Self-Control

When you’re excited about someone, passionate about your business, focused on an outcome, or just plain stubborn, one of the most difficult things is to have self-control.  There are so many times in life we just want to go for it and get it done.  And, to be certain, sometimes it is best to just do it.  Other times it is best to wait it out and be more patient. How do we know the difference?

Let’s start with time.  Time is this amazing and strange concept that can either ruin us or help us.  We can be conscious and wise users of our time, or we can be late for every meeting, every event and every date.  We can choose to watch an hour of TV or more every evening from the couch, or we can spend time exercising while we watch TV.  We can eat dinner reading the paper or doing homework, or we can have conversations or even just focus on enjoying our food.  No matter what we choose to do with our time, the bottom line is we can’t control time, we can only control ourselves.

So what kind of self-control can be applied to time?  How about a much-needed time-out?  This occurs when everything seems to be going wrong, or you are just doing everything.   Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. Regardless, it means you need to slow down, reconsider what is going on, take advantage of an offer, pay attention to someone or just breathe!  If you are constantly going, it’s time to use some self-control and stop!

Being pushy is NEVER the way to make a sale, encourage a customer, get a second date or parent your children.  And yes, there is a difference between being convincing and being pushy, part of that difference is some self-control.  Pushy is bad, pushy makes people dislike you, and makes them feel funny.  Even if you have a valid point, even if you’re absolutely 100% right, even if you know your business is a great match for someone, not exercising some self-control will cost you.

If everyone exercised a little more self-control, a little more calm and were more considerate of others, relationships would improve, businesses would have more customers and there would be a great feeling of connection, coexistence and relationship in the world among all people.

Confidence

As I was listening to a seminar tonight I was struck, not with the incompetence or inexperience of the interviewer, as I have been on a few occasions, but with their lack of confidence in themselves and in what they were asking.  They almost sounded hesitant to put the questions, which were great questions, out there.

Confidence is a HUGE issue for just about everyone at some point in time in their life.

Let’s start with a couple key tips that are crucial to have established before we could consider talking about confidence in public speaking.

Be comfortable with yourself.  If you aren’t comfortable with yourself, you can’t expect others to be comfortable with you.  Being comfortable with yourself will enable you to interact better with others.  This includes accepting your very minor imperfections 🙂

Stop worrying about what others think. This is one of the most important keys and one of the hardest.  We have been trained as humans to value feedback from others, and it is.  But to the point that we do things to get a specific reaction is not the point of the feedback.  Feedback can help us grow and improve.  But seeking the approval of others can totally destroy your self-esteem and is a poor foundation to build your confidence on.

Know your emotional triggers.  If you know what makes you nervous or stresses you out it can help you be more prepared to be confident.  You can practice in front of the mirror or with a good friend how to work through some of those triggers.  Also know if you get overwhelmed or intimidated by others who are well put together or say amazing things.

Never apologize for being you.  If you find yourself frequently apologizing for who you are and what you say, this is definitely something you should work on.  Not everyone will like you or agree with what you have to say.  That’s part of life, but you shouldn’t ever have to apologize for being you.

Have faith in who you are.  Don’t judge yourself or say that your ideas are stupid.  You are special and you deserve respect.  Don’t let others tell you that your ideas don’t have validity or that you’ve not done your best.  Trust yourself.

Love yourself. This is probably one of the most important things. It is so important in all aspects of life to really love yourself.  If you love who you are it shows!  People can sense that you love yourself and that you value who you are.  In return, they will love you and respect you more.

If you have built a foundation of love, acceptance, trust in and respect for yourself, you will find it much easier to be confident.

To Go or to Stay

Some of the great memories I have with my family are of going on summer trips.  They were always highlights compared to the holidays when I always seemed to get sick.  But with the state of the economy affecting many families, taking a vacation becomes a big question.

I definitely encourage doing something together as a family, even if it is just 3 day trips this summer (1 each month).  Maybe they’re trips to nearby local parks or nearby national parks to have a picnic lunch, walk around, play Frisbee, take a hike or do some other activity there for the majority of the day. Maybe it is going to a local beach or lake that you can make into a day trip.  Basically, it’s time spent together as a family, and it’s doing something special as a family that you don’t typically or frequently do.

Another option is to take that trip. Maybe you don’t spend it in 5 star hotels and at the most expensive restaurants, or going to every scenic attraction you can, but you do spend that quality time away from home with your family.  If you’re in a divorced situation, maybe look for ways you can split up the trip or take two shorter trips so the kids can go on trips with both parents and the money will be less of an issue.  Actually taking the trip can not only be great family time, but it can be great relaxation and rejuvenation time for the parents too.

If those just don’t sound possible for you, what about a trip every 2 or 3 years?  You can be honest with your kids and say that you don’t have the money or can’t go this year for whatever reason but that next year or the year after you can’t wait to go on a nice trip.  Maybe even get the kids involved in paying for it.  Instead of giving them the money for chores and assorted tasks they do around the house, or for doing well in school, you can put money in a vacation jar.  They will be happy to contribute to going on a trip they are looking forward to.  (And it will also teach them the value of saving money and planning for the future.)

So whatever you decide to do this summer, I encourage you to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature, or the fun of an amusement park with your family.

Consistency

As a business owner, participant/employee, you have difficult task of keeping customers happy and coming back to purchase your products or services again.  One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to be consistent.

Be consistent with your products.  Don’t have some really great products and some that are poor. Don’t recommend just one of your products, be proud of all your products  Let’s say you make coffee pots.  All of your model A should be of the same consistency and standard.  Many people will go and look for the same product to replace theirs after theirs gets worn from use over the years.  This encourages repeat business and customer recommendations.

Be consistent with your customer service.  If they know they can always get in touch with you and that you will respond to their query within 24 hours (on business days), you’ll hit an automatic home run.  If you wait more than 24 hours, they’ll wonder if you got their request, and they’ll wonder if your customer service even exists.  Companies like Zappos are famous for their customer service.  They make that a high priority for the way they run their business.

Consistently be honest.  Don’t fib your way into a sale.  Be honest, share the good points and some of the not so great points.  If you sell information products, obviously your product is very informative and education, but on the downside, the customer actually have to read it or listen to it to get value out of it!  In this way you’re not discouraging the potential customer from buying, just giving them the whole story about your product.  When there is a mistake, failure, or product problem, just come out and say it.  Toyota and even BP are taking a lot of criticism for this of late.  Your customers will be happy that you are acknowledging your error and attempting to do right by them with full disclosure.

Having systems, protocols, written standards and employee guidelines in place helps you be consistent. If you are consistent in your business with how you treat customers, how you respond to customers, your hours, your standard of products, your honesty, and your reliability, just to name a few, you will not only retain the customers you have but gain new ones through referrals.

I’m glued to you

I love having relationships.  Friendships, business partners, church friends, family, partners, and those quirky ones with kids that I work with.  Relationships are some of the glue of life.  Without relationships we humans, and even the animals, would have completely different lives.

There’s something amazing about the changes that are going on in our world right now.  We as humans are learning how to work together, how to build those essential relationships and make a difference in others lives.

Yet relationships are very difficult to maintain.  So let’s talk about some of that relationship glue.

What is glue?  Glue is this amazing sticky substance that, depending on what kind of glue, gets very stuck to everything. Glue can make things interesting, such as add things to a plain, white piece of paper.

While white school glue won’t stick your fingers together for a long time, I can think of quite a few glues that do stick your fingers (or other body parts) together for a while should you try it.  Relationships also have sticky properties.  Relationships bring people together, and depending on the strength of the relationship, can keep you together for a long time.  Hopefully you’ve made the right partnership or it will be difficult when you realize that you glued yourself to an individual you’d rather not be glued to.

Relationships, like glue, have attractive properties. When people see good relationships, they are attracted to them and want to know what makes them successful relationships.  When you meet people who have good relationships, it’s like saying they have a good track record, so you anticipate you two will having a good relationship also.  Relationships bring out the best and worst in people.  Glue doesn’t care what it puts together, it just does it.  It can’t be avoided that sometimes the wrong thing gets stuck to the glue.  So since we are relational beings, we too will not only have the good in relationships, but also experience the bad.  Whether we stay stuck to the bad ones is up to us.

Relationship are everywhere and everything.  No, I’m not talking from a business sense of you MUST have connections or you won’t make it in business.  I’m talking about the simple fact that without having relationships with others, we’re like a craft, client’s project, homework, or fix-it project that can’t be completed because it doesn’t have any glue!

So what can we do?  The obvious point here is to have relationships.  But more than just having relationships, we have to make sure we’re getting into good relationships: relationships that build us up, encourage us, help us, enable us to help others, build others up, and encourage them.  Relationships bring people together, but without both sides working together, you don’t have a relationship.  Think about putting glue on one piece of paper but not putting that glued piece onto the other, it totally misses the point of what glue does.

So think about a relationship as a win-glue-win situation, because glue brings two separately good things together and can make them great.

The “Plan”

You’re at the race starting line.  You hear:

“Ready? Set? GO!”

And everybody runs but you.  Because you don’t know what you’re doing at the race, what you’re doing at a race when you don’t like running, and why you’re not in bed!

Your plan was a good night’s sleep.  But now you’re awake.  Let’s try again.

You lay down, are very happily relaxing and drift off to sleep.

Suddenly you’re in the middle of  your workplace and everyone comes up to you with questions or things for you to approve.  The only question you’re interested in answering is why are you in your pajamas?!

You jolt awake.  Sigh.  One last try.

It’s quiet and you slip back into sleep. You sleep peacefully for several hours, finally.

“Mom?  Dad?  I can’t sleep…”  Your youngest comes into your bedroom. “Of course,” is all you can think.

In this rather exaggerated example of what happens to great plans, it is obvious that something interfered with your great plan for sleep.  I’ve made and been a part of countless plans that had great intentions and strategies yet still didn’t work out.  Why?  And what can we do about that?

First, recognize that all plans are subject to two uncontrollable factors: life and change.  You never know when the forces of life conspire against you for some reason.  (They may even have a better plan for you).  Chances are good you also forgot to include a margin for the ever-constant change factor in life.

Second, make sure to include in your plan allowances for change and adjustments.  When your plan is strict and must go a certain way, you’re basically planning to fail.  I can’t imagine how many plan b, plan c, or plan d’s the White House has for a road trip that one of the officials take, whether it’s to Iraq, South Africa for the World Cup, the Southern US with the oil spill or on vacation.

Third, even if you don’t have a plan b, make sure that your plan a has options.  Don’t just make it plan a.  The internet was not created with just one web browser, there are many, and each does frequent updates.  I just updated my Firefox to 3.6.4 or something like that.  It’s not just version 3, its 3.6, and not just 3.6 but 3.6.4.

So what’s our action plan for making plans that we can live with?  They must be flexible.  (Sidenote: the planner should be flexible themselves too).  Prepare for change.  Include the advice of others if it’s more than just a plan for a good night’s sleep.  Consciously make your plan, don’t just assume that things will go the way you want them to or think they should.  Make smaller, more doable plans (great for cleaning, organizing, relationship building or anything else!).  Be ready to laugh at the changes the universe *encourages* you to make.

Don’t forget that the plan can’t be greater than the journey.  Enjoy your journey today.

What is a Life Turnaround Specialist?

As a life turnaround specialist, I enable you to organize your home, work on your personal and family relationships and grow your business.

It is my mission in life to help you turn around your home, your life, your family and/or your business.

It is my vision that people would have whole, satisfying, real, transformational lives.  That our homes would be a place of joy and sanctuary.  That our personal lives would be filled with happiness and feel complete.  That our families and relationships would be amazing partnerships.  And that our businesses would be energized, successful, and beneficial to bosses, employees, clients and the community.

This life that we are given is short and valuable.  I don’t believe that anyone should spend it alone or unhappy.  I believe that everyone is capable of making changes in their life so that they can live a satisfying life.

This blog will be a combination of things, but most importantly it will be a place of encouragement, resources and perspectives to assist you in your life journey.

If you would like to learn more about me, working with me or sign up for my newsletters, don’t forget to visit my website.