Archive for July, 2009

How do you really know when you have stumbled upon great idea? When others of higher fame and stature come up with similar ideas, as seen in this blog post from a week back by Tim Ferriss, The Big Question: Are You Better Than Yesterday?

My seemingly great idea is a simple plan to follow that will almost ensure you have a good life. The idea was so good that I actually came up with it twice, in two similar variations to the same theme, within a week. And I luckily had the foresight to jott both down in my Running Notepad list before I lost the essence of the idea.

What makes the plan even better is that I truly wrote it to be very simple to follow, even for someone who has found themselves in a dire situation, and are currently looking straight into what seems like insurmountable odds.

First, you start your journey to a great life by having just one good moment. Then, you work on having another one, and then another one. You’ll quickly find that working toward having good moments becomes addicting, and as you continue stringing some of your good moments together, back to back, and you’ll soon find you’ll have worked your way into having a few good hours, and then a few good days.

From there, just keep working until you are string together more and more good days, and those will quickly become good weeks, then good months, and then good years…all the way up until you can declare with all your heart you have led a remarkable and good life.

This plan isn’t easy, and it may take more time than you expect to string all those good moments into a good life lived, but the workload is enjoyable and life sustaining. And the good moments are just waiting to be had.

So start right now by declaring this moment as a good moment. Work on having more good moments, and keep stringing them all together. You’ll get to that good life, I promise.


As I was doing some research on whether you really can see the Great Wall of China from Outer Space, I began to think about some of the decisions that I made in my life, and how I had to be in the right places at the right times to even see the opportunity I have had to make those decisions.

My biggest example would be why I am living in my current home city of Little Rock, AR and chasing a current career path of media and broadcasting. When I was leaving the Air Force, I was looking at going to school full time until I could figure out what I wanted to do in my next stage of life, after long giving up on my childhood dreams of being a DJ, and failing miserably to convince anyone that I was just a slacker meant to wander aimlessly through life.

Little Rock was nowhere near my radar. In fact, it was not being able to find an immediate job in Atlanta that lead me to move out of my town house in South Georgia and just drive home to my parents’ house in Louisiana without much of a plan. I was set to spend a few days at home and then go try my luck for a few weeks in Dallas, with the invitation to stay on a friend’s couch.

Intervention came from another friend who had come to visit me in Georgia about two years before. We had worked in radio together five years earlier in college, and she was currently working at a radio station, and she called me and caught me days before I was to shut off my home phone service and hit the road. She had the chance to sell me on the law school at University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and on the fact that I was actually pretty good in radio, and could do some side work until I got enrolled in classes. That diversion brought me to the city, which led to more decisions and diversions that kept me on my current path (and not path of signing up for grad school–I PROMISE it will happen this year Mom), that I basically had to be here to even get the chance to see and make them. Moving to anywhere other than Arkansas in 2002, for example, would probably not have led me to get married to wife who was living in Arkansas in 2004.

Trying not to get all Bless The Broken Road on you, but life only allows you the ability to make choices from the choices given. You can’t catch a fly ball at a baseball game you didn’t go to. You can’t use a thunderstorm as an legitimate excuse to not mow my lawn on a clear and sunny day. You can’t be in two different places at the same time, so you can’t cash in on the opportunities available at two different places at the same time.

Do yourself a favor and stop being so hard on yourself for the opportunities you may have missed by not being in the right place at the right time in the past, and start a new focus and appreciation of the choices you were able to make and not make because of being who you were, right where you were. And if you’re looking to make a future dream come true, and it takes being someplace else to make it happen, try working on getting to where you need to be.

Monster Learning
This Guest Post Written By Deborah A Bailey

How much baggage are you carrying? Have you created a business that looks just like the corporate world that you escaped from? When I was dreaming of going out on my own, I envisioned having time and freedom to do whatever I wanted. It may seem silly now, but I didn’t consider how much money I wanted to make. All I really wanted was to have time for myself. You see, I was in IT for over 15 years and during that time I worked weekends, nights and holidays. I was one of those people who could be relied on to drop everything and give her all for the team.

As the years passed, I realized that though I was giving my all, my paycheck wasn’t reflecting it. Not mention that I was frequently sick and had little or no social life – other than the occasional Happy Hour. Not that drinking cheap drinks at a chain restaurant is such a happy event.

What I never considered was that I would end up recreating my work life in my business – long hours, low pay and the occasional Happy Hour. Most of my friends in business do the same thing, so why would I think it anything was wrong?

Yes, when you get started it does require work and often much longer hours than the regular 9-to-5. But sitting at a desk all day and all night is not productive if it does not bring you any income. Back in my job, I was used to just spending hours at the desk, whether my work was productive or not. So, I simply recreated that world. It took me the longest time to feel okay about running errands or doing chores during “work hours.” However, I couldn’t blame my work environment for keeping me confined – I’d done it to myself.

Recently my coach asked me what I’d really rather be focusing on in my business. I answered, “If it was up to me…” She said, “It IS up to you!” That really hit me.

It was up to me to decide – but in my mind I was still the employee waiting to be told what to do next. I’ve often heard that starting a business will bring up all sorts of issues inside of a person. You will discover things about yourself that you never realized was there. I totally agree. It does bring up stuff. Though some of it can be hard to look at, it’s necessary. If you’re struggling to find that freedom you thought you’d have in your business, drop that baggage and free your mind first.

About the Author:

Transition coach and radio host Deborah A. Bailey is a sought after expert to discuss today’s most pressing workplace issues. Deborah helps her clients transition from employees to entrepreneurs as they eliminate limiting beliefs and connect with their passion.

After several years with various companies such as AT&T, Lucent and Johnson & Johnson, Deborah Bailey successfully transitioned to career consultant and coach by founding her company Deb Bailey Coaching (a division of DBC Communications, LLC). Her extensive experience in the employee to entrepreneur transition has made her the partner of choice for many successful entrepreneurs and career professionals. Deborah is the host of the internet radio show, “Women Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Success”

For more information about Deborah, visit her website


Does your career follow a warped version of the story of the Little Dutch Boy?

The Cliff Notes Version of the Little Dutch Boy has a hole in a dike that was threatening to burst, and little boy walks up an sticks his finger in the hole and shores up the dike with the simple act…a decision that is a little tough because it makes him late for school, which will get him in trouble. Eventually, some passerby sees the boy, and brings back help to fix the dike. The story is told to teach quick action and self-sacrifice, because if the boy leaves, the dike is back in the same peril that it was in before, and he has no guarantee that help is on the way.

Switch the story to an analogy of your career. Were you on your way to something bigger and brighter, came across a problem that you could offer up a quick fix, and then got stuck supporting your quick fix forever? In real world work, sometimes the people whose job it is to actually fix things will do everything in their power to go nowhere near the problem, sticking you with your quick fix approaches, and bogging you down with unresolved issues that keep you from accomplishing bigger goals and moving forward.

I believe you have three ways to approach this problem:

1: JUST DON’T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE: If it’s not your problem, its not your problem, and don’t lift a finger (pun intended) to fix it.

2: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE FOR A WHILE, THEN TAKE IT OUT AND DEMAND ACTION: Save the company for just a little while, figure out what the real problem is, then kill your quick fix and get in the faces of those who have the responsibility to fix it, and make sure they fix it.

3: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE, AND PRAY THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING ON THERE OWN: …which probably won’t happen…but a little faith might help…

When I came across the idea for this post, I knew I was going to be short on answers, but I hope that just putting the thought out there will help those stuck ‘with their finger in the dike’ to get a better picture of their current situation, and find a way out of it.

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Here is the scenario: Your house is on fire. The smoke alarm has awakened you from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, but you are fine. The fire is currently far enough on the other side of your house that you can easily make your way out of a safe exit and away from danger. So you can get yourself to safety.

You can also fairly easily take a little bit of time to check on family members, get them up, and out of the house. Or, you could grab your important documents that you took the time to put in an easy to transport container, or maybe grab your laptop and a few flash drives with critical information. Or possibly some fairly portable family heirlooms, like a jewelry box or shoebox of old photos.

You do not have time to pack a suitcase and coordinate your wardrobe for the next couple of days. You do not have time to take that old mirror that your grandmother gave you off the wall and carry it to the car. You cannot get the grand piano out the front door in time.

Your crisis is here. It doesn’t matter how long you spent waiting for the right time to prepare for this crisis. Your time to act is now. You will have to be as prepared to handle this crisis as you are right now.

Are you truly prepared?

In the case of a home fire it is fairly easy to prepare for. And if you do happen to suffer through one, the priorities are clear: save yourself, then save others, then possibly save a few things that you are already prepared ahead of time as important.

But let’s take the ‘fire scenario’ and use it as a metaphor. A fight with your spouse has escalated into a possible ending involving lawyers. A close friend has just been given a terminal diagnosis from a doctor. You’ve just been laid off from a major corporation. Your personal business is failing financially. That is your ‘fire,’ your dilemma, your crisis.

First, make sure you don’t get consumed with fear and panic, and find yourself stuck in your ‘house’ and consumed by the ‘fire.’ You can always rebuild or move elsewhere if you can just live through the experience. If you can escape the building before the flames get dangerous, do it.

Next, make sure that important people and things are taken care of and not consumed by the ‘flames,’ if you can help it. Make sure friends and family members are okay, and if the dilemma is really about you, make sure they are okay with you. Make sure your assets are protected from whatever is attacking you.

Now you can deal with the fire…but let’s change the scenario so that it is not as serious, and take a fresh look at it.

The smoke alarm goes off, you awaken from a deep sleep and you see the source of the problem is relatively small appliance has shorted out. You grab a nearby fire extinguisher and vanquish the flames, and then you awaken the family and get them out of the house and call the fire department to come by and check the rest of the house to make sure that the house is safe and no other surprise fires will spring up. You still have a crisis to face, but not a major one.

But you don’t just let the whole house burn down because the coffee pot shorts out, you deal with the very minor fire and then find out what the source really is: bad wiring in the coffee pot versus bad house wiring that is bound to set something else a blaze.

A minor crisis can be handled with minor and relatively painless solutions. They will help you avoid the major crisis that can actually take a physical, financial, or emotional toll that will take much more effort to recover from. But just like the evacuation of the house about to reach fully involved fire status, it helps to do a little preparation and to keep your cool in the situation.

The most effective development tool you’ll ever use is a simple one: a list.

Part one of this post gave you a basic strategy for multiple list building designed to help you get out of the ineffective list building habit. In this second part, I will show you the lists that I personally keep everyday. My lists four main lists keep me on track for my progress, and give me clues to when I’m not progressing like I should so, so that I can fix my focus. I have owned a PDA or smart phone since college, so I have become accustomed to keeping my lists with me for instant review or editing for almost 20 years.

My first list is what I call my Daily Journal. This list is literally a place to jot down everything that I do throughout my day from the moment I wake up to the time I turn out the lights to go to sleep. My Daily Journal allows me to figure out exactly what I have accomplished on days when I know I have worked hard, but end up tired and frustrated because there were no obvious returns from my efforts. It also helps me keep up with the progress of my personal and my professional goals, along with keeping a eye on my health with notes for checking my blood sugar, the meals and snacks I eat, and whatever exercise I can squeeze in. I even use my Daily Journal to help compile a weekly review document of myself I call my Weekly Wrap-Up Log (which is why I have found the electronic method of keeping a journal much easier that carrying and recording in a paper bound journal, despite my love for Moleskine notebooks).

My second list is a basic listing I create every night of things I need to work on the next day, which I call my Daily Dozens. I came up with the name as I was working on creating a product on making lists, and thought it sounded catchy, and that ten spots were never really enough on my personal list. In fact, twelve spots is often not enough, as I’ll find I have accomplished additional things that happened to spring up on me throughout the course of a work day that turn out to be fairly important. Because of this, I have the right to add to this list as many more tasks completed throughout the day as I choose (normally no more that 16). Throughout the day, I mark off the tasks I have worked on with significant progress (but not necessarily completed). This list shows me my task priorities as I say they are, and ultimately what I actually focused on completing.

My third list is my 30 Minutes A Day Log. I created a document that covers the Four P’s of Life Management, with the key to devote at least 30 minutes a day to each P:
TO PAUSE. It is with this log that I keep track of how well I am accomplishing my progress in life management, where some days are much better than others.

My forth list is what I call my Running Notepad, and it doesn’t fall in line with the normal concepts of lists. My Running Notepad is just a file that I use to put down any random idea that pops into my head that I think I will be able to do something with later. I have been carrying little notebooks for ideas since middle school, and the process just got a little more organized (and easier to transcribe) when I started doing more note taking in my PDAs and smart phones. I also use a service called Jott that allows me to leave a verbal note that gets transcribed for me to move into my Running Notepad file if my hands are not available. I am also trying to get the hang of the new Google Voice for recording and transcribing important phone interviews.

The most effective development tool you’ll ever use is a simple one: a list.

While the concept and the proper use of a list are for most people fairly basic, there are some who have taken the art of list building and have turned themselves in the Mozarts and Picassos of productivity and effectiveness. But the majority of us just scribble down a bunch of things and then easily forgets the reason for the list, or the list completely.

In part one of this post, I will show you a basic strategy for multiple list building that should help you get out of the ineffective list building habit. Part two will go in depth into the personal lists that I keep everyday that help me monitor my progress, or can at least alert me when progress is not being made.

Step one is to have a place of prominence to place your list once you’ve created it. Your desk is a fine spot for putting your list…if you don’t allow stuff to pile up on your desk and cover your list. Your list needs to live in a place where you will constantly have access to it. If your kitchen is a high traffic area for you, place it on the refrigerator. If your bedroom is your personal haven, put up a cork board or dry erase board so that you can put your list there. If you carry a smart phone, you can have your list always at your fingertips by keeping up with it in note form on your phone.

Step two is to name your list. Title your list so that it has a purpose (grocery list, tasks for work, Christmas gifts, steps for global domination, etc.) and only put items on the list that fit into that category. If you have a need or a task that doesn’t fit on the list you are currently building, figure out what purpose that need or task has, and make a new list with a new title that fits that purpose.

Step three is to limit your list. While the things you need to do may seem limitless, your capacity to get them done is limited by time, energy, and whatever resources you actually have available to you. Force a number on yourself to stop listing, and if you have more items then slots, eliminate the least important items. When you clear off enough items to make space on a particular list, add the missing items to the list.