When my agent and I were pitching my now bestselling book THE VISION BOARD: the secret to an extraordinary life to Harper Collins Publishing/Harper Design we were positioning it as a cross between design and self-development.
As you may know, the book has now sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and has become the essential guide to creating a #visionboard and #visual life and work planning. My Vision Board Institute http://www.visionboardinstitute.com has trained more than 175 Certified Vision Board Coaches around the globe in the proprietary techniques on life and work visioning which form the guts of life and business change at any age or cycle of your company or organization..
People often ask what is so different about what you do Joyce -- well, an authentic system of life visioning begins long before you create your vision board or even your vision statement.
The book opens with a chapter on LIFE VISIONING -- which is the very essential step that very few people do prior to creating their #visionstatement and of course their #visionboard. It was a great honor to get a wonderful endorsement from Lynn Andrews, female shaman that says:
Visioning has become a lost art for many. Joyce Schwarz book is a profound reentry into the ancient process of seeing the mystery before it happens.
A great read.- Lynn V. Andrews, international author, “Medicine Woman”, shaman and founder of the Lynn Andrews Center for Sacred Arts and Training
Why talk about all of this now?
Because it's graduation time and many sites and publications and TV shows are asking what advice do you have for new graduates -- one even challenges authors and speakers to give their views in 5 words or less.
So I figured it was time to reveal the 5 step Success Formula to the world --not just the book's readers. (And yes, it is proven by my consulting with more than 2000 VIPs and Hollywood stars and personalities ranging from an anchor at FOXNEWS to Candy Lightner Founder of Mother's Against Drunk Driving to two presidential candidates and execs at Paramount, Disney Imagineering, 3M and more -- even a Miss Fitness America and a Mr. Universe.Along with more than 200 corporate clients ranging from Metropolitan Life to American Airlines and 75 plus startups ranging from emusic.com to primesense (guts of xbox kinect).
That formula --that was first revealed to me and later I shared with my clients first is also expanded on in THE VISION BOARD book on request from Harper Collins. I've been told that it is straightforward and certainly goes far beyond the law of attraction, the golden rule and other time-worn advice.
UP FOR G.R.A.B.S.
It's called the GRABS formula based on the acronym it forms and here is a brief summary of it that you can begin following NOW -- even before you've re-visioned your life -- even before you've created a new vision statement and well before your next #visionboard design.
G=Gratitude -- it all starts with an attitude of gratitude. When I get my head turned around and start micro-managing my life or trying to tweak the future before it happens -- I turn to being grateful.
Great to see that famous scientists and other leaders agree with me on this one -- heres one note I found on research on what else -- gratitude online.
Scientists from UC Berkeley as noted in one of their online newsletters, are finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.
That’s why the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley—in collaboration with the University of California, Davis—launched a $5.6 million, three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.
GENEROSITY GENE-- JACK AND SUZY WELCH: just recently I had the good fortune to see Jack and Suzy Welch live talking about their latest book The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career. During their talk,they promoted their practice of what they called the "GENEROSITY GENE" . Jack says, " Find your generosity gene. The one characteristic great leaders share is that "they love to see people grow." They have the "generosity gene." "The day you are afraid of them being better than you is the day you fail as a leader."
That concept of GENEROSITY GENE ties in not only with G for Gratitude but alsoS for Sharing -- which is the final part of the 5 step formula -- for you must share what you kow -- try to share something today -- maybe a link to this article or even a smile to the peeps in the elevator with you down at your workplace. It's rewarding and the more you share -- the more the practice is returned by others.
With the S for sharing -- we're not suggesting you become a pushover or let people "brain-drain" you or that as they say in the TV Show "Silicon Valley" don't let them "brain-rape" you of your intellectual content or recommendations. But do share a compliment today. I find on my most challenging days that I practice the smile at the small things -- not a grin and bear it attitude but a gratitude of greatness -- I find something to compliment the first person I see that day -- whether it's a gorgeous aqua colored jacket on a clerk at the post office or a the shape of the shaggy dog walking by as I get into my car -- of course I'm complimenting to the owner --but I do think the dog gets it when he wags his tail wildly.
RELEASE AND RECEIVE
After G comes R in the GRABS method which stands for Release and Receive. Yes, we all know how important it is to release the frustration from the past or the hurt by a diss from a colleague. Thats why I'm thrilled that one of my coaches taught me the concept of SANKOFA (you teach what you need to learn, of course) Sankofa Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates as "reach back and get it" and as I understand it encourages people to reach back and bring forward the best of their past and leave the rest behind.
Wouldn't it be great if you could do that every day -- I challenge you to do just that starting -- well, today of course !
BE READY TO RECEIVE:
Oh heck, you're saying I certainly know how to receive -- I've been praying and hoping and dreaming and I am waiting to get what I deserve. BRING IT ON!
Yet so often those same people are rejecting even the small bits of good that come their way (what are you measuring good for anyway I ask -- it's not like it's a cup of flour?) good breeds good. Compliment them on their dress and they are the ones who say -- oh this old thing- or admire their new car and they go into a littany of little techno-glitches they've had to deal with since they got it. Look at it this way -- reframe it -- you are not being selfish by accepting a compliment. Instead by not being open to receive, you are denying someone the joy of giving.
NO COFFEE FOR ME! I had a boss (quite frankly, he was not my fave) who taught me a great lesson about being ready to receive. We went on joint presentations about once a week and after the third week of going along with me he asked Why don't you ever accept the coffee that the receptionist or the client offers you. I simply said -- well I don't like coffee in the morning (okay, I prefer Diet Coke --don't go nuts). His advice -- Drink the coffee Joyce or ask for water --who knows they may even have a Diet Coke available too. By turning down the offering I was violating one of the basic principles business deals -- not accepting the gesture left the door closed for the rest of the meeting.Plus, as he noted the assistant or the receptionist -- may just need a break -- and you're not letting them share their hospitality with you.
In fact, in Arab countries hosts will often feed guests until literal exhaustion - and still offer more. Westerners, who usually see insistence after their refusal as a sign of rudeness, should leave this mentality at the doorstep, and instead refuse with good humor; perhaps see it as a game, a battle of wills. It may be advisable to slow the pace of consumption so that when offered more, you can accept the first few times, then finally decline.So when in Bahrain.....
A is for INSPIRED ACTION
So you've been waiting for success to knock at your door -- no one told you it may text you or click in today's mobile world?
Too many articles and columns and books and inspirational speakers and motivational movies and videos -- advise you to just sit back and wait until the Universe delivers to you. I'm always fascinated by those Facebook posts where the "friend" reports they have "manifested" a trip to Hawaii -- yes, they took out their American Express card and paid Expedia for the package that very afternoon.
No that's not the kind of inspired action I'm talking about -- instead I advise you immerse yourself in your future vision NOW. Want to take a trip to France this summer-- check out a youtube video on Bordeaux, head for dinner at a local French bistro and share your love of France with a waiter who just arrived here weeks ago. Don't downgrade your vision by saying you're "thinking about going to Paris" instead phrase it like "I'm going to Paris -- what advice do you have for me -- what's the best place to stay. Who knows maybe his or her old apartment is now on AirBNB since their roommate is still looking for a new roomie. Hire a tutor -- maybe that waiter or someone you get through a referral at the local French-American club or a France meet-up you attend in your area. Live your vision now -- feel it, hear it, see it.
A is also for acknowledge:
Acknowledge what you have accomplished -- that circles back to G for Gratitude because just by keeping a Gratitude journal or making a top ten list of accomplishments, you are moving yourself forward. Didn't get your to do list done this week at work -- congratulate yourself instead for what you DID DO -- maybe you added a dozen new people to your Facebook group, maybe you shared your green thumb with the gal in charge of the plants at the co-working space you visit and they miraculously survived another week. Yes, you can find 10 things -- even if it means #1 is you are still breathing #2 is you are reading this article.
A is also for ASK in the startup company business rules they encourage you to ABC -- always be closing -- yet so many of us don't practice what we preach at work in our personal lives. We get overwhelmed with the day to day challenges of Midwest grass which grows, well like grass. We still have not sorted the clutter we're going to take to the Goodwill.
We are super-people we don't need help --we CAN DO IT ALL -- no person is an island remember and asking is more of an art than it is an ingrain skill for many of us -- yes, even me.
Thats why I'm fascinated by the new book by performer and artist Amanda Palmer called. "The Art of Asking: how I learned to stop worrying and let people help."
- "When we really see each other, we want to help each other." -Amanda Palmer
READ ABOUT HER MILLION DOLLAR ASK: Amazon's promo for Palmer's tome explains the title by saying: Imagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band, and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter--they've taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. And because she had learned how to ask, she was able to go to the world to ask for the money to make a new album and tour with it, and to raise over a million dollars in a month.
YES $1 million -- are you ready to ask yet?
BELIEVE OR SUSPEND THE DISBELIEF
B in the GRABS formula stands for BELIEF – yes, I know from experience sometimes it’s impossible to really believe – you were let down before, it didn’t happen the way you wanted – he didn’t ask you to marry him or she didn’t accept. Maybe you feel you’re just not on a roll right now. So the advice I give is to "go Hollywood or go home"…suspend the disbelief. Be grateful for the moment and turn it over to your higher power –or your inner self whatever you feel most comfortable with. Or just enjoy the moment....
After all look at what SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF means: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the poet and author, called drama "that willing suspension ofdisbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith. And what has more drama than daily life. Bob Proctor, Success Leader and bestselling speaker and author says in the forward to THE VISION BOARD book that – all too often “We are extras in our own lives”. Yes, we should be ready for the spotlight and step forward even if we are doing it with a bit of trepidation.
Did you know that fear and excitement both generate the same physiological response: your heart starts to race and your adrenalin glands start pumping to give you the edge you make the choice in seconds to be fearful or excited when you’re whirling up and down that roller coaster called life? .I use the example of going to see the movie AVATAR with my 15 year old nephew – when I advised him abou the Computer Graphics and simulations of the special effects including the hair on the characters – he just looked at me and said Aunt Joyce – let it go – it’s just a movie –let me enjoy it. Often we overthink our own beliefs and lose out on that sense of awe we deserve to experience.
TO discover more about the GRABS formula listen to the audio interview I did that will air on demand all day tomorrow Friday, May 22.. You can register for the free online workshop at on this Facebook events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1661842090701738/ or email:email@example.com for a link to hear the MP3
ABOUT JOYCE SCHWARZ: Schwarz is the author of 7 books including THE VISION BOARD: the secret to an extraodinary life which has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. She founded the Vision Board Institute.http://www.visionboardinstitute.com to train Certified VIsion Board Coaches in life and work visual planning and visioing. Schwarz says she has two lives -- one high touch and the other high tech. For more about her high tech consulting practice see: http//www.jcombusinessdevelopment.com and read about how her firm JCOM has consulted and launched more than 75 venture funded firms ranging from emusic to Primesense (guts of Xbox kinect). She is an award winning speaker and maintains a VIP Coaching practice to offer one to one packaging for entrepreneurs, TV personalities and corporate and political leaders worldwide. She works in Los Angeles and Cleveland, Ohio . You can reach her in somewhat real time at:firstname.lastname@example.org