March 2013

90-minutes of focused activity, followed by a 10-minute interval of conscious rejuvenation, maximize productivity.

Yes, that’s the 90/10 rule.

Who came up with that, you ask? Professor K. Anders Ericson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

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They’re commonly known as affirmations. The simple yet powerful things we say to ourselves to claim our highest good – radiant health, wondrous prosperity, boundless love.

I like the word self-talk. Because that’s what I am truly doing when I make an affirmation – I’m talking to myself.

I talk to my self every day.

The self-talk that I find utterly irresistible is the one that shifts my energy. Instantly. You know, when I’m about to enter a meeting and feel anxious (and being anxious is not helpful). When I feel tired (and showing up tired is not an option). When I, for whatever reason, do not care for a person (and that person is a crucial client). Yep – time to shift energy!

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I sit in an old German Brauhaus on the outskirts of Frankfurt with Martin, the European General Manager of a global manufacturing firm, and our talk quickly settles on members of his staff.

“Sabine, your assistant, was immensely helpful to me all day,” I let him know.

Martin chuckles and says. “You know, I inherited her from my predecessor.” I know the history behind this comment. When Martin became GM, he inherited quite a few folks who did not perform all that well.

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Please indulge a little travel metaphor.

If you’ve ever flown Singapore Airlines, you know. The flight attendants pamper you from the second you board. They make you feel cherished.

If you’ve ever flown Spirit Air – uhuh, you have experienced the dark side of travel. A calculated disregard for your well-being from the moment you arrive. No effort – truly none – to put you in a joyful state of mind.

Imagine that every day, as you rush from meeting to phone call to networking lunch to yet another meeting, you are your own inner flight attendant. So – which airline are you flying? Spirit, or Singapore Air?

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