Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:30:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 61829371 4 Ways To Feel Yourself Back Into “Balance” Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:00:34 +0000 So You Can Experience What Matters Most

Just about everyone talks about wanting more “work-life balance”. What you don’t hear much talk about are practical tools and approaches for getting it. That’s unfortunate because there are many.

I’ve written a number of posts about Nash and Steven’s  model of enduring success, a more realistic model than “balance”. Unfortunately, I’ve never had an easy way to know which of the 4 categories they say matter most that I needed to be focusing on. Focusing on in the moment.

After reading Eric Barker’s new book Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong, I’m happy to say that’s changed. His feeling-based heuristic for knowing where you at with these 4 at any given time is both simple and effective.  I know because I’ve put it to the test, both on family vacations as well as at work.


These are the 4 metrics found to matter most in achieving enduring success:

  • Happiness (feelings of pleasure or contentment about life).
  • Achievement (accomplishments that compare favorably against goals others have striven to achieve).
  • Significance (sense of making a positive impact on people you care about).
  • Legacy (a way of establishing values or accomplishments to help others succeed).

The challenge is that while these are important for everyone, the quality and quality are going to be different for each person depending on your gifting, goals, and stage of life.

The bottom-line: if you want to achieve enduring success or something akin to “balance”, then you need to be contributing to some degree to all 4 on a regular basis. Given the variables and variability in each individuals, you might think it impossible to come up with a formula….and your right.


So how does Barker say you know when it’s time to focus on something that contributes to another area instead of just plodding along, drifting or driving?  By paying attention to key emotions or feeling associated with each of the Big 4:

  • Happiness= Enjoying, Pleasure, Contentment
  • Achievement= Winning, Success, Thrilled
  • Significance= Counting (to others), Connection, Loving
  • Legacy= Extending, Reflective, Fulfilled

When you sense you’ve almost had enough, or just enough in one category then switch and link to another that you sense you could use more of. That’s it.

While simple, it will take some initial self-reflection work to get started if you haven’t give some thought to life-planning or your SEI is in the tank.


  • Know the 4 Key metrics of enduring success and what currently contributes to them for you.
  • Practice pausing and learning to recognize the key feelings and their variations associated with each category.
  • Once you sense you’ve gotten to good enough or “just enough” in one category, “switch and link” to an activity in another.

The reality is that you can harness your feelings and use them as a decision-making indicator to help you decide what’s important to focus on next that leads to your enduring success.  It beats trying to see if things are balanced enough in your life, because they never will be.

There is certainly more detail to be had. If you really want to take a deep dive, pages 239 – 251 of Barker’s book as well as Nash and Stevenson’s original HBR article will serve you well.  If not, the approach above is a great start.

Question: How is the typical model of work-life balance currently serving or sabotaging you? What are you doing to get life more aligned with the way you want it to be?  


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Why Your Powerful “Why” Doesn’t Always Work Thu, 03 Aug 2017 19:51:57 +0000 The Key To Accomplishing Stuff You Can't Seem To Get Done

Why is it so hard to get stuff done sometimes, even easy stuff?  There can be a lot of reasons. Some are good and some are just dressed-up excuses. Sometimes, it’s simply because we are “Stuck”.  What isn’t so plain and simple is what to do about it.

Given our inability to sometimes get even simple, small tasks done as well as large, there seems to be an underlying principle at work. There’s probably a formal name for it, but I don’t know what it is. What I do know is that what’s easy to do is also easy not to do.  And this tendency can be incredibly difficult to overcome….I know it has been for me.

While “Silver Bullet” solutions are rare, in this case it’s about close as it gets:  accountability. Simply put, the power of accountability is critical and usually overlooked when it comes to getting the stuff done that matters most, both large and small.

2 Keys To Accountability

Here are 2 Keys to unlock the secret of accountability and making it work for you:

  • Know What
    • Small stuff-  Accountability for the mundane, monotonous or incremental actions that in aggregate really matter.  After all, success is merely a few disciplines, repeated every day. And failure is only a few errors in judgement, repeated everyday.
    • Big Stuff- Accountability for the big projects. It’s the numerous projects that make up the whole that give accountability it’s legs here. Know what the “thin slices” would look like for you.
  • Know How
    • Say it
      • Individually- Connect and ask someone else to hold you accountable to what you commit to do. Make sure the person you ask is both able and willing. 
      • Group- By saying what we are committing to in a group, we leverage peer pressure in a positive way.  Holding ourselves accountable to a group has the added benefit of generating creative approaches we may not have thought of.
    • Write it
      • Writing something down not only serves as a tangible reminder to us, it also activates our brain in a powerful way that simply can’t be tapped by just thinking and talking to ourself. This quote by Michael Hyatt’s sums it up best.
      • Whether it’s in the form of a SMARTER goal or daily checklist of important behaviors, writing it down is can be like flipping a switch when it comes to getting it done.

Why Accountability Works

There are many reason, these are the ones I think contribute the most:

  • It forces us to clearly definey what we are really saying we will do, especially when we write it out.
  • It makes us aware of what we are saying we will do, which helps us better weigh the risks, consequences and rewards.
  • It’s a form of “activation intent.” When we put accountability in place, we’ve actually taking a proactive step towards what we are after.
  • It keeps our commitment(s) front and center because we now have answer to someone or something besides our own rationalizing brain.
  • It brings positive peer pressure into play; no one wants to look bad or let someone down.

Whether it’s a BHAG goal or the small actions you want to transform into habits, sometimes your powerful “Why” just isn’t going to be enough for you to get it done. Your going to have to leverage the other side of that “Why” coin: accountability.

Accountability: It’s just as important as your powerful “Why” and sometimes more so.

What is it you want that your not experiencing or getting done these days?  Take a look. If you haven’t incorporated accountability into the equation, it’s very likely the key to making it happen.

Please leave a comment or share an accountability “hack” that you’ve found works for you. I’d love to learn.

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How To Escape The Overwhelm Thu, 27 Jul 2017 14:22:14 +0000 3 Steps To Set Yourself Free

Choice is a good thing until you have too many and it isn’t.  Especially when those things have to do with what you have to do. Deciding then becomes difficult and leads to The Overwhelm. The psychological term for it is “Decision Fatigue”.

I love flexibility..…it’s one of my core values. Unfortunately, I often let it get out of hand and it gets the best of me.

I’ve learned the hard way that freedom and choice, without context and criteria, can quickly leave you in a puddle of Decision fatigue. In short: overwhelmed and unable to move anything on your agenda forward, let alone the stuff that matters most.

Peter Drucker said that looking back from a historical perspective, the most important change seen won’t be technology. Instead, it will be the unprecedented volume and level on which people had to self-manage…..and were totally unprepared to do so. Unless something changes, that doesn’t bode well for the accomplishment, work-life balance and sense of calm everyone is seeking these days.

So what’s the answer to escaping The Overwhelm that’s overwhelming us?

Before answering, keep in mind 2 key reasons we get overwhelmed in the first place (according to an Essentialist philosophy):

  • Too much social pressure
  • The idea that you can have it all.

Unlike yesteryear, the number of external voices and choices we have today is unprecedented as are our expectations, which have become inflated beyond all measure. The other is timing- we think we can have all we want all at the same time. Why not? Social media has lowered the bar for access, increasing the things that compete for our attention and constantly feed us illusions.

The result? Trying to cram an increasing number of infinite things into a discrete, limited and already overflowing schedule.

The impact? The Overwhelm.

Now, how to get out of it:

  1. First- Prepare. recognize and embrace the fact that you’re going to have to say “No” to some good opportunities. In fact, as you become more successful you’re going to have to say no to some really great opportunities. Easier said than done; it takes a cultivated attitude of the heart and mind.
  2. Second- Pause. Take a deep breath, squeeze or open both hands widely, or take some action that will center you attention. It seems moving your physiology is a key to interrupting your pattern in the moment. It provides a window to put a pause between stimulus and response.
  3. Third- Propose. Ask yourself the key question “What’s  most Important Now?”….as in, right now.  Write down all the other important stuff  on a list for later.  Then, take an immediate next step toward it, even if its as simple as shutting off your phone screen.

The result? Focus

The impact? Eliminating The Overwhelm.  And making progress on your priorities. Even…if….only….small.

You certainly can’t change all the stuff competing for your attention. You can change your mindset and what you do about it using three simple steps.

So,“What’s  most Important Now?” (WIN) for you?  Take a deep breath, and then take the next small step…..right now.

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Time Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:26:51 +0000 And The Secret To Transforming It

Our knowledge economy gives us the illusion exists that there just isn’t enough time. False.

The reality is that there is just as much time in our current, crazy-busy age as there has been in any other.  I know it doesn’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve complained far too often that there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. And I’m not alone. “I don’t have enough time” seems to be the mantra of our time.

Time is arguably is our most important resource, Time is non-renewable. Once a second is gone, that’s it….forever. We like to embrace the myth that we can manage time. We can’t, so forget about it: no one ever slowed a minute down….it’s still 60 seconds.

So how can we get the most out of time and why do some seem to get more out of it than others?

If there is one thing Einstein’s theory of relatively taught us, it’s that there is more to time than meets the eye. There was a lot we didn’t know about time then and that we still don’t know. One thing we do know about time is that our perspective can transform how we experience it.

2 Ways To View Time

The ancient Greeks looked at time through two lens: “Karios” and “Chronos”.

  • “Chronos” is a quantitative view. It is simply Father Time’s ticking of the clock and unrelenting wheel of 60/24/7/365. Examples of Chronos is when time seems to stand still, drag on OR when when you feel hurried and harried trying to beat the clock.
  • “Karios” is a qualitative view. While hard to define, it’s theologically related and refers to a favorable or advantageous moment. Being in “flow” is synonymous in many ways with karios and good way to think about it. Examples would be those moments when, because you were fully engaged and present, time seemed suspended or non-existent in a very pleasant way.

While we need both perspectives, Chronos is so predominate that our view of things has become tunnel-like and monchrome. We only seem to look back to the past or forward to the future. Life gets gray pretty quickly when you only focus on what you can’t change, re-experience or have yet to experience.

Transform Your View

The key difference between these two lenses is that Karios can only be experienced in the present, and that’s the secret to transforming it. When we focus on being fully in the moment, we can savor what we are doing, experiencing and are becoming in the process. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy good memories bring or the anticipation of what’s ahead, its just that you do it in the moment and recognize these for what they give you in the moment…..a subtle distinction I know, but a very real one.

How You Choose to Is Up To You

So how do you practice being present or “in the moment”?

  1. Recognize when you’re out of it and living in the past or future- This can show up in number of ways. Regrets and “shoulda/woulda/couldas” are signals you’re in the past while the “want to/have to/need to” and “can’t wait to” are signals you’re in living in the future.
  2. Get in touch with yourself- Close your eyes, take a breath and at the same time a physiologic and emotional pulse-check. If you can’t name your current state then you’re likely less self-aware than you could be (It takes practice).
  3. Focus on what you can control- Your energy and priorities will give you the most leverage. Remind yourself you can’t control a single second of the clock. (it takes discipline and can become a habit).
  4. Focus on the task at hand- Ask yourself what is the most important thing you need to be doing right now, this moment.  You first may need to get the the bazillion and one other things out of your head and on to paper (it will take some planning and ongoing writing).

What we get from our time depends on our perspective. And thinking about time differently can transform how you experience it.

How is your perspective of time working for you? If you want more fulfillment and less frustration it may be a clue.

Take a minute and leave a comment, I’d love to know how it’s going for you.

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The Secret Ingredient For Getting Stuff Done Sat, 24 Jun 2017 12:49:15 +0000 How To Get Your GSD Degree!

Why is it so hard to get stuff done sometimes, even easy stuff?  There are a lot of reasons.

Some are good reasons and some are excuses disguised as good reasons. Sometimes, it’s because we are “Stuck”. Perhaps the most common reason is because it’s just as easy not to do something as it is to do it.

What most have an even harder time with is knowing how to change and get things done when they are not….even when they have a powerful “Why”.

Whether big tasks or small, there is an inertia we all have to overcome. If there seems to be an underlying principle working to keep us where we are at it’s because there is. And a secret to overcoming it is tapping the power of  accountability.

By  putting the following 3 accountability principles into action, you’ll be on the fast track to earning a GSD (getting stuff done) degree and getting more stuff done than you ever thought was possible:

The What

  • Small stuff–  Success is merely a few key disciplines, repeated every day. And failure is only a few errors in judgement, repeated everyday. Therefore, you have to hold yourself accountable for the mundane, monotonous and incremental actions that matter big-time over the long-haul.
  • Big Stuff- This “what” is obvious. The problem is that instead of “eating it small slices”, we try to choke the whole loaf down at once.

The How

Accountability can be incorporated several ways:

  • Say it
    • One-to-One- Share your commitment with another person. It’s best if that someone is a person you respect, who cares about you, and won’t let you off the hook.
    • Group or Team- When you make a commitment to a group, you leverage peer pressure in a positive way.  You may also get the benefit of hearing other creative approaches you  haven’t thought about.
  • Write it
    • Writing is a tangible reminder and activates our brain in a powerful way not done by thinking or talking alone. These words by  Michael Hyatt summarize it well:  “Thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips”.
    • A list in the form of action items or daily behaviors that can be “checked off” can be powerful.
  • Incorporate structure
    • Putting hard stops in place can give you a sense of urgency. Examples would setting a task timer of some sort or telling someone to leave without you if your not there by a certain time (Ouch!).

The Why of accountability

There are many. Below are the ones I think factor in most:

  • We’re forced to clearly define what it is we are committing to, especially when we write it down.
  • We’re more aware of what we are committing to, which allows us to better weigh the risks, consequences and rewards.
  • It’s a form of “activation intent”. When we put accountability in place, we’ve actually taken a proactive step in moving toward what we are after.
  • Our commitment is kept front and center because we now have someone or something external to our own rationalizing brain to answer to.
  • It leverages positive peer pressure. No one wants to look bad or let someone down.

Whether it’s a BHAG goal or the small actions you want to transform into habits, sometimes your powerful “Why” isn’t going to be enough for you to get it done. Your going to have to leverage the other side of that “Why” coin: accountability. It’s just as important and sometimes more so.

Think of one thing you’ve wanted to get done and repeatedly haven’t. Now, what’s one way you could incorporate accountability into your efforts?

Give it a go, I have no doubt you’ll get a lot more done than you did without it. And if you do, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes (yes, feel free to write it down here and hold yourself accountable!).

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How to Be An MVP at Getting Big Things Done Wed, 24 May 2017 19:39:01 +0000 Why Doing The Minimum Gets You The Maximum

Plans are necessary, good and can be exciting. In fact, being an Enneagram 7 I love to plan and think of all the possibilities. So much so I can get totally derailed by the planning process…..and be faked out into thinking I’m making tangible progress!

What I really like to do is execute. I want to get stuff done, see the final product and reach the goal. After all, nothing breeds success like success. And nothing can sabotage it like trying to “go big” when your trying to achieve big things.

The Secret To Achieving Big Things

So what’s the secret to achieving big things? Starting small.

The most effective form of internal motivation is making progress….any type of progress.  Behavioral research and at least the last 50 yrs of experience in the business world has clearly demonstrated that to be the case.

The more I thought about it after reading through Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism for the third time, I realized the simple concept of incremental progress lies at the heart of most popular and highly effective productivity approaches. Here are a few:

It also underlies the foundation of the Solution Focused Coaching model, which is “small steps successively approximated lead to big change.”

How To Go Small To Go Big

So what’s the secret to “going small to get to big”? Using the MVP approach to get MVP results.

Minimal Viable Preparation (MVP): the key concept is to start early and small. Take a goal or project and ask yourself “What one small thing could I do right now to support it?” Here are some examples:

  • Writing a book: On day 1, just make the file folders that will contain each chapter’s content. Done
  • Big presentation coming up: Open and name the presentation file (or save a copy of the template file you use with the name of the presentation). Enter the title and jot down a few quick points. Done
  • Key stake holder meeting: once scheduled,  take 10 seconds to write down the main points you want to cover.  Done
  • Major project: Write down the first three action items you need to accomplish, then block time on your calendar to do the first one. Done

Minimal Viable Progress (MVP2):  It’s been said that “Done is better than Perfect”. How true, because perfect never really gets done! Instead of perfect or even grand, focus on the next small step by asking yourself this question: “What is the smallest thing I can achieve that will actually move me a bit closer to where I want to be with this?”

In addition to actually getting stuff done vs adding to the pile, we reap more enjoyment and satisfaction when we take small steps to make big change.

I have to admit I was tempted to bag writing a blog post this week, which is packed and includes travel. I took the MVP approach instead. At the end of Monday I just created a file, named it, and jotted a topic down. That’s it, done. A to-do item on my list for the next day was “open file”. The rest is what you’re reading here.

What’s one thing you’ve been putting off that taking an MVP approach would help you get started with?

Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your results.

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How To Keep From Coming Unglued Fri, 19 May 2017 15:51:03 +0000 2 Ways You Lose Your Emotional Grip

Just about everyone has at least one moment they would like to take back; a quick act or word spoken. Whether it’s a few of these episodes or many, like paper thrown to the wind, they can’t be recalled. What you can do is keep it from happening again (and in some cases, again and again).

The trouble is that while most people know they want to react better when they get triggered, they don’t know how.

That’s where having practical framework for gaining insight and understanding of your default reaction mode can be invaluable.  Unfortunately, most of us have little if any awareness of our default reaction mode when our hot buttons are pushed.

The challenge is being able to label how you react so you can then get a handle on it.

That’s why Lysa Terkuest’s podcast (part 1 and part 2) discussing her book “Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” resonated with me. By breaking down the 15 competencies of SEI into 2 basic categories that everyone can understand, her model can help you quickly to get a handle on where you’re at. And once you know where your at, you can decide what you want to be different and the how to go about the change.

It starts by recognizing that internal conflict occurs when we feel exposed or opposed. One of our hot-buttons is pushed and we get triggered. Easy enough.

Where it gets tough is recognizing our own default reaction patterns and clearly labeling them. The good news is that Lysa’s model provides a tool doing just that; two simple categories, each with two flavors.  The other news here is that doing so requires some reflection and often times honest and painful admissions.  After all, who wants to admit they’re basically a “Stuffer” or “Exploder”?

Which One Are You?

A “Stuffer” is someone who keeps everything to themselves and does all they can to avoid conflict; just pushes it in and avoids. He or she then:

  • Builds barriers- keeps it from happening again by staying away or keeping the other person away. Passive aggressiveness comes to mind.
  • Collects Rocks- “retaliation rocks”, specifically.  Behind the sweet smile he or she is quietly finding and storing away everything they possibly can to inflict maximum damage at a later and more opportune time.

An “Exploder” makes no pretenses and has little if any filter. They just go off in an attempt to make “it” go away. She or he then:

  • Blames- spews blame at others like bile and takes no ownership of what happened or how they are reacting.
  • Shames- similar to the first because it involves blame; only this time it’s directed inward shortly after the eruption and results in shame.  If you could hear the self-talk there would be a lot of “shoulding” and “ought-to-have” being said.

The Liberating Truth

Your default reaction patterns are not who you are and you don’t have to be defined by them. The fact that it’s possible to be both given the context is ample proof. For example, you might be a “Stuffer” when it comes to your boss and an “Exploder” with your kids.  Remind yourself it’s something you do and not who you are. More importantly, know you can do something about…if you’re willing.

The good news is that our emotions are indicators, not dictators; emotional smoke signals if you will. Keeping that reality in mind as well as our default reaction patterns can help us react how we want to instead of how we are inclined to. It begins with self-awareness.

How is your natural reaction style affecting the results you’re getting?

Whether your a Stuffer and Exploder, please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts

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Key To Emotional Mastery And Symmetry Thu, 11 May 2017 19:51:59 +0000 3 Ways You Can Build Yours

If your emotional fitness was visible to others as an external physique, would it attract or repel?

Because our physical appearance is usually the first thing others notice about us, we give it a lot of attention.  What we usually don’t realize is that our emotional state is probably the next thing people pick up on about us and they usually do it pretty quickly.  The reality is that emotions are contagious and our neuronal circuitry is wired so that they are easily influenced and  “caught”.

Physical asymmetry

Having grown up competing in sports and being physically active, I identify much easier with the physical than the emotional.  Perhaps you do too.

It’s pretty easy to tell a lifter who is well rounded vs one who just focuses on their favorite body region or workout routine. The guy in the gym with bulging biceps, a massive chest and pencil legs is an easily identifiable example of the latter. No question that an upper body workout is more fun and less difficult than lower body but the end result is a bit grotesque. If you want the full package, you have to work on the full package (leg day, anyone?)

Emotional Mastery and Symmetry

Likewise, maximum emotional fitness requires mastery and symmetry of our ability to experience a full range of feelings and virtues, not just the ones we gravitate toward naturally or like. Besides the lack of the visual, what makes things more difficult in this arena is that the mind doesn’t like to hold the tension brought on by contradictory impulses.

For example:

  • If you value toughness you may undervalue tenderness.
  • If spontaneity is your thing, then self-control may be excused.
  • If you value honesty above all else then it’s easy (and convenient) to forget the compassion.
  • Just because you’re bold doesn’t mean you can do away with caution.
  • If “happy land” is your preferred destination, avoiding any hint of sorrow or pain can land you in the opposite location quick.

The list of opposite emotions and virtues that need be held in tension and symmetry could go on, but I think I the point is clear. The real issue is our self awareness of how we’re balanced in this area and our level of mastery with it.

The Key

To be fully engaged emotionally requires the capacity to hold opposite virtues and emotions simultaneously, or anacoluthia. Anacoluthia is the mutual entailment of virtues and accompanying emotions whereby a virtue isn’t a virtue by itself. After all, honesty without compassion becomes cruelty.

Here are 3 ways to build anacoluthia.

  1. Accept the tension that comes with holding opposites- view them as a tension to be managed not a problem to be “fixed”.
  2. Learn to value all the virtues-  discover what proportions work best and see the synergy; don’t choose sides.
  3. Appreciate your weak areas- qualities you naturally oppose or don’t like have their merits; let go of judgement and find leverage instead.

Often the most important things are simple to understand but hard to do. In this case, it’s complex and contradictory as well. The end goal is to build your capacity move freely and flexibly between your own opposites.

If your emotional “physique” were as visible as your physical one, where would you start working asap?

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear where and how the symmetry is for you.

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The Secret to Building Great Rapport Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:53:19 +0000 5 Forces That Attract

What is it about some people that give them the ability to attract and hold influence with just about anyone? Especially when there are others out there who seem to be able to repel just about everyone.  The former is called rapport, also more commonly known as “connection”. The later goes by a number of names (most can’t be written here).

Why is the ability to establish strong rapport so important? Because it’s essential if you want to have optimal influence with people as well as organizations.

While most of us are between the two extremes mentioned above, the reality is that all of us, like a magnet, are capable of either attracting or repelling to various degrees.

Who are the people in your life you’ve seen or known who seem to have a natural ability to attract anyone, even the most disagreeable?  It’s not just about being “nice”. In fact, having great rapport gives you the ability to say hard things to hard people who not only listen, but really feel like you still care for them…..even when the stakes are large, emotions run high and opinions differ.  My dad is like that and has been as long as I can remember.  In fact, he is so good at it that when I was a kid he could shift me from crying to being optimistic in seconds sometimes, or even have me laughing.

5 Forces That Attract

While some people no doubt are naturally gifted at rapport, the good news is that you can grow your rapport by focusing on the following five forces:

  1. Self-awareness- is simply to know yourself as you really are in all domains. It comes from developing a straight-forward understanding of how you experience things and what makes you tick.
  2. Empathy- is simply to see and feel things from someone else’s perspective; to put yourself in someone else shoes. At a more granular level, there are various kinds of empathy as well as ways to effectively leverage it.
  3. Positive Regard- is not just viewing another as a person worthy of respect, but allowing yourself to experience positive attitudes like warmth, caring, and interest about them as well. You don’t have to necessarily like him or her, you just have to keep your personal judgements from interfering with a view from which positive attitudes can flow.
  4. Genuiness- may also be known as authenticity or congruence and relates to trust. It’s not just about what you do but about who you are: open vs closed; owning it vs avoiding it; kind as well as challenging when necessary.
  5. Presence- It’s a way of bringing yourself and being with another with. It is an in-the-moment experience that is bodily, sensory and interpersonal and features a quite confidence and accompanying gravitas.

3 Foundational Traits

While the five forces that attract are extremely powerful and synergistic, they have to rest on a three-fold foundation:

  • Self-control- is required to maintain focus, manage self-talk, making judgments, regulate emotions and find the positives in the other person regardless of their characteristics or situation.
  • Psychological mindedness”-  involves being aware of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of both the other person and yourself, then “reading between the lines” and putting the pieces together.
  • Genuine interest-  means you have the other person best interests in mind and care about them…even when you have to work hard at it.

The ability to establish strong rapport is essential for optimal connection and influence. Is your’s where you want it?

As you reflect on what your rapport building ability, a good exercise is to think of how various people might answer if someone else asked them about it. That would include not only your fans but those who are a challenge for you as well .

Regardless, the good news is that you can grow your ability to build rapport. The other news is you have to work at it.

What would having the ability to build better rapport do for you personally as well as your most important enterprise?

Please leave a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear about it.

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5 Seconds To Change Anything Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:18:18 +0000 Why It Starts In The Morning And How To Make It Happen

Your alarm rings. You reach over and hit the snooze button. Repeat(edly). Is this you? According to Sleep Review, that’s the case for over half of you reading this post.

In their 2014 survey they found that 57% of Americans (and 70% of Brits) were snoozers, admit to staying in bed more than 5 minutes every morning and were still tired when they finally woke up.

Prior to 2013, that would have described me in the morning.  Not anymore.

Because I had been a serious life-long snooze-button-hitter up to that time (often 30 minutes), deciding to change was daunting.   I think it gave me an idea of what it must be like for a smoker when he or she decides to quit- a little bit of nervous excitement and a lot of fear…..of failing yet again.

You Snooze, You Lose

The motivation to make a switch came after reading the chapter in Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s book Buried Treasure entitled “The Dangers of the Snooze Button” .  There’s a lot there and the two realities that struck me the most about hitting the snooze button were that we:

  • make our first action of the day to procrastinate.
  • limit our day by surrendering to our physical desires.


To my surprise, I was successfully made the change from hitting the snooze button to jumping out of bed immediately from day 1. It was much easier than I thought and I’ve only hit my snooze button twice in the last 3.5 yrs.

I hadn’t thought too much about why I was successful with it and failed all the other times until l read Mel Robbins’ book “The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” I saw right away that I had used the 5 Second Rule without knowing what it was, which shows how simple and effective it can be.  The other good news is that works with about anything we want to take action on or change in our life. Jumping out of bed first thing in the morning is a good place to start.

What’s the 5 Second Rule?

Simply this: the moment the time comes or you have an instinct to act on a goal or item, you count backwards “5-4-3-2-1” and then move.  Both counting as well as moving are critical.  Counting backwards (forward doesn’t work) interrupts your default self-preservation and pleasure mode of thinking and opens a channel for your mind to think in a different direction. When you couple backward counting with movement your physiology changes, your mind falls in line and you get the activation energy you need to make things that are tough for you happen.

Unlike planning and contemplative executive decision making, our decision to buy as well as act in the moment are driven predominately by emotion and not cognition. In fact, once you’ve planned and decided to do something courageous or difficult, thinking about it more when it comes time to take action makes it less likely you’ll actually do it! Instead, you’ll hesitate, have just enough time to go into flight, fight, faint or freeze mode which then gives your brain enough time to think of a million ways to justify not doing it (i.e. make excuses).  It’s the kiss of death to change efforts.

How Does It work?

There are over 10 cognitive behavioral principles related to change that are leveraged in some for or fashion for any change effort to be successful. If you want the detail, Mel Robbins’ blog does a great job of elucidating these change principles with brief text and diagrams as well as a video if you have time to watch.  The great thing about the 5 Second Rule is that it’s a simple, single technique that impacts all of these. In essence, it’s a “starting ritual” that allows us to leverage our neurophysiology in a way that serves instead of sabotages our own best interests.

The Reward

Here are two other beautiful things about the 5 Second Rule:

  • Repeat it often enough and your change efforts become habit, so no more backward counting to get off the dime.
  • It has an overflow effect and begins to show up almost automatically in other areas you hadn’t thought of as well as when you need to take action most.

Using the 5-second rule first thing in the morning can help you overcome the resistance that holds you in bed and that holds you back in the other moments that matter most.

We all have our own “Why’s” for what we want to change. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan gave us the What. The 5 Second Rule gives the “How” to get moving. And while the Rule doesn’t necessarily make things easy, it does make things happen. Especially first thing in the morning, which is a great place to start.

If you used the 5-second rule to pop out of bed tomorrow morning, how much more time and energy would you gain?  If you’re one of the ~25% who don’t hit the snooze button at all, what’s your greatest challenge or opportunity to leverage the Rule with?

Please leave a comment and let me know how it’s going for you….count backward from 5 if you need to.

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