Don’t Give Worry the Keys to Your Mental Real Estate

When the pressure is on, we worry. Everyone makes up stuff to some degree. Why allow these stories to occupy such valuable mental real estate? Some of us are more susceptible to worry than others. Regardless of your propensity to ruminate, it is quite expensive. For one thing, it raises your cortisol level which has a negative impact on your immune system. It gives credibility to the expression, “I’m worried sick about _________.” Worry looks important and it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere–think rocking chair. So why do it? If you worry, it’s proof that you care. If you don’t worry, you are an unfeeling, callous person. So, do you do it to impress others? Does it solve anything? Just as I suspected. Nobody is impressed. It is an unproductive habit of recycling the same thoughts without any action to find a solution. With uncertainty of the outcome, it’s natural to envision the worst possible result. Most of the time what you worry about doesn’t happen or the outcome is not nearly as terrible as you imagine. Why spend sleepless nights turning it over and over in your mind and it makes no difference. None. Determine what you can control and make a plan to address your concerns. With brutal honesty, acknowledge the issue. Is it health, financial, relationships or business? Get the facts, not beliefs or opinions, about your dilemma. Identify the ideal outcome when the problem is resolved. Calculate the value of the ideal outcome. Decide what action is required. Take the first step. Be willing to experience something better than...

Why Impact Dominates Productivity

Productivity is not what matters most. Making an impact matters. You probably know people, surely not you, who are running from pillar to post. They even complain (or boast) about how busy they are all the time. Busyness does not equate to influence. For example, checking off items on your long “to do list” keeps you occupied, but really important, impactful work is untouched. And, you are exhausted. At the end of the day have you ever wondered, “I’ve been working steady all day but what have I accomplished that has an effect?” Since we have all the time available, squandering it on low impact activities is expensive. Valuable resources such as time, money, creativity, and energy are depleted without much to show for it. Activity has its own rewards for its own sake.  Plus, it keeps you from doing something else that’s harder and more involved. Others can conclude you are really important because you are so busy. We even are praised for such hard work. Nobody is asking what difference you made. How to get out of the productivity trap and in the impact zone? At the start of your week, make a list of what you must accomplish to have a high impact week Day 1, list what you must accomplish to have a high impact day. These will come for your list for the week. Address first the activities that have the most effect with the least effort. Next address the activities that have the most effect with more effort. Day 2 assess the remaining items on your master list for the week. Repeat the process...

Why Giving Is Risky But Worth It

Giving is a worthy endeavor. It has its downsides, however. It can be dangerous on the high road of giving. Adam Grant writes in Give and Take that givers are some of the most successful people. There is more. Givers are on the other end of the spectrum, too. They are the least successful. If your time, money, and creativity are flowing in only one direction, away from you, it’s a set up for burnout and depletion. To do your best work, you cannot be operating on an empty tank. When I think of giving, I am reminded of my dear friend. She looks for ways to give just because she can. It is her nature. Plus, she is brilliant at her work in the field of communication with a lot to offer. She takes giving to an extreme. So much so her bank account is on life support; her health is at risk; she is baffled. It is so natural to her she does not understand why everyone else does not operate with the same generosity. Well, they don’t. And, that’s the problem. People interact in different ways. Using Grant’s model, there are three types of social interaction: 1) giver—expect no payback; 2) taker—get more than they give; and 3) matcher— keep the exchange even. The lines between these approaches to interacting with people are blurred. In the work place the takers are the norm. It’s mostly a zero-sum game. For you to win, someone must lose. To me, giving seems the best way to go. Especially because some of the most successful people I know and admire...

5 Simple Tips to Improve Productivity

Nothing drains your productivity like feeling overwhelmed. Everyone at one time or other feels overwhelmed. It is easy for distractions to get the best of us. These five tips are fail-safe ways to improve your productivity: 1. Like goes with like Batch like activities together. For example, make phone calls in a block of time. If you have appointments outside the office, schedule them on the same day instead of different days. The goal of batching enables you to use like resources to complete your task with minimal distractions. 2. Five minutes can change the world You can accomplish an amazing amount in five minutes. Water the plants in your office. Return the books you finished reading to the shelf. Put junk mail into the bin to be shredded or recycled. RSVP to an invitation. File the bills you paid on the 1st and the 15th. You get a good hit of dopamine, the feel good hormone, when you accomplish a goal. It motivates you to repeat it. 3. Smart phones may not be a smart idea Give smart phones a break and your colleagues, too. Can you imagine how much more productive a meeting would be if everyone in the room was paying attention to who was speaking and what was being said? Successful People Never Bring Smart Phones into a Meeting, an article that explains why it is a lack of respect and prevents full attention. Like Pavlov’s dog, responding to an electronic message is a conditioned response. How smart is that? 4. Pomodoro—the silver bullet for focus Having trouble getting a job done? Break it into...

5 Selling Tricks Guaranteed to Repel Sales

In many cases, sales have a bad reputation. You know the snake oil peddler and the used car salesman. The emphasis is not solving a customer’s problem but rather making a sale. Repel sales with these 5 selling tricks: 1. Use deception to get an appointment or make a sale. Even though you succeed, what is the customer’s residual feeling? If long-term relationships are of no value, this is a good selling technique. If you do not appreciate referrals, this is the way to sell. I answered a knock on the door. The man on the porch introduced himself; his family had been selling firewood for generations. “Yes, the wood is seasoned.” When I paid him, I thanked him for selling me his load of seasoned wood. With a tip of his hat and a slight grin, he climbed into his truck. Did you know seasoned wood has small green leaves? 2. Do most of the talking with a prospect or customer. Tell him why your product has the best features before you know anything about his interests. Observe your next networking event. As someone thrusts a business card into your hand, listen to him tell you all about his product or service. As an afterthought, he asks what you do and half listens as he looks over your shoulder to find his next target. 3. Push a customer into a buying decision. When pushed into a corner to make a purchase, people feel manipulated. It has a high rate of backfiring.  The last time I shopped for a new car I was dealing with an inexperienced salesman who...

Outwitting Your Fear of Success

Fear of success is like an undercover, secret agent. It uses clever disguises to accomplish its mission of sabotaging your success. To the unaware, untrained eye, your goals do not stand much of a chance. You wonder why you are not having the results you want. When you unknowingly hold back, you are cheating the world. You are not giving full expression to your talents, the ones imprinted in your DNA. The world is missing out and so are you. One of my coaching clients demonstrated how cunning the fear of success could be. Despite her abilities and opportunities, she was not accomplishing her goals. In a blazing flash of insight, she recognized that achieving her goals represented loss for her. She discovered that if she achieved her ambitious goals, her relationships with her family, friends, and co-workers would change significantly. The people surrounding her were not succeeding at the level she envisioned for herself. Was she willing to continue operating by someone else’s definition of success? If you suspect you are settling, not excelling, consider these guidelines to expose the clever disguises of the fear of success: Accept that you own talents [a.k.a. brilliance] that are unique to you Discover your talents [hint:  they may be undercover and underdeveloped] Get the training and experience to develop your skills so you can use your talents Find ways to engage your unique talents professionally and personally Release the notion that you can do everything well [hint:  create a team of complementary talents.] Surround yourself with others who encourage and support you Celebrate your successes Identify any thinking pattern that pulls...