Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Keep Calm and Carry On

My grandmother used to quote her mother saying, "Life gets tedious."

Bright new projects never seem tedious. That's why it's easy to start a new one, without finishing the pending projects first. You think, "I'll get back to it later, when I feel more inspired." Yeah, right.

That's not to say that some projects are not worth finishing. Definitely there are times that abandoning a once-promising venture is the right thing to do.

But moving on to other projects because the one you're with gets boring, clutters your life. You get into a habit of starting, but not finishing. That sort of habit empowers that nasty critical voice inside your head that reminds you that you "never" finish anything.

Mixonian is all for projects. But clearing out the clutter of ongoing or old projects eases the completion of a new one.

Take a look at your list of energy drains. What unfinished business do you need to take care of?

Keep calm and carry on. That was a popular slogan in Britain during World War I. It's rather handy to keep in mind these days as well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Step Out of the Negative Current

These days it can be a challenge avoiding the negative current of fear and confusion generated by the situation in the financial markets. Even if you're not watching the news, you're around people who do, and their fear can be contagious.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you hear people getting distraught about the banking industry.

1. Always remember that bad news sells.

2. Mass media exist to sell audience exposure to advertisers, even the news functions this way.

3. All news is made as sensational as possible.

4. Fear sells.

5. Fear does not help you unless you use it to sharpen your focus.

6. All markets go through periodic corrections. Like storms in nature, they serve an positive purpose.

There is always something going on in the markets. For centuries most people's welfare was at the mercy of factors so far out of their control: the weather, insects, crop sicknesses.

Crisis = Opportunity

This black cloud, like all the rest of them, has a silver lining. The trick is you have to look for it. Don't get caught up in this negative current - find your opportunity.

Friday, September 26, 2008

When Success is Slow, What Can You Do?

by Jack Canfield

Pop Quiz: Can success be sped up? Is there an antidote to slow outcomes despite arduous planning and actions taken? What is the secret for seeing huge results right now?! I get versions of these questions frequently from people who feel frustrated at sluggish progress in their success journey - despite all the know-how and principles they rigorously employ.

But first, let's get one thing straight...When we admire someone else's success, or even our own, we often focus on the end result and not so much on the effort, time, discipline, and setbacks that it took them to get there. This can often cultivate unrealistic expectations and frustrations, especially the idea that overnight success can happen through careful strategy and execution of sound advice. Truth be told, success typically follows a series of little events and achievements that include a few disappointments along the way, which challenges everything about you to the core--your stamina, courage, integrity, and even your willingness to keep going.

If you focus on what's not working, guess what: You're likely coming from a place of aggravation as your mind wraps around all that is wrong. You may even have negative thoughts like "I'm not good enough," "It will never work," or "Something must be wrong with me." What this does mentally is engender more of these counter-productive feelings. And given what we know about the Law of Attraction, you attract what you are feeling. Negative experiences, people, and results will beget more negative experience, people, and results. There's not much success in that.

The key, then, is to focus on what IS working. To do so, I recommend two simple practices: journaling and meditation. Maintaining a journal (I call it an Evidence Log, Results Journal, or Gratitude Journal) is a great way to steer your attention to the positive and it helps to continually renew your vision for yourself. Start each day with reflections on what you are grateful for in your life (list them out!) and end each day with notes on what went right (again, write them down), however small.

Meditation can be a powerful tool for arriving at solutions to problems and shifting your attitude so you can attract success sooner rather than later.The magic of meditation is its ability to essentially shut down the outer layer of your judgmental, highly-critical brain and allow your unconscious mind to take over. This is where you enter a deeper state of inner peace and joy, tapping into a higher level of creativity that will help usher in the results you want. Through the practice of meditation you will begin to become even more aware of your subtle intuitive impulses, insights, ideas, emotions and inspirations.

Don't know how to meditate? Lots of books and materials are available to guide you this practice. It's easier than you think. Okay, let's say you're doing ALL these things, but you still aren't happy with your results...Then, I'll ask you: Are you taking real ACTION? You may be taking the actions you are used to taking. But therein lies the problem: if you keep doing what you've already done then you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. It's a matter of practicing some new behaviors.

Shake things up a bit and see if you can take new actions or modify existing ones.Remember the Rule of 5. Every day do five specific things that take you toward your goal. Change up the five actions regularly and be open to feedback so you know when you're off course.

Lastly, I want to remind you about patience. It's natural to underestimate how long a certain goal can take, especially a profound one. When I set a goal to become a millionaire, the year was 1983. How long did it take? Eleven years. It took time for Chicken Soup for the Soul to hit the bestseller lists. You could say our tenure on the New York Times list was more than a decade in the making.

That's a lot of patience for someone who initially wanted overnight success. So, yes, patience is a virtue. But keep at it, and in time, you'll be only one week, or one day away from your ultimate success.Remember... be grateful, reflect on what IS working and continue to take ACTION!

© 2008 Jack CanfieldAre you "stuck" in this area? Send me your most pressing question about this topic, then join me for our monthly"Ask Jack Canfield" Tele-Clinic on October 1st! www.AskJackCanfield.com.

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dealing with Self Doubt

If you're like most Mixonian readers, you want to do the right thing. You want to move ahead in your profession and/or business, have warm and healthy relationships, and take care of yourself, too.

Sometimes, making the right choice is so obvious, and a lot of times it's not.

One thing I've learned from entrepreneur Marie Foleo, is how to dump self doubt. She says, assume everything you do is perfect. That way, when things come up, you deal with those things, but you're not wasting time and even more important, your energy in second guessing.

If you go to a restaurant and order a tuna sandwich, and then see a provocative hamburger, just remind yourself that the tuna is perfect for you today. You can always get a burger later.

This is from Marie Forleo's blog post of October 31, 2007:

Moving forward, I want you to pretend you’re doing your life EXACTLY right.

In fact, act as if YOU CAN’T DO IT WRONG!

Pretend that you know exactly what you’re doing and there’s no possible way you could make a mistake. Realize that closed door is really the Universe taking care of you for something down the road.

This is one of the keys to unleashing your full potential. Why? Because once you are free from the grip of self-doubt and the useless thoughts that follow, you start to go for things, create new possibilities and express yourself into the world.

If you decide to major in economics, but wonder if business would have been better, work around it. Take business courses, or change your major if you want, but don't berate yourself for starting out as an economics major. Lot's of wonderful professionals get an econ major, and go on to do fabulous things totally unrelated to economics.

What you need is faith that things will work out for the best, even if you don't control the universe. Think of it this way, no one can predict exactly what's going to unfold today. So, you know what you want to happen, you look for it, and accept that you will find the path for you.

The point is, berating yourself, or dwelling on what you should of done, is a complete waste of life. Keep moving forward!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For Round Pegs in the Square Holes

The following quote is from Steven Jobs, presented in lovely Lauren's speech yesterday.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes...the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules...you can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things...they push the human race forward, and while some my see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

After reading this to Christina and Miranda, I'm asked, "Mom, are you trying to find an excuse for your weirdness?

It works for me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let's Play Pretend Today

Didn't you just love playing pretend when you were a kid? It's great fun being a princess or pirate for a while. Maybe you still do this. Or maybe your pretend muscles could use refreshing.

Pretending also stretches your imagination. And lest you worry about becoming delusional, well, consider this question. If a person thinks her life is better than it really is, is that such a bad thing? If someone thinks he looks better than he actually does, is that so dangerous? Now that you mention it, you probably know people like that.

What is it that turns you off about "overly confident" people? That's an excellent question. Mixonian had to get the lazy brain working on this one! Consider this possible answer.

Some people who appear to be confident, put others down, or make fun of them, but never laugh at themselves.

That is definitely not what Mixonian has in mind. The idea is to lighten up, not arrogant out.

Today, when I go to class to hear student speeches for three hours, I shall pretend to be the all-powerful magic queen, kind of like a good Jadet, who has the keys to the dungeon in her secret pocket. According to each student's presentation, I will decide his/her fate: the cold dark dungeon to be taught remedial grammar by a dwarf, or freedom.

Now that's an interesting day's work!

Monday, September 22, 2008

100 More Days

Today is the first day of autumn. It's time for crisper weather, fall fashions, and shorter days. It's also time to reflect on what's going on in your life. The bottom line is, there are only 100 days left in this year.

You're all familiar with the benefits of goal setting. You're probably even more familiar with the frustration of not achieving your goals, especially not in the time frame you wanted.

Mixonian takes this opportunity to ask you a few questions, actually 16 questions about your life as it is presently constituted. These questions are related to your goals, but seen through the framework of steps in the right direction, rather than mission accomplished.

The steps in the right direction approach has two clear benefits. The first is that life will not suddenly change when you can cross certain things off your list. Not to deny the joy of crossing things off your list, but we all know, that if it's not one thing, it's another.

The second benefit is ceasing to see your life as a pass/fail dichotomy. Not reaching that New Year's Day resolution doesn't mean you should resign. Focus on the path, the journey, not the final destination.

So, here are your questions.

What can I do right now to move me closer to....

- healthier eating

- more exercise/physical movement

- resolution of any specific health concern

- a new source of income

- higher asset value

- new or renewed friendship

- expressing more appreciation to people

- feeling more gratitude for what I have

- a lighter attitude

- more creative expression

- learning a new skill (how about hip hop classes?)

- interesting work

- knocking something off my "energy drains" list

- listening

- laughing

- loving

It's beginning to sound like a word cloud. The saying goes that time waits for no man. What are you doing to shape the life you've always wanted?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Good Marriage Redefined

"The difference between a good marriage and a bad one is that in a good one you don't actually kill your husband, you just think about it." Lori Ellis

For the record, Lori's husband is alive and well at this writing, attesting to the happiness of her own marriage.

Neuroscience and Your Creativity

You've heard that we only use a small fraction of our brain's capacity, say around 5%. You may not have heard that your brain is actually very l-a-z-y. Yep, lazy.

Well you can hardly blame your brain, why would anyone put out more effort than is necessary to complete a task? Well, that's how normal thinking, all quite logical, keeps us from enjoying creative breakthroughs.

Gregory Berns, author of the book, Iconoclast, just published by Harvard Press, has applied neuroscientific findings to creativity. He defines iconoclasts as people who do things that others say can't be done, such as Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Dale Chihuly, and even Florence Nightingale.

What iconoclasts do that sets them apart is they perceive things differently. This is how Berns put it, in the October Fast Company article about his book:

Visual perception is largely a result of statistical expectations, the brain's way of explaining ambiguous visual signals to the most likely way. And the likelhood of these explanations is a direct result of past experience (54).

That would explain why media exposure is not good for one's creativity -- our brains are adapting media-produced explanations for what we see, and so our lazy brains accept those perceptions as default settings, unless we take action to intentionally imagine alternate realities.

That also explains why novel experiences break our established thinking mold and set off potentially creative responses. Everyone who's cooked has experienced this when in the middle of preparing some delicious dish, s/he finds out that someone else used up all the ________ (key ingredient!)

Here's Berns' advice:

When your brain is categorizing a person or an idea, just jot down the categories that come to mind. Use analogies. You will find that you naturally fall back on the things you are familiar with. Then allow yourself the freedom to write down gut feelings, even if they're vague or visceral, such as "stupid" or "hot." Only when you consciously confront your brain's shortcuts will you be able to imagine outside its boundaries (56).

Mixonian adds this: If you want to be more creative, consciously cut down time spent in front of the television or on the Internet. This one tactic catches your brain off guard and gets it to work, and you might even make a fabulous discovery.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marcel Wanders' Glorious Mission Statement

It is said that Amsterdam-based Marcel Wanders is the new Philippe Starck. His exuberant creativity expressed through his baroque aesthetic is fun and exciting.

His studio's mission statement is inspiring. Take a look at the original statement here -- it's beautiful to look at! This is how it's expressed in English:

Here to create an environment of Love

Live with Passion and make our most Exciting

Dreams come True.

Over 20 years again John Naisbit predicted in the best-selling Megatrends that the high tech paradigm would result in another "high touch" way of life. It's evident today in the way we crave emotion and passion even in our business dealings.

For all the incredible benefits we enjoy from the Internet, Blackberries, iPods, iPhones, and virtual realities, the innate desire to express our non-rational human side is bursting through the seams.

If you're not incorporating attitudes of gratitude, love of customer, employee appreciation, or some other acknowledgement of the spiritual side of being human, you might want to think about embracing that reality.

If you want to see Marcel Wander's latest U.S. project, it's the about-to-open ueber chic Mondrian Hotel in Miami.

Have a fabulous week-end.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Addressing the Thank You Scarcity

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton

Did you know that people who show appreciation for what they have and to other people, are both healthier and happier? Well, guess what? These people are also better at business.

The latest copy of Fast Company arrived today and in the monthly article by brothers Dan Heath and Chip Heath, authors of the best-seller Made to Stick, they talk about gratitude in the corporate context. Their thesis question is, "Why do companies make it so hard for us to say thank you?"

Listen to this. The Heath brothers cite a survey of 10,000 employees from the 1,000 largest U.S. companies in which 40% of workers gave "lack of recognition" as a key reason for leaving a job.

Then the authors refer to research in which expressing gratitude has been proven to be a top happiness-enhancer. Connect the dots and you get customers who thank employees, thus making both parties happier in the process. Even Dilbert's boss would like this one.

American Airlines is working on it. They've created a program called Applause in which they give select frequent fliers pre-printed cards expressing appreciation. Then it's up to these customers to deliver an "applause" card to employees who offer exemplary service. United Airlines has a similar program.

Kelmar Safety has a different program with the same objective. Truck drivers hear phoned-in comments about their driving from the 800- How's My Driving phone number. Now, mostly these comments are not complimentary, but 18% are.

Think about how you letting your colleagues, customers, and maybe even a boss let you know you appreciate them. It's free and an unquestionable win-win success strategy.

A 1-Minute Recommendation

Dear Reader,

Race your finger over to the right side of this blog and click on Christine Kane's blog. She has a super funny and insightful 1-minute clip from Youtube posted.

It's most definitely worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Ideal Communicator

Aristotle, otherwise known as the "Rhetoric Dad," considered the ideal communicator as a "man of goodwill." If Ari were still with us today, he would say a "person" of goodwill, but back them the word "men" could mean just a bunch of guys, or a group of men and women.

You know how a dog can feel the fear of a perfect stranger? Well, human beings can perceive fear in others too, though usually we don't bite or growl when we're around someone who's uncomfortable. What happens is the feeling of not being comfortable, a slightly negative energy, infiltrates the situation...and that's not a good thing.

Being an ideal communicator begins with a focus on the other person. As has been stated before, good communication is not about you, it's about making the other person feel comfortable and understand your message.

(That's what good manners are for in the first place, by the way, not all at about impressing others.)

Ideal communication is a combination of two things: what you say and how you say it. The core foundation of good communication is good intentions.

You've heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That's absolutely false. The road to good communication is good intentions, the rest follows from that starting point.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

E-mail or Voice Mail?

A lot of misunderstandings happen because people unwittingly choose the wrong medium for their message. While we all know ending a relationship, whether at work or otherwise, by text message is cowardly, in other cases we're not sure if we should call or email.

The first thing to always keep in mind is that everyone is busy and distracted. That's why you usually choose the easiest medium for your message, even though it may not be the best.

Here is a list of things people tend not to remember when they hear them:

- Names

- Numbers

- Details

- Dates

- Sequences

And....because these things tend to slip in people's memories, they (we) also tend to fill in the blanks with what we think we remember, or what makes sense in our minds, regardless what was actually said.

So, if details are important to your message, use email. If emotional content is more important, like showing appreciation, it may be better to call the person.

If you need to leave a voice mail for some reason AND you want the other person to remember details, like your phone number, repeat it in the message and give the other person time to grab a pen to write it down.

Think about what you want the other person to remember from your message. Choose your medium accordingly.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What You've Always Wanted to Know about the Authorizing Figure

Remember when you were a kid and in a sticky situation you insisted that your dad could beat up the other kid's dad? Well, you were using what is known in rhetorical circles (those fascinating people) as the authorizing figure. And that's the subject of Chapter Two of my dissertation.

I'm claiming specifically that Hugo Chavez uses Simon Bolivar as an authorizing figure to enhance his credibility and legitimize his government. In Venezuela, that's about as earth shattering as the news that 1 + 1= 2.

When Republicans argue about who is carrying former President Ronald Reagan's "mantle," they are essentially trying to establish who has the right to use Reagan legitimately as an authorizing figure.

The next burning question is: why does it take so long to write a dissertation?

Answer: Because the process of writing is as, or more important, than the finished product.

Alternate answer: My adviser is a sadistic torturer. His role model is the king who punished Sisyphus with the boulder he had to push up the mountain.

There is some truth to that, but he is trying to make me socially acceptable to other academic types, which is certainly not an easy task, especially long distance.

As you listen and read comments by and about the political candidates from both U.S. parties, see if you notice their trying to borrow credibility from past leaders, people who are no longer around to clarify their positions on any given topic.

Authorizing figures: an important source of credibility for key messages.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Practice Uncommon Appreciation

by Jack Canfield

A recent management study revealed that 46% of employees leaving a company do so because they feel unappreciated; 61% said their bosses don't place much importance on them as people; and 88% said they don't receive acknowledgement for the work they do.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, teacher, parent, coach or simply a friend, if you want to be successful with other people, you must master the art of appreciation.

I've never known anyone to complain about receiving too much positive feedback. Have you? In fact, just the opposite is true.

Keeping Score

When I first learned about the power of appreciation, it made total sense to me. However, it was still something that I forgot to do. I hadn't yet turned it into a habit.

A valuable technique that I employed to help me lock in this new habit was to carry a 3" x 5" card in my pocket all day, and every time I acknowledged and appreciated someone, I would place a check mark on the card. I would not allow myself to go to bed until I had appreciated 10 people. If it was late in the evening and I didn't have 10 check marks, I would appreciate my wife and children, I would send an e-mails to several of my friends, or I would write a letter to my mother or stepfather.

I did whatever it took until it became an unconscious habit. I did this every single day for 6 months--until I no longer needed the card to remind me.

Who Cares?

If asked, could you name the five wealthiest people in the world, or five people who have won the Nobel Prize, or the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress?

The point is none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers either; they are the best in their fields.

But if I asked you to list five teachers or mentors who believed in and encouraged you, five friends who have helped you through a difficult time, five people who have taught you something worthwhile, or five people who have made you feel appreciated and special - that's much easier to do, isn't it?

That's because the people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who care.
If you want to be remembered for being important to someone else's life, make them feel appreciated.

Appreciation as a Secret of Success

Another important reason for being in a state of appreciation as often as possible is that when you are in such a state, you are in one of the highest emotional states possible.

When you are in a state of appreciation and gratitude, you are in a state of abundance. You are appreciating what you do instead of focusing on, and complaining about, what you don't have. Your focus is on what you have received... and you always get more of what you focus on. And because the law of attraction states that like attracts like, the more you are in a state of gratitude, the more you will attract to be grateful for. It becomes an upward-spiraling process of ever-increasing abundance that just keeps getting better and better.

Think about it. The more grateful people are for the gifts we give them, the more inclined we are to give them more gifts. Their gratitude and appreciation reinforces our giving. The same principle holds true on a universal and spiritual level as it does on an interpersonal level.

I challenge you to discover ways to immediately appreciate someone in your life, starting today!

For more on this topic, read Chapter 53 in The Success Principles. It will give you great suggestions and ideas on how you, too, can find ways to appreciate those in your life.
© 2008 Jack Canfield

Are you "stuck" in this area?
Send me your most pressing question about this topic, then join me for our monthly
"Ask Jack Canfield" Tele-Clinic on October 1st! www.AskJackCanfield.com

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Secret to Stronger Ears

Leaders listen to what the market is saying, to what the customer is saying, and to what the team is saying. No, you don't have to do everything that your constituents demand that you do. But just by showing that you're listening, really listening, you demonstrate the respect that you accord to them. -- Tom Peters writing in "Leadership Is Confusing as Hell" in Fast Company.

On Wednesday we had a big reason to celebrate so the girls and I went to Starbucks to do so. As the designated driver was suffering from a bout of serious sneezing, we decided not to go in, but to order from the drive through. After placing our order, this exchange took place:

Server: So, no whip on that frappucino, right?

Miranda: Yes, I do want whipped cream on my frappucino.

Server (speaking to staff): No whip on that frappucino.

The teachery-type in the car archly comments that, "Someone needs work on listening skills." Christina puts the same thought more elegantly, "He needs stronger ears."

According to a certain law of physics, no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Likewise, no two objects can occupy the same mind at the same time. Either you're listening to someone, or you're not. Pretending to listen is not the same as listening.

In communication classes, a lot of emphasis is placed on developing effective and cogent messages. Some emphasis is put on how to listen to messages. While there are numerous obstacles to good listening (noise, poor pronunciation, distractions), students generally agree that the main reason people don't listen is that they don't want to. Either they think the message is not really for them, they disagree with it (before hearing it of course), or they don't like it (as in "go clean your room.")

Shutting up the chatter in your own mind and really trying to find out what the other person is saying is a wonderful opportunity to be fully present in the moment, and to connect with the other.

Choosing to listen is opening yourself up to the possibility of the unexpected. You may discover common ground with the other, or perhaps enlightenment in an area totally unrelated to the context of the conversation.

Listening is one way to experience the more bodacious side of life. Be brave and listen.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Law of Cause and Effect

By David Cameron Gikandi

The Law of Cause and Effect (karma) - This is easy to see its use. It simply shows you that you are an active part of All That Is, that your will has effect.

As you grow, you begin to see the link between your thoughts, words and actions with your reality. This leads to responsibility and increased power and care.

This law ensures that through this process you come to eventually know yourself as a sovereign creator. It is a gentle law that lets you build your own evidence, for whatever you believe you will see as truth, until the day you step aside and notice this link.

At this point you become a Deliberate Creator.

This was extracted from a much larger article entitled, "Universal Laws Exposed: What They Are, Why They Are There" written by David Cameron, CEO ImagesOfOne.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Find What You Seek

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
Annie Dillard (1945 – )Writer and Pulitzer prize recipient.

You've probably noted how crazy it is when you decide to buy a new car, say a navy Jetta, and all of a sudden, you see blue Jettas all over the place. Or your washing machine breaks down, and you're immediately bombarded with ads for laundry appliances.

The scientific explanation is related to your reticular activating system, the part of your brain that filters out most of the stimuli so you can function. Otherwise you'd break down from a complete overwhelm from so many messages and signs.

In essence, you tell your brain what to look out for, and it follows accordingly.

If you still doubt, let me challenge you to look for butterflies over the next 24 hours. I am well aware that it is not butterfly season, and you do not need to find a live butterfly to fulfill this mission.

You may find butterflies in a magazine, inside a t-shirt from Wal-Mart, or maybe a child will bring you a drawing of one. I do promise that if you look for butterflies today, you will find the image of one, or remember a specific butterfly, at least once.

So, what if you decide to look for incredibly good things, or unexpected gifts, or business opportunities, or abundance in some other form? Maybe even you need a certain kind of person to help you with a specific project. Seek and you will find.

Does looking for good stuff mean you never get a flat tire. Of course not. Just don't make a bad or sad event worse than it has to be, by dwelling on it more than you have to.

I got this great concept from Christine Kane, who got it from Caroline Myss: Imagine that each morning you have 100 units of energy to spend however you like. But each unit spent on stewing means less energy for enjoying. Think about it.

Imagine your life when your brain is constantly looking out for good things, and then finding them. You find what you seek.

Monday, September 8, 2008

To Be or Not To Be....Present in the Moment

You've probably noticed that a lot people stay fixated on their past lives, those glorious days when they were younger. Then, there are other individuals who seem to constantly dream about the future, about a life with no doctoral dissertation hanging over their heads. That's the "I'll be happy when..." trap.

If you think about it, life is made up of moments. Like the few seconds it took you to read this part of the blog post, that small part of your life is now gone.

So whatever you're doing, pay attention to what is going on around you. You might even notice that things are going better than you thought. Or maybe you'll see that it is really worse, but at least you'll know.

The best way to bring yourself to this present moment is to listen intently. You may hear a fan whirring, cars in traffic, someone speaking on the phone, the air conditioner. Savor this moment that you are alive and doing pretty well.

There are a couple of myths that sometimes infiltrate the water supply and make us think that paying attention to reality is actually not a good idea:

False Evidence Appearing Real #1

Being in the moment means I'll never achieve my goals because I'm settling for less.

Not at all. Actually if you really pay attention to what you're doing, your goals may come to fruition in a most unexpected fashion. I find in my teaching that really listening to my students always brings a new idea on how to present the material, or a new exercise, or example, or even a fascinating blog post to write.

Not to mention that if you increase your focus on your present job, your performance may improve and that could be rewarded!

False Evidence Appearing Real #2

By not constantly thinking ahead, I'll lose my competitive edge.

You may not have realized this before but people actually do notice whether or not you're really listening to them, even if you're not texting during the conversation. You may fool them for a while, but not for long.

Your competitive edge can only get sharper as you listen to your colleague/customer/prospect as if s/he were your master, imparting his last words of wisdom. Imagine the possibilities that can happen when someone feels complete trust that you are actually present in that moment.

Not re-living the past, or fantasizing about the future frees up energy you can use right now. The surprise is that reality can be more interesting than you had assumed, if you take the trouble to really examine the reality as it is now constituted.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

9 Thoughts on Giving Presentations

You already know that giving presentations is a tremendously important communication skill. It's an opportunity to say something that's important to you in a conducive environment. In other words, it's a chance to say something to some people who are there to listen to you. Your audience is in front of you, relatively undistracted, it's your job to enjoy the moment.

Yes, enjoy the moment, this is a wonderful opportunity. If these people are gathered to listen to you, even if it wasn't their idea, it's because someone thought you had something valuable to say. And you do.

Here are some random but important tips to keep in mind in preparing your presentation:

1. It is said that attitude is 90% of your message. Even is attitude is only 55% of your message, it's still probably the most important part -- and it's certainly 100% under your control, unlike the sound system, or what's going on in people's heads.

Having a positive attitude probably doesn't mean you need to morph into a cheerleader, but if you already are one, that's fine, too. You'll agree that quiet people can give powerful presentations and they often catch people off guard.

2. While putting together your thoughts, and maybe your slides, think carefully about what you really want to transmit to this audience, in other words, your objectives for the presentation. If you're selling, are you interested in closing the deal today, or more focused on building a long-term relationship of trust? If you're presenting as part of a job interview, think about getting the job, but also think about telling people who you really are and what you'd like to do for them.

Earlier this year I made a presentation in front of 11 people for a job I didn't really want....at all. I didn't get the offer, thankfully, but I got great practice and valuable business from one of the committee members afterwards.

3. Resist the temptation to overwhelm your audience with facts and figures. Your audience simply won't be able to take it all in. If statistics are important to you, use them sparingly, but repeatedly.

4. Prepare a handout, but don't give it out until the end. Make it memorable and attractive. Include your contact information.

5. Reduce your presentation to 3 to 5 major points, all supporting your thesis (e.g. My product rocks!)

6. Be visual, use symbols. Think beyond your corporate logo.

7. Be willing to walk away. Avoid the energy of desperation. If these people don't accept your proposal, there are plenty of people who will. If you detect significant resistance, move on.

8. Keep the WIIFM (what's in it for me?) question foremost. Answer it in many different ways. It's not about you; it's about them.

9. Have fun with it - be in the moment. Your audience can tell if you're with them, or just going through the motions. This is your time to connect.

Presentations are the medium for the flow of business ideas. Put in the effort and enjoy the process.

The Law of Gratitude

By David Cameron Gikandi

You have heard it many times that an attitude of gratitude has the power to get you realizing your dreams at record speed. Why? Because gratitude completes the cycle of knowing.

Remember, you cannot know what is without knowing what is not. What you like and what you hate are two ends of the same thing. For example, if you like being with your spouse and hate being separated from them, realize that you are working within the same essence,which is your spouse.

It is because of the moments of absence that you appreciate and recognize the moments of presence. When you are grateful for both what you like and what you don't like, you complete the knowingness and you are released from having to experience what you don't like.This cannot be explained logically, but some very significant shifts occur in your mind and soul (and you can feel this releasing shift) whenever you are genuinely grateful for all things, even the ones you don't like.

Gratitude will speed you through your growth and success more than any amount of hard work ever can. Gratitude completes the lesson, and as a statement of completion rings that tone of success, pulling to you the end result desired.

Another way to put it is that you cannot leave a situation permanently unless you appreciate the gifts it brings you,and all situations bring a gift, no matter how terrible the situation may appear to be. This law ensures that you will always complete your knowing and embrace all that is before moving on.

Mixonian note: Remember the saying by Napoleon Hill: "Every adversity carries the seed of an equal or greater benefit." It's our job to find that seed and go with it.

David Cameron Gikandi
Images of One

Friday, September 5, 2008

12 Things to Enjoy This Week-end

A happy life happens when you take time to notice and appreciate the good things all around you. Remember the word "appreciate" has two meanings: What you appreciate, appreciates!

12 Free or Mostly-Free Things to Appreciate Now:

1. If you live in the Southeast, enjoy the rain.

2. We're having cooler, but delightful temperatures.

3. You can get a pretty tasty wine at the grocery store for under $10.

4. Sarah Palin.

5. Stock prices are still down, making bargain hunting easier.

6. The price of gasoline is around 10% less than what it was about a month ago.

7. Football fans have their game to watch. The rest of us can watch them and wonder.

8. The days are still long enough to get in an evening walk before dark.

9. Purple is "the" fashion color, even for non-ECU fans. You probably have something purple in your closet.

10. Opaque black tights are in this fall; they're cheap, warm, and enhance all legs.

11. Fresh tomatoes are still available.

12. Blogs are free. ;-)

What are you appreciating this week-end? Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Keeping Many Lines in the Water

To catch a lot of fish, keep a lot of lines in the water. Well, something like that.

Mixonian is not a fishing blog, but a happy success blog. One of the lessons from the fishermen, or fisher people for the gender-sensitive, is successful results are easily achieved and more likely to happen when you take action on several fronts.

Here's why:

1. Trying more things means getting closer to a solution. The "there's more than one way to skin a cat" saying comes to mind, but Mixonian finds cat skinning distasteful and unnecessary. In the valuable guide, Quantum Success, author Sandra Anne Taylor provides several interesting examples of taking action in all possible ways, related to adopting children, to starting a new business, to getting a book published, where trying more things meant achieving the goal faster.

2. Trying more things means less stressful attachment to a single outcome. Stress is negative energy, and all energies are contagious. Knowing that if one of your tactics doesn't work, another probably will, enables you to operate calmly and confidently.

3. Trying more things keeps your creative edge sharp and your mind focused. The unexpected solution is often the best but if you stop looking for new ways, you won't find any.

Your journal is the most valuable tool for coming up with new things to try and assessing what works, why, and what doesn't work. It also keeps new ideas flowing into your mind as writing things down opens up space in your mind for new ideas. Pasting in pictures makes your journal even more interesting and effective for you.

Yesterday a Mixonian guest left this link to a fascinating job contest. Check it out!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Your Professional Plan B

In the next 2 minutes you are going to learn what you should be already working on -- your Plan Professional B -- and how to make it work for you!

Picture yourself five years from now....do you want to be working at the same job, with an inflation-adjusted salary, doing the same tasks, maybe even with the same people? If so, you don't need to be reading this post. If you think you might be ready to move to something different in a year or so, stick with me.

The secret to getting the right next job, even if it's being self employed, is to start working on your plan long before you desperately need a new job. Being desperate is like having leprosy in the ancient world - people will avoid you like the plague!

On the other hand, if you're perpetually unhappy with your job, this one and the last one, oh and the one before that one, the problem is not the job. Hmmmmm.

If you're like most people, you like a lot things about your job. Write those things down, they tell you a lot about yourself. And remember, work is where you spend a significant part, if not the big part, of your entire life.

Then there are the things you'd prefer to change: perhaps the travel, the lack of opportunity, or it could be simply being on your feet all day. Or, it could be that you love all aspects of your job, but you want to eventually do something different. In any case, make a list of the things you would prefer not to experience in your new job.

What does your ideal job look like? Does it already exist, or do you need to invent it? Write down what you think your ideal job would be, even if you're not sure. Write down what sounds good to you, then you can always change it later.

Finally, you need a PoA: Plan of Action. Depending on how soon you'd like this job to appear, you can commit to taking action daily or weekly, but you need to do one or the other. Taking action can be looking at the classified ads or company web sites. It could be meeting with someone from the Small Business Adminstration to see how they help budding entrepreneurs. It could be talking to someone who has a job like the one you like, or a potential customer.

People who work in the job hunt business say that looking for a job is a job. You're much more likely to find something special when you take the time to look with leisure, to ponder, reflect and simply talk about options with friends and contacts.

Make a dated note in your journal on this one. You may be surprised to discover your next career move sooner than you think!