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Saturday, March 15, 2008

LET OTHERS SEE THE REAL YOU



DO you know anybody that you feel is particularly engaging and lively? Take a moment to picture that person in your mind. What is it about that person that you find most attractive? He or she may have a charming voice and a great laugh, but it is also very likely that you find their face very expressive.

A face that never shows any emotion, and never smile is not very appealing. No matter how attractive or how plain a person's facial features may be, a great smile can make that person look beautiful to others.

When you smile at other people, they will assume that you are in a good mood and that you are happy to see them. This will make other people more likely to want to spend time with you and to know you better.

Allowing our face to show emotions is actually an advantage in developing relationships. Other people are constantly trying to read and respond to our body language and facial expressions, often on a subconscious level. They are trying to sense whether we really care about them or not, whether we are concerned with what is going on in their lives.

If you are a person who is very emotionally sensitive, this sensitivity can be an asset in forming relation¬ships. Use your sensitivity to show empathy for other people.

Don't suppress your emotions, trying to be "cool". Don't waste your sensitive nature being sensitive only to yourself and your own emotions. Imagine being in the shoes of the person you are talking with, and let yourself feel the sadness, happiness, excitement or pride that is present in the story they are telling you.

If we repress all our emotions from showing on our face, people will feel frustrated trying to get a sense of who we really are. When we let our emotions show up on our face, sharing in our conversation partner's joys and sorrows, worries and frustrations, as well as their hope and excitement, both of us feel less alone. Both people will feel more connected to each other.

Sometimes we worry about our facial expressions. We may sense that our smile looks forced, or makes us look nervous. We may worry that we don't smile enough, or that we frown too much.

One way you can check on your facial expressions is to have yourself videotaped in conversation with another person. When you review the tape, does your smile looks forced, or natural? Do you look extremely serious? Are you able to portray a feeling of fun and light-heartedness?

If you are not able to analyse the tape effectively by yourself, have someone else you trust give you some feedback. If you think your facial expressiveness could be improved, you can practice in front of a mirror.

Watch your face as you imagine yourself feeling various positive and negative emotions. Imagine yourself hearing a very funny joke or winning the lottery or receiving a nice compliment; meeting your neighbour; getting a present; having a secret.

Also imagine yourself experienc¬ing negative situations and watch your facial expressions in the mirror. Exaggerate them. Switch back to imagining positive emotions. Are you normally this expressive? Do you let other people see the real you? Or do you try to hide yourself from everyone?

Your smiles and other facial expressions will be more natural and more appealing when you are relaxed, rather than tense. If you get nervous when you are talking with others, you may find it helpful to practice body relaxation techniques until you can easily relax at will. Consciously tell all the muscles in your body to relax, even if you have to give instructions mentally to each part of your body, one section at a time.

When you are with other people, let your mental focus be on enjoying the situation you are in, rather than imagining what others are thinking about you, or worrying what you will say next.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?



Knowing the answer will help you plan the route to attain it

D0 YOU often look at successful people with a longing eye and wish you were like them? In her book If Success is a Game, These are the Rules, Dr Cherie Carter-Scott shares 10 simple rules to guide you to achieve the success that you desire.

1. Each person has his/her own definition of success

Success can be many things — it can be a concept, an experience, a dream or something that you are trying to grasp at. However, the true essence of success is feeling satisfied and fulfilled internally. It is not judged by external benchmarks. Consider a person, who volunteers at the hospital to read to children with cancer. Is he any less of a success than the business tycoon who masterminds corporate buyouts?

Some might equate success with financial freedom, or to changing the status quo, or even being able to raise their children well — what is important is that you set your own standard and know what success means to you.

2. Wanting success is the first step towards attaining it

Your ownership of the desire for success is the initial thrust that will start you on your quest. By harnessing the intensity, drive and causality. you can make things happen. No soccer team would win their championship if they just said "it would be nice if ..." Team members must have an intense desire to win that will propel them to success.

3. Self-trust is essential

Knowing and trusting yourself leads you to the path that is uniquely yours. This self-trust can be tapped only after you truly know your purpose in life — what do you want your life to be about? What matters to you? Stop being a passive participant in your life — are you the driver or passenger?

4. Goals are the stepping stones on your path

When you drive from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, you know you are nearing the city by distance markers along the way.

Likewise, goals are the mileposts to motivate you to reach the finish line.

How often have you put off making goals because you were afraid of failure? Sure, it might seem unsettling, because of the possibility of disappointment, but missing goals does not equate to failing. You can revise deadlines and re-evaluate them.

5. Your actions affect your outcomes

What you say, do or think directly affects the results you produce, and this puts the power of making your goals happen in your
hands.

Focus on what you want to do, not how you are going to do it. Knowing specifically what you want moves you into action steps you can take. -

For example, Erlina wanted to start a gourmet ice-cream store. She began by mapping out
her action plan: She listed down the things that she needed to do —research on other ice-cream joints, find out more about franchises available, register the company and so on.

Since the first item seemed to be least threatening, she began with that and was inspired to pick another "to do" item on her list.

All that is required to move into action is that you venture forth. What is most important is to take the first step.

6. Opportunities will present themselves

Opportunities in life may be glaringly obvious or hidden, and you will be faced with many decisions throughout your life.

Assess the opportunities with your head, heart and gut, and trust your intuition. Do a cost/benefit analysis to establish whether the opportunity is worth taking . Risk -taking might be unsettling, but it might lead to the most exhilarating moment of your life!

7. Each setback provides valuable lessons

Setbacks build character and perseverance, if you do not give up. Determination was what kept star basketball player Michael Jordan practising and improving his game after he was cut from his high school team!

If you are to succeed, however, learn how to deal with disappointments that come your way. Acknowledge that there will be obsta¬cles and things might not always go as you want them to.

8. Managing your resources maximises your efforts

Time, energy, relationships and finances are elements that can impede success or enhance it. Make them work for instead of against you.

Organise your time to give you the freedom to create, think clear thoughts and live life effectively, as opposed to being weighed down by tasks. time constraints and chaos.

Maintain your energy by finding a balance in your life. spending it wisely, and recharging when necessary.

9. Every level of success brings new challenges

Attaining some form of success does not mean the end of the game. A promotion might mean added responsibility and pressure, but if you are prepared to deal with changes and stay humble, you can keep your perspective and maintain your integrity.

10. Success is a process that never ends

There is no magic door labeled "Destination: Success" that you can enter permanently. It turns, bends and curves, and can place you at a vantage point that enables you to see a whole new world of opportunities and challenges.

Being successful is a process that never ends because our definitions of success are constantly changing and evolving. Live fully for the moment and enjoy the journey!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

SUCCESS COMES WITH A PRICE



... but do not let that stop you from living up to your potential.

AS STRANGE as it sounds, many people actually fear success. And this fear holds them back from achieving their goals and dreams.

But how could anyone possibly fear such a wonderfully positive thing as success? It may sound more reasonable to fear failure, so what is this all about?

Here are some reasons why people fear success:

1. Change itself is scary

It is easier to maintain status quo and go along unthinkingly. Life is easier when you can live it on autopilot. Change brings you into the unknown with its mix of exciting adventure and scary possibilities.

2. People will expect you to succeed again

There is a new pressure to perform to a level you did not have to before. You are aware of people watching and waiting for you to repeat your good performance.

3. The bar has been raised on your perfor¬mance levels

Your old habits and processes will not work. You have to change familiar and comfortable ways of doing things for the new.

4. You will get more attention from people

If you are a private person. or are not used to having an audience, being in the limelight will take some adjusting to.

5. Your private life may suffer
Athletes and actors who make it big complain that they no longer have privacy, and that they must hire security personnel and worry about financial and personal safety issues.
6. You question if you can do it again

If you succeed the first time, and fail the next time, people will say it was a fluke. This puts added pressure on this second performance and takes away the value of the first perfor¬mance should you fail.
7. People expect you to “be" a certain way now

Famous stars in show business are expected to be big tippers or to sign autographs, and if they do not, are denigrated. People have a set of expectations about how you should behave in your new position.
8. It is harder to stay at the top than to get there

It was tough succeeding, but maintaining your success is usually even harder. It takes more time, more planning and with your new distractions and obligations, keeping focus is even more demanding.

9. You make enemies when you perform better than others

You may leave former peers behind, symbolically and literally. when you raise the bar. Many people may be happy for your success but some may feel slighted and envious.

10. Your time demands will change

You have less time now because maintaining new levels of performance brings new demands on your time and new experiences you have never had.

11. Being a success can limit you

When an actor makes it big in a role, he is forever remembered as that character - and if he does not manage his career well, he will become typecast.

When you do a great job on a project, you might be known as "the one" to do this job for eternity because you are "so good" at it.
12. Being a success changes your self-image

Perhaps you have always wondered if you could succeed at something. You may not have felt worthy of this success.

People may have told you. covertly or overtly, that you do not deserve success. You, at least, know your place as one who is average.

When you succeed, people will look to you for advice, leadership and as being a model of virtue, and it will forever change how you see yourself.


Do any of these reasons strike a chord with you? If you are afraid of being successful, think these points through, and seek the advice of a career coach or mentor who can help you resolve these issues.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

WINNING IN THE GAME OF LIFE



Take the cue from top sports personalities like Tiger Woods and apply the laws of winning in your personal and work life.

SPORTS champions know how to win and accomplish their dreams. They have learned the secrets of winning and success in sport. The mental game concepts that follow are familiar ones in the sports world. Examine these principles and laws of winning in sport and see how you can apply them in your daily life.

1. GO EXTRA MILE. Making that extra effort can make the difference between winning and just barely losing. It means going the extra mile — when you are tired, when victory is not a guarantee, when things look bleak. Champions routinely push themselves.

2. GET IT DONE. High achievers use this phrase constantly to display their commitment to the task at hand. They will do whatever it takes, against all odds, to succeed, once they have made the commitment to succeed.

3. THE KILLER INSTINCT. Champions know how to finish off a contest once a lead is established. They have no qualms about defeating the opponent. They keep their sights aimed at victory and are unrelenting as they forge ahead.

4. RAISING YOUR GAME. Performance levels must be ratcheted up at various stages of a contest. To seize an opportunity to win, the champion digs deep and pulls up from within the all-encompassing desire to succeed that takes him to the next level.

5. COMING FROM BEHIND. Champions know how to win even on a bad day. They hope for the best but also have plans for the worst. They are able to kick themselves out of the cellar and find a way to win, even if it is not pretty.

6. PLAYING TO WIN. Champions are not bashful or ashamed to say that they love winning. They play positively, confidently and play like they mean it. They take bold, yet reasoned chances and believe that they will succeed.

7. AVOID "PLAYING NOT TO LOSE”. Losers or also-rans play not to lose. They play scared, they worry about making errors, they are indecisive and they doubt themselves. When they get a lead, they protect it and are fearful of losing it. Champions hate to lose more than they love to win and will do everything in their power to make sure they win.

8. AVOID “PROTECTING A LEAD”. Champions do not attempt to protect leads. They seek to increase leads. Also-rans try to protect a lead and lose in the process. Champions step up to the plate and go for it even more because they allow that surge of confidence to take them over and go to the next level as they increase momentum.

9. DIGGING DEEP. Champions live or those make-it or break-it piv¬otal moments in a contest. They compete to taste those times when only a supreme, back-breaking effort will propel them to victory. They want to have a story to tell. They want to be in a contest that is meaningful and significant and that will be remembered for a long, long time. They reach deep down inside to find the magic needed to win.

10. IN THE ZONE. High achievers Inn how to climb into that optimal performance zone and ride the wave of success. They know how to get in the flow and allow things to happen. They do not get in their own way and block them¬selves. They soar with success.

11. GETTING THE MOMENTUM. Peak performers understand and use momentum to their advantage. Every "contest" has momentum and the secret is to identify it and tap into it. The champion increases momentum and the chances of success by ramping up energy and by taking more risks. No mind games A true champion does not need to play mind games. He is aware of all potential mind games that various opponents may indulge in and is ready for them. The champion counters all mind games and maintains true integrity.


Champions are a different breed. Are they born this way or do they develop the attributes of winners? Whatever it is, you can learn from them, be inspired by them, use them as benchmarks and view them as role models. Just as they win the mental game of sport, you can win the mental game of life.

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