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A powerful way to start 2018!

To me, there is nothing more exciting than the beginning of a New Year. A clean slate with the possibility of a major DO-OVER from the previous year. Yet there is also nothing so disheartening as to watch the months go by without much changing in your life. So years ago, I created a ritual to start the new year powerfully by “cleaning up” some of my regrets and distractions from the previous year, acknowledging all that I did accomplish and setting my intentions for the year to come. To me, it’s the perfect way to start each New Year. Here is how I do it if you think you’d like to give it a try. Get a journal or notebook that you can keep handy throughout the year (you will want to look at this often) and capture:   Top 25 Accomplishments from the Previous Year.    Sometimes I capture these throughout the year when I think of them, but the best thing for me is to look at my wall calendar where most significant events are captured. Items that you’ve tracked may include workshops attended, salary increases, weight loss, personal and professional goals accomplished, new activities, awards or recognition received. But don’t forget things like new positive habits picked up, bad habits eliminated, relationships renewed or strengthened. If you’re not too hard on yourself, you’ll find 25 easy to come up with.   Top 10 Distractions from the Previous Year. This is a tough one. Mostly because we don’t necessarily want to acknowledge what distracted us from our goals. (Also, this list is only pertinent if you have well-defined goals.) But this is also one of the most valuable exercises because it is a great reminder for the year ahead to not let the same thing distract you again. Ever since I started my business, many opportunities come my way. I am very grateful for these and in the beginning, when I was unclear about the direction of my business, I went down the path of quite a few opportunities that didn’t turn out to be right for me. I failed to evaluate them properly from the beginning. When these showed up on my list of distractions a couple years in a row (they all looked different at the time!) it was a huge lesson staring me in the face – and I got much better about letting erroneous opportunities take me off course. So capture your distractions. These may include other people, worries, conflicting priorities, lack of organization, or lack of boundaries.   Top 10 Goals for the New Year. This should be fun to complete. This is your time to plan the next year and what you want on your list of accomplishments at the end of it. This is not the time to beat yourself up over everything you didn’t complete last year. Let that stuff go. Resist putting it on your list again unless it’s something you really want to do. Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do for the longest time? For me, it was skiing. For YEARS, I’d been saying I wanted to ski. Living in the Northeast, I figured I’d better find a way to enjoy the winter. One year, I thought to myself, “Self, you’ve only got one more month to make it a reality this year”. I put the intention out there to find someone to ski with and within the hour a girlfriend of mine invited me skiing. I spent a few days in Holiday Valley right before the holidays and I loved it. So besides your professional goals (salary, new job, more clients, etc.) and...

[Tips] DISC Gift Giving Guide

One of the tenets of all major religions is a version of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as YOU would have them do unto YOU.” This may be a fine principle to follow with general acts of kindness, but it can be the kiss-of-death when it comes to gift giving.  Why? Because it’s all about you!  Getting your significant other the brand new iGadget that you’ve been dying for is likely to be met with that said gadget being used to look for future significant others when you are no longer around. So when it comes to giving the perfect gift, follow the Titanium Rule, “Do unto others as THEY would have done unto THEM.” Best way to do this?  Use their DISC Style as a guide.     If you aren’t sure the DISC style of your recipient, here are some style-proof gifts that just about anybody can enjoy: −> Candles, lotions and oils −> Portable power bank −> Planner / journal / notebook −> Massaging/warming seat cushion −> YETI Rambler Vacuum Bottle And when in doubt, don’t underestimate the appreciation of Starbucks or Amazon.com gift cards. One thing you can do to personalize these more “impersonal” gifts is to make a recommendation with them. With the Starbucks card, ask them to go with you and try your favorite drink or with the Amazon card, recommend a book you think they would enjoy. Happy...

[Self-Assessment] 16 Questions to Determine Your Shopping Style (and some tips to keep your sanity)

[Self-Assessment] 16 Questions to Determine Your Shopping Style (and some tips to keep your sanity) “How we do anything is how we do everything…” Behavioral research shows that behavior is predictable upwards of 90% of the time.  Meaning, that without a lot of thought and consideration, we usually do what we have always done.  Let’s see if how we shop is consistent with our DISC style. For each of the following statements, select the letter A, B, C or D if that statement describes the way you prefer to shop. Don’t think too long about a question; go with your first reaction.  Scoring is at the end. 1)    I tend to buy for everyone else before myself. (C) 2)    I power shop.  (A) 3)    I like things that come with a warranty or guarantee of some sort. (D) 4)    I love fun clothes. (B) 5)    I know what I want when I walk in and I don’t need help.  (A) 6)    I find I buy pretty much the same brands over and over. (C) 7)    I like other people’s opinions…even the sales-person.  It helps me to know they think something looks good on me. (B) 8)    I like to look “squared away.” I like to buy good fabric and tailored clothes. (D) 9)    I like shopping with my friends. (B) 10)  I like comfort and things which don’t jump out at people. (C) 11)  I despise browsing.  I mean, what’s the point if you’re not ready to buy? (A) 12)  I am cautious of outlet houses and discount stores, as the clothes may be seconds but not be labeled that way. (D) 13)  I like to budget 4 times a year for clothes. (C) 14)  I enjoy online shopping.  (A) 15)  I love Black Friday!  The buzzing energy of the crowd is exciting. (B) 16)  I check out many options on the web before I decide to buy. (D) YOUR Shopping Style: Add up you’re A, B, C and D’s.  Your most often picked letter corresponds to your DISC Style.   A’s = Dominance. You start early and make fast decisions, purchase it, and move on.  When all else fails, you give gift cards.  After all, you have many more tasks to accomplish than just shopping. B’s = Influence. You get into the holiday season and love all the parties and festivities.  You do most of your shopping the final few days before Christmas.   And who needs a list?  The last minute adrenaline rush makes it that much more exciting.   And forget about sticking to a budget! C’s = Steadiness. You want the holidays to be special, and you want just the right gift for everyone – something your family and friends will treasure and remember forever.  So you make your plan and get to work! D’s = Compliance. Your shopping was done long ago. You prepared your list, and researched the best deal on the internet, so as to get the best value.  Gifts of good quality, educational and practical are also at the top of your list. For tips on how to keep your sanity while approaching this holiday shopping season, keep reading… DISC Tips for Shopping Sanity Dominance TIP: Remember that this isn’t how the other three styles like to shop so the best plan is to shop alone or “divide and conquer.”  Drop the others off while you go do some other errands or activities.  That way, you aren’t impatiently waiting around for them imitating The Grinch. Influence TIP: To bring fun and a little structure to your shopping, find another High I friend who likes to shop as much as you and make a day of it.  Brunch, shopping, mani’s/pedi’s, more shopping.  You could be mostly done in a...

[DISC Wizard Q&A] How to keep everyone happy during the holidays

Dear DISC Wizard, The holidays are coming up and as you know, that means time spent with family who we may not have a lot in common with.  I find myself getting anxious just thinking about how to keep everyone busy and happy. ~ Sharon B. Dear Sharon, It was Ram Dass who said, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” To his point, family are some of the most dynamic relationships we have to deal with and the holidays give us ample opportunity to experience this first hand. So while I would first like to mention that it is not your sole responsibility to keep everyone happy (that really is an inside job, no? 😉 I will say that because different styles prefer different things, there is a way to mix it up so everyone gets a little of what they want at holiday time. DO AND DON’T ACTIVITIES FOR THE DISC STYLES DOMINANCE – Do vigorous activities of a competitive nature (think flag football, power shopping, chopping down the tree).  Don’t ask High D’s to miss their time at the gym even on a holiday because it may be their #1 stress reliever. INFLUENCE – Do socializing and fun people-oriented activities (think Charades or Pictionary, chatting with groups, posting pictures and recipes on social media).  Don’t give High I’s errands or chores where they will be alone for a long period of time. STEADINESS – Do plenty of downtime with family or alone (think hot baths, decorating, baking). Don’t expect the High S to be with others 24×7 without getting exhausted. COMPLIANCE – Do thinking activities and alone time (think chess, reading, playing video games).  Don’t suggest the High C’s be in charge of greeting everyone or engaging in a lot of small talk. If you find yourself playing hostess to a lot of different styles, it’s best to plan a mix of activities so everyone can find something they enjoy. Happy holidays! The DISC Wizard    ...

How to actually survive the holidays…

How to actually survive the holidays… This time of year, everyone encourages us to be thankful for the good in our lives.  Holidays, by their very definition, should be a time of reflection and gratitude. So how is it that this time of year sometimes becomes the most stressful of all?  Relatives to go see, parties to attend, extra meals to make, visitors, and let’s not forget – THE GIFTS! I grew up not celebrating the holidays for religious reasons.  That’s right, no holidays!  So I was in an interesting position – I had all this time off but no added work or obligations. My co-workers who knew this used to tell me how lucky I was.  I remember thinking, “How sad is that?”  Here they wait all year for this time of year and yet when it arrives, the stress outweighs the joy. As I left that religion, I wondered how my old beliefs would come together with my new beliefs – especially around holiday time.  Would I be okay with giving gifts (yes!), eating turkey on Thanksgiving (no problem here!), a Christmas tree in my house (so far, no). One thing I realized I wanted was a part of the traditional holidays – more time with family and friends, the fun of finding the “perfect” gift for someone – but didn’t want the stress and overwhelm experienced by the people around me.   The question was “Is that even possible?” Turns out, yes. However, I’ve needed to be very strategic about it.  Here are my tips for surviving the holidays this season: GIFT GIVING One thing I’ve done in the past, and will never do again, is buy a subpar gift for someone simply because I “have” to. It feels forced and deprives me of that warm and fuzzy feeling of giving in the first place.  There really is more happiness in giving than in receiving – when we find that perfect gift for someone. Now when I don’t find the perfect gift, my solution is to either make someone their favorite treat (chocolate, sugar cookies, etc.) or offer to take them out to lunch or dinner (on me) during the holiday season when they need a break.  What better offering than a gift of your time and attention? KEEPING RITUALS Now this is where I think most people get it right.  Many families have rituals they’ve followed for years.  There is something comforting about familiarity and consistency. Christmas Eve – For a long time, I spent Christmas Eve alone.  As I said, my family doesn’t celebrate and most of my friends had plans with their own families. So with the stores closed and no one around, I started watching holiday-themed movies.  I usually whipped up some “special” hot chocolate (I said I wasn’t a big drinker, not that I didn’t drink at all ;-), popcorn and watch back-to-back movies. My top recommend-ations: The Holiday, Love Actually and The Grinch. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – If you’ve never heard of them, you’ve probably heard their music.  Their live show is inspiring and electrifying.  I saw their concert six years in a row (they always come to Rochester at some point during the holiday season) and I’m never disappointed.   Just think opera, classical music, rock music, and holiday songs combined! “ME” TIME VS. “US” TIME One reason I think people get so crazed during the holiday season is there is so much time spent tending to others. There are many people who love the holidays just for this reason but admit to feeling a bit haggard once it’s over. It’s important to balance the time you spend taking care of others with the time you spend taking...

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