Just a Minute

I believe people completely undervalue the power of just one minute.

Sixty seconds may not seem like much, but you may be surprised at how such a seemingly insignificant amount of time can start a process of transformation.

The biggest obstacle of any task is truly starting. A minute offers exactly that, a start.

Sixty seconds can seem like an eternity when standing in a check-out line, being placed on hold on the telephone, or waiting for you turn in traffic.

Put the power of sixty seconds to work for you.
Use that sixty seconds to start folding some laundry, make that phone call you’ve been putting off, make a to-do list, drop down on the floor for some push-ups, or pen a line in your first book.

Winston Churchill wisely reminded us that, “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” Allow a mere minute to inspire you to just begin. Understand it will be a rough, imperfect, attempt at the start of something, but still the start of something that will grow into a task completed.

You may find once you begin that you actually have more than that minute or that minutes really do add up.

The next time you try to tell yourself you never have time to do the things you want to do, remind yourself, you can always, always, always find a minute, and that a mere minute is sometimes longer than you think.

In fact, this post probably took you around 40 seconds to read.

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!

www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

 

The Ultimate Answers to the 4 Most Frustrating Questions on Achieving Goals

Some people make a joke of goals and resolutions, some hate them, and some obsess over them. There are some, I hope, that are in between these extremes.

Regardless of where you stand, I am sure you would like to improve your life in some areas. Maybe you are unsure whether setting goals and resolutions is worth it. Perhaps you are someone that keeps setting the same goals and resolutions each year and feels frustrated.

Wherever you are, whatever you are thinking, I hear you.  I want to help. I want to share with you some insight to living an amazing year.

So let me share with you now some powerful insight to goals and resolutions:

1. Should I set goals each year?

Yes. You absolutely should set goals. It really doesn’t matter if you do it on New Year’s Eve, your birthday, or the first day of vacation. All that matters is that you set some goals that will hold you somewhat accountable to becoming a better self. If you are new at goal setting, keep it simple and write down just a few.

2. What goals should I set?

Well, everybody is different. Setting goals is really like your future self speaking to you and telling you what to avoid and what to focus on. Goal setting is really a time of reflection on the type of person you want to be. It’s an opportunity to take inventory of your health, happiness, finances, relationships and more. Just like corporations sit down the most important leaders of the organization to plan for the year, this is your time to have a meeting with yourself and share some facts, numbers, goals, and ideas.

I suggest asking my three favorite questions: What should I stop doing? What should I start doing? What should I keep doing? These are powerful questions.

Setting goals isn’t just about you. When you improve, everything around you improves.

3. How can I make goal setting work when it’s failed me in the past, and failed just about everyone I know?

The reason people don’t achieve their goals comes down to one single concept: consistency. Anyone can diet for a day? Some can even go running, once. But to do it every day is the challenge. You have to make yourself accountable for both your actions and inactions.

You need to build habits, daily habits, of consistency. Do a little bit every day. It adds up and eventually you will see results.

To build up your consistency you need to build up your tenacity. Tenacity is simply this fire within you about WHY you want what you want. You build that fire by thinking about those you love around you that will benefit from your actions and suffer from your inactions.

The life you want won’t magically arrive via FedEx or a prescription; it will be built slowly with consistent habits and an unquenchable fire to improve.

4. How can I keep myself accountable?

If you can find an accountability partner in a spouse, friend, or co-worker, then do it. Make sure it is someone who has achieved the results you want to replicate in your life. Make certain they will be able to check in with you daily. If you can afford to hire an accountability partner for one of your goals, then do it. We would all have personal trainers, personal chefs, and counselors if we could afford it. I will be coaching a select few people this year to help them with their goals for 2017. If you are interested please contact me.

The next best solution, I believe, is scheduling an accountability meeting with yourself each month. That’s twelve meetings a year.  Use your birth day number to remember the day you will meet. Since I was born on July 28th, I review my goals and resolutions each month on the 28th. It goes on the calendar just like an important meeting, because it is.

My monthly accountability check-in involves a few important elements. It’s more involved than just reviewing my goals. I review my goals EVERY day. It involves measurement. It involves reality. It involves adjustment. What do I mean by this? Well, if I have set financial goals or fitness goals then this time each month is a review of how well I have done on some sort of measurement scale. I document my progress. I bring others in to validate when needed.  Finally, I figure out what is working, and what is not and readjust my plan. This last step is important because you can’t keep doing the same things if you aren’t getting the desired results. Sometimes I make a call to a friend during this time and talk to them about how my goals are coming along and ask for advice.

Accountability is the trick. How many days in the last thirty did I work on this goal? How much have I gained or lost? How would I rate my commitment over the last month? How can I do better? And again… What should I stop doing? What should I start doing? What should I keep doing?

Set some goals if you haven’t already. Schedule a meeting with yourself once a month on your birth date. Measure your progress. Readjust your process.

If you do act on these, you WILL see measurable gains.

Should I hire a coach? Yes, but only if you can afford it. You can accomplish much with the right resources. (If you are interested in working with me as your coach this year, please send me an email.)

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com   •  1-800-831-4825 
 

Starting a Gift Basket Tradition

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Deep down we all want to be generous. I truly believe we all want to help others.

I know many people who go out of their way to help others. It is always inspiring to me to see the generosity of others in action and to hear about anonymous acts of charity. 

Years ago I read about a man who started a tradition of giving a gift basket to those less fortunate. He had received one when he was young, and that act of kindness and genorosity had made a tremendous impact on him. Many years later he started his own tradition of giving a gift basket away and it grew from just one basket to tens of thousands. Imagine that. 

Ever since I read that story, somewhere in the back of my head I have always wanted to do something similar. My family has been generous to other families, and we have our charities, but like the man I read about, I wanted to make a more personalized gift in the form of a gift basket. I think it would be rewarding and helpful to actually choose specific items that I believe could not only bring joy but make a difference as well. I want to include not only a few gifts, but some tools to help that family change the direction of their lives. 

This year I am going to start a tradition of giving away gift basket. I am inviting my family members and others to join in, if they feel so called. This first year, it will probably be only one basket, but maybe I can get mine to grow. If not, I am sure even this one basket, this one act, will be helpful. I am going to include a couple of gift cards, something fun, something tasty, a copy of my book Along Came a Leader because I know it can transform someone’s thoughts and actions, and some notes of inspiration and joy from me and my family. 

I know many will appreciate receiving a gift. I also know some people are in very tough situations and need real help. Others need direction; some people just don’t know some of the life lessons we do, and they would benefit from that advice. Many just need to know that other people care.

If you already do something like this I would love for you to comment and tell me what you include. That would be helpful. I’d also love to know how you choose the family.

If you’d like to join me in adding to my basket, send me an email or use the contact form. I think combining our ideas and resources could be fun and meaningful. I also think if just do it yourself and follow through on your own it may even be more meaningful. 

Here’s what I am thinking so far:

• a cash card.

• a bag of chocolates.

• a card with an inspiring note. 

• a copy of my book Along Came a Leader.

• a copy of another book that changed my life. 

• a gift card to a book store with a note to pursue a dream. 

• movie tickets for the whole family because everyone needs a night of joy. 

• a board game because it’s fun and has the potential to bring everyone in the house together. 

 

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to a Successful Day:

Don’t be:

  • bitter
  • anxious
  • mean-spirited
  • a gossiper
  • negative
  • a worrier
  • wasteful
  • distant
  • late
  • sloppy

Be:

  • kind
  • happy
  • confident
  • productive
  • athletic
  • disciplined
  • grateful
  • resourceful
  • loving
  • positive
  • an encourager
  • present
  • prepared
  • a smiler

What would you add?

It’s amazing really how the removal of a single bad habit, or the start of a new, empowering habit, can make a tremendous difference in your life and the lives of everyone you come in contact.

It’s Not Just Okay to Dream, It’s Required

I’ve always been a dreamer. Always.
As soon as I reach one goal or accomplishment, I am usually plotting three more.
My dreams are typically out of reach, far fetched, and unattainable. Still, I go after it, reminding myself even if I am off, I’ll be better for having tried. You know what? Sometimes I hit the mark.

I’m a big fan of dreamers too. I have always been fond of inventors and entrepreneurs who set their sights on big acccomplishments. Their epic-sized dreams impact the world and make a difference.

Currently, I am a big fan of Elon Musk. He’s this far-out thinking inventor-entrepreneur that created PayPal, the Tesla’s self-driving electric car, and rocket technology that lands itself on floating, moving barges, and he has been tapped by the United States government to assist on a Mars expedition. He’s a dreamer. His dreams have paid off. Why not mine?

Tesla has a big announcement for tomorrow: First of all, I want to declare that I am a dreamer and I am never, ever, ever correct about product releases. My track record is horrible. Now, with that being said, here is my prediction for tomorrow: a flying car.

Elon Musk is the closest thing we have to a Tony Stark. The guy has self-driving electric cars, has partnered with the USA to send people to Mars in his rockets, and has built self-landing, reusable rockets.

How difficult would it be for this genius to extrapolate our existing hobbyist, quadcopter technology (GPS guided drones Like the DJI Phantom 4), enlarge it, combine it with his existing technology, and show us a prototype tomorrow? My rationale: Musk does BIG things. He would want a flying car. He is not afraid of putting ideas out there.

While tomorrow the company will probably only deliver a software upgrade to the existing Tesla models… I will be dreaming tonight of flying cars.

Here’s your permission slip everyone: it’s okay to dream, so dream big.

6 Things Olympic Athletes Do That We Should Implement

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Image by David Schap

The Olympics are amazing, but while I am utterly amazed I think most of us still really have no clue to how incredible these athletes truly are.  I really like comedian Bill Murray’s recent tweet, “Every Olympic event should include one average person competing for reference.”

What makes these athletes so incredible? Well, I won’t argue that genetically they have a lot going for them, but you would be a fool to underestimate how much they do mentally and physically to help themselves stand out and excel.

Olympic athletes have amazing focus and discipline. What can we learn from these incredible athletes to help us live better lives?

Olympic athletes: 

1) Visualize Success: Olympic athletes don’t just think positively, the speak positively using affirmations and verbal mantras and goals. They try to involve all five senses in this visulaization. They do this regularly. They literally see and practice success. I write about this in my book.

2) Have great coaches: Maybe you can’t afford a coach, but you can afford a book, a CD, or conference attendance. What resource can you obtain now to help you advance?

3) Don’t Believe in Life Balance: Olympic athletes are ‘all in.’  They realize sacrifices must be made. This may not work for you and me on a regular basis, but from time to time we need to ‘fully commit’ to realize and accomplish a life goal. I’m sure you can recall a time you did this and it made the difference. What needs more attention in your life?

4) Invest the time needed. Olympic athletes do not “find time” to work out and they certainly don’t “try.” These athletes train and schedule the time they need to practice. During that time they are distraction-free and focused. When they succeed, it is not a surprise; they were expecting success because they have been training for it. They leave the floor sopping wet with the sweat of their labor. Where do you need to invest time, and how & when you plan to schedule it?

5) Surround themselves with people who make them better. Olympic athletes are successful because they surround themselves with helpful people. When they put themselves out there, the people around them ‘get it’ and support them. The people in their lives are encouragers. They want their friend to be successful. Who in your life is making you feel like your dreams are silly, holding you back, is unsupportive? Spend less time with them, and more time with people supporting your dream.

6) Eat like ‘what they put in their body’ really matters. Most of us can do better with what we are eating. I know I can. Some people think that this doesn’t impact their work, creativity, parenting, energy, sleep, etc., but they’re wrong. How can we be just a tad more intentional about what we are putting into our bodies to advance our output?

There are many more ways that Olympians live differently than the average person, but by applying any of these six I know we will live life just a little bit better.  Join me.

I also hope you will consider adding my book, Along Came a Leader, to your list too. Maybe you can add it to your “cart” the next time you are shopping on Amazon.

Kelly Croy 

Inspirational Speaker & Performance Artist

www.KellyCroy.com 

info@kellycroy.com

1-800-831-4825 


Interested in having Kelly speak at your event?

 

Conversations and a Gathering of Great Minds

Bag and hands by Alejandro Escamilla

Image by Alejandro Escamilla

I recently had breakfast with an old friend at a restaurant. He told me he meets there with a group of men regularly, and they talk about education, kids, curriculum, and the world. They even had a little brass plaque on wall with their initials engraved on it.  It was early, but the conversation put my mind in the right mode of thinking for the entire day. New perspectives were shared. I saw topics in a new light, and, well, I shared some of my ideas too.

Today, I was listening to a few minutes of a show titled GPS on CNN. I caught it just by chance. Just one of those moments where I was getting a snack when I shouldn’t have, and the TV was on in the kitchen.  What a great show! I’m not sure I am intelligent enough to grasp everything it covered, but I enjoyed the variety and richness of discussion. The show focused on solutions and big ideas.

I was inspired by the host’s guest too, “Homeless Billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen, who has recently  started a ‘think tank” where the top minds of the world will gather and well… think. He is building an institute that focuses on free speech, curiosity, and diversity. Nicholas calls this institute a “secular monestary” where scholars will live, work, host meetings, and talk about a range of topics from technology, philosophy to government, and more! He says he wants to give the world a place where people can have conversations.

These two events, my friend’s gathering at breakfast and the CNN story, are the same concept at different levels. Both groups, one big and one small, are focused on getting great minds together and having a conversation.

Are we doing this? Are we having discussions? This is more than liking pictures and status updates. These are face-to-face conversations in real time. This is setting aside a time to meet in person, spend time together, talk and then collaborate on solutions.

I was fortunate to have been invited to Berlin, Germany this summer to do just that with amazing educators from all around the world at the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute 2016. It was amazing and beneficial. This was thinking big on a big scale. This should happen often and so should smaller discussions too, at smaller levels.

How can we do more of this?  How can you or I get a group of thinkers together to talk and collaborate?

I challenge you this week to do just that. Start something. Join something. If you accomplish it online, well, I guess that is okay,  but if you can find a way to meet in person I think you will see many added benefits.

As an English teacher I am reminded of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G. K. Chester meeting at a pub regularly for a talk. They called themselves The Inlkings. What came from these “talks” is some of my favorite literature and essays.

On my podcast I recently interviewed two authors about a trip they took home after a conference. They rode together in a car and talked. From this conversation sprang forth the idea for a book which was recently published on a very important topic.

These ‘think tanks’ or conversations are important. While they of course can “just happen” from time to time, imagine the results if we actually planned a few.

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

Weeding Your Daily Habits

Weed garden habit.I spend a few minutes each morning and evening in my garden. I find it relaxing. I’m not a great gardener, but it is fun for the whole family.

The other day my youngest questioned why I was pulling these little plants from the garden.

I told her they were weeds, and that if unattended they would overcome the garden and hurt our crops.

I think many of us, including myself, have a lot of weeds in our daily productivity. We could benefit from being a little more intentional about removing some bad habits that act like weeds and overcome the goals in life that would bring us the most happiness.

They are easy to spot, like the weeds in our gardens, and they are pretty easy to pull out when they are small. When they grow into daily habits, however, and have taken root in our lives, they are much more difficult to eliminate. It is hard to distinguish the diversion from the goal, just as it is difficult to distinguish the full grown weed from the crop.

There is no spray or tool in life that will do the work for you. That would be great! You must identify and yank those weeds out to be more productive. You must do it with intention and consistency. It isn’t painful and it doesn’t take any time. Rather, it is a reallocation of time, or making the next best choice with your time. It’s that simple.

Don’t beat yourself up about how the garden has been over run, just get in there and yank a few out today, then a couple more tomorrow.

Diversions, like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, video games, and our hobbies are important. We need them to make life fun and worth living, but too often we get lost in our diversions and give our true goals the minimum of our day, week, and sadly life.

If we want the gardens of our life to be plentiful and healthy we must put some daily intention to getting those results.

The greatest goals in life are not  met with a single, massive action, but rather small, daily habits.

Take a look at your day and ask yourself one very simple question: What negative habit have I developed, that if eliminated could free up some time for something I have always wanted to accomplish?

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

Leaders Promote Others!

WE Promote others; leaders promote othersWhether you are the owner of a business, a manager of a team, a parent, or just a good friend, know that leaders promote the work of others.

I had a wonderful neighbor years ago that I  loved to talk with while she tended her flower gardern.  One day she said to me, “Do you know what I like best about you? You speak so well of others. You talk so well of your wife. You share the joys of your work. You recommend your friends to others. That’s a wonderful quality.”  While I enjoyed the compliment, I also thought long and hard about her words, and I wondered why more people don’t do the same.

One of the greatest joys of being a leader comes when we have an opportunity to  recognize others for their hard work. Recognizing is important and something all leaders should do.  Recognizing and promoting are not, however, the same. Recognizing could be accomplished in private, but when we promote someone, well, that is the ultimate form of recognition because you are attaching yourself to it and sharing it publicly.

My mom would always compliment my artwork, but the greatest memories I remember were when she hung it on the fridge, or told her friends about it. I loved that.  I still do. So… hang someone’s work on the proverbial fridge and promote them.

Don’t promote others expecting something in return for yourself.  It very likely will happen, but that is the wrong reason to do it. Promote others because you are genuinely impressed with their work.  Make note, however, when you promote the work of others routinely it always benefits you down the road. It doesn’t benefit you occassionaly, it benefits you regularly, but again, that’s not why you do it, and you can’t do it occassionally. Your promotion of others needs to become a part of your leadership style.

And once you get a reputation for promoting the work of others, you won’t believe the work people do for you!   (Click “Read More”  to find out how to really apply this leadership skill.)

Look at your workplace and find someone doing a great job. Look for someone who went above and beyond on a specific project or just in general. Maybe it is a trait you wish others possessed. Now you can provide some recognition for their work, and you should, but instead consider promoting the work to others. Nominate them for some community, state, or national recognition. Regardless of whether “others” choose them, you nominated them. You can do it publically or anonymously. Maybe they will cross-promote your work too, but do it because it is the right thing to do. It’s what leaders do.

Make a point as a leader to promote others. There are so many ways to do it and it all really matters.

  • Promote the work of others within and outside your organization.
  • Be first to share and recognize the success of others.
  • Be first to purchase someone’s product or service.
  • Call another organization and recommend the outstanding service or product you received.
  •  Write a book review for a friend who published a book.
  • Make some calls for your buddy that is in a band.
  • Use your social media to promote others, not yourself.
  • Don’t just hit like. Share it.
  • Write a comment. Yep, forget the emojis and type some words.
  • Write a letter of recommendation without even being asked.
  • Write a testimonial.
  • Introduce them to others prefacing their accomplishments.
  • Tell others when the person isn’t around.  You know… good gossip!
  • Get on the loudspeaker and make an announcement. Be loud. Be proud.
  • Start your own recognition or distinction if none exist. You’re a leader! Get on it!

What about self-promotion? Marketing is important. Sharing good news is fun. You need to do both, but may I make a suggestion? Most people self-promote. Why? They do it because others aren’t. Promote the work of others ten times to every one time promoting yourself. You might be happily surprised when someone returns a favor and promotes your good work to their tribe.

I see so many people using social media wrong. They complain. They point out the flaws. They are trolls. Anyone can ridicule. Few can identify the example. Leaders promote.

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

One Simple Change for a Lifetime of Results: The Kaizen Way

Kelly Croy Productivity Speaker Writer Artist kaizen

The Kaizen Way is a concept that I believe can dramatically impact your personal and professional life without stress, guilt, and anxiety. It’s simple and effective. It leap frogs fear and procrastination and gets results. 

I recently asked a friend if he had any resolutions for the new year and he replied, “Yes, I plan to do one push-up a day.”

I smiled, knowing there had to be more to the story, and I asked, “One? That’s a bit small isn’t it?”

My friend then introduced me to the concept of the Kaizen Way. He explained to me that when he gets down on the floor to complete his one push-up for the day that he always does a few more than just the one.  He doesn’t overthink what he has to do. He doesn’t worry about how he is going to fit three sets of forty pushups into his schedule, or anything like that.  He just gets down on the floor and does his one push up aiming for improvement.  It’s simple. It’s neat. It works.

This is a new area of focus for him. He doesn’t already have a massive amount of upper body strength, so doing some pushups every day of the year will be a big boost. The word “kaizen” is the Japanese word for improvement. It was once poorly applied in the workplace as forcibly making employees discover and apply constant improvement, all the way from the head of the company down to the newly hired, to a point of creating a work environment of stress and undue pressure. Kaizen, or constant improvement is a great concept, but I like my friend’s version better because it eliminates the stress and allows the participant to self-assess and reflect on how deeply to apply the improvement. This contemporary version of The Kaizen Way is personal and enchanting. In essence, the Kaizen Way asks you to take one small step each day to make an improvement in your life. 

I decided to try this concept of the Kaizen Way in my own life. You see I own a guitar, but I do not know how to play it. I have always wanted to learn. I have thought about lessons, and books, and YouTube videos, and other educational tools, but success always eluded me. 

Why haven’t I been able to learn anything on the guitar? Easy.  I haven’t really tried. The process itself stops me cold: get the guitar out of the closet, take it out of the case, use the tuning app on my iPhone to tune it, start the lesson, practice, put it all away, etc. No wonder I have never learned even a little bit of how to play the guitar. The key of course has been to simplify the process and redefine what I need to do.  Yes, this is a mind trick. 

This year I applied the Kaizen Way to my desire of learning to play the guitar. I decided I would learn to play just one chord a day. Just one chord. That’s it.  Guess what happened?  In a matter of a few weeks I have learned a couple of chords! They aren’t the greatest sounding chords in the world, but it is more than I have learned in my entire life of owning that guitar due entirely to my friend’s simple explanation of this Kaizen concept. 

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I took the guitar out of the case and keep it in plain sight. I have to walk by it now. I see it, I grab it, and I play a chord. I have actually never played just one chord; I always play a few. It’s working. I don’t set a timer or anything like that. It’s a carefree exercise that is building a habit of improvement and it’s enjoyable and relaxing. That’s really the secret; the Kaizen Way builds habits. It simplifies the process, leapfrogs the fear, and builds positive habits without guilt. 

Setting goals and making plans is great. There are many places in our life for rigor. Sometimes, however, we need to relax and apply small bits of improvement without the anxiety of multi-step procedures, timed intervals, and measured improvement. 

Imagine if we all took one very small action each day to be a better neighbor, a little more productive at work, or to read just a page of a book. Well, don’t just imagine it, apply the Kaizen Way to your life and see how it works for you.  

If you would like to learn more about how to apply this concept to your personal and professional life, grab a copy of the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer.

(Note: A thank you to Michael Matera for introducing me to The Kaizen Way.)



Kelly Croy 

Speaker, Artist and Educator

Invite Kelly to speak at your event!

www.KellyCroy.com 

info@kellycroy.com

1-800-831-4825