This moment of transition

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As you savor the last days of August, you cannot miss the changes in the air.

School has started or is about to start. (In Boston, that means college students with U-Hauls filled to the brim will soon jam the streets!) People are returning from vacations. Calendars are a lot more crowded. Traffic will soon be even worse, slowing everyone down.

And, the air will be crisp and refreshing. Energy will buzz as new projects get started. Focus always begins to get sharper as many of us consider the opportunities and possibilities for this last season of the year.

As you think about next week and heading into September, what do you want to create?

What priorities will be at the top of your list?

What will you commit to doing — differently? for the first time? with renewed energy?

Think now about how you want to feel when you look back at the final four months of the year and head into 2020.

And make a plan.

Three things you can do now to end the year on a high note.

1. Embrace this moment of transition and get clear.

Take some time to consider the questions I posed above.

Write down your thoughts — a brain-dump is a great way to start. You’re likely to have a long list of ideas and possibilities.

Next, reflect on your notes and begin to shape what showed up. You may want to make categories for items related to work, health, relationships, personal pleasure, etc. You’ll then be able to focus on choosing your top priorities.

Remember, many good ideas will have to be put aside. If you aim to focus on too many big things you’ll be splattered! None will get the time and attention needed for you to realize significant progress.


2. Next, get specific.

With your top one to three focal points in mind, think about what is realistic to complete for each of them in the last four months of the year.

For instance, if you want to write a book, or renovate your kitchen, think about what can reasonably be accomplished in four months. Specificity will be key. Break down big projects or ambitions into small, doable bites.

For example, to begin a home or office renovation, you can first get clear about what's not working now and what key elements you want the finished project to include. The next step may be to collect images that appeal to you for ideas on color, style and use of space, before you reach out to meet with designers and choose a contractor.

With a framework for discrete steps, schedule time on your calendar to work on each one.


3. Commit to taking consistent action.

Being clear about your priorities, breaking big projects into small, doable chunks, mapping out a plan, and scheduling time for each step are all important. But that effort will only lead to solid results if you commit to taking small action, followed by more small action, week by week.

It will be easy to get sidetracked, because life happens! But when you know where you are headed and have a strong desire to reach your outcomes, it will be easier to say “No” (even to exciting possibilities) and stay on track. And it will make it easier for you to attend to the inevitable, important interruptions that will come along and get back on track.

Remember, even the best plans will need to be modified. Surprises will show up. Mistakes will happen. New ideas will emerge. In every case, evaluate the situation, correct course as needed, and keep moving forward.


One last suggestion.

Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate each small milestone as you complete pieces of your big projects. This gives your brain a jolt of pride and satisfaction. And that will make it easier to maintain continued commitment to your project.

I'll be excited to hear about the projects you choose to make your focus in the coming months, and to hear about how the work progresses. leave a comment here or drop me a note.

I’m rooting for you!

Getting into gear for the fall

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I'm taking a brief break in my series about how my clients are stepping up in their lives in big ways. Stay tuned for the second great story, that will arrive soon.

Right now I am thinking about this being the last week of August, and that we'll be celebrating Labor Day weekend in a few days. I'm tickled to see photos of cute kids with their backpacks leaving for the first day of school. And, I'm hearing stories from excited parents who just moved their teens into college dorms. A number of colleagues are savoring this last week when many of their clients are on vacation, as they get ready for a busier fall pace.

Even in the sweltering heat, we all feel change of one kind or another is coming. I, for one, am always excited about the new beginnings that fall brings.

How will you navigate this seasonal transition? Are you excited like I am? Does this time of year bring up anxiety (which is very common)? Do you feel overwhelmed at the number of to-do's filling your list, or are you ready to jump into the the new month and new season with enthusiasm?

As we move into this season of new beginnings, you can choose the mindset you want to bring to your life and work. 

Here are 3 ideas ideas that you may want to embrace. 

1. Welcome the opportunity for new starts

Whether your schedule opens up with your kids back in school or your calendar gets more crowded, think about the ways you can start anew. This is a great time to look at your opportunities and obligations with fresh eyes.

What do you really want to say "yes" to, and what do you want to decline? What priorities can you choose and what can you defer — or delegate to others? Give yourself permission to create new ways of operating as you step into the new season.

2. Savor the new

We often overlook all that we can appreciate and savor. Start with tuning in through your senses.

This is a time to enjoy the feel of crisp weather and brisk walks. As you pull out a favorite sweater and put on soft socks and a pair of boots, savor the coziness. 

New produce will soon show up in the markets that will bring great possibilities for what to cook, and new flavors to enjoy.

Color will abound as the tress put on their annual show. 

What are your favorite sounds of the season? Kids giggling at your door on Halloween?

What are the smells that excite you in the fall? For me it's logs burning in my fireplace and vegetables roasting in the oven.  

3. Explore new opportunities 

The new season can be a time for new learning and experiences. You have opportunities to try new things, to explore, and to expand in many ways that will excite and inspire you.

Will you take a class? Join a book club? Attend a workshop? Reach out to connect with people who share common interests? Take a day trip to a place you’ve been wanting to visit? Go to a museum or the theater to see something provocative?

Let me know the ways you plan to create a mindset for expansion and growth as the summer winds down. I'd love to hear your favorite ways to approach the fall season, so post them in the comments below, or email me to share them. And, if you have questions about shifting into a positive mindset, I welcome you to get in touch.

And, if you're in the Boston area, check out the workshop offerings I have on tap for this fall. They may be just what you’re looking for!