Key people in your company and life.
I remember a significant customer who gave me so much business every year, that I joked about if he were ever ill, I would send my own personal doctor by helicopter to get him well again.
We laughed about it at the time, yet we all know that some people in our businesses, customers, key salespeople, directors and office managers can be so integral and valuable, we would do anything to keep them in situ.
With regard to team members, while this is impossible to guarantee, it is possible to strengthen their position with you to make it unlikely they would leave. It is possible to have the right health plans in place for them. We can pay them more than the open market value too. However, this is not good enough. Yes, it will help, but when you are running a business, you need more than a plan A or A & B.
First, it is not wise to be so dependant on one person. This means having a robust enough back up to replace anyone.
Secondly, it means recognising that this is a vulnerable position to let yourself be in. A table with only one or two legs will fall when one goes.
Thirdly, it means having the right people feel appreciated.
This last one is the overlooked one.
Appreciation is often shown with money, rewards or even recognition. However, the secret to appreciation is based on being real about it.
A heartfelt thank you. A case of wine, A personal thank you note. Perhaps a gift of extra time off.
One of my personal favourites is just a surprise gift. Saw this and thought of you. I knew you liked these, so I got you one.
It can often be like courting. When you are trying to win someone over you, tend to be more attentive than at any other time. Yet if we want people to be loyal and happy and productive, we have an easy option of just paying them the respect they deserve. It is not about money only. It is more about a sense of self-worth or contribution. Making a difference in people’s lives is a strong motivator. Tap into it.
Ask yourself, how can I improve the lives of the key people in my business, or life. They won’t get it easily anywhere, yet if we know how to, we can build a business based on the valuable traits that make people happy.
People will come and go for a variety of reasons. It is important to shore up the valuable assets in our businesses and families and relationships. The most valuable is often the people. Pay respect to that fact and it will serve you well.
When is losing really winning?
No matter how well you get on with someone, it is practically impossible to agree on everything.
For many people who are less assertive by nature and do not like confrontation of any kind, they may pretend to agree on points but actually disagree. In this event, nobody wins
For most people, if they disagree and they are free to express an honest opinion, they will do so.
However, what starts as intellectual disagreement can often engage both peoples egos and thus drop into winning and losing when both parties believe they are right and just argue to win. In this event, both parties actually lose.
So how do you win every disagreement?
The answer is – you don’t see it as disagreement but a chance to learn something. Ideally every time someone disagrees with your point of view you should get really curious.
- Why are they disagreeing?
- What do they know that I don’t know?
- Why have they come to that conclusion?
Coming at any disagreement from the point of curiosity means you win every time.
Because no matter what happens, you learn something you didn’t know before. Either some facts you did not know or something about the person who is holding a different perspective.
Maybe you are better armed with more relevant facts than the other person, maybe your information is wrong, or maybe your world views are just different – either way, you learn something. Learning something means you win from the disagreement irrelevant of whether you end up agreeing or not.
In the end, in most cases, it’s not that important that someone agrees with you and there is no such thing as winning an argument.
So how do you get to the fundamentals of why you disagree?
It’s about exploring the other person’s beliefs. As Stephen Covey points out, this is one of the 7 habits of highly effective people “ Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
A great question which I am trying to embed in my life is “Why do you believe that to be true?”. This open question followed by more in-depth clarifying questions can really get to the bottom of a person’s belief system and will unearth the answers to the previous 3 questions.
It’s generally good practice to summarise what the other person believes and why to firstly get an agreement that you fully understand.
Once you understand a person’s beliefs and why they believe what they do, you have a solid base from which to proceed.
It is probably best not to jump straight in with your disagreement but to firstly establish common ground on which you agree – this helps build rapport.
If the other person’s beliefs rest upon what you believe to be incomplete or incorrect information, you are now in a position to put that correct ( which could be incorrect) information on the table. They are more likely to listen as you have shown you fully understand their perspective.
At this point, I personally have to be careful. I am a person that both loves to help and is also armed with a huge amount of information ( having read on average 40 books a year on personal development and business for the last 20 years). This very knowledge means I am potentially in a position to help, but sometimes the gap is too big. ( I need to work on my mindfulness to recognise these points more often)
What do I mean?
For instance, for me, (because I have done over 2000 hours of research into this area alone over 20 years,) it is very difficult to help someone on diet, health, longevity and losing weight if all they know are what they read in newspapers, magazines and the odd TV program.
Information and experience is generally what is used to form a person’s beliefs. A belief is like a table – the stronger the belief the more legs there are supporting that table. So to alter a belief where you discover a vast array of incomplete knowledge and a strong viewpoint, is very difficult. You basically have to knock out each supporting leg one at a time.
It’s hard to walk away when someone has incomplete facts and are doing the wrong thing, which may negatively impact their lives. However, sometimes to enhance the relationship, it’s just better to say – OK, we have a fundamentally different viewpoint. I arrived at mine by doing this, this and this which is a lot of ground to cover and today may not be the right time. So let’s just agree to smile and disagree. However, if you are interested in why I disagree please let me know, and I will send you what I believe to be the best sources of information and then you can decide for yourself.
In the end, all disagreements are a chance to enhance relationships and learn something if you engage curiosity rather than ego – I personally have a long way to go to practice what I preach in this particular post. But I learned something from writing it
Enjoy the journey.
Holidays vs Time out
You may have recently had a holiday which took significant planning, proactive action and timed schedules to make possible. I know I have and sometimes it can seem such hard work that it takes the first two days of holiday to catch your breath.
Then the calm starts; you are glad to be relaxing. You get sold the idea of an activity that will take all day and drain you. It’ll be fun, and it will be tiring. You’ll sleep well. You rejuvenate more, and the benefits kick in of why you came on holiday. A wonderful feeling.
All too soon, home time looms, and the busy head gets started again. You get back, and within two days you wonder if you had a holiday.
This cycle is common. However, a friend of mine added a few twists that I consider make the whole process even more rewarding and memorable.
My long-suffering PA now has all the details I need to gather to book the holiday. I tell her where I want to go, when and for how long. She prepares a file for me. One that gives me all the details boarding cards, contacts and the insurance and anything else that I may need. It’s then copied onto dropbox. I have a small paper file as back up that fits in my passport wallet with currency and spare credit cards.
I have a prepared list of things to take that I tweak each holiday and the bags I take include the toiletries already.
This makes the process slicker and takes the prep time and stress factors to a low enough level that by the time I go, I am already chilled out.
The next level is the work that I would normally do is fully delegated, and I only come back to the stuff no one else could decide on or handle.
All the photos I take on holiday are in a shared online file, and I select the ones I want converted to a book either on the journey home, or as I go through the holiday. This gets printed for me as soon as I get back.
This all sounds wonderful. Yet the reason we take holidays is to rejuvenate. So, the more we can do so, the fresher we are when we get back. The more efficient we are for the next period before we go again. Win-Win all round.
Holidays should be rejuvenating, and under the best conditions, we get the best new ideas. Even if all we do is take time out, it should be rejuvenating enough to be beneficial.
Taking this to the idea of how you run a project in your business is duplicatable. Most of what we do can be so organised as to be rejuvenating rather than draining. Your business is a series of projects and plans and goals. Treat your business like you are planning a holiday. Boss it to benefit all concerned and make each project a holiday to remember. Take pictures and reflect on how it all went. You will look back at that project and get more energy from it because you will reflect on it. Just like you do with that fabulous holiday you had that you always smile about when you remember it and look at the pictures.
WHAT IS BOTHERING YOU?
When you start to list the things that bother you and begin to wonder how best to resolve these issues, it can be very debilitating. Procrastination sets in, and the problem continues.
How do you break this circle?
First, you need to identify the problem. The first rule of dealing with any big issue is to admit it exists. Alcoholics are first asked to admit that they are an alcoholic because they can’t move on unless they do.
The same applies here.
A good friend of mine was always moaning about cask flow in his business, and I asked him to explain why he thought it was the case. He eventually admitted that he does a lot of work before being paid for it and relied on the good nature of his customers to always pay.
Once we analysed his outstanding invoices, he saw the patterns and the folly of awaiting payment. It was uncomfortable to decide to tell all his customers, money up front please, but once he bit that bullet, he solved the issue. Yes, he lost customers, but in his post-event analysis, he admitted, ‘ I lost the right ones to lose’.
Secondly, you are best to realise that you can’t solve all your own problems. You will need others to help you or even do it for you.
‘Who’ gets things done for you, is a better tactic to employ than ‘How’.
Most of the time there are quicker, more accurate and even enthusiastic people out there that will eat your problem and solve it, fast, better and to a conclusion. This is delegation and wisdom combined.
Stop holding on to the negative issues and get those that love this work to do it for you. You’ll be freer to do what you do best and less stressed too. You’ll have more energy and be more excited about the future knowing that when you hit a wall again, you’ll know what to do about it.
Surround yourself with those that love to do what you hate. Surround yourself with people smarter than you at the things that slow you down.
So, this all begins with asking yourself and being very honest about it
- What is bothering me,
- What is slowing me down
- What is taking my energy away?
A Coach for all. Your purpose identified. Live a great life benefiting others. Get Happy.
I have a purpose to help as many people as possible engage in the process of being coached.
There are many types of coaches — Fitness, Financial, Business, Motivational and even spiritual.
Overall though a coach should be about helping you find a path that works for you, heals your failings, builds you up and engages you to find your passions. It doesn’t need to be a specific type. We are all very capable of achieving so much once we find out what it is we truly want and discover how to use that passion for a greater good or purpose.
If coaching can be boiled down to its basic elements, it would include being an encourager, a guide to a better you and a lifter of spirits.
Not all will see it this way yet in essence, if you find a new desire you hadn’t explored before, and that desire is helpful to others and makes a difference, this is something that can be infinitely rewarding and beneficial.
I remember helping a young man follow his dream to be a teacher, and the hurdles were big, the subject complicated, and, as is often the case, seemed impossible or too hard to achieve at the time. He later went on the fulfil that dream, and the catalyst for his drive was the vision of what difference it would make to others rather than to himself. The fear of failure was high. The probability was against him, yet once he’d grasped the idea of the impact it could make, coupled with even if he didn’t fully achieve his dream, he would have made a big difference. He was so determined, he did, in fact, achieve his desire.
A good coach brings out the possibilities, the motivation and the ideas that may not have been obvious on the initial analysis. This can be achieved in any field and for any person.
Schools should have life coaches. Universities, homeless centres, addict charities, the health service. ALL could benefit. ALL should have access.
My passion is helping others be the best they can be. This doesn’t need to be limited to a business, it can be for anyone. The YOU, that sits inside, that is awaiting the spark and has incredible potential for positive change, is there. It may need coaxing out or releasing, but it is there.
Some have already found it and love their lives and live according to their skills, desires, passions and purpose. Do you want to join them? A good coach will help you find that power and bring it out into the open. The how to achieve will take care of itself, once you find the true desire and drive you have for the things you wish to do. Once you find your uniqueness.
Inspire, save, unlock potential, create a big impact, enrich and many other types of descriptions come to mind. A coach is for all types of people for all reasons. A coach is a coach no matter what the subject.
Letting go of the past and moving on
It is never easy to let go of a secure hand or foothold but to be blunt, how can you possibly climb the wall unless you do?
It takes faith in the new foothold and belief that it will take you to a better position. Until you let go, you’ll never know.
Imagine looking at a climbing wall and seeing climbers stuck in the middle. You shout and encourage them to move on, but they stubbornly say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t because I’m afraid’.
You can see the goal ahead of them, but their face is pressed against the wall, and they can’t see what you see. They will stay there until they fall off or die.
Sometimes people around them are saying the same thing, and they are stuck too! They keep each other stuck by saying, be careful, don’t let go, you may fall off! It might be worse on the next foothold. So, they feel reassured that it best to stay where they are.
Occasionally, people come from below, and pass them and ask as they pass, ‘why are you staying there?’ They can’t understand why people would play it so safe they would sacrifice the rest of their lives in order not to take a risk. Some do fall off, and it scares the ones rigidly hanging on. Some of those who fell, get back on and still climb past them. Some are never heard of again. From the perspective of the hanger on it is frightening.
The coach has climbed that wall already. The coach is at the bottom or in the middle or at the top, offering advice, encouragement, and being the positive ‘, you can do it’
Some coaches are watching from a distance so that they can see the goal, the hurdles, the best strategies and the dangers. They are like your Sat Nav in life. My Sat Nav in the car sometimes says’ Your route has been altered due to the current traffic situation’. Being stuck on the climbing wall of life is like saying to your sat nav, well I don’t care, I’m just going to carry on doing what I have always done.
It’s strange, but that is how some people live their lives. Whether that’s based on fear, laziness, apathy, contentment or even just plain stupidity, at some point, in order to move on, or climb, you need to let go. Deciding what to let go of is part of the solution. Listening to those that have been there and done it is another.
The story of the spider monkey comes to mind when I think of the amount that we give up, by just not letting go of what is holding us back.
The poor spider monkey is a beautiful creature, that is traded as a pet all over the world. They are hard to catch in the wild, without hurting them. So, us ever ingenious humans came up with a way to catch them that is based on their greed and physique.
Their hands are like clubs on the end of a very skinny arm. They love nuts as a natural part of their diet, and this is their unfortunate demise. To capture one, all you need to do is put a thin-necked sturdy bottle in a strong box and put a few nuts in it. The spider monkey can smell them and reaches in to grab some. He loves them so much, he will not let go of them, and his big hand is now too big to pull out of the bottle. He is trapped. His captor then puts a chain on him and he is no longer free. The captor breaks the bottle, because he knows the spider money will not let go.
The monkey has not only given up his freedom for the rest of his life, but it was for only a few nuts which he could have let go and still be free.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of?
Who could help you identify what it is and has the wisdom to reason with you, to ally your fears?
A coach offers this and more.
The high road or the low road?
- I felt I could make more money doing (what I do) myself
- I wanted to be in control of my own time
- I did not like the way I was treated at my last company
- I had a great idea that I wanted to put into practice.
This skill of understanding how to run a business well is significantly more important than knowing how the work of the business is done.
Review your company goals – are they set around the high road or the low road?
Celebrate being a procrastinator
We all do it. We don’t like to admit it. We consider it a failing and would hate to have a reputation of being a prolific procrastinator. I heard someone say, ‘ I used to procrastinate, but I keep putting it off now ‘. That’s a much better view.
However, it is ok to stand up and admit that you are. We all are to some extent. So, what is it that this seemingly poor habit creates in us and how is it best to deal with it?
When you analyse what procrastination is you start to uncover that your decision to avoid doing something, is pointing out the following three things;
- That you need more information
- That you may need to learn a new skill
- That you may need help from others to be able to move forward.
Your cautious self is struggling to decide for fear of making a bad decision. That’s natural!
You don’t know what you don’t know and the importance of the decision or action could be very far-reaching. So, first, let’s look at the need for more information.
If you can’t decide which of the two candidates for a job to make the offer to, it maybe that you need to dig a bit deeper into their character or their abilities to help you sway your decision. If you put off finding out more, you procrastinate more and the postponement of choice, could mean you lose both candidates because they get snapped up by someone else.
If you made some more enquiries or another phone call and sought more information, you can help break through the procrastination. Find out all you can.
You may need to learn some new skill or read more about the subject.
Procrastinating about going to the gym, maybe because you do not have a routine that benefits your needs and goals. Going to the gym is too easy to postpone. If you had a plan that had been taught you by a great trainer, you would be more motivated to act. Knowing that the benefits would be far greater than just muddling along with what you already know, you start to avoid procrastination because you have learnt a new skill that helps your performance.
In other words, learn about what can be improved to enhance how efficient you can become. Learn a new skill or technique that will help you avoid the procrastination.
You may need other people’s help, opinion or ideas.
Their point of view will be different to yours. They may be able to offer help, to take you forward or give you an idea you previously had not considered. Some people are so inspiring that your natural hesitation gets diminished and you become spurred on.
Others may even know other people that would be useful for guidance, counsel or just a kick up the backside. Read a book, talk to those that have faced your hesitation before too.
Procrastination is a positive thing, if you use it to develop a new skill, seek help, destroy a fear, gain a new insight or even decide not to go any further. It is a sign that you can progress if you just recognise why you are doing it.
Ask yourself why you are procrastinating. It is a great question that changes your habits and your ability to eliminate too much procrastination.
Using a very strong system of accountability built into our Giant Leap program will help you avoid procrastination and eventually build a habit that will reduce it significantly in your life helping you to achieve your goals and dreams.
After a tiring day what do you do?
You know that sometimes the first thing to do after a tiring day is to get a meal, possibly a glass of wine, slump in a sofa and perhaps sit in the quiet or watch some favourite TV.
You know that the day has been a challenge and that you have earned some downtime and with a fair chance you can nod off and get an early night. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.
As we get older, that becomes an easier decision too. The next instalment of your latest chosen box set is on Netflix and is begging to be watched. The meal will be easy to devour because you put in such an effort today, there is no guilt about it and relaxation follows a meal quickly too. Bring it on!
Are we suggesting anything different? Is all the above what makes you happy? So why not? Well surprisingly most of us will either do this if we can or hope to and focus very hard on making it happen, so, not so much a change.
However, can we suggest a review?
If you find that a day has been challenging, the best you can get from that day is to review it. If you spend ten minutes asking the following questions of yourself, it can be a fabulous day.
Three questions then:
- What did I learn from today that can serve me going forward?
- What progress did I make that allows me to feel better about the challenges I had?
- How can I use this to make tomorrow a better day, with fewer challenges?
Ok, we know, it is enough that the day was challenging anyway. However, everything that tests us makes us stronger. Especially when we use it to improve going forward.
To make the same mistakes every day and then just keep repeating them, is improving our resilience, but not the outcomes. Our ability to reflect and review is incredibly powerful. Each progress step made is a motivator, and the plan to make life better makes us amazing.
Looking back to enable us to look forward and plan sets us apart from the reactionary world. Ask the three questions above and then a short to do list for tomorrow. You will enjoy the food, the TV, the wine and the company you share so much more then. The advantage it gives us is release from the day and a buzz about the seed of growth potential.
We get the start on the next day faster because we have already given ourselves a track to start on. No more wasting thinking time to decide what to do today as it is already done.
The immediate to-do list after the event of the day is the best time to be able to focus on it fast and be accurate. Trying to remember what to do the day after, is much less efficient.
Learn to be good to yourself and pat yourself on the back. Tough day, learned quite a bit and tomorrow I will do………….
The question then is not what do you do; it is what you will decide to do?
Your life, your choices, your time and of course your outcomes.
- The 7 year itch
- Directions on the path
- I am curious
- Your ideas and story
- Anti – testimonial
- Key people in your company and life.
- When is losing really winning?
- Holidays vs Time out
- Eight biggest mistakes of business owners
- What is bothering you?
- Do you want a new computer?
- Are you setting yourself up for failure?
- A Coach for all.
- What businesses are going to be the best in the future?
- Begin with the end in mind
- Letting go of the past
- Promise Keepers Rule Ok!
- The high road or the low road?
- Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The power of rituals
- Muhammad Ali – Inspirational thoughts