Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Posted: 13 Jan 2010 04:01 AM PST
How many different goals are you chasing at the moment? Are you trying to get fit, cut your caffeine intake, write a novel, start a business, learn to draw, become an early riser, volunteer, get a promotion ... all at the same time?
Okay, that’s a bit of an over-exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the reality for many of us. If you’ve got an interest in personal development, self-improvement, or simply getting a bit more from your life, then you probably have a number of goals that you’d like to achieve in the next year or two.
You may already have run into problems, though. The more goals you’re chasing, the harder it is to keep enough attention and energy focused on any one of them.
Have you already got several unfinished novels tucked away in desk drawers? Have you been on a dozen diets in the past – which you never stuck to? Are you trying to cram too much into your week in an effort to be a “success” in every single area, all at once?
Many of us could achieve much more by doing a bit less. Here’s how.
Figure Out Your Top Goal
If you could accomplish just one thing in the next year, what would it be? Maybe you want this to be the year when you finally do lose that extra 50lbs. Perhaps it’s the year when you start and finish writing a novel. It could be that you want to take a qualification, or get a promotion at work.
Don’t let anyone else’s expectations or desires dictate your primary goal. Just pick the one thing that, if you succeeded in accomplishing it, would give you a great sense of achievement.
Write it down. This goal is your top priority, and all your other goals, projects and day-to-day tasks are subordinate to it.
Decide What Else to Fit In
Sometimes, your top goal is such a big one that it needs as much focus as possible – and all your other goals need to wait. Often, though, you can fit in a couple of other goals.
Let’s say your primary goal is to lose weight. That needs time, energy and commitment – and you don’t have limitless supplies of any of those. However, losing weight won’t take up all your resources. Think through (or, better, write down) all the other goals that you’d like to accomplish.
Which of these support your goal to lose weight? For example, if you have a goal of waking up early, that might help because it’ll give you time to exercise and eat a healthy breakfast in the mornings. You could also pursue a hobby-related goal: perhaps learning to knit or do woodwork – something that’ll keep your hands and mind busy and prevent you from snacking out of boredom.
The same process applies to any primary goal. Look at your other options, and see what would support that goal (and what might detract from it). Also think about what you really want to accomplish – choose the goals that excite you the most.
Put Other Goals On Hold
Many goals aren’t time sensitive, and can be put on hold. Perhaps you’d like to go back to college, but you know it’d be sensible to pay off your credit card bills and other debts first. Maybe you want to start a blog, but you also need to finish your college degree.
Although it’s frustrating to have to put off a goal that you’re excited about, it’s sometimes the best way to guarantee that you’ll actually achieve something over the next few months. You don’t need to do everything at once in order to succeed – and in many cases, future goals will become easier to tackle because of your present success.
Ditch Goals that Come From Others
Finally, some goals shouldn’t be on your list at all. These are goals which someone else has imposed on you, whether directly or indirectly. If you’re only trying to get into medical school because your parents want you to, you’re going to struggle to stay motivated. If you’re starting a blog because your best friend thinks you should, you probably won’t get far.
If there’s a goal which is draining your energy, because you don’t really want to go for it, then just stop. There are more great goals for you than you can possibly chase in a lifetime – you have to go for the ones that have meaning to you.
So, how can you put this into practice today?
- Pick your top goal – the one thing that you really want to achieve this year. Write it down.
- Make a list of other goals you could tackle. Circle one or two which you’re excited about, and which help to support your top goal.
- Put a star by any goals which can wait for a year or two.
- Cross off any goals which you feel like you should do, but which you aren’t really keen on.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Posted: 06 Jan 2010 06:32 AM PST
I recently opened my journal to jot down my thoughts at the day’s end. This is fairly normal as I write in my journal often. However, I only journal when I feel like it; it’s never a forced action. So, while I am writing articles and academic related papers daily, my journal is more of a refuge, a place for stress relief, and to record my aspirations and goals.
Earlier this November, I had just gotten home from work and was in need of some serious winding down, so I started writing effortlessly and carelessly. I completely forgot what I’d written about that night until I cracked it open two weeks later. You see, I’d made some pretty lofty goals for myself earlier in the month of November. I mainly wrote about how I needed to finish some work on my website and my goal to complete a certain project that I’d put off for far too long; it was simply time to be finished with it.
I was shocked when I read my previous journal entry because everything I had written concerning what I wanted to accomplish had come to pass. I achieved all of my short term goals for the month, and the best part was that it all seemed effortless. I began asking myself, “How can journaling help us reach our goals?”
As I pass over previous entries, I can locate multiple instances in which I’ve set out to do something and written it down, only to find it’s been accomplished and taken care of.
So, why record our goals in a journal?
- It Keeps Us Accountable
When you write something down, it serves as a commitment. Think of it like a contract; when you sign a contract, you are participating in some form of agreement – you are now obligated to fulfill your end of the deal. As you write your goals, they become visible; they possess meaning. If you recorded them with some form of emotion; they now have sentiment.
Upon my discovery, I could vividly revisit the moment I crafted every single word. I could recall the cold air against my cheeks as I sat on my back porch; I remembered how anxious the moment was as I scribbled out what I hoped to accomplish by November 22nd 2009. The intensity was obvious, due to my sloppy handwriting, as I felt the need to record every detail as quickly as possible.
- Writing Our Goals Makes Them Believable
Writing your aspirations serves as a starting block. It’s the foundation of getting anything worthwhile completed. I’ve often found myself in a state of uncertainty; a place in which I have so much I wish to accomplish but feel so behind and overwhelmed. That is until I write out my goals, and begin working backward from the desired result.
An example of this is how I wrote my first eBook. I’ve written many articles over the last year but every time I thought about writing anything over 2000 words, I would panic and self doubt would set in. I then, just imagined a small eBook was nothing more than 8-10 of my usual articles, all lumped into one. Now, I was onto something. I started to believe how easy this might actually be – publishing my very first eBook with no stress or extra effort.
This was actually one of the goals I managed to accomplish by November 22nd. I simply broke the task into manageable chunks and executed like nobody’s business. I made the eBook into 9 sections and treated each one like an article in itself. Before I knew it, I was performing the final edit and publishing the PDF. What a wonderful feeling it was; I’ll never forget it.
- Journals Serve As Record Keeper
I began journaling my first year of college, but I wish I’d started sooner. I love to sit back and read all of my previous entries, simply to see what I deemed important at any given time in my life. I love retracing previous aspirations that have come to fruition and the long(er) term goals I am still working toward.
The ability to recall my personal ramblings reminds me of where I long to be, and more importantly, where I’m headed. It also serves as a kick in the pants when I get distracted from my personal and long term goals.
- My Encouragement To You
If you choose to use journaling as a method to reach your goals, make sure you keep these principles in mind.
- Write when you feel like it – never force anything.
- Write the date at the top of your entries; this serves as the record keeping part of the equation. You will appreciate it 2 years down the road when you gleam over your accomplishments.
- Write whatever you like. There are no rules and you have complete freedom. Write anytime you wish and make sure it’s authentic and real. Never hold back.
- Write your long and short term goals. Work backward from the goal and set dates accordingly. Nothing compares to gazing over previous entries and smiling because of your accomplishments.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
5 years ago, in an attempt to keep Conan O'Brien from leaving NBC and competing with Jay Leno, they made a deal that in 2009, Conan would be the new host of the Tonight Show which airs at 11:35pm weeknights.
NBC learned a lesson previously when they passed over David Letterman who was hosting Late Night, (before Conan) and Dave jumped over to CBS to go head to head with Jay.
So last summer, the shuffling began.
NBC gave Jay the boot from his top ranked Tonight Show and gave him a 10pm time slot instead.
NBC was going to save buckets of cash by not having to pay for the more expensive drama show's it aired in the 10pm hour.
They brought in Jimmy Fallon to host Conan's old show and all was going to be fine and dandy.
But it wasn't.
It all fell apart. The reason?
From a viewers viewpoint= The 10pm Jay Leno Show sucked.
That is the issue most people this week have been ignoring.
I watched Jay the first week.
By the second week, I knew it was bad. Really bad.
Q: What did most people do while watching the Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 17 years?
A: Fall asleep.
And now that is what my wife and I were doing. Sure we were getting more rest by falling asleep by 10:20, 10:30 at the latest. But that wasn't the reason NBC moved Jay to prime time, so I would get more sleep, was it?
So as Jay and his staff tried to make the show work, NBC found itself in a real pickle. They were losing viewers, and their affiliates were screaming at them too.
The local newscasts at 11pm which followed the Jay Leno Show on NBC stations were losing viewers too, because of the poor ratings of Jay's show.
The past couple of weeks, the rumors started flowing. What should NBC do? NBC was not only in a pickle, they were also about to become fickle.
The peacock at NBC had lost some of their feathers. And you know this is a big story when it appears on CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN, the competition.
The proposal they were working on was to give Jay his old 11:35pm slot, except he'd only have 30 minutes. Then delay Conan and Jimmy so their shows would start at 12:05am & 1:05am; but everyone had to agree.
Today, Conan finally had his say in a letter to NBC, and "The People of Earth". And he said it with class and a touch of humor in the last line.
I found a video from NBC last year as they were preparing for the transition:
Will NBC recover?
No. They screwed up by trying to make everyone happy.
Should NBC have tried this talk show experiment? Well, it took guts, but all we have now is hindsight.
Here's the press release from Conan:
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Conan O'Brien released the following statement.
People of Earth:
In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn't the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn't matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way.
SOURCE Conan O’Brien
Monday, January 11, 2010
Doesn't sound very encouraging, does it?
Read the reason from Harvey:
You can't score a goal unless you have one
I once heard a high school math instructor issue this challenge at a school assembly: "I hope you all fail," he said, to an audience of high school seniors, eager to go out and conquer the world. "Because if you don't, you haven't set your goals high enough."
You can get by without setting goals. Most people do. They fall into a routine and inertia carries them through life. They never suffer great disappointments in their work, but they never get very far along the career path either. Then, before you know it, it's all over, and they realize that they could have accomplished so much more if only they had been willing to risk failure.
Getting by without setting goals is the ultimate form of self-delusion. It is a guaranteed way for people to achieve failure without ever having to admit it to themselves.
With a new year upon us, it's a perfect time to set your goals for the year, for the decade or for the rest of your life. After all, if you don't set goals to determine where you're going, how will you know when you get there?
Goals not only give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life. Achieving goals produces significant accomplishments.
Most important, goals need to be realistic: beyond your grasp but within your reach and in the foreseeable future.
Setting reasonable life goals is usually a two-step process. First you discover what your dreams are, then you have to figure out a realistic way to make these things happen.
Step 1: Dreaming. This is fun and easy to do. Get a notepad and block out some time. Turn your cell phone and other wireless devices off. Commit this time to yourself. Now dream. Write down whatever it is you really want. If you want to go to Hawaii and dance the hula, write it down. If you want to climb Mount Everest, write it down. Free your mind and open yourself to possibilities that you might not necessarily recognize otherwise. You shouldn't expect these things to happen all at once, but the things that have meaning for you will resonate, and then you will have the confidence to start taking the steps to realize your dream.
Step 2: Goal setting. Setting good goals is about plotting the incremental, but necessary steps to start the journey. So if your dream is to dance the hula in Hawaii and you can't afford to go there right now, you'll know that you have to set a budget and start saving money for the trip. Look for cheap airfare and sign up for a hula dancing class, small first steps. The trip, instead of a remote dream that will never be realized, suddenly has the real possibility of becoming part of your life experience.
Deciding what you want is an important first step toward success — personal or professional. But it's not enough to simply know your goal. You've got to know how you're going to achieve it. Frame your goals in terms of tasks and performance, not just outcomes: What actions do you need to take, today and tomorrow and in the future, to get closer to your objective? Assigning specific tasks to yourself, knowing how you'll measure the outcome of each activity, gives you a sense of control over what happens to you. You're not just wishing for success, but working steadily toward it. Regular accomplishments will keep you motivated and moving forward.
Evangelist Robert H. Schuller describes four kinds of people. First are the cop-outs. These people set no goals and make no decisions.
Second are the hold-outs. They have a beautiful dream, but they're afraid to respond to its challenge because they aren't sure they can make it.
Third are the drop-outs. They start to make their dream come true. They know their role. They set their goals, but when the going gets tough, they quit.
Finally, there are the all-outs. They are the people who know their role. They want and need and are going to be stars — star students, star parents, star waitresses. They want to shine out as an inspiration to others. They set their goals. The all-outs never quit. They're committed.
Mackay's Moral: Winners make goals; losers make excuses.
Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.
More information and learning tools can be found online at harveymackay.com.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
In the meantime, you cannot simply ignore what is going on around us. And it is better to be prepared, even better to be proactive in your quest for income. From the DLM Blog:
Posted: 09 Jan 2010 09:58 AM PST
Many people haven’t looked at their resume in years; they haven’t needed to. But, with a shaky economy, jobs are shaking out like coins from a piggy bank.
If you’ve been laid off or you’re worried you might be, blow the dust off your old resume and bring it back to life. Whether you are just updating or starting from scratch (who knew those floppies would become obsolete?), these steps will help you create an honest, positive resume.
- Understand the resume’s purpose.
Your resume and cover letter are tools to land a job interview. Not the job, just the interview. Think of a resume as a fact sheet and a cover letter as an explanation of those facts. Lose sight of this and you may overwrite, over explain and convolute.
But a resume is also your public relations advocate and should be flattering. Maybe your record isn’t long or perfect, but don’t let your resume knock you out of contention before you have a chance to talk your way into the job.
- Research resume templates and cherry-pick what to use.
Look at sample resumes for your field. Check out: www.resumetemplates.org, or www.collegegrad.com/resumes.
Once you find a template or format that makes sense for your goals and experience, don’t feel you must follow its structure exactly.
- Delete the objective statement.
Your objective is to get the job; you know it, the employer knows it. Unless you really need to fill space, explain your objectives in your cover letter. Cover letters allow you to tailor your goals to the job you are applying for and creating a good cover letter is key.
- Add creative space, if necessary.
If you don’t have much experience, your credentials can look pretty lonely on the page. No one expects a young person to have as much to say as a person who has been working for twenty years. The results of thoughtful spacing? An easy-to-read resume.
- Add new activities to your resume.
Volunteer at the soup kitchen or the animal shelter. Get active in your community. If you volunteer at something related to the field you want to work in, everyone wins. Add this activity to your resume immediately.
- Think creatively about your accomplishments.
Some of your achievements may not have happened within the confines of a job. For example, if you worked on a major research project in school, you can describe your project and the skills it developed. Here is a list of resume action words that may help jumpstart your memory.
- List jobs first, and in reverse order.
List your most recent job at the top and the rest in descending order. This is the order employers/recruiters expect to see your experience; don’t disappoint or confuse them. A rare exception to the rule: if you are graduated from a prestigious college and you’re working at a filler job. All you Harvard degree graduates who are scooping ice cream, list your Harvard education first.
- Omit your mailing address.
Who is going to contact you by snail mail anyway? Your email address and cell phone number is all anyone needs to contact you. With your resume floating around the internet, keep some information private. Do you want them pulling your residence up on Google Maps?
- Figure out what keywords are relevant and use them.
Some HR folks don’t read resumes any more. They have software that scans resumes for relevant keywords. Use nouns, like the names of the computer programs you know. Read tons of job descriptions and notice which words are used over and over.
- Include accomplishments in addition to responsibilities.
If you made a suggestion that your boss used, if you saved your company money, if you streamlined the work process, it counts. Don’t be shy about highlighting accomplishments on your resume. Back them up with statistics, if possible. How much money did you save the company? What percentage of the budget was it?
- Keep the resume concise.
Stick to one page, unless you have been working ten or fifteen years. If early jobs are not relevant, leave them off.
- Never stop revising.
Your resume can always be improved so keep tweaking it. Add a better word, a better phrase, a new accomplishment. Keep old versions of your resume in case you need information that you previously deleted.
- Don’t Lie.
You knew this would be on the list. Employers routinely check job histories and education claims. Lies about either your job history or degree are the easiest for employers to uncover. The newly named dean of admissions at MIT lied on her resume when applying for a clerical job twenty-eight years ago. With the promotion in the works, her lies were discovered and she was fired. Never lie!
- Omit the Ugly.
Mediocre grade point average? Leave it off Have a 4.0? Put it front and center. Not all information is mandatory. Some people omit listing jobs they only held a short time or that might give them a bad reference. However, if the omission creates a gap that you are asked about in an interview, remember tip number one: don’t lie.
- Mind the Gap
I know someone who waitressed a couple of years after college. She omits her graduation year from her resume so there is no obvious hole, but no lies either.
|Written on 1/14/2009 by Kate Mortell. Kate is a graduate of Marquette University and lives and works in New York City. She writes the blog, Moonfun.net, a collection of travel journals and commentary on real estate, animal rights, gun control and whatever else might be under her skin at the moment. Updated and Republished on 1/9/2010.|