Live a Piece of Your Dream Every Day

Live a Piece of Your Dream Every DayI met someone recently who dreams of being a writer. His parents support his desire to write, but worry that he doesn’t understand how difficult the writing profession is. When I asked him what he planned to do after high school, he gave me the answer I know his parents wanted to hear: “I’m going to find a job to support my dream of writing.”

As a parent of a two college students, I too would be concerned if my kids had dreams that only a few are able to achieve. And yet at the same time, I don’t want them to be limited because I and society says it’s nearly impossible to achieve.

It makes me think of an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson when he was on a panel answering questions about science. One man asked if there were more men in science because of genetics (yes… he really asked that). deGrasse Tyson took the question saying that he’d never been a woman, but he’d been black all his life. As a youngster, when he told people he wanted to be an astrophysicist, they would try to talk him out of it, presumably because he was black. His point was that until society stopped telling girls they weren’t smart enough for science, we couldn’t really know if genetics played a roll.

Society isn’t the only one telling us we can’t do things. The biggest obstacle to doing what you want is most likely you. We get bogged down in what we think we should to. We play it safe. As a result, the dreams are put aside. (more…)

How Gratitude Makes You Successful

Finding Things to Be Thankful For

How Gratitude Makes You SuccessfulThanksgiving is nearly here. It’s the one day a year Americans set aside to give thanks. I’m fortunate to have much to be thankful for. My and my family’s health is good. I’ve got love and support from family and friends. I’ve achieved or am well on my way to achieving many of my goals. I’ve got a nice, albeit messy home, food in my fridge, and enough money in my bank account to pay my bills.

I know many people don’t have what I have. Some of them have every right to struggle with gratitude. However, I’ve met many people who might have challenges in life, but they’re so focused on them, they don’t recognize the good in their lives. The problem with a glass-half-empty-attitude is that it defeats happiness and success. Think about it. How can someone be happy and successful if the only things they see are what’s wrong or missing?

It’s one thing I’ve admired about my mother. She’s had many struggles in her life, and yet somehow, she always remains positive. I’ve long thought that her glass could be nearly empty and she’d still be happy just to have a glass.

There has been much research on positivity, happiness and success, and in every case, being thankful plays a role in how happy and successful people are. Gratitude improves emotional health, boosts energy, increases confidence and strengthens relationships.

It’s easy to have gratitude when things are going well, but how about when there are challenges in life? That’s when finding things to be thankful for are even more important, as it’s what can pull you out of a funk or difficult situation. Finding things to be thankful for requires a positive attitude. It doesn’t mean ignoring the negative or bad things in life, but instead CHOOSING to find the good. Helen Keller, who was deaf, blind and dumb, is quoted with saying,

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

If a woman who couldn’t see, hear or talk can find the light in life, certainly we can too.

While some people are naturally optimistic and able to find gratitude in the smallest things, for many, being thankful takes work. But it can be done if you’re willing to take time each day to find at least one thing to be grateful for. It’s doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, noticing the tiny wonders of the world — your child’s smile, a sunrise or sunset, music — will make a bigger impact on your attitude, happiness and ultimately success than waiting for a big event to be thankful for.

My trick… I end each day by writing at least three things I’m thankful for in that day’s planner square. Other options include writing your gratitudes on a calendar, keeping a journal, or making it a nightly bedtime routine with your kids and/or partner. As you get better at noticing the good in your life, take time to express gratitude at the time you notice it. Like a muscle, the more you express thankfulness, the stronger it gets.

Expressing gratitude sounds like such a little thing; how can it make a difference? Research and many successful people say it does. It won’t hurt. So why not try it?

What are you grateful for?

Putting Off Dealing with Procrastination

Put Off Dealing with ProcrastinationThis week I bought The Procrastination Workbook: Your Personalized Program for Breaking Free from the Patterns That Hold You Back. Some people who know me might be surprised to hear I procrastinate. I think they have an image of me doing something all the time. And why not? I’ve always got something going on and new ideas I’m sprouting.

But the truth is, I don’t get nearly as much done as I could. The culprits are the same for me as they are for others…lack of interest (on the stuff I HAVE to do), email, social media, multitasking and distractions. Probably the biggest challenge is mental fatigue. By 7 p.m., I’m pooped. Yes I could work on my new mystery or clean my desk or write the new article pitch or clean my bathroom. But mostly I want to do something that doesn’t require too much energy, mental or physical. You know what that means…t.v. or DVD.

This is why I bought The Procrastination Workbook. The book is interesting in that it describes several types of procrastination (I use personal and behavioral). But I haven’t gotten to the strategies to overcome my procrastination. I figure I can deal with that later. In the famous words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think of it tomorrow.”