Address the Stress!

When I read this article in Brandon Gaille’s blog last week, I had a classic “a-ha!” moment. As we pursue our professional goals, stress is, well…going to happen, let’s be real. It comes in all forms, from an unhappy client to an unpaid bill. And it doesn’t stop there, because real life keeps knocking on our door (sometimes literally) as you keep your business afloat, like your teen who needs a sudden ride home. But as Jeff Bezos reminds us in this quote? The way we handle stress can make the difference between it consuming us or potentially, moving us forward. So here are two techniques to remember when you’re embroiled in the stress of the day: Define it. When you identify clearly what is causing you stress, you’ve already come one step closer to moving past it. Stress has an insidious way of making us feel as if everything is out of control when upon closer examination, it tends to be one or two particular areas of our life that are the real “hot spots.” Take a moment to write out very specifically what is stressing you out…then move toward acting on it. Address it. As business owners, we tend to put a lot on the back-burner in order to move our business forward. This often leads to delaying the areas that are causing us stress. As Bezos points out in the quote above, move toward addressing the stressful issues immediately. You’ll find yourself freed from the emotional energy that problem is causing you. When you begin your work day, ask yourself, “What is causing me the most...

How to Treat Social Media like a Staged Play

So you’ve started your own business or project and now you’re ready to show it to the world. Maybe you set up a Facebook business page or a Twitter account or even a Pinterest board or a YouTube channel. Whatever your platform, it’s simply the stage. Now it’s time to put on the play! First, introduce the players. People like to know who is giving them helpful information so make sure you set up a thoroughly completed profile for any of your accounts. That means a clean, clear picture of yourself (or your logo) as well as detailed information about your business (including your website, of course). Profiles give you a great opportunity to share the equivalent of an elevator pitch with your audience, meaning you don’t have a lot of time (or space) to describe your services…so do it well and succinctly! Second, let the play begin! Now it’s time to share content with your audience. But before you begin posts and pictures, write out a list of all the possible content you could share. And think outside of the box. If you’ve started a hair dressing salon, don’t simply share images of haircuts but the latest in fashion news or the importance of considering face shape when determining a perfect haircut or fun information about a particular hairdresser. Even local (uplifting) news is appropriate (since it shows civic pride, which resonates with the people in your area). Post that list prominently above your workspace then start sharing relevant content. Make sure you include an introduction to your post instead of simply sharing it, which helps personalize the...

The Importance of Structure and Ritual in your Work Day

We all have them but don’t really notice them. They’re so ingrained in our daily lives, we probably don’t think they’re really “rituals” but simply tasks we perform in order to optimize our day. Rituals could include everything from making the bed in the morning to drinking a cup of coffee while reviewing the news to going to the gym for a one-hour workout. Bottom line: rituals are predictable…and so are their outcomes. Experts believe that rituals can help our productivity. Take the example of Jack LaLanne, world famous fitness guru. According to an article entitled An 18-Minute Plan for Managing your Day in the Harvard Business Review: At the age of 94, he still spends the first two hours of his day exercising. Ninety minutes lifting weights and 30 minutes swimming or walking. Every morning. He needs to do so to achieve his goals: on his 95th birthday he plans to swim from the coast of California to Santa Catalina Island, a distance of 20 miles. Also, as he is fond of saying, “I cannot afford to die. It will ruin my image.” Okay, so maybe you’re not as self-disciplined as Jack LaLanne. But that doesn’t mean daily rituals can’t help you. Tomorrow morning before you do anything, jot down what you need to do that day to make your day feel successful. Don’t overdo. Keep it simple. (If your list is too long or comprehensive, you risk not accomplishing your tasks and feeling a sense of failure.) Then start your day, with the list in a prominent location. As I’ve written about before, tackle the difficult tasks...

What Perfectionism is Costing You

Many of us know that perfectionism isn’t a good thing yet we often still secretly applaud it. We can’t help but believe that a high level of perfectionism equals success. Afterall, how could all of the winners of the world succeed without some degree of it, right? Wrong. Perfectionism causes more harm than good and can get in the way of you and the next phase of your career. Here’s why: Perfectionism actually lowers productivity. How long does it take to create the perfect outcome? About the same time it takes to find a perfect lover, friend of family member…a long time! The endless pursuit of a perfect end result can drag on forever. Simple tasks take longer than they should. And productivity ultimately lags as you keep striving for the impossible. Perfectionism alienates you from others. Take a moment to think of a perfectionist in your life. Are they enjoyable to be around? Do they laugh easily and embrace mistakes? Of course not. They’re often rigid and unyielding. Almost every business pursuit requires interactions with others and as we know, we naturally enjoy those who are relaxed and easy-going. Perfectionism lowers creativity. Out of the box thinkers are natural risk-takers. They realize you need to break some eggs in order to make an omelet. On the flip side, perfectionists tend to stick to one “tried and true” method of doing things. It sounds good in theory but pursuing a professional dream requires a more expanded way of looking at the world. What’s the takeaway? Allow yourself to take chances and make a copious amount of mistakes. Take note...

How to Embrace Failure…and Keep Going Anyway

What? Embrace failure? That’s like embracing an angry grizzly bear, right? It may seem like it, but that’s only because we perceive failure as powerful, overwhelming and just plain frightening. But what if we re-frame failure completely? What if we decide that failure is just what we need in order to move forward? Here are a few steps to remind yourself that failure is not your enemy but part of an intricate process of learning and growing: Don’t personalize. (This is number one for a reason. We tend to think that when we fail, it means that we’re failures. And nothing could be further from the truth. Failures don’t define you. You are not your failure. As a matter of fact, the more you go after your professional goals in life, the more you can be sure that you’ll have a list of failures under you belt. Failing is part of the process.   Don’t dwell on your failure. Another critical mistake I commonly see with my clients is rumination. They’re constantly looking backward and wondering what they could have done to avoid a particular failure. Learn from your failure and move on. Those old, dusty visions of what you did wrong do nothing to prepare you for a bright, shiny future.   Don’t worry about the “other.” Another common trap is the need for approval from others. Guess what? You could be waiting a long time. It’s imperative to detach from the viewpoints of others and proceed anyway. Sure, feedback is helpful but then you need to ask yourself: does that feedback serve me on my path? If it...

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