Tag Archives | goal setting

Change Your Smile… Change Your Life

Recently, I came across a 2011 Ted Talk by Ron Gutman called The Hidden Impact of Smiling, he shares some fascinating research on this most basic human expression. Consider these findings:

  • A 30-year University of California study found that, by measuring the length of students’ smiles in a 1950’s high school yearbook, they could predict the duration of their marriages as well as how well they would score in standardized tests of happiness and self fulfillment.
  • A 2010 Wayne State University study of pre-1950’s Major League Baseball cards found that players who smiled in their photo lived an average of eight years longer than those who didn’t smile.
  • According to British researchers, smiling produces the same neurological stimulation as receiving up to $16 lbs sterling in cash. (approximately $25,000).
  • The simple act of smiling has been found to measurably reduce the amount of stress-producing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while increasing brain-enhancing endorphins.

Last spring, in an article titled Smiling for Dollars in Dealer Magazine, automotive marketing expert Jim Boldebook described a study conducted by a psychology professor at a university in upstate New York involving three Albany, NY auto dealerships. The study focused exclusively on exploring what the professor termed the “smile factor” of sales consultants in influencing transactions. The results revealed that the sales consultants who smiled the most had a 20% higher conversion rate and 10% higher average gross profit per transaction than those who smiled the least.

While it’s self evident that smiling is associated with happiness and a greater sense of well being, this research goes much further; namely, that smiling more means living longer, having stronger relationships — even earning more income.

So how’s your “smile IQ?”

via MOMcircle

For example, of the sixteen-plus hours you spend awake every day, how much of that time do you spend smiling? When you approach a stranger walking down the street, do you wait for them to smile first before smiling back, or do you initiate the exchange of smiles? Does it matter?

If you believe even half of Gutman’s findings, it not only matters, it has life-changing potential.

Based on these surprising facts, what would it mean to the quality of your life if you smiled more frequently? Here’s a challenge: Change your smile… Change your life. Take ten minutes every day during the next week to intentionally focus on smiling, wherever you are — even if you’re alone (researchers have found that smiling enhances your mood). Then let me know how it goes!

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A Complaint-Free World: One Man’s Mission

In one of my recent posts, I explored the life-changing potential of taking personal responsibility for everything that happens in your life.

Recently, I came across a similar story.

In 2006, a minister from Kansas City named Will Bowen laid out a simple challenge to people across the nation: Eliminate complaining from their lives for 21 days — the length of time it takes to make something a true habit.

His book, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted, got him featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Fox News and hundreds of other media outlets nationwide. He makes eight key points — both positive and negative about the impact of complaining.

  1. Complaining is about what you cannot have or get. Get over it.
  2. Avoid chronic complainers — the disease spreads.
  3. Patience is key: It takes 4-8 months to move from unconsciously incompetent to unconsciously competent.
  4. Complaining traps you in a constant state of “something is wrong.”
  5. Complaining is a form of manipulation; it pulls other people down.
  6. Instead of complaining, seek alternative language or be silent.
  7. Silence is mature self-possession.
  8. Commit to what you want and go after it without complaint when you encounter the inevitable obstacles.


Since the book, Bowen’s movement has persuaded more than 10 million people in over 100 countries to wear his purple bracelet symbolizing their commitment to go three straight weeks without uttering a single complaint. One of his many colorful quotes is:

“Complaining is like bad breath: You notice it when it comes out of somebody else’s mouth, but not your own.”

How would you respond to this challenge? Could you do it? Do you think you would have the self awareness, emotional control, sense of optimism and, at times, sheer willpower to eradicate complaining for 21 days? What would it mean to you — and to the quality of your life – -if you did?

Imagine… a complaint-free world! I’d love to get your feedback. You can reply by leaving a comment below.

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11 Reasons to Do More Than What is Expected

The most successful people I know share many common qualities of character and life experience, one of which is the impact of mentors in shaping their careers… and their lives.

Tommy Gibbs, a highly respected automotive consultant, trainer, and friend, recently shared one of the most valuable lessons he ever learned from his former business partner. The lesson, simply stated, is Do More.

“He taught me the importance of always doing more than is necessary, more than is fair,” Tommy recalls. “It’s simple: when in doubt as to whether you’ve given enough, give some more.”

Becoming a Mentor image via Keith McMean

Below are Tommy’s 11 traits of leaders who do more. Whoever the people are in your life whom you influence — who look to you for wisdom and guidance — share with them this simple mantra, Do More:

1. They do more than they know is necessary.

2. They do more than they know is fair.

3. They do more because it’s the right thing to do.

4. They do more not expecting anything in return.

5. They do more even when they know it still may not save the day.

6. They do more even when they know it may not save the customer.

7. They do more because they know it’s a teaching moment.

8.They do more because they don’t want to leave this earth owing anything.

9. They do more because they can.

10. They do more because they see the big picture.

11. They do more because if not them, who? Maybe you!

Here’s my challenge: Think of one area of your life where you can do more than what is expected. Maybe it’s a home project this weekend, a customer you’re working with, a community service initiative, or a personal goal you’re pursing. Whatever it is, commit to doing a little more. Let me know how it goes!

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Why I No Longer Set Goals

During the last week in December, as I was finalizing my goals for 2015, I read an insightful post by my friend Grant Porteous that referenced nationally known author and peak performance coach, James Clear, who, during a recent interview, shared a story about a friend of his who wanted to improve his writing.

“Instead of holing himself up somewhere for three days trying to complete an entire book manuscript,” Clear explains, “my friend instead committed to write one thousand words a day without fail, which isn’t much for a writer — around two pages. He did this for 259 consecutive days, accumulating enough content for three books, all of which were published within one year, earning him over $300,000.”

His point: Had his friend treated his writing project as a one-time event centered around a specific outcome, he never would have published three books in one year. But by focusing on small wins and slow gains, he accomplished far more than he ever thought possible in such a short time.

Putting Process Over Goals

The Paradox of Big Goals | PJ McClure

Clear’s story underscores his advice to anyone who wants to improve: Instead of focusing on some distant outcome (example: Lose 20 lbs by May 1st), focus instead on the process (run four miles, four times per week).

If you’re a life long goal-setter like me, the idea of relinquishing setting specific, measurable, and time-bound outcomes might seem like heresy. Yet I admit in recent years I have struggled with setting goals that motivated me enough to review them frequently. Often, as the year went on, they gradually lost their relevance and inspiration, like a motivational seminar that pumps you up for a awhile then wears off like a suntan. But when I reflect on my most successful accomplishments in recent years, most were built on creating new sustainable habits — simple, repeatable disciplines that, over time, produced dramatic results in my life.

To be honest, I’m still setting goals (I’ve been doing it for too long to quit!), but I am also committing to changing my approach. Here’s what I’m working on — and how it can work for you.

  • Instead of prioritizing your schedule, schedule your priorities. Don’t focus on how much money you want to earn this week, for example, or how much weight you want to lose. “Lose five pounds,” is not an action you can perform; “Do 200 pushups and 200 sit-ups” is.
  • Commit to developing one to three new habits for the next 30 days and stick to them. Focus on consistency, even if you have to adjust on the fly. If you’ve committed to exercising for one hour a day, for example, but your schedule unexpectedly changes on one of those days, commit to thirty minutes, fifteen minutes, or whatever you can do. The key is to keep your commitment. (That’s why you must limit them — less is more!)
  • Take stock of your results. Track how you feel, what you accomplish, and the impact on those around you. Chances are, you’ll need to make some changes, but give the process enough time to give you honest feedback before you make adjustments.

What about you? Are there one or two habits you can identify that, if you stick with them, will fundamentally impact your future? What are they, and what would it mean to the quality of your life, if you made them a reality?

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