Stretch Yourself Anew

Yesterday, we discussed how to live without being perfect. We told you to practice the
“75% solution” so you have more time to enjoy life. Today we’ll discuss how to stretch yourself anew.

Let’s face it – we’re all busy. As we age, our careers get more demanding. We have more family responsibilities. Real life gets in the way of stretching ourselves in new ways. We want to give you four questions to ask yourself to rediscover joy in your life.

Question 1: What’s something you used to love to do?
There are things you used to do that got pushed aside – not intentionally, but accidentally. Something had to give. We have a friend who loved music when he was younger. Recently, he bought a guitar and started playing again. He loved it! Now he’s in a band and has an amazing collection of valuable guitars!

Question 2: What class, outside your major, did you really enjoy?
Or another way to think about it – was there a class you always wanted to take? Another friend’s job involves a lot of analysis. In college, he took a creative writing class as an elective. Now he’s taking another writing class at his local community college. He loves it! He says it’s a complete escape.

Question 3: What do you have sitting around the house?
You may have to dig deep, but there are probably remnants of old hobbies somewhere in your house. Why not break out the tools of your craft? Mary-Lynn says she has rediscovered paint-by-number. She’s learned to keep her brushes clean and in plain sight. That’s her reminder to enjoy this favorite activity from the past.

Question 4: What did you used to read?
Take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Browse the magazine section. What strikes you? George used to subscribe to a couple of fishing magazines. Now, he’s rediscovered fishing with a new twist – it’s a great time to relax and reflect, even if he doesn’t catch anything!

Stretching yourself by recalling those things that used to bring you joy rounds you out. You’ll find it helps your career and your family life. You’re more interesting. You’ll have new energy. You may even find a clue that will take your career and your life in an exciting new direction.

Our quote today is by the great writer and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”

Take an old idea and make it new again. Stretch yourself and expand your mind. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss building self-confidence. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Practice Not Being Perfect

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Before we start on today’s topic, we want to remind you to visualize your dream life, by answering the question, “If neither time nor money were an issue, how would you spend your time and money?” We’ll be coming back to this topic in a few weeks, so keep dreaming bigg! 

The holiday season is in full swing. Black Friday has come and gone. Millions are celebrating Cyber Monday today by shopping online. We received an e-mail from one of our listeners recently that we thought we would share with you.

Julie says that, in the last few years, she’s gotten so stressed out trying to find the perfect present for everyone on her list. She gets frustrated and oh-so-tired. She wants some suggestions on finding the joy in the holidays again.

You may be able to feel Julie’s pain. Life seems particularly busy this time of year. However, Julie’s problem goes beyond Christmas and presents. There are lessons to be learned for the whole year. Here what we suggested to Julie:

  • Be a hero, not a super hero.
  • Lower your expectations. You only have 24 hours in the day. You can only do so much. Stop trying to be super-human. Live your life on human terms. We give you permission to be human. We even give you permission to buy gift certificates!  

  • Ask why it’s so important.
  • What’s the underlying need you’re seeking to fulfill? Is it the approval of others? You’re worried that your friends and your kids won't think you’re the best. Get past the superficial. Focus on your goal – showing your loved ones that you care about them. Stop worrying about impressing them.  

  • Be happy with 75%.
  • We heard a story recently about a college professor who taught a CPA review course. On the first day of the new semester, the professor explained to his new crop of students that they needed to get a score of 75 or above on each of the four sections of the CPA test. Then he introduced them to his model student. His scores on the CPA exam were:
    Section 1: 75
    Section 2: 75
    Section 3: 75
    Section 4: 75

    He passed every section with the minimum score! But he passed. The professor explained to his class that this student had spent exactly the right amount of time preparing for the exam.

    Any less would have led to failure.
    Any more would have been wasted.

    He has the same CPA designation as the person who got 100 in all four sections. But he had more time to spend on other important things in his life.

    So spend 25% less time trying to get it perfect. Use that time to enjoy your life. By being less demanding of yourself, you’ll find your life is much more rewarding.  

Our quote today is by Arthur N. Known.

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers.”

Striving for excellence puts lead in your pencil. Striving for perfection takes it out.
Tomorrow, we’ll challenge you to stretch yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Putting The Giving In Thanksgiving

In our last blog, we discussed the benefits of being thankful. Today we want to look at the second half of Thanksgiving – the giving.

There’s a lot of research that shows giving has benefits to the giver, as much as to the receiver. Allan Luks, the Executive Director of the New York chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, coined the phase “helper’s high” in his book:
The Healing Power of Doing Good.

“Helper’s high”
When you give, you get an endorphin rush similar to when you work out. This is the “helper’s high. Interestingly enough, when you recall the giving experience, you also get an endorphin rush, though not as much as when you actually performed the service.

Show co-host, Mary-Lynn Foster, discussed volunteering for the American Diabetes Association. Her mom passed away due to complications of diabetes. She feels like she’s doing something for her mom by giving to the ADA. She says that she feels that “helper’s high” as she relates her volunteer experiences.

2 things to give
What are our two big external constraints?  Time and money. Guess what? Those are the two things we can give. Giving is a verb. It requires action.

Is your budget tight? You can still give – how about that old coat? Can you donate some canned goods?

Show co-host, George Krueger, related a story told at his mom’s funeral. Last year was her last Thanksgiving. At her funeral, a young woman explained that she had developed an allergy to flour. So she couldn’t eat bread. After some time, she was craving a slice of bread. She just couldn’t stand it. Just then, there was a knock on the door. It was his mom, with a loaf of flourless bread.

Pay attention
This story illustrates that you may make the most impact by meeting the needs of those close to you. So pay attention. Focus on giving and the getting will take care of itself.

Our quote today is by the writer, G. Donald Gale.  

“A pessimist, they say, sees a glass of water as being half empty;
an optimist see the same glass as half full.
But a giving person sees a glass of water and
starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. “

Quench someone’s need today. Next time, we’ll practice not being perfect. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Putting The Thanks In Thanksgiving

In our last blog, we talked about ‘taters and asked the question: “What kind of ‘tater are you?”

Today we’ll put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving. 

Be thankful for the benefits
Robert Emmons, a Psychology professor at the University of California Davis, did a study to determine if there are benefits in being grateful.

He divided the study’s participants into three groups:

  • Group 1 recorded that day’s most significant events
  • Group 2 recorded minor complaints and hassles of the day
  • Group 3 recorded things they were thankful for that day.

After ten weeks, Emmons found that Group 3 had more energy, viewed life more positively, and had fewer physical ailments when compared to the other two groups.

Sounds like we should all be thankful for this study, doesn’t it? Emmons didn’t stop there. He wanted to know if there were any long-term differences.  Here’s what he found:

Group 3 members were more likely to achieve their goals.

So if you’re grateful, you’ll be healthier and you’ll reach more of your goals!

Make giving thanks a habit
We all remember the old saying “Practice makes perfect.” So, if we practice complaining, we’ll get pretty good at it. So how do you stop complaining?

Be grateful for what you have; quit complaining about what you don’t. It’s really a matter of attention. We tend to give attention to bad things. Many people shine stadium lights on their problems, and flashlights on their blessings.

You should do the opposite – be thankful everyday for all that happens to you. We recently wrote an article about John Bramblitt. Here is a young man that lost his sight, but didn’t let it conquer him. He became a painter. In his adversity, he found his gift.

The most precious thing in the world
Just like John Bramblitt, your life is a gift. You and only you are the single most unique thing in the world. There is only one of you. Your genes and all of your experiences have come together to make you who you are.

Don’t you have a lot for which to be thankful? Being thankful on Thanksgiving is great. We challenge you to make it a part of your life everyday. It pays big dividends!

Our quote today is from over 2000 years ago. It’s by Cicero, the great philosopher.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

Greatness begins with gratefulness. Make giving thanks a daily habit. We promise that you’ll thank yourself for it. 

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

What Kind Of Tater Are You?

In our last blog, we discussed the role of role playing – practicing to be perfect, professionally and personally.

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S., we want to ask you a question:

What kind of ‘tater are you?

You don’t want to be a:

Spectator – These people sit on the sideline, never getting in the game. They just sit and watch you do all the work.

Hesitator – These are people who talk about their ideas and dreams, but never do anything to reach them.

Commentator – People who find fault with the people playing the game. Never get in the game. Never take risk. Never fail forward. Never succeed.

Imitator – These people are so unhappy with themselves, they have to pretend to be something they’re not.

Dictator – Bossy people. They’re not confident that they can sell others on their ideas, so they have to try to bully them.

Agitator – Perhaps the worst of all. These people like to stir things up. They’re only happy when they’re unhappy. They try to unite people as a negative force.

You want to be a:

Facilitator – These people are always looking for a solution. They bring out the best in others by making work easier.

Sweet ‘tater – These humble, likeable, nice people will do just about anything for anyone. They genuinely like people. The get respect because they treat people with respect.

We challenge you to be a facilitator and a sweet ‘tater. Our quote today is by John Cassis, the former baseball player who became a motivational speaker.

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

Nice is a nice way to be. Tomorrow, we’ll put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!