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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Excitement Of A New Year . . . A Guest Post From Neil Wood

It’s so exciting to have a clean slate – especially after experiencing 2009! I believe that most of us will refer to ’09 as “a year to remember!” Do you remember the book written about the maiden and final voyage of the Titanic? It was titled “A Night to Remember!” Many lessons were learned from the Titanic disaster! Others may prefer to title 2009 “a year to forget!” Either way, hopefully we learned lessons, grew from our experiences, made new friends and we know it’s almost time to move on and put 2009 behind us.

I say it’s almost time to move on – because we still have a small amount of work to do as we summarize 2009. Do you know how we review our success and lessons after an important sales call or presentation? We review what went well, what we need to improve on and what takeaways did we get from the experience.

I look at the previous year in the same light. This week, I reviewed 2009 and made a list of my progress and accomplishments, the challenges I overcame, the highlights, and the people who came into my life – many of whom were unknown to me in 2008. I also looked at areas I need to work on so that I can be more successful next time. This exercise helped me take so much value from 2009.

I’ll share an honest and personal note with you. In some ways, 2009 was one of THE most difficult years of my life. I feel and look like I’ve aged about 9 years in just twelve months – but what an education about life! I now have a Masters Degree in Life. Another year like 2009 and I’ll have a PhD! But, reviewing 2009 was a great exercise because I learned so much about life, about overcoming obstacles, the power of strategic alliances and the value of strong friendships. I learned that I work like an ant. Throw any obstacle my way and I’ll go over, under, around or through it – and I refuse to quit. What did you learn about yourself and what lessons do you take from 2009?
Some people told me they want to forget 2009 ever existed. I don’t believe you can trash an entire year as a negative experience. I also don’t believe in “Bad days!” We have challenging moments. Some moments last longer than others but every day and every year offers something positive. It depends on what you want to focus on. It also depends on the personal conversations you have in your mind. 2009 taught many of us so much!

Once you have reviewed 2009, set your goals for 2010. We all know that goals have to be “realistic” but they have to be exciting too! Exciting goals unearth your passion for life. They make every day an opportunity to move forward, to make things happen and to grow.
There is one habit that I’ve had for 25 years and I’ll do it another 25 years. EVERY morning and evening, I read something positive and inspirational for a few minutes or up to 20 minutes. I always want to start and close my day on a positive note. Remember, our thoughts are like muscles. The ones we focus on the longest, become the strongest!

I wish you a wildly successful 2010! Go after all your goals with passion and confidence!

Always Optimistic ~
Neil Wood
Chief Eternal Optimist @ Neil Wood Consulting
Author of The Magic of Working Smarter

Make sure you take a trip to Neil’s blog “Optimist Island”
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  1. Great Post Neil! I'm going to adopt your inspirational "bookends" something positive first thing in the morning and last thing before bed...I forget to condition my mind sometimes, thanks for the reminder!


  2. Hi Neil,

    Greeting from other side of the pond!

    Your words always inspire. What a great metaphor that our thoughts are like muscles. Whatever you focus on, gets stronger. I use to say our 'Words' are our 'World'.

    Have a great 2010!

    Ashraf Chaudhry
    Author of The Craft of Selling "YOURSELF"

  3. Thanks Neil, I am forwarding your post to all of my sale reps. You are correct it is easy to write a day or even an entire year off as "bad" but the real lessons come from looking a real hard look at all that made that day or year and moving forward armed with those lessons to make for a better day and year. Thanks again for the post and the reminder to focus on the positive.


  4. I saw 2009 as a great opportunity to build bonds and reinforce bonds. Sure business wasn't flowing but plumbers need to lay pipe to handle the flow and I think the truly great reps set themselves up for a great recovery.

    Good tips.

    Kevin Waldvogel

  5. Great advice as always Neil!

    The habit of starting and ending the day reading or listening to something positive is huge. I have been doing this for the better part of a year now and can't even begin to tell everyone the difference it has made for me!

    Paul Castain

  6. Great post and I agree with the comments above. It's so easy to find inspirational reading these days. All the online resources like blogs and social networking groups, your LinkedIn group is fabulous, Paul and I love your blogs which are direct and have such every day language. No longer necessary to read whole books, although that's a good exercise too.
    I find the best start to my day is getting physical exercise. I spend so much time seated at a desk, reading from the computer screen, I need the physical activity to start the day, or I won't get around to it.

  7. "I learned that I work like an ant."

    Thought-provoking, that.

    I learned that I do NOT. That's what's gonna change this year.

  8. @ Melanie Morris: Thank you for the kind words!

    I've recently rediscovered physical exercise (inspired and encouraged by Neil by the way) and have found an increase in my energy level and additional boy armor against negativity!

    Rock on!


  9. Neil, I find any post that starts with a picture of Yoda has great potential. You are so right, it is very easy to get mired down in all the negative, especially after a year like '09. Great way to analyze and gain something to use and move forward.

    Great post,
    Beth Chapmon

  10. Hi Neil

    As someone who spent the entire year 2009 trying to get hired, I have to say I unlearned more than I learned this year. I've never been out of work more than a few weeks before, but this is a new game. It seems that while I was busy chasing the daily objectives of my job for the past eight years, someone "moved my cheese."

    Sometimes it takes great trials to inspire us to new heights. When you take away the status quo, a whole world of other possibilities begin to appear on the horizon. Here's my biggest take away's from 2009:

    1. No matter how bad you think you have it, somebody else has got it worse.

    2. Investments in the lives of others pay dividends far greater than investments in me.

    3. You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need! (Mick Jagger)


    Don F Perkins

  11. @Courtney, I'm so glad you like the inspirational reading as bookends. What a difference it makes

    @Ashraf - yes sir! On either side of the pond, our words ARE our world!

    @Shawn - persevere and focus on those positives~

    @Kevin - I like the plumber analogy. I've also used the Farmer's action of planting seeds, nurturing, and later harvesting the crops.

    @ Paul - we probably both get referred to as "too positive" based on our readings and attitude. Guilty as charged and I"m not changing my ways or attitude for anyone! This is too much fun

    @ Spinhead - charge forward like those ants. They Never quit

    @ Beth- glad you are moving forward Beth. I expect the next few years will add smiles to many hard-working men and women in the USA and abroad!

    @ Don - I know more friends who are out of work than I do who are working. Things will turn and we will ALL celebrate!! Press on amigo!

    Always Optimistic!
    Neil Wood

  12. 2009 was one of the toughest years on my life too- personally & professionally. The blessing of hitting bottom though, is that there's nowhere to go but up! And with the recent news of the earthquake in Haiti, it made me realize how good I still have it. Gratitude is my new attitude and 2010 will be a great year. Thanks Neil!

    Terry Munnelly

  13. Thank you for your comments Melanie and Terry! I know how much we all enjoy daily exercise to remain inspired and upbeat! Have a fun-filled weekend!



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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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