5 Ways to Stop “Starting” and Just “Start”

November 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Productivity, Professional N*Powerment

We all do it. We put off our starting our exercise routine, organizing our closet, eating a healthier diet or fixing the zipper on our favorite pair of jeans; we continually delay finishing that project or starting something new with the phrase, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Yet, in the back of our minds, we know that if we put it off it won’t get done because it’s never tomorrow, it’s always today…. or never. Read more

Why Your Mindset Matters Most

October 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Goals and Dreams, Mind, Professional N*Powerment

What does it take to be successful?

Some would also say that success is a natural result of planning, preparation and focused action. I know because I would be one of them. However, there is another side to experiencing success that happens before any planning or preparation takes place on paper. It’s the planning and preparation that takes place in your mind. 

Have you ever wondered how two people can attempt the same objective in the same way and only one of them succeed?  Is it luck?  Timing?  Tenacity?  More often than not, it’s a person’s mindset that determines whether they fail or succeed.

What is a mindset? 

Typically a mindset refers to your predominant state of mind day to day.  It’s what you think about, focus on, and expect from your daily experiences.  If you think negatively, expect the worst, and feel pessimistic about your options, you’ll draw those negatives into your life.  Likewise, when you think positively, expect the best and focus on successful outcomes, you get more of that more often than not. The concept is summed up nicely in the quote, “You get what you expect.”

Makes sense, right?  But how exactly does this work?  Why is a success mindset so important?  There are three major reasons:

1)  A success mindset boosts your confidence and self-belief.

When you lack belief in who you are and your ability, it usually comes along with a sense of powerlessness and futility. This is a defeatist mindset. It is the exact opposite of a success mindset.  Lack of confidence means you see no point in trying to be successful or to accomplish something worthwhile because you think it won’t happen anyway.  This type of mindset is a recipe for failure in any endeavor because as they say, “If you think you can’t, you won’t.”

Having a truly positive mindset, on the other hand, means that you believe in yourself and your capabilities.  You believe you can succeed at nearly anything and you are at least willing to try.  Even better, you realize that the more you do try, the more confidence and self-belief you build.

2)  A success mindset strengthens your determination.

Without a mindset of success, one failure (in anything) is enough to convince you that pursuing any of your goals is a waste of time. If you don’t achieve your goal/s the first time you try, you rationalize that it simply wasn’t meant to be and you give up.

A success mindset, however, does not accept failure as the end of the story – it’s just one more way that didn’t work out the way you planned.  In fact, a true success mindset accepts that the only true failure occurs when you stop trying.

3)  A success mindset encourages fruitful actions.

Have you ever found yourself going around in circles or procrastinating because you didn’t know the best way to approach a specific goal?  Maybe you wanted to get started, but you felt overwhelmed or intimidated by some of the action steps required.  As a result, you may have kept sabotaging your efforts as you searched in vain for an easier or less frightening way attempt your goal.

With a true success mindset, you’ll be less intimidated to get started on your goals because you’ll accept that the only way to start is at the beginning—one step at a time. You’ll also have the inner confidence and determination to pursue them.

So, how do you develop a success mindset?  Here are 3 tips.

1) Harness the power of your mind by thinking positively.

Catch yourself when you find  yourself thinking negatively. You think the thoughts—think positive, powerful thoughts.

2) Expect the best in every situation.

If it doesn’t happen, reflect on what went wrong and then let it go and commit to trying again.

3) Be willing to fail.

Prepare to fail quickly. Learn what didn’t work from the failure and continue trying until you learn what does work. Ben Franklin didn’t discover electricity on his first try.

Keep moving in the right direction and you won’t help but become successful, from the inside out.

What do you think? What are your tips for developing a success mindset?  Leave them in the comment box below.

If you found this post helpful, please share it with a friend or two (or maybe even 3:)

My Top 3 Productivity Apps (Which Ones Keep You Sane?)

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Productivity, Professional N*Powerment

It’s been my first full week back at work and school and it has been hectic. It has definitely confirmed the fact that busy women on the go have to be on the ball– We need to know where we need to be and when, who we have to see, what we have to do or have with us and we need to be able to access this information in an instant. In the spirit of my first week back to school and work, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can further streamline my own personal productivity, so I thought I’d start by sharing the top 3 apps I use now to “keep it all together” and ask you to share yours.

 

  1. Google Calendar

I love Google calendar! It is my number one pick for keeping track of dates, appointments and reminders. One of the greatest things about it is I can access it on my phone and it syncs very quickly, so everything I put in it is always up to date. You can create calendars for different aspects of your life and even color code them (see mine below). This makes me happy because I used to be a strong advocate of using different calendars for different things and this app allows me to stick with that concept while allowing me to have the different calendars all under one “roof” (this was a huge problem in the day of paper calendars because sometimes they wouldn’t be in the same place and as we know, for any system to work, you have to have it when you need it). You can make your calendars public and share them with others (if you want) and you can integrate tasks and set up reminders as well. Another great thing about Google calendar is that it’s web-based, so it’s available from anywhere if you know your calendar address (just in case you forget your phone or ipad or whatever device you use to access it). The only downside of using Google calendar would be not having access to the Internet at all. However, in today’s world not having internet access at all would be a problem for so many other reasons that not having access to your calendar might seem miniscule in comparison. I hear that the folks at Google are working on an offline version. I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

  1. Vitalist

I don’t know what I would do without Vitalist. It is awesome. For big to-do-list makers (like me) it’s the equivalent of a giant chocolate bar to a candy freak. If you work on many different projects, Vitalist is the way to keep them all organized and humming along nicely. Vitalist allows you to list  all of your projects and all of the action steps you need to take to get them done. Simple, yet amazingly profound. There is nothing really spectacular about the layout or functionality of the app, but I just love it. It helps that it also works on my phone and is a web-based program as well. They have a free and premium subscription. I find the free subscription to be more than enough (and I work on several products at a time).Here’s a screenshot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Microsoft One Note

If you love using notebooks to write things down, you’ll love One Note! One note takes the idea of having a notebook for everything and just digitizes it. What makes this remarkable is the idea of having all of your notebooks available when you need them and wherever you are instead of several notebooks scattered all over the house. As a student, if you have several subjects that you are studying, you can create a notebook for each subject or you can create a “binder” for the semester and use different tabs for each course. It’s the same for work projects and personal notes. It’s really up to you and your own style of maintaining your notes. It took me a little while to come up with the best way for me to organize my notebooks, but I’ve found that I prefer to create one for each area of my life and then separate the inside with tabs instead of creating a new notebook. (Like physical notebooks, they too, can pile up quickly). You can sync your notebooks, share your notebooks, search them and update them every 3-5 minutes so losing information is virtually unheard of. You can add links, pictures, video, voice recording, email clips, print from it, email docs to yourself or to someone else. I use it for everything that I would otherwise write in an actual notebook (except for my personal journaling–which I do in a old fashioned notebook). However, I struggled with adding this app as my number three because there is a huge downside, but since I do use it all the time, it qualifies as one of the top three apps that keep me sane so I have to list it. The downside: it’s only available for PC (it’s Microsoft) and it’s not web-based so if you don’t have it installed on the device you are working on, you are out of luck. There is an iphone app for it, but I don’t have much luck with it so I stick to using it on my pc’s. It seems that One Note is not as popular “out there” because no one else that I know uses it.   I think it’s a “best kept secret” though because it really is a cool application and Microsoft should do more to promote it. I hope this plug helps it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it–my top 3 go-to apps. Which programs or applications do you use to keep you sane? Which ones keep you on your toes, on the ball and come highly recommended because you actually use them all the time? Share your top 3 with us in the comment box.

Big Girls Don’t Cry–On the Job!

Do you or your co-workers cry on the job? If so, you need to stop. I know first-hand that work (no matter what kind you do) can be very stressful and upsetting and that stress, for most women, can easily translate into an emotional meltdown. I’ve also had my share of upsetting events that brought on the tears and can tell you that crying at work is not cool. Some people say that it’s important to be “real” and that in today’s pro-female work environments it’s ok  for women to show vulnerability. I agree. In some circumstances you shouldn’t be afraid to show your vulnerability, and should put your emotions out there, but I don’t think the place for that is at work in the form of crying.

Crying over professional matters is perceived as weakness and you don’t want that to be how you are perceived at work.

Notice I said, “over professional matters.” That is a critical distinction because I’m not saying that you can’t cry over personal matters that may occur at work. Let me clarify. For example, if you just had your end-of-year review and it was less than satisfactory, DO NOT break down and start crying in front of your boss or even in front of your co-workers. Just suck it up  and keep it moving. Go back to your office, desk, or cubicle and start working on your improvement plan! If you must cry, go to the bathroom, shed all the tears you want, wash your face, fix your mascara and head back to work with your chin up. On the other hand, if you get a call that your dad collapsed in the shower and has been taken to the hospital and your first response is to burst into tears, by all means go right ahead! If your co-workers surprise you with a birthday party or a baby shower, go ahead and shed a few tears of joy.  No one would fault you for that. (if they do, you work with cyborgs) However, they will fault you if every time they turn around you are crying over something or crying over nothing.

Yes, there are some very sensitive types who cry at the drop of a hat. I must admit, I’m one of them. I am the first to cry at sad scenes  or even very happy scenes in movies or books. I will cry during long good-byes.  I can and have cried simply because someone else is crying and I empathize with them.  However, I have learned that my extra-sensitive side has to be kept under wraps at work.

There are two reactions that people have towards criers at work: They pity them and think they are “cute” (as in puppy dog or kitty cat cute) and they think “Aww, poor Sarah. She’s always crying. She’s so emotional/sensitive/etc.” or they find criers extremely annoying. They think, “Good grief, there goes Sarah again. She’s always crying. She needs to grow up!” In either case, crying at work  is interpreted as a cry for attention (pun intended) and not exactly as flattering behavior..

The bottom line is that criers are not taken seriously. Is this a fair assessment? No? Not at all. Like I said, I cry easily too,  but as they say, a bit too often nowadays, “it is what it is” and unless you don’t want to be taken seriously at work, you’ll have to keep your tears in check.

What to do when you can’t hold it in

If you are in the middle of a workplace meeting or an occasion where coworkers are present when you feel the waterworks welling up, take a breath and excuse yourself to regain your composure and then attempt to address the situation without crying. If you can’t leave unnoticed, acknowledge that you feel very strongly about whatever the issue is and ask that you be excused. If you cannot rejoin the conversation without breaking down, don’t. Do so only if you can without crying.

Can you be emotional at work?  Absolutely! Women are emotional beings and I don’t advocate “acting like a man.” You can show your softer side. Just do it without the tears.

 

Have you ever cried at work? What happened? How  do you feel about crying at work? Let us know in the comment box below. No time to leave a comment? Please share, tweet and like this post–only if you did, of course=)

 

 

 

Keep Your Pants Up–You’re Hurting My Eyes!

I cannot wait for the fad of sagging pants to go out of style. I am so sick of seeing guys wearing their pants around their behinds and walking like penguins just to show off their underwear. Additionally, I am equally as sick of seeing women walking around exposing their butt cracks to all mankind. Read more

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