Feeling a Little Down? Try This!

Are you having a day when things just seem to go badly? How can you make it better?

Or maybe things aren’t really going badly, but you can’t find any enthusiasm. Blah!

Mary Lynn Ziemer has some simple advice for those days: Smile!

Have trouble forming a smile in the face of the trials and difficulties of the day? A great suggestion is to disengage for a few minutes and take a walk. Notice a flower, a nicely shaped shade tree, a clean counter, a picture of a loved one – anything that gives you pleasure. Think of people who make you happy. Think of events and objects that make you happy.

Science tells us the physical act of smiling elevates our mood. Even if you have to force you lips into the form of a smile with your fingers, it helps you feel better. In her article Mary Lynn reports on research subjects who held a pencil between their teeth to form a smile. That works too! They feel better.

Another way to cause a smile is to think of something someone did that you appreciate. Send them a quick message, or just feel the gratitude. We’re all connected! Your feeling gratitude for someone has a positive effect on them, even if you don’t send them anything.

Check out Mary Lynn’s article and, if you’re so inclined, browse her other writing. She has many positive messages. Reading a few of those can really elevate your mood and bring a smile to your face.

13 Year Old Sings and Dances like a Seasoned Pro!

La Estancia de Cafayate is the beautiful community where I live in Argentina. We have many property owners who live elsewhere in the world. Twice a year we entertain each other in a group of a few dozen of those owners.  

It’s happening this week, with lots of festivities and social engagement. Great fun renewing old friendships and meeting new friends. 

This all leaves me a little tight for time this week, so I’m sharing an inspiring story with you. Eric Lofholm attached these story videos to his podcast last week. I shared some of Eric’s material with you two issues ago.

So here are the videos:

wonderful 5-minute video of a very shy 13 year old amateur girl singing and dancing like a pro. 

A second video (about 7 minutes) showing several people’s reactions to her performance.

Enjoy them!

When You Have a Frog to Eat, Do it First!

Here’s a podcast by Jim Riviello, making the distinction between busy and productive. You can be very busy and find yourself out of time at the end of the day. 

No time left for the big things you really needed to do!

Brian Tracy is one of my favorite self-improvement gurus. A few years ago, he made a live “model” of an important concept. He filled a large jar 2/3 full of sand. He added a layer of medium-sized gravel, followed by a few golf balls. Then he tried to fit three large spiny hard-to-handle balls in the jar.

They wouldn’t fit!

Next he put the three spiny balls in another same-size jar. Next he added the golf balls. They nestled around the larger balls. Then he added the gravel, and finally the sand. The sand and gravel filled all the little spaces around the bigger items.

Everything fit in the jar with room to spare!

This is a physical proxy for an important time management principle. Do the big, difficult, important  tasks first! Have a frog you must eat? Eat it before you do anything else! You can be pretty sure that everything else you have to do will be easier. You can fit the other things in as moments occur around the big jobs.

Here’s a similar idea. Be aware of the difference between urgent tasks and important tasks.

  • Some things are urgent and important, like putting out an actual fire. If it doesn’t get done, the result can be disastrous. And it needs to be done NOW!
  • Some things are, or seem, urgent.  They’re often not so important. There’s a sense of urgency when the phone is ringing, even if it’s a nuisance sales call. Letting the call go to voice mail will make no difference in your result, in many cases. 
  • Some things are important and not urgent. Studying a book about an important business concept is important. You need to learn the concept. However studying when you have a quiet moment is just as effective as doing it now. Maybe more so!
  • Then there are the things that are neither urgent nor important. Chatting with a friend can, and should, be done in idle time.

Enjoy Jim’s 11-minute podcast. You can get the “meat” of it between 0:50 and 10:00.

How Does Your Team Leader (Is it You?) Show Up?

Here’s a scenario for you: 

You’re responsible for accomplishing a task or project. Or perhaps for the performance of a continuing function in your company.

You’ve gathered a group of people with the right abilities to accomplish the work.

What’s the most important factor in the performance of such a team?

Of course their abilities are critical. Since you’ve assembled a team appropriate to the job at hand, we’ll take those as a given.

The words you say and the things you do are important. What matters most though is how the team members feel as a result of what you say and do.

Here’s Karyn Danielle discussing your ideal approach and how it affects:

  • Team members’ attitudes.
  • Their readiness to perform, and give it their all.

Like many parts of leadership, this requires feel and delicacy. Karyn offers several suggestions for how to help them feel connected to something that matters. Something larger than each of them as an individual.

In the less-than-4-minute video in her article, she brings this picture into focus. It’s worth a few minutes of your attention.

Enjoy the article. I hope you find it valuable.