Flip It

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Our brains are so tricky some times. They play games and place limitations on so many things. Recently, I have experienced some brain games myself.

Last month I had an idea pop up that I could maybe offer workshops to guide others through a year-end review. The idea had promise even though it was totally out of my comfort zone, so of course my brain stepped in and immediately listed the reasons why I couldn’t do it. And I listened to those I CAN’Ts!

The thought of trying something new can be super scary. It seems much easier to list all the reasons why we should just do what is safe, but stepping outside of our comfort zone helps us to thrive and learn from the experiences.

Luckily, I knew the brain game well so as the idea kept coming back to me I decided to Flip It. Instead of focusing on all those I CAN’Ts, I found a reason to counter it and said I CAN!

For example:

I CAN’T because…I never did anything like this before –> I CAN because I know the content and just need to tweak the delivery

I CAN’T because…No one will sign up –> I CAN because I will promote the benefits to the right audience so they understand the value

I CAN’T because….It might suck –> I CAN because it just might succeed and I will put all my efforts into it so it can’t possibly suck

Sure I still feel some fear, but I keep going because with every new participant that signs up I feel more excitement and confidence that I CAN do this!

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What CAN’Ts are blocking you from moving forward?

How can you flip it to I CAN?

Try out this free template to help you. 

Check out my new workshops too!

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Sending Positive Vibes

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This month ended nicely, with my thoughts on giving thanks to what and whom I have in my life. Unfortunately, it has also been a difficult month, experiencing both personal loss and sadness/frustration over global circumstances. Although I am feeling a range of emotions, I have remained focused on being a magnet for what I want to see more of in life.

This reminds me of a Positive Vibes List template I created, which is a simple list of all the people who may need some positive vibes sent to them. I have kept my own list on my white board for several years. It consists of people I know, but also strangers whose stories I have heard and felt they could use an extra good vibe. Every time I look at the list, I send out a happy thought to each person.

The act of sparing a few seconds to think a happy thought doesn’t take much effort, but I believe there is more power to that act. By giving positive vibes out into the world, I made a choice, without even knowing it, that I have certain expectations of others – that everyone should act with empathy and kindness. I raised the bar for myself and others around me.

I think the state of our world requires more of us to stop and think before we act and choose what we want to attract more of through our actions. So as I look at my list and notice my frustrations, I choose to be more empathetic and kind. I choose to yell a little less, appreciate a little more, accept and celebrate others’ differences, avoid judging without the full story and take ownership for the role I play in this world.

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Try making a Positive Vibes List for yourself.

What does the list tell you about your cares and frustrations?

Is there somewhere you can stop and think and choose a different action?


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Hey Pittsburgh-ers!
Register for the Review Reflect Relaunch Workshop on December 15th.

Feel proud of this year’s work, confident you are moving in the right direction and in control of your future plans for your business with a completed visual story map for 2016.


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Plan Your Day

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24 hours. It seems like a lot of time, but how quickly it can pass you by. There seem to be so many different things that need to be taken care of in just that one day. If you are anything like me, you may create very lofty goals for that one day and then feel complete disappointment when many (or all) of those goals are unmet. Or you don’t take the time to plan any goals and you get sucked in to Pinterest for hours (yeah, that happens sometimes).

Last week I wrote about being more productive by prepping for mornings the evening before. That definitely helped to get my day started, but if I don’t have a direction for my day, no amount of prepping the night before can make the next day productive. This week, I want to share two templates I have been using to plan my days.

The first template provides space to identify goals for each area of your life – health, financial, household, community, work and social. I use these categories as a reminder of what is important (remember the Big Rocks!), but also to cut down on feeling overwhelmed. By simplifying my life into six categories with goals for each, I feel more in control of my time. Every week I fill out a new template, but it could be completed monthly if that is what works for you.

Once the weekly goals are captured, the second template is used to schedule daily action steps that will help me meet those goals. The day is broken down into thirds – morning, afternoon and evening. Instead of just one day, I have three opportunities to plan what I will do during my day. Some mornings, I schedule health first with a workout. Other mornings, my schedule focuses on work if there is a deadline approaching. As changes occur, I adjust my schedule but I never lose sight of my goals. The icons for each category are reminders so I don’t get hung up in one area.

Try out the Weekly Schedule and Plan Your Day templates and let me know how it works for you!

How do you currently schedule your days?
Do you focus on all areas of your life or get hung up on a few?

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What’s In Your Jar?

Big Rocks - EmilyMarko.com

In my newsletter this month, I shared some tips on productivity. I mentioned that a great way to start upping your productivity is to first reflect on your current priorities.

I shared a concept from my past life in corporate training and development – the Big Rocks. This is a concept used to help prioritize your life, which focuses on making room for the most important things you value in life, the Big Rocks. If the small stuff, the sand and pebbles, is given priority, there isn’t room to fit what matters most to you. Because the small stuff is – well, small – it can easily fit in between the Big Rocks. The small stuff sure can add up though, and if that is where the focus of our priorities are then your days will be so full with sand and pebbles the rocks will never find room.

So be sure to fill your jar with your Big Rocks first.

Check out Franklin Covey’s fun video that explains their concept.

I have been practicing this concept for the past week and I already feel more productive! Prioritizing is not always easy and I had to say No to some things of interest in order to stay focused on my Big Rocks, but I felt good about those decisions because ultimately I was staying true to what I value most.

So my challenge to you is: Identify your Big Rocks and then schedule one of them into your week before you schedule anything else in. Every week try to add another big rock.

I created a free downloadable template to complete as a reminder to stay focused on what matters most. Try it out!

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Are you giving enough time to the people or things that matter most to you? 

Need help identifying what matters most – try this template.

Think about how you fill your jar on a daily basis?

What does your jar say about your priorities?

Is there any small stuff you can stop doing?

Let me know how your challenge goes!

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Interested in receiving updates about how you can become a Passionate Do-Gooder – Sign up for the e-newsletter here.

Balancing Act

I had a bit of clarity this past weekend as my son was in mid-melt down. He had watched a couple cartoons, then played some games on the ipad and I decided his electronic use was done for the day.  He did not agree – hence the melt down.

Not the first time that has happened, so I was sort of just done with the scenario playing out again. So I stepped back and thought for a while and then…LIGHT BULB!

I love structure, organization, planning – it makes me feel in control of what is going on and it is pretty darn effective when used correctly. So I got to work and created a chart for my son. One that is simple enough for him to understand and me to implement.

Electronics Time - EmilyMarko.com

As I was creating this chart I realized lately my focus has been on balance. Balance in life, but specifically in how I – and my family – fill our days. I am becoming more mindful about what I say YES to.

Whether it is a simple thing like deciding not to eat the entire chocolate bar even if it is organic and free of soy, gluten and dairy.  Or something more complex such as passing on a potential job because I would have to say NO to something else I wanted to do.

When I find something (objects, activities, food) I really like I have a tendency to stock pile. Sometimes it is a comforting go-to, other times I am creating a collection of those things I love and every once in a while its out of fear of losing that ‘something’.

It takes discipline to keep my days balanced and not over indulge, I attribute my focus to my 2014 goals. I have tried to weave my goals into each day/week/month as best as I can and I am amazed at how effective it is.

So how do you keep your days balanced with what matters?

P.S. My television really does look like the sketched box TV – maybe its time for an upgrade.