17 Aug 2011
What if I told you that YOU are you’re own worst enemy? Would you be offended or would you smile and agree, because you know it’s true. It’s true for ALL of us.
You can tell a lot about a business person by the way they spend their time. We all spend our time in various ways. Many business owners and senior executives tell me that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. Personally, I have a belief that there is always enough time in the day to do all of the things that are WORTH doing. The key is to identify what is worth your while.
Sometimes activity can be a kind of anesthesia for the pain of not achieving the results you want and deserve. Action is always better than procrastination. However, more activity is not always better than less.
What about ‘make busy’ activities? If you’ve ever spent your day stuck in back-to-back meetings, answering routine questions from your team, responding to emails, troubleshooting, emptying the in-tray or tidying the office, you know exactly what I mean by ‘make busy’.
It is easy to spend large amounts of time on ‘make busy’ activities. In fact it is possible to spend ALL your time on these activities, creating the magnificent illusion that you are hard at work, simply because you feel flat out. You are working hard but you have very little (in financial results) to show for it. Your day is full of tasks and you get home exhausted – so you must have put in a hard day’s work, right?
Unfortunately, these habitual and ‘make busy’ activities can keep you trapped where you already are – just simply maintaining, not growing. By filling your days with these tasks, you are in effect avoiding the very activities that you know will really move your business or career forward and produce tangible results – what we might call ‘productive activities’. These activities rarely happen automatically. They require focused attention. And, all too often, they get relegated to ‘tomorrow’ or ‘sometime soon’.
A great many business owners and senior executives, while they like to think of themselves as entrepreneurial, would rather do anything other than face the thought of ”productive activities”. They probably have these things on their ‘to do’ lists, but after another day of busyness, they just say to themselves – again “It’s OK, I was really busy. The business planning review will have to wait for tomorrow.”
The problem is this – and believe me, I have seen it played out many, many times: if you are waiting for the right or best time to do these critical ‘productive activities’, that time will simply never come. Tomorrow there will be more ‘busy work’ to do, and your unproductive habits will fill the rest of the day, and the cycle will start all over again.
Today is a new day – the past is over and has no relevance to today or your future. Successful people are not without problems or challenges. Successful people simply refuse to carry the SAME dilemmas or hurdles for months (or years) on end. They seek solutions, face impediments, overcome obstacles and move on. They make time to focus on ‘productive activities’. They rise above the ‘noise’ of busyness, create ways to focus their mind on the things that really matter right now, and get on with the job. They set specific goals and they monitor and take action based on the financial trends in their business. They don’t try to do ‘everything’, they focus only on the very things that will give them the most leveraged and positive result. They rarely blame external circumstances when things go wrong and they take responsibility every day for what they choose to spend their time on.
Success is achieved with less not more – and it’s actually easier than you think. Working like a dog to avoid dealing with problems and keeping yourself immersed in ‘busy work’ – now THAT IS HARD WORK! Why would you choose to do THAT when you could simply take a step back and choose to do the 1-2 things that you know would move your business forward right now?
Isn’t it time to start taking it easy? It worked for The Eagles in the ’70s and it can work for you in your business (or career) right now!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4936506
14 Aug 2011
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
I was reminded of this brilliant principle last week when I spoke to one of my business coaching clients. There can be no doubt that we are living in interesting times…. the global financial crisis has impacted overall spending and consumer sentiment – and this has hurt many small businesses around the country. It’s no good hoping that circumstances will change – in order to survive we all need to dig deep and find creative ways to work smarter not harder.
Jim Collins, in his book, “Good to Great,” talks about this very interesting paradox that he calls “The Stockdale Principle”. According to Collins, “you have to be realistic about your current situation and yet, stay optimistic about the future”.
General Stockdale was the highest ranking American prisoner of war in Hanoi, Vietnam. Over the years he began to notice an interesting phenomenon – optimism could in fact be a liability. His fellow prisoners (who were the eternal optimists) constantly set themselves up for disappointment. They set huge milestones – “we will be rescued by Christmas” – but those milestones came and went year after year and with it… their will to live.
Conversely, the prisoners who looked at the painful day-to-day reality they were in and channeled their energies to the right places survived. This is not to say that the second group were pessimists but rather realists that maintained an unwavering faith in the end game, and a commitment to survive despite the brutal fact of their incarceration and torture over a period of years.
Here’s how Stockdale put it in his own words:
“I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
How many of us would look back on seven years of detention – with regular torture, dismal living conditions and an uncertain future – as an experience we would not trade? Do you regard the greatest obstacles or challenges in your life as the defining moment that shaped who you are today or do you choose to look at them as an excuse or reason why you have not achieved more?
Have you ever sat back and thought how this distinction between optimism versus reality could apply to your business/career or your life in general? Where in your life are you ignoring reality in favour of being optimistic and missing a crucial opportunity to take action?
Take for example my business coaching client that I mentioned above. She has an employee who doesn’t take responsibility for her actions, doesn’t pay attention to details and is often defensive and reluctant to take direction and feedback. This employee is negatively impacting the entire work environment as everyone gets caught up in the drama of it all. My client doesn’t want to let the employee go and is resisting doing what she knows that she must. She hopes that it will somehow improve without any action on her part – she is now learning the distinction between reality and optimism. When she sees the difference for what it is, then and only then, will she become decisive and take action.
Another area where it’s easy to be blinded by optimism is in the financial arena. Do you have detailed financial reports, KPIs and cashflow forecasts in place to drive your decision making or are you simply relying on your optimism instead of reality? Failure to effectively plan in this area (especially in these tough times) could lead to a cash crunch and the demise of your business.
Take a moment today to examine your relationship to optimism, pessimism and realism. Success belongs to those who operate from both sides of the Stockdale Paradox. The key is balance – knowing when to accept reality and take appropriate action AND never losing faith in the end of the story. If you can walk this delicate line of balance and responsibility, you increase your odds of making good decisions and this will lead to your inevitable success and breakthrough results.
In life, we will all experience setbacks, disappointments, loss and challenges. What separates successful people from the rest is how you deal with those inevitable struggles. This is a very important distinction and it is what divides the winners from the losers. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which is something that you can never afford to lose sight of – with the discipline to confront the brutal facts and reality of your current situation, whatever that might be.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2884021
11 Aug 2011
Without a doubt, the number #1 question I get asked by clients is ‘how do I break a bad habit like procrastination, worry, insomnia, negative thinking or smoking’? There are a million examples of ways that each one of us holds our own success back by ‘doing’ unproductive habits.
To make lasting change to deeply ingrained bad habits using willpower and positive affirmations alone is not realistic. Everyone knows that positive thinking is undependable and produces inconsistent results, at best. The self-image on the other hand underpins our level of emotional intelligence (EQ), which is now recognised as being an even more important measurement for success than the IQ.
It has been scientifically proven that our brain circuits take engrams or memory traces and produce neuro connections only if they are bombarded with the information for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept ‘new’ data or habit changes unless they are repeated each day for at least 21 days, without missing a day.
If you want to change a habit like refusing to let go of the past, spending all your time worrying about what might go wrong, overeating, biting your nails or spending more than you earn,
it can be done but it will require consistent effort on your part, every day for at least 21 days. In order to do it, your success rate will improve significantly if you can replace that old habit you no longer need with a good and productive habit that will support you to achieve your goals and find someone to help keep you accountable.
And remember, no matter where you are in your life right now – the choices you have made or the experiences you have had – “I have a belief that it is never too late to become the person you were meant to be!”