I was thinking back the other day about this big "Rah, Rah!" motivational conference which I dragged my ever-such-a-good- sport husband to about 7 years ago. It was hosted by motivational speaker extraordinaire Anthony Robbins (the guy with the big white teeth). I admit, much of it was coated in thick cheddar cheese, a bit over the top for my tastes, but sitting here thinking about it today, I realize how well that money was spent and I'll tell you why.
We heard from a "who's who" list of business leaders and motivational speakers. We paid a couple hundreds for dollars for the day and laughed that out the hours of speakers we heard from, we could really only remember three things. I remembered hearing an audible click in my brain when I heard these three things. I reinforced those ideas by immediately putting them into practice. Come to think of it, I couldn't put a price on the three sentences that stuck with me from our day "motivational day". When I meet a stranger on a plane, when I read a new book, or watch an Oprah, I'm always hoping to take away one new perspective. Three is a lot. Sometimes just a single word can improve your life....more on that in a future blog. Allow me to give you the cliff note version of what I took away from that day 7 years ago.
1. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION:
Donald Trump was there. He was not the pop culture icon he is today, but certainly well known. He told a story about the power to accomplish anything if you believe you can. It was 1991 and he was at the lowest point of his career and facing certain bankruptcy. He recalled walking down 5th Avenue in NYC with former wife Marla Maples. They were in front of Tiffany's when they both noticed a homeless man holding a cup for donations. Marla remarked something to the effect that the man "had nothing." Trump recalled saying to her, "He has $900 million dollars more than me."
2. DO THE YUCKIEST THING ON YOUR TO DO LIST FIRST. It's called "Eating the frog"a term explained to us by my favorite author Brian Tracy. For those who make a to-do list everyday, if you had a list of 10 things to do and one of them was to "eat a frog", that item would likely remain undone for months. We all have a frog on our list. It's that one thing on your "to-do" list that reaches the top. For whatever reason, we are either intimidated, uncomfortable, nervous, embarrassed or to lazy to tackle it. There it lives and grows. The longer it stays on your list the bigger it grows in your imagination. Everyday we expend energy avoiding it. If it's the 10th thing on your list, you'll make up a 9A, a 9B, and a 9C just to avoid "eating the frog". We hardly enjoy crossing off the 9 other things, knowing number 10 is still out there. We waste time to avoid it. Number 10 on the list festers in the back of your mind like an energy eating tumor. Just when you've blocked it out... boom...headache, stomach drops, your mood takes a dive south, self-esteem plummets. Brian Tracy's advice....Wake up each day and make the "frog" the first thing you do. It never takes as long as you think and it really never tastes as bad as you think. I'm getting better at this. My favorite book of his on this subject is aptly titled, "Eat that Frog". Get it.
3. APPLY THE 80/20 RULE TO YOUR WHOLE LIFE: It's simple...20% of what you do accounts for 80% of your positive results. It's true of everything. Think about it. Of all of your friends only 20% of them really want to see you do well and support you, the other 80% are fun to be around, but not all that concerned with your well being, so give 20% of your friends 80% of your "friend time". 20% of what you do in your home directly improves the well being of your family. 20% of what you do at work no one else could do as well as you, 80% could probably be done by someone who is paid less, allowing you to focus your time on the 20% that get results. Often 80% of the way you spend your day bring you no closer to living the life you want to live, 20% of your activities do. You never wear 80% of the clothes bursting from your closet. What is it you want for your family, your health, your marriage, your career, your life? Figure out which area you want to tackle first. Next make a list of everything you're doing. Finally select the 20% of that list that truly brings you closer to your goal. Focus. Focus on the 20%. Focus on a way of freeing yourself from the other 80% and feel 100% better. Every couple of months step back and re-focus on your 20%.
That's the beauty of life improvement workshops, books, articles, posts, television. It's kind of like cleaning out your closet. You can't just G.I the place once and hope that your sweaters and shoes stay all nice and neat. Pick up a book, do an on-line search for a topic you're looking to improve. if you're spiritual, attend a motivational service. Call a friend blessed with words of wisdom and listen this time. Watch Oprah. Listen to Dr. Phil. Tune in for Dr. Laura. Read a blog. Even if you only remember three sentences the results of implementing positive change will be life improving.
Do me a favor. Please post any phrase, quote, or concept that directly caused you to make a change in your life. Even if the quote came from your 4th grade teacher. I'd love to hear it.