The Secret To Accomplish Big Goals is One Word. Learn How Here:

Write down your goals!

Write down your goals!

Here's a plethora of posts I wish to share with you, before I travel this week.  Happy reading!

Secret to accomplish your big, gigantic goals is one word:  Routine.  This has been key in my accomplishing so much this past year.

Elevator conversations:   You should kick them off.  Great article about expanding your skills.

While I enjoy being within 20 minutes of my Day Job, I do miss the productivity opportunities when commuting longer distances.  Here's how to be more productive on those long train rides.

Learning how to say NO is crucial to be a high-achiever. This is something I have struggled with in my life, and while I'm getting better, I'm not perfect.

How to have a winning life at work.  We spend most of our waking hours at our jobs.  This article shows you how to make the best of it.

Have difficult people at work, messing with your meetings?  Here's how to identify them, and deal with them.

Creating boundaries at work is a crucial skill for you to have.  I've also struggled with this, as documented in my book.

Little things make a big difference.  Follow these steps, and your career will serve you just fine.

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

Toys R Us: I Still Don't Want To Grow Up

Source:  Dallas Morning News / Stan Olszewski

Source:  Dallas Morning News / Stan Olszewski

Growing up, going to Toys Я Us was a very special treat.  My parents would take my brother and I to the Greatest Store On Earth On our birthday, and sometimes at the very beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  

As a child, I recall spending a long time roaming the various aisles of Toys Я Us (except the Barbie aisle.  No need to see that stuff!  Of course having 3 daughters has addressed my childhood of skipping the pink colored aisle.)

They had toys that no other store had.  There was no Amazon.com.  I didn't live near a Walmart.  K-Mart and Kresge's was the only game in town, other than the small toy section at Sears.  The annual Wish Book?  That was the book of gold to kids.  

Toys Я Us will always be a special place in my heart.

Fast forward to today, and we hear that the toy store giant has filed for Bankruptcy.

We've recently heard US President Trump blaming Amazon for hurting retailers.  While Amazon does have a strong competitive advantage on costs of product (study supply in demand in Economics, if you don't understand this principle.) Amazon is not to blame.

Consumers are. 

We the consumer want faster, cheaper, convenience.  Amazon and Walmart have done their part to address our wants.  Unfortunately, that cuts down sales at brick-n-mortar stores, to the point where we are seeing large, long-standing companies go bye-bye, and malls are closing left and right.

We the consumer are to blame.  

I'm a minimalist, so I don't overly participate in the consumer world as much as others do.  I look at this era as an era of transition and adjustment in retail, and with economics in general.

The industrial age has been in transition for decades, and it will be interesting to see what the workforces will look like in the next 50 years.  My hunch there will be some dramatic differences.

Keep learning new skills that are transferrable.  You can thank me later.

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

Success and Life. Posts You Should Read

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One of the keys to being successful is to constantly learn from others.  I found some articles that should prove beneficial for you to continue to grow.  Be well!

Five Different Kinds Of Success:  It's not about all the money.  After reading this article, you may find yourself more successful than you realize.

Why People Don't Respond To Your LinkedIn Inquiries:  LinkedIn is a great resource for people in the B2B or B2C world.  

The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Life:  I'm beginning to enjoy this site.

12 Crucial Lessons about Failure:  Key is to pick yourself up, learn from the experiences, and grow.

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

How to Balance Work and Home, Entrepreneur Style and other Useful Links

How To Balance Family & Creativity This article from Author Sara Alexander touches on the challenges when you are working on home and work life.  As someone in start-up mode of a practice, webinars, calls, etc are not in the normal 9-5 arena.  Having loved ones that understand this challenge is most helpful.

How Mindfulness Beats Stress and Job Burnout Wow, I wish I would've known about Mindfulness 8 years ago.  Maybe I would have avoided 369 Days.  I cannot stress enough (pardon the pun there) the impact stress and job burnout has on your bodies.  

Follow These 7 Steps To Be Successful Another article that mentions Mindfulness.  I'm noticing a trend here.

"I always feel like, somebody's watching me" Interesting post on what to do if you feel you're being set up to fail.

Speaking of Looking For A New Gig:  Don't start your job search without reading this first.

How to Heal the "Fear of Missing Out", aka FOMO FOMO attacks boundaries.  This post shows you how to get past them.

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

369 Days: A Blessing In Disguise

In May 2009, I had a heart attack.  While 8 years have passed, there are times when it seems like yesterday.  Then I reflect of what transpired after that cardiac event, and how those events have left a mark on my life, as well as the lives of loved ones and friends.

The heart attack, and the subsequent losses that took place over the 369 Days, are a blessing to me.

Yes, I'm thankful it happened.  

I was on a path to self-destruction.  I was burning the candle at three ends, which means I wasn't taking care of myself, and I wasn't putting my needs over the needs of work, and life.

If that cardiac event didn't happen, there's definitely a good chance that I would not be here today, writing this blog post.  I'd be long dead by now.  My artery was 90% blocked at one part, and 60% blocked at another part.  Over time that would have been closer to 100%, and based on that artery, chances for survival would be very low.

It was the ultimate wake-up call.  It forced me to STOP.  

Over the past 8 years, I've (slowly) learned to approach life differently.  The things and situations that I let impact me, I've thankfully created boundaries where those issues no longer affect me.

Easier said than done.  

Did I make these changes instantly?  Not at all.  I'm still making changes.  I'm further along than I was earlier this year.  Next year, I'll be further along than I am now.  I keep growing to improve myself.

Boundaries are crucial my friends.  (Re)Learn them.  Reach out to me so I can help you find your individualized boundaries plan.

Be well!

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

4 Mistakes You're Making on Amazon, and other posts this week

Get your copy today!  http://bit.ly/369DaysBook

Get your copy today!  http://bit.ly/369DaysBook

Here's the Breakfast Leadership inspired posts that will help you this week:

How to handle criticism like a pro.

Learning how to take advice can be difficult, if not near impossible for some.  We all want to do our best, so when we receive criticism, it can sting like a knife cut.  As a leader, be prepared to receive criticism often.  The key is to discern the criticism as being either constructive, or destructive.  

What's worked for me is to listen to the commentary (or read if it's an e-mail or written response to something you've said or written), and then pause.  Don't initially react.  Take the information, thank the person for their input, and respond if a response is warranted.  

Five Office Hacks for The Fall

Those familiar with my work know that I'm a planner.  My calendar is part of my DNA, and I schedule most aspects of my life.  For me, this allows me (almost) complete control of my life and what I know needs to be done.  These tips are great to do when starting a new season, or even a new week!

Four Mistakes You're Probably Making on Amazon

I'm an Amazon Prime member.  Much like Costco, I recoup the membership savings through the cost savings on some items, as well as the "free shipping."  Don't forget the TV shows on Prime.

I'm also using the Subscription service, so my toilet paper and mouthwash gets delivered to me every month.  Yes, I have TP delivered.  We live in wonderful times.  I'm not so lazy that I can't go to the store and buy my TP, but when you're trying to maximize your time and what you do with your life, would you rather spend time doing something that helps you grow, or spend time in the store buying toilet paper?  I rest my case.  

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

Top 3 Posts I Enjoyed This Week

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Even with the marketing pre-launch work of my upcoming book 369 Days, I still make time to look at various blogs to help me help you!

This post focuses on the strong lessons from failure.  I've had many failures in life, but I don't stay in Victimville, I take those experiences and move forward.  You should too!

Resilience is crucial to your life, and the more you know yourself, the better you will be.

Leaders are curious, and should ask great questions!

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

Houston Has A Problem. How We Can Help

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Hurricane Harvey (Tropical Storm Harvey at the time of this post) has caused catastrophic damage to the Houston area.  We are seeing countless stories of the damage the flooding is causing, and there are so many people that have either had to say goodbye to their homes, or they are staying inside, until the waters recede and they can start to assess the damage.

I know what it is like to lose everything.  When it comes down to it, we have our lives, family, friends, loved ones.  Stuff can be replaced.  People cannot.

Click on the image, to make a desperately needed donation to the American Red Cross.

Click on the image, to make a desperately needed donation to the American Red Cross.

My thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this storm.  

Be well everyone, and love one another.

369 Days Book - Chapter One

369 Days:  How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios provides a roadmap of a challenging year (plus 4 days) in my life, and inspiration on how to navigate through trials and tribulations, and come out of those experiences a better person.

Here's Chapter One, free of charge :)

Chapter 1: In the Beginning…

How does a kid who grew up in Pontiac, and Waterford, Michigan end up in Toronto, Ontario?

 I know, I know. Toronto, Canada? That frozen wasteland full of beavers and igloos? How did a guy who, for the first two decades of his life, never lived more than a ten-minute drive away from his parents’ place, end up in Ta-ronnah? (Pronounce that with a heavy Don Cherry accent.)

Sixteen years ago, we were still dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 (Ever notice that the Euros don't call it 11/9? Always seemed weird to me). I was working at an Internet start-up (you don't hear that phrase anymore) in downtown Chicago.

After many steps, multiple career changes, lots of moves (I hate moving), and lots of lessons learned, I ended up moving north of the border.

Now, here I am, in the land of poutine and Tim Hortons. (No, I didn’t miss an apostrophe there. It used to be Tim Horton's, but the apostrophe cost millions of dollars in printing, so the punctuation took it in the teeth, much to the chagrin of English teachers throughout the land.)

Oh, before we go much further, let me explain the stuff (in these curved brackets). I started using the (parentheses) in my writing long ago. I’m not sure why I use ‘em, but I'm guessing it has something to do with a written version of ADHD (I've always wanted one of those AD/HD shirts that look like the AC/DC band logo, but I don't want to offend people who genuinely suffer from the disorder).

Anyway, back to Pontiac, Michigan. Pontiac is named after Chief Pontiac (look him up—interesting guy), as well as the name of a "Generous Motors" (GM) line of cars, which they tragically eliminated in 2010.

The City of Pontiac is a classic example of putting all your eggs in one basket. When GM left town, so did the lifeblood of the city. Yes, people still live there, and there are pockets of viability, but it has never returned to the glory of yesteryear.

Of course, you could say that about every town. I don't think we're supposed to stay the same. We're supposed to change, try new things, explore, invent, and thrive. I'm thankful for my time and experiences in Pontiac. They shaped me, and they shaped how I deal with different cultures. Growing up in Pontiac, my school was about 75 percent African-American, 20 percent Caucasian, and 5 percent Hispanic. Thus, I was a minority in the eyes of society. I was too young to care.

 I only had the sixteen-count box of Crayola crayons as a child. I eventually would be bestowed with the infamous sixty-four-count box, with that piece-of-crap "sharpener" that didn't sharpen anything—but until that day, my color vocabulary was limited to the labels on those sixteen little tubes of wax.

One time, when someone said that my friend was black, I shot back, "he's not black, he's brown, and I'm peach, not white." I didn't know much about the labels society gave different groups of people, and I didn’t care. All I knew was that this guy needed to get his Crayola colors straight!

I still don't care what color you are. You're a human being, with a soul, a heart, a mind, hurts, joys, triumphs, and stories. You matter to me.

 I had a great childhood, a great brother, loving parents, and friends whom I still have to this day, nearly forty years later. I knew at an early age what I would likely do: become an accountant. It might sound boring to you, but it was the most exciting subject in the world to me! I knew I would enjoy this field, because I loved reading the backs of baseball cards (the 1978 Topps Cards are still the best set of baseball cards ever). I would look at the stats and figure out how they calculated those statistics. #NerdAlert

 I did well in school, and continued that way in college (there were a few semesters that were iffy, but I still passed!). My younger years were filled with adventure, and . . . well, you know what your teenage years and early adult years looked like. I am beyond thankful that social media did not exist back then. The things that happened would make Snapchat blush (I’m a good boy, Mom, honest!).

My first job out of high school, and throughout my college years, was with a CPA firm in my hometown. I spent eight years there, and the foundations that experience created continues to impact how I do things today.

In the mid-1990s, I got married, and my wife and I spent eighteen months in Florida, the Sunshine State. I was tired of the Midwest weather, and I wanted something warm and consistent. We got just that—mid-nineties temperatures for eight months straight! Winter was cooler, but still quite warm.

By fate, just when I started missing the change of seasons, I learned that the software company my employer used was hiring IT network installers in Chicago. Through my long-time buddy Mark, I was hired. I left Florida at seventy-two degrees, and arrived in Chicago to negative twenty-seven degrees—nearly a hundred-degree swing. What have I done? I asked myself as my teeth chattered in the subzero cold.

The next decade I was in the IT field, working for a large software firm, an executive recruitment firm, a division of the Big Three automakers, and then a large Internet market research firm. Back in the 90s, there were not enough IT personnel to go around, so switching jobs for pay increases was the norm.

Then the dot-com bubble went pop! and IT jobs started disappearing left and right. My wife and I had started a family, and I was looking for something a bit more stable than the IT world. Every company needs to keep track of spending, so I returned to the bean-counting world.

I worked for a small software and consulting firm in the Detroit area for four years. As my daughters were approaching school age, and because of the current economic struggles that Michigan was facing, we decided that Michigan, once again, would not be where we should stay. We explored moving back to Chicago, but family and friends were in Detroit, so we decided to move to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, which is right across the river. My wife is from Windsor, so that would be the gateway for me to immigrate to the Great White North.

Two years and several thousand dollars later, we moved to Canada. I received my Canadian citizenship 2011, so now I can vote in two countries. (Note: I will not have any political conversation in this book. It’s a no-win situation. I love everybody!)

After crossing the US-Canada border for work for three years, I finally found a job close to home in Windsor. The job market is limited in Windsor, so being an American didn’t help. They would rather employ a Canadian than an American. That’s understandable, but my personal perspective is different. I don’t care where you’re from. Can you do the job? Do you fit in our culture? You’re hired!

I saw an advertisement in the local paper for an administrator for a brand-new medical clinic. I looked at the details of the job, and thought, What the heck, I’ll go for it. It was around the corner from home, and the compensation was good.

A few weeks later the phone rang, and the organization wanted to meet me. So I interviewed with them. Then, there was a second interview, and they requested references. Thankfully, I had left most of my jobs on great terms, so I had rock-solid references from bosses, friends, and co-workers. The organization called them all. I guess they really wanted to make sure this American was all he was cracked up to be.

Apparently I was. They hired me. Eighty-five people applied for the role. They performed thirteen phone interviews, five face-to-face interviews, and three final interviews. I was the only person in the finalists who had zero healthcare experience. I didn’t even know what the heck an Autoclave was. (Note: It’s a really expensive dishwasher.) So I gave my notice, and I started my career in healthcare management. 

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

Winning Posts Week of August 13 2017

Available September 12th.  Pre-Order Today!  Click Here to Order.

In-between all of the pre-launch work on my new book, I still make time to look for growth-based articles on the Interwebbles.  Below are some posts that caught my attention this week:

 

7 Ways to Develop Daily Discipline

To be successful in your life, you need to have structure.  Going through life without at least some plan or organization is a recipe for struggles.

 

8 Morning Secrets of Highly Successful People 

This is a great companion post to my Create Your Successful Morning ebook ($19.99, or FREE if you sign up to my mailing list). Starting your morning the right way, will give you a better chance of being a champion of your day, and your life.

 

5 Ways to Read More Books

I love reading.  I read over 50 books in 2016, and each book has added value to my life.  This article helps you find those hours to invest in yourself.

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)

 

 

369Days Behind the Scenes of Writing A Book

November 2016, I decided it was time to make the commitment of writing a book, on a very challenging time in my life.

I've had the concept of this book for several years (the "year of worst-case scenarios" took place back in 2009 and 2010.). But actually moving forward with the process was spurred on by a series of webinars I had watched in October, on getting a book published.

It is said that everyone has a book in them, but most will never write one.  I will admit that this process has been a long one, although some writers take years to write a book.  

Between November and now, I've written a manuscript, a book proposal, had my book edited (Thanks Laura!), worked with a cover designer, worked on marketing (which is arduous for a former bean counter.)

I received a paperback proof of my book a couple weeks ago.  SURREAL.

From notes and concepts in my head, to a real, physical book was an emotional moment, to be sure.

For those of you that want to write a book, I can definitely give you some tips on what to do, and give you direction on costs (not cheap, if you want to do things the right way.)

Anyone that signs up for my newsletter (use one of the pop-ups to sign up, or send me a message in the send message box on the home page), will get the first 3 chapters of my book for free.

Stay tuned, and enjoy the ride!

Michael provides boundaries and leadership coaching to people that want to take their work lives back to an ideal state.  Scroll down to the bottom of this page, to request more information! 

Coming Soon: 369 Days - How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios

After 8 years, many pivots, changes and life lessons, I have put to words a very challenging period of my life.

I wrote 369 Days to share my story of losing everything that people fear to lose, in a year’s time.  This book will walk the reader through the losses, and how I came out of each challenge better and stronger than before.  The book will show people how to create proper boundaries in their life, so they can prevent significant losses in their own lives.

The book will be released on September 12th, so stay tuned for further details over the coming days and weeks ahead.

Be well!

 

How To Create A Successful Morning - Triage Your Calendar

This post features content from my How to Create A Successful Morning e-book, which you can get for free, by subscribing to my e-mail posts.

When I began my career, I played an accountant. As an accountant that would provide services to clients, we had to track our time, down to 15 minute increments (one firm I worked for billed in 12 min increments.) It’s a habit that many would hate, but I keep track of every day, using a calendar on my laptop that syncs across my devices. I look at my calendar frequently (maybe too frequently), to see what I’ve worked on, and what’s next on my plate.

For a successful day, you should look at the next day the night before. This will mentally prepare you (or scare you) of what you have to face the next day. I also suggest looking at a week view of your calendar, to allow you to batch like-items together (when possible.)

A deeper subject is when to schedule tasks, meetings, and so forth through your day. Most of us in management do have some flexibility on our schedules, but even if you are front lines, you can work with your bosses to establish the best times to meet. My next book on making your schedule match your inner life with go deeper into this subject, with tools on how to discover the best times to perform tasks, hold meetings, and down time, to stay in rhythm with your soul.

 

WANT BETTER MORNINGS?

Do you want a better start to your day? I have a free e-book on six easy steps to a better day, that I personally follow after I experienced a significant health scare. If you would like this free e-book, please click the link below.

Six Steps to a great Morning (Besides coffee)