everyday success

Blog Archive: Mar, 2014

In Your Imagination, You Are Throwing a Dinner Party

For a few moments, let your imagination run free.  You are going to throw a dinner party and you can invite anyone in the entire world – anyone whom you’d like to spend time with. 

Who Would You Invite?

You might start by dreaming up the categories of people you’d like to invite.   Will you invite friends?  Family?  Artists?  Actors?  Political leaders?  Religious leaders?  Celebrities?  Athletes?  Maybe you’ll combine categories. 

Will you want it to be an intimate dinner for two or a party of four or eight . . . maybe even more? 

Now, to add a bit of zing, you may decide to only include the people you most admire . . . living or dead.  That’s right, you might open your gathering up to include people who came before.  If you do that, you might consider Christ, Cleopatra or Johnny Carson. 

What Will You Serve?

You are hosting the event, what will it be like?  What will your guests experience?  How will it be memorable?  Will it mostly be conversation with just a bite to eat or will you create a fabulous meal?  Will you play games?  What about the music?

And, we certainly can’t forget, what will you wear?  Will it be something special so everyone recognizes you as the host?  Or, will you wear something to blend in?

What Will You Talk About?

There’s a reason for your choice of guests, what is that reason?  Your reasons may even become a part of the conversation.  Do you have questions for the people you plan to invite?  What do you want to know at the end of the event that you didn’t at its start? 

How will you turn the conversation so your desired subjects are included?  Will you kick everything off with a welcoming few words?

Time to Say Goodbye

Will you know when it’s time to say goodbye?  How will you feel at the end of your time together?  What will your dinner party have done for you?  What will it have done for your guests?  What will they be saying at the time of their departure?

In the end

In the end, you may wonder why on earth we’d go through this kind of an exercise.  Not only is it a pleasing mental exercise, it’s also illuminating.  It tells you about you; it fills in some of the details of what makes you happy.

Are You Having Fun?

Have you run, skipped or jumped today?  What about a joke, have you told a joke?  At the least, have you smiled broadly, one of those big smiles that you can feel throughout your body? 

A moment of fun lightens the spirit.  It releases the tension.  It dispenses with the angst.  It gives you a moment of relief and relaxation.  It even reminds us that life is to be enjoyed.

It’s so easy to get into our minds, to list the day’s actions, to follow the routine in our head.  We can even start our exercise – which should be pleasing if not fun – counting out our plan for the work-out rather than enjoying the great sensations of movement.

Speaking of movement, have you danced today?  Even just a little wiggle to a great piece of music can lighten our heart.  Go for it, have a bit of fun today! 

What Are We Waiting For?

It turns out, I’ve been waiting for the sun.  With the days a bit longer and the sun a tad brighter, suddenly my diet seems pretty easy.  Since New Year’s, I’ve struggled, trying to diet but have managed to fail at each start.  In the week since we changed to daylight savings time, my diet has seemed easy.

This is my ‘learning moment’.  In the future, I’ll not start a diet mid-winter.  I’m a sunny-day person so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Are you waiting for “the right moment” to start something?  Can you name what that right moment is?   Does it make sense or is it a delay tactic?  Maybe you can’t even figure out why you are not making the change you actually want to have happen. 

Is there something in the back of your mind, something you are holding out for?  Is your change something you could actually be doing today?  Perhaps you are waiting for permission to make the change.  Who would give that to you and why wouldn’t you be the person to decide?

Why not make today the first day of whatever it is you wish to be?

An Overnight Success

On YouTube, the Talking Twin Babies have 95 million views and First Kiss has 30 million views.  Those babies and kissers have reached phenomena level with something as simple as a few minutes of home video.  They even make money from the ads on these happy videos.

Facebook.  Dropbox.  Pinterest.  WhatsApp.  All were started by people who are still in their twenties.  Twitter’s founders are about 40.  Spanx was started by a woman who wanted different underwear.  Under Armour was started by a guy who didn’t like t-shirt material because his sweat made it too heavy.  Every one of these founders is a billionaire. 

It turns out that 75% of all billionaires in the world today, made their money themselves.  No inheritances for them; instead, they imagined a product they wanted and they made it.  Happily, other people thought their product ideas were pretty good as well.

The common thread for this group of people is that they ran with their idea.  They made it happen.  Another common thread is that each is pretty young.  Do these things mean they’re overnight successes?  Certainly, they have achieved notoriety.  Plus, some have significant financial success.  It’s also likely that each and every one of these people enjoyed their experience – following your passion can be fun. 

Whatever the path to success, whether it’s overnight or over years, those who’ve taken the path have worked hard as they brought their idea to life.  Some have a natural talent – maybe acting, singing or at writing code.  They may manage that gift to reach heights. 

Overnight success doesn’t even require natural talents.  With dedication and hours of hard work, a great idea can be nurtured to success.

Making Today a Success

What does it take to make it a great day for you?  What happens in a day when, at its end, you think, this was a success?

A day’s success is different than a lifetime’s success.  A lifetime is loaded with ways to measure success.  A day, those 24 little hours, are usually not quite so huge or complex.  That’s not to say that a day might not be momentous.  We have plenty of big days in our lives – graduations, weddings, meeting the one person we’ll love, job offers, the birth of a child and on and on. 

There are days that are significant but that’s not what we’re about today.  Today we’re thinking about your everyday, the days that are your more usual kinds of days.  What makes those days successful for you?  It’s a great practice to use today’s good and not so good events as a guide for tomorrow.

To get to daily success, though, means you’ll name the things you do each day that bring positive results and a sense of satisfaction.  Those are the things you make a practice, those are the things that become habit.

Conversely, make note of the things in your day that have a negative outcome or just plain don’t feel good.  Those are the things you’ll want to stop.

“There is no beginning too small.”  Those wise words of Thoreau’s prove themselves true over and over again.  My friend, Betty, while doing chemo, viewed her success in small chunks – we called it her “making it to lunch” approach to each day.  We looked at the events of her every day, we broke her day into small segments and that helped her confront adversity.

A day of success doesn’t just happen; instead, a day of success is yours to create.  A day of success is a source of happiness.

I Just Made a Mistake!

I just made a mistake and I can feel it.  The more my brain grasps that I made a mistake, the higher my blood pressure goes.  I can feel my cheeks burning, they’re turning red and my heart is racing. 

Such strong sensations: our entire body reacts to the fact of a mistake; it goes against our grain.  Suddenly our very core is challenged. 

When you think you are doing the right thing and discover that it’s exactly the wrong thing, our whole body reacts.  It becomes physical.  It even feels a bit defensive – probably because our mind is trying to figure out how this new fact that used to be wrong is now right.

Breathe.  Sit down and breathe a moment.  Close your eyes and try to slow your brain; ease it from its mad whirl.  Wrong, I’m wrong.  But, how could I be wrong?  I’m not wrong, I don’t make mistakes.  Well, as it turns out, yes, I do make mistakes and now I’m trying to manage that fact.

The only solution is to calm down.  Once that happens, I can take a look at what happened so I can help my mind understand.  It is a learning moment even if it feels just terrible. 

We all make mistakes.  That’s right, while we don’t like to think so, while are so very certain we are never mistaken, it actually does happen. 

What to do when you are suddenly confronted with the fact of a mistake?  First, give yourself time to process your physical and emotional reaction; your surprise may strengthen your response.  Before you share with others, work at regaining your composure. 

Take deep, calming breaths with closed eyes.  To fix mistakes means you need your full brain power and focus.  That means you need to be fully in control.  Process the physical and emotional side of the mistake.  Then, own up to the mistake and fix it if that is possible.  Finally, figure out how to avoid a repeat of the mistake.

What Kind of A Person Are You? A Last Look – For Now

For the last time in this brief series, we return to considering what kind of person we are.  While this is the first time Everyday Success blog has addressed the subject, we’ll return to it now and again.  In the meantime, as always, we’ll appreciate your thoughts and ideas.

The idea for these posts came from a recent interview in which we learned that a fashion designer knew early in her life what kind of woman she wanted to be.  That made us wonder, what defines us a person.  

Your purpose in life.  This is a difficult question.  Some of us appear to know exactly what to do with their life while others of us struggle to find our place in the world.  It could be you’ve not even spent time considering your purpose.

If you’ve not yet identified your purpose in life, begin by reviewing the words you’ve gathered in response to all the categories we’ve considered in this series – physical presence, personality, relationships and values.  Then, start picturing your purpose.  Write and rewrite.  Trial balloon ideas to see what feels right for you.

While writing, ask yourself about your passions, the things you love doing.  What is it you are doing when you lose track of time?  Those are the things that bring you deepest satisfaction.  And, those are the things that offer a glimpse into your purpose. 

If, after writing and thought, you still struggle with identifying your purpose in life, start a dialog with a close friend, a partner or perhaps a sibling.  Be sure you choose someone who cares about your well-being.

This is not a test; there is no right or wrong purpose.  Purpose is uniquely you; it’s what you are all about.  Not only that, it may take you some time to decide what your true purpose really is. 

Your hallmarks.  Finally, what are your hallmarks?  Hallmarks are things that make you especially distinctive.  Hallmarks are different from all the other categories.  For example, a hallmark related interests might be your work on behalf of animal rights.  Or, a physical attributes might be your red hair or an artful and ever so visible tattoo. 

Some women have selected a piece of jewelry as a hallmark.  Others, like Carrie Bradshaw, make their love of shoes a hallmark.  Hallmarks are not your purpose.  Rather, they are a demonstration of a particular personal passion. 

Hallmarks speak volumes about who you are.  What would you say are your special hallmarks? 

In Conclusion

Now that you’ve thought more deeply about the kind of person you are, again, what are the three words you used to describe yourself at the start of this series? 

______________,  ______________,  ______________,  ______________

Were three enough?  As you’ve likely concluded after reading these blogs, there’s so much that describes each of us.  That's why we've added a fourth entry line above.  You may want to use ten words, maybe even more.  What kind of a woman are you?  What kind of a man are you?  The answer may not be clear to you today but your life’s journey will be guided by the kind of person you choose to be.

What Kind of A Person Are You? A Second Look

On Friday, we began thinking about what kind of person we are.  Why?  After reading recently that a fashion designer knew early in her life what kind of woman she wanted to be, it made us wonder, what defines us a person.  

There are so many ways to think about the kind of person we are.  Plus, there are so many descriptors within each category.  On Friday, we began by naming the countless ways to describe our physical presence and our personality.  Today, we’re considering our relationships and values – both contribute to how we define ourselves as a person.

Relationships.  It’s easy to name our relationships.  We’re employees, bosses and peers, we’re partners or spouses, we’re parents and we’re children.  Plus, of course, we are friends. 

But that’s not all there is to relationships.  How you participate in a relationship is as important as the fact of the relationship.  As a friend, do you initiate things with others or do you wait for others to make things happen?  How do you handle each of these relationships?  Are you a nurturer in your relationships?  Do you listen to the people in your life?  Do you like lots of relationships or just a few?  

What are the words that describe the essence of you in each of your relationships?   ______________,  _______________, ____________

Your values.  What do you value most?  Your marriage or commitment to your partner will likely top the list.  Your children are likely right at the top as well.  If that’s the case, then family values will make your list. 

Before we go further, though, let’s look at what values are.  They are the guiding principles of your behavior.  Values are the aspects of life where you attach greatest importance.  Usually, we carry some variation of our core values for life.

There are so many kinds of values and you know in your heart, which are most meaningful to you.  To get your thinking going, here are just a few of the values people hold dear.  Integrity.  Faith/religion/spirituality.  Personal vision of success.  Compassion, light-heartedness, balance.  Dedication, loyalty, commitment, allegiance, single-mindedness.  Your work.  Your life’s work.  Your leisure time activities. 

How you personally put your values into action is what makes you most special.  You may be big-hearted, hard-working, light-at-heart, an animal lover, conservative, liberal, libertarian, family-oriented, an artist, athletic, an animal lover, a civil libertarian, political, apolitical, musical, freedom-loving, kind. 

As you name your values, you may think your list is too great.  Not true, highlighting your most meaningful values is important.  These are the values you hold most dear, the values by which you live your life.

Once you identify your values, decide which you hold most dear, which identify you.  Make note of these.  ____________,  ____________,  __________

On Wednesday, we’ll take one last look as we consider the kind of person we are.  Until then, you may choose to add, cross-out or make any other kind of change as you express the kind of person you are.  We are each extraordinary.  Slowly, over time, we polish and perfect ourselves.