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How to Keep the WOW Factor Going

How to Keep the WOW Factor Going

Andy Murray just won Wimbledon; everybody was wowed! What wows you these days? You know, makes your heart start beating really fast, raises your blood pressure, and makes your mind spin at the thought of doing this or getting that? Maybe it’s a new car, a diamond ring, or a new boat? Maybe it’s a new wardrobe, or someone else’s figure to wear it? How about flying jets or becoming an actor or singer? There are plenty of things that we want, or want to be, plenty of things that we see and go “WOW” I’d die to do that or have that. Then we get it, and before too long we notice that something happens: the lustre fades. Why?

How in the world can we want something so badly, but once we’ve had it for a while it becomes so familiar that we don’t even notice it anymore? Is it because we’re never satisfied, so we want more? Is it because we take things for granted once we have them? Do we get bored? What causes the lustre of the things to fade? What causes the WOW factor to diminish, and how can we keep the passion burning?

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Look at Andy Murray: he just won Wimbledon, so he wowed the crowds for sure. Now everyone wants to know about him—they want to give him advice, they want him to marry his girlfriend, and they want him to keep the wow factor going. How will he do it? How do any of us do it? Here are a few ideas:

The wow factor is intangible

Maybe the reason we lose interest in things, or the things we do, is because they stop stimulating us in the way they did in the beginning. We may love the fast car, or the shiny ring, but they may lose their meaning because the wow has to have a purpose or meaning for us. Amassing things may give us an initial feeling of value, worth, or security, but it doesn’t hold up in the long run. Even the things we do can get stale if we don’t find the magic and keep them going. The real wow involves an internal drive or passion that things alone can’t produce.

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Performance is key

Whether we’re talking about a tennis star, a movie star, a writer, singer, or business executive, we’re talking about producing. If Andy Murray stops winning in tennis, if Tiger Woods keeps losing at golf, if the latest onscreen heartthrob cranks out flops, or if Nicholas Sparks quits writing great books, it’s over. To keep the wow going you have to produce great content, and that flows from something deep inside.

Passion

To keep all this performance stuff going, something intangible has to stir you. That means you find your passion and develop it. How? By exposing yourself to different things you love. Then start narrowing down what you’re passionate about. For example, if you love writing, you’ll need to find a niche there. Do you want to write fiction, non-fiction, romance, or history? Notice which genre stirs your passion and makes your creative juices flow. Then figure out how you can use that to accomplish what you want and what makes you feel alive. You don’t have to be a superstar to experience that, but you do have to harness the passion.

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Self–Awareness

To keep the wow factor going you also need to be attuned and self-aware. If you’re successful, you have to be aware of how it’s affecting you. Andy Murray is getting blown up everywhere now; no-one was paying him too much attention before, and now overnight he’s a superstar. Everyone wants a piece of him. That’s a lot of pressure, and can pull you off course if you’re not careful. While we’re not all going to be superstars, we do need to pay attention to how life and our particular stresses affect our hearts. We need to check the emotional pulse on our hearts daily.

If you’re noticing your life or the things around you are losing some lustre, start fanning the flames again by setting some new goals or revamping some old ones. It’s never too late to find new things to excite you, or add some new passion into old love. When you’re happy and fulfilled from the inside, the outside stuff will be more enjoyable too.

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Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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