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Video – The Marshmallow Challenge
by On April 30, 2010

Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients – dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow? And why does a surprising group always beat the average? (hint: it is not recent business school graduates)

In this TED Talk, Tom Wujec from Autodesk presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. His insights ranges from how to build effective teams as well as the role of incentives and how they relate to performance.

Be Free!

For more on the Marshmallow Challenge, visit http://www.marshmallowchallenge.com

To Exist is to Change
by On April 28, 2010

Leah SimpsonSpring is in the air and the flowers are getting ready to burst into bloom. This time of year reminds me of a quote:

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, and to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

Think about the analogy of a flower’s bloom in regards to this quote.

Anything that is alive, including ourselves, cannot exist without changing. Life means changing. Like a flower that is growing, we appreciate the growing and changing plant as it matures and blooms.

Sometimes, when change is happening to us, such as a new job, a workout routine, a healthier diet, or learning a new skill, it can be painful, but ultimately, changing means maturing. The enviable changes that happen in life, though painful at first, if we keep at it, results in mastery and maturity; just like a flower’s bloom.

Growth burst and growing pains can be fun, exciting and challenging; or they can be scary and painful. Regardless, these changes help us mature. Once you reach a level of maturity, the growing process starts all over again in a new area, just like a mature flower’s seed creates a new plant. As a result, the flower goes on creating itself endlessly. It is truly a never-ending process.

In life, you have never really arrived. Once we think we are mature, that is when the growing process starts all over again; because if you are not growing, you are dying.

If you feel you are in a place of comfort and control, remember to seek out and embrace the changes and challenges that present themselves to you. It proves you are growing and that growth is important to life.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson
Instructor

Top 6 Business Books to Read in 2010
by On April 27, 2010

Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsThese are some of the top picks for your 2010’s reading list. The staff at Freedom Personal Development LOVES the book Drive and are excited to read the others on this list.

Feed your brain, kick start your career and add meaning to your work.

What have been your favorite business books this year?

Don’t have time to read? Enroll in our Reading Smart Workshop and learn how to double your reading speed AND increase your comprehension.

Be Free!
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1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – by Daniel Pink 

Pink makes the case that there’s much more to motivation than money — autonomy, improvement and a deeper sense of purpose push people more strongly.

Drawing on scientific research, Pink profiles companies and entrepreneurs who are taking a nontraditional approach to lighting fires under their workers.

2. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? – by Seth Godin 

The title is pretty explanatory in the latest from Godin, a powerhouse marketer/author known for books like “Purple Cow” and “Tribes.” Godin argues that the best and most coveted employees connect coworkers, catalyze deals and see opportunities that others don’t. He also tries to lay out a roadmap for how to become such an uber-pro. If Godin’s advice for building a personal brand is as popular as his material on corporate brands and customer demographics, “Linchpin” will be well-received.

3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Weaving psychology and sociology through a number of anecdotes, the Heaths show that some of the most transformative managers follow a pattern of change. They argue that the trick to making things happen quickly on a large scale is to sync emotional thinking with rationale thinking. That sounds wishy-washy, but neither of these guys are on the New-Age circuit. Chip Heath is a business professor at Stanford University and Dan is a consultant at The Aspen Institute.

4. Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence – by Joe Navarro

In poker, reading an opponent’s gestures, or “tells,” can make all the difference. The same is true in an office, according to Navarro. He breaks down body language, bad habits and behavioral ticks as essential to understanding what is really going on in a company, a business meeting or even a phone call. Navarro also advises how to use these intangible forces to get ahead on the job.

5. The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE – by Thomas J. Peters

Peters, most known for his 1982 “In Search of Excellence,” cranks out some more counterintuitive management advice in his latest offering — encouraging bosses to cherish “weirdness,” focus on common sense and step away from their computers. We’re wondering if writing “excellence” in capital letters is one of the 163 suggestions.

6. Rework – by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 

Dubbed as “inspirational” and a “mini manifesto,” “Rework” comprises hundreds of simple rules for success. The little tome also plays the counterintuitive card heavily with advice ranging from “fire the workaholics” to “planning is guessing.” More detailed descriptions have been scarce, but “Rework” has career counselors gushing.

Source

Video – Time Management and the 80-20 Rule
by On April 23, 2010

The average person has about 300 projects to take care of right now. The fact is, you will never get caught up – but you WILL start getting your life under control when you STOP doing things.

What should you stop? How do you determine this?

Take a look at your tasks to finish. Ask yourself, “If I could only do one of these things before I was called out of town for a month, what one thing would I be sure to do before I left?” Obviously, that becomes your number one priority for that day.

According to Brian Tracy, the key to time management is setting priorities. When you identify what your most important priority to finish RIGHT NOW, and disciplining yourself to finishing it, RIGHT NOW, you will achieve greater results in your life than working on many low priority tasks.

If you focus on clearing up little things first, you will find that the small things multiple and you will spend your entire day clearing up the little things.

Do the worst first, and stay with it until you are done. If you can make a habit of doing this, you will double your productivity each and every day.

Be Free!

Are You Committed to Your Absolute Best?
by On April 22, 2010

or. It operates very similar to a pot of water. You can heat up a pot of water to 211 degrees. And do you know what you get? You get hot water! But a great day and I’m going to give it my absolute best.’ When that happens, your plane takes off. You start to develop steam and that’s when you get true momentum. Be Free! Roger Seip Instructor

Revisiting the Be Do Have Principle
by On April 21, 2010

Tom WeberToday I would like to revisit a concept that we have talked about many times – the concept of Be Do Have. I want to revisit it because it is one of those concepts that you could think about everyday, and everyday you would have a new or deeper insight.

The Be Do Have Principle literally applies to every area of your life. It is the idea that before you can Have something like joy, health, or wealth, you must first decide to Be the kind of person who has those things and then Do the things necessary to Have them.

The reason this concept is so vital to talk about is because most people think about Be Do Have in reverse order or out of order.

For example, many people believe that when Have a promotion, then they will Be a manager and then they will Do the things a manager does. This is out of order. You must first decide to Be the kind of person who is a manager, and then start to Do the things that a manager does, and only THEN you will Have the title and benefits of being a Manager. And once you Have the title of Manager, you must continue to Be that type of person and continue to Do those activities or you will no longer Have the benefits or title.

Another powerful example is joy. If you want to Have joy, the first step is to decide to Be a joyful person (and yes this is a decision!), then you will start to DO the things that joyful people do, and then you will HAVE joy. Joy is present your life when you are not a victim and have decided you have the choice of controlling the way you view your situation. You will never Have joy, unless you first decide to Be a Joyful person and continually Do the things that Joyful people Do.

Another example is with wealth. If you want to Have wealth, then you must first decide to Be wealthy, and then start Doing the things that wealthy people Do. Wealthy people give to charity, they act a certain way, they pay attention to their assets, they read financial books and they save. Because of the things they Do, they Have wealth.

Everything in this world is created twice. First in your mind, and then in reality. Most people do not get what they want out of life because they do not know what they want out of life. Be Do Have doesn’t allow that. The Be stage is the creation stage. You must decide what you want in order to figure out what you are going to Be. And once you create the picture of what you want to Be and know what you want to Have, then the Dpostage is simply taking action.

When you create an image of what you want to Have and begin to Be the type of person that has that, and THEN you take action and Do the necessary activities, there is nothing that can stop you and you will HAVE all that you want and more.

Remember these 3 words, in this order – Be, Do, Have – it really is that simple.

Be Free!

Tom Weber
Instructor

Top 10 Time Management Mistakes
by On April 20, 2010

all (“it’s all in my head”) to tasks lists 10 pages long. The sad reality is that most task lists don’t work because they are too long or too short; not prioritized; too complicated; or simply in the wrong format or medium for their user. On the other hand, a well thought-out task list, adapted to your needs and style, is an extraordinarily effective tool to plan, prioritize, save time and increase your effectiveness. Quick example: A client was spending about an hour each day updating their overlong task list, never finishing their priorities. After some simple re-tooling, the update time fell down to less ten minutes, and my client found their effectiveness sky-rocket.

5. Not taking time to sit back and look at the big picture

No matter your occupation, it is very easy to get caught up in the “doing” of things, and consider thinking time a waste, “because there are so many things to do.” Yet taking a step back on a regular basis to assess the big picture of your life, career, or current project, and taking some time to plan your next steps, before diving back in the daily grind, makes all the difference between being busy (i.e. doing a lot of things) and being effective (i.e doing the things that matter), even on a day-to-day basis.

6. Not taking time to relax

Sufficient sleep is necessary, but not enough to ensure that you function at your best, and make the most of your time. Providing your mind with rest is just as important to effective time management. By not giving your brain breaks from work on a regular basis to do completely different things ? engaging in fun activities that have nothing to do with work or obligations ? you slowly lower our performance level, always resulting in much lower performance (hence more hours at work to achieve the same results) and sometimes ending in mental burn-out.

7. Ignoring your own time management style

There is no such thing as one-size-fits all in time management, but the different styles and the corresponding techniques are not widely taught. So you most likely learned your time management skills from our parents, a teacher, a mentor. If this person had the same time management style as you, you learned and improved your skills. But if this person had a different style, no matter how much you tried, you never were able to replicate their habits successfully, and probably blamed yourself for it. Don’t? All you did was try to use for yourself a solution that is not adapted to who you are. Learning your personal style will allow you to develop tools and strategies that actually work for you.

8. Reinventing the wheel

In my professional life, I’ve seen too many people re-inventing the wheel on a regular basis. Too many don’t take the time to sit down, think through a procedure for activities and tasks that they perform on a regular basis. As a result, every time they need to re-create the whole process, again and again. Taking a few extra minutes to think it through and create a written procedure or checklist can save you untold amounts of time: a client of mine, whose profession requires her to prepare events several times a month, reduced her event preparation time from an hour and a half to 20 minutes just by taking the time to create a checklist of everything she needed.

9. Not delegating enough

This is one of the most common, and most time-consuming time management mistakes I see. You have built your business on your own; or you have built a career based on your ability to get things done. You now have resources to delegate, but you still perform many tasks that would be more profitably and/or effectively done by others. As a result, you waste time on tasks such as filing, or packing, or drafting letters. You’re also wasting money in the process: if your hourly rate is $100/hour, it is the same whether you are in front of a client or filing your papers. By delegating tasks that can easily be done by others, you are freeing time for you to do more of the things that only you can do, and using your resources much more effectively.

10. No emergency planning

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2006 a building caught fire every 60 seconds or every day in America. In other words, most people will be directly affected by a fire in their lifetime. Unfortunately most people don’t have a plan to deal with such an event, and will waste enormous amounts of time, money, stress and effort in trying to recover from it. When life’s smaller emergencies strike, it’s often the same: there is no set plan B, or even plan C, if their child falls sick the evening before an important meeting, or if they themselves fall sick right before a critical deadline at work. Having a backup plan, on the other hand, allows you to immediately spring into action and deal with the emergency effectively and quickly, then be able to move on without stress.

Source: Top 10 Time Management Mistakes

Multiple Applications of the 80/20 Rule
by On April 19, 2010

Abby Marks BealeHave you ever heard of the 80/20 Rule? It is also known as the Pareto Principle or the Rule of the Vital Few and it states that there is an imbalance between causes and results, between effort and reward.

The world is not equal where effort and reward are related. The Pareto Principle basically says:

– The majority of what you do each day (80%) has little impact.
– A minority (20%) has a major impact.

Here are some 80/20 rules and what you might want to do once you are aware of them:

80% of your profit is brought in by 20% of your clients.
Realize all clients are NOT equal. It is sometimes necessary to “fire” clients when they consume too much of your time for the percentage of your earnings that they represent.

80% of your work can be done in 20% of your work day when you are focused and uninterrupted.
Block off 20% (96 minutes) of an 8-hour workday to concentrate on your priority projects. What tasks will have the most impact for you or will contribute to reaching your goals?

80% of interruptions can be eliminated.
The other 20% can be shortened or controlled. Practice grouping similar activities, such as phone calls, email, and filing, so that you do not bounce from one kind of action to another type where you interrupt yourself. Create “Discuss With” folders for others in your main group to limit the number of times you interrupt others and they interrupt you. Watch for the “gotta minute” requests; suggest planning some real time to discuss.

80% of what you keep is not looked at again – you only return to 20%.
Be selective in what you choose to keep. Ask yourself: Is it current? Does it pertain to my sphere of work? Does it have any legal or financial implications? Will I ever use this again?

80% of the time you wear the same 20% of your clothes.
Declutter not just your closet but all of the spaces around you. Clutter is distracting because it diffuses your focus, time consuming if you have to hunt for an item, and stressful when you are coping with too much.

If you often feel overwhelmed by conflicting demands or the number of tasks facing you, look for the 20% that will make the difference. This puts you in control of your life, both for business and personal endeavors.

Thank you to my friend Denise Landers of Key Organization in Houston, TX for allowing me share these ideas with you. For more of her great time management ideas, go to www.keyorganization.com.

About the Author:
Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping with busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better. Go to www.TheCorporateEducator.com.

Video – Teamwork – Birds or People? Find Out
by On April 16, 2010

This is not a trick, purely talent and team work, but lots of patience and practice, and the result… stunning!! This video demonstrates visually how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Be Free!

The Daffodil Principle and How You Can Use it TODAY
by On April 14, 2010

The Daffodil PrincipleThe story of “The Daffodil Principle” originally appeared nearly ten years ago in Jaroldeen Edwards’ book Celebration!  The story illustrates 3 key points of how to create grand results in your life and the world.  These are

–         Moving towards a goal one tiny step at a time
–         Loving the doing
–         Using the accumulation of time

 When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world. 

Read this inspiration story for a more complete description of this principle and how you can use it in your life.

Be Free!
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Several times my daughter, Julie, had telephoned to say, “Mom, you must come see the daffodils before they are over.” I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my place by the beach to her lakeside mountain home. 

“I will come next Tuesday,” I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. The next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I got in the car and began the long, tedious drive. 

When I finally walked into Julie’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, “Forget the daffodils, Julie! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and the children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!” 

My daughter smiled calmly, “We drive in this all the time, Mom.” 

“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears and then I’m heading straight for home!” I said, rather emphatically. 

“Gee, Mom, I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car,” Julie said with a forlorn look in her eyes. 

“How far will we have to drive?” 

Smiling she answered, “Just a few blocks, I’ll drive … I’m used to this.” 

After several minutes on the cold, foggy road, I had to ask “Where are we going? This isn’t the way to the garage!” 

“We’re going to the garage the long way,” Julie smiled, “by way of the daffodils.” 

“Julie,” I said sternly, “please turn around.” 

“It’s all right, Mom, I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.” 

After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church I saw a hand-lettered sign … 

Daffodil Garden 

We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Julie down the path. As we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. 

Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. 

Five acres of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen! 

“Who planted all these?” I asked Julie. 

“It’s just one woman,” Julie answered, “She lives on the property. That’s her home,” and she pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house and on the little patio we saw a poster … 

Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking 

50,000 bulbs
One at a time
By one woman
2 hands, 2 feet
and very little brain
Began in 1958 

There it was … “The Daffodil Principle” 

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun – one bulb at a time – to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. 

Still, this unknown, old woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of magnificent beauty, and inspiration. 

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration: 

  • learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, (often just one baby-step at a time) 
  • learning to love the doing, 
  • learning to use the accumulation of time 

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world. 

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Julie, “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!” 

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way, “Start tomorrow, Mom,” she said, “It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of our yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask … ” 

“How can I put this to use today?”  

~~~ Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, Author

 How to Use the Daffodil Principle in Your Life

 Stop waiting………..

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die.……

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you do not need money. Love like you have never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.