Catch the Window Before it Closes

Within the next 2 WEEKS it’s critical that you design your goals for the year. The window is closing. You can do it yourself, do it with an online program such as the one we offer, or do a live event, which we offer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What’s important, necessary and critical is that you DO it.

It’s time to clear out the cobwebs, get INSPIRED and get MOTIVATED about your life and the direction you’re going.

It’s time to get a FRESH perspective as to where you want to be down the road, take all the useful learnings from last year and craft some powerful business-growth and life-fulfilling goals for this year.

It’s very hard to design your goals or theme for the year in March or May…it can be done.

It’s just really difficult.

It’s far better to use the natural momentum of the beginning of a new year to get a fresh start.

If you do this well, these goals will call you to perform at a higher level…the way you wish and dream of doing.

It’s about making something REALLY BIG happen in 2014.

Schedule time now, right now, to design your year and don’t do it alone. Get other people to join you.

You are embarking on another year of your life.

Make it special.

Make it big.

Your Success is Determined by Designing Around Your Strengths – Do You Know Yours?

Like a lot of you, I have aspects of my business that I love, and parts that are a pain.

It’s no coincidence that what we love to do typically falls into the category of ‘our strengths’. When we concentrate on working our strengths great things can happen: we feel good, we build confidence and we get good results.

But, conventional business gurus often teach us to focus on fixing our weaknesses instead of polishing our strengths. Sounds like a formula for unfulfilling mediocrity to me.

I don’t know about you, when I’m focusing on improving what I’m not naturally good at, what I am naturally good at suffers and I don’t get the results I want.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of Peter Drucker’s work. If you’re not familiar with him, Drucker wrote and article in the Harvard Business Review in 1999 titled, Managing Oneself where he has a different take on working your weaknesses and strengths.

In his article he suggests…

  1. “…You cannot build performance on weakness and can only perform well from your strengths.”
  2. “…Most people are usually wrong about knowing their strengths…”
  3. “…The only access to knowing our strengths is from feedback analysis.”
  4. “…Accurate feedback comes from setting a plan and goals.” (An inspired plan).

I love this and I incorporate the principles in my work.

I find that the two key components here - good guidance and getting the right feedback - are the 2 most powerful tools for business owners to successfully grow their business.

SET GOALS – TAKE ACTION – EVALUATE RESULTS – ASK YOURSELF, ‘HOW DID I DO?’

Your results will reveal to you the most valuable feedback you could ever get.

What if ‘fixing’ your weaknesses (at the expense of your strengths) meant the difference between growing and closing your business? Which would you work on improving?

Find out more about YOU... by answering 16 questions to wrap up your 2013!

There is still time to do this before January 1st.  When the New Year comes you won’t want to look back. Your focus will be on the year ahead. You would have missed this opportunity for 2013.

So here is why you should do this.

When you review your results for the year against your plan it gives you invaluable feedback about the areas of your strenghts.

In his 1999 Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself”, Peter Drucker says that our performance will be strongest in the areas of our true strength. He says it’s a far better use of our time to work in those areas rather than trying to strengthen the areas of our weaknesses.

Peter goes on to say that many of us are wrong about the areas of our true strengths and that the only place where you can find those areas is through feedback analysis. You get this feedback by reviewing your performance and results at the end of the year against the plans you set at the start of the year.

By answering the sixteen questions in the downloadable file BELOW you will get some valuable feedback about the areas of your true strength.  Knowing this will help you perform better and have stronger results in 2014 and we all want that!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PAGE ONE

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PAGE TWO

I Don’t Need a Vacation (from my Vacation)

Have you ever felt the need for recovery time from your vacation?

We’ve all been there.

According Expedia® most Americans don’t even bother taking all their vacation time.

“ The French take 30 days [vacation] Americans take 10.”   Full Article.

Even when people do take time off the survey suggests that many vacations turn into working vacations.

As the year comes to a close I’m committed to change that for myself.

I’ve just returned from vacation and I’m happy to report that, for the first time since I can remember I left work, at work.

Result?

This is the first vacation in memory that I feel more energized and in much better shape than when I left.

The difference?

No conferences. No courses. No schedule to see 12 cathedrals in 12 different cities in 12 days.

What I did do was walk on the beach with my husband, Kevin. In fact, we walked on the beach every morning at sunrise. Being next to the ocean watching the waves come in was a deeply nurturing and restful experience.

Don’t get me wrong – we were active – just not every day. On alternate days we went zip lining, snorkeling, horseback riding and sunset cruising. The physical activities forced us to get ‘out of our heads’. The days in between were spent at the beach with the waves – quiet and calm.

Now that I’m back home I feel ready to take on my work with new energy and enthusiasm.

I’m committed to scheduling at least one of these true vacations once every year.

Leaving work behind for a vacation sound daunting?

Start small. Try an afternoon ‘stay-cation’ that leaves work alone then work your way up to a full on vacation.

What’s your ideal ‘real’ vacation look like? What’s stopping you from taking it?

Are You Leading With Both The Rough End And The Sweet End?

Leadership is something the business owner MUST provide.  Your employes are not your friends even though you may have a close relationship with them.  They are not just employees to do the work either.   People love a challenge.  We bring our creativity, innovation and hard work to the party when we are uplifted and inspired by the leadership. To have a dynamic company you must provide real leadership. 

Leadership has two ends to it; one is rough and the other is sweet.  The rough end is where you set the bar high, demand a lot, set high expectations and give them a big challenge.  Your employees, colleagues and clients will respect and admire you if you set the bar high and stick to it.  

You must also provide the sweet end.  Let them know this is something big you want to be part of and it’s worth giving your life to.  It’s about helping people and communities and it’s making a difference in the world in a real and tangible way. 

However, if you only provide the rough end, they will be productive but also suffer.  Who doesn’t dislike, gossip about and undermine a tough uncaring task master?  If you only provide  the sweet end, they will be uplifted and inspired but not focused and productive.  You must provide both.

Are You A Lark Or An Owl?

For years, napping has been derided as a sign of laziness. We are "caught" napping or "found asleep at the switch".  But lately it has garnered new respect, thanks to scientific evidence that midday dozing benefits both mental acuity and overall health.  A slew of recent studies have shown that naps boost alertness, creativity, mood, and productivity in the later hours of the day.

 

A nap of 60 minutes improves alertness for up to 10 hours. Research on pilots shows that a 26-minute "Nasa" nap in flight (while the plane is manned by a copilot) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. One Harvard study published last year showed that a 45-minute nap improves learning and memory. Napping reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.

Naps make you brainier, healthier, safer. But to understand how you can nap best, you need to understand your body.

How long should you rest for?

A short afternoon catnap of 20 minutes yields mostly Stage 2 sleep, which enhances alertness and concentration, elevates mood, and sharpens motor skills. To boost alertness on waking, you can drink a cup of coffee before you nap. Caffeine requires 20 or 30 minutes to take effect, so it will kick in just as you're waking. Naps of up to 45 minutes may also include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which enhances creative thinking and boosts sensory processing.

Limit your nap to 45 minutes or less, if you need to spring into action after dozing. Otherwise, you may drift into slow-wave sleep. Waking from this stage results in sleep inertia, that grogginess and disorientation that can last for half an hour or more.

Why do we need to nap?

Most mammals sleep for short periods throughout the day.  Humans have consolidated sleep into one long period, but our bodies are programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness: in the early morning, from about 2am to 4am, and in the afternoon, between 1pm and 3pm.  This midday wave of drowsiness is not due to heat or a heavy lunch (it occurs even if we skip eating) but from an afternoon quiescent phase in our physiology, which diminishes our reaction time, memory, coordination, mood, and alertness.

Are you a lark or an Owl?

To determine the best time to nap, it helps to know your "chronotype". What time would you get up and go to sleep if you were entirely free to plan your day? If you're a lark, apt to wake as early as 6am and go to sleep around 9pm or 10pm, you're going to feel your nap need around 1pm or 1.30 pm.

If you're an owl, preferring to go to bed after midnight or 1am, and to wake around 8am or 9am, your afternoon "sleep gate" will open later, closer to 2.30pm or 3pm.

Excerpted from Jennifer Ackerman's article “Napping: the expert’s guide” published in The Gardian, Monday, January 26, 2009.

When is your natural performance peak?

1). When do you have the greatest amount of mental clarity, focus, attention, awareness and energy each day? Consider "maximum capacity an 8 through 10 on a scale of 1-10.   Note: if you don't know your times we recommend you find out before going on to the 2nd question.

2). What activities structures and practices DECREASE the amount of focus and attention, mental clarity, awareness and energy you have each day?

What activities, structures and practices INCREASE the amount of focus and attention, mental clarity, awareness and energy you have each day?

Your research is needed for this inquiry. Please post a comment below.

3 - Getting Your Aspirations Front and Center

Next, I think about the larger view of my life and business and try to reconnect with where I'm headed five or ten years out.  Doing this can be painful and disheartening because I may find I've either given up on what I want and dream about or worse, forgotten about it. 

Yes, I've been busy, busy busy doing all the necessary and urgent things but where am I headed?   I write about this to unearth my true dreams and bring them back to life.

 

Peter Drucker - You cannot improve your performance if you don't know what it is!

If you want bigger results in your business development or sales activities you must work on your performance.  Performance is the action or process of carrying out or accopmlishing an action, task or function...  You cannot improve your performance if you don't know what it is.  

In his 1999, Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself”, Peter Drucker talks about how great achievers have always managed themselves. In the article, he states: 

  1. “…You cannot build performance on weakness and can only perform well from your strengths.   
  2. “…Most people are usually wrong about knowing their strengths….  
  3. “...The only access to knowing our strengths is from feedback analysis.
  4. “…Accurate feedback comes from setting a plan and goals”.

Bottom line - the best feedback you can get is from setting goals and reviewing your results at the end of the year.