There is a lot that comes at us in life and business. We seem to have problems and things impacting us from all angles. Many times, we ALLOW these things to affect us and we waste a lot of time and energy on them without getting a resolution. We spend our precious thoughts and time worrying about these things.
There is a principle from a wise Stoic that gave a great approach to living a good life. His name was Epictetus. Born a slave in 55 AD, he was granted freedom due to his superior intellect and became a mentor to noblemen and emperors. His most important work was in The Discourses which influenced many leaders to come, including Marcus Aurelius. He boiled things down to a fundamental rule and truth which says, "There are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t control, and you must know the difference."
A lot of people have written about this over the years and expanded greatly on it and Epictetus' writings. Years ago, I was introduce to his principles and the 3 C's. I cannot take credit for the 3C's although I did adapt them and change them a little over the years. Here are my 3C's to handling the problems of life and living better.
Think about those for a second and how true they are. I love the simplicity of them.
There are things we can control in our lives and things we cannot. Why waste time on things you have no control over? Focus on what you can control and do it well.
For those things we cannot control, we can recognize them and their impact or potential impact on us, and cope with them. Not dwell on them. Simply cope with the fact they exist and there is nothing we can do about them and move on to the things we can control and impact.
Lastly, concentrate on what counts and matters. We cannot be distracted or derailed by the things we cannot control or have no sway over. Instead, we must ask ourselves what really matters and what makes the most difference that is in our control and concentrate out efforts there.
If you follow the 3C's, you will find that you will have less stress, be more productive, and ultimately live a better life. Start putting them into action today!
We are all always looking for ways to succeed at higher levels and be more productive. But, what if I told you the best way to do this every day was to stop working.
That's right. The best way to reach higher levels of success and productivity every day is to STOP working - for a short while.
Most people work continuously through the day and many times don't have that much to show for it. The reason this happens is because we can only focus and work for so long at a time. We need to take breaks to let ourselves recharge and be able to re-focus. Otherwise, we get what is called the "Law of diminishing returns." It is an old economic principle that states that after an optimal level of capacity is reached, every added unit of production results in a smaller increase in output. Basically, once you are performing at an optimum level, the longer you continue to less productive you will get.
This is why we need to take "re-charge breaks" throughout the day. For me, this is 10-20 minutes where I get away from my desk and office and do something non-work related. Sometimes, its a short guided Yoga or meditation session. Many times, it is taking the dog for a walk or just playing with him throwing his stick or ball for a little bit. It really doesn't matter what it is that you as long as every couple of hours, you take a re-charge break.
Putting this into practice daily will make a tremendous difference in your success and productivity. A re-charge break helps you to get energy and oxygen in your system, clear your mind so that you can focus better when you come back, and be at your best.
Try working 1-2 of these into your day where you step away and forget about work for 10-20 mins and see the difference it makes for you!
I was on a call the other day with a large client. It was a big group of people discussing solutions for the future for the client. I know for many that selling and servicing clients via Zoom or virtually is newer to them during these times, but over a decade ago, I took my companies virtual and have been selling and servicing clients that way for a long time.
During the meeting, as the client spoke and talked about the future and their needs, I immediately could "sense" the way the meeting should go and how we could further help them. While others on the call were asking questions that really repeated what the client had just said, I listened and felt the client's needs and the beginning or their frustration as they repeated some things. Working virtually is hard, even if you can see people. It is not the same as sitting across the table. And, if people are just on audio, it is even harder. This is why you have to hone your skills in how you actively listen to voice inflection, tone, things like a sigh here or there, even a deep breath.
After a couple of minutes of back and forth with the group, I spoke up and simply and clearly articulated what I thought, based on their feedback was the best solution. And I brought in other people on the call, that hadn't seem to get what they client was saying yet, and helped them to understand how their skill and what they do could help accomplish the goal for the client. After another 10 mins of discussion and having some fun thinking about bigger possibilities, everyone was on the same page and excited about what we could do together,
One of the most important skillsets anyone can develop, for business and life, is the ability to "sense" others in the moment. This means sensing their feelings, quickly understanding voice tone and inflection, body language - and then being able to empathize where needed and find understanding. I wish I could say there was a magic formula on how to do this, but it really comes from experience. To get good, you have to actively listen and be on high alert to sense the different ways of communication and then figure out find the "sweet spot" in which all parties can succeed. As you do this more and more, you will be able to almost intuit what is needed and work across multiple parties simultaneously to reach the best outcome.
Learning to "sense" others and in business, "sense the customer" may be the most important skillset you can build and foster in your company.
Have you ever read the book, "The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey?"
If you have, you know where I am going in this short post. If not, it is a great read. The book is essentially about how distractions and problems of others can and will become yours if you are not careful.
The essence of the book is about how to say no, delegate, and empower - because it you don't, everything will end up on you. For example, if an employee comes to you with a problem and because you are busy and don't to really want to deal with it, but know you can do it quickly and get back to things - you take it on from the employee to get it done. You have essentially been given "the monkey" and trained that person that they can dump their problems and issues, their monkeys, on you and you will handle them.
This happens all of the time in entrepreneurship. In fact, entrepreneurs are the worst at this. Because we have so much going on and most of the time as high functioning individuals, to stop and take the time to coach someone and empower them to solve their own problem is not something we do by instinct. It is much easier just to take it on ourselves. What is one more thing, right? Wrong. We have to learn to say no, delegate, and empower. Otherwise, the business it just us and cannot scale or survive long term. If you have to do everything, things will eventually break down.
The same thing happens to middle managers, which is what the book is about. They essentially, get saddled with everything and end of working long hours and get burned out. As entrepreneurs, we seemingly have an unending reservoir for work, but that is not healthy. We can and will get burned out.
So, the next time you are being given a monkey. Stop it. Take a little extra time to say an outright no, delegate or most importantly, empower and coach your team to grow and handle these things themselves. If you do, you will find yourself much more successful, have a better quality of life, and have a better business. Get rid of your monkeys!
Every Sunday, I have a routine. It's a simple routine that I have done for over 15 years and it has probably been one of the biggest factors in maximizing my productivity. The routine takes 15 mins to do and can change everything for you.
The first thing I do, is take 5 minutes to clear email out from the previous week. I go through and clear anything that has already been worked on or delegated. I keep a post it for notes and make any notes actions or items I need to do from clearing the email or anything that is left.
Next, I go through my calendar for the last two weeks and look at all my meetings. I do this to make sure there isn't any follow up or actions needed that I may have missed. I write anything down on the post it note.
Once I've done this, I take out a sheet of paper and open my calendar for the coming week. I create 5 columns across the sheet of paper (one for each day of the week). I then go by day and write down all of the things I have to do for that day and what time any meetings are. I write down everything I am going to do, even things like "working out" or "mediate for 10 mins." Literally, everything I will do for that day. I look at the post it note of items that I've jotted down that need action and I add them in to the days that make the most sense to action them. For example, if something is more urgent , then it goes to Monday or Tuesday, something less urgent, later in the week.
Once I am done, I have my week planned with all the action item I need to take each day. I then simply wake up each day and get to work. I then look at it at the end of each day and do any planning for tomorrow. If I finish everything for a particular day and have more time, I can work on anything for the next day and so on.
Taking just 15 minutes to do this plan each week has increased my productivity to levels I never thought possible and allows to get everything done across all my businesses in a normal work week. Try and see the difference it makes for you!
This won't be a longer post, but definitely an important one to share.
I just finished another James Rollins Sigma Force book. I love Rollins. He blends science, history, facts all together to create amazing stories where over 90% of the things presented are true and the storyline is built around it. His books are basically Mission Impossible meets Indiana Jones. The Sigma Force series has 16 books and over the last year, I have been devouring them one by one, getting lost in them and going on one hell of a ride after another.
I have noticed that having this escape has really helped my productivity, introduced me to new concepts, and made me a better "thinker" as it has created more curiosity - especially when reading about of the things that are true, which Rollins puts at the end of each book. In fact, some of the things that already happening across AI, Biosciences, and other technologies are downright scary. Most people don't even know they exist. And it has help me as entrepreneur to see new opportunities I never thought existed.
If you don't have a place to "get lost" in from time to time, I'd suggest you look for one. You'll be amazed at how much it can do for your success. To escape and learn new things, new ways of thinking and new concepts expands the mind. It helps you to discover more and understand more about the world we live in.
If you want to succeed at higher levels, I'd suggest you "get lost!"
It's the beginning of a New Year full of opportunity and possibility. What are you going to accomplish this year?
I'm sure you have a laundry list of things and hopefully, you are not like most people that give up on this list after a couple months because many of them have not been accomplished.
I've often said that we live in an "instant society" where we stop the microwave with 3 seconds left - we cannot even wait 3 seconds anymore! And that is the issue. We start the year with all this excitement and list of accomplishments we want to make happen, but because they don't happen right away, many of us just give up.
One of the things I coach people on and help them to understand is this simple mantra, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year." You have to learn to play the long game if you want to succeed consistently over time. This does not mean that we have wins in the short term - sometimes big wins. But, more importantly, it is the smaller wins that add up to get to the larger goal over time. A year in today's age seems like an eternity, but it really isn't. It truly is amazing all that can be done in 365 days.
So, how do you make sure you don't get trapped by our "instant society?" Simple - you choose the long view and delay gratification sacrificing the instant impulses we have been conditioned to have. Today, you can choose the one big thing you will accomplish by the end of the year and then go to work on your little wins, week in and week out to get there, knowing you are going to do it in the course of a year. Ask, yourself, "What will I sacrifice in the short term to get a bigger benefit in the long term?" Answer that question for yourself and you will be on your way.
Remember, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we accomplish in a year."
Here's to your long game success!
2021 is under way and if you are like me, you have been strategizing on how to make it your best year yet, no matter what gets in your way. As I have been planning and starting the year acting on my plans, one thing that has become apparent is how important it is to be focused this year. And when I say focused, I mean making sure that I really understand and know the things that work and drive the results needed to meet my goals, and stay focused on them.
For that, I use the 80/20 Rule. The rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts or activities. And many times, it is more like the 90/10 or even 95/5 rule. But, that begs the question and the one you should be asking - "What are my 20% activities?"
The answer will give you the places you need to focus and double down on your efforts. So, as you get going into this year, take some very serious and focused time to really analyze the actions and activities you take in your life and determine which ones make the most difference and drive the most results in reaching your goals.
Then, put those into action, double down on them. Cut out the noise and shiny objects. Work at them, make them better, and don't stop. Many people think success is this flashy thing, but it's not. It's not Hollywood or what you see on TV. Success is really disciplined, consistent focused application of the 80/20 Rule. It's lather, rinse, repeat. In fact, sometimes, it can be downright boring - but who cares if you are reaching your goals and dreams that you aspire to. It doesn't matter if it looks good or flashy - it matters if you reach the goal or not.
Put the 80/20 Rule to work for you and go make it happen!
If you are sport fan like me, you've no doubt gotten pretty excited when you favorite team is "on a roll." You know what I mean. They seem to have it all going well for them. They are scoring at will. Everything the other team tries doesn't seem work. In short, your team has all the momentum.
This is very easy to see in sports and it's also amazing to watch the changes in momentum in the course of a single game.
Entrepreneurship is the same. We go through and ebb and flow of momentum on a daily, weekly, or even annual basis. Many entrepreneurs fail to notice these momentum swings as they are so mired in the business and day to day. Because of this, they are missing out on one of their biggest secret weapons - taking advantage of and fostering momentum throughout their organization to help them be more successful.
Momentum is contagious. Even watching a sports game on television, you can feel it. You can feel it happening, the energy around it, the good feelings, the excitement, and so on. Think about how you feel when your team is on a roll. Think about how strong and powerful they seem and how you tap into that. They are like a soaring eagle.
It's the same thing in your business. When you business gets on a roll and has momentum, it's up to you as the leader tap into it and foster the energy and excitement throughout the organization. Momentum is contagious, as long as people are aware and have the ability to tap into it. It's your job as a leader to help spread momentum throughout your organization and make it known. The more engaged people are into momentum to longer last and more successful it will be.
Conversely, when you feel momentum slowing down, you need to do everything in your power as a leader to regain or find the next opportunity for momentum. You should always be on the lookout for your next momentum driver or inspiration.
If you make it a point to foster momentum in your organization on a consistent basis, you'll tap into a secret weapon that many entrepreneurs miss and find yourself and your business more successful.
Get out there and get momentum!
The other day it snowed a lot overnight. Aside from waking up to a cold morning and taking in the sight of the fresh fallen snow on the trees and all around, I didn't think too much of it. I had to get to work.
About mid-day, my daughter came into my office and ask if she could go play outside in the snow. I said, "Of course" and we got her all bundled up to go outside. My office has a big window that faces out onto the front of our acreage and I could see my daughter playing and having a blast with her sled and other things in the snow - by herself. She was having a great time.
I was in the middle of wrapping up some things for the day and could have done more. There is always more to do, right?
But, instead, I decided to play. I threw my winter clothes on and surprised her outside. For the next hour, we did sled races, built snowmen, ran around with the dog - basically, all the fun you could have. I forgot about any work, but towards the end watching her and the dog run around, a was struck by inspiration. I had been working on solving a business problem earlier in the day and couldn't quite get it right.
But, by just taking some time to play and get away from things for a bit, the answer became very clear. It was almost too easy.
We often forget how important it is for us to take time away, even during the day, and give our minds a break. More importantly, we often forget how important it is for us to play and have fun in our lives - and how that can translate to even more success.
Make sure you take time to play and give yourself and your mind a break - daily if you can do it. You'll have less stress, give your mind a break, and most importantly, find that playing will help you be more successful and prosperous in all areas of your life. I wouldn't trade those moments with my kiddo for anything!
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