I heard Suzanne West from Imagena Energy speak yesterday at an event called #BecauseCalgary. She was part of a panel on business innovation and the changing landscape ahead of us. They all had a lesson to share and as always Suzanne was passionate and inspirational. She said that ” we shouldn’t back down. In fact we should joyfully eat problems for breakfast because that is how we move the needle.” I have written about tackling something big first thing in the day and agree that we need to embrace the opportunity that challenges bring. There is something exciting and frightening (in a good way) about facing a new problem with my Cheerios.
I have been reading a lot of spiritual practice writing and there is some suggestion that if we spend ten minutes at the end of the day reflecting on the day that was and imagining the day to come that in sleep, a new possibility arises. When you awake, before you dive into the day, take another ten minutes and reflect on how the shape of the problem has changed and record your ideas for change and the newly imagined path to a solution.
Keep the solution in view all day, either as a post-it or a screen grab. When you have another ten minutes begin a reflect and refine process. Keeping the solution on the proximate periphery allows you to use it as part of your day and use your day to improve the solution.
Try the ten minute routine tonight and tomorrow morning and at least once throughout tomorrow and then rinse and repeat.
Make Tomorrow Remarkable, by eating a problem for breakfast,
We don’t live a solely self determined life. If we live, work and [lay with others, they impact us positively and negatively. With the exception of a despot we can’t make people bend to our will and we can’t be bent. We can become persistent in our approach to the blessing of each day we are given. This isn’t the strong headed stubbornness of childhood but rather a daily reminder and commitment to our values and our goals.
When I hold the value that all people are capable I need to act that out each day even when it would be easier to find someone else or do it myself. If I believe that remarkable people are remarkable because they use their strengths to strengthen others then I need to find ways to lift people up but not carry them on my back. I am committed to being healthier so I need to be more food aware and vigilant that my french fry addiction doesn’t take over. I also need to exercise every day because when I ‘take a day off’ it has a history of turning into two..
I am successful when I do the things I do because of the things I believe. Values and action when married create a perfect persistence.
What are three values that you hold today and how are you acting to keep them at the forefront of this week?
I trust you have been practicing breathing and maybe even lengthened the practice time to 3 or 4 minutes. Did you create your understanding and recognition (appreciation) list yesterday and did you use the ‘mantra’ when challenged?
Today we begin step 3. If you are struggling with being mired in mediocrity and feeling miserable, this step is a real challenge. It likely needs to join steps 1 and 2 as part of your daily kickoff. We all struggle with the F Word. Saying it out loud can cause us to recoil but it is necessary to say it and then really do it. Forgive. Forgiveness. Forgiven. There I said it three times, three different ways.
Let forgiveness free you from your past. Allow it to erase the resentments you are holding onto. Let it fade all blame and allow you to fill the space with love, inner peace and compassion.
Start small and trust that as you work on shedding resentments you will gain clarity and appreciation.
Forgiveness needs to be spoken out loud and really, sincerely meant. If possible, the other party should be aware of the forgiveness but for our first foray into the F Word it isn’t necessary today. I forgave my father 20 years after he died.
Practive forgiveness – say it – do it today,
In 8760 hours, where will you be? Will you still be striving to be more than the day before or mired in status quo ? Will you be fitter or fatter? Will you be living in the same place or somewhere new? Will you be getting up with purpose or dragging your butt out of bed? Will you be in a relationship or solo? Will you have learned a new language, to play the guitar or would you have found excuses not to?
In the first hours of the new year we can create a direction to head and a strategic position we want to occupy in 365 days. Inertia begins with doing nothing, just for today and ends with having done nothing. If you are completely happy with all aspects of your life (rare) you can survive and maybe thrive doing nothing. But, if you have grave or even niggling concerns the muck and mire of sameness and stuckness will be over your knees if you do nothing.
Write yourself a note today, dated January 1, 2017.
Dear Me, Today I am in a continually evolving and loving relationship. I am fitter at 62 than you were at 45. My health is excellent because I choose to be aware of my nutrition, my ailments and my tendencies and I make better choices. I am nearly fluent in French. I am excited by the value I get to bring to each day through my vocation and avocation. I live in a world that is safer, cleaner and more caring because I am contributing and I have surrounded myself with people who have the same goals.
What your note includes and how you understand it is your business. Share it with someone if you want or not but recognize that if you desire a preferred future, it is up to you. Don’t wait for or blame anyone else.
May 2016 be your best year yet,
You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. ~ Richard Branson
When you stop being curious, you begin to dig your own grave. For some the hole gets completed quickly and they mercifully pass. For others they drone into a life full of blah and stifling boredom. Just behind your right ear (about 10 cm ) is the curiousity bone ( Latin – curiosulus). Every morning before you head into the world, take the index finger of your left hand and rub vertically on the the curiosulus for 30 seconds and wonder what unimagined event, idea, opportunity or challenge might arrive in your field of vision today. Take the next 5 minutes to ponder how that instance might change your disposition, position or opinion.
After activating curiousity, it needs a bit of care and feeding so you will need to to repeat this exercise at 11:21 and 19:37. Just before you go to bed take the middle finger of your right hand and massage the curiosulus horizontally. This embeds the new ideas and memories into your bank and creates fresh space for tomorrow’s adventures.
Make Today (and tomorrow) Remarkable, by being curious,
Marc and Angel’s “Hack Life” post this morning 20 Reasons Life Gets Way Too Complicated is another example of their great philosophy, practice and prose. (and fits with this month’s series). I am a believer that we require a certain amount of tension in our lives. It is where we are nudged to be creative, courageous and compassionate. I love having a bit of the sense of overwhelming over my shoulder but my life gets too complex when I don’t follow some of the tips on this list.
20. We compare ourselves to others who seem better off. I don’t really know their story and they don’t know mine. In my coaching practice, I have seen outwardly successful and together clients confess their messedupness and then begin the process of building their specifically remarkable life.
14. We avoid the tough and necessary conversations. Unless to are a mind reader or a boni fide seer, knowing how anyone will react to hearing the ‘truth’ is disrespectful. Even if you think you are pushing the important issue below the surface, you are using up emotional and kinetic energy as it bubbles below the water line.
7. We let the haters get to us. I again need to celebrate the great philosopher of our time, Taylor swift, because she understands that “haters gonna hate” and now everyone/anyone can have a platform for their vitriol. When I realize that haters are sad, desperate cynics and that I would be one too if I stooped to their tactics, it gives me freedom to ignore their tirades.
1.We try to do way too much. This is the big ‘easy to say, harder to do’ in this list. I have missed opportunities because I didn’t say no and leave some space for inspiring opportunities.
“For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn’t give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. or Winston Churchill
Monday morning; what better time to explode happiness in your life! If Mondays drag you down, drain your reserves or rub your nerves there are easy ways to hack happiness this morning.
Start the today with three easy goals.
- Make 3 people smile before 10:15am
- Find 3 things that make you laugh out loud before 9:15am
- Write 3 simple things that you want more of before 8:15am
Now set out to add more of what you want, laugh and encourage a smile.
Happiness will begin to infect you before mid morning.
Your noon hour challenge is to intentionally lose an argument/debate. Losing might not be pleasant but learning that you shouldn’t win every argument or you aren’t learning is an important lesson.
Finally, your 1:15pm assignment is Don’t waste time on gossip. 2:15pm Avoid negative people. And 3:15pm drink plenty of water and look forward to reading a good book this evening.
Rinse and repeat as much as possible tomorrow.
I am a voracious reader; a gleaner really. I have developed practices that allow me to read and comprehend nearly 100 books this year and remember the remarkable and useful in equal measure. I didn’t know I was following a process until I read this article, with 7 tricks, by Karol Krol. I don’t use all the suggested techniques but use 4,5,6, and 7 regularly and the last 3 almost all the time.
As a destination person, #5 makes complete sense – “not reading every word separately” was reflex. Pulling back to 500 feet and observing the page as a map is something I have done for as long as I can remember. I zoom in and out on the page gathering information still in a mostly left to right, top to bottom direction. With the advent of camera phones I think we are all better at reading snapshots. Take a mental picture of this Dr Seuss quote and then notice which words you drill down upon.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Practice scanning and noticing – this passage makes me smile so it is a good one for me to experiment with. Use Seuss or find something that puts a smirk on your face and give it a couple of tries a day for the next week.
My impatient imperfectionism makes #7 ” start too fast” an easy assignment. This might be my epilogue ” He Started Too Fast but He Did Get to the End” (I don’t think I have ever experienced negative splits).
I love Krol’s analogy “if you’re doing 90 and slow down to 70 it feels slow, but if you’re doing 50 and speed up to 70 it feels fast”. This isn’t just a pacing technique it is a repacing practice. By jumping off the start line and racing down the track you give your eyes and brain a break when you slow to 500 to 600 words, it feels like a walk in the park.
Try this free speed reading test and use it as your measure of improvement. What Speed do you Read?
Most importantly, read from a book every day – make it a daily habit.
Check out your local library this afternoon,
2016 is the Year of the Monkey which in Chinese astrology signifies flux, upheaval and change. I see hope in change. I see hope raising up and capturing our attention through the next 400 days. Are you seeking hope and responding to her urging?
What 3 goals have you set for the first quarter? Do you need some urging and encouragement to set a mind, body and soul goal? Would weekly encouragement and accountability help?
There are people that I have met whose life choices I don’t understand. Their normal is so outside my frame of reference as to appear insane. I can’t imagine the journey that lead them to the worldview they espouse and demonstrate.
The normal might include a parent who deprives herself of basic necessities and enjoyment so she can ensure that her adult children will receive a generous inheritance. Our kids have been told that “if there is anything left when we die, it was a mistake.”
The normal might be a man in his early 60’s (I call him Vince) who gets out of bed at 5:30 and despite his physical and mental illness gets on a bus to downtown , regardless of weather, to stand on the same corner with his hat extended and a smile on his face. After the morning rush, he gets on the bus and heads home from his job only to return for a second shift later in the afternoon.
The normal might be an executive who hasn’t really seen nor talked to his children in months because he is working 10,11,12 hours every day to ‘make ends meet’.
The normal might be a single mom struggling to keep her three kids clothed and schooled who accesses a school lunch program and shops where she gets the best bang for her bucks.
It might be a couple in their later years who supplement their retirement with risky (some would say) behaviour. Or the young man who bets it all on the spin of a wheel. Or the young woman who bets it all on the spin of an idea.
Is normal just perspective? Is it just adaptation in the face of circumstances? Is it just a defensive reaction to stressors?
I recognize that I am not normal but I am ok with that and likely foster abnormal quirks from my perspective and in order to adapt.
Make Today Normal, whatever that means for you,