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Entries in planning (47)


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!


Comfort vs. Security

Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It is strange. When most of us think of having security, we think of things NOT changing. The reality is that we are confusing the word "security" with "comfort." Most of us are comfortable when things are not changing, but rather staying the same. Apply the concept to the key areas of your life:
-Would you rather be comfortable in your job, or secure in it?
-Would you rather be comfortable in your relationships, or secure in them?
-Would you rather be comfortable with yourself, or take steps to be more secure as an individual?

Bottom line-how does your lineup for today or this week reflect your desire to be "secure" or "comfortable?"


A strong daily lineup and taking more conscious control of your time energy offers long term security for your success. Click here to learn more about how the message of Juggling Elephants can help.


Out of Your Control

 The Ringmaster has the greatest impact on the circus.

(Juggling Elephants, page 30)
Yesterday I talked with someone who really understands their circus and their role as the ringmaster. They make a living taking transcriptions. They are responsible for transcribing official meetings, court proceedings and other discussions where every word must be captured correctly.
In asking about her schedule, she told me that she previously had tried to sometimes schedule 2 appointments per day. The challenge came when one meeting ran longer than expected. She couldn't leave her current location to get to the other meeting. If she missed the other meeting, it caused a myriad of problems for the other group. Her solution? In her words, "I only schedule one meeting per day because I have no control over the length of the meeting." The additional stress and possible loss of business was not worth it.
If we are honest with ourselves, there are some things over which we have no control. Whether it's the length of a meeting, time of a project, or an uncertain economy. In those moments, we have to make the conscious decision to limit our lineup and not keep adding acts that we most likely will not be able to perform. As the ringmaster, we need to add them to the lineup when it best fits our opportunity to perform them.



Do The Three Step With Your Elephants

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, stop and do three things:

  • Identify your elephants. Be as specific as possible. Don't just list "work." Be specific about work. List the specific tasks that are most overbearing to you.
  • Determine what you have control of related to the task. Too often we see ourselves as being a victim when in reality we can take some steps to manage the elephant.
  • Take action on the steps you just mentioned. As Plato said, "The beginning is the most important part of any work." Making progress, albeit small, gives you the motivation to keep going.



What About You?

Your spouse, children, boss, co-workers, direct reports, customers, vendors, in-laws, parents, siblings, neighbors,  community, church, charities…the list goes on and on of the people, organizations and outside things that are calling out for your time.  But what about you? 

It is important to look outside of yourself and be available for the groups listed above but how can you be available if you are not available.  What if you are sick, have no energy, are mentally exhausted and are constantly distracted that you can’t help others let alone yourself?

Consider right now what you can do to better take care of yourself.  Not just that one time spa trip that you know would make a difference but something ongoing and long term that will enable you to do something that you enjoy, improve your health and cause you to be refreshed. 

Block your activity regularly in your calendar and in your budget.  If the spa day is what you are in need of, schedule and budget to do it regularly.  Exercise regularly.  Take up a hobby.  Go golfing a couple of times each week.  Eat better.  Connect socially with your friends and family.  But, remember that you have to make time for it.  Protect that time.    It is your “me” time.

If you don’t actively plan to take time out for yourself, it will be either hit and miss (mostly miss) or it won’t happen at all. It is not being selfish (unless it turns to excess).  It is making sure that you are mentally and physically available to accomplish those other things that are also important.