Jan 222012

Language can be extremely powerful. But using too much language is far less powerful than saying something simply and succinctly. We have all seen the corporate mission statement created by committee, which rambles for more than 30 words. Does any mission statement this wordy matter to employees? or customers? or shareholders? Does it change the organization’s actions and outlook?

Here’s an example from Delta Airlines:

We—Delta’s employees, customers, and community partners together form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.

I think more companies need to adopt a simplified mission like “Delight our Customers” rather than the run-on sentence.

I would like you to pick one word — just one word — that helps you envision a better you — and write that word everywhere.  Put your word on both sides of a business card that sits in the middle of your wallet. Put it on a neon index card that sits prominently on your desk. But another neon card with that the one word in your car where you will see it every day. Put cards with your one key word in your gym bag, on your nightstand, by the coffee maker, and on the bathroom counter. Make this one word your screen saver on your PC monitor and have it appear on your smartphone home screen too.

Then, live your life for the next six weeks, keeping that one word in the foreground and the background of your mind. Every conversation, every action needs to happen through the transparent lens of this one word. The word should impact most of the things that you will do. Take a few minutes to review how you are doing every time you see your word.

What word should you pick? Look over this list and find the one that matters to you right now, the one that will make an impact:

Know, Live, Be, Laugh, Restoration, Compassion, Abundance, Love, Generosity, Honesty, Create, Motivate, Dominate, Simplify, Inspire, Connect, Focus, Create, Smile, Lean, Zoom, Fearless, Connect, Grow, Excel, Understand, Connect, Empower, Build, Body, Write, Family, Direction, Joy, Learn, Grow, Live, Spearhead, Inspire, Ask, Receive, Slowly, Clarify, Athletic, Communicate, Expansion, Clarity, Passion, Focus, Delegate, Innovation, Collaboration, Gratitude, Authenticity, God, Action, Learn, Commit, Focus, Creativity, Stories, Communication, Courage, Trust, Embark, Focus, Manage, Initiate, Write, Finish, Deepen, Plan, Clear, Test, Construct, Celebrate, Momentum, Love, Intuition, Congruence, Forgive, Grandchildren, Write, Expand, Optimism, Vision, Innovation, Action, Perseverance, Well-being, Manifest, Discipline, Choose, Ask, Listen, Reflect, Believe, Seek, Achieve, Share, Simplify, Enjoy, Collaborate, Stretch, Optimism, Process, Balance, Believe, Celebrate, Study, Strengthen, Stretch, Less, Faith, Travel, Publish, Simplify, Listen, Dare, Immersion, Passion, Create, Motivate, Love, Minimize, Grow, Serve, Prepare, Pray, Adapt, Change, Sustain, Produce, Promote, Prosper, Ask, Listen, Move, Learn, Invest, Create, Connect, Story, Inspiration, Consistency, Growth, Over-Deliver, Fun, Revenue/Profit, Value, Results, Listen, Duty, Streamline, Profess, Evangelize, Productivity, Persistence, Prioritize, Show Up, Engage, Encourage, Discipline, Give, Learn, 100%, Connect, Collaborate, Co-Create, Focused, Ordered, Purpose, Effort, Focus, Growth, Simplify, Perseverance, Balance, Action, Think, Do, Review, Hope, Relationships, Content, Value, Ritual, Trust, Magic, Listen, Smart, Create, Commit, Concentrate, Complete, Plan, Focus, Follow-through, Build, Recurring, Revenue, Do, Learn, Share, Learn, Write, Edify, Create, Consistency, Call, Question, Meditate, Respond, Empathize, Inspire, Empower, Shape-up, Do, Limitations, Fearless, Invest, Presence, Strengthening, Stretching, Sustaining, Authentic, Journal, Present, In-Person, Reclamation, Learn, Teach, Grow, Create, Collaborate, Challenge, Focus, Create, Refine, Focus, Calm, Clarity, Sharing, Listen, Smart, Mission, Create, Likable, Ethical, Enhancing, Invite, Value, Ease, Begin, Live, Grow, Refocus, Improve, Do, Balance, Conclusion, Enlightenment, Commit, Challenge, Triumph, Listen, Follow-through, Self-Awareness, Condense, Play, Dedication, Belief, Stretch, Energy, Ownership, Delight, Finish, Strong, Challenge, Focus, Austerity, Build, Ship, Disrupt, Produce, Flow, Collaborate, Reach, Sleep, Wonder, Discover, Serve, Iterate, Reflect, Rebuild, Passion, Family, Write, Video, Skills, Help, Marriage, Focused, Strategy, Creative, Synchronicity, Study, Practice, Flow, Create, Courage, Move, Earn, Learn, 110%, Returns, Visible, Focus, Integrity, Altruism, Learn, Live, Work, Create, Listen, Focus, Action, Integrate, Explore, Beauty, Fulfill, Connect, Healthy, Thrive, Write, Plan, Space, Health, Teach, Connect, Create, Complete, Jump, Prioritize, Leverage, Prepare, Plan, Backup Plan, Commit, Discipline, Important, Present, Health, Reconstruct, Invest, Connect, Discipline, Graceful, Pray, Renew, Harmony, Promote, Patience, Initiative, Conversations, Discipline, Others, Potential, Image, Accelerate, Delve, Bloom, Focus, Learn, Thrive, Kids, Tranquility, Peace.

So, the word I will pick for myself for the next six weeks is “laugh” — laugh out loud like Eddie Murphy does — he knows how to really laugh.  As I have grow older and perhaps wiser (the jury is still out on this one), I find that I might smile, I might grin, I might get a twinkle in my eye, but I just don’t laugh out loud often. When I was 20, I knew how to laugh.

If you are wondering why one word for six weeks, its because six weeks is a great start when building a new habit.

What word will you pick?

I.M. Optimism Man

Jan 112012

There is a lot of books and articles preaching about what it takes to succeed in life — I add my words to that pile readily enough — but most of those words and formulas and methodologies forget that true success in not just about work.  Balance matters.

If you don’t stop and smell the roses with great regularity, you are in great risk of missing what life is all about. It does not make sense to work every minute of every day, relentless in the pursuit, to then “enjoy” the fruits of your labor when you are too old and too tired to play in earnest.

Do you work hard? Do you then have an “off” switch? Do you play hard? When is the last time you played around, completely carefree? Do you enjoy quiet moments of peace and tranquility in the sun, smartphone out of sight and out of mind? How often? Be honest with yourself…

When is the last time you went to a music festival? Had a few beers with really good friends? Played paintball? Read a book in a shady hammock? Ice skated at the Galleria? Fell in the deep powder of Utah’s slopes? Walked the dog because you wanted to? Had family game night without the T.V. on? Laughed out loud until your side hurt?

I’m as guilty as many others — my smartphone interrupts meals with the family, while I’m reading a good book, and during my kid’s soccer match. I look at my calendar and realize it has been way too long since my wife and I had a fun date night. I realize I must improve this equation, and realization is important. There is no time like the present.

My readers know I’m a freakish believer in planning my life on a calendar, ahead of living it — I believe your day is far more likely to turn out as you wish, if you design it ahead of time — and then taking notes on how I did in relation to my plans. I have learned that the human memory has convenient lapses when you don’t really want to know that you have not had a carefree fun event in weeks or months. But the calendar/paper/journal doesn’t lie — and facing reality does inspire a person to change their ways.

I’m going to improve on my “off” switch in 2012. I’m hoping you consider doing so too.

I.M. Optimism Man

Jan 092012

Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an three minute and thirty second video that gives you the answer to the question: What are the keys to success?

Do you have about four minutes to spare today to get the answer?

Success doesn’t take uncommon smarts. It does take optimism, good decisions, and decisive action.

If you like the video, check out Richard’s book on Amazon.

I.M. Optimism Man

Jan 042012

New Years Day is exciting. We wake up to a bright new outlook, a fresh new year to make extraordinary progress, to live better, to achieve great things.

This is a perfect time to set goals, to reassess our career, to make important changes, and to even decide to lose a few pounds. We live at an extraordinary time in a land of unlimited opportunities and unlimited freedom — what we do next is 100% up to us.

So why are we haunted by memories of resolutions and goals that we did not reach in the past? Why do less than 20% of people succeed at making positive changes based on goals and resolutions while more than 80% come up short? What can you decide today that will change this 80/20 equation in your favor in 2012 and beyond?

Its time to face the brutal truth. There are lots of reasons people succeed and fail, but one reason trumps all, by a wide margin: People who decide to be relentless, who refuse to give up, who have the tenacity — the burning all-in desire to succeed at something — are in fact, the ones that do succeed.

Do not set a goal unless you also decide to be relentless in its pursuit. Last week, I advised only setting and pursuing ONE great goal at a time. People with a burning desire adapt and overcome don’t let excuses hold them back and remain fully committed until the finish line.  People with a weak-hearted “wish” instead of a burning passion do not.

It really is that simple. You have to decide to be relentless. You have to believe you can succeed. You have to want it, really really bad! You have to be a burning optimist who believes anything is possible.

Happy New Years! Stay relentless my friends…

I.M. Optimism Man