Accomplishing Great Feats: Memorizing Numbers

Katie Corbett holds the book "Peak, secrets from the new science of expertise"

By Katie Corbett


I’m often curious about what it takes to be successful and enjoy reading about successful people. I’m always interested in finding ways to accomplish more and do things better next time.


When I read “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” by Robert Pool, I was excited to learn that it is possible to memorize numbers. I encountered the next trick in a course I took about doing mental math, and am including it here.


Basically, each number will stand for a phonetic sound.


1: Stands for the T or D sound.

2: Stands for the N sound.

3: Stands for the M sound.

4: Stands for the R sound.

5: Stands for the L sound.

6: Stands for the CH, SH or J sound.

7: Stands for K or the hard G sound, G as in “gust”.

8: Stands for the F or V sound.

9: Stands for the P or B sound.

0: Stands for the S or Z sound.


By remembering the name “Tony Marloshkovipz” you could easily recall this system; write it out in numbers, taking out the vowels, and you’ll notice everything is, literally, in order. Notice that no vowel sounds are represented. Neither are sounds for H, W or Y. This is because you will be able to insert them where it makes the most sense and create words to help you remember numbers.


I was recently trying to recall the number 124. The letters replacing 1 could be T or D, the letter replacing 2 would be N and the letter replacing 4 would be R. I decided to go with DNR, since that would be easy to remember.


There are whole catalogs of words that can represent 2-digit numbers, giving people the ability to memorize long strings of numbers. The system I explained above could be enough to help you memorize pins, birthdays and phone numbers.


Try plugging in some of your favorite numbers and making words to help you remember them. You never know when this trick could come in handy.


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The Benefits of a Day Job

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Renaissance Soul"

By Katie Corbett


I write about life satisfaction a lot on this blog. It might surprise you, then, to learn that I sometimes do work that isn’t satisfying to get to where I want to end up eventually. This long-game approach helps me keep my end-goals in mind and to be grateful for all the things that do bring satisfaction.


You might have noticed that my day job is not one of my Focal Points. My business is, though, and my job gives me the ability to run my business without pressure. A job might have other benefits as well.


In “The Renaissance Soul,” Margaret Lobenstine lists the many benefits of having a job while pursuing a larger goal. I have found the following to be true of my day job:


  • It pays my bills and covers my living expenses.
  • I can pursue my hobbies without financial worries.
  • My job brings me closer to more personal and professional connections.
  • It provides an insider view of how a company is run.
  • I have had the chance to try new things, like being a hand model and riding an autonomous vehicle.
  • It has provided writing training, and I got paid to learn.
  • I have made friends with my coworkers.
  • I have had the opportunity to talk with those from different walks of life.
  • It has helped me reflect on what kind of manager I could be.
  • It covers the cost of products and services I need to run my business.


Listing the benefits of my job helps me approach each workday from a place of gratitude. This is important on those days when things are tough.


What are benefits you get from your job? How does your day job help you live your dreams? Tell me in the comments.


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Find Your Renaissance Soul Focal Points

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Renaissance Soul"

By Katie Corbett


If you, like me, have discovered you are a person who enjoys many pursuits, you might wonder how to move forward. You may worry about getting bored, about not finishing what you started, about being unsure where to go and what to do next.


In “The Renaissance Soul,” by Margaret Lobenstine, it is suggested to determine the areas of life that are most important to you. The book calls these Renaissance Soul Focal Points. I have found it helpful to identify about four. Here are some questions I used to identify mine:


  1. How do you want to spend your time?
  2. What do you enjoy doing that you could do for hours if not interrupted?
  3. What do you want to accomplish in your life?
  4. What would you be willing to prioritize over other things?
  5. What do you want to learn?
  6. Within the next three months, what do you want to accomplish?
  7. In what areas of life do you put in effort without trying?
  8. What have you been meaning to do that you have kept putting off till “someday”?
  9. What do you wish you could spend more time doing?
  10. In what areas of life do you want to improve?


By answering these questions, I was able to figure out that my Focal Points are: my marriage, my business, reading fiction and learning new things. I’ve been spending quality time with my husband, I’ve recently launched a referral program for my freelance writing business, I read all seven Harry Potter books and I’m taking a course to learn how to get more proficient at mental math.


Answer these questions for yourself to determine the areas of life that are important to you. The activities you do will change from week to week and from month to month, though your Focal Points will likely stay the same for at least a few years.


Is there a question you found particularly helpful? Let me know in the comments.


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What is Emotional Intelligence?

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett


I first learned about emotional intelligence (EQ) when I was between jobs and contemplating a move to San Diego. After reading the book that will be the subject of these next few blog posts, I enjoyed the concepts so much that I reached out to the company, TalentSmart, where the concept of emotional intelligence was developed. (Coincidentally, they are located in San Diego!) I wanted to support their work, so I asked if they had any job openings. They did and I had a great interview with them, though I was not offered a position. In addition to providing some interview practice, the company’s concept of emotional intelligence has changed how I interact with others and how I treat myself. Read on to learn more!


The book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, by Travis Bradberry, explains the idea that you can grow in EQ. Here’s a bit more about it, according to the book.


EQ consists of four key areas: Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.


  • Self-awareness means you know yourself and who you really are.
  • Self-management is the ability to use your awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do.
  • Social awareness is used to recognize and understand the moods of other people.
  • Relationship management is the concept of what to do to build and strengthen relationships.
  • Unlike IQ, which is fixed, a person can continue to increase their EQ.
  • Those with higher EQ have more success in their careers and more satisfaction with life.


I have reencountered EQ and reassessed mine a few times since first picking up this book in 2014. I tend to test high on social awareness and relationship management. I have been working to increase my scores in the areas of self-awareness and self-management. I have noticed a few notable changes during this last round of work, which I will elaborate on in coming posts.


If you want to learn more about EQ, take the assessment for yourself and see what you can do to improve. There are now several available online. I also highly recommend you pick up “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”. It’s life-changing stuff.


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Find Comfortable Ways to Say No

Katie Corbett holds the book "Do It Scared"

By Katie Corbett

Knowing I have the tendency to put the desires of others over my own as a people-pleaser has helped me evaluate the people in my life. I have learned to prioritize those in my life who respect me when I say no, encourage me to stand up for myself and let me know when I might be taken advantage of or am compromising my values.

In “Do It Scared”, the author, Ruth Soukup, talks about finding ways to say no. Here are some ways I have found helpful:

• Say no in writing so you have time to word your message just right.
• Ask the person to follow up with you at a later time if you feel more time will help you decide.
• Recommend someone else for the job or opportunity.
• Remember to thank the person for taking the time to ask you.
• Script your reply so you can repeat it if necessary, and speak with confidence.

Learning to say no takes practice. Recently, I was being recruited pretty heavily for a multi-level marketing company. I asked some friends about it to see if they had heard of it and made the decision that I wasn’t interested. (I don’t find anything wrong with multi-level marketing companies; they’re just not a good fit for where I’m at in my life right now.) I emailed my contact and let her know that I would not be signing up. I was nervous at first, but after I said a firm no, the decision was made and I didn’t have to think about it again.

I’m not sure what the future will hold in terms of opportunities. I do know that when great opportunities come around, I’ll have the space in my life to make the most of them since I won’t be in the midst of an opportunity that isn’t right for me.

What do you find helpful in terms of establishing boundaries and saying no? I’d love to learn, so drop it in the comments on this post.

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Create a List of Principles and Values to Live by

Katie Corbett holds the book "Do It Scared"

By Katie Corbett

One of my fear archetypes is called The Rule Follower. This means I value doing what’s right and can sometimes get paralyzed if I don’t know what the “rules” are, or get stuck on ideas I think are rules but are not. I’m going to talk about being a rule-follower from a business ownership sense. As a business owner, there are many spoken and unspoken rules. There are the obvious ones, like track your income and expenses, and the less apparent “rules” for how best to advertise.

In “Do It Scared”, a book by Ruth Soukup, it is recommended that you come up with your own set of principles and values to live by. I did this and it has helped me evaluate opportunities as opposed to going along with every opportunity that comes my way simply because I feel like I have to. Here’s my list so far:

1. Be people-centric.
2. Do not be pushy or salesy.
3. Know how I want to do business and stick with it.
4. Have conversations to genuinely get to know someone.
5. Provide value whenever possible.
6. Be transparent, honest and straightforward.
7. Say no when I need to.
8. Follow through when I say I will do something.
9. Only promise to do what I can deliver.
10. Treat people with respect and ask for respect in return.

A lot of these ideas might seem like no-brainers. You’d be surprised, though, how peer pressure, need for income or the desire to make other people happy can, at least for me, compromise my preferred behaviors.

If you think you are a rule follower, I recommend you make your own list of principles. Doing so will make it easier to tell when you are starting to slip and will give you a guide to get back on track.

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Reframe Mistakes as Lessons

Katie Corbett holds the book "Do It Scared"

By Katie Corbett

A big aspect of procrastination can be the fear of failure. As the oldest child in my immediate family, I often had to go first. I was the first to try out for choir, the first to go to Girl Scout camp, the first to go to college and the first to get a full-time job. My siblings could watch me and see how things turned out, but I didn’t have a role-model and was terrified of doing something wrong.

In the chapter about The Procrastinator in her book, “Do It Scared”, Ruth Soukup suggests several ideas that helped me push through this fear. One was the idea of reframing mistakes as lessons. Let me illustrate how I applied that point recently.

In conversations with two of my business-owner friends, I suggested that they would be great connections for each other. I passed along contact information, but didn’t introduce them to each other. I attended a networking meeting where email introductions were brought up, and it became apparent to me that not introducing those people was an oversight. Because I had learned to reframe my mistakes into lessons, I stopped beating myself up for failing to do this, and instead asked questions to learn how to do it from people who were really good at it.

Before coming across the strategy in Ruth’s book, I might have mulled on the issue for days. And I’m not kidding you. Instead, I followed up with the people I thought would be great connections for each other and virtually introduced those who hadn’t connected yet.

I hope, if you are scared of failure, you can focus on reframing your mistakes as lessons and continue striving for your dreams. After all, life is too short to live shackled by the fear of making a mistake. This reframing has helped me be more positive, get more done and try new things.

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What is the Proximity Principle, and How Can it Help?

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Proximity Principle"

By Katie Corbett

If you are trying to switch career fields, learn a new skill or move to a new state or country, it can be helpful to talk to those who have gone before you and accomplished what you wish to accomplish. Putting yourself in the places where you can learn and with the people you plan to learn from is taking advantage of a principle known as The Proximity Principle.

I have encountered this principle many times in my life, but didn’t give it much thought until I read “The Proximity Principle,” by Ken Coleman. The book encourages readers to think about what goals they wish to achieve and where they need to be to achieve them. I’ve put together a list of questions to help jump-start your brainstorming so you can decide what to work on next. After you make the decision, you can use the proximity principle to make your dreams happen!

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. If money was of no concern, what would you do with your life?
3. If you had all the time you needed, what would your goals be?
4. If you knew you only had one month to live and could spend that month doing any career you chose, what would it be?
5. When you introduce yourself to people, what do you wish you could tell them you do for a living?

Taking a shot at answering questions like these might help you get a start thinking about your plans. I still use questions like this when I’m deciding on my goals for future career and self-improvement goals.

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The Importance of Having An Accountability and Celebration Buddy

Katie Corbett holds the book "The 12-Week Year"

By Katie Corbett

At the end of each 12-Week Year, there is an extra week, called The 13th Week. This week is a time to look back over your progress, celebrate, and decide what you’d like to work on next. This is more interesting to do if you have an accountability partner to keep you on track and celebrate with you along the way.

In “The 12-Week Year,” Brian Moran talks about the role an accountability group can play in your progress. I’ve put together a list of questions I used to find and evaluate my own accountability buddy. Think of a potential friend or coworker and ask yourself these questions:

• Does this person take commitment seriously?
• In what concrete ways can I be assured of this?
• Do they show up on time to meetings and other appointments?
• Do they do what they say they will when they say they will do it?
• Will they get in touch with me if I forget to tell them my goals for the week?
• Are we both in a similar place in terms of what we need from the partnership?
• Do I feel comfortable telling this person about my struggles as well as my successes?
• Do this person share themselves with me?
• How would I describe this person?
• Do I enjoy spending time with them?

If you like the answers you get about the person in question, feel free to approach them, explain you are looking for an accountability/celebration buddy, and see what they say. Give them space to ask questions, and make sure they know it is OK to say no to you. You won’t want to have a buddy who isn’t really interested in the partnership.

I’ve been formally working with an accountability partner for a few months now, and am enjoying it so far. She lets me commiserate about what’s not going well and encourages me to be my best. It’s fun comparing notes, brainstorming solutions to challenges, and, of course, celebrating our wins together. I hope you find someone like that for your life and career goals, too.

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Beat Procrastination: Prepare Thoroughly Before you Begin

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

When working on a project, we have all had the experience of getting halfway through and needing to stop because you don’t have something you need. I have done this occasionally and find it time-consuming and frustrating. I started looking for a solution.

When I read the book, “Eat that Frog,” by Brian Tracy, I learned it can be helpful to prepare in advance and gather everything I need before starting. I decided to test this with social media writing I needed to do for work.

Before I gave preparing a try, I would sit down to write posts for Facebook and Twitter and would have to stop in the middle of writing to gather information, such as links, hashtags and quotes, for my posts. My writing took a long time and it wasn’t very creative, since I kept getting interrupted by the need for information. Things had to change, so I developed a new plan. Here’s what I’m doing now, which works much better.

I try my best to write social media posts on Wednesdays. Wednesday morning, I gather all the materials I need for each post I plan to write that day. I put everything – links, notes, hashtags, photo ideas – into a text file so it is all in one place. I then take a break for lunch and come back that afternoon refreshed and ready to get my creative juices flowing.

Working this way over the past couple months, I have noticed being able to get more done in less time, working with fewer interruptions, greater clarity on what I should be writing, and the ability to separate the writing and the research.

Whatever your project might be, from a book you are writing, to a business you are building, to an event you are planning, to a cake you are baking, I recommend making a list of everything you will need and gathering as much of it as you can in advance. Let me know how it goes in the comments. I hope it will help you be more efficient and get things done faster.

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