“Calm down and organize yourself. When you organize your life and your mind — that voice in your head — you get very calm inside and you get more productive outside.” – Valerie Fitzgerald, Los Angeles, California 9-21-14
Don’t lose heart. No matter what you are doing, don’t lose heart. martha
Was reminded last night at a fun business meeting that there is great power in being able to focus on one or two things. So, I say, “Focus — on one or two things. There is great power in that.” 10/24/14 martha
I have written several times about focus, keeping it simple and staying on track. I’m doing it yet again, with a different twist. Why? Because we need to hear this information over and over again. That is how it gets into our minds, then into our actions. Then our regular actions become habits. Our regular habits become how we work in our businesses each day. Every one of us has to determine how what we learn applies to us. Each of us has to determine how we are going to apply it in our daily activities, which in turn, will benefit our business activities.
Staying focused on a task is the only way that task will be accomplished. If we need to make phone calls for the day, and we are constantly being distracted by other duties, by the internet, by incoming phone calls, emails, texts, etc., the phone calls will go unmade. Accomplishing the task seems to become heavier and heavier. I’ve heard it said that at times the phone can seem as though it weighs 500 pounds to us. That is true, especially if we’ve put off picking it up over and over again. It is by picking it up to make the calls that we realize it is not heavy at all.
Doing our necessary tasks every day, even when we’re not feeling up to it, is what helps us to develop a routine. In turn, developing a routine can help us learn how to concentrate, because we know that at a certain time every day, we have a particular task to accomplish. If we need to make ten phone calls, staying focused on those ten calls is the only way they will get done. Make your list of people to call and determine what time to make the calls. Don’t stop until you are done. If you get another call, either let it to go voice mail, or answer it and tell the person you are working and will return the call later. Do it every day.
Duplicating the success of others helps us learn how to concentrate. When we are reading about how others have accomplished things, we can study how they have done it. That takes a measure of concentration and focus. “You must study the principles until they are a part of you.”, says Clive Buchanan in the Introduction of his book, ‘18 Steps to Greatness‘. Learn what they have done, then duplicate it. If you spend 15 minutes or so each day reading things that inspire you, then meditate and think about how to apply those principles, you will benefit.
Each of us must take responsibility for our own actions or lack of actions. The book ‘Study Is Hard Work’, by William H. Armstrong, says: “It is the responsibility of the student to be interested. No one can be interested for you…” – from Awake Magazine, 9/22/98, written for young people in an article called ‘Young People Ask . .. How Can I Keep My Mind on Things?’ Although it was specifically written for young people, we can all benefit from the advice. No one can stay focused for us. There are others who can continuously remind us that we need to do it, but ultimately, we are the only ones who can work on our own concentration and focus. Going back to the example of making our phone calls, we are the one who has be interested in calling the people on our list if we are the person who is going to make the call. That will take concentration, focus and single-mindedness for that task.
So, what’s the twist? Connect keeping it simple (focus=concentration) with duplication and responsibility. Remember these three points:
- Do it every day.
- Take responsibility.
Let me know how it goes. I’m constantly working on this.
We all know we should have ‘heart’ in our business relationships. What does that mean? For the purpose of this article, it means that when we approach or talk to a potential customer, team member or business builder, we should be thinking, “How can I help this person?”, rather than, “How is this (sale, enrollment, sign-up, customer) going to help me?” “How can I make this person feel valued?”
Easier said than done, especially when facing end of month deadlines.
I was talking to my team leader today (a great coach!), and we discussed what happens to someone when his or her back is against the wall. It’s very interesting to watch how people we know turn into people we don’t know when they are faced with challenges, like getting the last needed sale on the last day of the month to meet a quota. My friend said he noticed that ‘change’ with a car salesman he had been watching who was facing an end of the month deadline. He noticed how his potential customers sensed it. We’ve all felt the pressure.
So, what can we do about it? How can we be as calm and caring on the last day of the month as we are on day one of the new month? What can we do to continue to really care about people, no matter when it is? Here are three tips:
- Start early. If you haven’t kept your daily routine of making your calls, developing your contacts and following up, and now you’re trying to do three weeks worth of work in two weeks, you are going to be stressed. If you are stressed, the people you are in contact with will sense that. There is a saying, “Early in the month, early in the week, early in the day.” Do a little every day. By relieving yourself of that stress, you can concentrate on what you can to do help your customer. By developing the routine and sticking to it, you will reap the benefits.
- Consider the consequences. Always think about what’s going to happen after the conversation. The sale or enrollment, (or whatever it is in your situation) may not be the end of your contact with this person. Think about that on your approach and during subsequent conversations and interactions. If you are pushing to meet a quota and your potential customer senses that getting the sale or enrollment now is more important to you than their needs and interests, you may face some apathy or worse when you are trying to follow up, whether you got the sale or not. Why should they care when you didn’t.
- Set the example. Always remember that you are setting an example for your team. Your attitude will set the tone. When your team is growing, new team members will follow your example of how you made them a part of your team. How you make them feel is what they will remember. If you made your new members feel appreciated and valued, it will be important to them to make their potential customers or team members feel the same way.
“Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
‘What are you doing?’ you ask.
‘Can’t you see?’ comes the impatient reply. ‘I’m sawing down this tree.’
‘You look exhausted!’ you exclaim. ‘How long have you been at it?’
‘Over five hours,’ he returns, ‘and I’m beat! This is hard work.’
‘Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?’ you inquire. ‘I’m sure it would go a lot faster.’
‘I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,’ the man says emphatically. ‘I’m too busy sawing!’”
Taken from ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Work smart.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
– Anthony Robbins
To build a wall, we have to put down a brick. Then we have to put down another brick next to it. Then we have to …. It becomes a pattern. As you lay each brick over a period of time, you develop certain ways of doing it more efficiently and quickly. It becomes almost second nature. Those little things become habits that help you with your work.
To build a network, a business, a group, a team is exactly the same. You lay a foundation. You do activities every day that begin to develop your goal, your vision. Those activities become habits. They become things that you do consistently.
The time you spend on your activity is not as crucial as doing it consistently. When you do something every day, whether you spend five minutes on it, or 60 minutes, the important thing is that you do it every day.
Here are three ways to help us begin to make a habit – consistently:
Think about something you want to do every day. Find your direction. What is it you want to accomplish.
Choose a time and way to do it. When is the best time and what is the best way for you to accomplish this goal. If its to say ‘good morning’ to your teenager, think about the best time (first thing on rising or after coffee) and the best way (from across the room or in your arms) to do that, then every day, say good morning to your teenager.
Be determined. Don’t let anything stop you from being consistent and making it a habit. If someone (could be anyone) gets up on the wrong side of the bed and isn’t happy, don’t let that stop you from your goal of that day. If the greeting takes a little different tone from the day before, okay. If it happens a little earlier or a little later, okay. But don’t not do it.
As we do this every day, we begin to see the shape it is giving our life.
If you’re too big for small jobs, you’re too small for big jobs.
Get in there with your team members and work with them. Really work with them.
“According to the Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, opportunity is ‘a favorable position or chance.’ When the situation or positions that you need are not available, you must create them.” — Floyd Flake, The Way of the Bootstrapper
Discipline weighs ounces, but regrets weigh pounds. When we stick to our plan, we see results. You cannot move forward and something not happen. It is inevitable. As the saying goes, “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” Taking no action, not sticking to our plan of action, makes us discouraged and lethargic. Then we have regrets and they start weighing us down.