Elaine’s 5 Magics for Success
Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director
My sister Elaine Regelson is a scientist and a management mentor to many. She uses the word “Magic” to describe actions that can have substantially more impact than the effort put into doing them.
Here are Elaine’s “Five Magics” that can help each of us to create plans that have a good chance of success in bringing wonderful things into our lives in the year ahead.
Elaine’s First Magic: Ask for What You Really Want. Elaine says, “Ask for everything you want. Ask for yourself, your family, your friends, your community, and your world. Remember that, in an abundant world, everything is possible. Most people ask for too little, ask for the wrong things, and forget to be specific. For example, you might want to lose weight, but not by getting really sick. If you ask for something, you are more likely to get it. And if you don’t ask, you are less likely to get it.”
As my friend Cornelia, the terrific leader of our New Zealand Kidpower Center, writes, “I am passionate about this knowing what you want. This is the first step to success and I’ve found that you’re likely to get exactly what you ask for. Therefore, don’t just ask to be ‘rich’ – define, what ‘rich’ REALLY means for you. Does being rich mean that you can go out to eat twice a week, have four weeks of holidays in Hawaii, have 10 really good friends, be able to pay for your child’s university education, or…? If you only ask for money, you might get money only – and everything else in your life, such as your values, family, friends, and health, might fall apart.”
Elaine’s Second Magic: Put it Into Writing. Writing is a way of integrating your thinking, keeping a record you can measure or change, increasing your commitment, and making your resolutions more real. Spoken words are only air. There is something that happens between your hand and your brain that is different from what happens between your ear and your brain that somehow makes things in writing become more likely to happen. My husband, Ed, and I spend a little time on each January 1st writing down what we want to make happen in the year ahead. Each year, we look back and can see that, while we didn’t accomplish everything, we did do most of what was truly most important to us.
Writing is also a way of helping yourself to remember something you want to change. Once, fed up with wasting too much of my time, energy, and joy in life because I was anguishing about not always being able to please people, I wrote in the front of my agenda for the year, “I will not let worries about what others say or think of me diminish my valuing of myself.” Every time I opened my agenda up, there it was! And, by the end of the year, I was much better about being able to let people be unhappy without feeling terrible about myself.
Elaine’s Third Magic: Community. Reach out to supportive people who will help you to realize your dreams. It’s often hard to do things alone. Fortunately, the world is full of people who can be a terrific support to you if you seek them out and involve them effectively. Supportive people are people who will listen to you without judgment, celebrate with you as you make progress, and provide encouragement as you work to overcome challenges. Truly supportive people will not take over for you or nag you if you decide to change your goals.
Elaine’s Fourth Magic: Investment. It’s a good start to decide, write down, and tell others what you want to make happen. The next step is to be sure that you are truly making the necessary investment of time, effort, thought, attention, letting go, learning, and/or money that are necessary to making your dreams come true. Pay attention to where you are actually making your investments. Are you doing what needs to be done or spending your resources in complaining, wishful thinking, daydreaming, and regretting?
If you are focusing on the negative or draining your energy non-productively, consider spending at least half the amount of energy you have already spent negatively to find and execute small concrete steps toward realizing your hopes and dreams. If finding and following these steps isn’t working for you, perhaps this goal is not something you really want to do now, or isn’t really a dream for you. In this case, now is a great time to re-focus and begin to invest yourself in what you really want.
Elaine’s Fifth Magic: Walk Your Talk! Acting on your beliefs allows you to be who you really want to be. It allows you to model to those around you both what you want and how you expect to be treated. Walking your talk is an extremely powerful and low-overhead way to lead change because as mammals we are hard-wired to copy what we see.
Make sure that your behavior is in keeping with your values and your visions. Don’t make excuses to yourself about not acting as if what you want to accomplish is important to you. Saying that you care is not the same as behaving as if you care. Be sure to stay consistent and persistent in acting the way you need to act in order to make your hopes and dreams come true.
With best wishes for joy, safety, success, health, and lots of fun for you and your loved ones from all of us at Kidpower!