A Tap on the Glass

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 67 - Focus on Now

Once you decide you know what you want, FOCUS is one of the keys to getting it. 

Focus is essential to achieving what you want in life, both personally and professionally.

You can't hit a target that you can't see. The starting point of great success is when you sit down and decide exactly what you really want, in every area of your life.

The sad truth is that many people have a hard time focusing their energy and thoughts in a clear direction and staying on track long enough to see the rewards.  

One day they zero in on a particular goal, then six months later that goal is history and there is another in its place. Someone or something has distracted their attention. Thus, they never seem to fulfill their goals.  At some point, many become aware of their failure to hit their goals repeatedly...and that has it's own psychological pitfalls that can make matters even worse.

Focus requires that you create boundaries around what you direct your thoughts and attention toward.  This is a critical part of your game plan.

Your game plan for staying focused needs to include the following 5 strategies for success: goal setting, daily planning, limiting interruptions, delegation and execution. Let's go over each one.

1.  Set Goals:

If you haven't already established the habit of setting goals, it's never too late to begin. Goals serve as a roadmap to living what you consider your ideal life! This is where you invent for yourself the life you want! Without goals, you will drift along aimlessly, never accomplishing much and never fulfilling your potential. You can't fly by the seat of your pants all the time!

Set annual 'SMART' goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reachable, Timed) and track them daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.


2.  Plan Daily:

Write it down

PLAN EVERYTHING DAILY—even your play time. Investing 30 minutes in this action will return itself many times over in keeping you focused on fulfillment.  Remember, "Failing to plan is planning to fail".

This becomes a visual reminder of all of your to-do's that, when they are fulfilled, march you toward the fulfillment of your goal. Make a list, or several lists, to keep you on track. Put them in your Outlook calendar.  In your task list. Or, put a lined pad of paper or dry-erase board next to your computer where you can periodically look up and see how you are progressing. This will keep you focused and give you a sense of accomplishment every time you cross an item off your list.

3.  Limit Interruptions:

Do not allow yourself to be interrupted. The cost of each interruption is at least 10-minutes. If you have 15 interruptions daily you are wasting more than 2 hours! Multiply this by the value of your time, and you get a real sense about the cost of interruptions daily, weekly, etc.

Just say no to yourself and others if its not about your goals and your plan. YOUR time is extremely valuable.  Protecting your time is required to use it wisely. Don't waste it.

4.  Delegate:

Do what you do well and delegate the rest. Successful people surround themselves with a team who helps them get things done. 

Why tie your time up doing the things somebody else can do quicker, better, and less expensively? 

Focus on your specific job responsibilities and do whatever it takes to get it done.

5.  Execute:

Ah...and here's the key: don't forget to execute – TAKE ACTION! The super successful take action steps daily.

Turn it into a game and see how much you can get done each day.  

Working this strategy for getting things done will go a long way toward maintaining your focus in every single moment of now.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 66 - Lessons from Einstein

Albert Einstein has long been considered a genius by the masses. He was a theoretical physicist, philosopher, author, and is perhaps the most influential scientists to ever live.

Einstein has made great contributions to the scientific world, including the theory of relativity, the founding of relativistic cosmology, the prediction of the deflection of light by gravity, the quantum theory of atomic motion in solids, the zero-point energy concept, and the quantum theory of a monatomic gas which predicted Bose-Einstein condensation, to name a few of his scientific contributions.  I had to copy and paste that from a Biography of Einstein and I'll be the first to admit that I'm clueless on 75% of what I just read above. 

I DO know that Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.", which I think has something to do with those cameras at traffic lights......

He's published more than 300 scientific works and over 150 non-scientific works. Einstein is considered the father of modern physics and is probably the most successful scientist there ever was.  Einstein was also a remarkable philosopher and he's been quoted and credited often with the sage advice he left us.  Here's a few of my favorites lessons from this most amazing man...

Amazing Lessons from Albert Einstein:

1.    Devote Your Life to a Cause

"Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person."


Einstein was saying that success requires all that you are or as Walter Cronkite so eloquently put it, "I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got." To succeed, to become a master, will require all that you are. Are you giving your all?

 

2.    Great People Will Always Encounter Great Opposition

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."


It's an inevitable truth that no success comes without opposition, there will always be resistance to greatness. One of my personal hero's, Zig Ziglar once said said, "Little men, with little minds, and little imaginations, go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds." Never let "little men" stop you from achieving your dreams. Know that great spirits have always encountered great opposition.

 

3.    Make a Decision to See the World as Friendly

"The most important decision we ever make is whether we believe we live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe."

Your perception becomes your reality. If you believe the world is plotting to do you "good," than it is. If you believe the world is plotting to do you harm, than it is. Wayne Dyer said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Make the choice to see the world as friendly?

 

4.    Character Trumps Intellect

"Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character."


Your character determines how far you go in this lifetime, so work on your character; work on being the person you want people to perceive you to be. Work on your attitude, Einstein said, "Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character," and without character, success has no value.  Ziglar said, "it is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude."

 

5.    Never Ever Stop Learning

"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death."


Never stop learning. When you're not learning, you're not growing; when you're not growing, you're dying. Always ask questions; always look for better ways to get things done. Don't be afraid to get outside the box and see what is possible. Einstein said, "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."

 

6.    Change the Way You Think

"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."


The only way to conquer a problem is to grow bigger than the problem.  We often see and hear people that are always too ready to point out the problem, yet rarely can give a solution.  You must become a "bigger" person. You must change the way you perceive things. This is why reading is so important; reading expands your mind to new levels, it increases your consciousness and your likelihood for success. Learn to cultivate the joy of reading, readers are leaders!

 

7.    Serve the World

"The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule. The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive."


Einstein said, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." Let me encourage you to live your life in service to others, in service to your spouse, your children, your community, and your world. Your greatest success will come from your service to others and I think that why we all do what we do.  We fight to achieve our personal success through our efforts to help others. 

It's a noble ambition!

On and UP!

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 65 - Finding Passion in the New Year

One of the side effects of living a full and busy life is the presence of constant “white noise” playing in your mind. Sometimes we're plagued by unfinished business or a to-do list a mile long that nags at the back of our minds. Other times we're experiencing insecurities that are being manifested by that little gremlin in our mind berating us or telling us we are not good enough. Mental clutter seriously negatively affects your personal development by preventing you from moving forward in your life.

No matter what the source of your mental clutter happens to be, it can become serious enough to manifest itself in the form of physical ailments. At the very least, it is a source of constant stress and aggravation. None of us need THAT! So as we look to a New Year....maybe it's time to refocus.

You have to learn to break out of this noise and pattern and to do so, you have to identify what exactly is cluttering your mind. As an exercise, read through these three points and begin listing things or traits (albeit physical clutter, work problems, family problems) that you want to remove from your life.

1. Avoidance Behaviors that Clutter the Mind: A major source of mental clutter is the nagging existence of unfinished business. We tend to avoid situations we find uncomfortable or difficult, and many times we will overburden ourselves with other responsibilities just to avoid an unpleasant task. All this does is make us even more tired and more stressed than before, and the unfavorable task is still waiting. In fact, many times the job left waiting for us becomes even more dreadful in our minds because now we not only have the unfinished business hanging over us, but the anticipation of it builds up its own kind of stress.

Procrastination, which is directly related to avoidance, also causes mental clutter. Whenever you leave a job undone, you are going to have a nagging voice in your head constantly reminding you of the unfinished business. You will also feel physical stress until you just dig in and get the job done.

Avoidance prevents us from using good time management techniques and usually costs us hours in wasted time.

2. The Dangers of Indecision: Much like avoidance, indecision only delays the inevitable. There may be many reasons you hesitate to take action when an important decision needs to be made. In most cases, indecision is caused by a fear of making the wrong decision. By doing nothing though, you will only continue to fret about your situation and the stress you feel will only continue to build.

Forge ahead, trust your instincts, and make a decision. Even if you make the wrong choice, you will at least have cleared your mind of that particular worry. Errors are one of the prime learning opportunities life throws our way, so you still have the chance to take something good away from the experience, even if you do not make the best choice.

3. Overcoming the Feeling of Being Overwhelmed: Sometimes when we have too much to do, we are frozen in confusion, uncertain of where to begin. Large projects or an overloaded calendar can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed. Many of us cannot even decide where to begin when standing in the face of an excessive amount of work.

Rather than look at the whole picture, allowing it to frighten us, break the job down into its component parts. Tackle each task individually, each one bringing you closer to the accomplishment of your overriding goal. When you look at one piece of the puzzle at a time, it helps ease your fears and sense of frustration.

Let go of this stuff. You need to clear out the mental clutter and quiet your mind in order to achieve focus in your life. Having focus will lead you directly to better time management, which translates into greater efficiency and accomplishment. When your life begins running smoothly, you will experience greater peace and satisfaction and fulfillment, and greater success in all areas of your life and in the New Year to come.

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 64 - 20 Somethings...

I'm not much of a golf fan. Sorry. I’ll wait for the volley of comments from all the golf aficionados out there and heartily admit that I would like to play the game better, but I certainly can't play the game worth a damn now and only have a passing interest in it as a spectator.

Lord knows I’ve tried, but those old “control” issues keep popping up when I try to play golf. I can’t WIN. I don’t like that.

But, like the rest of the world, however, I did notice when young Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open.

It's amazing to see a 22-year-old at the top of his profession. Can you imagine being 22 and ranked as the third best in your profession? But it seems more and more common that young people are reaching towering heights while barely out of their teens — or still in them. It’s amazing!

LeBron James was just 18 years old when he declared himself eligible for the NBA draft and quickly became the best player in the NBA, even if he didn't show it in the playoffs last season.

And if you think this youthful trend is limited to sports, think again. Consider the tools you use every day at work, and you'll likely find some young entrepreneur behind it. The software I'm using to write this post comes from Microsoft, whose co-founder Bill Gates was just 20 years old when he started the company. The Dell computer and keyboard I'm using come from a company that was started by a 20-year-old—Michael Dell. WordPress, the web software where many of the blogs I peruse run on, was started by a 19-year-old, Matt Mullenweg.

The late Steve Jobs? Well, that’s a whole article in itself….

Our technology is changing the way we live our lives and do our jobs every single day. I headed out the other morning for a meeting and needed directions to my destination. I turned on my GPS and had 3 satellites in outer space triangulating my position and then talk me through my whole trip, turn by turn. Many times, I’ve used Google search. Google was started by a couple of guys in their mid-20s.

So what's the point? I certainly don't have a fountain of youth to take you back to your 20s if they've already passed you by. I'm not trying to depress you as you relive missed opportunities of your youth…and to be honest, at this point in my life, I don’t think I’d WANT to be in my 20’s again.

But what I AM telling you, as an adult, is to harness some of that power, curiosity, enthusiasm, and intelligence of the 20-somethings in your charge. These young people are capable of making a big impact. They want to contribute. They have ideas. They just need an opportunity. It's going to be up to you to give it to them. Easier said than done though, because first you have to understand them.

Most managers want to see the people they manage "pay their dues." They came up through the ranks before finally getting a big opportunity, so they treat the people they manage the same way.

Well, I have some news for you. It's a different world. For those of us in the “Boomer” Class and even some of the earliest “Gen-X’ers” it’s downright terrifying out there.

The workplace of 2010+ has changed dramatically. People don't stay at one company for 30+ years anymore. There is a pervasive “entitlement” mentality that the younger workforce is likely to have and if you wait too long to give them an opportunity, it's more than likely they'll be long gone from the payroll before you do. They'll trade job security and a regular paycheck for the opportunity to chase those dreams — unless you can allow them to have both. Hard to do in today’s economy, especially here in California…but that mindset still prevails.

I distinctly remember something my boss said to me when I was in my mid-20s in broadcasting. We were talking about my work and career when he said, "What’s the big rush? What are you going to do when you're 30?"

I was a little surprised by the statement. I know it came in the form of two questions, but he was really making a statement about my impatience and my pushing for opportunity at the company. That was my driving force back then.

I think I responded as many 20-somethings would: "I don't know what I'll be doing at 30, but I'll figure that out then. Right now, I'm really interested in taking on more responsibility and having an opportunity to prove myself."

It’s not very many 20-somethings that have a life plan, but that put me on a path to hit certain goals by a certain age. I know I I didn't. I’m pretty sure that I thought age 30 seemed like a lifetime a way. I'd been in the workforce for about 10 years at that point and would have to work almost that many more just to get to 30 years old. I didn’t know what “it” was, but I knew I wanted to learn and try new things. I wanted to show what I could do if given the chance.

I think that's what all these talented, high-potential people in their 20s are looking for. They want an opportunity. And if you want to keep them, it's up to you to give it to them. It's obvious that young people are capable of achieving so much, if only we're willing to let them try. Right now, there might be the next Steve Jobs or Michael Dell or Bill Gates sitting at a desk in your company. Think about THAT for a moment…..

Are you willing to give the 20-somethings that work for you that opportunity?

Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 63 - Super's Theory of Relativity

You have a meeting today with a new prospect and you know that the prospect has already met with your competition. In order to get this sale you need to build trust and rapport quickly – something that's not always easy to do. Carol Super, author of Selling Without Selling: 4 ½ Steps to Success (AMACOM, 2004), had defined four separate groups of people, each with a different manner of processing information. Determining which category your prospect falls into takes only minutes and will enable you to build rapport more effectively.

The first distinction is temperature. People are warm or cool, says Super, and you usually can tell instantly which category a person falls into. Oprah is warm, for example, while Al Gore is cool. The next determination is whether someone's an L.A. or New York type. If you're forceful, dynamic and always in a hurry, you're Big Apple material, no matter if you hail from Staten Island or South Dakota. Conversely, if you're more laid back, thoughtful and receptive, you're an L.A. type.

Super's four categories correspond to the different combinations of temperature and geographic affinity. Here's her take on each category and tips for relating.

Warm New York: The Oprah Type. Energetic and quick, this type is more of a talker than an asker, says Super. So let them talk. Oprahs love new and different, and like to take the lead. "Everything is personal with them," says Super. "Don't get ruffled or take their gruff attitude personally."

Warm L.A.: The Al Roker Type. Warm, friendly and interested, Al Rokers are laid back and social. Relationship is important to them, so share information rather than inundate them with facts and figures.

Cool New York: The Donald Type. Numbers are what make Trump types drool, so give graphs, charts and figures to make your point – but be quick and to the point. Donald types have no patience for warm fuzzies. Let them be in control.

Cool L.A.: The Einstein Type. Einsteins are thinkers. They want numbers, details and facts, and like to question where ideas and concepts come from. "Be systematic and methodical," says Super. "Give them time and space to make their decisions."

Super emphasizes that there is no right or wrong when it comes to personality. No matter what category your customers fit into, you can learn to relate to them in the way that makes them feel most comfortable. When you do, "they'll put up fewer barriers," Super says. "They'll trust you to keep their best interests as your primary goal."

Know thy enemy better than you know thy friend, eh?

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 62 - Aspire to Re-fire

George Bernard Shaw once said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Most of us think of the word unreasonable negatively; that type of person is hard to get along with or perhaps irrational. But I don't think that's what Shaw really had in mind. I think he was talking about another kind of unreasonable. Unreasonable people don't settle, aren't easily satisfied and generally choose a more challenging and difficult path.

Unreasonable people don't take the easy path. During wars, tank commanders have been known to take the same path as other tanks, sometimes by tanks "killed" in battle. Rather than serving as a warning, the failed tanks attract others. Why? The doomed tanks took the easy path and the others did the same. The lesson here is that the easy path is often mined.

The next time you're out for a professional stroll, rethink your steps. The easy path may get you to your intended destination but it might kill your enthusiasm and passion in the process. We are often too easily satisfied with our own performance, with others and our organizations. It isn't always because we're doing our best, but because we're "doing enough". Short of getting in trouble, we figure that getting by isn't a bad strategy. And, in the process, we become reasonable in complete contrast to what Shaw saw as unreasonable.

You know what we hate about aiming higher than we need to? It increases our chance for failure or disappointment. Maybe, instead of trying to minimize our disappointments, we should accept them as the cost of being unreasonable?

It's hard to do. The rush and din of business and contemporary life often feels like we're isolated in a crowd. Getting rid of old ideas feels like we're losing or even destroying something. But Pablo Picasso once said that "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." The most creative ideas you may come up with isn't an addition to an existing one, but a totally fresh concept.

The hardest part is giving up those ideas that have served us well in the past. Some are timeless principles that will serve us till the end of life, but others are like books we'll never ready. They weigh us down and take up space that could be better occupied. G.K Chesterton believed we need to go backward to go forward, that the old timeless truths were the foundation upon which to build.

I tend to agree, but am often challenged by how to frame new structures on old foundations, especially lately.

Sometimes we confuse the framing with the foundation.

Unreasonable people gravitate towards the remarkable. Shakespeare said we're all actors on the stage of life. True. But we have several stages; at work, at home, in our community. I admit to having an increasing interest in performance, in how well we perform our roles. If you don't perform well, you perish on whatever stage it is. You don't just disappear like vapor, but you disappear from that stage, that company, relationship, project or involvement.

Performance by itself doesn't make a person good, but a good person makes a performance. I want you to think about how remarkable (or not) your important performances are these days. Are you settling for getting by or aiming for getting great?

So, here's to being a little less "reasonable" and much more frequently unreasonable and hopefully, remarkable too.

Just remember words from a pioneer in self help movements, Orison Marden, who said " Deep within humans dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish them; that they never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize their lives if aroused and put into action."

It has been wisely observed that you only live once, but if you do it right, that's enough.

Aspire higher. Get rid of some stuff. Contemplate on what you're truly accomplishing, not just how busy you are. Look up from the grindstone. Then choose one thing this week and for the new year rushing towards that you'll make remarkable. Then, go for an encore.

Thanks for reading

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 61 - About Consulting Your Fears

I recall a trip to the zoo with my kids when they were quite young…..

At one exhibit we were watching zebras and ostriches in a large enclosure. The zookeeper was offering to let the small children hold an ostrich egg. These amazing eggs are approximately 24 times the size of a chicken egg and weigh about 3 pounds! But rather than embracing a once-in-a-lifetime experience, almost without exception the parental caution heard was – “Now, don’t drop that egg.”  I think that fear actually kept me from letting my kids do it.

Little did I realize what I was doing at the time.

Just what do you suppose was at the top of all the little kids minds as they carefully took that big egg into their arms? Do you think they were marveling at the size, wondering how long it would take to hatch, imagining using that egg as a volleyball, or basking in some kind of educational enrichment of the moment? No, I suspect that the thought foremost in their minds was – “If I drop this egg, I’m in big trouble.” I doubt that the teaching experience went much beyond the fear of dropping that egg.

I’ll get back to this in a few paragraphs, so be patient.  

My point is: Fear masks our natural ability to see the world as it really is.

The date was March 3rd, 1943. An air raid siren sounded in London. England was at war with Germany and knew that a retaliation attack was possible. But with nothing but the sound of the siren to alert them, panic and mass hysteria were the only result. Fifteen hundred people tried to get down the steps of the Bethnal Green Train Station tunnel for protection. One lady, carrying her small baby, tripped on the stairs and fell. Within a few seconds, that mis-step resulted in 300 people being crushed into the tiny stairwell. Some thought that they were being blocked and became even more aggressive at forcing a massive domino effect. The panic lasted less than 15 minutes, but 172 people were dead at the scene, with one more dying the next day. I remember reading about this, unable to comprehend the fear that people seemed to perceive, even in the absence of an actual threat.

No German bombs fell that day. And just for the record, the largest number killed by any single bomb in the entire war in England was 68. I just looked it up. The crush at Bethnal Green was the largest loss of civilian life in the UK in World War II.
But bombs didn’t kill those people – fear did.

Fear!

"If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all his thinking, damages his personality, makes him a landlord to a ghost." ~ Lloyd C. Douglas

Ok, maybe the threat of bombs dropping is an unnecessarily harsh analogy. For those of you sensitive to that, I’m sorry.
I tend to get a little overly dramatic at times. (my four kids and wife just rolled their eyes, I’m sure) Fortunately, most of us do not live with that daily possibility anymore, even though our soldiers are facing that potential threat as you read this.
But if you’re focused on the fear of “dropping the egg,” you:

  • Will not start a business in this economy. It’s too risky.
  • Will not buy a house. If I ever get behind on payments, the bank could foreclose.
  • Will never love deeply. What if I’m not loved in return?
  • Will not give generously. There’s no guarantee of return.
  • Will not dream richly. I’ve got to be “practical” and “realistic” in these trying times.

When times are tough, it’s tempting to be fearful. Isn’t it “natural” to fear the company you work for, the economy, the IRS, the creditors, and the terrorists?

We don’t want them to “win”!

But fear cripples us. It creates a damaging psychological and spiritual dullness that will suck the life right out of you and deaden any chance of creativity and initiative.

In the Bible, Jesus issued 21 commands challenging us to “not be afraid” or to “have courage.” Did you know that?

His second most common command, to “love God and our neighbor,” appears only eight times.

It seems he recognized how fear stops us in our tracks, and so the one teaching he gave more than any other was “don’t be afraid.”

If you’re living in fear, you are never going to reach your full potential. I am very cognizant of that these days. Yes indeed.

You’re stifling your ability to create, earn, give, love, and receive. I know you don’t want to live like that. I know I don’t want to live like that! And even in times like these, you don’t have to wait on “things” to get better. One of my favorite speakers, Brian Tracy, once said, “Things will get better when you get better.” 

When you increase your faith in yourself and your fellow man, you take the first step in breaking that chain of fear and release a brand new season of success in your life.

And I’m not talking about some blind faith in which you ignore reality. No, I’m referring to a faith that is grounded in research, supported by a clear plan, and implemented by bold action.

Expect success; eliminate fear. Fear of failure paralyzes action, just as much as fear of success does for many people. Confidence is learned by taking specific action. To think confidently, act confidently. Plan to win – prepare to win – expect to win.  When you step into the game, play to win. Always.

People living in fear of “dropping the egg” see limitations more easily than opportunities. At the risk of seeming simplistic, I truly think we have the choice. If we focus on the “bad economy” or our own inadequacies, we’re going to have fear, doubt, and failure as our constant companions. But when we focus on the new opportunities and our unique strengths, we will see courage, confidence, and success show up from all sides.

Have you ever noticed that people who are quick to tell you about their limitations are very slow in seeing their opportunities – even if the opportunities are obvious to others around them? We “see” what we focus on.

"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right." ~ Henry Ford

Now then, back to the egg we talked about;  Most people will go through life having never held an ostrich egg. They base their experience on routine exposure to chicken eggs. And we all know chicken eggs are fragile and break with the tap of a spoon. Most people don’t know that an ostrich egg has a thick shell that can only be cracked with a hammer or drill. With the exception of the hyena, no predators are able to penetrate the ostrich egg. Thus, based on limited experience, the perception of most parents (teachers, bosses, politicians) is that the “risk” of holding an ostrich egg is much greater than it actually is.

Maybe the people holding you back have also had limited experience with the new possibilities. Maybe they’ve experienced too much pain, shortage, and disappointment for them to remain objective. They may be watching too much news on TV. They don't know the thrill of living out their passion.

Don’t let their fear deprive you of completing your "bucket list." Go ahead, take that trip, write that book, open that ice cream shop, or buy that little house you’ve been wanting. As Nike says “Just Do It”.

And hey, if you drop the egg, call 20 of your friends and enjoy an incredible omelet. Isn’t there an old adage about that anyway?

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do." ~ Pope John XXIII

This column will be on hiatus for a short time due to upcoming changes and schedules, but we hope to return to these columns at a later date. In the meantime, some of you may get a “best of” repeat of previous columns.

Happy Holiday’s to all!

Thanks for reading…

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 60 - Working Smart

The Day-Before-Vacation Attitude

So..here’s the question: Are you an honest person with at least average intelligence? Chances are good you gave a smiling "yes" response.

Next question: As an honest, intelligent person, do you get more work done on the day before you go on vacation than you normally get done in two, three, or even four days? I'll bet you said yes.

Next question: If you can learn "why" and then repeat that process on a regular basis, would you become more valuable to your employer and hence increase your employment security — and eventually your income?

The answer to that one is another yes.

Question: What did you do the night before that day before vacation? Answer: You probably took a sheet of paper and listed the things you had to get done the next day. That is short-range goal-setting in its simplest form. As you made the list, you recognized that it was your responsibility to complete those tasks, so you made the commitment to finish your jobs. That showed sensitivity on your part and genuine concern for your fellow workers. That's team spirit. Chances are excellent that it took you no more than 10 minutes to make that list, and yet those 10 minutes made you dramatically more effective the next day.

Thought: If planning your work makes you more effective on the job, doesn't it make sense that if you plan your family and recreation time that you will have a much more balanced life? Think about it.

To sum it up, today we've discovered that you're an honest, intelligent person who sets goals, accepts responsibility, is sensitive to others, and is committed to doing your best.

Those are winning qualities that will give you an honest shot at a better, happier, healthier, more secure life.

Excitement Helps

I was reminded of these facts as I watched one of our Admissions Counselors prepare for a week away from the office. I’ve watched him focus on setting goals for classes that are coming up and filling them so he can relax on vacation. Frankly, it’s the most focused I’ve seen him for awhile.

Now, I know that the day before he goes on vacation, he’ll probably arrive at work a little early and immediately get busy on the list prepared the night before. He’s a self-starter and typically displays considerable enthusiasm. That’s the personality that all employers look for. You focus on what needs to be done. If anyone comes along to discuss last night's TV show or ball game, you refuse to be drawn into a time-killing situation. (You've already noticed that people with nothing to do generally want to do it with you.)

When you finish a job, you quickly move to the next thing on your list, especially if it is an unpleasant or disagreeable task. This is a real plus because difficult or confrontational assignments can make procrastinators out of anyone. However, on this particular day, you refuse to be side-tracked, so you decisively take the unpleasant but necessary actions.

That's important because, as this old philosopher down home would say, "Friend, if you're going to have to swallow a frog, you don't want to look at that sucker too long. He's not going to get any prettier! As a matter of fact, he'll get uglier the longer you look at him."

You move from one completed task to another; you gain momentum. The old saying that "success begets success" is true. Your growing momentum enhances your optimism and positive thinking. At this point, your experience on the job pays off, your confidence and creativity take over, and your competency expands. You are running on all cylinders. Result — you get more done, much more.

Question: Won't performance like this make you more valuable to your employer? Note: I'm talking about working smarter — not harder.

Working Smarter — Not Harder

When you work smarter, your enthusiasm increases and your team members around you will instinctively pick up the pace. This makes you an "impact worker" or a leader, and your value to your company goes up dramatically. Your contribution as an individual is important, but as a role model, you become even more valuable. You ensure your own employment as well as that of your fellow employees because increased productivity and profitability help ensure the survival probability of your company. When one wins, we all win.

Interestingly, despite your increased productivity and intensity, you arrive at the end of your day highly energized. You feel good about yourself, and you take that feeling, energy, and enthusiasm home with you. Conversely, on those days when there really isn't that much to do, you arrive home absolutely exhausted. I'm certain you've had this experience. Lord knows, I have.

Now, let me digress just for a moment and ask you a question. Do you really think your employer would fire you or anyone else who performed on a daily basis as we're talking about performing on the day before you leave for vacation?

Please understand that I'm not talking about being a slave to the clock. The more you plan your time, the less likely you are to fall victim to time-wasting people or situations. This approach will enable you to run your day by the clock and your life by the compass.

Personal Performance Is the Key

Suppose that you did maintain that "day-before-vacation" attitude approach to life but your company was bought out and your job was eliminated.

Now what do you do? Let's look at an analogy that will help you to see the benefits of this approach.

Let's say that the impossible happens. The Dallas Cowboys go bankrupt. The reason I say it's impossible is because the league would not let it happen. They would find another buyer, but for this analogy, let's say they go bankrupt. Owner Jerry Jones calls the team together and emotionally gives them the bad news that they've run out of money and can't meet the payroll. He gives each player a two-week severance package and bids them all goodbye.

If you know anything at all about football, let me ask you a question: Do you believe that Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, and a few of the others just might be able to get a job somewhere else?

Chances are about 4 million-to-one you answered yes. Next question: Will they get that job because they played for the Dallas Cowboys or because they performed for the Dallas Cowboys?

Now, let's make it personal. If your company goes under or your job is eliminated, would you get another job because you worked at XYZ Company or because you performed for XYZ Company?

Since the answer is obvious, doesn't that really mean that you have a tremendous amount of control and influence on guaranteeing employment security by performing every day as you do on the day before vacation?

Zig Ziglar, in my mind, is the epitome of this “work smart, not hard” attitude. Even after his ill-fated accident when he fell from the stage during one of his highly animated presentations a couple years ago, he remains active at his craft. He still works as hard as he ever did, but he works much SMARTER now too. The result is that we still benefit from his amazing insights and Zig still is a shining example of his firm belief that you will get the most out of your life when you help other people get the most out of their lives.

When you think about it, you will buy that idea and perform accordingly, which means I really will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

Thanks for reading...

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 59 - Amygdala Unleashed

You probably never heard its name promoted in any classroom. But it is responsible for pretty much running your life. (Could I get a drum roll please?) Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… I would like to introduce to you an immensely powerful part inside you that has been operating off your radar screen as your silent and invisible partner—your subconscious mind.

I recently read a fascinating article by the Nightingale-Conant group about how to “Reprogram Your Subconscious:” and explore why your subconscious mind, left to its own devices, may or may not help you attain truly satisfactory outcomes. In fact, you will become aware of how it is possible for your subconscious to unintentionally and mistakenly be working against your well-being, even though your subconscious is convinced that it is giving you what you want. This situation may be remedied, however, by your practicing different techniques of Reprogramming Self-hypnosis that are some very practical skills intended to enrich and support you throughout your lifetime.
 
Our Subconscious Computer

Your subconscious mind may be likened to the most magnificent computer that has yet to be invented. I’m a bit of a computer nerd, so this concept appeals to me. As a magnificent computer, your subconscious mind holds all your memories, all data about what you have experienced from all of your senses. It runs vast numbers of programs simultaneously with precision and ease. Your subconscious mind runs your body’s autonomic system without your need for conscious thought input. Did you have to remind yourself to blink or to digest food? It is just done automatically.
 
Delete, Merge, Copy, Cut, and Paste

You use different computer files labeled with titles or names just the way that people used the old-fashioned files that were stored in actual file cabinets. You can add information to the files and can delete them entirely whenever you want. Figuratively speaking, using the computer analogy, you can do this very same thing in your subconscious mind.

You can create new files, give those files titles and names, and then delete obsolete files or those that have misleading or incorrect information. Similarly in your subconscious computer, when you delete old mind-sets or harmful emotions, they are really gone, in effect totally neutralized and discarded. They no longer influence your subconscious programming. Your subconscious, like a real computer, also has the capability to program email letters to be sent at a later time than when you actually typed them in. This is just like a post-hypnotic suggestion.

You can merge, copy, cut, and paste computer files that hold information. Your suggestible subconscious cooperates with your directions just the way a real computer responds to what you type as directions on your keyboard. While in hypnosis it is possible to recall happier times when you felt better about yourself and then direct your subconscious to copy those same happy feelings and paste them into your present emotional state of mind so it remains permanently as part of your reality, in the now. Hence, your high self-esteem image that brings along your positive feelings takes precedence over your most recent low self-esteem, bad feelings that you have cut and deleted. Believe it or not, your subconscious can do all of these things and more.
 
The Renegade

Nevertheless, there is a renegade in your subconscious computer design. A man-made computer is built to function purely on logic and logical progression. Human emotions have no place in present-day actual computers. Therefore, present-day computers are incapable of performing emotionally or impulsively when following downloaded programs. The article prompted me to do a little google research and what I found was that your human subconscious computer, in contrast, does utilize the amygdala part of your brain that does respond impulsively.

This is because the amygdala reacts so quickly to any stressors in your life that it bypasses the logical part of your brain, your neo-cortex. As described in Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, research supports the fact that after just a few milliseconds of your perceiving something, you already perceive what it is. What is more, you know how you feel about it, favorably or unfavorably. It is as if your emotions produce impulsively motivated programs that are instantly downloaded independently of your logical mind. Thus you are burdened with logically flawed subconscious programs that influence your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
 
What May Drive Anxiety

One illustration of this is what happens when you might pass a car on the highway and nearly have an accident. In physiological terms, the hippocampus part of your subconscious brain remembers the objective facts, while the amygdala retains the memory of the emotions created during that trauma. Next time you are in a similar situation passing a car on the highway, your amygdala will send a surge of anxiety, bringing up old feelings associated with the passing of a car on the highway. To make matters worse, the associations that the amygdala makes seem to broaden and spread with time. It may start with anxiety from that specific highway where the first trauma originated. Then later, it may include other large highways that elicit the same anxious response. Next, you may feel the anxiety on any regular highway when you are passing another car. If nothing is done to resolve this situation, the anxiety may grow to where anytime you are in the car, you feel tremendous anxiety. Since the amygdala is making choices without the benefit of your logical brain, it makes conclusions based on very loose and often incorrect associations. These spreading and mutation-like changes are characteristic of fears, anxieties, and panic attacks.
 
They are like weeds that spread, multiply, and take root, crowding out the grass that constituted your peaceful lawn. How Zen-like is THAT?
 
No Permission Granted

So, your subconscious consistently chooses things for you without asking permission and without any of your conscious awareness at all! It is like having a computer system running a program that impacts your entire computer without your knowing anything about the existence of the anonymous program.

Theoretically, this program functioned for our primordial ancestors as a benevolent program wanting to please and protect them. So when our cavemen ancestors found themselves facing a tiger, the amygdala part of their brain registered it while dipping into past data to conclude that this was a dangerous situation. So the amygdala reminded our ancestors of the fear (emotional response) they experienced from their last tangle with a tiger. They had better fight the tiger or take flight as fast as they could run (memory of past experiences.) Thus, the adrenalin necessary for either of those two options started flowing (bodily response), and our ancestors were pumped, ready for action.
 
Refuse Blame for the Pain

So how does an encounter with a tiger millions of years ago equate to much more complicated times?

Well, someone such as your spouse, your boss, or your neighbor may be mistaken for that tiger. Consequently, the number of times your amygdala responds, as just described, is far more often than likely there were tiger confrontations in caveman times. So chances have increased tremendously for inappropriate emotional responses from your amygdala. With all that outdated information from which to base its reactions, it is not unusual for your amygdala to program something unwisely, and none of that programming is your fault! You are free from responsibility, blame, and/or guilt for programming choices that your subconscious made without your consent or even awareness, period.

Remember, when there is a strong emotionally perceived threat, the part of your brain responsible for clear logic, the neo-cortex, never has a chance to alter the subconscious choices because the amygdala has already activated your response so quickly. It’s not surprising that the choices produced this way may have negative consequences for you—like chronic anxiety, fears, racing thoughts, high blood pressure, weight gain, addictions, and so forth.
 
Your amygdala may be responsible for creating many of your hot buttons that set you off emotionally, mentally, and physically. Every time there is a new stressful incident that your amygdala perceives as even vaguely similar to a previous incident, your reaction to the new stress seems to grow in intensity.
It is as if somebody poured salt upon your open wound. Think about it. What are your current hot buttons? They represent perfect targets for reprogramming your subconscious mind for your long-term benefit and YOUR Highest Good.
 
Thanks for reading.

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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 58 - I Have an Idea

The Incredible Power of Ideas

We truly do live in the age of powerful new ideas. Nothing gives more of a mental lift than the feelings created by one new and powerful idea. Dr. Jonas Salk once said that “the moment an idea is expressed, it becomes a form of life with its own genetic code. Once born, it is up to us to nurture a new idea or to let it die.”

Some ideas are very short lived, others grow steadily, gain worldwide acceptance and live on for decades, even centuries. Mankind advances through the power of ideas. One simple idea, born out of a single mind, has the capacity to change the lives of millions of people around the world. Just think of Edison's light bulb - over five billion people now enjoy the benefits of his unique idea.

Creative people know how to harness the power of ideas. To many people, the process of creating ideas that sell appears mysterious, yet their minds are continually at work thinking, visualizing, daydreaming and fantasizing. To harness the power of ideas we need to ask ourselves, "What do I want to get out of ideas?" Without that question, we will go on producing ideas at random, dispersing our creative energies without hope for profit.

In order to profit from ideas, we need to learn from three disciplines: fishing, nursing and gardening. “What does that have to do with anything here?”, you say? Well….here’s what I mean:

Fishing: Many of the ideas we produce vanish pretty quickly if we fail to capture their essence. Like fishermen who weave nets to catch fish, we need to create a series of nets that will help us catch the kind of ideas that will lead us to new systems or processes. Your fishing net could be a simple notebook where you write down idea categories like "new ideas for finding prospects" or "new ideas for handling objections" or "ideas for reaching my goals." Cast your net wherever you go, use your driving time to think of these categories, ask experts in your field and soon your notebook will be filled with profitable ideas.

Nursing: If you fail to pay attention to new ideas, they remain immature and will never be useful to you. If you nurse, nurture, expand and develop your new idea, however, it will soon grow to a mature level. While immature ideas mean more work for you, mature ideas will make more money for you.

Gardening: Once your idea has reached the stage of maturity, it needs to be planted into the minds of other people. As with any type of gardening, you'll have to accept some dirty work like weeding, watering and pruning before your idea will grow to its full bloom.

Some people don't bother to catch, nurse or grow their ideas. Often, their negative self-image prevents them from using their profitable ideas that will help them grow.

Carl H. Holmes once addressed the challenge of self-creation with these words: "Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to improve our own methods and to do our work better than we have ever done before."

The only way we can achieve that goal is by harnessing the incredible power of new ideas.

Thanks for reading.