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Encouraging Positive Change

Want to make this the best year ever? It's time to make some changes that'll set you up for success.
January 18, 2007

Change is in the air. I see it everywhere and in every person I seem to be bumping into or meeting with these days. New year, new chapter, new beginnings, perhaps. Or maybe we're turning into a culture of innovation and reinvention by design or necessity. As Charles Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

Every year, I've tried to add something new to the mix with my business to keep it fresh and exciting for me and interesting for my colleagues and clients. I've joined new organizations and boards; focused on writing some years, speaking engagements, others; traveled more; traveled less; read more; read less; added experts in new categories; cut back in other verticals. This year, despite having agreed to be the entrepreneur-in-residence with a leading academic institution, I'm going to try a less-is-more approach, which isn't that easy for me. I tend to be a more-is-more person in many respects.

It's not that I have trouble saying no; it's just that there are so many things I want to say yes to. And the older I get, the more things I find myself interested in. The problem is that I do my best thinking when I have down time and am not overscheduled. But unless I'm incredibly disciplined, it's hard for me to leave open spaces on my calendar. My tendency is to fill them, so I'll need some willpower to combat what comes most naturally to me.

It's said that your thoughts become words, your words become actions, your actions become habit, your habits become character, and your character is your destiny. Fearing that I'm becoming my calendar, I decided last weekend, when a friend called to play hooky, I was going to join her and enjoy the spontaneity of the moment even though I had a ton of work to do. It was the weekend after all, I work too much as it is, and spending time with her always energizes me and creates more capacity for ideas and inspiration.

I was scheduled to give two talks in the coming week and had other writing and speaking commitments planned for later in the month as well, none of which I felt fully prepared for. I was blocked on a few things I'd been thinking about and needed to get out of my rut. Was I overcommitted? Do I have unrealistic expectations for my time? What I realized after walking, talking and eating with my friend is that I should create more time for fun in my life when I cut out the people and things that drain me of my energy and enthusiasm. Easier said than done, I know, but here are some effective tips I've found that should help create positive change in your business and your life:

Even if you don't end up making major changes in your business, making some of the small changes I mentioned will help you be more rested, relaxed and healthier, which sounds like a recipe for success to me.