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Creating Your Own Circus Chaos

While you normally think of interruptions being created by others and brought to bear on your circus, don't miss those "changes of direction" that are often caused by your own inability to plan or focus properly. Some examples include:

  • Leaving "e mail notification" turned on for your email program. Each time the indicator pops up telling you that you have a message, you are distracted. It's just human nature to say, "I wonder who is e mailing me?" The same is true for notifications on a phone or tablet.
  • Not managing your sleep patterns, exercise or food intake. If you are ready to crawl on your desk at 2 PM and take a nap, maybe it's time to start an exercise program that will help you sustain your energy throughout the day. Or perhaps you need to explore ways to get a better night's sleep-or watch what you eat at lunch that may be making you sleepy.
  • Beginning-but not ending-an intense discussion with your spouse, children, or co-worker. If you have something serious to discuss, choose a time that you can prudently work through the issue. Leaving "loose ends" in discussions will weigh heavily on you in those moments at work when you should be focusing on other tasks.

Most importantly, be the ringmaster. As much as it's possible, take control of your time, energy and actions... or someone else certainly will.


Good Credo For A Ringmaster

 I have a blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship,
will win out against all odds.
-Walt Disney

As you go through leading the "performance" of your day, what difference would it make if you based your actions on:

  • Quality
  • Good judgment
  • Showmanship

You might just get more standing ovations.


Single Parents And Juggling Elephants

If ever there was anyone who comes close to being able to actually juggle elephants, it would have to be the single parent. They are quite simply amazing in their ability to maintain their job, take care of a family and sometimes even squeeze out a few moments for themselves.

At a training program I met another one of these incredible ringmasters who was struggling with their "wide open" circus. In our discussion after the program we talked about a number of strategies to attempt to help them run their circus a little more smoothly. They included:

Work Ring

  • Leverage every resource to make your job more manageable. Whether technology, work schedule or people. Be willing to ask if additional resources are available if you feel like you are drowning.

Relationship Ring

  • Carve out a dedicated block of time to spend with a child or children each week. Even if it's only 30 minutes. Guard it with your life. Make it something they (and you) look forward to, and turn off the mobile phone or Blackberry. Don't overlook the morning hours. A quality sit-down breakfast may nurture more than the body.

Self Ring

  • Recognize you desperately need that "me" time to rejuvenate your own energy. By taking a moment or two for yourself, you will actually be making yourself a better parent and employee.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to engage the other performers in your circus to assist you.


Why not equip others in your organization with the ability to better manage their time. Start the process by clicking here.


What Is Your Juggling Elephants Routine Costing You?

The first line of the article said it all: A couple going on a European vacation remembered to take their duty-free purchases and their 18 suitcases, but forgot their 3-year-old daughter at the airport. Read the entire article by clicking here.

Apparently they were late for a flight, and in the rush to the gate they forgot to check to make sure they had all five of their children. The good news is that the child was safely flown to meet them on the next flight. Scary moments.

A comment by one of the grandmothers really got my attention. She said, "We're in shock. They're very responsible and organized, top-notch people." Let's review-they left their child at an airport and flew to another country! While it would be so easy to just scream at the parents, I have to wonder-how many well-intentioned people have made some really poor choices because they were just working or living at such a breakneck "juggling elephants" speed.

How many good employees have left an organization because their manager or supervisor was just too occupied with "busy work" to respond to their needs. I'll bet there are a ton of individuals who have abandoned their life's passion because they were too busy with the daily rush of life. And yes, all too often, we see children or spouses get left behind in some way because someone was focusing too much on the "wrong ring."

What is your "rush to the gate" routine costing you? Some things are just too important to be lost.


Before you lose something of value to you, why not read (or reread) Juggling Elephants? You can buy it here.


The Scent Of Success Of Your Circus

One of the strangest looks I get when delivering a training program on Juggling Elephants is when I ask participants to describe a "smell" that would be associated with success with their new lineup. It's one of those perfect "aha" moments because all I have to do is say, "Don't believe in the power of smell? How about your grandparent's home? Fresh cut grass? A high school gym? (Hey, I didn't say they were all positive.)

Our sense of smell is the strongest emotional connection we have to a place or event. Read the article, The Nose, An Emotional Time Machine, to find out the science behind this fact. While the article focuses much of its time on how people can quickly connect with their past using their olfaction (our sense of smell), we can also use it as a motivating reminder of the value of doing something differently-and getting different results. Examples for me include:

  • Fresh cut grass. It reminds me that if I focus and get my tasks done, I'll be able to go leave work at a decent hour and enjoy time outside with my children, wife and yes, my Labrador retriever.
  • A plate of cheese fries from Outback. We use this delectable dish as a celebration of some accomplishment-personal or business. (Also works well for the sense of taste)
  • Fresh air first thing in the morning. It reminds me of the upcoming intermission I will have in the mountains of NC. Smelling the fresh air encourages me to buckle down this week and work hard on my lineup so that I can really savor the time in the mountains this weekend.

Yours may be very different for where you are in your particular situation. If you are in a small business, the smell of fresh paint or sheet rock may be your sensual trigger that if you focus on growing your business, you'll soon be able to move to a larger location. If you are in the market for a new job, the smell of a copier may be motivating to you. It helps you visualize copies of your wonderful resume being duplicated for dissemination to all those potential employers.

Still don't believe me? Try this test. The next time someone you know gets a new car-take a deep breath while sitting in it-I would be willing to wager that the smell motivates you to either freshen up your old vehicle-or work hard to eventually get a new(er) one yourself.


How could we help you experience the sweet smell of success with your work or life? Contact us!