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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.

 

How You See Determines What You See

3 MIN READ

If there is one word that we could all relate to lately it is change! Our own personal empowerment is being stretched by fluctuating social environments, changing global news, evolving health concerns, shifting lifestyle opportunities. Change has taught me a lot of lessons over the years, but when it comes to your own power this one is pertinent today:

Your words are your greatest power in defining your outlook, and so your future.

What we say is powerful! I know from experience that William Golding was right in the Lord of the Flies: “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” The truth of this concept is such a foundational part of my life now that its thread is easily identified in everything I do, think and say. I continue to invest in my personal empowerment and the empowerment of those around me. I do this by exploring how words can produce the best possible outcome in any and every situation.

Personal empowerment comes with words which reflect a higher vision

“Your words can be powerful, then can hurt or uplift, so think before you speak, as every word you say counts” Leon Brown

Personally Empowered Thinking

How much do you think about the words you use? Like everyone, you think about the things you want, the actions you do, the possessions you have … Do you ever listen to what you’re saying to yourself and those around you? Considering the world you are creating with your words can literally transform your life. This can lead to steadfast empowerment that anchors your very identity.

It’s been said that words are thoughts, and without them, humans can’t think.  We have around 50,000 thoughts per day. Some say up to 70,000 thoughts. But did you know that 95% of those thoughts are simply old ones on repeat? Only 5% of our thoughts are hot off our mental press. This means that the words filling our mind today are almost identical to the ones that were there yesterday. Our brain is the best autopilot around. However, this repeating cycle does nothing for us when we want to change. It also makes it incredibly difficult to respond to a change that comes from out of the blue.

Making More Personally Empowered Choices

The good news is that we can choose the words we say to ourselves, so you can actually start to put this mental repetition to work for us as a tool of your own personal empowerment. As you start to explore who you are by examining the words you think and say, you enter the inner part of yourself that can be changed by choosing new words. It’s important to notice the script that is already there. This will need to be actively discarded and replaced by the new words you choose.

I went through a very humbling journey recently as I listened to the default response I gave when people asked, “How are you?” Without missing a beat I would say I was doing well. Then I would follow up with how hard I had been working and how many trials I was trying to overcome. This response must have been created at some stage of my working-class background, in a society that wears hardship like a badge of honour. As a result, this undermined my own personal empowerment. But then I turned a corner.

Leading Your Own Empowerment

As an adult now, I am powerful to choose my own outlook. That old response sounded ugly to me. It was like I heard myself for the first time that day. In a strange combination of shame at what I’d found and excitement of what was to come, I decided to change the way I spoke. I was keen to alter those discouraging, defeated words to make them more positive and uplifting. This would result in me deleting the old words from my identity script, forever. I always want to choose words that create encouragement, success and advancement. This is how to develop the language of leadership.

We can all respond by telling people that we are well, then say something wonderful that has happened lately. Then, we can all ask how they are. Typically, you will receive a reply like your own. Your words have set a different pace for the conversation. Everybody wins! There are no excuses for complaining that life is too hard. Even on the toughest days, your friends are kind, the world is genuinely beautiful, and opportunity awaits. The sun is always shining above the darkest storm.

You Choose What You See

The keys to personal empowerment are in your own hands. You are the only person in the entire world who can master the power of your thoughts and language. Only you can choose the words that make a positive shift in your life. To use your words with creative power, you need to deliberately, strategically break into who you are to change what you find. You need to unlock the things you think and the things you say to transform how you see the world. Because How you see determines What you see.

 

business leadership starts with managing your daily habits

5 Sweet Spots Of Explosive High Impact Leadership

4 MIN READ

Business leaders have a high calling to manage themselves well. Their personal integrity, resilience, and perception allow them to step up and lead their staff, clients, community, and even loved ones. Building a company that makes a genuine difference to people starts with the choices you make day by day.

Self Care Nurtures Your Priorities

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my daily habits lately. I’m dedicated to the mastery of my own self-care. I’m intent on creating strong foundations for lasting fulfilment in my life. My close relationships have always been the centre of my “Why”. They’re getting a boost from the work I’ve been doing in my daily routines. I’m more present, more connected, and more authentic now than ever before, because of some little actions I’ve been committed to each day.

No More Rollercoaster

My health and well-being are becoming increasingly important to me. I’ve put them at the top of my to-do list, and I’m seeing some incredible results. The work I’ve been doing is different from the efforts I’ve made at any other time in my life. I’ve done the speed diets, the fitness bursts, and the “get healthy fast” programs. They work when they’re on, but they stop soon after. Can you relate to that roller coaster?

On December 15, 2019, I made a decision to change my approach for good.

I will make time for self-care every single day, for the rest of my life.

No more band-aid solutions. I’m stopping knee-jerk reactions. I’m moving away from reactionary management.

This will be the last time I make the decision to care for myself first.

Instead of explosive bursts that hit with a big bang then burn out, I’ve started working a more sustainable approach:

HABITS

I’ve found the habits which empower strong business leadership are a little like fairy floss. Let me explain …

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habits are what keeps you going” Jim Rohn

1. Habits Start As Almost Nothing

The starting point of fairy floss is underwhelming. It begins with a few ingredients ready to be mixed and worked into something impressive. I’m reminded of the bible verse: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings”.

Don’t let the insignificance of the early days fool you. The humble beginnings of making new habits stick are exactly why they’re so effective. To develop new habits requires very little time and effort. It’s almost like you’re doing nothing … which is what makes this approach so accessible for busy leaders. There is no excuse for not fitting your habits in. It’s never about time. It’s always about dedication to making the recipe work for you.

2. Habits Feel Like Almost Nothing

It doesn’t matter how much fairy floss you can stuff into your mouth. It dissolves away to almost nothing very quickly. It looks so gigantic and substantial. But it is actually a big ball of sugary nothing. It disappears before you know it.

When you’re doing your habits every day, there’s very little experience of change, especially in the first few weeks. You set the intention to check off each tiny item on the list, then you do that every day. The tiny bit of time that passes is hardly missed, because it’s too short. The effort that you consume is so incidental that it barely exists. The headspace that you use becomes less than nothing, because you quickly find that you’re not even thinking about doing it! Your habits dissolve into your days and almost disappear.

3. Habits Become Comforting & Enjoyable

It’s a treat to have fairy floss, right? There’s something comforting and nostalgic about lining up at the show and watching that big ball of sugary fluff rolling around that stick. There’s a child-like burst of happiness that explodes when that sweet bundle becomes yours.

It doesn’t take too long before your habits become a daily happy place for you to delight in. Managing yourself with short, simple routines each day gives you a burst of pride that carries you through. If it was a larger investment, it might feel like an indulgence. But a few minutes here and there is just so easy to sustain. That indulgent feeling is more about your own self-respect. When you watch yourself being dedicated to your personal growth, health and wellness, it lights you up.

4. Habits Grow Into Something Powerfully Significant

If you looked at the meagre ingredients required to make fairy floss before it was made, you could very easily doubt the grandeur of the final result. The final performance of the fairy floss is a show stopper as it struts its way through to the main stage.

Habits are so utterly powerful because they work around your brain’s natural “defend and protect” mode. It can be overwhelming to think about expanding your team, tripling your revenue, taking your business global, moving your services online. But habits make it simple to avoid the binds of exhausting workload, the old “imposter syndrome”, or the “flight, fight or freeze” response. Focus all your business ambitions into the tiny actions you do each day. Create significant outcomes with small sustainable steps. Build a lasting legacy by laying one small brick at a time.

5. Habits Create Explosive Impact

The final thing about fairy floss that stands out to me is the massive zing you get from all that sugar! Now, I’m not recommending we take this metaphor so far that daily consumption of fairy floss goes onto our habit list. But still, there are lessons to be learned when we think about the powerful effects of habits over time.

You’d never imagine the impact a few well-chosen habits can make when you follow through daily. It’s the sort of difference experienced by inventors of vaccines. Winners of gold medals. Parents of healthy children. Builders of business empires. You can’t possibly achieve a life-changing difference in a short burst. But you can make a powerful impact when you embrace incremental improvement. I won’t bore you with quotes from history-making leaders, but I will ask you to Google “quotes about good habits”. Let the results speak for themselves.

 

How Boundaries Are Essential For Growth

4 MIN READ

Each year I choose a word to represent a theme that I work towards. I put the word on my phone screensaver to remind myself every day of my goals. Over the past five years I’ve guided myself to Consolidate (twice … it was a big clean up that took ages 😉), Charge, Balance, and Leverage. This little strategy has profoundly improved my life with the clarity, focus and action that comes from always being intentional, on the front foot with my aims.

I’ve been blessed with abundant growth over recent times. More invitations. More clients. More people. More relationships. More learning. More opportunities than ever before. This has been so wonderful, especially because it has highlighted the need to manage things with a focus on what matters most. My family. My health. My loved ones. My business growth.

Me time.

My ability to sustain all this goodness in ways that allow me to continue to pass on the abundance I’ve been given to others.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything” Warren Buffet

My word for this year is Boundaries. I spent the last couple of months of last year preparing for this new focus, and at this point, I have built up some serious momentum. I’ve been implementing some winning strategies to activate the best ways to maximise the good things in my life. The trick is working strategies which prevent you from being overwhelmed or derailed by the sheer magnitude of it all.

Boundaries Require Clarity

I’ve already realised that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries requires crystal clear insight on my goals and preferences. Choosing the boundaries of my life means being certain about what I need and want, and what I don’t. Establishing boundaries is about knowing what I want to keep, which then shows me the things that I am best to let go of. Activating those boundaries is about finding the language to explicitly define what I choose, and politely decline the rest.

The challenge of this word has proven itself to be my toughest yet. It means I am saying ‘No’ a lot. It means I’m being more disciplined with my lifestyle choices. And it has certainly meant putting on my protector hat for the things (and people) I love most. Already, there have been times where this has felt ruthless. Practising being firm with my boundaries has already meant saying no to things I would have previously gone along with because it was easier. It’s also meant being firm with myself and my habits, creating new personal routines that carve out space for a more rewarding way of life.

Handy Tips For Your Own Boundaries

To make things straight forward, I thought I would share some tips for maintaining healthy boundaries in your own life.

Define Your Values

If you are uncertain about the things that are the most important to you, it’s going to be very difficult for you to establish boundaries in your life. Knowing what you stand for, what you exist for, and what you want in life will be the strength that you need to make strong decisions. Your core values are the very foundation of your ability to hold your ground. Knowing your purpose and making it your first priority will give you the confidence and conviction to stand firm. Get some help to define these, then protect them as if your life depends on it!

Set Clear Goals

Knowing your purpose is highly important, but if you don’t turn that mission into goals you work towards each day you will leave too much space for distractions and interruptions. This will undermine your ability to maintain healthy boundaries more than any other factor. If you develop projects with deadlines that are set in stone, you will be so busy that you won’t have time to say ‘Yes’ to things you should be saying ‘No’ to. Make your days count for something you invest deeply into. Create boundaries to protect your time and headspace from the influence of distractions. You have a legacy to build and a difference to make. Give it everything you’ve got!

Write New Scripts

When someone invites you to join their group, attend their event, sign up to their newsletter, or help with their problem, it can be flattering. But setting boundaries depends on you seeing those invitations as a red flag of distraction. If the invitation will interrupt the achievement of your goals, you simply must say ‘No’. Find ways of saying ‘Thank you but I’m busy that day’ or ‘Thank you for thinking of me but I’m working other deadlines this month/quarter/year’, or ‘I appreciate the invitation but I need to double-check how it fits with my other plans.’ Practising ways of politely declining will let you protect healthy boundaries without getting caught up in the moment.

Get Thicker Skin

The most difficult thing I find with maintaining boundaries is dealing with the feeling that I’ve let someone down or fallen short of their expectations. If this sounds like you too, I get it! We both need to remind ourselves that their needs or wants are not our responsibility. It is not up to you to make their thing work, and certainly not at the expense of your own well being. Even your children need you to maintain strict boundaries with how much they rely on you. If the people you’re saying no to are hurt, disappointed or even angry, the best you can do is be polite, explain your position, then walk away … and don’t apologise! You have nothing to apologise for. Standing your ground with your boundaries will empower you to new strength.

Celebrate Your Wins

When you do the right thing and say ‘No’, give yourself a pat on the back. When you achieve a goal because you made it your first priority, reward yourself. Establish daily routines that you celebrate following. Work towards important goals that really matter. Mark the success of achievement with some kind of celebration. YOu might reward your success by taking time off. Buying new shoes. Giving an hour to your favourite book or TV show. Having a night out with your loved ones. Whatever you do, make sure that you motivate yourself to conquer the challenges of setting boundaries by rewarding your victories.

 

I’m expecting my focus on boundaries will progressively clear the way for more abundance than I’ve ever experienced. Because like all great management projects, it will clean out all the ordinary or even good things in my life that have actually prevented me from accessing the BEST things.

I wonder what your focus is for this year? How are you going with it? It’s a new year … a new decade. A chance to take everything you have now and turn it into something spectacular. What will it be?

 

Let’s Tell Our Own Story About Crisis

3 MIN READ

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been resolving a conflict inside of me. This conflict has been a leadership one. Working out how to manage myself well has been challenging, at times to the point of overwhelming. The circumstances we’ve all been experiencing from the impacts of the virus are some of the most restrictive I’ve ever encountered. The abrupt changes and global uncertainty have been immense to take on.

Dealing With The Changes

It’s been really strange to face days where I can’t go out to an event or enjoy breakfast at a cafe. Walking down quiet streets has been surreal. Navigating crowded footpaths whilst trying to keep my distance has been frustrating and even scary.

Reading the news has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I want to stay informed, to comply with the latest rules, and to get the information I need to make decisions. I want to keep doing well with managing my health, my relationships, my business, my day-to-day plans. But the news has been harrowing. Stories of global lockdown, sickness and death … Some days the human vulnerability I saw was just so confronting that I needed to take a break altogether.

The Power Of Questioning Assumptions

I was out walking recently, reflecting on just how invasive all of it has been. News of the virus and its impacts on our lives has become the story we’ve all been telling. Progressively, I’ve noticed that I’ve been tempted to tell myself a story of restriction, hardship and poverty. And I’ve generalised this story too, imagining it might even apply to everyone else too. It’s become a really hard story to deal with. Trying to keep moving through the days is a burden under the weight of a story like that.

Then I listened to myself and I realised there were massive problems with the things I was thinking. The conflict I was experiencing wasn’t coming from the stress of the outside world. It was coming from inside me! I hope that by sharing these thoughts you might develop some new ways to respond to the hardships you’re facing too.

“Watch what you tell yourself, you’re likely to believe it.” Russ Kyle

Disempowerment Doesn’t Suit You

When you listen to a story that makes you feel trapped and hopeless, and you start to believe that story, you forget that you’re powerful to create new outcomes. Following requirements to stay home as much as possible and keep your distance if you need to go out is how things are right now. But this still leaves so much room for you to make choices for yourself across every area of your life.

Above all else, it is vital to keep this truth at the front of your mind in all things: You are the only one who controls your thoughts and feelings. Regardless of how powerless you might feel, you are always the only one with the power to be you!

 

You Can Tell Your Own Story

The story that’s being told through the media is only one side of the story. If you quickly pop your head up out of the trenches you’ll see evidence everywhere that people can, and are, bouncing back with new ideas and creative improvements. They’re still going where they want to go. In fact, many have found better ways of making progress because they had to adjust to the circumstances.

You’ll always have unique aspirations for the future to activate. Even amidst change, you’re are the writer of your story and the creator of your future. Lead yourself forward with a tenacious dedication to achieving your aims. Embrace flexibility and responsiveness as essential to success.

 

You Have Abundant Resources To Fuel Growth

The opportunities available to you right now far outweigh the limitations being imposed. In telling a new story, I’ve been marvelling at the privileges afforded to everyone by the internet. You can still stay up to date online, so most of the time the big stuff won’t happen without you knowing. You can still stay in touch online, so isolation does not have to be so isolating. You can still do business online, with the chance to make your business more efficient, streamlined and scalable than it ever has been before.

Instead of focusing on what can’t be done right now, cast your vision over the things you can do. It doesn’t suit anyone to tell a story of scarcity because the truth is that we always have everything we need to move forward. Harness the power you have to create new outcomes, map out a pathway towards that outcome, then mobilise what you need to embark on the journey. There’s nothing stopping you!

 

10 Steps To Reclaim Your Business

4 MIN READ

Quite some years ago you started out in your business, brimming with positive expectations dreams that you were going to make come true. You were excited about what your big idea could lead you to, and your passion carried you through your first few years. You didn’t know what you didn’t know and this ignorance was bliss. You took big risks and giant strides into the future that you were intent on making.

Now you are tied to it like a concrete block. You’re working far too hard and you don’t have enough to show for it. Yes, you do have sales, cashflow, leads and a robust client base, but you feel like you’re dying under the workload of serving it all. The love you used to have for your work is slowly suffocating at the hands of endless admin, frantic jobs, an uncontrollable inbox and relentless customers that always seem to want more than you can give. Lately you have become increasingly tempted to get a haircut and a real job. You started this business to follow your passion, and now it is literally pushing you to the brink.

The passion you had for your business can be rekindled with a specific plan to get you back there

What Did I Want? – Re-ignite Passion

The first step to reclaiming what you feel that your business has stolen from you is to remember what you started it all for in the first place. Once upon a time you loved your core business offering and you wanted to tell the world about it. You were dedicated to making it work and you envisioned where it would take you. Reignite the passion you once had for this work. It’s still in there and it can be rekindled to give you the resurgence of ambition you need to make things better.

What Do I Want Now? – Goal

With your first love reignited, it’s time to be honest, and ask yourself what you really want now. Your blissful ignorance is long gone, and now you know that the journey of getting your life back will be epic. You’re not in the same starting position you were in back then, so take a look at your new landscape. What has changed? What remains? What are your ideal outcomes from this point forward. Clarify these to create a realistic new benchmark for yourself.

What Could It Become? – Vision

Exchanging those old naive ideals for more realistic goals will help lighten the load, but don’t go so far as to lose the entrepreneurial spirit of the starry eyed adventurer. As you conceive these new pathways forward, allow yourself to imagine wild outcomes. In the best case scenario, what might still be possible from here? How far could you reach? How powerful could your impact be? The limitless possibilities make this process all worth it. Keep stoking the fire of your wildest new dreams.

What If? – Benefits

With your head somewhere between your realistic goals and those entrepreneurial visions, connect yourself to the benefits of continuing the pursuit. How does this business still serve you, and what could you gain from making it stronger? Is it the income that drives you? The lifestyle for you and your family? The difference you make? The autonomy? Or other perks along the way? We all have different sources of ambition and reward, but tapping into what you get out of this business will keep you hungry for more.

What If I Don’t? – Motivation

Similarly, acknowledging the potential costs of not pushing through will help you stay on the front foot of your motivation. There’s nothing like measuring the opportunity cost to get us really going. It’s one thing to chase the promise of reward, but truly another to be propelled to action by realising that without this surge, you may very well put your business, your family, your financial security or even your sense of identity at risk. A healthy balance of “What If I Do?” and “What If I Don’t?” will keep you on the right track.

What Do I Have? – Inventory

Now that you have your head in the game it’s time to get down to business and take an audit of what you already have to get this show on the road. You have physical resources like computers, phones, cars, shopfronts, stock, and office equipment that can be put to use straight away to begin reclaiming your business. When you combine these resources with the people in your circle, your years of professional experience, and the natural strengths you bring to the table, you’ll see there’s a lot you can do to create change now.

What Do I Do? – Strategy

This evaluation process may have inspired some strokes of genius about moving forward. To create real change, these ideas need to become specific action steps. It’s not enough to write down your general direction or ideal outcome. Reclaiming your business can only be guaranteed when you have a step by step plan to follow. Ambiguity makes positive change fall victim to tiredness, confusion, dismay, frustration, or the next urgent crisis. Writing down every single step of the strategy puts this change into autopilot.

What Do I Need? – Resources

There will be some steps that you won’t be able to take without acquiring some new things. You might need to buy new equipment or upgrade what you have now. It might be as simple as installing new apps or software, or subscribing to a new service. You could enrol in a short course to expand your knowledge or do some online training … If you are really committed to making this new mission stick, you might invest in some new social connections, and dare I say it, redefine some of your less beneficial relationships.

What Do I Do Now? – Schedule

Now you have everything you need to reclaim your business … The only thing separating you from change is your planning. Your business will return to you when you turn your strategy into a schedule in your calendar. Timeframes, appointments and deadlines will let you draw a line in the sand. To keep you and your staff on the straight and narrow, document everything to make that autopilot work for you. Checklists, diagrams, instructions and procedures will take the gamble and guess work out of this transformation.

What Have I Achieved? – Evaluate

No transformation is complete without evidence … even if it were, how could you truly know that you made it? The most vital part of the business reclaim journey is to measure your progress. Your measurements will reflect your initial goals. Were you seeking more time? Revenue? Profit? Sales? Clients? The list of areas you could have targeted in your business reclaim is endless, but across every area is the need for data to prove your progress and inform future steps. Evaluation is the lifeblood of every healthy business, and when these processes become central to your operation, you’ll find that your business can never hold you hostage again.

Not Everything We Touch Turns To Gold

Everything He Touched Turned To Gold

4 MIN READ

The only way Output Goals can be achieved is by setting and fulfilling Input Goals first. I keep learning that it’s true, but one of my earliest experiences with this lesson makes me smile every time I remember it.

Stepping Out Into The Wide Blue Yonder

Alec and I started out in business together as vacuum cleaner sales people. We then turned our work into a Godfrey’s franchise, which we changed again a few years later to open an appliance repair center. Soon after that, we took our work online, first selling vacuum spares on eBay, then opening our own website in 2004. We proudly called our online business ‘Nelson Vacuums’. This was a massive step into the unknown for us. We made it a little more manageable by buying a standardised “off the shelf” e-commerce store rather than building a website from scratch. It worked through a subscription which gave us empty website templates to populate with our logo, business blurb, images and product descriptions, and account details for payment. It was a fun toy that Alec loved playing with.

The Midas Touch

Alec always described himself as being like Uncle Scrooge. You know the Donald Duck character who used to love rolling around in monstrous stacks of gold coins? Alec had a Midas touch when it came to sales, and he loved the idea of rolling around in piles of money. He was the master of positivity and optimism, and honestly expected that everything he touched would turn to gold.

On the day he listed our first product on our brand new Nelson Vacuums website, he was like a kid in a candy store. Pure glee poured out of him. We’d not sold anything yet, but the POTENTIAL was there. That was all he needed to expect those golden outcomes he was so used to.

Waiting Game

When the listing was up, he waited in excited anticipation for our first sale. He got up, made a cuppa and came back to refresh the screen. Then he checked his emails for the notification that he was sure would come through any minute now. Then he refreshed again … and he waited some more. Then he did a test transaction to make sure it was all working properly, then he refreshed to check again. He switched back to his emails to check there again too … nothing yet, but there would be soon, without doubt!

This routine went on in 5 minute intervals for a couple of hours. Literally! Alec was absolutely convinced that with the website up and that one single product available for purchase, he would see our first sale come through fast. Super quick. Really, he expected that it would happen instantaneously. With every passing minute it became clear that this was not going to happen.

And The Heavens Opened

Well … this story ends that after that first little window, Alec got busy listing more products, and amazingly he did see our first sale come through by the end of the day. It was miraculous in so many ways. I think it shows just how young online retail was back then, and how little competition we had in our niche. The sales trickled in over the next few days, one at a time. Over the following weeks and months we continued to populate the website with more product listings which kept sales ticking along. More importantly we learned about how to succeed in online retail, and the more we learned the more we realised how naive we were in those early days.

The Penny Drops

The more we learned the more we realised that Alec’s early expectations had been absurd. We worked hard to optimise our website, create back links with blogs, guest posts, and you tube videos, and we embarked on our first ever Google Adwords campaign. We were dedicated to the mission of making this website successful, and we had set a goal that it would generate a small income by the year’s end.

Goal setting has to be about what we put in, before we measure what we take out. Alec’s outlook at the start was comparable to the person who weighs themselves, then runs around the block, then wonders why the scales haven’t changed on their return. Goal setting doesn’t work like this. You know it, and I know it, and yet still we continue to pursue aims that focus on output rather than input.

This is important in all areas of our lives, but understanding how this works in our business can make the defining difference to our progress. When we are setting any of our goals for growth we must do this in such a way that prioritises the actions we need to perform to achieve the goal, rather than simply ‘putting it out there’ and hoping that we make it somehow. Our driving goals must be for consistent daily action.

Output goals for increased revenue need input goals for more sales or a sustainable price rise. Output goals for more profits need input goals for better supplier deals, lower overheads, or greater sales. Output goals for more sales need input goals for more sales calls, better staff training, and possibly better products or services. The same approach goes for the productivity of our staff, expansion into new offerings, promoting events and special offers, and reducing our expenditure. All of our business goals must be anchored into what must be done to achieve them.

IN SHORT:

  1. Simply “putting your goals out there” is an ineffective success strategy
  2. Goals which measure output cannot drive progress as much as goals which measure input.
  3. Goals must be clearly defined and pursued with a specific daily action plan.

 

 

Finding The Voice Of My Infinite Self

4 MIN READ

To know that we are valuable is vital to the health of our very substance. As social creatures with a heart that beats for compassion, relationship and significance, each one of us can be truly fulfilled only if we know that we have made a difference. Our Infinite Self is completely realised only in service of those around us, through the establishment of a legacy that allows our effects in the world to outlast our physical bodies. We need to know that our days counted for something bigger than us, and that in finding our Purpose, we have found a way to make some one else’s life better. We want the healing refreshment of Passion for outward service.

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Daily prayer and meditation helped remind me what I was like on the inside, and this person became my offering to the world

It was by enlarging my capacity for service that I was eventually able to grow beyond my voice strain injury, but this really was no walk in the park. My treatment involved over six months of voiceless silence, which crushed me. Even as the treatment progressed and permitted an hour of talking each day, this didn’t restore my classroom, or my singing, or my time with friends and family. I had been told that I would sing and work again only if I was dedicated to the treatment that silenced everything I loved. Even if this therapy worked, I faced more than one whole year of a life of isolation. I was lost clinging to the remnants of a life that could no longer exist.

I responded poorly. My first reaction of anger was quickly followed by despair and hopelessness. I knew that a full year was too long, and this surrender ushered in a dark depression. I cried most days. The deep pain of losing everything swallowed me whole. My days started with unbearable misery, so even the discomfort of normal feelings were unbearable. Dizzy vagueness was accompanied by stomach cramps, back pain, and butterflies that made me feel sick. I turned to alcohol to drown the tiredness of my daily grieving, and ate myself into obesity in an attempt to avoid the strain that hunger brought.

But this was just the start. After about six months I started to experience panic attacks and anxiety that sent my head into a spin and made my throat constrict till it hurt. In working through my counselling, my psychologist explained to me that I had developed an adjustment disorder. At that point, I simply couldn’t find a way to accommodate this new life of silence. I took a few months to absorb this diagnosis, but then I realised that my recovery required me to learn how to be an expert in psychological flexibility. My therapist encouraged me: “It’s hard, but it’s not too hard.” She was right.

What a wonderful opportunity! In taking up this challenge, I came to love myself in entirely new ways, because I started looking for the person inside me again. I embarked on a life changing quest to reconnect with myself as an Infinite person who needed the gift of a new voice. In this search I remembered I am kind, generous, motivated, intelligent, funny, enthusiastic, energetic, ambitious, outgoing, sensitive, thoughtful, compassionate, persistent. I realised that I am a unique person who loves words and learning and talking and reading and writing. I live to serve my family, and to connect in honest transparency with others. I am driven by goals that put my strengths to work to set me free.

Remembering this person set me on a pathway to recovery where I started to find new ways of demonstrating who I always was. I didn’t need a voice to write to my people with emails and texts and social media posts, to build my business with my husband, to study psychology and learn again, and to work out and lose weight. As my confidence and happiness started to return, so did my voice, and so did opportunities to teach. At first I taught in a small group homework centre, then at university with a microphone and adult students who quietly managed their own behaviour, and then in a special behaviour school with one single student who needed all of my softly spoken attention. In retrospect, this disorder was one of my life’s most disguised blessings, because it taught me how to pursue fulfilment with real world optimism, purpose-driven flexibility, and identity-driven passion. It taught me that the cliche of ‘being true to yourself’ can only be real if we acknowledge that we always have strengths and abilities that can be used to express ourselves in ways that serve others.

In this 18 month journey of recovery I learned that all roads lead to Rome, where Rome is my unchanging identity, and all of the roads are the twists and turns of life’s journey. In getting back there, I figured out exactly what my ‘Rome’ was made of, and I realised that psychological flexibility allows my unchanging core self to adjust to any circumstance that life throws at me. The road you take really doesn’t matter, as long as it is headed to Rome.

Zig Ziglar talks about the difference between long term happiness and short term pleasure. We  all want to experience the profound happiness that comes from serving others because this lasts longer than the burst of short term pleasure that comes from seeking selfish, short term gain. We all can experience this if we combine a profound knowledge of ourselves with a defining commitment to serve others with everything we’ve got.