Monday, January 27, 2014

The Worst Excuses For Not Changing Your Life

It's likely that one of your excuses is that you don't have enough time, so let's get right to it:
1. I can't get anyone to listen.
People will listen to anything that is entertaining, interesting, heartfelt, amusing, shocking, informative, titillating, stupid, satirical, controversial, sad, silly, sexy...
If you can't get anyone to listen, they aren’t the problem: You’re the problem.
What you want to say is irrelevant; change your message so it means something to the people you want to reach.
Then they'll listen.
2. I'm too scared.
Join the club. Everyone is scared.
So you have a choice: Let your fears hold you back... or use those same fears as fuel to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Complacency is the enemy of achievement; use your fear to drive complacency away.
3. I don't have the money.
For most entrepreneurs, business is all about the art and science of accomplishing more with less: Less money, less people, less time, etc.
Face it. You will never, ever have "enough" cash or capital or funding. Never. If you don't have enough capital to launch your business the way you plan, change your plan.
You can't always control what you have, but you can control what you choose to do with what you have.
4. I don't have the time.
Everyone has the same amount of time. The only difference is what you're willing to do with your time.
If you were trapped underground and only had 24 hours worth of oxygen you wouldn't check your Twitter feed or chat with friends or spend a little "me time" in front of the TV. You'd dig and dig and dig the entire time.
Apply the same level of importance and urgency to what you want to accomplish and your schedule will instantly clear.
Finding the time to do something is always a matter of how badly you want to do it.
5. I don't have the skills.
No problem. Go get them. Go to school. Read a book. Read 10 books. Talk to friends. Get a part-time job at a small business. Get a part-time job in a completely different industry.
Find someone who has done what you want to do and volunteer to work for free in return for the opportunity to learn.
Does that seem too hard? Like too big of a price to pay? Or simply not fair? Then accept you will never have the skills, and stop complaining.
Skills and knowledge are earned, not given.
6. I don't have the right connections.
Between company websites and LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms you can reach almost anyone besides the Pope and maybe Bono. In fact some people are surprisingly accessible (maybe that's one of the secrets of their success?)
Still, start small. Start feasible. Build a foundation. A great network is like a pyramid with a wide base, not a thin vertical line that goes straight to the top.
And never forget that the more influential the person, the more they tend to be inundated with requests. Have a good reason to connect, give before you expect to receive, and you will be surprised by the people who respond.
7. I'm too late.
Jobs beat you to the graphical interface and mouse... but Xerox beat him. Zuckerberg wasn't first in social media. Buffett is hardly the first to buy and hold.
The list goes on and on. Innovation is never one-and-done; some of the most successful companies – and careers – are based on refining earlier ideas and innovations.
You're only too late if you're not willing to be better, faster, stronger, cheaper, or just ever so slightly different than whoever got there first.
8. I can't think of a great idea.
Dreaming up something new is really, really hard.
Reacting to something that already exists is really, really easy.
Walk around and start complaining (to yourself.) You'll see tons of problems that require solutions. Those solutions are ideas.
Or walk around your workplace and start complaining (again, to yourself.) There are tons of problems you can address.
"New" is hard to imagine. "Better" is much easier.
Most careers and businesses are built on "better," not on "new."
9. I can't take that risk.
Any risk you take today is a risk you can recover from tomorrow. Given time you can overcome almost any setback, stumble, or failure, and emerge stronger and smarter and better equipped to succeed the next time.
If you never try, all you will be is regretful. When you're old and grey and "done" you'll have to look back on your life and think, "I wonder what might have happened if I had only..."
Having to look back with regret is one risk you should never take.
10. I'm better at planning than execution.
No you're not. You're just too lazy to do the grunt work. Or you think you've already paid your dues. Or you think you're above it. Or – pick your excuse.
Every successful person I know can and does, when necessary, roll up his or her sleeves and just plain outwork everyone else. (That's one of the reasons they're so successful.) 
You don't need some undefined innate quality to be good at execution; all you need is discipline.
11. I can't stop until it's perfect.
Sure you can. You just don't want to: Maybe you're insecure, maybe you're afraid, or maybe you fear rejection or criticism.
Do this instead: Do your best. Then step back: If doing a little more work will result in a dramatically better outcome, go for it. If doing a little more work will not make a difference anyone but you will notice, let it go.
Then make improvements based on feedback you get from the people whose opinions matter most: Your customers.
12. I'm not comfortable doing it that way.
I was raised to be humble and self-effacing, so I hate to say I'm good at anything. But sometimes I have no choice; taking advantage of certain opportunities requires confidently describing my skills, experience, and accomplishments.
If you're not comfortable doing something because it violates your principles or ethics, by all means don't. But if you're not comfortable doing something simply because it will take you outside your comfort zone, you're just rationalizing.
And you'll never be more than you already are.
13. I can't find anyone who “gets” it.
Oh, they get it. They just don't want it.
Truly great ideas can be described in a few words. Truly great products can be described in a few words. When no one seems to "get it," the only person not getting it is probably you.
Let go of your pride and agenda and "unique point of view" and figure out where you've gone wrong.
14. It's too hard.
Long journeys are hard. No problem: Individual steps are easy.
Say you’ve been sitting on your couch for years and suddenly decide to run a marathon. You're right: That's too hard. But you can go out and run a lap or two. Or you can walk a mile or two. You can take one small step towards a difficult goal. And then another. And then another.
Or say you want to lose 50 pounds. That's too hard. But you can eat one meal differently. Or you can take a walk at lunch.
Or say you want to open a business. You can look at possible locations. Or work on your business plan. Or talk to a potential supplier. Or get advice from a mentor.
You can't accomplish any difficult goal overnight, but you can accomplish one step, however small, towards that goal.
Think about the end of a journey and every single step that will be required along the way and you'll never start. Instead, just do one thing that will help get you there. Then build on that one thing.
You can definitely do that.
15. I'll be too embarrassed if I fail.
Failing in public can be humbling, especially since some people love to talk about the misfortunes of others. Of course those are the same people who never dare to try something themselves. So don't worry about them.
A smaller (much smaller) group of people will respect you for taking your shot. They'll recognize a kindred spirit.They'll empathize. They'll encourage. They'll pick you up.
They know what it's like to try and fail and try again.
They're people living their lives on their terms.
Like you.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Creating an Effective Teamwork Atmosphere

Effective teamwork has its own characteristics.

Effective teamwork creates its own set of characteristics that makes it possible to see the cohesion in a group. When an efficient team gets to work, the structure that has been put into place helps the group obtain productive results. In order to create a productive team, you first need to be able to identify the characteristics of effective teamwork.

Unified Commitment to a Goal

A team is created to complete the goals it is given. An effective team is committed to completing its goal by using the team's resources. It does not mean that as individuals the people that make up the team share the same point of view or are all in agreement on what is best for the group. It means that when the team is presented with a goal, they can come together and work as a single unit to complete the task.


In order for a team to act as a team everyone must be participating in the creation of a solution. A team does not have extra members. Each member of a team is essential to the team's success, and when the group is given a task, each member knows what their job is and sets out to put in their fair share of the effort.

Open Communication

A team is able to communicate effectively and there is a feeling of open communication between all members of the group. Issues within a team are handled by face-to-face communication. Team members do not talk behind each other's back as there is a respect developed among team members that necessitates direct and open communication on all issues.


A team has a hierarchy and a built-in decision-making system that helps it to react quickly and effectively to all situations. The members of the group are respected for their various areas of expertise, and the leader of the group has developed the ability to obtain the group members' opinions to formulate the group's response. This applies to decisions made within the group ranging from resolving internal conflict to a potential change in group leadership.

Efficient Use of Ideas

Brainstorming is one way that groups come up with the solution to a problem. An effective team is able to gather information from each member and formulate that information into a response. The team becomes adept at dismissing ideas that will not work, and including effective ideas into what would become the team's solution to an issue.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Five minutes per day is 35 minutes per week is 1820 minutes per year.  This is 30 plus hours per year of personal focused time.  Think of it as a your personal and professional development week spanning a years time.
Take5 logo constructionpage
Take five for yourself, your life, your family, your team, your colleagues, your projects, your organization.
Five minutes with all the electronics off. Away from your normal seat in front of your computer/or workspace.
Think about one item per five minutes.
I took the time for this exercise last week and the results were amazing.  I found that five minutes is a pretty long period of time when you are not interrupted, stay focused on one idea, issue or question.  Take 5 and let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

3 things to Remember in the Face of Adversity

When faced with adversity it is useful to remember that:

  • Your mind and habits will create either barriers or bridges to a better future.
  • Resiliency can't be taught, but it can be learned. It comes from working to develop your unique combination of inborn abilities.
  • The struggle to bounce back and recover from setbacks can lead to developing strengths and abilities that you didn't know were possible. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

5 Factors that Demonstrate a Strong Work Ethic

A strong work ethic is vital to a company achieving its goals. Every employee, from the CEO to entry-level workers, must have a good work ethic to keep the company functioning at its peak. A work ethic is a set of moral principals an employee uses in his job. Certain factors come together to create a strong work ethic.


Integrity stretches to all aspects of an employee's job. An employee with integrity fosters trusting relationships with clients, coworkers and supervisors. Coworkers value the employee's ability to give honest feedback. Clients trust the employee's advice. Supervisors rely on the employee's high moral standards, trusting him not to steal from the company or create problems.

Sense of Responsibility

A strong sense of responsibility affects how an employee works and the amount of work she does. When the employee feels personally responsible for her job performance, she shows up on time, puts in her best effort and completes projects to the best of her ability.

Emphasis on Quality

Some employees do only the bare minimum, just enough to keep their job intact. Employees with a strong work ethic care about the quality of their work. They do their best to produce great work, not merely churn out what is needed. The employee's commitment to quality improves the company's overall quality.


It takes a certain level of commitment to finish your tasks every day. An employee with good discipline stays focused on his goals and is determined to complete his assignments. These employees show a high level of dedication to the company, always ensuring they do their part.

Sense of Teamwork

Most employees have to work together to meet a company's objectives. An employee with a high sense of teamwork helps a team meet its goals and deliver quality work. These employees respect their peers and help where they can, making collaborations go smoother.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Start the New Year off Right

  1. 1
    Get your full eight hours. Just as a healthy diet and regular exercise are necessary and important for good health, so is sleep. Cutting back on snooze-time can lead to an out-of-control appetite (some studies show that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight), a greater risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So try and get the recommended eight hours of sleep needed for good health, safety, and optimum performance.
  2. 2
    Rise and shine — and eat. Breakfast gets your body’s metabolism going again after a night of sleeping, and gives you the gradual and adequate energy you need to get through the morning. You don't have to eat snacks to supplement your energy needs and expenditure. It doesn’t have to be complicated too. Microwave instant oatmeal, topping it with skim milk or yogurt and berries; in minutes, you’ll enjoy filling fiber with a protein and vitamin boost. Hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain toast with almond butter or a fruit and yogurt smoothie are also quick, nutritious choices.
  3. 3
    Wash your hands. From banishing cold and flu germs to preventing food borne illnesses, frequent hand-washing is one of the smartest preventive habits you can adopt. Wash your hands with warm water and soap before handling food, eating, or touching your face , and after using the bathroom or coming into contact with potentially contaminated objects such as doorknobs, toys and menus. Be sure to clean the entire surface of your palms and the tops of your hands, as well as under your nails. A thorough hand-washing should take about 20 seconds.
  4. 4
    Know your family health history. Your family’s medical history can give you important information about your own health. Many diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and depression, can have a genetic component. The more you know about the health of your relatives, the better informed you’ll be about your own risk factors and how to manage them.
  5. 5
    Eat mindfully. One of the significant differences between people who successfully manage their weight and people who constantly struggle is mindful eating. Turn off the TV or computer, sit down at a table with your food on a plate, and focus on eating. Savor the smell and enjoy the taste. Put your fork down between bites, and take time to really enjoy your meal. Chances are you will eat less and feel more satisfied.
  6. 6
    Add variety to your diet. Wild salmon and sardines are just a couple of the fish that provide heart-healthy fats such as omega-3, which lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and help preserve your cognitive function. Aim for two servings a week; more than that may add too much mercury to your system. On occasion, indulge in a glass of red wine (or any alcoholic beverage) or a bite of dark chocolate that contains at least 75% cocoa-both contain antioxidants that can benefit your heart. In addition, both may relax blood vessels, which reduces clotting somewhat and makes it easier for blood to get to the heart. And finally, try to eat 5-7 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, and minimize your intake of carbohydrates.
  7. 7
    Volunteer. In addition to helping others, volunteers themselves often benefit from “giving back” to the communities in which they live and work, and enjoy a rewarding sense of doing something good for someone else. As a volunteer, you gain valuable experience, learn new skills, make friends and meet others who share the same interests. At Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, volunteers also enjoy perks such as special events and wellness programs.
  8. 8
    Maintain strong family and social networks. Research has shown that people who have family and friends they can turn to for support and companionship may be healthier and less likely to experience depression than those who spend most of their time alone. Looking for new friends? Join a club, take a class or volunteer.
  9. 9
    Take a time out. At least once a day, close your eyes and focus on taking 10 deep, full breaths. Inhale through your nose, feel your diaphragm expand, and exhale through your mouth. Deep, focused breathing slows your heart rate, calms the body and, as a result, calms your mind and reduces stress. Mix in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week as well. Choose something you enjoy and will stick to. Recent studies found that brisk walking is just as good for your heart as jogging, or try biking or swimming. You needn’t do it all at once; two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minutes blocks work equally well.
  10. 10
    Drink more water to prevent constipation, dehydration and other related diseases. Whether you drink bottled, filtered or tap, water helps keep your cells hydrated, flushes out toxins, and prevents dehydration. Tea, juices and sports drinks count, too, but watch out for added sugar, artificial flavorings and caffeine, all of which can detract from the benefits.