We live in a world with unlimited distractions, challenges, emergencies and interruptions – it’s a miracle any of us stay focused, sane and on track towards what we want (business improvement).
There are always going to be multiple tasks and priorities competing for your time – marketing campaigns to design, team members to manage, customers to respond to, business opportunities to explore, personal commitments etc. However, when you try to tackle too many things at the same time, nothing gets done. In the end, success and business improvement come down to focus.
In a world where there never seems to be enough time to get everything done, how can you avoid overwhelm, stay on track and get the things that are most important to you done? After all, it has been said there is always enough time in the day to do everything that is WORTH doing.
Here’s a list of questions that I have compiled over the years and shared with my clients and friends. They have helped me to put every challenge, “emergency” and distraction into perspective so that I can choose to focus my energy on what I really want and move forward toward my goals and business improvement each day. I hope some of these will also resonate with you…
1. Has Anyone Died? If not, relax, take a deep breath and know that as bad as things seem right now, “this too shall pass”. I learned this lesson the hard way when I was twenty four years old and had to come to grips with the terrible news that my mother had been murdered. As horrific and paralysing as this event was in my life, I eventually began to rebuild and discover strength that I never knew I had. And I learned a very important lesson – as long as no one has died, the situation really isn’t that grave, and there is always a solution or upside to every challenge you face.
2. Are You Trying to Eat an Elephant in One Sitting? Breaking things into bite-sized chunks makes the world of difference. Having broad high level business improvement goals are good but oftentimes it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of work that has to be done. That’s why having an actionable plan is essential – a step by step plan to help you move forward every day and get from where you are to where you want to be. After all, a journey of 1000 miles begins with one single step.
3. Are You In A Bad Neighbourhood? If you are in the ghetto emotionally, you need to change your physiology immediately. That means get up and get moving – put on your favourite song, connect with someone face to face or do a hobby/sport that makes you smile. Whatever it takes, do it NOW.
4. Are You Grateful For What You Already Have? It is impossible to attract more of what you want into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In many ways gratitude is a bit like that – it’s not what you say, the mere words that count, but sum of the words and the heartfelt emotion that you put behind them.
5. Are You focused on What You Want or Don’t Want? Whether you realise it or not, you are visualising things all the time – visualising either what you want or don’t want. If you are relentlessly focused on the negative outcome and are riddled with fear, your thoughts will impact your reality and push what you want further away.
6. Does it Have To Be Perfect? Perfection can immobilize you and hamper business improvement – prevent you from making a decision, starting a project or signing off on a piece of important work. Truth is, most tasks on your list don’t have to be 100% perfect, you just need to pull the trigger and sign off on them today. The other way that this problem can show up is when you deceive yourself by believing that no-one else can do the job (even simple routine tasks) to your exacting standard, so you must do it ALL yourself. Try the 80/20 rule – delegate what you do not have to do yourself and give yourself permission to be human!
7. Are You Still Holding On To The Past – Have you ever caught yourself saying “last time I tried that, it didn’t work”? Or have you ever avoided doing something that you know you need to do but were afraid because it didn’t work last time? Even though it’s a good idea to stop doing what clearly isn’t working, it’s also important to remember that the past does not necessarily equal the future. If you catch yourself using reasons from the past to justify why you are not moving ahead today, you owe it to yourself to recognize this for what it is – self sabotage – and take action.
8. Are You Listening To Your Own Inner Voice? – The quickest way to guarantee failure and unhappiness is to worry too much about what other people might think. Deep down you know what is right for you in every circumstance. Sometimes it is tempting to suppress or ignore your gut instincts but there is freedom and relief in choosing to listen and to stand behind the decisions that you know are right for you. If you choose to please others, there will always be at least one other person who is unhappy with your choices, plus yourself.
9. Are You Avoiding Your Fears? – Ironically, everything you want is on the other side of your fear. Sometimes we are coaxed to the edge of our fears and pushed off, yet other times we willingly wander there, oblivious to what lies ahead. Either is good – for at the moment you feel your feet leave the safety of the cliff top – you will always find your wings and fly.
10. Are You Afraid of Making a Mistake? – It is only when we are stretched that we discover new things about ourselves. Often it is adversity and mistakes that allow us to become aware of and uncover our own innate talents. If mistakes were fatal, we wouldn’t enjoy most of the modern conveniences that we take for granted every day. Taking a risk and making a mistake is far better than doing nothing. In the brilliant words of Theodore Roosevelt “the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing”.
11. Do You Have Reasons or Results? – In life you either have results or you have reasons, but it is impossible to have both. If you don’t like the results you have produced, you will do one of two things (1) find a reason or excuse to explain why or (2) change your behaviour to produce a different result. Looking for justification as to why things have not worked out is a pointless exercise. When we look at causes, rather than reasons, things are very different. There is no failure, only results. Essentially, it means never having a reason or excuse again.
12. Are You Unrealistic? In order to succeed and achieve your goal of business improvement, you have to be at least a little unrealistic. Being realistic, never led to any significant change, innovation or giant leap forward. Only unrealistic thinking will achieve a result that until now seemed impossible. In the ‘60s, U.S. President Kennedy seemed unrealistic when he announced to a very large audience that America would put a man on the moon in less than a decade. Prior to that statement, a lunar landing seemed impossible, or at the very least, something that was a long way off.
13. Have You Forgiven Yourself & Others? Perhaps we never really completely understand life until we face death. What if we all started off on our deathbeds? Would it make a difference? Would it change the way we choose to play the game? Would it take us to forgiveness sooner? On our deathbed, I doubt any of us would say ‘I wish I held onto more anger and resentment or took a bit longer to forgive.’ In fact, if you were to look out into the future and imagine the world and all of your relationships from a position where you knew with absolute certainty that they would be gone tomorrow, would you act differently today? Would you mourn the years that you kept yourself enslaved by bitterness, blame and indignation? Would you lament the loss of pleasure, love and peace that could have been yours if only you could have found a way to forgive sooner?
14. Are You Hiding Who You Really Are? – We all have scars, but they are not ‘terminal’ blemishes, evidence of your defects, or validation of your lack of worthiness. Richard Nixon once famously said “the finest steel goes through the hottest fire”. Life isn’t easy but that perhaps it was never designed to be! Amazing things can happen, character and strength often develop through the most challenging circumstances – whether the heat destroys you or sculpts you is entirely up to you.
15. Are You a Poor Communicator? – Anytime you have more than one person observing an event, the door is open for the possibility of misinterpretation and miscommunication based on differing maps of reality. Learning to recognise that we all have different maps (filters by which we see and process the world around us) allows us to see the world through another person’s eyes and therefore understand, relate and communicate with greater respect and results.
16. Are You Thinking Inside Your Box? – Our beliefs about what is true, right, real or possible are largely assembled in childhood through a process called conditioning. Essentially children learn what is ‘normal’ from the people around them. These beliefs about the world can have a massive impact on how your life turns out. Einstein referred to limiting beliefs as the “boundary conditions of our thinking” – they act as a box that we unconsciously put ourselves in from a very young age. What we consider possible is influenced by these rigid ideas. That is why it has often been said that the thinking that got you to where you are now will never get us to where you want to be.
17. Are You Running Away? – Sometimes a fresh start can do you a world of good, but the interesting thing about a fresh start is that it never stays fresh for very long. The irritating part of physical or geographical changes is that you stay the same – wherever you go, there you are. As time passes you are forced to realise that while there may be a new job, new boss, new partner, or a new view out the window of your kitchen – you are exactly the same! Now might be a great time to look at the changes that need to come from within.
18. Are You Over Thinking It? – Most of us make a ‘decision’ today, knowing that tomorrow we can change our mind, backtrack or simply do nothing. That isn’t a decision. Unless you take action immediately towards your goal, you haven’t really decided … you are merely thinking about it.
19. Are You Motivated? – No matter whether you have experienced awful things in life or not, there is an innate drive in all of us to seek meaning and purpose. If we understand our ‘why’ then we can deal with any ‘how’ that life brings our way. Even in the darkest of nights, we can all find a way to let the light of who we really are shine through, if we believe in our hearts that there is a grander purpose.
20. Are You Driving The Bus? – I am the only one who can attribute meaning to the events in my life and the same is true for you. Positive, negative or neutral – the choice is always yours. If you are not happy with the choices you have made so far in life the great news is that you can choose new meanings immediately that will drive you towards your bright and compelling future. It’s never too late to become the person you were meant to be!
21. Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? – In my own life, it has never been the load or the obstacles that broke me, but rather the manner in which I chose to carry them. Despite what happens or what others think/say, it’s the things we tell ourselves when no one else is listening, that have the biggest potential to harm and hold us back. Re-writing negative self-talk is the single biggest gift you can give yourself this year.
It’s very easy to get so caught up in the emotion of emergencies, distractions and thoughts that don’t serve you – you can easily lose sight of what is most important to your success, business improvement and well-being. These simple questions (and keeping your sense of humour) are vital to helping you to stay focused and moving towards your goals and success.
Many different factors have the potential to cause stress in a person’s life. If you take a look around you will see that some people have learned to manage and control their levels of stress much better than others. Even though there is no 1 specific key or “secret” to manage stress, the answer lies in learning to balance of a combination of little things and your physiology.
High levels of stress can lead to various medical conditions, negatively impact your daily routine and impair your ability learn and recall. The hormones which the brain releases in stressful situations are meant for fight or flight situations only – over use of these can actually be detrimental to the health of your brain and body.
Work (whether you own your own business or not) is filled with challenges, obstacles and opportunities that have the potential to cause stress. Knowing how this impacts you physically is the first step leading you to new insights and understandings on how to manage and control your reactions in an empowering way.
Your body language is a powerful indication of your ability to handle stress and problems. When your body encounters a stressful situation, hormones are automatically released into your adrenal glands to counterbalance the cortisol in your brain. Equilibrium is established when these stimulating and tranquilizing forces become equal. When one is greater than the other, you will experience a sense of imbalance, commonly referred to as stress.
In fact, your body goes to great lengths to prevent you from experiencing imbalance or stress. Your sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system essentially battle each other to bring your body back to equilibrium. This fight or flight response to stress also necessitates the shutting down of many of the other key systems in the body – which makes it much more difficult to reason, react and communicate while in this agitated state.
It is next to impossible to eliminate stress completely from your life. Some stress is actually good for us. However, learning how to quickly and reliably relieve stress and become focused will enable you to tackle challenges with a clear head, communicate clearly and navigate tense situations. In fact, the best way to reduce stress quickly and reliably is through managing the sensory input received by the body: through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each person responds differently to various levels and types of sensory input – the trick is to find out what works best for you to manage stress.
We all have different preferences, tolerances and needs. For example, certain kinds of music or distinctive smells may relax one person but irritate another. Take the time to discover what works best for you at home, in your car, at the office, or wherever you may encounter stress. Simple deep breathing and relaxation techniques also work wonders and they are free, easy to implement and produce quick results.
Harnessing the power of sensory stress-busting techniques will provide you with a powerful technique for staying calm, collected and in control. You’ll have the assurance to face adversity and challenge in every aspect of your life, knowing that you have the ability to bring your body back into a state of equilibrium and ease.
There are always going to be several things constantly competing for your time – marketing campaigns to design, team members to manage, customers to respond to, business opportunities to explore, issues to follow up, personal commitments etc. However, whenever you try to work on too many things at the same time, inevitably none of them ever gets done. Business success often comes down to focus.
To assist my clients in staying on track and keeping things simple, I developed the following list of 5 simple techniques/questions to put things into perspective. When in doubt – check the list for guidance.
1. Has Anyone Died? If not, relax and calm down. As long as no one has died, it’s really not that serious and there is a solution to every challenge you face.
2. Are You Trying to Eat an Elephant in One Sitting? Breaking things into bite sized chunks makes the world of difference. Having broad high level goals are good but having an actionable plan is essential. A detailed, step by step plan can help you to identify how you can get from where you are to where you want to be. Remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.
3. Are You In A Bad Neighbourhood? If you are not in a good place emotionally, change your physiology immediately. That means get up and get moving, put on your favourite song or do the “dance of joy”. Whatever it takes, do it NOW.
4. Are You Grateful For What You Already Have? It is impossible to bring more of what you want into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In many ways gratitude is a bit like that – it’s not what you say, the mere words that count, but sum of the words and the heartfelt emotion behind them.
5. Are You focused on What You Want or Don’t Want? Whether we realise it or not, we are visualising things all the time – visualising either what we want or don’t want. If you are relentlessly focused on the negative outcome and are riddled by fear that WILL impact your reality.
It’s very easy to get so caught up in the emotion of emergencies, disruptions and day to day activities that you can easily lose sight of what is most important to your business success and well-being. These simple tips and questions will help you stay more in touch which is what is most essential to you and your compelling future. These techniques (and keeping a sense of humour) are vital to helping you to stay in focus with your ultimate goals and business success.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2314715
Right now you are laughing because it is funny. It is funny because it happens all the time. And if you are still laughing it may be because you are masterful at getting what you don’t want?
For some reason it seems the more you tell someone NOT to do something, the more likely it is that it WILL happen. Why is that? Sometimes we attribute it to simple disobedience – for example a child testing a parent, when the parent has said “don’t do that.”
However, it is more than just a simple testing of the boundaries. There is a biological, scientific reason for getting what you don’t want and it has to do with the way that our brains are wired.
So why do we always seem to do the very thing that we are told not to do?
Our Subconscious brain struggles to process negatives. In effect it hears and acts upon the command to do the very thing that we DON’T want it to do – i.e. “smoke” or “spill the coffee.”
In fact, the subconscious mind cannot think – it can only ACT or CREATE based upon what is of VALUE. That value is a product of our map of reality and every event we have experienced over a lifetime. The subconscious is actually 100x more powerful than the conscious mind and the subconscious is an AUTOMATIC mechanism. It kicks in and acts about 1/2 second before the conscious mind does – so if your embedded beliefs, attitudes, values etc. are negative, you end up always getting what you don’t want.
If you say to yourself over and over “Don’t spill the drink” or you tell a child “Don’t miss the ball”, you are focusing the attention of the subconscious mind on the opposite of what is desired. Instead of saying “carry the drink safely to the counter” or “hit the ball son”, you have commanded the automatic mechanism to do exactly what you DON’T want. The automatic mechanism of the mind is focusing on missing the ball. It’s not that the mind doesn’t hear the word “Don’t” (or cannot understand it) it’s that the ENTIRE SENTENCE is designed to create the opposite of what is wanted. You have to look at the sentence in its entirety to understand why it will not work to create the desired effect.
That is in fact why many books self help books, DVDs and audio CDs DON’T work to deter unwanted habits and behaviours. Many of the NLP and hypnosis practitioners have loaded their materials with embedded commands like “you will not have any problems sleeping”, “you will not want to have any more cigarettes” or “you will no longer have cravings for fried chicken and beer”. Unfortunately, these programs are doomed from the start. They only serve to further entrench these undesirable patterns.
If you want to change behaviour or get around a problem you must think of new ways to phrase the desired behaviour in a positive way. This requires the removal of all negatives or references to the problem in the sentence. Rather than saying “Don’t mess up the calculations” you could say “Be careful to ensure all the calculations in the spreadsheet are double checked and correct”. Instead of saying to your child “Don’t throw that toy at your sister” you should say “Put the toy down now and come to me”.
Instead of telling yourself what NOT to do, focus exclusively on what you want do to (or have happen). It can be difficult for some to unlearn old patterns and pessimistic language. However with practice and the positive reinforcement that comes from achieving the results that you desire most, you will find yourself speaking and behaving in new and empowering ways.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3142214
In 1949, thirteen (out of a highly skilled team of sixteen men) died battling a relatively small blaze that turned deadly in Mann Gulch, Montana. Upon investigating the circumstances of why thirteen of the “smoke jumpers” died while only three lived, Norman Maclean wrote a book entitled “Young Men and Fire”, which is the true story account of that fateful expedition of the “smoke jumpers” – fire fighters who parachute into the back country to fight fires.
Maclean found some startling and interesting facts. Mann Gulch is surrounded by steep canyon walls with the northern slope at a 75% incline. When the wind turned suddenly on the smoke jumpers, they were in a race with the fire up those steep walls. Unexpectedly, the fire started to spread much faster than anticipated.
One of the amazing and notable things that Maclean discovered was that the thirteen who died had carried their tools – heavy poleaxes, saws, shovels and heavy back packs – while attempting to out run the fire up those steep walls. In other words, the thirteen had run as far as they could with all their equipment, even though that equipment was worse than useless in a race with the fire. Their inability to drop their heavy tools and packs ultimately prevented them from being able to outrun the fire. To these seasoned fire fighters, their tools were more than simple objects – they represented who they were, why they were there and what they were trained to do. Dropping their tools would have meant abandoning their knowledge, beliefs, training and experience.
This might not seem like a hard choice to make to you, but because these specialized fire fighters hadn’t been trained for such an unpredictable moment, they had no alternative models or maps for behaviour. In moments of uncertainty and imminent danger, clinging to the old “right” way might seem like a good idea… but more often than not, it is actually deadly.
The three survivors of the blaze were forced to think outside the box and develop alternative methods of escaping the fire. Once they figured out they were no longer “fighting the fire” but were instead “trying to escape from it”, they realized they had to drop all of their useless equipment. One survivor used an innovative technique called the ‘escape fire’ where he took a match and lit a ring around him so that the fire would “jump” over him. When he tried to suggest it to the other men, they continued running up the steep slope because the ‘escape fire’ technique had not been part of their extensive training. Their inability to drop the tools and equipment that weren’t working and seek new methods to escape is what ultimately led to them being engulfed by flames and smoke.
My question to you is this: What are the poleaxes, shovels and backpacks you’re currently running with?
What are the tired, worn out strategies and tools which you are lugging around? What existing beliefs and models of behaviour do you need to drop in order for you to survive and prosper (even thrive in a recession)? What training, attitudes, decisions or experience needs to be abandoned in favour of a new, innovative approach?
It has often been said that “the thinking that got you to here, won’t get you to there”. Never has the simplicity and wisdom of this statement been more poignant, than it is today. Those of you who adopt and learn the critical skills, tools and mind-set necessary to survive and even thrive in a recession (or despite any challenge you face) will be the winners in all this. But, this has always been true. Survivors and successful people triumph because they are flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to get the results they desire. New or changing circumstances always necessitate a new perspective or approach: The alternative, “doing the same thing over and over again” is the definition of insanity and can only lead to suffering, disappointment, frustration and pain.
The events of the past few years have clearly shown that there is fire raging out of control in our global economy – the markets are extremely volatile, banks and corporations are in trouble, credit is tightening, our personal debt is far too high and property values are threatened. Change is upon us and we all must examine what we have chosen to carry on our backs to thrive in a recession. Burying your head in the sand and “doing more of what you have always done” are no longer viable options.
No matter where you are at right now…I have a belief that it is impossible for you not to become even more successful NOW. Take some time today to assess your approach to date – what is working and what is not. Write an action plan and take 3 steps today towards achieving the life that you imagine in your mind. After all, success is not by chance or circumstance, it is by choice! Choose wisely.