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Non-Guilty Pleasures [Day 11 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 21st, 2010

Today is Day 11 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. We are one-third of the way through our journey – woohoo! Yesterday Yvonne DiVita got us focused on who we are and what our mission must be. Today, Dr. Mollie Marti takes on Guilt – where it comes from, what it can do to us and what to do about it so it doesn’t strangle our game.

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Non-Guilty Pleasures

By Dr. Mollie Marti (@DrMollieMarti)

Escaping mediocrity requires the dropping of pretenses, social masks, and facades and resting in this truth…living in this world requires a tremendous amount of awareness and intentional action to be the person that you want to be and can be.

One of the big pieces you must put in place to escape mediocrity is dropping unearned and unhealthy guilt.  In this world on non-stop information, advertisements, and guru-ism, we fantasize of perfection (it is a fantasy) and use these images as ammunition against our self worth.  Each day, hundreds of invitations knock on your door to compare outside of yourself and conclude that you are not good enough, successful enough, wealthy enough, organized enough, productive enough, pretty enough, thin enough, famous enough, happy enough…you pick your poison enough.

When you don’t feel enough, guilt is right there lurking.  And the party within you soon begins. Because guilt never travels alone. Oh no. It brings its buddies (surely you’ve met them…dissatisfaction, hopelessness, helplessness, confusion, fatigue, overwhelm, and emptiness).  The internal party gets fired up with whoops of “should”, “can’t”, “why did you”, “why didn’t you”, and “what were you thinking????”

Am I suggesting that you dump guilt completely? Of course not (unless you’re seeking to become a sociopath).  Healthy guilt is essential for living an unmediocre life. Healthy guilt is appropriate to the offense, specific to the situation, and focused on improving a relationship with yourself or another person.  Healthy guilt is almost always paired with lessons learned and an intention to act differently immediately – not linked to a gut wrenching intent to “do better” in the future.

So what can you do to dump some of the guilt – and with it a heap of mediocrity?

1. Increase Awareness
(Tell me you knew a psychologist would start here…stay with me). You had needs as a child.  You had adults in your life responsible for responding to those needs. How did they do? Were they too busy trying to meet their own needs and fill their own emptiness that they did not have anything left for you?  Was a typical response to your needs to make you feel guilty for even asking for help?

Perhaps you were programmed with negative messages and expectations of perfectionism like, “Shame on you”, “You can’t do anything right”, “It is always your fault”, and “You are a bad person because you did that”.  Maybe they added a “God agrees you should feel guilty about this” layer.

These messages of criticism and shame get deeply embedded into your psyche and create a background soundtrack that infiltrates your being.  A never-ending soundtrack that creates your normal that feels right when in reality it is so wrong.  It largely is the byproduct of others (whether self-hating, selfish, clueless, or just too needy themselves) telling you and showing you that guilt is the way.

The child within you may need permission to explore and challenge all that was put on you when you had no choice but to receive it.  Give yourself this permission.

2. Own Your Goodness and Help Others Own Theirs
The reality is that there is evil in this world. There are people that knowingly chose to embrace extreme selfishness, hatred, violence, and a blatant disregard for humanity. You are not one of these. I see you there reading this…full of good intentions and hungry to improve yourself and help others.  You may not have exercised today or you may have eaten that ice cream right out of the carton or you lost your temper and snapped at a loved one…but you hold no hatred in your heart (except perhaps toward yourself). Be kind to yourself. Stop giving more energy to what you aren’t doing and own all the kind acts you do, day in and day out.

You are surrounded by people who are hurting, feeling inferior, and are hungry for affirmation.  Under those heavy masks they don, there is great pain.  Hold up the truth of their goodness for them.  Mirror back the abundant evidence from their life that contradicts the guilt that creates their reality from inside out.

Be aware that guilt can cause them to brush off your caring and dismiss your compliments – persevere.  I recently was doing some online coaching and commented about the goodness and potential I saw shining from within someone. His response:
“I’m really making an effort to accept support while trying not to feel like a total loser.”
“I just keep looking at what I did and it never measures up to what I should have done.”
“Don’t know what to say…almost physically painful to hear you say I’m worth it.”

This man felt that I could not possibly understand how far short of the mark he fell and his internal dialogue told him that he deserved his guilt.  The raucous strands and crescendos of guilt surging through his veins were drowning out his view of the precious, unique gifts within.  Against this reality, my attempt to shine some light on his goodness actually caused physical pain.

I challenge you to explore how you are not worthy of the guilt you rain down upon yourself. Also, become more aware of this invisible burden being carried by good, well intentioned people and choose to be more kind. Put a check on your moodiness and be generous with your praise.  Speak fewer criticisms, blame less, and refuse to leap to judgments.  The simple act of sharing your smiles, compliments, and affirmations can change lives.

3. Live in Community.
We human beings are social animals.  We need each other in so many ways.  We thrive only in community. When will you know you’ve found the right home? It sounds something like this (sometimes without saying a word):
Be you – this truly is enough for us.  Let it be enough for you.  Take time and space to breathe, reflect, and explore. You’re safe here. Tired? Rest. You tripped? We all trip. Let us help you back up and keep moving forward.  You are not alone – we also are fighting this good and worthy fight toward our better selves. We ask only this: be honest, be yourself, and do not give up…because the rewards of living an unmediocre life – a life of personal excellence – are worth the effort.

A big part of what inspired this post is a recent experience I had getting blindsided by a business associate who I thought was a friend but acted like foe. It was my amazing Best Life Design community that immediately swooped in to pick me up and encourage me forward. Salve for a hurting heart (thanks, team).

Escaping mediocrity requires a lot of soul baring talk.  Of course, you need silence to foster introspection, creativity, and wisdom. But it becomes impossible to use this silence when guilt, irrationalities, and self-hatred are bullying their way through the quiet.  It takes courage to reach out because it is often at the point guilt has convinced you that you are a complete and utter failure that it’s essential to reach out and share your feelings, doubts, and challenges. (If guilt has become an outright bully, you may need a coach or therapist to help you restore some order.)

My intent for this blog is to raise a flag of hope for you and to call you to action to waive it for others.  This flag reads:
“You are a good person. You do not deserve the guilt that infiltrates your soul and undermines your greatness.  You are being called as a light to others.  To shine, you must embrace a healthy pride of the good acts you do and stop frittering away your life focused on what you don’t do or what you aren’t being.  Choose to live with more love and pride and hope and kindness. Go Shine.”

Escaping mediocrity calls you to recognize that there is a richness to you that you have not yet begun to fully tap. Not even close.  Let’s take the next step forward together.  What changes have you made or will make to help yourself or others walk through the guilt to greatness? Please share.

Dr. Mollie Marti, a performance psychologist and lawyer, is founder of BestLifeDesign.com, a life design resource that provides tools, advice, and inspiration in all areas of life design, including health, fitness, relationships, finances, career, spirituality, and success.  She is widely published in academic journals and is co-author of The 12 Factors of Business Success: Discover, Develop and Leverage Your Strengths and Selling: Powerful New Strategies for Sales Success. With her unique ability to combine the science of success with the art of living well, Mollie is a popular trainer, speaker, and media source. She lives with her husband, 3 children, and large family of pets on an apple orchard in scenic northeast Iowa. Now this is a woman who really knows how to take a bite out of life!

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You are NOT a Rock Star [Day 10 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 20th, 2010

Today is Day 10 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Congratulations for still being in the game!  Today Yvonne Divita of Lipsticking fame gets our attitude straight and focuses us on what our mission MUST be about if we are going to be Game Changers. (You’re gonna notice a theme starting to develop around this!) Go get’em tigers!!

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You Are Not a Rock Star

by Yvonne DiVita (@lipsticking)

A few weeks ago I was at a presentation given by Peter Shankman, he of the totally awesome HARO project (Help a Report Out), and he started his talk with these words, “First of all I want to say I am not a rock star. Peter Frampton is a rock star. Mick Jagger is a rock star. Madonna is a rock star. I am not a rock star so please don’t call me a rock star.”  http://www.helpareporter.com/

Yes, we all laughed. But, we got it. Peter Shankman, who rose to fame and fortune in less than a year with his outstanding launch of HARO, is an entrepreneur and is struggling to figure all of this out, right along with the rest of us. Rock stars are creatures from some other planet that resemble humans but, really now, you can tell they’re not human, not like you and me, right?

My point is that changing your game for 2010 should include spontaneity, flexibility, and focus, but no where in your business plan or your marketing plan should you be thinking of yourself as a rock star. Cut the “fame” right out of that “fame and fortune” song, because fame will not get you where you want to go.

If you’re ready to create real success, start with yourself. Start with recognizing that you’re a business person. You may be clever (I hope you are), you may be smart (smart enough to get help from people even smarter), and you may be committed, but none of that makes you a rock star.

The rock star statement stuck with me because we mere humans so often refer to each other as “rock stars.” I may be so impressed with your latest Twitter party, or the amazing campaign you built on your blog – flash and all! – that I exclaim, “Wow, you’re a rock star!” While the statement is meant to be a compliment – rock star referring to great success, one supposes – it’s an empty promise. Because your goal shouldn’t be to get that rock star status. Your goal should be to serve – the people who depend on you..

How do you serve? In this day and age, serving your customers or clients has never been easier. John Bradshaw, 20th century American educator and author, is quoted saying, “Ego is to the true self what a flashlight is to a spotlight.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bradshaw_(author)  If you can embrace that, you can begin to understand that your business is not about you. It’s about your customers and clients, and serving them by using a few simple tactics, will get you the success you desire. Try these:

1. Ask questions. Everywhere you go, ask questions. What are the right questions? The ones that focus on finding out how to do your business better – for the client. Not, “Do you like my website?” Not, “Are you on Twitter? I am. Follow me!” How about a question like this, “How’s your business doing? Is there anything we can do to help you with that?” Internally, ask for opinions, feedback, and conversation. Don’t dictate. http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hmu/2009/05/real-leaders-ask.html

2. Give back. Give back to your clients (free is never going to go out of style – just make sure your “free” stuff is really free, no loopholes!). Give back to your community. Engage in outreach – authorize your employees to take X hours a month to give back to the community, with pay. Don’t do this to get attention – do it to help out. Be Santa Claus all year round.

3. Embrace risk. Truly, figure out what you’re afraid of and go out and tackle it! Maybe that’s visiting a local high school and talking to America’s up-and-coming leaders – and asking their opinion of your industry, your business, world politics, whatever. Don’t hog the conversation. Pause, listen, and then…listen some more. They’ll be truthful. So truthful, it could be a big risk to your ego. If you’re really feeling risky, offer internships at your office – get those kids in there and let’em have at it.

Serving your customers is the most important thing you will ever do. Is it game changing? It can be. Because while customer service gets a lot of attention these days, and honestly, always has, in an age of YouTube, Google, blogs, Twitter and Facebook, customers are truly in control. They are the brand. They dictate the brand image and reputation. You cannot cheat them, pull the wool over their eyes, or pacify them if you’ve “done them wrong.” They talk to each other every day, and they will hold you to whatever promises you make.

I leave you with a few stanzas from a favorite poem by John W. Foley. Heed its message:

Drop a Pebble in the Water

Drop a pebble in the water; just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

Drop an unkind word, or careless; in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading, from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness; just a flash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of that one kind word you gave.

No rock star status in that. Just honest, open interest, in people other than yourself. Here’s a thought for today – pick up the phone and call two business contacts you haven’t seen for awhile. Pretend they are your
clients. Serve them. Listen to their dreams and expectations for the New Year. Then, offer your help. Maybe you can introduce them to someone they need to know. Maybe you can give them an hour of free consultation on business planning. Maybe you can advise them on web design, social media planning, or suggest a networking group that’s good for them to look into. Be there for them. In the end, they’ll repay you by dropping pebbles in many, many pools of opportunity.

Photo by rick

Yvonne DiVita http://www.thelipstickingsociety.com Writer, blogger, women’s issues supporter, and social media enthusiast. Co-founder of the first ever pet blogger conference: Blogpaws.com being held in Columbus, OH in April.

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Why would you try so hard to fit in? [Day 9 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 19th, 2010

Today is Day 9 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Mary Kay Morgan gave us some serious marching orders yesterday, didn’t she?! Lots to learn from Tiger Woods. Today, my friend and marketer extraordinaire Shelly Kramer challenges us to be who we are, uncover what we REALLY want, and GO FOR IT!

Why would you try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?

by Shelley Kramer http://www.twitter.com/ShellyKramer)

I saw that quote the other day – words attributed to Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back and was immediately inspired by it. It’s true you know. We were all born “originals.” Unique, perfect, capable of great things, if only we allow ourselves to imagine those things and then take a tiny step further and actually do those things.

But sometimes, somewhere along the way, things change. An education gets interrupted, a young wife gets pregnant, someone dies and we need to step up. Sometimes we just get locked into a job. Maybe it pays well, maybe it makes us feel secure, and maybe, over time, we lose confidence in our ability to move on, make a change, and do something different. We get complacent. We lose our confidence. We lose our game. Sometimes we even get scared. And the more that people depend on us, the more scared we get.

Trust me, I’ve lived all those things. I was the person who got married at 20 for no good reason, unexpectedly pregnant two months into the marriage, divorced 6 years later while in the middle of working on my undergraduate degree. I know about life throwing us curve balls. My whole life has been one curve ball after the next.

But here’s what else I know. Complacency doesn’t inspire greatness. Being settled, afraid to rock the boat, filled with dreams but afraid to take them on or feeling as if so many other people depend on you that it really isn’t possible to take a chance – those are all things I get. But I’ll say it again – in case you weren’t listening: Complacency doesn’t inspire greatness. And it rarely inspires great happiness. And I probably don’t need to mention that it rarely inspires great success.

Here’s what else I know. Squaring your shoulders, taking a deep breath and taking a risk is the surest way to the path to happiness. For you and for the people who depend on you. Humans have a funny way of behaving when life depends on us. We tend to make things happen.

I remember when I first started my consulting business, quite by accident, in fact. I was a single mom with two teenagers and scared to death. But there was no one to provide for us – no one but me. I remember taking phone calls from prospective clients who asked me “Well, can you do this? What about x, y and z?” And every time they asked me those questions I said “Well, sure. Of course I can.” And you know what – it worked! They believed in me. And because they believed in me, I believed in myself. And when I didn’t know exactly how to do what they’d asked me to do, I was smart enough to be able to pick up the phone and call someone who did, and recruit them to collaborate with me.

Another example from my own life happened within the last few years. My husband, in casual conversation one night, mentioned that he always wanted to get his MBA, and was disappointed in himself that he’d let that chance pass him by. It was at a time when his company was paying 100% of the costs for an MBA program and, as we talked further, I realized the only thing holding him back was him. And his supposition that his MBA quest was a luxury that we couldn’t really afford – either financially or otherwise. We were expecting twins, had bought more house than we could really afford, I wasn’t working, we were learning to live without my income – oh, and we had another house that we owned that we’d tried unsuccessfully to sell in a down real estate market. In short, we were poor and busy. And yet, it was his dream to have an MBA.

So, we sucked it up, tightened the belt a bit further, he went without much sleep for two years and studied his ass off. Honestly, I don’t know how he did it. Oh, and I forgot to mention his job required him to travel 85% of the time, often leaving on Sundays, returning on Thursday afternoon in time to make it to his weekly MBA class. But he did it. And the kids and I managed just fine. Lo and behold, we even managed to pay our bills in the process. And, before we knew it, two years had passed and he had an MBA in hand. Dream –> Reality.

Those are my life examples – and I know you have your own. And while they’re different, they’re really the same. They almost always are.

So here’s my game changing challenge to you. Believe in yourself. Whether you have a job or you’re looking for one. Whether you have a family or not. Dig down deep within your heart and ask yourself what really inspires you. What you really, really want to spend your life and your time and your talents and your energies doing. Talk with your wife, your boyfriend, your kids or your parents – and tell them your dream. Ask them to believe in you and support you as you set out on the journey of believing in yourself.

Remember – or maybe learn anew, what it’s like to be anxious, afraid, nervous. Take a chance. Take a risk. Trust in your abilities. And, remember, as Yoda once said, “There is no ‘try’.”

Shelly Kramer is the founder of V3 Integrated Marketing and founder of Kramer & Co, both full service marketing firms headquartered in Kansas City, MO, and doing business with clients all over the world. In addition to her marketing savvy, she’s a sought after consultant and speaker, well-known for her “keeping it real” persona. She’s irreverent, irrepressible and possessed of a wicked sense of humor.  In short, when she’s in the room, you know it. But seriously, she knows her stuff.  A 20+ year marketing veteran, she’s a strategist, brand builder, deep thinker, information junkie, communicator extraordinaire, buzz builder and lover of all things related to social media.  She’s real in every sense of the word and it only takes a few moments in her presence to sense that.  Shelly’s adept at helping individuals and brands find their voice in the realm of new media and understand the importance of diving into this ever-changing new world.  Her practical, no-nonsense approach to both business, and life in general, make her an engaging speaker, a great listener and someone who can always be counted on to tell it like it is.  And, when it comes to business her clients will be the first to tell you she is, without question, their secret weapon.  You can read her blog here: http://www.v3im.com/blog and find her on Twitter @shellykramer

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Tiger's Change of Game: A Lesson for the Rest of Us [Day 8 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 18th, 2010

This is Day 8 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Bob Burg showed us how shifting our focus from getting to giving puts in a much bigger game.  And your comments contributed SO much to that conversation. Today Mary Kay Morgan surprises even herself with the lesson we can learn from Tiger’s Change of Game.

Tiger’s Change of Game

by Mary Kay Morgan (@theinnermarykay)

Changing the game.

Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” Elbert Hubbard

This is not the blog post I thought I was going to write. When Sarah first asked me if I would like to participate in 30 Days to Changing Your Game, it was an immediate “Absolutely!”. Then each time I sat to write, nothing.

Initially, I thought I was going to write about how I finally got over myself enough to surrender to actually doing my life’s work, instead of spinning circles around it.  It was in fact my personal change of game, but no, that was not what this post was to be about.

Sigh.  The deadline loomed.  Nothing. Then, inspiration arrived and as is usually the case, I was outside moving through a particularly gratifying cardio session and experiencing that magical state of bliss that only heavy breathing can bring about when “it” showed up.  My blog post came to me right out of the blue clear sky, and the subject was none other than: Tiger Woods.

What?  Tiger Woods? Really?

I don’t play golf and could give a rat’s behind about all the hoopla and gossip, but no denying it, Tiger’s unanticipated change of game is a big, BIG deal, and why it is such a big deal for you and me is what showed up out of the blue.

Nothing happens in a vacuum.  Everything has a deeper meaning if we are willing to look for it, and if you believe in the concept of “oneness”, it is not too big a stretch to realize that Tiger’s story is, on a level deeper than the sordid gossip rage details, everyone’s story.

I believe that what Tiger has been living, and in very public way, is nothing less than a spiritual wakeup call for each of us to take a hard look at how we are playing our own game, to change what needs changing and change it quick.

Maybe you have heard about this shift that we are experiencing. It is not a future event, it is happening now and the buffer of tolerance for the old ways of doing business including:

  • Ego based power trips
  • Entitlement
  • Greed
  • Double lives
  • Double standards
  • Fudging the truth / little white lies
  • Hype and exaggeration
  • Incongruence in any form
  • Being out of integrity with yourself, others and/or (especially) your Higher Power…

…has grown very, very thin.  Tiger and a long list of diverse predecessors including:

  • Kenneth Lay and the whole Enron gang
  • The Catholic Church and all the naughty priests that it protected
  • A dozen or more individual “religious leaders” like the flamboyant Jim and Tammy Faye and the repentant (not) Jimmy Swaggert
  • Too many high profile politicians to list
  • Martha Stewart
  • Michael Vick
  • The sub-prime mortgage industry
  • The banking industry, auto industry, insurance industry…
  • Wall Street
  • Bernie Madoff
  • James Ray
  • Etcetera, etcetera…

… are, through their very public transgressions, heralding the same message:

It’s time to change the game!

Fact is, no one can hide from the truth – forever.  The truth has a way of being revealed, the karmic debt paid and balance restored, one way or another.  We can choose to learn from the experience of others or learn through our own usually painful experience.

Bottom line is that if we truly believe in the message of Mahatma Gandhi, if we are truly committed to being the change we wish to see in the world, we must first look inside and change our game wherever it is not a true reflection of our soul. There is no other way.

We have in this moment the capacity to choose our best game, our most aligned game, our most conscious game, our most compassionate game, our most generous game, our most honest game and our most authentically powerful game – and the time for that change is now.

Your challenge step is this: take a close look at how you are playing your game.  Where are you not walking your talk?  Make sure you look in the nooks and crannies of your life; the spaces and places you have convinced yourself no one else knows about or at the things that you’ve rationalized are so small and trivial as to not matter.   It has been said that “how you tie your shoe is how you do everything” so this exercise covers the totality of your life, not just your business.

I could provide examples but my sense is that could limit or distract you from your own inner knowing.  My bet is that even now you know what it is that you need to bring into alignment.  So go ahead, just do it.

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Mary Kay Morgan is founder of two heart-centered companies.  www.YourBodyYourGuru.com supports you in bringing your soul’s full potential into see it, touch it, live it physical reality and www.AffiliateWealthPartners.com the only affiliate and joint venture marketing resource exclusively serving the conscious business community. Mary Kay lives in Boulder Colorado with her three teenage children and a rescued Cairn terrier named Maisie.

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Changing Your Game Through Shifting Your Focus [Day 7 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 17th, 2010

This is Day 7 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game.  Yesterday we did some inside work with Kimberlee Morrison . Today, we are truly lucky indeed because the Go-Giver himself, Bob Burg, teaches how shifting our focus might be the biggest game-changer of all.

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Changing Your Game Through Shifting Your Focus

By Bob Burg (@BobBurg)

Shifting your focus from getting to giving – in this case meaning “constantly and consistently adding value to people’s lives” – is not only a nice way to live life, but a financially profitable way, as well.

You might already be doing that. If that is the case…no need to change your game. More often than not, however, it seems that with that giving comes an agenda. In other words, “yes, I’m going to give, because if I give enough, and to the right people, eventually I’ll get.”

The true spirit of giving (yes, even in business) is to give “without attachment” to receiving. This should not be confused with “giving without expecting to receive.” Why wouldn’t you expect to receive? Receiving is a natural part of life. What it does mean is that you give; you provide value on an ongoing basis, without – here are the key words – “emotional attachment or demand” to receiving, from that person or from anyone else.

No, you give because you truly enjoy giving. You give because it’s who you are. And, because it’s who you are, it’s what you do. And, when you do that, great and magnificent results will begin to occur. Why? Because when you are known for and positioned as a giver (a “Go-Giver” if I may) people feel good about you. People know you, they like you, and they trust you. And now you begin to naturally attract the people who will do business with you personally, and via referral.

The key in changing your game is indeed through the shifting of your focus…from an “I-Orientation” to an “Other-Orientation.” You actually take your eyes off of yourself and focus totally on bringing value to the other person; and that is often well-before you do business with them personally.

Let me ask you this; whether in-person or via social media, how can you bring value to someone’s life, aside from directly through your products or services? Think of five ways right now. In fact, I’d love you to list them in the comments section below. Watch how many show up. While not all will be relatable to you or those to whom you desire to add value, many of them certainly will be. Utilize them as you see fit.

The true relationship-builders, The Go-Givers, those who have mastered the art of the shift, understand that successful business relationships – like any other relationships – are not 50/50 but simply 100 percent; yes, you actually put yourself into the mindset of caring more about the success of the other than about your own success.

Ecademy founder and author of “Networking for Life”, Thomas Powers refers to this concept as “the willing suspension of self-interest.” So, much in the same way when going to the movies we “willingly suspend our disbelief” in order to enjoy the show and feel the feelings, here we willingly put our self-interest aside. Note, he didn’t advise “forgoing” your self-interest; but rather suspending it. And, for the reason summarized above (more formally, “all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust”), it will actually bring you huge dividends.

And, by the way, If suspending your self-interest doesn’t feel natural, do it anyway. First, you’ll love the results; secondly, you’ll actually “act your way into being it.”

Yes, change your game by shifting your focus. And may 2010 be your best year yet!

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Bob Burg (http://www.burg.com/) is co-author (with John David Mann) of the national bestseller, “The Go-Giver” and their soon-to-be released “Go-Givers Sell More.” He is also author of “Endless Referrals.” You can subscribe to Bob’s blog by visiting www.burg.com/blog/. And, you can acknowledge the “Go-Givers” in your life by giving them “The Go-Giver Award.” Visit http://www.thegogiveraward.com/

To download the Introduction and Chapter 1 of their newest book, “Go-Givers Sell More” visit http://www.GoGiversSellMore.com/chapter.php

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Change Your Mind, Change Your Game [Day 6 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 16th, 2010

Today is Day 6 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game.  Yesterday Colin Lewis helped us get a handle on our financial goal.  Today, my friend Kimberlee Morrison turns our thoughts inward as we deal with the inevitable fear and frustration that will pop up as we change our game. And she won’t tell you this but she’s a channel manager for Entrepreneur Magazine. She’s know A LOT about this topic!

Change Your Mind, Change Your Game

by Kimberlee Morrison (@KymleeIsAwesome)

For me, changing the game has always been about introspection, particularly when I find myself in an unhappy place. It’s all too easy to blame external factors for why you’re unhappy with your job or your social life. It’s easy to assume you’re the best and that the only reason the other person got ahead is because they brown-nosed their way to the top. Whatever the cause of your frustration, it’s always easier to point the finger elsewhere instead of looking at where you could have done something differently.

This may sound like I’m encouraging people to focus on shortcomings and wallow in the muck of failure. Quite the contrary. There’s no point in making a mistake if you can’t learn from that mistake. And if you’re in competition, you look at the winners for ways to tweak your own performance.

For example, when I played water polo, there were certain teams who seemed to always win. Those are the teams you want to go after; the ones who always win. They were the biggest and played the dirtiest. How easy it would have been to assume those teams were all brawn and no brain but my coach new that intimidation was weakness one particular team exploited on a regular basis. We watched a video of a match where our team seemed to cower and panic while the other team was never rattled. But after that very game, we complained that the other team was so aggressive. We had the chops, our coach said. All we needed to do is play to our strengths instead of getting lured into the other team’s game.

The same principal can be carried over into…well most aspects of life. You never want to let your frustration or fear get the best of you. And if your competitors smell fear, they’re bound to exploit that fear. Better to focus on what you’re good at. Better to play the game on your own terms. Playing the game any other way will lead to frustration, unhappiness and ultimately, it’ll lead to you being off your game and not at your best.

There are a few strategies for playing the game on your own terms:

Avoid Rants
According to the experts at the MITA Brain Based Center [http://www.mitaleadership.com/bus2_index.htm], ranting is literally bad [http://www.brainbasedbusiness.com/2007/03/5_things_you_may_not_know_abou.html] for the health and bad for productivity. Ranting is generally a result of frustration, but ranting rarely leads to solutions; instead ranting begets more ranting. The more you rant, the more you wire your brain to rant more. Ranting also increases cortisol (a brain chemical that shuts down learning while increasing anxiety levels) and decreases serotonin (a brain chemical that sustains healthy immune systems).

For a good six months I ranted about everything at work that I disagreed with or made me unhappy. I started dreading work. I was always expecting some new stressor and ranting about what I saw as poor management. I even became passively defiant. Eventually my response to any new request was irritation and to try to get out of the addition to my work load. Eventually this job I had love so much in the beginning became the least enjoyable part of my day, and I had to do it eight hours a day for five days a week. Before I knew it, I was starting to hate my job even though I was doing what I’d always wanted to do.

Sure I could have continued ranting against management and blaming others for my unhappiness, but that was only making things worse. It was time for some introspection. Where was I putting my energy? I was putting my energy into this toxic ranting and it was bleeding into every aspect of my work life and even affecting co-workers. When I decided to begin curbing my rants (by first recognizing when I was getting started on one), the heaviness of discontent began to lift and I was able to enjoy my work again, consequently becoming more happy and productive.

Don’t ask ‘why’ ask ‘why not’
This is often the difference between a perspective blurred by limitation and an unobstructed view of possibilities. Most often the anchor of the “why” argument is that there’s no point in doing more than necessary. It’s an argument seated in mediocrity from the beginning and the expectation that obstacles will inhibit progress.

On the flip side, when someone asks “why not” they’re expressing hope and almost daring someone to give them a reason something can’t or shouldn’t be done. For pessimists, why not is one of the most irritating phrases one can utter. However, “why not” creates a positive frame for great achievement.

Fake it ‘till you make it
Ok, this is something I learned in church while growing up. Sometimes you’re struggling with seeing that field of possibilities and you feel a little weak in the faith department. Thinking positive and believing in your vision before it has actualized can be the hardest part of changing the game. Let’s be real, even the most optimistic of optimists have days when dark clouds loom overhead and Murphy’s law seems to be getting the best of them.

This is where faking it comes in handy. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and all that can and is going wrong, take a deep breath and affirm your goal positively. So what the plan isn’t working out exactly as you laid it out; truth is they rarely do. Rework your plan, keep your head up and make positive affirmations even when the walls seem to be crumbling. Your reaction to a stressor is often what determines whether or not it becomes a crisis. Resiliency is also what separates long-term from short-term success. The most successful people assess problems and go straight to looking for a solution. They put little energy into worrying about the problem itself. Instead, the focus is on how the problem can be solved and how the same problem can be averted in the future.

If you’re not sure, its fine to acknowledge that uncertainty, but don’t get stuck there. Focus on what you can do to accomplish your goals as opposed to the obstacles in the way. If you’re afraid, begin acting on your plan despite your fear. As time goes on, you’ll gain confidence. And if you’re having trouble just believing, keep your focus on hope. In the end, it’s really just a battle in your mind and your emotions will follow your focus.

These tips may seem lofty and abstract. Ultimately, it’s about winning the battle in your mind, reprogramming yourself to see the silver lining instead of clouds of doom. For those with a natural tendency toward skepticism, the idea of the power of positive thought being a game changer can be a tough pill to swallow. It takes will power to resist old negative patterns; you first have to become aware of the patterns and how they affect you. In the end, a conscious choice to become an optimist takes far less energy than being stressed and also makes for a happier healthier you.

What strategies do you use for playing the game on your own terms?

Bio:
Kimberlee Morrison is an author, journalist, poet, culture critic, social media enthusiast and general information junkie. She believes strongly in citizen journalism and the power journalists have over society; for better or for worse. If journalism is to bolster democracy, then new media is going to take us back to our journalistic roots. You will find her blog here: http://kymleeisawesome.com/

For me, changing the game has always been about introspection, particularly when I find myself in an unhappy place.

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What's Your Financial Goal? [Day 5 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 15th, 2010

This is Day 5 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Nat Slavin expanded our relationship building skills with  The List. Today Colin Lewis (who is truly one of the smartest people I know) is going to shift gears a little bit and talk about getting our financial goals in order.

What’s Your Financial Goal

By Colin Lewis (@ColinLewis)

Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it sure can provide peace of mind. I think about money a lot, I like Napoleon Hill’s term of “Money Conscious.” I’m sure most people think about money a lot, in fact many surveys tell us that its right up there with sex as one of the most thought of subjects…… yet guess what…..very few executives or entrepreneurs that I have coached, add the financial aspect to their annual plans.

In my mid 40’s I strongly believe wealth has to be grown from the inside out. I never used to think that way, I lived an outside in life, there was the helicopter, goodness knows how many ‘flash cars,’ the sailing yacht, dinners at the swankiest restaurants in whatever city I happened to be jetting in and out of, and so on. Nice memories but then disaster struck….the millions of dollars I had in stock, tanked, virtually all gone overnight!

Of course I had the fancy toys that I could sell and get by, but the depreciation of their value was frightening. The Yacht that I got soaked on during the 5 times I used it (yep only 5 times) went from US$ 47,000 to a value of US$ 30,000 in just over 12 months….I might as well have stood in my back yard and had someone spray a hose pipe of water on me as I tore up dollar bills.

It was a very welcome lesson. Thoreau had it right when he said “simplify, simplify, simplify.” Today my toys are books and sport clothing…that’s it, that’s all I need – you see I learned the truth of what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper.”

Do you put aside at least 1 day’s income a week? After my set back I began putting aside 60% of my monthly income, some by investments in properties and some just in pure cash. This is one of the greatest pieces of advice for executives and entrepreneurs, we never know when disaster will knock at the door, that divorce which you never expected, the client that cancels the big order, the health problems that keep you from work but the insurance company won’t cover your income let alone your health bills.

Stop right now and answer this question – If you or your partner lost his or her job/income, how many months or years could you survive without adjusting your standard of living?

The advice I give people on my coaching program is start with the end in mind. You are 45 now, your very healthy and plan on living another 50 years, how much do you need? Do the math. If you want an income of US$ 250,000 a year after taxes, so you can travel, take care of the children’s education, the grandchildren, provide donations to charities close to your heart and have a degree of financial freedom. Guess how much you will need?  The answer is US$ 12.5 million. I call this my “Financial Freedom target.”

That figure often frightens people, it shouldn’t – it should be a wake up call, a great challenge to go out there and earn it…because you are clever, creative, live in time when anybody can achieve prosperity. The authors of The 12 Factors of Business Success, (one of whom Dr Mollie Marti is a co blogger on Sarah’s 30 Days to Change Your Game Blog Series) tell us that “You are born with the right to pursue wealth and the potential to be rich. Your income is largely self-determined.” Many of the ancient sages and current day thought leaders tell us this but not everyone gets the message.

Now do another quick calculation – if you add up all your financial assets and subtract your financial liabilities, do you end up with a positive or a negative number?

The majority of people in their 40’s end up with a negative. Imagine if you could turn that around and start creating not just a safety net, but significant steps towards achieving your ‘end goal’ your “Financial Freedom target.” Because once you get absolutely clear on that target you go to work achieving it, what you think will be, will be. Isn’t it the best use of your time and talent whilst you have the faculties and good health to do so? Don’t wait, I encourage you to build that target into your planning now. Here’s a few questions to help you get started;

Do you have a clear, Financial Freedom goal that you could summarize in two sentences?

Could you adjust your outgoings to start saving more each month?

What steps will you take now to ensure your Financial Freedom target is met?

Colin Lewis is the author of Wisdom Notes. Through Wisdom Notes he aims to distill the knowledge contained in great books, interweave it with some of the wisdom of the ages, and provide the reader with a clear, illuminating picture of how to apply this in their every day life. This provides them with the opportunity to shift their con­sciousness to new levels of awareness. http://www.wisdomnote.com/

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Make the List [Day 4 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 14th, 2010

This is Day 4 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Carla Young took a bite out that self-sabotaging voice in your head and then kicked in the butt!  Today my super savvy friend, Nat Slavin, shares the one single action he took when the spectre of doubt threatened to stop him from changing his game. Get your notebooks out and have pens at the ready!

Make The List

by Nat Slavin (@NatSlavin)

Three years ago when I was ready to leave a 15-year publishing career I was terrified. I defined my professional worth not by the relationships I had formed in the legal industry, but because of the platform the publishing company afforded me. I doubted myself and thought that absent the platform doors would close and I couldn’t be “successful” ever again. And I was 36.

While I knew I had worked hard, I felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time and thought that I had one shot to find that place, and that shot had already been fired. In the simplest terms I was stuck. I was afraid to do anything; it was easier to do nothing than to take the next risk. And adding to my stuck place was that I had been fortunate: because we had sold the business I didn’t have to run out and find a new job.

And then one day I made The List.

I sat down at my desk with pen and paper and started writing down every name of every person who I thought cared enough about me to help me both personally and professionally. Without opening my address book I wrote down 357 names of people who had entered my life during the past decade and a half who I knew would take my call, and listen to my questions, and most importantly offer advice. These were the people whose life I had entered through both professional and personal circumstances. Friends from high school, relatives and of course folks in my professional network; in the simplest of terms, and I had never thought about the value of my personal network.

I was liberated. I didn’t realistically believe that all of these people would actually be able to offer me anything more than peace of mind. But if one percent, just 3 or 4, took a real interest in my professional development and served as a confidant or mentor, I would find my way. I would be able to, with confidence, enter the next stage of my life.

That list was a gift. So, I offer to all of you the tremendously liberating power of creating The List. Think of those whose lives you have been a part of, whose journey you have supported, and those whose respect you have earned. Make your own list, and know that if you got stuck, there will be names on The List, the members of your tribe, who will be there for you.

And know that as you strive to change your game, you are undoubtedly on someone else’s list. So, if today is not the day to write the list, you can start with two simple steps. Think of one person who has been a mentor or catalyst for change and send them a note and let them know they have had an impact in your life, and then ask them to reach out to someone who has touched their life.

Nat Slavin is founder and partner in the Wicker Park Group and former publisher of InsideCounsel. He was also editor and publisher of Business Without Borders and U.S. Business Litigation and the author of more than 100 articles on legal department management, business development, client service and
marketing strategies and frequently speaks on these topics. He served as the 2007 president of the International Board of Directors of Legal Marketing Association, is on the Board of Directors of the Poder Learning Center, and taught bi-lingual/bi-cultural English & History in Southern California.

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Sabotage? Who Me? [Day 3-30 Days to Changing Your Game]

January 13th, 2010

This is Day 3 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Sherman Hu rocked the house with his killer post on ROCKing your goals. Today the fabulous Carla Young is going to help you tap into that mean little voice in your head and kick it in the butt! Watch out!!

Sabotage? Who Me?

by Carla Young

Ever catch yourself in the single most dangerous lie game-changers face? It goes something like this: I am ready (and willing) to step into my success (or own my true potential…yadda, yadda, yadda).

<INSERT YOUR VERSION OF THE LIE HERE>

Whenever I am ready to take a huge step forward in my business, or in my personal life, that little inner voice starts with the quiet whispers:

“Who do you think you are to be doing this?”

“What are you doing, you have absolutely no idea how to do that?”

“Boy are you going to look like an idiot when you fail!”

Who invited this JERK into your headspace anyway?

Um…that would be you!

And you better believe that as soon as I start down that path, that voice gets louder and the whisper becomes a scream! I want to sleep in, clean my office, get sick, run over by a bus…anything to not face what I fear the most: success.

Huh?

It shocked me to the core when I learned that people fear raving success as much as they fear dismal failure. Put another way: we’re the most comfortable right in the middle – not too happy, not too sad, but just right.

Mediocrity.

We get too close to the bottom, we pull up our socks and get back to that happy middle ground. But get too close to the top and we call in sick, check out, sabotage. The worst part is the closer to the top, the greater the resistance.

Whatever you do, DON’T LOOK DOWN!

Everyone has what I call their Holy Shit moment. Even if you’ve played it pretty safe, there’s that one time when for some reason or another you did something way out of your comfort zone.

For me, it was the first double black diamond run I attempted on telemark skis (as a so-so blue run skier).

Friends suggested it saying it would have a hidden pocket of powder because getting to it required a long traverse. The assurances that “It will be no problem” quickly faded to an “Oh, this is steeper than I remember.”

HOLY SHIT! How did I get here and how am I going to get out of it?

Note: The thing about Holy Shit moments is there is only one way out: straight down! That’s what makes it a true Holy Shit moment.

Conquering your Inner Critic

#1: Breathe (and for god sakes don’t look down)!

#2: Focus – Channel your inner Zen master and seek the one thing that will move you forward.

#3: Think back to your Holy Shit moment and know that you have the power to do ANYTHING (even if it scares the shit out of you)!

#4: ACT – Even if you feel like kicking and screaming, take one step forward. (Not a cheat step where you spend a day feigning work “organizing your office” or other busy work, but an actual step forward!)

The Game Changer Rule: if you aren’t feeling the urge to flee, you are sandbagging. Try harder.

Game Changer Challenge

Think about your Holy Shit moment (if you have a bunch you daredevil, pick one). Write down what you can take from the moment – important lessons, realizations about yourself, core values…anything that you think will give you strength for what lies ahead.

Bonus points for picking one task off your game changer list that scares the shit out of you and doing it THIS week.

Carla Young is the Founder & CEO of MOMeo Community.com (http://momeocommunity.com/) and Publisher of MOMeo Magazine (http://momeomagazine/). A Game Changer herself, she’s dedicated to supporting mom entrepreneurs (or mom entrepreneurs-to-be) build work-at-home lifestyle businesses and succeed on THEIR terms at work, at home and in finding a little playtime for mommy!

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How to R.O.C.K Out Your Goals For the New Year [Day 2-30 Days to Changing Your Game}

January 12th, 2010

This is Day 2 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday I talked about preparation and commitment. Without these two things in place, the remaining 29 days will have little impact. Today, the amazing Sherman Hu is going to kickstart the challenge by digging in deep on his unique planning process. Hang on cuz it is AWESOME!

How To R.O.C.K Out Your Goals For The New Year

by Sherman Hu

At the end of 2010, what would you realistically like to say has happened?

If you could wave a realistic magic wand and look ahead to the end of the coming year, what would have to have happened in each area of your life for you to be happy with the progress you made in the year?

Or, it’s December 31, 2010. You’re having dinner with friends. What would you realistically like to be able to tell them has happened over the past year?

3 Reasons Why You Will Benefit From Planning

My incredible mother-in-law, Ann Griffiths, a savvy business owner and coach, sat me down 7 years ago to flesh out my values and impart lessons in effective planning I’ll reveal to you below. Ever since, I’ve had the tools to live and accomplish with purpose, along with helping ourselves and others.

I remember my session with Ann in her living room like it was yesterday, and the feeling of new found freedom with the wisdom she shared with me. I’d like to pay it forward and share it with you today. Shall we?

We’ll get to the 3 powerful questions above in a moment. Before we do, let’s unpack 3 reasons why Yearly Planning is important:

Living With Purpose

Motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, once shared, “I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps it’s because escape is easier than change.”

If we want to be intentional and purposefully live out the various areas in our lives that matter, it makes sense to invest more time and focus on this than on vacation planning, don’t you think?

Help Yourself, Help Others

Success psychologists reveal 95%-97% of people in the world do NOT have written goals and fail, while 3%-5% have written goals and succeed. Let’s stack the odds in our favor, shall we? You’ll help yourself and in turn others around you when you choose to be the 5% of people who succeed with written goals.

You and I can make the choice to breakthrough and realize our talents and potential. Here’s one of my favorite quotes exemplifying how you help others by allowing yourself to shine first…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Accomplish With Purpose

Though I’d be lying if I tell you I stick or follow my plan throughout the year after planning for it, there’s something magical about planning your new year and watching it unfold throughout the year, sometimes in the most mysterious ways.

There have been times in the past where my wife, Sarah and I would plan for the upcoming year, and conveniently forget to refer to our plans, but yet, our goals would come to fruition through us sub-consciously working it out to our favor. I’m not recommending you do this, but it happens. What I’m proposing is a way to effectively plan and accomplish your goals on purpose.

When you live with purpose, helping others around you by manifesting your genius, you’ll accomplish your goals on purpose with the R.O.C.K.ing strategies I’m about to share with you. Let’s begin…

What Is This R.O.C.K-ing Concept?

R.O.C.K. is an acronym for this planning concept. Let me unpack it for you…

R: REVIEW

O: OBSERVE

C: CHART

K: KICK-START

“R” for Review suggests before we can plan ahead, we need to take some time to remember our “Accomplishments & Frustrations” of our current year. As I unpack this strategy for you below, you’ll discover some easy and effective ways to do this.

“O” for Observe proposes we identify trends and indicators of our victories from our list of ‘Accomplishments’. Similarly (and for me, often more importantly), observe the pain, frustrations and agony of missed goals and setbacks.

“C” for Chart refers to mapping out your vision, next year’s intentions, quarterly goals, and monthly actionable items.

“K” or Kick-Start is the part most of us are geared up for, to mobilize our new year with productive actions. After reviewing, observing and charting for the new year, it’s time to kick our plans into high gear.

Tip: If you’re organizing a yearly planning session – solo or with your significant other – I highly recommend a remote location, eg. local hotel, resort, some getaway somewhere. There’s peace in being away from the natural stresses and interruptions of life, and you’ll be more engaged in this process. Trust me, Sarah (my wife) and I have tried both ways, and our getaways are definitely more productive.

“R”: Steps To Reviewing Your Current Year

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” ~ George Santayana.

Everytime I review my Moleskine weekly calendar or my iCal for the current year, something magical happens. Memories of events, happenings, victories, and shortfalls flood into mind like opening a jack-in-the-box. I mentally return to that event in time and emotions stir again.

For example, I had a near-death emergency flight experience in August this year. Recalling that day’s event conjurs memories of panic and the fear I wouldn’t see my family again. It brought to mind how precious my family is and how fragile life and time is. As a result of reviewing it with Sarah during our planning weekend getaway in November, I’ve since closed several ‘active revenue’ practices in my business, and turbo-charged my plans for ‘passive revenue’ in 2010.

Can you see the value in ‘reviewing’ now?

I believe a life worth living is worth recording or journaling. And the review of one’s current year helps us to remember the past – not to repeat our failures and to savor the victories and journey well traveled.

If you have experienced this, you are tracking with me now. If not, I recommend you do. If you have not recorded events and memories, attempt to remember them and begin journaling.

What did you accomplish this year?

What were your main frustrations?

Do this across your different Life Areas. Below are some Life Areas you can use.

8 Sample Life Areas

Just like when you shop for groceries at your local grocery store, take what you like, leave what you don’t. Not all Life Areas will work for you or everyone. But these Life Areas work for me, so I’m sharing what I personally use.

With these sample Life Areas, journal what you accomplished in each area this year, along with your main frustrations. Personally, I prefer to work per Life Area at a time. This means I’ll determine my victories and my main frustrations in my Business Life Area first, then move on to Spouse & Romance, then on to the next Life Area. There is no one Life Area that is more important than another, as they are all part of your ‘Wheel Of Life’.

If you’re tracking with me or are action-oriented, I suggest pausing here, and journaling your Accomplishments and Frustrations now.

“O”: Steps To Observing Your Accomplishments And Frustrations

Let me define ‘observe’ according to Dictionary.com. Observe is a verb, whereby you see, watch, perceive or notice. To regard with attention so as to see or learn something. To watch, view or note for a scientific, official or other special purpose.

Do you perceive or notice any trends in your year in review?

Did you learn something or anything from your year in review?

Did you note any actions, events, disciplines, and habits that made you smile? On the other hand, did you observe events or trends in your year in review that frustrated you to no end?

At this point, rate yourself on how well you did – on a scale of 1 to 10 – in coming close to your vision and goals for this year, as set last year. Naturally, if you did not set your vision and goals for 2009 in 2008, this is a guesstimate. This rating will come easier at the end of 2010, when you’re planning for your 2011 year, as you would have planned your work and worked your plan as per this R.O.C.K.-ing system.

Can you see why this is important? I may not have to spell out the obvious, but this observation process is critical to how you pace yourself for the upcoming year’s plans. Let’s move on now to step C: Charting your next year.

“C”: Steps To Charting Your Next Year

1 Year Charting

I’ll share 3 questions that has been very effective in helping me chart my next 365 days. Use 1 or all of these questions to help you chart your next year’s plans for each Life Area. They key is to write (or type) your one year plan in first person, as if you’ve already accomplished it. My favorite question is #3, as it’s easy for me to imagine enjoying a great meal with friends and sharing all the happenings over the past year.

Question 1: At the end of 2010, what would you realistically like to say has happened?

Question 2: If you could wave a realistic magic wand and look ahead to the end of the coming year, what would have to have happened in each area of your life for you to be happy with the progress you made in the year?

Question 3: Or, it’s December 31, 2010. You’re having dinner with friends. What would you realistically like to be able to tell them has happened over the past year?

Planning for the upcoming year is super, but in years past, I’ve setup yearly goals only to lose sight of it during the year. A system that keeps me accountable throughout the year is more effective. One that keeps me on track quarterly and monthly is even better. Let’s unpack these systems now, shall we?

90 Day Charting

With your one year plans for each Life Area in hand, determine the 90 day goals for each Life Area.

When you flesh out your quarters for each Life Area’s 1-Year Plan, you get to see how they build upon each other to accomplish your 1-Year vision. You’ve just introduced some structure and ‘legs’ to see your vision come to fruition.

Personally, I set a maximum of 3 strategic focus per quarter (90 days). As we look at the 30 day charting below, we’ll expand each strategic focus with 2-3 action steps per.

30 Day Charting

For every Business Strategic Focus (90 Days), expand it with 2-3 action steps per month (30 days). Doing this helps you determine what actions steps you need to rock out each of your 90 day goals.

The natural progression is to plot each action step (eg. A, B, C) in your calendar (digital or paper is fine) and focus on making these a reality.

You might have come across the phrase, “Sometime is not in the calendar”. Without inputting an event into your calendar, there’s a tendency to let each action step pass on by, which leads to failing to meet your strategic focus, and each Life Area’s vision for the year.

In my situation, Sarah and I have great intentions to start ballroom classes as a fun alternative to our date nights. Due to ‘busyness’ and claiming we’ll do it ‘sometime’, it never panned out this year. Guess what is in Month 1 of ‘Spouse & Romance’? I’m calling the local ballroom studio, booking and attending our first few classes with Sarah! We can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast 🙂

The agony of purposeful intentions without purposeful living out of those intentions is painful and haunting. Don’t let 2010 slip on by. Make it happen and R.O.C.K it out.

“K”: Steps To Kick-Starting Your New Year

With your 1-year vision for each Life Area, 90-day strategic focus and 30-day action steps in place, it’s time to kick-start your 2010.

Ever come across the phrase, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” In the same way, focus on one action step at a time is your best bet for success.

If you’re action-oriented and have completed the above exercises, select the first action step you’ll take action on RIGHT NOW. Momentum is a powerful force, so kicking one of your action steps in motion – no matter how big or small this motion is – is a positive step in the right direction. Do it now.

Are You Going To R.O.C.K. 2010?

When you REVIEW your current year’s accomplishments and main frustrations in each of your Life Areas, OBSERVE trends and patterns to your victories and defeats, CHART your 1-year vision, 90-day strategic focus and 30-day action steps into your calendar, and KICK START your new year’s plans with motion, you’ll be on your way to ROCKIN’ OUT your 2010.

Would you care to share your thoughts and feedback? Would you like to chime in on which portion of the above R.O.C.K-ing strategy that’s of value to your 2010 planning? Appreciate you weighing in … and let’s ROCK OUT 2010!

Sherman Hu is a husband in love of 14 years with Sarah and proud parent to 2 fabulous children whom they homeschool. They reside in Vancouver BC. His definition of success is the love and respect of his family.

Sherman is a web marketing subject matter expert. Using his unique strategies, he has helped clients across North America and Europe realize multi-million dollar sales. Through his tutorials, web TV show and conferences, he has trained thousands of business owners on blogging, podcasting, video, social media, search engine optimization and web marketing. He writes a monthly column in an industry marketing magazine and creates curriculum for a Web Marketing eLearning company based in Atlanta.

Connect with him on Twitter (@ShermanHu) or via his blog at http://shermanlive.com/.

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