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Who’s Living Inside Your Head?

You’re driving down the road alone in your car when you hear people talking  - the only problem is…you’re alone!

Voice # 1: I’m hungry

Voice # 2: You’ve got an apple in your bag.

Voice # 1: I want ice cream.

Voice # 3: Sure, have some ice cream. You’re never going to get into those jeans anyway, so why not make an even bigger pig of yourself.

Voice # 1: Sigh

Voice # 4: Wait a minute. You’ve worked really hard this week. Besides, everybody deserves a treat now and then.

Voice # 2: Frozen Yogurt. Forget the bread tonight and get on the treadmill for 30 minutes.

Voice # 1: Yes!

Voice # 3: You’ll be soooorrrrryyyyy.

Voice # 5: I’ll be good. Just yogurt. Plain.

So…you drive to the yogurt store.

Clerk: May I help you?

Voice # 5: Yes please, I’ll have a small, non-fat vanilla yogurt in a cup

Voice # 1: With nuts, sprinkles, hot fudge and whipped cream!

Voice # 3: Pig.

Sound familiar?

But who are these voices and why are they living inside your head?! The simple answer is, these voices are different parts of YOU and you’re perfectly normal.

In my book, Shatter Your Speed Limits, the characters learn they all have these conversations going on in their heads and discover the voices belong to Five Teeny People. Yes, you read that right.  We’ve all got Five Teen People living inside of us. And that’s perfectly normal.

In the ideal world, all five of your teeny people work together to help you figure things out, support you, keep you energized and safe. Together they provide everything you need to make sure you get through life and build your future.

When there is disagreement between our voices, then we’ve got a problem. As our teeny people build up their conflicts with each other, we experience that as discomfort, stress and even depression.

There are so many things you’ll discover when you get to know your teeny people. But for now, here’s what I want you to understand: your success and your failure is largely a function of whether your five teeny people are aligned to your goals.

So spend some time getting to know your teeny people. Find out what each of them wants and find a way to orchestrate a win for each of them. When you make that happen, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals! Once you master the leadership of your five teeny people, you’ll be able to help other people align theirs!

Remember – life is too short to settle for less than you truly want. So listen to your teeny people, find out what they’re telling you and I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Fast Track!


April 9, 2011   Comments Off

Making Great Decisions Quickly

In business and in life, we are constantly faced with having to make decisions. Luckily, most of the decisions we make in a given day are automatic: Should I put on my right shoe first – or my left? Should I chew this food or swallow it?  Should I breathe now or wait until later?

Thank goodness we don’t have to consciously choose between all of the many paths that come our way. That said, there are many decisions that require us to think and actually make choices. Sometimes those choices are easy. But often times we find ourselves stuck, unable to determine which path to take.

So let’s simplify things. In reality, there are only two types of decisions we ever have to make:

Good-Good: Should I choose vanilla or strawberry? I like both flavors and either way I’m having ice cream.

Bad-Bad: Should I fire employee # 1 or employee # 2? I don’t like either choice.

No matter what the decision, there’s always a choice to be made. So the question is, how will you go about making your choice? There are many people who have addressed this issue, but for me there are really only two options: the one Benjamin Franklin taught us and the one I learned from my grandfather. See which one you like best:

Option 1: Do the Ben Franklin thing

  • Step 1: Draw a line down the center of the page, write out your pro’s and con’s.
  • Step 2: Spend hours, days, even years researching and gathering data to be able to put on that list.
  • Step 3: Confuse and overwhelm yourself until you finally give up.

Okay – in truth, there are many who use Mr. Franklin’s method with great success. The problem with it is there is no way that I’ve found to use this method to make great decisions quickly. If you use this method completely, you’ll find that it takes time to work through the process. Unfortunately, some people take so long that their circumstances change and now they have an entirely new problem – or worse, they miss the opportunity all together and the decision is made by default.

Option 2: Do what my grandfather taught me.

My grandfather, Maurice Frank Lipton was a fascinating man. He was a pioneer in the development of pension and other employee benefit plans in the United States. In fact, millions of employees today still enjoy coverage under plans designed by him. He taught at the University of Michigan, published many papers and offered seminars all over the world (sound like anyone you know?).

My grandfather died when I was 8. I was too young to appreciate the difference he’d made in the world – I just liked hanging out with him. But there was one gift my grandfather gave me that I use to this day: He taught me how to make decisions – quickly and effectively. I call it the No Regret Decision Model. Here’s how to use it:

  • Step 1: Ask yourself this question: Which path will leave me with the least regret?
  • Step 2: Go for that one

It’s simple, it’s fast and it works. Of course, as a motivational speaker, I could argue that this is a horribly negative way of looking at the world.  But the truth is, this model for decision-making is extraordinarily powerful. I’ve used it to make decisions about which speaking engagements to accept, which flight to take to my destination, what food to choose for dinner and which cities to call my home. I’ve used it for exciting decisions (when Hal asked me to marry him) and horrible decisions (when the doctors asked me if I would sign a “DNR” for my mom). Every time, my grandfather’s model saw me through.

Let’s face it – when we’re on the Fast Track, we don’t always have time to consider all of the many issues in our decisions. We have to choose and act! So the next time you have a decision to make, whether Good-Good or Bad-Bad, use the No Regret Decision Model. It will serve you well.  Want to test it? Here’s a decision for you to make right now:

Will you share this article with one friend – or with everyone you know? :-)

Wishing you only the best in all of your decisions.

I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Fast Track!


February 27, 2011   6 Comments

Six Sure Signs You’ve Found Your Perfect Valentine

Is there such a thing as “The Perfect Valentine?” And if so, how do you know when you’ve found him/her? For me, it wasn’t so easy. Until I figured it out. Here’s the story:

It all started in second grade. Back then, Valentines Day was all about quantity – the cool kids took home lots and lots of valentines. Little valentines, big valentines, lace doiley valentines, candy valentines…they could barely carry them all home!

I wasn’t one of the cool kids. I got a valentine from my teacher and one from my mom.

In seventh grade, the Valentine’s Day ‘cool’ factor was defined by who sent your valentines. I remember sitting in my chair at school, silently praying I’d get a valentine from Andy Sweet – yep, that was really his name and nope, I didn’t get one. I did get one from a boy named “Chip.” ‘Nuf said.

In high school, Valentine’s Day was a really big deal. By then, we were old enough to understand the “romance” part of Valentine’s Day and it took on a different meaning. My school had a Valentine’s Day dance and the cool factor was all about who went with whom.

I didn’t go to the dance. None of my friends went. Instead, we gathered in a basement and played our guitars, singing really bad songs we’d written about all of the Valentines who had done us wrong. Now I ask you: does it get any more cool than that?

Through college and graduate school and early into my 40’s, I watched as my friends came to the conclusion that Valentine’s Day was a capitalist plot, conceived as the result of a joint venture between greeting card, flower and candy manufacturers. They vowed to stay pure. They would not be sucked dry by that stupid Cupid card with the sparkles that stayed stuck to your shoes long past St. Patrick’s Day. Nope, not them! They were strong, independent, powerful, driven, centered, educated realists. They didn’t need Valentines Day…. They had laptops!

For them, February 14th was just another day on the calendar. Not for me. I held onto the belief that there was a Perfect Valentine for me…somewhere.

And then it happened. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. It was quiet and subtle and I would have missed it if I hadn’t gone shopping. It was February 14, 1999. Just another Valentine’s Day. I stopped at the grocery store for pasta and walked out with a stack of 17 greeting cards – all destined for one man. Each one had a different message, but all of them fit. So I bought them all.

Did I sell out? Did I lose myself in the romantic crazies? Did I give up on “cool” and settle for whatever I could get?

Nope. I simply found My Perfect Valentine. How did I know? I saw the signs. In fact – I saw six.

So here they are – The Six Sure Signs that I’d found my Perfect Valentine. See if they fit for you:

  1. You lose interest in Doritos. Okay, maybe not. But you’re willing to eat the entire bag in one sitting right there in the same room and lick your fingers when you’re done. That’s a game changer.
  2. You discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed. And you really like that part.
  3. Breathing is easier, sleep is deeper and thoughts are clearer.
  4. You realize you would give up everything to be with that person – and that person won’t let you give up anything.
  5. You like yourself better when you’re together than when you’re apart.
  6. Time goes way too fast.

This year we will have been married 10 years. And the signs are still there – brighter and more vivid than ever. My Perfect Valentine.

I’m not saying everyone needs to have a Perfect Valentine. In fact, I’m not saying anyone has to have ANY Valentine. I cherish the time I was on my own and I wouldn’t change it. But now that I know what this is like, I don’t ever want to go back.

If it sounds like something you want too, then please don’t stop until you make it happen for you. Because life is far too short to settle for less than you truly want.

Have a Happy Valentines Day and I’ll look forward to seeing you on the Fast Track!


February 10, 2011   Comments Off

Never Do Laundry Again!

My friend Lorie is the most organized person I’ve ever met. In fact, she’s so good at it, she became an expert and now helps people all over the world live the lives they want by applying her practical formulas for getting organized. She is a gentle and caring person, a brilliant entrepreneur and even serves as a spokesperson for Goodwill Industries.

Lorie works diligently to help us remember the importance of giving back.  In case you can’t tell, I have a lot of respect for Lorie. But why am I blogging about her? Read on…

Today Lorie sent out her weekly newsletter to all of the members of her Clutter Diet Program and described how she used the Shatter Your Speed Limits™ “Action Formula”© to free herself from ever doing laundry again! Read her blog entry to discover how she did it.

Why am I so excited about this? Because most people think about The Action Formula as something they only pull out when they have a BIG goal – in their personal lives they apply the Formula to lose weight, quit smoking, improve relationships, etc. In their businesses they use the Formula for strategic planning, effective leadership and increasing sales.  And that’s all terrific stuff. But the problem is, they forget that the Formula works for EVERY area of life.

I know – I sound like the commercial for Windex, “It’s not just for windows…” But seriously – if you have a great formula, why not use it all over the house? Lorie is using the Action Formula to get what she truly wants in her everyday life. Are you?

Answer this question:

If you woke up tomorrow morning and magically found that you had everything you truly wanted, how would your life be different?

Make a complete list and don’t leave anything out – at work, at home, with friends, with family, alone…what would define your ideal life? Then use the Formula to make it happen.

Remember – the message of Shatter Your Speed Limits: Life is too short to settle for less than you truly want. Go after it now.

See you on the Fast Track!


January 20, 2011   Comments Off

Forget Will Power!

I was a guest on a radio show tonight and had the opportunity to listen to other experts before I was introduced. Each offered strategies and tips to set and achieve goals. They talked about “mindsets” and “attitudes” and “commitment” … and there was something really wrong with the whole thing.

I found myself getting more and more irritated – and then it hit me. They were all talking about achieving goals through diehard determination. Putting your nose to the grindstone, focusing on the target, working your ‘mind muscles’ and using (drum roll please)…WILL POWER! Shudder.

When it was my turn to speak, I respectfully disagreed with all of them. The host was thrilled – after all, nothing makes talk radio hotter than a disagreement among the guests. But I really, really, really think they were all wrong.

Here’s my take on the whole Will Power thing:

Will Power is all about doing something you don’t want to do so that you’ll get the reward that comes when and if you reach your goal. “So what’s wrong with that?” you might ask. “After all – it works, doesn’t it?”

Yes, Will Power works – as long as you’ve had enough sleep, have no in-laws, teenagers or ex-lovers hanging around you, have all your bills paid, have a steady income and a working car.

But the minute your car breaks down or your boss yells at you or your teenager gets detention…well, everyone knows the only way to deal with that is a Big Mac, supersize fries and a chocolate milkshake. Right?

If you’re like most people, stuff happens. And when that stuff happens, Will Power fizzles at the first (or at least second) sign of stress.

So this year, I suggest that you forget Will Power. You’ll only set yourself up to fail and end up giving your mother-in-law an opportunity to gloat.

But what are you supposed to do? Give up on your goal??? Heck no! Instead of Will Power – use Willingness Power. Here’s how:

(1)Decide what you want (that’s your goal).

(2)Figure out what’s in it for you to achieve that goal…I mean really what’s in it for you? Don’t mess around with this. You need to know bottom line all the way down to your soul, WHY DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL?

(3)Determine the downside of achieving your goal. Every good thing has a downside – even winning the lottery. When we try to ignore that downside, we end up subconsciously sabotaging our own success.

(4)Strategize a plan for managing or even eliminating your downside.

My favorite example of this goes back to the time I was managing a Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre back in the 90’s. My client (we’ll call her “Elaine”) was 5 pounds from her goal weight when suddenly she started going in the wrong direction. The first week she gained 2 pounds and claimed she was PMSing. By the second week she had gained another 2 pounds and I knew something was up. I asked her if anything had changed at home and she told me that her new body made her want to go out and date again. The problem was, she was married! Her face got pale and she got quiet for a moment as she came to the realization that she didn’t trust herself to stay faithful to her husband. She was sabotaging her weight loss because it was safer to be overweight.

We talked for a while until Elaine had made a firm decision about her husband – she loved him and knew to the bottom of her soul that she would never cheat on him. As she wiped her tears, I asked her to review all of the reasons she wanted to be thin. She could barely sit still as she began to list them all.  Then she sat up straight, smiled and declared, “Nothing is going to stop me.” Three weeks later, she hit her goal and has maintained it to this day! That is what Willingness Power is all about.

Determine your goal. List what’s in it for you to achieve it. Figure out the downside of your success and create a plan to manage the downside so that it doesn’t scare you anymore. Then forget Will Power. Your Willingnes Power will take you all the way to the finish line!

See you on the Fast Track!


January 4, 2011   Comments Off