Your Values Run the Show

Before you can lead others – establish a mission statement, focus, direct and guide others to bring a product or service successfully to market – you need to clarify your core convictions, your values. The way you lead or run your business is an extension of how you personally conduct yourself on a day-to-day basis. Your values indicate what is important to you.

Your core values guide the behavior and the decision-making of your workforce. Whatever values you play out in your life, good or bad, will influence the behavior of your family members, your employees and the outcome of your enterprise. Your team(s) looks to you as the model for the values you espouse. As a leader, you need to show consistently what those “values” talk and walk like.  When the walk doesn’t match the talk, when core values are inconsistent, they become the source of mistrust, cynicism, and low performance at home and at work.

Values are:

  • What drive your priorities in life
  • How you like to spend your time
  • What give you the most enjoyment and satisfaction
  • How you relate to others

Clarifying your values helps you understand yourself and why you  choose to act the way you do. Knowing your values provides focus and identifies characteristics you would like to develop, live and lead by. Take my Core Values exercise  and learn more about you, your family and your team.

CoreCoaching is all about capitalizing on your strengths and developing aspects of yourself you want to strengthen. Contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com 

 

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Get Motivated: Let “A” Help You Get to “B”

Don’t think for a minute that motivation is available 24/7 to high achievers. Many successful entrepreneurs need to jump-start their day with morning rituals, strong coffee, prayer, lots more prayer etc. Others go to outrageous extents. For example, I met a couple who hired a former Navy Seal to burst into their house, yell and call them names until they finished their big projects… (I took his number, just in case!)

What make these jump-start activities effective is what they do for our brains. These activities release extra calming (serotonin) or energizing (dopamine, endorphins, BDNF,etc) brain chemicals. The release of these chemicals brings us to action. We love the Seals, but they can be rather loud and expensive. Instead, consider a simple, practical and self-driven method that creates just enough spark to get you started − called “A then B.”

1) Select a physical activity (Activity A) that will spark enough motivational juice needed for your must-do activity (Activity B). Activity A should be a desirable activity that puts you in a good mood and pushes you physically a bit beyond your comfort zone. Activity A should take no longer than 30 minutes.

2) Identify the task (Activity B) you need to complete or get started on. Today, for example, I have a boatload of writing that I love to do, but it means a few sets of two hour stints in a chair. It being a sunny and warmer Sunday, it’s the sitting for hours part that I’m not psyched about.

To get my brain’s chemistry working for me, I have elected a winter bike ride (Activity A). It is a physical and mental challenge greater than the mental challenge (Activity B) that awaits. So, today I suited up for a cold and windy 30 minute ride. I pumped up my tires (already uncomfortable) and chose the nastiest bunch of hills I could find (really uncomfortable). As I pushed up those hills, I could feel my brain’s juices ramping up, as I surpassed my comfort zone to the top. I said to myself with a big grin, “If I can do this, then I have the fortitude to sit for the rest of the afternoon and pull off some mighty good writing. It will be awesome!”  My KITA (I’ll let you figure out what that stands for) bike ride, gave my brain enough of a boost to hunker down and meet my writing quota for the day.

You don’t need to go to those extremes. Just be sure to add some self-mentoring talk to Activity A as you take a fast walk around the block, or do 25 good pushups and 20 jumping jacks, or bicep curls with cans of tomatoes− something that gets your heart pumping and your mind in gear to execute Activity B.

Let me know how the “A then B” strategy works for you!

Need some help in getting things done well and on time? We can do this! Read more about my Core Four Coaching for COREageous Entrepreneurs. Write to me at Rebecca@mindfulcommuication.com

 

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What “Disorganization” Sounds Like

Let me share some thoughts inspired by a recent Shark Tank episode…

A contestant demonstrated a very unique product that piqued the Shark’s interest. When asked about his background, he listed numerous talents, brainy feats and escapades that led to the development of his new product.  Instead of his colorful past being a plus in the Shark’s eyes however, his history raised a red flag. One Shark called him “too disorganized” so she was “out.” (For those of you new to Shark Tank, “out” means not interested in the deal.) The contestant appeared perplexed and somewhat taken aback by her comment. What might have saved him? A statement or two, immediately following his list of exploits, conveying a passionate and enduring commitment to the success of the current product might have kept him in the running.

Perhaps “disorganized” was not the best word choice. To most people “disorganized” means a cluttered desk or misplacing your keys. The Shark may have chosen that word to represent a few less obvious concerns related to disorganization that can doom a startup. Founders, it’s important to know the less obvious ways that you can appear “disorganized” in the eyes of investors:

  1. As much as creativity is an asset to an entrepreneur, having many simultaneous and disparate activities going on are liabilities. It suggests you have difficulty focusing in on one thing that requires deliberate, consistent and sustaining dedication like a startup. Problem: An Investor will see herself doing all the work or exerting too much effort directing and monitoring you than it’s worth.
  2. Indirect and lengthy answers to simple questions suggest a disorganized mind. Or, perhaps you introduce ideas into the conversation that are unrelated to the main point. Problem: An investor may sense the need to constantly corral your attention to the topic or task at hand. Exhaustive repetition, interruption and re-direction is too great of an energy expenditure for a busy Shark.
  3. Do you engage in too much levity when there should be seriousness? Problem: You may be a nice guy or gal and fun to be around, but when it comes to spending other people’s money and getting things done, joking around is a waste of time.
  4. Is your presentation delivered in a logical sequence? Problem: Potential backers do not want to work harder than you to figure out your plan from start to finish.

The bottom line: Examine your sales pitch and presentation. Make the changes necessary to avoid being perceived as “disorganized.”

Do you need an expert set of eyes and ears to identify the red flags that could discourage customers and investors from wanting to work with you? Contact me for Core Four Coaching Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com   

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Two Steps to a Smooth Re-entry

To echo my previous blog, let me remind you that the most powerful transformations begin with small, consistent steps.

The most common refrain I’m getting from readers this week is: “I just returned from time off from my project, and I’m having a tough time getting back in the groove.” This is where your brain is saying, “I am struggling to shift gears” or “I can’t get a foothold back into my routine.”  Hopefully, you had some hunks of restorative downtime – you caught up on sleep, you let your mind wander so that your subconscious had a chance to work on solutions and new ideas. Bravo! Now, make your re-entry into the world of work smoother:

  • If you don’t have a simple morning ritual, a jump-start to your day, find one. See my earlier blogs on this topic. If you had a morning ritual, maybe it’s not as potent as it needs to be. It’s okay and advisable to tweak a ritual – maybe add little more push to last year’s routine, or replace one step with another to keep it fresh. For example, I’ve begun alternating a slide workout on M,W,F with a holding position on T and TH. I’m adding no extra time, just a little spice. One of my students is starting off his morning ritual this year with a strong cup of coffee instead of waiting till after. Keep your routine simple, novel and effective or watch it fade.
  • Do 1-2 tasks that require some deep productive work starting today, short bursts of 30-60 minutes, to refresh your concentration. Reward yourself in a small, but appreciable way for re-igniting your brain’s super powers.

Take just those two steps and call me in the morning!

This is your year to make things happen! Let my CoreFour Coaching be the push you need. Email me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Happy 2018!       

 

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Resolve to “Go Micro” (Part One)

After tonight’s killer boot camp, the instructor announced that between January and March a flood of new, resolute members will descend upon the gym. We were asked to be patient and encouraging to new members. She assured us that, come mid-March, our class size will normalize with only a few new members remaining.

Why does this happen? Combine the pressure to regularly get to the gym, to be patient and accepting of oneself, and to tolerate too much discomfort too fast causes the high New Year’s Resolution crash and burn rate. These admirable, super-sized intentions are a great strain on one’s limited willpower reserve.  What results is a sense of failure and another blow to one’s self-esteem.  How can you avoid this?  If you are thinking about any New Year’s resolutions for you and your business, I advise you to plan first and then “go micro.” Ask yourself:

  • Which new habit would have the greatest impact on your family and your business?
  • What would you gain from your new habit? And conversely, what will you lose by not following through with this resolution?
  • How will you break down your resolution into micro steps making change more gradual, least uncomfortable, noticeable and worthwhile?
  • Do you need a coach or a partner to motivate you and monitor your progress?

 

Jess, a 40 year old founder of a small home furnishings company, wanted to keep her meetings under 20 minutes. Her meetings typically ran over 40 minutes. She knew that shorter, more efficient meetings would yield greater productivity for her team, plus she’d get home earlier to her family at night. She tended to address topics off the top of her head and over talk. Jess recognized that her poor planning and gift of gab were problems. After previous failed attempts to stick to the 20 minute limit, I suggested we chose just three micro steps and apply one at a time:

1) prioritize the top 2-3 topics for the meeting

2) write out the key talking points , and

3)  have an analog clock in view so as to pace herself.

Interestingly, Jess reported that the analog clock was the most helpful step in staying on track. She remarked, “I got a sense of what 20 minutes felt like and what I could reasonably accomplish in that span of time.”

These small steps improved other inefficiencies such as: dependency on Jess to remember the main points, her over-talking and wasting time. Three meetings later, after applying a micro step at a time, the new habit was in place. The benefits of the micro approach? Staff demonstrated 20-30% better follow through, there was less confusion about priorities and next steps, attendance at meetings increased resulting in better staff connection, and Jess was getting home sooner. Resolving to a micro step approach can make a New Year’s resolution stick.

Let me help you “Go Micro” and accomplish more this year. Email me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com and let’s get started.      

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Jeremy’s Quest for Focus

In my recent blogs, I’ve talked about distraction, discipline and procrastination as my clients’ most common complaints. You’ve asked for examples from extreme to mild, so here you go! Let’s start with an extreme case, as in extremely interesting and challenging.  Jeremy is 26 years old with ADHD. He is very hyper and alas, a brilliant wantrepreneur. He’s tried ADHD medications to no avail; the side effects and mental dampening were intolerable.  Jeremy’s brain is like an idea magnet (sounds familiar?). He has trouble focusing because ideas keep pouring into his head all day and night. Jeremy lives with his very wealthy parents and dabbles in freelance programming.  He spends several hours a day researching (defined by him as “whipping through a hundred sites a minute”) and incessantly checking social media. At this point Jeremy sees his lack of mental control as his biggest enemy. It frustrates and saddens him, but he’s motivated. He sees many of his friends with lesser intellect start and succeed in startups. Jeremy sees no path to success unless he can harness his focus and concentration.

With a student like Jeremy there are two ways to start: #1 decrease the anxiety by a variety of alternative means (biofeedback, meditation, etc.), or #2 engage him in an exercise that will yield some appreciable, short term results proving that self control is possible. I chose #2 as a first step. We began by identifying his top 5 favorite ideas out of current list of 30 favorites. We agreed to give each idea no less than 5 minutes of discussion. (Forcing focus on only one idea in the session would be maddening for Jeremy and possibly cause major damage to my office!) We talked through one idea at a time though, using cues to avoid digression. This exercise was like drug withdrawal for him. Digging deep into the nuts and bolts of one project at a time was painful. Logistics narrowed down the list to 3 possible projects. With pen in hand (archaic perhaps, but better for retention) Jeremy divided a paper in thirds, a column for each of the three remaining projects. He took notes in bullets and organized the steps in sequence. After a grueling 90 minutes, there was a structure on paper, something tangible, satisfying and exciting to see. He became quiet and felt quite pleased with himself. This was the almost instant gratification Jeremy needed to further his practice in honing his focus. In future blogs, I’ll share Jeremy’s progress and how, step-by step, he became successful.

Would you like to sharpen your focus and concentration and get your projects off the ground? Write to me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com.  Read about my CoreFour Coaching at www.MindfulCommunication.com.

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“After the holidays…” Seriously?

Attention: Self-starters! Yes, you with projects on the table − this “after the holidays” excuse ranks Number One on the Procrastination leader board. It’s getting old, and it’s obsolete. It worked well before online shopping, when writing Christmas cards took two full evenings to complete, and when you felt compelled to write those long-winded, egocentric letters telling people about your fabulous year. Come on. You’re going to hold off doing anything productive until “after the holidays?” It’s almost laughable.

Friends, the holidays are a great time to hunker down away from distraction and get work done. You can still have family time and take a few days to hit the Mall, the slopes or the beach, but to postpone your personal and business progress because of the holidays is slacker-speak!

Two more reasons I cringe when I hear this refrain (my older clients know not to utter that phrase in my presence)  is that the holiday excuse gives people license to fudge on the habits or disciplines they’ve cultivated over the last couple months. Those nascent circuits (more productive behaviors and habits) trying to get a foothold in your brain start to break down. After a week or so of letting your efforts slide, you’ll have to start from square one again!  The other problem with this excuse is that after the holidays it takes days, and for some weeks, to get back into the swing of things.

Here’s how I follow my own advice: I’m 100% family on Christmas Day and the first night of Hanukah. Then I take a holiday week and go ski. I ski from 8:00a.m to 3:00p.m., followed by an hour of après-ski until 4:00. By 4:30 I’m back in my room writing, researching, responding to emails and checking in with my clients. Other family members have a separate room so my husband and I can work distraction free. Come 7:00 it’s dinner− quality,guilt-free time to focus on my family.

So, go ahead and carve out some hours of fun and relaxation with your family, but figure out how you can keep honing those new skills and routines you’ve started. After that first week in January, you’ll emerge on schedule and ahead of the game compared to others who are just getting over the holidays.

If you want to get started building your core skills and routines before or during the holidays – don’t delay. Visit www.MindfulCommunication.com or write me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com and we’ll get going!

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A Down Day? “GOOD!” says Jocko Willink

Are you a fair weather worker? Can you only be productive when the sun is shining? I have many clients who dread a gray, overcast day. Perhaps there are other gloomy things going on in your life – oversights, lost opportunities or rejection?

Here in West Newbury it’s 29 degrees and cloudy. As I get older, I find my moods are tainted by the weather too. Living out here in the countryside the weather is right in my face big time; no tall buildings to obscure the truth.  It’s my challenge then to open doors, make the calls, send those emails, write a chapter or two for my manuscript and do my workout. So, when I look outside and see the fog and drizzle, before I let the weather color my world, I follow the advice of Jocko Willink, a retired Navy Seal Officer, author of the awesome Discipline Equals Freedom — I proclaim a loud, resounding “GOOD!” I feel an immediate physiological change – I feel taller, lifted, I’m smiling and ready to take action. If you shout “BAD” instead, notice how terrible that feels! Language is very powerful in this way.

So, when things aren’t going so well, when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed shout  “GOOD! Now, let me take a step back and see how to solve this situation.”  This moves you right to problem solving mode before you slip into the slow, low doldrums of hopelessness. Speak aloud your solutions and intentions of the day too! Turn that bad mood on its head. Got it? GOOD!

What do you think? Try it out and let me know! Together, let’s power up your Core for 2018! Read about my Core Four Coaching at www.MindfulCommunication.com

 

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