You 2.0

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You 2.0

Have you ever tried to remove a nut or bolt with pliers and it doesn’t budge, but when you use a wrench or spanner and get some leverage suddenly it is easy to move?  That lever is such a clever tool – it is very handy and very simple. 

A lever is defined as a rigid bar that pivots about one point and is used to move an object at a second point by a force applied at a third point.  So how do we apply this to achieve a competitive advantage? How do we leverage our key skills?

Most people don’t leverage their own knowledge and skills but instead use just a fraction of what they have within themselves.

The first step is to take inventory of your assets.  This doesn’t mean to list out your home, car, bank account balance… this means to list out your knowledge, your skills and your experience.

Next, explore how to get the full advantage of your asset inventory.  If you own a computer or smartphone, you are frequently prompted to upgrade an application or program. There is new information available that will make your computer or phone work better (well one hopes, not always the case!).  When was the last time you updated or upgraded your knowledge base?  What was the last book, course, lecture or program you engaged in?

So now you have an inventory and you know what needs to be upgraded.  These are your key skills and strengths that you can now improve upon.  You may ask why focus on your strengths and those assets that are already developed.  Why not focus on weaker skillsets.  This is where you need to understand that the highest yield and the most efficiency comes from developing strengths rather than improving upon weaknesses.  Leave your weaknesses for someone else who exhibits those as strengths.  

Think of it this way, if you invest in your weaknesses, you may move your ability from poor to acceptable but if you invested the same time and energy into one of your strengths you could move yourself from being good to great or from great to world class.  Which do you think will make you the most valuable to your clients, employers and family?

Invest in your strengths and build You 2.0

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Believe

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Believe

Many of us have been taught to look for the worst case scenario, to plan for negative contingencies and if we are not careful this can develop into a negative world view and we communicate this lack of confidence in our team and colleagues because we are clearly making contingency plans in case they let us down... and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is essential to have an attitude of believing the best in others.

The self-fulfilling prophecy refers to the idea that when someone creates a belief in something that is not yet true, and expects something with certainty, it will become true.  With people, it suggests that as we communicate our expectations (subconsciously or unintentionally), they will conform and deliver the appropriate results. 

When working with people, this is critical.  When you express a lack of confidence in someone, it is returned with mediocrity, however if you believe in them and expect them to do well, research has shown that they will live up to that expectation.

Whatever you believe about your potential - you are right!

The four key principles of the self-fulfilling prophecy:

  • We form certain expectations, or beliefs, of people or events based on our own perceptions, fears and experiences
  • We communicate those expectations through our behaviours in a way that we would not have done without the belief
  • People generally respond by adjusting their behaviour to match
  • The result is that the original expectation becomes reality

Based on these principles, we can conclude that the expectations leaders place on their team determines the quality of the teams’ output.

A study of 100 self-made millionaires has shown that the most common characteristic in the group was the desire and ability to see the good in others. They were people builders, not critics. They empowered and supported their team to be their very best through positive means. 

Believing the best in people is a critical piece of building successful viable relationships. 

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Develop an attitude of gratitude

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Develop an attitude of gratitude

Being thankful everyday for what you have is a mind altering experience.  Try this quick and easy exercise every day.  Wake up and immediately say what you are grateful for.  It could be as simple as another day on earth.  Your feet touching the ground. The ability to breath… or get more involved – and be grateful for a specific person, condition, thing, whatever it is in your life that you are grateful for. Make a note in your journal of the people you are grateful for.

There are half full and half empty people on this planet.  The half full group has their glass filled with gratitude.  Gratitude is one of those emotions that can increase wellbeing and happiness among those who deliberately create it.  Gratitude can also increase energy, optimism and empathy; all characteristics of positive happy people.

Practice being more aware of all the good things that surround you.  Imagine how much easier it would be to handle diversity and opposition when you have this upbeat attitude?  Imagine having a purpose in life, an appreciation for those lives around you, and a willingness to take action to show your feeling of gratitude. 

Those are the ingredients to a more fulfilled balanced life. Focus on the big and the small things to show your gratitude.  You will find that as you express this new attitude, you will become a more positive person, a pleasure to be around and work with and you will attract into your life people who will help you succeed. 

Gratitude is a state of mind that we all have access to.  It takes practice and with practice, it reaps great benefits. 

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Busy is not the same as effective

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Busy is not the same as effective

There is one question that you can ask your team that will transform the way they work and revolutionise their performance. 

You can ask the same question to yourself, with the same transformative results.  Ditto your suppliers.

Would you like to know what it is?  Well, to understand and use the question effectively, you first need to understand the big idea that sits behind it.  But I’ll give you a clue – it’s not the question you currently ask your team, it’s not: “What have you done this week?”

First let me share with you the big idea…

Maxwell's Law of Priorities

In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell defines his law of priorities: Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.  We can be busy all day doing things, but not necessarily achieve very much – have you ever had one of those days?

You can transform your own performance and that of your team by moving the focus of your day from activity to accomplishment.  Activity is easy- activity is doing things, activity is being busy. Activity is the answer to the question “What have you done this week?”

If you are anything like me, you have spent years asking your team and perhaps yourself that question: “What have you been doing this week?” and the answer is normally the same: “I’ve being doing lots- I’ve been really busy!”

So here is the problem – if we are all so busy every week, why is it that our projects are not completed on time and our goals are not met?  We hit the weekend tired and exhausted from all the DOING and ACTIVITY but we are not seeing the success we desire and our projects are late and jobs are incomplete.  We are seeing the truth of this: activity is not the same as accomplishment, being busy is not the same as being effective.

So what do we mean by accomplishment?  Accomplishment is finishing a project or task. Accomplishment = adding value (to the customer).

The concept of ‘adding value’ is a key principle that successful people and high performing teams understand.  Adding value is what it is all about.

Jim Rohn said: We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time, ...but we get paid for the value, not the time.

In almost every situation, we only add value only once a task or project is finished.  Until the new software goes live, it doesn’t benefit the business. Until the car roles off the production line it cannot be sold to generate revenue… you get the idea?

In order to maximise the value we add, and get each project to the finish line as quickly as possible we can ask ourselves a different question:  What have you finished this week?

It’s a simple change, but it transforms your thinking and focus from the starting line to the finishing line.  Try it at your next team meeting!  

For more detailed examples, including how to change the way you schedule and prioritise work to maximise the value you add and get things finished sooner, click the link below to download our free PDF guide to the One Question that changes everything.

One thing that can cause a task or project to take longer than necessary to reach the finish line is when we over-engineer the solution.  There is such a thing as too much quality and too much complexity.  If the client wants a Fiat 500 which can be built in a few weeks, don’t make them wait 12 months while you build them a Rolls-Royce. While we don’t ever want to produce something that fails to meet the required quality standard, we also need to remember that: good enough is good enough!   

Sometimes we can make the simple complicated …

Which reminds me of my puppy (stick with me with on this)

Jazz the mad cockerpoo

Jazz the mad cockerpoo

A few years ago my wife had a bit of a mid-life crisis and said to me that she needed something small and cute to cuddle - two legs or four it was my choice.  I decided four legs would be easier and a few weeks later Jazz the mad cockerpoo puppy entered our lives

(A cockerpoo is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle - hence cocker-poo)

He's a big black ball of fun and his poodle genes mean his is quite clever - most of the time.

But - there is one thing that he does - which baffles me…

We're blessed to live in the middle of the English countryside next to the ancient hilltop town of Malmesbury - for a short while it was the capital city of England when Athelstan was king, over a thousand years ago

Whenever he goes for a walk in the fields around our home,  Jazz searches out the biggest most prickly patch of stinging nettles or thistles he can find.

He then reverses into them- and does what'd dogs do in the middle of a field. Let's call it his 'business'

I have no idea why he insists on doing his 'business' in the middle of nettles

Perhaps he thinks his business is valuable - and he doesn't like that I steal it away and put it in the bin

Perhaps he likes to live dangerously

Whatever the reason - he has taken something perfectly natural, essential to every day life and good health and he has turned it into an extreme sport!

Not only has he made it harder for himself, he makes it harder for me who has to come along and clear up his 'business' - I have to dig into the nettles and thistles with my poop-a-scoop or doggie bag and try to pick it up!

Jazz has taken something simple, and made it complicate - dangerous even

He's making the job of clearing up his business harder for me than it needs to be

So the next time you find yourself doing lots, but not finishing very much, ask yourself:

  • Am I adding complexity or simplicity?
  • Am I making this harder than it needs to be?
  • Have I turned a straightforward job into an extreme sport.

In other words, ask yourself - am I just pooping in the nettles here?

Don’t poop in the nettles - it makes the ordinary things of life harder for you - and harder for the people who follow after you.

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Efficiency and Habit

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Efficiency and Habit

Can you imagine that there may be a better way to doing what you do?  

Can you accept that idea?  Are you open minded enough to ask others for differing opinions?  If you are able and willing to look at things through different eyes, read on.

How many times have you completed your daily routine without even thinking twice about which shoe went on first, if you brushed your teeth, if you washed your hair?  

We are creatures of habit.  We do things a certain way because, well, it works! Or that’s how I always did it.  Because: I don’t know! Because: that is how my mom/dad taught me.  Because that is what my big brother did… you get the idea!  

So maybe it’s time to re-examine how you do what you do and why you do it and see if there is a better more efficient way of doing it? Maybe if you stop for a moment and say ok, I am going to consciously take notice of my life, my actions, my choices, you may immediately see that its time for a change. 

Awareness is key to moving from a dependent state of doing to an independent state of being.  Examine your actions and take responsibility for the outcomes.  Now that you are aware of your outcomes and how you got there, examine these outcomes and decide if these need to be changed as well.  

By focusing on the end result, you can make the necessary changes early on to better direct your time and energy.  

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Challenges

So many people wish life was easier, with less challenges and obstacles but without challenges, life becomes stagnant and we stop growing.  Challenge help us uncover who we are and it allows us to become better people.  

Let’s examine a very simple 4-step method to overcoming challenges.

First, state the problem clearly.  When we are faced with challenges, we tend to avoid the issue and run the other way burying our heads in the sand hoping it goes away.  Or we may say – ok, there is an obstacle, instead of heading right to it and plowing through, I am going to look for another path and even though that is not the way I want to go – it looks easier… less headache… but rarely does that work out.  When we avoid or go out of our way, we cause more headache in the end.  It takes more of our time, it takes more of our energy and we don’t get the end result we are looking for.  So take this time to understand what the challenge is.  Ask yourself: what is the question, what is asked of me, what is the main goal? Write this down on paper.

Second, identify what you have at your disposal – what resources are available to you to work through this challenge? List all of these resources out.  These should include things such as tangible assets – money, computer, books, etc.  And then what skills you have, what are your strengths to work through this?  Don’t forget other people – what access do you have to others that can help?

Third, design the strategy to overcome this challenge. Begin with the end in mind. Utilise all your assets to create a plan of action.  You may find this plan will need to be tweaked as you execute and that is ok.  Keep at it. 

Lastly, execute the strategy with effort and determination.  Do your very best with all you have to overcome your challenge. 

If you find that you still cannot overcome a challenge, then re-evaluate.  If your strategy just won’t work because it isn’t viable or effective then change it. If your strategy doesn’t work because you didn’t execute it well enough, be persistent and tweak your efforts, giving it more.  

Practice this method on small challenges and see how easy it is to overcome.  

Then try it on one or two of the mountains in your path!  

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Behaviour

Behaviour can be defined as: 

a physical thing one does such as a morning routine or it can be non-physical such as replaying negative thoughts all day long.  

A few behaviours are instinctual and built in while the rest are learned through meeting needs.  What this means is that our behaviours are motivated by our needs (or what we believe our needs to be) and therefore we can be manipulated as well as manipulate others to have our needs met. 

So when we have negative behaviours and we want to change them, we find it isn’t always so easy because these learned behaviours that we exhibit are actually rather complex. 

There are two types of motivation – the motivation to approach something and the motivation to avoid something.  When we desire something, we are motivated to approach it therefore receiving positive reinforcement or feedback.  When we avoid something, we are motivated to move away from it or we will receive negative reinforcement or feedback.  This is pretty simple.  We understand that when we eat something sweet, most of us have a pleasant experience and when we eat something sour, our faces pucker and we try to avoid that experience again. 

But let’s look at those things we approach or avoid because we need to learn that the thing itself doesn’t create that behaviour, we do.  Here's an example: Some people desire the adrenaline rush of jumping out of an airplane. It is exhilarating – it is something they repeat again and again as it has a positive affect on them and they desire that and are motivated to seek that experience.  Some people avoid even the thought of getting on an airplane due to their learned fears that it will absolutely crash and they will die no matter what statisticians say – forget purposefully jumping out of a perfectly good airplane!  Did the airplane create these behaviors?  No!  We learned them.  And each of us react differently to different things, experiences, tastes, smells, thoughts, etc.  All because of our own personal thoughts and behaviours. 

So how do you change your behaviours?  Your thoughts?  Let’s say you want to become a public speaker but you are petrified of speaking in front of people.  How can you overcome this fear, build confidence, perform and knock it out of the park?  You have to change your behaviour so that you are motivated to approach public speaking effortlessly without turning into a sweaty mess.  

Practice.  Anything you try for the first time will be clumsy and awkward, maybe even difficult.  By practicing your speech – over and over again until it is so part of you and flows off your tongue as if it is just another story you are telling a friend, you build your confidence to speak to several friends or a small group… until you are ready to speak to a large audience.  Practice! 

Shaping.  Practice your speech and ask your audience (family members, friends, mentor, coach) for feedback.  Try giving it several different ways.  Break down the speech into bits and mix it up.  All the while correcting your approach and delivery until you shape your presentation and performance.  

Chaining.  Very good and effective speeches, keynote talks, sales pitches… are complex.  They are made up of many components within the speech to get you to the end result you desire – sell a product or service, teach a thought or program, build rapport with your audience, create new clients, whatever your end result is, your speech has to be built on a frame and chaining is how you piece it together so there is a natural flow, a rhythm that mesmerizes the audience. Think about a really good comedian who gets up on stage and tells little stories for the whole set and the last story wraps up and circles back to the first story – bringing the evening to a close so naturally and you give a standing ovation because you were mesmerized by how good he was – he practiced, shaped each story or joke, chained them all together and brought it to a close. 

By using these techniques, you can change an old behaviour that you don’t want for a new one that you do want.  Whatever you want to change, practice your new desired behavior, shape the new behaviour by approaching it in different ways and ask for feedback all the while tweaking it, chain all the components of the new skills you are now mastering together and now you have successfully changed your behaviour.

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Less is more

TL;DR:  A few things have a big impact- so focus on those few things

The 80/20 rule sounds like a mathematical formula and in some ways it is but don’t fret, this isn’t a lesson on statistics.  The rule came from an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who stated that 80% of the Italian income was earned by 20% of the Italian population. 

This 80-20 ratio has been found to be true in many (most!) areas of life. 

What this means is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs.  To put this another way, 20% of your activities equate to 80% of your happiness.  Instead of focusing on income, let's focus on your overall well being or happiness factor.

To prove this theory, look at the distribution of wealth and lately with the shrinking of the middle class, this is even more apparent that a small portion of the population controls the majority of the economy.  Look at business, the top earners are a small percentage of companies and earn the largest portion of income.  And if you look at your own habits, you most likely spend most of your income on few things like your mortgage, car payment, food and you probably spend most of your time with a few people each day. 

So how can you use the 80/20 rule to maximize your outputs?  Let’s look at John Maxwell.  He talks about the fact that he is only good at a few things.  Therefore, he doesn’t waste his time with those things he cannot do or does not want to do.  By focusing on what you are good at – those few things; and not waste time on those things you are not good at, you maximize your efficient self and are able to improve upon and increase your skillset on what you are good at and what you love to do.  

Malcolm Gladwell speaks of how to become an expert; the common thread is spending 10,000 hours perfecting one’s craft.  If you spread yourself across the board, become a Jack of all trades, master of none, than your efficiency rate decreases and no longer will the 80/20 rule work in your favor.  

Take a moment and consider what you love and what you are really good at and then list out those things that cause you to waste time and decrease your efficient self.  If you are able, hire someone to do those tasks that fall on that list.  Share duties with your children, spouse, roommate, significant other, co-worker, team members etc.  Trade your time and skillset for theirs.  You will find that focusing on those 20% tasks, the 80% yield will be worthwhile.

 

 

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Attitude

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Attitude

Attitude is the one thing all human beings have complete control of and yet many unknowingly choose a negative attitude.  If we understood the power of our own attitude in our lives, most of us would change it immediately.  How many times have you been told to change your attitude?  That is a common order from most parents and teachers!

Attitude is created by your thoughts, feelings and actions.  Your mind controls feelings and decides whether these feelings will be positive or negative through your thoughts.  Your body then follows these thoughts through actions and behaviors.  It sounds simplistic because it is. 

Through our thoughts, we create an attitude.  This attitude is expressed based on how we internalise ideas.  Our mind and body move into a new vibration of conscious awareness known as feelings.  These feelings are then displayed through actions and behaviors that produce the results in our lives.

Attitude [Thoughts + Feelings + Actions] = Results

Imagine feeding our minds with positive thoughts and flow through the process.  We will end with positive results.  Now imagine feeding our minds with negative thoughts and flow through the process.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

By changing our thoughts, we can change our attitude, which will ultimately change our results.  Attitude is the creative cycle that allows us to feel a certain way and then take the necessary action to a specific result.

Start with the end in mind and make the decision that today is the day to change your attitude!  

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