Are You Lucky or Purposeful?

imagesCAADD1X9There are some days when it feels like everything is running smoothly and other times it may feel like the end of a long run can’t happen soon enough. It’s human nature to focus on what’s not working than to revel in the moments when you are in the flow and the Universe is cooperating fully.

• Do you consider yourself to be a lucky person?
• Are you someone who takes full advantage of opportunities, focusing on them as they arise?

“Things worthwhile generally don’t just happen. Luck is a fact, but should not be a factor. Good luck is what is left over after intelligence and effort have combined at their best… Luck is the residue of design.” – Branch Rickey

Buying a winning lottery ticket is sheer luck as the odds are certainly not in your favor nor did any scheme in particular give you better probabilities. The more sales calls you make will increase your chances of closing a deal. The more swings at bat, shots at a goal or auditions you attend will increase the likelihood of your success. Too many people excuse their own limitations to by crediting other’s achievement to luck.

Lucky people actually do things that allow them to take advantage of chances that they position themselves for. Not everything works out of course, but wishing, hoping and praying for success is not a formula for success. What’s you action plan, setting aside the rabbit’s foot or palming a 4-leaf clover?

According to Kevin Daum, there are 5 “secret” behaviors of lucky people.

1. Play to your strengths: We waste too much time and energy doing things that we probably don’t do well. Focus on what you do well and delegate the rest or find a partner to compensate for your weaknesses.

2. Prepare in advance: Unlucky people often get that way because they are reactive and unprepared. A business plan, for example is a template. The point in having one isn’t to follow it for the sake of staying on track. Rather, it is to establish a structure for smart decision making that allows you to adjust and succeed.

3. Start early: It’s not necessarily about rising early, but beginning projects well in advance. So many people want to put their energies into things that provide immediate gratification. The most fortunate people I know are the ones who planted the seeds early and are now in a better position to have choices and take advantage of the most promising ones.

4. Connect with as many people as possible: The key to success is access to opportunity. Access comes from influence. If you are influential, people will bring opportunities to you. The way to build a following is to provide value to many people. How are you providing the sort of value that will cause people to spread your thoughts and attribute credit to you?

5. Follow up: Opportunities come and go because people do not follow-up in a timely manner. Following up is often more powerful and impressive than the act of initiating.

What will you plan to do to increase your LUCK?

©MWeisner2017

 

 

Achieve Your Summer Fitness Goals

imagescae2vkgaWill this be another season of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the summer begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one, wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely take pleasure in. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change require discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!

• Are you a biker, runner, walker, swimmer or outdoor enthusiast?
• Is variety important to you?
• Learn a new skill or mix in what you already know?
• Is your best time morning or later in the day?
• If equipment is necessary can you borrow it first?

Trying something new requires patience. As a rule of thumb, I suggest trying an activity at least three times. You will have low expectations at first. The next time, you are a still a beginner and on the third attempt, you will have a better feel for the activity. Perhaps you may look for something else or sign up for lessons with a pro, purchase the bike or dust off those old roller blades and get moving!

©MWeisner2017

Stop Giving $ Away $ Your $ Services

Give-money_SmallHow often has a friend or colleague revealed that she had under-priced her services? All too often from my perspective. I’ve been there and done it too many times myself. Perhaps women are more honest than their male counterparts, but I do not hear the same language from men. They might be angry about not closing a sale, which can be construed as wasted but focused time.

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barbara De Angelis

It’s all about time. Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back and we are always on some sort of clock. As entrepreneurs we have to be decisive as to how we spend our time which translates into revenue. Would you be as likely to hand your wallet over as you are to “donate” your time to the same client? There’s a plus or minus column and all too often we don’t assign a specific value to these interactions. Lawyers have timers on their phones for a reason. With technology at everyone’s reach, client expectations are high and your response time needs to be factored into a contract. How clear are you?

With prospective clients it can mean offering too much in advance or doing whatever it takes to provide assistance, regardless of the time involved. Is it about likeability or poor client management? How many times have you had lengthy meetings over coffee while your brain is being picked? Ouch! What about the vague “contract” or the lax billing processes? How can you stop yourself before over-offering or ignoring your watch? It takes practice and discipline and a belief in the value of your services.

A friend recently confided that after she totaled her time with a client over and above what their agreement called for, she was probably earning $2 per hour. It’s unprofessional. What you are broadcasting is that at the risk of not being nice, your needs have taken a back seat to those of others. People can ask and we can decline. Clients may push and we have a responsibility to ourselves to be clear about the scope of services we are delivering. Be intentional. Value your time and know what it is worth.
©2016MWeisner

Take the Stairs…Achieve Success

dream_istock_000055643980_smallIs it willpower or discipline, and does it really matter? How decisive am I on a daily basis only to have to modify my plan before I even get started? According to Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, choosing to take the escalator over a flight of stairs is a deeper indicator of how you operate overall and may be quite telling. When you select the easier shortcut of stepping on those moving stairs, is it really about getting to another floor more quickly or is it a statement about how you function in other parts of your life? He calls this the “escalator mentality” and it may be emblematic of avoiding the more challenging effort of full engagement in a given activity.

Sometimes shortcuts are smart and sensible, but they can also be deceptive. When we get in the habit of automatically looking for the quicker solution, we may also be setting ourselves up for traps. It is particularly tempting to seek the easy way out when it comes to making difficult changes like reaching a goal weight or reducing debt. But these shortcuts can also take a toll on self-discipline and don’t always take you where you want to go.

Evaluate your decisions– is this taking you where you want to go?
• Be flexible- find success in making small changes first; bigger ones later
• Manage your time – when is the best time to focus on this activity?
• Prioritize and Succeed!

Keep in mind that we are not all Luddites, attached to doing things the long, hard way and not make use of the technology that is readily available. It makes sense to view each situation independently, with a heightened awareness that the easy/faster way may not always be the best way. However, after an exhausting day, that escalator may also be just what the doctor ordered!

©2016 Maureen Weisner

Change or Else

Why Is Everyone Trying To Change Everyone Else?

• Change is hard!
• Change is easy!
• Change is different for everyone!

When asked, most people will readily agree that they are comfortable with change. When I’ve pressed audiences further, they’re frequently more emphatic about their ability to embrace change, and seek it out regularly. A quick reality check reveals otherwise. For example, although more than 35% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% keep them. Is that damning statistic related to not properly preparing for change or is it about change in general?

Almost no one truly likes change, except perhaps the baby with a dirty diaper. Change is almost always stressful and challenging. Even good change can be difficult. So it’s no wonder that the two most common responses to change are denial and resistance. Some people pretend it doesn’t exist, and some people fight it, but most people try both approaches. The trouble is–both denial and resistance are fairly useless responses.

Some changes, despite our best intentions, fall by the wayside for numerous reasons. Deciding to drink more water daily for one week as a first step in a healthier lifestyle plan is a change that is doable for most people. You are adding vs. reducing or eliminating something from your routine. It is specific, measurable and not likely to have negative consequences. On the other hand, wanting to be healthier, while admiral in theory, is too vague, lacks a time frame and relies on significant changes in lifestyle that have not been identified.

Each of us is capable of making changes and the details can also be the deal breakers. Some of us embrace change from the outset and are excited and disciplined about setting goals and seeing results. Others are slower to start and may need more support.

• Review times when you have been most successful.
• What was your approach?
• Did you share your plan with others to gain extra support?

©MWeisner2015

Achieve Your 2015 Fitness Goals

girls-starting-lineWill this be another year of half-hearted attempts at getting fit, or will this really be the year begun with a new attitude? Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit gives us hope and a way to make changes that can break-up the old routines. The following is a mini-plan to begin.

1. Create a Routine: Teach your brain that it’s time to exercise by devising a cue, like putting your sneakers next to the door, or packing your lunch the night before. “A routine gives your brain something to latch onto,” says Duhigg.

2. Set Small Goals: You want to run 5 miles 3 x weekly? Week one, wear your workout gear. Week two, walk around the block. Increase slowly until you reach your goal. “Habit formation is built on small wins, according to the author.

3. Choose a Reward: When you reach your daily goal, regardless of what it is, treat yourself to a piece of chocolate, 20-minutes of Web browsing or whatever you genuinely like. “This works because you are training yourself to associate a behavior with something you actually enjoy,” states Duhigg.

4. Write it Down: List your cues and rewards: “Monday- put on workout clothes + one square of dark chocolate.” This works because by identifying your routine, you significantly increase the chance that the habit will take hold,” according to the author.

Change require discipline, patience and your personal buy-in. Think back to times when you have been able to consciously shift your thinking, modify or eliminate a behavior. Redirect your focus into replacing old actions with new behaviors for success!

“Winning” IS Fundamental

images-handsdownYes, it’s fall and football season once again. Whether it is a favorite sport of yours or not, the words of legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant will resonate, and not just around the aspects of the game.  Strategies in sports readily apply to teams in the workplace.  Coach Bryant retired with 323 wins over 38 seasons, an amazing record of achievement to be sure, and one that we can hope to emulate personally and professionally, off the field.

“Bear” Bryant said that members of a winning team needed 5 things:

1.  Tell me what you expect from me
2.  Give me an opportunity to perform
3.  Let me know how I’m doing
4.  Give me guidance when I need it
5.  Reward me according to my contributions

These 5 points transcend gender or over-used sports analogies. Winners from the basement to the boardroom need straight information. Sometimes a formula that seems too simple is ignored. However, when we communicate objectives clearly and simplify the points, everyone is more likely to be on the same page. From small to larger teams, setting consistent expectations and goals is foundational to successful outcomes.

• How clear are you when communicating directives?
• Are your expectations realistic with opportunity to reach beyond?
• Do you offer specific, targeted feedback to your team?
• As a team member, how do you ask for feedback?

©MWeisner2014