Peak Performance Journal

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INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................4

THE BIKE............................................................................................................5

BECOMING A LIFE ARCHEOLOGIST ...........................................................6

PEAK NOTES.....................................................................................................7

PEAK EARLY RISER ........................................................................................9

MIND MAPPING ...............................................................................................10

PEAK MUSIC....................................................................................................11

LIPSTICK ON A PIG ........................................................................................12

THE POWER OF REFRAMING......................................................................13

I QUIT! I DIDN’T! .............................................................................................14

SETTING BOUNDARIES ................................................................................15

NEEDS OF THE WORLD................................................................................16


CARING AND A BUSINESS ATTITUDE.......................................................18

THE COLONEL ................................................................................................19

BEGIN!! .............................................................................................................20

BUT I DON’T WANT TO HAVE GOALS! ......................................................21

A SMALL GARDENER....................................................................................22

ROOT BOUND .................................................................................................23

WRITING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE .......................................................24

THE 3 WEEK BARRIER..................................................................................25

TAKING RISKS ................................................................................................26

WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK? ..................................................................27

PICKING COTTON...........................................................................................28

WHITEWATER .................................................................................................29

COVEY ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!...................................................................30

TREASURE MAPS ..........................................................................................32

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REINVENTING OURSELVES.........................................................................33

BE THERE ........................................................................................................35


EYE OF THE TIGER ........................................................................................39


THE GOAL TRAIN ...........................................................................................41

YOUR MASTERPIECE....................................................................................42

THE EXPOSED ZONE.....................................................................................43

THE PRESSURE COOKER............................................................................44


CAPTURE THAT THOUGHT!.........................................................................46

GRAB THAT TOEHOLD! ................................................................................47

ONE EVENT, TWO VIEWS .............................................................................48

SPIDER WEBS.................................................................................................49


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            Thanks for reading Peak Performance Journey. I hope this ebook benefits you on your
            journey to reach peak performance in your life. This is a collection of thoughts and articles
            that I’ve written and distributed over the years as part of my personal/life coaching newsletter,
            Peak Performance Now. To signup and receive the free newsletter via email, visit

            I love personal coaching! It's a wonderful opportunity to help others achieve greatness! For
            the last several years, I have witnessed the benefits of coaching in people’s lives. Clients
            have included corporate executives, writers, entrepreneurs, clients involved in multi level
            marketing, college students, people in career transition, homemakers, and retired individuals.
            Coaching can make a difference to a very wide variety of clients. The principles are

            I have worked for corporations (large and small), worked with governments (state and local),
            worked in retail, taught at the college level, worked as a consultant; as a manager, have led; as
            an employee, have followed. From working at one of the world's largest technology
            companies, to selling pumpkins on the front sidewalk as a child, I've seen many of the
            different colors of life. The stages of life may change, but many of the themes remain the

            Even though I learned a great deal and was successful in the corporate world, I have changed
            gears, and currently live in the southeastern United States, in a beautiful rural community with
            my wife, 2 kids and a dog. For fun, I run 5 miles every day, am an avid whitewater kayaker,
            and love all kinds of books. I love to travel and explore new and different cultures and places.

            My current coaching work, stems from a desire to help others reach a higher level of peak
            performance in their lives. I strongly believe that a coach can motivate others and help them
            achieve much higher levels of performance than they could achieve alone.

            I hope you enjoy the collection of stories that I’ve written! Please email me with your
            comments! And, consider sending a copy of this book to your friends via email.

            Live Your Dreams!

            Scott Fite

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            THE BIKE

            I bought the bike to get more exercise. In my mind, I imagined losing a few extra pounds, and
            feeling healthier. But, my experiences with the bike proved to be far more fascinating and
            multidimensional than I could ever imagine. I went to the bike shop and picked out a sleek
            looking, black, 10-speed racer; added a few additional accessories; loaded it in my car; and
            headed home.

            Once there, I jumped on the bike and began pedaling down the road beside my house. As I
            rode through my neighborhood, on a road I had traveled hundreds of times before in my car, a
            new world suddenly appeared. On my bike, I could smell things. On my bike, I could hear
            things. On my bike, I traveled slowly enough to really see things. In the past, I sped down
            these roads in my car; which was an insulating bubble. Windows tightly rolled up. Radio
            blasting. Going as fast as the speed limit allowed. But now, I could smell freshly mown grass.
            I could hear animal sounds. I could feel the wind on my face. I could see subtle details of old
            weathered barns, variations in the color of tree leaves, and many small things that had been
            invisible before. I had stepped out of the bubble of my car and began to rediscover my

            Traveling down roads at slower speeds, I found I could now shout greetings to my neighbors,
            and could easily pull my bike over to the side of the road and spend a few minutes chatting
            with them. If I saw something really interesting, I could stop and explore. My physical fitness
            improved, and I began to ride and explore further. My senses became heightened and
            sharpened, and I began to see, hear, and feel, more details and textures.

            I rode my bike frequently that summer. There were dogs that liked to chase me, cars that
            passed too closely, and swarms of bugs that suddenly appeared near dusk; but overall the
            experience was wonderful. I ride my bike less frequently these days, but many times when I'm
            traveling down a back road in my car, I'll slow down, turn off the radio, roll down the
            windows, and really enjoy my journey.

            That summer, I learned there was a tremendous amount of beauty and diversity I routinely
            passed by, unnoticed and not experienced. Before, I had been so intent on reaching my
            destination in "the bubble;" of my comfortable vehicle, that I missed it. The bike also taught
            me a larger lesson: Today I strive to make sure I don't live my life in a bubble. Frequently, I
            make myself slow down, roll down my mental windows, turn down my mental radio, and
            experience the beautiful colors and details of my life journeys more intimately. Life is a series
            of journeys. We are all constant travelers, and time spent at destinations is all too brief.

            Enjoy your journeys.

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            Our lives are a montage of events. A flurry of activity. Running here and running there.
            Details. Details. A blur. Lots of movement, but how much accomplishment? Of all the
            activity we engage in, how much of our energy do we direct toward fulfilling our central
            mission in life? How much of our lives is fluff and noise? How do we cut through all this
            noise to find direction? One way is to become a life archeologist.

            Archeologists sift through rubble and undergrowth to find treasures from the past. With
            careful attention to detail, they dig through debris and construct meaningful patterns and bring
            order to artifacts and material. Using the tools of their trade, they dig up objects of great
            beauty and historical value. Shovels, hand trowels, toothbrushes, and sifting boxes all are
            used to retrieve ancient artifacts.

            In our lives we can also become life archeologists. Digging through ourselves to find
            treasures buried deep inside. In my coaching practice, I employ a technique called “coactive
            coaching.” This coaching method assumes that clients already know how to better their lives,
            but the noise and flurry of everyday existence makes it difficult for them to see the way. So, I
            too become a kind of archeologist, helping people dig through themselves to find their true
            direction in life.

            Like a field archeologist, a life archeologist has several tools. One powerful tool is
            journaling. Journaling is a way to dig out thoughts and place them on paper. The act of
            journaling causes deeper reflection on issues. Putting thoughts on paper allows us to see
            patterns that would otherwise not be apparent. Journaling is a time for focused thought. A
            way to really be able to dig deep in areas that otherwise are only probed lightly. Consider
            journaling thoughts every day.

            Another life archeologist tool is questions. Questions are a wonderful cutting tool. They cut
            through issues and problems quickly. For example: Let’s say, I want to begin an exercise
            program. A fine goal, but not thoroughly carved out and polished. Let’s use questions to do
            this. Question: OK, So what will this exercise program do for you. Answer: Improve my
            health. Question: How much would you need to exercise to improve your health? Answer:
            4 times a week. Question: What would these exercise programs consist of? Answer: 30
            minutes of aerobics and 20 minutes of strength training.

            I know that asking questions seem to be a trivial thing, but it is so powerful. I see it time and
            time again in my coaching practice. Clients have very broad desires that haven’t been cut into
            appropriate size chunks. The large chunks are many times too large to bite off and chew, so
            nothing is eaten. Chunking down goals through questions is an extremely important activity.
            Ask: why? Ask: how much? Ask: by when? Ask: when exactly? Ask: why not? Ask
            yourself questions in your journal. Create morning power questions, such as: What am I
            happy about today? What am I excited about today? What am I proud of today? Use the
            power of questions to focus your energy like light can be focused into a powerful laser beam.

            Becoming a life archeologist means searching yourself for the things that matter to you. What
            gives you the deepest sense of satisfaction? What makes you happy? What are your goals for
            the next month; the next year; the next five years; for the rest of your life? Why are you here?
            Why does your life matter? Digging up these core issues takes work, but the beautiful
            treasures unearthed more than make up for the effort involved.

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            PEAK NOTES

            On our journey to achieve peak performance we encounter many teachers, mentors, and
            situations which have the potential to greatly influence or lives. A particular speaker at a
            seminar may offer an inspiring message. A religious leader may deliver a deeply moving
            sermon. A relative may share a fascinating story of overcoming a life obstacle.

            How much of the detail and texture of these events do we truly remember? Our minds can
            hold a great deal of information, but without reinforcement and without some type of
            assistance, this information can soon become lost. Our minds can remember the basic theme
            and structure of an event. Think of this like a human body. Our skeletons form our basic
            structure. But, a skeleton is not very interesting. The flesh and blood of our bodies and all
            the other details that make us human result in us being very different than just a collection of
            bones. When we think back on a life-influencing event, our minds may remember only the
            skeleton of the event. How do we remember more? How do we capture the event in our
            minds so that we can remember it with flesh and blood? One of the best methods for helping
            this problem is note taking.

            Many of us have had points in our lives, maybe in school, where note taking was done on a
            regular basis. Most everyone in a class took notes while listening to a teacher. These notes
            were referred to later, after a lecture, or in preparation for a test. In school, everyone around
            me took notes. But, with many of us, this is the only area in our lives influenced by note

            Recently, I attended a Sunday morning religious service. While listening to the sermon, I
            thought about note taking. I looked around the church and saw that nobody was taking notes.
            I remembered back for many years and realized that in that environment, I couldn’t remember
            ever seeing anyone taking notes. I decided to take notes.

            I discovered that when taking notes I listened better. My focus was more intense. My mind
            didn’t drift. I was forced to see different patterns. But most of all, later that day, when I
            reviewed my notes, I could remember the flesh and blood of the service. Details that I had
            already forgotten that day were there in my notes. And reading my notes allowed me to see a
            central theme. I could better see how particular stories told that day were related to the
            central theme. Reading my notes burned details into my mind. Later that week, I reviewed
            my notes again. Each review burned the details deeper and deeper into my mind. Now, I can
            think back on that particular religious service and remember details, stories, and an important
            theme that could have been lost.

            What a difference note taking can make! I now take notes while watching inspiring TV
            programs. While surfing the net. When I hear something anywhere that is interesting. Note
            taking helps to capture those thoughts, situations, and occurrences for later reflection.

            Do you practice effective note taking? When involved in an event, it doesn’t seem important
            to take notes. We think we will remember the details forever. But our minds don’t work that
            way. Short-term memory quickly gets dumped and replaced with new events. Take notes.
            But don’t just file them away and forget them. Review your notes immediately after an event.
            Clean up and add details to note items. Burn the information
            in your mind. Develop a good filing system that allows you to retrieve information quickly.

            Consider using technology. I’ve recently started using one of the new palm computers. It’s
            small enough to carry everywhere. I can pull it out, take some notes and put it back in my

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            pocket. I’ve set up different files for different type notes. Later, I can load the information
            into my word processor and clean it up.

            The next time you find yourself someplace where you wouldn’t normally take notes, pull out
            your pen or your computer, and start writing!

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            PEAK EARLY RISER

            I typically get up around 5:00am. By rising early, I have a tremendous amount of quiet time
            in the morning. Time for personal reflection. Writing in my journal. Time for planning.
            Nobody else is up before at least 6:00am. Nobody calls on the telephone. Other activities
            never interfere. This time is always mine. At 6:00, I exercise. Typically, a 5 mile run. By
            7:00am, I’ve had a full morning to physically and mentally prepare for the day. This early
            preparation makes the rest of the day flow much better.

            Becoming an early riser is not easy. For some reason, most of us want to sleep until the “last
            minute.” But, we end up jumping out of bed, rushing through breakfast, dashing into the
            shower, and running out the door to work. By the time we arrive there, we already feel

            Consider setting an alarm clock far away from your bed. It’s too easy to roll over and turn the
            alarm button off, or press the snooze button if it is on the nightstand close by. The hardest
            thing about getting up, is actually getting up! The first few minutes are the barrier. Once
            you’re past it, the process is not very difficult. Adjusting your bedtime may be necessary, in
            order to get an appropriate amount of sleep.

            I challenge you to try getting up earlier for at least one week. Even if it is just 15 minutes
            earlier. Take this time and use it for personal reflection, planning time, or just sit alone

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            MIND MAPPING

            When I work with coaching clients, there are many tools and methods that can be used to help
            people better design and plan their lives. Without these tools, planning is difficult, and a life
            can resemble a falling leaf; floating in the breeze; no charted direction or self determination.
            At the mercy of outside forces. But, some order and design can be introduced into our lives to
            help us meet goals and reach higher levels of peak performance. Just as an architect has tools
            for designing structures, we can use tools to help design their lives.

            One simple tool that works great is called Mind Mapping. Select a simple word or concept
            and write it in the middle of a piece of paper. Radiating from that, draw lines to other simple
            words that relate to the central concept. From these new words, continue the process,
            branching off to other words. You create a large tree-like structure. Each main branch
            flowing from the central concept should be drawn with a different color. Also, each main
            branch directly connected to the central concept should have a small picture associated with it.
            It also helps to use different styles of text on different main branches.

            Because our brains work with pictures and associations, in addition to words, a mind map
            gives us the ability to see things from a different perspective. Because all topics radiate
            equally from the center, there is no perceived ranking of branches, as is sometimes assumed
            from simple lists. Mind maps can be used for a variety of things: note taking, brainstorming,
            group discussions, project planning, weekly planning, and others. One great advantage to
            mind mapping is the ability to quickly memorize the map. The different pictures and colors
            allow our brains to imprint a very vivid mental picture of the information. I’ve used this
            technique very effectively when giving presentations. I mind map the presentation on a single
            sheet of paper and spend some time memorizing it. I generally work around the map
            clockwise. If I get stuck, I can quickly glance at my mind map and see where I need to move

            One of the very best uses is for mapping lives. Specifically, place your name in the center.
            Radiating from that, create branches for each of your roles in life. (Father, Manger, Spouse,
            Friend, etc) Radiating out from each of these role branches, create multiple goals. The
            resulting map can be a blueprint for more effective living.

            Also, for more information, Amazon.Com carries several good books on the subject.

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            PEAK MUSIC

            During my college years, I was fortunate enough to date a girl for several years that majored
            in Music Therapy. A major I had never heard of at the time. But, quickly I began to
            understand it. I began to see how powerful music could be. She showed me how musical
            tunes could dramatically impact moods of many types of people. Nursing home patients who
            heard songs from their youth could perk up, and remember fond memories of years gone by.
            Severely mentally handicapped people could be touched by music, even if it was simply
            beating two sticks together to the beat of a toe tapping song.

            I also began to realize how important music is to everyone’s life. Music can greatly impact
            your journey to peak performance. Think of songs that really motivate you. Perhaps “The
            Theme from Rocky” or “The Theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey.” How about music from a
            movie like “Titanic?” Music can be a powerful motivator and greatly impacts emotions.
            Think of your favorite movies. How would they seem without the musical scores that
            accompany them? The powerful love songs, the scary songs, the triumphant songs? A lot
            less interesting I’m sure.

            We can greatly impact our moods by playing motivational music. What kinds of music are
            extremely motivating to you? Could you build a library of this music? Make a list and
            consider adding a song a month to your motivational audio library. Whenever times are tough
            and goals seem elusive, take out a song and play it. Notice how it impacts you.

            We also have mental musical jukeboxes. Internalize the notes and sound of your favorite
            music. Whenever your mind begins to play fearful tunes, turn down the volume, change CDs,
            and crank up your motivational songs.

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            LIPSTICK ON A PIG

            This week, I’ve been preparing for a presentation to a trade association on the use of
            technology for time management. Technology can help tremendously with time management.
            Many examples of this are seen everyday: It can make changing calendar appointments
            effortless. Also, with the click of a button, many people can be emailed an announcement of
            a meeting change. Potential uses are enormous. But, time and time again, in my personal
            coaching practice, I frequently see folks simply using technology to automate a poor time
            management system. They are in effect, paving the cow path, or putting lipstick on a pig.

            Putting lipstick on a pig makes the pig a little prettier, but underneath it, the pig is still a pig.
            Cosmetic changes don’t result in underlying structural change. Technology can be used like
            lipstick, or to support a more fundamental realignment of a time management system. Using
            a handheld computer to manage appointments is great, but if we aren’t making the correct
            appointments it doesn’t help much.

            Most of us are very busy. Automating the tracking of all the harried appointments we keep
            during the day is nice. But, at the core, do the appointments tie to achieving goals within the
            roles of our lives? Is there some planning mechanism that results in using the time
            management system to bring our lives more in line with a personal mission statement?

            Email results in quicker communication, but is the communication more effective? Faster
            technology speed creates quick movement. But is the movement in the right direction? An
            old saying applies well here: If you are in a race, but are going down the wrong route, it
            doesn’t matter how fast you are. Technology can help us go faster, but in the end, it may not
            matter much, if we aren’t effectively accomplishing our personal goals.

            The next time you use technology, think about lipstick on a pig. Do you really want to put
            lipstick on that big, old, ugly, smelly animal? Or would you rather invest some additional
            time and get rid of the pig completely, replacing it with something that will more effectively
            assist you on your journey to peak performance?

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            A friend recently shared an inspiring personal story. As a child, she suffered severe verbal
            and physical abuse by her father. She grew up withdrawn and shy, in a perpetual state of fear.
            From that experience, she decided to make a positive difference in the lives of young children.
            She is now a teacher, and works with underprivileged kids, making a positive difference to
            those young lives. She says at least while the kids are with her, they are safe from any bad
            things that may be happening in other areas of their lives. Her desire to be a teacher was a
            result of traumatic childhood events.

            Her ability to reframe her past situation was summed up best by a comment, “I’m a better
            person now, because of the abuse that happened to me when I was younger.” She has
            completely reframed the situation, which takes away much of the emotional trauma she could
            still be experiencing.

            Reframing a situation is important. Turning a negative into a positive; pessimism into
            optimism; seeing the glass half full, rather than half empty; are wonderful life skills. What
            situations could you reframe today? Look at them from new, different, creative angles. See
            them from another person’s point of view. See them positively, rather than negatively. What
            are the situations trying to teach you? Slow down a little and see them from all sides.

            Pick a situation up, turn it around in your hands. Carefully study it. Maybe there is a side
            you’ve never seen. Maybe the new side looks very different from the one you’ve always seen
            in the past.

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            I QUIT! I DIDN’T!

            I recently saw a poster. On it was a picture of two men. The first was sitting down, hunched
            over with his face buried in his hands, obviously very sad. Underneath this picture were the
            words: I QUIT! The second picture was of a man standing on a mountaintop with his arms
            raised up toward the sky in triumph! Underneath this picture were the words: I DIDN’T!

            We live in an age of instant gratification. Instant email. Instant soup. Instant stock
            purchases. Instant software downloads. A world that moves faster and faster. But, this
            instant mindset can be a huge impediment to achieving peak performance. The “I want it
            now” attitude keeps many from reaching long term goals. Long term goals take time,
            requiring steady persistence for days, weeks, months or perhaps years. Many get
            discouraged. The initial enthusiasm associated with goal creation may begin to wear off,
            resulting in the gradual straying away from goal attainment. Small strays at first, but
            becoming larger and larger, until the goal no longer appears to be attainable.

            Think back to the poster. The reason the first person failed was because of one word: QUIT.
            A failure of persistence. Because there was no instant, or short-term gratification, the journey
            toward the goal seemed futile. So the first man sat down and stopped. The second person
            kept going, maybe moving slowly at times. But always headed toward the goal, until he
            achieved victory.

            This is one reason I began personal coaching. Staying with a client over a long period of time
            helps them keep up their momentum. To really get unstuck. To grow their business or
            careers. To make a difference. To achieve more life balance. Long term weekly phone
            sessions keep the focus on goals.

            To keep momentum up, it is absolutely necessary to break large goals into sub goals.
            Achieving small victories periodically, satisfies some of the need for instant or short-term

            Think of the way that whales are taught to jump out of water through a hoop. Trainers first
            put the hoop in the water and reward the whale whenever it swims near the hoop. Then, they
            require the whale to swim closer to the hoop to get the reward. Later, the whale is only
            rewarded if it actually swims through the hoop. Then the hoop is gradually raised out the
            water, with reinforcement given when the whale jumps through it. Small intermediate goal
            attainment over a period of time results in achieving the larger goal. What would happen if a
            trainer simply came over to the pool, held a hoop out in the air and expected the whale to
            jump through it? Pretty soon the trainer would probably sit down and think to himself, “I

            What kind of person are you? If one of the pictures on the poster was you, which picture
            would you be? Would you be the person who said, “I QUIT,” or would you be the person
            who said, “I DIDN’T?”

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            Over the past few years, I have had the privilege to coach many people. One topic that
            frequently comes up is “setting boundaries.” What are boundaries? Why are they important?
            Why do they need to be defined?

            Most folks have weak boundaries. Remember the story of the three little pigs? One pig built
            his house from straw. One pig built his house from sticks. One pig built his house from
            bricks. Then the big bad wolf came around, and he huffed and puffed and blew lots of houses
            away. He blew away the houses that had little strength. The straw house and the stick house.
            But the brick house stood firm. The pig in that house had established strong boundaries.

            In our lives, many things invade our boundaries. Other people expect things from us. They
            move inside our boundaries. Life “shoulds” invade. Many of us aren’t accustomed to saying
            no, and continue to agree to serve on committees or activities that aren’t central to our life
            mission, because we have a fear of saying “no.” In the final analysis, only those who stand
            firm with their boundaries are able to claim enough life energy to truly make a difference in
            the world.

            Establishing boundaries is critical for success. Whether it means only working with a certain
            level of customer, or accepting certain levels of performance from family members or
            ourselves; establishing standards of performance is vital.

            But, have some flexibility. The pig with the brick house still had windows and doors. Giving
            it the ability to allow parts of its boundaries to be lowered, if only temporarily. But this
            flexibility is controllable, the doors and windows can be locked, or swung open for a period of
            time. The basic structure is still sound. Buffeting winds from life’s multitude of demands can
            howl, but we can stay committed to our true vision. Our true purpose. Safe from being
            overwhelmed by outside forces.

            Consider writing down your standards. Review them periodically. Reinforce them in your
            mind. What boundaries have you established? How firm are they? How tall? How strong?
            Are they made from sticks and straw or bricks?

            When you find yourself being overwhelmed, think of your boundaries. If they get knocked
            down, build them back up. Nobody has enough time these days. By establishing boundaries,
            you gain more time for the activities that really have meaning.

            Setting boundaries may sound selfish, but by setting them, we are better able to have a more
            powerful impact with our lives, and experience more fulfillment.

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            NEEDS OF THE WORLD

            As a peak performance personal coach, one of the first things that my clients complete is a
            Client Profile Form. It is a great way to ask them to perform some personal exploration, and
            forces self reflection time. Many questions on the form require in-depth personal thought.
            Many comment that the form made them think deeply about certain issues for the first time.

            One question on the form is this: “What needs in the world are you moved to meet?” Most of
            the time, people come up with very similar answers. Wonderful humanitarian answers such
            as: Feeding the hungry. Helping the needy. Helping children. Teaching others. Helping the
            elderly. Helping the homeless. The common theme seems to always be “helping others.”
            Over the past few months, I’ve reviewed many, many Client Profile Forms, and the
            commonality of answers to this question is always striking.

            But……just as striking, is the lack of movement toward meeting these desires. Few seem to
            be doing anything to help with the issues they express as very important. I find very little
            actual work toward helping with these world needs. There always seems to be more pressing
            issues such as work problems, family problems, and money problems. The time
            spent addressing these primary issues seems to take most of the time from helping with higher
            level issues.

            Imagine how effectively we could deal with many world issues, if everyone used only a small
            portion of their time to deal with them. But, this time gets put on the sidelines, possibly never
            being called into play.

            We express a desire to help with many world needs. To make things better. But few seem to
            have an action plan for really making a difference. I know that many of you have a deep
            desire to really help others in many ways. But, most of you don’t really take action. Imagine
            how your self-esteem would improve if you filled this need.

            I’m not trying to preach right or leftwing social causes, but impacting the world in a positive
            direction, whatever that means for you, is extremely important. So, consider increasing your
            contribution to your church, if you are religious. Consider finding ways to make a difference
            with children. Consider becoming more politically active. Consider finding ways that you
            can contribute to human service agencies in your community. Consider ways that you can
            leave your mark.. Then, act! Make that difference! The good feelings that come from
            making the difference will increase your energy level and self-esteem. Enabling you to have
            more energy in all areas of your life.

            Many have heard the expression: “We help ourselves, by first helping others.” There is a lot
            of truth to that statement.

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            A façade is defined as the front of a building, especially an imposing or decorative one. We
            all maintain personal facades. The manifestation of ourselves to others. Our external
            presentation. Many times this is of a confident, self-assured person, showing little signs of
            questioning internal turmoil.

            As a personal coach, I’ve had the opportunity to see behind many facades. Frequently, clients
            look at others, and see strong confidence. Many clients have commented that while they also
            may project confidence, inside they are not so self-assured. There may be a constant
            questioning of abilities. Feeling that they are running full speed; playing a game of charades;
            afraid of being “found out.”

            We tend to think that others have everything under control. But we don’t see the whole
            picture. Great examples can be seen on many of the biography programs that air on TV.
            Many famous movie stars, rock and roll singers, and others project symbols of success, but
            many don’t experience the inner peace, and happy well-balanced lives they would like.

            Looking at the façade of others can be frustrating. We may feel we cannot measure up to that
            projected image. We cannot compete with them. But, remember that nobody is as confident
            and self-assured as they seem. Everyone has self-doubts.

            Remember the Wizard of Oz? The great powerful wizard was merely a projection. The little
            man behind the curtain was the true wizard. We all are behind our curtains. Projecting
            ourselves for others to see. By all means, project yourself powerfully; but remember that the
            projections of others are only facades. They may appear to be great and powerful, but behind
            their curtains they are frantically pulling levers and throwing

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            We are human in the workplace. The “make money” missions of corporations sometimes
            collide with human problems. How many of you have known someone who wasn’t pulling
            his or her weight in an organization, or who had a negative attitude that impacted the climate
            of the organization? Many times these people have personal problems that contribute to their

            It’s not uncommon for managers or sponsors in a corporation or direct marketing organization
            to be faced with this issue. Knowing that personal problems may be contributing to a
            performance problem, but unwilling to address the performance problem, because of fear of
            making the person’s personal problems worse. This is particularly difficult if the person is a
            personal friend, where there is the possibility that addressing the issue could strain or break
            the friendship.

            I’ve seen this problem many times over the years. The resolution may be difficult. The hard-
            nosed business approach may be to get rid of the person and find someone else. The human
            approach would be to understand that personal problems are very real, but it may not
            effectively confront the problems that the individual is causing for the business. The poor
            performance could drag on for an extended period of time, never adequately addressed.

            If poor performance does become an issue, have enough backbone to address it, but at the
            same time, offer to help that person build a bridge to a resolution of their personal problem.
            Many corporations offer Employee Assistance Programs that cost the employee nothing to
            utilize. A change in work schedules, or work demands may help. Just talking with the person
            may be enough to help relieve some pressure.

            It is many times easier to maintain the status quo. But when the status quo results in sub
            optimal business and personal performance, something needs to be done. Make your
            organization a peak performance organization. When there are performance problems related
            to personal issues address them immediately! Not addressing them quickly is unfair both to
            the organization and the individual. Address them with a heart, but not with so much heart
            that there is no resolution to the problem.

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            THE COLONEL

            This week, while preparing a positive mental attitude presentation for a senior citizens
            organization, I came across the story of Colonel Sanders. Colonel Harland Sanders founded
            the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain in the 1950s.

            While operating an automobile service station, the Colonel decided to open a restaurant for
            travelers. One of his specialties was fried chicken, but the preparation time for the chicken
            was too long. Colonel Sanders heard of a new invention called the pressure cooker, and
            began to experiment with it for chicken preparation. He found it substantially reduced
            cooking time and caused his herbs and spices to become deeply embedded inside the chicken.
            His business flourished.

            Then, in the early 1950s, when he was 65, a new interstate highway bypassed his business and
            forced him to sell his business to pay off bills. Instead of “retiring” and living off his social
            security benefits, the Colonel decided to kick his life up a notch. Knowing he had a
            wonderful chicken recipe, he began traveling across the United States, attempting to sign up
            franchisees from whom he would receive a portion of the money received from each chicken
            sold. The Colonel was tireless. Some stories say he was told “no” 1009 times even before his
            first sale. But, by 1964, the Colonel had signed up more than 600 franchisees, and sold his
            business for a great amount of money. He continued on as a spokesman for the restaurant
            chain until his death in 1980.

            Several lessons can be learned from the story of Colonel Sanders:

            Colonel Sanders looked for new ways to do things. By taking advantage of new technology,
            the Colonel substantially reduced cooking time, reducing wait time for his customers,
            allowing him to serve more customers with existing restaurant space, which increased his

            Colonel Sanders would not be defeated. A new highway bypassed his business. An event
            that was beyond his control. But, the Colonel used this setback to achieve even greater things.

            Colonel Sanders was persistent. The Colonel was a successful salesman. Receiving a
            tremendous number of rejections did not deter him. He kept selling. He believed
            passionately in his product, and in his ability to sell it.

            Colonel Sanders did not use age as an excuse. At age 65, most people think of retirement.
            They feel like they have done their life’s work, and contemplate a life of relaxation and
            leisure. Many think they are too old to begin an exciting productive new chapter of their
            lives, and are intimidated about starting challenging pursuits. Not the Colonel.

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            As a personal peak performance coach, the biggest problem I see consistently, is the failure of
            people to BEGIN! Many times we know the first step that needs to be taken to begin the
            journey toward a very important goal. But, that step sometimes seems SOOOO BIG! It
            seems easier to stay with the status quo. To allow inertia to rule. Staying in the same place
            seems safer. But, as Admiral Grace Hopper once said, “A ship in port is safe, but this is not
            what ships are built for.”

            The saying, “Begin and you are halfway there” wonderfully describes the results of taking
            action. Just as a rocket uses most of it’s energy to break through the earth’s atmosphere, we
            must summon great energy to begin our journey to our highest goals. Once that energy is
            released, and the journey begins, we develop forward inertia that propels us to our goals.

            Find some easily reached step that you can take toward your goal. Pump yourself up.
            Summon energy from deep inside to help you take that step. And TAKE IT! Don’t sit on the
            sidelines watching others achieve their dreams. The difference between failure and success is
            many times the ability of achievers to not be afraid of that initial step.

            Remember about the ship and the port. A port may be safe, but over time feels small and
            boring. So, RAISE YOUR SAILS! Steer your ship towards new and exciting harbors and
            interesting lands. BEGIN your journey today.

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            This week I made a presentation before a Mental Health Association. When making
            presentations, I’ve found there is usually at least one person in the crowd who frequently
            speaks up to challenge points I try to make. But, being challenged can be a great way to go
            into more depth on a topic. To really bring out additional points to clarify positions. To make
            sure that audience members really understand.

            In this presentation, one lady kept challenging the whole concept of setting goals. Her point
            was essentially that she wanted to live her whole life “being free” and doing what moved her
            at the moment. She did not want to practice any time management techniques for fear of
            living a “planned” life. I certainly agree with her that planning every minute of one’s life can
            quickly lead to the feeling of being imprisoned by a schedule. But, not planning at all leaves
            us drifting through life. Floating from one thing to the next. Drifting, without a strong star to
            steer by -- with no challenging, compelling goals.

            To accomplish great things in this life, goals are absolutely necessary. They draw us out of
            ourselves. They cause us to push ourselves harder. To improve ourselves. Think about a
            football game. There is a “goal line” and a “goal post.” How long would the game be
            interesting if the two teams took the field and just ran around on the grass for a while with no
            goals? The players would probably get some exercise, but would not really push themselves
            hard if no defined scoring objectives had been established, and no game plans created.

            Achieving goals does require some underlying time management and planning. But, it
            doesn’t mean that every minute of one’s life needs to be planned. Build time in your schedule
            for relaxation. Leave blank “free zone” areas or days. Leave plenty of time for being
            spontaneous. But always schedule in time for activities leading to important goals. If you
            schedule time for these activities, you will be much more likely to reach your goals. You may
            not always be able to spend time on these activities when you have allocated time for them,
            but by scheduling the time, you will be much more likely to spend time on them.

            We are all here to elevate ourselves. The Japanese principle of kaizen, a term used in
            business for constant and never ending improvement, also applies to our lives. We are all
            climbing personal mountains. But mountain climbing can be hard work. Make sure you have
            some personal “plateaus” scheduled into your mountain climbing work. When you reach
            these plateaus, take some time to look around and enjoy the view. Take a breather. But don’t
            get stuck there. Continue to elevate yourself.

            The lady at this presentation was right. Too much planning is no fun. But neither is no
            planning. There is a continuum between these two points. Find your personal balance point.
            But, don’t fall into the trap of not planning at all. Or, you will likely not make it very far up
            your personal mountain.

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            A SMALL GARDENER

            A couple of days ago, my 5 year old and 9 year old sons decided to plant their garden. With
            great excitement, they went out to the garden to plant their seeds. The 9 year old dug the
            whole and planted the seeds. The 5 year old covered them. What fun they had! …….for
            about 10 minutes. Then, the 5 year old came inside and said that he was “really tired.” I
            looked out, and they had planted only 25% of the garden. The newness of the experience had
            worn off, and the garden planting no longer was fun. What if they had stopped at that point?
            How much smaller would their harvest have been?

            Instead, I told the 5 year old that if he planted all the garden, he could go over to his cousin’s
            house to play. Immediately, he brightened up and darted out the door to continue covering
            seed. They worked for an hour, planting their garden, with no more complaints

            How can you apply this story to your life? Do you stop activities when the newness wears
            off? Activities that if continued, could result in bountiful harvests in the future. Have you
            tried an alternate reward system? For example, if you successfully exercise 3 days a week,
            for 4 weeks, is their a reward that you could give to yourself? How about a great dinner at a
            favorite restaurant? New clothes? Or just a lazy weekend?

            The newness of things is attractive. When the newness wears off, many of us have trouble
            continuing activities. How else could you make things new? How could you vary an
            activity? How could you change the color and texture of a task? Could you change the
            traditional location of an activity? Could you change the time of day you perform it?

            Harvesting a bountiful crop requires work. Gardens don’t sprout up by themselves. Spend
            some time this week planting your personal garden.

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            ROOT BOUND

            Ever taken a root bound plant from a pot? Boy, those roots sure look unhappy! All knotted
            together. Intertwined in an attempt to grow and develop. Their shape, when removed from
            the pot, matching the characteristics of the pot.

            The health and growth of the plant, is a result of the health and growth of the root system.
            When the roots can’t grow, the plant doesn’t grow. Roots are important. How are your roots?
            Are your roots root bound? Is your “pot” too small?

            Most of our pots become too small at various points in our lives. But, it is work to transplant
            ourselves. To place ourselves into a new environment. Many, many people don’t expend the
            effort, and remain root bound for the rest of their lives.

            How can you increase the size of your pot? Is your current job too constrictive? Would
            achieving exercise and weight loss goals free you to expand in other areas? Would just fun
            exploration cause you to break the bonds of your current restrictive pot? There are many

            Transplanting yourself will require some more effort. Just as the transplanted flower requires
            more water and fertilizer. Take this into account as you contemplate your new environment.
            But, think of the consequences of not transplanting yourself!

            I’m a passionate believer that we are all on this planet to elevate ourselves! The Japanese
            concept of “kaizen,” constant and never ending improvement should apply to lives as well as
            products. Our journey to peak performance never ends, but the journey is fascinating!

            It’s pretty boring, sitting in the same pot, day in and day out, stagnating. No growth. Look
            for your new pot! Plan your transplanting process today!

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            Does your mind ever feel noisy? Busy with thoughts? Flitting from thought to thought?
            Changing subjects? Following rabbit trails?

            Our mental processes can spin out of control quickly. When thinking about an issue, alternate
            paths develop. Much like circulatory systems or the World Wide Web. Our thoughts can
            quickly branch to different areas, and then on to different areas still, pretty soon they are far
            from our original purpose for thinking and reflection.

            Many of us have trouble really focusing on an issue to the depth necessary to really work it
            out; to really dissect it and analyze it. Our minds quickly flick on to other things, leaving the
            central jugular issue only partly resolved.

            How do we focus our thoughts? One of the best is to write them down. Writing them down
            forces focus. It helps keep our thoughts on topic. It crystallizes thoughts. When thoughts are
            in our minds, they may be only half-baked. If we write them down, we work harder on
            creating complete thoughts that are ready for prime time.

            The next time you are faced with an important decision, or really want to make a life change,
            fill a page with your written thoughts. By forcing yourself to fill a page, you keep your mind
            focused for an extended period of time. Don’t allow other thoughts to intrude. Get into an
            effortless flow. Keep writing. Every thought put on paper leaves mental processing power
            for other thoughts. Writing them down sort of puts them on the
            shelf for later use.

            After you finish, go back over your sheet of paper and review what you’ve written. I bet you
            will see patterns that you would not have seen if they had remained in your head. You should
            be able to organize them into different combinations and possibilities more easily.

            Try it out! Seems so simple, but it really is powerful!

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            THE 3 WEEK BARRIER

            Ever have trouble making life improvements last? Most people run up against what I call the
            3 week barrier. Many of us successfully stick with things like new exercise schedules, new
            parenting methods, or new time management techniques easily for several weeks. But the
            newness quickly wears off. Old patterns die hard. Past ineffective ways of living develop
            deep ruts. In the beginning enthusiasm helps pull us out of the ruts. But the ruts are still
            there. Shortly after beginning change it is easy to fall back into the ruts.

            The 3 week barrier is a major reason why I recommend working with clients for at least 3
            months in a coaching relationship. I have found that personal coaching is key to enabling
            clients to blow past the 3 week barrier. It gives clients that extra motivation and support
            required to break through the barrier and stay out of the ruts.

            Have you ever experienced the 3 week barrier? Most of us have. By recognizing that it is
            there, and defining and labeling it, I hope you are better able to defeat this enemy. Whenever
            you begin change that will further you on your path to peak performance, build in ways to
            overcome the 3 week barrier. Have extra reward incentives. Add things to keep the new
            change interesting.

            When positive life changes become habits, they are much easier to maintain. Habits exist on
            autopilot. They do not require lots of mental effort to maintain. You can do it! Plan some
            long-term changes today. When you get to the 3 week point, remember this newsletter. Get
            past the 3 week barrier!

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            TAKING RISKS

            Recently, my oldest son talked me into sliding down an incredibly huge water slide at Walt
            Disney World. Summit Plummet towers over Blizzard Beach, inviting and intimidating riders
            with a near vertical body slide that propels them at 55 miles per hour down the slide. The 120
            foot tall chute is very scary, particularly for first timers and tends to draw a fairly young male

            While waiting in line, I noticed two older ladies, behind me. As the line slowly snaked up
            toward the top, one suddenly became aware they had mistakenly gotten in the wrong line.
            They thought the line was for a gentler ride beside Summit Plummet. Looking somewhat
            embarrassed, they started to leave the line. But, others close in line began offering
            encouragement. "Come on, do the big slide." "Think what your kids will say when they find
            out their moms took the big plunge." "It will be the ride of your life."

            They hesitated leaving. After several minutes of discussion between themselves, they talked
            each other into going ahead with the big ride. Several times before taking the slide they again
            had second thoughts, but each time folks in line continued to offer encouragement.

            After forty-five minutes of waiting, we reached the top. Butterflies flapped their wings in all
            our stomachs, but one by one we took the plunge, the ladies just behind me. At the bottom, I
            looked back up the hill and watched as they came flying down, hitting the splash down area
            with great speed. One looked a little shaken. The other had her bathing suit partially pulled
            off, but they had huge grins on their faces!

            How did these ladies accomplish something that they would not have considered possible
            only an hour earlier?

            First, an accident set them up. They were in the wrong line. Chance occurrences happen to
            all of us in life. They are a time of opportunity.

            Second, lots of folks were actively encouraging them. People they had never met formed an
            impromptu support network for them.

            Third, these ladies supported each other. Many times we are more courageous when we walk
            hand in hand with a friend in a similar situation.

            How can you use the lessons from this story in your life? How can you take better advantage
            of life accidents? How can you cultivate a better support network when you are facing
            challenging circumstances? How can you find others to be your close friend and ally for
            more personal support?

            Taking calculated risks and overcoming challenging circumstances can make life more
            interesting, and lead to higher levels of peak performance.

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            Many times we have obstacles in our lives that hold us back from reaching important goals.
            These obstacles may keep us from moving forward, or they may slow our progress, making us
            feel like we are dragging along a large anchor.

            One exercise that I sometimes ask coaching clients to complete, and may be beneficial for you
            to do, is to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side make a list of
            10 things that are holding you back at work. On the other, make a list of 10 things that are
            holding you back at home. Spend some time on each list.

            By specifically listing these items, you have attached labels to these inhibitors. When you
            label something, you create a specific target. Without a specific target, energy used to remove
            things holding you back is ineffective.

            Look at the items on your lists. Some can probably be eliminated without much work. Some
            may take some time. Some may require major life changes to overcome. Consider starting
            with the easier ones to build momentum. These items are low hanging fruit that can be
            gathered quickly, resulting in short term wins, which can help provide positive motivation to
            eliminate more difficult items.

            I hope this tool provides you with some additional insight. Many people read exercises like
            these, but don’t complete them. I challenge you to do this exercise. It’s very simple and can
            be done fairly quickly. It’s a small investment of time, considering the large payoff you could
            achieve if you eliminated some of the things that are holding you back.

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            PICKING COTTON

            I grew up in the American South, where hard farm work was a way of life for many families.
            Cotton was an important crop for many years. Before machines were designed to pick cotton,
            people had to pick each piece by hand. It was hot, unpleasant work.

            Most of my ancestors talk of the long days in the cotton fields; the seemingly endless rows of
            cotton; and the boredom that set in while working the fields. The heat and humidity made it
            feel like working in a hot oven.

            But, my grandfather had a cotton-picking secret. Each spring, when they planted the
            cottonseed, he would sprinkle in a few watermelon seed. Then, in late summer, when the
            cotton was being gathered; big, juicy watermelons had grown, scattered throughout the cotton
            field. Eating them made for a wonderful break from the picking chore and served as periodic
            rewards and a break from the hard work.

            Many of us live our lives working hard. We keep our nose to the grindstone and work
            relentlessly to get ahead. But, burnout and frustration can result.

            Have you sprinkled a few watermelon seed in your life? Have you consciously planned for
            periodic breaks and rewards over the next week? The next year? The next 2 years? Break
            times help keep our batteries recharged. They serve as intermediate goal points to break up
            long, seemingly impossible tasks.

            Watermelons don’t just grow by chance in cotton fields. They don’t just sprout up without a
            planter. Neither do most rewarding breaks and special treats in your life. Be proactive, and
            consider planting some seeds that will bear fruit for you in times to come.

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            As an avid whitewater paddler for over twenty years, I’ve learned that large, scary rapids
            cause different reactions in people. Many times in business and in our personal lives, we
            come upon situations that are similar to huge rapids. Our reactions to these events have a
            large impact on our ability to reach peak performance levels in our lives.

            Whitewater paddling is dangerous, but exciting. The rocks and water conspire together to
            form dynamic obstacles in the riverbed. Their dance kicks up giant roller coaster-like waves,
            forms fast chutes of water, and sometimes fashions hidden death traps.

            Many times when paddling a river, a roar can be heard in the distance. The roar slowly grows
            louder as the rapid is approached. Similarly, when difficult life events are about to present
            themselves, there is frequently some foreboding, some feeling in the air that something
            difficult lays ahead, some inkling that a challenge will soon present itself. This is the point
            where one of three different reactions starts happening inside people's heads.

            Reaction 1. Some paddlers approach a rapid, and based upon stories told about it's intensity
            and the roar of the water, immediately pick up their boat and carry around without even
            looking at it. In their minds, they've already closed the possibility that they could safely
            navigate the rapid, and don't even bother to try to find a path through the exploding waves and
            large rocks.

            Reaction 2. Faced with a difficult rapid, most of the other paddlers generally get out of their
            boats, walk down the river bank, and search for a safe route through the whitewater. Finding
            the correct route may be difficult. Gauging the intensity of water at various points, the force
            of the waves, and the strength of the recirculation of water at the bottom of a drop can be
            complicated. Sometimes there are undercut rocks and large holes that can be extremely
            dangerous. Selecting a path that intersects with these can easily result in death. Reaction 2
            paddlers spend too much time looking at the rapid. Faced with so many possible routes, they
            stare at a rapid for a long time, guessing possibilities, and then
            second-guessing themselves. Over time fear slowly begins to trickle in, and builds to the
            point that they too decide to pick up their boats and carry around the rapid.

            Reaction 3. These type paddlers select the middle ground. They recognize the need to look at
            a rapid before blindly proceeding through, but don't analyze the situation so much that fear
            and second-guessing rise to critical levels. They get out, take note of the really dangerous
            spots, and select the route that appears to be the best, then walk back to their boats and begin
            the descent with focus and determination. Most of the time they run the rapid successfully,
            and experience the thrill and exhilaration of overcoming a challenging obstacle.

            What type of reaction do you generally have when faced with a life challenge? Do you spend
            so much time worrying that when the challenge presents itself you have already decided you
            are defeated? When the challenge presents itself, do you spend so much time trying to
            analyze all the possibilities that you are also defeated? Or, do you take the middle ground?

            Life is like a river trip. You can pick up your boat and carry around the most intense sections,
            but that would be boring! Enjoy your ride through the rapids! Your life is a river you can
            only paddle once!!

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            As a personal coach, I work with people with different personality types. Some people are
            very logical and very structured. They work well with details. This personality is great for
            “Covey” type stuff. For those who don’t know, Stephen Covey is one of the recent
            popularizers of detailed weekly planning and daily scheduling of events. This method works
            fabulously well for those who have a mental framework that harmonizes with the Covey
            approach, and I find that my personal coaching helps to hone these skills to a razors edge.

            But, there is also a personality type that doesn’t harmonize with as much detail. I find
            probably half of my clients fit this definition. For those of you who have not met Stephen
            Covey, he tends toward the left-brained, logical, analytical personality type. His methods
            seem to be geared to help expand upon the planning capabilities common with this personality

            While he is very analytical, Covey can exhibit great emotion. I once watched as he played a
            video detailing the life of Helen Keller, a person who had few sensory inputs, but
            accomplished great things in life. There was a table of blind people in the presentation, and I
            watched as he sat down in a chair near them and watched with rapt attention as the film
            touched parts of their lives. While most of the audience watched the film, I studied Covey’s
            response to this table of blind people. He had a big smile on his face and emotion washed
            over him, as he understood the impact that the film was possibly having on their lives. He
            seemed to be in a great state of mind, right until an autograph seeker broke the state by
            sticking a book in front of him for a signature. Analytical people can feel great depth, and
            great depth feelers can experience analytical ability.

            I’ve found in my years of coaching that the right-brained, artistic, creative types can be
            repulsed by the Covey approach. Covey isn’t for everyone. The Covey system, when
            intersecting with these types of people, can introduce forced structure that inhibits creativity
            and introduces such a level of detailed planning that creative impulses are suppressed. These
            types of people sometimes relate stories of walking into a Franklin-Covey store, picking up a
            day planner, and then running from the store when confronted by the complexity of the
            planning methodology.

            But, the people repulsed by the Covey approach can short change themselves. By not
            introducing any degree of focus in their lives, they may not be truly powerful. They may not
            be able to concentrate their energy consistently, which inhibits the ability to perform great
            tasks. During coaching calls, they sometimes relate stories of performing daily tasks, but little
            progress in the direction of their dreams. They need some structure, but not too much. They
            need to have some areas of consistent focus, but not so much detail that the planning
            interrupts their desire to be creative and somewhat spontaneous.

            My approach with these clients is to focus on a few goals, rather than a larger range, typical of
            the Covey approach. This is a hybrid approach, one that attempts to take the best
            characteristics of several life philosophies and inherent mental patterns and personalities.
            Concentrating energy in a few areas seems easier for them. Too many goals create noise, and
            when noise develops, a structured planning approach may be abandoned. My job is to help
            focus them on small, weekly tasks that lead to large-scale goal attainment.

            I’ve seen the conflict that can develop between “detailed planners” and “free spirits.” Both
            personality types have advantages. But, both can benefit from enhanced planning and goal
            setting techniques. The approach may be different in each circumstance, but the fact remains

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            that goal setting and motivational techniques can make a huge difference between achieving
            great things and simply living a life of mediocrity!

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            TREASURE MAPS

            Treasure maps are captivating! As a young child, many of us read stories of pirates and great
            hordes of buried treasure. A tale of jewels, rubies, gold, and pieces of eight buried in a secret
            location on some remote island tugged at our imagination. And in most of those stories, the
            pirates created a treasure map, describing in great detail, the steps necessary to find the loot.
            A large X typically marked the spot. And we could picture ourselves finding the treasure, if
            only we had the map.

            To help them on their journey to peak performance, I sometimes suggest to clients that they
            create their own treasure maps. These maps are easy to construct. Find some magazines, or
            computer images related to goals you want to achieve. Post these images on some type of
            backing. I use a board with pushpins to post my goals on my treasure map.

            For example, if you have dreams of a tropical island vacation, you might want to find a
            beautiful picture of a sunset, framed by towering palm trees. Post this picture on your map.
            Then, create a goal date to post along with the picture. Almost any goal can have a
            corresponding image associated with it. Post pictures associated with all your main goals on
            your treasure map. Fill it with visually compelling images.

            Images are very motivating. They tap into areas of the brain that mere words can’t excite.
            The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is very true. A major corporation
            that studied the effectiveness of their sweepstakes ads, found when potential entrants received
            promotional material that described possibly winning a great amount of money in just words,
            the response rate was much lower than when they also sent a picture of a luxury automobile
            with money overflowing from the trunk.

            Treasure maps can be very motivating. But, when you create yours, don’t forget to also
            include the dates when you will dig up your treasures along with the images. This makes
            them much more effective. Also, when you create a goal associated with numbers, stick a
            plus sign on the end of the number. Maybe you have a sales goal of 1,000 units. Instead of
            just writing 1,000, write 1,000+. This helps establish the goal as a minimum amount, rather
            than a potential ceiling.

            I’m sure to many people reading this newsletter, treasure maps seem like a trivial exercise.
            But, I challenge you to create one. Make it beautiful. Make it inspiring. Use your creativity.
            Post it in a very conspicuous place so you see it frequently. I think you will find it helps
            increase your motivation and will help keep you on track!

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            A while back, I had dinner at a wonderful little Spanish restaurant with Ted Gaebler, co-
            author of the best selling book, “Reinventing Government.” In the book, the authors question
            many of the fundamental assumptions government has made over the years about itself and its
            roles in society. The book served as a catalyst for some governments to take a critical look at
            themselves, and attempt to “rethink” the way they did business. Ted has spent a lot of time
            traveling around the world since the book was published, serving as an advisor for reinvention
            projects and evangelizing reinvention. He talked at length about specific projects, and was
            absolutely passionate about the need for critically examining every area of government
            operation for possible change and improvement.

            The next day, I happened to be at an event where Tom Peters, author of many best selling
            books such as “In Search of Excellence” was speaking. Peters preaches reinvention of
            business. With the rise of the Internet and global competition, Peters acts as a cattle prod,
            shouting for businesses to reinvent themselves to meet the needs of the new global

            REINVENTION….Government….Business….Two days….Two evangelists. Gaebler and
            Peters know each other and Gaebler had given me a note to pass to Peters when I saw him the
            next day. To me, it was an almost symbolic link. Even though these men preach reinvention
            primarily in very different organizational units, reinvention is a common theme that connects

            I believe there is another level of reinvention we all need to practice: personal reinvention.
            From time to time, we all need to take a time-out from the world and examine ourselves in
            detail and ask some questions: Am I heading in the right direction? What do I really want out
            of life? Have I really set high personal, career, financial, and spiritual goals? What can I
            change in my life?

            It’s easy to fall into a rut; to live the same pattern day in and day out; to not set challenging
            and compelling goals. Many of us jump in a rat wheel and start it spinning, or start marching
            like soldiers, but at some point find we are marching in place. We may be creating
            movement, but not forward movement, and we soon find that there is little progress toward
            goals and dreams.

            How can you shuffle your deck? Stir your pot? Reinvent yourself? Have you seen a bottle of
            oily salad dressing that has been sitting in the same place for a long period of time? It soon
            separates out; leaving a separated mixture in the bottle that would taste poorly if poured
            straight on a salad. But, when the bottle is shaken, the dressing remixes, and becomes a tasty
            topping. How can you make sure you are periodically shaken?

            Reinvent yourself at regular intervals. Examine all areas of your life. Do you already have a
            time management/goal setting system? If so, consider overhauling it to meet your current
            situation. Consider sitting down for several hours and really thinking through your
            presuppositions about your direction in life. Question everything. What’s working in your
            life? What’s not?

            Try new things! Read a different type of book. Meet and talk with people who are totally
            different from your normal circle of friends. Travel someplace new! Consider taking a
            reinvention vacation, or maybe even a sabbatical.

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            When I coach clients, I typically suggest they set what I call “spice goals,” wild and crazy
            things that are just fun to do! Spice goals can help keep you shaken. They are like spice on
            food. If your life is becoming bland, sprinkle in some spice goals to help reinvent the taste!

            Periodic reinvention is important at many levels: government, business, and personal.
            Consider personal reinvention today!

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            BE THERE

            For many of us, the traditional separation between work time and home time has all but
            disappeared. With the advent of new technology, and occupations that can be pursued almost
            anywhere, our lives have become well mixed. I’m a prime example. My office is completely
            portable. With my cell phone for voice communications, my wireless palm computer for
            email and Internet connectivity, and my pager, I can work anywhere, anytime.

            For many years, work time and home time had distinct boundaries. But, no more. Now, it’s
            not uncommon to handle work tasks in what was traditionally family/personal time. I think
            it’s safe to say this is a situation that will continue, if not increase. The new demands of
            working in an Internet economy have changed work rules dramatically. We have entered a
            new age, with exciting possibilities, but also sobering demands. The rules of the road have
            begun to shift at Internet speed.

            Faced with conflicting demands from personal and work pressures, how do we respond?
            Some respond with multitasking -- working on multiple activities at the same time. But
            multitasking can be inefficient. When we have begun focusing on an activity, we tend to soon
            get into flow, attaining a momentum that allows us to get a great deal of quality work done on
            a task, usually in a short amount of time. If we multitask, we may have little chance of
            achieving flow in any of the tasks, our focus shifts back and forth between tasks, potentially
            resulting in less quality outcomes.

            Example: This week, my five-year-old son was required to read a small book one night for a
            school assignment. A task that would require about 15 minutes of time. Great! I thought. I
            could work on some important things in my home office while he read to me. A multitasking
            approach. He came in, got down on the floor beside my chair on his stomach, propped up on
            his elbows and began to read. And I continued with my work. I
            heard him reading, but didn’t concentrate on the story. Pretty soon, he came upon a word he
            didn’t understand, and asked me what it was. Being deep into my task, it took me a short
            while to respond, causing him frustration. After I told him about the word, I had to then find
            my place back in my task. Pretty soon, he hit another word he didn’t understand, and we went
            through the same scenario again. Frustration on his and my part began to mount. Then, the
            third time it happened, I could tell something needed to change. My multitasking approach
            was failing miserably.

            I slid out of my chair, got down on the floor, propped up on my elbows beside him, and began
            to really be there with him. We had a marvelous time, enjoying the story together. He was
            happy and so was I. After the story, I got back in my chair, and began to really be there with
            my work task. I soon got into flow, and produced some good quality work. The quality of
            outcomes would not have been nearly as good in either area if I had continued to multitask.

            This story illustrates one approach to dealing with our new world. Knowing that work and
            home tasks have been mixed together in many of our lives, there are some steps we can take
            to make this merger work more efficiently. Time management tools and abilities have
            become more critical. As a Personal Coach, I spend a great deal of time working with clients
            on time management training. If we are going to effectively be there for our work or home
            tasks, we have to develop the ability to parcel out slices of time for these activities. If we
            don’t consciously plan time for both types of tasks, then frequently one area of life will
            overshadow another, resulting in an out of balance feeling.

            This article takes it a step further than traditional time management. When you have time
            scheduled for a task, really and truly “be there” for that task. Having dinner with an important

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            client or a good friend? Send your cell phone to voice mail. Focus your concentration on
            your present conversation, not on all the tasks you need to do tomorrow. Attending a kid’s
            soccer game? Leave the laptop at home and really be there for the game. Is your mind full
            of to dos? Get them out! Write them out on a piece of paper. Plan some time for them. By
            scheduling time to complete other important tasks, you will feel better about spending present
            moments really being there for the current task.

            We’ve all experienced people who are “not there.” They are easy to spot. Hurried looks.
            Eyes darting all over the place. Frequently looking at a watch. With these people, you may
            talk a lot, but get the feeling you aren’t being heard. Developing rapport is difficult, making a
            business deal more difficult or personal conversation much less satisfying. “Being there” is
            foundational to effective listening. Listening is foundational to increased sales, better
            interpersonal relationships, being a better manager, being a better parent, and being a better

            I know there are times when multitasking is required and can sometimes be effective, but the
            next time you are with a customer, with a coworker, or with an employee, really “be there.”
            Whenever you are with a neighbor, a family member, or a friend, really be there. Whenever
            you have a very important task to complete, be there. Be there for better understanding, to
            increase your personal flow, and to make the activity more productive. Be there for the
            people and tasks in your life, but most of all, be there for yourself.

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            Do you practice prototyping? Prototyping is a fabulous way to quickly test a concept,
            product, or potential new project! Many of us imagine large business projects when we think
            of prototyping, maybe prototyping a new model automobile, or a new type of engine.

            Prototypes are typically cheap, quick ways to determine if concepts work. In today's
            economy, rapid prototyping is key to driving quick evolutionary change. Prototypes that fail
            are refined, discarded, or completely overhauled. If a prototype proves successful, it is turned
            into a full-fledged product.

            Perhaps the greatest benefit of prototyping is that it allows a concept to get started; to get off
            the ground; to be crystallized into something tangible. Getting started with anything in life
            can prove to be difficult, particularly if we are moving toward a complex goal.

            Even though prototypes are typically associated with business, they can be applied to all areas
            of our lives.

            Here is one example: Let’s imagine you are interested in public speaking. How could you
            prototype becoming a great public speaker? Yes, things like Toastmasters and studying
            public speaking are wonderful, but I suggest you practice prototyping. Find a way to get out
            and give a quick speech to a group. Learn from your mistakes. Then give more speeches.
            Refine your prototype until you create a masterpiece!

            Another example: I can remember my first web page, produced several years ago. I struggled
            a considerable amount of time with how I wanted it to look. I looked at all kinds of fancy
            websites produced by big companies, and wanted to imitate that look, but didn't have the
            knowledge to produce it. After weeks of searching, I finally decided just to pull something
            quickly together and get it on the web. I prototyped my site. In a day or two I had a working
            home page. At the time I thought it was pretty cool, but looking back, I now know it really
            stank! But, then I began constantly improving the site. Trying things out. Some worked, and
            some didn't. After several years of work, my site has matured into a pretty decent place.
            Looking back, just getting something out there proved to be very important in beginning my
            website design.

            As a personal coach, I work with a lot of clients who have trouble getting started on a life
            challenge or goal. They feel as though they need to acquire all the information necessary,
            about the goal, before they begin. In many instances, they never get started. It's almost
            impossible to control all the variables and predict all the potential outcomes associated with a
            complex challenge.

            Planning can be important, but taken to an extreme, it can lead to paralysis. I suggest you
            consider prototyping. Moving forward on a quick, inexpensive (both in terms of cost and
            risk) prototype can start your momentum and can give you a tremendous amount of feedback
            toward refining your product. Got a new sales method? Create a low risk prototype by
            testing out the concept quickly on a small subset of your customer base. Want to get started
            on an exercise program? Before you go out and invest a large amount of money in a health
            club membership or home gym equipment, prototype your program in some way. Test it out
            for a few weeks with a friend’s equipment or a trial health club offer. There are lots of ways
            to grab that first toehold and begin the process.

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            In every area of your life, find a way to prototype some changes. You may need to be
            creative, and you will experience some failures, but you will also achieve great victories. And
            with inexpensive prototypes, failures are easier to absorb. With prototyping, you will be able
            to move forward, maybe sometimes two steps forward and one back (or maybe even two or
            three back on occasion), but overall you will be moving forward toward your ultimate goals
            and dreams.

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            EYE OF THE TIGER

            Have you ever felt the magic of “eye of the tiger” focus and concentration? When you feel
            this intense experience, others see and feel this state energizing you. They see the
            determination in your eyes, hear the self-assured way in which you speak, and feel confidence
            and success radiating from you. You feel “in flow” -- in an effortless zone. Things somehow
            seem easier, as if you've tapped an unlimited source of energy. You are “on,” and challenges
            and obstacles seem small.

            Most of us feel eye of the tiger determination at times in our lives. But its appearance may be
            fleeting and infrequent. How can we make it a constant companion? A rich resource
            available upon request? Here are some suggestions:

            Practice anchoring. Do certain scents bring back particularly strong memories? How about
            certain songs? Most of us “anchor” feelings to external environmental cues. When a cue or
            trigger presents itself, certain feelings and emotional states follow. Practice anchoring eye of
            the tiger feelings. The next time you feel yourself entering this zone, perform some physical
            action, like making a fist, and mentally relate it to your feelings. If you do this consistently,
            you can begin to anchor those strong, determined feelings to the physical action, and will soon
            be able to call these feelings on demand by performing the action. This isn’t uncommon in
            world-class athletes. They can frequently be seen accessing an anchor before a sports event,
            perhaps closing their eyes and making two fists with their hands, or performing some pre-
            performance ritual that has led to success in the past.

            Eliminate distractions. Our minds are like computers, and can only process a certain amount
            of information at a time. When life distractions, that aren't central to our core mission,
            consistently intrude, the eye of the tiger is hard to maintain. Distractions can intrude in many
            ways, from watching too much television, to having few or weak boundaries for our personal
            lives. Weak boundaries can result in a tremendous drain on our mental computers as we
            attempt to satisfy the desires of others for our time, energy, and computer processor time.
            Stick close to your core life objectives.

            Exercise. Perhaps nothing does as much for eye of the tiger determination as physical
            exercise. This activity not only allows our bodies to function more efficiently, exercise also
            results in mental functions becoming easier and less stressful. Our minds seem to lose some
            of the “flitting” around characteristics that makes concentration more difficult. Exercise also
            promotes focus in and of itself. A hard workout focuses the mind on the intense workout task,
            allowing us to rehearse and feel the eye of the tiger feeling more frequently.

            Eye of the tiger focus can help increase sales, increase attainment of goals, grow a personal
            business, create better relationships, create a better employee or manager, and achieve peak
            performance in many areas of life. As you turn your attention to your different roles, and the
            goals you have developed for those roles, remember to develop your eye of the tiger, and
            bring its power to bear often.

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            Aren’t Olympic athletes absolutely incredible? Their focus, determination, intensity, and
            athletic ability have been honed to a razors edge. They are the best in the world in what they
            do. Every four years we watch as summer athletes push themselves to the edge, and
            sometimes beyond. Most of the time, we get little perspective on the years of work required
            for these athletes to achieve world-class form, but we can sense somewhat, the amount of
            preparation time it must require to attain this level of fitness. The journey from a child who
            watches Olympic events to a participant in the Olympic games is long. One key to achieving
            these types of long-term performance gains is self to self comparison. We can all use this tool
            to improve our lives.

            When I work with coaching clients, they frequently describe frustration with the slowness of
            the change process. They want to redesign their lives at warp speed. To achieve change
            immediately. To live their lives as successfully as a role model. But most of the time change
            doesn’t happen that way. Olympic athletes don’t become successful overnight.

            The Japanese principle of kaizen describes constant and never ending improvement.
            Improvement is relative to a prior state, no matter how long ago, and in comparison only to
            oneself. Improving even a small amount over a long period of time, results in large changes.
            Successful Olympic athletes focus on increasing their abilities over time for many years.
            They may start out “slow” as young athletes, but gauge their improvement against themselves
            for years, until they achieve peak performance athletic levels.

            How many of us look at the “Olympic athletes” of our profession and wish to have their level
            of performance? How many of us look at these top performer’s abilities, and measure our
            improvement efforts solely against their level of performance, becoming frustrated in the
            process and perhaps giving up, because it’s taking so long to reach that level!

            Use long-term goals as motivators, but practice continuous small improvements in your life.
            Keep records of your performance or personal journals describing your current level in life.
            Note the small improvements you make over time. Compete with yourself! You always have
            a competitor that way! Keep moving forward. Practice personal kaizen. Don’t give up! As
            an old saying goes, when you find yourself staring up at a mountain, you can decide to go
            around it, or to climb it. Going around it may be easier, but you completely miss the beautiful
            view from the top!

            Become a world-class performer! Maybe a world-class salesman, a world-class mom, a
            world-class project manager, or a world-class artist! The journey may be long and intense.
            But with each step you become stronger. One day you will look back from a position of
            strength and know that it was worth it!

            When you watch a world-class athlete perform, use it as motivation for your life!

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            THE GOAL TRAIN

            Have you ever seen a train leaving the station? It moves SLOOOOOOOOOWLY at first.
            Gradually increasing speed as it moves down the track, building an incredible amount of
            momentum! It follows the track flow through cities and the countryside, speeding toward it’s
            destination. But what happens if a track switch is thrown the wrong way? All the speed and
            momentum of the train keeps it moving forward….but in the wrong direction. The train races
            ahead, and if the engineer doesn’t realize what has happened quickly, the train soon may be a
            great distance from it’s intended destination, making on time delivery of passengers and
            materials impossible.

            How many of us work hard to get our personal goal trains up to speed only to find that a
            switch throws us off course down the line? As a personal life coach, I see many who work
            hard initially to achieve their most desired goals, only to be sidetracked a small distance down
            the path by some event that throws their switch. How frustrating! My job is to help them
            keep away from sidetracks. It takes a great deal of work to get the momentum started. To
            summon the energy to move our personal goal trains out of the station. But many track
            switches are ahead. It takes only a small amount of energy to throw a train track switch, and
            soon our personal goal trains can be moving down the wrong path.

            What are some switches in your life? Ever started a diet and decided to cheat a little? Then
            found that you ended up cheating a little more the next time? And soon you discover that you
            aren’t on a diet anymore! You threw a switch when you allowed your self to cheat in the first
            place. That small diversion moved you a little further from your goal, and then more
            diversions followed, and then more still, until your train eventually ran out of fuel, and slowly
            came to a grinding stop, not even remotely close to your goal!

            The first step in eliminating switches is to know they are there! Anticipate them beforehand.
            Realize that small diversions from your goals soon become big diversions. Life experiences
            and past failures teach us many of the points where potential diversions await. Being
            prepared to deal with them beforehand can make the difference between achieving incredible
            dreams and achieving little. Brainstorm possible points of temptation. Steel yourself for
            them. Rehearse possible reactions when faced with the temptation to become sidetracked.
            Visualize yourself successfully moving down the main track to your goal.

            Another step is to look around and realize early on that a switch may have sidetracked you.
            It’s much easier to get back on your original path if you catch diversions quickly. Like train
            momentum, the speed and forward propulsion of life can move you down the wrong track
            very, very quickly. You may even need to slowly stop your train and back it up to get it back
            on track, but do it! Get back on track! Now! You may soon find it extremely difficult to
            negotiate a path back to your main goals.

            Get ready to ride the goal train to increased sales, increased personal fulfillment, better health,
            better relationships, and a better life. Have a wonderful adventure as your train passes by
            beautiful sights and you experience wonderful things along the main track. But, remember
            switches await that can divert you into swampland, desert land, and failure land.

            The goal train is sitting at the station, waiting for you to board. Jump on, fire up the engines
            and begin moving toward your dreams. As you notice switches up ahead, know you will stay
            on the right course. Blow your horn in triumph, and stick your tongue out at the sidetracks as
            you pass them by! You are in control of your destination. Don’t let a small switch throw the
            incredible amount of positive life momentum you have developed off track.

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            Coach John Wooden was one of the most successful athletic coaches the world has ever seen.
            As the head basketball coach at one of the United States top universities, UCLA, Wooden
            compiled a record of 620 wins to 147 losses. Even more incredibly, Wooden’s teams won the
            US national championship 10 out of 12 years, including a string of 88 straight victories with
            no losses, and seven championships in a row.

            How did Wooden achieve such success? I believe one reason was his relentless pursuit of
            excellence in himself as well as his team on a daily basis. One of Wooden’s most quoted
            sayings is “Make each day your masterpiece!” Making each day a masterpiece requires drive
            and commitment. Not just living through the day at a mediocre level, but committing oneself
            to making it an exceptional day! A Picasso or Rembrandt day. A Michelangelo day! A day
            committed to achieving more. To raising the bar on personal excellence.

            We can all commit to making each day a masterpiece! Whether we are in sales, athletics,
            business, or government. Whether we are moms, spouses, friends, adventurers, builders or
            educators. We can all commit to living each day as if we are creating a fantastic work of art!
            Imagine how different your life could be if you committed each day to creating something
            powerful and wonderful!

            People are creating masterpieces all around you. Look around. Olympic athletes work daily
            to achieve great dreams. But masterpieces can be made at all levels of life. Just this week, I
            was talking with a friend who is a stay at home mom. She was creating spider cookies for her
            daughter’s birthday. She described with pride the work it required to really make them
            incredibly special! The carefully detailed bodies. The complicated
            and delicate little eyes. The licorice sticks fashioned into crinkly looking spider legs. I asked
            her several questions about her motivation for spending so much time to make a small event
            in life turn out so beautifully. Her response was that she tries to do everything in her life
            superbly! She gets it! She is making masterpieces!

            As a personal success coach, I see many people standing there with all the paint, the canvas,
            and the talent to create great masterpieces. My challenge is to help them get to work! To
            help push them. To be a starter motor for their personal engines. The potential energy in all
            of us is enormous. The actual energy we expend tends to be only a small fraction of that.

            So many of us live day to day at a hum drum level. Never really pushing ourselves to be
            excellent! The end result is living life at 10% of our potential, rather than 90-100%. How can
            you do everything in your life superbly? How can you take it to the next level? What
            difference would it make in your current situation if you did?

            Here’s a quote by Erma Bombeck from the quotes section that I want to emphasize this week!
            Think about it! “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not
            have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”

            We are all here to elevate ourselves. Coach Wooden was onto something powerful! We are
            only dancing on this earth for a short while. Compared with the immensity and enormity of
            eternity, we have relatively few days of life. Don’t waste a single day! Achieve great things!
            Fill your life gallery with beautiful daily achievements and accomplishments! Push yourself
            to make each and every day your masterpiece!

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            THE EXPOSED ZONE

            Welcome to the EXPOSED ZONE! The zone where change happens, where growth occurs,
            where great things are accomplished, where champions are made, where mediocrity is

            You’ve experienced it before. Remember a time when you made a change in your life?
            Perhaps when you decided to seek that new job or try out for a team in school. You stepped
            out into an area of risk. An area where you had less certainty. The exposed zone is the area
            where you decide to change something in your life, make that change, and then transition into
            the new life state. The exposed zone can be scary and intimidating. You leave your
            comfortable place of existence and launch out into a new area of life. In your more
            comfortable position, you had the answers to most questions, knew the ins and outs, and could
            predict your days in advance.

            But the thought of entering the exposed zone keeps many in a stagnant position. The fear of
            being exposed to new and uncertain risks can paralyze people, confining them to a life of
            mediocrity, living the same day week after week, year after year. Spinning the same rat wheel
            of life, perhaps faster and faster, but never making bold moves forward.

            When making a life transition, things feel disorderly, not known, somewhat confusing. But
            this is a time of great opportunity! You may feel as though you are in a giant mixing bowl,
            with new and confusing ingredients being added, beaters stirring the mix, a feeling of
            incompleteness. But, like the ingredients in a mixing bowl, you will soon reconstitute
            yourself into something very different. This should be a time of feeling as though opportunity
            is arising, that great things will soon be achieved, rather than fearing the disorder and
            uncertainty. Great achievements require a transition through the exposed zone. Just as a
            home remodel requires a period of messiness and construction, transitioning through this zone
            results in dust being thrown up, lots of noise being made, and things being torn down, in
            anticipation of creating something much more beautiful.

            How do we enter the exposed zone? For some, we are forced there. A job is lost, a loved one
            dies, a significant friend leaves us. Others seem fearless, and plunge into the exposed zone
            with gusto. But perhaps most of us fit into the third category. This category consists of those
            who are somewhat more fearful of change, but decide to venture into the zone, bulletproof the
            path through the zone, develop contingency plans, and find a way to begin the process with
            small steps. With my coaching clients, this is the method I often recommend.

            Many feel better able to move into unknown areas and less exposed if they explore a little at a
            time and have backup methods. If you were to walk a tightrope for the first time, it would
            sure feel good to have a backup net underneath you, and not to have the rope set too high!
            But sometimes people feel that they must move forward with the rope set at maximum height,
            and because of the potential risk involved, take no action!

            Take some risk. Be exposed at times in your life. Not being exposed is safe and secure, but
            can be boring! Living a life of mediocrity is a path chosen buy many. Don’t be mediocre.
            Move forward and explore the unknown. Take small steps at first, and run back to home base
            for refueling when needed, but learn to appreciate being exposed. When you feel
            uncomfortable in situations, know that you are on the cusp of creating something new and
            exciting in your life. You have stepped out from your everyday experience and are opening
            yourself up to see knew paths and possibilities from your exposed vantage point!

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            We are all pressure cookers! Knowing how to manage our personal pressure cookers can
            have a huge impact on our level of performance in our jobs, our families, and other
            interpersonal relationships.

            Pressure cookers gradually create higher and higher temperature and pressure inside
            themselves. Over a period of time, continued exposure of heat builds the pressure to cooking
            levels. But, without proper control of the temperature and pressure release mechanisms, the
            pressure can reach dangerous levels, resulting in a catastrophic explosion!

            When in your life do you feel your pressure approaching dangerous levels? After long hours
            at the office? Days on end with your kids? When you are frustrated because you continually
            have failed at an activity or task? Repeatedly missing workout sessions?

            What do most of these situations have in common? Like pressure cookers, our personal
            pressure level tends to rise gradually over time with continued exposure to certain life
            situations. Without appropriate release mechanisms, the pressure builds and builds and

            How can you build more release mechanisms in your life? Release mechanisms to not appear
            from thin air, as if by magic. In the normal hustle of day-to-day life experiences, most of us
            don’t take the time to implement mechanisms for regulating our pressure.

            Take some time today to design your pressure release valves. Consider things that you know
            have worked for you in the past, and schedule time for them! Activities such as physical
            workouts, mini vacation breaks, changing surroundings, engaging in hobbies, taking mini
            personal retreats (for several days, or even for 30 minutes each day.) There are many ways to
            keep pressure within acceptable levels.

            Pressure cooker explosions can create a huge mess! Learn to effectively regulate your
            personal pressure! In our fast paced world we are all faced with pressure inducing events!
            Most events only create a slight increase in pressure. But without effective release
            mechanisms, the slight increases are cumulative.

            I challenge you to write down five ways that you can vent your pressure level this week!
            Schedule them on your calendar! Our minds and bodies tend to function better when they are
            not subjected to continued high pressure. You have all the tools and materials to build
            pressure release mechanisms! Go out and BUILD THEM!

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            Many of us have a great fear of making mistakes! This fear keeps us trapped in our current
            situation, afraid to take risks, preferring the safety and security of present circumstances to
            exploring the unknown. But growth requires venturing into the unknown -- taking leaps of
            faith at times.

            The fear of making mistakes is powerful! Mistakes can be embarrassing. But the results of
            trying to live a life free of mistakes can be devastating; resulting in a life not fully lived. A
            mediocre existence, trapped in a small antiseptically cleansed boring little life room.

            Don’t let the fear of mistakes hold you back from your dreams. If you make a mistake, bow
            deeply and apologize to those it may have impacted. Acknowledging a mistake quickly can
            ameliorate the long-term impact of the mistake and allow you to continue toward your goal
            via another route.

            As the old saying goes, “Two steps forward, one step back.” Mistakes may cause you to take
            that one step back, but the two steps forward more than compensate for the mistake. Begin
            walking today! Don’t be paralyzed into sitting in a corner paralyzed by the fear of making a
            mistake. You may avoid taking steps back, but you will never move forward. How boring!

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            Have you ever had a great thought or idea, but later forgotten what it was? Maybe it was a
            new sales idea, a new way to increase the quality of your family time, or a new way to
            increase your personal or business productivity. Thoughts fly around inside our heads at the
            speed of light, hopping from brain cell to brain cell. When we first have the thought and
            focus on it, the new idea seems in our grasp. We have it in our sights. A new goal, challenge,
            or possibility has semi crystallized. It’s right in front of us. But our minds aren’t very good at
            following through and capturing the thought permanently, resulting in no specific, tangible
            outcome or goal for implementation when “the time is right.”

            Our minds tend to quickly shift to other mental tasks and thoughts. The original thought
            burrows down deeply into the back of our mind, perhaps never to be found again. We
            somehow lose the hook that allows us to recall the thought when later needed.

            How can you capture these thoughts so that you can act on them later? One of the best
            methods is to write them down or record them immediately! Put them on paper. Create
            entries in your palm computer. Record notes on a handheld recorder. Leave yourself voice
            mail messages describing your thoughts. Totally crystallize them. You don’t need to
            necessarily record all of the details of your thought immediately, but log enough information
            to create a hook to the thought for later retrieval.

            Always have a mechanism to capture your thoughts with you. Our minds believe a thought
            will stay in our memory long enough to record it “when we get home,” “when we get back to
            the office,” or “when we get to the next stop on our drive.” But thoughts are ephemeral and
            generally have a very short life. They can vanish quickly without a trace, possibly never to be
            recalled again.

            Don’t lose your thoughts. Make sure you capture them for later implementation. The more
            positive thoughts you capture, the more chances you have in life of taking steps that greatly
            increase your personal level of performance. Pull out your thought net. Capture some
            thoughts today. Create a huge collection of interesting and varied thoughts. Then, get to
            work and implement them!

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              GRAB THAT TOEHOLD!

            The cliff on Crowder’s Mountain looked imposing! I was 14 years old at the time. An
            outdoors person, but inexperienced at mountain climbing. This would be my first experience!
            As we approached the cliff, it looked completely vertical -- a sheer rock face -- impregnable.
            Wow! How in the world were we going to climb something like that? Scary stuff!

            But we did climb it! I vividly remember roping into safety ropes at the bottom and starting
            my ascent. As I considered my first move, I noticed there were lots of irregularities in the
            rock – places to grab handholds and toeholds. The sheer rock face was not invincible; it had
            weaknesses that could be exploited.

            Slowly I climbed; higher and higher. Constantly looking for new toeholds: little outcroppings
            or indentions in the cliff face that would allow me to climb higher. Sometimes I felt stuck. I
            remember being halfway up, feeling strange. Knowing that I was equally distant from the top
            and the bottom. Stuck on the side of a cliff with no easy and quick exit. But, each time I felt
            stuck, I would analyze the rock face and find a new toehold. Maybe one that wasn’t obvious
            at first, and I would move higher.

            After considerable work, I pulled myself up on top of the mountain. The view was
            magnificent. A seemingly impossible cliff had been conquered. But, what a lesson!

            When I encounter obstacles and challenges in my life, I think of that first mountain climb. I
            remember feeling it was an impossible task – overwhelming. But, I almost always find little
            toeholds in the problems I now face. Little places to gain purchase. The next steps for
            moving forward. Sometimes I may not know where the next toehold will be, but I grab the
            nearest one, pull myself up and then look for the next one.

            Do you ever encounter mountains? How do you react to them? I remember an old timer once
            told me that if you encounter a mountain, you either go over it, or go around it. Going around
            it may be easier, but if you do, you miss the wonderful view from the top!

            Climb mountains. Find those first toeholds, and begin. Secret toeholds are hidden throughout
            your routes. Don’t let the mountains defeat you. Imagine the wonderful views from the

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            ONE EVENT, TWO VIEWS

            Ever have the experience of seeing an event or having an experience with someone, but feel
            as though you didn’t see the same thing? Maybe you experienced a movie that you enjoyed
            tremendously, but the other person hated! One event……..two views.

            It happens a lot! We all see the world through different lenses, and most of the time aren’t
            even aware of them. We assume we have the “true,” “undistorted” view of things. When
            others don’t see things the same way, our natural reaction is to try to win them over to our
            view. We expend a large amount of energy trying to convert their views.

            But, few of us really try to understand the other person’s view. We jump in immediately, and
            start trying to convert others before we understand why they see things differently. We never
            try to see things from their vantage point. We don’t get inside their head or try on their

            Taking some time to understand the other person’s position may make us see things
            differently. We may change our views. But, even if we don’t, we have more information to
            use for the attempted conversion. If you are selling to a customer, understanding their view
            about buying your product is essential. If you are arguing with a family member,
            understanding the view of the loved one can allow better communication and promote better

            We discover details about other views by asking questions: Why do you feel that way?
            When will you be in a position to make a purchase decision? How do you see things? After
            basic questions are asked, drill down to the core level of an issue. Ask detailed questions.
            Seek definition of terms. Ask for further clarification. Dig down deep! Seek the core reasons
            for a view. Peel away the outer layers of the onion.

            Human beings will never all see things the same way. We have many independent, varying
            views. It can be frustrating at times, but attempting to understand others is the first step to
            achieving that sale, getting that book published, or having better communication with a loved
            one. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes today. Look out at the world through their eyes.
            Don’t immediately start converting. Gather information first, and then convert if you still
            think it is possible and necessary.

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            SPIDER WEBS

            Do you feel like you are hanging by a thread? Just barely hanging on in some areas of your
            life? Are you dependent on a single source of support for an important area? Dependent on
            one person? Dependent on one job? Subject to falling if a support fails?

            Let’s talk about spiders and their webs. An unusual metaphor, but one that’s simple to
            remember and apply to your life. Spiders can hang by a single web strand. They can move up,
            move down, or be blown around by the wind in many directions. It’s a pretty interesting way
            for spiders to hang around in the world, except if the strand breaks. So, most spiders develop
            intricate web networks, both for shelter and for capturing food. The carefully designed and
            constructed structures are made from many intertwined single threads. If one thread breaks,
            the rest of the web remains intact, requiring a little repair work, but otherwise it's not a major
            disaster. The spider’s craftsmanship makes life much easier.

            Many of us live our lives hanging from a single web strand. We place great weight on a
            relationship with another person, weigh heavily on a single job, or cling to a single, limited
            view of the world. With a single thread relationship, if the relationship fails, we have few
            backup support mechanisms to compensate for the loss. If we depend too much on a single
            job, the job could someday vanish, with few support mechanisms in place to cushion the

            How do we prevent this? By spending time designing our lives to have reserve capacity and
            support mechanisms. If we just "blow through" life, there are usually many times when we
            hang by a thread, dangerously exposed to severe setbacks if our support network fails. It’s
            sometimes exciting, and necessary, to hang by a thread; but consistently exposing our lives to
            these small insecure threads may prevent us from larger
            growth and achievement possibilities. Even if your personality is the "live on the edge" type,
            consider spinning at least a few extra support webs. The extra support will allow you to reach
            much greater heights.

            If you are very dependent on a single, or a few, relationships in your life, consider spinning
            webs to many others. Develop an intricate web network with multiple support points. Develop
            and strengthen interrelationships. Make new friends. Increase the number of contacts in your
            Rolodex. Increase your financial reserves. Strengthen your mind. Strengthen your body. In
            financial areas, recreational areas, family areas, work-related areas, physical/mental areas,
            consider how you can weave a strong web structure to assist you on your path to peak
            performance. A spider works to create a beautifully designed web, which takes persistence
            and planning to complete. If a spider lived its life like many of us, it would hang by a thread,
            spewing web in all directions, hoping, by chance, to accidentally weave a complicated web,
            while being at constant risk of its single thread failing. A support web doesn’t come by
            accident. Begin strengthening yours today!

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            I hope this ebook provided you with additional insight into life circumstances. Please pass
            this ebook on to a friend. To take it to the next level, and explore personal/life coaching with
            a free introductory session, stop by my website at or send an
            email to

            Feedback about this ebook is appreciated!! Send your comments to

            Live Your Dreams!

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