Changing Habits

Changing Habits Is A Campaign, Not An Event – Better! Results Tip #13

Several years ago, my speaking coach asked me to bring what he called ‘game tape’ to our next meeting. So I looked through the video recordings in my files from recent keynote presentations, and picked the one I thought was best. Two cameras, full lights, great stage in Las Vegas, and about 600 in the high-energy audience.

At our next coaching session, he loaded the disk into the DVD player, adjusted the sound, and we sat back to watch.

Six minutes in, he stopped the video and gave me the feedback I wasn’t expecting. “I can’t take it any more!”

After remembering that I was paying my results coach for no frills advice, I swallowed my pride and asked him what was wrong.

He smiled and pointed out three specific distracting habits I didn’t even know I had. Yet he saw them right away (and now I did, too).

The good news: they were only subconscious behavior habits. Things I could control 100% and could adjust immediately when I present. And I told him so.

His reply, “No you can’t. You’ve built these habits over 25 years, and thousands of live presentations and practice sessions. It will take at least a year of concentrated effort to un-do and replace them. You’re going to need a system of reminders and you’ll be leaning on these reminders every day until new Better! Habits overlay the old.” In short:

Fixing flawed and broken habits

is a campaign, not an event.

And he was right. It took a year, and I still fall back into those old distracting behaviors if I don’t pay active attention when I present.

Better! Habits Action Suggestion

  • Give yourself the gift of one minute of focused thought right now.
  • Pick one habit you KNOW you bring to your work that’s holding you back.
  • State that habit specifically – with precision and clarity.
  • Now think of one cheat-sheet idea that you can use to remind you every day about the habit you’re working to replace. A laminated card in your pocket. Wear your watch on the opposite wrist so that it feels funny and you remember why it’s there. Post-It Notes in strategic places where you work – so that you see them every few minutes and are reminded dozens of times each day.

Work on that one habit you’re trying to replace. Not two or three. One. And work that change like the campaign it is. Every day for as long as it takes to become your new muscle memory and normal way of doing things.

 


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

eat the frog

Eat the Frog – Better! Results Tip #12

American author and populist philosopher Mark Twain is given credit for a simple quote that changed how I start my day.

If it’s your job to eat a frog,

it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

A quick Internet search of this quote will show you the many writers, speakers, bloggers and others who have embraced it and spun it into the context of their own work. That’s not my purpose here. I just want to share it with those of you who have never heard it before (like me until recently), or remind those of you who already know this quote of what a powerful, simple, actionable instruction it is.Eat the Frog

Here’s how I use it to get Better! Results.

On the wall behind my work desk, I have a large orange Post-It Note with “Eat the Frog” written in a wide marker. When I open my laptop to start my day, I see this note right behind the screen. I can’t miss it. And reacting to this instruction immediately every single day has changed my morning work routine so that I’m now:

  • More efficient – I don’t start with low priority busy work. I search around my work area for the single most important task that must be done that day. And I do it right away. Whether that takes two minutes or two hours.
  • More effective – My best time of day for creativity and productivity is early morning. I’m confident that’s due in part to my love of coffee! But I’ve been a morning person throughout my career. So it’s simple self-awareness and common sense that directs me to follow Twain’s advice and eat that critical-task frog first thing.
  • More relaxed – Once that important chore that would otherwise hang over my day is done, I can take a deep breath and move on to the dozens of other less-critical tasks. Emails, proposals, new training materials for my clients, returning phone calls, and pushing a never ending stream of paper around my desk to its final resting place in files or the recycle bin. The critical task stress is gone leaving me with the energy and focus to tackle the many other important but less urgent items on my ‘To-Do’ list.

If you’re one of the large number of business professionals who struggle to find the time to finish important tasks, or if like me you have a tendency to procrastinate, then get out a large bright Post-It Note and marker right now. Write “Eat the Frog” in large letters, and stick it directly in front of where you’ll sit when you start you day tomorrow. Then eat that frog before doing anything else.

Try it for just one day. If you like the result, try it again for a week. If you get Better! Results, repeat every day until it’s your new morning routine. It’s simple; it’s free, and it works.

 


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

Help Your Boss Be A Hero

Help Your Boss Be A Hero – Better! Results Tip #11

Cheryl threw her hands above her head and let out a sigh of frustration. All I had asked was how things were going with her new boss. Clearly, they weren’t going well.

Sound familiar?

Let’s step back a minute and consider Cheryl’s point of view and career objectives. Like most, she wanted to opportunity to perform meaningful creative work. Like you, she prefers to do so in an environment of cooperation and trust where efforts are appropriately recognized. And like you, Cheryl wants to look forward to coming to work and enjoying the many hours spent with associates and supervisors.

And those supervisors come in all styles and personalities. Some are easy to work with. They challenge us, guide us, coach us and bring out our best.

Others – not so much.

Our career goals are important, and our ability to pursue those goals is heavily dependent on our ability to get our immediate supervisor to support us. But with so much diversity in styles and relationships between supervisors and their teams, can there really be a ‘one size fits all’ approach that can work in every situation?

Well, the answer is a resounding – probably. As in, there are some things you can do that increase the ‘probability’ of creating a truly supportive relationship with your boss. And they all start with studying and understanding your boss’s perspective.

Allow me to explain.

make your boss look like a hero

Achieving better results starts with a vision. Through John Hall’s guidance, you will be able to not only envision yourself accomplishing your goals, but also develop clear steps and an attainable plan to help navigate you toward success. Break free from the daily grind and bring clarity to your goals. John helps you develop perspective and context, and then delivers a clear-cut and action-oriented guide of how-to instructions that steer you toward measurably Better! results – however you define them. Let us know how we can help you achieve better results – however you define them. Click here to contact us for more information on our One-on-One and Group Results Coaching Services. Or start getting better results today through the Six-Step System by clicking right here to purchase John’s book “Do what You Can! Simple Steps – Extraordinary Results.”

Like you, your boss has valid points of view and career objectives. She or he likely wants employees who can embrace and support these objectives. Not brown-nosing goody two shoes human robots. Employees who see themselves as professionals regardless of their organizational level or responsibilities. Every supervisor wants team members who bring their best every day, come prepared and energized to take on the daily challenges of business, and will support the group’s objectives as well as their own career goals.

So regardless of the current condition of your relationship with your own boss, here’s a suggestion. Do something today to make your boss look like a hero.

For example:

  • If you know that your boss is struggling with a business challenge – budget, deliverables, performance improvement, customer satisfaction, or anything else that’s important to them – brainstorm something specific you could do in your own work that would help your boss solve that challenge. Then just do it. No fanfare or glory-seeking. Your boss will see and appreciate your efforts. The halo created by your results will reflect back on you without a word being said.
  • When day-to-day problems pop-up, seek solutions without being asked. Highly valued employees are those who see a problem, analyze it quickly, and then dive in to find workable solutions. The unhappy customer, the end of day deadline, and the crisis phone call that just came in all create opportunities for you to take on the role of fixer. I’m a big believer in devoting 20% of our efforts to problem identification and analysis, and 80% to finding and implementing solutions. Show your boss that you can always be relied upon to solve their headache even before they know they have one.
  • Make them look good. Offer to draft documents for them. Volunteer to cover the meeting they don’t have time to attend. Reach out to the vendor or contractor who is causing your boss nothing but frustration and worry. And always – ALWAYS – speak favorably about your boss.

I’m fond of the belief that if you help a lot of people then a lot of people will help you. Start with your boss. Find some way today and every day to help them out and make them look good. Be the great employee they need you to be – the one who makes them look like a hero to their boss!

John J. Hall, CPA


John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 38-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”