Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Precious Commodity Called 'Space'

Space. Was your first reaction to the word accommodations? Office space? Closet or cupboard space? For many storage space is at a premium so that’s the first thing that comes to mind.

That is not the space I’m referring to. I’m talking about space of time.

I’m currently working on a Time Mastery program that looks at time. It’s not about cramming more into a day than you did before, or scheduling, using a PDA or BlackBerry. It’s about time, the concept of time and how we respect it and ourselves in relation to time. We’re in the midst of looking at leaders and how they seem to fly through their days, directing, delegating, strategizing, making decisions and yes, calling endless back to back meetings.

So I took some time to look at time and see its dynamics. I then started asking my clients what they thought of first when they heard the term “buying time”. In one way or another, the answers revolved around having more time to do things, see things, to play and shelve work for the time being. It was hearing “I wish I could clone myself so I could do more” and “I wish I had more time to…”

Truthfully it had nothing whatsoever to do with having more time or saving time so something else could be slotted into that chunk of time. Rather, what they weren’t saying but meant was they wished they had time. Extra time. Unplanned time. They wanted space….nothingness, quiet time, time to just be, to let the thoughts fly in any direction, to think, imagine and explore possibility.

They wanted creative time, time to conceptualize, to strategize, to play, learn, and get to know others. They wanted time to unwind and relax. Many had forgotten how. They couldn’t remember the last time they just relaxed or didn’t rush to do something else in that tiny bit of time that appeared unexpectedly. They felt guilty if they took time for themselves, so they didn’t. Instead they did something for someone else or worked. Time, 'space', is such a precious commodity, heaven forbid they couldn’t waste it! And was doing nothing or planning nothing during that short period actually be wasting time or valuing it and themselves? Relaxing? What’s that? They didn’t remember how to relax. They were wired all the time, literally and figuratively.

People don’t know how to do nothing. They forgot how.

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not the only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." -Eddie Cantor

Donna Karlin

***Note: Every other week, we publish a free newsletter, Perspectives in Brief that is delivered to your in-box or handheld with great tips on the run to run with, pricing breaks for coaching and program launches. Reading time is 2 minutes or less. To subscribe, go to

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rules to Live By

I came across an article by Bob Parsons where he talks about the 16 Rules he tries to live by. I thought it was brilliantly written and certainly an eye opener for anyone in any line of work, no line of work, trying to get a handle on life as, in some cases it seems to be getting away from them. If you're trying to get a handle on your life, then who or what is in control of it right now?

I would encourage all of you to read his rules and see if and how they're applicable to what you might be living. In the meantime I'd like to share my rules for getting the best in life, as they apply to life, work, relationships -- any and all aspects of putting life in perspective.

•Get the job done
•Recognize feelings, issues and circumstances that might stand in the way
•Rule 3 is Rule 2 NEVER gets in the way of Rule 1

Getting the job done might be keeping a commitment, or finishing a personal or professional goal for example. No matter what it is, remember intentions equal results. If you intend to do something, feel something, complete something, it will happen...good, bad or indifferent.

How many times have you let petty differences, circumstances, 'Doubting Thomases' get in the way? If you let others hold you back, then you will be held back. Simple! Which brings me to Bob's rule 12 (Never let anybody push you around). I tell people "If you give your personal power away to someone you least respect at that moment in time, or don't respect at all, what does that say about how you respect and value yourself?"

And when you read Bob's rules, my favorites are 3 (when you're ready to quit, you're close than you think), 7 (Always be moving forward). I think they're all wonderfully relevant. What do you think?

Donna Karlin

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Avoiding Success

People will change their behavior when it suits them, not anyone else. When you choose change, you don’t get involved in the content of the DIRECT the process!

Only you can change your attitude; others can only motivate or hinder you. On the other hand you may be your own worst enemy. When you talk yourself out of change and then wonder why your life isn't turning out the way you want it to, it's something to pay attention to. People change for their own reasons, not for anyone else's. But when you don't change behaviours that don't serve you, there's no one to blame but yourself.

So for a change, I'd like you to try something that has proven very effective as a wake-up call.

Instead of listing all the ways you can be successful, I'm going to try something I use with some difficult staffers. When I'm working with a group and there's a doubting Thomas in their midst I usually ask them to "Tell me every reason in the book this is not going to work so we can get all the scepticism out of the way". Well on a similar note:

How can you avoid being successful this week? What could you let hinder you in your desire to be more productive, learn and grow? List the first ten that come to mind, then go back and number them in order of their probability of appearing.

Then take a good hard look at this list and see if any one of those entries is worthy enough of sabotaging your success.

Best, always!
Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome 122nd subscriber from Tajikistan. Make yourself welcome!

Sunday, February 03, 2008


def. a quick climb or progression over rough, irregular ground.

That says it perfectly.

I'm scrambling. It's not that things are rough. On the contrary. Everything I'm being bombarded with is amazing! That, for me is even harder than when I'm dealing with a challenge. When the new year began, I told a friend of mine that I had this feeling 2008 was going to be an amazing year for everyone. I'm not sure why. It was a gut feeling. And so far it's surpassed even that. Opportunities are flying towards me. Both my personal and professional lives are better than I could have ever imagined. "So what's the problem?" you might ask.

For a while, like many others in my life I was trying to fit everything in. After all, how could I turn down some amazing opportunities and travel? It isn't easy. First, however I'm very happy one of my work partners in crime is as level headed as me when it comes to doing reality checks. When I feel overwhelmed with opportunity, I call him and process it. This time we both decided that as enticing a trip to Geneva might be, it just wasn't worth the cost, both financial and time away. Instead we decided to design something for the future that would work. One more trip cancelled and a little more breathing space to relax into.

Two questions I've been asking myself and they might just work for you. "What work do I really have to do (and want to do, as I don't do any work I don't want to jump into with both feet)" and "What work do I absolute have to NOT do?" That's the harder one, especially when it's enticing.

For me, I've decided anything I end up doing with John will be amazing because I'll learn in the process and as our styles compliment each other so well, I know the synergy will be there. So why scramble? I'd much rather be in control of the chaos of my life, to the extent I can. I also want to have time for my life life as in my non-professional life. If there's no time to play, it's just not worth it.

Who is your reality checker? Do you even have one? Someone without a hidden agenda who could help you get a handle on your life? If you don't pick one...and choose wisely as that person will help shape your future.

Donna Karlin