Be Honest – What’s Holding You Back? – Better! Results Tip #9

Career Goals

 Coaching client Katie expressed her frustration with great passion and clarity. “I just can’t get the traction I need to move my career forward at the speed I want. Or any speed most days!”

Bang! She nailed it! So while she was in this charged-up state, we immediately invested 15 minutes in a simple exercise you or I can easily do on our own. We made a list of specific factors Katie believed were holding her back in her career.

Here are ten items from Katie’s list. She rattled these off in this order in less than three minutes!

  1. A tendency to stall; to procrastinate rather than to take even simple first steps.
  2. A difficult boss – who has a consistent habit of refusing to coach his subordinates in any area of their skills.
  3. Time, or rather the apparent lack of it.
  4. Inexperience and fear of speaking in front of others.
  5. Feeling tired and worn down from the pace of daily commuting in traffic, deadlines, other staff who don’t pull their own weight, excessive email volume, and dozens of daily interruptions by others that break her concentration.
  6. Lack of access to difficulty building rapport with those higher up in the organization.
  7. A business environment where collaboration is outwardly discouraged.
  8. Too many ‘bends’ in even the most simple of processes – a bend being any step, approval, document or other administrative hurdle that slows the process down for no apparent benefit.
  9. Constant low priority busy work – draining limited energy away from getting important things done.
  10. Unclear performance criteria.

CareerI acknowledge that the creation of a list doesn’t solve anything. Far from it. But rather than a foggy feeling of general frustration, it gives us clear baseline to work from. From your list, you can take the next steps of identifying the factors you have control over and lay out a plan of action. You can also focus in on factors you can’t control, and devise a plan to work around, over, under or with these barriers.

The first step of any improvement plan is the gift of quiet time to assess where we are right now, what specific factors around us move us forward and which ones get in our way. From that analysis, a plan comes next.

Be honest – what’s holding you back? Give yourself the gift of 15 minutes of quiet time to develop your list. Decide right now which factors you can address and the ones you have to tolerate at least for the short run. Write it out in a bullet point list. It it’s not written, it’s not a plan. Then act on the issues you can influence. Simple steps every day add up to measurable results.

No one else is responsible for your progress except you. Like Katie, take complete control of your future. Right now – make a list, build a plan, and start taking action.

 

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.”

Get A Little Exercise – Better! Results Tip #8

 

2 PM, and I’ve been sitting at my dStuckesk since early this morning. Two cups of coffee, and a very short lunch break. The projectdeadline is just a few days away, and I’m feeling stuck, lethargic, and totally un-creative. Time to giv
e myself the free gift of a walk around the block. I know when I get back in five minutes, everything will flow smoothly again.

I love to play – basketball, ride my bike, snowboard, canoe. Anything that feels like a game. But I HATE to exercise – go to a gym, sit on a stationary bike, lift weights, run the treadmill. HATE is a strong ugly word. But I’m sticking with it!

I know exercise is good for me. Exercise tunes up the body. Exercise makes the blood flow to the brain and everywhere else. Exercise flushes the toxic. Exercise increases creativity.

I know all of this, but still I have a history of resisting exercise if it doesn’t involve ‘playing’ in even a small way.

So here’s what I do – and I challenge you to play along with me.

I walk. At least one mile every day. That takes about 20 minutes. And to make it a game, I keep a log on a very basic Excel spreadsheet. Every day, I know whether I’m ahead or behind. If I skipped yesterday, I do two miles today. If I get ahead, sometimes I’ll give myself a day off as a reward. I start on January 1 and keep it going until December 3. 365 miles per year, one day at a time.

Walk A Mile Every Day On pleasant days, I’ll walk through the neighborhood – ten minutes out, turn around and ten minutes back. In bad weather and while traveling, I’ll walk in client offices, hotel hallways, airport terminals, shopping centers, and college classroom buildings. I intentionally park at the far side of shopping centers and airport economy parking lots, and walk in. Our townhome has 42 steps from the basement to my workspace. I bet I walk 500 steps up every day I’m home.

So simple, even I can do it! And you can too. That’s my challenge to you: to walk one mile with me every day for a year.

Of course, if you regularly engage in more serious exercise, bless you! Continue on your mission to stay fit, healthy and happy. But if you’re a victim of long hours sitting at a desk, there are no worthy excuses to avoid starting today and walking for just 20 minutes. Twice around your office building or the city bock where you live should do it.

The subtitle for my first book “Do What You Can!” is “Simple Steps – Extraordinary Results”. I didn’t write that tag line, a very creative professional writer did. But I love it just the same, and it has become a major theme in my work and personal life. Simple steps. Why not get up right now and literally take a few simple steps. In 20 minutes, you’ll log your first mile. When you get done, see if you feel more creative. I always do – every time!

 

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.”

Embrace That You’re Self-Employed (Even if You’re An Employee) – Better! Results Tip #6

This is where the concept of us all being self-employed comes in.When I bring up this concept at my live training events, I always get quite a few skeptical looks. And I certainly understand – because most of the participants in my Better! Results seminars are employees, supervisors and managers. That means they work for someone else, draw a salary, have benefits, travel each day to a job location someone else provides, and follow a daily work schedule dictated by someone above them in the organization hierarchy.

So if that’s the case for most in the room, how is it relevant for me to tell them that they are self-employed?

Well, let’s try this angle.

In it’s simplest form, in today’s business world we all serve and report to someone else. A boss, the board, a client, or a customer across the deli counter where you’re making sandwiches. Every one of us shares the experience of serving someone else in our work roles. This is where the concept of us all being self-employed comes in.

It’s not about who pays us, assigns tasks or provides formal annual feedback. It’s simply a state of mind. Do I see those I serve in my work as customers or something else?

Try to imagine if every person in every business organization handled their work, their preparation, and their interaction with others as though they were in fact self-employed? What if we all thought, “If I’m not ready for my weekly staff meeting tomorrow I could lose the client!” Or “If I don’t do a high quality job every day – bringing measurable value to my clients – I won’t get paid.”

This is what I mean when I suggest that we’re all self-employed. It’s not whether we own and operate our own business, it’s just a state of mind in how we conduct ourselves in our work.communicate better, listen more attentively, and be more present?

It applies in our personal life as well. What if we looked at our family, neighbors and others with the same view as customers? Would we not be more aware of their legitimate needs, their points of view and perspectives. Couldn’t this simple shift in focus position us to communicate better, listen more attentively, and be more present?

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that we become artificially subservient to others in our actions. The old expression that “The customer is always right” simply isn’t true. But what is true is that the ‘customer is always a customer’.

Try it for one week. Try to maintain a “What if I were self-employed and this person was my customer?” focus in interactions with co-workers, supervisors and other departments in your job. See if this perspective doesn’t bring about better results for you – on your terms.

If so, try it again for another week, and so on into the future until this perspective becomes a new and Better! habit.

 

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.”

Thinking is the hardest work we do

Stop What You’re Doing – Better! Results Tip #3

“Thinking is the hardest work we do.” This famous quote has been attributed to Henry Ford. It appears in offices and schools on motivational posters and coffee mugs.

But what’s missing from this energizing message is the next line, and it’s oh-so important. So let me give you the whole thing here:

“Thinking is the hardest work we do…

which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.”

TIME FOR SUCCESS! (2)Ouch! That hurts so much because it’s so true for me. Each day, I react to the next urgent issue, answer emails as quickly as possible, spend too much time on the phone, finish too may tasks and projects minutes before they’re due, and somehow ‘work’ between 10 and 12 hours too often feeling like I didn’t get anything strategically important accomplished. Just busy, busy, busy from before dawn until after dark most days.

How about you? Do you jump endlessly from one issue to the next, convincing yourself that somehow multi-tasking (multi-thinking??) is more efficient and energizing? Perhaps leading to more innovative ‘a-ha’ moments than focused disciplined thinking could possibly provide?

Well, if so, then we’re both headed in the wrong direction.

To be honest, thinking isn’t really that hard. What appears to be hard is the discipline to push aside distractions, block the time, find a quiet place, and – quite simply – think.

Thinking is the hardest work we doCopying the Behaviors of Successful People

As a core part of my own professional and personal development, I’ve become a big believer in finding someone who does something really well that I’m interested in doing, and just copying what they do. For me, it’s worked for becoming a better speaker, consultant, auditor and coach. And it can work for you, too.

That’s how I ran across John C. Maxwell. In his book How Successful People Think, Maxwell suggests that successful people “fight the hectic pace of life that discourages intentional thinking.”

O.K., that makes sense, but the big divide is the difference between knowing it and doing it.

In a similar vein, several of my coaches and advisors have said that we all need to ‘block the time’ to think or to focus exclusively on an important project or task. ‘Blocking the time’ means literally putting it on your calendar, accepting no interruptions, turning off your phone or laptop, closing the door, sitting comfortably – and thinking!

Your Action Challenge

Whenever and wherever you are reading this, stop right now. That’s correct – RIGHT NOW. Take five minutes with no other distractions in order to fully appreciate the gift of quiet time to think.

You may need to go find a place to hide. Your cubicle at work may be too noisy. Your desk at home may be too cluttered. The coffee shop where you go each morning to escape and relax may have the music turned all the way up. If so – think: where can I go RIGHT NOW to enjoy five minutes of uninterrupted, undistracted time to think.

For Better! results in your business or personal life, make the positive choice to Stop What You’re Doing. Then repeat this gift every day. Allowing yourself a few minutes each day to do nothing but think is a great gift. It’s free and it’s just for you. So try it and enjoy.

Let me know how it goes.

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.”

 

 

Your Past Is Not Your Future

Your Past Is Not Your Future – Better! Results Tip #2

10 Steps to a Better Career | Interested in a new career? Ready to leap for that next promotion? If so, it is important to take the time to evaluate your present situation, to explore career options and to choose a career that will be satisfying for you. CLICK THE IMAGE TO LEARN MORE

Terri Said, “I’ll never be able to get the top spot here. Pursuing goals like that just isn’t part of where I come from.”

Yikes! What a limiting statement to have about yourself and your abilities. And it certainly caused an abrupt change in our performance coaching conversation.

Of course Terri could get the top spot. There are no guarantees, but there are steps she can take every day to increase the probability of that happening. To position herself for success however she defines it.

But if her starting point is a deep-seated believe that she can’t or won’t ever be able to because of where she comes from, she’s pretty much dead in the water before taking the first step.

Building on Where We’re From

We all come from somewhere. We all have many pluses and minuses in our background. Family, friends, health, nationality and race, beliefs, finances, language, education, contacts and a thousand other factors. All are the foundation points from which we jump forward – that is, if we choose to jump.

Here are two of my favorite quotes on this topic. Both frame this issue with great clarity and precision.

First, from Brendon Burchard at his High Performance Academy seminar I attended in the spring of 2015:

Your background is your starting point. No more or less.

The second quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has traveled with me for many years:

Your past is not your future – unless you want it to be.

Two great insights from two great thought leaders. Brendon is young and energetic. One of the great motivators and influencers of our age. Dr. Dyer – who had more influence on my thinking than any other human except my parents – passed on in late 2015. But not before leaving us with the wisdom of the ages.

If you’re giving me the honor of reading my articles or attending my Webinars or live events, I’m giving you a hard shove right now to invest a few precious moments of Internet research on both of these interesting men.

Your Call To Action

Let’s pledge together to draw a line in our lives that distinguishes the before, the now, and the yet to be.

Let’s acknowledge and celebrate our past as the foundation for future success.

Let’s take stock of where we are right now: our strengths, weaknesses, bright spots and blind spots.

Let’s leave behind once and for all the limiting beliefs and distracting habits that draw us in like quicksand and do nothing more than hold us back.

Then let’s choose to carry forward the positive habits, beliefs and other factors from our past that will serve us in the future as we pursue our goals.

One last quote as a tribute to Dr. Dyer:

“If you focus on what’s always been, it will always be.

Focus instead on what could be.”

Let’s explore ‘what could be’ together. Let me know how I can help.

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.”

 

 

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