Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:28 AM PDT
Do you remember the new year's resolutions you set at the beginning of this year? What are they? How are you faring in them right now? If you're like most people, chances are you've long abandoned those goals. Some of you may not even recall what goals you have set. Which is unfortunate, because goal setting works; it has never failed anyone. The only reason why goals would stop working is because the person who has set the goals, i.e. you, chose to give up on them mid-way.
During the past few years, I've been working relentlessly on my goals - be it blogging, setting up my new business, improving my diet, losing weight, making like-minded friends, improving my relationship with my parents, and so on. Over the course of the past 2.5 years, I've made significant progress on those goals.
For example, I lost about 7-8kg this year and am at my desired weight today. I've switched from an unhealthy, junk food diet to a healthy, vegan diet which I'm proud of today. I created my personal development blog, and built it from 2 readers a day (me and my good friend) to over 600k page views/month - making it one of the top personal development blogs online. I've created a successful business out of my passion in personal development and am earning a steady, passive income from it. I resolved a deep-seated emotional eating issue which I've been struggling with the past decade. My previously sour relationship with my parents has dramatically improved for the better in the past 2 months.
I'm not sharing the above to distance myself from you, or to put myself on a pedestal. Quite the opposite - I'm sharing the above to let you know that because I've achieved my goals, you can achieve your goals too, no matter what they are. It's all a matter of staying focused.
If you constantly get distracted in your goal pursuits, here are 8 tips I have for you to stay focused:
- Concentrate on 1-3 goals
If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you're spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick to them. Don't bother yourself with any other goals until these goals are achieved (or unless priorities shift and these goals no longer reflect what you want in life).
For me, my top priority goal is to reach out to more people through my blog, so I ensure all my daily actions ladder up to this one goal. Majority of my time in the week is spent either writing new articles for the blog, maintaining my facebook and twitter account, maintaining the blog and forums, processing my emails or creating upcoming plans. If I'm caught up with something else for a long period of time, it's a cue to me that I'm off-track.
Such laser focus has allowed me to make much more progress, compared to when I juggle across 4-5 goals and make little progress in them.
- Create a vision board
A vision board is a collage of pictures and images that represent your goals and dreams. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize your end goals more clearly, which inevitably inspires you to take consistent action. Not only that, it also serves to remind you of your goals every day when you see the board. I've a vision board in my bedroom which I see every time I'm in my room. Every time I see my board, it reinforces my goals to me, and reminds me to take action so as to move forward.
If you've yet to create your vision board, I've created a video tutorial which you may find helpful: How to create your vision board.
- Create milestones
If you just set one huge goal, it can be discouraging - especially when you don't achieve it after a short while. When that happens, some people may procrastinate on the goal altogether - which is quite unfortunate. I find it's helpful to break a big goal into smaller goals, after which you concentrate on achieving the smaller goals in the short-run. Just like when you go on a long road-trip - You set pit-stops to rest/recuperate throughout the trip.
- Create a plan
If you have a plan worked out for your goal, it becomes much easier to stick to it. All you have to do is to follow the actions you have planned for the day. The best time to work out your plan is when you set the goal, because that's when your motivation is the highest. Usually, I create my goal action plans right after I set my goal, after which I take action immediately - which helps create a positive momentum.
- Track your results
It's important for me to track the results of what I do, because otherwise it feels like my actions are not making a difference. Hence, every time I work on a goal, I will identify 1-2 performance metrics, then track those metrics daily/weekly. They are my connection to the end goal, because they let me know whether I'm on track or off track, which in turn lets me know whether to tweak my actions or not.
- Have goal buddies
Goal buddies are people who share similar goals with you. They help to remind you about your goal, spur you on when you feel unmotivated, give you new ideas on how to achieve your goal, keep you on track, among others. Your goal buddies can be your friends, or people whom you meet in interest groups. Since you already share similar interests, it'll be easy to find people with the same goals. Read more: 7 Ways To Instantly Meet Like-Minded People
- Start a journal documenting your goal pursuit
Having a blog or private diary to document your goal pursuit can be a therapeutic experience. A lot of times, we abandon our goal pursuits because we get frustrated mid-way and we are not sure what to do about that. However, when we write out our thoughts, it helps us to get clarity on our issues and renews our interest in the goal. Many readers at my blog created their life journals in the blog forums and have found that to be tremendously helpful in keeping them focused on their goals.
- Be clear on why you're pursuing the goals
If you keep giving up on your goals halfway, perhaps you were never serious in them to begin with. For me, if I'm really serious about a goal, I'd never give up on it - I'd keep hammering away at it, regardless of the obstacles, until they give way and I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor.
I once had a coaching client who would embark on many new business ventures, only to stop within the first 2-3 months. He never knew why. When I drilled into the issue with him, he found out it was because he just wanted to start a business to earn money, whereas he was already earning good money with his current job - which meant little reason to move out of the comfort zone. After that, I recommended him to identify a business idea which he was truly passionate about - which he did, and today he has been working on this same business for the past 1.5 years, the longest he has ever kept to a business venture.
- Learn to say no
Do you often put your goals aside for other people? It's okay to do that once or twice, but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can't forever put your life on hold for others! I used to have trouble saying no to others, until I realized I was just doing myself and my dreams a disfavor when I say yes to something that's not what I want. Learn how to say no and you may find a bigger pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.
- 6 Steps To Getting Started With Something Totally New
- 6 Practical Tips To Make Your Habits Stick
- Learning To Say No: 6 Simple Tips To Do It
- 9 Proven Ways To Charge Up Your Motivation
|Written on 7/21/2011 by Celestine Chua. Celestine writes at The Personal Excellence Blog, where she shares her best advice on how to achieve personal excellence and live your best life. Get her RSS feed directly and add her on Twitter @celestinechua. If you like this article, you will enjoy one of her top articles: 101 Things To Do Before You Die.||Photo Credit: lululemon athletica|
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Thought I'd take a moment and let you know what I've done this summer in case you missed the announcement a few weeks ago.
After 8+ years working in sales and management with the Summit City Radio Group of stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I decided to accept an offer from Cirrus ABS, also headquartered in Fort Wayne.
This new opportunity is wide open as I help Cirrus find clients for their Net-Centered Marketing Agency.
Every year, while working in the radio business, I had people contact me asking me if I would consider working for them, and I always said no thanks.
This time was different.
I get to apply my marketing consulting background to the web world and help businesses and organizations find solutions that are cost effective and make good strategic sense.
I don't need to know how to write code to build websites, because we have 30 others at Cirrus ABS who handle those details.
I'm here to to act as an interpreter between the geeky-tech world and your business world.
Quite frankly, it is amazing.
I'm also in my 5th year on the Board of Directors for the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne and involved with multiple other volunteer organizations.
Anything I can do to help? Just ask.
And please think of me first when you are needing anything web related.
My contact info is:
SHoward@CirrusABS.com and 260-255-4357
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
When I worked in the radio advertising business, I had to learn to allow proper pacing.
Too often in our urgency to respond quickly, we leave out quality.
Seth Godin has more:
We certainly had one a decade ago. Communication was moving too slowly, interactions took too long, ideas stumbled along. It used to take four weeks for someone to answer a piece of mail!
Leapfrogging that four week standard was one of the key reasons to adopt online business. Faster meant better, because faster led to tighter integration, more feedback and greater market share. Four weeks became two weeks became a day became an hour...
I'm not so sure we have a significant speed shortage any longer. Not in the loop of business communication, certainly. Being twice as fast to respond as you were last year may no longer be worth the risk and effort. It might not even be possible. (Though there are a few areas where first matters a lot, most notably the speed realtors respond to inquiries).
What's scarce? Good ideas, not just fast ones. Shipping the good ideas. Finding the spot where uncomfortable meets important.
I'd rather you think and instigate. Get back to me tomorrow, that's fast enough.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Posted: 22 Jul 2011 09:44 AM PDT
Are you a robot? Most people would say no, but they don’t know what you are about to discover in this article.
In order to function in our society, we have a lot of processes, beliefs and generalizations that keep us efficient. The problem is that sometimes these automatic processes can get out of control, which happens a lot, and it keeps us doing something we don’t want to be doing.
There are many more mental mistakes than the ones below, but these will open your eyes and get you thinking in a new way.
Our minds are so used to labeling people, things, and experiences all around us that we don't even notice that it's happening.
When you see someone who is a certain way, you have labels for that, and it evokes certain feelings and sometimes behaviors in you that aren't always desirable.
You may sit in nature enjoying the wind, as you look at all the beautiful things, and feel what it feels like to just be there.
If you do this and try to label everything, looking at a tree, making an intellectual exercise of the whole thing, you probably won't feel as good as you could being in the now.
This is a big one, and one that often destroys relationships. A great example of mind reading is if you look at a friend or your significant other, and guess how they're feeling and thinking.
You don't really know how they are feeling and what is going on inside of them. You think you know; but you really do not.
The reason this isn't a problem at the beginning of a relationship is because you don't know anything about the person, so you don't know enough to make these assumptions.
Be very aware when you're trying to mind read people, because it usually doesn't end well, unless you are psychic.
- Guilt Tripping
Guilt tripping basically refers to when you try to manipulate someone by making them feel guilty or any other way.
A lot of people do this, because they don't know any other way to get people to do what they want to do. They don't realize that they can just tell people what they are going to do, and let other people decide for themselves.
If you find yourself making others feel guilty, stop, and consider what you're doing. Imagine doing what you're doing for the next 10 or even 20 years in the future.
What kind of impact will it have on your relationships?
How will it affect how you will be feeling inside?
- Predicting Catastrophe
This is a big one.
How often have you found yourself imagining the worst possible outcome just because you had something not go your way? If you’re like me, it happens more than you’d care to admit, and it doesn’t make you feel good, does it?
It's not always easy to get out of the pattern if you've been doing this for a long time. It has been ingrained in you, but just having the awareness of what you're doing can help you let it go. There are a lot of healing modalities out there that are extremely effective in helping you let go patterns that are no longer helping you, such as NLP and EFT.
The same applies to the people you spend time with. You may know someone who always notices the worst in everything.
You tell them your grand plans and dreams, but they only tell you why you won't be able to do it, and why you shouldn't even try.
If you notice yourself doing this to anyone, just let it go, because it's not worth the energy. It just makes you feel bad, and makes other people avoid you.
- Turning Processes Into Things
Turning processes into things happens largely because of how we use language, and it’s effective, but the problems begin when it keeps you stuck. For example, someone might say that they have trouble with their relationship, and it feels like this huge problem.
What they forget to become aware of is that a relationship is the process of relating to another human being, so the question isn’t how you can fix it. The question becomes how you’re relating to this other person that you don’t like, and how you want to begin changing it.
Do you notice how it frees up the energy and makes it feel lighter? That is the amazing power of the language we use and your mind. We are dynamic beings, so if you feel stuck, remember that it’s not that you are literally stuck, it’s the way you are keeping yourself in the feeling of stuckness.
|Written on 7/23/2011 by Henri Junttila. Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where he shares his personal tips on how you can live the life you know you deserve. When you feel ready to take action, get his free course: Find Your Passion in 5 Days or Less. And if you liked this article, you will enjoy one of his top articles: 77 Great Quotes That Will Change Your Life.||Photo Credit: pasukaru76|
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I think his favorite was being a purchasing agent.
This article from AOM reminded me of him:
How to Haggle Like Your Old Man
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tyler Tervooren of Advanced Riskology.
“It’s learning how to negotiate to keep both sides happy – whether it’s for a multi-million dollar contract or just which show to watch on TV, that determines the quality and enjoyment of our lives.” – Leigh Steinberg
My old man was a master haggler; he could strike a deal with darn near anyone for darn near anything. To say I learned a lot about making deals while growing up would be an understatement. From buying a TV at the department store to haggling over a used car in the local classifieds, my dad always ended up with a great deal, and he usually took me along to witness it first hand.
Today, haggling is one of my favorite hobbies, and it has nothing to do with being cheap or trying to “win.” I simply enjoy the exchange between two sharp men that turns a mediocre deal into a great one for both parties.
Depending on where you are in the world, negotiation is either a part of everyday life or an uncomfortable practice that’s consciously avoided whenever possible.
But here’s a truth that many of us, especially those of us living in the Western World, don’t always consider: whether or not you realize it, every interaction you have with another person is a negotiation. From picking a romantic date with your wife to finding an agreeable price for some tchotchke gift with the local thingamajig salesman, we’re navigating a world of back and forth deal-making.
If you accept and embrace that, you can become much better at it, getting what you want from your life and feeling more fulfilled. If you reject it, your other choice is to take what’s given you and hope that it matches what you want. I learned from Dad long ago that the first option comes with better odds.
To become a better haggler and, subsequently, create a better life for you and your family, the first hurdle to get over is breaking down all the myths we’ve come to believe about haggling. Things like:
- Haggling is too argumentative. Only if you’re doing it wrong! Effective haggling doesn’t look or feel anything like an argument, and there’s little or no friction involved. In fact, done just right, it feels like an everyday conversation that you’d have with a friend. Good haggling actually builds respect between two people rather than diminishes it.
- Haggling is for poor people and cheapskates. Ask any wealthy person if they got where they are by taking every deal that came their way at face value. Of course they didn’t! They knew exactly what they wanted and decided how much they were willing to give up to get it. Billionaire CEOs haggle with each other every day over multi-million dollar deals. You only look like a cheapskate when you become petty, not when you work hard to get a great deal on something that’s important to you.
- Haggling is inappropriate. Yes, arguing over the price of a Coke at a 7-11 is probably inappropriate and it definitely makes you look like a cheapskate, but sincerely asking for consideration when you’re pursuing something valuable to you is never inappropriate and no one thinks less of you for doing it.
- Haggling isn’t worth the time or savings. A good negotiation definitely takes time to complete, but it’s almost always worth the outcome. Some of my most successful haggles have resulted in as much as 50% savings on big-ticket items. I don’t usually even bother to negotiate unless I think I can save $100/hour or more for the work.
- I don’t have the aggressive personality it takes to haggle. Good haggling is simply an exchange between two people trying to find a win/win deal. You do not need to be aggressive to do it effectively. In fact, if you’re the domineering type, that’ll often work against you more than it will work for you.
Find Many Paths to Success
“If you come to a negotiation table saying you have the final truth, that you know nothing but the truth and that is final, you will get nothing.” – Harri Holkeri
No matter whom you’re crafting a deal with, one of the most fatal negotiation mistakes I’ve learned to avoid the hard way is to get yourself wrapped up in just one possible outcome. If you don’t get it, there’s nowhere else to go. Why limit yourself to such a narrow definition of success?
A great negotiation should be fluid and evolve as you and your partner (notice how I said partner, not adversary) get to know each other’s goals. Setting your sights on only one scenario ruins any chance that your haggle will develop a natural flow that fits both parties.
This is sort of like creating your imaginary perfect girlfriend long before you ever meet someone and comparing any woman you meet to this illusion. One of them is fun to think about but always ends in frustration. The other is the key to happiness, but doesn’t fit the exact mold you’ve created in your mind. You’ll never find the perfect match, woman or otherwise, if you limit yourself to just one set of circumstances.
Always look for multiple outcomes.
“It is a bad bargain, where both are losers.” – Ancient proverb
I was just a kid in 1994 when the World Series was canceled because the players and owners couldn’t play together nicely.
Owners wanted to institute salary caps to spare themselves from ridiculous bidding wars and players wanted contracts that weren’t subject to renegotiation every season. For months, neither side would consider the other’s argument and the result was hundreds of canceled games and, as I recall, some really pissed off little leaguers.
When the two sides finally came together, they did so begrudgingly and the deal they reached suffered tremendously because of it. The owners ended up losing hundreds of millions of dollars and the players saw an average salary decrease of 5%. A lose/lose deal if I ever saw one.
When you come to the table with as many different options for success as possible, good deals come faster and easier.
Never Speak First
“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But, let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy
Just a few days ago, I was hanging out with a friend when he remembered the garage sale drill press in the basement I’d bought a few years ago and never used. We started talking about it and all the great projects I should have known at the time I would never use it on (I spent a few years trying to convince myself I was into woodworking to no avail), when he mentioned that he had just the project he needed it for and offered to buy it.
I was excited at the prospect of getting paid to get rid of something that reminded me of a failed hobby, so I immediately blurted out, “Hey, if you’ve got $20, it’s all yours.” I don’t even remember how much I paid for it, but Paul must have thought it was a pretty good offer because he practically had the money out of his wallet before I could finish the sentence.
Now, between two pals, this is no problem. I was getting rid of a bad memory and Paul was getting a great deal, but it’s a good example of a big negotiation faux pas—never say the first number.
Never say the first number.
If possible, always defer to the other party when finding the starting number because it gives you a lot of information to work with in determining the best strategy going forward. It’s like having the home team advantage at a baseball game (this’ll be my last baseball reference, I promise). If the first number isn’t close to what you’re looking for, you can immediately decide to either not waste anymore time negotiating or come up with a strategy that draws the deal away from the dollar amount and towards something else valuable to the other party.
This trick I learned from my old man earned me $10,000 a year during my first salary negotiation. Going into it, I’d undervalued myself, but by insisting I couldn’t make the first offer, I ended up negotiating a number much higher than I’d originally expected.
In my example with Paul, I probably left a fair bit of money on the table by making the first move. It was obvious he was ready to pay more if I’d asked for it. No sweat for a friend, but certainly a disappointment otherwise.
It Ain’t All About Money
“Flattery is the infantry of negotiation.” – Lord Chandos
Use the words haggling, bargaining, or negotiating in a conversation, and just about everyone will assume you’re talking about money. For a great haggler this certainly doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, the more you draw your negotiation away from numbers, the more likely, it seems, you’ll end up with one that’s closer to what you want.
Draw the negotiation away from money and you'll get closer and closer to the dollar figure you want.
Numbers are very linear, so we’re hardwired to pick one and stick to it as much as possible. But numbers don’t stand alone; they’re usually influenced by some type of emotional attachment you have to whatever you’re bargaining over. A number itself is irrelevant. What matters is knowing why someone picked the one they did and then finding ways to meet that person’s needs in ways that make the number less important, giving it more room to budge.
Was that a little hard to follow? Let me give an example from my own life of what I’m taking about.
I have a lovely girlfriend. She owns a bakery in Portland and always brings home delicious leftovers. Since she has a passion for food and spends most of her days preparing it for other people, she likes to go out and be waited on. A lot. In the past, this was a friction point between us because I hated spending so much money dining.
For the longest time, I thought the only way to satisfy her was to go out for lots of expensive meals when really all she wanted was someone to pay attention to her (ahem…that’d be me) and make her feel like she was being treated to something special. Once I realized that, the regular $50 and $100 dinners weren’t important any more. Price meant nothing to her; the experience is what she cared about. I could cook her a meal at home and she’d love it. If we wanted to go out, I could pack a picnic and head to a park for lunch and she’d be over the moon.
It took me awhile to realize this (What can I say? You won’t see me writing a guest article about romance any time soon), but once I did, finding the perfect alternative to a wallet-busting dinner out has been easy.
Price is rarely the final deciding factor in a negotiation. It gets a lot of attention because it’s the easiest metric to focus on, but if you take the time to find the intangibles that your counterpart really values, your haggling job gets a whole lot easier.
If Someone Loses, You Did it Wrong
“Any business arrangement that is not profitable to the other person will, in the end, prove unprofitable to you. The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated.” – Henry R. Luce
I used to manage projects for a large construction firm. Late one afternoon, I was strolling through one of my projects across town, checking out the progress for the day and making sure we were still on schedule. The doorframes were all supposed to be installed, so I was paying particularly close attention to them. Sure enough, they were all there—just what I expected from the top-rate installer we’d hired.
I was about to leave when I got the strange feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. I wandered around for 10 minutes and then I realized it—every single doorframe was the wrong color. Every one of them! $100,000 worth of custom metalwork—totally wrong.
In lots of situations like this, here’s how the conversation would go between the project manager and the doorframe supplier (expletives removed for common decency):
PM: All your frames are the wrong color. You need to take them down, get new ones, and reinstall them.
Door Guy: Sure thing, boss. That’ll be $100,000. How would you like to pay?
PM: Umm, no. You $*%&$# this up. You’re going to fix it at no cost, and we’ll bill you for any delays to the project.
Door Guy: But that’s going to cost us a fortune, and we’ll never finish in time! This could bankrupt us!
PM: Not my problem. I want the right frames, and you can pay the owner and all the other trades for the time they lose thanks to your #$&% up. See you tomorrow.
I was mad as hell, and I could have said just that to the supplier, and it’s what they’d have had to do. In the end, the project would have been just right, but literally everyone involved would have been upset about it, and I’d probably still be dealing with papers from the court case that would have ensued afterwards.
Luckily, I learned a valuable lesson from my old man about being a hard ass dealmaker:
Don’t try to be the victor. Avoid zero-sum games where someone else has to lose in order for you to win. If you negotiate like that, you’ll probably win a few, but you’ll lose just as many and kill a lot of good relationships along the way. Instead, find a way for everyone to win.
Avoid zero-sum games. Try to find a way for everyone to win.
So, what did we end up doing about all those doorframes?
We stopped the project for a day, sat down with the door supplier and the owner, and worked out a deal that allowed them to repaint the frames rather than toss them out, gave a reasonable discount to the owner, and saved the project schedule so that we all looked good.
Today, when you walk into that office building, the color of the doorframes isn’t exactly right, but there are only a few people who know it, and none of them care. Three months after that fiasco, we had another multi-million dollar contract with the same client. They liked how we handled their project. And guess who supplied the doors?
Less is More—Know When to Shut Up
“We don’t point a pistol at our own forehead. That is not the way to conduct negotiations.” – Benjamin Netanyahu
My old man is the strong, silent type. I learned early on that Dad doesn’t talk a lot, but when he does, it’s probably important. This quality came in handy when it was time to do business because one of the most powerful ways to negotiate is to simply say nothing.
Whether you’re making an offer or receiving one, getting your point across and keeping quiet is one of the strongest ways to sway a bargain in your favor. Why? Because we hate awkward silence and will do anything to avoid it if we can, like negotiate against ourselves because we’re afraid we’re losing the deal.
Know when to shut up, and never negotiate against yourself.
Just got the salesman to quote you a price on that new thingamajig? Try acknowledging it by saying nothing but, “Hmmm,” and furrowing your brow like you’re contemplating it. Then just sit quietly until they feel compelled to speak again.
There are really only two likely responses you’ll get to that reaction:
- They’ll repeat themselves and prompt you again to tell them what you think.
- They’ll fumble over themselves a little bit before sweetening the deal.
This tactic works brilliantly. I know because I’m a sucker for it. If I’m bargaining for something and my offer is met by silence, I’m always afraid I’ve caused some sort of offense and rush to fix it by adjusting the offer.
This sometimes works on me even when I know it’s being used as a tactic; it’s that powerful. That’s why it’s so important to remember not to negotiate against yourself. Never change your offer until it’s been met by a counteroffer. If you’re sitting in awkward silence, don’t just concede because you want to feel comfortable. Instead, ask if they understood your offer and restate it again just in case. If you’re being met by nothing but stalling and you’re willing to negotiate more, you can actually invite a counteroffer—literally ask them to counter you.
It’s okay to invite competition because that’s always better than negotiating against yourself. If you’re going to give up some ground, make them ask for it rather than just handing it over.
Whether you’re trying to save some scratch on a new refrigerator or you just want to find an agreeable way to get your parents to watch your kids for the night, remember that every exchange with another human being is—in some way, shape, or form—a negotiation, a sort of dance from separate corners of a room to an agreeable spot in the middle.
I learned a lot from my old man about the art of the haggle, but there was one important thing I had to learn on my own:
In life, you rarely get anything you don’t ask for. If you want something, you’d better do your part to get it. If you ask nicely, and you ask fairly, most people will go a long way to meet you in the middle.