Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The best part of the work I do is helping clients move from where they currently are in life to where they want to be. The absolute best, through our work or partnership together, is helping them find out what that is, when often they have no idea where they want their lives to go. It’s a period of discovery.

Sometimes, because of my work, I’m lucky enough to come across an individual such as Michael Luongo who does amazing, breathtaking work. I am often interviewed for articles for various subjects, especially my work as a Shadow Coach™ and each time I wonder what it is that’s going on in the journalist’s mind as they ask the questions for their piece. I love to learn more about those who write about others for a living and as a passion, as in Michael’s work. That absolutely intrigues me. Oh to be able to Shadow some of these journalists on their trips around the world to see what I see through their eyes and have a dialogue on it from various perspectives and awarenesses!

I cannot imagine doing my work in any other way than being there as the context of my client’s life unfolds. From a journalist’s or photojournalist’s perspective they tell stories, often with no words, as each picture tells a story in itself.

I invite you to browse through some of Michael Luongo’s photographs.

Each one is extraordinary in its own right. As a collection they will take your breath away….make you wonder about the lives of each of the people represented there and what their future might be.

Michael is a freelance journalist for the New York Times, is a freelance writer, editor and photographer. I am very happy our paths have crossed.

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome subcriber from Lithuania. Readers from 86 countries and counting!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Did You Take The Time To Find Out?

One of my pet peeves is listening to those who are always bashing the current government; listing the endless complaints of what the government is either doing to (excuse the expression) screw them in some ways or what the government isn’t doing to make people’s lives better.

The first question I ask these individuals is “Did you vote in the last election?” Often the answer is “No”. Do they take responsibility for finding out the ins and outs of how government and the political world work and where they have power to implement laws, policy and change? No. But complain, and often, they do.

Another pet peeve is listening to many who snicker and ridicule bureaucrats for working half days, never getting anything done, living off taxpayer’s money etc. Again, do they take the time out to know what bureaucratic process is like? Not usually. There are checks and balances put in place to deal with ethics, accountability, etc. especially in last couple of years or so. My clients work long hours. Most are at work before 8:00 am, many before 7:00 and they work through to 6:00 or 7:00 at night, more often than not taking work home for the evening and almost always on the weekend.

With the advent of the BlackBerry it is assumed and, in many cases, mandated for them to be accessible at a moment’s notice. They work long hours and work hard, and every one of them that I have worked with are doing what they do, not for the money as they would make a great deal more in an equivalent job in the private sector, but for the good of the country and its citizens. How often does the general public really look into the level of expertise and integrity of most of their high level government officials? Yes, there will always be scandals one will read about in the papers, however I think you’ll agree that it’s a very small number who do something unethical, yet that brush seems to paint all bureaucrats the same colour.

In the scheme of things, when you hear “All ----- are the same” putting any word you can think of in that sentence….. Are all anyone one kind of people, professions, religions, etc the same ever?

An individual without all the information can’t take responsibility for change, however that same individual who chooses not to know or find out that information is giving the power of their destiny over to someone else, often one they don’t even know. It’s all about taking responsibility….for yourself, for what you know or finding out what you don’t to make informed decisions.

Just as, for example, people who read and don’t are functional illiterates, those who complain without even knowing the facts are prisoners in their own worlds --- by choice.

Something to ponder perhaps…

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome subscriber from Ghana. People from 85 countries and counting!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Last night at 12:01 AM Eastern Time our book project was launched. We all got together to share some of our words of wisdom to help people improve their lives. I can't imagine anyone saying no to a project like this and now that I'm making my way through my fellow authors words of wisdom I realize how much I have yet to learn, even as I teach, and what I did know already, well it was great being reminded of again.

When I read about Zig Ziglar's perspective of how much more effective we are at work the day before leaving on holiday I smiled as I recalled clients scrambling around to 'get everything done', making sure their desks were cleaned off, work delegated and on its way to the appropriate person. Everything was taken care of. What a concept! We all have within us the ability to work at our peak level of performance when the impetus is there.

"True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier and better for our living in it." - anon

I know I'll keep reading this and every time I pick it up, I'll have a new perspective on what I already knew, an insight I didn't have before, and an awareness that everyone in this world knows more about life than I do. And if I learn one new thing from everyone I come across in my lifetime, my life will be full and rich indeed.

Donna Karlin

To learn more about this amazing book, click on 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

*Note: Welcome new subscribers from Bulgaria and Afghanistan. We look forward to hearing from you, your insights, comments and stories. 84 countries and counting!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life

I am happy to announce that I recently co-authored a book with Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, and other leading experts in various areas of expertise. The book, entitled “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life,” will be available May 17th. Stay Tuned!

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome 82nd country subscriber from Mauritius. We look forward to hearing your insights and comments for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Time Management is Self Management

"Not everything that can be counted counts; not everything that counts can be counted." - Albert Einstein

Time management isn’t about managing time, it’s about rethinking and making changes with our relation to time. It’s managing ourselves, not the 1440 minutes in a day. And it’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul where you ‘borrow' from one chunk of time to use for another task that takes a chunk of time. The stressors we feel is about our productivity, not how we use the time. It’s what we accomplish within it. If we’re scattered and are unfocused, then our productivity goes way down. Life is like being a goalie in a hockey game (OK so I’m Canadian, born and raised on watching the Canadiens); we deal with whatever is thrown at us.

So what are your time wasters? Some might say the way they waste their time is by doing the easiest things first. I don’t consider that a waster. I call that the “quick and dirties” to get everything off your plate you can as quickly as possible which energizes you, makes you feel as if you’ve accomplished a great deal and frees you up to plunge into the bigger chunks. That’s a relationship to time. Many work differently. Many feel they have to plunge into the deep end of their biggest problem first thing which is not necessarily the best way to go. Often one doesn’t have enough information to work through the problem properly and become frustrated that there’s no immediate solution, again a relationship to time and how it’s used. Positive delay is making sure enough time is given to get all the facts before plunging in. A strategically smart move to make which pays off down the road so in the meantime, the ‘quick and dirties’ will get a lot off your plate. Working that way will also raise your energy level as subconsciously you know you're accomplishing and completing something.

Poor delegation skills will also be a time waster as not only haven’t you given clear instructions to the person you’re delegating to, you end up controlling half the work anyways. If you delegate work, then do it well, so it doesn’t come back to haunt you.

Saying yes all the time might be the biggest time waster of all. If you’re afraid to say no to the boss and take on way too much for any person to handle, you will be overwhelmed. And if you need to have control of every step of a project, then that’ll be the clincher.

A few years ago when I was shadowing an executive, one of the first things he shared with me was that he was working twelve to fourteen hour days and never seemed to get anything accomplished. His was tired, stressed and didn’t feel as though he was creating anything of value for the organization. So I asked him to tell me all the meetings he had to attend, which ones he was chairing, which he had to attend and those he volunteered to be a part of. That included his one-on-ones with his staff as well as corporate meetings.

That night I plugged it into a scheduling program. The next morning when I walked into his office I told him “You have an hour and a half free time… ten minute increments….(Then I added) A WEEK!”

He looked at me in shock. He knew he was always “running to meetings” but never stopped to realise what a toll that took on his work. So we redefined. What could he say no to? Who could he delegate some meetings to? And what meetings didn’t have a direct impact on his work at all and therefore he could eliminate?

It’s all about relationship to time, how we respect it, use it to serve our needs rather than try to juggle. I even get my clients to schedule in their emergencies….to simplify, choose their top 3 priorities and not do 25, because if they try the 25, something’s got to give, and it ultimately won’t be something they want.

Donna Karlin