“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. You don’t have to do it all today. Just lay a brick.”
—James Clear, author, entrepreneur, and photographer
Image from Unsplash by Joe Dudeck
What does being highly productive look like? How do things go when you are at your best? How have the last few days, weeks, or even the past year compared to the benchmarks and standards you hold for yourself?
Let’s face it — our best each day can vary widely due to internal motivators and capacities as well as a host of external constraints and limitations. How do you feel at these times, when your expectations of yourself and your world are not met?
Our lives are constantly under construction. What we get done with each day is simply what we get done — that’s it.
What cornerstones and foundational bricks can and will you lay today to build upon with each new day?
“Do something about it!”
Image from Unsplash by Clark Van Der Beken
How often do you experience the feeling of being upset? Examine your world and note things that are not where they should be, based on your beliefs and expectations. How often do you point your finger and blame others for the situations and events that are not proceeding as you wish?
The act of observing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, can be troubling. Practicing our capacity for equanimity and accepting things as they are rarely satisfies us for long. We simply revert to seeing far too many things out of place.
Consider a recent day in which everything seemed right in your world. Think back to your levels of intentionality and efforts to move things forward. How many T’s did you cross? How many I’s did you dot?
Where is your world showing you a puzzle with some pieces missing? Where is it time to do something about it, bringing a better picture of your world into view?
“Ignore the cup and just enjoy the coffee.”
Image from Unsplash by Jordan @suspct
Product packaging is big business. In so many product categories, it can make the difference between super success and a big fat flop.
Long gone are the days when packaging was meant to only protect and preserve what was inside. Now, the container must scream BUY ME! I’M SPECIAL! I WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER!
How often does selling the sizzle actually meet your expectations, or better yet, exceed them?
Where, too often, is the added price of the cup not really worth the premium price to get the coffee?
If you enjoy a good cup of coffee check Google for the brands that have the highest rating with the lowest per ounce price.
Where and with whom in your worlds would looking closer at what’s on the inside make the biggest difference?
“Nobody notices what you do until you do not do it.”
Image from Unsplash by John Cameron
How tired do you feel at the end of a long, challenging day?
Before you head to bed tonight, look at all you did personally and professionally to serve and support others.
How much gratitude and sincere appreciation came your way?
Alternatively, how much and how many of your efforts seemed to be taken for granted or were simply expected by those around you?
Who would notice and what would they notice if you did not fulfill your duties?
Now reverse the situation and look closely at what all the people in your world do for you. Where are you missing or taking for granted the multitude of efforts of others due to your ingrained expectations?
These days, perhaps more than ever, we need to see all people as essential workers who make our lives much better for their generous efforts.
How might paying closer attention to the big and small efforts of others, and a few more words of acknowledgment and appreciation help all of us fall to sleep tonight with a smile of satisfaction?
“Not seeing results? Feel like giving up? Consider this: The last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit.”
Image from Unsplash by Jason Richard
Take a look at the past year. What was your level of productivity? What results were achieved and where did you come up short regarding your expectations? How often did you feel like giving up?
We all desire to see our actions pay off, and taste the sweet fruits of our efforts. We also know that sometimes the weather and circumstances of our lives can be harsh. Like trees, we sometimes need to conserve and reserve our energy to stay alive for the coming season.
Acknowledge yourself and others who found the courage and strength to withstand the elements of this past year, regardless of the harvest.
Consider picking up a copy of THE DIP (A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit and When to Stick), by Seth Godin.
“Go beyond the expected.”
Image from EmpireOnLIne
One of our family’s most beloved film series is Toy Story. We have seen most of the films multiple times. Now with our two-and-a-half-year-old grandson Weston we have many more exposures, including action figures and his Woody and Buzz Lightyear pajamas.
When asked to describe Buzz, virtually everyone can repeat his famous “To infinity and beyond” phrase with bold enthusiasm. It uplifts and motivates all of us to channel our own superpowers, do great things, and exceed our own current potential.
Where and in what ways can you go well beyond the expectations others have for you in your personal or professional communities? What bold and significant actions can and will you take today to reach beyond your own perceived limits and exceed your own expectations?
“Do your expectations fuel you or deflate you?”
Having something to look forward to is a powerful thing. It sets up our expectations and can shift our present moment attitude toward positivity and anticipation.
Notice how you feel when you look forward to:
- A weekend
- A vacation
- A tasty meal
- Time with a good friend
- A massage or spa treatment
- A nap or good night’s sleep
Unfortunately, negative expectations about the future can take the wind out of us just as easily. Consider these situations:
- Career and job instability or simply a job you don’t like on a Monday morning
- Being in poor or uncertain health
- An impending visit to the dentist
- A bad weather forecast
How can and will you use greater mindfulness and self-awareness to maximize your positive and minimize your negative expectations?
Practicing and applying this exercise daily can provide the fuel for a more fulfilling life.
“The next move is yours.”
Image from Unsplash by Robert Coelho
Imagine your life as a board game that involves successfully navigating different frontiers or territories in order to win.
The frontiers are:
- Optimal health
- Quality relationships
- Professional achievement
- Contributions to your community
- Spirituality, faith, religion
- Life balance and peace of mind
Where are you falling behind, keeping up, or ahead of your current expectation for yourself?
What is your next move in these and other priority areas of your life?
Consider picking up a copy of Seth Godin’s book What to Do When it’s Your Turn to help you see and pursue your next move.
“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.”
—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Jammie Templeton
As part of my coaching discovery process, I ask prospective clients to answer a number of questions that help them fully examine the potential value of us working together.
These questions help them expand what is working, and impact what is not. For many individuals, the following question provokes considerable interest:
What do you expect to achieve in your professional
and personal life, given your current plans, strategies,
and general direction?
Given time to explore this question fully, most people see the need to change course if they are to fully realize their highest priority goals and not end up where they are currently heading.
Consider answering this question for yourself and discussing any insights and potential actions you plan to take with a friend, colleague, mentor, family member, or coach.
Feel free to reply to this post with what value you create.