Balance: Illusive and Elusive

When we hear the term “work-life balance” we think about trying to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of our life.  The problem with that is that almost no entrepreneur can actually achieve that. While life can’t be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision.

WORKLIFEBALANCE

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some simple techniques:

  • Wherever you are – be there. If you are at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your “significant other” right now. When you are at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.
  • Be creative (about how you manage your time). If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening – get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book.  I finished the book without taking any time away from the family.
  • Integrate various elements of your life.  For many years I spent a couple weeks or more working remotely from my lake house. Now, I bring my staff and management team for short retreat/work days. The last week, I take off completely and spend time with the family. By integrating the two worlds I create a sense of harmony.
  • Practice “letting go” and “holding on.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to “have it all.”  Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say “no” to and then letting go of them. At the same time think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.

What are some of the things you do to create harmony in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share your ideas/tactics in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Selling Goals vs. Life Goals (Pssst…They’re Related!)

I can almost hear the groans now . . . “Another discussion about goal setting?–How boring!”  Well, boredom comes from repetition, and without repetition, masterful achievement is not possible.  Reading more, practicing more, and understanding more about goals bring this part of selling into a normal daily routine where it motivates and guides those who are masters in the field of sales.

Our lives are directed and pulled by conscious and subconscious desires, which when aggregated become our future vision.  This vision (whether to lose 25 pounds and be athletic or to consistently earn $10,000 commissions and be wealthy) is directed by our destination goals, but the more finite process goals help us get there.  Treat each daily detail as an important process goal to achieve, and indeed these small ones will accumulate so that ultimately our larger vision becomes our reality.  It is easy to derail our dreams by self doubt, other people, and external events, so the only way to keep the vision alive is to transform it into tangible, goal-directed behavior.

Most goal-implementation plans require getting other people enrolled in our personal program.  This is where person-to-person selling comes into the picture.  In this instance, selling means convincing other people to give us something they have in return for something we possess.  In a traditional view of selling, the buyer exchanges her money for our product.  But in the real world, every person sells continually–whether ourselves on a first date, our beliefs, or our knowledge.  If we sell successfully, we might achieve a goal of having an enjoyable evening date, public  recognition, or personal satisfaction as a return from our effort.

Setting the right environment to complete a sales transaction might include bringing flowers on the first date or artfully crafting a storefront window to allow those walking by a glimpse of the buying opportunities to be found inside the shop.  The sales trainer might say, “Your goal is to create an environment (a stage) that causes your customer to feel like a VIP taking delivery on his Rolls Royce.”  The sales process is a very social activity, one that creatively mixes the buyer’s goal of owning a solution with the seller’s complex goal of meeting company targets, earning an income, and personally helping the customer.  Learning this craft of goal satisfaction is never ending and forever challenges the master seller.

While I was working on the book Masters of Sales, a woman named Joan Fletcher wrote me and told me a noteworthy story about a very successful young salesman.  In spite of his sales awards, his corner office, and charismatic charm, he still felt he was just scraping the surface of success . . .

Even though dutifully creating written goals, his level of self satisfaction was low; until he realized that the big picture was not just about how much money he earned, or the big house, or the number of sales he hoped to close.  The big picture was his vision about what he truly wanted to achieve in all combined areas of his life.  Once he discovered this realization, his renewed selling accomplishments became directly tied to setting aside money for his daughter’s education fund, to have time to help coach his son’s soccer league, and to work in his yard.  Even with more personal goals than before, his sales results climbed higher.

The thing to always remember is this: Work goals, selling goals, and life goals are all intertwined and each one will always influence the others.  Now the question becomes: what do YOU truly want to achieve in all combined areas of your life and what are some ways you might make a conscious effort to streamline your work, selling, and life goals in order more effectively work toward your future vision?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share any/all feedback you may have in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

Sometimes You’ve Just ‘Gotta Do What You’ve Gotta Do’

I really believe that sometimes you’ve just ‘gotta do what you’ve gotta do’ in order to stay true to what you know is right.  Last week I happened to tell three of my staff members a personal story about a time back during my days of teaching college that they really responded to.  All three of them urged me to tell the story on one of my video blog posts because it focuses on something we all struggle with from time to time . . . doing the right thing when it’s not so easy to do.

In business and in life, we’re all faced with dilemmas once in a while where it seems like the only option is to abandon doing what we know is the right thing because we feel (or are made to feel) like we don’t have a choice.  However, there’s always a choice; even though sometimes doing the right thing involves making yourself uncomfortable and being willing to put yourself in a position you don’t want to be in, it’s still the right thing and that’s important to remember because we each have to live with our own decisions.

Watch the video to hear about a predicament I found myself in where my higher ups were trying to force me to break my word and go back on a commitment I’d made.  I was in a very uncomfortable situation and it put me in a position where my job was on the line if I didn’t do what I felt was wrong.  I’m glad to say, however, that to this day, I have no regrets in how I handled it and I hope that sharing this story causes others to really think about the importance of doing the right thing even when it could mean losing something that means a lot to you or something that you really need.

If you have a story of your own about how you stood up and did the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing even though it was really hard for you, I’d really love to hear it.  Please share your story in the comment forum below and, as with some of my other more recent video blogs, this one also features my good friend Bob.  If you know where Bob is hiding in this video, be one of the first ten people to share your story and to also add  a note after your story correctly pinpointing where you see Bob and I’ll send you a surprise gift that will help build your networking skills.  (Note: To ensure you receive your gift, please e-mail your name and complete mailing address to Lransom@bni.com with the subject line “Bob.”)  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

What Is Success & How Is It Defined?

No matter what we call it, we all pursue success.  We all have desires and strive to achieve them.  Our desires may be different from anyone else’s, and we may not consider achieving them to be “success.”  We look around and see people whose success we envy.  What is Jake doing with his supply of hours in any given day that puts him so far ahead of me in money, friends, and influence?  Why is he successful, and why am I not?  Why is he flying his own Learjet while I’m rattling around in this two-year-old Jaguar?  Why is she living in a new house and raising three perfect children while I’m still looking for a mate?  Why is that guy’s cardboard box so much bigger than mine, and where did he get that king-size shopping cart?

But without knowing all the facts, without being inside the mind of the other person, you can’t say whether that person is more successful than you.  Maybe he’s worth $100 million but is unhappy because his goal was to become governor by the age of 40 and he’s growing tired of the frenetic pursuit of power.  And maybe you are not as wealthy as you wanted to be, but on the other hand you’ve made it through great personal difficulties and are pleased to have kept your finances afloat and family intact.  Which of you is more successful?  Fulfilling any personal desire is success by any reasonable definition, and you’ve achieved some very important and satisfying goals.

The measure of your success is how well you use your productive time to achieve the goals that are important to you.  Not how you stack up compared to everybody else–but how well you’ve used your own abilities and resources to achieve worthy goals, however humble, for yourself and the people who are important to you.  Who knows?  That would-be governor may be watching you and saying to himself, “I’m a miserable failure.  When did I decide money was more important than enjoying my work?  Why didn’t I stay off the fast track and spend more time with my kids?  Why can’t I take it easy and enjoy life like George is doing?”

Dictionaries define success as the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.  But in real life, success is a slippery concept, especially when you come to your own personal definition of it.  Success is a relative thing and highly personal.  Many an exhausted high achiever has reached a lofty goal only to discover that it was a false peak, that the true summit loomed much higher.  Others have reached the highest heights only to find them barren and empty and then realized the only way down was . . . down.  Yet many a modest achiever has trekked through a lifetime of rocky trails and boggy swamps to realize, after all, what a glorious and rewarding trip it has been.  And the ex-addict who’s stacking lumber?  Every day on the job can be a victory.

So, now that you have an idea of how ephemeral this notion of success is, how do you go about achieving it?  If you’re looking for a generic formula, you won’t find it–there is none.  Success depends on timing, circumstances, situations, and–most important–your own perception of what success is.  Nor is there a mathematical standard for measuring when and how thoroughly you’ve achieved it.  There are many ways to measure success, but in the final analysis, it’s how you measure it for yourself that truly counts.

I’m curious . . . how do you personally measure success?  I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

Making a Difference in Someone’s Life

There are little ways and big ways of making a difference in someone’s life.  More likely than not, there’s someone you can immediately call to mind who has impacted you and really made a difference in your life, whether it happened recently or even back during your formative years.

There are definitely certain individuals in my life who have made a big difference for me and in this five minute video, I tell the story of how one of these people in specific really made a positive impact on my life back in high school and helped shape me into who I am today simply by believing in me and giving me a chance when it seemed that no one else would.

After watching the video, please share a story of your own in the comment forum below about a person you are grateful to for the way they positively influenced your life and made a difference for you.

On Friday, April 5th I will review all the comments and I’ll pick the top three standout stories.  If your story is one of the top three, I’ll send you an autographed copy of Masters of Success and, additionally, if you have a current mailing address for the person who made a difference in your life, I’ll send an autographed copy of the book along with a personal note of recognition to them as well.  A little bit of recognition can mean a lot and, who knows . . . simply bringing to light that you are grateful to them may even find you making a difference in their life.

Movie Producer Barnet Bain: Emotionally-Charged Connections are Crucial to Your Success

Last October, I posted a video I did with referral marketing expert Eddie Esposito on emotionally-charged connections (CLICK HERE to view that video).  On a recent vacation in Bali, I had the opportunity to do this new, five-minute video with movie producer Barnet Bain (producer of the Academy Award winning film “What Dreams May Come”) which is a perfect follow-up video to the one I did previously with Eddie.

Here, Barnet shares his two-step process for unlocking the key to being able to connect emotionally with others in a way that always focuses on helping and supporting them which Bain emphasizes is critical in order for you to succeed in your own business, life, and relationships.

I find this process fascinating and it would be extremely powerful if, after watching the video, you would be willing to share in the comment forum what you learned about yourself upon completing the two-step process and also what you discovered as far as how you might better be able to form emotionally-charged connections with others based on your own unique experience.

To lean more about Barnet Bain, please visit www.BarnetBain.com.

How to Find Balance in Your Life

In this short video, presented by Applied Transformation, Inc., I talk with Roger Green about how to achieve balance in life. 

If you often find yourself focusing on business during family outings or thinking about your kid’s soccer game while you’re in an important meeting, I highly encourage you to watch this video.  You’ll get tips on  how to prioritize, be present, and achieve ultimate harmony.

Do you have any helpful tips on promoting harmony in business and life?  If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  Please don’t be shy–let’s get the comments rolling in!

What Motivates People?–Satisfiers & Dissatisfiers

In this short video, presented by Applied Transformation, Inc., I talk with Roger Green about what motivates people and about how Frederick Herzberg’s concept of satisfiers and dissatisfiers was an epiphany for me–particularly the aspect that pinpoints money as a dissatisfier.

The four powerful satisfiers I mention here can have a lot to do with happiness and success; assessing whether or not these satisfiers are currently available to you or not may cause you to reexamine the direction you are heading in your business and/or in life.

What are some of the most important satisfiers and dissatisfiers in your life and how have they affected the choices you make regarding which directions to go in and which endeavors to pursue?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

“Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story”

Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, has a powerful new book coming out on March 1st called Tell To Win.

This book is not only an extremely interesting read, it is also an important resource for networkers in every part of the world.  Peter is a master storyteller and, with this book, he teaches readers how to achieve success in business and life by connecting with people and engaging them on an emotional level through the power of stories.

I met Peter at one of his storytelling symposiums which he conducted in preparation for this very book and, I can assure you that if there is one person in the world with the expertise to teach others how to change lives through the power of stories, it’s Peter.  Tell To Win offers dynamic storytelling techniques that are greatly beneficial in a face-to-face networking setting. Below I have pasted an excerpt of Peter’s words, specifically discussing the importance of telling your story in a face-to-face environment.  If you find this material useful, which I have no doubt you will, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Peter’s new bookLearning how to connect with others through storytelling is an ability that will continue to serve you well throughout your entire lifetime.  It is an invaluable skill that you will be endlessly grateful for obtaining and, as you can tell from Peter’s words below, he is the ultimate teacher.

The highest and best use for telling purposeful stories in the room, face-to-face, breathing the same air and reading each other’s micro-expressions–something you can’t do in any other medium.  In writing my new book, Tell To Win, I conversed with the foremost folks in technology–people like Chris Kemp, chief information officer at NASA Ames Research Center, Phil McKinney, the chief technology officer at Hewlett Packard, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and many others–and asked them if digital or state-of-the-art technology could replace what I call state-of-the-heart technology.  Their response was an overwhelmingly consistent “not at this time.”  In fact, Arianna said it best when she asserted in front of one of my masters UCLA classes (I’ve been a professor at UCLA for over 30 years), that the more time we spend in front of screens, the more we crave the intimate in-person interactions where we tell our stories to realize our dreams.  And, she didn’t stop there!  She exhorted my students that if there’s something incredibly important upon which everything depends, you always want to be in the room.

You can’t yet duplicate the same effects of telling oral stories in the same room, breathing the same air, pressing the flesh.  However, many of the critical elements of telling purposeful stories work in other mediums.  Always motivation comes first which starts with you–your intention.  This authenticity must shine through.  The trick is not to try to be interesting, but to be interested–know what your audience is interested in and deliver what’s in it for them.  All good telling of stories has a goal–the action you want your listener to take.  Don’t hide it.  Interactively engage your listener, your audience, so it’s not a monologue, but a dialogue.  It is a conversation in which the telling becomes a “we” experience rather than a “me” experience.  A critical marker is the willingness of the teller to surrender proprietorship over the story so the listener can own it and viral market it as her own.  The story content is lurking everywhere–first person experience is best, but equally powerful is an observed event, a movie/book/artifact, or even a metaphor or analogy.

To learn more about Peter Guber and Tell To Win, please visit: http://www.peterguber.com/telltowin


"New Year’s Resolutions and Networking"

A friend of mine, TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo at right), just wrote a great blog entry which contains some very timely information for many people across the globe and I’d like to take the opportunity to share it with you today as a guest blog.  Enjoy . . .

“New Year’s Resolutions and Networking” by TR Garland

In about 30 days, the majority of people around the world are going to be faced with the same thing we’re all faced with once at a certain point every single year.

No, I’m not talking about keeping a smile on your face while spending the holidays with your in-laws (wink-wink).  I’m talking about setting New Year’s Resolutions.

Every year, one of the top resolutions is to “get in shape.”  The truth of the matter is that most of us already know how to get in shape:

1.  Design a nutritional plan and stick to it

2.  Design a workout schedule and stick to it

3.  Track your actions and results daily and recalibrate if needed

The problem is, a large percentage of people don’t reach their goals because:

1.  They don’t write out a formal nutrition plan or workout schedule

2.  They don’t hold themselves accountable

In other words, life gets in their way.

So what can be done about this?  Well, there’s something about human psychology that pushes us to not let someone else down. Because of this, people who invest in a personal trainer to help keep them accountable tend to achieve desired results much more consistently than they ever would by attempting to get in shape on their own.

It’s important to note that this same concept holds true for business networking and referral marketing.

Many people are spending a lot of time networking by just chatting away with others and maybe grabbing others’ business cards.  By doing this, they then expect results; they expect that the people whom they’ve met and exchanged business cards with will eventually pass a referral to them.  This mindset is called being reactive ( . . . and hoping for the best!).  Being reactive is an employee  mindset or mentality that, in my opinion, gets placed into the same category as punch cards, guaranteed smoke breaks, assembly lines, benefits entitlement, and cubicles.  In other words, this mindset is something that isn’t really that viable anymore in today’s economic environment.

If you don’t believe me, look around and note which businesses are thriving and hiring.  I’m confident you’ll discover that the businesses which are doing well are those that do not have a reactive mindset and, instead, maintain an entrepreneurial mindset.

An entrepreneurial mindset is one that takes ownership and focuses on being proactive versus reactive.  Just like the “getting in shape” example above, being proactive and accountable in your business networking and referral marketing efforts is a sure-fire way to get results–plain and simple.

So, especially if you’ll be out attending holiday parties in the coming 30 days with your spouse, significant other, family, or friends, remember to be proactive with your networking efforts.  Go to each event with a purpose (in addition to your goal of having fun).  Don’t simply gather business cards, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Instead, set relevant and realistic networking goals and ask the person you went with to hold you accountable to your goals.

And, of course, there’s a time and a place for everything.  You need to respect the event you’re attending and if the environment doesn’t warrant you achieving certain networking goals . . . grab a celebratory beverage and some festive treats and remember, there’s always next year!

* TR Garland is a Referral Marketing Strategist for the Referral Institute® in Orange County, California where he is a consultant to top performers and entrepreneurs on maximizing their ROI/ROT from business contacts and networking.  Starting in 2011, you can follow TR for his tips, tactics, and techniques on effective networking at his newly launched blog located at www.BeABetterNetworker.com.

 

What’s the Payoff for Developing an Effective Word-of-Mouth Strategy?

Developing an effective word-of-mouth strategy that results in a strong referral-based business takes endless time, energy, effort and, above all, commitment. The actions and steps necessary to create a successful referral-networking campaign are simple, yet far from easy; they take tremendous dedication and drive, and results can be a long time in coming.

So why should you put forth the time and effort to develop a word-of-mouth strategy for your business?  Because, if you commit to doing it right and don’t give up, the payoff can be unbelievably high.

In fact, many businesses have become so adept at referral marketing that they get most of their sales through referrals and spend little or no money on advertising — and they never have to place cold calls. Some of these businesses hire most of their employees through referrals, manage complex financing arrangements and even procure necessary products through referral contacts they have cultivated for many years.

But a referral-based business can reward you in ways beyond those measured in dollars. Dealing with people you like and trust is a better way to live and work than sparring with strangers all day long. You may even find the relationships you form with your referral sources more important than the dollars your new customers bring you. Such relationships are central to both the referral-generation process and the satisfaction you derive from your work.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting whether your networking efforts are really worth it, remember: If you don’t give up, and you continually devote yourself to working on making your word-of-mouth strategy better and better, the payoff can be enormous both financially and in terms of happiness in business and life.

A True Givers Gain Achievement

In 1998, my wife Elisabeth and I co-founded the BNI-Misner Foundation, a nonprofit program supporting charitable causes. We created the foundation because we truly believe in the philosophy of Givers Gain, on which we founded BNI, our worldwide business networking organization. Simply put, Givers Gain means that if you help others, others will want to help you in return (think “what goes around comes around”).

Now, thanks largely to the generosity and kindness of BNI members and directors around the world who also believe firmly in the Givers Gain philosophy, as of May 2010, the BNI Foundation has contributed more than $1 million to charities around the world since its inception 12 years ago.

The foundation has a focus on children’s educational programs but allows donor-directed contributions as well. Looking back on the significant contributions the foundation has been able to make, I am continually inspired by the willingness of BNI members worldwide to give of themselves to help others. They made it possible to donate more than $100,000 to the 9/11 relief effort, $72,000 to tsunami relief, more than $25,000 for Haiti earthquake relief and tens of thousands of dollars for Hurricane Katrina relief. The foundation has built preschools in India, built preschools and a library and put tin roofs on schools in Indonesia, bought school uniforms for students in Kenya and stocked a library in South Africa with books.

Why am I telling you all of this?  I’m sharing these things with you because I truly believe that the more people genuinely give to others, the more successful they will be themselves. I fully attribute the worldwide success of BNI and its members (read some of their stories here) to this very concept. When you give to someone else because you want them to succeed, everybody wins, and you’re setting yourself up for success because the more good you do for others, the more good others want to do for you.

Starting this week, make a continuous effort to conduct your networking efforts, your business and your life with the philosophy that Givers Gain. Help people because you can and because you want to, and you’ll be amazed by the things you can achieve for yourself as a result.

To find out more about the BNI-Misner Charitable Foundation, click here.

Become a fan of the BNI-Misner Charitable Foundation on Facebook by clicking here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox