Archive for November, 2010

Under-Promise and Over-Deliver

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Want a quick way to build a reserve of time?  Under-promise and over-deliver!  To under-promise is to give yourself twice the amount of time you think you will need to get something done.  To over-deliver means to complete the project ahead of the promise date and turn it in early.

Let’s see how that would work in your professional life:  Your boss comes to you and asks, “I want you to work on this project, when can you get it to me?”  Your natural inclination is to over -promise right?  So it is Thursday afternoon, and you think to yourself, “I can work on it all day tomorrow and over the weekend and deliver it by Monday.”  You tell your boss that if you work hard on it, she will have it on her desk by Monday morning.  Now you put aside your other work, come to the office over the weekend and still cannot get it done because you are missing some information from another department.  Monday comes around and you tell your boss that there is some information missing and you cannot deliver the project until Monday evening.  She is not amused and you feel like a failure.  All because you over-promised.

Now try this:  You think, “I can get it done by Monday” and you tell your boss, “I will have it ready by Wednesday afternoon.”  You created an instant reserve of time!  You can enjoy the weekend, exercise , have a great time with your family and fill yourself up with energy.  Now you have your creative juices flowing and you get the report ready with no stress by Tuesday afternoon.  You turned it in early and your boss is impressed and thinks you are great because you turned the report ahead of schedule.  Congratulations – you just over-delivered!  This simple tip can dramatically decrease your stress level and it also puts you in a great position for a raise or a bonus.

What if your boss requires you to get it done by Monday?  While we often get specific deadlines most of them can be negotiated.  Request the extra two or three days.  If you have been consistently under-promising, you will have a reserve of time in all your other projects and you will actually have the time to crunch it out by Monday if you have to.

Under-promise works wonders in your personal life as well.  If you are cooking dinner, instead of bragging ahead of time that you are making a gourmet meal, tell your family you are making something simple and surprise them with a fabulous meal.  When asked by a friend if you can meet her at a certain time, make sure you have at least an extra half hour to spare in case you encounter bad traffic or an unexpected detour on your way.  It’s a fantastic feeling when you keep people’s expectations low and surprise them.  Everybody wins and you don’t have to spend your life apologizing.

Begin under-promising today and watch your time multiply!

With energy,


“Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!”

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I was out for dinner last night with my husband and two of our long time dear friends here in Hong Kong.  We have known one another for 13 years and Eddie and I have seen their children grow and develop to such interesting and accomplished adults.  Now it is time for the eldest one to go to college and our friend was describing the process to us.

We were talking about the generation born in the 80’s and 90’s and how they have little concern about money.  They were brought up with debit cards and our friends were saying that their children don’t really know how much things cost anymore. He says all they know is “bip money” – they go to the convinient store to buy a Coke and it costs “bip dollars”, not three Hong Kong dollars. They were wondering if their kids would be ready to establish their own businesses and face the world.  Now, bear in mind that these two guys raised their children to be frugal.  They are self-made individuals who have a very successful business and who always lived below their means.  They are not extravagant by any stretch of the word and they made sure that their children knew that they needed to be grateful for what they have.

They pointed out that the perception their children have regarding money is that they will always have it.  Their children just “know” that money is not a problem.  They didn’t grow up hearing their parents argue about money and complaining that they don’t have enough.  Like I said before, their children were not raised in a household of waste and consumerism and yet they were not denied their basic needs and gifts twice a year.  They were raised to be grateful and they were raised with boundaries.

As I listened to them telling me this I began to feel hopeful about the future! Imagine that the children of today have the ability to simply “get” that money is not a problem.  They know that they will always be provided for and that they don’t need to believe that acquiring money is their sole purpose in life.  They have the freedom to choose a profession they love and money is no longer the only measure of how successful you are!  And before you call me the eternal delusional optimist, I will tell you that I realize kids do care about their stuff.  I know they want to have things and that they face a world filled with options that confuses them quite a bit.  But I also see the possibility of having a future generation of adults who believe and live in the mentality of abundance.  Their main concern is to be doing things they love and not accumulating things they think they love.  I can see clearly a time when material things will take a back seat to realizing a dream, helping others, curing diseases, developing spirituality and sharing their bounty.

We are going through a time of profound change.  Those of us who tried to change our mindset from scarcity to abundance know so well how difficult this shift can be.  Can you imagine a generation where this pattern of thinking is already ingrained in their DNA?  Can you see how the detachment to material things starts there? Do you understand the possibilities attached with a generation that truly wants to do good with no concerns of how the money will come because they know in their hearts that they will be provided for as long as they do what they love?  I was thrilled when I realized that and I began to share with my friends what I think is in store for their children!

As our friend faces the prospect of his first child flying off to college, he feels a bit nervous about how she will manage all by herself.  I reminded him of the wonderful job he did raising her:  The boundaries that were so hard to put in place, the time he took to explain why it is important to be grateful for what they had, the moments when their example spoke lauder than words and so forth.  It’s natural to have doubts and it is good to listen from people other than their close family that they did the best they could while raising their children. I admire my friends for all their wisdom and for their doubts.  I am also grateful that through their children I could see a glimpse of the future and be hopeful about it.

May we all learn to think in abundance and to pass it on to the next generation!

With energy,


This post is dedicated to Stephanie.  May she grow in wisdom and kindness and have a great time in her upcoming college adventure!