Just say “Thank You”!

Have you ever given a person a compliment – about an attractive sweater or a handsome suit – and received the response, ”Oh, this old thing. I just dragged it out of the back of my closet.” Or, have you received a compliment on an excellent work project or fabulous dinner and replied, “Oh, it was nothing. No problem. No big deal.” 

If you stopped and listened to what you and others actually say when given a compliment, you’d be surprised, appalled, and puzzled. Regardless of the underlying psychosocial reasons, this is quite a simple problem to solve. 

I’ll tell you what my mother suggests. Her approach is simple, straightforward, and ultimate satisfying to both parties. When you are fortunate enough to receive a compliment or an acknowledgment for a job well done, Just Say Thank You!

Thank you,


Are You Willing to Succeed?

A willingness to consider other points of view and new options is key to having a successful life. So why are many people reluctant to be open-minded? Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, fear of looking silly or stupid, or even a fear of change. Whatever the “reason”, the real risk of failure comes when you do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. So if you are about to approach a person, activity, or event and feel your mind close up like a clam – force yourself to stop and refuse to do what you’ve always done. Do something brand new and if you cannot think of anything, ask a couple of five-year-olds and listen to their advice. 



Enjoy Yourself!

Does the idea of enjoying yourself strike fear in your heart? If it does, you’re not alone – it does in mine! With that said, realize that enjoyment is a key factor in living a full, vital, and satisfying life. So give yourself a break . . . and enjoy a little. 

Now this doesn’t imply some trip down the path of hedonism, overindulgence, and sloth. It’s taking pleasure in what’s in your life – everything from smiling at the person from whom you buy the NY Times each day to savoring the aroma of your morning coffee.  Enjoyment is the sum of all of those little encounters in daily life that are “bad” on days when you’re bummed and “positive” on days when an attitude adjustment is neither required nor necessary. 

So proceed into today with an open mind, an open heart, and open arms. Then at the end of the day, tally your moments of enjoyment and give yourself a point for each one. Then take a bow for a “job” well done. 



Clean Up Your Room For Success

Are you working at a particular goal and still not making the progress you’d hope for? First, check to see if that goal is still important to you – something that you are ready, willing and able to commit to. If not, choose something else. 

However, if your goal is something you choose to have – perhaps a little pre-spring cleaning will help you get there. Looking for the connection between progress and tidying up? It’s not as odd as you may first think. 

At a physical level, clutter makes it difficult to find things, move through the mess, and is generally unsettling to your mind, body, and spirit. Organizing a pile of papers or cleaning out a closet will give you a sense of accomplishment, boost your confidence, and provide an opportunity to give away things you don’t need but that someone else might treasure. Commit to even 15 minutes a day and in a short time, you’ll rediscover corners of rooms and sections of tables you thought were lost forever. 

At a mind and spiritual level, internal clutter can cause distraction, memory lapse, and general malaise. One way to organize your thoughts, ideas, and feelings is to write them down. Any notebook or word-processing program will do, although you may choose to buy or create a special journal. Commit to writing for 10 minutes at the beginning or end of each day. Just write, DON’T JUDGE or edit. You’ll feel more open, alive, and joyful. Perhaps you’ll discover ideas that you will turn into the next New York Times best seller. 

So if open your heart, mind, and arms and clean up – even a little – your progress will grow at a rate that will surprise and please you. 

Thanks for reading,


“It’s Not How You Start, It’s How You Finish!”

After two really long weeks, I arrived home after a very hectic Saturday at work. I was ready for a movie and one found me. It’s called, “Last Holiday” starring Queen Latifah. She plays a shy and somewhat fearful woman, Georgia, who puts her goals, passions, and dreams on hold. Yet all this changes when she hits her head at work, goes for medical treatment, and is told that she has three weeks to live. 

Fortunately, this is not true, but Georgia believes she is dying and gives herself a wild and luxurious holiday. She treats herself to first class everything – including a change in what she believes about herself. As she changes herself at the core, everything around her responds with generosity, respect, and magnificence. 

What struck me is how I live as less than I truly am – just like Georgia did at the beginning of the movie. It’s impossible to live happily at less than full capacity. Shrinking from we truly love, dream about, and have the passion to do is a crime to yourself and to the many who could benefit from the talents only you have. 

So this year, I am living a bit more each day according to my big time goals – some I will reveal sooner and some later. I would  love to know how you are stretching beyond what you previously thought was possible – how you are pursuing your big time goals.  I hope you share them.  You could encourage and inspire many – including me. 

We Need Are Your Greatness NOW! 

Thanks in advance,


Dream. Do it now. Be Done!

Through the ages, philosophers, gurus, and success experts have claimed that they have “The Answer” to indisputable personal and professional achievement. While many have ideas, motivation, and wisdom to impart to us, the package often requires Herculean commitment, vast stores of willpower, and an ability to sift through more complexity than I have the willingness or patience to handle. And if the system doesn’t “work” – it’s not viewed as a systems failure, but a lack or defect in the person attempting to use it. The net result is a confidence drain. 

To me, this is not an acceptable outcome.

So, I began to study – not of the marketers of success – but of real people who became successful on their own terms.  I noticed a three-step process that they intuitively use. 

1.     Dream. It’s crucial to have goals – concrete, measurable, and win-win – with steps that are doable beginning today. They must be your goals – not a friend’s, parent’s, partner’s – or something that you “should” do. Choose goals important to you that inspire, motivate, and are a source of celebration when achieved.

2.    Do it now. It’s time to start today. It’s doesn’t matter how small the step is, just that you do it. Refrain from comparing your actions to anyone else’s. It’s counterproductive and generally useless. Take actions that you are ready, willing, and able to take and that you will feel good about when they are done. This can be as simple as making a phone call to someone who can help you to spending 15 minutes a day until your business plan is completed.

3.    Be Done. When you are about 80% through with a goal, plan the next one. It will be your impetus to plow through the last 20% and not refine yourself into oblivion. Attention to detail is great unless it becomes perfectionism run amuck. Once you complete a goal, celebrate the success, rest on your laurels for about 20 minutes, and then go on to create your next success. 

As you Dream, Do it now, and Be Done, I’d love to hear about your successes. That’s what keeps me inspired.



Are Your Questions Making You a Winner or a Loser?

Most people “obsess” with finding the right answers. While solutions are very important, they are heavily influenced by the questions we ask. 

Think about how different your response would be to – “How do I manipulate this idiot at work to do what I need?” versus “Where has (you can fill in the blank with the person’s name) at work helped me in the past and how can I build on what has worked (even a little) before?” The second question will help you search for something about the person what has even a tiny bit of redeeming value, while the first question leads nowhere other than to complaints, gossip, and overall negativity. 

This approach is also effective for person matters. Again, think about the different reactions a person would have to – “How will a fat couch potato like me get in decent shape?” versus “Where can I 10 minute walk today?”  When I have asked myself that first question, I immediately climb back on the couch under a thick quilt – which can be fun, but doesn’t help me with my fitness goal. Answering the second question at least gets me moving.

Remember regards of the questions you asks, answers will come. The thing about your brain is that it will search for an answer and the data will influence how you feel about yourself, you motivation to accomplish your goals and dreams, and how happy you are right now. So instead of searching for the perfect job, diet, or relationship – spend some time polishing your questions. I bet you will feel happier and be on the road to achieving those things that you really want.



Support is More Than Spanx

Sarah Blakely, CEO and founder of Spanx, is a great inspiration of what is possible with vision, determination, and tenacity. She created a line of undergarments for women (and I hear that there is a new line of garments for men) that supports their midsection with great comfort and a cleaner, leaner image. This is awesome – some would say essential, yet I would say incomplete.

I am a big believer that support can come from make people, places, and things. In fact, I believe that encouragement and support is like a huge buffet. It is a veritable smorgasbord of ideas, comfort, and cheerleaders who can help you advance your goals and dreams, get through rough spots, and give you hope for the future.

There is one thing about support of any kind; you usually have to ask for it. People in our lives are usually not psychic and often don’t want to intrude. You may even need to tell them what you need. They will appreciate you for this and  this way they don’t have to guess – and horror of horror guess wrong and make things worse.

So while Spanx give your support and confidence with the way you look, the people in your life whom who allow to support you boost your heart and spirit – and by helping you, they gain encouragement and hope, too.



Go for the Gratitude

It’s so easy to see what doesn’t work in your home, work, school, and community and then share your negative findings with anyone who will listen. I have certainly been known to do this – to my detriment. Yet to be truly happy, respected, and credible, it is essential that you go for the gratitude.

What does this actually mean? Going for the gratitude requires that you approach each person and situation with a broad sense of appreciation. Then find ways to express your gratitude for the great things that you see – from something simple like making a phone call just to say hello or writing a note to a more elaborate gesture like a luxurious dinner or two tickets to a sporting event. Let you imagination, heart, and budget be your guides.

For the next 30 days, Go for the Gratitude and notice how your life changes. Then report back.



There is No Such Thing as a Back Up.*

 Most people make sure they have a back up for everything – from an extra tube of toothpaste in the pantry to a spare tire in the trunk of the car. This is clearly prudent.

Yet a back up for your job or significant other could derail your career and life. For every person or job you have or pursue as your plan B, your “back up” is someone else’s first choice.

Just think about how you behave for your first choices – personal and professional. It’s as if there is no other person or job in the world for you. That’s your message – and the passion in which you deliver that message, with your words and actions, makes you incomparably attractive.

Now you will of course continue to have backups. Just be sure to genuinely convey in what ways they are “The One.” This will inspire your enthusiasm, mobilize your talents, and increase your happiness and success.

Have a great week, Anita

*Inspired by a Chicago Booth alumnus’s keynote on Saturday