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Get “Balance Daniel-san”

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Many of us remember when Mr. Miyagi states “Balance Daniel-san” to Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid. However, how many of us really have good balance? Not the balance to do a one-legged crane kick but rather life balance.

When I speak of having good balance it really is aspirational. Sure there are weeks I get back on track and balance out things but often times my priorities are out of whack. I often work too much, I do not get enough sleep, I overly commit to charitable causes, I play too much golf (and bad golf at that), I eat too much, etc.

However, trying to find balance and realizing if you are not in balance are traits of successful people. That does not mean you always have to be in balance and you are not a bad person if you are not in balance. But, it does mean you have to have some self-actualization and do actions to better get balance.

For example, just like a lot of people I simply do too much and my mind goes rampant and this is not unusual for people. However, I realize that making a conscious effort to harmonize my mind with small meditation periods would be healthy and I have done just that. No you will not see me spending hours a day meditating but spending five or 10 minutes a day in silent meditation promotes good mental and physical health.

A few tips when trying to correct misaligned life balance:

  1. Stay positive: Don’t get down on yourself — be positive. The first step forward is realizing there is something that you can improve. Being down will only hurt your path forward.
  2. Small steps: Don’t fall into the trap of trying to make huge changes in your life to correct your life balance. This often times will lead to failure and depression. Take small steps and reap the rewards of the positive feeling of little accomplishments. These accomplishments will pile up and one day you will have the life balance you envisioned.
  3. Get support: Don’t hesitate asking for help and having others help you in your quest to better align yourself. People generally want the best for you. Personally I am lucky with to have a great wife and friends to offer support and honesty.

WLP Tip No. 3: Each day take the opportunity to self-actualize your life balance and staying positive and taking small steps to improve it with the support of your friends and family.

Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.

As always appreciate your feedback, emails, comments, likes, and re-tweets!

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Make the most of your next unconference

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The “unconference” conference has been very popular especially for information workers. An unconference is a conference where the format is loosely structured. The idea is an informal exchange of ideas, interactions, and information rather than a tightly structured program. ProductCamps, BarCamps, CityCamps, WordCamps, and others are a popular type of unconferences and this year I have attended a few and each one has its own experience and energy but all are equally rewarding.

The nice thing about unconferences is they are generally completely put together by volunteers and are often times free. This not only makes them an awesome value but also means that people organizing have the best interests in mind when putting together.

Attending an unconference is rewarding but truly engaging in an unconference is awesome. Here are some tips to make the most of your next unconference:

  1. Meet new people: Do not be a wallflower and instead get to know people. This does not mean trying to collect as many business cards as possible but have genuine conversations with others. Get peoples names and follow up with them after the conference by grabbing coffee or conversing on email. Try to meet at least three new people at each unconference.
  2. Participate in discussion: The exchange of ideas and information is essential and you can participate in the discussion by either speaking up in sessions or hosting a session yourself. The nice thing about an unconference is presentations are less formal and more of a discussion rather than a lecture. This allows for a lot of people to contribute. Know if you are contributing to the discussion you will feel more benefited from the discussion.
  3. Volunteer: This may mean you volunteer to speak or you volunteer to register people at the door or a number of things. You will feel more invested in an unconference if you helped make it what it was.
  4. Be thankful: Make sure to thank the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and sponsors for their role in the event. This will not only give you the opportunity to meet other people but also is a nice token of gratitude for the contribution that these people played.

Take a look at your community and find an unconference that catches your attention and sign up. Or, maybe next time you are on vacation you can take the opportunity to go to an unconference in another city and meet a whole new set of people and perspectives. Either way keep on learning and keep on helping others learn, as these are both some of the most pleasurable things to be human.

Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.

As always appreciate your feedback, emails, comments, likes, and re-tweets!

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14 Awesome Podcasts for Information Workers

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Yes I am going to do the proverbial top 14 list. This top 14 list is 14 awesome podcasts for information workers. Why? Because podcasts are awesome! If you are an information worker you should be listening to podcast just like you are reading this blog. Podcasts are the new radio that lets you have on demand audio journeys on just about anything. Apple has even made the podcast app a central thing on its iPhone.

Over the years I have listened to 100’s of different podcasts and 1,000’s of individual episodes and there are way more than 14 great podcasts. Here is my top 14 to get you started or if you already listen to podcasts then here are others you should try:

  1. Econtalk (www.econtalk.org): Weekly podcast where economics professor Russ Roberts interviews everyone from small business owners to Nobel Laureates. Don’t let the name fool you – economics is certainly the theme but the topics covered are much broader than traditional economics.
  2. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History (www.dancarlin.com): Podcast that can only be termed a thematic-like audio journey in to some of the world’s most important historic times hosted by Dan Carlin. Dan Carlin is a journalist turned full time podcast host and this is really a must listen to auditory adventure.
  3. WTF with Marc Maron (www.wtfpod.com): Thrice weekly podcast where comedian Marc Maron interviews celebrities, musicians and whoever else is in his unique style. Podcast takes place in his garage and has made Marc famous so that he even has a television series based on his life and his podcast on IFC. There are many different comedians and other celebrity podcasts out there but this is one of the best. Take a listen and enjoy.
  4. Security Now (twit.tv/show/security-now): Weekly podcast from the TWiT network who has a series of awesome podcasts. Security Now is geared at providing all things information security related news and education. Podcast has Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte talk about everything under the sun on information security.
  5. Roderick on the Line (www.merlinmann.com/roderick): Podcast where Internet-personality Merlin Mann and musician John Roderick have conversations on just about anything that is a mix of entertainment, education, and general rantings.
  6. Beyond the To Do List (beyondthetodolist.com): Podcast where Erik Fischer interviews various experts in productivity and getting things done. Educational listen that often times hits on some new ways to be more productive. After all our most valuable asset is our time.
  7. Freakonomics Radio (freakonomics.com): Yes two economics related podcasts and no I was not an econ major. Freakonomics is a podcast that grew out of the famous books of journalist Stephen Dubner and economics professor Steven Levitt.
  8. The Vergecast (www.theverge.com/video/the-vergecast): This is a podcast from the new media Verge Network that covers technology, trends, and everything in between. Good coverage of technology and trends with various entertaining personalities.
  9. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (etl.stanford.edu): Podcast put on by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program where leaders speak on technology, business, finance, education, and philanthropy.
  10. Entrepreneur on Fire (www.entrepreneuronfire.com): High energy daily podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs doing just about everything.
  11. Back to Work (5by5.tv/b2w): Weekly podcast where Internet personality Merlin Mann and 5-by-5 Network Founder Dan Benjamin discuss productivity, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.
  12. Amplify Podcast (bloggingconcentrated.com/listen-to-our-amplify-podcast): Great podcast focusing on the world of social media and blogging. Great place for knowledge workers to expand their influence as social media and blogging are central avenues.
  13. Psychology in Every Day Life (www.psychologyineverydaylife.net): Educational podcast covering the good, the bad, and the ugly of psychology and the state of psychological research. Gives a fresh and honest perspective on a field that is complicated but also sometimes more art than science.
  14. Killer Innovations (philmckinney.com/killer-innovations): Podcast hosted by Phil McKinney a true leader in the innovation space. Last couple years his podcast has been highly sporadic after his book (Beyond the Obvious) and also taking on the CEO position at CableLabs. However, Phil recently announced the podcast will be coming back in a more frequent fashion and still worth listening to the back episodes.

Get started listening to podcasts today and supercharge your learning and entertainment. Maybe a later article I will go into different podcast apps and benefits of each. For now I will just mention I use DoggCatcher on my Android phone (www.doggcatcher.com).

Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.

As always appreciate your feedback, emails, comments, likes, and re-tweets!

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“Yes and” your life

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Many of you may have seen shows like “Who’s Line is it Anyway” or gone to a local improv theater and we can all learn a lot from it. Rule number one of improv is “yes and”. “Yes and” means that whatever your fellow performer says — it is your reality. You don’t disagree, you don’t complain — you just take her reality and make it your own. So if she says: “the sky over there is white with black swirls” your response would not be: “no, it is red because it is raining blood” but instead something like “yes it is raining Dairy Queen twist ice cream and it is my favorite flavor”.

The power of “yes and” can help us all in our lives because often we are quick to disagree with people. Even when we know we are right it is best to be careful how you bring the truth forward. Bluntly disagreeing with people just creates a wall between you and them. Plus many times you may think you know something for sure but it is better to think how can you “yes and” this and trying to move things forward in direction you are seeking without shutting down other people.

Using the “yes and” philosophy is especially important when in meetings geared towards brainstorming. I insist that people do not use “no” in these meetings. Brainstorming does not have a wrong answer and the goal is to get ideas out there and move things forward. Not every idea is fantastic but ideas build off of other ideas. Soon eight ideas down you come to the game winner for your new software enhancement or process improvement.

Next time you feel that “no” coming along try the “yes and” and see how you help your family, colleagues, customers, and yourself.

As always appreciate your feedback, emails, comments, likes, and re-tweets!

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