My favorite Meetup every month is the Sacramento Speakers Meetup (See https://www.meetup.com/sacramentospeakersnetwork/). It’s a Meetup with more than 2,500 members, of whom 35-75 show up at any given meeting.
There are many reasons for this. First, I’ve been going to this Meetup for more than ten years, so I know lots of people
Second, the format is absolutely amazing. I’m not sure how my friend Stephanie Chandler (see http://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/) came up with the format, but it’s truly genius. It starts with 30-second introductions. People are encouraged to promote their businesses, so they can encourage networking later.
Do the math. At 30 seconds per person, you actually use up maybe 35 or 40 seconds on average. So this part of the program takes about half an hour. Someone always tells a joke. People laugh. Someone else just started a business an gets a round of applause. Someone says something funny unintentionally and ever fourth person after that refers to it.
In other words, the group begins to develop rapport and comradery right from the start.
Next, there are short presentations by speakers who have signed up. One is ten minutes and the other is twenty. Each gets some feedback and coaching.
Finally, there’s the “Five minutes in the spotlight.” A card is picked from the bucket and an attendee gets to ask the rest of the group for help. For example:
- How do I get attendees to my event?
- What should I call the three levels of this program?
- How do I get started with video to promote my event?
- How do I get bookings with schools?
- How do I attract more joint ventures?
This is the juicy fun part of the meeting. Even though there are usually only two or three opportunities for the “Five minutes in the spotlight,” this is where the entire crowd throws out recommendations, book titles, web resources, apps, and other resources. The goal is to help the person who asked for help. But in the meantime, everyone in the room is feverishly writing down the books and other resources that are mentioned.
If you haven’t read Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin, you should!
Godin talks about how ideas spread like viruses. And certain people are “Promiscuous Sneezers” of ideas. In other words, they are people who casually say things like, “If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s amazing.” And they do this a lot. All the time.
You should hang out with Promiscuous Sneezers for one simple reason: They will help you filter the world of overwhelming information. Promiscuous Sneezers are usually mavens with regard to the topics at which they excel. That means they’re well informed and spend both time and energy getting good at it. So when they casually throw you some advice, it’s probably worth taking!
I miss a lot of meetings of the Sacramento Speakers Network due to travel. But I always make it when I’m in town because it’s a room filled with really smart, motivated, Promiscuous Sneezers.
I hope you have a similar group where you live. If not, start one!
I recently posted a quick video on the subject of scheduling (using a calendar) vs. working from priorities. See my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/karlpalachuk
I’m particularly interested in how you add things to your to-do list in order to be more successful. You might want to add one or more of the following activities:
– Daily quiet time
– Writing / Journalling
– Studying a hobby or new skill
We are all super-busy these days. So how do you add something to your routine when you’re already so busy? I’m assuming that what you want here is to help build new habits.
If schedules help you build habits, then they’re excellent. If working on priorities help you build habits, then they’re excellent. For most people, I think attaching new habits to your existing schedule is the easiest way to make sure the new habits are exercised.
If you prefer to work on priorities rather than schedules, you’ll need to make the new habit a high enough priority so that it actually gets some attention. After all, it’s easier to add something to your calendar than to suddenly make it a higher priority than anything on your to-do list.
Whichever method you use, you have to overcome the societal influence that says you should put work above personal improvement. After all, we find it much easier to add work-related tasks to our over-full lists. For some reason, it seems more acceptable to add work to our list instead of things like reading or exercising.
The irony is that you need the non-work related tasks in order to recharge your batteries, maintain your health, and improve your skills. But instead, we fill up our already busy schedules with more “tasks” that may or may not contribute to our overall success.
I encourage you to spend time evaluating priorities – and then putting daily reflection high on the list. Make that the first thing you do every day and chances are very good that all the other priorities will fall in line much more easily.
My latest RFS video is posted now.
I recorded it while traveling. It was a very stressful travel day for many people. It was the day Southwest Airlines’ computers failed and they had to ground their entire fleet for some time.
Even under normal circumstances, many people create travel stress because they start with a crowded schedule. They leave no room for error. That’s great in a perfect world. Well, I assume it is, but we don’t live in a perfect world.
Learn how you might add an attitude of Slow Down, Get More Done into your travel.
Like it if you like it!
And please subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss any future videos.
I may have chosen the wrong dry cleaners.
The sign on their window reads . . .
“35 years on the same spot.”
My latest Relax Focus Succeed video is live on YouTube.
Some people are reluctant to get into “mindfulness” meditation. First, they’re not sure what it is. Second, they are afraid they won’t do it right.
Along those lines, many people have tried some kind of meditation and report they they “just can’t do it” because they can’t sit quietly. You need to be aware that you can’t do anything once and be good at it! So you can’t try sitting in a chair for sixty seconds and report that you’re not able to be mindful.
Mindfulness consists of simply being aware of what is happening right now at this moment.
It takes practice to quiet your mind. But you start by being overwhelmed with monkey mind thoughts. Every step along the way from noisy to quiet is part of the process of quieting your mind. So you can’t do it wrong. You simply need to try to experience what’s happening. Quietude will happen over time.
In the video I give the example of simply sitting and being aware of what’s happening to you. You may find it easier to sit quietly with your eyes closed just because visual stimuli can be quite enticing. So it’s easier to avoid distraction if you simply close your eyes. Eventually, you will enjoy opening your eyes and add that information to your mindfulness.
Why practice mindfulness? That’s a lengthy topic for sure. But the short answer is that there is tremendous value in observing what is happening in your life in real time. In many cases, we would all be better served by taking a few seconds and evaluating what is happening to us before we respond. But all too often, we respond almost automatically. Why? Because we have no practice of stopping and observing things as they are in the moment.
The practice of mindfulness while sitting in your chair at home can be the first step at viewing the world as it is without filters. With practice, you can choose to try this when you’re going through your normal daily routine.
Please watch the video. Like it if you like it. Share it.
And leave any comments you have.
What do you do when you find an endangered animal that eats only endangered animals?
If you win a lawsuit against a parsley farmer, can you garnish his wages?
When you buy styrofoam, what do they pack it in?
Relax Focus Succeed®
– Balance Your Personal and Professional Lives and Be More Successful in Both
Taught by Karl W. Palachuk, Author and Coach
– Five Tuesdays – June 28 – July 26, 2016 – Register Now
– All classes start a 9:00 AM Pacific
This course is intended for anyone who is stressed out, over-worked, and ready to take their whole life to the next level. We all lead busy lives, filled with too many demands. Many of us don’t get enough sleep or exercise. We fight to be successful at work and at home.
Taught by someone who’s been there. Karl Palachuk was diagnosed with debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 39 and spent several years getting the disease under control. With two businesses to manage and a young family, he found himself unable to work more than a few hours a day. That’s when he developed a process for achieving goals at a very high level without working himself to death.
Many of us chase the entrepreneurial dream – but few of us reach our entrepreneurial vision.
In this course you’ll learn a new approach to balancing the demands in your life – and learn some strategies for building the life you want and deserve.
This is an intensive teleseminar course over a five week period. All assignments are voluntary, of course. But if you want feedback on assignments, please complete assignments during this course and email them to the instructor.
You will learn how to:
- Balance your personal and professional lives
- Focus on the single most important things in your life
- Develop your vision for self-fulfillment
- Relax – in a meaningful way
- Be the same person in all elements of your life (overcome Jekyll/Hyde syndrome)
- Put the past – and your present – in their place
- Build your muscles of success
- Stop working 50- or 60- or 70-hour weeks
- Avoid being interrupt-driven
- Slow Down, Get More Done
- Work less and accomplish more
- Define Goals: Long-term, Medium-term, and Short-term
- Build quiet time into your life
The course will include a number of recommended do-it-yourself exercises.
Registration includes a copy of the book Relax Focus Succeed® by Karl W. Palachuk.
Includes five weeks of teleclasses with related handouts, assignments, and “office hours” with the instructor.
Here’s an old news story. Not sure if it’s true, but it could be and that’s good enough for me.
According to a news report, a middle school in Oregon was faced with a strange problem. A number of girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips on the mirror, leaving dozens of little lip prints. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done.
She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them their with the custodian. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, she asked the custodian to clean one of the mirrors.
He took out a long handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and then cleaned the mirror.
Since then there have been no lip prints on the mirrors.
Over the last year I’ve consumed a large number of books on habits. Creating habits, breaking habits, good habits, bad habits, etc.
It’s interesting how much we focus on the physical side of habits. For example, in your morning routine. You probably do the same things in the same order almost every day of your life. SO: Adding a new habit to that routine is difficult. You’ve created a box of time and packed it full of things that need to be done within that time. So it’s hard to wedge one more thing into the box.
Those things are physical. Get up. Got to the bathroom. Make coffee. Brush teeth. Activity. Activity. Activity.
Mental activities are also habits. And one could argue they are harder to recognize and harder to change. It takes a certain mindfulness to examine yourself in real time and explore what you’re thinking.
For example, when I’m given advice to change something in my life, I am immediately resistant. It doesn’t matter whether the change is large or small. It doesn’t even matter if it comes from a stranger or a trusted friend who is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. The strange thing is: I’m surprisingly open to recommendations and criticism. Even in my mastermind groups, I have to remind people that I’m far more open than I appear to be.
So my first reaction is resistance, followed by contemplation when I’m alone and don’t have to worry about the responses of others. Then I try to look at the advice I’ve been given. And very often I take that advice. But I still acknowledge my mental habit of resisting as a first response.
Think about your mental self-talk. Is there a lot of “I’m not good enough” or “I need to change …” talk inside your head? Those are patterns. They are habits of thinking. Spend an hour trying to keep track of where your mind wanders and your first responses to things. After all, you’re awake most of your life and your brain is always working. What’s it working on?
Mental habits are hard to change. Unlike physical habits (which are also hard to change), mental triggers are harder to spot sometimes. If a driver cuts you off and you become angry or judgmental, it’s easy to see the trigger. But what about if you’re just walking down the street or driving peacefully and your brain starts chattering on about all the problems in your life? What was the trigger? How do you step back from the current mindset and try to find the trigger?
When changing a physical habit, we first recognize the trigger. For example, stepping into the line at the grocery store. Let’s say that as soon as you do that, you start eyeing the candy bars and virtually always end up throwing one in the cart. Recognizing that trigger can help you choose to attach a different activity as your response. Maybe you’ll grab sugarless gum. Maybe look at the magazines instead. Or maybe you’ll go in the quick-check line with no candy bars.
The point is, you recognize the trigger-response-reward and begin building a different habit. You start to lay down a different response and reward.
Now consider a mental example. What triggers judgmental attitudes? What is your mental response? What’s the reward? It takes quite a bit of work to identify your responses and rewards – especially if they are purely mental.
If you’re interested in exploring this, I recommend a two-step process. First, spend some quiet time each morning thinking about thinking. Relax, quiet your mind with a few deep breaths. Then just pay attention to the thoughts that wander into your brain. When you recognize a thought, label it. For example, say the word Happy. Then set that thought aside and wait for the next. Label it. Perhaps Hungry or Tired or Frustrated. The interesting thing about our brains is that they never stop. There will always be another thought. It might be a memory, a plan, a worry, or a distraction because a bird flew by.
The goal is to teach yourself to identify your thoughts. You have millions of them every day. And if you’ve never spent time recognizing them, then you won’t be good at it. So the first step is to identify the kinds of thoughts you have. What does a positive thought look like? Or a negative one. Or a self-blaming one. etc. All of that work takes place while you are sitting quietly, trying to simply observe your self.
(The oft-quoted numbers of 50,000-80,000 thoughts per day are literally just made up numbers that got repeated again and again. We don’t have a way to measure how many thoughts we have. But even a little research suggests that it’s much higher than the mythical number.)
The second step is to practice labeling your thoughts as you go through your day. When that driver cuts you off, what goes through your brain? You clearly have a choice about how you react. Your thoughts and reactions are not outside your control. BUT you do have a mental habit of response. Without thinking about it, you have laid down a pattern of response.
You can literally observe yourself as if you are outside yourself. Watch the driver cut you off. Then STOP your brain from responding. Now choose. As you watch yourself respond, try to identify the reward. How does anger or frustration or judgement serve you in this context? What’s the reward? And remember: In the world of the mental, the reward is probably mental. Satisfaction, self-righteousness, fear, anger, pity. Something inside you gets value from a specific mental response. What is it?
Once you recognize the trigger, response, and reward, you can decide whether you want to keep responding in that way. It may be that the answer is yes. It may actually make you feel better and contribute to your happiness. If that’s the case, you are now more fully aware of that.
But if you want to change your response, you also have that choice. For example, you could simply choose to be amused by the driver who cuts you off. Maybe you’ll enjoy pondering whether you’ll catch up to him at the next light. Now you can start to build a new habit. When someone cuts you off, you can slow down a bit and choose to be amused. Your reward is tiny bit of happiness. And if the drivers where you live are anything like the drivers where I live, you’ll have lots of opportunities to practice your new pattern of trigger-response-reward!
One of my favorite sayings is Slow Down, Get More Done. This is another example of that. After all, if you choose to, you can choose how you respond to every little thing in your life.
Habits got you where you are. Habits will get you wherever else you want to be.
I asked the personnel director how he got to be successful.
He says he owes it all to hire education.