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According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon–an auspicious symbol of good fortune and power. Sounds good, right?! I say, “bring it!” After weathering several extremely challenging years I think we’re all up for a positive and powerful new year. Let’s shake it up!

Funny thing is, some of us think good fortune and power simply befall us, like rain or winning the lottery. I’d rather not leave it to chance. So, can we make good fortune and power happen? How much control do we really have? I have a sign that sits above my desk that reads:


 

 

 

 

 

This inspires me every day to be proactive instead of reactive. As Wayne Gretsky said, “don’t skate where the puck is, skate to where it will be.” Often times we “think” ahead, but don’t ever make a plan. As the great Steve Chandler says, “When the WHY is clear, the HOW will appear.” I love this! And it’s true. Instead of just “thinking” about our goals this year, let’s take the “year of the dragon” by the tail and shake things up. CREATE THE LIFE YOU WANT.

I hear the same phrases echoed all the time within the building products industry…”I take two steps forward and three steps back.” “I could spend all day just answering email and voicemails.” “I’m trying to do more with less.” “I don’t remember the last time I spent time thinking about the business.” Any of this sound familiar? This year can be different. All you have to do is create it.

I’ve been on a personal journey for the last couple of years. A journey to find clarity and balance. After working with an amazing mentor and coach (Peleg Top), engaging in workshops and Mastermind groups and pouring through countless books and blog posts, several things have become crystal clear.

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To create the life you want:

[ 1 ]  STOP
Really! Just stop. Commit to spend time just thinking every day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes. Allow yourself the time to be quiet and just think. You’ll be amazed at what percolates in that space that you opened up. (I didn’t think I had the time to stop either; give it a try.) Create that space for yourself.

[ 2 ] START WITH THE WHY
When the WHY is clear the HOW will appear. Ask yourself why you want to accomplish something… why you want to lose weight OR exercise more OR gain market share OR reposition your brand. If I say, “I WANT to exercise more,” do you think I’m actually going to stick to that? Accomplish anything? Now, if I say, “I am going to exercise more because I want to lower my cholesterol by 50 points and lose 20 pounds by June.” The likelihood of me actually exercising more is inevitable because I have two distinct WHYs. The HOWs start showing up all around me…the gym across the street, the workout DVD’s I bought and didn’t use yet, the dog that needs walked. Start with why.

[ 3 ] PRACTICE SELF LOVE
I know this is a subject that women are very familiar with. We discuss it often. But I don’t know that men are really talking about self love. (Now, get your mind out of the gutter) Most of us partake in varying degrees of self-criticism on a daily basis. You may be the guy whose dad never told him he was good enough or the gal with major body dysmorphia OR maybe, you’re already practicing self love every day and you can move on to number 4. The need to practice self love has never been greater. There are many ways to do this. Talk to yourself positively every day. Write yourself love letters. Smile in the mirror. The HOW, in this case, isn’t the hard part. It’s the WHY. Practice self love because it will have a profound impact on how you show up in every situation and on those around you. PROFOUND! Start loving yourself more every day.

[ 4 ] DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL
I was asked by my mentor what I would do if I wasn’t afraid. Have you ever asked yourself this question? So many times it’s fear that stops us from reaching our goals. Fear is only an emotion, not a brick wall. Why do we give it so much power? What are we afraid of? Most of the time it’s failure and/or reject
ion. You avoid asking a girl out for fear she’ll reject you, right?! My mentor also has a wonderful saying that addresses this very thing…“Yes Lives in the Land of No.” (thank you, Peleg) Each no is one step closer to a yes. Whether it’s dating or business. Trying answering the question, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” 5,127 prototypes later, just ask James Dyson.

[ 5 ] BE ENCHANTING
Guy Kawasaki put out a great book in 2011 called, “Enchantment: the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.” Kawasaki argues that in business and personal interactions, your goal is not merely to get what you want, but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. How do you become enchanting? He recommends the following attitudes and actions:
• Be a baker, not an eater; a baker sees the world as an opportunity. I can bake bigger pies. Different flavors. Different shapes. It’s unlimited. 
• Default to “Yes”; think about what you can do for people then say yes and do it.
• Create products that are DICEE (Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering and Elegant) Create products and programs that will engage people.
Become enchanting. You’ll connect on a deeper level and reap the rewards. 

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No, this isn’t a complete list! This is obviously a very partial list of of essential attributes and actions you can adopt this year…right now. You can create the life you want. Slow down, enjoy regular think-time, take actionable steps to meet your goals, be good to yourself and enchant those around you. Now, go take 2012 by the tail and don’t just make it a great year…make it a great life.

Here’s to connecting on a deeper level this year.

Year of the Dragon Symbol

 

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