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jack canfield

The Speed of Success

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The Speed of Success

We all have goals we want to achieve, and some taking much longer than others makes life seem totally unfair at times. Why is it so easy to gain 5 pounds, but then it takes a month to get 'em off again? Running your own business, how come you're networking your heart out, and still can't seem to land that first big account? In times of doubt and frustration, instead of changing goals, a change in approach can be just the ticket.

Here's what I read in Jack Canfield's newsletter recently, he talks about basically becoming aware of negative thought patterns, paying attention to the good stuff you already have in your life, and taking responsibility for your life by taking action and committing to continued action, even if it's in the smallest of increments:

When Success is Slow, What Can You Do? by Jack Canfield

Pop Quiz: Can success be sped up? Is there an antidote to slow outcomes despite arduous planning and actions taken? What's the secret for seeing huge results right now?!

I get versions of these questions frequently from people who feel frustrated at sluggish progress in their success journey - despite all the know-how and principles they rigorously employ.

Let's get one thing straight...

When we admire someone's success, or even our own, we often focus on the end result and not so much on the effort (and time) that it took to get there. This can cultivate unrealistic expectations, especially the idea that overnight success can happen through careful strategy and an execution of sound advice.

The truth be told, success typically follows a series of little events and achievements that can seem to take an eternity, that include a few disappointments along the way, and that challenge everything about you to the core - your stamina, courage, integrity, and even your willingness to keep going.

If you focus on what's not working, guess what: You're likely coming from a place of aggravation as your mind wraps around all that is wrong.

You may even have negative thoughts like "I'm not good enough," "It will never work," or "Something must be wrong with me."

What this mentally does is engender more of these counter-productive feelings. And given what we know about the Law of Attraction, you attract what you are feeling. So negative experiences, people, and results will beget more negative experience, people, and results. There's not much success in that.

The key, then, is to focus on what IS working. To do so, I recommend two simple practices: journaling and meditation.

Maintaining a journal (I call it an Evidence Log, Results Journal, or Gratitude Journal) is a great way to steer your attention to the positive and continually renew your vision for yourself.

Start each day with reflections on what you are grateful for in your life (list them out!) and end each day with notes on what went right (again, write them down), however small they may seem.

Spend time each day in quiet contemplation, prayer or meditation.

Meditation can be powerful tool for arriving at solutions to problems and shifting your attitude so you can attract success sooner rather than later. The magic of meditation is its ability to essentially shut down the outer layer of your judgmental, highly-critical brain and allow your unconscious mind to take over. This is where you enter a deeper state of inner peace and joy, tapping into a higher level of creativity that will help usher in the results you want. (Don't know how to meditate? Lots of books and materials are available to guide you this practice. It's easier than you think. )

Let's say you're doing ALL these things, but you still aren't happy with your results...

I'll ask you then, are you taking real ACTION?

You may be taking the actions you are used to taking. But if you keep doing what you've already done, then you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. It's a matter of practicing some new behaviors. Shake things up a bit and see if you can take new actions or modify existing ones.

Remember the Rule of 5.

Every day do five specific things that take you toward your goal. Change up the five actions regularly and be open to feedback so you know when you're off course.

Lastly, I want to remind you about patience.

It's natural to underestimate how long a certain goal can take, especially a profound one. When I set a goal to become a millionaire the year was 1983. How long did it take? Eleven years. It took time for Chicken Soup for the Soul to hit the bestseller lists. You could say our tenure on the New York Times list was more than a decade in the making. That's a lot of patience for someone who initially wanted overnight success.

So, yes, patience is a virtue. But keep at it, and in no time, you'll be only one week, or one day away from your ultimate success.

Remember... be grateful, reflect on what IS working and continue to take ACTION!

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

I'd like to leave you with these thoughts: people have to work hard to make something look easy, and there's no such thing as overnight success. In fact, Chris Guillebeau even wrote a great manifesto about the fact. If you believe in what you do, please don't be put off by roadblocks or circumstances that seem to constantly test your commitment, because that's their job. It's your job to stick with it and not deprive the world of your dream.

Image by Brenda Starr, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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How's that working for you?

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How's that working for you?

One of my main take-aways from Jack Canfield's The Success Principles workshop is,

"Everything we want (to have, do, or be) is on the other side of awkward."

If it weren't, we'd already have, do, or be it.

The warm-up slides already had me sitting up a little straighter when they proclaimed:

"It's time to stop waiting for perfection - permission - someone else to change."

That spoke to me, because I love things to be perfect, tend to ask other people's opinions and wish for their approval, and yeah, if other people just changed, that'd be much easier for me, thankyouverymuch. So, what, now I paid good money to be told to stop doing all three? Huh!

I had read his big white book about the 64 success principles that can be applied for any goal, so I knew what he was talking about when he started with Principle #1: E+R=O. We can't change the event, we can only change our response, and in the end that's what makes the difference to the outcome. You can get mad at the traffic jam and have your day ruined, or you can see it as a chance to listen to a couple extra chapters on your audio-book and continue to have a nice day. Your choice.

Jack also refers to this as taking responsibility for your life, and many people - myself included - have one or more issues with that, for mainly this one reason:

Taking full responsibility means we either attract, promote, or allow everything that happens to us. Including cancer, robberies, and the holocaust. Everything. I don't know how to feel about that one, but it is true that some people were able to extract meaning even from the holocaust, see Victor E. Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning" (I wrote about that one before, here).

In other words, taking complete responsibility for your response to any event is something nobody can take away from you. Even if they put a gun to your head and the choice seems awful, you always have a choice. This is where we did an exercise replacing the word "can't" by "won't." For example, "I can't be a millionaire while my kids are still in school" becomes "I won't be a millionaire while my kids are still in school."

Getting awkward yet?

The subtitle of Jack's big white book is, "How to get from where you are to where you want to be." If you like where you are, read no further. If you have a goal or something's not working for you, better get ready to

dealing with awkward.

Think about what it is that you want to have, do, or be.

  • What's keeping you from it?
  • Which steps do you have to take?
  • Can you break them down into tiny little non-scary baby steps?

Chances are you can, but there'll still be one little action that scares the bejeezus out of you. It might be the very first one, it might happen somewhere down the line.

First, think about past successes. Remind yourself how awesome you are and what you've achieved in your life already.

Then, visualize you doing the step you need to do. What's the worst that could happen? I want you to visualize that, too. The absolute worst. Go to the most extreme, and then the most absurd, "if I tell him I want a raise, he'll spontaneously combust into a gorilla and fart bananas!"

Did that ease the tension? You're still alive, you've taken the step, you've done it!

Now, deal with it. Find a mental picture to overlay the worst reaction and practice staying in the moment and calmly finishing what you need to do. If you can stay calm and cheerful in the face of a banana-farting gorilla, surely you can take on a raised eye-brow or questions from your boss / spouse / sister. Don't forget to celebrate this event, too, because wouldn't you know it - you've successfully managed and surpassed another stage of awkward.

Keeping the eye on the prize throughout has been helpful for keeping up motivation during longer projects. Remember why it is that you want to get away from where you are and towards where you want to be. Let the allure pull you. More tips on goal setting here, here, and here.

Thank you for sharing your awkward and how you overcame it below - your story will inspire others!

Image by Tambako The Jaguar, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

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Goal-setting exercises

jc tsp book image"Bring Me Your Biggest Goals for 2010, and I'll Spend One Powerful Day Helping You Master the Proven Success Principles Needed to Achieve Them" That's Jack Canfield's promise for his The Success Principles Workshop, happening in Dallas on February 27th, 2010. If you're reading this today, that's where you can find me. His statement reminded me a little bit of the poem inscribed in the Statue of Liberty,

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I look forward to finding out how many others I'll meet there,

your motivated, your ambitious, eager masses yearning to find happiness and success, the optimistic entrepreneurs of the world. The students who are ready for their teacher, to support them and help unlock the golden door!

:-) Yes, you may quote, but remember to say where you found this masterpiece. ;-)

If big groups of people drain your energy or you can't travel to one of his workshop destinations but would still like some help and guidance to keep you accountable, check out this website for lots of free resources. Your library should also have a copy of his book, and no, I'm not receiving any royalties for endorsing him. I'm not even sure I agree with everything he stands for, especially the whole Law of Attraction stuff. However, I know that a) I'm an extravert who gets energized by people, and b) I set more realistic goals for every area in my life using a coach and sounding board. Doing those exercises in a room full of like-minded people is therefore right up my alley.

I'll let you know how it all went next week. Til then, have a good one!

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Are you on Twitter yet?

twitter_bird_logo_by_ipotionI have mentioned my twitter updates before, and have now been told that just because someone is online reading blogs like this one doesn't mean they automatically have any idea of what I was talking about. In the words of Mel Gibson in Braveheart, "that is something we shall have to remedy, then." The premise of Twitter as I understand it is having a platform to communicate with like-minded people, sharing thoughts, business advice, promotions, recipes, links - whatever you wish, in the box called "What are you doing?" (see below)

Unlike when writing a blog, where you have unlimited space to give words to your thoughts and feelings, a so-called tweet is of 140 characters maximum (and believe me, those run out fast). This makes sharing your thoughts quick, concise, and to the point.

Kind of like a blog where you can allow readers to register with you and receive automatic update reports, twitter users may choose to "follow" you, i.e. see your updates on their twitter homepage. Likewise, when you decide to follow someone, their updates will make up the entries on your homepage (I've attached a screenshot of mine as an example).

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 10.20.55 AM.png

As you'll see in the upper right-hand corner, I currently follow 199 people (who send multiple updates every day, so no, I don't read every single one of them), and 245 people currently follow me. I have sent 904 tweets (that's what they call the updates) by the date this screenshot was taken.

"Home" is where I see the tweets of those I follow, i.e. the above screenshot. Below where it says "@deesbtlyw" I can click on there to see who has mentioned me. When a tweet begins with @ it is usually a reply to one of that person's tweets (example screenshot below), whereas "RT" is short for "retweet" and means you've read this somewhere and thought it was so great that you want to share it with your followers, too. This is frequently used when you're praised by someone else, so an easy way to share short testimonials.

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 10.30.29 AM.png

There is also the possibility to send direct, private messages, that do not appear in the public stream. Those are like emails, but again limited to 140 characters. Under "Favorites" you may earmark special tweets for easy finding. You will be familiar with the "Search" function, it does what it says, and below are "Trending Topics." Those are topics that the majority of twitterers are tweeting about, hot topics (on September 15th) are Patrick Swayze's death, you can imagine what that board looked like when Michael Jackson died, and I see Kanye West is still getting talked about after his outburst on the MTV awards on Sunday.

What's all this good for, then, except a bunch of self-involved eejits blabbering about what they had for dinner? Well, glad you asked! I can't speak for everyone, but I use this and other online media to introduce myself to potential clients. Some of you who read this blog may never want to hire my services, but if there is a person out there who would like to have the experience of coaching, be it in an expatriate or national lifestyle setting, I'm hoping they'll remember that I'm here and offer just that. By updating this blog and my twitter page, people have the chance to get to know me and read a bit about what's important to me in life. And that gives great clues as to what my philosophy is, and whether we'd click if we ever met. Coaching is a process that requires so much trust and respect, you see, that being on the same wavelength is a tremendous help. When people find me and contact me for coaching after having read my blog and twitter updates, I know that some form of pre-selection has already taken place. Because if you don't like what you read, you won't contact me, and that saves me from having a bad testimonial. Pretty nifty, right?

Still, Twitter is also a great way to spend time and stay ahead of the loop when it comes to e.g. Hollywood gossip. There are a number of celebrities online, and you can search for their names or directly type their twitter account addresses into your browser and hear what's happening from the horse's mouth. Many also share photos, and I think it's a great way for the ones who feel like sharing to get the truth (or at least their version of events) out there. We all know not all tabloid reporting can be trusted. Of course there's George Clooney, who allegedly decided he'd rather have a prostate exam on live TV by a man with really cold hands than a facebook page, so I'm guessing twitter is out for him, too. But here are some of his more tech-friendly and less trepidatious (is that a word or isn't it?) colleagues: http://twitter.com/J_Canfield, http://twitter.com/StephenTColbert, http://twitter.com/gretchenrubin, http://twitter.com/KevinSpacey, http://twitter.com/NiaVardalos, http://twitter.com/richardbranson, http://twitter.com/aplusk, http://twitter.com/mrskutcher, http://twitter.com/oprah and the list goes on.

That's it, in a nutshell! :-) You may view my updates here: http://twitter.com/deesbtlyw, and whenever you're ready to create an account, let me know your address, and we'll be connected. I'd like that.

Til next week, have a good one! Thanks to iPotion for the image.

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Luck be a Lady

Or is it?

Up to which point do you influence, take responsibility for, and decide your own life?

Thank you dimensionsdesign for the free image.

If you wanted to question luck, that dialogue could go something like this: "So, I finally got that promotion yesterday, and I feel so very very lucky!" - "Oh, really? Congratulations! But, wasn't that long overdue? I mean, you did work pretty hard at your job plus you managed that last project really well, everybody noticed your potential."

I think in most cases luck is the point where preparation, opportunity, and timing meet. You prepare yourself and your work-ethic to be eligible and on the radar for promotion. At the same time, your boss has to agree that your efforts are better than anyone else's, the budget has to fit, and there has to be a position for you to move up into. Looks like you cannot have complete control over all the deciding factors of the outcome which would invite attributing the outcome to "luck", but arguably, the things you do control play the biggest part. Now, even more interesting is looking at how you react when things don't go your way.

For instance, if your efforts are ignored and someone else is promoted (married/wins the lottery/loses weight) instead, a) do you feel unlucky, point fingers and blame what- or whomever, and leave the company in the dramatic manner of your choosing, b) consider it a reflection of your bosses preference / general circumstances / that job wasn't meant for you after all-destiny, or c) do you hang in there and wait your turn?

You might have heard about "The Secret" and the "Law of Attraction" (Esther Hicks / Jack Canfield) which at first glance sound like wishing for things makes them come true. If that really worked, why not all go out and buy lottery tickets or have that second helping of cheesecake then? Because it's not that easy: you have to send the positively articulated wish into the universe, affirm your belief that you deserve what you wish to attract, visualize it frequently, and act as if your wish is already a reality (without running into debt or stalking your favorite celebrity [call me, Leo!]).

"I've been doing that for ages yet I still don't fit into my skinny jeans!" I hear you lament. True, because even affirmations, visualizations, and acting as if cannot replace the actual doing. They make you feel better while you are waiting for your goal to materialize, but the necessary preparation still includes elbow-grease, making decisions, and taking physical action. That means going out if you want to meet someone, eating right and exercising if you want to lose weight, and putting in the hours or getting the obligatory  qualifications for that job.

Alright then, what about gambling? Surely it's pure luck which way the dice fall or what high card is dealt next? Maybe. Except cards can be counted, tables can be manipulated, and people are way too complex to be predictable, plus they have their own minds to make decisions with. "The house always wins" isn't just an empty phrase, you know. But alright, let me ask you this: do you really feel comfortable with letting a card/dog/football team decide whether your kids go to college or you retire happily? Make no mistake, there's no judgment here, just a gentle nudge towards using appropriate stakes, I guess. If you don't mind losing what you put in, go right ahead, I'm sure it's fun. Just remember that it is your decision to put yourself in that position and gamble in the first place, so again, my opinion? Luck has nothing to do with it. I'm quite prepared to believe what I've heard in a few places now that the majority of millionaires aren't filmstars or lottery winners, but regular folk who steadily put away small amounts and successfully invested their savings.

To sum up, I guess what I'm advocating here is to always wish and hope for the best, and to do everything in your power to make it easier and more likely for the best to happen. There are things beyond your control, but there's no need to let them ru(i)n your life. You have the powers of reasoning and common sense at your disposal. Use them. And if things don't turn out the way you want, you have an option d): reassess the goal, if you still really want to achieve it but at first don't succeed, ask the right people for feedback, adjust your behavior, and try again.

Til next time!

PS: for those who have been hit hard by the current economic crisis, this video probably won't cheer you up, but its foresight is scary interesting.

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