Remember when we talked about how you do anything is how you do everything? Today’s quote is:

“Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”
~ Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Swami Sivananda left a medical practice to become a monk. He had many disciples including Krishnamurti. Also on his quote bio, “…He wrote more than 300 books on Yoga and spirituality. He died in 1963.”

That’s cool! “More than 300 books!”

Like Judi says here:

“Some people think planning and flexibility are two sides of a coin. I disagree. I think in many respects planning can enhance our flexibility. I’ve always experienced this in Software Development. …

I recently experienced it in my personal life. We go to the Indy 500 every year with a large group of friends. We have been doing this for 14 years, so we have the routine down. This year we had quite a few curve balls thrown at us, and because we had done this so many times before, and planned well, there were no issues. … Because we had a plan to start with, it was easy to adjust.”

Judi also wrote in another post that she had a 3-step daily method for blog writing at one point this summer:

  1. Spend 10 minutes writing a new post, and leaving it in your “Drafts”
  2. Spend 10 minutes editing yesterday’s post
  3. Spend 5 minutes commenting on someone else’s blog

What I like most about that is there is progress on every level. #1 – Progress in starting something. #2 – Progress in finishing something. #3 – Progress in connecting with bloggers.

It’s a routine, and it’s a routine that moves things forward.

When I coach people, I nearly always make sure to have all the stages of this process: we start with some physical warm-up, then decide on an agenda for the call, then touch on general and specific topics, and we end with actionable steps for the week. It’s a routine. It’s a ritual. It holds a lot of pieces in it. We’re always working on physical and work-focused goals. And we’re always consciously or unconsciously measuring those goals. We always have actionable steps. Nearly always have some mind exercise and some body exercise.

Small steps, Ellie, small steps.

Prize goes to the first person to guess where that quote is from without searching for it online!

I routinely think:

  • What is the next big win?!?!
  • Where can we do new, interesting things?!?!

I think about this for my career coaching clients – “Where can they have the most impact? Where can they move to what they most want?”

I think about this for myself – “What’s the most effective thing for me to do this week to move forward for next week? What can I do tonight that’ll make me better during the hoops game? What can I do to make the most exciting experience ever for this community I’m working with?”

Margaret Greenberg showed me some interesting keys to progress recently. You may remember Margaret from her Margaretisms. You may also have seen her journalistically-marvelous article on Toyota’s positive business practices in today’s Positive Psychology News Daily.

Margaret and I and two colleagues did a radio program together a few weeks back. I had sent out the questions for us to answer as a group. One afternoon, Margaret had a little extra time, and she replied to each question in detail, and sent them back to me. “So what?” you might be saying. “Big deal? She prepared for the program.” Yes – a month in advance!

So what happens in your brain when you complete a step of a project?!

Well, ACTUALLY, that was the subject of my Masters thesis at UPenn in ’06. What happens once you get some movement towards a goal is that the goal moves to your subconscious thought. And then, it actually PROGRESSES within your subconscious thought – as long as you have helped it out and put it there with enough ammunition – with enough detail and information for your brain to be able to mull over that thought. Some of that thinking continues to go on under your conscious level.

A lot of that thinking is called Level D thinking, and often when your consciousness meets some of those thoughts that have culled from the subconscious progress of the thought – often, then you have an intuition about the problem at hand.

So, one of the things that Margaret is doing by allowing herself to prepare for something early is that she sets her subconscious brain to help her think about those thoughts. She also REMOVES STRESS at the last minute. Finally, she allows herself to do projects that are very good, and thus actually get them done rather than seeking perfection. Have you heard the phrase, “The great is the enemy of the very good”?

I was once riding on an Amtrak train a decade ago, and came across an article that was titled or subtitled, “Discipline Gets You Freedom.” And I thought about it then, and still believe it now. It’s what gets me to the finish line – the discipline, the slow and steady.

And to me, that means something very practical:
* Doing something for 15 minutes to two hours each day.

That’s it. You may remember it from these posts on how to accomplish anything and on expertise being trainable. Literally, that is the slow and steady. Doing it each day.

So here I am again. :)

There’s a group I used to visit a lot that’s stopped having discussions recently (the Happiness Group), and in that group, there were a lot of discussions of what Happiness is. FYI, here’s an overview of the group’s best hits (Favorite Posts 1 and Favorite Posts 2)

I know there’s a lot here – choose one or two to check out. I just wanted to get the phrases and the links out for reference and because they’re about a time and a place.

Here are some oldies but goodies about what people said:
Happiness Is … PLAY!
Happiness Is … Flow
Happiness Is … Learning from Adversity
Happiness Is … Endorphins
Happiness Is … Knowing It’ll Work out in the Endfun little one!

Happiness Is … Doing New Thingssee articles by me, Kathryn Britton, and Sherri Fisher
Happiness Is .. Exploring Every Axis (i.e., Expectations Management)
Happiness Is … Having a Tail

Happiness Is… Putting Things In Motion
Happiness is Memorable

Happiness Is… Knowing YOUR Boundaries

Happiness Is.. No Drama
Happiness Is… Listening to Your Body

Happiness Is … A Study
Happiness Is … Your Own Darn Behaviors
Happiness Is… Being Curious