For Christmas, I got a TV. I can just imagine the look on your face right about now as you read that statement.
If you don’t know my television history, your look is probably accompanied by a question along the lines of, “and what does that have to do with me?” And if you do know my story, your reaction is either, “well, it’s about time!” Or, you are just as shocked as I was as I looked at a box, hidden in plain sight, containing a 32″ flat screen TV asking, “What’s this?” I kid you not…
In a moment, I’ll flush out what my lovely new TV has to do with you, but first some context: It’s not that I didn’t own a television (although I don’t watch it much); it’s just that I’ve had my now “old” set since 1989 – rabbit ears and all! And because I don’t have a cable subscription, I also have the digital TV converter box. Go ahead and laugh, it’s okay –
But my “old” TV worked just fine.
However, now that I have this fancy-dancy thing, I can’t believe what I’ve been missing. The picture quality is AMAZING! The colors are crisp, clear and vibrant. TV watching in my own house never looked so good.
New Year Ruminations
My Christmas present got me to thinking about clichés, comfort and paths that go unexplored.
There are two popular clichés:
Cliché #1 – You can’t miss what you never had.
Cliché #2 – You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
The major problem with the above is this:
What if you don’t know what you’re missing until you get what you didn’t have?
Need examples? Think about that awesome relationship where you are getting (or got) more than you asked for…in a good way! Or, think of that job that – to your surprise – surpassed your wildest dreams and expectations and is (or was) the best career move you didn’t plan.
Just like with my old TV, where (or what) in your life is working just fine – there’s nothing particularly wrong. You are quite cozy in your comfort zone. In this state, you don’t really know what you’re missing because you aren’t experiencing any pain or discomfort, which usually is what plants the seed that a change is needed.
At this time of the year, there is plenty of talk about new goals, new to-dos, and new resolutions. All declared with the intent of this year being better than ever. And in typical fashion, what triggers the desire for the “new” is that something is wrong with the current. But, what about when the “current” is cool?
What to do when your tank is full
When your tank is full, you don’t always know what you’re missing – or what to ask to discover what you’re missing to make your experience over-the-top great. Courtesy of my TV experience, here’s a suggestion to strengthen that muscle: As you reflect on the year that has passed and contemplate the year that is ahead, experiment with reframing how you create some of your 2013 goals, to-dos and resolutions.
You have probably already addressed those areas where you want a transformation from pain to pleasure or discomfort to comfort.
Now take an inventory of the areas of your life where things are rolling along just fine — they are working — and sit with the question: what would make my full tank overflow?
See, I told you my there was a connection between my new TV and you! And here’s to hoping your New Year is off to a fantastic start, setting just the tone you want for the days to follow. Happy New Year!
p.s. if your financial tank is running on empty and debt is the culprit, register for our FREE webinar – “Got Unmanageable Debt? Tackle it With Four Small Steps & Experience Big Wins.” Click here to find out more.
The first thing I do when I get a request for a TV appearance is jot down three to five talking points; the second thing I do is think about what I am going to wear. The latter isn’t as girly or superficial as it seems. What we wear is, after all, part of our communication strategy.
And from my dear friend, Sharon, who is a celebrity stylist, I have learned that what looks good to the naked-eye doesn’t always translate well onscreen – especially with HDtv! Her point: Use your attire to let your personality shine, but not at the expense of your message, mission, and movement.
Channeling Sting & The Police
As I prepare for any speaking engagement, especially one that will be captured on film, I hear Sharon’s “voice” in my head saying things like “remember the colors that I told you look good on-air; avoid distracting patterns; what have you worn on-air recently; be mindful of the dress or skirt length especially if you are sitting down,” etc. I call her voice my “fashion director.”
But I hear other “voices” throughout my day, as well, whether I’m doing a TV appearance, writing, coaching a client, conducting a training seminar, or hanging with my family and friends. These “voices” just didn’t have names until two weeks ago.
I had the awesome pleasure and privilege of being both a speaker and onsite coach at Alexia Vernon’s inaugural Moxie Camp a few weeks ago. One of the many benefits of the weekend was sitting in on the other speakers’ sessions, such as the fabulous Jenny Blake’s. She had us do an exercise from her Make Sh*t Happen program where we focused on identifying our fears and barriers – the ones that show up as “people” in our head when we make big, audacious goals. (Awesome question, right?)
For maximum effect, I am sure, Jenny gave us a few short minutes for this exercise. And below is what I wrote without any deliberation — these are taken from my notes, in the order written:
- Fashion Director
- Creative Director
- Communication Director
- Representation Director
- Legacy Director
Lest you think I am losing my bearings, I bet you have your internal, invisible voices, too. C’mon…admit it -;o) While you are it, why not take a moment to list/label your voices.
After asking us to recognize the “people” (aka voices) in our heads, Jenny then asked us to think about the ways in which our voices amplify our fears as we work toward fulfilling our dreams and goals. And then she said…
…what do you want to say to them… (Damn, that’s powerful!)
What became crystal clear from Jenny’s exercise is that our invisible voices always have something to say. At times, the words are encouraging; at other times, they hinder our progress and growth. With that in mind, I said to mine: Protect me, but don’t block me. (Hmm…I think that is a tweetable – click here to share.)
So tell me, what would you say to your voices? Leave a comment to share both what you’d tell your “people” as well as the labels you’ve given your peeps.
p.s. If you are overwhelmed by debt, you won’t want to miss July’s Q&A Call on Monday, July 16th! Click here for the dial-in details.
Did you start the year full of energy, raring to go? Now that we are six weeks in, how is it going? Have you settled into a groove that has you on pace to achieve the goals you declared at the top of the year? Or, has the euphoria subsided a bit and with it your tempo and effort – thus taking you out of your groove? If you said a little of both because you are feeling focused, on purpose, yet slightly lopsided, you are not alone.
This idea of being lopsided came to me during a recent financial coaching session. What I noticed with my clients is a pattern I recognize with others, and it’s not just confined to money.
But, I’m going to use money and the visual aspect of an exercise to illustrate my point. I use this all the time with my coaching clients and workshop participants, and it will be familiar to readers of my book as well. It’s called the “Financial Wheel:” Draw or envision a circle; divide the circle into four sections by drawing a horizontal and vertical line; label the upper-left-hand quadrant “Earn,” the upper-right-hand quadrant “Save,” the lower-right-hand quadrant “Invest,” and the lower left-hand quadrant “Spend.” Earn, save, invest, and spend represent the four things, very broadly, that any of us regardless of income level or asset wealth can do with our money.
However, when most people make financial goals they concentrate on the right side of the wheel – save and invest. But they don’t hone in on and create goals for the left side of the wheel – earn and spend. They are much more passive about this portion of the circle. They are, in effect,…lopsided!
Not surprisingly, when we are lopsided we lose steam and lose ground – even while our intent remains high. If this is where you find yourself – whether you are lopsided financially or otherwise – here are three suggestions to tilt you back to a position of balance so that you can press forward full steam ahead and achieve your goals.
This is always a big-a-boo, right? One of best tips I’ve ever received about time management came from a book, “Getting Things Done,” by David Allen. His point about separating projects from to-dos has helped me tremendously. When you look at your to-do list, how much of it is made up of tasks you can accomplish in a day versus items that need to live on your list a little longer? If the latter, they are probably projects.
Projects and to-dos are definitely related, but they are not the same. For example, grocery shopping is a to-do; planning and hosting a dinner party is a project.
I am learning to appreciate the idea of “limit to expand.” The trigger for getting off-balance – for becoming lopsided – is usually an overbooked calendar and unrealistic expectations of what you can accomplish in a day. You probably have multiple goals. Instead of working a little on each one every day, choose one or two goals on which to focus each day and identify the next to-dos that will propel you forward for that specific goal. I bet this will set you up for a greater number of wins.
You know that smartphone few of us can live without? Well, use it to schedule some “Work Space” time. This is focused time to work on specific projects, and you should do everything you can to protect this time; in other words, say “no” to tempting invitations and don’t use this time to work on things unrelated to what you’ve carved out this time to focus on.
True, none of the above are “sexy” suggestions. But even if you just select one (though I’d recommend employing all three) it’ll work wonders for your focus, purpose and symmetry.
N.B. Register and spread the word about the Financial Intimacy Conference. In four weeks, we are exploring the mystery of love & the science of money!
Happy New Year!
Yes, I know it’s the end of the month. But it is still January. -;o) Therefore, top-of-the-year greetings are in order, and I hope your New Year is off to a fantastic start!
Can you believe how quickly time is moving? Already we are four weeks into 2012, and by now your inbox has probably been filled with ideas, tools and best practices for how you can make this an incredible year. And yes, I am going to chime in with something else for you to consider. Mine is a suggestion that I bet you didn’t receive – even though it is something we all like to freely give: feedback. In particular, my suggestion is to embrace feedback as a source of improvement, accountability, and inspiration.
But this can only happen if we embrace the message of the feedback and act on the new insight in a focused manner.
Want to know how your feedback made me reevaluate my engagement with you and what I’m now doing differently in 2012?
We kicked off the New Year with a number of changes, including a new team member; please join me in welcoming Jamie DuBose, a virtual-assistant extraordinaire. Our website has a “refreshed” look (what do you think?). One of the many benefits of the new look and format is that now it is easier to associate the blog with our newsletter – a change we are extremely excited about because it will allow you and me to interact even more AND unlike before you can now interact directly with other members of our community. Cool, eh? (Some might say, “it’s about time!”) You can even start today: In the comments section, I’d love to hear what feedback you received and what you are now committed to doing differently as a result.
It’s going to be a phenomenal year and I’m so thrilled we get to experience this journey together!
Early bird tickets for the Financial Intimacy Conference ends 2/3! Click here to grab your ticket/s.
(Pssst…don’t forget to complete the two-question survey to let us know how often you’d prefer we publish.)
A good friend recently described this time of the year as the “silly season.” So dubbed because of what is unfolding as the 2012 presidential election campaign kicks into high gear. While his comment makes me chuckle, especially in light of recent events, I see an ironic parallel between the election season, the countdown to the New Year and what inspires people to seek my (or any coach’s) help.
When people reach out to me, it is because they want help creating something different in their lives.
I’ve never – ever – met someone who said they wanted the year-to-come to be the same as the year that is – regardless of how wonderful the year-that-is, has been.
And when people vote it is presumably in alignment with their beliefs and values. Their vote is a simultaneous expression of both the solution/s that is “like” them and “different” from others.
So if wanting something to be different is fairly universal, why does it often feel and appear as though we are universally saying, “Oh, I’ll have the same”? This is fine when dining with a group and ordering the same menu item. But outside of food…not so much!
Yet, that is precisely what happens when the same goals keep appearing on the lists you and I create at the top of the year, year after year; or when you find yourself giving voice to the same problem/s over and over because things haven’t moved forward; or when your voting choices exemplify cognitive dissonance. Each time any of these (or something similar) happen, you are in effect saying, “The same will do.” A troublesome pattern that can rob you of every ounce of joy that is waiting for you.
With just four (powerful?) weeks left to 2011, here are some suggestions on what to do with the time you’ve carved out to get ready for 2012. Following some or all of these during the weeks that remain will help you usher in a new year that is truly different – presuming, of course, you’re willing to do the work “different” requires!
- Create a T-Account
I know this practice is typically reserved for accounting related matters (assets|liabilities; credits|debits; income|expenses), but T-accounts work wonders beyond numbers. It is a great way to objectively list, see and quantify the variables of almost every single decision you must make. It makes it easy to see the pros|cons; what’s working|what isn’t, etc.
- Know the vision
There’s a reason almost everyone recommends having a picture of what you are working to create in your head and on paper: It works! It’s a critical piece of your success puzzle. Plus, it helps drown out distractions – especially those that can sidetrack you into focusing prematurely on the “how.” The practice of looking at your vision frequently reminds you of your “why” and serves as the fuel you’ll need to move beyond the obstacles and challenges you will undoubtedly face.
- Acknowledge the impact of your vision
Impact doesn’t get as much air-play as I think it should. (I know I didn’t begin paying attention to it until recently.) But when things don’t unfold exactly as you envisioned, recognizing and connecting with the impact you are making can help you reinterpret the signs that you may initially read as “abandon ship” when they are simply signals directing you to try another way. Focusing on impact often creates room for an awesome picture you probably never imagined!
- Say yes to your greatness
The greatness of which I speak is not of an egotistical nature. Instead, the greatness I’m advocating comes from a very humble place – one that is an acknowledgement of your being a vessel to bless and serve others, coupled with an awareness of the role of grace in your success. When you don’t say “yes” to your greatness, you’re not the only one who loses out…
2012 is coming soon. Are you excited?! It is sure to be a year of change, challenges and a few surprises. But come what may, add the suggestions above to your ‘get ready for the New Year’ tool-box. They will help you make it an incredible one!
Want my help making 2012 incredible? Register for #OccupyU$treet!
I started my business – Sterling Investment Management, Inc. – in 1995. The company’s focus today is very different than what it was when I initially launched the firm. Four years into it, I realized that managing money wasn’t my calling. Instead, my gift and purpose (and passion) was to help people demystify how the human complexities of money show up in their lives everyday.
Whether managing money for others or helping them discover how to be better stewards and manage it for themselves (or be better educated clients if working with an advisor), I was always clear about one thing: I never wanted employees. I wanted to be a successful, multi-million dollar company of one. Read more…
I love birthdays. I view them in much the same way as most people look upon New Year’s Eve; it’s a time to celebrate the year that was and the one to come. I recently celebrated a birthday myself (woohoo!), and my friend and fellow Careerpreneur expert, Malla Haridat, sent me a lovely birthday greeting. Her note contained many well wishes, including one that really captured my attention.
I cannot tell you how many times, since 28 November, I have pondered the portion of her note that read, “…all…the resources you can handle…” I immediately honed in on the word – handle – and wondered about the relationship between capacity and what we have. Said differently, is what you and I have in any given moment a reflection of what we can handle in that moment? Read more…
It’s November, and all hell is about to break loose. Unlike any other time of the year, the last eight (8) weeks of the year seem to wreck havoc on our calendars. Now is when life, in general, becomes more hectic as we move deeper into the holiday season and social and family commitments increase. Similarly, work becomes crazier as we rev up efforts to close-out the year with more of our goals accomplished than not.
The countdown to the end of the year and the beginning of the new can be both celebratory and depleting! Continue Reading…
1. Schedule time to plan >> Really. One of the biggest challenges to planning (financial or otherwise) is setting aside a block of time to do it. Accordingly, don’t operate with the expectation that you will complete your plan in one sitting. A better approach is to give yourself thirty-days to create your plan, and within that period of time complete the next five steps. Continue Reading…