Friday, August 7, 2009

Announcing the Launch of!

For more than a year, the team at Nightingale-Conant, the world’s leader in personal development since for 50 years, has had a dream.

The dream was to create a website where anyone could go and explore a number of resources — all designed to improve themselves. The dream has now become realized at

We wanted to build a website with an entirely new philosophy and spirit: One that gives you every opportunity to become a better person. Learn to grow your income and wealth, discover how to stay fit and healthy, advance your career, create stronger relationships, manage your time, and set worthwhile goals.

You’re invited to try all of this (for free) at Where rather than sleep-inducing articles, our audio and video clips, complete mini courses, interactive calculators, eBooks, fun tests, and more help motivate you to become your best. To literally improve yourself.

From the second you arrive on the home page, you know that this website is unlike most. Mainly, because everything is centered around YOU.

You’ll find several tools including comprehensive mini courses, ebooks, free tests, life assessment calculators, video and audio clips, and more. And whether you listen to a mini course, take a test, watch a video, or calculate precisely when you’ll become a millionaire, you’re becoming inspired, educated, and excited about improving and (and all) areas of your life.

If you’re slightly overweight or need to tone-up, our health resources will help to improve yourself. If you’re career is not moving as fast as you like, we have several tools that can help increase your salary or motivate you to lead. Whether you wish to meet more friends, improve your time management, or finally set the goals you know you should, this website can help.

Check it out — We would appreciate any feedback to make the site more engaging and more beneficial for you.

And check back often as we’ll constantly be working to “Improve” it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clearing Weeds from Your Garden. And Your Life.

This Saturday morning was spent with my knees in dirt and my back reminding me that I’m not as young as I used to be.

I was participating in a pastime that we all must endure — extracting weeds from the flowerbed, lawn, and garden. It seems to be a ritual that must be repeated about every two weeks. Or about every third day if it rains a lot.

Although we have just about every weed extracting tool known to man, I’ve discovered the tools that seem to work best are my two hands — so I use those. So, as I’m pulling and digging and cursing the occasional ant that decides to seek revenge, I think.

Now my normal plan of attack on the unruly weeds is to start at one end and go to the other. That’s probably how most weeds meet their untimely demise. Start at one end of the flowerbed and keep going until they’re all out. Seems logical.

But not always. Not when you have kids. And soccer games. And cheerleading practice. And a cook-out for which you need to go to the grocery store. And… I know that sometimes, my weed yanking gets derailed — other emergencies take priority — like a SpongeBob marathon with the kids.

So rather than start with the first weed and end with the last, I took a few steps back and looked at the flowerbed as a whole. Immediately, I saw the five or six weeds that were huge and complete eyesores. And I only pulled those.

Then I saw the next bunch of weeds that would become menacing monsters in about a week. Gone. Then the next, and the next. Finally (about the same time it was time for Daddy to hunt for a stray shin guard) the only weeds left were the small clovers.

Though I hate the clovers, I took a couple of steps back again. And I realized that you couldn’t even see the clovers from the sidewalk. Okay, so I ended up pulling them too, but I guess I didn’t really have to.

My weedy point is that although we should all know by now to start with the “first things first”, we don’t always follow through. As humans, we tend to work on what is easiest, what makes us happy, or what will generate results the quickest.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Find Your Own ‘4 Seconds’

4 seconds.

No, this isn’t a blog about half of a complete bull ride.
Or is it discussing kids’ attention spans. (My 5-year-old boy is probably up to about 3.5 seconds about now)

Rather, I’m writing to re-live the near-miraculous feat millions witnessed. On the second full day of competition in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps was no longer the headline — he was simply one part of the world’s fastest 4x100 meter relay.

We all have token memories from past Olympics. Perhaps the USA hockey team’s Miracle on Ice. Or Nadia’s perfect 10. Maybe Greg Louganis’ dive gone wrong. But for me, that relay race has moved into a permanent position as my leading memory for the Olympics. For me, that one race IS the Olympics.

There are a number of factors about that race that make it so remarkable. First, the scene was set with the favored French team trash talking the American team — David vs. Goliath in the water — and America just loves an underdog. Especially when the underdog IS America.

Also, all eyes were on Michael Phelps. The casual fan may not have cared much about the race, except that a gold medal would add to Mr. Phelp’s record-setting medal count.

Then there was the race. No, Michael Phelps wasn’t anchoring the race (usually the fastest swimmer, runner, etc. is positioned last), rather it was another underdog, self-coached Jason Lezak. In the fastest split ever, Jason Lezak caught up to the anchoring Frenchman who began the leg several body lengths ahead of Jason.

All incredible. All of it truly historic. But, to me, all of it pales in comparison to the truly amazing part. The aforementioned 4 seconds. Yes, the US Men’s relay team beat the previous world record by 4 larger-than-life seconds.

That’s absolutely insane. That just doesn’t happen. A few tenths of a second, sure. And maybe on a perfect day, a full second. But swimming a full 4 seconds faster than any race ever is just mind-blowing.

It’s as if they re-wrote the rules: You’re not allowed to beat a previous world record by more than 2 seconds.

The Men’s relay team’s response: “Wanna bet. Just watch us!”

Which makes me think. Are there other unwritten “life rules” that we blindly follow. Like perhaps you make a respectable $50k a year. After you prove your worth, in a couple of years you might be making $55k or $60k. Perhaps in five years, you’ll get to $65k. That’s an example of a typical salary progression for a hard working employee.

Or what if you could take a page out of these Olympians handbook and re-write the rules. Go from $50k one year to $225k the next! Or from $100k to half a million! Who says it has to be gradual progression anyways?

If you’re dieting, the unwritten rules say you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week. Why? Maybe your goal should be losing six pounds one week, eight pounds the next and four pounds the week after.

Whatever it is in life that you’re striving to do, don’t allow the “usual, predictable, average, and typical” tell you what your results will be. Rather, get up on that starting block, face the water below and…

…discover your own 4 seconds.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Tale of Two Treadmills

One of my typical gym treks last week gave me a perspective I hadn’t quite realized before.

Being a Monday, and all the gym-goers anxious to sweat out their weekend sins, it was packed. Iron dumbbells were clanging. Stationary bikes were whirring. And nearly all the treadmills were put through the paces.

I found one empty treadmill between two other souls. I climbed on and went from walking to jogging to somewhat running. Somewhat.

The first person I noticed was to my left. A very athletic college student — perhaps he ran track. But as I was starting to breathe hard at my moderate speed, he was running full force and barely breathing. He was the epitome of health. I glanced at his speed, felt inspired, and turned mine up a bit.

Then immediately turned it back down when no one was looking.

To my right was the complete opposite. A man that was climbing above fifty in age and had to have weighed three-fifty. His tread wasn’t moving much at all. In fact, he was walking. But while it had the pace of a Sunday stroll, every breath sounded as though it might be his last. Every step was a struggle.

There I was. Two different souls on either side of me. Both plugging away trying to improve their lives. But for total different reasons. With every step, the college student probably had the goal of becoming team captain, starting at the next game, or perhaps attracting a new girl.

Which is a world different than the man to my right. With every step, he was hoping to be able to live longer, see his grandchildren and shed some stubborn pounds.

That’s the point. Every day, everywhere you look, people are doing something to improve their lives and make themselves, their families and their lifestyles more complete.

But behind each struggle to improve. Behind every improved person is a story. A reason. A goal. Something that drives them. And that's the first thing you need before you can even hope to change your life. Because without that image or reminder constantly nagging you, it makes every step far more difficult.

Perhaps nobody demonstrates this better than Zig Ziglar.

Once is launched, you'll discover numerous reasons to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be.

The BEST advice I’ve ever received

This year marked the sixth anniversary of my dad’s passing. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Yet his legacy lives through myself and my children through the advice he gave.

One nugget of advice which took me until my adult years to appreciate was given to me back in my little league and tiny tot soccer days. No matter what team I was on, I was usually one of the smallest players. Which means one of the slower. One of the weaker. One of the bench warmers. Naturally.

The first time he told it to me, I didn’t heed its wisdom. Pretty much ignored it, I suppose. After one of my usual lackluster soccer games, he sat me down and told me, “Don’t wait for the ball to come to you.”

“Um, Ok?” I went about my childhood and continued to ride the bench. Years passed and I became better and better at sports. Unfortunately, so did everyone else.

I remember one game specifically. Somehow, we made it to the championship round. And somehow, I was on the field. I was the last man — or scrawny kid — between the boy with the soccer ball and the goalie. And rather than do my usual move of, well, not moving and waiting for the ball to come to me, something compelled me to run.

I ran full speed after the opposing player. In fact, I ran so fast, I went right by him without touching the ball. But perhaps it startled him and he ended up tripping. The ball rolled slowly toward the goalie and we preserved an important win.

From that point on, I never waited for the ball to come to me. And somehow, that one piece of advice enabled me to stay competitive with kids that were much bigger, much faster and much stronger.

Today, I try to use my dad’s timeless advice in just about everything I do. Whether it’s business, investing, playing with my kids, playing tennis, or working out I always try to be proactive and not wait for the ball to come to me.

Most people wait for the ball. They wait to get laid off before improving their skills and finding their ideal career. They wait until their marriage hits rock bottom before going to a counselor. They wait until the doctor tells them the bad news before they eat right and exercise.

Sure, it takes work to run after the ball. But the rewards are worth it. Thanks Dad.

One man who will tell you like it is and encourage you to run after the ball is Larry Winget. His outrageous personality and electric approach shocks you into taking those first uncomfortable steps. Once is live, he will be front and center giving you free advice.

A life lesson: Taught by a slobbering, foul-mouthed, um, well, dog

It hit me about a week ago. Amidst the dog days of summer, (by the way, the “dog days” extend from July 3rd to August 11th — what did we do before Wikipedia? I was re-taught a valuable life lesson.

I say re-taught, because it’s one of those obvious lessons, but many of us forget. Before the kids’ bath routine and just after the grilled chicken got its final basting, I invited my dog outside.

Bumbling outside, my overweight and under-exercised mixed breed boxer/Labrador dog named Romeo welcomed me with his usual excessive panting. (Yes, that’s my dog’s name — many a night, I’ve called him inside my shouting, “Romeo, Romeo” as if I was reciting a Shakespearean play)

I picked a fuzz-depleted tennis ball and chucked it toward the back fence. Romeo ignored his thirteen-year-old arthritic body and ran after it as if he was a young pup. And as quick as he retrieved it, he bounced back and began pacing around my feet.

Now, the thing with Romeo is that he will not drop the ball UNLESS you show him another ball. Luckily I had said back-up ball.

Show ball. Drop ball. Throw slobber-induced ball. Repeat.
This went on for a while until I decided to throw the second ball as well. Now, he had two balls to retrieve. Which is a welcomed challenge for my dog.

For the next five minutes, my never-give-up dog tried his best to fit both tennis balls in his mouth. They didn’t fit. So he did what any other self-respecting mutt would do, he dropped one ball, picked the other one up, then dropped that one.

The whole charade produced nothing except my own fits of laughter. But the more I thought about it, I realized that my dog just reminded me of an important life lesson about reaching goals.

What tends to happen when New Years rolls around? If you’re like most, you may make several resolutions — perhaps your health, income, career, diet, or more. And although each of those is important, focusing on each of those goals at one time can be a recipe for failure.

Then by mid-February, your resolutions resemble my dog’s disheveled, slobber-soaked tennis balls.

Why? Lack of focus. It’s very difficult to maintain strict focus on several different life-changing goals at once. Just as my dog’s focus was obliterated and he in turn accomplished nothing except making a spectacle of himself.

So next time you want to change a little piece of your life, take one life change at a time. Focus on your career and bring that ball back safe and sound. Then, start focusing on your diet or health and bring that ball back.

You may at first think that you’re not accomplishing your goals fast enough, but the truth is, you’re giving your new life a chance to become habits. And that's how life changes are made — through habit. 

Perhaps the best views on goal setting is from Brian Tracy. As soon as is launched on September 15th, 2008, he will be one of our most featured authors presenting free advice via video, audio, articles and more.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect…Sometimes

The Beijing Olympics are finally here. And if the competition can live up to the incredible Opening Ceremony, we’re in store for a memorable two weeks.

Naturally, even to get invited to the Olympics takes a total commitment to health, diet, and of course practice, practice, practice. If you’ve ever seen a glimpse of an Olympian hopeful’s daily practice and workout regimen, you may be astonished.

While most of the world — including me — is slapping the snooze button at 6:30am, many Olympic athletes have already been sweating for an hour or two. Then they’re done for the day? Hardly, they’re just getting warmed up.

I’ve seen reports that some Olympians practice upwards of twelve to fourteen hours a day. I’m not sure I could do something fun for fourteen hours a day.

So, in conclusion most people would assume just like the expression that “Practice makes Perfect.” To excel at most anything, practice is vital. To this day, people still believe that 7-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong took performance enhancing drugs. But I would point to his rigorous twelve-hour days on his bike that enabled him to become the world’s greatest.

But for the rest of us who may never win an Olympic medal, we simply want to excel at our life — our career, our wealth, our marriage, perhaps our golf or tennis game, or picking up a bit more speed running or biking. And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t take 12-14 hours of practice to reach the next level.

When it comes to improving yourself, I feel strongly that quality of practice more than quantity of practice determines your success. After all, we all know of colleagues that come to work early and stay late, yet spend much of their time at work socializing, making personal calls or taking breaks.

And I’m a perfect example of how massive hours do not always equate to incredible results . For years, I would use my lunch breaks at work to go to the gym and workout. Because I didn’t have time to shower afterwards, I wouldn’t really challenge my body. Yet, I knew several friends that worked out just three times a week, but each time they finished their workout, they were covered in sweat.

Naturally, in just a few months, I saw significant strides in their results and relatively little in mine.

So, yes, practice is essential in whatever dreams you wish to accomplish. But unless you use that time to challenge your mind, your body, and your performance, you may simply be eating up valuable hours.

Practice your craft. But more importantly, make each practice count — just like the Olympians.

When is launched on September 15th, 2008, you'll immediately discover many ways to make your days far more productive and beneficial. 

For now, you can go to to achieve your own gold in life.