Saturday, January 30, 2016

Eliminate Frustration

Who wants frustration?

Not me. You? Didn't think so.

We get frustrated when our needs aren't meant or our expectations are denied. That stinks. People misbehave under frustration. People break things under frustration, like promises and lamps. It's a mess.

Don't give in to frustration. Instead, keep it at bay. Keep frustration away.

Achieving your goals eliminates frustration.

What's the next step on your biggest goal?

-- Doug Smith


Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Make The Call

Whose turn is it to call?

Is there someone in your life who is important to you, but who you haven't talked to for a while? Who called who last? It doesn't matter. It's not a score keeping call. Make the call.

My closest friend in the world reminded me today that the phone goes both ways. We talk a lot on the phone, and she was wondering when the last time was that I called my son. Too long if it wasn't today.

So I called him. And he's fine. And the next time I'm asked when was the last time I've talked to him, the answer will be easy to come up with.

Don't wait. Make the call.

You'll be glad that you did.

Doug Smith



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Don't Judge That Creative Idea Too Soon

Are you a fan of your inner judge?

We all have an inner judge (sometimes called inner critic) who wants to assess everything. To the inner judge, nothing is ever perfect. To the inner judge, there is always fault to find.

How annoying. We grow up with this inner judge and let the judge drive us when we're not paying attention. When we lack focus on what is truly most important our inner judge tries to decide for us, and usually makes poor decisions. As Don Miguel Ruiz has said, "our inner judge lies."

Judging a creative idea too soon is not fair to you or to the idea.

You'll have time to judge. You'll have time to decide. But imagine how many more possibilities you'll have to work with if you first choose to stay curious.

I promise to work on that every day from now on. How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Monday, January 18, 2016

Act On Your Goals

How are people doing at meeting your expectations on your goals?

Once people know my expectations, they do a much better job at meeting them. I've learned not to make anyone into a mind reader, because no one is any good at that.

Setting expectations is critical. Communicating those expectations is necessary. Acting on those expectations sets the important example for others to follow.

The world responds to action more than expectations.

Actions make your intent undeniable. Actions show your resolve. Actions get things done. Action propel others into actions.

Act relentlessly on your plan, and your plan will achieve your goals.

--  Doug Smith



Sunday, January 17, 2016

Keep Working On Your Goals

Have you faced many challenges in continuing on your goals lately?

I get challenges every day. Things that should be routine go sideways. People need attention. Processes break. Weather happens. It can all add up to what looks like an insurmountable wall, but it's not. Chip away. Work your plan. Even steel walls have cracks in them.

The world makes it all too easy to let go of your goals. You've got to work to keep your goals working.

Set a solid plan and work it. Focus. Accomplish something on your biggest goal everyday. It's up to you to act relentlessly on your plan. And relentless is needed, because go you can go slow or you can go fast but half-fast will never do.

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sometimes It's Uncomfortable

Do you have at least one big goal that is stretching your comfort zone?

If you do, good for you. We grow, we learn, we stretch or otherwise we fall behind. Sometimes working on a big goal tests us beyond anything we've endured before. Each time that I've set a goal of relocating (because, after all, moving is so much fun!) I have felt myself pushed to the limits to get all the details right and to move gracefully. Sometimes things get broken.

It's reasonable to expect achieving your goals to feel uncomfortable at times as you stretch your boundaries.

You might not choose the discomfort, but you have chosen the goal. See it thru. Don't experience the rough spots without the payoff. Set a solid, organized plan and then act relentlessly on your plan to achieve your goal.

And then, the price of discomfort will seem very small indeed.

-- Doug Smith


Friday, January 15, 2016

Challenge Creatively Without Harming

How bold is your creative challenge?

Do you challenge yourself creatively, to do more, innovate more, surprise more, invent more?

When we challenge ourselves first it makes it easier, and more credible, to challenge others. We all need more creative challenge. The world needs our creativity to fix its problems, change its sad story, bring peaceful relationships out and harmonize with more beauty and love. Does that sound too mushy? What world would you create? What would you like to see more of in the world?

Create boldly. Challenge boldly. And, do it with peace and love.

That's a tall order AND we can do it. It involves choices. Breathe before that next choice and choose peace and love. It's possible.

Bold creativity challenges people without harming them.

We can stretch. We must grow. Creativity keeps it all going.

-- Doug Smith


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Who Said It?

"You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do."

Was it...

A. Jerry Garcia
B. Eric Clapton
C. Pat Metheny

Jerry Garcia said it.


An Eleven String Guitar

How many strings are on a 12-string guitar? No, it's not a trick question, but if you're in my house on the right day, the answer could be eleven.

That's not the right answer, but it is the true answer.

Why? It's not intentional. The strings come in various gauges, simplified on the container as Light, Medium, and Extra Light (an interesting logic of its own) and the mediums are hard to find. Using light gauge strings on a 12-string guitar means that the thinnest string is so thin (.08 cm) that it's very easily broken.

Sometimes, I can break a string while I'm tuning it, that's how easy they are to break. When that happens, it's eleven-string time until the next trip to the music store.

If you don't tell anyone, an eleven-string guitar could go undetected for weeks (I've done it). The sound is pretty much the same and the strings are so close together to begin with that you'd need to really get close to see the gap.

It's not ideal, but the music is still good and the rest of the strings don't seem to mind.

What did I learn from an eleven-string guitar?
  • Plan ahead
Clearly, I've done this before. Why not have an extra string for when one breaks? By planning ahead my 12-string guitar will always be complete. Maybe I just like to live on the edge, when it comes to music -- but when it comes to business, are your "extra strings" in place? 
  • Play on with what you've got
OK, so sometimes we don't plan ahead enough. That doesn't have to be the end of the song. Lots of great music has been made with pieces missing and lots of great teams have succeeded long after key players left. Play on.
  • Know your breaking point
That .08 cm thin string breaks for me about half the time, which is why I usually select the higher gauge. What parts of your machine, or team, or project are breaking under the strain. What can you do to minimize that? How do you raise the gauge of your work?

Points to Ponder

If you play a musical instrument, change something about it (use a different reed, re-tune your strings, use a mute, amplify it...) and play your favorite song. How does change for you to be more creative? What else can you do to increase your creativity?

Draw a picture of yourself (or your company logo, or your favorite cat...) using your non-dominant hand. What details can you miss and still make a recognizable picture? Can you still capture the essence of your message? What accidental lines or marks spark a memory or idea?

-- Doug Smith


WHO SAID IT?

"You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do."

Was it...

A. Jerry Garcia
B. Eric Clapton
C. Pat Metheny?

The answer is here.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Decide To Be Creative

What limits your creativity?

We could come up with lots of answers here. You might call them excuses. There's really only one thing that limits our creativity: ourselves.

You are more or less as creative as you decide to be.

No one can stop you. Nothing can stand in your way. You can use your creativity to overcome any barriers TO your creativity. You are your only limitation.

I am my only limitation to creativity.

Let's not stand in our way!

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Don't Let A Problem Stand In The Way of Your Goal

Have you ever realized that a problem was a problem long after it started being a problem?

It's easy to get used to some things. They could be minor changes. It might just slow you down. It's that construction zone on the way home that's been taking so long that you've gotten used to it and the extra five minutes it takes to arrive home. But it's there.

We can't solve every problem. There's not much you can do about that construction zone. But, many of the problems we encounter can and should be solved. Especially when the problem gets in the way of achieving a goal.

It may not be a problem until it gets in the way of your goal.

Once it DOES get in the way of a goal, find a way thru it, find a way to get to it, find a way to solve that problem.

Because you DO want to achieve that goal, don't you?

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Creativity Can Help You Stay Young

How young do you feel?

Not how old are you but how young do you feel? How we feel about ourselves has much to do with how healthy we are.

Why not feel young? Why not feel younger than we are?

Here's how I keep feeling younger - thru creativity. Making things. Writing things. Drawing things.

Coming up with new solutions to old problems is creative. Finding reasons to BE happy (rather than otherwise) takes a certain level of creativity.

Talking with others can even be creative. Instead of falling into a habitual pattern in your next conversation, try asking some creative and provocative questions. Questions like:


  • What would you do if you had to trade places with your least favorite person?
  • What are three ways you can think of to make your strongest relationship even stronger?
  • What problems have you not thought of yet that could change your life?
  • How many rooms should you have in your dream house?
You get the idea. Keep it fun. Keep it curious. And, keep it creative.

What's your next creative act?

-- Doug Smith