Resources – 5 hats

Bad Press Doesn’t Mean The End: What Your Company Can Do To Recover

Imagine the internet and press are abuzz with news about your firm slipping up. Bad press is a crossroads for a brand, one you will have to cross periodically. With the right steps, companies can regain their footing and potentially gain additional goodwill. Mishandling the issue, however, will damage public perception, perhaps permanently.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council talk about their suggestions on how to recover after receiving bad press. My answer is #10 – I hope you get value from it.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/29/bad-press-doesnt-mean-the-end-what-your-company-can-do-to-recover/#2fc8181824f7

15 Ways To Offer Truly Constructive Feedback

Forbes Coaches Council

Whether it’s positive or negative, formal or informal, any type of feedback from a supervisor or colleague can clue an employee in on where they stand performance-wise. And the right feedback can help them improve significantly.

To Improve Your Marketing, Establish A Connection Rather Than Focus On The Sell

As a Forbes Coaches Council member, I was asked to give a short answer to this question which was compiled with other council members and published.

My answer is #6 – I hope you get value from it!

Marketing’s job isn’t to convince the customer to buy. It’s to create trust and rapport.

This is truly putting the customer’s needs first.

Forbes Coaches

Read more:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/09/to-improve-your-marketing-establish-a-connection-rather-than-focus-on-the-sell/#68369d912772

An Idea is Only as Good as the Implementation

What is implementation?

im·ple·men·ta·tion /impləmənˈtāSH(ə)n/ (noun)
the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.

As a creative business owner who loves what you do, you are probably inundated with great ideas every day. You probably get them in the shower, as you’re driving, while you’re sweating on the treadmill. But how many of those great ideas do you put into action and see through to fruition?

That’s what I thought. I know, I know, it’s hard! You’re so busy running your business. It’s hard to find the time for something new. A new idea may require you to learn new skills to bring to fruition. It may involve getting help, spending money, investing time.

And new is scary. What if it doesn’t work out? How do you know if its the right idea at the right time?

Of course, there are no guarantees. But think about it. What if Steve Jobs had never moved forward on the iPod? What if Ford never invested in the assembly line? What if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson quit before writing the Declaration of Independence?

What world changing, business revolutionizing, life impacting idea have you set aside because you just don’t have time?

So, how do you, as a ridiculously busy entrepreneur make your ideas a reality?

“It is not always what we know or analyzed before we make a decision that makes it a great decision. It is what we do after we make the decision to implement and execute it that makes it a good decision.”

–William Pollard

Create the Structure for Implementation

idea, action, implementationIf you are not implementing ideas, it is likely because you don’t have an existing system or structure for taking an idea, developing that idea into a plan of action and then implementing that plan. So the seed of the idea floats around for awhile but doesn’t find the fertile ground to settle into and begin to grow.

Put a few simple structures into place and your ideas will have a place to land:

  • Have a notebook (online or a physical notebook) to record your ideas when they come to you.
  • Schedule time in your week – every week – to explore and develop new ideas. Back in the day (they aren’t doing this anymore, I don’t think) Google used to allow their employees to take 20% of their time to work on ideas. You don’t need to spend 20% of your time – but set aside an hour or two every week. It’s the quality and consistency more than the quantity of time that’s important.

Implement One Idea at a Time

I recommend serial monogamy when it comes to projects – 1 project at a time! Too many projects means you won’t effectively deliver on any of them. So pick one idea and for all the rest, keep them in your idea notebook for the future.

So how do you decide which idea to pursue?

  • Remember, you’re jotting down your ideas in your notebook – is there an idea you’ve written down more then once? Is there an idea that keeps popping up, over and over? That might be the first one to go with
  • Maybe go through your list and pick the one that seems most exciting, most shiny to you.
  • All your other ideas, go into the notebook for later. Keep writing them down – but don’t let them distract you.

Once you’ve picked your idea:

You may discover from this process alone that your idea isn’t really going to work. That’s OK – it’s not wasted effort. Because you will have learned a lot – and you may find a way to pivot your idea or this may open up other ideas or clarify ideas you’ve already had. Just pick the next idea and move forward.

Put Your Idea into Action

Once you’ve made the decision that this idea is the one you’re going to move forward on, make a specific schedule in your week for when you will work on it. Get coaching and support and most importantly get into action.

Let me know how you do in the comments!

 

 

Save

Magic of Action Video

Check out this fun little video I made!

Procrastination as Information

When clients admit to procrastinating on an action in session, they are usually shrouded in shame and embarrassment. As if somehow they are a failure, because they’ve been procrastinating.

Does this sound familiar:

procrastination, resistance, action

I DON’T WANNA!

It feels like there’s a part of you that knows you “should” be doing this action and that part even wants to be doing it.  But there’s another part of you that’s like a whiny 3 year old, stomping your foot, saying, “I don’t WANNA!”  You beg and plead with that 3 year old inside of you, but you just can’t get into action.  And the more you push against it, the stronger the resistance.

Some of my clients think that, as their coach, I can fix them, force them, make them take action.  But here’s the thing – they’re not broken and neither are you. And the more you push against resistance the stronger and more powerful it becomes.

Procrastination is a symptom of something.  It’s not evidence that you’re broken.  It’s evidence that your unconscious is staging a rebellion.  And in order to bring your unconscious back into alignment with your conscious mind – you have to understand what is causing the rebellion.

Why shaming doesn’t work

Imagine if you went to a doctor and told him you have a sore throat.  And instead of the doctor examining you and running tests and prescribing treatment, instead, he told you that you were bad and wrong for having a sore throat.

Would that fix your sore throat?

Wouldn’t you just feel bad about yourself and still have a sore throat?  And yet, that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you beat up on yourself for procrastinating.  It doesn’t work.  Cut it out!

Procrastination is a symptom

Procrastination is the key to finding out what your unconscious is trying to tell you.  So instead of shaming yourself – start investigating. Become Dr. House and investigate what is causing your procrastination.  Get curious.

What is the root cause of your procrastination?

What Causes Procrastination?

There are many different reasons for procrastination.  And if you tend to procrastinate on a lot of different things – you may have different reasons for each thing.  Here is a list of common causes and some suggestions to counter them:

  • Your goals are unclear – you’re not sure why you should be doing this thing

Get clear on your goals – what specific goal does this action serve?

  • There is a learning curve for this action and you don’t know how to do it

Find someone who can show you how.  Take a class to learn how.  Google it!  Take the action and be willing to do it badly while you’re learning.

  • The action is too big, too vague or too general (overwhelming)

Break it down and get specific.

  • You have a lot of different actions you need to take and they all seem of equal priority or importance

Make a list and knock them out one at a time – if they are truly of equal priority, just pick ANY one.  Learn how to manage conflicting priorities.

  • No matter what you do, it’s never enough.  And you’re not allowed to play until you finish your homework!

Celebrate each accomplishment, each baby step.  Make sure you take breaks to play, exercise, just breathe. Not allowing yourself to celebrate is a recipe for burnout. This is critical!

  • The action feels like a big risk and you’re afraid to take that risk

First ask yourself, “Is this true?” In other words, is it really the risk you think it is? You may find that your fear of the risk is making it seem bigger. Get support or coaching around overcoming your fear.

  • When you imagine taking the action, you anticipate that it will be difficult or frustrating or even just boring

Just do it for 15 minutes – you can stop after 15 minutes.  Put on some really great music. Reward yourself for having done it by doing something really fun next.

  • When this action is complete, the next obvious action is either invisible (if I do this, then what?) or really scary (if I do this, then I’ll have to do THAT!)

Very often the next step will become clear when this step is done.  And you don’t have to do it alone.  Work with a coach to help you through the scary stuff and figure out what’s next. And remember – just focus on the action in front of you – the next action will be dealt with when it’s time to deal with it!

Diagnosing Your Procrastination

Do some of the above suggestions ring true for you? Here are a few more questions that might help you uncover the underlying cause of your hesitation and/or resistance.  First, don’t ask “why”!  “Why” just gives you reasons to procrastinate more!

  • When I think about taking this action, I feel ______________ (fill in the emotion word – anxious, sad, angry, etc.).  What am I thinking/believing that has me feeling ______________?
  • When I imagine taking this action, I think it is going to be _______________ (easy, hard, frustrating, boring, overwhelming, etc.)
  • How long will this action take me?
  • What are the specific steps to accomplishing this action?
  • What fear, concern or consideration is stopping me from taking this action?
  • What will taking this action do for me?  What outcome do I desire from taking this step?
  • What outcome am I afraid of, if I take this action?  What’s the worse case scenario? What if I do nothing?  Is that worse?
  • If I break this action down into its smallest component steps and just contemplate the first of those steps – how does that feel?  Can I take that baby step now?
  • Am I celebrating each baby step or am I only allowed to celebrate when I have the big goal and I’ve done it perfectly?

Sometimes simply asking some of these questions can actually clear you enough to get into action.

Procrastination can fundamentally undermine all of your time management systems.  So figuring out what is causing you to procrastinate is a critical first step in managing your time well.

What are you procrastinating? Share what you discover about your own procrastination in the comments, or ask for help figuring it out!

 

Save

Is Action Your Missing Piece?

action, results, goals, law of attractionIn my fifteen years as a business coach for the professionally creative and creative entrepreneurs, I’ve seen a lot of incredibly smart, very talented people struggle to bring their dreams to fruition.

When I first started – I believed that this was largely due to a lack of knowledge in business fundamentals and business skills. Which is why I created the Artists Marketing & Business Academy – to help you close that knowledge gap.

And while I still believe that’s part of the problem, I’ve come to the conclusion that you could have all the knowledge and skill training and still struggle.

Because there’s a piece missing – and that’s ACTION!

What is Action?

Much to my surprise – it turns out action is a pretty complex word with many different meanings. But here are the ones I think are most useful for this conversation:

action

1a: thing done, a deed
b: the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition
c: behavior, conduct
d: initiative, enterprise

2: an act of will

Merriam-Webster.com

LIVE ENCORE PRESENTATION – MAY 4TH

So, its what you do, right? Not what you say, not what you think, not what you wish, but what you actually DO.

You may remember a movie that came out several years ago — The Secret — which showed this guy sitting on his couch dreaming about a car – and then magically that car appears. I’ve always found that to be a misleading and possibly destructive portrayal of the Law of Attraction. Which led me to begin tweeting this:

The Law of Attraction without action is just the Law of Attr! Put the Action BACK!

It seems so simple – then why do we struggle so much with getting into action, staying in action, and choosing which actions to focus on?

What Blocks Action?

And why is it that some people seem to be completely stuck and stopped by these obstacles and others appear (at least from the outside) to be unstoppable?

You might think, “Well it’s just a difference in personality.”

Or, “It’s just easier for them than it is for me – they don’t have this problem with resistance or procrastination.”

Perhaps you even think, “I’m just … broken.”

Poppycock! I say!  Utter HOGWASH!

Okay – you might notice that this is a pet peeve of mine – you’re not broken. They’re not better than you. And it’s not some character flaw that you have no choice in!

What stops us is a bit different in each person.

  • It may look like procrastination.
  • It may look like analysis paralysis.
  • It may look like perfectionism.
  • It might feel like resistance, fear or overwhelm.

And it’s a useful exercise to examine what that dynamic is for you.

How do you know its time to stop? How do you know its the right time for some procrastination? (Wonder who’s tagged me on Facebook…) Understanding what your triggers are that begin this spiral into inertia or active resistance can help you disrupt that pattern. But understanding the pattern isn’t enough – you have to then have the tools to shift out of the pattern into something more productive.

What Allows or Even Motivates Action?

I believe that the primary difference between the folks that get stopped and the ones that seem to be unstoppable in their action is in their response to that stimulus. It’s not that they don’t get overwhelmed or experience fear. It’s not that they never question their choices or play the “Yeah, but…” game.

It’s that their response to that happening is to move forward into action.

You can think of it as simply rocking backwards and putting your weight in your heels. Or rocking forward and putting your weight on your toes. Try it – stand up and rock your weight backward just enough to sink into your heels. Then rock your weight forward to just slightly come up on your toes. Can you feel the difference? Can you feel the need, the desire, the irresistible urge to step forward when you rock forward?

So, when something seems to knock you off balance. When you feel stuck or stopped or resistant. When you are overwhelmed or stuck in perfectionism. Stand up and lean in.

Save

Save

The Magic of Action – Free Webinar!

Do you struggle with procrastination?
Are you overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to do – so much you are frozen by it?
Or are you really busy – but lack confidence that you’re doing the right things to create success?

Action is required to bring any goal to fruition.

Without action, inspiration and ambition are merely cool ideas.

Without action, your creativity stagnates, opportunities evaporate and despair gains fertile ground to root in.

FREE WEBINAR

The Magic of Action – How to Implement the Right Things at the Right Time!

LIVE ENCORE May 4th, 2017
7:00 PM EST

REGISTER TODAY!

It seems so simple, right? Just start moving, start doing, right? But very often, because of the power of inertia, starting can seem overwhelmingly difficult. So, we just do the things that seem easiest, but we can call them action – like going through email or doing the dishes.

And while something is certainly better than nothing – without results, we lose momentum and fall back into inertia. Because we’re not doing the RIGHT things.

If you are serious about your goals, about your career/business, about the impact you intend to make in the world – you must take action. And not just any action – but the right actions that will invigorate your desire and manifest your dreams.

You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.
–Mahatma Gandhi

In this free webinar, Debra Russell, certified business coach, speaker, and master practitioner in NLP and Hypnosis, will give you three pillars of successful action. With this guidance you can create sustainable and impactful action that will move you to your goals.

This webinar is completely free – and if you can’t make the live date – a replay will be made available to all those who register. Take action!

REGISTER TODAY!

How to Create Successful New Year’s Resolutions

What Makes a Successful Resolution?

Every year, people make New Year’s Resolutions – losing weight, exercising more, swearing less – all different kinds of resolutions. And usually, by about 3-4 weeks into the year, those resolutions have fallen by the wayside, to be chalked up as “Oh, well, better luck next year” (if you’re an optimist) or as proof of failure (if you struggle with that inner critic). It’s 2 weeks into the New Year – how are you doing so far?

The question is – how do you make a resolution that you can stick to, that actually improves your life and creates a more successful year?
new-years-resolutions

3 Keys to Resolution Success

  1. Limit yourself to 3 resolutions or fewer
  2. Be clear, specific and measurable with your resolutions
  3. Make resolutions that are tactics and actions not goals

Limit Yourself to 3 Resolutions

Too much change, too fast is a recipe for failure.

As human beings we resist change and we especially resist radical change. Smaller, more incremental change can short circuit this resistance. So limit yourself to 3 specific behaviors that you think would make a significant difference, but make them smaller in scope.

For example, if your goal is to improve your fitness:

  • If you never work out at all, resolve to work out for 10 minutes a day (Instead of 2 hours a day which would be too much)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. (A specific behavior)
  • Park at the back of the parking lot instead of the closest spot you can find. (A tactic to increase your daily step count)

These are 3 simple, small steps that will improve your fitness level without changing everything all at once. And notice, each choice was clear, specific and measurable. You may find that the 10 minutes expands naturally. Let it – that’s OK – but don’t mandate a huge chunk of time that you won’t be able to live up to.

Choose Clear, Specific and Measurable Resolutions

This seems pretty self-explanatory on the surface – so why do we have so much trouble with it? For example – do you have the words “less”, “more”, “longer”, etc. in your resolution? Those are comparative words and are inherently NOT specific.

To make a resolution specific, use a measure that you know you’ve either done or not done. For example, instead of “Exercise more,” how about “Exercise 3 times/week.”  Can you feel the difference between those two things?

If you’re not sure if your resolution is clear or specific enough – give it the success test. Will you know on any given day if you were successful in fulfilling a resolution?  If not – get more specific.

Resolutions Are Tactics and Actions Not Goals

In Goals and Actions and Strategies, Oh My! I clarified the difference between those terms. You may find it helpful to read that post as well before crafting your Resolutions.

Definition of a Tactic:

an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal

So to be clear – a resolution is not an objective or end result. It is the action or methodology that you believe will put you on the path towards your goals. So take a look at your resolutions – are they in alignment with a goal or goals? Will they move you forward towards what you want in your life for this year?

How to Implement your Resolution

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. You’ve chosen 3 (or fewer) simple actions or behaviors. You’ve made them clear, specific and measurable. You’ve clarified that they will indeed lead you in the direction of your goals for this year.  Now what?!?

Start today

Whatever day today is. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the 15th. It doesn’t matter if it’s June!!! Today is the first day of the rest of your life, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?  Start today.

Forgive Yourself

If you choose not to keep your resolution one day. Or maybe you forget. Or you only get to part of it. That’s OK – forgive yourself. If you use that as an excuse to stop, if you use “doing it perfectly,” as a reason to not do it at all, then you are not going to reach your goals.

Are you willing to not reach your goals?!?

Instead, say the following, “I recommit to doing this resolution now. I’m starting again, now.”

I heard somewhere (I wish I could remember where), a story about how this person quit smoking cigarettes. At first he decided to quit once a week. On Monday. “OK – It’s Monday, I’ve quit smoking!”

At first, it only lasted one day. He was smoking again by Tuesday. But after a few months or so of quitting every Monday, he had gotten up to 7 days without a cigarette. So that next Monday, he quit again… Pretty soon, he was only having to quit on the first of the month. Then, the first of the new year. Then he stopped thinking about it all together – because he didn’t smoke anymore.

So, just keep choosing the action or tactic. There is no failure. This next moment is another opportunity to choose.

But also – you can think of each resolution as an experiment. You choose a particular resolution because you think it will have a particular impact on your life. But what if you’re wrong?

This year, I made a goal to read 1 book a month that is not strictly entertainment – they can be self-improvement or inspirational or skill building books. They could be biographies or histories or science books. But not mysteries or romance or science fiction!

Then, I resolved to read these books on my lunch break. (Notice the difference between the goal and the resolution)

But here’s the thing – I don’t want to read stuff that’s “good for me” on my lunch break. On my lunch break, I want to be ON A BREAK!! And so the resolution lasted about a week and the second week, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. Does that mean I’m a failure? Should I give up on that goal? No, I need to choose a different tactic. Find time slots that are not break times to do that reading. I didn’t fail – I just chose the wrong tactic. A different method can still get me to my goal. But if I look at it as a failure, if I judge myself harshly – then I won’t even try a different tactic. The key is to think of it as an experiment – if it doesn’t work, try something else!

So please share with me in the comments – what actions or tactics are you choosing to make this your best year ever? And come back and tell me how it goes!

Boundaries – The Key to Time Management Sanity

boundariesDo you know what your boundaries are?  Most of us have some vague notion of what a boundary is and how it feels when someone has crossed our boundaries. But what are they really?

Boundary – Something that indicates bounds or limits; a limiting or bounding line.
Dictionary.com

In the context of time management, your boundaries can have many references.  It could refer to:

  • The beginning and ending of a block of time set aside for a particular activity.
  • The difference between your needs and another’s needs
  • The defining line between different projects or jobs in your life
  • The bounds between work and play, activity and rest, inner and outer focused energy

All of these are critical concepts when it comes to your ability to manage your time well.  Understanding what your boundaries are can help you prioritize, make decisions and create a sustainable business.  Burnout is generally caused from insufficient boundaries. (For example, working too much or putting other people’s needs/demands over your own needs)

Three Steps to Creating Time Management Sanity

1 – Creating A Clearly Defined Schedule

If you don’t know your boundaries – how can you defend them?  The simplest method of creating clear boundaries around your activities is working with a schedule or Time Map that has clearly defined time blocks in it.  This is different than a task list.  This is an organization of your time in which you have decided what category or area of your life you will be focused on during a specific block of time.  I go into more detail about exactly how to do this in The Artists Marketing & Business Academy – Track 3B Classes.

Once you’ve created a schedule that allows for balance and clear beginnings and endings, then you can practice maintaining those boundaries for yourself.  Also, when someone comes to you with a request for your time, you will be very clear on your availability. And if you choose to say “no” to their request (see #2), you don’t have to tell them it’s because you scheduled to do laundry during that time.  You can just say, “I’m sorry, I’m not available.”  (Practice that answer by yourself over and over if this is difficult for you!)

2 – Making Clear “Yes” or “No” Decisions

It is human nature to want to say “yes” to the people we care about, to the people we want to think well of us, really to most everyone.  Saying “no” is not a skill we’re taught as children.  In fact, quite the opposite, we’re taught that saying “yes” is rewarded and saying “no” is punished.  This is a skill you MUST learn as an adult.

As small business owners and solopreneurs, particularly those of us who work from home, we often receive requests for our time.

It is easy to say “no” to the stuff you don’t want, those are not the “no’s” we are talking about. We are talking about the challenging “no’s”, the ones that come when you have to say “no” to something you DO want, or to someone you care about, or want to help.

Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation – Global Solutions to Gender Violence

But if you know your schedule (see #1) and you’re clear on what your goals are and WHY you created that schedule and want those goals, then saying “no” becomes easier.  As Indrani taught me, when you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to everything else.  So, you better be clear on what you are saying “no” to when you say “yes”.  Here’s what I recommend when someone asks you for something that will take your time away from your goals (even when it’s something fun and fabulous):

  • What does the request entail?  Specifically, how much of your time, energy, and resources will it take?
  • When do they need your answer by?

Then end the conversation WITHOUT GIVING THEM AN ANSWER.  Promise you’ll get them an answer before their deadline and walk away (or hang up the phone).  Give yourself time to think, time to make the decision away from them.

In order to make this decision, ask yourself:

  • If I say “yes” to this, what am I saying “no” to, specifically?
  • What are the benefits to me personally if I say “yes” to this?
  • What will I lose if I say “yes” to this?
  • What will I lose if I say “no” to this?

These questions should help you come to a decision that enables you to honor your boundaries.

3 – Managing Expectations – Yours and Everybody Else’s!

Our tendency, particularly if you are a new or struggling business owner, is to promise your prospective clients the moon.  This can damage both your own life as well as your business.  Because you promise more than you can realistically achieve within the time allotted, you will either kill yourself to keep your promise, or break your promise and kill your reputation.

There is a saying, “Under promise and over deliver.”  I actually recommend, under promise and deliver on your promise with excellence.  That doesn’t necessarily mean over deliver.  It just simply means, promise only what you’re absolutely sure you can deliver and then deliver it with excellence.

Setting clear time boundaries is another important aspect of managing other people’s expectations.  For example, if someone calls you and asks if you have a minute – you know that they’re asking for more than a minute.  But you can respond with, “I can give you 5 minutes.”  And when that 5 minute period has ended, you can say, without guilt, “I have to go now.” and hang up.  Because you managed their expectations at the beginning of the conversation, ending that call becomes much easier.  I often do this when calling for technical support.  I start the call with, “I have a client in 15 minutes.”  And it’s amazing how much less time I now spend on these calls!

But you also need to manage your own expectations.  For example, creating a To Do List for today that has 16 hours of work, but you only have 4 hours available is a habit that can kill your self-esteem.  You will never get all of those things done, and every time you don’t, you feel like you’ve failed.  Have a master To Do list (ideally organized by category, see #1).  And then put on today’s task list ONLY what you are confident you can accomplish in the time available.  Hey, having to go back to the master list because you finished faster is a happy problem, right?

So how are you doing with your time management boundaries?  Let me know in the comments what new insights you got and any questions you have.