The Give Team: Achieving the Dream

FOR UPDATED INFORMATION ON THE GIVE TEAM, VISIT THE GIVE TEAM SITE AT http://www.giveteam.net.

ALSO connect with us on the following places:

  1. Instagram at: @thegiveteam,
  2. Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/giveteam,
  3. Twitter (every now and then) at: @keepgivingmore; and
  4. NEW IMAGE YOUTH CENTER at: http://www.newimageyouth.org.

THE BLOG POST BELOW WAS PUBLISHED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 2017 SEASON. For an update on the team, the program, and how YOU can get involved to give more, visit http://www.giveteam.net.

Continue reading → The Give Team: Achieving the Dream

New Image Youth Center – Giving Back

Every now and then, there comes a time when you are part of something special. If you’re lucky, you get close enough and it becomes part of who you are. Then along the way there’s a trigger that reminds you how special that thing is. As we explore “goal setting,” we’ll follow New Image Youth Center as the organization evolves in the months ahead.

After hosting a goal-setting program in 2013, Just Keep Pouring continues to work with New Image Youth Center (NIYC) in an advisory capacity. It is truly amazing what has been accomplished by NIYC over the ten years of its existence. NIYC is a year-round after school program for seventy five disadvantaged children of the Parramore community in Orlando, Florida, providing a safe haven and a place where they can learn to realize their potential. At first glance, that might not sound like a big deal. After all, Orlando is where tourists flock every year. For those who live in Orlando, it must be magical year-round. That isn’t the case for the children of Parramore, a neighborhood named one of the most dangerous in America. Some statistics about what the children face are below:

• 86% of Parramore families run out of money before the end of the month;
• 32% of Parramore’s children lost a loved one in the past year;
• 61% of children under the age of five in Parramore are not in childcare or pre-Kindergarten; and
• 41% of Parramore’s children have chronic health problems.

So, what does New Image Youth Center do? NIYC saves lives. First, NIYC saves lives literally by providing a safe place for kISS to play, do homework, and participate in activities. Second, NIYC saves lives philosophically by giving children hope and direction; by giving them the faith and confidence to realize their potential.

Many kind souls live in Parramore, but many others have lost hope and reacted with violence, drug abuse, prostitution and other criminal activity. The children of New Image Youth Center regularly witness unbelievable horrors. Yet if you’re fortunate enough to meet these kids, they’ll amaze you with their strength, their smiles, and their resilience. They’re facing situations I hope my children never have to see, and they’re REALIZING SUCCESS. They’re kids being kids.

NIYC teaches lessons we ALL should learn. One of the tenets of the organization is GIVE BACK. No matter how little you have, you always have enough to give back, whether it’s a few hours or a few bucks to help someone who needs it. So the children of NIYC are engaging in their community. They’re engaging in life. And they’re learning how to smile in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

If you’re interested in learning more about New Image Youth Center, check it out at http://newimageyouth.org. There are opportunities to give, and opportunities to volunteer (for those in the Orlando area).

New Beginnings – Thank You Aron Ralston and Shanta Stubbs

NIYCAfter taking a summer break (other than posting daily reminders of important things on the Just Keep Pouring Facebook page), Just Keep Pouring is back at it. School started yesterday in Orange County, Florida and other places across the US. It’s a new beginning for millions of children around the country.

The term “New Beginning” seems redundant. Every beginning is new. It’s fresh. It’s clean. It’s not colored by anything other than what resides between the ears of the individual. But while the term appears redundant, perhaps both words are appropriate to add emphasis and importance. Beginnings are special and should be treasured. Every day presents a new beginning. Every week presents a new beginning. Every month presents a new beginning. Every new experience presents an opportunity to learn.

Of course certain beginnings carry more significance than others and become turning points. Something important happens that triggers a change. The individual, or group of individuals, respond in a way that’s new and unique. New habits emerge. And change happens.

Most new beginnings are wasted. Either the individual hasn’t thought enough about what they want in order to drive change. So a new day is just another day. Or the end goal isn’t important enough, so there may be early progress followed by settling back into old habits. Or perhaps a challenge presents itself and is viewed as insurmountable. Most parents haven’t taken the time to do what THEY need to achieve THEIR dreams, or have been unable to overcome challenges they’ve faced. To expect their children to inherently know what it takes to achieve THEIR dreams is counterintuitive – particularly in light of the challenging environment of distraction society offers children. That is especially true with children we’ve termed “disadvantaged” because their parents or caregivers are focused on survival – the very base of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Who has time to dream when you’re trying to kick a drug habit or find money to keep the lights on?

Just Keep Pouring worked with the middle school and high school kids attending New Image Youth Center each Monday in July on a goal setting program called Achieve Your Dream! The premise of the program is to help kids achieve ANYTHING in the world they want. They only need to do three things. First, SET A GOAL. Second, MAKE A PLAN. Third, EXECUTE THE PLAN. And while it’s incredibly simple, it isn’t easy. The fourth element is understanding how to overcome the unavoidable challenges that appear – some we seek, and some show up without invitation. Dealing with challenges involves (1) knowing your enemies (your enemies CANNOT be people) and exactly how you’ll defeat those enemies; and (2) knowing your team (and your team needs to include people), how that team can help you, and how you’ll draft that team.

A friend of Just Keep Pouring, Aron Ralston, met with the kids of New Image Youth Center and had an immediate impact. His message focused on overcoming challenges and the importance of a positive attitude. Who better to discuss dealing with challenges than a man who was trapped by a boulder in a canyon for six days and had to cut off his own arm to survive? Aron connects incredibly well with individuals as he shares the story of his struggle, survival and ultimate success when speaking to large audiences on stages around the world. With the middle school and high school students at New Image, he connected with the kids personally and told his story in the context of the Achieve Your Dream! program – understanding that the boulder was his enemy, and explaining how he turned that enemy into a member of his team.

He brought the conversation down a level with the elementary school kids who had several questions about his arm, his prosthetic, how he buttons his shirt, if he can drive, and all the other important questions you’d expect. He spoke to them by name, and made a real impact in the short time he had.

The kids were definitely impressed. As Aron’s car rolled away, one of the younger kids yelled, “ARON, YOU’RE MY HERO!” And they were all happy to have a new member of their team. Because once you visit Shanta Stubbs and the kids of New Image Youth Center and see the amazing things they’re doing in the roughest neighborhood in Orlando with contagious smiles and energy, you never forget them. They serve as an inspiration to everyone.

Thank you, Aron and Shanta, for all you’ve done, all you did yesterday, and all you continue to do.

Faced with Overload, a Need to Find Focus, by Tony Schwartz

What follows is the latest from Tony Schwartz, co-author (along with Dr. Jim Loehr) of The Power of Full Engagement and founder of The Energy Project. The principles and approaches within The Power of Full Engagement are embedded within the Just Keep Pouring goal setting model, and Mr. Schwartz and Dr. Loehr unknowingly continue to add by feeding thoughts and ideas along the way by doing what they continue to do.

Having a strong sense of self-awarness enables us to make adjustments as we travel down the path toward our goals. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an “ah-ha” moment or two, resulting in a correction back to center. During those weeks, there was intense and energetic focus on urgent and exciting projects at work and at home. Each day was filled with energy, enthusiasm, and great progress, however each week I was increasingly drained and fatigued with less focus. With so much going on, I would think about other things that needed to be done while in the middle of a task. In other words, after the third consecutive week of intense focus (where there was NO focus on health and fitness), I was burning out. Routines and rituals were shelved in exchange for the adrenaline rush of exciting projects with high visibility.

Which brings us to Tony’s article, which he posted yesterday on his website . . . Engaging in life physically and thoughtfully is the key to getting where we want to go. Thanks, Tony, for serving as a compass on our journey!

Faced with Overload, a Need to Find Focus, by Tony Schwartz

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning, before you even brush your teeth? Is it checking the e-mail that’s flooded into your inbox overnight? Does the pull feel increasingly irresistible, even Pavlovian? Do you get so immersed in responding to other people’s agendas that 30 minutes can go by before you even look up?

Here’s a radical proposal: Don’t check your e-mail at all tomorrow morning. Turn it off entirely. Instead, devote a designated period of uninterrupted time to a task that really matters.

For more than a decade, the most significant ritual in my work life has been to take on the most important task of the day as my first activity, for 90 minutes, without interruption, followed by a renewal break. I do so because mornings are when I have the highest energy and the fewest distractions.

I’m doing it right now, but in all honesty, it’s gotten tougher in the last several years. My attention feels under siege, like yours probably does.

For the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have helped companies like Google, Genentech, Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee and Facebook fuel sustainable high performance by better meeting the needs of their employees. Far and away the biggest work challenges most of us now face are cognitive overload and difficulty focusing on one thing at a time.

Whenever I singularly devote the first 90 minutes of my day to the most challenging or important task – they’re often one and the same — I get a ton accomplished.

Following a deliberate break – even just a few minutes — I feel refreshed and ready to face the rest of the day. When I don’t start that way, my day is never quite as good, and I sometimes head home at night wondering what I actually did while I was so busy working.

Performing at a sustainably high level in a world of relentlessly rising complexity requires that we manage not just our time but also our energy – not just how many hours we work, but when we work, on what and how we feel along the way. Fail to take control of your days — deliberately, consciously and purposefully — and you’ll be swept along on a river of urgent but mostly unimportant demands. It’s all too easy to rationalize that we’re powerless victims in the face of expectation from others, but doing that is itself a poor use of energy. Far better to focus on what we can influence, even if there are times when it’s at the margins.

Small moves, it turns out, can make a significant difference.

When it comes to doing the most important thing first each morning, for example, it’s best to make that choice, along with your other top priorities, the night before.

Plainly, there are going to be times that something gets in your way and it’s beyond your control. If you can reschedule for later, even 30 minutes, or 45, do that. If you can’t, so be it. Tomorrow is another day. 

If you’re a night owl and you have more energy later in the day, consider scheduling your most important work then. But weigh the risk carefully, because as your day wears on, the number of pulls on your attention will almost surely have increased. 

Either way, it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.

How you’re feeling at any given time profoundly influences how effectively you’re capable of working, but most of us pay too little attention to these inner signals.

Fatigue is the most basic drag on productivity, but negative emotions like frustration, irritability and anxiety are equally pernicious. A simple but powerful way to check in with yourself is to intermittently rate the quantity and quality of your energy — say at midmorning, and midafternoon — on a scale from 1 to 10. If you’re a 5 or below on either one, the best thing you can do is take a break.

Even just breathing deeply for as little as one minute – in to a count of three, out to a count of six – can quiet your mind, calm your emotions and clear your bloodstream of the stress hormone cortisol.

Learn to manage your energy more skillfully, and you’ll get more done, in less time, at a higher level of focus. You’ll feel better — and better about yourself — at the end of the day. more skillfully, and you’ll get more done, in less time, at a higher level of focus. You’ll feel better — and better about yourself — at the end of the day.

Five Life Lessons of Baseball

I recently had the opportunity to share the following story with an old friend, and with a new friend. Given that the baseball season is still fresh and new, I am reposting.

A couple years ago, my oldest son faced a difficult situation. As a freshman, he did not make his high school baseball team. That meant for the first time since he was five, he would not be playing organized baseball in the spring. After seeing his name wasn’t on the list, I had ten minutes on the drive home to figure how I would share this heartbreaking news. What follows are five points I thought most important for him to take away from the experience.

BallIt was a difficult conversation where we discussed his two options. The first was to hang up his cleats and call it a career. The second was to decide he wasn’t done playing baseball, and do everything he could to keep playing. To his credit, he worked hard and put himself in a position to play. He ended up earning a spot on a team in a wooden bat league as a 17-year old in a league with players over 18, most of whom are over 20 and play or played baseball on Division I teams.

FIVE LIFE LESSONS OF BASEBALL:

1.       Nobody cares more for you and nothing matters more than family.

2.       Events don’t define you. How you respond to those events is what defines you.

3.       Don’t concern yourself with things you can’t control. It’s a waste of time. Conversely, control everything that impacts your ability to succeed.

4.       Never give up easily on something you care about deeply.

5.       You must EARN EVERYTHING you want and need. Nobody GIVES you anything. That means you must work TWICE as hard as the next guy to GUARANTEE you achieve your goals.

I’ve used this list to coach teams, both on fields and in offices. As a father, I hope all three of my children can use these lessons as a way to gain confidence needed to maximize their ability to reach their potential. As a leader within my company, I hope everyone on my team is able to practice these concepts in establishing their priorities so they can bring their best to work and to their lives every day. As a teammate in life with everyone in my family, business and community, these lessons remind me what’s most important.

Tyler is currently finishing his sophomore year at Florida State University where he’s learning how to handle life on his own. A list of these lessons is framed and sits above his bed in his room at school.

Enjoy!

Nobody Said It Was Going to Be a Walk in the Park

Aron RalstonEvery day we travel through life viewing it through lenses refined over time. Some of us are near-sighted, some of us far-sighted, and some of us have 20/20 vision – all the result of decisions we’ve made and experiences we’ve lived. Every now and then, something happens to change our view akin to going to the eye doctor and getting a new prescription. Sometimes the most impactful and lasting changes result from decisions we’ve made, and the meaning we give them through stories we tell ourselves and others. Sometimes life’s changes are the result of someone else’s experience relayed in a way that resonates strongly. I was given a new set of glasses this past week when I met with Aron Ralston for lunch in Las Vegas before hearing him tell his story.

Many of you know Aron as the main character in the movie 127 Hours, and the author of the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” Anyone unfamiliar with those two stories will know him as that dude who cut off his own arm after having it pinned against the wall of a canyon by an 800 pound boulder while on a hike in Utah. I encourage EVERYONE to find an opportunity to hear him speak. Hearing Aron tell his story and the light it shines on his life and others’ is a unique and powerful experience.

The cool part about Aron is he comes across as “just another guy”. Spend a few moments with him and you realize how bright he is, and what a deep thinker he is. While a very approachable, humble and grateful person, he’s also an incredibly talented outdoorsman and mountaineer whose love of adventure and the outdoors continually puts him in risky situations. Compared to Aron’s ordinary adventures, the trip that nearly ended his life ten years ago this week seemed far less risky than other things he does for fun. Yet it was that walk through Blue John Canyon that started on April 26, 2003 – ten years ago today – that changed Aron’s life forever.

While each of us would like to think we’d do what Aron did to save our life in a similar situation, the truth is none of us will likely ever be in that position. Thankfully. But we all encounter challenges, and that’s where everyone can connect with Aron’s story. Some of us confront death prematurely. All of us face situations where our view of reality is altered as a result of decisions we’ve made – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Aron’s message is compelling not just because of the outcome – survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds – but because of the role his attitude and approach played in how events unfolded and the role it played in his survival.

There are parallels between Aron’s story from Blue John Canyon (which took a week to unfold) and Viktor Frankl’s experience in a Nazi death camp (which occurred over the course of years between 1942 and 1945). It is Frankl’s experience surrounded by others confronting the same deadly environment where we see how unique it is to approach a life-threatening situation with the courage and strength required to survive, as he recounts in his book Man’s Search for Meaning.

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the dispairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life – daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

The dramatic difference between Frankl’s experience and Aron’s is the immediacy of death and the critical role each individual decision plays in such a compressed timeframe. Facing comparable challenges, it’s understandable how many people would accept their fate either as a hopeless situation (“not me” screams every reader) or as a challenge to be confronted. Many people would likely do things differently than what Aron did, if for no reason than they don’t have the experience spending long periods of time alone outdoors. Or they don’t have Aron’s survival training. Or, if they did everything exactly the same but timed it differently, the result would likely be different and tragic. Fate did play a role in Aron’s survival. But so did his approach to the challenge. In the end, it was Aron’s connection to something important to him outside the canyon – his connection to family and friends – that gave him hope and strength to survive. His vision of others and their role in his life allowed Aron to adjust his attitude toward the challenge presented and gave him the courage to break free from his probable grave. In the end, it was the vision of Aron’s unborn son that gave him the strength he needed. Similarly, in the face of challenges Frankl focused on the love of his wife and drew strength from that connection.

Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”

That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both know: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

The trailer for the movie 127 Hours states “Anything is possible with a will to live.” Aron acknowledged in Las Vegas that his experience was deeper than that, acknowledging everyone has a will to live – survival for the sake of self-preservation. That isn’t what made his escape and survival possible. It was his will to love – survival for the sake of others. It was his realization of the importance others played in his life and his sense of gratitude over those 127 hours that kept him alive longer than he thought possible and gave him the courage to break free.

In the end, both Frankl and Aron could justifiably curse fate (damn the luck) and give up control of their situation. While trapped Aron has 127 hours to reflect on things he could’ve done differently to prevent “fate” from dealing him a bad hand. Frankl had years to consider the role circumstances play in dictating whether someone lives longer or dies sooner.

The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. . .

And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become a plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate. . .

Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp. Dostoevsky said once, “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom – which cannot be taken away – that makes life meaningful and purposeful. . . If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of human life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

What is a person’s life if not a story? Can a good story exist without suffering and conflict? Don’t we all face conflict every day? Is it conflict or how they respond to that conflict that defines the person?

Ten years ago today, Aron went on a hike that caused great suffering. When he broke free after 127 hours, he began to heal. Along the way he found a deeper purpose by understanding his message about the lessons he learned could help others. He and Frankl understand every person’s story is the result of little and big decisions made every day. If you make good decisions, you get the opportunity to continue making decisions. If you make bad decisions, someone else (or something else, like fate) makes decisions for you. While it may be difficult to see along the way, the challenges you face can create great opportunities. As a result, events and challenges don’t define you. How you respond to those events and challenges is what defines you.

So thank you, Aron Ralston, for serving as an optometrist, and helping bring life a bit more into focus.

The Magic of Gratitude: Fragile is a Frame of Mind

Reason to Dance

It’s been awhile since we’ve been together here on the web, and my apologies for staying away so long. We keep moving forward with Just Keep Pouring, spreading words, thoughts and ideas around as we can. Stay tuned for more developments in 2013. We’re very excited about things to come. In the meantime . . .

By this point, nearly everyone has seen Kid President’s Pep Talk. For those who haven’t, you must check it out because it’s a powerful message from a nine-year old, reminding us that nine-year olds have a few of the most important things right about this world. It’s a message about inspiration (“The world needs you to stop being boring. Yeah. You.”),  teamwork (“And if life IS a game, aren’t we on the same team?”), about being different (“Not cool, Robert Frost!”), about dreaming (“It’s like that dude Journey said, ‘Don’t stop dreaming. Unless your dream is stupid. Then you should get another dream.’), about persistence (“What would happen if Michael Jordan had quit? . . . He would’ve never made Space Jam. And I love Space Jam.”), about being positive (“You can cry about it, or you can dance about it.”) and most importantly, guidance about what should drive everybody every day – “It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.”

Robbie Novak’s Pep Talk video has been viewed over 12 million times, with most of those views originating from my home in Florida. His message is direct, powerful and energetic. His zest for life is even more powerful when you consider the experiences he’s lived in his short life, highlighted recently on CBS Evening News. He embodies everything we mean when we say “If the glass doesn’t appear half full, just keep pouring.” Robbie would agree that we should all Strive to Be Awesomer!

Multitasking – Does it Make Us Better?

The term “multi-tasking” began as a technical term describing computers that could do more than one thing at a time. As computers became more common in the workplace and society, humans soon were expected to perform the same way – and the term began applying to a human ability to do more than one thing at a time. Before long, as we were exposed to more and more information through the internet, e-mail, instant messages, phone calls and meetings, some viewed the ability to multi-task as a prerequisite for success and productivity.

Over the years, we’ve been able to appreciate multi-tasking for what it is – a habitual behavior creating a false sense of accomplishment by allowing the multi-tasker to cross things off a list without giving complete attention to any one thing. The multi-tasker is undoubtedly very busy. The reality is crossing things off a list doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity or accomplishment. Furthermore, multi-tasking has become a part of our culture at the cost of focus, thoughtfulness and true engagement. We’ve become a society glued to the little and big screens with a fear that if we put the toys down, we might miss something.

This past week, Harvard Business Review listed the top postings from 2012. The most read article in 2012 was The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time, written by Tony Schwartz. If you’ve followed Tony’s writings (among them, The Power of Full Engagement, co-written with Dr. Jim Loehr), you’ll know his research supports alternating periods of intense engagement with periods of intentional disengagement as a way to bring your full and complete energy to what you do. As human beings, we do not work well when continually focused without breaks and when pulled in multiple directions. Working in that environment is not sustainable, and in Mr. Schwartz’ words, has created an energy crisis in our country of a personal nature.

The column above is worth some attention as we head into the new year and the season of resolution. It’s time we appreciate multi-tasking for what it really is – doing more than one thing at a time half-assed. It’s important to set aside time for thought and strategic consideration. Most importantly, in the words of Wally Armstrong (co-author of The Mulligan, with Ken Blanchard), we need to adjust back from humans doing to human beings.

Happy New Year everyone, and remember to Just Keep Pouring!

What Comes First – Success or Happiness?

Over the weekend, an article was posted on the Just Keep Pouring page on Facebook about how random, intentional acts of kindness can make kids more popular(http://facebook.com/justkeeppouring, in case you’re looking for it).  In that post, I mentioned there have been unprecedented developments in the area of positive psychology over the past few years. Shawn Achor brings it together in his book The Happiness Advantage, and in the brief and entertaining TED video below. In brief, the old premise – that success creates happiness – has proven to be false. It’s actually the other way around. Studies show consistently that happiness creates success. And while “happiness” may seem a bit squishy in the workplace, it’s important to understand because it has a measurable effect on results. The way to happiness isn’t necessarily with Stuart Smalley-like unfounded daily affirmations (although reminding yourself of your strengths can help in certain situations), but with specific actions such as the ones highlighted in the attached video. What better resolution than to resolve to make ourselves – and the world around us – happier in 2013? Enjoy, and Just Keep Pouring!