trying to keep people happy. Those are the days that you see a quote like:

“People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

And you laugh, cry, are annoyed or some combination of the three.

Most days fall somewhere in between. How happy you decide to be on those in between days is important, because that’s where you spend a majority of your time.

So – be happy on those days. Good luck!

Ha! Wouldn’t it be great if you could read that and then just go and be happy at work! Maybe someday it’ll be like that, but for now, it’s perfectly fine if that’s not how it works for you.

However, I completely agree with the quote at the beginning of the post.

But how do you decide to be happy each day? Especially when you’re having a day when everything goes wrong?

Late last year I attended a meeting where they had a four woman panel discussing their lessons on trying to have it all (the elusive work-life balance). These four women are all highly successful in their fields of choice, four different fields, yet there were several similarities in their responses to the various questions.

One line of questioning centered on the obstacles they’ve overcome or continue to be challenged with. The common answers were: negative self-talk, feeling like they should be farther along than they are and not knowing how to pick themselves up after running into a difficult problem.

I share the obstacles first because it’s important to note that no matter how successful someone is – their problems really aren’t that different from everyone else’s. The real difference is our own perception of them.

When talking about what they appreciate, the answers again were very similar. The two main responses were support systems and mentors. They all had both.

  • Support systems are the people that they go to when the day isn’t going well. The people they vent to (vent, not complain!). These are the people they know they can count on to be there for them in any situation and are generally peers. It’s great if you have that at your job, but if you don’t then seek them out elsewhere.
  • Mentors are the people who help them get where they want to be. They lead them on the path and let them know what to expect and prepare them for it. Mentors encourage and push them to be and do more than they thought they could. Each member of the panel had at least one mentor and were sure that they wouldn’t be where they are without them.

Another line of questioning was around them taking care of themselves.  Some of the answers included: a grateful spirit, laughter, one day a week of mindless activities, volunteering and time for self.

  • Grateful spirit – I talk about this one all the time! That’s what a gratitude journal is all about. It reminds you about what’s going right in your life.
  • Laughter – Not only does laughing instantly raise your spirits, I seem to remember reading somewhere that it’s also is a good abs workout.
  • One day a week of mindless activities – The examples used were doing laundry, getting groceries and watching TV. Her point was to do activities that weren’t related to her job and don’t required her to use the same part of her brain that her job does.
  • Volunteering – Some of this was being a mentor to others and some of it was getting out into the community to do charity work for a cause you believe in. Both gave them a sense of purpose and giving back.
  • Time for self – I was surprised that only one person mentioned this, although you could argue that the mindless activities fall into this category. This woman mentioned that it was important to her to have a little time to herself each day to exercise. And if she didn’t have enough time to exercise – she made sure she had some time to sit and relax without other distractions.

Ok, back to the original question: How do you decide to be happy each day? Especially when you’re having a day when everything goes wrong?

If you look at the bulleted items above, you’ll find some really good suggestions.

To re-iterate:

  • Support system – People in your support system are great to turn to for advice, sharing or the occasional venting (make sure it’s venting and not complaining! Give yourself a time limit).
  • Mentors – When you need some advice, are stuck, or need to get out of a funk, give your mentor a call and get their thoughts. They bring a different perspective.
  • Grateful spirit – Think about or write down the things you’re thankful for.  It’s hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a grateful spirit.
  • Laughter – It’s also hard to stay mad or upset when you’re laughing. So, go have a good laugh!
  • Mindless activities – They can take your mind off of your problems.
  • Volunteering – Doing things for others can be very gratifying and lift your mood.
  • Time for self – Sometimes bad days are an accumulation of running around doing things for other people and spending little time for ourselves (ever thought this: Wait? It’s what time?! And I haven’t had lunch yet!). When you’re having a bad day take some time for yourself to relax or just breathe (one women on the panel mentioned her 10 seconds of Zen – when she just stops, closes her eyes and focuses on breathing).

There is no one right way to be happy each day – there’s only what works best for you.  Play around with these suggestions and anything you currently do to find what works best for you.

Photo credit: smile! by seanbjack via flickr