Duck, Duck, Goose and You

You know that kindergarten game, Duck, Duck, Goose? It goes like this: We sit in a circle and one person walks around tapping each of us on the head, saying “Duck” until they  tap you, and yell, “Goose!” Then you jump up and try to catch them before they sit down in your spot! It’s a perfect analogy for how a lot of us use tactics and strategy. We often don’t get the results that we want, until we ignite a strategy that makes the tactics have meaning.

How do you know when you need a tactic as opposed to a strategy? Most of us have heard that familiar saying, “We won the battle, but lost the war.” Or, “I won the argument, but we’re getting a divorce.” Sometimes even when we win, we lose. Maybe it’s because we’re making a rookie mistake.

Rookies focus on the win. You’ve probably experienced this once, or if you’re like me, more than once. You’re excited about a new opportunity, and you can’t wait to show what you know. But in your rush to show, you learn very quickly that what you didn’t know bit you in the  a–!! If only you had slowed down, you would have avoided a painful lesson.

Veterans focus on the win over the long haul. They employ their skill, knowledge and experience to win, just like the rookie, but the veteran’s doesn’t fall for the tactics, he or she is thinking in much broader terms. Veterans are veterans for a reason. They’ve figured out that, sometimes, you have to lose to win big! So how does this relate to your life?

When you don’t have a vision for your life, your goals tend to be narrow in scope. When your goals are narrow in scope,  you tend to use tactics to be successful. Tactics are necessary and very helpful, but tactics need to be used in conjunction with an overall strategy that serves the vision that you want to have for your life — if you want a life that makes you happy about who you are, what you’re doing, and who you are with for the long term.

Take a look at this graphic, and you’ll start to see the relationship between tactics, strategy and vision. Let’s break it down:

Tactics – targeted plans and methods to get you what you want.

Strategy – is the framework and planning you use to make your vision a reality. It is made up of the tactics that will get you what you want in the long term.

Vision is the driving force behind your choice of strategy and tactics.

While each of the elements can incorporate a plan, it is the scope of the planning that will get you long term success.

Steven Covey wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.” Tony Robbins asks before he even starts a business, “What’s our exit strategy?” The question that both of these great men are talking about is the simple idea that when you’re sitting in your rocking chair at age 90, how do you want to feel about the life you led? What would have meant the most to you?

What would make you satisfied so that you smile that smile? What would you have to do to live your life with little or no regrets?

If you decide that you want to begin with the end in mind, you need to have a strategy to do that. One of the best strategies that I know of is to have an effective life map that takes you from where you are now to where you want to be. Here’s a graphic that gives you the frame work to set up a path for success:

Resources: The first stop on your map. Make sure these items are in place before you begin to gain efficiency and effectiveness.

  1. Vision – The goal for your life
  2. Plan – What is your plan to achieve it? What steps are you going to take?
  3. Motivation – What is your big why about this goal?
  4. Habits – These are the actions taken on a daily basis that will help you work your plan to success. What are the big rocks of this goal?
  5. Mindset – The attitudes and beliefs that will support you in your quest. Who must you have to be successful?
  6. Emotional Support – These are the people who believe in you, believe in your dream that will back you up and cheer you on to victory. Who are they and have you enlisted their help?
  7. Money Skills – How do you need to manage your budget to be successful in attaining your goal? Do you have to save? Do you have to target your purchases? Do you need to get investors?
  8. Time – This is when you plan to work on the activities that will bring you to goal completion. When is the best time to schedule your activities? For how long? How many times per week? t

 Obstacles: This is the second stop on your map. You have started to work your plan, and may have even hit a benchmark or two. What do you notice? Is there resistance? Identify any obstacles and modify your plan now for great success.          

           Obstacle Obliteration Plan – The OKAY Method

  1. Options: What are they? List them. If you are satisfied with the list, go directly to Step 3. If nothing comes to mind, or the options you came up with are not up to your standards go to Step 2.
    Kall for help: Help!!! There are resources to help you when you open yourself up to look for them. Remember who, what, where, when, why, and how from English class? Apply it here.
  2. Act: Take action on the How you learned in Step 2.
  3. Yes: As in yes you can be successful by evaluating and then acting on the feedback you get. If you haven’t achieved the result you wanted, immediately go back to Step 1 and repeat the steps until you are successful.

Consistency in Working Your Plan: This is the third stop on your map. Things seem to have a momentum, and it looks like your plan is working. Don’t get distracted or skip action step –sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are doing the steps when we are actually doing them in our imagination!

Check – In: This is the fourth stop on your map. It feels like you are going to be in this spot forever.

  • How’s it going?
  • Do you have to modify? Yes, go back to Resources to modify plan.
  • If not, keep on keeping on.

 Five F’s: This is the fifth stop on your map. This is where you want to quit, because it is taking so damn long! You are impatient and just want to let it go. However, this is where you do your final digging deep, final push toward the end. Check yourself out with these:

            Fear – Are you afraid? Nothing is more important than how you feel when you have accomplished this goal. Do it anyway!

            Fatigue – Are you tired? How do you get energy and reignite your motivation?  Remember why you wanted this goal in the first place.

            False Beliefs – The way to breakdown beliefs is to test them! You can finish this! Test your thoughts and assumptions. Maybe something needs to change?

Fix and regroup – Test to see what works, and apply what you’ve learned.

Final push till end – Perseverance. It isn’t over until you have attained your goal!

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*** Speaking of Strategies. Quarter 1 of 2017 has gone. How are things going? If you think you might need a little help. I host a free webinar that teaches you the three key tools and strategies the Pros use to make this year something special. The keys are:

1) Clarity and why it is important.

2) Vision. Have a vision for your life that inspires you.

3) Goals. Have a goal map that takes you from where you are to where you want to be.

If you’re struggling in one or more areas of your life, and you feel like you may just need a little boost to get this year rolling again, this free webinar may help. You can sign up for it here.

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The number one tactic used by people everywhere is the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework. This method will help you develop goals that will give you short term gains in service of your long term strategy. Your goals need to have these elements to be efficient and effective:

S.M.A.R.T. Goal Framework
Specific – A specific goal is clear and not subject to interpretation. In other words, a six year old could understand it. For example, I will text my husband every day to tell him I love him so that he can feel close and important to me even when we are apart. This a very specific goal with a very clear outcome. How do I know I achieved it? By asking my husband. If, however, my goal was to “be more loving.” It really isn’t clear what that means. Do you get the difference?
• Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress so that you know how close you are to achieving your goal. For example, a goal that states, “I will have a full right leg split by the end of six weeks” is concrete and clear. My measurement of outcome in this example is a full split.
• Actionable – Is this goal within your current skill set, or do you have to accomplish other goals before you can attain this one? For example, if I say I want my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology this year, when I haven’t even completed high school, then I am setting myself up for failure — unless I can test out of all of my requirements, and start my program immediately! Is my goal within my current skill set?
Relevant – This is key! Choose goals that matter to you. A relevant goal answers yes to the following questions:
a. Is it worthwhile?
b. Is this the right time? (Financially, Stage of Life, Emotionally)
c. Does this goal fit with my overall vision of my life?
Time-bound – A goal must have a target date, in order for you to have sufficient leverage to accomplish it. A deadline that is too far into the future is easily put off. A goal that is set too close to the present may not only be unrealistic, it can discouraging. The target date you set must fit your schedule, the type of goal it is, and supports your overall plan.

If you are looking for some tactics that will help make 2017 an amazing year, join my email list and get my resource guide to do just that here: I want your tips!

So, the next time you are trying to decide what goal to go after, remember to go back to the vision you have for your life. Then decide whether you need a tactic or an overall strategy to get you there. My goal is to have you make the choice that will make you smile that smile when you are rockin out in your rocking chair!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Remember, you are so much more than who you think yourself to be

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What Are You REALLY After?

What Gives? In this mini-primer on goal setting, I ask you some questions that help you get to the heart of  your choices, help you to cut the crap, and help you to choose and make the most important goals in your life a reality.

Don’t freak. It’s just three questions. You’ve got time for that, don’t you? The less resolute of you will have already moved on right about now. Those of you who stick around are in for a cool process.

Directions: Pick the answer that is most true for you for each question, and write it down. By the way, there are no right or wrong answers. This is all about you and what moves you the most. Ready?

Question 1: What is the most important goal to get done today?

A. I want to feel great when I finish it

B. I have to make money to take care of myself and my family

C. My boss, parents, friends et al are going to be disappointed if I don’t do it

D. People will be impressed when they hear I’ve done it

Question 2: What is your favorite superpower? You can only pick one. Remember pick your “favorite” and NOT the one you want most.

A. Perfect vision. I can see past, present and future.

B. Perfect hearing.  I can hear the thoughts of the world. I can hear the whispers even from miles away.

C. Perfect strength. I can withstand any force. I can move mountains. I can jump as high as I want.

D. Perfect speech. I can speak and understand any language.

Question 3: At the end of the day, what to do you want to feel most? (Be honest. This is truth not shopping 🙂 )

A. I am on top of the world. I accomplished everything that was important to me.

B. I am satisfied that I did my best.

C. I am so lucky to have the people I love around me.

D. My life is on track.

That’s it. You’ve got all you need. Now, let’s break this thing down. And no, I’m not going to give you the answers, and tell you who you are because of  your choices. I am going to write about the answers, and allow you to come to your own conclusions.

Question 1. It’s all about your intention. If you know the why of any goal, it not only helps you execute and focus better, it helps keep you motivated when things get tough. The most helpful tool here is to define what you intend in clear language so that you can connect to what drives your purpose.

If you answered…

  A. I want to feel great when I finish it. Your focus is on how you want to feel. “Great” means different things to different people. Define what great means to you, what activities would give you that feeling, and why you want to feel great.

B. I have to make money to take care of myself and my family. Your focus is on security. Define security (it’s not as obvious as you think), what other activities would give you that feeling, and why you want to feel secure.

C. My boss, parents, friends et al are going to be disappointed if I don’t do it. Your focus is on approval. Define approval, what other activities would give you that feeling, and why you want to feel approval.

D. People will be impressed when they hear I’ve done it.  Your focus is on significance. You want to feel important and admired. Define significance, what other activities would give you that feeling, and why you want it.

Question 2: What is your favorite superpower? It’s all about your favorite tool. When we pick our favorites we gravitate to what we like most, and that tends to be our own strengths. It feels good to use our strengths and use them when we go after what we want. This tool can makes you feel more powerful, confident and in control of yourself and your life.

If you answered…

A. Perfect vision. I can see past, present and future. You like to see it all, and you like to “see” how things are connected, and how they work. Mind maps, journaling, and flow charts are just some of the tools you can use. How can you use your visual superpower to your best advantage?

B. Perfect hearing.  I can hear the thoughts of the world. I can hear the whispers even from miles away. You like to hear it. Sounds are where it is at for you.  Podcasts, tele-seminars, voice memos, siri are some of the tools that you can use. How can you use your auditory superpower to your best advantage?

C. Perfect strength. I can withstand any force. I can move mountains. I can jump as high as I want. You like to be strong, hold your ground, but move with force when it’s required. Kinesthetic or movement is what works best. You like how it feels when you act, especially with conviction of movement. Use physical activities to help you think and make connections, various smart phone apps, standing desk, anything that allows you to incorporate your body while you work toward your goals are some of the things you can try. How do you use your strength superpower to your best advantage?

D. Perfect speech. I can speak and understand any language. It’s all about connection for you. You like to communicate and connect with others. Brainstorming, voice memos, interviewing are some of the tools you can use. How can you use your speech superpower to your best advantage?

Question 3: At the end of the day, what to do you want to feel most? This is all about your outcome or target. This is who you want to be, what you want to have, and how you want to contribute. What you want to feel most is the sum of what’s most important to you. When all is said, and done, how is it that you would have wanted to live? To get clarity, simply ask why.

If you answered…

A. I am on top of the world since I accomplished everything that is important to me. Why is this the most important feeling to achieve at this time? What goals would give me that feeling?

B. I am satisfied that I did my best. Why is this the most important feeling to achieve at this time? What goals would give me that feeling?

C. I am so lucky to have the people I love around me. Why is this the most important feeling to achieve at this time? What goals would give me that feeling?

D. My life is right on track.Why is this the most important feeling to achieve at this time? What goals would give me that feeling?

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***Speaking of goals,  I am hosting a free webinar that teaches you the three key tools the Pros use to make this year the one that changes everything for you.  If you applied each of the tools I share with you on this free webinar, you will be well on your way to making this year something special. You can sign up for it here.

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Magic Formula. When you have the right intention, the right tools, and the right target, you have a recipe that makes it more likely that you will live life in a way that brings you the most joy at this moment in time. Over time we all change. The goals we choose now will change along with us, which certainly makes life less boring! Try this experiment for the next 90 days:

  1. Choose goals that match your intentions.
  2. Choose goals that utilize your favorite tool.
  3. Choose goals that will lead you to the outcome you want most at the end of the day.

Download my easy-to-use daily worksheet that helps you keep your  Eyes on the Prize

If you want more information about who I am and what I do, head on over to my website at http://www.challengeyourvision.com for more information about coaching, private martial arts instruction, and my three quick start guides that take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Thanks for reading!!

Until next time,

Remember, you are so much more than who you believe yourself to be.

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May The Rules Be Forever In Your Favor

calvinOh, how little does mom know that “Calvin Ball” is really the game called, “Calvin Wins,” because Calvin keeps changing the rules to be in his favor. Just yesterday, this thing about rules came up.

I was having coffee and a yummy (yes, chocolate) croissant with my Bestie when the conversation veered, smack dab, into a brick wall.  It went down like this:

Bestie: … I need to know that I can make money to support myself before I can do that.

Me: So, security is really important to you.

Bestie: Yes! I need to have that. I would love to try, but I  can’t support myself doing that.

Me: Ok.

Bestie: That’s it?

Me: Yep.

Bestie: Well, you think I can make money at that?

Me: Yep.

Bestie: Well how when…

Then my sweet, beautiful, Bestie, went on to list 15 million reasons why her rule was true! Okay not fifteen million, but enough conditions to make it clear that trying a new business idea would not happen for a very, very, very long time. Me? I had a different point of view. I believe we all have the capability to achieve extraordinary things.

***Note: If you are interested in making 2017 a year to remember,

download my free report by clicking here.

Have you ever noticed that people believe what they want to believe irrespective of evidence to the contrary? But what is true for my Bestie is that her conditions and beliefs are true and real for her, precisely because, she set them up that way.

What if you could set up your life so that you could win no matter what? Would you be down for learning something like that?

(By the way, Calvin is one of my favorite comic strip characters. The wisdom of Calvin just cannot be denied! You can find more “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strips here)

I noticed that I get really excited when I am sharing my rule about something that I think works, but I just don’t have the same enthusiasm when I’m talking about a rule that, well, I think is dumb, dangerous, or just won’t work. The rules I hate the most are the rules that are just rules for rules sake. Do you know what I mean?

Rules, rules and more rules. The more I looked at this rule thing, the more I saw rules everywhere: There are the rules of the game, the rules of the road, the rules of society, etiquette, friendships, relationships, the classroom, the rules at work, and so on.  I even had a rule about the toilet paper roll. If you’re curious about the rule, I believe it should be under, because it is easier to pull off what you need, and my husband insists that it should be over because it is more efficient. Efficient? Really? See how out of hand this rule thing can be?

What’s with all of these conditions, anyway? Hey! Have you noticed that everyone has rules? Even for, well, happiness. For example, I will be happy when I have five million dollars in the bank, when I have lost 15 pounds, when my children are happy, when my husband loves his job,  when I don’t have a house payment, and when I can achieve a vertical side kick at age 53. If all of those conditions are met, then I will be happy. And you know what? It sounds like I am going to be pretty miserable — for a long time.

What if my script was, “I will be happy when I open my eyes in the morning?” This rule is so much easier to meet, and happiness is so much more likely to happen every, single day!

Perhaps, it’s time to take a lesson from Calvin, and create our own versions of Calvin Ball?!

Change the Friggin Rules. When we simply change the conditions for our rules, and practice them, eventually the new rules take the place of the old rules, and thus, a new habit is formed.But more importantly, happiness happens faster and stays longer!

So, I am wondering what are your rules and are they working for you? If some of your rules are messing with your happiness, this worksheet My Rules, My Way  will help you change the rules to be in your favor. Remember that the people, things, and experiences you want in your life are proxies for how you want to feel. Keep that in mind when you work through the sheet. How do you want to feel about yourself, your life, and who you hang out with?


Gretchen Rubin talks about how we interact with inner and outer rules in relation to successfully adopting habits in her  Ted Talk below, “The 4 Ways to Successfully Adopt New Habits.”  I found it helped me not only identify how I interact with rules, it also helped me set up the game to win. By the way, when your goals conflict with your rules, you have some trouble making your goals happen. (I think I just gave you a rule:))

The truth is, you are an adult, now, and now you have the power to set up the rules, your way. So go for it! You have the right, and the responsibility to make your happiness happen.

If you have any questions, or have some rules that you want to talk about, you can reach me at info@challengeyourvision.com. If you need some help with mindset or skill set development,  you can go to my website for more information at challengeyourvision.com

Thanks for reading and until next time,

May the rules be forever in your favor!

Christinephoto(22)

You are so much more than who you believe yourself to be!

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How Do You Decide?

my planeThis was my baby when I flew airplanes. A Cesssna 177. I loved that plane, because it was so smooth to fly. I can’t tell you how much fun I had doing chandelles, and lazy eights in that aircraft.  (If you are curious about what these maneuvers are you can click here and here ) To execute any aircraft maneuver, correctly, required training, and then hours of practice. Once mastered, however, that skill became second nature; and yet, we still needed to use a checklist every time we got into the aircraft to fly.

When I was a commercial pilot and a certified flight instructor at American Flyers, we had learned early on that a pilot’s judgment was one of the key elements to a safe and successful flight. We used a framework called the 5P’s that would help each pilot to evaluate his or her progress at key decision points before, during, and after the flight. It was essential to have a plan in place, and to stay ahead of the airplane, because if the pilot fell behind, or got distracted, things could snowball out of control very quickly. So, when I was thinking about this blog post, it occurred to me that there must be a similar framework for decision-making in everyday life.

I found that I was more successful when I planned, when I prioritized based on my values, when I took into consideration others’ needs and wants, when I evaluated my options, and when I clearly identified what the choice was about. (Sounds a lot like a checklist to me!) Therefore, I was so excited when I found this little gem in a post by, Dana Radcliffe, Senior Lecturer at Cornell University, that discussed decision-making. 5P

Radcliffe writes,

The Johnson School believes that, with adult students, ethics education should focus not on trying to inculcate basic values, but rather on equipping students with concepts and questions that will help them make sound decisions... This instrument consists of a series of questions that press users to identify their obligations to the sundry stakeholders and seek a defensible balance among them when they conflict…

For those of you who are interested, you can read the full post is here.

While this framework focuses on ethical decision-making, I believe that it can be used for all decisions in which we are unsure about the best course of action.  Here is my tweak on the headings above:

  1. Priority – The needs and values that are most important to you
  2. Principles – Your values that are in alignment with who you believe yourself to be
  3. People – Needs and wants to consider, including your own
  4. Possibilities – Your Options
  5. Problem –  The “What”  that requires a decision on your part

Now with this framework in mind, I have created a checklist that you can use when you arrive at a key decision point:

Decision Making Check List

Similar to when we were ready to take off or land, once you complete your checklist, you must decide!

My hope is that the next time you need to make a key decision,  this checklist will help you to make your choice with a little less worry – and it might result in a smoother ride! 🙂

Until next time,

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Anchors Away

indexImagine, if you will, “the best-cruise-ship-ever” heading toward that spectacular spot on the horizon. The people on-board seem to be full of hopeful abandon, and you feel exactly the same way.

“Maybe there is a romance waiting at the next port for that pretty young girl over there?,” you think.

You smile and wonder, “Perhaps a new beginning for that young family, happily posing for pictures with two beautiful blonde toddlers wrapped around their legs?”

Drinks continue to flow, and the Caribbean beat keeps time with the easy sway of the ship. Life is good.  Yet, you suddenly feel that not everyone is as excited as you. Something is off.

“Could that young man, who avoids everyone’s eyes, be in trouble? Nah…Relax…”

So you ignore his troubled expression, because you want to revel in this happy-go-lucky atmosphere. It’s fun, exciting, and you want to stay there. But that young man’s expression won’t leave you alone. Just as you force yourself to return to your lounge chair with drink in hand, everything goes dark. As in black. You can’t see anything, and you suddenly realize that you can’t speak, either. It feels like you are suspended in a deep, dark, black hole that presses against your chest. You jolt up from this day dream, and at first, you relax and say, ” I was just dreaming.” Then, “Weird.” Then, “Shake it off.” Then variations of the same type of direction for, like, 15 minutes.

You run through a mental check list, and reassure yourself that everything is okay. But, darn it, that feeling is still there, only now you are going into red alert mode, because the more you think about it, the bigger it gets.

My Greek Yiayia would tell me something along the lines of  “eat garlic,” “wear the eye necklace I gave you. What do you think it is for?,”  and “pray.”

My husband would look at me funny, and say something like, “It’s a dream.”

But who listens to Yiayias or husbands, anyway?  This whole experience was getting a little old, and I just wanted to get back to our schoolwork. However, then the light bulb went off. Something in that dream gave me this feeling. Anchors can do that.  If you didn’t already know, anchors are stimuli that trigger certain thoughts and emotions, and you are buckled in till the ride is over. Unless…

If you recall from school, Pavlov did a conditioning experiment, with his puppy dog, that resulted in the dog salivating just from the ring of a bell! That is just what happened to me from my dream: I was feeling uneasy about the dream, then the feeling wouldn’t go way, I couldn’t make it go away,  and then boom: red alert.

Our cat Cutie is very familiar with this method. Every morning at 4am she is up on my husband’s chest expecting to be let out. Her expectations are well founded. She has conditioned him for years. The minute she is on his chest, he gets up and lets her out.(Hmm maybe I should take a tip from Cutie on conditioning one’s hubby?) Somewhere along the way,  I was trained to respond to lingering unease with red alert. That may be a good strategy if I were being stalked by a Woolly Mammoth, but, oh so, not helpful when we are trying to go over schoolwork.

What if with just a touch of a finger, I could trigger myself to get out of that state of “red alert,” and into a top mental state? That would be really cool. Well, then it dawned on me. I already had an anchor I could use. Years back, one of my favorite coaches, Wendy Hart, introduced me to the wonderful, “That Was Easy” button. Anytime I wanted a jolt of fun to either prize myself, or to keep me in momentum, I would press that button. Now I was able to use it to get me out of this “red alert” funk my dream had put me in. And it worked!

So I guess Yiayia was right about the anchors she used, and my husband was right about his anchor too!

If you want to learn how to put yourself in any state of your choosing, this link will help you establish some anchors to use just like I did with that Easy button.

How to Anchor
Until next time,

That Was Easy!!

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PS If you are morally opposed to cruise ships, think planes, trains, horses, anything that gets you into hopeful abandon and then follow along with the rest of the story. 🙂