Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

This year,

May you wish less, yet achieve more
Conquer a fear, and strengthen your core
Feed your curiosity and find something to strive toward

Replace any anger with joy
Mix any tears with laughter
and find something elusive to chase after.

May gratitude bookend your days
and moonrise or sunsets or other vistas
hold your gaze.

May you thrive and make things better
in your world
or better still,
in another's.

A very Happy New Year to you and those you hold dear!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

8 Ways You Know How to Think Differently

Leaders, Artists and Entrepreneurs think differently. That’s one of the reasons they sometimes stand out from the crowd. The crowd often settles, content with how things are, or are more comfortable lamenting about how things were. 

Leaders, Artists and Entrepreneurs like comfort too, but in smaller and more frequent doses. They know too much comfort leads to complacency and a false sense of certainty. 

Leaders, Artists and Entrepreneurs know there are at best, three certainties in life. We will all die, we will all be taxed, and we will all face uncertainty. People who like to be certain are on a fools errand. 

Leaders, Artists and Entrepreneurs are filled with uncertainty. The difference is it doesn’t immobilize them it emboldens them. The tools at their disposable are no different from those anyone else has access to. It has to do with their way of thinking. 

  • They think in terms of possibility by asking, If
  • They think of discernment by asking, Which
  • They consider time by asking, When
  • They consider place by asking, Where
  • They consider the thing itself by asking, What
  • They think about motivate by asking, Why
  • They consider the means by asking, How
  • They think about the person or group by asking, Who

Equipped with these questions, and open to what they uncover, you’ll find intriguing alternatives and new ways of facing old problems. If you haven’t already adopted this type of thinking, you ought to consider doing so. Every day. Every time you face uncertainty.

A word of caution, when you begin faithfully thinking this way, you will begin to stand out from the crowd as a Leader, Artist or Entrepreneur. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Get Your IT Together

There is something in your life that could use some improving. Innovation is one of the best ways to solve a problem and that means using creativity. First, define what your IT is.

  • For someone in sales, IT might be the product or service they are selling.
  • For a parent, homeowner or child, IT could be chores.
  • For the student, homework.
  • For the writer, IT could be your main character’s motive or primary challenge.
  • For the entrepreneur, something better to serve the marketplace.

You get the idea. What’s your IT?

After you’ve defined your IT, explore these six ways of looking at it differently. This is brain storming, so jot all your ideas down without judgement. Your objective is to collect new ways of looking at IT.

Think about ways you could
  • Combine IT with something else
  • Adapt IT to be more useful
  • Substitute IT for something else, (or something else for IT)
  • Magnify IT to make it bigger
  • Shrink IT to make it smaller
  • Rearrange IT to look at it from a different angle?

If you list 10 ideas with each method, the crazier the better, you’ll have 60 new ideas you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. Now you can rate these ideas. Look for the ones that you think could be effective and relatively easy to implement. You’ll probably find 4-6 contenders, but you really only need just one. One good idea effectively acted on can solve your problem and improve your life. 

What are you waiting for, a worksheet? Okay, you can download one here: Creative Thinking Worksheet

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Office. Same Accountability.

Followers of this blog might be interested to know that my company, Karl Bimshas Consulting, is opening a new office in San Diego.

I'm excited about the additional amenities for my San Diego based clients. In the coming weeks and months I'll be offering specialized workshops and seminars for leaders, artists and entrepreneurs who want to achieve more.

If you or someone you know need help setting goals for 2013, or you're ready for greater accountability in meeting an important personal or professional objective, please CLICK HERE and we'll get started.

The Address:
Karl Bimshas Consulting
7676 Hazard Center Drive, Suite 500
San Diego, CA 92108-4508

Karl Bimshas Consulting helps leaders, artists and entrepreneurs of all types solve the problems that keep them from achieving their goals. Through on going Accountability Partnering, Peer Review or Comprehensive Consulting Engagements, Karl Bimshas Consulting helps you discover the aha within.
Learn More

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Attracting Success; A Goal Planner Primer for High Performing Goal Getters

Happy November 1st!

"Attracting Success; A Goal Planner Primer for High Performing Goal Getters"

Download this 24 page instruction manual to find and put your values and purpose to work for you on the most important areas of your life.

Use the four D's of Decide, Determine, Do and Deadline to build a successful plan and create goals that work.

Includes a Goal Planner Worksheet.

Finish the year strong, or start planning your 2013 Success!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

You’ve Got 100 Things To Do. Here’s 48 You Ought To Consider.

You’ve Got 100 Things To Do. Here’s 48 You Ought To Consider.

People run around with one hundred things to do. Here's 48 I think you ought to consider.

1.Write a note and mail it to someone. It’s a nice thing to do and it forces you to think about someone else. You get to practice your penmanship and help support the post office by using a stamp. Everyone benefits from this small act.

2. Smile. Regardless of your current condition there are a few things in life that still make you smile. Seek them out. Smile in the mirror. If nothing else, you’ll experience the joy of being smiled at by someone attractive.

3. Laugh. Laughter helps you. It works muscles that are hard to reach any other way. It also shows you’ve got a sense of humor. Find people or situations who give you such a belly laugh it hurts your sides. Bonus points if you pee a little.

4. Get in a good cry and get over it. Life is not always rosy and perfect. Even Martha Stewart spent time in jail. Bad things happen. Sometimes you hurt somebody, sometimes you’re hurt. When everything feels out of your control, grab a pint of beer or ice cream and drown your sorrows. Stop trying to be so strong. Sometimes things suck. Cry until you’re all out of tears and snot. Give yourself two hours, maybe a little more if you’re particularly aggrieved. Then get over it. Brush yourself off and get back in the game.

5. Learn something. If you think you know everything you’re probably an idiot. In the grand scheme of things, even with the Internet, you don’t know much. Develop your intellectual curiosity. It doesn’t have to be stressfully ambitious. Maybe it’s flipping a fried egg without breaking the yoke, or understanding someone else's point of view on some issue. It’s good to stretch yourself too, so consider learning how to play a musical instrument, or speak Urdu. There’s no shortage of things to learn.

6. Teach someone. Teaching helps you learn. It solidifies your thinking, and if you have a great student, challenges your thinking and makes you even better. To teach someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give to another human being.

7. Say thank you. Although it’s egotistically healthy to expect things in life, it’s polite to be appreciative when you get them. When you don’t say thank you because you’re too busy, too important or too careless, people think you’re an ass -- and they’re right.

8. Be okay being wrong. Some people relish being right. Full disclosure, one of my favorite sounds is when someone tells me, “You were right.” It has a very appealing musical quality to me. I prefer being right, but I’m okay being wrong. Being fallible is a human condition. Being wrong, and smart enough to admit it, not only teaches you something, beside humility, it also endears you to others. It takes bigger guts to admit your mistakes than to blame others.

9. Hug. Don’t be afraid of hugging. It’s a beautiful demonstration of affection, respect, warmth, caring and understanding; things the world can continue to use more of. Increase your contribution.

10. Drink more water. It’s good for you. It hydrates your brain, flushes toxins out of your system, and you’re not getting enough. Flavor it if you must, but get eight ounces for every hour you’re awake. Tomorrow you’ll feel better than you do today.

11. Reassert your values. Look where you’ve spent your time and money over the last three months to learn what you currently value. Are you happy about that? If not, start acting in better alignment to the things you say you value.

12. Make a plan. At night, or in the morning, every day, once a week or once a month, plan what you’re going to do. What do you want to have happen? What do you need to get done? Write it down and plan it out. A lousy plan surpasses no plan.

13. Do something off plan. Some people get a little too ridged with their planning and have no room left on their calendar. Be open to serendipity. Have some flexibility to go off script from time to time. Have superior focus and peripheral vision.

14. Go out of your way to help someone. Everyone could use a little boost from time to time. Everyone faces a struggle, no matter where they fall on the socio-economic scale. You have time, treasure or talent that someone else could benefit from. Help other people when they need it, not when it’s convenient for you.

15. Count your money. Always know how much you have. It’s empowering. Sometimes it can be shocking, (positively or negatively), but it’s always better to know, because the knowledge influences you to make better decisions.

16. Put 10% of your money aside. You’re not saving enough. Yes, it’s hard when times are tough and expense keep growing, but this habit helps you in the long run. Go extreme. Each night when you empty your pockets or set your wallet aside, count your money (see #15) and put 10% in a jar or an envelope and don’t touch it. The first few times it will feel unnatural. Soon, it will be fun and you’ll become as excited about saving money as you are about spending it.

17. Read something. If it’s not a habit yet, make it one. Read every day. To get started, it doesn’t matter what you read. Eventually, challenge yourself to read above your comfort zone, both in language and genre or perspective.

18. Learn a new word. An increase in vocabulary correlates to an increase in wealth. When you become aware of the meaning of words, you’re more apt to use them correctly and judiciously. It improves your decision making skills. When I was younger, my mother, sister and I randomly opened the dictionary, pointed to a word and used it for a week. I stupefied  my third grade teacher when I told her I was shy in school, but loquacious at home.

19. Clean up your mess. Somewhere around you is a mess. Instead of complaining about it, clean it up. Loose papers, a sink full of dishes, scattered laundry. Stop staring at it and getting yourself all worked up. Clean it up and be done.

20. Donate some clothes. You have too many. Something is out of style, doesn’t fit, or is ugly as sin. Give it away. Throw it in a bag and sneak off to one of those donation boxes or regift it to an appreciative friend or family member with great fanfare. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get rid of it.

21. Trade habits. Save your time trying to break a bad habit. Instead, decide on something good you want to do, (pick any number on this list) or choose a “less-bad” habit to replace it with.

22. Break a sweat. Some hate to sweat and some love it. Do something that creates enough exertion to make you sweat. Don’t endanger your health, but move faster than you do now.

23. Save your will power for later. Studies suggest we each have a limited reserve of will power; some have more, some less. It’s used during the day and replenished with sleep. If you exhaust your will power during the day, you’ll be less likely to call upon it in the evening when you may wish you had better judgement. Two options; give in to your morning weakness so you don’t succumb to evening temptation, or plan your day ahead of time and determine where you will say yes and no, and stick to it.

24. Decide how much, and by when, for three important things. When you know how much, you’ve set a metric or success measure. When you know by when, you’ve set a deadline. Now you have three goals, instead of three wishes.

25. Marvel at something bigger than yourself. Justifiable arrogance or cockiness doesn’t bother me too much, but egomaniacal behavior is abhorrent. To guard against this, visit nature or contemplate something bigger than yourself. When I lived in Boston I liked to walk by the John Hancock building and look at my reflection in the glass. In one pane I felt sure of myself, but when I let my eyes gaze upward 60 stories, I couldn’t help but feel insignificant. I feel the same when I glance at the moon. For thousands of years humans have looked up at it in wonder. In my lifetime, people have been there and back. You gotta know where you fit, and then explore the boundaries.

26. Complete something. Find something incomplete and finish it. There’s a project you started, months, maybe years ago, still sitting there waiting for you. It could be a book you began writing, an engine you’re rebuilding in the garage, an afghan you’re crocheting, a piece of IKEA furniture you gave up on. Roll up your sleeves and get it done. Finish something and celebrate your success.

27. Walk. You’re not doing enough of this. Park farther away, take more stairs, walk around the block, or beach, or park. Move your body.

28. Oppose something. There is something you are vehemently against but you’ve been politely silent. It’s an opinion someone has been spouting off, or an important issue that’s not going the direction you want it to. Speak up, act and oppose it. Rock the boat if you have to. You have the right to be heard. Speak with your voice, your pen, or your feet.

29. Be for something. Being for something doesn’t always illicit the passion as being against something does, but it has the advantage of being action in the affirmative.

30. Fix something. A flickering light, a dripping faucet, a relationship with a loved one. Something in your surroundings is currently broken. Fix it, on your own or with the help of others. Now.

31. Create something. Make something you can point to and say, “I did that.” Decorate a room, make a killer presentation, write a poem, build a house. You decide the scope and scale, but get started and then complete it (see #26).

32. Hold someone’s hand. Two hands together feels powerful. It creates a connection and solidifies a bond. Be it intimate or casual, lifesaving or comforting, holding hands puts you in touch with humanity.

33. Prepare. Life happens. Are you ready for it? Opportunities, disasters, events on the calendar, and the unforeseeable alike; something is constantly happening. The better prepared you are to meet it head on, the more likely you’ll handle it successfully.

34. Ask. People enjoy being asked. They won’t always give you the answer you want, but asking at least gives them the option. Asking trumps telling in creating respect. Asking also greatly enhances your chances of getting what you want.

35. Organize. Something in your life is in disarray. It might be as simple as your sock drawer, or where you keep your bills. Maybe, your thinking is cluttered. Make the time to get things in order. You will feel better and productive.

36. Act on purpose. Do you know what you’re doing and why? Most people don’t bother to ask simple questions of themselves. You ought to, multiple times a day. Is what you’re doing moving you in the direction of your dreams or is it deferring them? Adjust your course.

37. Show gratitude. Not with a thank you (see #7) though that goes a long way. People think they are owed something. Typically the less grateful believe they are owed the most. Abandon the self-righteous attitude you sometimes carry with you. Shut up for a few minutes and be appreciative of all you have and all you have learned.

38. Treat yourself. There’s no need to go hog wild. You don’t need to throw a parade for tying your shoes, but reward yourself for accomplishing something of significance instead of shrugging it off as no biggie.

39. Treat someone else. When you notice other people and the good they are doing, it’s natural, and smart to show your appreciation. Find people doing good things and treat them with something they would like.

40. Put off procrastination. Procrastination is your biggest enemy, stop giving it so much of your time.

41. Know the difference between dichotomy and hypocrisy. Dichotomy is acknowledging some complex systems require two opposing forces to work properly, (you breathe in and out). Hypocrisy is claiming one thing but acting in opposition.

42. Watch School House Rocks. Please, get a basic understanding of the founding of the United States and how the government works. (as well as math and grammar). I’m personally tired of bloviating elected representatives who don’t know the basics. It’s not entirely their fault. We the people, put them there, probably because we were ignorant or fell prey to their tortured logic. Get a minimal primer and smarten up. This stuff’s important.

43. Know your preferences. Stop living with your default settings. Advocate for what you want. You won’t always get it, but at least try.

44. Vote. Every time there is an opportunity to voice your opinion and preferences, do it. It’s an incredible empowering feeling. If you have doubts as to how vital and important it is, look at how hard people work to get your vote, or baring that, try to subvert it. Trying to dissuade another from voting is a despicable and reprehensible act. Elections have consequences. Take your responsibility seriously. Learn what you must to make an informed decision and then make it. Make sure your vote is counted.

45. Apologize properly. We’ve all heard crappy apologies.  They included the words “if” and “but”. Those aren’t apologies, they are noisy and useless public relations exercises. A proper and sincere apology meaningfully fills in the blanks. “I’m sorry. I feel _____. I _____, and take responsibility for the harm that’s caused.  I acted in a way that’s not consistent with who I want to be. I’m going to make amends for the damage I’ve done by _____.”

46. Slow down and think. We are being inundated with information from a variety of sources. With all the outside stimuli we tend to react to uncertainty by hunkering down with what we think we already know instead of thoughtfully pursuing a rational alternative to the circumstances in front of us. Gather a variety of information from different sources. Look at things from a historical, political, social, economic and humanistic perspective rather than regurgitating someone else’s opinion.

47. Speed up and act. Colin Powell has said, once the probability of success of a decision is between 40% and 70%, make the decision. Acting with less than 40% is careless and if you wait until it’s greater than 70%, the opportunity will have probably already passed.

48. Know geography. Know where in the world you are. Know who’s around you. Know what the other side of the world looks like. Geography has a great influence and it matters. If you struggle to find where you are on a map, why would you expect people to want to follow you to where you say you want to go?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autonomy & Responsibility vs Scapegoating

People dislike the word accountable, probably because they associate it with blame. That shortsighted, glass half-empty perspective can hold you back. Autonomy, the freedom to make your own decisions, continues to rank among the top desires of people in their work life. Accountability is not, “Who's to blame?” it's “Who's responsible?” When you're responsible for something but decide not to act, that’s called abdication, which is a fancy word for quitting.  Autonomy without accountability is kind of silly.

I was once engaged to help on a project that had gone awry. I asked the team who was accountable for various parts of the project and told them it was their responsibility to find ways to fix the errors within their purview. I wasn't blaming them I was reiterating their duties. Senior management was skittish and said, “Don't you think you're being too rough? We’re all in this together.” That’s great, but it was false. They permitted autonomy but not responsibility. Kind of silly, right? 

On a separate occasion, the same organization had another project that it’s leadership had abdicated. I didn’t know any of the particulars when I was called in, other than their customer was ticked off. I took over the project and asked the role of each stakeholder. I told everyone I was the one ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project, but they were responsible for their individual roles. Most people were relieved, because the target was off their back, and they had a new person to blame if things continued to go wrong. I held regular progress report meetings and when something stalled, the causal was evident to everyone. 

During the first few meetings, the client was still angry, and they took it out on me. I didn’t take it personally. Instead, I let them continue to vent their frustrations, which allowed me to learn their core frustrations. I took their blame head on because I assumed accountability for the entire project. Some people called it falling on the sword. The status meeting communication was frequent and thorough, so everyone knew who or what truly hampered progress. As we worked closer with the client they began to share in some blame and by the end of the project they were singing our praises. We moved from the cusp of being thrown out, to being named their provider of choice, because we chose accountability over scapegoating.

Being accountable isn't easy, which is why so many people shirk it. When you accept accountability it's empowering, and things do get easier. You have a choice. If things are not going well in your relationship or your finances, your current skill set, your health outlook or any other area of your life, are you going to use the government, the economy, the weather or your parents as a scapegoat for you? Blaming gets pretty boring. Taking responsibility, now that's exciting. You can actually do stuff. 

Pick one or two things you’ve blamed on others and ask yourself, “For what part of this problem am I accountable?” Show some leadership. Accept responsibility and get to work on improving what’s within your power to improve. You’ll be pleasantly stunned by what you can accomplish.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Nerdy Way to Polish Your Writing

I geeked out and created a tool in excel to help me polish a piece of writing. I know with the mention of excel, I’ve lost half of you, while the other half has pitched forward in giddy excitement and I’m not sure which is more alarming.

Anyone who has read my work knows there’s no danger of me becoming a slave to grammar ... (so many rules, and so few who care). Nonetheless, as a writer, it’s imperative to continuously improve and hone the craft.

At some stage in my writing, generally toward the end, I begin to worry about the things English teachers and the well-educated tell me are important. I’ll call this the polish stage. Admittedly, the amount of polishing required sometimes turns into a major rewrite.

Rational for which words to eliminate or use sparingly to make your work stronger can be found tucked inside scores of writing guides. I try to keep them in mind, but if I dwell on them too early, my creative flow suffers. That’s why I wait until the near end of a project before I scrub it clean of grammatical maladies.

I look for particular words or phrases that fall into seven buckets. It isn’t all exclusive, but it’s a good start.

  • Eliminate Clutter
  • Omit and Explain
  • Define Indefinites
  • Reduce Redundancy
  • Minimize Telling Words
  • Passivity
  • Prepositions

I run a word search for each of the words to see where I have a disproportional amount of ... fluff.

I populate a spreadsheet and turn each category into a percentage based on my total word count for the project. Then, I use the 80/20 rule with a quick glance to see where I’ve gone overboard. It doesn’t mean I’ll eliminate every, this, that was and like, but I do go back and reduce the population.

A caveat: I typically leave my dialogue alone. The last thing I want to do is make character dialogue grammatically correct.

If you want a copy of the excel spreadsheet, you can get it here. CLICK HERE FOR FILE There are two worksheets; The sample with formulas, and a blank one. Mess with them as you see fit. 

Let me know your thoughts and what you’d add.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Playlist for "He Loves It When She Smiles"

Here's a Spotify Playlist to get you in the mood for my next novel, 
"He Loves It When She Smiles" 
which takes place in late 1980's Boston.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

He Loves It When She Smiles - Trailer & Free Chapter

Get Chapter One FREE at the end of the trailer, or click here

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hug More

Hug more.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Accountability Partner Questions

Over the past few weeks and months, I've posted about publishing, leadership and personal accountability. My primary focus is helping leaders, artists and entrepreneurs find the aha within, on the way to achieving their great goals. My writings, fiction and non-fiction alike, aim to support that goal, but it is most directly impacted via one on one Accountability Partnering.

In an effort to continually improve, I’d like to hear from you. Having received access to a variety of communication vehicles like this blog, my website, and my Facebook and Twitter feeds, to name a few, I’d like to know what question you have about Accountability Partnering. Some might be answered in the guide to getting the most out of an Accountability Partner Agreement I put together, (Available Here) but you undoubtedly have other questions. If you’re curious or skeptical, are currently experiencing a challenge or think you have everything figured out, I’d like to hear from you.

People who have worked with me know that I have a thirst for making a difference in the lives of others. Using insightfulness and creativity, I’m happiest when I can lead and inspire others to maximize their strengths and continuously improve themselves, their organization or our society, by bringing the powers of vision, passion and action together. I believe, in some small way, this helps positively energize our nation and contributes to greater peace, prosperity, fun, understanding, responsibility and liberty in the world.

Please send your questions by posting them in the comments section of this blog. Your questions will help build a comprehensive education package I’m putting together over the next few weeks.

Thank you for your ongoing support. May you always advance confidently in the direction of your dreams while helping others along the way.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free Chapter

I would be delighted for you to read the first chapter of my next novel, He Loves It When She Smiles, which will be available later this year. 

If you enjoy this chapter and want to read more, please like, follow, retweet, pin or whatever else you can do on social media to help spread the word.

Thanks for your support!

About He Loves It When She Smiles 
Determined to start with a clean slate, freshman Kyle Davis heads off to Boston’s Klondike College. His academic studies quickly take a back seat when his crush on a flirty co-ed with a mesmerizing smile leads him down an unexpected path. His new-found friends provide Kyle with a plethora of unsolicited dating advice, all of which cause him to flounder. Confused and discouraged, he finally hears the one voice he should have been listening to all along.

Bittersweet, funny and believable dialogue peppered throughout the story will make you simultaneously laugh and cringe over the series of crazy missteps the young characters make.

He Loves It When She Smiles is the second novel by Karl Bimshas, whose Three Blinks and a Sigh debuted in early 2012. Both books, set in the city of Boston, explore difficult relationships with fun characters engaged in conversations you’ll swear you’ve overheard yourself.

Find other fiction and non-fiction titles here or ask for them at your bookseller.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vision + Passion + Action

Vision + Passion + Action = Exceptional Performance 

With your goal firmly set in your mind, use this matrix to see where you fit in. Make adjustments if needed and then advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.


  • Vision: 
  • Can you vividly imagine the outcome of your goal?
  • Passion: 
  • Can you feel a burning desire to complete your goal?
  • Action: 
  • Do you execute your plans and accomplish what you set out to do?
  • Daydreamers
  • have passion and vision, but lack action.
  • Workaholics
  • have tremendous action and passion, but no vision.
  • The Mediocre have vision and action but no passion.
  • Exceptional Performers
  • have the inspired combination of vision, passion and action.

Determine if you're running at optimal performance in each category. Focus on your strengths and fill in your gaps.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Obvious

Want to figure out what you’re good at? Need to find a way to be useful to humanity? There is no shortage of books and programs designed to help you explore those questions. I'll save you a few hundred, maybe a few thousand dollars, and give you the answer. It's obvious.

Think for a moment about some of the best gifts you’ve received. Undoubtedly they were meticulously wrapped and presented by someone who loved you. They wore a huge smile and were brimming over with confidence when they gave it to you. They knew they had found the perfect present for you and were excited to see you open it. It was probably something you hadn’t asked for, hadn’t even thought about. But they did. They thought about you and knew this was something you had to have. When you think back on it, they were right.

We all start out with a special gift or two. I believe they were presented to us from God with that same enthusiasm and knowing smile, but maybe for you, it was someone else. As a blob of a kid you didn't know what it was, but you gurgled and squealed, happy to receive it. God didn’t tell you how to use it, or even what it was. The wrapping is part of the gift. You get to guess what’s inside by shaking it around a little and going through some trial and error.

Some people unwrap their present at a very young age, others wait until they are much older. After a lot of poking, prodding, staring and guessing, everyone unwraps their gift eventually, but not everyone knows what they’ve been given.  

It’s obvious.

Your gift is the thing you do well. It’s your talent. The thing that comes so easy for you that you mistakenly assume everybody has it. They don't. Your gift is the thing that you do nearly effortlessly and without thought. It’s frustratingly simple to uncover. You've probably been ignoring your gift because it has seemed too easy, or not grand enough, or you haven't felt worthy because you've been tricked into thinking your gift needs to be some complicated thing. Powerful gifts are not complicated. Your talent is easy to identify. How you choose to use it is the present you pass along to others. Once you’ve identify your gift, use it. It's insulting not to.

Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Put Your Hero in Peril

When writing fiction, it’s sometimes difficult to create what feels like enough conflict for the hero to overcome. We often root for the protagonist as we’re creating them and probably subconsciously protect them from too many of the evils in the world. Like our children, we want them to grow and show their mettle, but we’re also ever vigilant and try to mitigate hardships they may encounter. Good for a parent, less good for a writer.

A devious idea struck me. I’m a big fan of The Haddon Matrix, which helps design interventions to reduce injury to people. It’s an excellent system for problem solving. Invert it and the writer now has a template on how to put the story’s protagonist in ever increasing peril.
Use negative events as inspiration to increase the factors of peril your main character has to endure. Then plot how they’ll respond to the mounting adversity. This eliminates the protective shield you may be inclined to put around your hero, and that will make for a better story to write and to read.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Get Over Yourself

This new ebook I put together, "Get Over Yourself; 17 Actions to Stop Whining and Reignite Your Purpose" is an attempt to get you moving in a positive direction. 

The 17 actions contain exercises and thought starters aimed at helping you get over yourself and get working on something productive. 

You’ll find ideas that you can apply to virtually any role in any organization / company / family / tribe. 

Best of all, it’s FREE for a little while, so grab your copy today!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nobody Wants to Wait 10 Years for Your Story

Everyone has projects they would like to get to, but life seems to get in the way. Sometimes that takes the form of procrastination. On the rare occasion, it's because you truly have been too busy. (Too busy is often code for, poor time management, or prioritization based on the needs of other people.)

Most often a project lays dormant because of fear, uncertainty or doubt. Can it be finished? What will it look like? Will you like it enough? What if no one else likes it? These are all reasonable fears, but they hold you hostage, and that is unreasonable. If you're going to feel those emotions anyway, doesn't it make sense to get them over with?

I know, sometimes it takes time to erect a statue or build a new park. Somethings can’t be rushed. Ideas need to ferment, and the Muses need to sing in perfect harmony, but for how long ... really?

I have no shortage of half-baked prose sucking up disk space and file cabinets, but I'm talking about the projects you’re actively working on. There are countless tales about authors who have worked on their novel for years, sometimes they finish it on their deathbed and sometimes death beats them to their final period.

When I hear those stories I often wonder, what the hell took them so long? What got in the way? Sometimes a war, often depression. Believe me, I get it. Debilitating things in life can keep you from working what you tell everyone you want to be working on, but let's be brutally honest, nobody wants to wait ten years for your book. You're supposed be a storyteller, not a tease.

If you write, write the damn thing. If you're an artist, paint the damn thing. If you’ve got a passion project, finish it. Otherwise, what good is it to the rest of the world? You undoubtedly had plans for it to begin with, what happened?

It's now generally accepted that productivity helps to create happiness. So, it stands to reason that those who wallow over the lack of progress in their project, primarily due to their unproductive behavior, won’t be particularly happy. To me, this is one of life’s tragedies. You’ve got enough of a gift, skill, passion, or maybe all three, to have gotten something started. Now finish it. Stop with your excuses (see 10 Best Excuses Worksheet) Keep your commitments to yourself and move on.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dog Days - Avoid the Pack

We’re entering the Dog Days of summer, but with two political conventions on the horizon and the start of the Olympic Games, it’s hardly languid. There’s a lot of ambition in the air.
Leaders, artists and entrepreneurs don’t typically take the summer off. They use the time to prepare for the autumn months. They know the things they do today will help them to finish the year strong. 
Relaxation is a crucial component to success. It’s tempting to move slower during the hotter months, sip on iced tea and relax by the pool. This is an excellent time to self assess. 

Ask yourself, “How am I doing?” Take account of several areas of your life.
  • Are you where you want to be financially? 
  • Is your career going as you had planned?
  • Are you happy with the current state of your health?
  • Are you pleased with and fulfilled by the relationships in your life?
  • Have you created enough time in your schedule to pursue your hobbies?
  • Are you regularly increasing your education, either formally or informally?
  • Are you satisfied with the contributions of time, treasure or talent you’re making to the community of your choice?
  • Are you continually improving?

If you’re less than satisfied with your answers, don’t just shrug it off. Make a plan that will start moving you to where you want to be. Do something, right away, even if it’s just writing down your goal or a next action. 
It’s hot and many people are on vacation, so you may not feel as motivated to do something as you would a couple months from now. It helps to remember, that if you start today, a couple months from now you could be finishing, instead of starting.