I’m going to try to do this little review post at the end of each month and it will be in three parts. (Previous Months: January)

Top Posts for February

Brenton Gieser Shares His Passion – February 1, 2011
January at a Glance – February 4, 2011
Managing My RSS Reader – February 9, 2011
Life Size Jenga – June 28, 2010
Government 101: Equal Protection is For Me Too! – November 17, 2010

Progress Towards my Goals

I wrote about what I’m striving for in 2011 at the beginning of the year.

  1. Read more. <–Currently one my first book, The Jesus Inquest. Interesting … but over my knowledge
  2. Spend more time in personal reflection (focusing on where I’ve grown and where I can). <–haven’t had time
  3. Outreach more with my consulting. <– Had a business meeting and began outreach in the NY area
  4. Write. <– I finally began the fiction book I have talked about for two years
  5. Paint. <– I have an idea so now I just need to do it
  6. Take more photos. <– took a few that I need to post
  7. Join a club or recreational sports league. (dodge ball anyone?) <– Waiting for the Dodgeball team invite
  8. Cook. <– I’ve made two recipes from my new cookbook which I will write about next week
  9. Entertain. <– In February Nathanael and I hosted a small Super Bowl party and last week hosted an Oscar party. We have also attended a wonderful brunch.
  10. Ask questions. <– haven’t had time

Other Goals I’m Pursuing

  • Speaking Clients – none
  • Coaching Clients – none
  • Secure an Agent – haven’t started
  • Blog Post Frequency – Currently on pace
  • Business Income – 3% towards goal
  • Read 16 Books – Just started first book of the year
  • Personal Savings Goal – Haven’t calculated
  • Pay Off Student Loan – On pace
  • Paint Six Paintings – Haven’t had time
  • Attend 12 Networking Events – Attended a great networking event in Gramercy Park
  • Take Photos Once a Month – Not as much as I would like. Hopefully I will now that the weather is changing
  • Sell a Painting – not yet
  • Start Volunteering – Found a cool Boys and Girls Club near our apartment, but haven’t heard back
  • Make 52 new NYC Connections – Must update my tracking sheet

February was much better in terms of my progress towards my goals. I still have a long way to go, but finishing up a full-time contract, writing my latest book and putting together at least one job application a night, my time is very limited. Good thing is my focus is becoming clearer in relation to the career I would like to pursue.

February Theme (NEED)
Words from January

FOCUS: Compliments! (v3n41)

Selected Life Lesson
Always compliment someone you see or come across.
It is always good to see someone smile or put a smile on their face.
-Cheryl B’s life lesson from Florissant, Missouri

Richard’s Thoughts…
There is an old quote from NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka that goes something like this:”You don’t have to love each other, but you’re going to respect each other.” He said that to his football players. That is what Cheryl’s lesson is all about this week.

It’s about respect. It’s about kindness and compassion. It’s about making positive impressions on each and every person you come in contact with.

Is there a compliment you have been meaning to give and haven’t? Or something you haven’t complimented in awhile? Do something nice for something this week and see what happens.

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Anything is Possible

Impossible Goals

Over the last four years I have written extensively on goals and goal-setting and recently the question of Quality vs. Quantity popped into my head.

As I have said before in relation to my personal goals, I set some tough ones, but I don’t think I have ever set a goal that was too hard to reach. I think my problem has been that I set too many goals and often lose focus. I tried to fix that this year.

But my thought process here is simple: Is there a line where a goal is too far out of reach?

However, before we can dive into that question, you must first understand how a goal is created. Is it arbitrary or planned? Take a look at the examples below.

Example 1 Example 2
A business is setting their goals for the year. The team leader stands up in front of the group and says, we’re going to increase our sales by 50% this year. Everyone sits dumbfounded, unsure of how in the hell they are going to achieve that mark. A business is setting their goals for the year. The team leader stands up in front of the group and says, where can we grow our business this year?

What ensues is a dialog, a conversation and in the process, the tactics to achieve the goal are built without the team knowing it. Before they realize it, they have identified five clients they can up-sell or add services to or new clients they can pitch and everyone is excited to chase a number, maybe even 50%.

Example 2 is the ideal situation because not only is everyone now bought into the goal, but they see how an audacious number is possible.

Now it the time to revise goals for 2011. Which way did you set yours? Do you have a plan of attack? Get to the drawing board and see where you can achieve!

FOCUS: It Is Possible! (v3n40)

Selected Life Lesson
I was afraid to swim when I was a kid. I took every lesson possible and I became a great swimmer. Everyone deserves a fighting chance. Learn to strive for the best.
-Cindy H’s life lesson from St. Louis, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
First of all – congrats to Cindy!!! I will admit I am an okay swimmer, but I have never quite mastered the art of swimming and breathing at the same time … and from what I’ve experienced, that skill is quite important in the whole swimming activity.

But this week’s lesson is perfect for a few reasons. As a lesson from a few weeks ago pointed out, I recently made a dream of mine possible by moving to New York City. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Anything is Possible! And finally eight years ago tomorrow I lost my campaign to be Mayor of Mason City. But here I am chasing new dreams that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

My point is simple and Cindy echoes it: “Everyone deserves a fighting chance.”
Go and make your dreams happen. Go!

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Anything is Possible

Measuring Your Progress

As we near the end of February, which marks 1/6 of the way through 2011, how do you take stock of your goals? What is your measure? How do you celebrate?

I do a couple of things to track my goals.

First, I write them down and update them on a monthly basis.

Second, each quarter I review my goals and adjust my tactics and re-aseess my passion towards them.

Third and most importantly, if you’re not happy with how your progress is going you can do one of two things. You can trash the goal all together. Or, you can go all in and make it happen.

(photo credit: daneen_vol)

Super ‘Flat’ Bowl

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This column tri-weekly column, “From Richard’s Oft Cluttered Desk” appears every third Wednesday.

The Super Bowl is over and the postmortem on the $3-million ads are over but I have a few final thoughts.

First, the game was mediocre. I had really been looking forward to the Super Bowl. First, it may be the last one we see for awhile with the current issues with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. But mostly I was excited because not only do I love the game, but I had just moved and watching the Super Bowl was my movement back to “non-moving” mode.

Secondly, while I don’t forgive Christina Aguilera for messing up the lyrics to the National Anthem, which I know happens, the song, in my musical opinion was bad. Sometimes when people make their own renditions of the Anthem it is amazing and makes my skin tingle and believe in the idea of America again. But this year, I just wanted it to be over. She sounded bad. Her rendition was bad. It was just bad. I should have taken that as a sign and shut off the television and prepared for four hours for the return of Glee. But I didn’t.

Granted, I did enjoy the time with Nathanael, his friend Brian, and this wonderful potato dish I made out of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cook-book. But I wanted a good game.

But okay, the game was mediocre. I still had the mega-ads to entertain me, right? Wrong.

Those two fell flat on someone who enjoys them, but doesn’t watch only for them. I’m a sports fan who has the opportunity to enjoy these pieces of art. Or, crap as I’m going to call this year.

Watching the ads I will say that a few made me smile and laugh. But most left me scratching my head. I spend a lot of time reading and practicing marketing (of other companies as well as myself) and I couldn’t help but ask myself a simple question over and over: “What the hell were they trying to do with that ad?”

After a few commercial breaks, Nathanael and I, stunned at the amount of sub-par ads looked at each other and almost at the same time, said, “They are trying too hard.” The Super Bowl has become too big for it’s own good. The advertisers have two challenges when it comes to making a Super Bowl ad.

First, it has to be memorable in order to have people talking about it for weeks after the game.

Secondly, it costs $3 million to air; once! That is a meda-ton of pressure!

In my humble opinion, many of the advertisers failed on both accounts. Why? Because they were simply trying too hard.

This problem happens in life too. We can all get into ruts where we start trying too hard. Hockey players grip their stick tighter. Golfers pull out on putts. Musicians try to the No. 1 single. First-time novelists try to write the best-seller on their first try.

I’m not writing this column to urge you to not try hard. On the contrary. I am writing to encourage you to try as hard as you can – but be focused. Be deliberate. And do what you do best. If what you are doing isn’t feeling right, stop, pull back and evaluate.

The Super Bowl is an entertainment spectacle and I have a simple piece of advice for the NFL, the game’s advertisers and you: get back to basics, do what you do well and good things will happen.

FOCUS: Listen & Respect! (v3n39)

Selected Life Lesson
Be a good listener!
-Barbara L. from Springfield, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
Last week’s lesson focused on love and how important it is not only to love yourself, but to honestly and completely love others. Pushing just a bit forward with the idea of
love is the concept of listening.

When you completely give of your time to someone, and silently listen (this means shutting off our habit of thinking about dinner and laundry and paying bills), you show not only that you care, but that you love and respect that person. It doesn’t really mean “love” in the general sense of that word, but love because that person has value.

You may be super busy and with spring just around the corner, life is bound to pick up for us all, but we all have time to listen. Has anyone reached out to you recently and you’ve forgotten to call or write them back? Time to get on it. If you’ve been on top of it, great! How can you go even further this week to show love and respect by listening?

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Ashley Campbell Shares Her Passion

Share Your Passions

2011 is all about being passionate.
We all are passionate about something.

In a new series here at Finding Focus, I will periodically interview someone who is living their passion. Our first video is from my friend from Kansas City, Ashley Campbell.

Share YOUR Passions too!

You can nominate yourself or someone else to do an interview, or, just post a video response to this video!