“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

—Joshua Becker, Founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist

Image from Unsplash by Chuttersnap

Did you know that the self-storage industry generates revenue of 38 billion dollars annually and that almost 10 percent of households use them? Many also have basements and garages full of stored items.

The volume of self-storage units in the United States alone could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothes, skis, and keepsakes more than 26 times.

Beyond the costs, consider the maintenance and generalized stress caused by the clutter and junk most of us would never pay for again if given the chance.

EXERCISE:

What are some strategies to lighten your load to live a simpler and perhaps more minimalist lifestyle? At the same time, what are a few life experiences you wish to collect that may only take up space on your camera or computer hard drive? What actions will you take today to make progress in both areas?

“Enjoy life to the fullest – it has an expiration date.”

“Enjoy life to the fullest — it has an expiration date.”

—Author Unknown

Image from SupermarketNews

When was the last time you went grocery shopping?

What strategies do you use to select the freshest and healthiest foods for yourself and your loved ones? If you are like me, you check the expiration dates or “best if used by” dates on items such as meats, dairy products, and other packaged goods.

Master shoppers, of course, always dig a bit further back or down on the shelves, knowing all stores rotate their newest shipments toward the rear and place foods that are sooner to expire up front.

EXERCISE:

Given your current life expiration date extending strategies, and the wonders of modern medicine, how can you improve your efforts to add many more years to your life, and of course, far more life to your years?

To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory

“To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory.”

—Marty Rubin, Canadian author of The Boiled Frog Syndrome

Image of baked potato in foil

Image from Livestrong

We are currently in the grips of winter here in Michigan, and today’s quote reminded me of a story a friend shared at a holiday luncheon.

As a little girl, she would often wait outside in the cold for the school bus. To keep her warm, her mom would bake small potatoes in aluminum foil and slip them in her pockets to hold through her mittens, making her wait a bit more comfortable. Once in her seat, she had the extra benefit of a tasty snack to eat on her way to school.

To this day, she attributes this heartwarming story from childhood for her current fondness for hash brown potatoes for breakfast.

EXERCISE:

What heartwarming strategies can you employ to show your love and care for others this winter, and all year long? If you happen to have one of your own heartwarming stories, please hit reply and send it my way!

It takes two to argue

“It takes two to argue: One to initiate, and the other to take the bait.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding a fishing rod

Image from Unsplash by Carl Heyerdahl

One of my favorite clients is an avid fisherman. Bring up the topic of fishing and he lights up with excitement. He is full of stories of the nuances and mysteries that result in success.

He is an expert on the many lures and baits that entice fish to bite, which result in a strategic “win” for him, and at least the temporary “lose” for the fish. On many occasions, he releases the fish – which rarely occurs in arguments between two people.

EXERCISE:

How do various people in your personal or professional worlds lure you into arguments? What are some ways you can be far more aware of their strategies, to resist the bait and swim on through your day?

Play the Tiles You Get

“Play the tiles you get.”

—Grandma Nelly

Image of a Scrabble tile holder

Image from Flickr by Joe King

In her book, 365 Days of Wonder, R.J. Palacio shares a charming story of her grandparents. Both avid Scrabble players, they played every day for more than 50 years.

Her grandfather, known as being the “intellectual,” almost always lost to his wife, who was primarily a homemaker, not the lawyer who graduated from Columbia.

Grandma Nelly was quite smart in her own right. She loved crossword puzzles. She had a miraculous ability to make the most of the tiles she was given rather than waiting to use the highest value tiles on double or triple word spaces. That was grandpa’s strategy.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of life are you waiting to get better tiles? What would be the value and benefit of learning to play the ones you currently have, and those you receive each day?

economize or agonize

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

—Confucius, ancient Chinese Philosopher

Image of rocks balanced on a plane

Image from LinkedIn

Over many years of coaching, I’ve noticed several interesting trends.

In general, my clients in their twenties, thirties, and forties are most often on a highly intentional growth trajectory. They want to build wealth, pursue success, and increase their standard of living. This almost always involves accumulating possessions, and often increases the demands and complexity of their lives.

As they reach their fifties, sixties, and seventies, they seem to be more focused on scaling back, simplification, and greater balance. It is often because their many years of living in the fast lane, carrying too much stuff and stress, has become more of a burden than they care to shoulder going forward.

EXERCISE:

Where would a “less is more” strategy, regardless of your stage of life, provide you the added freedom and peace of mind you desire?

Stay in Business

“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”

—Horatio Nelson Jackson, 20th Century American physician and automobile pioneer

The word “agile” is often used in the software development and project management arenas. Today’s quote points to the need for agile strategies for career development and advancement.

In their 2009 book, Agile Career Development, three IBM human resources innovators show how they support initiatives that benefit the individual as well as the organization.

Critical to this work is the need for adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to change in the marketplace to meet the needs of today’s clients and those in the future.

EXERCISE:

Regardless of whether you work for a multi-billion dollar enterprise, work for yourself, or are somewhere in between, how can you better take an agile approach to your own job and career development to remain in business tomorrow and for years to come?

 

It is high time to step out of your own shadow

“It is high time to step out of your own shadow.”

-Dr. Laurent F. Carrel, Author of Messages from Melanie

Image of a shadow of a palm tree

Image from Flickr by Matthias Uhlig

What do tall buildings, trees, and dark clouds have in common?

Given today’s quote, the answer, “They cast a shadow” would be correct. Shadows can be of great benefit, reducing the damaging rays of the sun or offering a bit of relief from oppressive heat.

We humans, as thinking, self-aware creatures, have the ability to create our own sunshine and yes, cast shadows of doubt, fear, pessimism, and general gloominess throughout our days.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways are you casting your own negative shadow on your world? What actions, attitudes, and strategies could you use to reach for the sky, and let in more light, enthusiasm and possibility?

temporary setbacks

“Temporary setbacks boost your skill to open locks with previously unknown combinations.”

—Laurent F. Carrel, Messages from Melanie

Image of a combination lock

Image from Flickr by Rob Pongsajapan

Think about the places and things you secure with a lock. In our youth, we locked our bicycles, and our personal items in a school locker. Today, most of us have far too many passwords to keep all of our important accounts and electronic devices secure.

What if we considered an unsolved problem or a setback we are facing as merely having a temporary lock placed on it?

What if our job is simply to increase our safe-cracking abilities to reveal the treasured solutions inside?

EXERCISE:

In addition to coaches, mentors, advisors, and answers on Google, what additional strategies or tools could you employ to boost your skills at opening locks with unknown combinations?

Make it a Game

“Making it into a Game.”

—Author Unknown

Image from blog.bufferapp.com

Image from blog.bufferapp.com

One of the things we like about weekends, vacations and holidays is that they are almost always associated with considerable fun and enjoyment. It is not unusual to block out time during these occasions for games we enjoy.

Alternately, the majority of folks rarely experience work days as filled with fun. Studies by the Gallop Organization indicate that most people work in their areas of strength — and thus their areas of greatest satisfaction — less than half the time.

EXERCISE:

How could you “gamify” your current personal and professional work efforts? Create new rules and scoreboards to bring greater enjoyment— and perhaps added productivity — to your days.

Consider picking up a copy of the book Play by Stuart Brown, or Google the term gamification to learn how to make 2016 a fun and fulfilling year.