How to increase mental toughness: 4 secrets of Navy SEALs and Olympians

How to increase mental toughness: 4 secrets of Navy SEALs and Olympians

Know what’s really interesting? Learning how Navy SEALs build mental toughness to handle deadly situations.

Know what else is really interesting? Learning how Olympic athletes deal with the pressure of competition when the entire world is watching.

Know what’s the most interesting of all? When you find out they do a lot of the same things.

Mental Links To Excellence” is a research study of what Olympians do to prepare for their big day. And so much of it lines up with what I learned researching SEAL training and talking to former Navy SEAL Platoon Commander James Waters.

The best part is you and I can use these methods to perform better at work and in our personal lives.

Let’s find out how . . .

1. Talk positively to yourself

Your brain is always going. It’s estimated you say 300 to 1,000 words to yourself per minute. Olympic athletes and SEALs agree: those words need to be positive.

One of the Olympians said:

Immediately before the race I was thinking about trying to stay on that edge, just letting myself relax, and doing a lot of positive self-talk about what I was going to do. I just felt like we couldn’t do anything wrong. It was just up to us. I said, “There’s nothing that’s affecting us in a negative way, the only thing now is to do it, and we can do it . . . I just have to do my best.”

SEALs use the same method — and they do it in a far more terrifying scenario. How terrifying?

You’re underwater with SCUBA gear. An instructor suddenly swims up behind you. He yanks the regulator out of your mouth. You can’t breathe. Then he ties your oxygen lines in a knot.

Your brain starts screaming, “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.” But you have to keep cool, stay underwater and follow procedure to get your gear back in working order so you can breathe again.

And this happens over and over — for 20 minutes. Welcome to the dreaded “pool comp” section of SEAL qualification.

You get 4 attempts. Why? Because you need them. Only one in five guys can do it the first time out.

The danger here is panic. And SEALs are not allowed to panic . . . even when they cannot breathe. They must think positive to keep calm and pass “pool comp.”

So how can you use this?

Got a big presentation at work coming up? Encountering obstacles? You need to remember the 3 P’sPermanence, pervasiveness, and whether it’s personal.

Pessimists tell themselves that bad events:

  1. Will last a long time, or forever. (“I’ll never get this done.”)
  2. Are universal. (“You can’t trust any of those people.”)
  3. Are their own fault. (“I’m terrible at this.”)

Optimists look at setbacks in the exact opposite way:

  1. Bad things are temporary. (“That happens occasionally but it’s no big deal.”)
  2. Bad things have a specific cause and aren’t universal. (“When the weather is better that won’t be a problem.”)
  3. It’s not their fault. (“I’m good at this but today wasn’t my lucky day.”)

When talking to yourself, be an optimist, not a pessimist.

(For more on how to think positively, click here.)

Okay, so you’re talking to yourself positively. What else do Olympians and SEALs agree on when you need to be at your best?

2. Setting goals

You hear this a lot. But you probably don’t do it. Specifically, ask yourself what you need to achieve right now.

From the Olympian study:

The best athletes had clear daily goals. They knew what they wanted to accomplish each day, each workout, each sequence or interval. They were determined to accomplish these goals and focused fully on doing so.

SEALs are taught to set goals too. Sometimes really small ones, but it’s enough to keep them going when every muscle in their body is screaming for them to quit.

“With goal setting the recruits were taught to set goals in extremely short chunks. For instance, one former Navy Seal discussed how he set goals such as making it to lunch, then dinner.”

And what happened when they achieved those goals? SEALs set new ones. The focus is on always improving. Here’s former SEAL Platoon Commander, James Waters:

Eric, this gets at my point of the SEAL experience, this constant learning, constantly not being satisfied. That’s one of the interesting things about the community: you never feel like you’ve got it all figured out. If you do feel like you figured it out, you probably aren’t doing it right. If you’re not willing to learn from other people then frankly you’re not doing all you need to do to be the best operator you can possibly be. It’s a culture of constant self-improvement and constant measurement of how you’re doing. That’s a theme I think that all SEALs would agree is critical.

So how can you use this?

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make this presentation better?”

Write your goals down and track your progress. As Dan Pink notes in his bestselling book on motivation, Drive, nothing motivates you better than seeing progress.

(For more secrets on how to build grit — from my interview with Navy SEAL platoon commander James Waters — click here.)

You’re thinking positive and setting goals. But how do you get ready for the unexpected problems that always pop up at the last minute?

3. Practice visualization

Close your eyes. See the big challenge. Walk through every step of it. Sound silly? Maybe, but the best of the best do this a lot.

From the study of Olympians:

These athletes had very well developed imagery skills and used them daily. They used imagery to prepare themselves to get what they wanted out of training, to perfect skills within the training sessions, to make technical corrections, to imagine themselves being successful in competition, and to see themselves achieving their ultimate goal.

Again, SEALs are taught to do the same thing:

With mental rehearsal they were taught to visualize themselves succeeding in their activities and going through the motions.

So how can you use this?

Visualize that presentation. But don’t merely fantasize about being perfect and just make yourself feel good. That kills motivation:

Results indicate that one reason positive fantasies predict poor achievement is because they do not generate energy to pursue the desired future.

You want to see the problems you might encounter and visualize how you will overcome them.

Dan Coyle, the expert on expertise, says it’s an essential part of how U.S. Special Forces prepare for every dangerous mission:

…they spend the entire morning going over every possible mistake or disaster that could happen during the mission. Every possible screwup is mercilessly examined, and linked to an appropriate response: if the helicopter crash-lands, we’ll do X. If we are dropped off at the wrong spot, we’ll do Y. If we are outnumbered, we’ll do Z.

(For more lessons from top athletes on how to be the best, click here.)

You’re visualizing the big day and walking through how you’ll deal with adversity. Cool. But how do you take that to the next level like the pros do?

4. Use simulations

Visualization is great because you can do it anywhere as often as you like. But in the end you must make practice as close to the real thing as possible.

From the study of Olympians:

The best athletes made extensive use of simulation training. They approached training runs, routines, plays, or scrimmages in practice as if they were at the competition, often wearing what they would wear and preparing like they would prepare.

And SEALs didn’t just visualize either. Before the raid on Bin Laden’s compound they built full-size replicas of the location so their training would be tailored to what they would face.

Via Daniel Coyle’s excellent book The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

When U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 mounted its May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, it prepared by constructing full-scale replicas of the compound in North Carolina and Nevada, and rehearsing for three weeks. Dozens of times the SEALs simulated the operation. Dozens of times, they created various conditions they might encounter.

Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kenny agreed:

In Army parlance they say, “train like you fight.” Don’t screw around and say, “Okay, when it’s for real then we’ll really ramp up.” No, you need to do that now. You need to train as hard and as realistic as possible, because this notion that when it’s for real and the stakes are high, that’s when we’ll really turn it on and rise to the occasion… that’s not what happens. You will not rise to the occasion. You will sink to the lowest level of your training. It’s the truth.

So how can you use this?

How will you deal with the fear of standing in front of a big crowd when you give that presentation?

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and an introvert herself, is now a professional public speaker. How did she overcome public speaking fear?

She practiced in front of small, supportive groups to desensitize herself — she used a simulation.

From my interview with Susan:

I really had to desensitize myself to my fears of public speaking. I did that by practicing in very small, very supportive and very low-speed environments where it didn’t matter if I screwed up. And eventually you get used to the strange feeling of being looked at, which used to make me feel horrified. You become accustomed to it over time and your fear dissipates.

(To learn how to overcome your problems the way Special Forces operatives do, click here.)

So Olympic athletes and Navy SEALs agree on a lot. Let’s round up what we’ve learned and see how it can work for you.

Sum up

Here’s what Olympic athletes and Navy SEALs both do to be the best and achieve mental toughness:

  • Talk Positively To Yourself: Remember the 3 P’s: tell yourself bad things aren’t permanent, pervasive or personal — but good things are.
  • Setting Goals: Know what you want to achieve. Write it down. Focus on progress.
  • Practice Visualization: Don’t fantasize about getting what you want but see yourself overcoming specific obstacles.
  • Use Simulations: Always make your practice as close to the real thing as possible.

Olympians and Navy SEALs, by definition, are the best at what they do. But the methods they use to get there are things we can all use.

And those techniques aren’t based on muscles or natural talent. They’re all about good preparation and hard work. Apply those and you can get there too.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Life instructions for my children in college

best pics from drone 2

To my children in college, mom’s lessons she learned and wished you knew before you take a leap

  1. Forgive but not forget, always fill your mind with positive and happy thoughts
  2. Learn from your mistakes, know the cues of what is going to be a wrong decision
  3. Gratitude will bring you blessings untold, and keep you safe for the future
  4. Confidence but with preparation and grace, in service with others so that you can be served
  5. Select your friends for a lifetime, they can pull you up and bring wealth untold
  6. Friends can influence you, can walk with you and help you attain success and happiness
  7. Your thoughts can translate into action with conviction
  8. There is ambition and goals and not procrastination to get what you want
  9. Early bird catches the worm, be early and ahead of others or be prepared
  10. Expect the unexpected if you lack preparation
  11. Select your tools and gadgets to save your life when you need them
  12. Bring your smart phone, computer and driving glasses when you go places
  13. Always save 6months worth of emergency funds
  14. Borrow only when necessary or exchange your skills and knowledge to earn
  15. Always up your skills, they will save you in times of trouble
  16. Be street smart not only book smart
  17. Always have a back up in life, living simply and in practical ways
  18. Love, friendship and family are very important and so is prayer
  19. Learn to dance, sing , paint, fencing, swimming and any worthwhile relaxing and uplifting activity
  20. Gain respect and put yourself in service to your well being and that of others you are responsible for.
  21. Write a journal to keep your spirit strong and continue this list to impart to your children. You can write up to 300 things to share with others to walk your talk.




How to make your company think like a customer by F Robinson and J Brown

For too many companies, ensuring that every customer has a tailored experience remains an elusive goal. Indeed, in a 2010 survey of more than 140 North American companies, just 3 percent were identified as truly “customer-centric organizations.” Fully a third were found to be “customer oblivious.”

The stakes are high. Some studies suggest that failing to deliver a high-quality customer experience can result in a staggering erosion of a company’s customer base—a loss of as much as 50 percent over a five-year period.

Why do some companies succeed while so many fail? Often, the cause is internal barriers. Even the best-intentioned attempts at customer-centricity can be sabotaged by siloed strategies, organizations, processes, technologies and data, which can result in disconnected sales, marketing and service functions. Your customer views all of your functions and business units as a single company. Shouldn’t you?

Merely adding customer-centricity to your vision statement isn’t enough. Thinking like your customer is the first challenge, and delivering a positive customer experience is even harder. Achieving customer-centricity requires rethinking the way business is done. And this, in turn, requires a holistic approach that encompasses everything from analytics and insights to strategy and customer experience, from operating model design and execution to governance and transformation management.

Identifying the obstacles
The rethinking begins by breaking down the challenge into its constituent parts.

Your competition is expanding. In the past, competitive intelligence from outside your industry wasn’t required. But today’s consumers compare their experience with your company not just to their interactions with your immediate competitors but to their experiences with companies in general. The pampered luxury car customer expects the same attention from the cable provider and at the retail store at the mall. Are you prepared to meet that expectation?

Your customers are evolving. The traditional shopper has been joined by the digitally oriented, multichannel customer; as a result, operating models must accommodate both. The traditional customer may still be reluctant to share personal information, but the growing base of digital customers tends to be more open with data, especially if it is used to provide them with a better product or service experience.

Nike did exactly that with its Nike + iPod Sport Kit, partnering with Apple to change the running shoe forever. Anticipating that runners would be eager to adopt technology and online channels to augment their training, the company developed a sensor for the left shoe that sends workout data wirelessly to an iPod. The sensor tracks distance, time, pace and calories burned—and even tells runners if they’ve beaten their personal best. Back at home, Nike’s online portal enables the runner to plot goals and compete with others. Can you identify similar ways to reinvent yourself as markets evolve?

The voice of dissatisfaction echoes louder than ever before. Social media sites and online research are accelerating word of mouth. According to conventional wisdom, a dissatisfied customer might tell 10 people of a negative experience; today, social media enables that same customer to reach thousands with a few keystrokes. Do you have a strategy to address negative feedback hitting the Web?

You must kill the back-office mentality. The days of a cloistered back office are over. What once seemed like smart organization—discrete processes, databases and designated teams designed for efficiency—creates siloed operating models that prevent companies from coordinating interactions and customer experiences. Is there a backroom firewall at your company that’s become a liability?

You need effective connectivity, not just flashy capabilities. Few companies understand what actually happens as a customer moves from one interaction to another. To offer the best customer experience, it is necessary to connect customer-facing and non-customer-facing functions. For example, an increasing number of companies are connecting internal data and analytical capabilities such as “next-best-action” decision making to enable contact centers and sales forces to dynamically drive interactions based on real-time customer insight. Look closely at your own company: Are handoffs seamless and informed? Are the right people armed with the right information, at the right time, to anticipate and address customer needs?

Having familiarized yourself with the obstacles in the dramatically altered customer environment, you can begin to build a framework for a customer-centric operating model. There are five areas of focus surrounding the customer.


Analysis and insights
Your strategy and operations must be guided by the people they’re meant to serve: your customers.

Once you’ve resolved to pursue customer-centricity, market research and analytics can help you understand what you’re aiming for. Next, auditing your company’s current performance in meeting customer needs and wants can help you improve your products and services.

Research conducted by Wells Fargo offers a case in point. Even as account holders flock to new services online, at ATMs and via mobile devices, the bank’s analysis revealed that 60 percent of ATM transactions are made by customers who still prefer banking with a teller.

That insight, along with others, led to Wells Fargo’s decision to tie platforms together, meaning a customer can open an account online, make a deposit at a branch, withdraw cash from an ATM and check balances on a mobile device, confident that everything will work just as it would with a teller. Wells Fargo’s investment in multiple integrated channels thus makes for a unified customer experience.

Your analysis will produce more valuable insights if you keep a few simple rules in mind.

Don’t be afraid to collect criticism. Unaddressed customer feedback can have harmful repercussions, but if you develop the ability to gather and organize customer reactions, you can use them to inform and enhance your operations. Links across functions are usually required, since a poor customer experience with one channel is often communicated through another, only to have a third group tasked with resolution. Think car rentals: Reservations are made online or by phone, then the consumer encounters different employee teams at pickup and drop-off.

Conduct an “enterprise customer experience audit.” The audit aims to assess the effectiveness of customer-facing and internal capabilities of working in unison to deliver the intended customer experience. Navigate a series of interactions with your company from your customer’s perspective, understanding not just the external but also the internal capabilities that drive the experience. Be on the lookout for awkward transitions—for example, where the customer moves from browsing to purchase and on to service, shifting from retail store to Internet or other mediums of communication.

On the back end, determine whether the right information gets to the appropriate people at the right time to delight the customer. The intelligence gained in a customer experience audit will provide the insights required to move from vision to execution.


Powerful information
Customer experience audits can act as internal benchmarks as well. If analyzed and conducted routinely, they will guide the journey toward customer-centricity.

Harness the power of reporting and analytics. Tools that provide a 360-degree view of customer profile information, preferences and behaviors give leaders in customer-centricity a more complete understanding of their customers. By building on such a foundation with technologies that drive predictive modeling and next-best-action decision making, you can anticipate a customer’s needs or actions in order to tailor messages or offers to that customer, distinguishing your company from the competition.

Although some companies long ago implemented vital strategies like these, few have fully realized the potential. One financial services provider has, however. A multichannel analytics strategy that drew upon Web and phone data provided insights into which channels were preferred by customers in different age brackets. By matching the evolving financial and insurance needs of aging customers with its products, the company improved both service delivery and marketing effectiveness.

Understanding industry dynamics, assessing your internal capabilities and leveraging insights to deliver responsive service and make operational improvements are all essential to enhancing the experience of your customers.


Strategy and customer experience
Customer experience is the North Star of your company’s strategy.

Simple insight can lead to powerful business models. Take leading online shoe retailer In typical offbeat style, Zappos calls its policy “WOW,” and it reflects a basic insight into selling footwear: No consumer can know from a catalog whether a shoe fits. So Zappos offers free shipping and returns. By removing the risks, Zappos makes shopping online the next-best thing to walking into a shoe store.

Again, a few simple principles:

Design from the top down and the bottom up via a “customer experience blueprint.” First, define the big picture by establishing a strategic vision. Next, define what “good” looks like on the ground, outlining the ideal customer experience blueprint at the tactical level. Make clear for your employees the step-by-step path you expect your customers to follow. When compared to your existing enterprise architecture, the blueprint can reveal changes that will ease customer access, and may offer insights into how to phase in such changes. Finally, connect the top-down vision with the bottom-up blueprint, and define the roadmap to make both a reality.

There are lots of ways to rearrange resources, whether they’re people, processes, technologies or data. But leaders in customer-centricity have found that the right plan creates both customer value and business value. Zappos is a prime example.

Establish collaborative planning across functions and business units. Isolated planning can lead to fragmentation—the survival of those dreaded silos—at the product or functional level, or both. Integrated planning—going to market with a cohesive, unified approach and integrated customer experience blueprint—leads to compatibility between customer and product strategies and collaborative execution across business units and customer-facing functions.

Consider expanding core products and services. Adopting a customer-centric strategy may require growth beyond the current product portfolio or service model. Think of Nike as a purveyor of digital fitness services, or Ford Motor Co. as a provider of electric vehicle management services. The two companies provided important new value propositions to their customers by shifting both their product lines and operating models.

The proposition doesn’t have to be that big or far-reaching. US restaurant chain Applebee’s, for example, expanded its menu and provided increased nutrition information in a partnership with Weight Watchers International. Adopting the Weight Watchers points system helped reposition Applebee’s as a restaurant offering healthy choices to customers looking for healthier lifestyles.


Operating model design and execution
A successful operating model merges strategies, people, processes, technologies and data.

Designing and implementing an operating model means taking a holistic approach as you address issues ranging from corporate culture to IT. While the biggest challenge is to achieve unity in design and execution, that often means—once again—dismantling silos. As with an orchestra, everyone must play from the same score and follow the conductor if an operating model is to produce a harmonious customer experience.

Refine customer-focused processes. Connecting processes, linking organizational structures and integrating systems can ease the flow of information. Be prepared to define customer-impacting processes as they will define activities, drive technology and channel requirements, and define roles and responsibilities. A customer-focused process architecture makes clear where customer handoffs occur; which steps shape the customer experience; and how data, technology, processes and people must be leveraged.

Build new internal- and external-facing capabilities. Some companies using advanced CRM capabilities know whether the customer contacting the call center has previously voiced opinions about a product online, prompting the agent who answers to deliver relevant messaging or offers. The result is a more personalized interaction.

Keep in mind that new platforms such as online portals, capabilities like mobile-enabled video chat and other advanced tools are not, in themselves, the answer. During the customer-centric transformation, technology becomes an important focus across the company as new foundational, operational, process management and decision-making technologies are needed to manage the operating model. The result will be greater precision in executing the customer experience blueprint.

Consider connectivity. Collaboration is key in a customer-centric operating model. Once your company decides to break the silos, you must decide how this should happen. The answer, dependent on culture, could vary from formally connecting processes across the organization to fostering collaboration in a less structured way. Before redefining an operating model, examine your company’s capacity for collaboration. Processes are very structured at some organizations; at others, they are more flexible. How does collaboration work in your company? Is there a willingness to change? Be realistic about what is appropriate for your company’s culture. If the changes seem too radical in the short term, consider smaller steps that can be made now and plan for larger shifts over time. Leverage individual objectives and incentive compensation to get employees moving in the direction of collaboration.


This is the glue that holds together a customer-centric operating model.

As your company shifts from a product-centric to a customer-centric model, there are many questions to ask when establishing governance. Among the most important: How flexible do you want your vision to be? How are decisions made, and who has the power to make them? Both questions affect the essential tension between maintaining discipline and encouraging creativity.

By definition, governance is about making decisions and handling exceptions. Yet too rigid an approach may limit innovation and the autonomy of individual managers to make the best decision for their parts of the business. On the other hand, leaders need to be wary of promoting an undisciplined “Wild West” mentality. Deciding where to draw such lines requires a thoughtful reading of company culture and behaviors.

Typically, governance involves creating a board from various customer-facing and impacting functions that is responsible for an array of issues, including maintaining the vision, creating a roadmap for evolving enterprise architecture, initiating an approach for sourcing new capabilities and stemming deviations from customer-centric decisions. Governance is the conductor; when one section starts playing from a different score, the sound of the whole orchestra changes.

Maintain a shared vision and control scope. Adhering to a vision can be difficult because different stakeholders have different priorities and new information can drive decision makers to stray from the path. Visions evolve based on new insights, but traditionally, that evolution is deliberate. When individuals are asked to adhere to a vision they do not fully understand, they tend to make decisions that are not aligned with that vision, thus requiring governance. If one function within the organization deviates from the larger plan, a formal escalation process needs to be in place to manage any potential negative impact. The governance team needs to be in a position to make the right calls so that everyone keeps focused on the same goals.

Be explicit about who owns customer relationships. The governance board must decide where ownership lies based on the company and its products; it can be at the corporate, franchise or brand level. Clear ownership of the customer helps to ensure a deliberate and consistent customer experience. If ownership is not clear, inconsistent customer experiences or internal turf battles for share of voice may ensue. If multiple business units or brands within a company have overlapping customer segments, the company will need to be careful not to oversaturate its customers with proactive and unsolicited communications.

Keep track of touchpoints. Analytically driven capabilities and commonsense rules concerning how the company interacts with its customers can prevent oversaturation. A governance committee can help define the appropriate business rules around frequency and cadence of customer touchpoints. When a company proactively engages its customers too frequently, the contacts become spam; therefore, it should establish business rules around the ideal number of customer touchpoints so that the contacts drive a positive experience. Coordination is even more critical when multiple business units or brands share targeted customers.


Transformation management
These initiatives integrate new behaviors and allow the business to serve customers without interruptions to operations.

Ensuring adoption of a customer-centric focus across the organization requires a strong leadership commitment to managing change. A traditional project management office won’t be enough. Significant attention needs to be dedicated to the behavioral changes, cultural implications, operational impacts and interim plans.

How do you get to the new? One of the greatest challenges during the transition from the old operating model to the new is building the new model while simultaneously continuing to operate the old without disruption. How do you balance the old world with the new? How do you prepare your team for these changes? Your company’s culture may embrace or resist change, but to realize the full return of customer-centricity programs, employees and vendors need guidance during the transition.

Establish a customer experience champion at the executive level. Dedicated senior leadership involvement demonstrates the importance of the program. It will also make it easier for the organization to evolve its customer vision by having this leader focus on both high-level strategy and tactical execution. This individual will take a cross-functional perspective to connecting the discrete pieces into a comprehensive approach to customer interactions, enforcing the breaking of silos.

Don’t expect these changes to just happen. Some organizations assume these changes will take care of themselves over time. This is rarely the case, so resist the it-just-sort-of-happens mindset. The most successful transforming companies have a robust change management program that includes training—skills and knowledge—and communications.

Create a change management program for training and communications. Some of the most challenging moments of change take place after you go live. Plan for support beyond initial milestones until your organization has truly institutionalized your vision.


Customers today expect an imaginative, high-quality experience in a multichannel environment. Failure to adapt to this new reality will mean not only lost business but a growing gap in product development. If you’re not listening and responding to your customers, chances are you’re not anticipating new needs and demands.

Industry leaders are constantly enhancing their customer-centric operating models and raising customer expectations; therefore, it’s critical for your company to get customer-centricity right. Regard this as an opportunity: Your company can leverage new processes, roles and data to create operations capable of making good on your customer-centric promise and growing your business.

But you must put the focus of your company’s thinking on the customer, even if it means entering unchartered waters.

 MyFord Mobile: Serving the digital customer

Fear of the unknown is to be expected—so Ford Motor Co. decided to harness it. Recognizing that owning a 2012 Ford Focus Electric will be a new adventure, the company devised a mobile application called MyFord Mobile to give the customer more control of the electric car experience.

MyFord Mobile will help Focus Electric owners plan trips, monitor their vehicle’s state of charge and receive vehicle alerts. The multipurpose app ranges in capability from identifying cost-effective electricity purchases to helping the owner find where the car is parked.

Electric cars represent the emergence of a new demographic among car owners, and Ford aims to serve customers keen to engage digital capabilities for their convenience. Are there ways you can anticipate your customers’ needs and, in turn, drive brand advocacy? (Back to story. )

Sidebar 2 | LEGO: Beyond the block
For decades, LEGO has been the dominant manufacturer of interlocking bricks for children. But as consumers have increasingly shifted playtime to the digital frontier, the Danish company has introduced new capabilities: What used to be just a box of plastic bricks is now a multichannel experience that neatly adapts the timeless LEGO product to the high-tech tastes of today’s consumer.

LEGO’s operating model enables connectivity, creating links between its traditional, store-bought products and new, flashy digital channels and services. Children can learn to build like the pros through an MBA—“Master Builder Academy”—program, which sends subscribers new models with special building instructions directly to their home every two months, and allows builders to show off their creations in an online community. Teens can now test their building skills through mobile phone applications and challenge their friends to build-offs using their tablets.

Complete healing is activated by love

In truth, there is only unconditional love, everything else is an illusion.
Nothing in life has meaning except the meaning you give to it.
You are never given a problem you cannot solve
Wisdom takes perception and links it to purpose
All complete healing is activated thru love and gratitude
Take no credit. Take no blame. Just love.
The state of unconditional love is beyond blame and beyond forgiveness.
A genius is someone who listens to the light of his/her soul and obeys
The hierarchy of your values dictates your destiny
Self worth is a state of mind
If you have the idea, you have the ability to manifest it.
Maximum growth occurs at the border of order and chaos
Inspired thoughts creates inspired dreams
The quality of your life is based on the quality of questions you ask.
Say to yourself each day: ‘I am a genius and I apply my wisdom.’
Whatever you see on others is a reflection of you, whether you like it or not.

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Share these 21 wisdom advice from great teachers and you will receive great blessings from today especially this 2013:
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
When you say, “I love you,” mean it.
When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.
Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
Believe in love at first sight.
Never laugh at anyone’s dream. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.
Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.
In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
Don’t judge people by their relatives.
Talk slowly but think quickly.
When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson
Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.
Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
Spend some time alone.

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Half of the americans wanted to be enterpreneurs, take action now

Despite all the challenges small businesses have faced in the past five years, seven out of 10 entrepreneurs would start their businesses all over again. Not only that, almost half of all Americans are harboring entrepreneurial dreams of their own.

That data comes in spite of the fact that the same new research to reveal those stats has also found that most small business owners say running their business has become more challenging in the past half-decade.

Overall, 59% of business owners said running a business is harder today, mainly because of the economy, new technologies and increased competition. Business owners also said they face new challenges in finding new customers, retaining existing customers and finding the time needed to finish tasks.

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Part of the challenge for business owners is that new technologies have both helped and hurt several aspects of their businesses. According to 30% of business owners, it is now easier to find new customers, mostly because it’s easier to market their businesses and customers are more responsive to marketing efforts. However, 35% of respondents said their ability to find customers has been hurt by competition and customers’ indifference to businesses’ marketing efforts.

Despite those challenges, respondents said they expect revenues this year to outperform those from last year. An increased customer interest in “shopping small” has become a saving grace for small business owners, the researchers found.

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“Supporting local [businesses] is a growing consumer trend,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact, which conducted the research of more than 900 respondents. “The national discussion about the importance of small business to our economic recovery has raised awareness, as have shop-local movements like Small Business Saturday. Local and mobile search is also making it easier for small businesses to reach consumers.”

Not only are customers looking to support local businesses — everyday people are also taking an idealistic view of launching their own businesses. Additional research by UPS found 48% of Americans said they dream about starting a small business, and 71% of small business owners said they would choose to open their business all over again.

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Those people didn’t say that on a whim, either. Of small business owners, 51% said they have been thinking about starting a business for more than two years, while 31% said they’ve been thinking about it for five or more years.

The research of more than 1,700 consumers and small business owners also offers those aspiring small business owners a bit of advice: 36% of small business owners said they must have faith in themselves if they hope to be successful.


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What is your plan B and goals in 5 years? Connie Dello Buono 408-854-1883,