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!

TED Talk Tuesday: Rethinking Charity

With my recent work at my PR firm, I’ve focused a lot on corporate social responsibility. It’s got me thinking again about sustainability and how businesses can generate a triple bottom line—soliciting financial, environmental, and social returns (Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!). And yes, huge companies really can do that. In fact, I’m reading a book right now called Everybody’s Business, which argues that huge companies are those best prepared to make an impact because they influence market trends and they have the tools that drive innovation.

A little back story: I was really hesitant to study social entrepreneurship, partly because I didn’t want to take a class with AB (for obvious reasons not at all limited to the small detail that we’re both incredibly competitive) and partly because I thought all that “do-gooder” stuff was idealistic. How, in a post-2008 world, can a company rely on donations from strangers? But my professor showed me that there are ways to get-‘er-done that make financial sense, too. So I drank the Kool Aid and jumped onto the CSR / triple return bandwagon and never looked back…

Until Dan Pallotta made me take an even deeper look. Philanthropies (which run on donations) aren’t a hopeless model, he argues. It’s just that we expect them to fix problems without the resources of huge companies. We expect them to draw talent without proper incentives. We expect them to have a zero balance at the end of the year, and spend a minimal amount on “overhead.” He argues: Why do we let for-profit companies “invest” in long-term R&D and initiatives, build their brand and team and resources…but not non-profits?

Oh, and he does it all with some endearingly self-deprecating humor. Enjoy!

TED Talk Tuesday: Less Stuff

Today, I felt inspired. Which is kind of funny—really—because today, I woke up, ate breakfast, watched copious amounts of Netflix while it snowed outside, and then sat on a bus for seven laborious hours. Nothing particularly mind-blowing about all that. Except I’m lying.

Instead if just watching Netflix, I happened upon some incredible TED talks about how to improve your life, career, wellbeing, memory—even shoe-tying skills. Then, while wasting away on the bus (my last trip to Boston in a long while—eek!) I read the majority of Francine Jay’s Miss Minimalist. The short book reads like a collection of blog posts (edit: methinks it is a collection of blog posts) on the minimalist lifestyle and its many applications. I’ll get to that later…

Something about being bombarded by all this inspiration, all these awesome new ideas and applications of my Perfect 10 philosophy, was overwhelming. In a good way. When I move to Manhattan in the next two weeks (double eek!), I’m moving into a furnished room. So I’ll be bringing only my clothes, shoes, and the absolute necessities (like my teddy bear, so shoot me). It got me thinking… I’ll be paying to store all this other stuff in the meantime. Do I really need it?

And so on that note, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite TED talks, one not included in the Netflix collection, but nonetheless life-changing: short, sweet, and to the point. And oh, so appropriate for little Miss Lives-out-of-a-suitcase over here (Hi, that’s me).