Monthly Archives: March 2014

THE # 1 REASON IT CAN BE SO HARD TO STAY ON TRACK ACHIEVING GOALS

SWITCHING TO THE RIGHT TRACK
photo credit: M.C. Martin via photopin cc

You know you’re on the right track when you’re uninterested in looking back. – Anonymous

Filing taxes, getting medical check-ups, or finding a job that will pay the bills, are all things we all have to do, and all require priority handling, whether we like it or not. These aren’t so much goals as necessary projects.

But for goals, true desire to accomplish X, Y, or Z is everything. True desire stems from a deep-down need to accomplish something that is a reflection of our authentic self.

Therefore, the #1 reason we can’t stay on track achieving our goals is because they aren’t really our goals. And if we want to succeed at something it is crucial that each of us set goals for ourselves that are really our own goals.

I sometimes wonder what we’ve lost in the arts, sciences, and in religion because individuals did what they thought others wanted them to do, instead of choosing a path of their own. When I was going to school, there wasn’t a class entitled, Your Own Unique Path 101. One was expected to be sensible, go to college and find any job, so long as it was a paying job.

Not long ago, I was reading a review of a book that apparently advises young people to forget about trying to earn a living doing what they enjoy. The book supposedly advises young people to get a grip on reality and realize work isn’t supposed to be fun. Hum. Tell this to a growing number of multimillionaires who made their first million, before the age of twenty-five, doing precisely what they love. As Steve Jobs once put it:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart…you’ll know when you find it.

If, on the other hand, you feel conflicted about attempting to accomplish a particular goal, or go in a specific career direction, then you may need to do a quick diagnostic exam of your feelings and motives.

Does the thought of X, Y, or Z make you:

  • Uncomfortable because pursuing such a goal goes against your principles? No real debate here. Chuck it immediately!
  • Uninspired, because it’s something someone else wants you to accomplish? If it really isn’t your dream or goal, chuck it! Pronto! No excuses. Life is too short to squander your time, emotions, and energy on someone else’s dream. That someone else needs to live his or her own life, and you need to live your own life. Simple as that!
  • Nervous, and overwhelmed because you feel you don’t know enough to proceed with it now, and therefore possibly never? If you are inspired, but concerned that there is too much you would need to do in order to prepare for it remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can break down a larger goal into manageable steps. Research what steps it will take to reach your goal streamlined down to the most necessary, preliminary steps. For example, aspiring actors may have to practice and study more than just acting itself. Sword fighting, dance, martial arts, voice, or English literature may all be on the menu, but these pursuits don’t need to be done all at once, nor should they!
  • Paralyzed into inaction because you really care a lot about X, Y, or Z? Congratulations! Bingo! You’ve hit pay dirt, the mother lode. Even though this is probably the most uncomfortable you can be, it’s also the best, most potentially fruitful feeling you can have because it is an indication that this goal is really the one to pursue. Why? Because this is the one that gets the biggest, most concrete reaction out of you. If you care that much, you’re on to something. You’ll never regret trying, and possibly failing, when you really care about something. If you try and fail, always try, try again. In the final analysis, you can always smooth on the salve of knowing you gave it your best shot!

So, whether it’s a long term goal like choosing or changing your career, or a short-term goal, like learning a Microsoft Office application, if you’re fired-up about what you want to accomplish, and even possibly somewhat scared, then you’re lucky – you know for sure it’s your goal, and not one you’ve  ‘adopted’ for the wrong reasons.

And ultimately, way down the track, far into the horizon, if you have no desire to look back, well then, you did indeed choose the right track!

Please leave your thoughts about finding and staying on the right track in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,

Cynthia Dalton signature

HOW JOHN HUSTON’S TECHNIQUE FOR DIRECTING A FILM CAN ENERGIZE YOUR COMPANY’S NEXT PROJECT

Hand grasping laptop,bringing work project to completion
Photo: Petr Kratochvil

Half of directing is casting the right actors. – John Huston

While it’s true that project planning and management involves gathering data, creating statistics, writing proposals, dazzling with PowerPoint Presentations, Gantt Charts, Fishbone Diagrams, and Flow Charts, it is equally true that the success or failure of your company’s project depends on people. It depends on valuing the individual’s unique qualifications for a particular role in a project.

Unfortunately, we’re becoming a culture with a mixed-message about the importance of individual talent and creativity. Ask just about any job applicant and they’ll tell you that the job application process is about ranking high in keyword capture in software programs before human eyes ever see a job application. So-called ‘soft skills’ common to those with a liberal arts background are undervalued unless accompanied by ‘hard skills’ like thorough knowledge of various computer applications. It is out of this process that the talent pool in your company is often forged.

Putting a project into action is the ideal, fertile ground for reengaging with human potential.

JOHN HUSTON TO THE RESCUE

Think like a film director and you can lead the process of any project you take on for your company. ‘Cast’ your ‘movie’ if you will, like John Huston would, with the right people in the first place, and half your work is done. Here’s how:

 First – get to know people as individuals long before there is a project. They don’t call it “human resources” for nothing. Find out:

  • Their interests (do they love photography – even without formal training they may have a good eye for graphics).
  • Their strengths (do they communicate well – even without formal training they may be the perfect ‘pitch-person’ for the project with upper-management)
  • Their weaknesses (if they hate flying and travel is involved in what you’d like them to do, they’ll be better suited for other project tasks)

Second – encourage people with positive feedback when they perform well. As the philosophy goes in the Ken Blanchard Companies, ‘catch people doing things right.’ Not only do you help build their morale and self-confidence, you also forge working relationships that translate into teamwork when it’s time to start a project.

Third – when a project is at hand, ‘cast’ the project based on what you already know about the ‘actors.’ Even if people are being tapped from other areas in the organization, you can still do the same ‘homework.’

If you ‘cast’ the planning, implementation, and management of your company’s project, your ‘production’ will be half done and well on its way to completion before you know it!

Please use the Comments section below for your thoughts on the human element in the administration of a company project.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all, Cynthia Dalton signature

 

 

 

HOW TO AVOID AN ALL TOO COMMON MISTAKE IN DEALING WITH PEOPLE ON AN INTERPERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BASIS

 

Message In A Bottle
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Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. – The Golden Rule

We spend way too much time waiting in this society. We wait for slow traffic, for repair people, for a doctor appointment, and we wait in lines, lines, and more lines.

No matter how much we tell ourselves that we can use the time playing with this or that latest gadget, most of us are getting weary of the exercise. And maybe, we’re getting a little too inured with it all, so we don’t consciously register our own growing frustration until… we need someone’s help in some manner and we’re waiting for that all important call from them.

It’s peculiar, but for all the talk you hear these days about ‘social’ this and ‘interpersonal’ that, and with all the electronic means to get to one another 24/7, apparently there is one ‘people skill’ many folks didn’t get the memo about — keeping one another updated and informed.

 It’s common courtesy, but it’s also a smart business strategy. If we establish a set policy for constantly keeping people current we can avoid:

  •  Accidentally giving others the impression that we find their needs and wants a low priority
  • Giving people the impression that we don’t value their time
  • Giving people the impression that we are untrustworthy
  • Giving people the impression that we are frivolous and unprofessional
  • Inadvertently allowing people to drift away from our own influence toward those who appear to give a damn about them
  • Causing anger toward us in someone who might someday have some kind of power over us
  • Reducing our credibility in the eyes of others

 USE THE GOLDEN RULE

A good way to know if we should be keeping someone in the know is to think about the interpersonal situations we find ourselves in from the other person’s perspective. We need to ask ourselves, “How would I feel if ______?” In other words, use The Golden Rule. Doing so allows us to:

  •  Build goodwill
  • Create lasting contacts
  • Create allies
  • Further our own personal brand
  • Prevent causing others psychological distress (this world piles it on enough, we don’t need to add to it)
  • Prevent ourselves from feeling bad through our own unintentional misconduct

 THE WORST EFFECT OF NOT KEEPING PEOPLE INFORMED

We humans crave order and certainty. Our minds will always try to fill-in the blanks left behind when we are out of communication with someone. When people are forced to wait too long to hear from us their mind starts to create multiple scenarios for why they haven’t heard from us. They’re searching the beachheads of their mind for the elusive message in a bottle that’s bobbing around out there somewhere in a foaming, increasingly resentful, emotional tide.

What’s so dangerous about this is that we’ll probably never realize that things have gotten this bad, because grown-ups don’t want to appear whiny, and probably will never tell us we’ve transgressed.

Even if we don’t as yet know everything we need to know in order to call someone, if it has been a while since they heard from us, we should call or write to say we haven’t forgotten them and we’re still working on it.

So there you have it. We can avoid an all too common and potentially damaging interpersonal and professional blunder, not staying in touch with others when they are waiting for our response, by considering how we would feel in the same situation, and erring on the side of caution with a quick call or email.

That’s how we’d like others to do unto us!

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Please leave your thoughts on this subject in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,

 Cynthia Dalton signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE REAL SECRET TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGING YOUR TIME AND ATTAINING YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GOALS

MONEY IN GLASS JAR - VALUING YOUR TIME ENCOURAGES EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT
© Sergieiev | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have Twenty-four hour days. – Zig Ziglar

The real secret to managing your time for effective goal attainment both professionally and personally is mastering the concept of what economists call, opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost in finance, as defined by Robert C. Guell in his book, Issues in Economics Today  is:

 The foregone alternative of the choice made.

In simple terms, this means that every choice we make eliminates doing the alternative to the choice we made. If we let Aunt Gertrude (well loved though she may be) talk our ear off on the phone for an hour before lunch, that’s an hour before lunch permanently lost, that we might have spent writing our notes for that presentation we need to deliver, which could result in a promotion.

So, we need to decide what is worth our time and what isn’t worth our time. To do otherwise is to run the risk of allowing time-wasters and distractions to boar unproductive holes in our schedule, which in turn means:

  •  We lose focus
  • Without focus, we lose direction
  •  Without direction we make poor choices
  •  Poor choices waste potential opportunities

 To stay focused we need a new appreciation for how best to ‘spend’ our time.

 A Perspective on Opportunity Cost

 Apoorve Dubey has said:

 The price tag you put on yourself decides your worth. Underestimating yourself will cost you dearly.

Try This: Estimate your hourly worth. To do this, search the Internet for the salary for your dream job. Now break that salary down into an hourly wage. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the hourly wage comes to $35.00.

Now, go buy a bunch of play money from the toy store. Get a big jar.

Next, every time you catch yourself playing solitaire on your computer at work, or every time Aunt Gertrude commandeers your precious time, make a note of the time you spent.

You guessed it, every time your time gets wasted, put the dollar amount that reflects your time spent in the jar. Watch how quickly $35.00 becomes $70.00 and then $140.00 and so on. Do this for a week or two.

The purpose of this exercise is to use dollar amounts to drive home the point that we can either squander our time or utilize it properly. Seeing this ‘for real’ provides perspective on just how much we can allow into our lives time-drain and therefore, wasted opportunity.

Once you have things in proper perspective, you’ll automatically begin to make better choices when it comes to utilizing your time more productively – you’ll assess the opportunity cost of doing one thing rather than the other while maintaining focus and direction.

Applying the concept of opportunity cost to the task of effectively managing your time is the real secret to achieving all your personal and career goals.

Please share your thoughts and insights on time management in the Comments section below.

 In the meantime,

 Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature

 

 

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Defeat Stuckage!

photo credit: Andrea Costa Creative via photopin cc
photo credit: Andrea Costa Creative via photopin cc

Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. – Les Brown

We’ve all been there. Those times in our lives when everything feels bottle-necked and stuck.

Stuckage Sucks!

 Stuckage is the opposite of action, and action is the number one requirement for really living our lives to the fullest.

 What Causes Stuckage?

 Clinging to our comfort zone (which could more accurately be called our discomfort zone) where things don’t feel right, but at least they feel familiar. The breaking point arrives when something unforeseen occurs and we know that clinging to our comfort zone has kept us from the strategies, tools, and knowledge we would have had to effectively manage the sudden change we now face, if only we’d ventured into uncharted waters ahead of time.

 We feel like a rusty lock — all potential and no actual.

 What’s The Cure for Stuckage?

 Clinging and taking action are two distinctly different and mutually exclusive activities. The longer we fail to take action, and the longer we cling to where we feel ‘safe’ the more we put off taking the cure for stuckage, the WD 40 of life, making decisions.

 Making Decisions Is The Cure For Stuckage.

 Venturing outside our comfort zone is all about deliberately inaugurating change in our lives before change has a crack at taking us by surprise with a big chomp on the patoot. Put another way, it’s about oiling up and developing a muscle for change through decision making.

 Creating Resolves Is The Key To Arriving At Decisions.

 Resolves are actionable promises you make to yourself that are essentially a contract between you and yourself based on those changes you believe will be most beneficial to you as well as to those you care about most. To fulfill the ‘contract’ you need to agree to take specific actions, that require appropriate decisions, that must be weighed against:

  •  Your priorities
  • How best to live your values
  • Your pre-existing responsibilities
  • The most effective use of your time

 For example, if you resolve to be more physically active, then you need to:

  •  Move physical activity to the top of your list of priorities
  • Make it a moral imperative
  • Find time for it without compromising your responsibilities
  • Make the most effective use of your time, by foregoing something less meaningful to you, in order to make time for your resolve

 No More Stuckage.

 With your decisions in place, you can now fulfill the contract you’ve made with yourself.

 Setting in motion cycles of selective change, resolve, and decision-making releases the potential in all of us, and slays stuckage right in its tracks.

 Please tell me your thoughts on getting unstuck, in the Comments section below.

 In the meantime,

 Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature