Chasing Squirrels

dreamstime_xs_43448794I like dogs, or, more accurately, I like dogs I know and I don’t dislike dogs in general.  I’m more of a cat person.  I can appreciate, though, how dogs get distracted by the smallest things, such as squirrels.  No matter what the dog is doing, a squirrel shows up, and boom—she’s off chasing it.  (Okay, cats are basically the same.  We just can’t see some of the things that distract them.)

Unfortunately, we humans often “chase squirrels” as well.  We can easily become distracted from what we need to do to achieve our goals.  Little things constantly come up, and boom—we’re off chasing them.

If we want to achieve the professional and personal life that we want, it is important that we stay focused on our goals and ignore the “squirrels” that constantly chatter at us.  It’s acceptable to tell people “no.”  It’s acceptable to let unimportant things slide.  And although some squirrels are fun to chase, does doing so help you reach your goals?

Are you a squirrel chaser?  Could you achieve more if you ignored those darn squirrels?

2016 and Beyond

dreamstime_xs_489283562015 is completed.  It’s over.  Did you do what you wanted?  Did you accomplish what you planned?  Did you position yourself to be where you wanted for 2016?

If yes, congratulations!  That is fantastic!

If no, then take what you can learn from it and move on.  That’s all any of us can do.  It’s a waste of time to moan about it or berate ourselves for it.  Decide what you can do differently this year and do it.

What do you need to do in 2016 to position yourself to where you want to be in 2017?  2020?  2030?  Setting goals for the upcoming year is great.  But to really climb to where we want to be in life, we need to plan further out.  If you want to finish a degree in five years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen?  If you want to retire in ten years, what do you need to do this year to make it happen?

What do you need to do this year, next year, and the next, to achieve the life you want?

Accomplishing Your Dreams

Accomplishing Your Dreams (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_38167609Previously we discussed that commitment is what turns a daydream into a dream. Creating and implementing a plan is what turns a dream into reality.

We can tell ourselves that we are committed to a dream. Unless we create and implement a plan to make that dream a reality, however, we are not really committed.

How committed are you to your dreams? What are your plans for achieving them? How far have you progressed in implementing your plans?

Dream or Daydream?

Dream or Daydream? (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_29004175We hear a great deal on how we should never give up on our dreams. I think it is extremely important, however, to determine if they are dreams or just daydreams.

Daydreams serve a purpose. They are fun. They can get us thinking about “what ifs.” If nothing else, they are cheap entertainment.

The difference between a daydream and a dream is commitment. If we are not committed to turning our dreams into reality, then it is just a daydream.

For example, I had a daydream since I was a child to go to Ireland. It remained a daydream until I made the commitment to make it happen. When I committed the time to planning and going on the trip and the money to pay for the trip, then it moved from a daydream to a dream. Finally, the dream became a reality.

What dreams do you have? Are they truly dreams, are you committed to them, or are they daydreams? If they are daydreams, do you want them enough to make the commitment to turn them into dreams, and ultimately into reality?

Road Maps and Signs

Road Maps and Signs (Video Link)

dreamstime_xs_42580843When we travel, we need a road map. We need a plan to tell us how to get from where we are to where we want to go. We also need road signs. The signs tell us where we are. By comparing the signs to the map we know where we are and what we need to do to get to where we want to go. If the signs tell us that we are somewhere that we did not plan to go, then we know we need to do something to get back on our route.

In our lives, we also need maps and signs. Our maps are our plans—where do we want to go, what do we want to accomplish, how do we get there? The “signs” are those indicators that tell us if we are moving toward our goals or not. For example, are we meeting our sales objectives for the week, month, and quarter? Are we meeting our objectives for contacting new customers? Are we meeting our profit objectives for the period?

Our objectives might also be personal objectives. Are we saving the planned amount each week for a major purchase? Have we made reservations for a vacation? Are we spending the time we had planned with family or friends?

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be very easy to continue to “drive” without checking the “signs” when it comes to our professional and personal lives. Just because we are busy does not mean that we are any closer to our goals. We might just be driving in circles.

Do you routinely check the “signs” that indicate where you are in relationship to where you want to go?

It is 2015; What Have You Done?

hIt is 2015, another new year.  Have you made your goals and plans for this year?  Have you done anything to accomplish them yet?  Are you doing even one thing differently this year than you did last year to achieve what you want this year?

It is easy to get excited about another new year, about the things that we will do this year that we have not done before.  The difficulty is in carrying out the plans.  We still have all the day-to-day commitments and tasks that we did a week or two ago.  Nothing has changed, except the number on the calendar.  Nothing will change, if we do not change.

Most people do not accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.  Do not be one of them!  Commit now, implement your plans now, to achieve the professional and personal success you want in 2015.

Greatest Risk

hGreatest Risk (Video)

I think the greatest risk we can take in our lives is not taking responsibility for ourselves, for our lives.

Unfortunately, I know too many people who do not want to take responsibility for themselves, for their choices, for their actions.  They expect other people to bail them out of trouble, to take care of them, to provide for them, to just give them what they want.

I know others who do not really expect other people to take responsibility, but they seem to think that if they sit around and wish for what they want, it will magically happen.

The only sure way to get what we want out of life is to take responsibility for making it happen.  Other people might give us what we want.  Or they might not.  The only way to make sure we do get what we want is to make it happen ourselves.  And that means hard work and dedication.

Are you taking full responsibility for your life?

Here is a simple test.  When something goes wrong, do you take responsibility for it or do you try to blame someone else?  When you try to blame someone else, you are trying to pass on your responsibility.  When you analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently, you are taking responsibility.

Whatever you want out of life, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

Dress to Connect

Dress to Connect (Video)h

There is always information about how to dress for different situations.  Some of us spend a great deal of time thinking about how we should dress for professional and personal situations.

One aspect I try to consider when I dress is to dress to connect.  What will help me connect with the people around me?

I realized the importance of this many years ago when I was working as a consultant dietitian for a long-term care company.  When I went into one of the company’s nursing homes it was usually to evaluate the operation of the food service department.  To do this I had to be in the kitchen and in the dining rooms.  If I was going to be able to do my job well, I had to be comfortable.  I also needed to look professional to gain credibility.  I dressed in slacks, a shirt or sweater, flats with a decent sole so I didn’t slip, and a lab coat.

Many of the consultant nurses I worked with had a different opinion.  They dressed in short, tight skirts and high heels.  I thought that was rather foolish; how can you work dressed like that?  An aspect that I did not consider until I overheard some of the staff nurses talking was that the facility nurses did not respect the consultant nurses simply because of the way they dressed.  The consultants did not look like they wanted to actually help, they looked like they just wanted to sit behind a desk and tell others what to do.  It was very difficult for the consultants to get the facility nurses to even listen to what needed to be done.

Additionally, these consultant nurses (not all the nurses I worked with were like this) liked to wear jewelry; big, expensive jewelry.  The facility nurses took this as the consultants were showing off how much more money they made.  It caused resentment, which further eroded the credibility of these consultants.  It never would have occurred to me that staff might feel resentment over what jewelry someone else wore, but I can see it now.

I think a good rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above those you will be working with to look professional and gain credibility, but not so far above that you lose respect.

Stop Studying and Start Doing

Stop Studying and Start Doing (Video)

If someone whould pay me, I could easily be a professional student.  I have always loved school, I think mostly because I love to learn.  Even now, I like doing the research for projects and presentations.  I like gaining new knowledge and skills.

There comes a time, though, when I need to stop “studying” a topic and start “doing” something about it.

There are many reasons people do not accomplish what they intend.  This is just one.  If you are one of those who enjoy the studying and preparation so much that you never finish, it may be time to “leave school” and “enter the real world.”

If I can do it, so can you!

Study for A’s?

Study for A’s? (Video Link)

I still remember something a high school teacher told my class many years ago.  (I wish I could remember his name.)  He said that if we study for A’s, we may or may not get them.  However, if we study to truly learn and understand the information, the A’s will come automatically.

He was right.  When I studied to learn the concepts and details of the material, the A’s came easily.

I think this concept can apply to our professional and personal lives as well. 

If we work to get a raise or promotion, we may or may not get it.  However, if we work to truly learn and understand our company and its practices, products, customers, and suppliers, and use this to excel at our jobs, we will find success.

If we work to improve our relationships, it may or may not happen.  However, if we work to truly understand the people in our relationships and how they think and feel, how can it not improve our relationships?

What is your goal?  To get an “A” or to really learn?