The more insidious of life's obstacles are your internal obstacles.
People, institutions, rules, regulations, and hierarchies all play major roles in our life. They get in our way, they make us stumble, we get frustrated, and we give up.
When I start with clients who are in-transition, we meet at my office in Stamford and I cover the Five Behaviors Of Successful People. I do this to help them focus, get out of a mental 'rut', and move forward with enthusiasm, passion, and determination.
In retrospect, I actually cover these five areas with all of my clients, but I do it differently — I'm a bit more subtle:
TRACK & PLAN You need to know where you've been, where you are, and where you're going at ALL TIMES. This means tracking your time (schedule) minute by minute and accounting for all of your time and energy. You should be sticking to a plan, taking discrete steps each day, and taking it to its natural conclusion.
FAIL: If you're just winging your calendar or making large swaths of time blocks, you're not tracking effectively. If you don't have a plan (try setting up 90-day plans — they're manageable), you will fail.
BE BOLD One of the original taglines for my coaching practice was "Be Bold In Life". I still love it because it embodies the swashbuckler spirit that we all need to be successful in business. You need to take chances, uncover opportunities, and most of all, you need to be BOLD in your thinking.
FAIL: Just keep saying "I can't do that!". Or constantly ask for permission to do things instead of just doing them. Or not doing them because you know they're going to fail.
THINK & ACT This is the cornerstone of my coaching philosophy — figure out what needs to be done and DO IT. Don't second guess yourself and get caught up in analysis-paralysis. Look at your options, make a decision, and take action. Worst case, if your wrong, step back, reassess, and take action.
FAIL: Procrastinate, contemplate forever and try to come up with every permutation. Push for perfection.
CHALLENGE Life is a series of challenges you must overcome to keep moving and stay happy. Work, relationships, kids, etc. are all made up of small and large challenges that we must deal with. Here's the secret — embrace each challenge with enthusiasm and vigor or you will go through life with a glass half-empty existence.
FAIL: Moan, complain, and run away from your problems. The faster you come up with a plan and deal with your challenge, the faster you will get on with your life.
OPEN UP You can spend your life closed down and not interacting with anyone or you can open your heart to the world and make a lot of new friends. Try to make a new friend every day — an acquaintance, a connection — take an avid interest in your fellow man. Most of all — SMILE!!!
FAIL: Stay home, watch TV, cocoon, close your office door, keep your head down and let your voicemail/email take over all of your connections. Oh yes — forget to smile.
I was wondering around the web the other day and ran into this article/email on Medium (one of my favorite sites). I ran into a profound message from a Google manager who wrote a simple email to his staff on Time Management. (By Jeremiah Dillon, Head of Product Marketing, Google Apps for Work)
It was so well received, he was asked to broadcast it to a larger audience, and history was made.
Here it is in it's entirety (even with some inside Google jokes). Enjoy!
Subject: If you don’t have time to read this…read it twice.
Stop. Breathe. Now, think about how you’re managing your time. Speaking for myself, I have some room for improvement.
It’s been said there are two paradigms to scheduling — the manager and the maker.
The manager’s day is cut into 30 minute intervals, and they change what they’re are doing every half hour. Sorta like Tetris — shifting blocks around and filling spaces.
The maker’s day is different. They need to make, to create, to build. But, before that, they need to think. The most effective way for them to use time is in half-day or full-day blocks. Even a single 30 minute meeting in the middle of “Make Time” can be disruptive.
We all need to be makers.
Ok. Great idea. I’ll do that… you know… later… I’m late for a meeting.
No. It doesn’t work that way. The only way to make this successful is to be purposeful. Establish an implementation intention. You need to define precisely when and where you’ll reserve Make Time for your projects. Let me tell you a story about a study on this effect:
Commit to protecting Make Time on your calendar including the time and place where you’ll be making, and ideally detail on what you’ll be making. That way, you know, it’ll actually happen.
So, I can just do this like… last thing on Friday, right… after all of my meetings are over?
Actually, no. Many of our meetings could be shorter or include fewer people, and some don’t need to happen at all. Take back those hours for your Make Time instead. But, don’t put it off till the end of the day on Friday — the time you choose really matters. Your energy levels run the course of a wave throughout the week, so try to plan accordingly:
Aim to do the following:
Always bias your Make Time towards the morning, before you hit a cycle of afternoon decision fatigue. Hold the late afternoon for more mechanical tasks.
My new challenge to you: create and protect your Make Time and before you “steal someone’s chair,” consider whether it’ll be disruptive to their Make Time.
P.S. I have Make Time on my calendar. Please don’t schedule over it, and I promise to do my best not to schedule over yours.
"If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything." - Win Borden "A ship is safe in a harbor, but that's not what ships are for." - William Shedd
I wanted to hit you early this morning with a few of my favorite and powerful quotes.
I've been doing a LOT of public speaking lately. Conferences, keynotes, expos, organizations, and corporate gigs have been littering my calendar lately. It's been a BLAST. And I've learned a lot about the people I present to.
They're scared. Not the monster in the closet with the knife scared, but a slow, rhythmic, fear that invades their life. Their thinking.
And their actions.
The markets are unsure right now. Business is unsure right now. People are unsure right now.
But this is one of the best times to strike out and do something DIFFERENT. Take a chance. Try something new. BE BOLD IN LIFE.
I promise you — there are a LOT of people out there right now making a lot of money based on their ideas, their connections, and their HUSTLE.
You can be one of them too.
So today's charge for you is to look at what you do everyday and do it differently. Make a change. Reach out to someone who you thought was untouchable. Start something new. Improve and expand what you do.
It will not only motivate and inspire you — it will energize and get everyone around you to notice your tsunami.
Make it happen.
Are you complacent, gun-shy, or just plain scared?