More than two decades ago, the company I worked for, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, brought in a motivational speaker for the staff. I was so taken with Grace Cirocco’s presentation that I wrote up her “ten steps for achieving your potential” and added my own notes to them. For the past 20 years, that list has held a prominent place on my bulletin board, right over my desk so that I can keep these rules in sight.
I just recently found out that Grace has also written a book called Take the Step — The Bridge Will Be There, which is perfect for anyone changing careers (transitioning from government to self-employed anyone?).
Her influence from just that one little seminar on January 10, 1994, has been so pervasive that I thought I would share the list with you. (I keep an electronic copy in case I need to print a new one. The original has about 50 holes in it from being moved around the bulletin board.)
I invite all of you to share a blog about what’s on your bulletin board.
Grace Cirocco’s Ten Steps for Achieving Your Potential
- Should — “Don’t let anyone should on you,” says Grace. — Make three lists; one for things you have to do, one for things you want to do, and one for things you should do. Then throw out the last list. If you don’t have to do it and you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. (I actually learned this formula from Vogue Patterns magazine in an article about how to make more time for sewing.)
- Acknowledge and complete the past — Don’t let little things remain unresolved; they suck away your energy like mosquitoes always coming back for more blood. An old Scots tradition was to finish up everything before the New Year. House cleaning, repairs, mending, fixing relationships, etc. — everything was to be tidied up before January 1st so the New Year would be a clean slate. (For example, for about 2 years my photo of my father had a cracked glass that I had kept meaning to replace “when I got around to it.” Finally, after Grace’s seminar, I fixed it. Cost: $1.69 and a trip to the hardware store. Result: Tons of guilt gone.)
- Trust and use your intuition — Women are said to have intuition but men have it too; theirs has not been acknowledged, however, and may be a little rusty. Intuition helps, for example, in avoiding assault. If your guts tell you that the person you are with is making you uncomfortable, listen to your feelings, don’t just be polite.
- Touch is a human requirement — 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, 12 for growth.
- Choice — Don’t be a victim to your own responses to people and events. Choose your own response.
- Reject perfectionism and strive for excellence. Perfectionism takes more time than it is worth.
- Limit the amount of TV you watch — It sucks the little grey cells out of your brain. (P.S. I don’t think this applies to Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, or Call the Midwife!)
- Exercise — Exercise releases endorphins that keep you positive and help you deal with stress. Walking is the best exercise, as it also gets you outside.
- Have realistic expectations — Don’t catastrophize when things don’t go as expected.
- Sharpen the saw — Upgrade your skills; learning is a life-long pursuit. Don’t turn off your brain when they hand you the sheepskin. “We are human becomings not just human beings,” says Grace.