Optimal Thoughts

Welcome to the Optimal Level Blog!

What a pleasant, unexpected surprise when I received my son’s holiday gift, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama & Archbishop, Desmond Tutu.  Actually, my initial reaction was a feeling of mild imposition and a sense of superiority, since, of course, I’ve read all this stuff before.  How silly we all are, at times, right? Full disclosure; I haven’t read the whole book yet.  I’m savoring it. I just had one of those old-fashioned phone conversations with a friend, and our conversation turned to New Year reflection, focus, setting goals and taking action.  For those of us in business,Read More →

Recently, at a business meeting we congratulated one of our group members.  She had recently maintained extreme discipline to meet a particularly physically, demanding goal.  Time management was extremely important in this formula to succeed and involved running a business, clients, a family, a social calendar, and more to maintain. I’ve always been fascinated with galvanizing energy, determination, and gumption as one starts a journey to accomplish a major feat or goal. Depending on the person and the goal, the necessary sustained effort and self-discipline can last from weeks to years. Some examples of this from my own life range from having a good-sized partyRead More →

Summertime!  You’re supposed to be having fun, soaking up the sun, and feeling great, right?  Well, maybe not.  Just in case you are confused, down on yourself, overworked, exhausted, or not sure what to do about it all, here are some quick suggestions to boost you up: Close your eyes and take 3 long, deep breaths. Go outside, if your can, and smile at the trees, the ground, people, whatever. If you cannot go outside, just smile wherever you are. Think of a moment in the past when you killed it, you were your very best self, when you knocked it out of the park.Read More →

There are two points I enjoy sharing with most of my clients.  One was passed down to me by my father when I was in the scrap metal business.  The second springs from a lesson I learned in a sensitivity training program I attended a very long time ago. I think of them now because no matter whom the client is that I am working with, at some time, something comes up that bring these points to mind.  They both apply to a similar concern by a client about either being uncertain about a direction to take or having to make a decision. One ofRead More →

Talking recently with a successful colleague of mine, we readily agreed that we recognize a habit that is detrimental to many of our clients.  That habit is, to borrow a dated phrase, putting the cart before the horse. Specifically, they worry about and make plans to spend money on projects for their businesses before they actually have the income from existing clients.  The familiar adage is true here: “It’s not a business unless you have a client!” My colleague and I both started our own businesses, and now being in the business of coaching professionals and business owners, we know that investment is necessary, inRead More →

Ever since my teaching years and throughout my coaching career, I have realized that I am particularly good at focusing to complete a task and at getting many things done when they are supposed to be done. I have had many friends and acquaintances often make comments to me about my ability to focus well and accomplish many tasks efficiently. Over the past sixteen years of coaching my clients, I have often seen how they struggle to focus. They feel overwhelmed in their attempts to accomplish their tasks and goals. For full disclosure, I have certainly felt overwhelmed many times, due to decisions I madeRead More →

After reading a blog that came my way through someone on Twitter, I pondered the writer’s advice.  This person touts herself as an expert on networking and in fact is a networking coach.  The article I read stated that above all else, the very best strategy in networking is to start your own networking group. She offered several reasons among which were you can attract the right people, you can create the structure and oversee the rules. Those all make sense to me.  However, her premise is based on believing that none of the existing networking organizations are adequate to create the desired networking results.Read More →

I am not perfect and in fact I am going to reveal a disturbing shortcoming of mine and then ask for your help later. I am direct! In fact, I am too direct. I think  we all have a “thing” about our personalities that likely follows us along our entire lives. My “thing” is that I am too direct. This requires further explanation: when I feel very strongly about a point I am making in a conversation – whether that conversation involves one person and me or several people in a business setting – I express that thought forcefully and fervently. Those who know me wellRead More →

I know; we are well into January already and the year, in terms of the New Year holiday, is no longer new. Yet, thoughts of what the New Year brings still linger for me. This year I revisited a practice I had abandoned for a few years. I did something similar to the time management tool, The Wheel of Life, in which one considers each area of one’s life to assess what’s off balance. Only, I did it to plan what I want to do in each area of my life…work, health, social, spiritual, etc. It was an inspirational plan! I was so excited andRead More →

Having been in business now for about thirty-five years, I have certainly seen dramatic changes in business practices. I wasn’t a part of the 50’s style strictly-top-down business leader, labor-against-management, group-think or even manipulative sales methods business era. I was actually President of H. Diamond Iron and Metal company when small business owners were first incorporating computers into their overall operations, when they were realizing they had to be more responsive to the needs and thinking of their employees, and when the use of sales reps and their methods were barely beginning to be interactive rather than the Mine-is-the-Best-of Everyone’s Presentation type-sales. To stay relevantRead More →