Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Want to feel great and create some positive impact

Want to feel great AND create some positive impact? Try Gratitude.

I love gratitude and consider it a gift in my life. This month we have an extra special excuse to focus on what were grateful for. We get to hopefully be with family and friends who love us, we get to sit around the table and talk about what we’re thankful for. We get to give knowing glances of gratitude to each other. It’s a really cool holiday and one that can sweep you away with joy and gratitude if you let it.

It can also be a time of sadness and challenge for some people. The holidays can bring on all sorts of emotions. Regardless of how the holiday season impacts you, there is always something you can count on to help lift spirits and joy. It’s free. There’s no right way to do it. You can be incredibly generous with it. There is a limitless supply. It creates a powerful impact. It soothes the spirit. It’s Gratitude.

My dare to you this holiday season is to reach out and “gratitude” someone. Go out and make an impact. Not only on the people you know and love – but on the people you don’t. Go out and engage someone you barely know. Let them know how grateful you are for them. Let them know that you see the little deeds that go unnoticed, that you care, that you’re grateful they’re a part of your organization, or your community or your family (for those distant relatives), or your team.

Whoever it is, engage with them from the heart. See them. Thank them. Acknowledge them. Engage them. Do whatever feels right and authentic to you. Do something that will matter. It’s amazing how much a little nod of gratitude can matter. And it’s even more amazing the ripple effects it can have. So go, have fun and show some gratitude. Be generous with your gratitude. Let me know how it goes.

Here are a couple of other things you can do this holiday season to raise that holiday cheer even more and get ready for the New Year:

Start a gratitude journal: Every day journal 3 things you are grateful for.

Break the funk: Whenever you are feeling in a “funk” or low or grumpy – think about what you have to be grateful for. Make a list and check it twice!

Give: Donate time, food or money to a cause that you care about.

Appreciation Days: Dedicate a full day to letting people know how much you appreciate them.

Gratitude Rounds: Spend 10 minutes at the end of every hour doing the “Gratitude Rounds”: make phone calls, write letters, go out of your way to thank the guy at the coffee shop for making you that fabulous coffee every day.

Gratitude DTE Style: (Sincerely) thank someone you’ve butted heads with for teaching you so much and making you stronger (Remember, those who we are most different from, have the most to teach us 😉

Impact Gratitude: Thank your mentors, parents, kids, sibling, colleagues, spouse, teachers, team members, etc. for the impact they’ve had on you this year.

Many ways you can do it. Three rules: make it authentic, go out of your way to do it and make sure it lands! ENJOY!

I love the end of the year

I love the end of the year. Why? Because of the holidays? Of course. But also because it’s an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, pull learning and have it support the next year.

Whether for myself or my clients, I find that the more reflective we can be at the end of the year, and the more intentional we can be going forward, the stronger our foundation for what’s next. Of course this isn’t limited to just year to year reflection, this also can apply to project to project, client to client, event to event, etc.

In fact, we can even take the big challenges, lost opportunities and fears of the previous year, pull the learning, and convert them into “Best Practices and Intentions” to help create a powerful New Year.

Why is this important? It enables us to come from a place of growth and power, to build deeper relationships and to create better results moving forward. It puts us in a self-responsible and intentional mindset that creates results, vs. an unintentional mindset that regrets (or avoids) “failures” or mistakes and waits for results.

Done individually, it honors ourselves and who we’ve been in our business, life and leadership the last year. Done with our team (or spouse/ partner/ etc.) it honors what we’ve done together, where we’ve grown, and what we’ll do next. It basically sets us up for greater success and yes, of course, greater engagement.

There are many ways to do it. Here’s one way:

1.         Reflect on this last year.

2.       Identify the most challenging events of the year for you (could be in your business, life, leadership, relationships, children, etc.)

3.       Pull the learning: What do you know now from that situation, that you didn’t know before? Where is the gift in that situation (as hard as it may have been)?

4.         What high level (or very specific) thing will you do differently moving forward as a result? What can be done better? What do you want to make sure you remember? What system may you need to create/shift? What does your mindset need to be? (I call this creating “Best Practices” (BP) for action or mindset.)

5.         Optional: For those of you who like structure, make a nice “Reference Sheet” with your Best Practices. (Years ago, I had a client who had theirs laminated and shared it with the team, years later, they still practice this.)

Of course you want to honor and identify the best things that happened as well. The successes, the wins, the delights, all of it (after all you can also capture best practices and mindset from what works!) [This is huge, by the way: don’t leave this out. This can actually be trickier to do than focusing on the challenges, but that’s a whole other article!]

Sound like a plan? Here’s the beauty, you don’t have to do it alone. Do it with a coach, a friend, your spouse or your team, you’re likely to unfold even more learning.

I did it myself and have posted some of my high level learnings (for myself, my team and my clients) that will serve us in 2009, on my blog. If you’d like more on this topic, simply follow the link below!

Here’s a quick taste of 4 of them:

1.         Creating white space in our calendar is essential for keeping a clear, creative, healthy and engaged mind. (“BP” Result: Monthly “White Space” Blocks – offsite, out of my normal element.)

2.       Taking care of our well-being is essential to our success and being able to be in full service of those around us. (“BP” Result: Clean eating, regular workouts and sleep are non-negotiable.)

3.       Matters of attitude, heart and spirit are contagious, so be responsible for impact and attitude. (“BP” Result: Honor the opportunity for practicing conscious engagement. Be aware of and response-able for impact, and do best to help things go right.)

4.       Gratitude makes the world go round, no matter how scary, uncertain or stressful life gets. (Result: Challenging or frustrating situation, relationship, project or feedback? Ask: What am I grateful for in this situation? What is the gift? Where is my opportunity for growth?)

These are some of mine, they’re also common themes I see with others. Can you see how pulling the high level learning and themes, and putting a “best practice/reminder” in place can turn a challenging situation into a productive one moving forward? See one that fits you? Feel free to integrate it. Nothing here for you? Create your own in a way that resonates for you.

The bottom line is this: Who knows what’s going to happen in 2009 with the economy, our businesses, our relationships, etc., who knows? BUT, there’s an opportunity to contribute to helping things go right for yourself and your organization and it’s amazing what can happen when you fully engage and take the reigns.

So, have you given yourself the space to reflect on this last year yet? Challenge: Between now and 12/31/08, set aside a couple of hours to give yourself the gift of reflection and intention. Most people do New Year’s Resolutions (and are disappointed when they’re off track by 1/20), what if you did New Year’s Reflections & Intentions and created best practices that could stick? What if?

My good friends mollie and dan are the proud owners of the game "rock band

My good friends Mollie and Dan are the proud owners of the game "Rock Band." If you’re not familiar with this addictive, "oh-my-gosh-is-it-midnight-already" video toy, Wikipedia describes it as allowing "up to four players to virtually perform rock music songs on lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and vocals using special controllers modeled after musical instruments."

The game inexplicably calculates "points" for hitting your notes on the right beat. Since the foursome typically includes whatever new guests join the household that night, it’s easy for a first-timer to fumble the keys on their plastic pseudo-instrument and make some mistakes.

If they mess up enough, the system flashes "FAIL" on the screen and that person’s instrument goes uncomfortably silent. (This also happens if, after a few glasses of wine, you’ve selected a difficulty level other than "easy"–not that it’s ever happened to me. . . )

It’s incredibly sad when you "fail" and the others keep playing, working hard to reach a successful conclusion of the song. It’s even sadder when the entire band "fails," and the music fades mid-stream, with the ragtag group of avatars who represent you on the video stage looking ashamed and embarrassed.

After a few weeks of playing, Mollie recognized there had to be a way to turn off this annoying "fail" mechanism. With the help of the 7th grader visiting at the time, she found it–the mecca, the bliss, the "no-fail" mode.

So we picked up our sticks, guitars, and mike again. And got through the entire song–sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always complete.

"What Would You Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?"

Writer and pastor Robert Schuller is credited with the above quote, although most know it better from inspirational pewter paperweights in holiday catalogs or on card shop shelves. But that message sprung to life for us after we chose "no-fail" mode.  . .

  • We sang louder, unafraid of missing a word (which isn’t easy when it’s the French part in Talking Heads’ "Psycho Killer.")
  • We tried different instruments, breaking out of our comfort zone of our favorites.
  • We increased our individual challenge levels–maybe not yet to "hard," but took a chance on "medium".
  • We chose harder songs for the group as a whole — literally saying to each other, "hey, we can’t fail, so why not?"
  • We just had more fun!

Okay, you’re smart, and at this point, you get the metaphor. You know I’m suggesting that we play in our own "no-fail" mode in all the other areas of our life. And while it’s not quite as simple as asking a 7th grader to help you find the right menu button, could it be as simple as just choosing something other than failure?

  • Is a struggling business situation a failure–or a learning opportunity?
  • Is leaving a dead-end job a failure–or a bold move to take your life back?
  • Is being rejected for a promotion or new job a failure–or the stepping stone that frees you for what’s coming next? 

Failure is the ultimate "who says" game, primarily defined by our own judgment calls. In your work and life, the only thing that really matters is what you say. So why not choose "no-fail" mode? And if you’re not sure of the words, just open your mouth and sing anyway!

The rules that a successful business operate by today are very different from the rules of 20 to 30 years ago

The rules that a successful business operate by today are very different from the rules of 20 to 30 years ago. The widespread use of technology has dramatically cut response times and elevated customer expectations of service. Competitive advantage is the catch cry, but most business owners struggle to articulate what their point of difference is. The statistics are well known: a staggering 40% of all new businesses fail within the first 12 months. Within 5 years, more than 80% will have failed.  And yet, people are flocking to start up new businesses in ever increasing numbers.

What is it then, that sets apart the successful businesses from the unsuccessful ones? Here are my top ten tips for creating and maintaining a successful business. As you read, think to yourself – how does my business stack up?

1. Successful businesses have repeatable, scalable systems

The processes in the business are clear, usually documented and followed religiously by all. This ensures the customer gets the same experience, every time they deal with the company.

2. They don’t depend on one person

If all the knowledge and skill resides in one person’s hands or head, then the business is in serious trouble when that person wants to take a holiday, has to go to hospital, breaks an arm or leg etc.

3. Successful businesses can articulate what makes them different from others in their field

Businesses that can do this run the risk of competing on price alone, a war that nobody wins (except the customer)

4.  They always add value to the customer’s experience

The customer perceives that value has been added either through service, product features, distribution etc. The customer’s perception is what’s important – find out what’s of value to them

5. Use strategies that recognize and reward their employees

Reward and incentive programs should be based on performance, not just years of service or other demographic criteria. Employees are human; they respond to recognition – both  financial and non-financial

6. Most successful businesses have a powerful vision

They dream and think big, then they share it with their employees to create a uniting purpose

7. Planning – short term, long term, medium term

There’s no escaping it – working out where you want to go and planning to get there, will set you apart from the great majority of businesses that don’t perform this activity well. Doing a plan at business start-up stage and never looking at it again doesn’t really count as planning either. Plans should be reviewed at least twice per year, and done properly, can be your most

powerful business tool

8. Product innovation – re-create or die

The world moves on, people’s needs change, and so must your products or services. If you don’t offer it, no doubt your competitors will. Take time out to develop one or two new offers – road test them with your customers.

9. Surround themselves with the right support

Successful business owners know what their skills are. They also know exactly what skills they don’t have (and probably will never have). They employ or rent the expertise they don’t have – after all, it’s impossible to be an expert at everything

10. Have an exit strategy

Most people don’t plan to be in their business until they reach the end of their lives, but

most people fail to plan how they will exit their business. Successful business owners know this before they start, and this drives the actions and decisions they make during the life of their business.

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