Thursday, 17 November 2011

10 Ways to Change the Way You Think

Here are 10 ways to shift your persepctives on life, to change the way you think:
  1. Take a different route - look for a different path to the same destination. Whether you're on a walk in the woods, or taking the bus to work, try exploring another route to give you some new ideas and insights into your environment 
  2.  Play the other's role, walk a mile in your enemy's moccassins - set your own opinions aside for a moment, and look at the same situation through another's eyes, try to see and feel what they are seeing and feeling. It doesn't matter whether you are arguing, or simply exchanging ideas, looking at a problem or question from someone else's perspective leads to a much greater understanding
  3. Notice your unloving thoughts, judgments and limiting beliefs - "I am too fat", "I can't...", "she's too pretty to notice me" "he's a freak" Change those negative thinking patterns to positives: "I look better and better every day", "I can...where there's a will, there's a way", " she is so lovely, somehow I intend to get to know her", "wow, now doesn't he look like an interesting fellow". It is awesome how shifting from a negative to a positive perspective starts attracting a lot more positives in your life - and makes you feel a lot better.
  4. Clear out the old - make room for new energy and new ideas by cleaning out the basement, the garage, closets, drawers, files. Clearing the clutter from our physical spaces is tantamount to clearing the clutter from your mind and heart. Just as we burden ourselves with old stuff that we don't need anymore, we burden our souls with thoughts and feelings that are old, no longer serving us. Tackling a clean-up in your living and working places, also clears and opens YOU.
  5. Change your routine, your daily schedule - evaluate your priorities, decide what's important in your life, then change your daily routines to allow you to focus on the priorities. Example, a client is a single parent of three young children and needs to work to support them. She is a loving Mom with great skills and a good job that she can manage on her own time from home. Yet I am often mystified at how frequently she gets lost in tasks that have nothing to do with making an income or caring for her family - and then suddenly notices that the gas is about to be cut off. If this woman would make the simple change of daily deciding what is important in terms of her family and income, she would make different choices about how to best allot her time in the day - and would not have to worry about the gas being cut off. Knowing your priorities, what's important to you, changes the way you think about using your resources, including your time.
  6. Notice your language - change your words, the way you express your thoughts and feelings and lo and behold, you change the energy around you. If I use a negative statement like "you can't do that because it's not safe", chances are I will be disputed, and the person I am trying to protect may even choose to take on the dangerous task, just to prove me wrong. But if I ask instead "how will you protect yourself in this job, it seems a little scary?" or "have you tested the safety harnesses?" this person will be far more thoughtful about the job, and will likely complete it successfully. Language is a powerful tool in changing the way we think - and also the way others react to us!
  7. Choose to be happy - be the source of your happiness, as opposed to expecting it to come through someone or something else. Happy people attract more happy people - and also happy circumstances in life. Being happy from moment to moment is about choosing to focus on what is good in your life and work - and setting the negatives aside. Taking time to smell the flowers, refusing to let the little disappointments take you down keeps your vibrational frequency high and makes it a lot easier to see solutions when you are presented with a problem.
  8. Meditate and pray frequently - send requests, as well as gratitude, loving thoughts and feelings through prayer; receive new ideas and inspiration through meditation. Prayer and meditation are essential parts of anyone's daily routine because they keep us connected to our souls and our Source. And through these connections we can open ourselves to new and more expansive thinking processes.
  9. Simplify, self-edit, seek clarity - apply the KISS principle in all you think, feel, say and do. An extremely intelligent client regularly calls me in a panic about a decision that he's seriously complicated with so many factors and future potentials that he is, of course, stuck, doesn't know what to do. Typically, I have to cut him off in the midst of his tale of woes to ask, "what's really relevant here?". I then go through the process of eliminating the fuzzy elements in his thinking, asking him to make it simple for me. Within a few minutes, he will see that while some of his concerns might be relevant down the road, they are not now and can be dealt with separately when and if they come up in the future. Invariably, he gets off the phone with a new sense of clarity and is able to easily make the right decision. Simplifying, whether in the way we live, or the way we analyze a problem, changes our perspective, and produces clarity.
  10. SMILE - smiling has a physical effect on the brain - and yes, also on the way we think. I called my psychologist sister one night, in some real personal distress about some family problems. She listened for a few minutes and then stopped me with the words "smile, smile, smile, whether you feel like it or not." Then she explained the physical effects of smiling, how it uplifts you by releasing some "happy hormones" in you... and these change your perspective on the problem at hand. I tried it, smiling like an idiot while I did the dishes, typed at the computer, talked to my friends - it worked... the family problems resolved themselves gently over the next few weeks. Smiling while you're talking on the phone actually comes through to the listener in your tone of voice; smiling while you deliver a needed reprimand makes it easier for the correction to be received; smiling while you work makes the work seem more enjoyable... and it all adds up to a change in the way you think about yourself and your world. That expression "fake it, 'til you make it" has real merit.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success


Steve Jobs' impact on your life cannot be overestimated. His innovations have likely touched nearly every aspect -- computers, movies, music and mobile. As a communications coach, I learned from Jobs that a presentation can, indeed, inspire. For entrepreneurs, Jobs' greatest legacy is the set of principles that drove his success.
Over the years, I've become a student of sorts of Jobs' career and life. Here's my take on the rules and values underpinning his success. Any of us can adopt them to unleash our "inner Steve Jobs."

1. Do what you love. Jobs once said, "People with passion can change the world for the better." Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, "I'd get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about." That's how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.

2. Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, "Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?" Don't lose sight of the big vision.

3. Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn't have any practical use in his life -- until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to India and Asia. He studied design and hospitality. Don't live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.

4. Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the "A-Team" on each product. What are you saying "no" to?  

5. Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?

6. Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can't communicate your ideas, it doesn't matter. Jobs was the world's greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.

7. Sell dreams, not products. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It's so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don't care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you'll win them over.
There's one story that I think sums up Jobs' career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that's the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.