Tag Archives: Goals

The Art of the Possible: Creating a World of Success (Part 1)

From boardrooms to wakeboards, the world of work is changing and over the next month I’ll be introducing you to a group of people that are changing how we view work, careers and even our definition of success. In this series, we’ll travel the globe to meet a group of top executives that are behaving in ways we’d never imagined, a couple of upcoming executives that are turning careful planning and hard work into off-the-charts career progression and a few exceptional young people that are starting their careers while they’re still in school and blowing up all the rules along the way…

Dateline – Brussels, Belgium

A sliver of sun peaks over the lush green tree line that boarders Cable Park Lake; signaling the start of a new day in Wakeboard Paradise. First to break the glass-still water, Fabrice Tardioli gears up to strut his stuff at a sport where boundaries are only temporary suggestions. A reflection of the sport he loves, Fabrice defies conventional notions of extreme athletes; this family-first father of two young daughters enjoys a well-established career as a high-tech sales executive. Fabrice offers a simple formula for success that starts at home, “My wife is my rock,” he says. From demanding physical preparation to “the numerous calls she receives from hospitals unannounced, she goes through a lot!”

I met Fabrice a few years ago, after a presentation and he’s stayed in contact. He writes me occasionally to share his perspective on a blog or just check-in. What impressed me most about his story was how he systematically set out to create the life of his dreams and did so without sacrificing any one thing at the expense of another. Fabrice doesn’t have it all… but he does have what’s important to him. He’s living life on his own terms and in the process, he’s giving back more than he’s taking.

As we’ll see over the next several weeks, success comes in many forms but it never comes alone. A solid base, a truly connected partner, engaged children, a career that satisfies your needs or provides you the flexibility to pursue what does; these are all parts of finding the kind of success that can help you become the person you were meant to be.

As always, feel free to share your comments directly by writing me at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Until next week…

Stay connected,


Whatever You Do, Will Always Be, What You Did…

Two Resolutions That Can Change Your Life (Part 2)

How much power does your mirror have over you?

Not your vanity, your image of yourself…

We grow and we change, but we cannot escape the fact that we are the products of the decisions we’ve made and the actions we’ve taken.

Your past actions are just that — the past.

Don’t think your past controls you?

Try going home for the holidays and staying in your old room for a couple of nights.

The liar in the mirror is not our friend.

It’s the voice in our heads that tells us we’ll never measure up.

It’s the tape that plays reminding us of our limitations.

But the power of the liar, the source of the voice, the writer of the tape is US.

That scared part of us that believes if we change, we won’t be us anymore – which leads us to the Second Resolution That Can Change Your Life…

Resolution #2

FORGIVE YOURSELF: What you did made you who you are…

If shame or regret or anger characterize how you view certain aspects of your past, resolve to forgive yourself in the new year. Forgiveness isn’t about excusing or forgetting, you may still have some things you need to do to make what you’ve done right with others – but forgiving yourself can be a freeing and healthy experience.

Did some things in the past you aren’t so proud of?

Still doing the same thing or did you learn from it and/or get help? If so, your past was the primary ingredient of a new and better you!

Self-denial or continuous self-punishment isn’t the answer, not only is it bad for you but you’ll be robbing those around you of all the contributions you could be making instead.

We are what we do and yes, what we did.

As always, I invite you to share your comments, ideas and stories with me, directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected,


Forgiving the Unforgettable…

Two Resolutions That Can Change Your Life (Part 1)

Like a child of time,
Each new year holds infinite promise and potential,
Undefined, uncharted and unconstrained.
And like a child,
The new year grows and ages,
Becoming old, entrenched, well-worn and purposeful.
Hard-won wisdom yields to the beat of time
And a new year is born.

Strange, wonderful, exhilarating, frightening and sometimes maddening, 2016 was in many ways, more than we could have asked for and more than we wanted.

And while it may be difficult to know what the new year holds, my growing experience with time, tells me some things won’t change without real concentrated effort.

Sure, the new year may finally bring back that beach body you’ve been fighting for since your oh-so-sexy youth and yes, you may finally stop that nasty habit of ______ (insert nasty habit here) but if you want to make the new year—a year-to-remember, try tackling two resolutions that will change your life forever!

Resolution #1
FORGIVE HIM/FORGIVE HER: Can something broken ever be truly fixed?

This is the year you really find out.

Forgiveness isn’t reconciliation or excusing or forgetting.

In fact, the challenge is to forgive the unforgettable.

Forgiveness is about acknowledging the emotional offense and pain your lover, parent, sibling, friend, business associate or other breaker-of-trust once caused and then letting it go – really!

This cleansing process can be one of the healthiest decisions you make.

If the offense is history—let it be history.

If the only thing making it relevant is your unwillingness or inability to finally let go of the anger, it may be time to consider alternatives.

No I don’t know the specifics of what you are dealing with.

I can’t possibility know how my words relate directly to your life and I’m not offering any medical or psychological advice, but I do believe that life goes by too quickly to waste one second on things we can’t change.

As hard as it is to truly forgive others, it’s nowhere near as difficult as the Second Resolution That Can Change Your Life…. And that’s the subject of next week’s blog.

As always, I invite you to share your comments, ideas and stories with me, directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected,


Are You STILL Insane?

Quick Quiz

What’s the definition of insanity?

Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome – right?

Well, it’s about that time of year againwhen most of us unknowingly opt for the path of the insane… the ritual of making a few last-minute resolutions.

We commit to getting in shape, losing weight, spending less time at work, making more money– whatever— we all have variations of the same list.

The problem is, most of us fail to achieve our resolutions and simply repeat the process the following year.

Let’s test your level of insanity (takes less than 5 minutes):

  1. Divide a single sheet of paper into four boxes.
  2. Above the top left box, write “2016” and above the top right box, write “2006”
  3. In the top left box write down THREE things that are going your way today.
  4. In the bottom left box note THREE things with which you are not experiencing the success you’d hoped for this year (issues, habits, goals, etc.).
  5. Now repeat steps 3 & 4 for the “2006” column on the right – based on your recollection of what was going well in 2006 (top right box) and what wasn’t going so well (bottom right box).

The greater the similarity, the greater the insanity!!

How are you trending?

Are you riding off to new horizons or hangin’ with old ghosts and demons?

We tried this back in 2011 and readers consistently self-reported high-levels of insanity… how about you?

For me, I’m going to lose 10 pounds in 2017, which is totally different from 2006. Because back then, I only needed to lose 5 pounds. 😉

As always, I invite you to share your thoughts with me directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.


A Mile or a Millimeter: Learning to Win Like the Best

Watching the world’s top athletes compete in the Rio games is an instructive reminder to anyone striving for top professional performance.

Winning at the highest level is seldom a Usain Bolt blowout. No, becoming the best is far more likely to resemble a Michael Phelps win-by-a-fingernail affair.

Consider these facts I featured in back in a 2013 blog

2007-09:  Serve speed between Grand Slam tennis match winners vs. losers = 1.6%

2013: Being the PGA’s top driving distance golfer vs. ranking 20th = 3%

2010: Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal performance vs. failing to get a spot on the medal podium = 1.4%.

Let’s face it – success lives in the margins.

Sustainable success doesn’t come from the latest fad.

To be great you don’t have to change who-you-are.

Instead, focus on generating that fine performance edge that separates top performers from also-rans.

THE BIG QUESTION: What one or two small changes could you make to sharpen your game and give you that winning edge – then do just that, day in and day out.

If you need a reminder or motivational boost, take a look at the picture above of Bahaman sprinter, Shaunae Miller’s gold medal effort—Awesome.

I’m so committed to improving my own game that I think I’ll take a trip down to the Bahamas this winter to do some additional research!

If you have a story about a finely cut margin of victory, share it with me directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Until next week this is Jeff staying, stay connected!


Instantly Sexier, Smarter & Richer:

The math of having it all…

Recipe for Organizational Wealth

Ingredients: Carefully mix the following:

  • A 23,000 line spreadsheet documenting the savings earned from instituting a ban on business travel, eliminating pay raises and implementing a hiring freeze
  • An unnecessarily long, unnecessarily complex strategic plan
  • A PowerPoint deck with enough slides to ensure the owner of the local print shop can maintain his country club membership, and
  • A jargon filled conference call/town hall combo meeting to give the troops their marching orders that for many, if not most, won’t connect to what they do/should do every day.

Mix well, cross fingers and if the numbers don’t hit, hope for some limiting market factor that will justify your sub-par performance…

Maybe…but doesn’t it sound like the playbook for too many organizations?

Just as focusing on transactions limits the developmental speed and depth of relationships, focusing on the transaction components of business operations may get you over the financial hump this month or this quarter, the strategy is a long-term loser that alienates your customers, discourages employees and focuses precious resources on the wrong things.

I’ve spent my career writing about and researching great companies and I’ve learned that truly great organizations keep the math simple and keep the processes human.  I get the conservative appeal of cost cutting; austerity policies make us look large and in change, like we don’t need adult supervision but, in my experience, shutting down the economic engine of an organization makes little long-term sense to anyone but those that view shareholder value at a this-quarter-at-all-costs proposition and those whose performance bonuses are time bound to now. I’ve seen more organizations save their way into bankruptcy; or worse, irrelevance, than save themselves to prosperity.

If you want your company to succeed, the math is really very simple:

  1. Keep Your Base Solid: The vast majority of your business, the 90% or so of customers/donors/constituents, the ones that that aren’t your biggest or most profitable clients; provide the foundations for operational scale and the revenue you need hunt for big game.

For this group, focus on:

  • Deepening relationships with key contacts
  • Broadening relationships across the client organizations, and
  • Continuously adding value.
  1. Pick Six: No matter the size of the organization, whether for profit or not-for-profit; regardless the industry, geography, or ownership structure, one thing generally holds true. Six or fewer deals will make or break your year– and the fewer the number the greater the risk!!! Win your ‘Pick Six’ and you’ll win the performance period lotto; everyone in your organization will become instantly sexier, smarter and richer. Lose the ‘Pick Six’ and in your mirror will appear a group of people that are not as sexy, as smart or as rich as they should be.

So, with Q4 planning season just around the corner, consider something new. This year, set yourself free from analysis paralysis, prohibit death by PowerPoint and focus on gassing your economic engine by investing in the ‘Pick Six’ deals that will make your year. Done well, this recipe is better than any diet or workout plan and is the surest way to making you and all your coworkers sexier, smarter and richer.

Now if I could just figure out how to lose 10 pounds by 5 o’clock tonight…

Until next week, this is Jeff Kaplan saying, “Stay Connected“….


Upgrade Your Friends: How the People You Know Impact Your Mind, Body & Spirit

Want to accelerate your career?
Finally ready to get fit?
Looking for some peace and serenity in your otherwise hectic life?

It may be time to upgrade your friends.

Everything you are today is a product of other people.
Your physical being came about from a mingling of two other peoples’ genes. The language you speak, your country allegiance and your spiritual self are all results of your acceptance or rejection of what you’ve seen and experienced with others.

Intuitively we know this, but too often leave the process to chance. If you imagine a better you and want more control in the process of becoming the person you dream of being, become more purposeful about the selection and nurturing of relationships.

We have talked a great deal about relationships for professional success but the same benefits accrue to personal development.

Growing Your Mind, Body & Spirit…

While knowledge can be obtained in books, or even YouTube – learning how to apply that knowledge comes from our interactions with others. Find a person you respect intellectually and reach out.

If your physical self isn’t want you desire, ask yourself who you know or who you can meet that’s attained the success you want and ask them for help and guidance.

If your head is spinning, your schedule crammed and you feel weighed down by the demands of others, it may be time to seek the guidance of someone that has already found peace.

I don’t just write this stuff…
I’m living it with you…

Earlier this week, I received an email announcing the publication of a new book on generational stereotypes, called, Unfairly Labeled. Intrigued by the topic, I researched the author Jessica Kriegel and decided to reach out. In the brief discussion we had, I was able to learn something new from a person that, only a few days before, I hadn’t known even existed.

How we view the world and ourselves changes and evolves as we grow.

Control the growth of your mind, body and spirit by reaching out to those that have accomplished your dreams and soon they will be your reality!

As always, I welcome your questions and comments at jeff@jeffkaplan.com

Stay connected,


It’s time for the B.P.G.C.K.Y.N.Y.R.

Best Practice Guide to Creating & Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

It’s January and the gym parking lot is filled to capacity as people show their commitment to keeping this year’s resolutions. If you are having trouble finding a parking space, don’t worry… the lot will be empty come February.

Don’t be part of the estimated 92% of people that fail to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions.

To help ensure that ’16 unfolds according to plan, I’ve complied our guide to help you create and keep your resolutions (unlike last year)!

As always, feel free to contact me directly at jeff@jeffkaplan.com if you’d like to discuss your resolutions or just have a question.

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2016!




Stop the Insanity! Why 2016 Doesn’t Have to be Like Every Other Year…

(Resolution Series Part II)

Continuously failing at the same thing year-after-year, but trying again and again with the same approach isn’t a form of determination, it’s a form of madness.

To a certain degree, we all go mad when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.

Here are a few tips to ensure this year WILL BE DIFFERENT:

  1. Don’t Wait: Don’t wait till the tipsy hour of 11:55pm on December 31st to establish your resolutions. For any number of reasons, you may not even remember what your goals where come January 1st.
  2. Define Your Terms: When does your newfound commitment start? If it’s bright and early January 1st – stick with it. For many, the lure of a New Year’s Day holiday provides all the excuses necessary for us to hold off on hitting the gym, stop hitting the bottle or doing whatever our resolutions require. Look at the calendar and set a specific start date, which may be Monday, January 4th. Whatever you decide, decide in advance, otherwise you’ll already feel like you’ve failed before you even head back to work.
  3. State Your Resolutions Clearly & Write Them Down: The act of documenting your resolutions is key to making them real, to making them mean something more than a passing notion. (For advice on this topic, see last week’s BLOG.)
  4. Share Your Goals with People Around You: It’s easy to back out of a goal no one knows you have committed to. When I committed to losing weight and getting in shape, I talked about here, in my speeches and in my training classes… Everyone knew and it was that pressure that kept me going back to the gym day after day and now, year after year.
  5. Find Someone That Wants The Same Thing: Once you’ve decided on your 2016 goals, talk to other people to see if you can find a few like-minded individuals desiring the same goal – then team up. It’s much harder to skip going to the gym when your friend is waiting for you on the treadmill!

As always, I’m here to speak with you personally about your goals. Thank you to everyone that reached out last week, many of your goals were both aspirational and inspirational. I can be reached at jeff@jeffkaplan.com.

Don’t look now but the clock is ticking….


92% FAIL – But Not YOU: Your Formula for 2016 Success

Forbes magazine reported that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are ever achieved.

With the big ball ready to drop in just a few short weeks, it’s time for each of us to be thinking about what we hope to achieve in 2016. Here’s my plan to ensure you are not part of the 92% that fail.

Over This Coming Week:

  1. Think about what you are committed to doing or not doing in 2016.
  2. Write down your goals – detailed out specifically and in a single sentence for each.
  3. Limit your goals to 3-5. Fewer is better – you can always add new goals after you’ve cleared your initial list).

Next Week:

I’ll share a formula to help you dramatically improve your chances of sticking with your goal and achieving them when everyone else has forgotten what they set out to do!

Leading Up to the New Year:

In the following weeks we’ll put our plan into action so that when January 1st comes around you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Join me by sharing your plans directly (jeff@jeffkaplan.com) and I will respond to every note personally.

Special Note of Thanks:

As we in the USA enjoy a long Thanksgiving weekend, I’d like to take this opportunity to share my thanks to each of you. Together we’ve discussed some of the most important issues facing organizations and the people that run them. We’ve looked at careers, personal development and the new meaning of leadership.

All along the way, I’ve received invaluable feedback from you, and your comments and contributions are an important part of developing the New Leadership Challenge.

Thank you and I look forward to continuing the conversation in 2016 and beyond.