6 Steps to Accomplishing Your Life Goals and Resolutions

6 Steps to Accomplishing Your Life Goals and Resolutions

Excerpted article was written by By Susan M. Heathfield

Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal settingand resolution accomplishment.

  • You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution. Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, Think and Grow Richhad it right. “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you’ve got to really, really want to achieve the goal.
  • Visualize yourself achieving the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.
  • Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal. Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplishments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality.Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.” He’s right.
  • Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal. Lee Iacocca said, “The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.” I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan, and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise.In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal.
  • Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system, whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don’t let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals.No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.
  • Review your overall progress regularly. Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal.

This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it.

Best wishes and good luck.

The Most Successful Salespeople All Have This One Thing in Common

Women@Forbes | Heather R. Morgan

Here are three areas where you need to get more selfish with your time:

1. Create rules for your calendar and follow them religiously.

Your calendar isn’t just a tool for booking meetings with potential clients—it should be how you structure your overall day. And it should include anything that will help you feel physically and mentally better, which in turn improves who you are as a salesperson.

Set out rules for things you must do, whether they happen every day, three times a week or once every few hours. Popular rules are things like going to the gym, waking up by 6 a.m., and planning lunches with friends and coworkers. I also recommend taking 30 minutes each morning to plan out your day before you start any actual work. Include lunches, coffee breaks or any “sanity breaks” you anticipate needing as you build out your daily schedule.

It’s also a good idea to take time each evening to analyze the day. What went well? What did you not accomplish? Did you have any unrealistic expectations? These questions can help you in planning out subsequent days. I also like to spend some time on Fridays to review the week as a whole, and use Mondays as a day to plan my week, since those days tend to be slower from a sales perspective.

 

2. Disqualify irrelevant leads as early as possible.

As technology lets sales organizations scale faster, it gets easier and easier to book time with tons of leads.

Don’t be deceived. Trying to accommodate every lead you have is one of the easiest ways to waste your valuable time. You will inevitably get leads that aren’t a good fit. Maybe they don’t need your product or service, or they’re just unpleasant people. Either way, you won’t form a meaningful bond with them (or close a deal), so move on.

Or, you can avoid useless leads altogether by knowing your ideal client criteria up front. Your initial research gives you information on the would-be customer’s industry, their day-to-day duties and concerns, issues currently surrounding their industry or company and tons of other facts. (You might even know their favorite football team.)

Use this information to determine their relevance to your business. Say your company typically sells health insurance to large enterprises, but you spend most of your time chasing down small companies on shoestring budgets. At some point, both you and the prospective customer will be forced to recognize there’s little gain in the relationship. So learn how to recognize it earlier. Get honest with yourself first. Then, get honest with the other person and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t think our company can help you right now.”

That said, don’t burn a bridge just because someone isn’t a good fit right now. They might be down the line. Or your contact might move to a company that is a good fit. Make it clear you’re open to working together in the future.

3. Measure and optimize your sales cycle.

Taking time to examine your past record on the job can tell you a lot about your sales habits—the good ones and the bad. The more data-driven you can make this process, the better.

Review your old deals. One thing I noticed while doing this is that the most lucrative deals tend to close faster, or at least more easily, than the ones you lose or waste time on.

Note the various milestones in your average sales cycle. These may be sales calls or meetings, sending a proposal or a contract, contract negotiations, or any other meaningful moment that signals a new stage in your sales process. These events, along with how fast they do or do not progress, help indicate which deals are not likely to close, allowing you to weed out dead-end leads early. Remember, your ultimate goal here is to dedicate most of your time to the most-promising prospective customers.

Measuring your sales cycle can also free up time to experiment. Are there ways to make the sales cycle faster? Can you close more deals or save time by automating processes or standardizing templates for proposals and follow-up emails? Standardize as much as possible while keeping your sales conversations thoughtful and meaningful. Process is great, but sometimes you have to evolve or think critically and make exceptions to close a big deal. Don’t be afraid to adapt your sales process if you encounter new situations that don’t 100% fit your process. You never know when a new trend in the market is unfolding before your eyes. Or you may have also discovered a lucrative new niche to sell to.

A word of caution: once you start setting various rules and practices for your life in minute detail, it’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking those things are set in stone for life. They’re not. So build in time to improve the way you approach your routine. If a task or process is a hassle, skip the next cocktail reception you’re invited to and use that time to figure out how to fix what’s broken or lagging. Your colleagues, managers, clients and, most importantly, yourself, will reap tons of benefits ultimately from that one little moment of selfishness.

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

By Carl Preston | Lifehack

What are you willing to do in order to reach success? It is common among people these days to be average and not stand out too much. But those who are successful do not fall under this category.

In order to stay on top of your game and reach the level of success you want, you need to follow a certain set of self-induced rules. Success is not something that happens by accident; if you want it bad enough, you will get it. Learn the habits that successful people have given up in order to reach their own success.

1. They don’t work in their comfort zone.

What is your comfort zone? Your comfort zone is defined as “A psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.” When you get outside of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you should strive for a constant state of anxiety and stress. It simply means that, in order to grow, you should try new things and expand your horizons.

The reason we are comfortable in our comfort zone is because we are not taking risks when we are in this state. When we live in our comfort zones, we are living life like hamsters on a wheel, going around and around in a constant cycle, but going nowhere in our lives.

Famous motivational speaker, Les Brown, said it best with, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

2. They don’t do without first learning.

Learning is what we do best. The greatest thing about learning is the benefit that we receive in all aspects of our lives. Successful people strive to continue learning new things and expanding on things that they already know.

If we stop learning, then the only thing we can do is settle with what we already know; if we settle for that, then there is no way to expand our minds. Expansion is essential on the path to success. Since our minds require learning for expansion, we must never stop seeking new knowledge.

Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates stopped learning and growing. The internet would be much more primitive than it is today. But because he followed his dreams and continued growing, he founded one of the biggest companies in the world and it is still flourishing and growing today.

3. They don’t fear asking for advice.

Richard Branson, a famous entrepreneur, stated, “When you need to make hard decisions, being able to discuss your ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who have solved similar problems can make all the difference.”

Asking for advice is not always easy. We think that we have the same opportunity as everyone else and sometimes feel insecure and dependent, so we decide not to ask for advice, and try to figure it out ourselves. But this could be greatly limiting us from reaching our full potential, because the advice we might be seeking could be something that somebody knows very well.

4. They don’t get lost in the small details.

When life gives us seemingly endless opportunities, it is very easy to get lost in the small details. The small details are very easy for us to become focused on, thus causing us to miss out on the overall vision, also known as the “big picture”.

Focusing too much on the smaller details constricts your ability to see how everything ties together. Much of our lives hinge upon the connections that we make with others and with ourselves. If we get lost in the small detail, it is like having missing pieces to a puzzle. How are we supposed to solve that?

Imagine what would have happened if Henry Ford only saw the small details. When building the company that Ford is today, he knew that he must do something different if his company was to succeed. After many people told him it couldn’t be done, his company continued improving upon the smaller details until they got it right.

Henry Ford didn’t focus too much on the small details, which were the hundreds of times he failed; he saw the overall goal and knew that it could be accomplished. It required seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.

5. They don’t multitask.

Multitasking is typically viewed as a skill that only certain people possess. But truth be told, nobody actually has the ability to multitask. Multitasking is known to actually decrease productivity. Those who are successful focus on one specific task and do that task to the best of their ability without interruption.

When you multitask, you limit your ability to fully focus on one specific task at a time. Successful people utilize the talents and abilities that they have by focusing it on one task and one task only.

Emma Watson said, “I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking..” This demonstrates how destructive multitasking is highlighting the fact that when we multitask, we are greatly limiting ourselves.

6. They don’t lie to themselves.

Lying to yourself is one of the easiest things for you to do. It is much more difficult to accept the problems that we have without make excuses for them. Successful people understand that we will encounter problems, both internally and externally.

But it is important to accept the problems that reside in our lives, rather than not dealing with them and lying to ourselves about them.

As Steve Maraboli said, “Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”

7. They don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback.

Feedback is important, because it gives you a different perspective on your current situation. Sometimes you are not able to see the answer that is right in front of you. But when someone gives you feedback, it allows you to see something from the perspective of someone else.

If you procrastinate asking someone for feedback, you are missing out on time that could be put towards accomplishing your dreams. The longer you wait, the harder it is to utilize advice that others can give you.

“I think It’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you´re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better,” entrepreneur Elon Musk once said.

8. They don’t follow, they lead.

You have probably heard the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.” There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. The ones who are successful are the ones who are leading the pack.

Successful people are not successful because they got there by chance. They did not follow somebody to the finish line. They paved their own path in life to get where they needed to be.

Just as the great Robert Frost stated, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

9. They don’t let the past dictate their future.

The past is something that we will never change, nor should we want to change it; because without it, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn. Therefore, we would wind up making the same mistakes over and over again until we learned the lesson that life is trying to teach us.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour. His humble background did not prevent him from thinking bigger though. With a net worth of $3.8 billion dollars, he now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

10. They don’t hang around negative people.

Negative people are very destructive to be around when it comes to achieving success, because there are so many situations that life throws at us and causes us to get down on ourselves or our situation. But some people like to focus on this aspect of life the majority of the time.

When you are around negative people enough, you start to see things negatively and you begin to lose sight of your dream. Success is more about mindset than anything, and if you always have a negative mindset, life will reward you with negative outcomes to deal with.

Joel Olsteen once said, “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” So if you wish you be successful, don’t focus on the negativity that others bring.

To be successful requires focus and determination. It seems that every successful person follows similar patterns. Therefore, it’s easy to see why they are where they are. They knew what they had to do in order to achieve their dreams and they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them from getting there.

You have the power in yourself to become one of those successful people you admire and look up to.

25 Worst Buzzwords of 2017

By Zoë Henry | Staff writer, Inc.

To save you–and the people you love–some time, Inc. parsed the dictionaries, the social-media networks, and the piles of press releases that reporters get on a daily basis. Without further ado, in order from least to most offensive, here are the worst buzzwords of 2017:

25. NextGen

If you think you’ve been hearing this one for entirely too long, you’re not mistaken…all the more reason it makes no sense in 2017. The label is commonly applied to software upgrades, but as the best programmers know well, whatever is “NextGen” of the moment will hardly be “NextGen” by the time it’s downloaded. Nix.

24. Deep Dive

Attention, scubas: A dive is, by definition, plunging into the murky depths of a subject. Your “deep dive” doesn’t sound cool, it’s redundant. (If you were truly “diving deeply” you might have understood that.)

23. Snowflake

A derogatory term for someone perceived as too sensitive to have their worldview challenged, “snowflake” is a buzzword championed by the alt-right. If you’re really that interested in the uniqueness of frozen matter, we suggest a lefty alternative: The broflake. 

22. Ping Me

Don’t “ping me,” please. Send me an email. I’m not a plastic ball.

21. Gig Economy

Short-term labor is practically the new norm, so you might as well just start saying “economy.”

20. Silos

What are we, in a granary? All together now: Departments.

19. Engagement

Your users aren’t getting married to your service. Honestly, they probably don’t even like it that much.

18. Growth Hacking

I almost feel like this needs no description, but please, if you’re experimenting across marketing channels: Just. Say. That.

17. Bandwidth

Why no, I do not have the range of frequencies occupied by a modulated carrier signal to pick up that menial task you’ve thrown my way.

16. Customer-centric

Honestly, if you’re anything-else-centric, just file for Chapter 11 right now.

15. Workflow

I was paddling along the river Thames one morning when I realized…oh wait.

14. Initial Coin Offering

If Paris Hilton endorses it, you probably shouldn’t.

13. Stratcom

Short for “strategic communications.” It’s the name of my future robot puppy, not your operational regime.

12. Hive Mind

Tapping into the collective consciousness is weird enough without a buzzword. Lose it.

11. Pivot to Video

If it didn’t work for Ross…

10. Wheelhouse

“Why, sir! You’ve lost your sailor’s cap in the —” is the only acceptable preceding clause.

9. Bizmeth

Short for “business method.” I heard bizmeth goes for $50 an ounce in San Ysidro. That’s probably too expensive for your company to justify.

8. Core Competency

Lots of people–for instance, quite a few in Washington–don’t possess this. But everyone should.

7. Paradigm Shift

…is the next movie from director M. Night Shyamalan. Not the way to describe changes in investor perception of the tech IPO.

6. Omnichannel

God is Omnichannel. Your marketing, not so much.

5. Hustle

If you were really doing it, you wouldn’t have time to talk about it.

4. Digital Native

We’re internet users, not confused Italian explorers of the 16th century.

3. Ripe for Disruption

No industry is so juicy that it deserves the analog.

2. Influencer

Just because you have 4 million followers doesn’t mean you’ve changed my mind.

1. Cuck

A holdover from 2016, cuck still seems to be in common Twitter parlance. It’s a shorthand for perceived weaknesses–particularly for men who may be submissive to women–but generally demonstrates the user’s own misogyny. Inc. begs of you, reader: Don’t use it.

To Host the Best Holiday Party Hand Out Bonuses and Go Home

To Host the Best Holiday Party Hand Out Bonuses and Go Home

GENE MARKS | President of The Marks Group

There are people in this world who know all about throwing great office Holiday parties. Take Annette Joseph, for example.

Annette is a stylist, TV personality and author of Picture Perfect Parties She’s everywhere online giving the kind of advice that most people wouldn’t even think about. For example, in a recent post on Pinterest she showed all the great and wonderful ways business owners can throw that perfect holiday party, even when just using stuff from your local Staples’ Copy and Print Center. (And no, I’m not being paid to endorse anyone here). This woman can create a party from anything.

Me? I’m no stylist and I’m not creative enough to come up with all these great ideas. But two decades of attending both horrible and excellent holiday parties thrown by my clients have taught me a few things about throwing an office holiday party that have nothing to do with flowers and decorations and customized invitations purchased at Staples.

For starters, have it in house. Don’t rent out a restaurant. Don’t have some gala, black-tie affair in a hotel or catering hall. You’re not in the Fortune 500. The companies that do that kind of thing clearly have way more money to waste than you. Besides, most people don’t want to take an evening away from home for some stuffy affair. They want to relax in a familiar place. There’s nothing wrong with doing an office party in your office. Check out Annette’s site above and you’ll find a ton of good recommendations for decorating your office, way better than some restaurant.

Don’t serve alcohol. This is a liability you just don’t want. The last thing you need is for some Jabroni from the warehouse to drink a few too many beers and then run over a puppy on the way home…or another living thing, if you get my drift. You’ll be in court before you know it, lawyered up and defending your poor judgment. People can have a good time without alcohol. It’s actually possible. Make up for it with good, catered food. If your employees want to go for an after-party at the local bar, good for them. And good for you, for avoiding this lawsuit.

Don’t invite family members. They kill a holiday party. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. There’s a lot that goes on at work. Relationships are very different and sometimes, unfortunately…well, complicated. You don’t want to be in the middle of that. Wives, husbands and even children of an employee completely change the vibe of a holiday party. You want your people hanging out together where work isn’t the primary topic of concern. You want your party to be an opportunity for your employees to make connections and grow as a team. Having family there completely negates that idea. Try to have the party on a Friday afternoon or another, similar time when it’s not taking your employees away from their families for very long.

Tell everyone thanks. My company is virtual, we have no offices and see each other as a group maybe twice a year. Maybe. Sure, my overhead is lower. But we are very, very dysfunctional! At least at our holiday gathering I can tap the glass with a spoon and say a few nice words. I take the chance to speak with everyone individually and give thanks. I also hand out bonus checks too, which I slip into a holiday card also saying thanks. This is my one chance a year to truly show how grateful I am for everyone’s work. A good holiday party is, if nothing else, the business owner’s chance to say thanks. Take it.

Finally, leave them alone. That means: go. Go home. Leave a responsible manager in charge. But, after spending some time and saying your thanks, take leave and tell everyone to have a great time. I’ve seen this done before and it works well. When the boss isn’t around, people can relax more. They don’t have to feel like they’re going to do something or make a mistake that will impact their career. And neither do you, by the way. So let them have fun. This is a party for your employees, not for you. Your reward: a cold beer and the last half hour of Sports Center in peace. Aah…now that’s a holiday present any hard working business owner could love!

Source: Entrepreneur

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

Can You Be a Great Leader Without Technical Expertise?

Excerpted article was written by Art Markman | Harvard Business Review

There is a broad assumption in society and in education that the skills you need to be a leader are more or less transferable. If you can inspire and motivate people in one arena, you should be able to apply those skills to do the same in another venue.

But recent research is rightly challenging this notion. Studies suggest that the best leaders know a lot about the domain in which they are leading, and part of what makes them successful in a management role is technical competence. For example, hospitals managed by doctors perform better than those managed by people with other backgrounds. And there are many examples of people who ran one company effectively and had trouble transferring their skills to the new organization.

Over the last year, I’ve been working with a group at the University of Texas thinking about what leadership education would look like for our students. There is broad consensus across many schools that teach leadership education about the core elements of what leaders need to know. These factors include: The ability to motivate self and others, effective oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving ability, and skills at working with teams and delegating tasks.

On the surface, this seems like a nice list. Good leaders do have these abilities and if you wanted to create future leaders, making sure they have these skills is a good bet. They need to take in a large volume of information and distill it into the essential elements that define the core problems to be solved. They need to organize teams to solve these problems and to communicate to a group why they should share a common vision. They need to establish trust with a group and then use that trust to allow the team to accomplish more than it could alone.

But these skills alone will not make a leader because, to actually excel at this list of skills in practice, you also need a lot of expertise in a particular domain.

As an example, take one of these skills: thinking critically in order to find the essence of a situation. To do that well, you must have specific, technical expertise. The critical information a doctor needs to diagnose a patient are different from the knowledge used to understand a political standoff, and both of those differ in important ways from what is needed to negotiate a good business deal.

Even effective communication differs from one domain to another. Doctors talking to patients must communicate information differently than politicians reacting to a natural disaster or a CEO responding to a labor dispute.

When you begin to look at any of the core skills that leaders have, it quickly becomes clear that domain-specific expertise is bound up in all of them. And the domains of expertise required may also be fairly specific. Even business is not really a single domain. Leadership in construction, semiconductor fabrication, consulting, and retail sales all require a lot of specific knowledge.

A common solution to this problem is for leaders to say that they will surround themselves with good people who have the requisite expertise that will allow them to make good decisions. The problem is that without actual expertise, how do these leaders even know whether they have found the right people to give them information? If managers cannot evaluate the information they are getting for themselves, then they cannot lead effectively.

This way of thinking about leadership has two important implications. First, when we teach people about leadership, we need to be more explicit that domain expertise matters. Just because a person is successful at running one kind of organization does not mean that they are likely to have the same degree of success running an organization with a different mission. Second, when we train people to take on leadership roles, we need to give them practice solving domain-specific problems so that they can prepare to integrate information in the arena in which they are being asked to lead. For example, it isn’t enough just to teach people about how to resolve generic conflicts between employees, we should create scenarios derived from real cases so that people have to grapple with all of the ambiguities that come from the conflicts that arise within particular industries.

This issue is particularly important given the frequency with which people in the modern workplace change jobs and even move across industries. This mobility means that many younger employees may not gain significant expertise in the industry in which they are currently working, which will make it harder for them to be effective in leadership roles.  Companies need to identify prospective future leaders and encourage them to settle down in order to develop the specific skills they need to lead.

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