Getting Back on Track by Cindy Stradling by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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January always seems to be a month when many of us have to “hit the reset button”. The holidays often seem to get us off track, but we meet the new year with new confidence and goals, but may wonder how to practically get ourselves back on track. Here are some tips you can use any time of the images3year.

  1. Pull out those goals and review. When we’ve gotten off track, we’ve likely stopped thinking about our goals on a daily basis. Reviewing your goals can help bring these back to the forefront of your mind, and help you renew your commitment to meeting them.
  1. Outline the tasks. Each goal has a specific set of tasks required to get you to the finish line. Writing down these tasks helps you create a plan. Once you’re finished, put your goals and tasks where you can see them every day.
  1. Use your calendar. Schedule your tasks just like you would any business appointment. This ensures you have time in your schedule, and makes you more likely to follow through. If you have to cancel a task at the originally scheduled time, move it to another time rather than removing it altogether.
  1. Be accountable. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable for doing what you need to do, get a buddy who will make you accountable. This little push is often all we need to ensure we don’t let important tasks slide. For example, many personal trainers recommend having an exercise buddy. You’re less likely to cancel your workout if you know someone else is counting on you to be there.
  1. Measure progress. It’s easier to stay motivated when we see progress. Don’t forget to have measurable goals and to take the time to see how far you’ve come.
  1. Set small goals so that you can have regular victories. Then, celebrate those victories as a way of keeping yourself motivated to do more.

Getting off track during the holidays is normal, and we all need some down time. To ensure you’re meeting your goals, however, it’s important to get right back on track when the fun is over.

The Importance of Metrics by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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It’s that time of year! Everyone is back at the gym, and making all sorts of resolutions about how they’re going to change their life in 2017. Resolutions are great, and a new year does offer all of us the chance to hit the “reset” button by setting some new goals and making some much needed changes.

However, we’ve all seen resolutions broken and new plans abandoned sometime in February or March. One of the best ways to help ensure your goals for the year don’t get thrown by the wayside is to measure and track your forward movement. We often get discouraged about meeting our goals because we don’t see progress. Here are some ways setting up metrics can help you.index

  • Metrics let you know where you started. In order to track your progress on any goal, you must make note of your starting point. When you feel discouraged about your progress, look back at where you’ve started for reassurance.
  • Metrics help you set intermittent goals. Small goals that add up to big goals can help you stay focused and prevent burnout. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, set milestones of 10 pounds, for example. When you reach each ten pound goal, you feel energized to keep going.
  • Metrics pull you back on track. If you set goals and appropriate measurements to follow, you’ll see when your efforts are not where you expected them to be. By taking an honest look at the metrics, you can see how to get back on track.
  • Metrics give you reason to celebrate. How can you know when you’ve done well if you don’t measure your efforts? Metrics let you know when you have reason to celebrate, helping you stay motivated and ensuring you feel good about your efforts.

So, as you’re busy setting goals for the New Year, remember to set up some ways to measure your progress against those goals. Don’t forget, as well, to set some reminders so that you remember to take regular measurements. Tracking your progress as you move toward your goals is the easiest and most effective way to keep yourself on track as you work to meet your 2017 goals.

New Year, New Goals, Renewed Focus by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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 The New Year is the time when we traditionally hit a little “reset” button on our lives. The symbolic tradition of making New Year’s resolutions and having an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality may be steeped in tradition, but it can be very good for us, as well. 2017-athena

Each of us needs a “mental reset” from time to time. Such a reset allows us to forgive ourselves for past failures and move forward with renewed enthusiasm.  This can happen any time we choose to make it happen, but many of us find it easier to do so in the company of others at this traditional time of year.

So, while everyone else is busy making their list of New Year’s Resolutions; make yours, as well. Focus on three things:

  • Letting go of habits or goals that are proving unproductive
  • Setting brand new goals
  • Resetting goals that fell by the wayside last year

You can benefit from evaluating all areas of your life and outlining changes you’d like to make in each area. However, at the end of the decision making process, it’s a good idea to end up with no more than three major goals for the next year.

When you have more than three important items, it can make it more difficult to actually reach any of the goals, as you are likely to get distracted. Many people choose to set one goal in each major area of life. For example, set one business goal, one goal for yourself personally, and one goal for a relationship or a hobby.

The New Year’s reset can be a great thing for your mind, allowing you to stop worrying about the things you didn’t do in 2106 and instead focus on what you will do in 2017.

Here’s to new beginnings in our personal lives and our business endeavors! Never underestimate the power of hitting the reset button at just the right time. This simple act can help you to move forward in all the areas where you’re ready to see more success.

 

 

One Step at a Time by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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onestepAny major pursuit in life is a big undertaking. There are often many months and many steps required to reach a goal. Because of this, major accomplishments can seem overwhelming, and this feeling causes many people to give up on their goal.

There’s a very old joke that speaks to the problem of overcoming an overwhelming goal. It goes like this: “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.”

This old saying is a great way to remember that no major goal can be accomplished at once. Any big undertaking must be taken just like eating an elephant – one small bite at a time. There are several advantages to breaking your undertaking down into several steps.

1. Breaking your goal down into smaller steps gives you a plan. When you list the small steps in sequential order, you immediately have a plan to follow to reach your goal. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll get there.

2. It’s easy to measure your effectiveness. When you measure how you accomplish each smaller goal, you’ll be able to see if you’re on track to reach the larger goal.

3. You’ll avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. When you break a large goal down into smaller ones, you can get a sense of accomplishment regularly, and you’ll feel that you’re making progress. It is this feeling of accomplishment that helps you stay motivated toward achieving the larger goal.

4. Consistency is easier. When you are able to work on smaller goals and you see accomplishment regularly, you are likely to be more consistent in your overall efforts. When you are measuring yourself only in larger goals, it can be tempting to feel the need for a break once a goal is achieved. With smaller goals, you get just as much accomplished, but you don’t feel so exhausted when you finish.

The work is the same whether you attack a project as one large task or several smaller ones. However, the psychological advantages attained by breaking that elephant into small bites may be just what you need to keep going until you reach your goal.

“Focus” by Cindy Stradling

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Over a decade ago I read the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and my big takeaway from reading this book was the value of focus.  In fact, Robert shared an acronym for the word focus that I continue to use today:focus

F – follow

O – one 

C – course 

U – until

S – successful

 

When I first started my business I had my hand in many different areas and projects. What I realized very quickly is that my efforts were diluted everywhere.  Once I learned Robert’s acronym I took a long hard look at my business.  After exploring the various areas I created a new plan that in my opinion, was much clearer, easier to measure and focused on a specific outcome.  As I enter into my ninth year in business I can see now this strategy worked very well for me.

 

This is not to say I don’t look at new ways of doing things or new opportunities.  I do this regularly as the market is constantly changing and we need to stay abreast of what is happening in our industry.  Where I use focus is when I am working on a project or simply doing my day to day business activities.  As an example if I am making outbound calls, my focus is strictly on doing this, not answering inbound calls or emails intermittently.  

 

I find that the results I achieve are so much higher when I take this approach and the bonus to this is that I feel very good about setting an objective and sticking to the plan to make it happen.  This doesn’t just apply to my business life it also applies in my personal life as well.  When I am with family or friends, I am with them, not texting or answering other calls.  I see people in restaurants all the time sitting across from each other on their cell phones texting.  Personally, I think people miss the human connection when they do this (this is my opinion – maybe it’s my Boomer mentality).

Prioritize and make time for the things that are important to you.

We can (and do) make time for the things that are most important to you. Often these things inspire us and we don’t see them as something you “have” to do versus what you “want” to do.  Even when this work presents us with challenges, it can also produce the highest level of satisfaction.  This is the incredible thing about doing what you were meant to do is that is often doesn’t feel like work at all.  I know for me my work provides me with a great sense of contribution and connection to people.  This makes my commitment to stay focused on my goals so much easier.

What does it really take to move from knowing what to do and actually doing it?

We all know what we need to do to be successful yet we often don’t do the very thing that will have us be successful.  What is the secret? Focus!   We can read books, attend seminars and listen to webinars to learn techniques to make improvements in our personal and professional lives.  It is not until we commit and focus on the actions we need to take that we can yield the results.  If you research anyone who has accomplished great things in their lives you will learn that at the base of everything they did was a dedicated focus in their area of interest.

We have all experienced distractions and interruptions at home and work.  Once interrupted, we have a hard time getting re-focused again. I have listed below some startling statistics and the impact of interruptions to focus:

  1. The average employee spends 28% of their time dealing with unnecessary interruptions followed by “recovery time” to get back on track. (2009, Basex)
  2. The time spent per day being interrupted and trying to refocus is 2.1 hours. (2009, Basex)
  3. Physically co-located workers spend longer chunks of time engaged in tasks for which they are not accountable. (University of California-Irvine)
  4. The average manager is interrupted every 8 minutes. (Study conducted by Priority Management)
  5. The Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London suggests that your IQ falls 10 points when you’re fielding constant emails, text messages and calls.  This is the same loss you’d experience if you had missed an entire night’s sleep.  (Yoga Journal, p. 22, 12/2005).
  6. The cost of managing interruptions at work costs the US economy $588 billion per year. (2009, Basex)

 

 

 

A New Year – New Goals or New Excuses?

smart goals - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based

A New Year – New Goals or New Excuses?

It is time to take stock on how you performed in the past 12 months.  How did you do?

Often people set goals every January with the very best intentions of achieving them. We have all learned over the years the importance of writing our goals down, having clear outcomes and setting milestones to help us step by step to success.

 So what happens?  Often a strong start then nothing!

smart goals - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-basedHaving written goals is only part of the equation.  One of the most important elements of setting powerful goals is to tie them to your values and get connected to why you want to achieve the goal in the first place.  By taking the time to ask yourself questions like: “Why is this important?” “What difference with this make?” will give you the fuel you need when the going gets tough.

And the going will get tough at times, especially if it is something that takes you out of your comfort zone.

SMART goals have been taught to leaders, managers and employees for many years and while they are somewhat effective, there are other components that go a long way to help keep you on track.  Listed below are a few questions to help to ensure success.

Ask yourself:

Do the results I will achieve once I achieve my goal energize me?

How passionate am I to achieve my goal?

How personally committed to my results?

Is my intention clear?

Will I be in integrity with my commitments? (say what I will do and do what I say)

What structure have I put in place to support me? (a way to measure milestones)

What is the opportunity for growth?  What difference will that make in my life?

Do I have an unstoppable attitude?  How do I know?

How do I intend to track my program?

Have I created a step by step action plan?

Who can support me in achieving my goal?

What are any possible obstacles?  What can I put in place to be sure they don’t stop me?

At the end of the day there is only two things you can have – Reasons or Results.  You can have the results you set out to achieve or the reasons why you didn’t achieve them.  It is really about self leadership.

You choose.

Often the smallest steps forward can make a huge difference.  If you think about a horse race, the winner wins by a nose, or in the Olympics it can be a few seconds that makes all the difference.

What little step can you talk today to move you closer to your goal?

In December 2013, what do you want to look back on?  A year of results or reasons?  I suspect you want results!!!

12 Top Best Practices for Successful Sales Professionals – Week 1

successful sales professional attitude

12 Top Best Practices for Successful Sales Professionals – Week 1

successful sales professional attitudeFor the month of June, I thought I do something a little different for my blog.  During my sales training programs I am often asked about the best practices I have adopted for myself over the years.  I have distilled them into twelve and will share three per week for the month of June.

I have always believed that we are all in sales in one form or another so these best practices do not only apply to those in the selling profession and can be applied to many situations.

 

1)      Attitude is everything – this may not sound like a best practice, but believe me it is.  How we do anything is how we do everything.  If your attitude is negative or cynical before you undertake any task it will definitely affect not only your results, but the experience of everyone who interacts with you.  Before you pick up the phone, go on a sales call or interact with others in your organization, do a personal check in.  Do an attitude check and ask yourself “Am I present and focused right now.  Is my intention positive or negative?”  When I do this I ask myself “Am I working in Mediocrity or Mastery today?”  I always choose Mastery and it sets the tone and my results for the day.

2)      Goal, objective and targets – setting BIG goals and high targets has always been the way I go about setting my objectives for the year.  I set annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.  I find by keeping the BIG goals in sight, broken down as daily actionable items really helps me stay on track.  Monthly I review my activities to see where I am on or off target and take any necessary actions.  I have a call sheet that I created so I can track my daily activities such as calls, proposals submitted or connections made, again a simple visible tool to let me know how I am doing.  There is a saying I heard years ago “Inch by Inch Success is a Cinch” and it sounds simple but it really does come down to what you do with your minutes to achieve your desired outcomes.

3)      Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan – this is the Intel slogan that I am in total agreement with.  In addition to setting my goals and targets for the year, I also create an annual plan for marketing, new program offerings, newsletters and sources for new prospects.  There are 5 questions that I learned from a Landmark Education leadership program to ask myself when I am creating my plan that really help:

  1. What do I know to do? (what’s obvious)
  2. What am I saying I will do? (get present to what you say)
  3. What do others expect me to do even though I haven’t said I would do it?
  4. What do I have to do to have my work complete?
  5. What do I have to do to do this as it was meant to be done?

I find when I ask these questions it gives me a deeper connection and commitment to my plans, yielding me greater results.