5 Goals to Achieve This Year

If y0u’re up for it — I am going to push the envelope a little today and actually give you five goals to try to achieve by the end of the year.

Remember you are never going to know if you are capable of something if you don’t take that first step.

1. Go small

This may be a big one to start with but here goes-Downsize.  Look at all aspects of your business whether that includes employees, vendors or service providers.  If you find that there is a way for ONE provider to handle multiple jobs than cut back.  This may sound strange but sometimes less is more when it comes to project management as well as financial costs.

2. Take Time to Invest Fully

Make this the year that you completely focus on not only getting to know your customers but also their specific needs.  Once you make this commitment, find the best way to communicate.  Whether that is through a blog, social media, QR codes, or even a weekly newsletter; find out which option works for them.  There is no use in spending quality time and content on an area your customers do not even use.

3. Refresh your website

Take the time and really go through your website.  Analyze and make notes as you look over what you have currently.  Then, go on the Internet and find your biggest competitor.  Look at their website and make notes on what things stand out the most.  Once you do that, write a plan on what to change and a timeline to get it done.

4. Real Life Social Networking

Put some effort into networking by signing up for an industry conference or seeking out a local meet-up group. These are invaluable ways to develop relationships and share advice with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

5. Put time for you on the calendar

It’s up to you to keep yourself motivated and inspired.  Be sure to reward yourself for specific milestones like a big client win, meeting a tough deadline, or working “overtime” for multiple nights on end.

Sticking to all of these 5 goals is a lofty for anyone. Follow the tips that ring true for your situation, and adjust as needed. Do you have other goals for your business this year?

 

The Right Attitude & Mindset is a Must ~Be like the Bee~

                       Aerodynamically, the bumblebee should not be able to fly, but the bumblebee does not know it so it goes on flying anyway.      Mary Kay Ash

There is a saying that goes “You are your own worst critic”.  This simple six-word sentence is especially true when it comes to negative thoughts.  In the last two weeks, I have encouraged you to take big risks about your life, business, even your actions.  I can challenge you and motivate you to reach these amazing goals, but there is one thing I cannot do.  I cannot take away your own negative thoughts that probably consume you when something really, positive is happening.

Did you know it takes extra effort on your part to worry and think negatively?  Whereas, with positive thinking, if you make the decision to rid yourself of negativity, there is no extra effort needed.

Just to prove to you the amazing benefits of positive thinking, I am going to give you three simple but mind-altering tips today!

1.  Positive thinking is what keeps your motivation at its peak

Your attitude about life, how you see the world and respond with actions-both emotional and behavior wise-is determined by the way you think.  So instead of letting your attitude control you, make a decision to control your attitude by thinking positive.

2.  Visualize Your Positivity by Daily Affirmations 

You can also use visualization and affirmations by using tools such as a Life Vision Board or even a journal.  By creating or writing out images of what and how it would feel accomplishing a goal, you use them to replace the negative thoughts.

3.  Avoid Focusing on Set-backs and Seek out New Opportunities

If something does not work out or you are overwhelmed by a project, take a step back and think it through.  Now, I am not saying focusing on all the negative aspects or reasons why this happened.  Instead, go through the entire process and write out a positive lesson learned for every failure.  By focusing on finding a lesson learned, you are not allowing the negativity to flood your mind.

When your negativity starts to slip into your mind, do me a favor and think about a bee.  A bumblebee just the way its body is designed should not be able to fly.  Bumblebees are hard workers who do not know this about their body.  They just fly and focus on what job is ahead of them.

~Be like the Bee~

It’s a Balancing Act

Continuing with the balance theme… there are so many areas of our lives these days requiring our attention and not just when we get to it but sometimes like it needed to be done yesterday.

Work, relationships, personal time, school, emotional, physical, mental, etc are all aspects of life that require balance.  If balance is not established, you may find yourself feeling or saying something like this;

“I am drained, exhausted and overwhelmed.”

“I wake up in the morning and automatically feel tensed and stressed.”

“My life is chaotic and out of control.”

“I need to change my life but have no clue where to start.” 

                                                                                                           “I cannot focus at all!  No matter what I do, nothing is working!” 

These five statements all reveal one thing – you are lacking major balance in your life!  There is no reason for you to wake up feeling tense and stressed just from getting out of bed.  If you find yourself relating to those five statements, then please continue reading.  I am going to give you three simple and easy ways to find balance in your life once again.

1.  Personal down time is a MUST! 

When you are overwhelmed with life, most likely you have little to no personal downtime.  This is a time where you are doing an activity or even activities that you enjoy to do.  It is not something you feel like you HAVE to do.  The key word being: enjoy.

There is a reason I put this step first because it is the hardest step for anyone who has an unbalanced life to follow through with.  The best way to start to put this step into practice is by giving yourself 30 minutes every day to do something fun.  Once you are in the habit of scheduling in 30 minutes of personal time, then begin to increase it by 15 minutes at a time.  Eventually, you will have at least an hour to two hours of personal time scheduled each and every day.

2.  Remove Draining Negative Tasks/Activities

 One of the biggest reasons people feel overwhelmed and anxious is because of negative, draining tasks/activities.   These activities take our focus away from the things we need to be doing, thus putting us further behind with our daily to do lists.  They also put our frame of mind in a negative place, which can attribute to tension, stress as well as anxiety.

Examples of these tasks/activities include gossiping with co-workers, focusing on all the negative aspects of a task, constantly listening to someone who is complaining or venting, etc.  The best way to avoid these types of tasks/activities is to only participate in ones that enhance as well as add value to your life.  In addition, by avoiding these tasks/activities, you are able to save valuable time-especially at work.  By focusing on the positive aspects, you are giving yourself more time and welcoming positive energy.

3.  Prioritize Errands & Chores 

 Look at everything you are responsible for doing and make a list.  As you go through each item on your list, write beside it at least one alternate, easier way to complete this.  For example, are there groceries, stamps or other items you can purchase online that are delivered to your house?  You would be surprised of not only how much time you save but also money.  Another option is trading services or favors with neighbors and friends.  An example of this is offering to watch your neighbor’s kids a certain amount of days for mowing the lawn.  The key to this time saving tips is to trade tasks that you enjoy doing or that you were planning on doing.

These three simple and easy tips are only the start of finding and achieving balance in your life.  Do not allow those five statements at the beginning of this blog be a part of your life.  Life is too precious and short for it not to be enjoyed.

As always, please share your comments or your own ways of how you found balance in life.  Have a wonderful week! And find time to ENJOY!

How to Really Get Things Done, Check Things Off Your List part 1

Stress, Guilt, Anxiety…three things that occur when you look at your to-do list at the end of day and hardly anything is checked off.  Immediately you think “What happened?!” In the back of your mind though, the answer lies in a 15 letter word:

PROCRASTINATION

Just saying that 15 letter word, makes me cringe because we all experience a time where PROCRASTINATION slips into your life.  Are you at that point in your life?  Have you been stuck in a rut of procrastinating?  If so, continue reading because I have the solution to get you unstuck.  And, if by chance you are one of those super-human people who never procrastinate, then keep reading as a motivation to keep focused.

Tip#1: Make a daily to do list

Before you say “What?!? Make a list?  Isn’t that setting me up to fail before I start?”

The answer is NO and here is WHY:

1.  Instant Reward: You accomplish something by sitting down every day to make a list.

2.  Constant Insurance:  By not taking the time to write everything out, you run the risk of forgetting something.  Also, by forgetting things, you end up spending more time than you would if you had taken the time to make a list in the first place.

3. Prioritize: Nothing motivates someone more than making a plan and knowing exactly what to do.  Make the top three things on your list, things you have to do IMMEDIATELY.

Tip#2: Motivate Yourself

The best way to motivate involves visualizing what it would feel like to cross off the top three items of your list.  If you continue to focus on what it looks
like, then it will motivate you to keep on going.

Tip#3: Set a Timer

This may sound like a waste of time but it really does work.  While I am not advocating multi-tasking, this is a way to get you going.  Start with setting the timer for three minutes.  Pick an item on your to do list and do as much as you can in three minutes.  After three minutes is up take a break, a 2 minute break, and then go right back to it. This time set the timer for 5 minutes and pick up from where you left off.  Continue the process by increasing the time until you get to the point where you are constantly working at finishing your task.  Eventually you won’t need to set the timer because your motivation to get things done will be a habit.

I am going to stop there with three tips today.  One of the main things I want to pass on to you is to STOP PROCRASTINATING and get working. Those three worrisome words:  STRESS, GUILT, ANXIETY cause more problems than they are worth.

Check back next week for the last three tips on working towards crossing things off your to do list and stopping the horrible cycle of PROCRASTINATING!

Part 2 of : Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

Last week, I shared with you my thought process of examining myself with the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  This week, I am going to finish with the last two parts.  As I explored these two subjects, I made a promise to be completely honest with myself.  So, I encourage you to do the same.  In order for you to truly evaluate yourself, remember complete honesty is key.

1. What kind of presence do I leave with people?

Defining someone’s presence is a hard quality to explain.  Basically, it involves how you are in regards to socially, self-confidence, and body language.  Believe it or not, these three characteristics are hard to fake once you get over that first impression.  Let me break these three characteristics down for you to understand better:

  • Socially- It’s also about – are you an Extrovert – get your energy from others, or an Introvert – getting your energy from being alone and recharging?
    • Are you the type of person who has a hard time talking or being around others?  An introvert?
    • Or are you someone who can easily start a conversation with anyone around you?  An extrovert?
    • If you are the second type, chances are socially you are the magnet others are drawn to in a group.
    • If you are the first one, the only way you are going to be that magnetic person is to take a risk and get out of your comfort zone.  Push through your fear to start a conversation.

The key is to simply BE
YOURSELF – otherwise you are going to appear awkward and the situation may be
more uncomfortable. I find being honest is always best
.

  • Self-Confidence vs. Arrogance
    • There is a huge difference between being arrogant and self-confident.
    • An arrogant person knows everything and does not want to hear any other opinion but their own.
    • A confident person will take the time not only to listen to other’s but also is curious, open minded, and wants to hear others thought processes and beliefs.

A confident person
attracts others naturally by their self-belief to get any job/task done, being open-minded,
and showing others respect in all areas of life. 

  • Body Language
    • Body language often speaks much louder than verbal words.
    • If your arms are crossed, you avoid eye contact, you are constantly moving your foot or fingers, and slouching, you are sending a verbal
      message.  This type of verbal message is not a good one.  All these movements tell someone else that you are not approachable and do not want to be bothered.
    • Positive and welcoming body language includes direct eye contact at all times, arms are in a relaxed position, you are engaged in the
      conversation, smiling and asking open ended questions.

Sending positive body
language is an open invitation to anyone around you.  People will be drawn to approaching you
rather than being scared or shy. 

1. Am I honest?

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to communicating with others.  If the people around you know they will always get an honest answer from you, then it’s easier to trust.  Not only that, honesty communicates openness automatically.  If someone needs advice or has a problem they will come to you because of your honesty.  This does not mean you have to reveal every single detail of your life. At the same time, don’t exaggerate or make things up when sharing something with others.

Hopefully, you as a reader have been inspired to examine the type of person you are around other people.  Remember, in order to be effective and make an impact on other’s life, you have to be willing to examine yourself and change if needed.

Am I the Type of Person People Want to be Around?

In my last blog, I encouraged you to pay attention and be aware of whom you’re hanging out with. As I wrote and posted that blog last week, the thought came to mind “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”  I am going to share my thought process as I evaluate if I truly am the type of person someone wants to be around.

1.      Do I personally encourage others? 

Believe it or not, there is a real and fake way to encourage others.  Can you identify a real encouragement versus a fake encouragement?

  • Encouragement One: (You and someone that works for you – you tell this to someone else.)

You: “I think Melanie is the glue that holds our business together. 

Department Manager: “Hiring her as Project Manager` was the best thing for our business”

You: “She really has done an amazing job at re-vamping the daily project flow.  We have gotten three more clients in the two weeks since she started as Project Manager.” 

  • Encouragement Two: (You and Melanie, someone that works with you.)

You: Melanie, you really have a natural talent at organization.  The amount of work you have been getting done this past two weeks has been phenomenal!

Melanie, Project Manager: Thank you.  I am glad you gave me this opportunity to prove to you what I can do to help your business. 

You: Keep up the good work-especially with getting new clients!  I have full faith in you and your potential! 

If you said, Encouragement One was a fake way to encourage people, than you are right!  Granted, before I explain this, know that both options are good ways to encourage others but option two is more personal.  Telling  how much you appreciate Melanie, who works with you, is a form of encouragement.  The reason it’s fake is you are not taking the time to tell Melanie as well face to face like in encouragement two. When you encourage others, PERSONALLY tell them.

2. Am I always saying “No” to new ideas or offers? 

  • In Your Business:

When it comes to running a business or overseeing a group of people, this is something where you must find the right balance.  I am not saying to always
say “Yes” to all the off the wall crazy ideas someone may come up with.  In doing this, your business may run the risk of going off track and losing its main focus.  What I am saying is this: If someone presents you with an idea that comes with a detailed proposal, don’t say NO right away.  This is especially true if they hardly ever share ideas or is relatively new.  By saying “NO” right away, you are presenting yourself as unapproachable.  At the same time, pay attention as you can apply this principle to your personal life as well.

  •  In Your Personal Life:

Do you hear your friends often say “You’re going to say no but I’m going to ask…”?  Have your friends all of sudden stop asking you to go out with
them?  If yes, you might want to evaluate how much of a friend you are being by always saying no.  It’s true you have to find a balance between family and friends, but both need attention and that can be challenging. The key is to find the right balance best for you.

Tune in next week as I cover the last two parts of my thought process in answering the question “Am I the type of person people want to be around?”

You are Who You Hang Out With…

Have you ever heard this before?  I didn’t start hearing this until after I hired my Executive Coach, 12 years ago. The concept of hanging out with people and becoming more like them was a total foreign idea to me. I had really paid no attention until my coach and I started talking about it.  And it’s funny, once I started paying attention to it I got it and knew I had to make some changes in my life…

There were some very negative people in my life who were totally zapping my energy, (My coach called them “Negative Norberts.”) not too mention the ones who were more like time sucking vampires.  And I started noticing how I felt when I hung out with those people and realized after I was with them I didn’t feel good and felt mostly drained.  That’s when I started making the difficult change of moving those folks out of my life. It wasn’t easy to do it, and it took some time. For the most part I was simply honest and said I was making some positive changes in my life and they were welcome to come along or not.

Before I met my coach I was an incredibly negative person, I know hard to believe those of you who know… Yet it’s true.  I was surrounded by it 24/7 and I grew up in it. And it wasn’t until my amazing coach pointed this out oh so gently to me on more than a few occasions that I started to make some “positive” changes in my life.  It certainly wasn’t easy to change my attitude and my way of looking at things over night. Yet I have to say, the more I surrounded myself with amazingly wonderful and positive people, the easier it was for me.  Plus I also read a ton of books on the subject and that helped too.  Reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich was huge, along with all of Esther and Jerry Hick’s Abraham books.

Well that was a while back and thank goodness there have been many wonderful changes in my life since then.  And it wasn’t until after I started my own business 5 years ago and had to go out and find new clients, that this concept reared it’s ugly head again and again… “You are who you hang out with” kept
coming up.  So I focused on attracting clients who my same positive, successful attitude and it worked like a charm.

One of my favorite quotes that I was told many times and that truly helped me was—“If you hang out with 9 broke people, guess who will be the 10th? — You!” And certainly I didn’t want that to me. So this totally helped me find and hang out with much more successful people. In fact, it’s always good to hang out with people who have a bigger vision and play bigger in their work and their life, this way it gets me to do the same as well.

The lesson in all of this is simply to pay attention and be aware of who you’re hanging out with. And know that that one or more people out there could have a huge impact on you and your life. So take a chance, make a change, and hang out with those folks who make you feel good and encourage you to be the best person you can be in this world.

The “Oprah Factor” and how you can create your own “ X Factor”

Meredith and I outside the Oprah Winfrey Show!
In last week’s blog post I shared with you how Meredith and I were so very fortunate enough to attend a taping of one of Oprah Winfrey’s last shows.

It was so exciting to be a part of that experience.

I also talked last week about why Oprah is so phenomenally successful and popular.  It is because she focuses on giving her audience what they want.  She goes out of her way to create an experience that will get her audience excited and make them feel good.

Oprah as an entrepreneur is worth billions and she continues to operate and launch very successful ventures with her latest being her OWN Network on cable which only 72 hours after launching was the #3 Cable Network for Women.

Oprah is a very good entrepreneur and business to model and emulate, not only because she’s worth billions but because she’s also an information marketer just like you and I.  She produces content that people are either willing to pay money to consume or advertisers are willing to pay huge money to sponsor because she has such a valuable audience.

There is even something called the “Oprah Factor” which refers to what happens when she mentions a product or business on her show.  That alone can make millions for the company or businessperson promoting their product.

The reason the “Oprah Factor” exists is because Oprah has created such trust with her audience they jump on any product or service she endorses.  Even if it is not an official endorsement but only an offhand comment.

But the real reason at the core of her success and how she was able to create trust is that she is hyper focused on the wants, the frustrations, the fears, and the passions of her audience.  She communicates to her audience as if she was speaking with you personally.  She is empathetic and understanding.  She get’s excited for you and she gives you information you can use to make your life better and help you feel good about yourself.

It is imperative if you want to be successful in the information business or even if you are using content to market whatever business you are in, that your content hits your target market at the core of their wants and fears.

In order to do this consistently and powerfully you have to get feedback from your customers.  And by customers I do not mean just those that have paid money for a product or service.  I mean anyone who is reading your blog, your articles, and your emails.

You have to find out if they find your content meaningful.  You have to know if you need to adjust your message.

From my experience the fastest and most cost effective way to find this out is by asking them.  A simple questionnaire or short survey to your list can provide astounding and many times, very surprising results that can prove to be very profitable.

And guess what.  You can create your own mini “Oprah Factor”.

As you ask your customers for feedback, acknowledge that you value their input, and then go the extra mile to demonstrate that you are listening to them by actually implementing and delivering on what your customers have shared you. In doing this, you will create new levels of trust and understanding with your customers that will allow you to not only help them more effectively than you ever have before, but you will also be able to grow your business and profit more than ever as well.

Oprah’s Not the Only One Who Can Have Fun While Working…

It’s true you know, Oprah’s not the only one who can have fun while working.  You can too!  Yes, I know, I know, it wouldn’t be called work if it was fun and all the other dreary sayings.  Listen, you have a choice when it comes to work.  The choice is in your attitude and how you view it.  Yes, for some work is simply the thing we dread that we must do in order to make money, pay the bills and live. Sounds dreary and boring yet as I said earlier, it can be fun, it’s your choice.  In my last blog, which I got a ton of great feedback thank you, I focused on how firing a client will free you and your business to be more successful.  You know the client I’m talking about, the one who’s being a real pain and causing you so much stress and it’s not ANY fun working with them. Well this blog goes hand in hand with that one because I believe you can have more fun when you’re working with the right like-minded people.  So in addition to letting your pain in the rear client go, here are some ways to help you make your work more enjoyable:

  1. Put on some music. Music can draw our minds away from the more challenging tasks we have to accomplish.
  2. Just do it already, finish that task, that project, you know that THING you’ve been putting off. Feelings of dread often disappear when we become immersed in a project.
  3. Think about where you can find joy in all the tasks on your plate.
  4. Don’t do it alone, work with a friend, colleague, relative or someone whose company you totally enjoy.
  5. Be sure to stop and take several breaks. Many folks I work with take 15 minute break after working for 45 minutes. Don’t go ninety to nothing every day.
  6. Break the job down into more manageable tasks. Big jobs can be overwhelming and diminish your stamina and drive to complete them.
  7. Do your best work you can. There are amazing psychological rewards that come when we know we did a terrific job.
  8. Do something you enjoy each and every day. It will give you something to look forward to and make all the working worthwhile.

Remember it’s all in your attitude and work is totally what you make it. So why not have more fun?!

How Firing a Client Will Set You Free…

This blog may be a bit unorthodox and I might even get some negative comments about my headline… However this subject has come up in conversations, no lie, with at least 5 people in just the past 3 days!  What’s going on here?  I think what’s happening in this “new economy” business owners, coaches and consultants alike are just incredibly thankful to have work and have clients that they are just taking anyone who shows up.  Now I’m not saying this is a bad strategy, in fact I did this when I first started out. It actually helped me develop and shape my business into what it is today.  By just saying yes to everyone, I discovered quickly what were my strengths and weaknesses, who I wanted to work with and who I didn’t.

And I also figured out “WHO” my ideal client was, this is HUGE!  Being able to describe in intricate detail who your client is, this one thing is an incredibly valuable experience. And now I’m going off topic a little.  However this is REALLY important. So I’d encourage you to take 15 minutes and do this exercise:

  1. Write down all the qualities you want your ideal client to have
  2. Write down how you want your clients to see you (This will help you in your vision of who you want to work with and will help attract them to you.)

Here’s what I have written down for myself:

My ideal client is:

  • Incredibly successful
  • Mature, intelligent and caring
  • Humorous and light hearted
  • Full of integrity
  • Happily loves to hand over tons of  money to me to solve their problems
  • Creative, easy going and friendly

My clients see me as:

  • Their trusted friend, coach, mentor
  • Intelligent, Inventive, creative and enthusiastic to grow their business
  • An expert who’s driven to help them succeed in life

The goal for this exercise is to “know” who your ideal client is by visualizing them, writing down their traits and keep this list on your computer screen, or your wall, some place where you will see it every day.  Once you do this, then you can “spot” them a mile away.

Yet sometimes the Inevitable does happen, you start working with someone who you thought was your ideal client and things just don’t feel good and it’s just not working out how it’s supposed to. 

This is the main focus of my blog- “How firing a client will set you free.” I ought to know because I’ve done it only twice, yet it was just so worth it.  But it was really hard to do it.  I think the challenge in “firing” or letting a client go is the HUGE fear of “oh my gosh, I can’t let them go, where’s my money going to come from?” or “I can’t let them go because what if no one else shows up and my business goes under,” and on and on and on, the fears run rapid in the brain. 

Well I’m here to tell you as lovingly as possible, push through that fear.  TRUST me, it’s THE best thing to do.  AND, more clients will come! In fact, the clients that come after them are EVEN better. I know this because it’s happened to me, I speak from experience.  As soon as we parted ways, I got an email and had another amazing client walk through my proverbial door!

So please don’t sit there suffering with a client who’s driving you nuts, bringing you down, and making you not feel good about yourself and your business. Muster up the courage, tell them it’s not working, offer them another solution, refer them to someone else, or give them some tools or tips and simply sent them on their way.

This was a big lesson I learned from Dan Sullivan, www.strategiccoach.com . Life is way too short to work with people who don’t bring out the best in you and make you feel like the amazing, wonderful, gifted person that you truly are…