Category Archives: Intentions

It’s Difficult to Change

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

A group of scientists and researchers put five monkeys in a cage, in the middle of the cage was a ladder.  On top of the ladder was a bunch of bananas. When a monkey climbed the ladder to catch the bananas and reached the top, a jet of cold water was thrown on the others who were on the ground.

After a certain time, when a monkey climbed to catch the bananas, the others took him off the lader and spanked him. Later on, no one climbed the ladder anymore, in spite of the temptation of the sweet treat at the top.

Next, one of them was replaced by a new monkey. The first thing he tried to do was to climb the ladder, but he was taken off by the others who spanked him. As he was not able to reach the top, the others did not receive the jet of cold water. After some spanking, the new member of the group stopped trying to reach the bananas anymore.

A second monkey was replaced in the cage and the same thing happened to him. The first one took part, with enthusiasm in the spanking of the new one. A third was replaced and the same thing happened. A fourth, and finally the last one of the members of the group was replaced.

The researchers, then, had in the cage a group of five monkeys who had never received a cold bath through were still spanking the one who tried to reach the bananas. If it were possible to ask any of them why they spanked the one who tried to climb the ladder, surely, among the answers the most frequent one would be:
“I don’t know, but things have always been like this around here.”

Are there actions that you are taking in your business or your life that originally had a life affirming reason for being part of you, but no longer serves you? For example:

  • What did you have for breakfast;
  • How you respond to survey calls;
  • How your respond to solicitation visits;
  • How you respond to requests for help;
  • How you ask for help.

During this week of transition, check out what is on auto-pilot, and why is the banana in your life still hanging there above the ladder?

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Filed under Image & Identity, Intentions, Intuition, Motivation, Personal Transitions, Social Media

Good Grief

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

This month is all about transition.  Many transitions need to move through a stage of grief.  What’s the difference between “good grief” and a pity party? As a business decision, I closed my massage practice of 17 years last week. I knew it was the right decision, but I’ve been grieving the loss of my connection to many wonderful people, and my chance to contribute to their lives.

I really wanted to avoid the pity party, but in doing so, I also ignored a very real emotion that was welling up, and I found myself with a lump in my throat that I even tried to imagine was a cold coming on!

“Good Grief” for me this week is self-care:

  1. Crying when I need to
  2. Sleeping when I want to
  3. Staying in meditation as long as I can
  4. Allowing a wound to heal

It made me think, that if I were cut, I’d take care of the wound, keep it clean, keep it safe from any further tearing, and spend very little time in a pity party. I’m learning a lot about good grief.

What resources do you use to give space for grief while honoring your own integrity and intention toward your future?

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Filed under Business Transitions, Inner Coach, Intentions, Personal Transitions, Sheryl Eldene

Got a Backbone?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

Remember those cute minnows swirling around Gail’s feet yesterday? They have intact backbones and really aren’t succeeding. Neither are the jellyfish stranded on the sand in the outgoing tide. Many people understand that BACKBONE, will, drive, Hard Work and discipline are critical to success.

As we look at obstacles to business success, consider the obstacle of no WISHBONE – no time to set vision, create focus and intention. Yes, we talk about annually an quarterly stepping back to create vision and specific strategies, but have you considered bringiing that practice into the month, the week, the day, or even the next hour?  Setting vision for the day or the hour, is more like setting your intention for this day to be _______(productive, nurturing, energized, giving, fulfilling – fill in the blank) and holding that intention as you take on your action steps for that day.

What I see happening so often, is sitting down at my desk, with a carefully prepared list of action steps that may or may not match my strategy, then working very HARD with all my drive, will, discipline until my neck hurts, I’m cranky and I know, from my work on professional burn-out, that I’m on my way down that path, fighting the tide and finally ending up as food for the big players. [OK, that’s a little dramatice, but you get the point].

To bring joy, success, as well as long term contribution in my field, I engage both bones. Here’s my check list:

  • Is what I’m about to do consistent with my intention for the day?
  • Is what I’m about to do consistent with my strategy for the quarter?
  • Do I have the energy to do this with my full attention and my full heart?
  • Can I do this from a place of power and energy, or from a place of just surviving?

No to any one of these questions may suggest that I’m driving and striving, just like those little minnows and maybe I’ll still be fighting the ocean when the day is done.  As you look at what obstacles may be limiting your success, consider the marriage of both your will and your self-discipline (BACKBONE) with your visioning, your intentions, and your heart (WISHBONE). This is the essence of linking the Law of Attraction to the Law of Action – and that marriage real Olympic Gold.

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Filed under Business Planning, Dreams, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy, Uncategorized

Level Five Spin Ninja

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

One of my favorite comics is called “Non Sequitur”. It has an interesting little girl who makes some wild pronouncements about the world. Recently, she said,

“The Spin Ninja code states that luck favors the prepared
My goal is to become a level 5 Spin Ninja”.

That has gotten me thinking about the link of the Law of Atrraction and the Law of Action. Really, “Spin” is just a way of thinking about a thing – your life, an event, a job, whatever. We think of “Spin” in terms of attempting to convince someone else about something. President Regan was said to be able to turn anything even failures into a victory with his suave spin savvy. Unfortunately, it is also said that President Carter wasn’t able to use spin to turn a victory into a victory. Spin is another word for the Law of Attraction, whether you’re using spin to define your own world or attempting to lead others to define the world according to you.

How about you, are you able to find the victory in your own events, and to use spin (in your thinking) to support yourself to create positive outcomes from your daily events?

And what about the “luck-favors-the-prepared”?  How prepared are you to receive those things that you are trying to create?  If you’re looking to bring a spouse into your life, is there room in your garage and your bathroom for another person?  If you’re looking to grow your business, is your current calendar filled completely with no room for those new clients or customers, even if they came?  If not, consider some preparation might be in order, and that is using the Law of Action with your intention.

I’m aiming to be a Level Five Spin Ninja, how about you?

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Filed under Intentions, Reinventions, Sheryl Eldene

There are No Loopholes in Intention

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

One of the Laws of Attraction that I attend to is the awareness that wherever I put my attention, I’m also placing my energy and thereby, my power. I also know that any words that I speak are filled with my energy and become powerful in my life. Since I know there are are no loopholes, no way around this law, I was shocked to hear what came out of my own mouth this morning as I looked at the scales – which haven’t moved in a month or so – and said “I just can’t lose this weight, what’s wrong with me, anyway”.

Based on this Law of Attraction, I just set in motion a self fulfilling prophecy.


I’m also the strengths based coach, so taking energy to discover what is wrong with me, might not be the best use of my focus. Here are my notes-to-self that I thought you might appreciate, too:

  1. What has actually improved over the last month that represents my real priority?
  2. What strengths do I have that will support my intention to be heathly and smaller?
  3. Assuming, I’ve been living On Purpose, what has the purpose of the past month been?
  4. What is the intention for this month?
  5. What is the one thing I desire independence from and what is the one dream I desire to celebrate at the end of July?

OK, world, here are my answers:

  1. What has improved? I’ve added walking regularly to my habits and am beginning to feel more energy.
  2. What are my strengths? My strength this month is my loyalty to the health of my puppy, who needs to walk every day.
  3. My true purpose? My true purpose for this last month has been to adapt to Sammy, and to survive getting up a couple times in the night to let him visit his favorite puppy-pee places.
  4. My intention for this month is to keep my focus on my business, to continue healthy walks, to find a way to be alpha dog while protecting the puppyhood of His Littleness.
  5. I want independence from a preconceived idea of how my body wants to return to health and vitality and I want to celebrate comfortably zipping up my favorite shorts.

As we move into a new month, and the third quarter of the year, remember, there are no loopholes in the link between your intentions and your results.  Thoughts and words are things – chose the good ones.

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Filed under Business Planning, Dreams, Intentions, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Strategy

Windmills of your Mind

By Gail Z. Martin

Remember Don Quixote who jousted with windmills?  The image evokes a noble but losing battle.  There’s also the old song Windmills of Your Mind, homage to the thoughts  on the edge of waking and sleeping, ideas that go round and round in your head.

Recently, I saw a rather dangerous combination of the two ideas that, unfortunately, is all too common among business people.  It’s the vicious cycle of attract/repel that keeps some people frozen in place, never able to make true progress.

Twice now I’ve had business owners seek me out for my opinion on marketing and ask for my advice.  However, as soon as I toss out a few ideas, the windmills crank up and the negative winds start to blow.  Every suggestion or idea is met with a reason why it can’t work.

One person got quite heated about it, declaring that it was impossible to market in her industry for a variety of reasons.  Now true, that particular industry has more hurdles than most, but as I pointed out to this person, some of the largest companies in that field do have a blogging and social media presence.  She immediately proceeded to tell me what it would work for them but not for her. She was so busy defending her position that nothing was possible that she could not hear anything I said.

In the other case, outdated assumptions severely limited the person’s options.  She was an accountant who wanted to create a package of services/educational products related to estate planning but outside of actual accounting.  She came to me to ask how to get people to attend the events she planned to hold.  When I started to suggest traditional and new media ways to promote the new package, she told me quite heatedly that accountants don’t advertise, can’t advertise, not by law but by convention.  Funny, I heard that line of thinking from physicians 25 years ago, and now physician advertising (tasteful, understated but still promotional) is quite common.  I’ve also seen similar low-key but effective promotion for accountants.  And I pointed out that the new package was not accounting.  No matter–her mind was made up.

What happened?  In both cases, some desire compelled these two people to seek me out for advice.  They knew my line of work, so it should have come as no surprise that I suggested ways to market.  Yet the windmills of their minds–outdated ideas, critical voices, fears and doubts, were too strong.  They were trapped going round and round with old, limiting ideas and fears, unwilling to even consider a new way to approach the situation.  They missed the chance to move forward.

How about you?  What windmills do you have in your mind? Where are your thoughts trapped by fears, doubts and outdated ideas?  They may be costing you valuable opportunities!

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Sales

How do you spell Success – Creativity or Innovation?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

It is said that creativity consists of thinking new things, while innovation consists of doing new things. How do you spell success?

When we talk about success, it depends on the goal or the end one has in mind, whether creativity, innovation, or same-old-same-old might pave the road to success. If my goal is to increase marketing share, innovation may be necessary, depending on the maturity of that market. If feeling alive as a CEO and creating a long term sustainable business is the goal, then innovation is core.  However, when I’m working with different groups of people, how I might think about women, or men, or hispanics, or gen Y’s will color my success so here, creativity and thoughtful intention will be needed. If having dinner prepared in time, then same-old-same-old works better. Like Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind” and the process, tools, and resources present themselves.

What paves your road to success as you move toward your intended goals?

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Filed under Balance, Business Planning, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene

Making a Living, or Making a Life?

Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

There’s a bumper sticker that I see around that says “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”. It just breaks my heart, and I find myself wanting to pull over the driver and, in my fantasy, be that altruistic millionaire from the TV show, and invite them off that hook with a big fat check. I shortly snap myself back to reality, though, and realize that it’s really all about intention, and a million dollars won’t help someone whose intention is to just go to work and drudge through the day.

If the intention is to make a living, create enough cash flow to stay out of debt and to put a roof over your head, then the way you get out of bed and the creative energy you use is specific to that intention. In this mode, you may get out of bed with an alarm clock to help you punch in at work on time. You get out of bed grumbly and drag yourself to work. Your creativity and joy are buried under a heap of that gumbling and you have very few areas of your life that are energizing or fun.

If your intention is to make a life, you may very well go to exactly the same job in the previous scenario. You still get up with the alarm clock, but, since this is the life your are creating, you might enjoy a morning walk with your tunes, your dog, or even a friend. On the way to work, if finding joy at work is the life you intend, then you may be thinking about the day’s projects and the day’s contacts and how you can enjoy them. If not, you may be thinking about your lunch plans, and crafting in your mind how to teach your young-in to catch better or memorize history lessons.

You can make a life while making a living, and some people make a life out of making a living (those career focused people – of whom I am one).  If, however, you find those times when you’re just making a living and not loving it – that might be a good time to revisit your intentions.

  1. When you were 16 or 18, before you began your adult life, what did you dream it might be? 
  2. What part of that dream might you incorporate into this day? 
  3. Is it time to step back and ask what it is you really want in your life? 
  4. What values do you live by that need to be expressed in your life?
  5. What brings you joy, and how can that be incorporated into your day?

As we focus this month on intentions, we’re inviting you to examine your deepest intentions, and explore how they might  be expressed.

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Filed under Balance, Intentions, Motivation, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized

In Murder and Marketing, Intent Counts for Everything

By Gail Z. Martin

If you’ve ever watched a detective story on TV, you know that (at least on television), when it comes to murder, it’s not just a matter of figuring out who did the deed, but also determining the intent behind the deed.

That’s one thing that murder and marketing have in common. Intent means everything.

For your marketing to be effective, it’s not just what you do, but why you do it and what effect you mean for your actions to achieve. Too many business owners flail around, wasting time and effort, with a “throw something against the wall and see if it sticks” approach to marketing. They have no clear intent, so the marketing achieves no clear outcome.

You can do better than that.

Sit in a quiet place for 30 minutes with a piece of paper and no distractions. Write down your intentions for your business this year. Begin each sentence with “I intend”. Your intentions can be to hit a revenue goal, enter a new market, hire staff, re-work your strategy, move to a new building, gain a specific number of new clients, attract a specific type of new client—it’s up to you, just be specific. Don’t say “I intend to get more clients.” Instead, say “I intend to attract five more ideal clients at the $1000/month level.” See the difference?

On the next day, take another uninterrupted 30 minutes. Review your list of intentions. Now think about how you’ll need to make some changes in your marketing to align your marketing efforts with what’s necessary to achieve your intentions.

Maybe you’ll need to do more personal networking. Perhaps you’ll need to re-work your schedule to permit for more travel, more time spent finally writing that book you’ve meant to write, etc. Maybe you need to hire a coach to help you gain new skills or revise your strategy. Make sure you state each action as an intention, beginning every sentence with “I intend.” Make it specific, and add a time-frame for each intention.

Creating a killer marketing strategy isn’t hard—if you’re clear about your intention.

If your marketing strategy were against the law, would there be enough evidence of your intentions to convict you?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Marketing

WHAT matters, check HOW at the door….

By Sheryl Eldene, MA, MBA

I ran across a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week which really caught my eye –

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

This is especially appropriate as we finish this month’s focus on setting intention. So many times, our choice of a goal gets dumbed-down because we can’t figure out how it’s going to happen, or, as Dr. King said, we can’t see all the steps between here and there. Part of the art of setting intention is just setting it and having trust in your own inner courage and power to move in that direction, knowing that there is a way, and your feet will find it – maybe even in spite of your mind which is wildly trying to think up HOW.

Years ago I used to write down everything I wanted in my life as a New Year’s day activity.  Since I was flying private airplanes at the time, one of those things was to have a home that backed onto a private airstrip so I could just pull my plane out of the hanger next to my house and take off.  Of course I couldn’t see the end of that staircase, but it went on my list anyway.  Same with the swimming pool I thought would be lovely in my backyard, and the business I wanted to start.  None of those dreams came with a how, they were just MY DREAM.  Truth be told, a year or two later, I wasn’t interested in the pool (too much to clean, and too risky for my children’s safety) or in the home on an airstrip (too noisy and isolated from the city) and I’ve run my business successfully now for 18 years even though I put that on my “Dream” list 30 years ago.

WHAT intentions would you set if you didn’t have to come up with the HOW first?

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Filed under Dreams, Inspiration, Intentions, Sheryl Eldene, Uncategorized