Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman
There are simple ways to spice up your day.
This is a simple, but powerful loop that you can practice everyday as part of what you already do.
It will add zest and light your fire while you make things happen as you go about your day.
Change Your Ordinary Events Into Extraordinary Events
This is actually a follow up to Change Your Why or Change Your How, but makes it more actionable and takes it a bit deeper. I met with one of my mentees yesterday, a developer at Microsoft, and after taking her through a simple loop on how to add juice to her day, she suggested I share the approach more broadly with others.
It connects a lot of dots and puts positive psychology into action.
By using simple stories, connecting to values, and changing your language, you can turn an ordinary day into extraordinary results.
Your Thoughts Create Your Feelings
The first thing you need to know is that your thoughts create your feelings. Note that it’s not a one-way trip though, your feelings can inspire your thoughts too. However, if you know that your thoughts change your feelings, then the empowering part is knowing that if you change your thoughts, you change how you feel.
Of course, then the trick becomes how do you change your thoughts? To change your thoughts, you change your focus.
How do you change your focus? … You change the question. It’s as simple as asking yourself, “What’s the favorite part of my day?” or “What’s great about this?” or “What can I enjoy about this?”
Change Your Words to Change the Feelings
The next thing you need to know is that your words have “feelings.” They mean something to you.
Some words “feel” differently than others.
If you change your language, you change how you feel. For example, words like productivity or time management or mission might be boring, dry, or corporate speak for you. On the other hand, words like effective or success or adventure might lift you up.
or me, results is a powerful word. I prefer to do things that get results. I’m a believer that results talk while B.S. walks. You can’t argue with results.
Another word I like is adventure. Adventure juices me for a key reason: It’s one of my values.
Connect to Your Values
Connect to your values. Of course, first you need to find your values. When you know what your top values are, you can find simple ways to connect to your values.
For example, I’m a fan of adventure, so at the start of one of my projects I asked the team to create a movie poster for the project to help envision the end in mind.
Who’s the villain? … who’s the hero? … What will be a memorable scene? It was a quick exercise, but it inspired everybody to imagine an epic adventure before we even started the project.
You can connect to your values each day in a simple way. For example, first identify your three outcomes for the day or your three key results. For example, today my three key results are:
- Have a draft of a key document in hand for an upcoming review.
- Take away three insights from my training.
- Share a distilled set of insights on being a PM at Microsoft with a colleague.
Those are really the key results I need to accomplish today. They are a bit different today because I’m going to be in all day training, and then I meet with a colleague for a brain dump.
Turn Your Results into Simple Stories
Now it’s time for the juice part. I need to connect these results to my values. I can do so with one-liner stories:
- Create the ultimate collection of baseline scenarios for customer success.
- Take away three insights that change my game.
- Empower my colleague with new insights to get her best results for work and life.
What I’ve done is connected my three outcomes to a few of my values (achievement, results, helpfulness) using very simple stories. I’ll use these stories to drive my day.
If I find myself nodding off during training, I’ll challenge myself whether I have three new ways to change my game that I can apply to my work.
Conquer Your Day and Pave Your Way a Story at a Time
I love the fact that this approach puts you in control. You write the story of your life, one story at at time, one day at a time.
And you use the words and the metaphors that empower your for your best results.
A way to remember this is that one-liner stories can save your day.
It’s a simple way to go from victim to victory or from zombie to zest.
May you conquer whatever the day throws your way!
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