This morning in a discussion group, we were talking about things to do lists and how to prioritize tasks based on the book, Eat That Frog. I was thinking about why some things stay on our list day after day and never seem to get done.
I came up with 3 reasons why we procrastinate on those tasks:
1. They fall outside of our Comfort Zone.
2. We are just plain lazy.
3. We are not prepared to do the task. (Don’t have the proper tools.)
Once we determine which of the three applies, it becomes easier to overcome the obstacle and get the task completed. Most of the time, we find it was really easy to complete it and we wonder why we put it off in the first place!
I met with a group of business owners last week and explained that I am working on a new keynote speech. The working title for now is How to Position Yourself as the Big Fish! It’s how to become the go-to expert in your field so you can attract, not chase clients and customers. The group came up with some insights that I thought you could use.
1. Start a blog
2. Hold seminars on your topic
3. Write articles
4. Be transparent, willing to share your pain
5. Post articles on social media
6. Dress a notch above others
7. Offer yourself as an expert to media
8. Read what your customers are reading
9. Be exciting, passionate and a missionary for your industry
10. Watch your image (Check your phone message and call your competitors
11. Be a good source of referrals (Build your list)
12. Have a company name that projects expertise
13. Treat everyone with respect
14. Never say a bad word about anyone or any organization
15. Be unique, do what you do better than anyone else
16. Create raving fans for your business
17. Always appear to be happy and having fun (Be fun to be around)
18. Be confident (Your certainty must be greater than their doubt
19. Choose your niche
So, is your work cut out for you? Be the big fish in a small pond rather than the small unnoticed, also-ran fish in the big pond and watch the excitement as you become the expert.
I heard a sermon where the pastor said that if you take all the fog in a 7 city block area and condensed it down into water, it would fill a drinking glass. That’s it!
As I thought about that statement, it reminded me that often problems and tasks look so big, until we break them down to the basics. In the book, The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, he describes these problems that we face when we step out of our comfort zone as our naysayers and our Goliath. Yet when we confront those problems they become small and often we can take them out of our path with our slingshot and a small stone metaphorically speaking, just as David did.
It is so exciting when I meet with a coaching client for the first time and we discuss these roadblocks. Often in the very first session, they have an ah-ha moment and see an immediate increase in business because they feel equipped to handle their Goliath. They suddenly come out of the fog and start to see their dream clearly for the very first time.
What’s standing in your way?
I was recently thinking about the shelf life of a business, thanks to a webinar by Tony Robbins. He was telling the Apple story how they almost went bankrupt in 1997. Then they took the time to decide what business they are really in. They mistakenly thought they were in the computer business, yet today on 14.7% of their business is computers. One of the first questions I ask my clients is, “What business are you really in?”
My family (in-laws) owns two roller skating rinks in Fort Wayne. The original was built in the 50′s and has always been the spot for kids in Fort Wayne. Generations have attended school parties and open skates. I was thinking about all the competitors that have opened within a couple miles of the rink trying to gain some of their business. We have 3 laser tags, 2 miniature golf courses, 4 huge sports complexes, two ticket and tokens type businesses, a bowling alley, a Build-A Bear store, a Chuck-E-Cheese and a cake supply company that offers birthday parties.
Yet, in spite of the fierce competition the skating rink continues to do well. You have to wonder why when many businesses would have caved to the pressure.
1. They understand what business they are in – entertaining kids and families. They have a state of the art sound system and play the latest music which is always checked for clean lyrics. Their concessions are good and fairly priced.
2. They have created a safe, friendly, clean and disciplined environment. My mother in law, (who just turned 90 years old) still works the door and she has a reputation for being tough on trouble-makers, yet friendly to the customers. You won’t find a cleaner environment anywhere.
3. The family remains involved and cares about the business. Rarely will you attend a session where one of the 12 kids or grandkids is not working.
They have set a real example for other businesses to follow and their shelf life seems like it will go on forever!
At a meeting this morning someone asked me if I am a goal-setter. When I answered no, many seemed very surprised. Early in my career, I was big on goals and even sold a goal-setting program for a company called Success Motivation Institute. I have often told the story of the 3% of the population that have written and specific goals who accomplish great things compared to the other 97%. I believe in goal-setting, maybe I just choose to call it by a different name. It’s in my very nature to fly by the seat of my pants and be grateful for all the new and exciting things that happen every day. I don’t have a clue what God has planned for me every day, which makes it difficult to set specific goals. When riding my motorcycle, I often try and get lost on purpose and never have a goal of going somewhere. I love to ride through the Amish country and often see some amazing sites and meet some interesting people. If my goal were just to get somewhere, I would miss a lot of these incredible experiences.
What I do believe in are many other things which sound like synonyms for goals. To a visionary, the word might be visions. Often other words are substituted such as activities, standards, rituals (daily habits) targets, metrics, baby-steps and outcomes. Then there’s the bucket list which are actually things that we wish to do prior to “kicking the bucket.”
So if you believe in being a goal-setter or live your life “flying where the wind takes you” I truly believe our ultimate goal is to be happy and to serve others, including God or the higher power that you serve.
I was thinking about the movie, What About Bob? In the movie a charachter played by Bill Murphy has a mental issue and is afraid to leave his house. He goes to a psychiatrist played by Richard Dreyfuss. The doctor has written a book called “Baby Steps.” In the hilarious movie, Murray uses the book successfully and latches onto the doctor and his family.
Even though it’s a fictitious book, the message is clear. We get ahead by taking babysteps, by putting one foot in front of the other repeatedly. Success normally doesn’t begin by giant leaps, but rather babysteps toward the goal. A fortune is really just a bunch of dollar bills put together. What babysteps can we all take today that will lead to huge success in our life?
I’ve had several discussions lately about networking. I hear the same excuses over and over. “It’s the same people that go to these events.” “Everyone is there trying to sell you something.” “I never sell anything when I go to those events!” “Groups are always competing for members.” I’m sure you’ve heard all the excuses. That’s why I want to share why I like to attend these events. In my city, we are fortunate that there are so many choices of networking groups to attend.
1. It gets me out of the office meeting new people. Even if many of the same people attend, there are always a few new attendees.
2. I get to make new friends that can become resourses that I trust when I need something done. If I become friends with a realtor, guess who I’ll call when I need one or get asked who is a good realtor.
3. I understand that it’s what happens after the meeting that’s important. I invite new folks to coffee and conversation. Never a sales pitch, just the opportunity to get to know that person better.
4. It keeps me in the public eye. Someone made the comment recently, “You must know everyone in town!” Well, not everyone, but an awful lot. Networking has played a large part in that.
5. It keeps my prospect funnel full. No, I don’t pounce on someone when they attend the same group. You can use the slow-cooker approach or the fast microwave approach. I prefer building the relationship, while at the same time, letting the new attendee know what it is that I do.
Is it worth it? Yes and no. It’s worth it if this is just one way that I use to build my business. To those who use this as the only way to build your business, it’s rare. Some have built their business using only networking, but it needs to be one of many tools that you use. In our city, you could attend 2 networking meetings a day and kid yourself into thinking you are working hard. It doesn’t work that way. Pick wisely and then become loyal to that group! What are your thoughts, fellow networkers?
A young guy from Wisconsin moves to Florida and goes to a big ‘everything-under-one-roof’ department store looking for a job.
The Manager says, ‘Do you have any sales experience?’
The kid says ‘Yeah, I was a salesman back in Wisconsin …’
Well, the boss liked the kid and gave him the job. ‘You start tomorrow. I’ll come down after we close and see how you did.’
His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it.
After the store was locked up, the boss came down. ‘Son, how many customers bought something from you today?’
The kid says, ‘One.’
The boss says, ‘Just one? Our sales people average 20 to 30 customers a day. How much was the sale for?’
The kid says, ‘$101,237.65.’
The boss says, ‘$101,237.65? What the heck did you sell?’
The kid says, ‘First, I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fishhook. Then I sold him a larger fishhook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said down off the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department, and I sold him a twin engine Chris Craft Cabin Cruiser. When he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic could pull it, I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4×4 Hummer that could.’
The boss said ‘A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a new BOAT and a HUMMER?’
The kid said ‘No sir, the guy came in here to buy Tampons for his wife, and I said, ‘Dude, your weekend’s shot, you should go fishing.
One of the most insidious maladies of our time (is); the tendency in most of us to observe rather than act, avoid rather than participate, not do rather than do; the tendency to give in to the sly, negative, cautionary voices that constantly counsel us to be careful, to be controlled, to be wary and prudent and hesitant and guarded in our approach of this complicated thing called living. Arthur Gordon, A Touch of Wonder
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve coached or counseled who are still searching for their real mission on earth. They have their careers and jobs, but have this uneasy feeling that there is more to their life. It took me a great many years to find my mission and at times, I still have some doubts. Maybe you are at that time in your life.
According to Tony Robbins in his Strategic Intervention series, there are 6 human needs that must be met. These can be met in a positive or negative way.
The need for certainty
The need for variety Uncertainty
The need for Growth
Many I coach, especially when doing Christian Coaching, tell me they want to help others when I ask the standard coaching question, “What would you do if money were no object?”
So the solution sounds like you need to find a mission that will meet your six needs and will involve being of service to others in order to feel like you are finding your mission. Finding that mission is not so much of a search, but rather a series of asking yourself the tough personal questions that will lead to discovery. Prayer and confidence that you will find those answers help. A coach or counselor can help take a shortcut to those questions and help you find the answers. Or… you can let that uneasy feeling keep gnawing at you and maybe someday, a magic genie will appear with the answers. The journey and the quest is up to you.