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Video – Morning Motivation from a Little Girl
by On May 28, 2010

This little girl knows how to start out her day on a positive note!

YouTube Video

How do you start your morning?

Be Free!


Speed Reading Strategy – Read the Best and SKIP the Rest!
by On May 27, 2010

Here is one of the 15 strategies we teach at our Reading Smart Speed Reading Workshop.  You will be amazed at how fast you can read a magazine cover to cover with this technique! 

Enjoy and Be Free!
Using Skipping as a Reading Strategy

Using skipping as a reading strategy means to selectively choose which parts to read and which to leave out, based on your purpose and responsibility.

Your purpose and responsibility should answer these questions: “WHY am I reading this?” and “WHAT do I need it for?” Some possible answers include “Because I have to, want to, or need to for my job, my interests, my curiosity, a test, my personal development and so on.” If you cannot effectively answer these questions (the more specifically the better), then you probably shouldn’t be reading the material in your hand.

If you can establish your purpose and responsibility but the material you are reading has become redundant or unnecessary based on your needs, then you can confidently skip to a new sentence, article or even chapter.

Try this: Read the first sentences of paragraphs (on non-fiction, factual material only – magazines work great) to quickly find the paragraphs you want to spend your time on. Skip the rest.

The key to effective skipping is in choosing what you read, not what you leave out. Overcome your fear of missing material. There is more than enough reading material to last a lifetime — your job is to q-u-i-c-k-l-y find what is most valuable to you.

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  

Fast Company Video – How to Write a To-Do List that Actually Gets Done
by On May 21, 2010 posted an article and video earlier this month on how to accomplish what you set out to do each day.  Enjoy!

A to-do list is a fundamental tool for getting things done: it helps you plan your day, see what you’ve accomplished, and what you should work on next. But a badly-written to-do list can actually sabotage your productivity instead of boost it.

The best part of using a to-do list is crossing items off of it as done, finished, complete. Some tasks are easier to tick off as done than others, so you want to make your to-do list as doable as possible. A common mistake is assigning ourselves impossible tasks that never get done because we didn’t think them through. If you put in some thought up front, you can pare down your to-do list to the tasks you’re most likely to check off the list.

First, know the difference between a project, goal, and a task. A project is a big undertaking that involves several tasks. A goal is something you want to achieve through both tasks and repetitive actions. “Clean out the garage,” “Save $5,000,” “Learn how to speak French”–these are projects and goals, and they don’t belong on your to-do list. They’d just sit there and haunt you, because it wouldn’t be clear where to start. Reserve your to-do list for the next steps that move a project along. Your goal to “Save $5,000” is going to start with a simple task, like setting up a monthly savings transfer.

Second, break down your to-do’s into small, manageable bites. Don’t put “Write 50 page report” on your to-do list. Try something smaller, like “Jot down 5 main ideas for the report.” Use specific action verbs. Instead of writing “Ask Susan about her French class,” opt for “Email Susan” or “Call Susan.” That makes it easier for you to see what tasks you can do in certain situations. If you’re at your computer, you can quickly send an email; if you’re in the waiting room at the dentist, you can make a call on your cell phone. Give yourself enough information to get the task done wherever you are.

Finally, purge your list of the stuff that’s not moving. Your to-do list should be a fluid document, changing every single day. Still, we all have items that have stuck around on our lists for weeks, months, or even years. Every once in a while, audit the oldest stuff on your list, and think about why you’ve put it off so long. Can you break it down into a smaller, less procrastination-worthy tasks? Is it something you need to do at all? Try to recognize your block around the task and clear it away.

The most popular tool for keeping track of your to-do list is plain old pen and paper, but some computer-based tools are fantastic, too. is a Web-based to-do list you can access from work, home, or from your smartphone. Things is an iPhone app that lets you work with your to-do’s on the go. If most of your tasks come in through email, try Gmail or Outlook’s built-in Task lists.

Whatever to-do list tool you do decide to use, remember to keep the tasks you put on it small, manageable, and specific to increase their chances of getting done.

Author: Gina Trapani is the author of Upgrade Your Life and founding editor of Work Smart appears every week on


How to Memorize Longer Phone Extensions
by On May 20, 2010

A few months ago I wrote an article on how to remember phone extensions and had great feedback that it worked for many graduates of the Memory Training Workshop. However, some of you asked, “Leah, what do I do if the extension is longer?” So in this article I am going to give two examples of three and four digit extensions.

There are two options for longer extensions, one is pretty basic and the other is a bit more advanced. We’ll start easy:

Let’s take extension 714. This is Kerry’s extension, and you call her often but always have to look it up. No longer. Just remember what was taught at the Memory Training Workshop – File. Image. Glue. As we did last month, we will always use the person as the File. The image will be the extension. And the glue will be the action that ties them together. The only difference is that our image is a bit more complex.

714. The image is ‘dice’ (7) and ‘ring’ (14) (taken from The Tree List.) So to remember this extension you are going to picture Kerry picking up dice, that when she rolls, turns into diamond rings. Would you ever forget that scene? Nope! And you won’t forget Kerry’s extension either.

Let’s try a harder example – John’s phone extension is 7149. This method involves the use of phonetics (you could use your Tree List, but this method works extremely well for longer numbers.)

If you have listened to Tom Weber and Jeffrey Czajka’s Numbers and Playing Cards program, you will have a good handle on this. If not, just pay close attention.

You learned that the phonetic sounds corresponded to numbers at the workshop. Go back to your body files. The name of the file corresponds to the phonetic sound. The number is the number on your body list. For example—the seventh file on your body list was your collar. Therefore, the phonetic sound for 7 is “K.” Now you need a sound for 1—the first file was your toes, so the phonetic sound for 1 is “T.” The fourth file was your rear, so the phonetic sound for 4 is “R.” And the ninth file on your body list was your point, so the phonetic sound for 9 is “P” You need a word with the phonetic sounds KTRP. So insert vowels to make a word, just keep the phonetic sounds in the same order I think of Kite Rope. So…John is handing you Kite Rope and you know his extension is 7149. Try it a few times and this method becomes fast and easy!

If you would like more information on using phonetics for numbers, I highly recommend you check out the Advanced Numbers and Playing Cards program—it’s available on our website. If not, stick to the basic option and you’ll be set!

Use your memory and Be Free!

Leah Simpson

Memory Expert Roger Seip Interviewed on 1310 am WIBA
by On May 19, 2010

Listen to Roger’s Radio Interview (4 minutes)

Memory Training expert, Roger Seip, has trained thousands of people across the country on how to develop a more powerful memory.  He was interviewed on WIBA in Madison, WI and shares some insights on how to improve your working memory. 

A study by Rutgers University proved that improving your working memory will make you smarter.  The fact is, you are not born with a good or bad memory.  Learning to improve your memory is a skill that anyone can do.

The most common memory question?  “How do I remember names?!?!”

Here are some tips to help you remember people’s names:

1.  Slow down and listen to the name – it seems obvious, but if you forget someone’s name 5 seconds after you meet them, you probably did not hear the name to begin with.

2.  Repeat the name after meeting someone – do this conversationally, such as, “Dave, it is really nice to meet you Dave.”

3.  Visualize the name – this will help give you a visualize trigger when you meet the person in the future. 

Roger teaches a full 8-hour Memory Training Workshops in varies cities through out the country – view the national workshop schedule.  To learn more, call 888-233-0407 or enroll online.

Memory Training in Madison, WI

The next Madison, WI Memory Training Workshop will be on August 9 and 10 (Monday and Tuesday) from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Park Bank Plaza (2810 Crossroads Drive, Lower Level).  Roger Seip will be your instructor.  Hope to see you there!

Be Free!

Top 10 Things to Think About If You Want to Change the World
by On May 18, 2010

What change can we effect? What’s the difference we want to make in the world?

Mahatma Gandhi believed that we must be the change we want to see in the world. Here are some things to think about how to do just that …

1. Know that all significant change throughout history has occurred because of the courage and commitment of individuals.
Not because of nations, armies, governments and certainly not committees decided on change. People like Joan of Ark, Albert Einstein, Clara Barton, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks. They might not have done it alone, but they were, without question, the change makers.

2. Believe that you have a unique purpose and potential in the world.
It’s not so much something to create as to be discovered. And it’s up to you to discover it. Believe that you can and will make a difference.

3. Recognize that everything you do counts.  
Every step you take, every sentence you write, every word you speak-or DON’T speak–counts. Nothing is trivial. The world may be big, but there are no small things. Everything matters.

4. To be the change you want to see in the world, do NOT have to be….
Loud.  Eloquent. Elected. You don’t even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.

5. Take personal responsibility.
Never think “it’s not my job”. It’s a cop-out to say, “What can I do, I’m only one person.” You don’t need everyone’s cooperation or anyone’s permission to make changes. Remember this little gem, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

6. Don’t get caught up in the how of things.
If you’re clear on what you want to change and why you want to change it, the how will come. Many significant things have been left undone because someone let the problem solving interfere with the decision-making.

7. Don’t wait for things to be right in order to begin.
Change is messy. Things will never be just right. Follow Teddy Roosevelt’s timeless advice, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

8. The genesis for change is awareness.
We cannot change what we do not acknowledge. Most of the time, we aren’t aware of what’s wrong or what’s not working. We don’t see what could be. By becoming more aware, we begin the process of change.

9. Use your imagination
Take to heart these words from Albert Einstein–arguably one of the smartest change masters who ever lived: “All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

10. In order for things to change, YOU have to change.
We can’t change others; we can only change ourselves. However, when WE change, it changes everything. And in doing so, we truly can be the change we want to see in the world.

Since this list was inspired by Gandhi’s beliefs, it seems appropriate to end with another of his quotes:

“Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger and we will make not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.”


Small Tasks that Ensures ALL the Seeds you Plant Take Root
by On May 17, 2010

Tom WeberIt is officially spring and that means many things to many people. One thing that is certain is that farmers are getting ready to plant. Whatever your background or upbringing, the example of a farmer about to start planting has relevance to you, and offers lessons to improve your business and life.

Now if you did not grow up in a rural area, you probably don’t know what that entails. You may think that as soon as its warm, farmers start up their tractors, pour seeds in the planter, and take off across the field. But it is a little more complicated than that. Let me explain.

Before a field is ready to be sown full of seeds, there is preparation that is critical to the final results. In the winter the rain, the sleet, and the snow compact the soil; so it needs to be loosened and fluffed up, for the seeds to be able to take root. Which means that a farmer must run a piece of machinery called a “finisher” across the entire field to “work the ground”.

The finisher loosens up the soil and levels the ground to provide a nice seedbed, and a uniform planting surface. Driving the finisher across the field requires hours of time behind the wheel of a tractor. To the untrained eye, this step in the planting process might look like a waste of time, and if a farmer did not run the finisher across the field he could certainly still plant his crops. But, the farmer understands that if he chooses to shave some time off, take a short cut, and not run the finisher through the field, his results will be dramatically different. The ground would stay compacted in places, the seeds would take root in some areas and rot in others, and the yields would be less.

The catch here is that it would be a month or two before the farmer would be able to see the consequences of his shortcut. And it would not be until the fall harvest that he would be able to quantify the difference in results. The worst part is that if he did check on his fields soon after they began to sprout, saw his poor results, and realized his mistake he would either have to live with the mistake all summer long, knowing that his fall harvest would be terrible or completely start the planting process all over with the finisher this time and waste all of the work he had already done.

The point here is that we all have a thousand small, menial, thankless tasks everyday that are similar to running the finisher across the field. Many of us have been running our planter through the field for years without making sure that the soil was prepared for those seeds to take root, and then we have looked at our results and wondered why they have not been as high as we had planned.

When you take a closer look at the top performers in your industry, you will see that they are in the habit of always completing the small menial thankless tasks. They are doing the things that on the surface, to the untrained eye, might look as crazy as driving a piece of machinery across a field for hours just to loosen the top 4 inches of soil. These top performers usually have made these tasks such a part of their routine that they are not aware that they are doing something different than everyone else. The tasks are such a habit that they have become a part of who that person is.

Where in your business or life are there examples of working the ground? Is it taking notes at the weekly sales meeting? Planning your weekly activities? Creating a written to-do list? Reading every morning? Practicing your sales script with passion every day even though you have delivered it a thousand times? Envisioning your results the night before a big event or sales call? Sending birthday cards or thank you notes to clients? Cleaning your desk?

Take 5 minutes right now and create a quick list of small tasks that would help ALL of the seeds you plant take root.

Be Free!

Tom Weber

Video – How Great Leaders Inspire Action
by On May 14, 2010

How do you explain when others are able to achieve something that defies all of the assumptions? There is a pattern. As it turns out, all of the great leaders and organizations in the world act, think and communicate in the exact same way.

Simion calls it the “Golden Circle” and it centers on the question of “Why,” as in what is your purpose, cause or belief. It is a powerful model for inspirational leadership.

His examples range from Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

Even the Best of the Best Have to Overcome Adversity
by On May 13, 2010

Roger SeipI had the privilege a few weeks ago of watching the most dominant team in recent sports memory- possibly the most dominant team in college sports history- play for the National Championship.

College women’s basketball may not be the gigantic national TV event that the men’s tournament is, but it’s the arena of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. If you haven’t paid attention to this team, you may want to.

In the last two years, this team is 78-0. That’s right, they’ve won seventy eight games in a row, including 2 National Championships…and their SMALLEST margin of victory over that stretch was a win by “only” 12 points.

To put this in perspective, it’s the second longest winning streak EVER in college basketball, outdone only by John Wooden’s UCLA team in the 1970’s that won 88 in a row.

Most of Connecticut’s games have been won by 20-30 points, and I believe they had only trailed at all in one game. Truly, for the last 2 years they’ve been unbeatable. “You cannot stop them, you can only hope to contain them”.

Now I’m not a huge basketball aficionado, but I love championship anything, so when I have the chance to see that powerful of a team in a winner takes all scenario I know it’s worth staying up a little late for. It was not disappointing.

UConn was playing Stanford for the title. Stanford happened to be the lone team in the last 2 years to even hold a lead over the Huskies, but still the Huskies were heavily favored to win their 2nd consecutive National Championship. Lots of hype-history in the making, no way Stanford can win, et cetera et cetera.

So in the first half, guess what happens. That’s right, UConn completely lays an egg. They score 12 total points, tying their school record for lowest point production in a half in the 130 year history of the school. They play terribly, miss nearly every shot, are totally out of sync with each other and basically stink up the joint. I know nothing about basketball, and even I could tell that they were playing atrociously. They head into the locker room at halftime trailing by 15 points and everyone watching is just stunned. It looks like they are about to not only lose, but lose ugly.

And the first 5 minutes of the second half were more of the same- just ugly to watch, embarrassing for UConn fans I’m sure. But somewhere in there, they turned it around, outscored Stanford 41 to 20 in the second half and went on to win the Championship 53-47. It was a great game.

My sports writing I’m sure leaves something to be desired, but there were some lessons in this game that I found helpful.

#1- Even the very best of all time will have their “off” times.

Going into this game, there was no way to argue that this was not the best women’s basketball team ever- it could not have been clearer. At the same time, the scoreboard doesn’t lie.

So how could the BEST TEAM EVER be so godawful in their biggest game ever? Answer: it just happens sometimes.

Could have been the pressure, could have been the bright lights, could have been any number of things, but it just goes to show that even that level of Excellence still has to deal with adversity.

I believe that YOU are among the best of all time. You wouldn’t be here reading this if you weren’t. If you’re having an off week, day, quarter, whatever- don’t spazz out over it, it happens occasionally. Do what you can to…..

#2- Remember how awesome you are.

UConn clearly had forgotten who they were in the first half of that game. They literally played like the least skilled, least confident, least motivated team in the country, which was clearly not who they were. I do not know what happened during halftime or in some huddle (wow, how cool would it be to hear that?), but something caused that group of women to remember that they were the very best.

I encourage you to do the same- remember how fantastic you are. Replay your successes in your mind- even little ones. Look back on what you’ve done, the thousands of lives you’ve impacted, the victories you’ve achieved both publicly and privately, and if you’re having trouble coming up with some, call someone who can help you remember!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the greatness that we each possess, and when we re-remember it POW! That can be a big help.

The biggest and most obvious lesson of course is that it’s not how you start anything, it’s how you finish. If the Huskies had just thrown in the towel at the half, well….you know.  Great stories come from both situations- your story begins right now. I can’t wait to hear it.

Be Free!

Roger Seip

Some Perspective on Your To-Do List
by On May 12, 2010

it 2 is skin problems. If such

more acne the the: in.

get around by simply pushing a few buttons and pedals. When you’re in the shower, enjoy the warmth, the steam, and appreciate actually having a shower and hot water and a place to call home. When you are picking up your kids, imagine the joy and and sense of wonder and how they make everything else seem rather, insignificant. Get the picture?

Use that head of yours to create positive images of anything and everything. Relax and slow down with your lists and self-imposed pressures. Most of it can wait or be done more efficiently. When you relax, even for a moment, your imagination will flow. It’s all a matter of perspective…your perspective.

Be Free!

Ken Budka
Training Coordinator