How many balls can one person juggle?

I was at Pier 39 in San Francisco the other day and came upon a juggler. He was juggling three balls. Then out of nowhere another ball appeared, then between juggling the now four balls, he reached into his shirt and added yet another. I watched as he juggled the five balls and thought what an amazing talent. And finally, he added the sixth. Six balls, up in the air as they swirled with perfect precision only touching his hands for a millisecond rotating in their magical and rhythmic form.

As I watched, I became mesmerized by the balls.

I envisioned the balls as the many activities I have going on at one time: Red Ball – My Human Resources Career, Blue Ball – Non-profit Board Chair, Green Ball – Achieve in 5! Coaching, Orange Ball – Pro bono HR work, Brown Ball – New business venture, Purple Ball – Achievement U, Inc. (my nonprofit), and those are only the big things.

I started thinking, how many balls can one person effectively juggle? In this case, the juggler was able to effectively keep six balls up in the air, but his full concentration was on those balls. I looked up my question and apparently there are people who can juggle up to eleven balls, but only for a few seconds (according to The other thing that we probably all knew at some level, is that there is a science to juggling.

So, what is the science to juggling your many activities?

People who effectively juggle multiple activities have a few things in common:

1) They plan their day and their activities.

2) They focus on what is important. I love Stephen Covey’s time management quadrant that looks at what is important vs, what is urgent.

3) They do what they do well and have other people do the other things. If you have the money, hire an assistant or exchange services with someone. In other words, they know how to delegate.

4) They spend time each day on their most important activities. Whether that is exercise, writing, reading, or some other activity that moves their life in the direction that they want.

5) And they give full focus to the thing that they are working on.

How many things can you effectively juggle? Which of the five habits of effective jugglers are you not doing as well?

If you find that you are having difficulty juggling multiple priorities, pick one of the five habits above and incorporate it into your daily routine.

The best articles to write

BLOG written in white on black computer keys. 3d illustration. Isolated background.I have committed to write one article or blog post a week and post it on Sunday or Monday. That commitment had me thinking about titles and topics that people will find interesting. I mean, what good is it to write an article if no one is reading it. My lesson about identifying the ideal topic came the week before last. You may remember, I wrote “Transformation vs. Change.” I did not expect that post to generate any interest. In fact, I assumed people wouldn’t find it interesting at all. But it was something I wanted to write. So, I wrote it. And to my surprise, it has been one of my most popular articles I have written. It generated comments not only on the blog, but on a couple of LinkedIn groups.

So, the lesson…

Write about what makes you happy. Blog about what interests you. Forget about what you think people what to read. Just blog about what you want to write. Unless your target audience is nothing like you, if you write about what interests you, it will probably be the same thing that interests your readers.

Because of this, I started thinking: What are topics that interest me and how can they relate to my articles about Achieve in 5!?

Then I quickly made a list of the things I like to talk or write about, my list included:

• Transformation
• Change
• How Achieve in 5! works for different projects
• How Achieve in 5! works for in various situations (taking the first step, overcoming procrastination, etc)
• How Achieve in 5! can work for specific types of people (busy people, people with ADD and people with big dreams)
• Time Management
• My cat (Mason) and my dog (CB)
• Inspirational stories of achievement
• Travel and mini-adventures
• Movies I’ve seen and loved
• Movies I’ve seen and hated
• Life as an insomniac
• Health (sometimes)
• My latest projects

With this list in hand (or online) I can always generate a quick article. When I am stuck and can’t think of a topic to write about, all I need to do is pull out the list and pick one.

Some people carry a notebook and jot down ideas as they come to them. I carry 3X5 cards. I can stick them in my purse or even a pocket. I can jot down ideas and either write a little or a lot and once I have the idea crafted into a blog post or on my computer, I can discard them. No clutter! (Oh yeah, getting rid of clutter is another topic I could add.)

If you are writing a blog, I encourage you to make a list of the things you like to talk or write about, then adapt your writing to fit your primary topic. In my case, that is Achieve in 5! and consistent with the Achieve in 5! theme, if you are posting an article a week, write five minutes a day and you will have a perfect blog post by the end of the week.

Happy writing.

Do you blog? And if so, what tips do you have about creating great content readers will love? Please share your comments in the space below.

Lessons from a purse auction

gadino handbagLast week I was invited to attend a purse auction for charity. I’ve been to charitable events where auctions were held and they were usually fun. I don’t mind spending a little money for a good cause. However, I imagined a purse auction would be the height of snobbery, involving a variety of bags from designers I didn’t know and couldn’t afford. So, I didn’t RSVP.

Then a co-worker called and asked if I would attend with her. For some reason I immediately agreed to go. On my way to pick her up, the only thoughts that went through my mind were, What was I thinking? Not only will I be out of place sporting my $10 handbag, since I didn’t RSVP I’m crashing the gala.

Once she got in the car, we realized that we both shared the same thoughts. So, we decided: We’ll stay for five minutes. Then if we want to, we will leave. To our chagrin we pulled up to the location fashionably early. I think we were the second to arrive. So much for leaving after five minutes.

When we walked in the door, we were greeted by the woman who invited us. That made us a bit more comfortable. We then saw another friend, who said, “Let me give you the tour and show you how this works.”

We hadn’t realized that she had coordinated much of the event. I even knew a few other people there.

The purses were purchased by a woman who bought them as she visited places around the world. I don’t think there was one designer label in the bunch. As I looked at the purses, they each had their own style and were quite interesting. There was both a silent auction and a live auction. The auctioneer (the purse collector) had never run an auction before, so it was quite comical. After saying, “Each purse has a story. This one….” She then said, “The minimum bid is $100.00. Does anyone want to bid $100.00?”

A woman raised her number high.

“Yes, we have $100.00. That’s a great price. The next purse…”

A woman behind her whispered, “Ask about $110.00.”
“Ohh,” she said, “one hundred and ten dollars…”

After a few purses were sold, the auctioneer got the hang of it, and I was enjoying myself.

At the event I mentioned to another friend that I was seeking a certain opportunity. She happened to know the decision-maker and after the event, I received an unsolicited recommendation from her.

And, I got the gig.

What a gift! And to think, I almost didn’t attend because the event was outside of my comfort zone.

It only takes a five-minute commitment to move outside your comfort zone and you may find that you like it on the other side.

purse from cambodiaBy the way, I bought a purse.

Transformation vs. Change

Seasonal cycleTransformation seems to be the word of the year. Everything is transforming, everybody is transforming. It used to be good enough to change, but not anymore. You’ve got to transform.

Well, I am a degree carrying expert in transformation. And because I have a PhD in Transformative Learning and Change, people always ask me the difference between the two and what it means to have an advanced degree in the study of them.
I love this topic.

The two words are often used interchangeably and they are certainly related; yet they are quite different. In fact, on the outside, depending on what it is, transformation and change may look exactly alike. The real difference between the two lies on the inside.

CHANGE can be incremental and it can be subtle or it can be huge, but it must be consciously sustained. The set point for change is before the change occurred. Change is maintained with thought, effort and persistence.

TRANSFORMATION on the other hand, is always big because it requires a shift so drastic that a new set point is created. Transformation is a shift in consciousness. Transformation creates a new set point. In fact, transformation creates a new reality.

Let me give you an example: I am a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian about 25 years ago. Something happened the day I decided to never again eat meat. I had a shift in my consciousness. Since that day, I have never desired to eat meat and the thought of it is a little repulsive to me. Now, I don’t care if other people eat it and I have no desire to try to convince anyone that my vegetarian diet is a better lifestyle. In fact, I constantly struggle with my weight (that’s another blog), so I would not be one to provide nutritional or diet advice. Becoming a vegetarian was a spiritual shift for me. I was transformed when I became a vegetarian.
Food pyramid for vegetarians. Isolated on a white background.
There are many people who don’t eat meat, but struggle with the idea of not eating it. They may have decided for health reasons that a vegetarian diet is healthier or they may have decided that they do not like the way animals are farmed; yet they crave meat and desire it when they see it on the table, but have the willpower to resist. These people changed their behavior to become vegetarian.

On the outside both the transformation to being a vegetarian and the change to being a vegetarian look exactly the same, but internally they are very different. For the transformed vegetarian the diet is a part of their core being, they could not imagine it any other way.

Is one better than the other?

Probably not, but that’s hard to say. We are able to change our behaviors, but transformation goes beyond that conscious and persistent struggle to maintain a new state. Transformation is a shift that happens at the core and creates a new existence. Transformation is not something that you can control, it may or may not happen. You can decide to change and work toward that in a consistent way. In the process, transformation may occur.

life cycle european tree frogThe image to the left is the life cycle of a frog. I love using the frog analogy to discuss transformation. A frog transforms by nature. The tadpole is born into murky shallow water. In order to survive the tadpole must stay in the shallow water. If the tadpole ventures into deep water it will likely drown, yet if it is taken out of the water it will suffocate. As the tadpole develops legs it begins to develop lungs and must rise to the surface of the water to get some air. This process continues as the tadpole becomes a froglet and then a frog. The frog can go into the murky water, it can go on land, and it can go in deep water; but the frog can never stay in the murky shallow waters where it was born or it will die. It must leave its old environment to survive. Although the frog can return to the murky waters, it cannot and does not want to live there.

When humans transform, we often have to leave our old environments, old habits, old friends, and other old relationships. With true transformation we may be able to visit those people, places, or things but we cannot stay there or like the frog our new existence is threatened.

Whether it is sustained change or transformation it really does not matter as long as it is a move toward a healthier, more positive, and more fulfilling life.

With Achieve n 5! sustained five minutes a day actions often lead to transformation, and when worked, it always leads to significant change.

visit Achieve in 5! for more information.

Lose weight with Achieve in 5!?

For those of you who have been following Achieve in 5!, you know that I have never thought Achieve in 5! was good for losing weight. But that hasn’t stopped people from asking me about it. Secretly, I have wished the question would go away.

My husband, Robert, brings it up every so often. He says that I need to understand how Achieve in 5! can help with weight loss because there are so many people who want to lose weight.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to work with the superb international executive coach Kristin Tomczak. Kristin is certified to facilitate more than twenty programs and we were discussing how Achieve in 5! might work for life coaches.

I explained Achieve in 5! and after we had talked a while she suggested we go through a session the way that I work with my clients who are in transition. She said she would pick an issue.

Guess what she picked?

You got it.

She wants to lose 10 pounds.

I told her that she picked the one thing that I cannot figure out how Achieve in 5! can directly help.

In her most effective coaching manner she suggested that we go through the exercise anyway.

I asked the first question, “What is your dream? What will life be like once you cross that finish line? What will be different?”

OMG! The whole thing just opened up. I have been caught in my own mental block.
Achieve in 5! CAN work for weight loss.

We continued through the steps.

“What do you need to do to lose those pesky 10 pounds?”

I can’t believe it! We are mapping the course for an individual weight loss plan?

“So, what are the things that are holding you back?” I then asked.

I honestly don’t know if Kristen answered. I think she did, but I was so excited. Achieve in 5! can really work for weight loss. I am now sure of it. But, I don’t like to make claims I can’t stand by, so I’m putting it to the test.

I’m doing a personal Achieve in 5! for weight loss.

WHO HOO I’m stoked! Achieve in 5! for weight loss… who’da thunk.
Let’s put this thing to the test…