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Monday, November 13, 2017

How Can You Get Your “What Ifs” to Drive Your Success?

Last week’s blog post focused on the idea that your ability to consider consequences—your “What If” thinking—could be positive or negative for you.

If you’re focused on all the things that could possibly go wrong, most likely, those “what ifs” will drive you to focus on negatives, maybe even potential catastrophes. When you’re focused on negative consequences, that’s what you may tend to create. Why? Because that’s where your focus is. The ideas that come to you will more likely have to do with negative outcomes, and when your focus is on negative things you don’t want to see happen, it’s a recipe for anxiety as well as being a recipe for attracting all that negativity and unfortunate outcomes.

While it may be fine to consider what might go wrong so that you can prepare for it and fix it, if your focus is only on what could go wrong, you most likely won’t have enough creative energy to dream about a big, successful outcome.

You see, both types of “what if” thinking are necessary for success. The awareness of what can go wrong is fine if it leads you to take steps to repair the weak areas in your plan. But maybe even more important is the ability to think “what if” in a positive direction.
Businesses that are successful, and people who are really successful allow themselves to consider “what if” to allow them to stretch and build something that maybe no one has thought of before.

Innovation depends upon examining positive “what ifs.” Thomas Edison considered what would happen if we could harness energy to light our homes. The Wright Brothers thought about creating a machine that humans could ride in what might fly from one place to another. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs used slightly different approaches to focus on the “what if” question of what if a computer didn’t have to take up a whole floor of a building?
The positive “what ifs” focus on possibilities. It allows people to invent things people have never seen before. It allows the creation of new approaches, new methods, new techniques, and entirely new fields and professions.

One of the “what if” questions I always ask myself when I want to stimulate thinking about positive “what ifs” is 

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

That approach lets you take any negative “what ifs” out of consideration and allows you to dream big. It allows you to consider possibilities that you might not have thought possible.
The idea with this question and with positive “what if” thinking is that it allows you to bypass your limitations, and by doing that, you’re able to dream bigger and stretch yourself more. Maybe you’ll consider doing something or creating something that you hadn’t thought possible because of your previous focus on the negative.

Imagining “what if” possibilities allows you to make choices and to uncover where your greatest passion lies. It allows you to let go of self-imposed limitations—like thinking “that can’t be done,” or “that would be impossible.” It allows you to imagine “what if it could be done?” That gets your mind working to problem-solve and to create new approaches and new ideas.

You’re able to harness your brain to work for you, instead of against you. When that happens there are no limits to where you can go and what you can accomplish.

When you think about harnessing your brain this way, does that make you feel empowered? Fearful? Overwhelmed? Cynical? Optimistic? If you need help exploring how this positive “what if” thinking might work in your life, I’d be happy to talk with you about it in a free half-hour phone call. During that call, I’ll work with you to figure out your next step. Email me at or call me at 865-983-7544. Sometimes all it takes is having somebody to bounce an idea off of. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have people I could do that with, so I’m happy to serve that purpose for others. Because my “what if” is

“What if we all reached out to others who need or want a sounding board?

What if we encouraged each other to move forward?

What if we helped each other overcome limitations that block us?

What if we each used our unique abilities to help others succeed?

What could our world be like?”

Take the first step today to create what is possible. Let me help.

(c) 2017 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What Are You Tolerating?

It Will Sap Your Energy and Interfere With Your Life

I have a sign in my office that says “You Get What You Tolerate.” It’s there to remind my clients (and me!) that when we tolerate things we don’t like, we allow them in our lives. That is usually not such a good thing.

What is a toleration? It can be anything that bugs you–something you are putting up with that you really wouldn’t HAVE to. A toleration becomes a compromise you talk yourself into making. Sometimes it is putting up with disrespect from a spouse, boyfriend, parent or family member. Sometimes it is something in your surroundings that bothers you, but you don’t do anything to change. Maybe it is something about your job or the people you work with.

Most of us tolerate a lot. Our tolerations can be big things or small things, but they all tend to sap our energy, block our happiness, and interfere with us living lives that are completely satisfying.  Think about the things in your life that you are tolerating. Make a list of things at home, at your job, in your relationships that you are putting up with. Think about what life could be like if you didn’t have to cope with them. Would you have more energy? Be happier? Be more creative and productive? Feel more at peace? Have a better life?

Why do we tolerate things we don’t have to? The answer varies, but often has to do with wanting to avoid handling things that are "difficult.” We don’t want to make waves, we don’t want to have to confront someone, or we’re afraid that we won’t be able to get rid of what we are tolerating.  Sometimes we are afraid of the changes that might happen as a result. And sometimes, we don’t believe that we deserve to have it better.

There may even be payoffs for having the toleration. For example, you may stay in a job you hate because of the financial security it provides. Or, you may feel noble about carrying the burden of the things you tolerate. It is important to look at the “payoffs” for you. The more you understand WHY you are tolerating things, the easier it will be to make a plan to get rid of them.

So here's the place to start. Publicly announce ONE THING you've been tolerating.  What are you going to do about it? Is there a payoff for hanging on to it? You can announce it in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page at

Take steps NOW to make the requests or take the actions to eliminate the things you are tolerating. DO IT TODAY!

P.S.   Keep in mind that you don’t have to be overbearing or aggressive–but you do have a right to try to change the things you can. Sometimes this may mean compromising, but let people know what you want first. Don’t assume that you will fail, or that you don’t deserve to be toleration-free!

If you need help with this, feel free to call me (Linda Pucci) at 865-983-7544 or email me at We can set up time to talk about what you are tolerating and come up with a plan for getting them out of your way. No charge for this 30 minute phone session. I want to see you move ahead and this is one thing that may really help.

Do Your “What Ifs” Hurt or Help?

Harness Your Brain Power

Humans are fortunate to have the ability to consider consequences of their decisions and actions. The ability to figure out “what would happen if. .  .” may be uniquely humana function of higher reasoning. Our ability to think logically and to anticipate what may happen can be enormously helpful.

That ability to think through consequences several steps ahead isn’t just a skill utilized in chess, although it certainly differentiates between good chess players and bad. The ability to think ahead to consider the consequences that might transpire in each of our decisions can actually save our lives. It is not only part of the strategy during war, it’s also extremely helpful in parenting, running a business, keeping a marriage intact, and keeping you financially solvent.

When you factor in experience and a clear understanding of the consequences for each action, you have a very powerful resource right there, between your ears (and for some of us, under your hair). The idea is that you can utilize this ability to determine the consequences of success or failure at each step, and take steps to modify your actions for a different and more positive outcome. Your ability to think about “what if” allows you to avoid pitfalls and seize opportunities by making course adjustments. Sometimes these are small adjustments. At other times they are huge: when you quit a job or leave a relationship, for example.

Unfortunately, that ability to think “what if” can completely sabotage you. If your “what ifs” focus on catastrophes, or fill you with worry and keep you from following your plans, then your “what if” thinking can sink you.

The key is to utilize your ability to think ahead to prevent you from making mistakes that will bring about catastrophic results. For example, your ability to plan and predict would (hopefully) keep you from investing all your money in ventures that are highly risky. You’d think, “I could lose everything I have,” and you have pretty good likelihood that you might be right. This is opposed to starting a business and investing in it strategically and cautiously. You might still think, “I could lose everything if this business isn’t a success,” but because you haven’t put all your eggs in that basket, you can think through what you’ll need to do to minimize that risk.

Imagining catastrophic outcomes often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. Your “what if” thinking goes off in the worst possible direction, and doesn’t do a risk assessment to determine really how likely that outcome will be.

Certainly, unanticipated catastrophes can happen. But there is sometimes a warning and a way to prepare.  When the tornado is heading your way, take shelter, and plan ahead of time where that shelter will be. Even when there isn’t a good way to prepare, you can do what you canpractice safe driving habits, don’t drive in blizzards, ice storms, or when you’re advised to be off the roads.  Choose airlines with a good safety record. Hire people who are experienced and highly competent. Take good care of your body and your health. Choose your friends wisely. Don’t do things your better judgment tells you to avoid. (Seriously, don’t jump off that cliff just because your friends tell you to). Don’t willingly put yourself in danger. There’s almost always something you can do. Use your brain to figure it out, even if you haven’t anticipated it.

If your “what ifs” tend to derail you, you may want to get some help to turn around those negative emotions or limiting beliefs. Strategic planning isn’t just for Fortune 500 companies. Individuals can do strategic planning so that they are heading for the outcome they want to achieve. That might be financial; it might be emotional; or it might be relationship-oriented. Use your abilities to help you create a way to reach your dreams in the easiest way possible.

If you need help with this process and harnessing your brain-power, feel free to reach out. As a personal and business coach, I help teach people how to harness their abilities to overcome self-imposed limitations so that they can live happier, more successful lives without the struggle. Reach out by email: or by phone: (865) 983-7544. We’ll talk about your situation and figure out what you need to make your “what ifs” work for you, rather than against you.

© 2017 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Get Clarity

How Do You Clean the Windows in Your Mind?

If only getting clarity were as easy as spraying yourself with a big bottle of window cleaner (Don’t try it; some of those cleaners are filled with chemicals). Last week I talked about why having clarity was so important. This week, I want to talk about HOW to get that clarity.
Finding clarity has to do with sorting through all the things that capture your attention to find what really counts. 

The first step to finding clarity is to capture the things that are on your mind so that you can do that sorting. You can do this in a number of different ways, depending upon your preference. You can use a pad of paper, a flipchart, create a file on your computer, or find a big white board to write or draw on. You’re going to do a Brain Dump. Find a time when you can sit uninterrupted for 15 or 20 minutes. Write, draw, or somehow capture the things that are racing around in your head. If you want, you can set up categories if that fits what’s coming out. You might have a category for business ideas, things you want to fix in your home, things you want to do or have in your relationships, etc. When I do this process, I often break things into the following categories:

·       Health
·       Work/Career
·       Physical Environment
·       Relationships
·       Spirituality
·       Fun/Recreation
·       Financial

Within each category, I may have subcategories. For instance, my work is to coach people, but I also write fiction and non-fiction. I can break the Work category into Coaching and Writing since they tend to be pretty different. I’m doing them both, and both matter to me.

Essentially, what you’re doing is brainstorming in order dump what’s taking up space and energy in your life. You may want to keep this list around for a week or so, and add to it as soon as other ideas pop into your head.

Once you’ve captured most of it, the next step is to sort through it. Put a star next to the things that are most important to you. You can even use different colors to highlight levels of importance, or use multiple stars to indicate what is most important to you. Once you’ve done that, take a look at it. What comes out as most important for you? Hopefully, that will bring you some clarity about what you need to put first.

Here are some examples:

One woman I coached discovered that her relationship with God was most important. When she felt connected spiritually, everything else flowed more easily. What became clear to her was that she needed to plan her life in such a way that she always took the time to stay connected.

Another woman did this with her husband, and they discovered that financial issues, specifically their debt, affected every other area of their lives, and especially their relationship. It now became clear that they needed to come up with a plan to reduce the amount they owed.

A man I worked with discovered that he was so focused on his job that he didn’t make time for his family. Weekends were taken up with maintaining the house and car. He wanted to make his relationships more important. Once he was clear that he wanted his family to be most important, he carved out time during the evenings and weekends to spend with them. He discovered that a simple reallocation of his time made a huge difference. A half hour playing a video game with his son and special time with his daughter helping her rearrange her room left time to spend with his wife as well.

Having clarity doesn’t mean you have to give up everything else you do. It is about making sure you focus attention on what is most important to you. It is about making your time and energy count. When you do that, most likely your life will begin to feel more fulfilling. You’ll feel less like you’re wasting your time and energy on tasks that seem meaningless.

If you want help with this process, feel free to call me at (865) 983-7544 or email me at We can set up some time to talk about your situation, and if you’d like, we can set up a Strategy Session to help you sort things out. When you find clarity, it makes things so much simpler. Decisions become much easier to make because you can determine whether an opportunity or project brings you closer to reaching your main goal or not.