Friday, August 24, 2012

Are You Willing to Go the Extra Mile?

Are you someone who consistently goes the extra mile and routinely over delivers on your promises?  It's rare these days, but it's the hallmark of high achievers who know that exceeding expectations helps you stand out from the crowd. Almost by force of habit, successful people simply do more.

As a result, they experience not only greater financial rewards for their extra efforts but also a personal transformation, becoming more self-confident, more self-reliant, and more influential with those around them. 
These high achievers stand out from the crowd because of their extra efforts.  They are unwilling to give up, even in the face of difficult times. 

They get the promotions, they get the loyal customers, they grow their businesses twice as fast, they get financial rewards, job security, and they go home feeling satisfied.

Do you exceed expectations? 

Do you surprise people with more than they were expecting from you? 

Do you have the opportunity - but also the personal initiative - to go the extra mile?
To be successful you must change your thinking. You can only win by making extra efforts. People who go the extra mile always get payback. You will discover yourself becoming more self-confident, more self-reliant and more influential with those around you.  People notice the special services and all the small touches that make dealing with you so pleasurable.   

And when they are talking to their friends they will mention you and recommend you because you are the one who stands out.  People will see that you pay attention to detail, that you consider all the small things that really make a business successful, that you care about your image, and that you belong with all the other people who work hard to achieve. You will attract new business and new opportunities.

Listen to any success story and you will hear of someone who worked exceptionally hard to get what they wanted.   You’ll hear how they put in the extra time, did what wasn’t always part of their  job and over-delivered on what was asked of them.

What have you been doing for the past couple of years? Think of what you could accomplish if you made it a habit to exceed everyone’s expectations. Image what doors could be open to you if you decided to be of better service and value.

How are you willing to go the extra mile?  What kind of extra service are you willing to provide in order to stand out from the rest?  What areas of your life could you be giving more of your effort and time, becoming more valuable, and improving your reputation?

Be willing to treat everyone like you’d treat your best friend.   Don’t skimp on service.  Don’t be mediocre or run of the mill.  Show people what you are capable of.  

Put your best foot forward.  Show everyone around you how much you care about your image and reputation through everything you do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do Affirmations Really Work?

Do affirmations really work?

Affirmations (meaning a statement said with confidence about a perceived truth) have helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives.  But they don't always work for everyone.  Why can one person have great success using this tool while another feels no results at all?

An affirmation will work because it has the ability to program your mind into believing the stated concept.  This is because the mind does not know the difference between what is real or fantasy.  For example, when you watch a movie and you start to laugh or cry your mind is empathizing with the characters on the screen even though it is only make believe.

There are both positive and negative types of affirmations.  I'm sure many of us can remember as a child being told by a teacher, or another adult that we didn't have the ability to do something, or we were fat, clumsy, etc.  These negative statements can stay with us in the conscious or unconscious mind, and can become the beliefs in which we live by.  Therefore, we then reinforce these negative beliefs throughout our lives.

Positive affirmations or simply positive self talk has the power to create successful outcomes in our lives because our thoughts shape our actions and our actions are what bring results.  Napoleon Hill examined this direct connection between thoughts -actions -results in his landmark best seller, Think and Grow Rich.

Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you change your mood, state of mind, and manifest the change you desire in your life. As powerful as positive affirmations can be, if a negative belief is deeply rooted in our unconscious mind then it has the ability to override a positive affirmation even if we aren't aware of it.  This is why for many people; affirmations don't seem to work.  Their negative beliefs are over powering their positive ones.

So how can we add more muscle to an affirmation so it has the power to triumph over our negative thinking?  Here are some suggestions on how to make them work for you.

7 Guidelines for Creating Powerful and Effective Affirmations

1.  Identify any negative or limiting beliefs that you currently hold.  Make a list of what you've always thought of as your negative qualities.  Include any criticisms others have made of you that you've been holding onto; whether it's something your siblings, parents and peers used to say about you when you were a child, or what your boss told you in your last annual review.  Don't judge if they're accurate and remember we all have flaws.  Simply make a note of them and look for a common theme, such as "I'm unworthy." This will be a great place to start making a shift in your life. When you write out the recurring belief notice if you holding on to it anywhere in your body?

2.  Now write out an affirmation on the positive aspect of your self-judgment.  You may want to use a thesaurus to find more powerful words to beef up your statement.  For example instead of saying, "I'm worthy."  You could say, "I'm remarkable and cherished."

3.  Speak the affirmation out loud for about five minutes three times a day - morning, mid day and evening.  This is easy to do!  Write them down on index cards and just spen a minute in the morning while you have coffee or as you're getting dressed.  An index card can be kept in your glove compartment, hand bag, night table etc.

4.  When writing the affirmation(s) ... start with the words I am.  These are the two most powerful words in the English language.  The subconscious takes any sentence that starts with the words I am and turns it into a command - a directive to make it happen!  and be sure to use the present tense.  Describe what you want as though you already have it.  It is important to affirm what you want - not what you don't want.

5.  Keep it brief.  One simple, yet powerful sentence.

6.  Make it specific.  Vague affirmations produce vague results.

7.  Include an action word ending with -ing.  One that expresses the emotional state you would be feeling if you had already achieved the goal.  i.e. - enjoying, relaxing, thriving

I encourage you to think about the goal(s) that lie ahead of you.  Create positive affirmations that will excite you and inspire you to take the action necessary to move closer to those goals.  Affirmations do work, if you believe in them.  The most successful people whether they have achieved success in business, sports, financial wealth, or weight loss ...have all found the power in positive affirmations.

Your thoughts will shape your world.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

7 Surefire Ways to Get New Bookings Now!

With over 17 years of Direct Sales experience as a top personal seller as well as an influential leader and recruiter, I personally held over 1500 in-home parties.  Here are some of my "not so secret" ways to fill your calendar with bookings....

7 Surefire Ways to Get Bookings NOW!
1.  Get your catalogs out there!
Your company spends lots of money creating your most important marketing tool – your catalog. Get it out there and it will bring you bookings. Here are some ideas:
  • Send a catalog to a friend, neighbor or co-worker that has moved
  • Put a catalog in the teacher's lounge at your child's school.
  • Put a catalog in your employee lunchroom.
  • Give a catalog to the receptionist at your Dr. or dentist office.
  • Put current catalog in your neighbor's door.  Include a 10% off coupon.
  • Have your husband take a catalog to work
2.  Throw Yourself a party!
Find a reason to celebrate something (your company’s new products, your business anniversary, a promotion, working on a new incentive trip) and invite everyone you know to come help you celebrate! Offer incentives if they bring a guest and host it as an open house to increase attendance. It could even be a fund raiser for your favorite charity.
3. Get yourself out there!
If you’re face to face with people, they’ll get your enthusiasm and want to share in it. Here are some ideas for getting out there and meeting new people:
  • Have a booth at a school fair.
  • Work with other consultants in your down line or area and host a booth at a local Women’s fair.
  • Check out local job fairs – they’re filled with people looking for work!
4. Advertise!
Get the word out to people who need to know about you! Here are some ideas of where to advertise:
  • The service area of your local newspaper
  • Your church bulletin
  • Your alumni newsletter
  • School football, drama or musical programs
5. Think of some new places and environments to host shows
You can do your presentation in some interesting places – not just a host’s home. If you can do an open house format, the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas:       
  • Host an office party during lunch or after work. Attendance will be automatic!
  • Host a restaurant party – the host doesn’t have to do anything except invite people and show up!
  • Hold a “multiple host” event, holding several shows in the same place on the same night.
  • Host a show before or during a PTA meeting. 
6. Make your party a booking event! 
  • Create an awesome booking “commercial” which highlights the benefits of booking a show with you  
  • At the beginning of the party mention your host’s goals. Have the hostess tell why she decided to host a party.  
  • Offer a gift wrapped gift to the host at your show; 1 booking, she takes off the bow, two bookings, she takes off the wrapper, three bookings, she gets to keep the gift!  
  • Offer “instant booking gifts” as a bonus for hosts who book on days and/or months you need to make a goal. 
  • Make your parties fun so your guests will want to book
7Use one of these other awesome ideas:
  • Include a business card or flyer with ALL your bill payments Participate in a school fund-raiser.
  • Wear clothing with your company logo on it.
  • Have your business information printed directly on your checks
  • Call your realtor with suggestions for "new home packages"
  • Start a "Host of the month" club (12 hosts agree to place at least a $30.00 order each month, and 1 of the 12 months, they also get all the host benefits!)
  • Carry a notepad to jot down names of potential hosts as you think of them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making a Great First Impression!

Making a Great First Impression!

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this very short time, the other person forms an opinion, fair or not,  about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

We make countless new encounters every day and with every new meeting, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed.  These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making these first encounters extremely important.  It will set the tone for the entire relationships that follows.  

This is crucial to you and your business success.  People are watching you all the time and it is important to  know how to put your best foot forward each and every day whether it is in the work place, at a meeting or a networking event.  

With over 21 years as a top producing sales representative for various companies and industries; I learned early on that my best asset was me!  So I never took a first meeting or my ability to make a good first impression too lightly.  Here are some of my tips:

Be on Time
Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late.  Plan to arrive a few minutes early and allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn.  Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.  Being late can put an uncomfortable feeling in the air and a meeting should not start that way. 

Be Yourself, Be at Ease
If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create the wrong impression. Your feeling uncomfortable can also create an impression on the other person that you might not be ready, knowledgeable or willing to discuss the matter at hand.   If you are calm and confident, the other person will feel more at ease too, and then you have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one and building a relationship.

Present Yourself Appropriately
Your physical appearance matters.  All the time.  No matter where you are.  The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.  The other person may not want to do business with you or refer business to you if you can not look the part of a successful professional.  Now, that certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression.  The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.  Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part”, and also feel more calm and confident. 

A Word about Individuality
The good news is you can usually create a good impression by just being your authentic self.  Focus on your individuality.  And Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree.  But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation.  If the meeting is in a business setting, wear the appropriate business attire.  If the meeting is at a less formal event or location, consider business casual as the appropriate  attire.  The key is to show your confidence, success and ability and look natural at the same time.

A Winning Smile!
“Smile and the world smiles too.”   So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression.  A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease.  So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions and "breaking the ice."  It goes without saying, to be sincere and not "over do" it either!
Be Open and Confident
When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.   Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance.  Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake.  All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.  Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms.  By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check.  And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way
Conversations are based on verbal give and take.  It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?   Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Be Positive
Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous And Attentive
It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression.  In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!   One modern manner worth mentioning is be engaged in the other person, you might even want to turn off your phone.  What first impression will you create if you are distracted or worse .... start speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time?  Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention.  Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Plan for Success in Your Direct Sales Business

Success people plan their success because a failure to plan is just planning to fail.  More important than planning to succeed is however expecting to succeed.  Are you just in it or are you in it to win? 

What are your goals for your business?  What made you decide to join your company?  Is your business full time or part time?  Are you looking to make some extra money or are you looking to change your life and that of your family?   

Anything is possible with your Direct Sales business, the sky is virtually the limit.  You just have to decide what you want and make the plan to get it.  And a note of warning!  Be careful what you ask for because you will only get what you ask for.  So dream big.

When I joined my first direct selling company, I expected to achieve a management position with the company.  So I did, rather quickly.  I expected to earn a free vacation every year.  So I did.  I expected to be successful so I was.  I looked everywhere around me to find ways to be successful.  And it all started with a vision and a plan.

Many people approach life as if they have no control over outcomes.  And that is simply not true.  You control your actions; therefore you can control your own destiny.  Your life will change the moment you learn that.  

 "Expectations held over a period of time, either consciously or subconsciously, affect attitudes – attitudes affect actions.  Expectations function relentlessly, whether you create them for yourself or someone else holds them for you".  Paul J Meyer, The Dynamics of Goal Setting (Success Motivation International, Inc.)

Successful direct sellers know that planning is easier to do in direct selling than it is in other business ventures.  For one thing, it is realistic to expect to reach high levels of income and achieve high levels of success.  

We also know the benefit in having a proven system to plug int to.  We need only to adapt those plans and systems for ourselves.  It requires participation, action and some hard work at times.
Here are a few simple success principles:

·       Develop confidence in yourself.  Confidence comes from know-how and know-how comes from experience and experience can only come from doing it.  Don’t be afraid to share what you have to offer with others.

·       Develop strategy.  This is where planning comes in.  Ask yourself these important questions:
1.     What is my step by step plan for getting more bookings on my calendar? 
2.     What is my step by step plan for increasing my sales? 
3.     How will I do that?  What are my resources?
4.     What is my step by step plan to coach my hostess to a better party?
5.     What is my monthly income goal? How many bookings do I need to get it? 
6.     What are my plans for leadership?
7.     What is my step by step plan to recruit others to join the team?

·       Treat your business like a business.  Take 100% responsibility for the results you are seeing.  Create specific times and schedules to work your business effectively.  Give it the appropriate time it needs in order for you to accomplish your goals.  Remember your work has to equal your want.

·       Have expectations.  Don’t take a wait and see approach.  Develop a plan and work into it.  Create what you want, don’t wait for it to show up.  The most successful people have a hunger for what they do and possess a drive that helps them accomplish their goals.  You are one of those people.

·       Focus on bookings.  There is an old saying in Direct Sales, “no one goes out of business with a full calendar”.  Your party is where it all happens!  Product promotion and demonstration, customer relationship building, sales and profit, bookings for future profit, hostess coaching for better parties and more excited hostesses and recruiting for team building which can bring a greater sense of contribution and energy for the team and even a potential for greater income and professional development for you.

·       Fortune is in the follow up.  Being able to have a systematic approach to follow up and stay in touch with hostesses and customers is vital for your success.  Remember “no” may just be a “no, not now” not a “no, not ever!”  Always keep a list (and add to it) of hot leads or prospects.  Write a note to jog your memory about the last conversation you had with that person.  Calendar the date for follow up and don't be afraid to make that next call.

·       Keep your goals in front of you for maximum results and achievement.  Write them down. Hang them up, write them on index cards and keep a card in various places around the house and in your car.  Look at the card(s) before bed each night and first thing in the morning.  You will be amazed at how this imagery will kick start your subconscious mind into action, helping you to achieve whatever you set out to do.  

·       Be accountable to someone else for your actions and outcomes.  Work with your leadership team to clearly establish your goals as well as your action plan.  Schedule weekly coaching calls with your leader so that you can be held accountable to that plan and make progress towards your goals. 

Anna Gibbs is a Certified Business Coach and a Certified Life Coach with over 17 years of Direct Sales experience as both a top personal sales performer having achieved just under $1 million dollars in overall sales volume and a dynamic leader and recruiter.  For more information about Anna and her coaching services please visit 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fear of Success? You're not alone ...

The following is an excerpt from a speech I gave in July of 1995.  I was in front of a group of about 300 Independent Sales Reps and their Leadership team during a Regional Sales meeting for a Direct Sales Company I worked with from 1994-1998 

Success.  Everyone wants it.  We all talk about it.  It is the goal, isn't it?  Deep down we all want to be successful, right?  We dream about it.  We plan for it.  And for some of us, we are afraid of it.   Fear of success is not unusual.  It is actually quite common.  And it is a problem.  Being fearful of  our own success actually stops us dead in our tracks.  It can cause us to lose out on a lot of opportunities in life.  And when we're too afraid to take risks and move forward on our goals – either consciously or unconsciously – we get stuck in one place.  No progress.

Fear of success is as real as the fear of failure.  Both present with the same symptoms, and both of these fears will hold you back from achieving your dreams and goals.  The biggest problem for many people is that their fear of success is largely unconscious.  They just don't realize that they've been holding themselves back from doing something great. 

So what does the fear of success look like?
  • You feel guilty about any success you have, no matter how small, because your friends, family, or co-workers haven't had the same success.  
  • You don't tell others about your accomplishments because you worry that they will think you're being boastful.  
  • You avoid or procrastinate on big projects, especially projects that could lead to recognition.
  • You frequently set your own goals or agenda aside to avoid conflict with others.  
  • You feel that you're not good enough.  
  • You feel that you don't deserve to enjoy success in your life.  
  • You believe that if you do achieve success, you won't be able to sustain it.  

Fear of success has several possible causes:
  • We fear what success will bring it.  For example, loneliness, new enemies, being isolated from our family, longer working hours, or being asked for favors or money.  
  • We're afraid that the higher we climb in life, the further we're going to fall when we make a mistake.  
  • We fear the added work, responsibilities, or criticism that we'll face.  
  • We fear that our relationships will suffer if we become successful. 
  • We fear the reaction from others - jealousy and cynicism. 
  • We fear that accomplishing our goals may actually cause intense regret that we didn't act sooner. 
  •  We fear our own power to be successful - we fear how "big" we can truly become
Overcoming the fear of success involves strategy.   The good news is that the more you face your fears, the more you're likely to overcome them.  Overcoming your fears is the first step in accomplishing your goals.  And what if you do accomplish your goals?  What will happen if you succeed with your goals?  What would your life look like?

Don't look at what you hope will happen, or what you fear will happen.  Instead, look at what is likely to happen.  Take your time answering.  Examine the issues, and write down your answers to questions like these:
  • How will my friends and family really react if I accomplish this goal? 
  • How will my life change? 
  • What's the worst that could happen if I achieve this goal? 
  • What's the best that could happen? 
  • Why do I feel that I don't deserve to accomplish this goal?
  • How motivated am I to work toward this goal? 
  • What am I currently doing to sabotage, or hurt, my own efforts? 
  • Who can help me get out of my own way? 

Friday, June 1, 2012

One Word

What if I could influence you with just one word?  What if that one word could change your life?  For good.  What if that word could guide you to who you are and where you need to be?  What if the application of this one word could make all the difference in you finally having all the things you have always wanted?

It is not a unique word or one you have never heard of.  But a word if taken seriously every day, could ignite your dreams into reality. 

The word is "action".  It is defined as something done or performed, an act that one consciously wills or habitual or usual acts.  Action is movement.  

Everyone is capable of dreaming and making plans.  But is the ability to take action that separates the extraordinary from the average. 

All top performers share one quality — they get things done.  Action is the one word that will make all the difference in your life.  This ability supersedes intelligence, talent, and connections in determining the size of your salary and the speed of your advancement.

It is simple, yet not always easy.  So many of us stay stuck in one spot for so long, due to our inability to basically put one foot in front of the other.  Action or the ability to take action is a habit.  The habit of putting ideas into action is essential to getting things done and having the results you want. 

Here are just 4 ways you can develop the action habit:

1. Don’t wait for the perfect time – If you’re waiting to start until the time is just right and everything is perfect, you probably never will.   There will always be something that isn’t quite right.   Either the timing is off, the market is down, or there’s too much competition.  In the real world there is no perfect time to start.  You have to take action now and deal with problems as they arise. 

2. Be a doer -  Practice doing things rather than thinking about them.  Do you want to start exercising?  Do you have a great idea for your business?  Do it today.  The longer an idea sits in your head without being acted on, the weaker it becomes.   After a few days the way you think about it might change.  After a week it’s forgotten completely.  By becoming a doer you’ll get more done and stimulate new ideas in the process.

. Start your creative engine mechanically –  One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can only be done when inspiration strikes.  Not true!  If you wait for inspiration to show up all the time,  you might be waiting a long time!  Instead of waiting, try starting.  If you need to write something, force yourself to sit down and write.   Put pen to paper.   Brainstorm.  Doodle. See what transpires.  By moving your hands you’ll stimulate the flow of ideas and inspire yourself.

4. Live in the present
- Focus on what you can do in right now.  Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow.  The only time that matters is the present.  If you speculate too much about the past or the future you won’t get anything done. Tomorrow or next week might turn into never. 

Brave people take action!  It takes courage to take action without instructions from someone else or knowing all the facts.  Perhaps that’s why people who demonstrate initiative are often recognized as top performers.  You can too.  Seize the initiative.  When you have a good idea, start implementing it.  Put into action, don't delay. 

Don't just dream it, do it! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Six Really Simple Ways to Boost Your Productivity

Of course we all want to be productive, however there are times when we find ourselves overwhelmed.  And then we find ourselves procrastinating and wasting our time without intention.   You know as well as anybody, that a lack of productivity over time will have a negative effect on your business and its success.  So what to do about it?  Well there are lots of ways to boost your productivity, but here's 6 quick tips!

6 Ways to Boost Your Productivity:

1- Be 100% focused:  Truly productive people become 100% focused on the task they are doing.  When they attempt to complete a task during the time blocked for that task; they put away their mobile phones, they don’t check their email or Facebook and they stay committed to the task at hand until they are done.  

2- Develop courage: Sounds like a weird advice, right? Actually it was discovered that procrastination is sometimes your mind’s method to help you escape from the tasks you fear to do or from the fear of failure.

3- Don’t wait for the right mood: While I wish you happiness everyday still this is not how life works. One day you might find yourself sad, the second day you might find yourself irritated while the third day you might find yourself not in the mood. Waiting for the right mood can kill productivity.  You have a business to build so get to it!

4- Don’t wait for the right time: Sometimes waiting for the right time becomes the excuse we use to escape from responsibilities and the tasks that we don’t like. Just like waiting for the right mood will slow down your productivity waiting for the right time will never help you get your tasks done. Start right now!

5- Know exactly what you should do:  In order to become very productive start by developing a daily to-do list for the tasks you must do.  A common reason for procrastination is often not knowing exactly where to start.  

6- Are you motivated enough? Productivity needs motivation.  If you aren’t motivated enough you won’t feel like working and productivity will have no meaning. Understand the reasons behind your lack of motivation and treat them in order to become truly productive.

Anna Gibbs is a certified Business Coach and a Certified Life Coach dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and sales professionals who are looking to bridge a gap in their performance and achieve greater results in order to grow their business through more effective systems and behaviors.  For more information about Anna Gibbs and her coaching services please visit

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Have a better day

Below is a list of  simple ways to have a better day, today!   Why is this important to you and your business?  Because positive people are more successful, productive and profitable.  Period.    

We all have a positive and negative side to us.  It's part of our human nature. The key is to feed your mind with more positive thoughts so the negative side starts to starve.   The more we think and feel positive; the more positive we become and the stronger those feelings become.  The actions are simple.  We just need to make them a habit and do them every day. 

Here are a few ways to make that happen:

1. Practice Gratitude - You can't be stressed and thankful at the same time. Gratitude is like muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it gets.  Take some time every night and write down those 5 things that happened today that you are thankful for.  

2. Turn off the News - it is just too negative!

3. Smile More - It will make you feel happy for no reason,. and besides it's contagious.  

4. Read uplifting books or devotionals

5. Take a look at who you spend time with.  Get together with more positive, uplifting people.

6. Write a few Thank You Notes  - We have already talked about how expressing gratitude will make you feel and writing a hank you note is also good for business.  Imagine how your relationships will develop if you could send out a note to say thank you for your business, thank you for the referral, thank you for your time, etc.

7. Be a Coach - Coaches bring out the best in others. The best coaches mentor, encourage, praise, inspire, and lead with optimism and positivity.  Today, feed others and yourself with positivity by being a coach.

8. Decide to Make a Difference - When you help other people with their problems you forget about your own.

What strategy will you start today to feed your positive self?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make a Difference

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” 
Meister Eckhart

Many years ago Oprah Winfrey spoke about her gratitude journal on the Oprah Winfrey show.  She shared the deep effect writing in it had on her and her life.  Oprah said, at the end of each day she writes down the 5 things that she was most grateful for today.  She felt it was better to write in this gratitude journal at the end of the day because you would work harder all day long to find things, even the smallest things, during the day to be grateful for.   She challenged the audience and her devoted fans (me being one of them that day) to keep a daily gratitude journal.  I thought that was a great idea, but I didn't do it.  

Now don't get me wrong, I really did think it was a great idea.  And I do believe in the power of gratitude.  As a matter of fact, I believe I live in a constant state of gratitude each and every day.  If I say thank you once, I must say it about a thousand times a day.  I speak it out loud, I say it silently, I am mindful of it, I am grateful.  Therefore, I had myself convinced that I did not need to actually write any of those grateful thoughts down in a book!  I had it all in my mind, I was feeling it each and every day, wasn't that enough? 

Then one day, recently, I realized ...maybe it is not enough to just think it.  Maybe there would be a benefit to writing down my gratitude each day.  So, I tried it.  And I have to tell you in just a couple of weeks I think I am more focused, more energetic and more aware of doing the right things to be more positive.  Why?  Because the act of writing down why I am grateful every day helps to connect me to those feelings more.  And the simple fact that it is recorded in a journal allows me to revisit those previous feelings each day.  All of which makes me feel more and more grateful for each day and its blessings.  It is a very humbling feeling and it makes me very happy.  

Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what I’m grateful for and then writing it down make such a big difference in my life?
Just a few reasons:
  • Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life. It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some way.
  • Because it turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person.
  • Because it reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head.
  • Because it reminds you to thank others. I’ll talk about this more below, but the simple act of saying “thank you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life. Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you … just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful toward them is important to them. People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you little, but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will make you happy.
What do I give thanks for, privately, in my little gratitude session? It varies every day.  Personally, I thank God first.  I thank Him for his blessings, his mercy and his direction in my life.  I am grateful for my loved ones.  My family and friends.  I am grateful to do what I love each and every day.  I am thankful for the people around me, especially my clients, my experiences.  Sometimes, I am just thankful for the good cup of coffee I had to start my day!  

How to Live a Life of Gratitude
The thing is, simple acts of gratitude don’t cost you much (especially once you get over the initial discomfort some people feel with thanking others). But they can make a huge difference.
If you’re interested in living a life of gratitude, here are my suggestions:
  • Morning gratitude session.  Before your feet even hit the floor ...take even just one minute each morning to give thanks, to whoever or whatever you’re grateful for. You don’t have to do anything, other than close your eyes and silently give thanks. This one act can make a huge difference in your day and in your life.
  • Say thank you. When someone does something nice for you, however small, try to remember to say thank you. And really mean it.
  • Call to say thanks. Sometimes you might think about something nice that someone did for you. Perhaps you remember during your gratitude session. When you do, pick up the phone and call the person, just to say thanks. Let them know what they did that you’re grateful for, and why you appreciate it. Takes a minute or two. If it’s too early to call, make a note to call later. Even better is telling them in person, if you happen to see them or if they’re on your route. Almost as good is a thank-you email — keep it short and sweet.
  • Give thanks for “negative” things in your life. There’s always two ways to look at something.  Many times when we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult.  And at the time, it might be just that.  However, I know (from experience) that the blessing often comes after the breaking.  Therefore, is it possible, that the same experience can then be looked at in a more positive way?  There is often a gift or a lesson that comes of it.  Be grateful to have had the opportunity to be changed or transformed.   Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative and become stronger, wiser.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.  Choose a journal or notebook for the sole purpose of recording the 5 things that you were most grateful for each day.   Keep it on the table by the side of your bed and do this before you go to sleep.  You may have your best night's sleep!
Let me leave you with a prayer of gratitude that I’ve always found … well, perfect.  I shared this with my newsletter subscribers last November as a Thanksgiving wish and I know so many of you replied with a big "Thank You" for sharing!

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~