A Tap on the Glass

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 118 - In Search of the New Alpha

by Michael Darling

The Alpha at the Office

So who is the Alpha Dog is your office?

I would bet that most employees can instantly name who it is.

I’m talking about the one that everyone looks to for leadership in tough times; the one who models the traits of what the ideal employee behaves like for the organization.

The Alpha sets the default behaviors for the rest of the office even if the employee handbook says something entirely different... particularly in these areas:

  • Checking your personality at the office door
  • Truly disconnecting from email while you’re on vacation
  • Talking about your personal life at work
  • Experiencing shame for not having the perfect answer
  • Keeping your head down and pay your dues
  • Making bold offers for change

Also the Alpha sets the tone for every staff meeting, influences the outcome of every significant project, and has a major impact on performance in meeting their annual goals.

People look up to the Alpha and most look to them as someone who has it dialed in and is doing things “right”.

They’re often a symbol of greatness for what they “could be” one day.

But there’s a downside.

 

What the Alpha Used to Be

When I started my career, the Alpha was the professional who dominated the conversations, got their way, and crushed by the opposition.

They’d work their way to the top by self-sacrifice (as well as sacrificing a few careers of others).

Their road to the corner office was paved with the blood of direct reports they stepped on as well as other executives they’d forced out through early retirement, RIF’s, and dramatic re-orgs.

Life as the Alpha was full of paranoia.  There was always a young buck lurking somewhere down the totem pole waiting to take your place.

To remain the Alpha you had to defend yourself daily and that sets off an immense amount of undesirable stress.  I can personally remember being afraid to go on vacation because I was concerned that someone would “steal” my new account right from underneath me or hijack credit for my successful project.

This path served its purpose and wasn’t all bad.

But now thankfully there is something more powerful emerging in the Corporate World…

 

The Emergence of the New Alpha

The reign of the Alpha as we know it is coming to an end, and welcoming the rise of a new kind of professional….

The Old Alpha:

  • was isolated
  • saw everyone as a potential threat
  • obsessed over making strategic moves in the bureaucratic political structure of the organization

They experienced the Office as a chess match.

The New Alpha:

  • builds alliances
  • seeks collaboration
  • focuses on grass roots movements
  • and making bold offers

They see the Office as a place of possibility.

The New Alpha doesn’t focus on getting to the top, then defending their position; instead they focus on making an impact in their current role and letting the chips fall where they may.

They recognize if they don’t reach the level they want, they’ve got leverage and plenty of options.

The New Alpha gets a good night sleep while the Old Alpha stays up at night stressing over what move they’ve got to make next to stay afloat.

And in case you’re wondering, I’ve been both…

 

The 21 Traits of the New Alpha

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this, and I think you’re going to find this helpful.

Here are the 21 Traits of the New Alpha at the Office.

Identify which ones you find in yourself and then identify the ones you’d like more of:

1.    Grit – Recognizes that life’s not always easy and doesn’t expect it to be. When life gets tough they don’t throw the towel in and say “that’s just the way it is”.  They respond with “it’s just a matter of time”.

2.    Laughs (at themselves) – It’s almost impossible to make fun of the Alpha because no one can make fun of them like themselves.  They have no problem making jokes at their own expense.

3.    Optimistic – They’ve learned to be optimistic about working in Corp despite the red tape and frustration.  They know that optimists are higher achievers and have better health.    They realize that learned optimism is real and that you’ve got to work at it.

4.    Negotiates (in every moment)- The Alpha doesn’t just accept anything on their to-do list.  They rarely deal in “yes” or “no”.  They understand that there’s always a window to create a win-win versus win- lose.

5.    Listens Deeply – They practice listening for the real story behind the story.

6.    Self-Knowledge- They’re fully aware of their own strengths, passions, and values.  This knowledge allows them to make confident decisions about their career and know when to ask for help.

7.    Leads (before They’re Ready) – They show up at work acting like the boss even before they’re appointed to the position.  They embody the mindset of the business owner even from their cubicle walls versus being stuck the mindset of the employee.

8.    Speaks up – They’re not afraid to call out the elephant in the room.  Speaks openly about the taboo, insidious issue infecting the office (burnout, working conditions, a crushing work load)

9.    Vulnerable – Being vulnerable and laying it on the line is one of the most courageous things you can do at the office.  It’s the Alpha’s secret weapon for connecting in almost any situation.

10.  Tells a Good Story – They believe in the value of a well told story and don’t let knit-pick facts get in the way.

11.  Generous – Seeks to serve first before seeking gain.  The Alpha points out the strengths and contributions of others yet is not afraid to toot their own horn as well.

12.  Maintains Integrity – They know deep down that they must keep their integrity of everything else doesn’t amount to much.

13.  Lifts up Others – Only crushes them when playing on the corporate basketball and softball team.

14.  Takes InitiativeThey move a head in spite of their own fear to solve the problem plaguing the office.  They starts “doing” when everyone else is still waiting for permission.

15.  Rests – The Alpha doesn’t judge himself/herself or others for resting long and hard.  In fact, they look up to fellow employees that can ignore the judgement and call it an early night.

16.  Seeks Collaboration – They can go it alone but find joy in working with collaborators.

17.  Intelligent Risk Taking (and knows which risks to take) – They recognize a smart gamble when they see one and take pride in going for it.

18.  Intentionality – They avoid meaningless goals and sets daily intention for making things happen versus getting this done.

19.  Maintains Mentors – The Alpha identifies strong mentors along the way.  They know they have blind spots no matter how far they rise.

20.  Authentic – The Alpha hates compartmentalizing life.  They finds work much easier and more fulfilling when they bring their entire self to work.  A bright spot in their day is modeling this for others.

21.  Humility – The Alpha believes in karma and finds grounding and comfort in “this to shall pass”

As a next step, write down the top 1 Alpha trait the resonated with you.

Write it down on a post-it note and keep it beside your computer as a reminder of what you’d like to bring to your work day.

 

Thank for reading…

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 117 - Focus

By Michael Darling

Welcome back…

We were taking some key points from a book a couple of weeks ago by Robert K. Cooper..and discussing “direction, not motion.”

Well, that takes an incredible amount of FOCUS, but not time .

Look at this way this way:

If you’re in an open well-illuminated room, you see details and find your way around the room easily. And, if there’s a steel door at the other end of the room, you see how to get there,  the type of door handle and even how to open it.

But consider this… what if that big steel door is locked?

Well then, it doesn’t really matter how long time-wise the light is on in the room, you’re not getting through the door without a key. But, what if you could focus all the light in the room into a super-small beam of light — a laser? You could take that focused light and cut your way right through the door.

A little bit of sci-if there, but I hope you get the point.  It’s the power of FOCUS.

So, it’s confession time:  I tend to spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Just being there makes my brain think I’m working, even if that’s not really the case.  I spend a lot of time in the office “working,” often. But  I’m truly not as focused as I could be. Sometimes I check email too often … or do important but not urgent tasks … instead of bearing down and focusing on the project that’s due next.  That’s my ADD kicking in and I’ve talked before in these columns about the 20 minute program that works effectively for me, when I let it.

Everybody has their own way of doing it.  We all know how to focus. Work in 30-minute intervals … no email … turn off social media … let the dishes sit … etc. The real trick, is simply deciding  to actually focus.

Looking through Cooper’s book, here’s the kicker …

According to Dr. Cooper, to be effective, you must learn how to focus “in advance and [emphasis mine] as it unexpectedly appears.”  What I think that means is that before you ever walk into your office or open your laptop, decide which project you will focus on … and for how long.

And, when unexpected things pop up, you must learn how to decide quickly whether or not to focus on the new situation or continue your work. That choice relates to the first point the book brought up, the direction you want to go.

For instance, if I am working on a project and a call comes in with something to be done, do I stop and jump? For me, the answer may be a no or it may be a yes depending on the nature of the request , but mostly it would  be a no. In fact, if I’m in my 20 minute cycle, my door is usually closed and everyone knows me well enough to leave me alone. That way, the temptation is avoided to jump to a new project.

This is only possible because I decided in advance what was a priority and what deserved my focus at the moment. I am the only one who gets to decide who gets my focus. Period. Sound idealistic? Sound impossible? That’s for you to decide.

So What?!  (ahh..there it is again…)

Here’s something practical you can do to increase focus. It’s something I’ve done for years. Try it this week to see if it helps you, too …

At the end of your work time, sit down and take five minutes to write out a list of five to six things you need to get done the next day.  Not next week or next month.  The next DAY.

Then, prioritize them. And, I mean actually write down the order in which they need to be done to get you moving in the direction you want to go. By doing this the night before, you give your subconscious brain a chance to start working on the list while you sleep.

And, it will be much easier to focus because you’ve already decided what needs to be done and in what order. Now, it’s just a matter of checking off the list.

Get Out of Your Own Way by Dr. Robert Cooper.  His book outlines issues on Capacity, Energy and Impact…all with great lessons on how to live YOUR life better…

I recommend it heartily..


 

Thanks for reading…

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 116 - What's Steering Your Ship?

by Michael Darling

This article was written a few years ago by Art Bochanek, an old friend of mine who lives up by the Great Lakes in Michigan.

Normally a man of few words but intense focus and direction, it tells me he's been thinking a lot more about things lately.

I think Art has a great perspective that was worth sharing as we look at a new year and the new challenges that 2014 will bring us….

 

One of my great joys and pleasures is a sailboat my wife and I own named "Attitude".

When Attitude was hauled from the lake last fall, I had the marina crew remove her rudder so we could recondition it over the winter. Its fiberglass skin was delaminating a bit and I wanted to stop the problem before it weakened this critical component.

Last week, I went to the shipyard to pick up the rudder. I knew it was big (it stands almost 5 feet, even without the rudder post), but I had no idea how HEAVY it was--over 300 pounds.

I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, it's responsible for steering over eight tons of fiberglass, steel, aluminum and people through the water. It needs to be strong. I need to trust it to take the strain and endure the pressures placed upon it.

As heavy as it is, it's still less than 1/50th the size of the vessel it steers. It's an interesting ratio--a 300-pound rudder guides 53 times its own weight.

It made me think about what steers our lives. What experiences, skills or values allow us to direct our destiny? What's 'under the water' that doesn't always show but is absolutely critical to our direction and progress?

I believe our rudder is our values.

We are the captains of our ships (our lives).

We choose our destinations (goals). We plan and execute tactical decisions. We use the tools, skills and equipment to the best of our ability. We train, motivate, direct and inspire our team (crew). We need dedication and commitment to take us through the storms as well as the shallows that lie in our way.

When we know what's really important to us, we can act with confidence and integrity. Understanding and prioritizing our values makes decisions easier. It makes us who we are.

This winter, as I'm rebuilding Attitude's rudder, I'm also revisiting my values--and making sure I'm living my life in keeping with them.

As I reinforce, spruce up and polish my boat's rudder, I'm doing the same thing with my values--making sure they're clear, properly ordered and STRONG.

I have complete confidence that my "Attitude" will continue to steer me in the directions I want to go for many seasons to come.

 

Here’s hoping that your rudder is strong and your course is clear in the year ahead!

Thanks for reading…and Happy New Year!

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 115 - Who Are You?

By Michael Darling

Whenever you isolate many different types of people into one workspace, chances are you'll have some personality clashes. Some behaviors, such as those listed here, are annoying but not necessarily toxic. 

But what IS important is to not only approach irritating colleagues carefully, but also to remind ourselves to avoid situations that make us difficult to work with.

We all have our pet peeves. Do you see yourself in any of these?

(Disclosure: The author of this post is guilty of at least two three of the following workplace transgressions.)

The Forgetful Borrower
This person borrows staplers, highlighters, tape and other things from others' desks and forgets to return them. Worse, he or she may not even ask to borrow them.

The Slacker
There always seems to be one team member who is content to let everyone else do the work, but is always there to take the credit. Nothing de-motivates a team more than seeing someone loudly and publicly praised for a halfhearted effort. Part of the joy of teamwork?

The Martyr
"Doesn't anyone else work around here?" "If I don't complain, no one will know how much I'm doing!" "No one understands me anyway, so why bother?" These are just a few common "martyr-isms". Don't be that coworker.

The Passive-Aggressor
Though not openly complaining that someone else isn't working as much, The Passive-Aggressor still can't resist mentioning how late he or she stayed last night or commenting on his or her "insane" amount of work. The Passive-Aggressor may also leave vaguely threatening notes on the office fridge or in the bathroom..

The Drama Queen/King
"The term 'drama queen,' or less frequently, 'drama king' is usually applied to someone with a demanding or overbearing personality who tends to overreact to seemingly minor incidents," WiseGeek explains. "Psychologists might describe a drama queen or king as a neurotic personality with histrionic tendencies, meaning they tend to become needlessly dramatic whenever order is disrupted." Needless to say: not fun to work with.

The Indiscriminate E-mailer
Whether it's a document relevant only to a few people in the department or yet another "hilariously cute photo" of his or her cat sticking its head out of a box, The Indiscriminate E-mailer doesn't consider how necessary the message is before CC-ing everyone in the company or forwarding it to coworkers.  (By the way…if I get ONE MORE of those DAMN chain letters……………………………………….!)

The Suck-up
The Suck-up can't wait to find a new way to be recognized by the boss. This coworker is always there to remind the boss just how wonderful he or she is, even if it's at the expense of others. There is a fine line between “playing the game”  and brown-nosing.  Oh, and one more thing:  You’re not fooling anybody, truly.

The Know-It-All
There are at least two variations of this workplace character; the Detail-Oriented Know-it-All, who relishes pointing out minutiae while missing the whole point; and The Fixer Know-it-All, who "insists on solving your problems for you, even if you don't want them solved, or, in fact, don't think you have a problem at all."

The Gossiper
The Gossiper always seems to have the dirt on colleagues in the never-ending shuffle of staff — and thrives on sharing this information. In a Randstad USA survey of nearly 2,500 workers, gossip was listed as the No. 1 biggest pet peeve in the office for 60 percent of respondents.

The Noisemaker
This coworker is oblivious to how he or she is interrupting officemates' focus with various sounds: whistling, singing, humming, knuckle cracking, cell phones not set to vibrate, Speakerphone conversations, music without headphones. . . And then there's the food crunching and lip smackage of chips, carrots, apples, granola bars and gum, etc.

The Nose Offender
Under-deodorized or over-perfumed, this coworker doesn't make it easy to approach. In a Randstad survey, 42 percent of staffers reported they were sick of inhaling their coworkers' perfumes, colognes, stinky foods and tobacco stench (Top Pet Peeve No. 4).

The Buzzwordsmith
Robert Half International/Yahoo! Hotjobs puts it best: "Whether speaking or writing, this person sacrifices clarity in favor of showcasing an expansive vocabulary of clichéd and frequently meaningless business terms. This ineffective communicator loves to 'utilize' — never just 'use' — industry-specific jargon and obscure acronyms that muddle messages." Though (on the QT, if I do this PDQ) it does make for fun during meetings.

The Complainer
No matter how good things are, there is bound to be something to complain about in this coworker's mind. This disgruntled employee — justified or not — is a drag to work with. Worse, chronic complaining is a contagious habit, which can result in a highly negative working environment.

Noticeably absent from this list are the workplace jerk and bully,  who are more than simply irritating — their behavior sucks the energy out of a group, creating a toxic vacuum of hostile or empty effort.

There's a common sense reality of handling these situations and then there's an HR way. But handling things solely through the HR way doesn't mean that you are going to fare any better with anyone that fits these profiles.
Part of that reason is because some employees make multiple complaints for every little action, and other employees fear that their statements won't make a difference or that speaking up could come back to haunt them. To combat that fear, some companies have added independent company ethics phone lines where employees can voice their concerns and complaints, and the HR department can receive anonymous records and solve situations accordingly.  That may or may not work for your particular situation.

If all else fails...
If you've exhausted your options, and are still having a hard time dealing with an annoying co-worker or bully of a boss, you may find the stress draining your productivity and even carrying over to your personal life. If this is the case, it may be time to move on.  But if the situation isn't an abusive boss, but rather a chatterbox, egomaniac, office gossip or another office oddball whose personality characteristics also seem to rub you the wrong way, you might also want to consider lightening up before you pack your bags.

There are lots of personality types in an office. ... Watch for the behaviors that each personality type exhibits and appreciate the diversity. People's quirks are inherently interesting and acknowledging them can help increase office harmony.

Thanks for reading.  Can’t we all just get along this year?

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 114 - Sticking with It

By Michael Darling

Sticking with It... Every day can be a second chance for success

When you look at the superachievers who made it to the top of their profession, it seems easy to see why they're so successful - they appear powerful, talented, well respected, intelligent, and often adored by many. What's easy to forget is that many of them started with a dream and very little else. Luck, talent, inherited wealth, and/or the right connections don't hurt, but it takes a much rarer quality to ensure success - perseverance. The next time you're tempted to throw in the towel, remember these principles:

I am not telling you that achieving success is going to be easy, I am telling you that it's going to be worth it!

Art Williams

1) Recall and internalize your previous successes. Remind yourself that you've got what it takes to win by keeping past victories fresh in your mind. Write down a brief account of the two or three most satisfying sales you've ever made. When you begin to doubt yourself, savor the memory of those past successes and remind yourself that your glory days of selling are still ahead of you. The knowledge and experience you've gained since those former successes help makes future ones even more likely.

2) Don't believe in failure. Instead of letting failures demotivate you, learn to view them objectively and analyze what might have gone wrong that you can prevent next time. There's an old adage that says "If you fail to remember your past, your doomed to repeat it". If you read up on some of the most successful athletes, political figures, and authors in history, you'll find that many of them had to face failure over and over again before they became successful. In many cases they had what it took to succeed all along, they just had to be willing to keep starting over until their efforts paid off. Professional golf superstar Greg Norman says, "There's not a person in business who can't relate to failure in some form. The key is to stay positive and confident."

"Attitude is 80 percent of the success effort."

3) Recognize that attitude is 80 percent of the success effort. To overcome rejection, depressed economies, and hostile prospects time after time, remember the importance of attitude. You don't expect your selling skills or knowledge to take care of themselves, and you shouldn't expect your attitude to either. Make motivation as important a part of your sales education as skills training and product knowledge. Choose a well known positive thinker as your motivational mentor and make his or her philosophy part of your success formula. Brian Tracy or Zig Ziglar are great examples.

4) Focus on the future. The best is yet to come, but to find it you have to look where you're going. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and set goals that give you a reason to keep looking and moving forward.

You become what you think about, so instead of dwelling on the past, develop a vision of the future. Where would you like to be living in three years? How will you have grown professionally? Start thinking of yourself not as you were or even as you are, but as you want to - and someday will - be. Then, take ownership of your responsibility to get you there.

When the going gets tough, it's always easier to give in than to keep going, but as the saying goes, quitters never win and winners never quit.

Before you decide to quit, ask yourself if you're really ready to give up on your dreams and goals, ready to disappoint the people who believe in you, and ready to stop growing and achieving. If the answer is no, make yourself a promise to try even harder to put your setbacks behind you and forge ahead to the success you deserve.   I recognize that this is hard.  I am painfully aware of it, in fact.  This isn't meant to imply that the path you're on isn't the right one, but if you can glean something from any of this..then my work here is done.

Perhaps I should be listening more and writing less?

Thanks for reading..

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 113 - What's It All About?

by Michael Darling

It's the holiday season here in the U.S.

And chances are, sometime this season, the big question will come up:

"So, Michael, where are you working now?” (Or, at least some variation of that.)

If your family is anything like mine, whatever you tell them is going to translate in a number of different ways…from perceptive understanding to a obligatory acknowledgment because they really don’t have a CLUE what you’re doing, how you do it and why.   In fact, I don't really have a clue to what I'm doing these days....but that's a whole different issue.

So, this week I gave some thought on how to help you (and me) get past that frustration. Maybe there are some keys I can give you to surpass everyone's expectations. If you apply what you discover in this, from this point forward, you'll be the envy of friends and family, known and loved by Millions.  (Sam Millions…he does my dry cleaning.)

Now, I didn’t come up with all of these of course.   I "stole” them from a great book: Get Out of Your Own Way by Robert K. Cooper, PhD. I suggest picking up a copy for even more insights.

Onward & Upward …

Here’s one: Direction, not motion.

Be careful here. You might think this is about hitting your goals, but don’t be so fast to assume that!. You can hit a lot of goals and still be running around in circles chasing your tail. That's why you need direction.

A friend of mine was like that, chasing the tail of money for years … moving from one money job to the next. It wasn't until he started looking at the direction he wanted his life — not just a bank account — to go that he started seeing progress in both.

In my life, direction always meant following my natural skills and abilities. Abilities I've known I had since high school, like writing, speaking…. However, I never believed I could "make a living” doing those things.   Plus, in many cases, my direction ignored my values … which left me feeling unfulfilled and without a purpose in life.

I'm still fine-tuning my direction, but each day — and even with each project — I get more clear on where I'm going in my career and, more importantly, in my life.

Look at it this way: When a ship leaves its harbor, for fully 99.99 percent of its voyage, it can't see its port of call. If the captain were to follow every distracting wave and current, he'd never find the port. But, by knowing the direction he needs to go, his motion is efficient and rewarding.

So What?!

While most of my childhood is fuzzy, I do remember Pastor Larson at our church.  He used to finish his sermons with the phrase, "So What?!”  In other words, what does this mean to you and for you? How can you apply this to your life starting today?

Ok…let’s look at that.  There are a couple of things you can do …

Take a series of personality assessments and career assessments. There are several free ones online. I'd also recommend any book by Marcus Buckingham. Or, check out our own Steve Roller's article "A Job, a Career, or a Calling.”

Another is to come up with a personal Mission Statement. It's not easy, but it is a powerful tool for keeping you on track. Then, refer to it before taking on any project — personal or professional.

Finally, I simply suggest you remain very aware of why you are choosing to spend your days and life the way you are. Is it your dream or someone else's dream for you?

A good attitude check, in my book…and a question you might want to ask yourself periodically.   Lord knows I'm asking questions a lot more these days...

Thanks for reading…

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 112 - Are You Ready for the Next Great Adventure in Your life?

By Michael Darling

Are you ready for the next great adventure in your life?

Well believe it or not, you are already living it – but you probably aren’t experiencing it as such. This isn't simple physics and other forms of science.

I am talking about the way you change. Most folks believe that arduous labor is required to change your Mindset from where it is now to where you want it to be, but we have come a long way – we have actually evolved our conscious ability to change in significantly easier ways. This will make sense to you once you understand the underlying principles in making change.

As you embrace new concepts – new opportunities for improving the quality of your income – the betterment of your relationships – the improvement of your health – you go through a process of biological and neurological reorganization. Most folks think they are applying their force of will to gather up new resources and do diligent application to gain more of what they are after.

That is the outside picture, but what is left out is the inside job, and there's a lot going on under the hood.

First is being open to the possibility of change.

When we refer to becoming as a child in your imagination and your optimism of new possibility, it is because children really have many, many new experiences ahead – ones they don’t even know about yet – and they go forward with the optimism that these new experiences will teach them something about life that is useful – or just plain fun. They simply learn by having the experience that enriches their viewpoint of new possibilities. Many of us lose that as we get older.

The structure of any new opportunity is in actuality an inside emotional job first, which leads to acting on the desire for that change, second. Once you have chosen what you want to focus on – what new program or opportunity you want to create – your subconscious mind has to come into agreement with these new concepts, these new opportunities.

Being open to the possibility of having a dream realized is an important emotional quality that directs your inner desire into outer actualization.

Next there is acceptance.

Acceptance of an idea is crucial to implementing it. I know that most of you think that you accept a new idea, but do you really? Do you recall the power of your early childhood programming from those adults who often told you no – not that – not yet – not for you – or, not now, which could translate into not ever. Anytime you take on a new opportunity, those conflicting pre-programmed ideas come roaring up to inhibit the new desire.

If you have ever gone through that stop-start syndrome in implementing your hopes, wishes, and ideas, that is a prime example of the conflict of the subconscious mind vs. What you want to create instead. You know when you first are excited about a new possibility, and then your logical mind starts analyzing, and then you start doubting, and then you remain in inertia.

True acceptance is gaining the cooperation of both your powerful unconscious mind and your conscious mind so they operate in agreed acceptance of your desired success.

You are hard-wired for success.

Within your biology you have an internal processor that does clear your doubts and fears and sets your actions forward to succeed. This is your powerful theta brain wave that is technically your rapid eye movement – REM – deep-sleep cycle that you go through three or more times a night.

Within this dream-time, you operate as an internal processor clearing station, where you release all fear, doubt, and worry, and in addition, receive inspiring ideas, hopes, and desires. You may find yourself dreaming in cycles with concerns over weeks and then seem to come to a resolution – or you put it into your mind before sleep that you want a solution and wake up with it. This is the mind state from which Einstein woke up with E=MC2 ,according to him.

You can consciously access your theta state.

If we were talking with a neuroscientist, he or she would say that it is practically impossible to consciously access your deep sleep theta state consciously, but, guess what, the new science is in, and you can!

The ancient technique called the Tibetan Eye Roll has returned with powerful knowledge – you can mechanically alter your brain waves by the physical act of looking up under your closed eyes and imagining that you are out in the outer edges of the galaxy surrounded by brilliant light.

The imagery of that light is applied because for those who have been measured with EEG (electroencephalography) meters to pronounce they are consciously awake in theta – reaching that light state is the most common description of the experience.

Again, remember, this is a biological event that you have the control to implement that does some rather profound things. Here you can speak directly to your subconscious programs as your subconscious mind operates in your theta brain frequency.

You can peek at those old unconscious programs and tell them you appreciate the way they have kept you safe in the world until this moment, but they are no longer needed – and yes it is your time and that time is now!

Now you can get 100% agreement and acceptance for your success.

Now isn’t that an amazing fact – to know that you can?

But there is still more to do to make the change you want.

Once you make a command and speak directly to your operating hard drive with new ideas for your success – such as yes I can – it is easy – the world supports me. These are not affirmations; these are new programs that you can implement directly to the cells of your body and your DNA itself because you do it while in theta. This is the secret key to the power of your success.

The science is in on the power of your thoughts that creates your life, and now you have the power to let the success thoughts that are already yours become your new filters of reality. Now some amazing things begin to happen. Because you can only accept or reject what you believe to be possible, when you rewrite your hard drive with a new belief, everything in you goes into action to realize that reality.

Let me give you a little scenario.

For example, you may want to develop an online Internet business to increase your income and to establish passive income, and you are buying all the necessary programs for your education to start this new career. You are also buying the support materials for managing your time, taking the right actions steps, and implementing the psychology of this new career.

Everything is in place, except your agreement that you can in fact do it. You know you want to – you know how to – but you are unsure that you have the ability to accomplish it. This creates that stop-start action – that, by the way, is pretty exhausting.

First, I want you to know that you absolutely can do what you want to do. You are smart enough, you can learn, and you have the energy to do what you can on your own and to get help with the rest.

The old-fashioned way to solve your dilemma would be to “work it out” over a long period of time, and you would eventually get there or perhaps give up along the way.

The new, powerful way is to go directly to the source of your conflict – to your theta subconscious mind and command that your positive beliefs about what you can do become your prime directive and then notice the inspired action that follows.

It makes sense that the energy you are now using to process your fears and concerns is freed up to apply forward to your success once you eliminate your internal argument.

I hear so many success stories from those taking this next step in making their dreams come true that I want to encourage you to try it and discover that for yourself.

Are you prepared to be the success you seek?

The next step in making change is adjusting your identity about who you are in this change. This is huge. Most of us are so focused on the problem that we seem to be at a loss when the struggle is over and the solution arrives. In other words, most folks are so familiar with the struggle – I even say we have become addicted to the emotions of the struggle – that when what we want arrives, we no longer know who we are in the situation.

Most can easily identify as the one who overcomes or is overcoming, but ask yourself – how easy is it for you to identify with the success you have been after. I know that you think you are ready, but this crucial piece is where most real change fails.

There are the many statistics about gamblers taking their own life after they win big – not when they are losing – and we know that 95% of lottery winners go bankrupt five years after they win. They did not include a new idea of who they were in the new situation – nor the beliefs that must be upgraded to live the success they had become.

Make sure that you command who you are in your successful new situation and allow your identity to match your desire.

Now the fun and magic begin.

Now you get to take a quantum leap forward into a new reality – one that you have worked diligently to create and one you have embraced as you yours.

The system of making change is almost complete. The finishing piece is to allow that pause of reflection on all that you have done.

Here you can reclaim the almost forgotten art of the simple pleasure of enjoying the good that is yours. I actually encourage you to embrace the simple pleasure of your good at each juncture of change because it can be interwoven so seamlessly as to become a part of the fabric of your success.

And I love the thought that you share what you know with others. That is such an act of fulfillment that it brings you even more joy and a sense of well-being.

So welcome to the next great adventure of your life – the one you are on right now and have every right to enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 111 - Mind Matters

by Michael Darling

Bruce Lee was an actor, philosopher, film director, producer, screenwriter and martial artist. He was born in November 1940 and died July 1973 from a mysterious brain hemorrhage. A sad and ironic lost to the genre.

It would be hard to argue with the fact that Bruce Lee was one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century. His films took martial arts to a whole new level and opened up the eyes of many to the “art” of martial arts, including making Chinese martial arts popular in the west.

I was introduced to Lee’s teachings and philosophies while in the service. One of my friends at the time had taken lessons from Lee himself while stationed in China….and I was fascinated with it. Not only with the physical aspects of it, but even more so with the philosophies of Bruce Lee. He still to this day is considered a legend, and his philosophy lives on through his martial art style of Jeet Kune Do as well as his writings.

Bruce Lee. He was this short little guy, who also weighed very little, yet seemed to have the power of a lion. Lee made the Wing Chun style-1 inch punch famous during his exhibitions. He was able to deliver a punch starting 1 inch from his opponent that was 1.7 times more injurious than a car impact at 30mph! He inspired, motivated and showed many that you don’t have to listen to the boundaries people impose. He stated in so many words that “I make my own life, and I decide my faith.”

Well, recently the G4 network did their “movies that don’t suck” marathon on Bruce Lee movies:

  • The Big Boss (1971) (US title:Fists of Fury)
  • Fist of Fury (1972) (US title: The Chinese Connection)
  • Way of the Dragon (1972) (US titles: Return of the Dragon, Revenge of the Dragon)
  • Enter the Dragon (1973)
  • Game of Death (1978)

Then there’s the old Green Hornet TV series when he played Kato and America saw his amazing skill for the first time. There’s also a myriad of titles that he made in China that I can’t spell, let alone pronounce. I sat and watched them, for the umpteenth time. Most certainly not for their story lines, but simply to see Lee display his art as I marveled at his un-matched speed and agility.

Ok..so the point of this is that there were many lessons from Bruce Lee that we can use in our daily lives…and so I went to my old sources and writings and compiled a list of some of the best of them, at least in MY opinion. If you have the chance to read about Lee, do so. I think you’ll find him fascinating.

Here are 11 powerful life lessons from Bruce Lee and my own perceptions of them:

1. Goals

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

He’s right of course. Goals serve as a target to aim for, so don’t get yourself too hung up on reaching them. The old adage about enjoying the journey and the process is really true.

If you’re hiking on a nice trail out in the wilderness, your goal is to get to your end destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the walk, or even change direction. Be open to forks in the road, be flexible. As Robert Frost has said, choosing the road less traveled by can make all the difference.

2. Flexibility

"Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind."

Despite my continuous desire to control every moment of my world as well as those around me, I have to admit that the happiest people in the world are flexible. They do not have rigid beliefs or try to control and manipulate their surroundings to make them happy. Weird, huh?

They are okay with how things are. They accept, they live in the now and they somehow manage to breathe just as well as I do. The lesson here is probably that If you want to have a fulfilling and happy life, be flexible and accept things as they are. If you can do that. This is not an easy lesson for me!

3. Time

If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

There’s no time for procrastinating, making excuses and succumbing to your fears. Heaven knows I know it can be hard, but none of us get out of this alive. You will ultimately die, and so why not make the best of your life? Indeed….

Don’t waste time, instead start moving towards your dreams. You will probably fail a few times and make mistakes along the way, so stay humble and stay in the now. But try to have a sense of humor about it all and understand that we all walk our own paths. Don’t try to walk the path of someone else.

4. Service

Real living is living for others.”

The most satisfying way to live is to help and enrich the life of others. These writings I do and the comments I’ve received from them through the years, as well as other projects I work on, help remind me how satisfying it is to assist others.

So, if you can find a way to solve other people’s problems while following your passion, well then, you will have found the ideal way to live, my friend.

5. Acceptance

Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

Ok..up on my soapbox now:

If we want the earth to become better, we have to let go of the inane judgment, prejudice and rigid beliefs that are so prevalent today. There is no need to be right or wrong, or say that you are better than someone else. No matter how you perceive it….”it is what it is”.

If you don’t like it, go do something else, but stay away from the negative energy, because it never does any good. Not for you and not for anyone else. And frankly, we don’t want to hear it.

6. Single-Mindedness

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I’ve seen this philosophy used in sales training for 30 years. Focus on one skill, practice it daily. Rinse and repeat until it becomes habit. If you want to get results and master something, you have to stop dabbling and jumping around from thing to thing. Commit to something and follow through. It’s simple to say, but I know it takes effort to do.

Most people quit before any results can appear. They give up too soon. Don’t be one of those people!

7. Creativity

Using no way as way, using no limitation as limitation.”

We all impose our own limitations on ourselves. Even if a guru sitting up on the mountaintop tells you that something is impossible, that doesn’t mean it is. They’re human just like you.

Remember, most great people were told they could never accomplish something, but they went ahead and did it anyway. Listen to yourself and do what excites you.

8. Simplicity

Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”

I’m trying real hard to learn this lesson. Simplify your life and eliminate the unnecessary. Hard to do when we as a society, have been taught to consume and amass as many material possessions as we can. We can’t take it with us, so we try to get as much “stuff” as we can. I have to admit, that I’m getting sick of looking at my “stuff”.
Luckily, I’m starting to realize that this accumulation of “stuff” doesn’t work. Happiness comes from the inside, not from the outside. Simplicity gives you clarity and peace of mind.
Let’s all take a deep breath…..ommmmmmmm.

9. Find Your Path

"Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own."

In the beginning of your career or life plan, learn everything you can from someone you look up to, but as you get better and more successful, take what works and discard what doesn’t. That person isn’t YOU, and you have your greatest potential realized when you find your own rhythm and start to dance.

We are all unique, so we have to find our own groove and start listening to ourselves. Listen to your heart for guidance. Where is it trying to pull you?

10. Take Action

"Knowing is not enough, you must apply; willing is not enough, you must do."

I could write these little weekly bits till my fingers fall off, and you can read all the information you want from thousands of sources available, but if you never actually take action, nothing is going to happen. You will almost never have crystal clear clarity, so you will have to work through all the confusion and uncertainty to discover what’s true for YOU.

I know you want a rock-solid guarantee that whatever all this information tells you will make you successful, but in reality, no such thing exists.

You have to start moving in order to get to where you want to be.

11. Ego

"The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups."

I might argue with Bruce on this one. There has been more than a few times in my life that a punch or a kick to knock the hell out of them seemed VERY appropriate. But I think that what Lee was trying to point out is that everything you do involves your ego. It’s your ego that is afraid of change. It wants you to stay right where things are comfortable, convenient and safe. My ego speaks loud and carries a big stick. But I’m coming to realize that if you’re really listening to your heart, you know whether the path you’re on is right for you.
Lee’s style of Jeet Kune Do redefined the Chinese practice of protecting the secrets and the philosophy of the martial arts, opening up those opportunities to the western world. He was chastised, challenged and hurt many times along the way, but he stayed true to his goal. Again, it’s a fascinating story of the path he took and I recommend it for reading.

Go after your dreams and do so boldly. Accept the fear inside you and use that to keep you moving. Life is meant to be lived, so start living!

I wish you success. Thanks for reading…

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 110 - The Art of Balance

Try this experiment some time; Think about some of the most unhappy moments you have experienced, and you may realize that they all have one major element in common:

You felt powerless. 

When I was young, I'd sometimes lose my temper.  Ok, I’d OFTEN lose my temper.  You lose your temper when you feel frustrated, when you don't feel that you have control over your life.  I guess I felt that a lot growing up.

I can tell you that in terms of controlling my emotions, I was always my father's son.

My Dad had an AMAZING legendary, movie caliber, Monster sized temper…measured in biblical-apocalypse like terms.   I had that when I was young, and I had it bad.  It took me a long time to learn how to control my temper and it continues to be a periodic challenge for me, even today.  When we are unhappy, it's because we feel we don't have control over our lives.  Physically that's often true, but when we remind ourselves that spiritually we are always in control unless we give it away, then you really can find happiness.   It’s something I work on and strive towards every single day with mixed results.  Sometimes, things just push my buttons!

When I was a senior in high school, I had a chance to take an elective course. 

Ornithology; that sounded rather interesting and easy.  Besides, I was in Northern Idaho…and I knew what was flying around. 

I was a senior, already had enough credits to graduate, so I was looking for a little “cruise” class to fill my time…and I learned something the first day: that it's the study of birds. 

I didn't know that at the time.  It was a large class, by my small town standards. A class of 25 people.  The teacher was good, and he warned us that on the final exam we'd have to identify birds.  Well that seemed fair; after all it was a class in ornithology. 

But when we got the test, it was 18 pages of pictures of birds' feet.  Eighteen pages!  I still remember sitting there and looking at the pages…and the frustration was shared with many in the room.

After the test, I went to his desk to complain.  I was not the only one in line.  By the time I got there, he was pretty fed up.  He said to me, "If you're here to complain about that test, save it.  It's a good and fair test.  I've given it before, and if I hear one negative word out of your mouth, I'm reporting you to the principal."  So, slowly I said, "Well, sir, it was a great course, very interesting, very informative, but a bit unusual test." 

He said, "I'm warning you, not another word."

True to my personality, I couldn’t leave THAT alone. 

My somewhat infamous temper flared and I HAD to say something.  I can’t recall exactly what I said to him (that’s a lot of years ago), but it was something along the lines of… "Fine!  That's the most stupid test I've ever taken.  I don't know how anyone could give that to a group of high school students.  If I were you, I'd be ashamed of myself."  He said, "That did it.  What's your name again?" 

So I held up my foot, and said to him, "You tell me!"  

Hey, it seemed appropriate at the time.  I thought it was sarcastically clever.  He didn’t share my talent for a witty comeback, clearly.

Nor did the Principal.   Principal Bailey and I knew each other pretty well by the time I graduated…. 

But I digress….

So, once again for emphasis, unhappiness is most often based on the feeling that you have no control over your life.  

Now, I’m a control freak…so this is not a feeling that I like.

When you think about some of the promises you make to yourself in life to achieve certain things, such as, "I promise to have more control over my emotions," ask yourself, "Who's my audience, and are they worthy of my promise?"  There was a story of an actor who was doing Shakespeare, and he wasn't doing a very good job.  After a point, the audience, who had been pretty patient with his lack of talent, finally started booing him.  And the actor walked to the very edge of the stage and said, "Hey, why take it out on me?  I didn't write this garbage."

Anyway, I believe it was Shakespeare that said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."   I think he was right, of course.  Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, we are all performing for an audience of some sort.  When we make a promise to ourselves, directly or indirectly, we are often doing so because of that audience.

If, for instance, you make a promise to yourself to eat healthier and exercise, you are probably doing it not only to improve the quality of your own life, but also to increase the probability that you'll be healthy enough to take care of those who depend on you.  In such a case, you’d be consciously aware of who your audience is. 

But maybe there are a few other people in your audience for whom you are not actually aware you’re performing for. Deep down at some level, perhaps there's a small part of you who thinks that someday walking down the street you're going to meet your high school sweetheart.  She'll be astounded by how young and handsome you look and will regret the day she dumped you.  A few years ago I did actually run into my high school sweetheart, who told me I hadn't changed at all. 

So apparently I'm the only middle-aged man who looks like he's 18, or I was the only high school student who looked like a middle-aged man.  I prefer the former rather than the latter.

Or you may still be listening to the voice of your mother telling the 10-year-old you to eat healthier.  The problem is that many times we don’t really think about who our real audience is.  We don’t look beyond the footlights on our “stage” to see the faces of the people we are truly and often unconsciously trying to please.  We KNOW there's an audience out there, but we don't bother to consciously think about who they are, how they affect our behavior, why it's so important what they think of us, or how much power we give them over our lives.

Some of us unconsciously (and sometimes very consciously) perform for our co-workers, friends, or even the neighborhood kids whom we grew up with and have not seen since our childhood.  We may be performing for parents who have been dead for years (thanks Dad).  Some of us even perform for an audience made up of people or even one person whom we despise.  Think about some man or woman you know that got divorced, yet continued to dedicate their lives focused on impressing the spouse they lost, even though they never heard from them again.

After you make a promise to yourself, take an honest look at the faces in the audience.  Then you might want to ask yourself some questions:  "Is performing for this audience making me happy? Are these people really interested in my life, my performance, in the promises I made to perform, or am I just imagining the whole thing?  Do these people care about what I'm doing? I mean, REALLY care?  Do they even know what I'm doing?  Are there people in my life who may not be in my audience but who need to be, more than the ones I have now?  Am I the kind of person, for instance, who consistently behaves in ways to please my friends at the expense of my children?  Do I choose a day of golf with my friends rather than a day at the park with my kids? 

Maybe…the most important member of your audience the one who should always be sitting in the center seat?  Shouldn't that person be you? Realizing who’s faces should be in the front row makes the promises you make to yourself and to them become more worthy, and your determination to do it right is stronger and more focused.

We too often conduct our lives to please the collected whims and whines of those we care about or those around us.  We voluntarily place their collar around our own necks and put the chain that attaches to it in their hands, even though we fully realize that we’ll not be happy about it.  What we want to do, of course, is logically limited to what is legal and moral, and does not intentionally hurt anyone else.  But the basic rule here is, the basic thinking is, never walk a road that doesn't lead you to your heart.

Given all that then, what makes us subordinate what we want to other people's wishes?  Perhaps it’s because  we respect their judgments, insights, points of view, and opinions more than we do our own.  We don't have enough self-respect, so we depend on the respect that others give us.  We believe that people will respect us if we do what they want. 

In fact, just the opposite is true.  In the long run, most people respect you more if you do what you think you should do.   

Self-respect is incredibly important. You're here; you have talents, opportunities, intelligence.  Do something.  You’re in control of that.  It's foolish to hold yourself responsible for what you cannot control.  You can demand that people treat you with respect, but that is very different from people actually respecting you.  You can only influence that; you can't control it.

So what is the reality?  Just because some people thought the world was flat didn’t make it so.  Most great achievements were, in its initial stages, either condemned, dismissed, or laughed at by the majority.  To my knowledge, history has never recorded any conversation such as, "Gee, Mr. Edison, it sure gets dark at night.  Do you think there's anything you could do about it?" Every day, in ways that we are not even aware of, we give power over our lives to other people.  Often it's people we intensely dislike.

There are many times when quite logically you do care about the opinions of others.  If you're in sales, you care about what your client thinks about your product or service.  I really do care about your opinions of my writings and postings because I am interested in articles that I come upon and how I can take those writings and somehow express them in such a way that portrays my frame of mind and perhaps a train of thought that you can hop on to.  Parents care about the opinions of their children.  But all of this is quite different from advocating power over your personal choices, your decisions, and the promises you make to yourself, to the opinions of other people. 

It all starts with your attitude and it’s the foundation of what you are.  Without a strong foundation, you will need to lean on the strength, the opinions of others.    You should have a high opinion of yourself that is backed up by achievement and promises that can lead to even greater things.  It’s ok to feel good about yourself.  The virtue of humility is greatly overrated.  The meek may inherit the earth, but only after the confident get darn good and ready to let them have it.  My Dad once said to me, “listen to everyone's opinion; take no one's advice.”   (Hmmm…  I need to listen to Dad more often….)

Life is the art of balance. 

You have to be happy enough to enjoy today, while at the same time feel enough unhappiness or dissatisfaction to want to make a different and better tomorrow.  There must be a balance between conscious and unconscious choices.  A balance among all the "me's" within you.  You must be obsessed with living your life to its fullest, but moderate in some way too.  That’s your choice. 

Whatever it is, your job or a hobby or spending time with friends or family, at the time you are involved with it, you should be living totally in the moment.  But when you make a promise to yourself, you must be moderate in how much space you give it in your life.  Otherwise you may consciously succeed at keeping that promise at the expense of unconsciously abandoning other important areas of your life.  Don’t obsesses about it though.  Obsession can also be a very dangerous thing. 

I’m reminded of a joke…A guy is obsessive about golf, absolutely loves it.  Last March he got up early one Saturday morning, kissed his wife goodbye, put on his golf clothes, walked down the stairs, got his golf clubs, and opened the front door.  But unfortunately, he lives in the Midwest.  This was a March morning; it was probably no more than 35 degrees; it was raining, sleeting, snowing.  A 35-mile-an-hour wind was blowing everything sideways.  He stood in that open doorway knowing what he had to do, but not looking forward to it.  Finally he sighed, closed the door, put his golf clubs away, walked up the stairs, back into his bedroom, took off his golf clothes, climbed into bed behind his wife, and he said to her, "Man oh man, it is one horrible day out there." 

And she said, "Yeah, and would you believe my husband, the nut, is out there playing golf?"

Thanks for reading….

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 109 - Working Smart

It's something we're all looking for - that perfect solution that will minimize our work life while still getting the stuff done that we need to get done.

Well, that one solution doesn't exist. I looked and looked. But, I think that with a combination of strategies, and someone diligently scouring the Internet for you finding these tips, you can get to where you want to be.

Now, none of these tips are going to turn your life around. It’s the Internet. Some of you need the Bible. You know who you are….

But they can make a big difference, and when used together, your work life might be just a bit more enjoyable, productive, low-stress and high fun. And these tips won't work for everyone. They're not meant to be used as a step-by-step guide. It's a list of strategies that work -- choose your favorites and give them a try. These are gleaned from several sources as well as many of my own tips. Use ‘em. Abuse ‘em. It’s your choice.

1. One goal. Set a single goal that you want to accomplish this year -- I know that we probably want to do 12 different goals, but it's too difficult to maintain your focus on more than one goal, and it diffuses your energy. Pick one goal for the next 12 months, and then a single 3-6 month goal that will lead to your 12-month goal. Then choose something you can accomplish within the next 1-2 weeks that will lead to the 3-6 month goal. Now focus on that short-term goal, giving it all your energy, and when it's achieved, set your next short-term goal until you've accomplished your medium-term goal. Hey, it works.
2. Find your passion. All the rest of these tips are just a bunch of worthless window dressing if you find work you're passionate about. Make this your One Goal for this year, and it could turn out to be your best year ever.
3. Come in early. Try getting to work 30-60 minutes before the rest of the crowd. Or even more. This might require you to learn to wake up early, but the benefits are many: you skip the morning traffic, you can work without distractions until the rest of your coworkers come in, you can get a jump start on your day, you can be ahead of the crowd and get more done. Getting an early start is a great way to start your work day and to become more productive.
4. MITs. Each day, make a list with only three items: the three Most Important Tasks you want to accomplish today. Make at least one of them related to your One Goal. The others might be something you've been procrastinating on, or a big project that's due today, or something similar. Ideally, these MITs are really important tasks -- ones that will gain you longer-term recognition or income. Now focus on these, making sure to accomplish them. It's best to do your MITs first thing in the morning, before you get interrupted by a bunch of other things. If you do only three things today (you could choose more or less than three MITs, but I've found that three works for me).
5. Batch process. There are usually a bunch of smaller tasks that we have to do that aren't that important. Email, paperwork, phone calls, things like that. Instead of doing those little things throughout the day, giving you busywork to interrupt and distract you from your important tasks, batch them together and do them at one set time each day. Write these tasks down on a small list, and with an hour left in your work day (or whatever works for you), start processing them as quickly as possible, ticking them off your list. You’ll get an amazing feeling of satisfaction from that and it promotes continuing the process till it becomes a habit. Not all habits are bad. Some are good. This is one of them.
6. Brown bag it. This isn't life-changing, but I take my lunch to work every day -- leftovers or a sandwich, usually, with snacks such as fruits on the side. How does this help? Well, it saves me a lot of money (a few thousand a year) and it allows me to work through lunch, or perhaps allowing you to leave work early. Even more importantly, a snack in the morning and one in the afternoon helps balance your blood sugar and keeps your metabolism on track. You’ll find you have more energy, will think clearer and find it easier to keep your focus and your demeanor on track. Again, it works for me. It may not work for you.
7. Cycle to work. Again, not necessarily life-changing, but if you can commute even just a couple times a week by bike, you will save money on gas, reduce the stress of rush-hour traffic, and get your daily exercise done at the same time.
8. Take high-profile projects. If you just take the grunt work, your boss might or might not appreciate it, but it certainly won't make you a star and you won't go very far. Instead, volunteer for the big projects, the ones that will make a name for both you and your company. If there aren't any available, make your own. Be sure you can do them well, but if you do, these projects will have a huge impact on your life. The tasks on these projects should be your MITs every day. If you take on high-impact projects, you can be more productive working a half day than if you worked 10 hours a day on tasks that won't matter next week.
9. Clear your desk. A messy desk might be the sign of a creative mind, but in my experience (I've tried both messy and now clean desks), having a desk that's clean is much more calming, much more productive, and more organized. Most importantly, it reduces visual clutter and allows you to focus on the task at hand, increasing your productivity. Clearing your desk can take a chunk of time, but it's worth it: take all your papers (everything!) and put them in your inbox, or in a pile if they don't fit. Now process through them, one at a time, from top to bottom, filing, acting upon, delegating, trashing each document or noting tasks on a to-do list for later (and filing the to-be-acted-upon documents in an action folder). Remove other knick knacks and put any office supplies or tools in a drawer (and empty out your drawers while you're at it). From here on out, everything goes in your inbox, and you process it to empty every day using the steps outlined here.
10. Granularize. I know it’s not a real word, but I like it. If a project or task seems too intimidating, split it into smaller tasks, and just focus on the first task you need to do. For example, instead of "Research report", just find three sources on the Internet. You can read each of these sources and take notes after that.
11. Delegate. Get out of the habit of thinking you need to do everything yourself. Relinquish control and learn to trust others. If you don't think a person can handle a task, take the time to train them to do so. It will save you tons of time and headaches later. And by delegating, you empower others while shrinking your to-do list, leaving you to focus on what's really important.
12. Eliminate. This has nothing to do with extended time in the restroom. Your to-do list is a mile long. You'll never be able to do all those things. Cut it in half by crossing out stuff that doesn't really need to be done, or delegating others. And from that list, just choose the three most important things that you need to do today. Get in the habit of eliminating as many of the tasks and processes you normally do as possible, and your work life will be greatly simplified.
13. Clear distractions. In addition to clearing your desk, you can allow yourself to focus more by eliminating all distractions: email or IM alerts, Twitter, other websites (in fact, turn off the Internet), phones, visual clutter around you or on your walls. Wear headphones so your coworkers interrupt you less, or let them know that you're not available right now. Focus more, and you'll get more done.
14. Kill meetings. One of the biggest time-wasters in our work lives. Most of the time, a meeting could have been accomplished with an email or a phone call. Beg out of meetings (or if you're the boss, eliminate them) by claiming you have a project due that you need to work on. Then be very productive during the time you would be at the meeting, and show your boss how much you got done. The one exception to this is a Team meeting, where key staff meet regularly to work out problems, improve performance and streamline operations. These meetings save everyone time in the long run. Keep your boss in the loop for feedback and direction and deal with the problems as a team. Your teammates will appreciate the focused effort and your boss will be able to focus on other things once in awhile!

2 or 3 of the tips above are going to make a big difference in your outlook and your performance. 5-10 tips will have people furrowing their brows and trying to figure out how you’re doing so well. Master all of these and you will be far better than the average bear, for sure!
Thanks for reading.