Don’t try to think of an answer. Just sort of let it bubble up, and if nothing bubbles up that’s okay. Something may bubble up later this afternoon or tomorrow morning and in the shower. You know how these things are, you sort of plant the seed and then you bat your eyes and something happens.
So answer the question, what is your super power? You’ll notice your super power is not something you’ve been taught- it’s a natural gift, right? It’s a talent or skill that you were born with. You were like this when you were little, you were like this when you were a teenager. Now you’re a grown up person and the way your super power shows up may be different.
You may have sophisticated your use of it, but it is part of you and it is never going away. It is what you bring into every room you come into. So my question for you is, are you leaning into it? Are you leaning in to your superpower in whatever venue you have to lean into it?
-Are you bringing it with you to work?
-Are you bringing it with you into your family situations?
-Are you bringing it with you into your personal relationships?
-Are you bringing it with you into your relationship with yourself as you try to motivate yourself?
-As you criticize yourself, can you bring your superpower to light to interrupt that personal communication?
-Are you making money from it? Because honestly, this super power you have is the thing you can charge the most for.
You might be thinking- this thing that’s my super power. So easy. It feels weird to charge for it. No, no, this is the thing you can charge the most for because you have a natural facility for it. You process more quickly. It’s easy and fun for you. You can do it with almost unfailing energy.
If I woke you up at three in the morning and said, “Hey, Hey, Hey, you know, we need you to do this thing.”
You’d be like, “yeah, I’m coming. I’m coming.” Right? Because you love doing it because you’re great at it. If there’s a way to put a price tag on it, do so.
Do so because you do it better than everybody else. And you may feel like, well, this is obvious. This is stupid. Everybody can do this.
Oh, no, they can’t. They absolutely cannot.
Just lean into it. Let the ideas sort of follow you around like a balloon today. See if you can notice what other people’s superpowers are, what are the things they bring into every room they come into?
Back to your superpower- are you leaning into it? Are you charging for it? Are you sharing it? Are you talking about it?
Is it on your about page? Is it in your bio? Is it your sign off on your emails? Is it your tagline? Is it a conversation starter?
My mentor/friend,/teacher/work-husband, Sam Christensen, used to talk about this a lot. We did a lot of work on personal branding together. And Sam would say, “you know that when you lean into the truth of who you are, the charismatic light bulb goes on.” It’s true. It’s not bragging.
We know it’s true. When you say it, we feel it. And, it’s the same way you can tell when somebody says something that’s not true about themselves. And you’re like, “Hmm, that doesn’t really land for me.” You get a little suspicious right away. You’re like, “you may think that about yourself, but you’re not really like that.”
But when it’s true, you’re like, “Ugh, you are like that. Oh, I can see it.”
One of the ways to respond to failures, disappointment, discouragement criticism is with your superpower, right? So, lean into your superpower and bring it with you wherever you go.
This post is transcribed from one of Sam's weekly "Secrets of Highly Productive People" Facebook Live events. Get reminders when Sam goes live by entering your information here:
I don’t know about you, but I got tired of having 47 notebooks to keep track of my life.
I had a journal, a gratitude book, prayer work, calendar, to-do lists, online to-do lists, legal pads… it goes on and on. So, my idea was to try and gather the tools that I actually use to organize my actual life and put them all in one place for you.
I designed The Real Life Planner to manage all the things in your life. This is an actual, spiral-bound book that we’ll send to you in the mail.
Let’s talk about the different pages and their sections.
The Could-Do List
First up, The Real Life Planner has a Could-Do list for each day. Those of you that are familiar with my Get It Done method and have read the book or done the program will know all about this.This list is for everything in your life, from calling your best friend to heading to the farmers market.
First, it asks you for the thing you need to do and tells you to rename it. Call it something fun, because sometimes we don’t want to do something because it has a boring name. For example, Project Dinner Party sounds way better than cleaning off the dining room table. Rename your tasks for maximum fun.
The time element is designed to keep you accountable. If you write something down that you cannot assign a time to, then your project is too big. That is one of the main causes for procrastination. For example, if I put down “write book” that seems impossible- who knows how long that will take. But, if I write “revise chapter 4”, that I can do. If you have projects that aren’t getting done, figure out if it’s too big. Ask yourself if you can chunk it down more and assign a time to it.
The time section is also great for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. A long list can seem daunting, but when there’s a time next to it you can see “oh, that’s only going to be 10 minutes and this is 15, that’s 30… I’ve only got 3 hours worth of stuff here and then I can go to the beach.” Another great reason for having the time on there is for when you have a small block of time before a meeting or appointment. You can say “oh hey, here’s this little 10 minute task- I can squeeze that in.” This way you can chip away at your list and get things done.
There’s also a section to note how much money (in or out) applies to each task. Creating an invoice doesn’t sound fun, but when you know you’ll earn $500 from doing it, that sends it straight to the top of the list. If you want to have more money, you’re going to need to pay attention to the money. That’s why the money’s on there.
The inclination section is really important, because it’ll gauge your interest in the task. Give it a scale from 1-10 of how much you want to do it to see the inclination around your desire. We often have to do a lot of stuff we don’t want to do, and that’s where this becomes important. What do we do when there’s no desire around a task we need to do, like bookkeeping? Ask yourself, is there something I can do to jazz up my desire? You can give yourself a treat after, like spend the day in bed reading or get a new pair of sparkly shoes. This is great because you don’t need to pretend that you are dreading this task- you just have to find a way to make it doable for you. This is a reality check around your desire for each task listed.
Daily Planner Page
The Daily Planner page is mostly blank, but it’s got some really helpful little dots instead of the traditional lines or hour-by-hour breakdown. This way, you can use your planner in the way that works for YOU. You can doodle, list out the busiest parts of your day, and remember everything you’ve accomplished throughout the day. For example, I like to do my prayer work in the morning. This puts my prayer work right into my daily planner, so while I am moving through the day, it stays with me- it’s not just some isolated incident that happened at 6am.
Oh, and those dots are perfectly placed at a half-centimeter apart. The level of detail put into this planner is amazing.
Weekly Self Assessment
The other thing that this planner offers is a weekly self assessment. It’s hard for us to discern progress in our life. So, once a week it asks you some questions to do just that. For example, “What are 5 Things You’re Pleased You Did Last Week?” What can you look back on and say “oh yea, I’m proud of myself for that.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. My list included things like family dinner and going to the beach.
Then it’s got a spot for what you’ve learned that week. Tune into the Critical Rational Voice- that voice in your head that is discouraging you. It’s hard, but you don’t have to ignore it. Write down the thoughts and work through them.
Then, what does your Deep Inner Wisdom Know? This isn’t for airy fairy, post it on your mirror, affirmation stuff like Everything’s Fine or I Can Do It! It’s for things you KNOW about your actual life, like “I keep my commitments” or “I think it’s worth a try- I’d rather try than not try.” What do you know about yourself?
Then it asks for 3 things you could do and what you noticed. Mine says “I love my work”, because well… I love my work!
5 Minute Art Page
The last page is to make some 5 minute art about it, or even 90 second art. It’s about getting whatever hard feelings are getting you stuck… things like anger, resentment, grief, extreme self doubt, depression, all of it, out onto the page. You don’t have to be a good drawer- no one is going to see it. It’s just a way for you to process what you’re feeling.
So, that’s the Real Life Planner! It’s designed to have all the things- your home life, work, spiritual… all in one place. The best part is that while it gives you guidance, you’ll have plenty of space to be creative and really make it your own.
Remember, there is not a right way to be creative. There is not a right way to be productive. There’s just your way. And the best news is that you get to do it your way. You’re a grown up now- no one’s grading, no one’s looking… do it your way. And let the Real Life Planner help you keep it organized so you can celebrate yourself, every day.
I think it was Jitterbug Perfume that gave me the idea that beets are sort of…magical.
And Ruth Reichl’s beet salad recipe in her FABULOUS cookbook, My Kitchen Year, sealed the deal.
It’s perfect for this time of year, but I’m also excited about making it in the summer, because it won’t wilt in the sunshine during pool parties. #alwaysthinkingahead
Borscht Salad (à la Fergus Henderson)
1 green apple
1/2 small red cabbage
1 small red onion (I didn’t have a red onion so I threw in some diced radishes – worked fine)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
sour cream (or goat cheese) (optional)
Peel the raw beets and grate them. You may want to use rubber gloves, or your hands will be a lovely shade of magenta for quite a while.
Peel and grate the apple and stir that into the beets.
Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can. Do the same with the red onion. Toss them with the beet/apple mixture.
Squeeze an orange and measure out 2 tbsp. of juice. Mix it with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then toss with the beets. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon on to 6 plates and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.
(One more note from me: Ruth says to “grate” the beets and apple, but I just cut them finely and it worked just fine.)
If you’d like some clarity on what 2018 is going to be about for you AND how to get there, please register now.
Because the reminder that everything is temporary is also the reminder to take action now.
There is no better time than now.
Now is the only time there is.
P.S. In the past few years, I’ve had major surgery, written a few wildly successful books, lived with depression and anxiety, grown my business into the mid-six figures, and still found time to walk on the beach. I know something about how to be productive, even when life is getting in the way. Join me for this all-new live interactive video workshop – in which you will actually be DOING stuff (not just taking notes : ) and let’s have 2018 be the year that makes a difference, OK? – S.
P.P.S. Your Clear Year: 2018 also includes a full year of membership in the 365 Club, featuring a monthly “Ask Sam Anything” call, daily inspirational emails, a private FB page and access to the Library. So this isn’t just a one-off quickie – you’ll get a FULL YEAR of support from me and the team. – S.
Anytime someone cares enough about what I’m doing to take the time to comment, I’m deeply honored.
Whether they love it or hate it or are just “meh” about it is none of my business. People are allowed to think and feel however they like, and it really has nothing to do with me.
Are you having a hard time digesting that?
Think of it this way: you know that none of their other opinions have to do with you, right?
I mean, if someone said, “Oh, I just loathe peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!” you wouldn’t take that personally, would you? You know that their feeling about PB&J isn’t about you, yes? Right. So just because the opinion under discussion happens to be “you” or “your work” does not make it any more or less about you. It’s all about them.
The moment someone starts to talk about likes and dislikes, or about “better” and “best,” they have stopped talking about the thing itself and they have started talking about themselves. (Thanks to Carolyn Bremer for the origin of this pithy phrasing.)
Here’s why I bring this up:
I was getting ready for another drive into LA, which takes about 90 minutes, and I was thinking that maybe instead of listening to a podcast, I might download a new audio book.
While cruising Audible books and reviews, I realized that I had never once looked up my own books to see their reviews.
So I look them up and…
They are just lovely!
People say the most wonderful things about my writing and about my narration and I’m just beaming over here.
And the one negative review cracked me up so much my ego forgot to even wince.
(Laughter almost always defeats ego. Try it.)
Take a look at the screenshots below and you can see for yourself.
And if you’re looking for something nice to listen to, please consider
“Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2vKEK6s
“Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2eP4R8x
And for what’s it worth, I think your work is fabulous.
The news has made me weep almost hourly and I am done with feeling outraged, feeling powerless and feeling frightened.
It’s time to reclaim our creative power and become a relentless force for kindness.
And when I say “time” I mean right now. This very minute.
We creatives have been OK with taking a back seat for too long.
The time for change is now. This very minute.
If you want to live in a world in which creativity matters, then you must act like creativity matters.
And then everyone else’s.
If you want to live in a world of compassion and tolerance, then you must behave compassionately and tolerantly.
Starting with yourself.
Then everyone else.
And most of all: no quitting.
You don’t get to call yourself, “lazy” or “a failure” or “not good with money” anymore.
You don’t get to point the finger at the family, the teachers, the economy or the media and blame them for your lack.
You don’t get to stand on the sidelines and pretend like the world economy doesn’t have anything to do with you.
You don’t get to huff around making loud noises about moving to Canada when there is a whole world of people out here who need your art, your stories and your voice more than ever before.
I know it’s hard.
I know it’s hard to not let the state of the world turn your mood dark.
But our weapon is the light.
Our weapon is politeness, good humor, firm resolve without violence and most of all, of creativity.
The time to find unusual solutions and out-of-the-box ideas is now.
We’ve let those other guys be in charge for too long, and it’s time we reclaimed our rightful place as the shamans, jesters, prophets, documentarians, dancers, poets, potters, teachers, healers, music-makers, magic-makers and makers-of-things.
Our work brings people together.
Our work reminds people of our shared humanity.
After all – we all want the same things.
We all want to eat good food and love somebody special.
We all want to feel like our work matters.
We all want to laugh at good jokes and be with our friends, especially when times are especially good or especially hard.
All of us.
Every person of every stripe throughout all time has wanted these things.
So if you want to bring people together, do it around the things that you have in common.
I’ve heard that marriage equality progressed faster than anyone thought it could thanks to “Will and Grace.”
And I know for a fact that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped end slavery.
Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” changed our ideas about masculinity, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now regularly on my old friend Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, making astrophysics cool again.
And wasn’t it teeny-bopper-Tweeter turned pop-culture-goddess-superstar Taylor Swift taking the stand against sexual harassment this week?
So do not allow yourself to sink into despair.
Rather: allow yourself to sink into the work that has been calling your name.
You don’t know how much your novel, your sexual empowerment workshop, your yoga, your paint (or paint-by-numbers) might change the world.
So don’t let anyone (not even the voices in your head) tell you that your work is foolish, is selfish, is unnecessary or should be put off until tomorrow.
It is time to be a relentless force for creativity, kindness and joy. This very minute.