Are The People in Your Life an Engine or an Anchor?

Over the years I’ve recognized that there are some people who are positive and supportive individuals that I really want to be around.  They areid-100109424 solutions focused relating to most problems and are almost always willing to talk through challenges with a positive end in mind.  These people are engines.  They help me be my best self and they motivate me to drive forward.

I’ve also noticed, as I’m sure you have, that there are some people who complain as though it were an Olympic event (for the record – it’s not!).  They tend to be negative, argumentative, and obsessed with problems.  I’ve learned not to spend much time with these people because they focus on all the things that are wrong relating to most challenges.   If all someone does is focus on problems – they become an expert on problems and not on the solutions.   These people are anchors, they hold me back and weigh me down.

id-100381604Who do you surround yourself with: engines or anchors? This is an important question for everyone.  It’s particularly important if you are trying to build a powerful personal network of people around you.  Is your network full of people who are engines helping you go to the next level in your life or your career?  Or, are they anchors weighing you down with the plethora of issues, problems, and complaints? Do they hold you back, or do they drive you forward?

The funny thing here is that no-one thinks they’re an anchor.  No one!  Of course they’ll tell you that they are an engine – they just do not like the direction you are going and that’s why they come across the way they do.  For the record – they’re an anchor – with a motor attached. My advice is to call for “all hands on deck,” cut loose the anchors in your life, partner up with your fellow engines and go full-speed ahead.

Balance Doesn’t Exist

Forget about balance. It’s an illusion.

Yes, you read correctly. Balance assumes that we spend equal amounts of time in each area of our life, which realistically, is impossible. I believe in harmony, in finding ways to creating synergy between the things you love to do and the things you’re paid to do (if you’re lucky, they’re one in the same!)

Try these seven simple techniques:

1. Wherever you are, be there!

2. Be creative about how you manage your time

3. Integrate various elements of your life

4. Practice letting go and holding on

5. Be intentional about who you let in your room

6. Create margins

7. Work in your flame, not in your wax

Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation.

 

Are You Spread Too Thin?

This is the third video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. In this series, I expand on classic phrases I’ve used over the years.

Do six things a thousand times and NOT a thousand things six times!

But what does that really mean?

It means focus on key priorities and making them perfect (or close to it) before moving on to other projects or tasks. It means making your business the best at a few services, not simply OK at several. It means…wait, I can’t give it all away! Watch the video below to get the full scope of the idea.

 

 

Are you Flame or Wax Happy?

This is the second video in the “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com. I expand on common phrases I’ve used over the years and explain how they can apply to your business and referral networking style.

Are you flame or wax happy?

That sounds like a bizarre question–but it’s not.

When you’re working in your wax and when you’re working in your flame are two very different things, and can affect you in different ways. If you’re flame happy, you’re excited, motivated and ready to pursue your ambitions. But what happens when are wax happy, and simply complacent with working on things that you aren’t passionate about?

The video below talks about this idea and ways you can make sure you’re always flame happy.

 

 

 

Is Ignorance on Fire Ever a Good Thing?

The following video is part of my new “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years.

 

I know, it’s a strange concept: “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.”

Most people read that statement and think, someone who’s excited but ignorant can do more harm than good.

I’m here to tell you that the opposite of your intuition is true. That’s right–and you’ll see why below.

 

MSNBC’s Your Business

On Thursday, I was swept off to a land far, far away.

OK, not that far away. But TV has to be dramatic, doesn’t it?

Even though I was close to home, I visited the homes of millions by appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Your Business, with host JJ Ramberg. I was featured as an expert on referral networking (imagine that!) and spoke about how it can positively affect small businesses. The entire experience was easier than I expected and JJ was well-prepared and professional–and I’m sure glad she was, because it really helped ease my nerves.

And of course, I couldn’t get out the door without using referral networking. The producer asked if I could refer her to other BNI experts to be featured guests! (Who knows–maybe it could be YOU!)

Check out the clip below and tell me what you think.

Giving Your Network a Boost

A question from India came to me via Twitter, and I found it to be such a universal topic that I thought I’d share it with you all.

(And BONUS–it was shot in my new home studio!)

 

What happens when your networking group hits a plateau?

https://youtu.be/OA73fq9Sza8

 

Networking with a Purpose

This is the most incredible VCP story I’ve ever heard!  It shows how relationship networking is changing lives across the globe.

(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the principle, VCP stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability; successful networking is achieved by first being visible in your business community, which will lead to credibility, which will lead to profitability.)

I was recently contacted by one of BNI’s Executive Directors, Susan Goodsell, to tell me about her daughter’s remarkable journey to Zanzibar, Africa. Kelsey, who is 23 years old, is there with GIVE (Growth International Volunteer Excursions) which recruits college students to work on sustainable development projects around the world. Kelsey has been volunteering with the organization for three years, and this year she has been assigned as Education Coordinator and will help her team on projects like school construction and tutoring in English.

GIVE Zanzibar schoolTo give you an idea of what Kelsey and her team are up against, here’s a little background on the culture of Zanzibar. The country is extremely poor and education is positioned against its citizens–even though the national language is Swahili, exams required to continue through school are given in English. If a student does not pass the exam, they can’t continue attending school unless they retake the exam, which costs $500–the yearly income of most families.

One of Kelsey’s primary jobs is to establish trust with the locals in order to encourage them to use GIVE’s tutoring program (this is Kelsey on the right teaching a class). She was asked to integrate with the women in the village, but she found it very challenging as their cultures are so different.

I think the next part of the story would be best told by Susan herself.

“Kelsey was hugely uncomfortable–to the point where she was messaging me on WhatsApp. “They’re older than I am. They only speak Swahili.” (She speaks very basic Swahili.) “And they don’t want anything to do with me.”

I have often said the skills in BNI are not just business skills, but life skills. I went into part Mom mode, part BNI mode.

“VCP,” I told her. “You have no credibility. You need to start with visibility. Tomorrow, simply walk through the village, smile and say “Jambo” to six women. If they have a baby or a child, smile and wave at the child. That’s it. Six women. Then consider you’ve met your goal.”

Day 1, I received a text message. “Mom, no one smiled. Not one person responded to me. And all I got were death ray stares.”

“Okay Kelsey, I get it. That must’ve been awkward. Now do it again tomorrow.”

On the third day, she messaged to say that two women smiled at her. The day after that, two women said hello back. A couple days later, she said, “Mom! SIX women smiled and talked to me first! I didn’t even do anything!”

It only took about a week.

I know VCP is actually a referral process, but it sure did come in handy when my only baby was 10,000 miles away and thinking she was in way over her head and couldn’t so anything to affect change. This is another example of how BNI success stories aren’t always about a business, or even a BNI, success. We bring our members life skills.”

Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve asked Susan to keep us updated as Kelsey continues to work in Africa and use the skills she and her mother have learned through BNI. Make sure to check back in for the future instalments of her incredible journey.

You are not entitled to referrals

That’s right-you read correctly.

Referrals come from cultivating real relationships. They come from putting the work into your networking by giving others referrals before expecting them in return. They don’t come from sitting idly in a meeting, watching others getting referrals and wondering where yours are.

Are you wondering just how to get that referral pipe flowing?

1. Become a farmer. Except you’re not cultivating seeds, but relationships. You’re not harvesting produce, but referrals. Networking is about farming for new contacts (and referrals,) not hunting them. Have One-to-Ones with your chapter members. Get to know them and their business well so you can begin to pass referrals to them. This is how you cultivate a relationship-show genuine interest and make an honest attempt at helping them succeed. You’ll build trust with one another, which makes the next step much easier.  referral

2. Find a referral partner. As I write in my book, Truth or Delusion, “There is a way to the flow of referrals predicable and adjustable.” After you’ve gotten to know your fellow chapter members, choose one to partner up with to pass referrals back and forth to one another. Pick someone who needs referrals you can provide (for example, if you have a toy shop owner in your Chapter but you have no kids and rarely interact with them, they might not be the best partner for you.) Determine what types of referrals you need and ask your partner to do the same; then, exchange specific referrals based on your own networks. Begin to set up meetings with your referrals and if it’s appropriate, bring your partner with you. Afterward, analyze the meetings with your partner and use as much detail as possible.

3. Get your PH.D. in Networking. Ok, not literally. But you can become a gatekeeper of networks as you begin to connect your network with another person’s, and then another person’s, and then continue to build upon it. Become the go-to person in your business community-the person others come to if they needed a referral for anything. “Know a trustworthy plumber? Yeah, ask Susan-she knows everybody!” But instead of becoming the human phone book, you are connecting people in your community with good, honest businesses. This will not only help you build your network referrals, but it will also force you to continue to build and deepen your relationships and provide you with an excellent reputation.

What process has worked for you when referral gathering?

 

Keeping Up Productivity During Q2

Image courtesy of khunaspix, of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix, of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that we’re into Q2, all of your 2016 goals for your business should be well underway. The downside of Q2 is that many people begin to lose their momentum around this time of the year. The weather is getting nicer, the days are getting longer, and our attention span at work is getting shorter.

One great way to maintain momentum in your business is to focus on elevating your morning routine.

The ideal morning routine starts the night before, by ensuring you are set up for success. Turn off all electronic devices at least 90 minutes before bed, and never use these devices in your bed to start with. Studies show that using these devices in bed can retrain your brain to associate your bed with being awake. These studies also show that even the smallest electronic device emits enough light to stimulate your brain and promote wakefulness.

In the morning, try to wake up earlier than you need to. Before 6 a.m. is ideal, as it gives you plenty of time to eat a full breakfast, hit the gym, and get your blood flowing and brain working before you get into the meat of your day. Set a routine, and keep that routine as often as possible. Once you are settling into work, focus on projects that you are passionate about. Stay off your email as long as possible, as this is a productivity and time suck. Focus on the important things first, and hit your email later when you have time to knock off smaller tasks. Busy work should be punted to later in the day. Your mind will thank you.

What kind of morning routine do you follow to keep productive? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Short Term Goals for Long Term Success

ID-100154878What is your goal for your business for the next year? How about for the next quarter? Next month?

A lot of business owners don’t have goals broken down like this, but why not? It’s difficult to reach a goal that doesn’t exist, and just saying that you want to grow your business isn’t specific enough to actually help you achieve results.

To really achieve the results you want, you need to set concrete goals, and you need to write them down.

Start far into the future. What age do you want to feel comfortable retiring? What amount in savings will make you comfortable retiring? Will you pass your business to one of your children, a trusted employee, or someone else? Map out your far out into the future goal.

Now that you know the far future you need to set yourself up to hit this goal. What milestones do you need to hit in 10, 5, or 2 years that will put you on the right path? What does your business look like at these intervals? How many employees will you have at the end of these times?

One year from today, where does your business need to be to hit your larger goals? What changes do you need to make to set yourself up for long term success? Do you need to hire more help now, or can it wait? What networking groups will you join in the next year? How are you spending your time?

At the end of the next financial quarter, what changes will you have made to start inching toward where you want to be? This is a great time to start looking at the numbers of your business, and diving into what changes you need to make over time to hit your overall goals.

In just the next month, what are your plans? It takes 21 days of doing something consistently to make it a habit, so what habits do you need to hit your goals? What can you implement in your life to start with that will help you reach your goals?

I know it may sound silly to break your goals down this much, but if you don’t know what you’re shooting for, you’ll never hit your target. Long term goals can seem too far away and too massive to be goals that you can actually work toward right now, so breaking them out into more manageable time frames can be more beneficial than you could image.

What is your long-term goal? How are you working toward it? Tell me in the comments below!

Make a Resolution You Can Keep for 2016

newyearsThe new year is always a time when people choose to make resolutions to make positive changes in their lives. In general, people’s resolutions tend to fall flat, and I know we’re all guilty of taking up a resolution and dropping it by the end of January.

For 2016, you should consider making a resolution that is not only realistic so you’ll be more likely to keep it, you should also consider making it something that can help you grow your business. Here are three resolution ideas, and how to keep yourself motivated to complete them (if growing your business isn’t enough motivation, that is).

 

At least once a quarter, attend a networking event where you don’t already know everyone

And, to top it off, make it a point to get to know the people you don’t already have connections with. How else are you going to grow your network in 2016? You have to put yourself out there!

Need motivation? At the beginning of the quarter, post on your social media that you are looking for events to attend. As your current contacts suggest events in their circles to you, make plans to attend some and ask your contact to hold you accountable. Having someone to ensure you attend the event can be enough to motivate many people.

 

Make a plan and keep it

This refers to a budget, a hiring plan, and an end goal for where you’d like to see you and your business by the end of 2016. You should spend the first couple weeks of 2016 making this plan, and perfecting it. Above all else, make sure that your plan is something that you will strive to complete, but is also doable.

Need motivation? Set measurable and attainable goals for deadlines throughout the year, and when you reach one of those goals at or before deadline, reward yourself. Go see a movie, have your favorite meal, spend time with loved ones – whatever you can promise yourself that you will work toward.

 

Keep your focus

As I’ve said numerous times before, keep your work at work and your personal life at home. So many of us are guilty of bringing work home, or daydreaming about weekend plans at our office. Keep these things separate and maintain your focus in 2016 – you’ll be amazed at the results.

Need motivation? The quality time with your loved ones, the improved productivity at work, and the cleared peace of mind should be more than enough motivation.

 

What are you resolving to do for 2016? Share with me in the comments below!

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