Ideas to Inspire Your EXTRAORDINARY
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When my girls were little, we would go driving through neighborhoods in December to see all the houses lit with holiday lights. This time of year is still a favorite. I've lived most of my life in this area of the country where winter day scenery is most often gray skies and the gray landscape of bare hardwood trees. This grayness intensifies my dislike of the short and chilly days that define winter. But, just as the gloom arrives, so does a spark of happiness that rapidly spreads—homes adorned with holiday lights and colorful decorations bring smiles to the young and old alike. And magically, the sunset at 5:30 p.m. becomes the stage for this visual wonderland.
Many traditions have waned as we've moved into the 21st century. I hope that holiday lights never suffer this fate. Hopefully, you experienced beautiful weather this past weekend for your annual holiday decorating. Several homes in my neighborhood decorated in advance of Thanksgiving. With COVID-19 limiting so many of our gathering traditions this year, your outdoor holiday display is a chance to increase happiness and cheer.
So whether you are a Clark Griswold or a Charlie Brown, it doesn't matter. You light up the world around you and bring joy to the holidays to people you may never know. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
I'm celebrating my client, Tim, and his team this week. As essential workers, unrelenting demands, coupled with COVID-19, had brought stress to new levels. As energy depleted, poor habits crept into the daily operations. Fatigue led to reactionary management. This high performing team was struggling to tread water.
Six weeks ago, Tim brought the team together for a half-day meeting, which I facilitated. We created space for everyone to take a breath and reconnect to their shared values. Through a series of activities, the team identified the most important near-term priorities. At the top of the list was being more prepared on the job.
The team returned to work the following Monday and started operating differently. They didn't wait for someone else to make a plan and tell them what to do. Instead, everyone started taking the individualized actions they'd identified. These built upon one another to create a new way of thinking and operating that immediately paid off.
There was new vitality in Tim's expression as he told me that with each passing week, things were getting more manageable. The preparation from the prior week carried over, making the next step possible. Tim and his team had made the shift from the vicious cycle to the virtuous cycle.
In coaching relationships, implementation lies squarely with the client. My role is to make things visible, to motivate change, and to cheer from the sidelines. Tim and his team live the victory of their change everyday, and I am proud to witness and celebrate with them.
This week my Dad is in town to help me with my basement remodel. This is the perfect spot for a before picture, which I don't have. The game plan is to modernize by refacing the brick fireplace, replacing the carpet with vinyl plank in a natural wood finish, and update the ensuite bathroom. We finished the fireplace in September, and this week's project is the bath.
Making this investment in our home required serious consideration for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest is that no one in our family spends much time in this part of our house. Additionally, it is passable and functional in its original state. The reasons for this remodel are equally straightforward:
And this brings me to the reason I'm telling you about my home remodel in my business blog. Just like an investment in your homes is required to maintain and grow its value, the same is true for your business. The difference in your business assets is that the essential ones are not physical. Nonetheless, some TLC delivers a positive ROI.
Which elements of your business have you considered refreshing or upgrading?
Possibly, your website, logo, or brand elements are dated. Maybe you are relying on old customer research or sales materials. Perhaps your software is antiquated, or new automation exists that you haven't adopted.
November and December are typically slow in my business, making it the perfect time for these projects. As you look toward the start of the new year, I encourage you to identify your quiet time and the "remodel" investment your business needs. Not only will you create a positive boost to your customer's experience, but you will experience the pleasure that accompanies the new and fresh.
And, if you need some guidance, hit me up for referrals to some of my favorite experts in everything from branding to automation. Have a great week; I know I will!
OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
When State Representative Tina Bojanowski ran for office two years ago, I was enthusiastic about a working citizen who was passionate about changing government and willing to work in Frankfort to make it happen. My simple offer to help became a nine-month coaching engagement, marked by mutual exchange of knowledge. I've walked alongside Tina since, and it has restored my faith in our founding fathers' ideals of democracy.
One of the first things that stand out about Representative Bojanowski is her character. As a Special Education teacher, she understands the importance of being a positive role model. Our public schools emphasize being a good citizen, treating others respectfully, and letting kindness and caring guide actions. Tina's commitment to these doesn't stop in the classroom.
Another distinguishing mark for Representative Bojanowski is that she won her seat running a positive campaign. She focused on talking to people across her District. She shared her ideas about how to take action in Frankfort to meet the needs of her constituents. In short, Tina showed her commitment to working for the people over party politics. And she won her seat without using attack ads against her opponent.
This election year, State Representative Bojanowski faced a new challenger. He is a lawyer with deep pockets trying to buy his way into Frankfort to protect his wealthy friends' interests. In other words, he's an old school politician. He is a bully, quick to make false attacks against Tina instead of talking about issues. When he was challenged recently by a citizen about the falseness of an ad he ran about Tina, he replied that his party ran the ad, and he didn't have any control over it. Tina's opponent is completely underestimating the voters.
Meanwhile, Tina continues to be Tina. She talks to the citizens in her District, works across government on their behalf, and keep them informed. She trusts the voters to see her hard work, hear her message, and connect with her authentic desire to solve real problems and help the people of Kentucky. And this is why I continue to be a supporter and fan.
Imagine a world where politicians hold themselves to the same standards of conduct expected in schools and businesses across our nation. Imagine politicians who care about getting things done to make the lives of citizens better instead of using their power to block important actions because they "don't want the other party to have a win." Imagine a government more invested in the people they are elected to serve than their party or major campaign donors.
I believe that it is possible to reclaim our government. I see many newcomers to public office who share Tina's values. We have the power to end partisan politics that hold our nation hostage. That power is our vote, and today is the last day to cast your ballot in this critical election year. Please vote, and be sure to encourage everyone around you to do so as well.
My husband and I purchased bikes when we first met over 25 years ago, and we still ride those bikes together today. This summer, our children rediscovered the enjoyment of biking with their friends. One day as my younger daughter was getting ready to leave the house, I asked her if she was meeting up with Lilly. She told me that Lilly's bike was stuck in first gear, and she didn't like riding together because it was a struggle to keep up.
If you are a bike rider, you know exactly what Lilly means. First gear is a tremendous aid when you are peddling up a hill. There is little resistance at this gear ratio so that when you move onto flatter surfaces, you find yourself peddling rapidly without getting the wheel rotation needed to reach faster speeds. It is this design of the gear system that makes bicycling an efficient mode of transportation.
So why am I talking about bikes and gears, and what does this have to do with business? We have two months remaining until yearend for most small businesses. And because of the upcoming holidays, many of us have only 6-7 weeks of productive work time to complete our goals. In other words, it is time to kick it into high gear and sprint for the finish line.
I want to share the guidance I am giving to my clients as we discuss this reality.
DON'T LET THE URGENT
OVERSHADOW THE IMPORTANT
As I have said many times, I find many of the "old school" authors are as relevant today as they were decades ago. And that is why I share the work of Stephen Covey with my clients. He wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and we are discussing Habit #3: Put First Things First.
This graphic from Stephen Covey's work requires little explanation, but focused attention to execute.
During these final weeks, it is paramount to be judicious about maximizing the time you spend in quadrant 2 (Q2) by eliminating distractions and waste. Additionally, it is crucial to regularly commit time to working on the important things that are not presenting with emergency flashers.
I recommend two steps to make this happen.
ONE. Set a clear intention for what you must accomplish before the yearend.
TWO. Follow the advice of author Tim Ferriss and start each workday by identifying two to three objectives that become the primary focus of your attention and effort.
Most of us are happy to see the end of 2020 drawing near. We are eager to put the disruption of the global pandemic in our rearview mirrors. Ending the year strong, however, requires us to do more than crisis management. To strengthen your business, you've got to gear down and power up by committing time and attention to quadrant 2. It may not be possible every day, but make sure that this gets no less than 20% of your time each week.
And don't forget, if you are feeling stuck in first gear, you can take advantage of my FREE initial coaching session. I'll be happy to help you get UNSTUCK and moving FORWARD.