Tag Archives: People

You can do anything

You can do anything you set your mind to but you can’t do everything. Really.  The clue is right there in the sentence.  If you are trying to accomplish everything than you really haven’t set your mind to something.  You can have more than one goal but it definitely helps to be able to pick out a few top priority goals to work on.  The tricky part is how to determine what to set your mind to.  That is, what are your goals.

I’ve come across a great little game to help people prioritize their goals.  Take a pile of index cards and write out possible goals, one to a card.  Try to be very specific with each card.  Instead of writing, “make a lot more money” write “make $10,000” a year.  Adjust to your own income level.  You can put goals that cumulate on multiple cards, so you could have five “make $10,000” index cards or “lose 10 pounds” for example.  It helps to put a time limit on your goals.  For example, you might want to focus on goals you could achieve in the next year.

The goal on your goal cards, is to have, at least, twenty cards.  Feel free to overachieve.  Here are some prompts to help you fill out as many cards as you can:

Financial goals: making more money, saving for specific goals, increasing retirement, paying down debt

Health/fitness goals: losing weight, increasing ability (jogging more miles), lowering cholesterol, playing with the kids

Romantic: number of dates with spouse, getting a spouse, divorcing a spouse

Spiritual: attending church, praying, going on a retreat, taking a trip, meditating

Stress reduction: having flexibility at work, finishing nagging tasks

Growth: taking a class, reading a number of books a month

Joy: spending time with friends and family, getting a pet

There really isn’t a limit to the types of goals you put on your cards.

Once you have your cards all filled out, shuffle them face down and deal yourself five cards.  (If you really overachieved on the number of cards you wrote, you may want to start with eight cards in your hand.)  Look at that hand.  Is this the hand that equals goals for your next year?   Take a card from the deck and add it to your hand.  Now choose one card to discard.  Repeat with every card in the deck.  Your final hand is your hand of goals for the next year.

To really make it challenging, after you try it with five cards, reshuffle the entire deck (including the cards in your hand) and try doing it again but with only three cards in your hand.

What is your final hand?  Post it in the comments.  Sharing your goals can be a great motivator.

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Are you really asking for help?

This came up again recently with a client.  He is looking to find new connections (networking) on the road to landing contract work.  He’s having a bit of a blockage making those phone calls.  I’ve had other clients who had similar blockages asking for introductions for a new job.  There is something about making those calls that is blocking these professionals because it feels like they are asking for help.  These otherwise talented and skilled professionals have a weakness.  They are used to being the ones to offer help.

A simple shift of perspective can help.  My client is a confident, talented professional.  He is not asking for help.  He is offering to help.  The greatest need of businesses and organizations is talent.  Finding that talent can be very difficult.  My client has done the hard work of finding a skilled professional for the person he is calling…….himself.  He has already saved them a lot of effort.  He is now offering to bring his skills and talents into their organization.

Are you having a hard time reaching out to someone?  Are you really asking that person for help or are you offering your services?  Share this link if you know someone who’s having a hard time networking.  Comment below if you want to share your stories or get another point of view.

You can do anything but you probably won’t

Only 8% of people succeed in their New Year’s Resolutions.  That is 92% of people create a goal that is important to them, commit to themselves to go after the goal and then fail to achieve it.  25% of them don’t even make it through the first week before they give up on their goals.  Most people simply aren’t willing to commit to their dreams.

One of the most common reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they are afraid of failing.  One study showed that a significant percent of people don’t even apply for jobs that might be a bit of a stretch.  They are too embarrassed.  What if they get the interview and aren’t qualified……how embarrassing!  I hope you read that with as much sarcasm as I intended, because I intended a lot of sarcasm.  Buckets and buckets full.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you were not afraid to fail.  The reality is reality isn’t likely to be holding you back.  It isn’t your education or your looks.  It isn’t your speaking ability or your financial resources.  These are obstacles but other’s have overcome them, why not you?  Tom Petty is a singer?  Some people think Keith Richards was a sex symbol?  Donald Trump is the president?  Think about that one for a minute.  If these people achieved their goals, why not you?

Achieving a goal is like building a bridge.  Slow down.  Take a step, just one step today, and work toward your goal.  Don’t worry about the end.  Don’t worry about other people’s impression.  Just take a step today and then another.

“That’s what I was doing!”

We were at a pool over the weekend and a child was getting a private swimming lesson from one of the lifeguards.  The kid was working to pass the deep end test but couldn’t quite get his backstroke right.  The lifeguard told the boy, “Point your toes, when you kick.”  The boy yelled, “That’s what I was doing!”  That is the point when the boy stopped learning and improving.  He was insistent that he was doing everything right, despite not getting the results he wanted.

How many times do we do that as adults?  Whether it is from a boss, spouse, friend or co-worker, how many times has someone given us a positive critic but we took it as criticism.  Sometimes it hurts to say that we aren’t doing something right.  Sometimes it is hard to admit that we need to do better.  Growth is hard but we can do it.  Sometimes all we have to do is listen.

People Incentive Process

I was reminded the other day of some advice I gave in a mastermind group a while ago.  A business owner was having problems with absenteeism.  His business was small enough that when one person was off, the owner ended up doing that person’s job, leaving him no time or energy to do what he needed to do to grow his business.  Unfortunately for him, the absenteeism was getting to the point where someone was absent nearly every day.  I suggested he consider P.I.P, People, Incentive and Process.

The first thing to look at when there is a persistent and pervasive personnel problem in an organization, first look to People.  Very frequently, especially in small organizations, one or two people are the “bad apples” that are creating the environment that contributes to the entire organization’s underperformance.  I suggested that if one or two people are the major contributors to the absences, then he needed to let them go.  Not only would replacing them reduce their absences, it would help send a message to the rest of the team that attendance is required.  Next look to see if anyone is creating a hostile or unpleasant work environment.  That can contribute absences.  Then look to who are you hiring, where are you hiring them from and how are you vetting them.  There is something wrong with this process.  A great example is one of the college house painting companies.  It started when someone figured that most house painting happens in the summer and college kids need summer jobs.  He could give the kids jobs, paint houses and make money.  The college kids were not looking at house painting as a “real job” and weren’t showing up consistently.  Within a couple of summers, he went from having nearly 100% college kids to nearly no college kids.  He found that middle-aged laborers who had kids to feed at home showed up every day.

Next thing to look at is incentive.  Is there any incentive for showing up every day or, alternatively, disincentive for not showing up.  I remember reading an article about a company who had an absenteeism issue.  They started with a game.  For every pay period that you worked every scheduled day, you got a playing card.  After seven pay periods, they played a hand of 7 card stud.  The winner would get rewards like iPads, gas cards, a night out, etc.

Finally, look at process.  Basically, how do you handle the issue.  In this owner’s story, when someone was absent, he went and covered for them.  I suggested that if he was forced to live with a certain amount of absence, he needed to change his policy.  Options included having other employees cover the effort, hiring some floaters for his team, having some people on-call, etc.