People ask me fairly often how I've kept myself motivated to blog virtually every workday for the past six years. It's simple. I begin every day with the following commitments:
Today I will make something new and different and thereby change the world for the better.
Today I will become strong by overcoming obstacles with persistence and flexibility.
Today I will permit myself to become excited in anticipation of whatever might happen.
Today I will look beyond my preconceptions to see the truths that I missed before.
Today I will remember the miracle of conscious existence, which is all too soon over.
Today I will remain aware of the emotions of others and how they interact with my own.
Today I will spend at least one hour doing something that's just because I enjoy it.
Today I will do my best to remain happy, regardless of the circumstances of the hour.
Today, I will use some of whatever power I possess in the service and for the welfare of others.
Today, I will take action to ensure that I'm in better health than I was yesterday or the day before.
Today I will sit back and marvel at the unexpected, without which life would be boring.
Today I will express, at least once, the joy of the child who still lives inside me.
Today I will be thankful for all the wonderful things in my life: my family, my friends and, yes, my work.
Have a wonderful holiday and fabulous 2013!
Here's a column that I guarantee will make you more more successful in both your professional and personal lives.
Here are 14 quick strategies to get and keep yourself motivated:
1. Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts while avoiding negative thoughts.
2. Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action. Get your food and exercise budget in place and follow it like a business plan.
- Read More: Why You're Still Overweight
3. Avoid negative people. They drain your energy and waste your time, so hanging with them is like shooting yourself in the foot.
4. Seek out the similarly motivated. Their positive energy will rub off on you and you can imitate their success strategies.
5. Have goals–but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete, lest it become more important than achieving the goal.
6. Act with a higher purpose. Any activity or action that doesn’t serve your higher goal is wasted effort--and should be avoided.
7. Take responsibility for your own results. If you blame (or credit) luck, fate or divine intervention, you’ll always have an excuse.
8. Stretch past your limits on a daily basis. Walking the old, familiar paths is how you grow old. Stretching makes you grow and evolve.
9. Don't wait for perfection; do it now! Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life. Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable.
10. Celebrate your failures. Your most important lessons in life will come from what you don't achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.
11. Don’t take success too seriously. Success can breed tomorrow's failure if you use it as an excuse to become complacent.
12. Avoid weak goals. Goals are the soul of achievement, so never begin them with "I'll try ..." Always start with "I will" or "I must."
13. Treat inaction as the only real failure. If you don’t take action, you fail by default and can't even learn from the experience.
14. Think before you speak. Keep silent rather than express something that doesn’t serve your purpose.
BY GEOFFREY JAMES These simple strategies can keep you energized both on and off the job.
Success takes time–sometimes longer than you'd like. If you're not careful, it's easy to become discouraged, and that makes it harder to achieve the success you deserve.
Here's a simple, seven-step plan to get your mojo back:
1. Define your purpose. Why are you working? Why are you doing this work? Only you can answer these questions. Some individuals are drawn to certain kinds of work, while others are individuals are simply looking for a payday or to feed their families. No purpose is inherently “better” than any other–but you need to know your purpose, so that the prospect of fulfilling of that purpose keeps you motivated.
2. Tie your purpose to your company's goals. Now that you’ve identified why you’re working, deliberately envision your company's offering (what it makes, provides or sells) as the vehicle through which you can fulfill your purpose. The more closely you associate, in your mind, your purpose with your company's product, the easier you’ll be able to motivate yourself to do what’s necessary to get your job done.
3. Tie your purpose to your team's success. If you're working with other people, they're depending upon you to get your job done. Fulfilling your purpose thus helps them become successful too–which means that you're having a positive impact on other people's lives.
4. Create ambitious goals for yourself. Now that you’ve got everything aligned, it’s time to set ambitious goals that, if achieved, will create success for yourself, your products, and your company. Pick exciting goals that will will inspire you to achieve them.
5. Create a workable but flexible plan. Now that you've got goals, create a step-by-step plan that constantly brings you closer to your goals. That will help you build additional confidence, commitment and the feeling that you’re in control of your destiny. Hint: If you aren’t sure how to build a plan that will work, get the help of somebody who’s already achieved what you want to achieve.
6. Take massive action ... starting now. Success is now just a matter of executing that plan, adjusting as necessary to achieve your goals. To start on the right foot, as soon as your write your plan, immediately take some action to achieve that plan. Motivation feeds on action. You want to build momentum that will continue to carry you toward your goal.
The main point here is to do all of this consciously, to make certain that everything in your work life is aligned.
BY GEOFFREY JAMES Feeling low on motivation? Use these sure-fire techniques to recharge your batteries.
In my role as the "mouthpiece" of the sales profession, I end up talking with a lot of successful salespeople. All of them are highly motivated, and many of them depend upon motivational books, audios and videos to keep them that way.
Of the three forms of communication, I believe that videos are the most effective, because the combination of sight and sound doubles the intensity. That's why the "tool kit" of everyone who must sell for a living should include some motivational videos.
With that in mind, here are four videos that, in my view, teach crucial lessons about motivation in a sales context. They're a perfect way to start out a new year.
Why Words Matter
It's not the just content of the message that you're communicating to your customers: It's the way that message is expressed.
Not Such a Lost Generation
Your internal dialog determines how you view the world. Change that dialog and you change yourself.
Out of the Mouths of Toddlers...
Laugh all you want, but what you say to yourself first thing in the morning truly sets the tone for your entire day.
What Really Motivates Us
This one is more thoughtful (and longer) than the others, but it very cleverly discusses the source of your motivation--so that you better understand why you're successful (or why you're not as successful as you might want to be).
If you truly want to be successful, your number one task should be to create and maintain a positive attitude. When you've got an attitude of optimism, expectancy and enthusiasm, opportunities grow, and problems shrink.
If you're a leader, a positive attitude draws people to your side and encourages them to do their best work. A leader with a negative attitude, however, can only compel others to take action through fear.
More importantly, what would be point of being successful if you're always feeling lousy? With that in mind, here's how to ensure your attitude stays upbeat:
1. Always act with a purpose.
Before you take any action, decide how it will serve your greater goals. If the connection is weak or non-existent, take that action off your to-do list. Aimless activity wastes time and energy.
2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day.
Doing the same-old, same-old is depressing, even if your same-old has been successful in the past. Success is like athletics; if you don't stretch yourself every day, you gradually become slow and brittle.
3. Take action without expecting results.
While you naturally must make decisions and take action based upon the results you'd like to achieve, it's a big mistake to expect those results and then be disappointed when you don't get them. Take your best shot but don't obsess about the target.
4. Use setbacks to improve your skills.
Rather than feeling bad if you fail or get rejected, look back at your actions and see what you can do (if anything) to improve your performances. Remember: the results you receiveare the signposts for the results you want to achieve.
5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude.
It's a scientific fact your brain automatically imitates the behaviors of the people around you. (It's because of something called a mirror neuron). Therefore, you should surround yourself with positive thinkers and shun those who are excessively negative.
6. Don't take yourself so seriously.
If you want to be happier and make those around you feel more comfortable, cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself. If you don't (or can't) laugh at yourself, I guarantee you that the people you work with are laughing behind your back!
7. Forgive the limitations of others.
High standards are important, but humans are, well, human. It's crazy to make yourself miserable because other people can't do a job as well as you think you could, or when people don't share your vision with the same passion that you feel.
8. Say "thank you" more frequently.
Achieving an "attitude of gratitude" requires more than simply being aware of what's wonderful in your life. You must, and should, thank other people for their gifts to you, even if that gift is something as simple as a smile.
A positive attitude make success easy; a negative one makes success pointless.
History often prevents us from doing great things together.
Here comes Sofia, for example, taking her seat at your weekly managers' meeting. You know she's good at what she does, but that massive screw-up she was responsible for three months ago --with your best customer, no less -- still stings. You'll complete the meeting politely, of course, and she will have no idea you're still harboring hurt. But you'll also fail to collaborate at the level you could-- and should.
Now here's Fred sauntering through the conference room door. You know he's absolutely the best guy for that exciting new project you have, but you find it hard to engage with him at present, because you know he's in open conflict with another manager and with you for taking the other manager's side. To prevent any further grief, you'll give the project to someone else and it won't be as well executed as it would have been if Fred had managed it.
And now you're half way through the managers' meeting, but only one-tenth of the way through the agenda. Why? Because you, and Sofia, and Fred, and Mateo, and Kirsty-- in fact everyone around the table -- has at least one issue with someone else. They all nurse some grievance, some story, some narrative, some perspective that colors and warps your interaction as a team.
No-one's being mean. No-one's being ornery. Heck, except occasionally for Fred, no-one's even impolite. But the little asides, the passive-aggressive comments, the only-just-concealed eye-rolling is slowing everything down. Having to steer every meeting as if treading through a minefield of hidden emotions is draining the lifeblood of vision, innovation, creativity and passion from your interaction as a team. It's making you mediocre at best, and, you fear, increasingly ineffective.
What to do?
Simple. Declare an amnesty.
At least once a year have one meeting devoted to nothing but filling a couple of flip-chart sheets with every nursed grievance, every contested narrative, every 'he-said, she-said' and every "I can't believe you did that..." that the team can come up with. Then have each team member sign at the bottom that they absolutely, irrevocably agree to forgive and forget each and every point on the sheets.
Draw a line through each item-- a literal, black-Sharpie line, hug a little, and get back to being extraordinary.
Yes, you'll start piling up some new narratives, but at least they're new ones, right? And you can forgive those in six month's time.
If you have the intestinal fortitude for it, here's how to declare group amnesty in under 30 minutes:
1. Get everyone in a room together with a whiteboard or flip chart and a bunch of post-its.
2. Have everyone in the group take 10 minutes or so to write on a post-it the source of any major frustration they have with either the team as a whole, or with individual members, using one post-it for each topic, if they have more than one (most will).
3. After the time is up (or everyone has stopped writing), have the team members stick their post-its on the whiteboard or flip chart, and send them off for a 10-minute break.
4. During the break, 'clump' the post-its (put together all the post-its that cover the same topic or event) and from them produce a master list of every event, decision, statement, attitude or act that the team members have indicated is getting in the way of high-quality interaction.
5. Here's the tricky bit: When the group returns, go through the list, not inviting any further debate, but asking the group if they are prepared to declare a team 'amnesty' on those items ‚Äì to draw a line under them, to let their annoyance, resentment or frustration go, and to agree not to let those issues cloud their interactions in the future. As you get their consent, draw a thick black line through each item.
6. Have everyone sign the master list indicating their agreement to amnesty.
This is team effectiveness 202 ‚ it's not beginner's stuff, and it's not for the faint-hearted. You need a strong facilitator and a mature team to pull it off. But if you can make it work, you'll see a turbo-boost in your team's effectiveness immediately.
Download a free chapter from the author's book, "The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success" which provides a comprehensive model for building a cohesive, highly functioning team.
BY LES MCKEOWN
At some point, you can't lead a team until you fix the personal conflicts between them. Here's how to do it in one session.
f you think of marketing as the same thing it was twenty (or even ten) years ago, you're basically screwed. The reason is simple. What works today is the opposite of what worked in the past.
The Old Rules
Here's are the rules for marketing that are taught in most business courses, and are common inside most companies (many of whom are struggling):
- Step 1. Create a product that has a broad appeal to a large number of consumers or buyers.
- Step 2. Reach as large an audience as possible with a message that appeals to many of those potential buyers.
- Step 3. Create a recognizable brand name that can be extended into additional product categories.
While it's true that companies following these rules have, in the past, been able to build strong brands like Sony and Coke, this type of "broadcast marketing" no longer works because:
- The Internet and wealth of media outlets has fragmented consumers and buyers into ever smaller groups, each with its own characteristics and interests.
- Messages that appeal to those consumers and buyer must be highly customized and specific in order to gain any attention.
- The proliferation of brand and brand messages has become so overwhelming that consumer and buyers simply tune them out.
In other words, what worked for Coke ain't gonna work for you.
The New Rules
Here's what DOES work:
- Step 1. Create a product that addresses a very specific type of consumer and buyer.
- Step 2. Target your initial messaging at that audience in order to "convert" them into your advocates.
- Step 3. Have those advocates define your brand name and the future of your offerings.
Note that this is the exact opposite of what worked in the past.
- Where the old rules were "broadcast" and used various forms of mass media, the new rules are "narrowcast" and use highly targeted media.
- Where the old rules were all about reaching the masses, the new rules are all about reaching small groups of individuals.
- Where the old rules left you in control of your brand and destiny, the new rules puts that control in the hands of your customers.
Ignore these new rules at your own peril.
What works today is the exact opposite of what worked a decade ago.
Being the boss is hard work and it's even harder if your employees think you're acting like a fool. Here are ten common silly phrases that bosses use, followed by a far more effective alternative.
10. "Don't ever talk to my boss."
A boss sometimes worry that if employees talk to his or her own boss, it will undermine the boss's own authority. To prevent this, the boss instructs employees to channel all communications through the official management chain.
This is dumb because information/gossip/opinion flies around the company with the speed of light and it's ridiculous for anyone to try to control it. Because of this, a boss who wishes to suppress discussion just comes off looking paranoid.
Smart bosses say: "Always keep me in the loop."
9. "Track how you spend every hour."
Some bosses believe that if they can track how everyone in the organizations spends his or her time, they'll get a better handle on what's going on and thereby be able to make better decisions.
However, obsessive time tracking makes it harder to have "skunk works" projects that are the primary source of innovation in most companies. At the same time, employees inevitably start "fudging" their hours to match management's expectations.
Smart bosses say: "Here's what I need you to accomplish:..."
8. "Use fewer office supplies."
Sure, office supplies cost money, but so does worrying about using less of them. For example, I was once in a firm that sharply limited the amount of copier paper to save money. The result was hoarding and raiding, all of which consumed time and money.
Similarly, I have twice seen email from inside Fortune 100 firms suggesting that employees reuse their paperclips. However, if an office worker spends .1 second worrying about a paperclip, it costs more than the cost of the paper clip.
Smart bosses say: "Worry about getting the job done."
7. "The customer is always right."
I addressed this issue recently in the post "The Customer is Often Wrong." The problem here is that when bosses use this tired phrase, it's usually to undermine the best judgment of a salesperson who's much closer to the situation.
Bosses are supposed to manage employees, not customers and when they intrude themselves in customer relationships, there's a high likelihood they'll take action based upon ignorance. Just ask any salesperson.
Smart bosses say: "I support your decision."
6. "We expect corporate loyalty."
Many bosses believe that employees should be willing remain in their jobs even when they can get a better job elsewhere. This is especially true when the employer has spent money to train the employee in a specialty.
The thing about loyalty, though, is that it's supposed to go both ways. Maybe corporate loyalty made sense when companies guaranteed lifetime employment. But, today, why should employees feel loyal when they know they could be outsourced in a heartbeat?
Smart bosses say: "I'll continue to pay you what you're worth."
5. "This is a meritocracy."
Many companies--especially in high tech industries--claim that the smartest employees always get the promotions. However, a cursory glance at almost any medium-sized firm shows that the "Peter Principle" is just as often the rule.
Beyond this, it's perfectly ridiculous to talk about a meritocracy in any industry where less than half of the top executives are female. After all, women started attending college in equal numbers as men 40 years ago.
Smart bosses say: "We try our best to hire and promote the best."
4. "You'll gain valuable experience."
Bosses say this whenever they want somebody to work for less than their labor is worth to the company. The perfect example of this is the unpaid internship, but bosses also use this bait to hook seasoned employees, too.
Let's suppose that the concept has merit. In this case, shouldn't first-time CEOs who take over established firms all be paid $0.00? After all, aren't they gaining valuable experience that they can use when they get their next job?
Smart bosses say: "You'll be paid what you're worth and you'll learn something, too."
3. "There's no truth to that rumor."
Bosses often believe that the can tamp down a rumor by denying that it's true. However, anybody with an ounce of sense realizes that if the rumor weren't true, the boss wouldn't be giving it special attention.
Nevertheless, bosses keep trying, especially when their company is about to downsize. Here is one case, though, where a meritocracy exists. The smart employees start looking for another job as soon as the downsizing rumor is denied.
Smart bosses say: Nothing.
2. "It's my way or the highway."
Many bosses think that they should know more about their employees' jobs than the employees know themselves. As a result, the boss lays out exactly how everything is to be done and insists that the employee toe that line.
However, bosses are supposed to be managing people, not the work that those people do. A boss should tell employees what to do rather than how to do it. Even when coaching, the boss should help the employee find his or her own way of doing things better.
Smart bosses say: "Let's try it your way."
1. "Because I said so."
While this justification might make sense for a five-year-old who can't understand adult reasoning, in the context of business, leaning on your authority as a manager is both lazy and stupid.
Because they're responsible adults rather than toddlers, employees are far more likely to support a decision with which they disagree if they understand the boss's reasoning for making that particular decision.
Smart bosses say: "I made this decision because..."
Being the boss is difficult enough without making it harder by saying silly things.