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January 2010
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March 2010

I Believe... How Your Beliefs Effect Your Success

What are your philosophies and how do they impact your career?  

A belief is the most powerful magnet in the world.  Your beliefs are what push and pull you in all you do in your life.  They are your personal magnets. They affect thoughts, feelings, and actions.  And when you start to think about what you believe, really what you hold true, then you can recognize some of the philosophies that guide your life.     

A philosophy is a universal theme or through line that many times drive the events and actions during your lifetime.  Your theme or philosophy is the connector to how you build your career and live your life. And they stem from your core beliefs and values.  

The reason philosophies are important in your career is because when you put together your career blueprint and brand platform, when you're able to put out in the world what your philosophies are, you will draw to you like-minded people, jobs and clients that either resonate with or share those philosophies. And what organically happens when you’re living by your true core philosophies, your life then heads in the right direction for you.   

An incredibly powerful exercise to help you hone in on your personal and business philosophies is as follows.  Belief stones

Complete this thought, "I believe--".   Make a list of what comes immediately to mind and limit yourself to only five minutes.  Don't think too hard about this because many times it's those first thoughts that come to mind that are the ones that are the truest. These are the beliefs that you hold dear and true.  

So, here are some of mine:  

  • I believe core values drive us.
  • I believe in honesty.
  • I believe giving excellence in one thing means giving excellence in all things.
  • I believe respect is one of the most valued gifts you can give another.
  • I believe in faith.
  • I believe love can move mountains.
  • I believe dark chocolate makes every day better!!
  • I believe compassion is a great equalizer.
  • I believe in taking risks big enough that I feel the tremble in my solar plexus.
  • I believe dreamers rule the world.
  • I believe in the magic of a personal story.   

Now, as I examine my beliefs, I would summarize them in the form of philosophy statements for my brand like this: 

  • Live your core values and the results take care of themselves.
  • Come from a place of transparency and truth.
  • Live in excellence.
  • Respect is a most valuable gift to give another.
  • Where there’s a will there’s a way.

These are philosophies I live my life by and that feels solid in my bones, in my core.  

So, please play with me!  Open up your mind and heart.  How do you complete the sentence?  

I Believe…    Add your answers below!

“I saw it and it happened” – Tips for an Olympic Mindset

Team USA has been having a big week at the Winter Olympics with several visits to the medal podium.  My 16-year-old nephew is visiting this week so we’ve been couch fans together.  When I spend time with him I can’t help but look for little teaching moments.  What can I say? It’s what I do.   

There’s much to be learned from these incredible Olympic athletes, the greatest being their champion mindset.  It got me thinking about how we can apply the elements of this mindset to the betterment of our careers and lives.  

Snowboarder Shaun White set the field this week in the Men’s Halfpipe event with a first place Shawn_white score in the first run.  He didn’t even have to do his second drop; he already had the Gold.  But he did it anyway and he raised the bar just that much higher in a sport that he helped put on the map.  When asked about his much talked about preparation in isolation, he said rather nonchalantly, “I saw it and it happened.”   

But, here’s the thing.  There’s nothing nonchalant about the mindset behind his comment.  

Lindsay Vonn said, after she won the Gold in the Women’s Downhill, “I saw the score I had to beat.”  She said that once she knew what she had to do, the focus took away the nerves.  She knew what she had to do.   

How to get the Olympic mindset?  

  • Active Visualization – paint the picture in your mind; see yourself as your accomplishing your goal and living your success.  
  • Know What You Have to Do – familiarize yourself with everything that stands between you and your goal; then devise a plan to get there.  Know the “score you have to beat” to win.  
  • Clear Out the Chatter & Clutter – by having a plan you’ll have a guideline on which to focus.  Pare things down, getting rid of anything within your sightline that has nothing to do with the goal you’re focused on.   
  • Commit Yourself – true commitment to your craft, your work, is essential on a daily basis.  This means immersing yourself in your industry, increasing your knowledge as well as your network so that you’re living and breathing your goal.   

And, to get truly inspired into the champion mindset, tune in to the Olympics! It works every time.

There's a Shift Taking Place

For several years now there's been a growing movement of global thought leaders who broadcast their notions and philosophies to an audience of seekers, seekers who crave possibility.  Many of these thought leaders are indeed wise; they speak and teach in sound bites and give (or sell) systems that promise to change lives and/or seriously pad bank accounts.  Many of these mogul leaders have become very rich selling possibility.  And, the problem with some (not all) is that they've become so big that they've lost sight of what made them transformative thought leaders in the first place.  Their celebrity has caused them to become out of touch with the ever-changing groundswell of society, surrounding themselves with gatekeepers and large staffs so that their followers are left feeling disengaged, disregarded and frankly taken advantage of.

There's a paradigm shift taking place in what people respond to.  The most effective thought leaders today must be transparent, real and grass roots. 

The most effective thought leaders are also thought changers.  Thought changers give way more than they get.  They make it their primary mission to help effect change.  What they give is not connected to the almighty buck, but to the service mindset.

Now, I’m all for being paid handsomely for passionate work; I’m a fan of riches in fact.  But, it’s when that disconnect happens where the “thought leader” suddenly seems less authentic, more talking head with a clear focus on charging huge fees for what they “offer,” less about service and content, and more about the sales pitch.  

A main focus of this blog is to shine a light on the true thought changers in this world, those leading the thought changing movement; as well as presenting ideas and new ways to think about what we do every day.

I have my favorites and I welcome your recommended and most admired thought changers.  I may just feature them here!

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How "Rainbow Thinking" Can Catapult Your Career & Improve Your Life

There was a magnificent rainbow out my kitchen window recently.  It was one of those breathtaking ones where you could see the entire thing from beginning to end.  We’d been hit with torrents in Los Angeles; and, this hopeful vista was an organic reminder that there is an end to the storm; it represents a gateway to things better and brighter. 

It got me thinking about how “Rainbow Thinking” in terms of career, and life for that matter, might go along way toward keeping us focused on what matters.   

I bloody love metaphors and rainbows are the mother lode.  Stop and think about it for a moment.  What do rainbows mean to you?  Some may say it’s just a sign the rain has stopped.  Well, even that simple statement is full of metaphor if you’ll let yourself go there.  Other rainbow meanings that come to mind: Rainbow

  • it’s a sign of hope and new beginnings
  • it signifies diversification and acceptance as in “rainbow coalition”
  • it exemplifies a wide spectrum of choices, not to mention colors
  • and it’s the pot ‘o gold at the end of…  

The infamous lyrics to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from Wizard of Oz are filled with optimism and dreaming of better things to come, “if happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why, can’t I?”  

Weathering the storm has practically become a way of life for many people and companies since the economy tanked.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say, “We’re (or I’m) weathering the storm until things improve,” I’d be able to fill that pot at the end of the rainbow.   

Some believe that searching for the pot ‘o gold at the end of the rainbow is a futile journey only set up for failure, that it's an impossible feat.  But, I disagree.  

Here’s some "Rainbow Thinking" to apply to your life & business:  

  1. Define your ‘end of the rainbow’ – set a goal that’s lofty and makes you stretch, and then build your brand and your plan so your sights are set on that goal.  
  2. Dare to dream – give yourself permission to dream huge.  Practice active visualization, seeing yourself living your dream.  Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”  Same goes for the end of the rainbow.  
  3. Be diversified in your thinking – aim to live outside the box, or the norm, so that new and different solutions become a habit.  
  4. Look for ways to color your life – allow yourself to open your eyes to the world and people around you.  Notice nature more.  Make eye contact and smile more.  
  5. Be courageous – be bold and fearless in your convictions.  A great way to do this is to focus on the dream and goal rather than on the fear that’s keeping you where you are.  
  6. Stay positive – not trying to be Pollyannaish here.  Truly, a positive mindset manifests many things, including being able to actually SEE the rainbow when it appears to you.  

So, do what you can to adopt Rainbow Thinking as you move your career, your brand, & your life forward.  And know that a rainbow always appears somewhere after the rain.

3 Keys to Control Your Brand

Okay, there are many reasons why I love British Actor Colin Firth.  I won’t bore you with most of them (wink), but a recent quote of his on a TV interview got me thinking.  He said, “You get a brand attached to you sometimes whether you invite it or not.” He was referring to how he will probably always be thought of in terms of the iconic role he played, Mr. Darcy, in BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice.”  It haunted him in his earlier career.  

It got me thinking that, even if we’re not aware of it, even if we never utter the words, we all have a brand of one sort of another.   

So, what’s all this talk about personal brand?  Brand shmand.  It’s definitely a big buzz word out there in the ether, and arguably an overused one.  But, since you already have one, you might as well know what it means and how to control yours, right?  

Think of your brand as the stamp you put on everything.  Your brand is your reputation, your  follow through, conversations, written correspondence, online presence, physical presentation, what people say about you, even why you do what you do; they are all part of the brand that you are already putting out to the world.   

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve already been branded.  Unless you’re aware of it and on top of it, your brand is how everyone else brands you.    It’s likely you may not have thought of yourself in those terms, as a brand, because mostly we just live our lives and do our work.  We go along the way life takes us.  And, chances are if there’s a lack in one of those areas we don’t even know it.  Because we live our lives and do our work.  

How do people brand you?  I believe it’s based on three very basic keys: relationship, action and consistency.   They are also the keys to taking control of your own brand!

1.  Relationship - how you build, nurture and maintain relationships truly determines the heart and longevity of your brand.  More than ever, relationships are key.  People will gravitate toward their relationships before anything else.  It truly is the tie that binds.    And, integrating relationship with action is a great way to start to take control of your own brand. 

2.  Action - by action, I mean your "proactions", actions, reactions and non-actions.   

  • Proactions – take time to set authentic goals; be proactive and plan ahead; set the stage for action; be the first one in on something, or the first one to provide a solution.  
  • Actions – be cognizant of literally all of your actions in the present moment that affect others.  Your actions speak loudly; mark them with excellence and authenticity.  
  • Reactions – follow through, follow through, follow through.   Also, how you react to people and situations speaks volumns about you and can enhance or hinder your brand stamp. 
  • Non-actions – Be aware and take charge of your non-actions.  Not doing any or all of the above results in negative non-action, which reflects poorly on your brand.  A positive non-action is when you make the choice not to do something because it doesn’t ring true to either your relationship integrity or your intrinsic values.  This type of non-action reflects positively on your transparent reputation and brand.  

3.  Consistency - we are all multi-dimensional; it’s a blessing of being human.  When taking control of your own brand, inconsistency becomes the curse.  In fact, inconsistency makes your brand appear confused.  It’s important to remain true, persistent and consistent to build and maintain a powerful personal brand

Colin Firth?  He took control by embracing the typecast which only added to the cache of his brand.  By getting into the driver’s seat of his career and brand has led him to opportunities that may not have presented themselves otherwise. And, now he's nominated for an Oscar for a role that is so NOT Mr. Darcy.

'Nuf said.