Posts Tagged ‘success’


Energy Management – Goals and Planning

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Goal SettingThe Energy Management blog this week is for the G in ENERGY that stands for Goals and Planning. I think because we are all so busy it is imperative that we are planning not only our time but more importantly our priorities.

Life as we know can get so crazy that unless you actually schedule something to occur it is unlikely it will ever get done. I have found since the birth of my son, Nicholas, it has been even more difficult to get things done. I used to get discouraged because I had many ideas or plans that just never seemed to get off the ground. There was never enough time to take action on these ideas and I was always looking for big chunks of time to work on them. I am here to tell you that the big chunks of time almost never materialize. The dreams I had for myself were always being put to the back burner because of more urgent matters that were sometimes dictated by what others wanted.

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A big part of managing our energy is getting clear on what is really important for us. We talked before about embracing our values and making sure we are living a life congruent with these values. A big part of the goal setting and planning is to make sure that what we plan fits in with what we truly want for ourselves. A great way to do this is to write a personal philosophy statement.

Robin Sharma discusses this concept in much of his work (such as The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and Discover Your Destiny with the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari). I also recently heard him talk about the “Big 5”. These are the 5 things you would want to have happen before you die so that you could be truly happy with your life and your accomplishments. I think all of us could benefit from thinking deeply about such questions. What are your big 5?

Another practice that has done so much to move my life to the next level is the weekly planning session. Over the last number of years I have had a ritual that every Sunday night I take 1 hour and plan my upcoming week. I break it down into all my businesses and all the other areas of my life such as financial, fitness, relationships. For each I put an ultimate goal on the top of a blank sheet of paper. Such as to be the most amazing eye surgeon and impact the lives of my patients dramatically… Then I write what I need to do that week to bring me closer to that goal. Maybe it is to email someone, maybe to have a staff meeting, maybe to research a technique for surgery etc…. whatever it is I write it down and then schedule it in Outlook.

Then I get small incremental progress in every area and every business every week. Even if it is only one thing in a given category of my life, as long as things are moving forward and improving I will not stress. I am doing what I can, when I can and enjoying the journey on the way. This also gets me by the mental block of always looking for a big chunk of time to do something. This way I am doing small things in shorter spans of time in a number of areas consistently. It is amazing how this can impact your life over time. You can also review what you have done the previous week and take time to correct any area that you have neglected. Maybe you did all your workouts and achieved some key goals for your business but you did not spend enough time with your family or connect with your kids. You can make sure that this week you do those things. By seeing the positive results this planning can bring you will be energized and able to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

Action Steps

Take out a number of blank sheets of paper and at the top write Week of June 20th to the 27th. Then think of the different areas of importance in your life and your ultimate goals in each area.

  • Fitness (eg… I am x lbs, x % body fat and in the best shape of my life)
  • Family and Friends (eg… I am the best mother, wife etc… possible)
  • Finances (eg… I have a net worth of ….)
  • Personal development
  • Business (I have sheets for each of my businesses so they are all moving forward)
  • Philanthropy
  • Recreation

Then think of 2-5 things in each category that you could do this week to move this part of your life forward. Is it to go to your son’s ball game (schedule it in). Is it to get to the gym 4 times this week (schedule it in). Is it to send a letter to a contact (schedule it in). Is it to read a book (schedule it in). This act of becoming clear on what you want in each area and then setting focused goals to achieve it is life altering and energizing. Let me know how this practice works for you. I think you will find at the end of the week you will be energized by the amount you have accomplished.

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Energy Management- Keeping the 4R’s- Routine, Relationships, Reach and Rejuvenate in Balance.

Monday, June 14th, 2010

This week’s blog in the Energy management series will deal with the R in ENERGY which represents the 4R’s we must strive to balance in our lives.

The 4R’s are

  • Routine
  • Relationships
  • Reach
  • Rejuvenate

Although I am not certain striving for “balance” in life should be our ultimate goal. I am certain that I am happiest and have the greatest amount of energy when my time in these four areas in life is somewhat balanced.

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Routine encompasses all of the regular things we do day to day to function. From brushing our teeth, to paying the bills, to buying groceries, to driving the carpool, taking our children to their many activities, to answering email, to returning phone calls, to cooking, to cleaning, to showering, to filing etc… etc…

These routine “To do’s” can be all encompassing. If we are not careful they can take up our entire lives. It always seems like the more we do, the more there is to do. It is a never ending cycle. If we are not careful, we could spend all of our time in routine and never really get to live.

The statement “I have too much to do” has become the rallying cry of a generation of women as we balance career, motherhood and life. I have actually heard people brag about having too much to do and never having any time for themselves.

I was in the supermarket line up last week and the two ladies behind me were going on and on… “I’m so busy,” says the one, “I have to get Jack to soccer school and Emily to dance and I feel like a taxi driver with no time for myself.” Her girlfriend replies, “You think that’s busy, the other day I had to do this …and this and this” and on and on it goes…..

The competition ensues about who has more routine crap to do. It’s odd that some of us think that rushing around like a mad women and having no time to enjoy our lives or really be in the moment is some sort of a badge of honor. It’s like bragging that you never eat vegetables and haven’t used your vacation time in 5 years. It’s crazy. We can address this by making sure that all of our time is not spent in the routine. And by trying when we are in the routine to live in that moment and really embrace and enjoy it as much as possible.


FriendshipThe second R is Relationships. Spending time on the important relationships in our lives is essential to maintaining a healthy state of mind and a healthy energy level.

A recent longevity study revealed that people with a number of close friendships live on average 7-8 years longer than those that don’t maintain the strong social connections. Finding time to nurture our relationships with our children, our siblings, our friends, our parents and our significant others will enrich our lives. Spending time with people we truly care for that support and honor us will increase our energy levels. Women tend to embrace their relationships with other women and these connections can often be mutually enlightening and energizing. Make sure you make time for these important connections.


Reaching is striving to be more. Growing and developing. Reaching is making an effort to step out of our comfort zone. This often involves confronting our fears. Never forget that on the other side of our greatest fears we will find our growth. We often have deep desires and dreams that never see the light of day because of our fears of pursuing them (You can download a free report on overcoming your fears by signing up for my newsletter). I had a number of fears when I was growing up and I used to carry around in my pocket, purse or wallet a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that said,

“You gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do that which you think you cannot do.”

Every time I was truly afraid I would pull this out unfold it and read it to myself. Ask yourself honestly when was the last time you did something for the first time? Then reach beyond your comfort zone and go for it. Reach for your true potential.


The last R is Rejuvenation. Rejuvenating is spending time on yourself to restore your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Often, we as women, never take the time to look after ourselves. It is the old oxygen in the airplane story. When the oxygen mask comes down you should put your mask on before trying to assist others. You cannot help others if you can’t breathe due to lack of oxygen. Well you can’t help others if you can’t function due to lack of energy. Take some time for you.

Another good rejuvenation ritual is something I call my authentic 30. It is 30 minutes every morning to myself to meditate, do my morning pages (a great book by Julia Cameron called the Artist’s Way recommended just writing something called the morning pages when you awake every morning to release your creativity and passion), stretch, review my goals and plan my day. It has become a ritual I do prior to my workout. It helps me be grounded and focused for my day before it gets too busy.

You should try to spend some time in each of these areas of your life, Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenating. Doing so will insure you are replenishing your energy reserves to meet the demands of a busy life. Try the action steps below to help you with this practice.

Action Steps for the 4Rs

  1. Do an inventory of the last month of your life. Did you spend time in all 4 of the R’s- Routine, Relationships, Reaching and Rejuvenation. If not why not? And what can you do to make sure you spend time in all these areas next month.
  2. Try waking 30 minutes earlier every day for the next month to spend 30 minutes to yourself. Connect with yourself, review your goals, plan your day.

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How to Make Someone Like and Trust You in 60 Seconds or Less

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Being back to work after a year of maternity leave actually feels pretty good.  I miss my little man but I do think we can be better parents when we are not parents 24/7. Everybody needs a little adult conversation and an outlet to broaden horizons and stretch the intellectual envelope, whether that happens to be at work, university or when volunteering.

A doctor establishing trust with her patientI was in the OR today doing cataract surgery. This is what I love doing and it feels great to be back. It was an odd day today because I had never before met any of the 15 people I was operating on. They were all seen, assessed and booked for surgery by my locum while I was off on maternity leave.

I had to think of a way to connect with these people in the short 1-2 minutes I have to converse with them before we bring them in to do the surgery. “Hi I’m Dr. Anderson and I will be cutting into your eye” probably wouldn’t do it.  How do the best communicators and connectors do it? If we observe people with a real talent for connecting with others we will see that they do similar things in a similar order in the first 60 seconds of meeting another individual. The most successful people are masters at connecting.

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A recent study done at Stanford University found that the number one factor in determining the success of students graduating from their MBA program was social connection- an ability to make others trust, respect and like them quickly. I find it so interesting that this ability trumps skill or intellectual prowess.

How the Most Successful People Make People Comfortable in the First 60 Seconds

1)      Eye contact. This is critical to building trust with the individual you are interacting with. A great exercise is to determine what colour the eyes are of anybody that you just meet. In trying to figure this out you cannot help but make the necessary eye contact that will deepen the connection. As an eye surgeon, you would think this comes naturally but I still find this tip really helpful in new encounters.

Likable business man connecting with clients2)      Attitude is everything. Always approach someone with a positive attitude and smile. The best way to trigger a natural smile is to say the word “great” a couple of times under your breath.

3)      Approach with confidence. Head held high, great posture and a firm handshake. This shows authority and helps people to trust you.

4)      Lead with your heart. Physically and figuratively. Have an open stance so your heart is pointing at the individual. Also speak from the heart and be authentic in everything you say and do.

5)      Lean in to listen to someone and nod attentively. Always make people feel that what they have to offer is important to you.

6)      Mirror body language. This often makes the other person feel more comfortable. For instance if someone puts their hand on their chin, do the same.

7)      Find common ground. There is always something that can link you. If nothing else the weather or sports are good ice breakers.

So by consciously thinking about my approach and being deliberate yet natural and authentic I was able to make a connection with all of my patients so that they could come into surgery feeling comfortable with my ability as a surgeon and comfortable with the surgery. Building trust quickly is very valuable in medicine and business as well as in life.

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The 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

By Carolyn Anderson MD FRCSC

Best-selling author and renowned international speaker, John Izzo, has gathered an extensive collection of wisdom from over 18,000 years of experience. He interviewed over 200 people between the ages of 60 and 100 who were voted as the wisest people by their peers.

All this insight is gathered in an incredible book that highlights the five secrets to a happy and purpose filled life. Knowing how to use our one life to its fullest requires wisdom more than knowledge. Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk. There is an intuitive connection between age and wisdom, yet sometimes age shows up without wisdom. For the individuals interviewed in this book, age was associated with immense wisdom and the common themes for a happy life were summarized in the 5 secrets.

5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die

1) Be True to Your Self
Wise people continually ask themselves whether they were living the life they wanted to live and truly following their hearts. As Socrates so brilliantly stated “The unexamined life is not worth living”. The message was to live your life with intention and ask yourself…Is my life focused on the things that really matter to ME? Am I the person I want to be in this world? Happy people know what makes them happy and they continue to make this a priority. I think a lot of people forget what makes them happy and they stop doing it. Take time to hear the small inner voice that tells you if you are missing the mark on your deepest desires.

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2) Leave No Regrets
What we fear most is not having lived to the fullest extent possible, having to say “I wish I had”. We must live with courage, moving toward what we want rather than away from what we fear. At the end of our lives we will not regret risks that we took that did not work out the way we hoped. We only regret the risks we did not take. The message from all those interviewed was to take more risks. More risks of the heart and the risk to truly reach out for what you want in life. I think after we have lived a long life we begin to realize that there was much less to lose than we thought there was. Ask yourself what step would I take in my life right now if I were acting with courage not fear?

3) Become Love
The giving and receiving of love is a fundamental building block of a happy and purposeful life. Be a loving person. Love is a choice not just an emotion. Although we may not have the ability to “feel” love at will, we have the power at every moment to choose to become love. The power to choose to love transforms us.

4) Live the Moment
It all goes by so fast. We believe we have forever and we soon realize this is not so. To live in the moment means to be fully in every moment of our lives, to not judge our lives but to live fully. Wise people see each day as a great gift. Seneca, the Roman philosopher said that “we should count each day as a separate life” Each day is not a step on the way to a destination. It is the destination. Do not rush through moments of joy. Breathe them in. Experience them. Live fully.

5) Give More Than You Take
What matters most at the end of your life is what you leave behind. That something was different because you were here. The message is to leave the world better than you found it. It is those who give the most that find the greatest joy.

These 5 secrets are words of immense wisdom. They are beneficial to all of us no matter what age we are. John Izzo makes an interesting point in the conclusion… sometimes when he talks to people in their 40s or 50s they talk as if their life were over. But really they have only been an adult for 25 years. It is not very much time to figure life out. And if you live to be 90 or 100 you may have another entire adult lifetime or maybe two before you die. Don’t give up on yourself or life. It is never too late. Hold on, keep growing, you will find your dreams and make a difference while you are here.

Armed with these 5 secrets we all have a much better chance of finding our dreams and impacting the world. Read The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die book for a deeper insight into these principles.

*Disclosure Policy* I purchased my own copy of this book and I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this review.  If you decide to purchase the book from Amazon using the above links I will receive a small commission.

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