Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ready to Go

A new year is about to appear. Here is a best of post to help get you ready.

The expression Ready, Set, Go is likely an adaptation of the prompt On Your Mark, Get Set, Go used by a variety of racing fields (swimming, running) to prepare their participants for action.

We can use the Ready, Set, Go to prepare our day or even our life for upcoming changes.

Being Ready

To be ready we can prepare our tools, equipment, and even our physical being for the upcoming action. We can improve our knowledge on the subject, increase our skills and education. We can prepare our body for the upcoming physical actions or anticipated requirements by eating nutritious and healthy foods.

Getting Set

While getting set means getting on the "mark" in the physical racing world, we can get our brain on the mark, by being in the right mindset. This includes being truly focused on what is before us. By avoiding distracting veins of thought we can be instead set on our upcoming event. We can also actively work to prevent beginning conversations in our minds that get our emotional being unsettled.

Going On

The Go part of is the first step on your new path. Take a deep breath and begin. Since you have already done the Ready and the Set it is likely that the Go part will be the easiest.   

Getting ready and set are by far the most important parts of making a transition.  Be prepared to spend some time and do some work to fulfill the preparation of "Ready" and "Set".  

Have you used Ready, Set, Go in your life transitions? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reflecting on a Year Passing

If you had to create an annual report for your past year, what would you include as completions or progress on projects?

For the past 5 years, graphic designer Nicholas Felton  has been creating an annual report listing his accomplishments and statistics.

What would you like to track in your life in 2011? Here are some statistics from my current year.

States visited other than state of residence - 6
Nights spent in other than home residence - 29

Books Read
At least 90. 15 of which were reread books.

Movies Attended in Movie Theater

Donation Trips to Goodwill Express  (personal)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Listen More

Now is a good time for us to listen. Listen more and learn. Instead of delving right in to a conversation, spend more time in listen mode. This may give you an opportunity for deeper communications in the long run.

Being a good listener takes extra work and effort but it can pay out healthy dividends.

For some other "mores" check out my more or less post from last year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Resizing Your World

When in transition we often shrink our daily contacts down to the less stressful, more peaceful ones. We do this for self protection and to also help make our days calmer. Going through transition takes peace, quiet and often solitude.

Transition is a time to try new things and acquaint ourselves with new people and new ideas. Finding new people isn't always that easy but often times this is when we go back to our roots and seek out those who meant something to us in terms of friendship and personal and professional development. This needs to be done selectively and carefully. Missteps are abound here if you don't set personal boundaries with yourself on this adventure.

Resizing your world takes time and careful thought. Sometimes it time to shrink the contact list and other times it is time to grow and expand the list.

Whatever time it is for you, take it careful and slow. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day.

This is a best of post from 2007 

Monday, November 29, 2010

At a Standstill

There are times when life is at a standstill - the ball not being our your court. Standstill is defined as
a state characterized by absence of motion or of progress. It is truly a time of waiting.and waiting is not always easy.

Practice Patience 
Practice patience by the day, hour or minute.

Focus on Other Things
By changing our focus we can hold off the waiting item. It no longer holds such a power over our mind.

Do Something Fun. 
Make cookies, listen to your favorite music, take a walk around your neighborhood.

While your project or life may be on a standstill, you don't have to be. Make this time a time of opportunities instead of a time of waiting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Look to Learn

What does looking elsewhere have to do with transition? Sometimes we focus too much on inner selves that we neglect to take a good look at the environment and people around us.

Here is a reminder:

Look at People
Who are the people who make your day special? They can be your family members, friends, neighbors and of course your pets. People can also be the providers of service we routinely count on. By focusing on them instead of our "self" we can change our attitude, learn new things and move forward.   

Look at Places
Take some time to observe where you are. Look at the buildings, trees and sky. Our visual senses can bring us great relief from every day sameness. Look with new "eyes" and really see where you are. 

Look at Things
Spend some time looking at your surroundings with deeper vision. Really look at the mug on your desk. Observe the stapler. Contemplate your phone. When we look with intent we often see things in a brand new light.

Looking elsewhere is one of the ways to make a transition in your thoughts, attitude and  mindset.

Another method is by listening. You may find this previous post about sound helpful. Stillness and Silence.

Let me know how some of these exercises go in transitioning your mind.

This is a best of post, enjoy the holidays. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late Versus Early

Are you an owl or a lark? Knowing and accepting your natural tendencies can help you be more productive. Owls are night creatures and larks are those who take advantage of the early day and mornings. We are usually one or the other.

  • Observe who you are - a lark or owl. Accept it and delight in your being. 

  • Work to schedule your activities and tasks around your natural tendencies. Don't create unnecessary work for yourself by planning against your nature. 

  • Understand and acknowledge the owl or lark tendencies of your friends and family members. Don't expect deep conversation from an owl early in the day, or late night discussions with a lark later in the day. Accept the morning or evening tendencies of your friends, co-workers and family. Learn to work with them by their style instead of trying to make them someone they are not.

By working with your true nature as well as others, you will be more incline to be the productive and accepting person you want to be.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Time to Listen

This is a Best of Post - but well worth repeating!

Change is hard, listening may be even harder. When we are changing we may find ourselves having to find more time to listen. Listening takes energy.

Finding the right people to listen to is not easy. Missteps are usually found along this path. The best method for selecting good "listening" is to go with your intuition. Listening to a person who is soothing might be good, yet they can lull us into a stasis, state of complacency or even a paralysis of indecision. Listening to someone who causes us major anxiety may not be a good choice either. However, sometimes the individual's who causes us minor anxiety and inner turmoil are helping us develop new thoughts, thinking patterns and helping us change.

Listen to learn, listen to grow. Change will come.

Who do you plan on listening to?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Things of the Past

Time to clear out the dusty and old, to make room for the new. Today, I am looking at how to handle past office and business material. Business owners who have been in business for over 10 years, know that the material starts to acquire. This is especially true if you haven't changed your office location in over 5 years. The following might help you when clearing out the past from your office.

Non Serving Usage
Outdated expired, no longer relevant items come to mind. I ran across a hidden pile of blank outdated forms. These found a home in the recycling bin.

Former Client Files and Material
If you have been in business a while, it is likely you understand the value of record retention. I have a five year client policy. However sometimes material is a useful template or example for other things. This is where a template vs. a client file becomes of value. Transitioning files over to templates, maintains your record retention plan and helps you understand the importance of what you have learned, created or observed.

Example/Template Files 
Even example or template files can become overwhelming or overfilled. Periodic clearings can help prevent overload.   

Aging Technology
I recently disposed of a plethora of floppy disks containing financial information. Of course, I had to make them unusable first - this took time. Some never used disks I donated to my community through freecycle.

Historical Reminders
Not all old items are unwanted. I ran across an old newsletter from an association that had a wealth of memories, and brought up a few "I need to call that person" notes to add to my to do list. After I added that, it was easy to toss the material. Sometimes I found information that was useful for my business time line. So I placed that in my time line pile. Stay tune for more on this in the next few months.

Historically Significant
Occasionally you may run across some items of ephemera, that might be of value to your community or business community. It helps to understand the concept of ephemera. Check out my article on my website for information on this topic.   

By keeping the above in mind, you may have an easier time of clearing out. Business Anniversaries are a cause for celebration, and a good time to make time to clear out the past, to make room for the new.

October is Terry Prince's business anniversary month. Terry started her business in October of 1983.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Shoulds and Coulds - Time to Revisit

Last year, I wrote a post about shoulds and coulds - I think it is a good time of year to visit it again.  

Are you failing to listen to the should and the could's in your life? By transforming our shoulds into "do's" and "will"s we may accomplish many things.  However, sometimes our should and coulds are things we might want to avoid doing entirely.

1. Take a look at your shoulds and coulds

Spend some time over the next few days listening to your inner talk and your external communications. Take note of the number of times you express or think the word "Should" or "Could". If you have a high frequency of shoulds or coulds, (Perhaps 5+ a day) you may want to spend some "thinking, development and planning" time around them.

2. Delve into the shoulds and coulds

After you have listened to yourself over the last few days, you may find some frequent shoulds and coulds. Take time to jot them down in sentence form.

I should get more sleep at night
I wish I could keep my desk clear
We could buy a new car

3. Analyze your should and could's for future work and change.

Let's say you want to get more sleep. How can you go about making it come to fruition? By brainstorming you may come to some possilble solutions.

For example:  

I should get more sleep -  To get more sleep, go to bed earlier or stay in bed longer. The should becomes a will when you decide to go to sleep earlier or set your alarm for a later morning wake up.

We could buy a new car - Deciding to buy a new or different car, is a process and project. You may choose to get a new car when your current car reaches a certain mileage, or if maintenance fees exceed the cost of a monthly payment. Your new car might be more advantageous when you have to start driving to your new company's office (which is further away) to keep fuel costs down. A new car might make more sense after you have paid off other debts or saved a certain dollar amount. The could becomes more of a strategy and plan development when you look at the when and why components.

4. Transform your should and could's to wills, when's, why's or later decisions. If you formalize and bring these shoulds and coulds  to the next phase you will allow more space for things to happen.

5. Erase your negative should and could's from your mental and verbal vocabulary.  Sometimes we have stuck should and could's which can not be easily transformed into action or do not warrant further thought about.

For Example:

I should have said  ..... instead of ......
I could have read the directions three times and caught my mistake (after improperly assembling a complex piece of furniture)

Spend some time working on your should and could's and you will likely transform your life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Starting Something New

It is not always easy starting something new. This comes about as I am actively telling myself that phrase, "it's not always easy to start something new". I am doing this about three times an hour, while I work at understanding a new email marketing newsletter program. I know I need to make some positive self talk phrases instead. So that would be the fifth strategy when working on something new.
  1. Work in scheduled bursts
  2. Take planned breaks 
  3. Incorporate more humor into your schedule
  4. Make sure you get some regular physical exercise
  5. Use positive self talk - Avoid negative self talk

Do you have some strategies to make starting something new easier?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hot or Cold?

When examining your life you can measure your progress towards your goals in a number of ways. Today let's consider using hot and cold. Since we are in the season of neither summer or winter (in any hemisphere) I think we can address this in a temperature model.

Let's think of "hot" as being something you gravitate towards, and "cold" being something you want to leave or escape from.
What do you have going on that you feel "hot" about? Conversely what do you feel "cool" about? By gauging your temperature towards an activity or event you may make choices that move you closer towards your future goals.   

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting In The Flow

Achieving flow? What does that mean to you? To me it means gaining momentum, getting beyond the beginning and feeling content where you are. Being in the flow is what makes projects and pursuits satisfying and enjoyable.

There are two ways to look at your complex tasks. It is a potential flow activity or is it a non-flow activity?  Knowing what types of projects have "flow" in your life is a beginning. Conversely, knowing what projects or efforts are usually non flowing may aid you in accepting the lack of flow.By acknowledging your activities this way, you can begin to shape and design flow diversity to your day or week.

On occasion your frequent flow activities may wane. This could be due to a block or external factors influencing your ability to achieve normal achievement or processes. Writer's block is a good example of when the "flow" goes astray.  Getting back into the flow is a topic for another post. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blank Books

Have you ever considered journal keeping or maintaining a notebook of ideas?

There are lots of "blank books" available to purchase and utilize as the keeper of your memories, dreams or aspirations. Using a book instead of a computer may be beneficial for those who process their thoughts while writing. The blank book is portable and does not need power or a battery to sustain itself. The "blank book" can be a great escape after spending hours at the computer screen. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Stuff That You Own

I have been thinking about stuff, getting prepared for my upcoming NSGCD teleclass. While some chronically disorganized people are likely to have an emotional attachment to their belongings and would find this exercise very difficult, those with normal organizational abilities might find it useful or thought provoking.  

One could use the categorizing concept of Hot or Cold - hot being more inclined to using or wanting it. Cold being more likely to be discarded.  You could also use the Love it,  Hate it approach. Loving it being a keep and hate it a toss. Another option would be the Numbers 1 - 5. One (1) being a keep it, and five (5) being a toss it. 

Those mid-value "warms" and "3's" are likely to be difficult, but to take it further - would they be among your take with you items if you left your environment due to an impending flood or raging wildfire approaching your neighborhood? 

Many years ago I read the story by T. Coraghessan Boyle (T C Boyles) - Filthy with Things. The New Yorker (February 15, 1993): 76-87., where a woman came in and worked to declutter a fully packed household  - and declared that her client's needed to clear out their home, get it inventoried and could only have 100 things brought back in.

What would your 100 "stuff" things be?

Would they be practical or creative?

Practical List
4 chairs
2 Arm chair
2 Ottoman

Creative List

4 loved works of art
1 guitar
1 bottle of favorite perfume
5 favorite books

or would you put together a mix of both?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September - Green and Growing

Many years ago, a mentor of mine gave me a plant and said "Keep Green and Growing". This advice seems to speak to me especially at the start of each September. September, after all, is the month of sharpened pencils, fresh notebooks and the fresh start drive to learn something new.

Make education a part of your life by reading, exploring new ideas and trends. Sharpen your writing skills by evaluating your past written materials. Can you upgrade your writing or be more concise? Evaluation is as much a part of learning as is exploring new things.

This September, I plan to be learning more about how we acquire, hold on to stuff and let go of stuff. This is part of my getting prepared for a presentation in October on The Possession Cycle.

What are you planning on learning this month?

This is a revisit of a September 2007 post.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Opening The Door

One of my readers, recently commented privately to me, that "sometimes you need to open the door when you hit the wall".

"Opening the Door" means looking out at new options and opportunities. It can also mean taking a look outside for awhile and then deciding to step back to where you feel comfortable and at home. Sometimes it is nothing ventured, nothing gained. Then again, it can be a useful exercise to review and analyze where you are now.

Check out my earlier post on Hitting the Wall.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hitting the Wall

Every once in a while we hit a wall in our life. Hitting the wall means we have reached an impasse without a "door" or "window". This is when we have to backtrack, change our attitude or stay within the confines of our current situation. However, staying within the confines of our restricted space for a prolonged time may not be beneficial for our mental health.

We can hit the wall due to employment limitations, current circle of friends, relationship changes, or even environmental limitations. Think people places or things! All of these three categories can contribute to hitting the wall.

Acknowledging that you have hit the wall is the first step. Being patience with yourself is critical at this time. Looking for alternative solutions may take longer than you hoped for. It may also be not the choice you want to choose, but one that is the best for you in the long run. Most importantly remember change takes time and is a challenge.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Examining Your Hobby

I've been discussing hobbies on my blogs lately. After some more thinking, I believe hobbies come in four distinct types.

Creation: Creation hobbies are those that involve crafting, builiding, designing

Collection: Collection hobbies are those that involve locating, cataloging, displaying, discussing

Observation:  Observation hobbies are those activities that involve watching or attending as in the theater, art shows, museums, auto races, or ball games

Participation: Participation hobbies are those activities that involve doing such as dancing, running, photographing, singing, playing an instrument, or acting

There are no rules for hobbies. There are no right or wrong activities. Hobby selection is what works for you at your time, energy level or financial situation in life.

Sometimes we may participate in a hobby for many years until an injury or reduced physical sense comes in to play. We may then transition to being an observer. Conversely, we may be an observer and affectionado for many years until we have the time to commit to becoming an active participant. 

Some hobbies involve a crossover between the four types. Travel is one example. Travel can be thought of as an observe and participate activity. When traveling we often choose to observe others performing different activities not seen in our usual daily life. 

Now might be a good time to list your hobbies and see where you are in terms of the four categories.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy:
Look for Dust 
Renewing an Old Hobby

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Look For Dust

Coming back after vacation is disheartening and refreshing. At first one may welcome one's bed and then one may face a mountain of snail and email.

This is a good time to look for dust - dust in your life. What is no longer serving you?

Do you have piles of books and magazines that are unread, or conversely read and no longer necessary? Spend some time culling out the piles. This will help you see new opportunities ahead.  

Check out your closet, do you see clothes no longer worn or cared for. These are great for donations to charity.

What about activities you no longer care to do? Do you have a retired hobby or uncared for collection. Reduce these former treasures to make space for your life today.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Making Today Fun

Let's talk about having fun. Fun is something we all need to take seriously. After all, all work and no play is what makes a day dull and us boring.

How can you have fun Today? How can you make fun everyday a priority? Having fun is different for each of us. For some it may be reading a book, watching a favorite TV show, going for a walk or spending time talking on the phone to a friend or family member.

It is important to set some time for fun when we are overloaded with a long "to do list" or complex project. It may seem like a misuse of our time but the "fun break" or "Fun out" will make us more productive in the long run.

When we schedule in fun, we maintain a good balance in our life.

So what fun are you planning today?

This is a best of post from 2009 because Terry is currently out having fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Smile More

Smiles are contagious. They can help you maintain a sunny disposition and also have the effect of making people respond to you in a positive rather than negative way.

We may forget to smile when we are in a hurry or at the end of the day when we are tired. It is hard to smile when we are sad, but when dealing with strangers and other people, a smile may help brighten the day and provide us a friendlier environment in which to communicate or work in. 

Here is a Lego smiley man to help you remember to smile more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Desk Vacation

Last year, I featured some visual odyssey websites that allow you to take a mini vacation without leaving your desk. I've located some new locations for you to go visit and have listed some of last year's favorites.

First,  get ready to go on your mini vacation and empty your email in box, clear out your voice mails. Tidy the area around your desk and shred any needing to be shredded documents.  These tasks makes you productive although it may take you a while. After you have done these tasks you will certainly be ready to go.

Here are this year's desk vacation locations:

Note - All these are personal essays with wonderful photography that may make you feel you are in the specific location. 

Northern California - Write On Time - Traveling Tuesdays  - trip option to:
Salmon Lake California,
Point Reyes, California 
San Francisco, California

Maine - Maine cottage  from Sesame and Lilies

Virginia - James River, Surrey County  from Haven on Hanover 

Italy - Tuscany Beach Trip  from Villa Pacis

Canada - A trip to Vancouver from Windlost

On the list, last year - but well worth a return trip:

Greece - Santorini from Oia Santorini

Happy Traveling.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waiting and Anticipating

Sometimes life means waiting and anticipating. Anticipation affects us within our head, body and heart at the time. We can have negative feelings in regards to upcoming changes and challenges or we can have a positive and motivated outlook. We can also have a blend of all these things.

I recall waiting for our brand new construction house to be completed. We would visit the building site almost daily to see what new components had been started or finished.  I was anticipating the move in process, setting up the house, and having life and living go back to "normal" instead of being in a temporary waiting phase of life.  Even now when I look back those three months (I know we were fortunate...others may have to wait years on home construction projects) seemed like the longest in my entire life.

Waiting takes it's toll, but it is our attitude that makes the difference. We can wait with patience, or wait in anger and frustration. Waiting isn't everything that is going on in our life. We can try to enjoy a portion of our day or time by refocusing on daily pleasures and activities.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Handling the Holidays

Holidays and vacations are a big transition from the daily grind.  Taking a holiday sometimes seems like work, especially if there is a lot of planning of the vacation and departure activity.

Holiday's can create crunch times in their preparation stages. A few years ago I planned a lengthy journey to England. This involved lots of advance planning and a minutia of details. In a while, I will start planning another big trip and I am at a bit of a loss to figure out how to make it better.

1) Take the planning one part at a time.

2) Don't expect every detail to be perfect.

3) Accept the concept that at least three things are suppose to go wrong with any big plan.

4) Follow the Crunch Time guidelines.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crunch Time

Almost everyone and every industry has it's crunch time. For some it is at the end of the fiscal year or quarter. Others might find that their crunch time is a few weeks before the big scheduled event. Regardless of what the cause of the "crunch", it is always a good idea to look at the handling and management of the crunch.

  • Take some formal time to review all of the necessary steps
  • Do some calendering of required activities
  • Build in some extra time for the unknown problems. They are bound to arise.
  • Insert some time for taking breaks. Breaks can help reduce stress and keep you healthy.
  • Close and celebrate. You and your team deserve it.
  • Evaluate and make changes and workable adaptations for the next time. 
  • Get your future crunch time scheduled on your calendar and protect it by excluding unnecessary tasks or chores during this time. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is Next? Beyond the Goal.

What happens when you reach your goal? While many Transition Your Life readers may not see the end or their destination at hand, I think discussing how one faces or handles this is of some importance.

When you reach your goal,  this is definitely when we need to first celebrate and savor in the moment of glory. This is something we should not miss.

Secondly, we need to appreciate what we or others did to help make the goal achievable. Very few journeys are journeys of one.  Sometimes upon reflection we realize others helped shape us and made contributions in ways we could not imagine. This might be the high school teacher, the motivational speaker, the neighbor down the road who always gave you a smile. 

Thirdly , once the momentum of arrival and completion has slowed, I believe we need to ask ourselves some questions relating to the accomplishment of the goal. Making an immediate evaluation of what we have done has some value, but when the goal or achievement is monumental, I think taking a few weeks to ponder this might be the best choice.
  • Is your achievement as you expected?
  • What lessons did you learn?
  • What if anything would you do different?
  • What in this specific achievement might be the lesson that is the first step on the next journey?
  • Who else might you thank?
  • Is there anyone who might be encouraged or educated, who is working towards similar goals?

Today the 1000 day sea project reaches it's destination. While the journey has been unique and offbeat, this might be a good a perfect timely example of how one needs to handle an achievement.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Falling Behind and Running Ahead

There are days when we think we are "ahead" and days when we are falling "behind". On the best of days we are right where we are suppose to be.

Here are some strategies to help you: 

When you are Ahead

First, mentally acknowledge yourself for being at the "ahead" stage rather than the "behind" phase. Second, take some time to build in a well earned break. Third, review the elements of your success. Sometimes we have developed new skills that have allowed us to move forward. Glean these as takeaways for the future.

When you are Behind

First take a deep breath, acknowledge where you are. Realize that this will not be forever.Second, spend some time working on strategies. How you might speed up, or move your project along? Sometimes we have to pull out of other unnecessary or less important activities to reach a project goal.Third, seek help. Many times we fall behind because we fail to enlist help. Sometimes that is what we need to move forward.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Celebrate Today

Three things to keep in mind, today and every day.  While seemingly simple to write, these actions are not necessarily easy to do. Often in the rush of every day, we lose track of these important components of having a life full of quality.  

1) Celebrate every day
2) Make life fun by being fun
3) Live most of each day in the present

Friday, May 14, 2010

Are You Real Today?

One of the many blogs I read had a post about being "real". By this they meant the "you" without the make-up or the fancy photo shopped face we put up on our blogs, Facebook, or utilize as our avatar.

Here is the real me today:

What this lesson taught me, and what I will convey to you is:

1) Appreciate the real you
2  Don't take yourself so seriously
3) It is OK to step outside of your comfort zone.

What "real" lessons have you learned lately?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Excuses that Keep The Clutter Around

There are some statements that are big signs or signals of clutter lurking about. Have you recently said this about an object?

I just need to fix it
Maybe I will need it someday
It use to work well
If the new one breaks, I will still have a backup
I can wear it for painting or washing the car (two is plenty)

It is time to lighten up, or fix it. Now is the time to get rid of the excuses. Get rid of the clutter that is hampering your life.

So what are you going to do?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When doing Less is Best

Last Post, I discussed when doing more is better, this week I am taking on when doing less is best. So when should we do less?

There are times when doing less is an excellent strategy. Conversely doing more is often a good one.

So how do you choose?

Do less when you the task at hand is not important
Do more when the task at hand is important

Do less when you ahead of schedule, do more when you are behind
Do more at the end, and less at the beginning.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Do More than Expected

Sometimes doing more is a great way to get ahead. Sometimes life throws you a curve and you end up doing more. Sometimes more is just fun.

Why do more?

  • Because you can
  • Because it is a challenge to yourself. 
  • It may be an opportunity to excel 
  • It may make it better. 

Take some time to think about how you can do more.

One Thousand Days at Sea is now at eleven hundred days at sea - more has been done.

Stay tuned for a post on When Doing Less is Best.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Finding Joy - Mental and Physical Realignment

I've been reading the book - How to Get A Life That Doesn't Suck by Michelle DeAngelis. It is a book full of strategies and self-help suggestions. Published in 2008, this book is reminds me of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction - Laura Berman Fortgand and Life Makeover by Cheryl Richardson.

Cheryl Richardson's book gives you an exercise to do each week for a one year period. Laura Berman Fotgang gives you 90 days, whereas Michelle DeAngeleis offers to take you on a three part ride to obtain joy that you can work on over time.

What I really like about the DeAngelis book is the BE YOUR BEST charts on page 106 and 107. These charts look at body, mind and spirit. They provide great self-care strategies that one can pick up and run with. Also helpful is the "Get Back on Track" recommendations that are included throughout the book.

Michelle's book Get A Life That Doesn't Suck is well written, but what I found confusing was the mixed joy metaphor that went over to joy riding, test driving examples, and use of the back on track concept. In addition, when added to the cover lemon concept of getting a life that does't suck, I found myself getting very confused. Maybe a better title for this book would have been The Ride of Your Life - finding your joy and loving the ride.

DeAngelis suggests getting rid of the physical and mental clutter in your life, Cheryl Richardson also suggests reducing the physical clutter by creating space and cleaning your office space. Laura Berman Fortgang has many helpful exercises that look at mental clutter in part one of her book, although the word clutter is not actually used.

So, if you are looking to find some joy and wanting to realign your life consider reading any of these three books.  You may also want to consider using a transition or life coach to help you on your journey.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Giving a Remarkable Thank You!

Over the years, I have received some wonderful thank you notes. The nicest are words that serve as embers to bring light to dark days. Some are trinkets and tokens.

One of the tokens I received was a red lantern from a fellow patient and his partner. In my early twenties, I was hospitalized with an extremely complicated allergic reaction to an antibiotic medicine. The ward I was placed on was a non-surgical ward. Here I made the acquaintance of a fellow patient. We spent many hours in deep conversation about life and living. Neither of us was sure if we were going to "get" better. My fellow patient was released a few days before I was. Just before they left, these wonderful people told me "I had lit the way for his recovery" They gave me a lantern, of which at the time I said, "Oh, thanks". I am sure I had a strange look on my face, but they said, "Someday you will understand, thanks for lighting the way".

Another was a great "To Do" list thank you that was printed on a large "To Do" pad. The listed item said Things to do - Thank Terry. I really treasure this thank you note because it shows how someone used the time management concepts in action. It was truly touching to me, personally and professionally.

The purpose of my telling these two stories are not to promote me, but to let you begin to think about how you can make your thank you notes and tokens remarkable and memorable to your recipients.

So who can you thank?

  • Thank the leaders and active volunteers of your associations and organizations who serve.
  • Thank the server or cashier who smiles, does his or her job with care and enthusiasm.
  • Thank you spouse or loved one who goes that extra special distance for you.
  • Thank your long time friends for the joy they bring to your life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preventing Short-Timer's Syndrome

Are you suffering from Short-Timer's Syndrome? This often happens when we are close to reaching our goal.

Originally, the term Short-Timers was applied to a syndrome observed in military soldiers who were about two to three months out from their rotation or returning home. I believe short-timer syndrome can apply to civilian and military life.

Senior Slump or Lame Duck is another way of terming this specialized short term but difficult condition. This syndrome is seen and observed in work, education or at the end of an association or officer leadership position.

Since we are almost two months from May and June, the common months of graduation and association term ends, it is a good time to take a deeper look at it. Short-timers often get burned out and are frazzled. This is because they have so much to do or accomplish in their limited time. However, short-timers  need to think about their future as much as they need to enjoy the present. This is a true time of transition and transitions are never easy. Being a short-timer is hard.

Review the following and see how you approach the end of a work project, educational assignment or association position.

At Work: 

When the contract or project is almost at the end 

a) I get focused and so preoccupied with the future, I don't focus well on today's project with full intent. 

b) I try to be all things to all people, so I can leave a lasting "legacy". I avoid thinking about the "day after" I finish. I will think about that later.

In an Association:

When my term is almost over - 

a) I begin to get the attitude of "I'll let the next person deal with it".

b) I work overly hard and start burning the candle at both ends. So much to do, so little time. I don't think about the future.

At the End of an Education Program:

When I am nearing the completion of my degree or educational program -

a) I find myself worrying about the future and I am not concentrating enough on the assignments and work I have left to do.

b) I start focusing too much on the now, and avoid thinking or doing anything in planning for my upcoming future.

What Can You Do if You Are a Short-Timer?

1) First determine what kind of short-timer you are?

2) Take a moment and view your end by the other perspective.

3) Consider hiring a transition or life coach to help you avoid burning the candle at both ends. The coach can provide some light and clarity to help you see clearer beyond the current assignment, and help you make a bright future, while still helping you focus on the now.

For Short-Timer's
Want to stay in the present? Consider hiring a transition or life coach to help guide you through these times.

For Family, Friends or Colleagues of Short-Timers

Consider giving your "short-timer" the early gift of a transition or life coaching package. This will help your short-timer shine through the end of their work and help them plan for their future.

You might also enjoy these posts - Eking It Out in The End 
Senior Year and Change.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Changing Your Attitude

This is a post from last year  - but well worth repeating! 

Change and transition's are generally difficult. If you have been involuntarily made to change, a change of attitude may make a big difference.

Three ways to change or transition your attitude:

  1. Try looking at things with a perspective outside of yourself.
  2. Visualize a good outcome and rethink strategically how to get to that place.
  3. Be grateful you have to experience this discomfort and appreciate the insightful lesson's you will learn.

    Growth comes from change. Start with changing your attitude. You will enjoy the journey much more.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Try Reading Something Different

    Readers all have their favorite genres or topics that they gravitate towards. I think it is a good idea to step outside your "reading" comfort zone from time to time and find somethng "else" to read.

    Recently, I picked up Flotsametics and the Floating World which discusses the career of a oceanographer. The book Flotsametics gives insight into beachcoming, gyre patterns and a variety of other interesting topics around ocean drift patterns and floating objects. I also read The American Leonardo, the true story of the legal battles around a painting that may or may not be a Leonardo da Vinci. The book and tale reminds me of the fictional Dickensian novel, Bleak House and the endless legal case - going on and on, with no one being better off at the end.  Perhaps my favorite recent "outside my reading box" book was The Island of Lost Maps, a true story of cartographic crime. I found this an amazingly fascinating true tale.

    By stepping out of our reading comfort zone, we may discover new things, explore new ideas, and look at the world with a different perspective.

    What are you reading?

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Beneath the Surface - Growing Ideas

    There are times when we may think nothing is happening. We are living a fallow life - in our rut, a big one. Yet, beneath the surface, we are germinating new thoughts, coming up with ideas, learning helpful skills and processes that will soon raise up and come forth in a new concept.

    Here are some visual concepts to get you thinking:

    • A coffee maker percolating, after a short while it will be ready.
    • A bud unfurling on a tree in springtime.
    • Underneath the ground a seed is breaking out of it's coat ready to grow.
    • The dying embers of something else that will soon become a new steady flame.

      What's happening beneath your surface?

      Friday, February 19, 2010

      Unproductive Times Again

      This is a repeat post - but it is one that I think truly needs to be remembered and put out there again and again. So it's time to check in and see if you or your clients are in an Unproductive Phase of Life

      While working towards being productive is taking a step in the right direction. Working on being organized and expecting magnificent and tangible results are unrealistic during certain phases or periods of time. I think it helps us to acknowledge when we are in these unproductive times. This acceptance of the situation makes us or the client calmer and more relaxed. This new state of mind then sets the foundation for future productivity efforts.

      Know to identify the Unproductive Phases of Life
      Having a child in ½ day kindergarten and being the designated driver to pick up and drop off

      Those 2 – 3 days waiting for definitive biopsy or health test results

      Your third trimester during pregnancy

      During a home remodeling project

      A parent having 3 children under age 5

      Immediately 1 – 12 months after having surgery

      A new parent having just born or adopted a child

      The year you handle a family, friend or relatives estate

      The first 6 months to 9 months after a move

      Six months to two years after the breakup of a significant relationship

      Serving as primary caretaker to a chronically ill or declining family member

      The year following the death of a loved one or friend 

      Monday, February 15, 2010

      Taxing Times Again

      Are you facing taxing times? Certain times of the year are more difficult than others. For me, getting ready for taxes is always like having a big monkey on my back until the tax prep material is delivered to the CPA's office. 

      I usually chunk my "tax" monkey into small bites. This makes the overwhelming project seem like a possibility. The last part or the "tail of the monkey" for me is adding up the charitable donations.  I guess I should be making something which is actually positive more so. But at least I know to chunk my monkey and take occasional breaks. Using a timer allows me to limit the "pain" of the process and also sets some specific time parameters for me to complete the task.

      So what is all this to do about transitions? I think I need to take my own advice and put a positive spin on doing the difficult parts. Some things are just taxing. By acknowledging that we are likely one step forward toward completion.

      So how do you deal with taxing times or tasks?

      Sunday, February 7, 2010

      Routine Reflections

      Do you take time to reflect on your past activities, actions or inaction's?

      Many individuals have routine times that help encourage reflection. For some it might be the stillness of being in church or temple. For others, it is when they attend a weekly meeting of a group or association. It can also be during an exercise or fitness class.

      During this period of specific reflection, one can gauge progress or lack of progress on certain life goal activities with ourselves as well as reflect on our actions or inaction towards these goals.

      Let me point out, that this is very different from a calendar review which many do on Friday's, Sunday's or Monday's. Routine reflection is instead a bigger picture process that reflects on major goals.    

      If you haven't tried this concept of routine reflection, this might be a good  practice to start. Pick a time, that is a fairly standard constant in your life, and take a few moments out each time to reflect. You may not do it perfectly at first, but beginning is the first step. Once you have done it a few times it is likely to prove it's value to your life.

      Personally, for many years I arrived early to my Toastmaster's meeting. I did this so I could spend some time in reflection. I believe it was a key component to my ability to succeed.

      When do you do your Routine Reflection?

      Saturday, February 6, 2010

      Making Headway Towards Where We Want To Go

      To make headway is to go forward or towards our desired destination.  Getting towards our destination is usually reached by doing physical activities and actions. Yet, getting to where we want to go, often starts in the mind or "head". Thus to make headway, we may often need to first think or use our head as much as taking our physical steps.

      I recently came across this quote attributed to Henry David Thoreau.

      As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

      So, to make headway start with your mind, your steps are likely to follow.

      Friday, January 22, 2010

      An End is Really A Beginning

      Throughout our lives we have endings. These endings can be the end of a job, relationship, or even the way we do something. Endings are usually messy. They are never really clean cut, neat or organized. Very few endings are easy. Endings, of course, are the end, but they are also the onset of the beginning.

      To get a handle on endings, the first step is to realize you are at the "end". By having a mental conversation with yourself, you are beginning the process of your grieving. I am not saying you have to like this conversation, but once you begin it, you are on your way.

      The stages of grief are well outlined by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Kübler-Ross's five stages are not nice and neat but often involve meandering around in one stage or another.

      Getting back to the beginning, one may grieve, but one also learns many new things during this end and beginning phase of life. This is the time in our life that causes us to try new things, experience new thoughts and make changes in our daily routines and patterns. This is not to say it is going to be all fun. If we can, however, imagine the opportunities we now have to unexpectedly experience, we may be able to think of the end as an unexpected gift. Perhaps this is the only gift to come out of loss. But it is a gift, none the less.

      Thursday, January 14, 2010

      1000 Days at Sea - An Adventure for All

      I have been enjoying the adventures of the 1000 Days at Sea Team ever since July of 2007. That was about Day 80 or so days into the ocean going adventure that officially began Day one leaving New York Harbor in April 23,2007.

      The premise of this extended ocean journey has been to circumnavigate the globe on a boat (A 70 foot schooner) without stopping, restocking or resupplying for a thousand days. It has been a life long ambition of sailor Reid Stowe.

      While this journey like many,  hasn't quite turned out as expected,it has been an adventure non-the-less with lots of interesting twists and turns of events. The schooner is now expected to return to New York in June of 2010.

      What I have liked is watching the path of the Schooner Anne on Google Earth, discovering weather overlays and exploring surrounding land areas I had no real knowledge of before. In the early days, photos of the adventure were posted by Soanya. It was amazing to see how many shades of blue there were. When Soanya left the journey (about day 300) the photos were still posted but not with her practiced eye. Reid, however soon filled in the space with his art and interesting stories and reflections.

      Recently, the several times weekly posts have decreased due to computer problems. Regardless, it is always interesting to read the updates and check out the Schooner Anne's position on Google Earth.

      By following and understanding the components of an adventure that is not our, it can suddenly seem to become partly our own life and experiences. It can be a great break in our day to follow an epic journey or a time period progression (see The Uniform Project). It can be a window into a world that we never knew existed. It can be the catalyst for our own future adventures.

      Other post on the Transition Your Life Blog about 1000 Days at Seas Adventure

      900 Days at Sea 
      Take A Desk Vacation
      Seek to Enjoy All Things
      600 Days at Sea
      300 Days at Sea
      Remote Island...Very Remote 

      Monday, January 11, 2010

      Get Ready to Be Ready

      The expression Ready, Set, Go is likely an adaptation of the prompt On Your Mark, Get Set, Go used by a variety of racing fields (swimming, running) to prepare their participants for action.

      We can use the Ready, Set, Go to prepare our day or even our life for upcoming changes.

      Being Ready

      To be ready we can prepare our tools, equipment, and even our physical being for the upcoming action. We can improve our knowledge on the subject, increase our skills and education. We can prepare our body for the upcoming physical actions or anticipated requirements by eating nutritious and healthy foods.

      Getting Set

      While getting set means getting on the "mark" in the physical racing world, we can get our brain on the mark, by being in the right mindset. This includes being truly focused on what is before us. By avoiding distracting veins of thought we can be instead set on our upcoming event. We can also actively work to prevent beginning conversations in our minds that get our emotional being unsettled. 

      Going On

      The Go part of is the first step on your new path. Take a deep breath and begin. Since you have already done the Ready and the Set it is likely that the Go part will be the easiest.   

      Getting ready and set are by far the most important parts of making a transition.  Be prepared to spend some time and do some work to fulfill the preparation of "Ready" and "Set".  

      Have you used Ready, Set, Go in your life transitions? 

      Wednesday, January 6, 2010

      A New Decade Begins - Questions to Ponder

      Its 2010, the start of a new decade. Now is a perfect time to make changes and move forward. Before we jump forward into something new, it usually helps to look back.

      Here are some positive focused questions to think about. Think of each of the questions in terms of the last ten years and your experiences.

      Decade Reflection Questions

      What worked over the last ten years?

      What are you most happy about having achieved, managed or maintained?

      What were some of the best conversations you had?

      What were some of the best books you read?

      What were some of the best movies, plays or museum or art exhibits you experienced?

      What new things or skills did you learn?

      Who did you enjoy meeting, being with and spending time with?

      Where were you most environmentally comfortable?

      Bonus Questions - How did your senses experience the last decade?

      Evaluating the Answers

      When we look back we can sometimes glean patterns, or glimmers of thing that excite us. When we know what makes us want to get up and fully enjoy the day we can start shaping our lives to have more of this excitement. By reviewing your Decade Questions you may be able to move forward with a clearer sense of what will work for you and help you thrive in the next decade.