I know several of my posts this year have focused on running and surprise… this one will be no different! I mentioned earlier how I signed up for my first 5k but I didn’t mention that my husband signed up for the 10k that will take place before the 5k. The last 10k he ran was in 1987 in the Bolder Boulder, he was 15 at the time.
Watching him train has honestly been inspirational. He has not really done a lot of running since he was a teenager, so to see him start in January not being able to run 1 mile straight, to now being able to run over 6 miles straight is amazing! To manage such a feat it takes consistency, dedication, and a lot of patience. Since it was winter when he started to train he used the track at our local YMCA. The track is small and you have to run around it 17 times to complete one mile. I know from experience that it can become a little boring and tedious at times. I can’t even imagine running around it over 105 times in a row, but that is what my husband has done now several times. Of course it took many hours and days to work up to it, but it has all been worth it.
Consistency, dedication, and patience are great attributes and I would say most successful people have these skills. The good thing is we don’t have to necessarily be born with them. They are skills we can acquire, but funnily enough it requires, consistency, dedication, and patience. Just like in running there will be good days and bad days, but even on the bad days you tried, so it is still a victory and you were consistent in your effort.
My last piece of advice to obtain your goals would be to use help where you can get it. There is no shame in using the tools available to you. In my husband’s case he used a running app and he went through lots of books on audio. The first helped guide him and the second staved off the boredom that was bound to happen after several weeks.
So remember…. Consistency, Dedication, and Patience.
I know you can do it!
This week is spring break for many across the country including where we live in Alabama. It’s typically warm and sunny here this time of year. Unfortunately that’s not the case this year. We’ve had a very cold March and this last week was no exception. We have not yet been able to trade in our winter gear for our more desired choices of shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. Our pasty skin is even crying for the sun to come out. Right now, we’re singing endless winter nights instead of endless summer nights.
So what do you do when the winter seems endless? Or better yet, what do you do when you feel like nothing will ever change where you work?
One thing we do know is that the weather is always changing and, hey, you might have noticed that those forecasts aren’t always very accurate, so for all I know it could be 80 degrees tomorrow instead of the forecasted 45 (this is very wishful thinking on my part). Maybe the extended forecast where you work is looking a little bleak too, but does that necessarily have to be the case? Thankfully as humans we have a great power: the power of choice. I don’t mean that we get to choose what necessarily happens to us, but we always get to choose how we react to it. I can’t choose for it to be my desired 80 degrees tomorrow, but I can choose to have a positive attitude and make the most of it. So instead of lemonade, I drink hot chocolate. That’s not so bad, right?
Not many of us have ideal work situations, but when we choose to highlight the positive we can make that forecast a little bit sunnier. We may not be able to change the weather forecast, but we can at the very least change our attitudes.
So bring on the hot chocolate!
Last time I wrote I mentioned that I had signed up to run my very first 5K in May. Since that time, I have found that you absolutely need the right pair and type of shoes. I own several pairs of tennis shoes and thought that at least one of those pairs would be adequate to complete the task at hand. They were all well broken in shoes and I had never had any issues when wearing them for regular use. Unfortunately when I began to use them for running, they each caused blisters. I went through three pairs until I finally got wise and decided that maybe I should get some real running shoes. Yes, it was a little bit of a hassle and I had to spend money that I really wasn’t planning on, but it was so very worth it. Not only are my feet happy, but they have helped my overall performance.
I think sometimes in business we take this approach. We get used doing and using what’s familiar to us even if it causes us some “blisters”. Because let’s be honest, sometimes change and spending money can be very painful and time consuming. But that should definitely not discourage us when a change needs to be made; especially if those blisters are becoming visible to your customers and partners.
Thankfully change doesn’t need to happen all at once. Just like in running we need to pace ourselves, the same can be said for implementing change at work. Setting up a good schedule for making changes is a good idea and will prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed. The great thing is that even small changes can make a big difference. Maybe you can’t change everything all at once, but don’t let that stop you from changing what you can now.
So here’s to fewer blisters and more productivity!
I know for many January is a time for reflection, but also for looking ahead and making goals. This year for me is a little different, as I feel like this year has many life changing events in store for me and I don’t even need to make goals to accomplish it!
Here are just a few life changers for me: I will have one daughter graduate from high school and then leave for college, one daughter will turn 16 and get her license and I will be turning 40. And this is just one week in May! I did make a commitment to myself that I would make 40 fabulous. So, I have decided to get somewhat out of my comfort zone. I just signed up for my first 5k, which to some may not be a big deal, but for someone like me that has never ran that far at one time, not to mention that I don’t like people watching me run, it is a pretty big deal.
Signing up for this 5k not only gets me out of my comfort zone, but it gives me a goal to complete and will hopefully keep me using my YMCA membership to its fullest. I know in January we seem to overuse the term goal setting, but maybe we can call them life changers. Life changing to me is more urgent than goal setting. Of course we have life changing events that happen without any planning on our part, but wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to make some life changers that we plan and work for? This works not only for personal goals but professional ones too.
What can you change in your company to have a “life changing” event? Can you add or upgrade current products? What about pricing structure? It can be as simple as how you conduct meetings and flow of information.
So what things are you doing to change your personal and professional life this year?
I love interesting lists of facts. If you read our monthly newsletter, you know I always include a few little fun facts about that particular month. The following facts are not only interesting, but insightful. I think this list is particularly useful for employers and managers. Note how many of the following items deal with stress. Of course stress is a fact of life and stress can be good, but too much causes high turnover, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism.
We know the holidays can be especially stressful, so this may be a good time to think of some great office stress reducers. You can start by sharing this list!
- One percent of U.S. employers allow employees to take naps during working hours.
- People in the U.S. spend at least 1896 hours per year at work.
- Women business owners employ 35% more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
- No piece of normal-size paper can be folded in half more than seven times.
- During thinking, we only use about 35% of our brains.
- A typist’s fingers travel 12.6 miles during an average workday.
- More American workers (18%) call in sick on Friday than any other day of the week.
- Tuesday has the lowest percent of absenteeism for American workers—11%.
- Difficult focusing on the computer screen, short-term memory problems and trouble with basic math can be caused by a mere 2% drop in body water. Remember to stay hydrated during work hours.
- Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work.
- More than 50% of lost work days are stress related, keeping approximately 1 million people home from work every day.
- The average office worker spends 50 minutes a day looking for lost files and other items.
- The United States has the fourth largest workforce in the world, at 154.2 million (does not include those who are unemployed).
- Forty percent of worker turnover is due to job stress.
- Remember to always take notes during meetings, as the brain retains less than 5% of what is said.
- Each person owns at least eight distinctive intelligences (Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalistic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Verbal-Linguistic , Logical-Mathematical, Spatial), and these are further developed whenever used at work.
- “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
- Refrigerating rubber bands makes them last longer.
- Eighty percent of jobs are gained through networking.
- People spend one in every four and a half minutes online on social networks and blogs.
And those are the (office) facts of life!
I recently listened to a very wise man talk about how we wear busyness as a badge of honor and how that may not be such a good thing.
There is nothing wrong per se with being busy. I think we all just need to take a look at the kind of busy we are. Are we busy making our products better or are we busy with the status quo? Are we busy chasing after the same old contacts or are we engaged in finding new and better prospects? Are we busy trying to make unsuccessful business models and plans work, or are we busy trying to find what truly works best for our business? Are we busy chasing chickens, or are we busy getting out of the coop?
How many times have you been asked, “How are you?”, and your reply is “I’ve been really busy”? I know I’m guilty of that! I think if we were busy doing meaningful things our answers would be different.
So my advice to you today, is to stop being busy with the mediocre and to start getting busy with the meaningful. If you do, you may just find that you aren’t as busy as you thought!
Currently we are in the middle of moving to a new location. This will be a great move and opportunity for our company, but getting there is not so fun. I’m not sure I have ever met anyone that enjoys the physical part of moving. The packing, the cleaning, the unpacking, etc… Not to mention all of the address change forms, setting up your new internet. The list can go on and on…
As we all know the things that are worthwhile usually require lots of hard work and sometimes a little (or a lot) of pain. I’m trying to keep this in mind as I prepare for this move. I’m also trying to focus on junk removal (you know the boxes that never got opened the last time we moved several years ago).
I’m not sure what it is about human nature that makes us want to hang on to stuff that isn’t needed or that is really outdated. I’m not just talking about boxes or the pair of jeans you wore your senior year in high school that still hang in your closet. This goes for outdated marketing plans, processes, software, etc…
Marketing plans that worked 10-15 years ago are just plain outdated. If you aren’t segmenting, targeting and switching to digital channels, it is time you move on. Yes, it will be painful, but the rewards far outweigh any heavy lifting that will need to be done on the front end.
Sending your customers marketing communications about items they aren’t interested in or they just bought and now you are offering a bigger discount than what they received is like wearing those acid wash jeans from 1985 - it is not a good idea!
So throw away those jeans and get with the times!
This coming weekend, is officially the last week of summer. It is a bittersweet time for me. I love the more relaxed days of summer, when my kids are out of school and our schedules aren’t jammed pack, but I look forward to the cooler autumn weather and getting routines back in place. I also look forward to my autumn wardrobe. I say bring on the jackets, sweaters, scarves and boots!
This got me thinking that maybe it is time to update my “seasonal wardrobe”. Figuratively speaking, it may be time to place the white shoes back in the closet until spring or maybe it is time to add a few new pieces to enhance the old wardrobe. Also, it is important to realize when your customers change “seasons”.
You may not realize it, but most businesses (even outside retail) have seasons. It can be anything from when budgets get approved to their marketing schedule. Knowing this can help you in how you approach or market to them. Knowing these types of things can help you; let’s say wear the appropriate “shoes” for each season.
If your customer is an individual, it is also important to know their “seasonal” habits. Companies that make it a point to get to know their customers and then actually use that to target to their specific needs/wants are much more successful. Think of yourself as their “personal shopper”. If you can meet their expectations they will come to you for every season! We all love one stop shopping!
Happy Labor Day! May you each have a fabulous “Season”!
I’m now in the phase of life where we are adding new drivers to our family every couple of years. As terrifying as that is, it is nothing compared to the horrifying visits we have to make to the DMV to make our children’s driving dreams a reality.
I’m beginning to think that the motor vehicle department actually trains their employees to be rude and sarcastic. I get that the lines are never ending, no one ever has all the correct forms and identifications, and the uniforms you have to wear are downright atrocious. But seriously, is life really that bad?
Unfortunately, the DMV is not the only place I have seen rudeness and indifference when it comes to customer service. So how do we prevent this from happening in our own places of business?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Brighten up your work space. The DMV is horribly drab and it makes me feel like I’m in a B rated horror film. Colors really can affect our moods. Even if you don’t have total control over what your office space looks like, keep it neat and clean and try and add a few personal effects, for a welcoming touch. At the very least have a picture of your family or your pets.
- Keep a good attitude. Remember no one can make your feel inferior without your permission. Also, no one can make you angry or mad. These are all choices we make ourselves. But, we can have a positive effect on those around us when we ourselves are positive.
- Perspective is also an important attribute. We all spend so much time at work, isn’t worth trying to make it as pleasant as possible.
- Last but not least is to remember the golden rule- Do unto others as you would have done to you.
Life is never perfect and no one can always be happy, but we can all try and be pleasant to one another.
Even if you work at the DMV!
This past month my house has been undergoing a mini transformation. New paint, some new furniture, new window coverings and some rearrangement of older furniture and pictures have all been included. My favorite part was when the painting was complete and the walls were blank and the rooms were mostly bare. I loved the feeling of having a blank slate to work with. It opened my mind to the different possibilities and helped me to see how I could redo things as well as helping me to see that some things were great just the way they were.
Sometimes in business we may find things are getting too complicated, so it may be time to throw out all assumptions and start with a blank slate. You may even need to bring in an outsider for help. Sometimes we can be too close to a situation to really see all of the possibilities and solutions. But, hopefully you will find that once you have a clean slate, your creative juices will flow and you will see if and where changes need to be made.
Here are some examples of areas that you may want to look at:
• Moving from print to digital (this includes everything from invoicing to advertising).
• Simplifying contracts and allowing for easier sign ups.
• Rearranging the talent pool in the office.
• Are your processes out dated? Can you automate any of these?
• What about different verticals?
• Refreshing or updating your marketing messages and branding.
• At the very least you can update and rearrange your working space. And the mom in me has to say cleaning your workspace works wonders too!
I didn’t have to do a major remodel on my home to make a huge difference. The same is true for your business; a little change can make a huge difference!