Lyrics: (Because I’m happy) / Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof / (Because I’m happy) / Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth… – Pharrell Williams
The song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was the most successful song of 2014:
It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The song was Billboard‘s number-one single for 2014.
Why was it such a hit?
We all want to be happy – or happier – right? Or do we?
UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb, author of Upward Spiral, says that sometimes it may feel like your brain does not want you to be happy at all.
In my work with hundreds of clients, all say they are seeking greater success, and that greater success, based on their own definition of success, will make them happier.
I noticed that when I asked my clients and other colleagues and friends if they were happy after accomplishing a goal, they said yes – but….
Most of the time there was a but after the yes.
Did that mean that the state of happy was short lived or that they felt unsure if they were really and completely happy.
What’s your level of happiness these days?
If you’re not happy, your business will definitely be impacted.
If you’re not happy, do you think your clients can’t tell? Do you really think you are operating at optimum performance?
You’re not alone: if the number of current best sellers on the topic of happiness is any indication, happiness is hot right now.
In his bestselling book 10% Happier, Dan Harris, correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America, tells the backstory to his on-air panic-attack meltdown, and how he has found a completely new pathway to happiness through mindfulness.
Brain Chemistry Rules
Our brains are controlled by a whole lot of chemistry.
Cortisol – is the stress chemical – too much and our brains become smaller in size.
Serotonin- impacts mood – especially good mood.
Dopamine – impacts motivation and reward (addiction is associated with the release of this chemical).
Endorphins – neurotransmitters that affect your perception of stress and pain, and often generate a “feel good” emotion in the body.
What Alex Korb and other researchers have found is that there is a lot we can do, sans medication, to impact our brain chemistry to the “happy” side. And if we don’t, our brains are oriented, wired, so to speak, to the negative.
And because unhappy habits are hard to break, it requires lots of repetition to forge new habits on the happiness dial.
I found this out by accident and have spent the last 4 years rewiring my brain toward the happy.
I come from a background of intense worriers, naysayers, and fear-lovers. Earlier in my career- before entrepreneurial life- I switched jobs to earn my first Vice President position. When I told my father, he didn’t congratulate me. He asked me why I had risked everything for the unknown?
Had to love my dad. (He really was just scared for me).
Rewiring my mindset has opened up completely new pathways and practices.
It caused me to create an entirely new coaching model and program, working with high performer entrepreneurs who feel burned out, stuck, unclear about what direction to take next, unhappy. They are in a state that is heavily impacted by the mind. This coaching work starts with mindset before the mechanics in business. Why? Because great business strategy and tactics won’t be implemented well if the mental fitness isn’t solid.
And developing happiness is not a once and done thing.
You cannot be ongoing-ly happy if you don’t practice happy regularly. Write that down. Tweet it.
It’s like you can’t stay clean unless you bathe or shower regularly. It’s like that.
Now for the hacks.
Happiness In 15 Minute Hacks A Day
I created these 15-minute a day practices to help me re-build the happiness muscle, and stay happy:
(Read on and then I have a *FREE Happiness Builder checklist/tip sheet* for you)
- Exercise 15 minutes 4 -5 times a week. I know I know – its a duh. However, I’m not talking about long intense workouts although one or two workouts for 30 minutes or more a week are ideal. I found I could do 12 minute HIIT (high intensity interval trainings) 15 minute kickbox sessions, 10 minute yoga stretches, 10 minutes with weights all in my house. Didn’t need a gym membership or a sunny day. I moved a little bit every day.
- Meditation. This was the TOP GAME CHANGER. I started a couple of times a week for 5 minutes. I could barely stand it. Now I meditate every day for at least 10 minutes, usually 12-15. Newsflash: after a few months my worrying was at a fraction of where it used to be!!! One of the reasons it works to up your happiness level is you’re breathing -slowly and deeply. Many of us are starved for oxygen.
- Gratitude Journaling. Its hard to not be happy when you realize how good you have it. Focusing on what is great in your life vs. what is not is chemically shifting your brain from its orientation to the negative. It is rewiring the neurons and essentially retraining your brain. Writing it down is a must. It takes 5 -10 minutes to journal in the morning.
- Make My Bed. Yup, something so silly and so basic gives my life order and calm. Somehow that messy bed adds to the feeling of stress and disorder. Bed made symbolically makes me feel like I’m in control and I feel happy looking at the pretty.
- The Right Community. This is where I put the right people around me who endorse happy. I reduced the negative conversations -staying away from gossip, complaining, and negativity. I gravitate to others where happy and uplifting are the focus. OK so this may take more than 15 minutes to accomplish but you certainly can make sure you have at least one positive conversation with someone each day. Example: I have a landscape guy who is one of the most positive guys I know. He’s always smiling, and always wants to be helpful. He works really hard but always has a positive aura around him. He’s good energy to be around. 5 minutes of chit chat once a week – Check! on the happiness meter.
Since I’ve embraced happiness as a practice, I notice that it’s easier and easier to generate it and spread it around. My clients have noticed, my business has flourished, and my friends and loved ones have noticed.
What NEW happiness hacks will you take on starting today?
Want a free Happiness Builder In 15-Minutes A Day Checklist? Click Here to get my gift to you.
Join my FB Group for Entrepreneurs: Persist And Profit Podcast: Entrepreneurs With Grit
I interview top entrepreneurs, experts, athletes turned entrepreneurs, authors, and psychologists on their failures, challenges, mistakes in business and how they came back mentally and tactically.
Clients and colleagues are continually asking me the same question:
Networking is great and all that, but how do I get influencers to want to connect with me?
I get it.
At the end of the day, building relationships is wonderful but building relationships with the right influencers and decision makers is really our end game.
So how is it that some people can so easily connect with the “big cheeses” and others struggle just to talk to people?
It begins with taking the focus off yourself and putting the focus on what you can offer or bring to these influencers.
Influencers are busy and are being pulled at from a million different directions.
You need 3 basic things to start connecting with them:
1. A desire to be of value to them.
3. Confidence (or at least the appearance of confidence).
For number 1, you need to put yourself in the influencer’s shoes and think of some way you can demonstrate being of value – whether it be by sharing their message, supporting their mission/cause, or some other business benefit.
For number 2, you have to be committed and consistent to reaching out and not quitting until you get a firm NO from the influencer. Very often it’s not a no; they are not even aware you want to connect, or they may not be ready to connect right now – but later.
For number 3, it will take digging deep within you and not letting your negative self talk and limiting beliefs have free rent in your head. Everyone, and I mean everyone at every level, has doubts about themselves from time to time. It’s what you do with those doubts that counts.
Once those three attributes are in place, you need the right strategies and tactics.
In this post, I’m going to focus on Linked In as a key strategy for connecting with influencers. Just about everyone in business has a profile on Linked In. And very often, your influencer is personally monitoring his or her Linked In account.
However, if you’re like most people, reaching out to one of your key influencers cold, or wanting to turn that business card into a real life connection is where you get stuck.
Not to worry.
I’ve gone through all the pain and heartache for you and have created a few proven emails that have helped me connect with amazing influencers.
If you Click Here, I’m going to dig into my personal swipe vault and give you 6 proven email templates as my gift.
Building relationships with the right connections is what business is all about.
One roadblock down.
P.S. What’s your magical connection story? Who did you meet and how did you do it?
We all want to hear these success stories so please share away!
There you are, facing the blank screen of your computer, waiting for inspiration to strike.
The goal: Write a blog post. Scratch that- write a really good, meaty, high-value blog post that people will want to read and maybe, just maybe, implement.
Not only are you facing the blank screen mocking you to be brilliant, erudite and effective to boot, but you are slammed for time.
I’m all about simplifying and de-stressing these days. What about you?
Here are 8 tips for writing a really good, high-value blog post in under 30 minutes.
I started this post at 8:27 AM.
- Your blog topic should alleviate a pain point or solve a problem or help your readers speed something up (like writing a great blog post faster) or give much wanted insight. This pain point, problem, or want must be relevant to your readers – so KNOW THY READER.
- Use either of two proven formats:
A list post – listing tips or ways or techniques or steps
A how-to post
- With solution or insight in mind, brainstorm your tips or info in bullet format first. Then flesh out content or more background.
- Select a photo that expresses the pain point and ideally has a little humor or tongue-in-cheek quality to it. (You know the drill -it should be royalty free photo)
- Flesh out the bullet point tips. Give examples/case studies/stories in one or two of the tips. Show how the tips add value/bring desired results.
- Write your intro paragraph addressing the pain point, problem, or insight that is desired. Set the stage by using verbal images, i.e. paint a verbal picture. (I did this in my intro paragraph). Yes I intentionally suggested you write your intro AFTER your bullet list. You are often clearer at that point. You don’t have to but it may well help you overcome “blank-screen-itis.”
- Summarize what you’ve outlined.
- Wrap up with a personal note/story. Bring YOU to the post.
- Use a template and fill in the blanks to make it super easy and fast.
If you would like my free Write A High Value Blog Post in 30 Minutes or Less template CLICK HERE.
How do I know this works? Here’s my personal story.
A few years ago I was on a business trip and realized that I had not written my post and scheduled it to go live before I left. I was frantic because I was going into a meeting in an hour and I had made a firm commitment (to myself) to post once a week.
Being a woman of my word 🙂 I asked myself: Self, how can I get a decent post written, uploaded and published in under 30 minutes?
Where there is a will there is a way. I wrote a post on my 5 tips on getting my Linked In profile viewed. It was one of my highest engagement posts.
I don’t recommend leaving writing your content to the last minute but we don’t always have 2-5 hours for writing high-value content our readers will love and appreciate.
I just thought of one more format that is fast, brings high value and is super fast:
*Bonus High Value Blog Format: Review/critique other posts relevant to your readers
There you go: It’s 8:51 AM
If you got value from this post shoot me an email at email@example.com.
If you didn’t get value shoot me an email here as well. Would love your feedback!
It’s hard to believe, but Jerry Maguire the movie is 20 years old!
As a die-hard, fanatic lover of sports movies (sports imitates life and certainly business) and in honor of the anniversary of this iconic movie, I just had to watch it – again! for the millionth time.
This time, surprisingly, I saw new nuggets of business wisdom in that old flick.
In case you’ve never seen it, Jerry Maguire is a young up and coming professional (remember that old term – yuppie?) sports agent in LA. At the pinnacle of his career, in a moment of blinding hubris and soulful search for purpose – he writes a personal mission statement that he distributes to his entire incredibly superficial money-hungry company.
Jerry is instantaneously down, out (jobless), and in desperation, manages to keep one last, lonely client: Rod Tidwell -a just-about washed-up, pissed-off, money-strapped pro football player.
These two “Losers” – with a capital L – are attached at the hip and learn quite a few life and career lessons together.
SALES LESSONS LEARNED
Jerry is the consummate sales guy – confident, driven, master of the deal. How he goes about working on rebuilding his career can show all of us service entrepreneurs and professionals a thing or two about the client-seller relationship:
1. Clients are always telling us what it will take to get their business (if we listen, we’ll hear it) Rod said it as clear as a bell: Show me the money. That’s what he wanted and he didn’t care what it took to get it. He didn’t care about nice-nice, or pats on the back – he just wanted to provide for his family.
2. Never take a client’s business for granted. Cush, Jerry’s other supposed “shoe-in” client jumped ship to another agent who was waiting in the wings as soon as Jerry’s attention went elsewhere.
3. Clients want to know you understand their needs and what’s important to them. The scene where Jerry tells Rod “Help me help you!” is art imitating life. This is every service entrepreneur’s underlying motto.
BUSINESS LESSONS LEARNED
1. We are all yearning to live lives filled with purpose. Jerry just couldn’t help his deep desire to get past all the surface crap and find some authenticity in what he was doing. It came to him in a moment of drunken weakness, but it was lying dormant waiting to come out.
Don’t we see evidence of this yearning in the eyes of the millennials we are working with today?
They’ve realized early in life there is more than financial gain. They see the emptiness resulting from obsession with financial success and the corresponding failed marriages of their parents, the bored career dissatisfaction of the Boomers and Gen X’ers who play by old rules that pooh-poohed purpose and values-driven lives. (I wrote about it here)
2. Your mindset dictates your destiny. Jerry was a huge failure in the eyes of everyone in his profession. He had to swallow his pride and control his mind, focus on the opportunity, and march forward. OK, it looked like a lot of stumbling around til he got his bearings. But he didn’t give up.
3. People buy from the heart, justify with the brain. He finally reached Rod and motivated him by getting him to go past his anger and touching him in the heart space.
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED:
MENTORS CAN COME IN UNLIKELY PACKAGES
Jerry mentored Rod on mastering his mind, attitude, and helping him play with heart. Rod had ability but never accessed it fully because of his negative attitude.
Rod mentored Jerry in personal relationships. Jerry had never gotten in touch with what was really important to him and how to share that with the people who really mattered in his life.
There are a gazillion other messages, themes, and takeaways from this film.
If you have never watched it, do yourself a favor and rent it, download it, but watch it.
If you’ve seen it before, and you want a free lesson in sales, marketing, and most of all mindset turnaround for coming back from a slump, make sure you re-watch it asap.
As Jerry says, Help me help you.
You don’t want to have a big L on your forehead, do you?
P.S. What’s your favorite takeaway from this movie?
What other sports or sales movies have motivated you, educated you?
P.P.S. I’d love to hear what you are up to in your business as we approach 2017 and what your biggest marketing challenges are.
Shoot me an email and let me know….I’d love to hear from you personally!
Service Business Strategist, Speaker, and
Author of highly acclaimed book on targeted networking
Network Like A Fox: A Targeted Approach To Building Successful Business Relationships In Person & Online
Stress. It’s a killer – mentally, physically, emotionally.
If you’re a professional or an entrepreneur, whether solo or with a staff, you know full well how the intensity and negativity of stress can kill off success.
And if you’re in business, you also know stress, at some point, is unavoidable.
Today, I want to share with you some techniques gleaned from the sports world to help you prevent stress from derailing you – no matter the circumstances. There is no better mental school of business, no clearer lessons than those learned from the warriors on the playing fields and sports arenas.
I’ll start with a few examples from some favorite films. Agreed, they are not the best movies but they surely demonstrate powerful examples of how pressure and stress can hinder the finest athletic talents. They also uncover some remarkable solutions.
Now I am a sucker for baseball movies. I love them all – good, bad or indifferent. As Brad Pitt says in Moneyball, “Its hard not be romantic about baseball.” But for me, it’s way more than that. Baseball movies reveal the mindset of sport – and it’s in the mind that all games are won – and lost.
So let’s look at For The Love Of The Game starring Kevin Costner.
Kevin plays an aging baseball pitcher with a stellar career battling back from a devastating injury and a driving passion to end his career on a high. As he stands on the pitcher’s mound for one last time, he squashes down his fear and stress with his long-time mental mantra: “Clear the mechanism.” The roar and jeers of the fickle crowd are silenced in his mind as he focuses on the task at hand.
Next: While I’m not a golfer, I found this flick to brilliantly express the path to clearing the mind and forging a pathway to success.
In The Legend Of Bagger Vance, Matt Damon plays a washed-up golf prodigy filled with self pity. Enter Will Smith as Bagger Vance, the inspirational coach who helps Matt Damon get back into his zone allowing him to overcome negative thinking, the stress of playing in public, and overcoming all odds once more.
OK that’s the movies.
But what about real life, real everyday, garden-variety S-T-R-E-S-S where there is no magic, and no let up?
This is where we as business owners and professionals go completely OFF THE TRACK.
Your mind is the control switch for all success and all stress management.
You are not doing yourself any favors or your staff a bit of good if you don’t learn to master stress in the mind first.
Case in point:
Back in the early 90’s, tennis great Andre Agassi was in a super slump. Every time he went out and played he struggled and slipped from his former winning rank. Then he suffered a wrist injury.
At his wits end, Agassi sought out Tony Robbins for coaching. Agassi told Robbins that he’d been spending time working on his swing mechanics, especially in relation to his recovering wrist.
Tony: “I sit down with him and I said, ‘Andre … think of a time you hit the tennis ball perfectly,'” Robbins continues: “I got him in that state … and I said to him, ‘You feel that?’
Tony: ‘Listen, are you thinking about your wrist?’
Tony: ‘How the hell did you think you’d ever get back to that peak form by focusing on your wrist?'”
Robbins references the science of habit formation, in which the brain creates paths for certain repeated actions. He was getting Agassi to tap into this pattern and ignore distractions, like focusing on how his wrist moved, which is something he had never done when he was playing at his peak.
The next year, 1994, Agassi made a comeback under a new coach and with renewed confidence.
And what about the ultimate fall-from-grace slump-story of all time, Tiger Woods?
Just last week, Woods returned to the game he so loves in the Hero World Tournament after 16 months off. Three back surgeries and numerous other physical injuries layered in his mind onto the depressing series of failures and humiliations over the last several years.
But Tiger did something amazing. He patiently progressed and finished the tournament.
Woods played four straight rounds of respectable, often impressive golf, showing flashes of the spectacular play that was once routine. While he also showed the effects of 16 months away from the course, fading hard at the end of every round, he has mastered his mind sufficiently enough to get back out there in spite of the stress and make an admirable showing of perseverance, patience, and progress.
How does he do that? After YEARS of failing and criticism? (often well-deserved obviously).
I looked to some sports mental skills experts for answers.
Geoff Miller, a mental skills coach for the Atlanta Braves developed an assessment called TAIS which refers to The Attentional And Interpersonal Style inventory to identify players mental game strengths and weaknesses.
(San Diego Sports Psychology, Jan. 30, 2010)
And Jenny Truman, mental skills performance coach for athletes, says that very often, when stressed, players can take too much time before taking action and that this can actually reduce results as opposed to upgrading them. (Tennis mega-star Rafael Nadal is infamous for this when serving and has acquired many penalties for time violations).
So what can professionals and business leaders do, tactically, to overcome the negative effects of mental stress when it comes to business performance?
The Way Out Starts With The Internal
Every athlete knows that there are two arenas he or she must master for success:
Mastery of external/physical skills and mastery of the mind (Internal mental skill).
Both arenas are essential.
In business, however, leaders and entrepreneurs focus almost solely on the external – technical actions to produce successful accomplishment of goals.
The internal challenges impacting outcomes are usually overlooked.
This is a huge error.
The three essential secrets Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi, and dozens of other successful athletes have learned:
- Develop an unshakeable belief system and foundation of self confidence.
Successful professionals and business owners often want to rely on tangible evidence before establishing belief and confidence.
No! It actually works the other way around.
Learn and teach belief and self confidence-building practices first to set a foundation to your performance.
2. Learn how to quiet the mind to develop focus and tune out negativity (“Clear the mechanism”).
Think this is a bunch of woowoo?
Although there’s no question that the Seattle Sea Hawks attribute their astonishing Super Bowl win in 2014 to the great leadership of Pete Carrol, intense training, and pure athletic talent, the team’s top players also recognize the power of meditation. In 2011, Carrol brought in a sports psychologist who recommended meditation and yoga. Offensive tackle Russell Okung said, “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field for practice. It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment.”
Many CEO’s and business leaders are now incorporating meditation into their daily practices to improve focus and successful results.
3. Use Positive Visualizations Before Key Events Or Performances
I’ve got a great real life experience of this I’m going to share.
I was giving a keynote address to a professional association recently. I’ve done this many times before and had prepared carefully and faithfully.
Still, I was unusually anxious and nervous.
I decided to apply some of the tools I have in my tool kit.
I did a visualization of the audience laughing (with me of course) paying rapt attention to my stories, applauding, and coming up to me afterward with appreciative feedback.
I’d like to say it went exactly like that.
I was still very nervous and uncomfortable.
Before the presentation, a colleague kicked off the event with his presentation. Something amazing happened. Within a minute or two of his starting his talk, he started to have a panic attack.
He got sweaty, short of breath, had to ask for a glass of water and told the audience they were making him nervous!
I felt so awful for him.
As soon as I focused on my empathy for him, my nerves evaporated.
I went on and my positive visualization materialized almost exactly as I’d pictured it in my mind.
We are moving into holiday season and the start of a new year. These are often highly stressful times in business.
As professionals and business owners, it is, without question, imperative to have the right strategies and tactics for success in your business. However, without you and your staff having the right mental skills and fitness, it is like driving a car with only 2 wheels.
Is it any wonder you’re feeling stressed?
Got a sports psychology story that has inspired you for your business? Please share it!