Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Simple Steps to Forming Better Expectations!

Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck in negative thought patterns that dampen your expectations? You know the kind I mean, where you start expecting the worst possible outcomes. Have you ever thought or said: ‘I don’t think I can make this work, or I seriously doubt that I can pull this off.”

This is a common mindset that often proves very difficult to change even after you finally decide that you’ve had enough. That’s because the negative thoughts behind the negative expectations tend to breed and multiply like a malicious virus in your internal computer.

The good news is that turning a negative thought pattern into a positive one simply requires a little bit of patience and persistence. You just need to make a conscious effort for a short time until the positive thought process begins to take over.

3 simple steps to begin forming positive expectations

1) Develop self-awareness to recognize negative expectations. One problem with negative thoughts is that they often form below your conscious level of awareness. You can get so used to them being in your head that you actually hardly notice them anymore! To turn this tide of negativity around, you’ll have to develop a stronger level of self-awareness. One good way to start is by performing an attitude check-up several times a day. Pay attention first to how you feel. If you’re feeling positive and productive it’s an indicator that you’ve been thinking positive thoughts.

However, if you notice that you’re feeling irritable, pessimistic or stressed, you’re probably focusing more on negative thoughts. When that happens…

2) Challenge and change the negative thoughts. Believe it or not, it is fairly easy to challenge and change negative thought patterns and expectations with a little focus. For example, if you find yourself feeling doubtful about your ability to finish your work on time, you might engage in some encouraging self-talk. For example, you might say: “Okay, so I’m a bit worried right now, but really everything is under control. I’m strong, I’m smart and I am definitely capable of finishing this project on time. I just need to focus, do my best, and everything will work out fine.”

Even though your circumstances have not changed, your attitude certainly has. This type of self-talk can get you thinking and feeling in a much more positive direction.

3) At the same time, while you’re changing negative thoughts to positive ones, work daily on developing a general positive expectation habit. Each day when you wake up, affirm confidently, “Today is going to be a great day because _________! I feel fantastic about being able to _________.” Fill in those blanks with three specific reasons for holding positive expectations about your day. Make them realistic and achievable so that your reality aligns with and affirms your positive expectations.

Change your perception, change your reality

When you encounter obstacles or problems, try to view them as opportunities to learn, grow and strengthen your overall perception of yourself and your abilities. Perception is always 99% of the game! If you simply work on shifting the way you look at the experiences of your life, you will naturally start forming more positive expectations.

How do you push aside negative thoughts?
Do you have a favorite “positive expectation” tip to share?

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance.

Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

5 Ways to Avoid Taking Anyone or Anything for Granted!

The ability to adapt to change is a great asset in this ever changing world. In fact, those who are able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and stay ahead of the curve are often thought of as cutting edge. In some cases, this ability can even mean our very survival.

You probably also know those who are resistant to making any kind of new adjustment, unless they are forced to do so. We might describe them as stuck in their ways. This mindset often results in being way behind the curve, instead of ahead of it. So being able to recognize the need for a change, and quickly adapt to it, can definitely serve us well.

The other side of adaptability

It’s amazing how fast something new can become routine. We start a new job, make a new friend, or learn a new skill, and two weeks later it’s just part of our life. Have you ever marveled at how fast newness seems to wear off?

When you buy a new car, how often do you wash it and then stand back just to admire its design? How about six months later, does it still get the same amount of attention? You see what I mean? We get used to things really fast. This is how adaptability works. You see a need for change, you adapt, and you move on. The challenge becomes the norm, and everything new eventually becomes common place.

Is there a downside to being so adaptable?

The problem with adaptability is that once the newness wears off, it’s real easy to start taking things (and people) for granted. That shiny new car that we thought so much of becomes last year’s model. That exciting new job becomes the grind. And if we aren’t careful, that amazing new relationship in our life gets way less appreciation.

Of course, we like to think “that’s not going to happen,” especially when it comes to that special relationship. But it does happen, and we’ve all seen it happen. Maybe it’s even happened to you! That’s where the old saying comes from: “I never realized what I had until I lost it.” The truth is, they realized it at some point, but then the newness wore off and they forgot.

Keeping things new!

What is it that allows us to continue appreciating something, or someone, even after the newness wears off? Really, it boils down to two important things – GRATITUDE and FOCUS. And the secret here is that one feeds the other. If you focus on the wonderful qualities of someone, then you can’t help but feel grateful for having them in your life. And if you are grateful, then you will take the time to focus on their wonderful qualities. See how that works?

Just so you know, this also works the other way around, so be careful. The more you focus on someone’s imperfections, the more fault you will find and the less gratitude you will feel. So if you want to keep your relationship alive with feelings of appreciation and gratitude, focus on the good and avoid fault finding. In reality, we all have plenty of faults and we appreciate it when others don’t shine a spotlight on ours.

Take a look at your own appreciation levels

Are there important aspects of your life that aren’t receiving the level of appreciation they deserve? We could ask this question with regard to people or material possessions. Even though the concept applies equally to both, I will focus on people for the moment. For some reason, familiarity can easily obscure our estimation of the people closest to us.

Here are 5 strategies we can use to avoid the tendency of taking these people for granted, and keep our appreciation alive.

1. Remember. The people who are closest to us are in that position for one or more reasons. Do you remember what qualities attracted you to them in the first place? How often do you take the time to appreciate those special qualities? Remembering why that person came to be part of your life can help keep your appreciation for them alive and healthy.

2. Recount. As long as you are thinking about how special they are, why not mention it? Not only will they appreciate your expressions, but verbalizing your positive feelings will also serve to reinforce them in your heart. Our nervous system takes many of its cues from the words that come out of our own mouths.

3. Notice. Do you still notice the many ways that those special qualities manifest themselves? It’s entirely possible to remember what attracted you to that person, and still fail to notice their current expressions of those same qualities. Living in the moment helps us to really see how valuable others are to us. Appreciation is a real time activity.

4. Respond. We respond with appreciation through personal interaction. When someone you care about is doing something that you appreciate, can they sense your approval? Does your response send a clear message of approval and appreciation? Whether it’s a smile, an appreciative comment, or a helping hand, giving positive feedback is a form of approval.

5. Attitude. Do you have the attitude of gratitude for those special people in your life? Do you count them among your blessings? If so, then the four steps above will come easily and naturally for you. However, if it’s a struggle for you, try spending some time each day thinking about how grateful you are to have these special people in your life, and why. Never underestimate the power of gratitude.

Newness is all about perception

Familiarity does not need to diminish our level of wonder and appreciation. My friend and his wife have been together for almost 26 years, and I am still in awe over how amazing they are together. He has told me on more then one occasion, "In my heart that sense of newness is still alive because I can never quite get used to the fact that such a wonderful person is in my life."

We can all cultivate this kind of appreciation. Applying the 5 strategies above will help you keep things new while avoiding the tendency to take anything, or anyone, for granted.

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance.

Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are you Building a Castle or just Hauling Rocks?

There’s an old story about a man who walks by a construction site and sees three workers, each pushing a wheelbarrow holding one enormous stone.

Out of curiosity, he asks one of the workers what they are doing. “What does it look like?” he says with a sneer.  ”I’m just hauling rocks.”

Unsatisfied with that answer, the man asks the second worker with a wheelbarrow the same question. Without even bothering to look up, this man says “We’re putting up walls.”

Frustrated, the man tries one last time. “I say there,” he asks the third worker, “can you please tell me what you men are doing here?” Unlike the other two, this man stops, puts down his wheelbarrow, wipes the sweat from his forehead and says with a big smile, “We are building a castle and it’s going to be magnificent .”

Perception makes all the difference

Here are three different men; all doing the same work, but one says he is hauling rocks, one says he is putting up walls, and one says he is building a castle. This story says a lot about the attitude that each of us bring to our lives, or could bring to our lives if we were willing to change our perspective.

For example, I help people create positive change through writing and coaching. One of the reasons I do these things is to meet my financial overhead and to put food on the table. So, viewed strictly from that perspective, you might conclude that I’m just hauling rocks.

At the next level, my objective is to build up my coaching practice, increase the traffic to my blog, and eventually sell my books. The more successfully I  do those things, the more readers and clients I attract. This, in turn, increases the performance of the various aspects of my business. When viewed from this perspective, you could say that I am putting up walls.

But the real motive and objective of my writing and coaching is to help people from all over the world to achieve and maintain a very high level of personal excellence. When I stay focused on that, I feel like I am building a magnificent castle while also meeting my lesser goals at the same time.

Don’t settle for mediocrity

Idealists might say that achieving and maintaining high levels of personal excellence has nothing to do with building a castle. They are mistaken. Oh sure, you can improve yourself, express your opinions, or rally around a cause without a commitment to excellence. But you won’t affect much meaningful change in the world or create a life that’s comparable to a magnificent castle.

That’s because personal excellence is not about showing off or beating the competition. Excellence is about having high standards and a healthy sense of self-esteem.  It’s a personal commitment to become the best you can possibly be. It liberates you from the crowded field of mediocrity allowing you to stand out, rise to the top, and shine!

You simply can’t reach your potential or live your life to the fullest if you spend your days making excuses, living by low standards, and doing just enough to get by. No one ever achieved excellence by exhibiting mediocre behavior or by accepting it from the people they surround themselves with.

Choose excellence and create your magnificent castle

A commitment to personal excellence in every area of your life is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, black or white, young or old, handsome or homely, educated or not. If you focus on excellence, and never make an exception, you WILL rise to the top!

Personal performance excellence creates a sense of freedom, security, and peace of mind. It allows you to inspire and help others, to do and be what you want. It enables you to follow your dreams, to use your life the way you choose, and to live and work on your own terms.

A commitment to excellence gives you dignity and fills you with immense personal satisfaction. That’s why every man and woman has the right, and I believe the responsibility, to pursue excellence and to become the best possible version of themselves.

When my work empowers people, when it gives them direction, comfort, hope or peace of mind, I feel a great sense of satisfaction. It makes me feel like I’m building my castle.

Apply this same line of thinking to everything you do!

Here is a very special opportunity to make some real progress on you own magnificent castle. Grab your FREE 20 minute consultation and let’s make something wonderful happen together!

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert
Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance.

Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or  to determine if coaching is right for you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Key Parts of ANY Project You Need to Get Right!

There are many factors that contribute to the final outcome of a project, whether it is large or small, simple or complex. But just a few of these factors will determine the ultimate success of your project.

Projects come in all shapes and sizes such as straightforward improvements to products or operations procedures through to new product research or major software development. But the key components that contribute to the success of a project are the same no matter how simple or complex the project is and whether it is being run in a small organization without any formal project framework or in a large organization as part of a well-established framework in an ongoing programme of projects and with the support of a project office.

The most important factors that will contribute to a project being completed successfully can be broadly broken down into the following 5 areas:

1. Strategic Planning

Understanding your marketplace, the wider industry and your competition is necessary so that the specific business objectives of the project can be well-defined and, more importantly, meet a genuine need, or anticipated need, within the market to which the end-product will be targeted. For simpler projects in small organizations the "marketplace" may, in fact, be a small internal team or department but the concept of understanding them and their objectives is still the same and still just as important.

2. Developing the Product

Any new product, process or service needs to be developed or established solely to meet the defined business goals, which need to be articulated and documented at the very beginning of the project. Where a project involves a new process, it is important to prevent it becoming an opportunity to add or change related processes where they do not add real business benefit and do not affect the final outcome or contribute to the overall business aims.

3. Marketing

Focused marketing aimed at the right target audience is as vital for the simplest internal projects designed to change an existing operations process as it is to a new product with a global market. Of course, the realities of such marketing are quite different - internal projects are unlikely to have big-budget advertising campaigns for example - but it is still important to "sell" the product/process to those who will be buying or using it. In many internal projects involving major change to the status-quo the greatest challenge is to convince the end-users that they will be better off with the new process in the face of typical human reluctance to change.

4. Support

For the wide variety of projects that take place in organizations year-round, the provision of a support mechanism both before and after implementation is another key component to the success of the project. Support might come in the form of IT support (providing the right hardware and software), Human Resources for recruiting and retaining the appropriate staff, facilities for providing the necessary offices or other building space and any number of other support services relevant to the project.

5. People

There are different categories of people involved in projects and they all have different and specific roles to play, but they are all stakeholders with a vested interest in the project being a success:

  • Sponsor: The sponsor(s) of a project is often a member of the senior management team of an organisation, but can also be someone from outside the organisation if a strategic alliance has been set up. Their role is to define the business objectives that are the driving force behind the initiation of a project, to ensure that adequate resources are made available to complete the project and to influence the completion date of the project by defining priorities. They will tend to have a good overview of the project, but not become involved in any of the detailed aspects.
  • Project Manager: A professional project manager has the responsibility of creating a detailed project plan that meets the budget, schedule and scope determined by the sponsors. They advise, teach and motivate team members; resolve conflicts and issues with deliverables and deadlines and have a good understanding of all tasks required to complete the project. They also aim to manage and control risks and changes.
  • Team Member: These can range from a subject-matter expert through to a recently hired novice, but all team members will have a contribution to make towards the end-product. Each will be responsible for completing individual tasks to a deadline, including resolving issues that arise related to their tasks. More experienced members of the team should help the less-experienced members by answering questions and giving advice to maximize the ability of the whole team to deliver projects successfully.
So if you can get these 5 components right you will be able to do the following on your project:
  1. Clearly define the aims of the project.
  2. Stay focused only on those aims.
  3. Successfully "sell" the project to the end-users.
  4. Provide support for the whole project team as required.
  5. Select a committed team that will work cooperatively.
This will go a long way to ensuring that the final outcome of a project is a successful one. Of course, underlying all of these components and driving the project to success will be professionals who have gained on-the-job experience as well as completing project management training in a recognised methodology such as PMP or APMP.

If you'd like to explore the possibility of starting your own business or expanding on a current business project, contact me today and schedule your free consultation!

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on sales force development, sales training, peak performance, profit improvement, team-building and personal development. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or

Thursday, January 5, 2012

21 Things NOT To Do If You Want to Succeed!

Did you make a list of things you intend to do in the upcoming months to move you closer to your goals? Have you got your action plan in place so you can keep track of your progress?

That’s a great start, but what about the flip side of that coin? Is it possible that there is another important aspect to successfully accomplishing your goals that you haven’t considered? I think there might be!

The hidden side of success

In addition to keeping track of what we intend to do, I think it is equally important to keep track of what not to do. I know that may seem like an odd suggestion, but knowing what to avoid can save you from wasting your valuable time and energy on worthless pursuits.

Let’s face it, life is becoming increasingly demanding with each passing year. We all have endless requests for our time and energy, and trying to do everything will pretty much derail your ability to do anything well. Let me ask you this…

*How many email lists are you on?
*How many time sensitive opportunities come your way each week?
*How easily are you sidetracked by a never ending flow of small distractions 
  from every conceivable source?

What are you going to do about it?

I have decided to make a list of things not to do because avoiding those time robbing, energy wasting distractions will go a long way toward allowing me to apply myself to the things that really matter.

I believe that tossing out the worthless things that steal your attention and prevent you from being able to focus is an excellent way to free up your inner resources.

This includes physical, emotional, and mental clutter.

It is extremely important to recognize areas where we needlessly expend ourselves emotionally and mentally. The physical time and energy wasters are fairly simple to pinpoint, but the issues that creep into our thoughts and feelings can be much more insidious. By the way, the word insidious comes from a Latin word meaning “ambush,” and refers to that which is slowly and subtly harmful.

Anything that represents an emotional drain takes a toll. If there are situations beyond our sphere of influence that fit into this category, it is in our best interest to eliminate them. The same applies mentally. If we can use our cognitive power to have a positive influence, then it’s probably worth the energy. But if all we can do is endlessly ponder a situation with no way to make a difference, then it is nothing more than a waste of energy.

Just say no!

I put together a list of 21 things that have the potential to complicate my life and yours unnecessarily. They may, or may not apply to you. Hopefully, they will at least provide some food for thought as you examine ways to eliminate physical, emotional and mental clutter from your own life, and embrace a less complicated existence. So here goes…

21 Things to avoid so you can focus on things that matter

1. Over committing your time, energy, or brain power.
2. Saying yes when you want to say no.
3. Allowing your “have to do” list overshadow your “want to do” list.
4. Letting external influences make your decisions for you.
5. Expecting others to make you feel happy, satisfied, or loved.
6. Allowing work to dominate your thoughts or conversation on days off.
7. Thinking that there’s not enough time to eat right, or get some exercise.
8. Spending your free time doing things you don’t want to do.
9. Comparing yourself to others.
10. Stressing over things you can’t control or change.
11. Obsessing over the personal decisions that others make.
12. Getting involved in things that are none of your business.
13. Focusing your conversations or thoughts on problems.
14. Projecting negative expectations.
15. Saying “I told you so” when your advice has been ignored.
16. Letting fads or trends dictate your preferences.
17. Blaming others for your current reality.
18. Buying things you don’t need just because they’re cool.
19. Inventing distractions to avoid responsibilities.
20. Signing up for more free information because you are afraid you might
     miss out on something.
21. Trying to hide from or make excuses for your real feelings.

Do you have something to add to the list?
How important is it to know what to avoid?

Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance.

Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 or to determine if coaching is right for you.