Take control of what matters most.

May 4th, 2012


Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. – Lewis Carroll

Outstanding leaders know the power of a positive mental attitude. They have developed habits of thought that tap into and leverage the energy of their own minds. They have learned to direct their thoughts to whatever it is they want to achieve. For them, everything is possible. They know their priorities are attainable. They envision what they want, plan for it, and then align their organizations to accomplish it.

Take control of the only things that really matter to your success: your thoughts and your attitude.





The 5 basic principles of leadership.

April 27th, 2012

The Inc. magazine article I posted a  link to Tuesday on Facebook – Geoffrey James’ “8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses” – found its way to my inbox today via email from DailyGood.org. Its arrival prompted a search in the Brain Food blog archives for my 2010 post on the basic principles of leadership. Some ideas are just worth repeating.

The Basic Principles

  1. Focus on the situation, issue, or behavior, not on the person.
  2. Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.
  3. Maintain constructive relationships with your employees, peers, and managers.
  4. Take initiative to make things better.
  5. Lead by example.

Whether you’re a boss, manager or team leader, being a good leader isn’t as much about skill as it is about the behaviors and attitudes that build trust and inspire others. There are two questions about you that matter most among the people working with you: Can I trust this person? Does s/he care about me? Your application of the basic principles should make it easy for them to answer in the affirmative.






Happiness is all the rage.

April 20th, 2012

Walking to an appointment yesterday, a little girl in a stroller passed me singing loudly “I’m so happy because I’m free.” The day before I sat on a subway train across from an ad banner with the headline “Sustainable Happiness,” promoting a 10-week course on how to discover the principles that lead to freedom and happiness. And earlier in the week I received an email invitation from author Shawn Achor to attend his weekend-long Happiness Advantage Retreat at a resort in upstate New York.

I’d been participating in the “Track Your Happiness” research project via an iPhone app for a couple of weeks, so I wasn’t surprised that the happy evidence of my mindset was popping up everywhere I turned. I signed up to participate, because I was curious about the questions I’d be asked that would rate my happiness levels. Not surprisingly, they’re similar to the questions I suggest my clients ask themselves occasionally throughout the day. Questions intended to sample their own mindset and gauge how their thoughts relate to how they feel.

What we think about and how we feel shape our physical experience. And happiness signals a strong energetic force. It’s an indicator of the positive energy that allows us to focus. And it’s been proven to trigger motivation, creativity, productivity and lead to success.

Take some time during the day to check in on your own mindset and energy. Ask yourself: What am I thinking about right now and how does it make me feel? Am I judging myself? What am I expecting to happen? What do I want to happen?

Happiness is in. And that’s a good thing, because happiness leads to success. I hope you’re eager to be in on that.

How lucky are you?

April 13th, 2012

How today – or any day – unfolds for you depends on your beliefs. So let Friday the 13th be a trigger to reflect on the beliefs you hold about yourself, your role at work, the relationships you have with co-workers, your present situation and your future. Be aware of them, write them down, examine them. Are they your beliefs, or have you accepted the beliefs of others?

Nothing is more important than your beliefs. They shape your feelings and your behaviors. What do you believe? What do you expect? Those are the things that create your experience which then, in turn, reinforces the belief or expectation.

A belief is only anything you accept as the truth. It is nothing more than a practiced pattern of thought, a habit of thought. But just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. You are always the leader of you. At any moment in time, you have the personal energy and freedom to reject limiting thoughts and beliefs, form others and change your experience. Lucky you!


Track your happiness.

April 6th, 2012

Do you ever ask yourself “What am I going to do with my mind today?” Well, if you can direct your thoughts, stay focused on whatever it is you’re doing, be conscious of your life experience moment to moment, and be present in your now, researchers conclude you’ll be a happy person. And if you have an iPhone, you can participate in an ongoing research project that tests those ideas while tracking short-term fluctuations in your happiness.

In a matter of minutes, you can sign up to join me and the more than 15,000 other people in 83 countries to report emotional states in real time. The experience-sampling app Track Your Happiness was built by Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard University. Since 2009 he and his collaborator, Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, have collected more than half a million data points, making this the first-ever large-scale study of happiness in daily life.

The study has found that no matter what people are doing, they are much less happy when their minds are wandering than when their minds are focused. And a major finding concludes that people’s minds wander almost 50% of the time, including time spent on the job. In future research Killingsworth plans to use this tracking technology in the workplace to find out what actually makes us happy at work. Early indicators are that happiness is not as dependent on a big salary or high-powered title as it is the moment-to-moment emotions of our experience.

So in this moment, I wish you a happy holiday weekend filled with as many focused, feel-good moments as you can muster.