Going the Extra Degree

Sunday, July 31st is the 212th day of the year. This may only be relevant to people who know about the 212 concept, about pushing things the extra degree. As Sam Parker (originator of the message) says, “212 is a simple message that reminds us of how a small amount of extra effort and attention can have a big impact on results.”

It starts with the basis of water being hot at 211 degrees. Once it gets to 212 degrees, it boils. When water boils, it produces steam. And with steam, you can power a train. That one extra degree makes all the difference.

Challenge yourself. To what can you apply ONE extra degree of effort and make a huge difference? Just when you think you can’t do anymore. Is it one more phone call, one more push up, one more minute of listening to a friend? C’mon, you can always eat just one more (yeah, now we’re talking, right?).

Have you seen the three minute 212 movie preview? Take a look here, (never mind the commercial) and watch it the whole way through.

Then share. What are you pushing one degree further?

Oh, and if you want to know more about 212, the extra degree, see Sam’s website: http://bit.ly/pjVajT

The World Is Freaky Beautiful

This is the title of my friend Evan Griffith’s blog. He and I connected through a mutual contact years ago and then lost touch. Weeks before I moved from South Florida, we ran into each other in the waiting area of our mechanic’s shop (crazy how the Universe works, huh?).  Seems we’d been following similar paths of personal development and self discovery and we had a lot to discuss over a subsequent couple of lunches.

Evan hadn’t yet launched his blog then, but he has now and he’s been quite prolific. Good stuff here and I encourage you to check it out. Especially the May 14, 2011 post, because he based it on one of our conversations about spiritual and life teachers.

The Best Part of a Big Event

Hello, my name is Lori and I admit I’ve fallen off the (blogging) wagon. It’s okay, I’m not hurt. Here we are four weeks into 2011 and I’ve not written a single blog post this year yet! Can I plead that my writing energies have been going towards the daily thank you notes I committed to in the last post of 2010? I could, but that would be lame. As mentor Paul Martinelli says, “the only thing worse than an excuse is a good excuse.”

I actually heard Paul say that once again when he was on stage at The Big Event 2011 this past weekend. What a great event to give a kick-start to the goals. If you haven’t been attending learning events and conferences, boo to you. But instead of beating yourself up for the past, vow to change this oversight now and schedule some for this year. It’s not just about what you learn from the speakers, it’s the connections you make with other attendees, which can be even more valuable.

There was a group of young entrepreneurs who drove straight through from Idaho to West Palm Beach to attend this conference. That is an example of a no excuses approach. When you want something enough, when the WHY of what you’re doing is big enough, nothing stands in your way. Challenges don’t deter you. You do whatever it takes.

Carrie Wilkerson, Dr. John Maxwell, Randy Gage, Les Brown, Paul Martinelli, and Bob Burg all spoke at The Big Event and in one way or another touched on that idea. All good stuff.

AJim Palmer & Lori Saitznd back to the connections with other attendees, yeah, that was the best part! I’ve been working with The Newsletter Guru Jim Palmer for months and we finally got to meet in person. What happiness to brainstorm with him over dinner! It was a jGratitude Cookie Fan Svetlana Kimoy to reconnect with author and person extraordinaire Svetlana Kim; her silly enthusiasm for The Gratitude Cookies made me laugh. Plus I got to make a ton of new acquaintances with really cool people who are building fun, interesting businesses.

Whether it’s an industry event or a general business or personal development conference, make arrangements to attend at least ONE (if not more) this year and see how many ideas and new friends you come away with. Here are the next ones I’m considering (although I’m going to have to choose, as they’re these two are the SAME days!):

Glazer Kennedy Super Conference
Extreme Business Makeovers

Which ones do you recommend or are you going to this year?

A Year of Thank Yous

I recently saw a review of the book “365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life.” Author John Kralik was just about at rock bottom in his life – his law firm was failing, he was in the midst of a divorce, was overweight, lived in a crappy apartment, was out of contact with his kids, and so on. And during a New Year’s Day walk, he decided that maybe he could find a way to be grateful for what he had.

Sure, we’ve all heard about keeping a Gratitude Journal, and that’s all fine and good. But John took it a step further and, inspired by a thank you note he had received, determined to hand write 365 thank-you notes in the coming year. He shared his gratitude for kindness shown by family, friends, colleagues, store clerks, neighbors, etc. Miraculously, he became the beneficiary of all kinds of fortune, which is really not all that surprising if you understand karma.

SO even though I haven’t yet read the book, I decided to take up the challenge of doing the same thing. The timing is of course perfect because we’re just at the start of a new year. I actually think I’m going to have MORE than 365 people to write to, although at the moment the list is only running in my head and I haven’t any idea how many are on it. I’m wondering how I might reach people I’d like to thank but for whom I have no address. Guess I’ll figure that out somehow.

I posted this goal on Facebook and got some logistics questions. Making up my own rules here, these thank yous will be handwritten and mailed or hand delivered, as appropriate. They will not be posted on any social media site, as I don’t intend for them to be public declarations. The thank you notes I write to first time Zen Rabbit clients don’t count as part of the 365.

I’m excited to get started. I’ve been thinking about who I will choose to kick it all off and I think I know, but I’ve got another day of contemplation before I have to actually write. So many possibilities! Which only serves to emphasize how blessed I am to have such a pool of people from which to pick.

A few friends indicated that they too are up for the task. How about you? Get your fine stationery, the writing implement of your favor and start thanking!

What to do When Your Hair’s Not on Fire

While Christmas is still a few days away, the holidays are pretty much over at Zen Rabbit. It was a busy season. Year over year sales are up 27%! But unlike at Amazon.com, orders from my client base do not typically keep coming in right up till Christmas Eve. The majority of Zen Rabbit’s orders ship to or from businesses, so their sentiments have pretty much been exchanged.

It’s an odd feeling. After running for weeks like my hair’s on fire, all of a sudden I’ve got nothing to do. Okay, not completely nothing – there are thank you notes to be written and reading to catch up on – but going at such a slow pace may as well be not moving at all.

And yes, I get that this is okay, even necessary. It’s still uncomfortable. So as I sit at my desk with a box of crayons, colored pencils and “Coloring Mandalas” book, finally taking time for one of my favorite relaxing activities, I’ll continue working on being comfortable with being uncomfortable, knowing that this philosophy is what life is all about.

What do you stand for?

Here it is the end of September, aka National Literacy Month. As many know, Zen Rabbit committed to donating 10% of all product sales made this month to literacy organizations. I am thrilled to be able to contribute to this cause I strongly believe is so important. Have a two minute conversation with me about this topic and you will feel my enthusiasm. And so I have to ask, what is it you stand for?

If you have your own business, what have you created it to stand for or be about? If you work for an organization, why are you there? What is it about this particular organization that attracted you and keeps you there? (I’m looking for an answer beyond “paycheck” okay?!) Where is your passion?

It doesn’t have to be for a specific cause like literacy. It could be a passion for the thrill of the chase or pursuit of justice. I heard a presentation this morning from a workers’ compensation attorney. She clearly conveyed how she absolutely loves working on fraud cases so what could have been another boring, this is what my law firm does discussion became way more engaging.

When you can find and convey that passion, people (as in new customers, the media, partners, etc.) start really listening to you. People want to know you and do business with you. It not only sets you apart, it sets you on fire (no, not literally!) and excites and inspires everyone around you.

American theologian Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Help Improve Literacy on International Literacy Day

Can you IMAGINE not being able to read? How does someone function in this technologically advanced society without reading skills? Would you be able to do it? Today is Literacy Day…

Grateful on National Girlfriends Day

August 1 is National Girlfriends Day, as in your BFFs, not the romantic boyfriend/girlfriend version. How do you show appreciation for your valuable female friendships? Take few minutes to think about who your best girlfriends have been over the years and what they’ve contributed to your life. Starting with my very first girlfriend, pictured here* – our parents became friends when we were infants and Beth and I remain friends to this day – I am grateful for all the encouragement and advice and conversations and laughter my girlfriends have shared.

Last week I reconnected via Facebook with my best friend, Jen, from 7th grade. Her family moved before high school and we lost touch. Within a day, we were on the phone for over an hour and it’s amazing how much we’ve grown in common.

I think women typically tend to be more apt to express their appreciation for friendships than men. And more than one study has shown women rely more heavily on their friendships to get them through tough times as well.

As much as I love hanging out with my guy friends, nothing beats a good conversation with a close girlfriend. Guys can get uncomfortable if you’re talking about something that makes you cry. Girlfriends just hand you a tissue and let you go on. Then there are the topics guys will never be able to relate to (just as there are guy conversations we will never “get”).

So thank you to all my magnificent girlfriends! I’m fortunate that the list is long and spans great geographical distances, so long that I dare not post it here, lest I inadvertently forget one. Know that I am eternally grateful to you for the incredible gifts you’ve each presented, the ones that could only have come from you being the amazing person you are.

Post a comment and share a story about one of your girlfriends!

*This pic is from a few years ago. I attempted to find one of the two of us “back in the day,” but came up empty handed.

How to Find Anyone

You know that old Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation game? I bet in the age of social media those six degrees have been knocked down to three or less. I was thinking about this recently after a meeting with a literacy organization. Someone I originally met on Twitter had given me this executive director’s name. Before I left, the people with whom I was meeting gave me the names of literacy people at four other organizations to contact. I love how networking and connecting works!

As you’re on your journey and creating your success, many times you may not have the “right” connection to the person you want to reach. You may not even know who that person is. But someone you know does have that connection. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a connection to a specific person or to someone with a particular job title.

To find him, you need to ask around. Ask everyone you know whom he or she knows. Sometimes you might get a crazy feeling to pose your question to someone you don’t know very well, or you don’t think there’s any possibility will have a contact like that. And that’s exactly the best person to solicit. Often you’ll be shocked by what happens next.

So who is it you’d like to find and connect with?

Can Anything Make You Happy?

Ever since reading “Delivering Happiness” a few weeks ago, I’ve been pondering the whole concept of happiness. With all due respect to Sheryl Crow, many people will say something or someone “makes” them happy. But if you believe your thoughts create your reality and you are responsible for your own life creations, then nothing can “make” you happy or unhappy. It’s all in your perception.

I was in the Washington, DC area last week, where I was incredibly happy. In the past, I might have thought or said that being there makes me happy. However, the change in perspective now leads me to say being there CONTRIBUTES to my happiness. Sure, it’s semantics, but choosing the right phrasing is important in conveying what you mean. As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

Changing this phrasing can change the whole way you see people, places and events in your life. It’s like a new benchmark of evaluation. Try it out. Think of a person and say to yourself, he or she contributes to my happiness. Does it ring true or not? If not, you may want to see how you can reduce time spent with or around that person. Do it with the place you live, the people you work with, the activities you participate in every week. Finding anything interesting? For me, it’s about to change everything.

See my review of the book “Delivering Happiness” by clicking HERE.