Have you been dreaming lately? Maybe about a new job, a promotion, losing weight, a new relationship or completing a marathon?  How is it going? If you are like most, the dream sounds great but finding the path and motivation can be a real challenge. Katherine Paterson said it well when she said “a dream without a plan is just a wish.” Scientific studies have shown that we can actually end up feeling worse about ourselves and our performance can decrease when we do not achieve our dreams. When we only dream about our positive outcomes and do not plan, the outcomes include:

1.    Sapped energy to reach our positive future
2.    Low physical and mental health
3.    Diminished well being

Yuck…what can do?

I recently read a great book I highly recommend from a colleague of mine, Alan Schlechter. The book is called UThrive and it is by Daniel Lerner and Alan. The book is based on learnings from a class they teach called The Science of Happiness which happens to be the most popular elective class at NYU. One of the tools Alan and Dan discuss is mental contrasting thinking. The tool they recommend to achieve this thinking is called WOOP.  Below is an overview of the framework.

Wish- What is the challenging goal you are aiming to achieve, whether today, next week, in a     month, or in a year?

Outcome- How would you feel if this goal were accomplished?

Obstacle- What is standing in your way? What assumptions or habits are holding you back?

Plan- What is one thing you can do to overcome your obstacle? Not just generally, specifically, in this very moment? If x (obstacle) happens, then I will do y (healthy alternative).  More information on pages 115-116 of UThrive!!! 

Here is what happens when you use WOOP. By clarifying each of the steps in WOOP, you:

Strengthen Mental Association….which leads to
Increased Energy…which leads to
Better Performance

By succeeding on your wish, this will also create a belief that you are capable of achieving future dreams. This reinforcing cycle gives you confidence to overcome setbacks and future barriers. This self-confidence also allows you to dream bigger dreams and not hold back. This confidence will help you reach your full potential and watch out for the places you will go!

So ask yourself, what is holding you back from fulfilling your wish? Find a place to write, follow the WOOP model and see where you can go!  Good luck and let me know what you achieve!



Time is the great equalizer.

We all only get 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.  Whether you are leading a country, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, or leading a global business, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, we all are allotted the same number of hours in a day:  24.

During those 24 hours a day and 7 days a week comes the highs and lows, successes and failures, experiences and missed opportunities that make up a life:  your life.

How we use our time matters.

Yet, most of my clients struggle with how to make their time count.

              “Where do I need to spend my time to have the greatest impact?”

              “I had a 90 hour week last week.  I can’t keep doing that.  I am exhausted.”

              “There is more work than I can manage.  I can’t get it all done.”

              “I want to spend more 1 on 1 time with my leaders, but I don’t have time.”

Sound familiar?

I know it does. Even though this is something I teach and practice, I still find myself saying out loud, “I could really use an extra three hours today.”  And it is true.  I could.

 The reality is this:

Our time will be spent.

The task before us is to choose how we spend our time.

The challenge we face is to choose wisely.

Here are two simple practices I use when my calendar heats up and I want more hours in a day:

1.      Pause.

2.      Prioritize.

When we get going quickly, we erase the most important asset we have: time to think.

Needing more time is a symptom of the Disease of Unmade Choices.  I am not going to get three more hours in a day, and neither are you.  We have to choose what we do with the time we have.  And the best lives and leadership emerges when we choose wisely.

When you find yourself wishing there was more time in the day, here are five quick steps to choosing wisely:

1.      Stop.

2.      Write down what you need to get done.

3.      Prioritize your list by Role and Goal.

4.      Put your top priorities into your schedule for the day/week.

5.      Acknowledge what cannot get done and take it off your list, either for now or forever.

Choosing how to spend our time is a powerful tool.  By choosing, we learn what we are and are not going to do, which enables us to the move forward, more quickly and accurately, to accomplish what is most important.  This is how we end up living a life in which our time was well spent.