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Leave a Legacy

What are the first things that come to mind when you read these names?

Jeremy Lin
Whitney Houston
Chris Brown
Tim Tebow
Rick Santorum
Eli Manning

You subconsciously associated each name with a particular feeling or perception. Perhaps you thought something similar to:

  • Jeremy Lin: humble, surprising overnight basketball success
  • Whitney Houston: The Voice, sad, squandered gift, gone too soon
  • Chris Brown: Abusive recording artist
  • Tim Tebow: Spiritual, unusually blessed football player
  • Rick Santorum: Conservative politician, sweater vest
  • Eli Manning: Great football player
  • Adele: Amazing vocalist/song writer, man troubles

One thing is true for each of these individuals. They have all—whether intentional or not—established their legacy. In the blink of an eye, in the weakness of a moment, or in the preparation of a lifetime, you are establishing your legacy, too.

You may not have hit your most successful year yet. Perhaps your best, most exciting years are ahead of you. Maybe you haven’t yet hit your stride or hit your peak.

No matter whether your defining moments are ahead of you or behind you, whether you’re pleased with it or not, you are living your story.

Your legacy begins with the decisions you make today.

You will make a difference, but what kind of difference will you make today? What legacy will you leave? 

Elsey, Wayne. “Leave a Legacy”. Get Off the Couch - Wayne Elsey’s Blog, 2012, March 6.  Retrieved from

Setting Your Plate

When you wake up, what are the first actions you take? If you’re like most people who read this blog, you probably reach for your phone or iPad and check your email, texts, tweets, and other notifications. You might do this before most anything else. It’s probably habit by now.

But consider it: what you’re doing is letting other people’s thoughts and opinions into your head before you’ve had a moment to consider your own. You’re letting the world set your plate for you, and pick your breakfast thoughts. You’re setting yourself up to have to react to whatever you encounter.

Abundance and Your Plate

I’m learning about abundance and spiritual wealth by reading The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Pocketbook Guide to Fulfilling Your Dreams (One Hour of Wisdom) (amazon affiliate link). It’s by Deepak Chopra, and is one of those “law of attraction” kinds of books. But when I look through my bookmarks, the advice I follow makes for a great “breakfast” for my mind. Here’s just a quick sketch of notes that I read upon waking.

“Success in life can be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

“In spiritual terms, success is measured by how efficiently, how effortlessly, we co-create with the universe.”

“Whenever you meet someone, silently send that person a blessing. This kind of silent giving is very powerful. Give wherever you go, and as you give, you will receive.”

How has this affected me? It has most definitely put my head in a completely different place before starting in on my day’s efforts. It has let me relax my worries about people who don’t like me for one reason or another. It removes a lot of my frustration with how other people do what they do. It lets me think more about my own goals and plans instead of letting the world’s ideas flood into me and over me.

We pre-program ourselves with a whole lot of negative thoughts, and the requirements of others. Maybe it’s time to rethink that.

Set Your Own Plate

In the morning, when you wake, leave the outside world out until you’re ready. Close your eyes. (Did you know your optical functions take up 1/3 of your brain’s energy?) Take a moment and ask yourself how you want to face the day. Ask yourself what you want to focus your energies on, what matters the most to you, how you’ll communicate with the people you interact with, and more.

And if something sets you off, try to get back to your own side quickly. If you’re thrown off balance, do something about it. Start again. Reset. Just set your own plate. Remember what matters to you. And do it over and over again.

If you start your days off like this, I can promise they will work a lot better than when you let the world in to interfere with your thoughts ahead of time. You’ll enjoy this a bunch more.

How will you set your plate?

Brogan, Chris. “Setting Your Plate”. Chris Brogan Blog, 2012, March 5.  Retrieved from

6 Tips to Get More Time on Your Side

While it’s true that we all have the same amount of time in each day, there are ways we can better use the time we have to make it feel like we have more of it. That’s why others are able to get more out of their day than others.

But there’s no reason why we all can’t have the appearance of more hours and minutes in our day. It just takes implementing a few simple tips each and every day to see that it happens. Here are 6 tips that you cna use to get more time out of your day – and get more time on your side as a result.

1. Check email less

Email is one of the greatest time sucks that we have coming at us every day of the week. If we treated it more like the mail it was meant to replace (snail mail) and not like a command or an order, we’d be able to save tons of time sticking to the task at hand and not diverting our attention to our inboxes.

Create a rule for yourself – and everyone that corresponds with you via email – that you are going to limit the amount of times you check email per day. Be ruthless about it. If someone really needs to get a hold of you, there’s always instant messaging or the telephone. Set some standards to live by with your email management and you’ll find you’ll more hours to live with in the end.

2. Plan the night before

Take some time the night before – or even at the end of your work day – to map out what you plan to do the next day. Doing this will accomplish two things:

  • It will remove the mental clutter from your head so you can leave all of your work for the day behind until the following day.
  • It will allow you to come in the next day and know exactly where to start; no more slow starts to the day…just action.

3. Don’t fight your body clock

If you’re an early riser, great. If you’re a night owl, that’s fine. Just don’t try to change that unless you absolutely have to for reasons that can’t be avoided.

Night owls and early risers are equally productive; they just produce the results at different times of the day. For example, I’m writing this piece at nearly midnight, just as my creative juices are beginning to wind down for the night. Other writers may have already gone to bed well before this time and are up at the crack of dawn to tackle their next work. I’ve tried to fight my body clock more times than I’d like to recall – and it isn’t worth the battle. go with the flow on this one – you’ll be better off for it and so will your work.

4. Eat less and eat well – but eat more frequently

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are key meals to have every day, but they aren’t enough if you want to keep the energy going. You need to eat a little bit less during those pre-ordained meals and at 2-3 more eating periods during your day.

Of course, you need to eat well. Try to limit your sugar and caffeine intake. I have found that a small amount of almonds and some cucumber at the ready always makes for a good snack to keep me going. Don’t sacrifice your health for more time – because doing that will have the opposite effect.

5. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle nearby and try to drink water that isn’t ice cold – the body has an easier time dealing with it that way.

Tea is also great if you need a break from the mundane. But remember to limit the caffeine intake – some teas are chock full of the stuff.

6. Do the hard work up front

Get the tough stuff out of the way early on. Whether that’s setting up a system so that you can be more productive or whether it is a task that is going to take more mental and physical energy to complete, do those things off the top.

Setting up an app like Evernote, Hazel or whatever task manager you choose takes some doing in the beginning, but if you spend the time doing the hard work up front it will pay off in spades over the long haul.


These 6 tips may seem simple enough, but they are not so simple to maintain. But if you keep at it and keep your eyes on the prize – which is more time for you to do what you really want – then you’ll find that sticking to them is time well spent.

Start Your Day Effectively - How To Get Up Early

Time management is a key to success. I have learned from my own experience that it is essential to organize your day wisely and stick to the plan.
amber smith
Success allows no excuses.

But how often do we justify not being able to wake up on time?

I was really good in making up excuses for that. I believed that if I pushed a snooze button instead of waking up when an alarm clock rang nothing bad and irrecoverable would happen.

Then I ended up being always late to work, drinking my morning coffee on my way to the office and hoping that I still could make it there earlier than my boss. But it didn’t always work out as I hoped.

To tell you the truth, sometimes I was in such a hurry that I didn’t even have time to brush my teeth.

One day a friend of mine told me that effective time management is more than just planning your day in a detailed manner and always following this plan, he told me that it starts with the morning.

Perfectly planned day starts as soon as your alarm clock rings, and there is no place for excuses. That’s how I got interested in all the waking up early matter.

My goal was to become an early riser.

Since I was a hopeless night owl it took me around six months of effort and commitment to achieve my goal.

I have studied tons of literature and a decent amount of forums, experimented with various tips, tried different products that claimed to help me wake up early with no problem at all.

And here is what I have discovered - a good night sleep and right morning routine can make the difference.

To have a good night sleep you need to create a sleep environment needed for a quality sleep.

Your bed should be comfortable, and your bedroom should be dark and cool. That is exactly what your body needs to get the proper rest.

Then you need to choose the right alarm clock. The perfect alarm clock is an alarm clock that doesn’t have a snooze button.

Also, in case you are a heavy sleeper, there are a lot of alarm clocks designed specially for you, extra-loud and 100% effective. So, what really works for me is avoiding the snooze button, and, instead of those extra minutes of sleep that it can give you, I take a contrast shower.

It is the best way to start your day.

It awakes your body and mind, speeds up the blood circulation, and your brain works better.

I find coffee to be very helpful too, but it has a tricky part, all the caffeine products must be consumed before noon, or you will end up being unable to fall asleep at night. I have got a coffee machine that has a timer option on it, so I set it the way, that when I get out of the shower, my fresh made morning coffee is waiting for me in the kitchen.

All together, my morning routine gives me energy boost for the rest of the day and makes me productive all day long. Now I am the first one to arrive at the office, I am not stuck in the morning traffic jams anymore, I get to the office earlier than my boss and frenemies, and, finally, I have time to get ready to all the meeting planned during the day.

If you want to succeed in whatever you are doing, you need to be persistent and never give up. So, get up early in the morning not to miss any opportunity that a new day has to offer.

Clockwatchers: 20-Minute Three-Course Meal Plan

I’ve been out of town all weekend, and I just can’t wait to get back to my kitchen. Don’t get me wrong: I love going out to eat. Still, there’s something so nice about the ritual of making dinner for my family…even on crazy days like today.

It’ll be a whirlwind driving home from the airport and getting up to speed on what I’ve missed the last few days. But what day isn’t, right? So my plan: Whip up one of my standby 20-Minute Three-Course Meal Plans (okay, I just made that name up, but the sentiment is a standby). With a little can-do attitude, there’s no reason we can’t make a full meal that’s nutritious, tasty, and easy to boot.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the lineup:

  • Hot Mama Quesadilla: 10 minutes

This is one of the Aldrich all-time favorites. Cheesy without being overkill, spicy without causing any tears, and healthy enough to make me feel like I’m giving my family what they need. You’ll just need can of organic black beans, chopped sweet potato (precut and steamed), precut chicken breast, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and tortillas. A surefire crowd pleaser.

  • Sauteed Kale: 8 minutes

Get in those greens! Just rinse and chop a bunch of fresh kale, then sautee in lemon, olive oil, and a dash of garlic. It’s so healthy and easy to do, and it’s a nice tangy accompaniment to the quesadilla’s savory flavor. Got a few more minutes and ingredients? For my go-to kale salad recipe, click here.

  • Banana Illusion Ice Cream: 3 minutes

All you need is a blender and a banana, and you’re 9/10 of the way to a nonfat ice cream that’s creamy and decadent feeling…without the actual cream or decadence. It’s so easy my little boy can make it (with mom’s help, of course).

Book Tour Watch 2012
SoCal has been wonderful—I got to see some good old friends and make some new ones too. Thanks everyone for coming out! But I’ll tell ya what: I can’t wait to get back to the snowy Midwest tonight. Wednesday, I’ll be heading to Chicago’s Dailey Method Studio for a little local love. Here’s the scoop.

Aldrich, Beth. “Clockwatchers: 20-Minute Three-Course Meal Plan”. Real Moms Love to Eat, 2012, January 30.  Retrieved from

Are You Losing Time?


Do you ever lose hours? I don’t mean you’ve lost hours because you have blacked out, I simply mean have you ever zoned out for awhile without realizing it? Have you looked up at the clock and thought, “Whoa! How is it noon already?”

There are times when daydreaming is a good idea, like when you’re on vacation and your mind deserves a break. It’s also important to pack some variety into your work day by alternating between mindful and mindless work. (Doing so will increase your creativity.)

Zoning out isn’t helpful, however, when you need to get work done. Staring off into space and losing time kill your productivity. If you need to get stuff done but are having a tough time of it, try one or more of these techniques to help regain your focus:

  • Set an alarm for 10 minutes, and keep hitting snooze. When the alarm sounds, make a mental note of all the work you completed and then hit snooze. Do the same thing when the alarm sounds again in 10 minutes. The alarm helps to keep you on track when you mind is eager to wander elsewhere.
  • Pretend to be a lawyer, and log your work in 15 minute billing intervals. You can download basic free time-tracking software from numerous companies to help get you started. Programs that automatically prompt you to input your progress are similar to an alarm that reminds you to stay on track.
  • Identify very specific action items each hour. At the top of every hour, take two minutes to write out exactly what you plan to accomplish that hour. Then, work as diligently as possible to finish those action items. It’s a lot easier to get where you want to go when you know where you’re headed.
  • Make yourself accountable to someone else. If you have a colleague or buddy who is game, tell her you want to be finished with a task by a specific time. Then, when that time rolls around, the person checks in with you to see how it went. Be kind and return the favor when the other person needs your assistance.
  • Race a colleague to see how much work you can both get done in 30 minutes or an hour. Set an alarm, and go. Make the prize something small and fun, like the loser is responsible for refilling both of your coffee mugs.

Doland, Erin. “Are You Losing Time?”. Unclutterer, 2011, June 28.  Retrieved from

Energy Management vs. Time Management: Inspiration vs. Motivation

As human beings we have limits on the amount of time and energy we are able to focus on our daily activities. While managing our time effectively is critical to maximizing our productivity, a focus on time management alone is not enough to create the success we desire. As Peter Drucker the management guru one said, “There is nothing more useless than doing something efficiently which should not be done at all.” The key to ensuring time management is effective is to be crystal clear on our priorities and fully intentionally on how we spend the limited time we have. This means taking action on detecting our personal values, defining the principles which will guide our life, discovering our purpose, creating our vision, and articulating our goals. Only when we have embarked on the process of developing a greater awareness of what our purpose is in life can we make better choices about how we can best use the time we have available. By making these better choices, we will begin to see better results in the form of greater happiness, fulfillment and the realization of purposeful goals we have set for ourselves. 

When we focus our time and attention on purposeful goals aligned with our values and our deepest convictions, we also find we are able to tap into a deep reservoir of energy and enthusiasm. For this reason it is far more empowering to speak of managing our energy vs. managing our time. In other words, success in life essentially comes down to managing our energy – and the energy we need to power our greatest lives comes from our ability to inspire ourselves to take action toward realizing our highest potential.

There is a great deal written on the topic of motivation, including techniques and strategies for motivating ourselves and motivating others. However, when we speak of energy management we need to shift the paradigm from motivation to inspiration. Inspiration comes from the Latin inspīrāre – which means “to breathe life into something influence, and to impel to action”. Whereas motivation implies an external force, inspiration comes from within. If someone needs to motivate you or you need to motivate yourself, then you are requiring willpower to accomplish the defined objective(s). The root of the word motivation is “motive” which implies you need someone to give you a good reason, or a good argument, in order to move you to action. The energy to act comes from an external source.

The language of inspiration provides a more empowering paradigm. If we break the word inspiration apart we have “in” which means that the vision, and the energy to act on that vision, comes from within you, and “spire”. The spire is always the highest point of a building, and spire defined means “the highest point or summit.” So, in many ways, inspiration refers to creating a vision that impels us to action by connecting to an internal source of energy directed at living and realizing our highest potential.

The following exercises are designed to help you connect to inspiration and to enable you to begin the process of managing your energy in the service of living your greatest life.

Action Exercises:

  1. Identify your 5 core values you wish to live your life by.
  2. Craft your organizing principles by creating each principle from your core values as follows:  If I truly value _______(insert one of your values) then I will do________ (actions/behaviours) on a daily basis.
  3. Define your purpose, your personal philosophy and your vision.
  4. Each morning connect to your inspiration by reviewing your values, principles, purpose, philosophy and vision.
  5. Then create a daily energy management plan by setting 5 small daily goals aligned with your values and your vision which will enable you focus your time and energy on the highest value activities.
  6. Each week, craft an energy management plan which ensures you schedule time for inspired and focused action, time for renewal and recovery, time for important relationships, time for adventure and fun, time for exercise and good nutrition, and time for learning.

Wilkinson, Joel. “Energy Management vs. Time Management: Inspiration vs. Motivation”. Career and Life Success, 2010, October 8.  Retrieved from

What’s the Most Precious Resource You Waste?

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Think fast!

Here’s a riddle: What resource is scarce—yet easily taken for granted, squandered or rationalized?

It’s not money—because everyone could use more money no matter how much we have. And I’m not talking about good health or clean water or fossil fuels, although these could be plausible answers.

Give up yet? It’s time. The answer is time.

If only we had the time (and good health), everything else could be possible—coming up with that million-dollar idea, scoring more sales, being a more attentive spouse, learning to play ukulele. But who has the time?

Oddly, when it comes to things we don’t want to do—or, quite often, to things that matter most—we tend to rationalize. It’ll get done. Plenty of time for that. There’s always tomorrow.

Most of us are guilty of procrastinating when we don’t want to do something. We convince ourselves that the unpleasant task won’t take as long as it invariably does, so we put it off. But many of us also postpone the things we really want to do—particularly with the people who matter most.

I remember several years ago when I was with another magazine, on the eve of daylight-saving time we asked readers what they’d do if they were given one more hour to spend in any way they wanted. We got a few responses like “sleep” or “go to the spa.” But most of the answers pertained to bucket-list items like skydiving, watching a sunrise over the ocean with a lover, hiking in the Rockies with the kids. Nobody said they’d log another hour at the office.

We all nurture big and little dreams we don’t seem to act upon. Someday I’ll take the family to visit the little town in Bavaria where Grandma was born; someday I’ll execute that business idea I’ve been mulling for years; someday I’ll paint that landscape that’s in my head; someday I’ll take a Sunday afternoon to catch up with my best friends from college.

Why do we put off the things that matter most to us? One reason is that we want circumstances to be ideal—which, of course, is ridiculous. We don’t call an old friend because she may be busy. We don’t start a business because we aren’t certain there’s a market.

Or we operate throughout life with a to-do-list mentality, prioritizing those items that seem pressing and carry some kind of consequence if we don’t get them done right away. The trouble is the to-do list is endless.

Meantime, the people who are dearest will wait, and so will those lifetime goals. There’s always next year. Or is there?

Ocker, Lisa. “What’s the Most Precious Resource You Waste?”. Success Magazine, 2011, November 9.  Retrieved from

A Five-Minute Guide to Effective Time Management


Do you feel that you’re constantly stressed and pressured for time? Or do you just wish that you could organize your time more effectively? In the next five minutes, you can learn a few easy time management skills so you can go back to your day feeling more in charge.


Time Management Skill #1: Develop an achievable goal for each day. Whether it’s a task you need to complete at work, an assignment you need to complete for school, or jobs around the house, wake up and decide which goal you want to, and can, achieve.

Time Management Skill #2:  Now that you’ve set your goal, look at the hours in the day that you can devote to completing that goal. If you decide that the goal was in fact achievable, schedule your day so that your #1 goal receives the majority of your time. Don’t dawdle or procrastinate by tackling the unimportant tasks or tasks that could be accomplished on another day.

Time Management Skill #3: Use the time when you are most productive to accomplish your most important goal. If you’re a morning person, use the morning for that goal (assuming that other scheduling constraints don’t exist). Don’t start your day necessarily by attending to the emails that have accumulated in your inbox or the Facebook pages you’d like to visit. Particularly stay away from online shopping, even if the deals seem too great to pass up.  Conversely, if you’re an evening person, leave your important jobs for the later hours of the day or night.

Time Management Skill #4: Take stock of where you are at different points during the day (or night). If you’re not going to manage to achieve your goal, don’t give up. Recalibrate so that you can spend some time working on your most important task so that you don’t let the entire day go by without getting anywhere.

Time Management Skill #5: Stick to schedules. Whether someone else sets your schedule or whether you do, don’t let the times of appointments, job duties, assignments, or meetings slide. Be on time for assigned tasks that someone gives to you. If you’re the one running the show, mind the clock and don’t start or end things late. By being consistent, you will force yourself to think within the realities of the day’s schedule. You’ll also be perceived more favorably by your co-workers, supervisors, or employees. The same rules apply around the house. You don’t have to be a field marshal, but letting family members know that you will be on time for your obligations will make it more likely that they’ll be on time as well.

Time Management Skill #6: End your day by examining how close you came to accomplishing what you wanted to do. Make sure you actually do end your day at a reasonable hour so that you’ll get a good night’s sleep. One of the best ways to stay productive is to allow your body and mind to recoup from the day’s stresses.

Your five minutes is up. Now get going!!

Krauss Whitbourne, Susan. "A Five-Minute Guide to Effective Time Management". Psychology Today, 2011, October 27.  Retrieved from

Your time is running out…literally!

Did you know that if you lived to age 70, you have only 25,000 days to live?  Think about it, 25,000 days from birth until death…that’s it!

Now, consider this, by the time you graduate from high school you will have only 18,900 days left!  By the time you are 30 years of age you will have 14,600 days left; and it does not get any better…the days keep slipping and the clock keeps spinning.

Okay, as you reach for your calculator to see how many days you have left to live, I have good news.  It is not what you have done with these days to date that matters…really.  What matters is what you are going to do with them…from this point forward.

Living in the past will not fix anything.  In fact, it will skew your sense of reality.  Visiting any class reunion will prove this as fact as there are always those in attendance who seemed to live only in the past.

But the same is true in business.  For example, one company we consulted with in the Midwest displayed hundreds of date stamped photos in its grand and spacious foyer.  Each photo depicting a new and extravagant team event wherein the entire company (100s of employees) were boarding airplanes bound for various tropical destinations.  When I asked about these, I was told that the photos were strategically placed to impress those visiting as to the financial stability of the company.  However, what I also noticed was that the latest photo was over five years old.  In our meeting it did not take long to discover that the company was close to financial ruin.  But during the consultation the client seemed more interested in discussing the past then fixing the company’s future.

It is a simple fact that every car has a large windshield.  On the same windshield is affixed a very small mirror.  The reason the windshield is so wide is because you need to have maximum vision as to where you are going, or so you can see what’s coming.  However, the mirror is small and limited.  Why?  because you don’t really need to know what you just passed…it’s just not critical.

The same is true with your life.  God gave you eyes in the front of your head…not on the back.  In fact, your head will only go side to side!  The only way you can see behind your self is to turn around!

Take a hard look at what time you have left and what you want to do with the time remaining.  Yes, it’s okay to take a quick look to the past as a reminder of what worked or did not work, but beyond that…LOOK and MOVE FOREWARD!       –Jay L Krause :)

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