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managing your inbox

Managing Your Inbox With These 5 Steps

3 MIN READ

Managing your email inbox means more than simply staying on top of things. With your inbox clutter-free and in control, you and your team will enjoy greater productivity and clarity at work. It might take you a while to get on top of your inbox and bring your emails down to a level that you’re personally happy with. Along the way, developing more productive habits for managing your inbox is the essential step to building sustainable, healthy email habits. 

It’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed when you open your inbox each day. People spend about 28% of their workweek dealing with emails, which equates to about 13hrs of low level, reactive work that rarely results in progress. Only 38% of the emails in the average inbox are important and relevant to your core business. This means the rest of all that administrative bulk is nothing more than noisy junk that needs to be cleared efficiently before you drown in the quicksand. That feeling is not imaginary. Research has proven that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption, which erodes away your peace and sense of control in your work.   

Let’s simplify this for you by setting up a simple system to respond more decisively to all those messages. The next time you open your inbox, choose which of these five categories apply to each unopened email and respond accordingly. 

Delete

Is this email essentially junk that you simply don’t need or want to read? This is an easy decision to make: Delete that email forever! 

You’re best also to decide this point if you ever want to receive this email again from this sender. If not, take 10 seconds to unsubscribe from this sender, or create a filter to automatically delete the email the next time it hits your inbox.

managing your inbox

Delegate

There will be emails that need to be dealt with, but not by you. Create a simple process to put that email on someone else’s desk. You could forward the email to a team member with a quick message to instruct them on how you want the matter handled. Or, if you’re comfortable with giving someone else access to your inbox, you could create a folder for them inside your email account. Then when they log in they can head straight for the folder with their name on it and get busy dealing with the messages you saved inside. Mastering the fine art of delegation is simple with more tips here.

Delay

Reducing the feelings of desperate urgency that can arise when emails come in is an essential benefit of managing your inbox well. When emails come in they reflect the sender’s agenda, which does not always align with your own. Set up ways to deal with matters when it suits you. You might ‘star’ emails that you plan to deal with later at a set time each week, or put them in their own ‘Later’ folder to be opened at a scheduled time that fits with your schedule. 

Reply

Many emails in your inbox can be cleared with a simple, quick reply. Bounce emails back to the sender with a super short response which keeps things moving and off your desk like a hot potato. Using templates if you can will make this process even quicker for you and your team. 

Keeping these emails short and sweet is key. Don’t be drawn into lengthy, unnecessary stretches of dialogue when replying to emails. The less time you spend typing, the faster you can move on to more important things in your day.

You might also want to think about including a message to explain your preference for brief messages in your email footer. If your core values permit this approach, you can write up a friendly statement like this for your email footer:

Thanks for your email. You might notice my reply is short and sweet. We do this on purpose. It’s not that your message is unimportant. It’s that we just love to keep things moving here at [BUSINESS NAME]. Spending less time in our emails is a big part of that. We appreciate doing business with you and hope you understand. 

Do

The last category of emails is the most important for you to work with. These are the ones that require you to take substantial action. They will be the emails related to ongoing projects, client work, supplier arrangements, business partnerships or other matters central to your business growth. Processing all your other emails quickly and efficiently will give you the time and headspace you need to do this ‘real work’ hidden away inside your inbox. 

Successfully managing your email inbox is a journey, rather than a destination. Be patient with yourself as you get busy clearing the bulk of your email overload. Be realistic about what you can actually achieve. Avoid falling onto the trendy trap of shooting for Inbox Zero. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

email overload can be a thing of the past

The Myth Of Inbox Zero

3 MIN READ

Successful inbox management in business is a modern-day miracle! Gobal business continuing keeps on accelerating its online migration at a rate of knots. So this has left many owners with inbox overload. I struggle to cope with the thought of hundreds of emails sitting there stressing you out. It is completely unfathomable for me to imagine how you could sleep at night with upwards of five, six, ten, twenty thousand emails choking up your inbox. It almost makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. 

Setting a standard you’re happy with, then diligently working that standard as a routine part of your workday is fundamental to your effective business leadership. At Operation Verve, we have a rule of no more than 30 emails being allowed to occupy our inboxes. Implementing this limit in your business will help you too. It keeps your current jobs front of mind without getting lost in the backlog of other messages hiding what’s really important.

The idea of “Inbox Zero” is a trendy ideal you might fantasize about as an owner. If this utopian approach is on your business wishlist, you’re going to love the tips coming up in my next article. Stay tuned! 

However, your inbox management probably falls waaaaay short of this unrealistic goal. There are several reasons to let yourself off the hook by questioning the Inbox Zero ideal:

It’s a misunderstood concept

Inbox Zero is a management concept developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann. The theory aims to allow people to clear their inbox entirely. In its original conception, the Zero in this idea never referred to the number of messages that should be left in an inbox. Instead, it’s about the “amount of time an employee’s brain is in his or her box.” This notable difference casts doubt over the literal way people interpret the Inbox Zero concept. 

successful inbox management is easier than inbox zero

“Good order is the foundation of all things.” Edmund Burke

Unrealistic goals can be detrimental 

To strive for a goal and never achieve it undermines your confidence, motivation and momentum. It’s the depressing feeling of not losing the weight. Blowing the budget.  Staring at the book on your bedside table for a month. When you set a goal and come up short, you risk receiving the destructive message that you’re not capable of success. Chasing the ideal of literally no emails in your inbox can be a pipe dream. You might be setting yourself up for an inevitable failure that was never realistic or valuable in the first place. Successful inbox management for you is about setting goals you can sustainably achieve for the long term.

Out of sight equals out of mind

As a successful business leader, you have lots to manage at once. When you have multiple pots on the boil at any one time, it’s important to keep those pots in plain view. The last thing you need is to be lured into a false sense of security. Avoid the risk of an empty inbox making things look complete in your business. If there are jobs to do in your inbox, keep them where you can see them. Otherwise you risk forgetting important items, or keeping people waiting with projects that need to be done to advance your business. 

Instead of shooting for the stars with Inbox Zero, why don’t you set more realistic aims to manage your incoming emails? This will happen by building a more sustainable system for yourself. Successful inbox management in business is just one foundational aspect of getting things pumping overall. In my next article, I will show you 5 simple steps to stay on top of the mayhem in your emails. If you set up a daily routine for working those emails you’ll find your blood pressure returning to normal as you plough through your messages. I can’t wait to share!

How do you protect your business from employees?

3 MIN READ

Protecting your business assets must be a high priority for all owners on a good thing with their products and services. However, when your priority shifts to become focused on guarding against your own employees, you have a problem. This is like a red flag of dysfunctional culture waving an urgent alarm that things are not ok.

This is a question I saw posted on social media recently. A real question from a real business owner. The assumptions implied in the phrasing of this question are a concern to me. If you have a culture based on opposition, suspicion and defensiveness you have a foundation for a very unhealthy company. If you’re asking these questions you won’t get far with ensuring confidence and investment from your team.

This business owner thought they had a problem with their staff. But what they really have is a problem in their culture. Instead of asking the best way of protecting your business assets from your own employees, why not ask:

“How can you create confidence and security for your team whilst harnessing your operational IP?”

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
Angela Ahrendts

THIS is a question worth answering! My quick thoughts on the matter:

Protecting Your Business Assets Starts With Establishing Ownership

Of course, the protection of your most valuable assets is essential to business stability. Make sure your team members understand from the outset that all operational knowledge, resources, tools, inventions and developments are ultimately owned by the business. Not by you personally, or by them personally. Documented this in your team employment contracts, signed and dated by you and your staff member. A clause like this does more than protect your company’s operational IP legally. It sends a message to every member of your staff that it’s all for one and one for all at “Team You!”

System Access Should Only Ever Be An Inside Job

Secure all your business logins in an online service which stores sensitive information securely. We use 1Pasword in our team, but LastPass is another popular solution for you as well. Using these encrypted storage tools offers more than the protection of your logins. It guards your staff against the fallout of losing logins or having them fall into the wrong hands. It creates efficiency with faster access procedures, and it creates security for the data being protected. Password software also makes offboarding really efficient in the sad eventuation that a team member needs to leave. You can simply remove their access from the company password service and they’re free to move on.

Build Safe, Accessible Systems On Solid Tech Foundations

I worked with a company in 2019 who still used a local server to store their company business. This old technology is not as secure or efficient as migrating to cloud-based data storage. All your data can be protected by encryption as well as unique logins and access rights for each user. All your data usage can be tracked by many services. This means you see who has been accessing data, when they did it, and exactly what they did. And all data is then made available from anywhere in the world. Storing your company data in the cloud increases efficiency and accountability. Most of all, it celebrates a culture of transparency which keeps people on the same team, without compromising on security for your company.

Protecting Your Business Assets Is A Team Effort

Involving all team members in the development of operational processes is a perfect recipe for engagement. When people are involved in creating the type of workspace they want to work in, their personal investment into the company soars. Make sure they understand just how much the company values their input, and use the task of process documentation as an opportunity to celebrate and reward their knowledge. Then secure this documentation behind encrypted logins, stored centrally in the cloud for fast, safe, shared access.

Above all else, the development of a safe, invested workforce starts with positive leadership coming “from the top”. If leaders at the executive level use language which undermines the positive, invested culture of teamwork and collaboration at work, it will follow that the team will operate in kind. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy you never want to see play out in your company.

Yes, security is important. Especially as time marches on bringing with it new threats and concerns at every turn. But implementing effective security measures does not mean developing a culture of mistrust and fear. Your employees need those security measures just as much as your company does. Just remember the power of your language and the influence that you have as the leader of your company. It’s always the little things that lead to the creation of a healthy, positive company culture.

resilience for business owners

3 Ways Resilience Blocks Business Growth

3 MIN READ

Resilience for business owners is usually something people think of highly. Pushing through hardship to emerge victoriously is celebrated by successful business owners everywhere. It is certainly an asset to be able to battle through challenges in business. Surviving tough times is an essential aspect of business success, but is it always a positive thing?

Don’t get me wrong. You should be genuinely proud of the way you have grown your business, holding on with white-knuckled determination to make it through. Like all your peers, things have not always been easy for you in business. But you have prevailed. Every win you’ve enjoyed has been possible because you gritted your teeth and decided to battle through. You chose to forge a pathway of success right through the eye of the storm.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

Resilience is essential for business owners intent on achieving increasing levels of success. However, there is a risk that the pride you take in your ability to push through could be holding you back. Let me explain …

Resilience focuses on survival instead of growth

When you’re battling it out in the trenches of adversity, making it out alive is the name of the game. You need to harness every resource you have and direct all your efforts towards overcoming the threat. It is vital that when tough times come, you have the strength, tenacity and determination to survive. This approach itself is not a problem, but it can’t draw you on to greater heights.

If you’re a survivor you need resilience, but if you have the visionary aspirations of a leader you will rise from strength to strength to build a legacy others only dream of. This is how you can lead your business away from the battler phase through to wide open spaces of lasting influence. Shifting away from the survival mentality empowers ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in their business.

A dependency on hardship can become an identity problem

Business owners should take pride in their resilience. In fact, often this resilience becomes a defining attribute of the person themselves. When you pride yourself on being the one who pushes through, others will notice. You will inspire others to keep fighting through their own tough times, and you will likely inspire yourself. These are all good things.

But if the story ends there, you will always be tied to the battle, and you will inadvertently create a model for others to stay tied to their battles too. If you ultimately see yourself as a battler, you will always be drawn to battles. As a result, you will never be free of those battles. You will never rise above to access freedom, abundance, and true wealth. How you see changes what you see. Lift your vision beyond the trenches. Do away with the drama. Don’t look for what you can achieve by winning the fight. Instead, look outside the fight altogether. Imagine what life could be like if you weren’t caught that cycle any more.

Resilience attracts battlers

“It’s great to see you! How have you been?”

“Oh, it’s been tough. I’ve got problems with my staff, delays with my suppliers, and my daughter is 16 going on 35. Need I say more!”

“Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve been working late all month fixing mistakes my staff made, and I’ve got stock stuck on a dock because of a strike. And my son… suspended for two days because he just can’t keep his mouth shut. I’m hearing you.”

Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you? Like attracts like. If you’re wearing your tough times like a badge of honour, chances are you’ll find others who approach life exactly the same way. Jim Rohn says you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a look around your circle and honestly evaluate the attitudes your closest people have. Then, pause to consider the effect this might be having on you and your attitude.

At the end of the day, resilience will get you through almost anything, so it is vital for business success. But it is only ever useful amidst hardships. Isn’t life meant to be a little better than that?

How To Achieve Business Freedom

3 MIN READ

Business freedom is a motivating driver for the vast majority of owners. Having the freedom to make choices with your time, relationships, health and finances is a goal that keeps most business leaders pushing through. No matter how much hardship or adversity they face, many owners will keep chasing that pot of freedom goal at the end of the rainbow. Where others would fail, those set on freedom are determined to prevail.

I wonder though … have you thought much about the relationship between freedom and control? As you pursue increasing amounts of freedom, you may have noticed the correlation. It takes dedicated hard work to persist through challenges, and disciplined focus to keep your eyes on the prize. You need to harness all your resources and strategically mobilise them towards the achievement of your aims. Controlling your attitude, schedule, finances, workflow and attention are all essential aspects of gaining freedom.

“Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.” Elbert Hubbard

Business freedom allows you to throw off the shackles of obligation, constraint and expectation. However, there is a directly related value in embracing the benefits of control. Working hard at freedom in these five areas will allow you to reap boundless rewards of liberty.

 

Business Freedom Is You At Your Best

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

Self-control is foundational to business freedom. Indeed, freedom in all things comes down to your ability to manage yourself and your choices well. Choose who you want to become, then take powerful strides to make that person alive each day. Developing maturity in conflict leads to harmony and positive influence. Growing in your ability to manage your own wellness results in a long life of energised zest. Aspiring to become your best self relies on you making responsible choices. This will allow you to be who you want to become in any given moment.

 

Freedom Relies On Independent Thought

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” Socrates

You cannot possibly enjoy freedom is your mind is not your own. In this way, empowering yourself to increasing liberty is about finding your own highest thoughts. When you dedicate yourself to learning you gain a stream of sharp insights to make wise decisions. Surrounding yourself with intelligent, empowered people who share your values will help with this too. Setting clear boundaries in your social life, and making firm commitments to your own improvement will enhance your freedom as nothing else can.

 

You Can Choose Freedom Responses

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” Vicktor Emil Frankl

I urge you to read “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The pages of this book show you how to make freedom choices better than any other I have read. You will see truths that continue to become evident in daily life. Your freedom starts with your mindset, which creates the attitudes you bring to your daily life. Regardless of hardship, opposition or deficit, you can respond to every situation with a freedom mindset. It won’t always be easy, but the journey will define you. If you get it right, you will access untold power to make positive impacts on all those around you, simply by being truly free.

 

Business Freedom Comes From Hard Work

“Shovel today’s challenges for your tomorrow’s freedom” Aniekee Ezekiel

Yes, life is tough. Today might be one of the toughest you have faced so far. You may feel like you are facing limitations and setbacks at every turn. But the only way out of these constraints is working right through them. Decide to engage your full self in resolving conflicts, developing strength and advancing your position. Avoidance only takes you off track. Even amidst the most overwhelming adversity is the opportunity to breakthrough in resilience. Work hard to be your best, learn better ways, and make positive choices. This is the key to freedom.

 

Discipline Is Key To Freedom

“Discipline will put you on the path to strength and health and intelligence and happiness. And most important, discipline will put you on the path to FREEDOM” Jocko Willink

Being disciplined is not a trendy habit or a sexy concept. Ideas of self-control, strict self-management and regimented routines are rarely connected with conversations of freedom. However, real freedom relies on discipline, and this is especially true in business. You might know the experience of working hard to increase your sales, expand your workforce, or finally get some long-overdue time off. In my experience, I have found that freedom in business does not magically appear. Business freedom is the reward that comes from a ruthless dedication to being consistent in the little things which lead to big results.

 

Why busienss leaders must work less

Why Leaders Simply Must Work Less

3 MIN READ

Self care for business owners is often conceived as an “indulgent luxury” that many believe they can’t afford. Are you like the average business leader wearing your long work hours like a badge of honour? Many owners pour blood sweat and tears into building their company with the pride of a martyr. Have you stopped to consider the price you are really paying?

I’m a big fan of hard work. However, if all that effort is not actually bringing you the results you want, maybe it’s time to look for a better way. There are several reasons that looking after yourself equates to preserving the best interests of your company. Self care for business owners comes down to realising that business health and personal health go hand in hand.

A Tired Body Can’t Work Well

Did you know the average person spends 649,401 hours sleeping during their lifetime? I bet there are some days you’d love to stack up 10 or 20 of those hours and enjoy them all in one go! Caring for yourself does not only come down to managing a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. SleepFoundation.org tells us that sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

Crafting a lifestyle that allows you to go to bed early most nights of the week will work wonders for your personal health. As a result, your performance at work will be more energised, focused and productive. Set up some firm boundaries around how you manage your schedule to make sure you are in the driver’s seat of your sleep pattern.

A Tired Brain Can’t Solve Problems

Exhaustion will always lead you quickly to survival mode. As a result, your vision narrows to focus only on perceived threats. Your ability to reason progressively shuts down. Reactivity replaces deliberation. A real or even perceived threat can help mobilise your attention. However, this is not the approach of a well-balanced leader. When it comes to solving complex problems that have multiple variables, you need your highest cognitive resources.

Real-life has certainly shown us that threats can come out of the blue. A clear, well-rested brain can gauge multiple factors of any given challenge much more effectively than one that is tired and overwhelmed. Set aside time each week for thinking. Yoga might suit you, or meditation. Perhaps you’re more like me and love getting your heart rate up with some exercise. Do whatever you need to do to clear your mind so you can approach challenges with your best foot forward.

A Tired Heart Can’t Connect

I’ve never met a business owner who was not motivated by the desire to spend more time with the people they love. Being your own boss always involves the freedom to enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships with those you hold dear. When we’re looking at ways to increase levels of self care for business owners, this must be overtly connected to enhancing intimate connections.

When you miss out on sleep you become snappy, irritable and stressed. A recent study from the National Sleep Foundation found that 25% of participating couples were too sleep-deprived to even have sex. Exhaustion and burnout were never the aims you set out to achieve in your business. If you have been too busy to change this situation for yourself, perhaps you would consider adjusting your lifestyle for the sake of the relationships you have with your family and friends.

Why busienss leaders must work less

“Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman

A Tired Mind Can’t Create

Your business growth relies first and foremost upon creativity, innovation, and mastery of change. Prioritising time to rest and recharge will not only create space for more of your brilliant ideas. It will also a ignite the leader in you so your team are also encouraged to bring their best innovations and ideas.

Overworking suffocates your business growth. Far too many owners spend too long in video conferences and phone calls, too much time in front of your computer, and too many hours running the hamster wheel of business life. This results in you inadvertently wasting the very resource your business needs to remain vibrant and alive: creativity. Nurture your inventive self, and show up at work fresh for your team to champion their creativity as well.

A Tired Spirit Can’t Imagine

Effective self care for business owners celebrates you as the inspired genius who conceived this entire operation in the first place. It was your big idea that got this business off the ground. Things have continued to move forward because of your insight and your creative flair. The one thing that only you can offer your growing company is the inspiration of a leader.

Perhaps it would be wise to pause and ask yourself about the life you want to create moving forward. With so much up in the air right now, it is the perfect time to conduct a bit of an overhaul. At the end of the day, you may as well pursue the life you actually want, right?

 

Who Are The Real Influencers?

3 MIN READ

Who are your influencers? Who are the people who have shaped who you are and how you do business and life?

Sounds like a simple question,  right? … Try answering!

It’s a really tough question. I have a few heroes that I’ve read about and admire, so I am certain they would have influenced me in some ways. Oprah Winfrey, Anita Roddick, Brendon Burchard, Zig Ziglar, Nelson Mandela, Celeste Barber … these are all high profile people I look up to and think they have made the world a better place.

Your Influencers Are Close To You

But when I look at the person I am becoming, and my own journey of personal growth, I know my influencers are people closer to home.

My mum is someone who shaped my development immensely until I left home at 17. Her love was pure and she always encouraged me and believed in me, even though our family was quite a volatile place.

My late husband Alec has probably had more of a direct influence on who I am now than any other person in the world. He taught me how to love with a perfect balance of freedom and security. He taught me that business is not only possible but the best way to create freedom for yourself and others.

My children, and the delight of mothering them, have played a defining role in me coming into my own fullness in love and care for them. This continues to be the toughest yet most rewarding challenge of my life ever.

Your Influencers Are Those You Rub Shoulders With Each Day

Your professional circle create a culture of aspiration and growth which is the perfect stage for creating an abundant life. For me, this circle includes Aveline Clarke, Linda Wilson, Brenda Thomson, Annemarie Cross, Iris Du, Natasa Denman, sales coach Darcy Smyth, Joy Fairhall, Renee Hasseldine, the late Louisa Tew. These are some key members in a long list of business people that I know personally. They are close enough to invite to my home for dinner or spend a night out at a restaurant. These are people who have influenced my attitude and understandings of what’s possible in business and in life at an everyday, real level.

Then there’s my teaching friends Toni Watts and Marianne Mitchell, two of the most inspirational women I have ever met literally changing the world at the coal face of regional NSW.

For me personally the idea of influencers taps into a pop culture that I’ve always been on the fringe of. Maybe I think in different ways to others, but I’m not a name-dropper and I’ve never been a fangirl of anyone. I want something much more organic and personally relevant to my life. I want to be influenced by people who know me and understand my situation. As I get older I realise in a very organic way that the people in my direct circle are those who actually make the difference in my life.

My reflections have gifted me with new clarity about the best ways to move forward in business. This might be helpful for you too…

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with” Jim Rohn

Your Influencers Are Ordinary People Like You

If this is how I want to be influenced, then surely I can be this for others, right? I’m sure this is what people REALLY want in this postmodern age of the internet and social distancing. I think my target market are those who feel this way too. It’s one thing to have celebrity heroes to look up to. Its another to have someone who resonates at a deeply personal level who connects with you where you’re at. Who speaks to you in ways you understand, and walks with you to help get you where you want to go.

This is the new age of connection and authenticity. People don’t want distant superstars as much as they want close mentors who share their life. Even the big names now must have a personal following to be successful. Can you imagine trying to be a celebrity without a Twitter account and Facebook profile where people can connect with you? Your followers are looking out for you on Instagram where they can share the pictures and stories that make up the everyday aspects of your oh-so-human lifestyle?

The walls are tumbling down around it’s the rise of the ordinary to the extraordinary.

 

business leaders inspiring their staff

Why Business Leaders Shift From Inspired to Inspiring

4 MIN READ

Like most of us, business leaders all over the world are looking for inspiration. Billions of dollars are generated each year in sales related to self-help. People spend money on life coaches, motivational speakers, and courses or events which inspire attendees to achieve new greatness. It is a massive consumer industry on the rise. Soul searching millennials, stressed-out parents, and ambitious career builders are all on the hunt for the next way to elevate themselves and enhance their futures.

To participate in this trend is easy. Social media provides access to the promotion of resources that never end. The internet delivers materials right to your inbox or Zoom screen. Your global community joins you in celebrating the learning and development. They cheer you on as you advance towards your potential.

It feels great too! Who wouldn’t want to join an army of optimistic people on a mission to achieve more, be better, pursue their own personal greatness? Sharing with others as they come into their own is uplifting; doing that yourself can be euphoric.

But today, a question for business leaders:

Are you merely inspired yourself, or do you inspire others?

“A boss has the title, a leader has the people,” Simon Sinek

There is a massive difference between sitting in the crowd and presenting from the stage. When you’re building a business, it’s all about commanding that leadership role.

Inspiration is not conveyed by mere osmosis. Simply being positive and optimistic about how things are going in your business will not make your team automatically positive and optimistic too. Influential business leaders know it’s vital to shift from being inspired yourself, to inspiring others with your business mission. You need to strategically communicate the vision you have for your team, your clients, and your community. This does not happen by accident. Here are three ways you can master the art of harnessing your own inspiration to go on and inspire others.

 

Business Visionaries Have Consistent Messaging

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos

You started your business to achieve one main thing. Clarify exactly what that mission is to make it short and sweet so it is easy for others to capture that vision.

Think tagline!

Then plaster that short, sweet mission statement everywhere: on your website, in your company email footers, on your signage and in the tea room. Print it on T-shirts, open your team meetings with reminders, put it in your team position descriptions. Put it on your company header, tell your team members in their quarterly review, make it the centrepiece of your advertising and marketing.

Do not waver. Do not deviate. Do not become distracted. Shout that one message from the rooftops so everyone can join the inspiration you have for your business mission.

 

Business Leaders Set Achievable Goals

“Process drives culture, not the other way around, so you can’t just change the culture, you have to change the system.” Eric Ries

It may not seem as romantic as your original vision, but leading others to their own inspiration starts with taking a systematic approach. The inspiration you have needs to inform not only what people believe about the business, but how they operate each day.

Think systems and processes!

Lead your team in building out the procedures that get everyone working towards that vision with momentum and confidence. Empower your team to find the most effective, efficient way to work. Then  make that way the new normal. Set up regular reviews for your team so you routinely check in with them to offer support and celebrate their progress each quarter. Have systems in place to ensure that you can help your team get back on track even when standards might start to slip at work.

Everyone in your team will be inspired when you find ways to celebrate the vision being brought to life through achievement and increase.

 

Business Mentors Build Personal Connections

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” W. Edwards Deming

You can talk all you like about how your business is growing and your team is expanding. But taking others with you on the journey of business inspiration relies on you building a system to lead them. When you connect with other business leaders, you should be able to describe exactly what you’re doing to build the visionary leaders in your company.

Establishing ways to facilitate a sense of personal ownership, belonging and success for your team is foundational to your success. Your staff don’t only want to be acknowledged and rewarded. They actually need it. 79% of people who quit their job cite lack of appreciation as the reason, so actively demonstrating you care is vital to the long term health of your company.

Think mentorship!

When you were just starting out on your own, your job was to just keep going! With so much to do and so little time, your own inspiration was the fuel you burned to get that business off the ground. But building a business to expand and scale requires a paradigm shift. Inspiring your team to build your business for you means maintaining routines which make your staff know just how much you value their contribution. Take them under your wing. Connect with them regularly. Set them up for success with clearly defined expectations and rewards for achievement. Ask them what they want to achieve, and give them what they need to make that happen. As a business leader, you can make their days count for something more significant than their salary.

Watch what happens in your company when you shift from being inspired yourself to inspiring others.

 

Sending A Burst Of Positive Energy

3 MIN READ

Today, a moment that taught me a fresh way to practice love and goodness.

We picked my son up the other day to do the grocery shopping. He is 25 and lives a couple of suburbs away with no car. If we are out and about doing our own errands we will often check to see if he needs a lift. It’s a wonderful low-key way to catch up and get things done at the same time.

This was a big day for him. Only one week earlier the beautiful black cat that he has adopted as his own over the last couple of years was moved away. GiGi was never actually his cat, but with my son’s housemates complaining constantly about the cat, the owner had decided to relocate this gorgeous little creature to a more welcoming home.

My son was absolutely devastated. If you have ever lost a pet you know the grief can feel just the same as losing any other family member. He was gutted beyond words and searching to find ways to resolve the heartbreak.

My son is also a typical young man with no girlfriend. As we drove towards the supermarket we happened to pass a beautiful young girl with simply stunning long brown hair. I commented that her hair was to die for. My son agreed. “She is absolutely gorgeous,” he said.

The conversation moved on but as a big thinker, my son was clearly still reflecting on this girl, the universe, and the meaning of existence. He looped back around to the conversation.

“Do you ever send bursts of positive energy to people?” he asks.

“What do you mean?”

“Well like, if you see someone beautiful like that girl, or you’re away from someone you love, do you ever send them a wave of positive energy and hope that it somehow reaches them?”

Oh my!

My eyes instantly filled with tears at the beauty of this practice.

“That is absolutely beautiful!” I say in overwhelm.

“Yeah …” he continues. “Like with GiGi. I can’t see her anymore and I don’t know where she is but whenever I think of her I send her a burst of energy and hope that she feels it.”

“There is only one happiness in life. To love and be loved” Georges Sand

I have a lump in my throat and tears filling my eyes as I reflect this morning.

Regardless of what you believe about God, religion, politics or the meaning of life itself, the power of goodness cannot be understated. The impact that we have on each other can never be denied. Often it is easy to forget just how much effect we can and do have on those around us.

The privilege of connection with others is a humbling honour bestowed upon us all. Whether you are a member of a family, a team at work, a sporting club or a community group, what you do with, and who you are to, the people around you influences the way they experience life. Moreover, the way you approach people actually defines the way you experience your own life. By giving love freely, that gift reflects back to bless your life as much as it does the rest of the world.

You might be devastated by grief, broken by failure, empty with loss, or overwhelmed by anxiety in lockdown.

But love.

I would normally have some short points for you to take away and ponder over the next few days, but today, there is only one message. Simple? Yes … but the most powerful one of all to carry us all through even the most devastating losses or gruelling challenges.

Love.

Love.

Love.

That is all. And it is everything.

 

Why Your Attention Matters

5 MIN READ

Every day is about creating experiences which make life worth living. If you’re reading this instalment today, I daresay you and I have something incredibly important in common … We want the most out of life!

Many people say their health is their top priority, and of course, no-one could argue this is highly valuable … but for years now I’ve thought that time is my most precious resource. Lately, I’ve been reconsidering this; what if our attention is what matters most to leading a rich, rewarding life?

Don’t get me wrong … I value time highly. Once your time is spent, it can never be gained back. With your time you invest in the things you hold most dear. You spend time with your loved ones, time building your business, and (hopefully) time caring for yourself. If you’re really honest with yourself you can evaluate what is most important to you by examining how you use your time. You might like to think that your well-being is vitally important to you, or your finances, or your family. However, if you haven’t given these things enough time, you will inevitably start to feel the effects. Over time, a lack of investment into those pillars of success will usher in a reality check.

“You become what you give your attention to.”
Epictetus, The Art of Living

These things are all true, but I am not sure they really target the heart of the matter.

In managing rapidly shifting landscapes across multiple fronts, my reflections have lead me to a new perspective. My clients are looking for more straight forward methods of service delivery lately, which has caused me to look at new business models. My family life is moving into different seasons which has brought new approaches into focus. My body is not as young as it used to be, and I’m making the achievement of my goal to run a half marathon a top priority.

You have unique things which consume your thoughts, and your time. You move through shifting seasons constantly learning, adjusting and maneuvering to navigate your days. You make decisions which have the power to change your circumstances and create new outcomes. But all of these don’t “just happen.”

Whether you consider the state of your health, relationships, business, lifestyle, finances, or any other important aspect of life, one thing remains constant. It is your attention which drives your thoughts, behaviours, feelings and results. Take a look at your calendar … your attention drives your schedule! Here are three ways I have found this to be particularly true for business leaders in pursuit of success.

What you see is what you know

You might sit next to your partner on a bright sunshiny day and take in the same view across a grassy parkland. You can both see the same things, but your attention is very different. As a result of that experience, one might come to know that cycling has become increasingly popular of late. They will see cyclists pedalling by, and they will develop a theory about that. Then, as they see more, their theory will be reinforced. It will remind them that they read about this in the news last week. And they will come to know that truth for themselves.

The other will see just how many children are out of schools that have been temporarily closed. They will see children out and about, then they will look for more. They will remember their nephew is homeschooling with their sister, and their evolving knowledge about the effects of closing schools down will be reinforced.

You come to know what you pay attention to. Knowledge can’t be gained any other way.

The only knowledge you will ever possess is that which you have learned. You can only know what you have paid attention to. The internet is full of knowledge that you will never access, and your friends have knowledge you will never share. Your thoughts, beliefs and outlook all stem from what you have been paying attention to.

 

What you see is what you feel

We got stuck in a lift the other day. We needed to get from the Level 2 shops to the Level 1 carpark. Social distancing restrictions meant we couldn’t share the lift with any other shoppers, so we walked our trolley in, pressed the Level 1 button with our knuckle, and watched the doors close. The people on Level 3 had already pressed the button to direct the lift upwards, so we took a ride that way. We awkwardly watched the lift doors open and saw the Level 3 people waiting for access. But all of us knew we couldn’t share the lift, so the doors closed, and we headed downwards. Unfortunately, we only got as far as Level 2 before those lift doors opened again to the people there. They had pressed the button to bring us back. We bounced between Level 2 and Level 3 not once, twice or three times, but FOUR times! Every time the door opened at each level the line of people queueing got longer. And we got more and more embarrassed.

My fiance was good-natured about it as he went into fix-it mode. He saw a social problem that desperately needed solving, and his attention was firmly on doing just that.

My son and I, on the other hand, were in hysterics. We saw how truly absurd the problem was and we were bedside ourselves. I had tears streaming down my face. It was sheer bliss to focus my attention on the hilarity of it all.

Your emotions come from what you pay attention to. Feelings can’t be accessed any other way.

 

What you see is what you get

2019 was a personally challenging year for me. I’d made some poor business decisions which lead to some aspects of my work screaming for closure. My health and fitness goals had been undermined several times by sickness. My tiny apartment increasingly felt like a shrinking shoebox, and I’d worked myself into a tightly wound ball of stress. Every day looked at the mess I had created with hopelessness. I didn’t turn my attention to the resources I did have for business building, the parks I had nearby, or the gym I had just down the road. And I didn’t really savour the loving relationships I enjoyed, the health I had, or my opportunities to create new business outcomes. I was miserable because I paid attention to the lack, rather than my wealth.

Then in December, we moved house. I decided to shift my attention and the results have been truly transformational. I started to focus on my power to change my financial situation. I saw my ability to create a fresh start in business, and I loved taking in the parks and gym nearby. My despair was replaced with hopeful optimism because I started seeing what was there in a new way. This opened new possibilities.

In short, I chose to focus on gratitude and I dedicated myself to progressive improvement. I let go of the gigantic goals that I’d fallen short of in 2019, choosing instead to pay attention to incremental gains. I’m slowly building more success into my business and finances, my health and wellness and my relationships. I’m losing weight, building strength and creating winning business outcomes.

Your outcomes arise from what you pay attention to. New starts and fulfilling results can’t be achieved any other way.

 

The most exciting part about all of this is the power we have to transform our lives by shifting our focus. Do you have goals you are trying to achieve? Knowledge you’d like to acquire? Changes you want to create? Set your sights on paying attention. Be present to seeing the pathway towards those outcomes. Look out for ways to make your attention serve your highest self and lead you to profound fulfilment.