Don’t Look Back – (5) Tips on how to always look forward.

I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but one of the things that really motivates me is looking forward to something. Even when there is not anything monumental on the horizon, I can look forward to something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Having something to look forward to is simple enough to accomplish. It is a highly achievable experience. When I find myself less motivated, I realize I might be thinking about the past, instead of looking toward the future, which I find to be incredibly exciting.

Taking time every now and then to reminisce about what you have done in the past, and the accomplishments you conquered, joyous experiences you relished, and perhaps even some less-than-ideal days is normal, but should not consume your thoughts. Nor should looking back be something to be tough on yourself about, as many people dwell on What IF thinking. This serves little purpose, consumes too much energy, and is a habit which we should all try to reverse.We are all guilty of What If thinking, but what if instead of focusing on the WhatIf regarding the past, we apply this thinking towards the future?

When we interrupt our negative thinking, or thinking that is less constructive, we do ourselves and others a favor by changing our attitudes towards just about everything. Thinking in terms of possibilities versus reviewing our playback tape is what highly successful and motivated people do. It really is not that difficult. The first challenge is to recognize a pattern of thinking about what has already happened, especially since you cannot rewrite what has already occurred. The good news is that you do have control over the script for what can happen next. Stop and really think about this for a minute. Yes, you do have full control. Don’t let it happen, make it happen!

Having something to look forward to is highly motivating for me, but everyone is different, so this might not, in fact, work for you.However, here are five tips to refocus your energy and attention on looking ahead instead of in the rear-view mirror.

  • Think of someone you admire. Now imagine yourself in their shoes. What are their most admirable characteristics? Are some of their traits ones that you could borrow, or implement?
  • Spend time outside. Being near or around any type of nature, or simply breathing in fresh air, can reset your thinking, and put you in a better, more positive frame of mind.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Thinking through the process of doing a kind gesture for someone else forces you to think ahead and plan out the activity, even when it is a simple action like putting a blanket on your child or significant other when he or she has fallen asleep on the couch.
  • Put together a plan. It can be almost any type of plan – a vacation, a dinner date, a birthday party, opening the pool . . . The simple act of starting a plan will create the need to look forward.
  • Get out of your routine. No matter what time of the day it is, you probably have some type of routine. Do something entirely different during your day, and start thinking now what it might be. This will give you something to look forward to, and put you in a position to have to think about doing something later.

Changing how you think about the future can create positive results. The natural endorphins released from the brain when you are thinking and doing constructive behavior will help.

I know you can do this and promise it’s worth the effort.  I have coached many people who felt the same way you do, and guided them to be able to do this well, and every day. Give it a try. T

O

What if it all works out? (7) Ways to make this happen.

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think it is, and too many others have told me they first start with thinking about all of the reasons their plan, project, idea or dreams will not work out. Sure, there is deep psychology behind this type of thinking to explain why this happens, but what if we could change this narrative in our minds and put our mind only on the positive thinking track?

Even though my number one strength is positivity, I’ll admit to sometimes not automatically deferring to this type of thinking. At least not all of the time. However, I can generally talk myself out of going down the negative track, and quickly get back to positive thinking. You can too, and it is really important to be able to do this, as everything in your life and the work you do will be much more satisfying when you adopt this approach to thinking.

Backtracking for just a moment, think about how different your day would be if you always thought everything was going to work out in a positive way? I can’t imagine someone not wanting to sign-up for this. Well maybe a few people, and you know who you are. For the majority of people who would enjoy transforming their way of thinking to be in alignment with everything working out, let’s take a look at how to make this possible.

I’ll walk you through what I recommend as ways you can course correct when the negative talk pops up in your brain. The intent is to have you be able to override this channel, and get back to focusing on your positive outcome.

  1. Your negative thinking is just that. Negative thinking. It’s not real, and you have to remind yourself it isn’t.
  2. Everyone wants to achieve some form of success, or have as many positive outcomes as possible. If you switch your thinking to having a mindset that everything will all work out positively. Guess what? The odds are greater than 50% they will.
  3. Do you believe you deserve to fail? Of course, you don’t. Change your inner minds narrative to thinking you deserve to win or have a positive outcome, and watch what can happen. It’s truly incredible what you will experience.
  4. Enlist a trusted friend, partner, colleague or someone to help you by talking positive outcomes through with them. Hearing yourself express a positive outcome to someone helps to reinforce this thinking, and the outcome.
  5. Make a list of the things you want to have workout well. Do you have ways to influence the positive outcome beyond just thinking you want the outcome to be this way?
  6. If your list has items on it which you can help to positively influence the outcome to be in your favor, are you committed to doing what you will need to do to make this happen?
  7. Think through a couple of scenarios when the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Did you expect to have a negative outcome? There is a high probability you did. Is there something you can do to change the outcome you didn’t want? Potentially there is, and one of them is to come up with your Plan B to alter the outcome to be in your favor.

One of my articles was about Daydreaming, and there are a lot of sound reasons we should all be doing more of this. Daydreaming aligns well with positive thinking, as we tend not to daydream about negative situations or outcomes. So, when you need to warm-up your positive thinking to allow your brain to wrap around providing you with more positive outcomes, start with daydreaming how it will all work out in your favor.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarketMe Too has expertise in uniting and bridging teams. This provides organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results. 

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339)987-0195.T

Figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s to prevent your mid-life crisis

Let’s first start off by acknowledging that the majority of people coming out of college or high school do not have a clear vision about what they will be ideally doing for the next 10-20 years. What tends to happen is that after graduating from school, people begin their journey into becoming an adult, and joining what some refer to as “the real world”. You know what I’m talking about…paying for your own phone, apartment, food, transportation, student loans, etc. The list of expenses seems like they have come out of nowhere, and most people in the first 2-4 years’ post-graduation are adjusting to becoming an adult, with real life responsibilities.

In your mid-twenties, you start to think about whether the job you decided to accept and pursue is in good alignment with what you like to do, and the reality is that often it isn’t. This tends to add to your stress, although you keep plugging along, as you are not certain what you should be doing instead. You also begin to start thinking about your romantic partnering reality, and if you are not in a serious relationship, this can also cause more stress, as the majority of people are interested in having a meaningful connection with someone.

Adding to this stress, is that many woman in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s often also start to begin panicking about whether they will be able to find the right partner, and they do have cause for concern, especially if they want to have children. Unfortunately, fertility statistics are not working in women’s favor as they enter into their 30’s, and the reality is that many women are not either emotionally or financially ready to take on becoming a Mother until they surpass 30.

I realize the written picture I have painted isn’t as promising and rosy as most people would prefer it to be. However, there is a strong degree of harsh realities associated with what is happening to the young adults in their 20’s and 30’s. Fortunately there is good news though, and here is some of the advice I give to help people in these decades of their life to not only reduce their stress, but enjoy these decades more than they might currently be doing.

  • Keeping your experiences in perspective is critical. Even though you may not be in a job you want to have, live where you want to, be in the relationship you would prefer to be in, all of these things can change very quickly. Also for the better.
  • Yes, misery can enjoy company, but do your best to avoid others who are chronic complainers or drama kings or queens. They will only drag you down, and no ones needs or enjoys this type of interaction.
  • Seek out people who are doing things (e.g., hobbies, activities) or work you either enjoy doing, or aspire to be doing. The best way to change your situation, especially if you are not satisfied is to take action.
  • Volunteering your time is also a great way to realize you may be in a better off situation than you think you are, and yes, you do have time to help others. No excuses, as most of you are only responsible for taking care of yourself.
  • Challenge yourself everyday to get out of your comfort zone. Someone in their mid 20’s the other day was surprisingly shocked that I practice what I tell others, and do something every day to challenge myself. You should never stop doing this.
  • Ask for help and guidance from others, especially others who have more life experience than you do. This could be your family members, or people that are 15-20 years plus older than you, and who have volumes of strong advice or suggestions to help you. People also derive enormous satisfaction from helping others, so let them help you.
  • Come up with an action oriented and goal driven plan for the next 5-10 years of what you would like to accomplish. We are so used to having most of our lives programmed for us up until we are 18-22, but after these ages, we are on our own to come up with a plan. The funny thing about this, is you might not realize this is the case, although upon telling you this, it probably seems obvious. Make your plan flexible enough to be accomplished, and yet challenging enough so you can experience and delight in your progress being made.
  • Seeking therapy is also a strong option, as therapists can help you to get to the root cause of what is causing you to feel the way you do, especially if you are experiencing more anxiety than you are comfortable with. However, in reality, it can also take years to feel better, and there is no guarantee offered from therapists that you will feel different or any better after you have been in therapy.
  • Most people I talk to do not fully understand who they are, or what motivates them, or what their purpose is. Figuring this out is far easier than you might think, and as a certified Gallup Strengths Coach, I help people with this challenge every day. I also love doing this, and I have seen incredible results from helping people to understand better who they are and what they are good at in less time than you might think it would take. Many people I work with also have a therapist, and I laugh when they tell me that working with me is much more therapeutic, and gets actual and faster results. How ironic.

I wish I could tell you there is a magic formula for figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s. There isn’t, but these are a few of the suggestions I give people who ask me for advice on this topic. Let me know if some of them help you out, or if you have suggestions I can share with others which have helped you. This is my “thanksgiving” gift to you. Happy Thanksgiving…if you happen to celebrate this holiday.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Think of me as a “people are like diamonds – polisher”.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Progress – Are you making some?

Sometimes you can recognize progress. Usually, though, it takes much longer to see or experience any type of forward motion. There are many ways to measure progress. In the high technology marketing world I have lived in almost my entire career, just about everything I have worked on had some type of measurement tool available. This became normal to me, but not every job has this high level of what I refer to as disciplined scrutiny.

Feeling like you are under the microscope every day can be exhausting, and more stressful than I care to think about. Although it can take its toll, especially if you don’t know how to inject a sense of counter balance into the mix, being professionally trained to make progress on a daily basis does have benefits.

Let me tell you about a friend who was also a former client – I helped her to produce her first Jazz CD. For most of our lives, she has been the complete opposite of me in almost everything we each did, professionally. When I would give her marketing, branding, or business advice, she either did not listen to my suggestions, or she would do the exact opposite.

As you can imagine for someone who is used to making daily progress, working with her at times was incredibly frustrating, but I knew what we were working on would pay off one day. I just didn’t know how long it would take. Fast forward almost 20 years. As we reconnected, she reminded me how I used to tell her, “I know the person who can accomplish doing what we are talking about is hiding in you, and will someday make their debut.”

Well this day arrived, and for the first time I witnessed an example of progress being made as I watched her giving a voice lesson to a promising future Broadway singer. Teaching voice lessons and getting paid to do so has always been something my friend wanted to do, and she was doing this right in front of me.

The next example of progress I saw from my friend occurred as she was skeptically listening to financial advice. I later learned that she took the next step and scheduled a time to review and put into action the financial advice given to her.  She was listening!

This woman had always wanted to make a living from her ability to sing. After more than two and a half decades of pursuing this dream, it is now a reality. Seeing this type of progress is something that took far longer than I imagined, but it did happen. The best part is that the progress my friend is now making is at an exponentially swift pace. She now has perspective on what it means to achieve the kind of progress she has made.

My friend has always believed in her ability to be able to make a living from her natural gift, but the most gratifying part is seeing her now be able to make longer-term decisions, including living in an artist’s loft in New York City. The most remarkable part of where she lives today, is that she only came across this space after she lost her last apartment and everything in it to a building fire. Luckily, she and her dog were out walking when the fire occurred, and no one was hurt.

How progress is measured depends on the type of work you are doing, and can be subjective to measure depending on what it is you are trying to quantify. My profession is a creative, strategic and heavily people-oriented one, designed to have a positive influence on people. The measurements are unique to the work I do. The point is that even a small amount of progress can be beneficial.

Sometimes it is important to take time to celebrate our small progress wins, as over time they accumulate and can produce amazing results. My friend is a great illustration. I hope you will soon have your own examples of progress you can appreciate and be proud of.

This story is dedicated to my long-time friend, Ellen O’Brien, who also happens to be an incredibly talented Jazz and near future Broadway singer. Listen to some of her songs at www.ellenobrien.com

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, producing repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

 

 

Advocate for yourself. You’re worth it.

If everyone could afford to have their own public relations and branding company working for them, imagine how much fun you could have with this? Since this is not realistic for the majority of people, the next best or potentially the best person to develop your image and brand is you. Yes, you, although you may be initially challenged with how to do this, it is possible to do.

Whether you want to develop your own brand is something you have to decide to do, but essentially everyone should be doing this. Why? Because if you have a LinkedIn account or are active on any social media platforms, you are already in the process of developing your brand. However, are you giving your brand the kind of attention it deserves, and is the type of effort you are putting in worth it? It should be, otherwise why would you bother to invest your time in the process?

As we all know, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone has their own talents and different types of experiences which add value to who they are personally and professionally. Some people may have taken a more prescriptive approach to charting out their paths, and others may have taken a less formal approach to developing their personal or professional journeys. Either approach is fine, and what makes the difference in terms of your satisfaction with either path is how you go about advocating for yourself along the way.

I have written about the importance of developing your own value proposition,  and this is the foundation you will build upon to advocate for yourself in just about any scenario. It is possible to have two value propositions, and one would be for your personal life, and the other your professional one. However, it is fine to have one which is a blend of the two, especially since some people do not separate their personal and professional lives. For those that have a strict delineation between the two, then crafting two value propositions will make sense.

As a refresher, think of your value proposition as your “elevator pitch” to tell and promote yourself to others. Give some thought about how you are coming across to your audience from both a verbal and strategic perspective. Are you coming across in a way which elicits a response of “so what”, or a response which has the recipient asking more questions about you? The latter is obviously preferred, so here are some tips on how you can craft the elevator pitch to do the best possible job of advocating for yourself.

  • Write down (3-5) things you enjoy doing professionally, and are good at.
  • Come up with 2-3 examples of what makes you exceptional at the things you enjoy doing personally or professionally.
  • Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what they perceive are your best skills personally or professionally.
  • Write down and practice giving your “advocate/elevator pitch”. Yes, really do this and refine it as you are crafting and stating it to others.
  • If you are not being asked questions after reciting your advocate pitch, go back and re-craft it and try it again. It may take 2-3 iterations to get this right, and it will likely need to be modified over time as you add more skills to yourself advocacy list.

Still not convinced you need to advocate for yourself? Think again, as how do you think the people who you hear about or admire professionally or personally got to where they are today? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, but it boils down to being a strong advocate for themselves. The bottom line is you are worth it, so get out there and start advocating for yourself. I’ll be looking for you to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.