FOCUS: Baby Steps! (v2n19)

This Week’s Lesson
You can change anything in your life that you want to by taking baby steps.
-Anonymous’ life lesson from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Measure twice, cut once. Think then do. Those are all sayings about doing things and doing them right. Those all go without saying. But it’s also said that anything worth doing takes time. Sometimes that time is a few hours or it can even take a lifetime.

So let’s just say you have a goal that could take you years… how do you remain motivated for that? Is it just the drive, the dream that keeps you going? I recently wrote about this on my blog in a post titled: “Celebrate Your Successes” and in it I drive home the importance of celebrating those baby steps and how important doing that can be to your overall quest. In writing my book, “Anything is Possible,” I had to celebrate the small successes. Now going through the editing stages, it’s vitally important to do that. If I didn’t, I think I’d go crazy.

For you I’m going to look at this two ways. First if you have a long-term goal you’re going towards, what baby step can you focus on for the next week? Since it’s just a baby step, don’t make it too hard. On the other hand, if you don’t have a long-term goal set out at the moment, what have you always wanted to do but haven’t started because of the effort or time it will take? That’s your baby step for the next week… start doing something about it. Last week’s lesson was about living for today, so lets get to it!

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Do It Because It’s Hard

Last month the United States and the world celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the American landing on the Moon. It was exciting once again to read about the journey to our moon, the struggles, the victories and everything that came from that mission and the missions to come.

For some of you, it is a moment in time you will never forget. It’s one of those moments where you’ll remember where you were and who you were with. My first moment like that is the first Gulf War, Somalia and the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase.

On July 20 this year, I found this clip on YouTube of President Kennedy’s speech where he said we were going to go to the moon in this decade. “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone [...]”

What would your speech sound like? What are you going to commit to doing because it is hard, but worth doing? Anything in life that you want, that is a dream, but is hard, is worth doing. I wish you luck on your journey!

Put Your Dream to the Test

(This is a book review of John C. Maxwell’s “Put Your Dream to the Test.” I am part of their blogger book review team.)

I’ve read a lot of leadership and personal development books over the past ten years and more recently blogs. While reading and surfing the internet I find a lot of fluff out there, but this book by Maxwell is, in my opinion, his best work.

The book is broken up into ten questions the reader must ask of their own dreams. As I was reading through it and answering the questions Maxwell poses throughout the book, I was being pushed to articulate my dream in be specific terms, but also to challenge my commitment to my own dream.

The questions stem around passion and commitment and clarity. The stories themselves are inspiring to go after my dreams even more, but it is the questions throughout the text that hits home.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking the time after each chapter to reflect on the questions posed and the challenges to my own thinking. I will definitely be using these reflections as I do my goal setting for 2010 and beyond.

The underlying value for me stems from the clarity question; do I really know what I want? Maxwell believes it is beyond important and almost paramount in the path to success for you to know your dream forwards and backwards before it can be possible. Two thumbs up!

FOCUS: Don’t Quit! (v2n15)

This Week’s Lesson
I was fishing with my friend and he was impatiently tired. We were there for two hours and had nothing to show for it. About the time he was ready to leave, I felt a tug and pulled out a giant fish.
-Drew H’s life lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Richard’s Thoughts…
This week’s lesson comes from one of the students I had the great fortune of speaking to at the end of July at the Raven Leadership Camp in Olathe, Kansas. I love the picture of this lesson: guys fishing, not catching anything, ready to quit.

That symbolism translates perfectly into our lives today. Dreams are really hard to achieve and goals help us along the way, but there are times when the dream seems so far away, so hard, so much more work and many more obstacles that it seems easier to simply lay down the fishing rod and move on–and quit.

If you’re near the quitting stage on something in your life, take a pause today and think about something for me. Instead of quitting the dream or the chase, can you modify it? Can you change the deadline? Can you add smaller goals in between to make it a more step-by-step process. Don’t quit on something you’re passionate about. Maybe all you need is to change the bait at the end of the line and toss it back in the water and see what happens. Who knows… maybe you’ll catch your dream!

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Celebrate Your Successes

I want to revisit my previous post about setting tough goals. I’m hoping you’ve been able to think of your own goals by now and if they reflect realistic or tough, audacious goals.

What I really want to impress upon you is that a benefit of setting tougher goals that you may not achieve, is that the journey will push you to work harder than a realistic goal will. Better than that, along the way, you’ll be able to have mini-celebrations of the successes along the way.

Having the ability to track my path to 275 miles has been a really exciting and motivating adventure. I use Nike+ and it’s helped me keep on my goal. In fact, I am 10 miles ahead of my goal pace.

If you haven’t done it yet, take one of your realistic goals and stretch it a little bit and then make the guideposts, the mini-goals in between. Push yourself harder and the celebration and results will be better than you imagined.

(Flickr image via pulpolux)

Set an Audacious Goal

Running Chart July 2009I love reading other blogs (you can see some of my favorites in the listing on the left) and sometimes I am inspired by other writers and websites. The other day I clicked on a link to a goal-setting website that promised to help members of the site set “realistic goals.”

I left the home page up for a few minutes thinking about what “realistic goals” means to me. I set some pretty hard goals for myself.

In fact, just to prove my point, of the six professional goals I set in 2008, I only achieved two of them. Likewise for the five personal goals I set last year, I only achieved three of the goals. I set hard goals to push myself.

This year, I set nine professional and five personal goals. One of the personal goals is to run 275 miles this year. I’m beyond thrilled that I’m still on pace to meet that goal because it is beyond any running I have ever done. I’m already thinking about how I can push myself next year.

But that’s why I set tough goals; they are meant to push. They are meant to make you work hard. If they are realistic, what’s the point? If my goal was to run 100 miles in 2009, that would probably be pretty easy for most people (that’s less than 10 miles a month!)

Instead, set hard, audacious goals… they may be harder to achieve and you may not achieve the final goal as much, but you’ll be much better for it.

All-Star Break

Well, this is the last day without any baseball until the Fall Classic crowns the 2009 baseball champion. The All-Star Break is always a fun and relaxing moment for players and fans. Growing up, the All-Star game was always fun to watch because I loved a lot of the guys playing and it meant the baseball season had reached the half-way point.

When it comes to you and your life, you’re the best and you should be treated as such. When was the last time you took a break for you? Better yet, when was the last time you celebrated reaching the half-way point of a project or a goal?

Are you training to run a marathon? Well, in that training, you should celebrate reaching 13.15 miles!

Are you trying to write a novel? When you finish a short-story, celebrate it!

Are you trying to find a job? Celebrate successes in interviews and keep learning so you can reach your goal of finding your dream job!

It’s important to recognize the small successes along the way towards the bigger goals. By taking the time and energy to stop for even a moment and recognize the progress you’ve made, it can help you re-energize for the next push.

Next time you reach a small milestone, celebrate it. A special cup of coffee. A cake with sprinkles! Send balloons to yourself or your team. Celebrate your successes!
(image via Flickr Ficken)

FOCUS: You Can! (v2n11)

This Week’s Lesson
Don’t say you can’t do something until you’ve tried.
-Linda A’s life lesson from Kansas City, Mo.

Richard’s Thoughts…
Whether you’re a fan of the band Journey or not, I’m sure you’ve heard the song: “Don’t Stop Believing.” It’s a great motivator when you’re down and need a musical pick-me-up. It’s always tough doing something you’re nervous and unsure about. It’s especially tough when you’re 24 years old and trying something for the first time.

In March of 2008 I was giving a workshop at the Beyond Rubies Women’s Conference at Kirkwood Community College and I had a picture of a flower as the background on one of my slides. Then I spoke about how I’d recently started painting. If you’ve heard me speak, you know part of my message is focused around helping you believe that with your passions, anything is possible! Well, as luck would have it, a woman spoke up and said, “You should paint that.” Sadly, I laughed at her and said I couldn’t.

On my drive home I realized what I’d done and made a vow that the next time I presented at Kirkwood I would have a paiting of that flower to prove I could do it! Not only did I do it, but this weekend I am showing some of my photography and paintings in a local art show here in Kansas City! And one of the paintings I am showing is this flower. I just wanted to share that story with you to help you focus your energy on your passions to not only help you believe anything is possible, but also, remind you that if you want to do something – you can! Don’t stop yourself and don’t stop believing!

The Beginning Painting

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FOCUS: Embrace Change (v2n10)

This Week’s Lesson
Change is going to happen whether I embrace it or fear it. It’s a lot easier to embrace it.
-Sue P’s life lesson from Cedar Falls, Iowa

Richard’s Thoughts…
If you’re reading this Thursday morning, I’m under the knife undergoing some changes. If you’re reading this later in the day, the change is complete, but I’m probably not coherent enough to talk about it… or talk at all! (just an fyi, I’m having my wisdom teeth taken out!) But it was time for change and so for some unknown reason, I chose to get four teeth taken out.

I will be better for it and so will you! No no no… I’m not suggesting you schedule to have yours out! I do ask for you to look at something in your life you’ve been wanting and maybe even pining to change but you constantly stop yourself and make excuses as to why you’re not making the needed changes. It’s time you start to embrace change!

Last week I mentioned I had reached the two year mark for my company and while I still have a lot of goals I haven’t achieved with this venture, I continue to change how I’m going to get there. (I bet you didn’t know the name for my first year was Winglight Productions?) I loved it, but I needed to make the change to make business easier. Each of us has simple changes we can make to help us achieve our goals or eliminate stress. What change can you embrace today? Who knows… you may even find new happiness, or joys, or love or just a relaxing evening! Good luck!

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Can’t Lose

It’s a pretty simple concept: when you’re passionate about something and you put your heart and soul into it, good things happen. Sometimes they aren’t the things that are originally planned, but good things come to those who are have a clear vision and give their full energy to it.

Running for mayor was like that for me. I have and still do love politics and the political process very much. I still have political goals that I hope to accomplish, but running for office has allowed me to start my training and development company.

I’ve had a passion for public speaking since I was in high school. I used that during the campaign and then when I was involved in competitive speech tournaments in college. From there I’ve come here. I’ve had an amazing two years of growing my training operations and I can’t wait to see where the next two years takes me.

When you have “Clear Eyes” for what your passions are, “Full Hearts” to put your whole weight behind the passions, you “Can’t Lose.”

(photo courtesy of justaslice)