Some questions I will be asking on “Live! With Lisa Radio”:

  1. Once I have a goal, I can usually plan how to reach it
  2. I have personal standards, and try to live up to them
  3. I can usually find several different possibilities when I want to change something
  4. I have trouble making plans to help me reach goals
  5. I have so many plans that it’s hard for me to focus on any one of them
  6. It’s hard for me to notice when I’ve had enough (alcohol, food, sweets)

1 point each for numbers 1-3. -1 point for numbers 4-6.

These are from a self-regulation questionnaire. Source: A psychometric analysis of the self-regulation questionnaire
Kate B. Carey*, Dan J. Neal, Susan E. Collins. Addictive Behaviors 29 (2004) 253 – 260.

Business Week

Here’s the story online:

If you want to leave comments at the article, please feel free to. Would love to see them.

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An excerpt:

Once an entrepreneur knows his or her strengths, it’s time to put them to use. That’s what Melanie Morlan, owner of, a wellness and athletic training company in Spokane, Wash., needed to do. She spent a decade working with the U.S. Olympic Committee and professional cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, before taking time out to raise her son.

She wanted to reenter the workforce by building a larger consulting practice than she’d once had, offering nutrition counseling, coaching in weight loss and stress reduction, and building a Web site and blog. But she couldn’t get started. “I’d get scared and set up roadblocks,” she says, telling herself she’d never succeed and ignoring her to-do list. She eventually called on Senia Maymin, a coach and, like Pollay, a graduate of Seligman’s program. Maymin [Editor-in-Chief at] also holds an MBA from Stanford University, and she knows family business and entrepreneurship firsthand, having worked alongside her father and brother at their hedge fund and co-founding three tech startups. Maymin helped Morlan exploit her strengths, of which creativity is first. So if Morlan lost a valuable client or made a bad decision, instead of spending the afternoon moping, she would turn to designing and building her Web site. “Creativity stimulates me,” she says.

Coach Maymin delves into this with her clients, many of whom seek her out when they are between ventures. She says that to be able to get routinely into the mental state that Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (pronounced “cheeks sent me high”), another founder of positive psychology, calls “flow”—complete absorption in a task—entrepreneurs must craft a workload that’s challenging but not too tough. Its demands should fully use an entrepreneur’s abilities, the same way endurance athletes train just at their physical limit. “In the athletic domain, everyone can see it,” she says. Psychologically, too, “self-regulation is a muscle you can train over time.” She assigns her clients a small, daily exercise challenge each week, based on research that says if you accustom your body to pushing just past its comfort zone toward ever-retreating goals, “you can do the exact same thing in your company”—push past your comfort zone and achieve goals once thought to be out of reach.

Senia’s twitter profile for updates on happiness, jobs, and entrepreneurship.

Hi folks,

I have a friend who will be teaching a day on social media in a business school. What references should I point my friend to? (Good ideas are about the power of social media, best ways to use it, great case examples). THANKS! Would love all suggestions, seriously!

Here are some I already recommend:





Updated (2-16-09 10pm ET):
I asked for more advice on twitter, and here are some case studies of social media:

  • Conan O’Brien takes on Boron, the fifth element:
  • If you’re a girl wearing a red shirt in your profile, guys will choose you more often. (NYT)
  • I figured out a really good metaphor for writing academic papers: it’s the same as writing a patent. It has a specific format, you have to organize the needed information, and the goal is to make the steps the experimenter took transparent and replicable. Nice. That makes it all make sense.
Posted in All

A few questions:

  1. 1) If left to your own devices, would you eat the dessert at around 6pm, and then have dinner later around 8pm or so OR the other way around?
  2. If you have two credit cards overdue (one has $300 due and the other $1,200), which do you make payments on first?
  3. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up or get to work: check email or attend to the most important things?
  4. Do you prefer to exercise in the morning or later in the day?

What do you think today’s post is about?




It’s about finishing!

negative imageI have a presentation to give, and I’ll tell you my style – I’m not sure it’s the best style. I finish the thing that is quickest to finish and then move on to the harder part. That way, part is already done.

  • I exercise in the morning – or I feel guilty toward myself until I do.
  • I eat veggies first – except on the weekends! I am like a negative image of myself on the weekends! I do everything the opposite – no exercise, lots of sweets. Two different people: weekend Senia and weekday Senia.
  • I pay off the easier to pay off due amounts first. So in the case above, it would have been the $300.
  • BUT … I check email first. Just to make sure there are no fires. And… this is probably one big mistake because people are different, and people are productive at different times. I am productive early mornings and late afternoons. I should be – for productivity reasons – going straight at the papers and research in the morning, and then doing the emails as a fun break around a later breakfast. So on this email/good work habits spectrum, I know where I am, and I know where I want to work towards. I sound to myself on this post like Dave Seah and his productivity tips! That’s cool!

I’m not even certain these are all on the same spectrum. I would assume these are the easier steps (exercise early, eat veggies, pay off $300, and don’t check email), but I do the opposite on the last one. How about you? What do you do? 1) Exercise, 2) veggies, 3) pay off amount, 4) email or prioritized work?

I like to finish. One year, my NY resolution was about finishing. Since I like finishing, I like learning tricks and techniques to finish. One of them so far is doing the easier thing first, and then the harder thing.

I’m still working this out – – –
. . . I think it’s the same as being a good guest: care about the host, about other guests, about being clear, about a nice good-bye, and about having “a-ha” moments.

  1. Lisa WexlerCare about the host of the show! Find out what the host is interested in. What aspect of your topic he/she most wants to talk about. I think a good radio host is like a good lawyer – this person will lead you through the right questions to make a compelling case for the listeners! Plus, you’ll have more fun is this interview is not like all the other interviews you’ve done (it never is!). You’ll have more fun if you speak to the host ahead of time: send a few bullet points or talk on the phone. Just get a sense of what’s fun for the host. If the host is having fun, the listeners are having fun!
  2. Care about your listener – help them. Prepare info for them. Before I went on this radio show with Live! with Lisa host Lisa Wexler, I put together some reference materials for listeners and posted it on my blog. (Because with radio, you may not have time to write everything down).
  3. Care about being clear – simplifying, repeating, and summarizing. Being clear in audio format means speaking not too fast and definitely not too slow. It means simplifying a message into the core ideas and not into all the information you know about that topic. This is really, really hard for me. The authors of “Made to Stick” call this “The Curse of Knowledge.” Trying to explain ideas to friends helps you simplify them for future re-telling. : )
  4. salsaCare about a good ending. There’s a concept in positive psychology called the “peak-end rule,” which states that people remember the high point and the end of most events. So your last vacation – what do you remember most? Likely the peak experience and the end. This means that as guests, we’ll want to leave on a great note. Just like if you’re dancing with someone at a salsa club, you will remember how that dance ended. End the show on a fun note.
    This also means “care about the time.” The first radio show I did about positive psychology was 15 minutes (that means 11 minutes if you count the commercials). I had prepared a fun walk-through of the ABCDE Resilience method for getting out of a slump, and I got the C part of ABCDE by minute 10. I summarized D and E, and did not have a great ending that time. C’est la vie.
  5. a-haCare about “a-ha” moments. Think about when you’ve gone to a party that you’ve really enjoyed – just a few people at dinner for example. Typically, there was something that resonated with you – some “a-ha” thoughts. “A-ha” thoughts don’t happen with a gaggle of words. Care about pauses, questions, and time to think. Care about what Kathy Sierra calls the “oh cool! / oh sh#t!“/ two words of passion response: if your listener thinks it’s really cool or a really big mistake, he or she will remember it much clearer – that’s how the brain works.

If you’re a rock star, also keep these optional mastery-level techniques in mind:

  • Come to the interview with THREE STORIES. People like stories.
  • Know in advance what your two-three summarizing points will be – people will only remember a few take-aways, especially on radio. One of these can be mentioning a resource or website for people about the topic you just discussed.
  • Make fun of yourself in some way. Yes, you’re on the show as an expert, but show vulnerability. Show that you’re a real person because you are. And that makes you much more approachable through the radio.

Have fun! Let me know how it goes.
All of the above applies to being a guest in general.

In order for people to really get you (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE KATHY SIERRA POSTS):

Group dynamics:

Brain functioning news that can help you be a more effective/efficient/productive/happier person:

Her posts that you can use for writing your book: