Most of us live inside our comfort zone. We can’t help it. Our minds and instincts are designed to ensure our survival so they work hard at protecting us from taking risks and ending our lives, relationships or careers.
We see scary things and people where they really aren’t. The fear is in our mind, but we attribute it to some outside source.
We play it safe, not wanting to make mistakes and end up sometimes missing out on windows of opportunity that are open for often just one moment.
It happened to me just last week. I was sitting at a table of friends at a business lunch and thought, ‘We should take a picture all together before the program gets started’. But I hesitated, the conversation went on and then, sure enough the speaker came on stage and the window was shut.
It was a small, insignificant event. Yet, my regret over not seizing the moment settled in, reminding me of earlier times I missed out on something bigger because my fear or indecision paralyzed me. We all do that at some point in our lives…hesitate.
Courageous people step out on faith. We are all courageous at some point in our lives. We take action even when the road ahead is not clear. We at ‘in the moment’ without over-analyzing the situation or checking in on our internal state for too long.
We confront our fears only to realize that the terror was within, not in the thing we feared. We build courage in those moments.
Confidence is expanded along with our comfort zone. We find new internal strengths, resilience, resources.
I used to be afraid to speak up in a small group of co-workers, let alone open my mouth in public. But I kept throwing myself into opportunities that allowed me to stretch the limits of my comfort zone. Now I do it almost every week and it hardly phases me anymore. And some of you know I’ve even started singing to an audience!
So, what’s scaring you? Where are you trapped in your comfort zone? What steps can you take to break out of that which confines you? What are you procrastinating about? What dreams of yours are languishing on the vine?
Trust your inner wisdom but don’t listen to that little voice that thinks it’s protecting you – that is terrified of making a mistake or ooking foolish.
Stop dreaming and act! Do it now! Don’t think about it anymore. Quit hiding. Step out of that comfort zone and discover a new expression of YOU!
You’ve heard the phrase ‘time is money’ When you invest your time on the right activities, it makes sense that you (and your department or company) make more money. Problem is, we often spend our time on what’s comfortable or what’s urgent.
Here are some quick tips to leverage your time so you can make more mon’ey.
1. Track your time to see where you’re flushing it down the toilet.
Create a log that allows you to track your time in 15-minute increments. You’ll be shocked at how much time you’re spending on non-revenue or non-goal attaining activities. I did this for three days and got recommitted to delegating and outsourcing. I realized how much time I was losing on things that began with the thought “This will just take a couple of minutes.”
2. Create systems that allow you to delegate.
Having made that observation, I made a list of things I was committed to getting off my plate. I hired a recent college grad who spend a Friday afternoon getting me caught up in data entry (from all those speaking engagements) that I hadn’t sent to anyone else on my team. She registered my company with a number of corporations looking for vendors whose flyers had been sitting on my desk for way too long.
I drafted a script and set up another assistant to contact people who wanted to explore coaching with me.
3. Exhibit the courage to do the right things.
We are often reluctant to pick up the phone and call prospects. We feel we’re intruding, begging or annoying people. Yet the key to closing deals (especially high -ticket ones) is generally having one-on-one conversations. That’s where the money is, folks. Get on the phone. Set appointments and see how you can offer value to your clients and prospects.
If you concentrate on just those three things, I promise you’ll open the doors to more productivity and profitability.
I just delivered a two-hour training to executives and senior managers to help build their competence in coaching their staff to achieve results.
It’s tempting for people who have risen to high levels to leverage the wealth of their experience and tell people what to do. While expedient, it robs others of the opportunity to problem solve, grow and learn.
Here are 7 tips to leverage your expertise while developing the expertise in others.
1. Withstand and encourage differing points of view.
While harmony is easier to deal with in the short term, it robs organizations of the tension needed to spur creativity. Encouraging every voice to be heard will open doors to possibilities that would die on the vine of silence.
2. Share the credit for brilliant work done by your staff.
Celebrate the genius of your staff. Provide them opportunities to ‘strut their stuff’. Let them know precisely how their great ideas and good work contribute to the company’s mission and bottom-line results.
3. Shoulder the blame of subordinates.
When things go awry, let them learn from their mistakes. Help staff analyze how they could prevent or avoid future incidents from occurring. Provide them cover however from retribution from on high. Take the heat and let them grow from lessons learned. They’ll love you for it
4. Learn on the job yourself.
Don’t assume you know everything there is to know. Attend conferences, take classes to keep your industry knowledge and business leadership skills sharp. Try new things. Practice new behaviors that are outside of your comfort zone. There’s always more to go.
5. Be aware of your own weaknesses & hire in your competency gaps.
No human can do everything brilliantly. Know your strengths and leverage them. Identify those areas in which you do not excel and hire people who are masterful in them. No point in having a team that is filled with people who all have the same skills and points of view. Think of most sports teams: championship teams are composed of players with different responsibilities, skills and goals.
6. Channel anger in positive ways.
Work can be quite frustrating. Anger and passion have a lot in common: they’re just expressed differently. Use your energy for creating change in a positive, collaborative way. Take that thing that makes you want to scream and develop a proposal for a new process for your company.
7. Support staff in thinking through how to solve problems themselves.
Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you have to…or even should…have all the answers. Don’t end up with monkeys on your back that don’t belong to you. Next time someone shows up with a problem, take a few minutes to ask them how they would solve it. Have them identify where the breakdowns are occurring and what steps could be taken to rectify the situation. Then empower them to ‘make it so’. They’ll become better thinkers and you’ll end up with less stuff on your plate.
Following these 7 tips will help you surround yourself with more loyal, capable people and make your work life easier to boot.
One of the topics I speak about is what I refer to as your Dream Destination. It’s not a desirable vacation spot. Rather, it’s where your career and life would be 5 – 10 years in the future if things had gone far beyond your wildest dreams.
Imagine that for a minute.
You’ve accomplished more than you thought possible. You’re happier and more fulfilled than you’ve ever been. The people around you…in fact your entire world, feels joyful and light.
What’s that like for you?
The reason I ask is that I know how critical it is to be keenly aware of where you’re going with your life and your career.
As Dionne Warwick sang back in the 60’s,
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
It’s not! Although it’s easy to get consumed and pulled into the day-to-day chaos and fire-fighting of our jobs.
In the moment, there’s ‘stuff’ to do; meetings to attend; deadlines to meet; accomplishments to make.
What makes all this ‘stuff’ more bearable is remembering why you’re doing it in the first place.
Is it so that you can create enough financial security so that you don’t have to work so hard? Would you then spend more time with family? Travel the world? Write that book?
I was walking toward the mountain near my home Monday. I kept my gaze near the mountain top. While it seemed close on one hand, as much as I walked, it didn’t seem to get much closer. Keeping my focus there however, made me forget I was walking up hill. It took my attention off the effort of the incline. I didn’t notice I was breathing hard.
All I could think about were the crevices, cacti, sagebrush and other features of the mountain that I could see. I imagined myself there, on the mountain top, looking out over the valley. I felt big, powerful, light and free.
That’s the value of having a Big Goal and keeping your attention on it. It makes the drudgery, tediousness and challenges of the present moment less irritating because you know WHY you’re doing them. Without that motivation, there’s just too much work.
Have a big goal. Know your “why”. Make sure your team knows their “why”, both individually and for the team. You’ll have more fun and probably get ‘there’ faster.
I have to confess…OK, this is a bit embarrassing….My office is sometimes in shambles. When I return after a series of meetings with multiple project folders and an action item or two for each, I haven’t always been disciplined about sorting through everything before calling it a day.
It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t think straight anymore. I hated being in my office. I felt confused and tired and finally I’d had enough!
I spent a good part of the weekend clearing out old files and making room in my file cabinets to store some of the piles that had been accumulating on my desk, bookcase, floor and…You get the idea.
I filled up half of the recycle container and salvaged enough paper that had only been printed on one side to last for months of printing. If felt as though the fog had lifted.
I was actually surprised and delighted with how easy it was to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard. Over the last several months, working with my coach and mastermind group, I’ve organized my energy around three primary topics.
I speak, train &coach on:
Leadership & management
Sales & marketing
So as I went through folders, it was immediately obvious what needed to be retained and what could be tossed.
Why am I telling you this? Well, whether you’re a neat-nick whose desk is always clear or more like me, it’s important to periodically take stock and release the things in our lives that no longer serve us. The purging process clears the mind and heart I believe and opens us up to receive more goodness in our lives.
While the sky is grey in the photo, the rainbow to me symbolizes a brighter future…the doorway (or skyway) to new opportunities, better times, unlimited potential and unseen possibilities.
Here are some tips for clearing away the clutter in your life…
Buy a label maker if you don’t have one
My label maker was one of the most fun and productive tools I used in this cleaning process. Papers that didn’t have a ‘home’ found one in a folder with their ‘name’ on it. Printed labels will make the folders easier to find in the future, saving even more time.
Make a commitment and set aside a few hours
It had been so long since I last did this, it took several hours. Make sure you have enough time to devote so that you get an experience of satisfaction with the progress you make.
Keep items you’ll use the most, the closest to where you work
Prime real estate is right around your desk. Keep only those projects you’re working on RIGHT NOW on your desk. Files you access regularly can be nearby. Things you access only rarely can be in file cabinets
Put on music that moves you
I find music energizing and uplifting. Have you ever noticed how much faster your workout routine seems to go when you’re listing to your mp3 player? The same dynamic helps with the clean-up process as well.
Label the storage boxes for easy retrieval of those items
I’ve seen some people whose clean up process is to take everything not needed right away and stick it all in a box.. Then they shove the box into a closet or garage with no label for later retrieval When they need to find the item, they don’t know if it’s in the box from last week, last month or the several from last year. Big time wast. Put similar items in the box then label it. f
Remember to drink lots of water
Our bodies need water to thrive. When we’re focused on a task, however, we forget (or ignore) those faint yearnings for refreshment. I LOVE water, yet I can hear myself sometimes say “in a minute” and before I know it an hour has passed and I’m even more parched. Listen to your body and respond when it talks to you.
Take breaks more often than you think you need to
Do something completely different. Sing, play music, go for a walk. Set time frames for your efforts. “I’ll work 1 hour on purging this file drawer” “I’ll spend 30 minutes filing these receipts” Be disciplined and focused but resist the urge to keep your nose to the grindstone for too long. You’ll drain your brain and your body unnecessarily.
In the future, before filing a project away, throw out the interim emails and sticky notes
As I went through my files, I found many emails and sticky notes that were important at the time, but that were completely irrelevant once the project was complete. If you puge the files as you ‘close out’ the project, you’ll save yourself lots of time later on.
Purge yourself of relationships that are no longer serving you
People can really drain you. If there are people in your life that you dread being around, stop being around them. If you’re in groups, teams or a family where it’s difficult to avoid them, set boundaries for the behavior you’ll tolerate. You ARE in charge of your life and if you’re suffering silently, you need to stop. Either drop the relationship or take responsibility for altering its direction.
Whew! That was a lot. The bottom line is…Just do it!