TED Talk Tuesday: Maria Forleo talks lilies and leaches

So maybe this isn’t a TED talk, but I’m still reeling from all the inspirational content that was covered in Alt for Everyone, and had to share. The below video was spurred by the Overcome Overwhelm session with Hilary Rushford and Whitney English. While Hilary was able to wax poetic on her macro vs. micro planning, and how important it is to say no, Whitney designs and sells her own planners on Etsy—they’re beautiful, functional and the second I posted a picture of them to Instagram, my coworker commented about having one of those lusted-after planners and loving it.

The video features ADHD expert Ned Hallowell, who touches on five tips for entrepreneurs and creative types—great advice for anyone who easily feels overwhelmed and wants to work smarter, not just harder. His tips are:

Define clear and specific goals. Set three daily goals, three weekly / biweekly goals, three long-term goals to meet in the next 6-12 months, and three lifetime goals. This forces you to prioritize and ensure that the work you’re doing is in pursuit of “the big picture.” You also know me and goals. They’re my crack.

Avoid “sceen sucking.” This is an incredible term. How often do I log into my computer just to check my email, and then end up putzing. It’s estimated that out of every hour, 20 minutes are spent unproductively because people end up sucked into their screens. Instead, Hallowell suggests allocating a specific time or times each day to devote to email and online interaction.

Change the default response from “yes” to “let me get back to you.” Not only does this ensure that you’re not over-committed, but it this helps ensure that you only take on projects that are true to yourself or true to your brand and help further those longer-term goals.

Never worry alone. To try to avoid constant toxic worrying, (1) never worry alone, (2) get the facts so it’s not as overwhelming and you know what you’re working with, and (3) make a plan. This is something that I can 100% implement in my own life nowadays; I have a tough time differentiating between worry and genuine stress, so getting the facts and making a plan will help me avoid the nagging stomach ache of stress.

“Cultivate lilies and get rid of leeches.” I love this one: Lilies are people or projects that are worth the time and energy you invest in them, and who give back. Leeches aren’t worth the time and energy you invest, and instead are dream breakers and take away time from the lilies. That said, don’t crowd your life with too many lilies, such that you’re overwhelmed by too many commitments to each. Quality over quantity? Sounds like Perfect 10 for the people we surround ourself with, yes?

Enjoy the video!

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Hi, I'm Marian.
By day, I'm a PR maven with a nerdy affinity for research and branding. By night, I'm an explorer; I delve into books, food, design, and the murky waters of my own psyche, then share my musings here.





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