Five Ways to Get What You Want (Sorry Mick Jagger)

There is no doubt Mick Jagger rocks it out; his poster graced my bedroom wall growing up while peers were drawn to the comelier visages of Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez or John Stamos. But unlike his refrain from the enduring Rolling Stones hit “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” believing that you can achieve your heart’s desire is important in personal momentum.  Here are five ways to get what you want in your professional and personal life:

  1. Have a clear vision. There’s a big difference between stating “I want to be successful in a big corporation” and “I want to be a Vice President leading Business Intelligence in a Fortune 500 company.” Being specific about the essence of what you desire, i.e. leadership of a function in a certain size business, without being tied to how it takes shape or form (B2C versus B2B, narrowing it down to a particular industry) is the first step in making this vision a reality. Then bring it to life by creating a vision board, writing about it, designing a screen saver to reinforce this goal, posting the intention where you can see it, etc.
  2. Move forward with intention. Using the corporate job example above, research the credentials of others who hold the kinds of positions you ultimately desire. Identify key factors that helped them stand out; perhaps it was actively speaking at industry conferences, going after complex certifications or being proactive about starting new initiatives. There is power in understanding the lay of the land. Someone I respect just moved from a warm, fuzzy culture to a place where directness combined with political one-upmanship is critical to rise to the top. Take the time to understand those behaviors and cultural landscape as cues for how you can succeed in your career path.
  3. Honor your life goals. My friend Steve loves to travel. Formerly a Senior Vice President at a major bank, he took a career sabbatical last spring to see the world. Naysayers claimed it would be hard for him to re-enter corporate America without a job in hand. Fast forward nearly a year later. In addition to enjoying spots like Auckland, Prague and Spain, Steve fell in love and is about to start a terrific new job working for the best boss he ever had. Yup, a total case of #winning.
  4. Practice resilience. Called stupid by his teachers as a child, Thomas Edison has 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before getting it right. Stephen King’s manuscript for “Carrie” was rejected 30 times before it became an international bestseller. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and had his first business fail before starting Microsoft and becoming the youngest self-made billionaire. There are always going to be setbacks and challenges along the way. How you handle adversity and pick yourself back up directly impacts the likelihood of achieving goals.
  5. Go for “Yes, and…” Do you believe getting what you want will necessitate a difficult choice? You know, having a happy family life or a successful career, living near loved ones or moving across the country for an exciting opportunity…you get the picture. Rather than focusing on “either/or,” look to the concept of “Yes, and…” which involves accepting an idea and then adding to (rather than negating) it. This standard improvisational comedy practice has been adopted by a growing number of businesses who realize it fosters ideation, brainstorming and greater collaboration. Take a moment to consider how “Yes, and” can jumpstart the path to your heart’s desire – whether it is getting into better shape, going back to school to earn a degree or being selected for a popular reality TV cooking show.

Have a story to share about getting what you want? Know someone who has inspired you in this area that we should learn about?

“Winning” with Wellness: Lessons from Charlie Sheen

For the past few weeks, Charlie Sheen’s train wreck of a story has played out across the media like a Greek tragedy. While this Saturday Night Live parody cracked me up, the actor’s reality revealed through homemade videos and interviews seems much more bizarre. Perhaps Charlie is just coked up on life and an enormous ego instead of drugs at this very moment. Whatever the case, we can learn a lot about healthy living from the machete-wielding, faux tiger-blood drinking celebrity on the edge. You know, specifically what not to do.

Here are a few key lessons:

Denial is a bad thing. Professing to be a warlock who can consume enough drugs to choke an elephant might make Charlie feel like he’s “winning.” But the pale, gaunt, chain-smoking actor looks like lukewarm road kill that has already lost. Have you ever been in denial about a mysterious inability to lose weight – without ever trying to exercise, or stop consuming chocolate at every meal? Taking a hard, honest look at your habits is the first step to claiming a healthier life.

Words are worse than sticks and stones. Remember that old childhood adage “sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me?”  Charlie has torpedoed his career, fans and numerous relationships with his recent rants. But the person we can hurt the most with our words, spoken or silent, is often ourselves. Ever look at the mirror and criticize everything in the reflection before you?  That kind of negativity can keep you trapped in a cycle of poor eating habits and low self-esteem.  Change that inner critic’s voice to one of encouragement and you’ll make more progress on the road to wellness.

Watch the birds of a feather. Who do you surround yourself with – friends who only socialize over hot wings and pitchers of beer, or those who motivate you to exercise more? Charlie’s housemate choice of porn stars (a.k.a. Goddesses) could cost him custody of his children. From the background laughter in his recent videos, it appears the actor’s posse is just egging him on to ensure their spot on the payroll.

It’s not just all about you. In gabbing non-stop about his awesomeness, Charlie seems to have forgotten that his world is actually much bigger than the confines of Sober Valley Ranch. He has five children, four of which are still young enough to be captivated by the Disney Channel. Continuing on his current path may mean he’s not around to see those offspring grow up. Similarly, taking care of yourself is necessary in order to set a great example for the loved ones in your life.   

What do you think about Charlie Sheen’s recent antics? Have you ever engaged in self-destructive behavior when it comes to healthy living and if so, what made you stop?