Staying Inspired

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“Nothing GREAT was ever achieved without ENTHUSIASM.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

By Jaime Willis

Photo Credit: My adorable nephew, Tate, by Jamie Geysbeek
Some days, we just aren’t feeling it. That was me on Saturday morning. I got to bed later than I wanted to Friday night, and the morning came way too early for me. Matt and I were meeting at 7:45am to prepare for our third goal-setting workshop — where I was supposed to spend five hours encouraging others to find their passion and make it happen.
I knew I needed an attitude adjustment, but my normal priming just wasn’t working. I decided to dress up (typically, Matt and I teach in jeans) in the hopes that looking nice would impact my attitude. Matt noticed right away that I was low energy and we both just hoped that I would pop out of it before the course began.
When we got our course site, I was still not feeling ready to inspire. My mood was further darkened by an overzealous security guard who insisted on arguing with me, even though we agreed! (“Good morning! I came up to sign in, as your colleague requested.” “WHAT? You have to sign in!!” “Ok, that’s fine. I am here to sign in.” “Well, you have to. How did you get in without signing in??” and so on…)
I went to Starbucks to pick up our coffee and tea travelers for the morning breakfast spread, and, in a flash, I got inspired! Starbucks has innovated their cardboard coffee travelers by adding these awesome ‘saddle bags’ to help customers carry all the accessories that come with a gallon of coffee. Seeing that neat little innovation made me smile and turned my mood around. I tipped the staff (another great way to improve your mood–do something nice for someone else) and walked back to our classroom in a much lighter mood.
Our class this weekend was the best one we’ve ever had. All the participants were engaged, Matt and I brought our “A” game, and the course itself was well-designed after several big tweaks based on our previous courses’ feedback. I’d hate to think how the course would have gone if I had not been able to get into a positive frame of mind.
Sometimes, it takes such a little thing to get inspired. To stay positive. To turn that frown upside down. If you find yourself needing a little inspiration, here are a few places to go to get your own mood back on track:
Tess Marshall writes a great blog, The Bold Life, that I discovered when her daughters, my high school classmates, linked to it on their facebook page. She has lots of great content, so if you liked that post, consider subscribing to her RSS feed to get a regular dose of the Bold Life.
TED started as a “Technology, Entertainment, and Design” conference, but has since spread to cover any and all interesting topics in 20 minute (or less) presentations. Search for a specific topic or just click on a random talk–you won’t be disappointed.
Seriously, try to be in a bad mood while scrolling through this photo set.
Just like the Starbucks saddle bag, this site is full of really neat stuff that could serve as a jumping off point for your new, amazing invention. Or, you could just buy a squishy gel magnet because it’s cool.
5. Set the Mood!
Open these three links in separate tabs, turn up your speakers, and just chill. A perfect way to relax at the end of a stressful day, or to start your day on a calming note. (HT to
6. Inspiring True Stories
Read about the amazing accomplishments of others here or just browse through our TGIF posts.
Have a great day!

Be About It

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– by Jaime Willis

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.”

I spent most of last week in Michigan enjoying the holidays with my family. Before I left yesterday to fly home, I spent some time at the hospital with my Grandpa, who was admitted earlier in the week for surgery to help alleviate some of the intense pain he has been living with over the past several weeks and months.

Grandpa was doing much better when I visited him, which was definitely a great way to end my visit. I had to chuckle to myself, though, when I read the “family notes” on Grandpa’s whiteboard. “Don’t talk about it, be about it,” wrote my cousin. Even at 81, Grandpa can certainly use the motivation to keep fighting against the cancer that is ravaging his body.

Just like Grandpa, you can also “be about it.” See if any of the below statements resonate with you.
I’m not sure what I want to “be about.”
Are you having trouble seeing beyond your daily challenges and circumstances? Do you know that you aren’t living the life you want, but aren’t sure what you do want?

Focus on discovering your core values. When you can define what values are most critical to you and prioritize those values, figuring out what you want to do in your life becomes a much simpler process.

I just want to be happy.
You may already know what is important to you and know how you want to feel, but you don’t have any idea of how to get there.

Focus on creating a vision for your future. We encourage our clients to write down an incredibly detailed ‘painted picture’ of your life three years from now. Starting with how you want to feel in the future, figure out what relationships, experiences, career paths, etc. will help you achieve those feelings.

I already have a goal (or several) in mind.
You can’t “be about” your goals until your goals are SMART. There is a big difference between ‘wanting to lose weight’ and ‘I will lose 20 pounds and 2% body fat by June 30, 2011.”

Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound (SMART). SMART goals give you a clear win and will allow you to start planning your route to that win.

I can’t “be about it” because I don’t have (time/money/support/courage).
You aren’t alone! Lots of people fail to achieve their goals because of what they perceive as lack of resources.

In our class, we talk about the importance of priming yourself to succeed. We know you need to be emotionally ready to tackle the challenges you’ll face in achieving your goals. We also talk about how to easily either get the resources you need to make your goal happen or work around the lack of resources. For our goal-getters, no challenge is too big to surmount!

I need help.
Well, you aren’t the only one. We *all* need help in achieving our goals. Matt and I started Velocity because we wanted the opportunity to help people like you achieve your dreams.

We would love to have you join us at our upcoming workshop in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 8th, 2011. Sign up now using the coupon code “Goalgift” for 60% off our normal course tuition!

No matter where you are in achieving your personal goals, we know you can be successful! Join my Grandpa and “Don’t talk about it, BE about it!”

New Year’s Resolutions

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– by Matt Leedham

It’s that time of year again. As New Year’s Day approaches, many of us are faced with the challenge of choosing (and hopefully sticking to) a New Year’s resolution.

But why do we do this? Why engage in this annual ritual?

The reason for setting resolutions on the first of the year has certainly evolved over the centuries, but a couple of things seem to be clear. The obvious is that the New Year represents a new start, a clean slate, and a chance to press the reset button. Our current interpretation of resolutions likely got its legs from religious traditions. Christians prefer to sacrifice a vice during Lent (e.g. chocolate, alcohol, TV, etc.) and from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur Jews reflect on wrongdoings and seek to improve themselves. Many other religions and cultures share similar traditions during their New Year and high holidays.

This is all very interesting, but how effective are New Year’s resolutions? I’m fascinated by this topic every year when the gym seems to be packed in early January, but empty again in late February.

Professor Richard Wiseman is behind Quirkology, a collection of many interesting studies into daily living. Three years ago, his team tracked over 3,000 people that set New Year’s resolutions, including the most common ones of losing weight, working out, drinking less, volunteering more, etc.

Alarmingly, while 52% of respondents were confident of success, one year later only 12% actually achieved their goal. Yikes!

What he found in his study (and what we have found coaching people on goal achievement) is that you are much more likely to be successful if you set specific, measurable goals that have a deadline. In fact, Professor Wiseman found that 22% of men were more likely to achieve their resolution if they engage in proper goal setting techniques. He also found that telling others about your resolution and seeking support from friends and family was another important factor toward achievement. Specifically, women were 10% more likely to be successful when reaching out to others.

We want you to succeed this year! Here are three things you can do to dramatically improve your ability to succeed this January and beyond:

  1. Set specific, measurable goals, with deadlines and checkpoints.
  2. Use your network and resources to achieve your goal.
  3. Sign up for our Goal Setting Workshop this Saturday (December 11th) where we’ll teach you all of this in greater detail!