Archives for The 4-hour Workweek

How Can Anybody Get Anything Done These Days?

Social Media by Magicatwork of Flickr

 

It has been an interesting past few months on social media. I can personally say it has been much more of a distraction now than it has ever been.

My usual tricks for limiting the amount of time that I spend engaging in non-work related activities on social media have had much less of an impact, and in a lot of cases it’s like I’ve forgotten all about them.

(I will share them in a bit.)

I do not post or comment a lot on political subjects, but I do feel a need to stay informed. This leads to observing very heated discourse between people on both sides of various topics.

I do not seek to persuade anyone, but I do seek to understand both sides. Unfortunately, in most cases I don’t find understanding. Instead, I noticed that I’ve just wasted an extra 15 minutes, sometimes even longer, reading commentary that upsets me. Then I spend another 15 minutes trying to find content that will help me get back into a healthier, more positive, more productive mindset.

Generally, I have noticed that I feel a little more powerless and that has led to a lot more anxiety. I have noticed that people I like to spend time with, I avoid now, knowing that they are very vocal on the opposite side of my beliefs. This makes me sad and I do not feel as connected to these people who used to bring such joy to my life.

I have a given an exception for invitations to meet new network contacts, and favor shorter get-to-know-you phone calls to avoid topics that usually tend to emerge when you sit down with someone for longer than a half hour.

My practice of being happy has required a lot more diligence to overcome these obstacles. I tend to want to immerse myself in more positive content just to normalize myself into a state where I can get done what is on my agenda to fulfill my mission.

Then I wonder about all of these people who are engaging in heated discourse. Some of them seem to go back-and-forth all day defending their original statement and refuting others. I’m seeing referencing data, which may not have just been at their fingertips. It is clear that they have taken the time to search and find this data simply to prove to a stranger that they are right and the other is wrong.

The upsetting thing for me is not that people disagree. I believe that is part of the beauty of our country. The upsetting thing is the name-calling and the dismissing other people’s opinion as being a product of ignorance, lack of morals, or low intelligence.

As a human being prone to bias just like anyone else, as per my previous post, I may make the same initial assumptions, but I know logically that even if there is a different belief system driving people to reside on an opposite side than me, my beliefs are not better than theirs, nor are they worse. It is just very difficult using the medium of social media and a venue like emotionally-charged sound bites, to really get down to the understanding that would enable me to draw a more accurate conclusion.

This desire to understand, however, is not only unsatisfying but unproductive. Especially while my first quarter initiatives have been riddled with technical setbacks and difficulties, it has been even easier for me to justify the distraction of so called informing myself and seeking understanding. I’m at a crossroads and I have to make a change.

No, this isn’t my usual “insight, expertise and practical tips” post. This is something I am still in the middle of figuring out, and I know that I’m not alone. I am hoping we can help each other figure it out. Here are some things that I have done in the past that have been successful in helping me curb succumbing to the siren of social media:

 

Lists on post-its

I cannot always opt to just to avoid social media; it is part of my job. Not only do I market myself on social media, but I also help others leverage it to increase opportunity. That means staying in tune with changes, staying up on navigation and future updates, and listening and observing to help others effectively use social media. Lists may not seem like that ingenious of an idea, but the key is keeping them visible. I write a sticker for whatever I am there on social media to accomplish and stick it to my screen. It serves as a constant reminder that I am there for a purpose.

 

A timer

It is a best practice to decide the night before what I really need to accomplish the next day and break my day up into segments. If you are someone who experiences high-level anxiety when things don’t go as planned, this may actually increase your stress. The purpose is not to be rigid, but to be intentional. If something happens to take longer than anticipated, I know that I have to adjust the rest of the day and the activities, perhaps making some sacrifices to make sure that the most important things get done.

In The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, I learned that we will tend to take as long as we give ourselves to complete a project. This is why some people wait until the last minute to finish a project– they feel it will ultimately take them less time than if they started early. Of course, waiting until the last minute can cause problems when unexpected events and challenges occur. Tim Ferris does not recommend waiting until the last minute, but he does recommend giving yourself and others an early fake deadline. In applying his advice, not only will I manage a larger project like this, but also milestones, mini-projects and tasks.

When it comes to things like writing and social media, I know my tendencies are to get sucked in and take too much time. These are the things that I time. I might give myself an hour to write a blog, but when it comes to social media I will keep the time very short, I favor multiple short visits versus blocking a significant amount of time to get everything done. For instance, I will avoid social media until I have gotten the most impactful things out of the way. I will have already have meditated, and I certainly will have already broken my day down. Then I will schedule three 10 minute time slots intended for short postings that I will write outside of social media first. The next day I will allocate an hour to posting a client’s LinkedIn profile content. Then I plan when I will engage in social media for personal pleasure and interaction. I usually do this during a meal, unless I am eating with someone. I may slip in again while my kids brush their teeth at night. This is ideally where it would stop.

 

Turn off notifications

Social media designers know what they’re doing, and their intention is to make you come back over and over again. They want you addicted. Turning off notifications can be tough when potential clients and customers reach you through these venues and their needs are immediate, for instance, if you’re a plumber and you deal with a lot of plumbing emergencies. If you take the example of leading plumbing companies, how do they operate their day-to-day businesses (click here to learn more)? Realistically, you would want to have someone else handling any incoming inquiries, because most of your time would ideally be spent helping customers. When you have a different quandary – make sure whoever is assisting you with incoming leads isn’t wasting their time on social media.

If these strategies alone do not help you minimize the amount of time that you spend not getting closer to your goals, there are some apps that can help you block websites for periods of time. SelfControl, StayFocsd, and Cold Turkey may help. If your job requires you to be on social media, these tools maybe too inhibitive for you.

If you have noticed a decrease in your quality of life and relationships, and you believe there might be a correlation between this and your social media usage, I encourage you to try these tricks.

However, if these tricks do not work and you sense that your social media habits will continue to have a cost to your life, consider that you might be suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out). While this legitimate syndrome recognized by psychologists is not just limited to social media and users thereof, you may be able to look at your social media usage as either a symptom or a cause, and reach out for help.

 

As I am committed to relieving myself from the potential costs that social media has been imposing on my own life, I would love to hear others strategies and tactics.

 

My Best Year Yet: The Top 3 People, Authors and Coaches Who Made It So

Art4theglryofGod by Sharon of Flickr

 

2016 has truly been a spectacular year for my personal and my professional life. I definitely give praise to God, especially because the family members whose health had caused grave concerns in the past all seem to have made tremendous recoveries.

As I reflect on this year, I want to give praise to the mentors, coaches, teachers, and authors who have been the most influential to my best year in business yet.

Before I do that, though, I would like to pass on the utmost gratitude to all of my clients from previous years, this year, and certainly the ones who fall in both categories and allow me to make ongoing contributions to their career. It is only because you are there to allow my gifts to help you that I can fulfill my purpose. As a fan of words, I do not feel like I could ever adequately express just how grateful I am for you.

Now that has been said, I need to acknowledge the people who have enabled me to make increasingly greater contributions to my clients through their wisdom and teachings.

 

THE PEOPLE

Firstly, thank you Ford Myers. From my first few months in business through now being considered a fellow veteran of the industry, I want to thank you for the contribution you made to me, such as letting me borrow your Ultimate Career Guide through writing the foreword to my new book. You helped me build a strong foundation from which I could build my own solid business and reputation. And, thanks to the professional that you are, the industry as a whole in our region has been able to make a greater impact in the lives of corporate professionals. I very much appreciate the times that we were able to sit down and talk philosophy and pragmatism. I hope we will be able to do more of that in 2017.

Ed Samuel, thank you for introducing me to CCI Consulting. You have changed my perception of the quality possible in outplacement programs. You put a tremendous amount of time and energy into your service to others, and as a result, thousands have been able to make their own great contributions. When it is your time to finally slow down, I hope that you will be fully satisfied, joyfully floating on the ripples that reverberate back-and-forth through the pools of professionals who have been impacted by your effort, wisdom, and passion.

Lisa DeLuca, if there is anyone out there who questions the dedication of undergrad career services, I will point them to you to see the optimal example of the positive impact that is possible when career services establishes itself as a progressive partner firmly integrated into an effective preparatory undergrad curriculum. But that’s just who you have been for academia in general, LeBow, and its students. For me, having been self-employed for nine years prior to joining the adjunct faculty, I was encouraged by your patience, compassion, and guidance as I embarked on my own new career adventure. And, I have been impressed with your trust in my experience and how much you and LeBow value that. It has given my confidence and my credibility a boost that has enabled me to reach and help so many more people in 2016.

 

THE BOOKS

These are some books that created a shift in the momentum of my business this year.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Not only did I read more this year because of the practices that I adopted from this book, but I also grew at an exponential pace. This book and the Facebook community are directly attributable to my growth. I urge you to join a community and read this book, but especially without hesitation because the author is currently fighting cancer. I fully expect that he will recover and come back stronger than ever, but don’t miss your chance to get to know him.

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Though I listened to the free audiobook available on YouTube, I recommend that you get the printed copy. I struggled to take notes at the pace that I could listen, and that is about the pace that he delivers the goods. Because of this book not only do I focus more of my time on the things that I enjoy and do best, but I also have been able to help my clients do more in less time. Both are critical when you are working and you begin to transition as well as when you are not working and need income.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I learned and teach a lot from this book and because of it I can be more accountable as a coach. In turn, I help my clients achieve better results. I can better understand their tendencies around forming good habits, and help them create an environment that is more conducive to long-lasting positive change that will help them achieve professional as well as personal goals now and in the future.

 

THE COURSES

Since reading The Millionaire Mindset in 2012, I have allocated 10% of my revenue toward education and training, and because of The Miracle Morning, have been more regimented than ever about investing 10% of my time to these pursuits. With more revenue than any other year that I’ve been in the business, I have made a record investment in my own professional development. Here are the courses and coaches that made 2016 my best year yet.

Winning the Game of Money, John Assaraf

It was actually years ago that I invested in this program, and I did go fully through it, and it did make an impact, but I had two babies at home. Unless you’ve been there, it is challenging to describe how the needs of two little humans can fracture your focus. I will never regret my decision to work from home with my kids, but if I could change anything about that time in my life it would have been to be more at peace with that life decision and not feel as pressured to keep a certain pace with my business. Feeling ready to refocus with my oldest attending a full day of school, I repeated this course in the spring this year, which was exactly when the shift occurred.

I enjoyed a very steady pipeline of great clients, was invited to participate in or speak at great events, and was offered unprecedented opportunities to partner with organizations I respected. In the past 10 years of being in business, especially when my children were babies, revenue was so unpredictable it was very challenging to make plans, like committing to family vacations. This is the first year we were able to do that, and my husband and I even went on a romantic getaway of our own. While self employment offers freedom to manage your own schedule and choose who you work with, it is not really freedom unless you have the resources, time, and money to do what you wish. I got my first taste of that freedom this year, and I thank John Assaraf and this program for that. If you are on my mailing list, then you have been informed of this program before. If you are not on my mailing list, please join to stay informed of influential resources like this as I discover them.

Consciousness Engineering, Vishen Lakhiani

I have been a member of MindValley for many years now, and have had it to thank for new spiritual awakenings and awareness. In 2016 the founder, Vishen Lakhiani, a curator of consciousness courses, started his own series. He interviews thought leaders covering a variety of different realms of life, learning, and spirituality. Each interview is like a system upgrade download, intended to level up your systems for living that enable you to progress and grow at an exponential pace. This means that the 10% of my time that I have been dedicating to my own professional development has actually produced exponential results.

However, what I see is being the most beneficial components of this course to my clientele have been the inspiration that he and his coaching cohorts are to me, helping me to find a vision of my own future in which I am making a contribution to millions, and some of the stories are just every day people who either experienced extraordinary events, or who experienced ordinary events and created something extraordinary from the experience. The more I expose myself to these real-life stories, the greater the gravitational pull of my hope is, which makes me more excited to get out of bed in the morning, and pushes me to complete a milestone before I rest my head for the night. Anytime I have a commute of 45 minutes or more, I listen to this program. I do not think I can count on both of my hands and toes how many times I have cited this course to my clients, especially when they start to doubt if their dreams are possible. I have come to see belief as a critical ingredient to epic success, but it does not always come easily. Consistent reinforcement is necessary sometimes to generate the kind of belief that turns what is possible into what is probable. That is the major contribution that this course has had on me and my clients in 2016.

Journaling Mastery, Derek Rydall

Because of The Miracle Morning, journaling, aka scribing, has been a part of my routine. I have always been a fan of journaling. Many of the books that I read have journaling components, and, though it takes that much longer to complete these books, they tend to have the greatest impact on my self-awareness and, therefore, the actions that I take toward my vision. I do not know if this 30-day course is still available for individual purchase, but I can tell you that it inspired me to create my own 30-day journaling guide, which is available as of this Wednesday: Laser-sharp Career Focus: Discover your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days.

It wasn’t just the format that was inspired by Derek, however. As the world’s leading expert on the Law of Emergence, based on his teachings I changed my paradigm and the model that I used to help my clients discover their purpose and passion from one that is less about receiving input and more about guiding them further inward to help them acknowledge what is already within them and wanting to emerge. It changed the whole process from one of pushing to allowing oneself to be pulled, which requires a lot less motivation, a force that most of us cannot sustain long enough to overcome challenges and create our dreams.

 

Next week I will share with you what is on deck for 2017. I have a full library of books, courses and events that will help me continue my personal and professional growth sprint and enable me to assist you even better in yours.

 

Have a happy, healthy, prosperous new year!

 

5 Ways to Be Your Own Best Boss in Your Job Search

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

Yosr works as a consultant by World Bank Photo Collection of Flickr

 

A revelation to me in my personal development journey was learning that we actually train others how to treat us. So, if you keep finding yourself on the receiving end of bullies or on the giving end of those who constantly take, the reason is: they have learned from you what is acceptable.

This fact can be a hard pill to swallow, but the sooner it is acknowledged, the sooner you can set new expectations on how you want to be treated. It may seem as though this could be difficult with the people closest to you, and easier for people you have yet to meet. The true challenge, however, is learning to treat yourself like you want to be treated.

Though it has taken me all summer, I have finally finished Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better than Before. In the last chapter she shared a strategy that she uses to keep herself on track toward her goals, which is to consult her inner manager. She is an upholder, which means her tendency is to only make commitments that she knows that she can keep, both to herself and others, and then to keep them.  She is still subject to the self-talk that threatens to deviate her from her plan to achieve her goals, however. When that happens, she consults with her and her manager, who is both her boss and her employee.

When you are job searching, you are your own boss, even if you have a coach to help guide you in specific activities and to whom you can be accountable. It is still you everyday that must wake up and do what needs to be done, and still you who reaps the benefits, or suffers the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. More often than not, I have seen how job seekers make themselves suffer if they hit a slump, and this leads to a downward spiral. We are often harder on ourselves than we would be on someone else, or even than we would want someone else to be to us.

I know there are a lot of things to think about and do when you are searching for a job, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn new ways of treating yourself that can enable you to set better expectations for other people, including your future boss.

Here are five ways that during your job search you can be a kind manager to yourself:

 

  1. Set clear daily, weekly, and monthly goals

Last week I offered examples of SMART goals that will help you land. Feel free to use them for yourself or model your own SMART goals after them.

 

  1. Reverse-engineer and schedule your workflow

You may have heard the advice to treat your job search as if it is your job, which means most people tend to spend their 9-5 on searching. I am more of a proponent of working smart versus hard, a la Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek. If the SMART goals that you set are ones that do actually help you generate momentum, then managing a schedule is really more about allocating time for those activities, some of which may be in the evening. I truly believe that it is more about the quality of the time invested and not about the quantity. While it seems these days that people have to be on the clock outside of normal business hours, true work–life integration means being off the clock sometimes during normal business hours.

 

  1. Manage, track, measure, and improve

In business it is widely known that you cannot manage what you do not measure and you cannot measure what you do not track. What if the SMART goals that you set are not helping you build momentum? How will you know what to change or improve if you aren’t tracking your activities? This is exactly the reason that we offer our Epic Careering Tool Kit as part of our coaching programs and for individual sale. If you are your own boss, what matters most? That you are doing the activities that are supposed to get results, or that you are getting results? Ultimately, it is about the results – quality job interviews that lead to offers. Keep track of what you are doing so that you can identify what is working and what is not and make improvements that make a difference in your results.

 

  1. Take time for self-care

If you are working smarter rather than harder, that should leave you with some extra time. With this extra time, take care of the things that tend to weigh on your mind and zap your energy. This could be doctor’s appointments that you’ve been putting off or home projects. This could even mean confronting someone with whom you have had a conflict. If you find that you think about these things pretty regularly, take care of them and you will find that you feel lighter, have more energy and are more capable of showing up as your best self. Use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy, or try new things that might teach you something you have yet to discover about yourself.

Many people forego a vacation while they are job searching, but I can’t tell you how many times a client or friend returned to great news about a job offer after taking a vacation. Or they just generally felt more capable of taking on the challenge of landing their next career adventure.

Set clear boundaries on your time, which requires clarity on what is most important to you.  If you better understand why these boundaries exist, you can more confidently enforce them with yourself and with other people. Remember, if you do not respect your own boundaries, no one else will.

“There’s a place in you that you must keep inviolate, you must keep it pristine, clean, so that nobody has the right to curse you or treat you badly. Nobody – no mother, no father, no wife, no husband – nobody, because that may be the place you go to when you meet God. You have to have a place where you say ‘stop it.  Back up.’

 

“Say no, when it is no. Say so. Back it up,” Angelou continued.  “Because that place has to remain clean and clear.”

 

  1. Celebrate and reward good performance

Celebrate every little victory. The more your brain associates good feelings with the activities that you need to do, the easier it will be to form good habits around those activities, whether you believe they are enjoyable or not. You could use Gretchen Rubin’s strategy of pairing, meaning combine the activities that you do not enjoy so much with activities that you do enjoy, such as listening to music while you do research, or coloring while you make phone calls.

One thing that keeps me from getting sucked into social media distraction while I’m working is to use checking Facebook as a reward for finishing my most critical to-dos. This also helps me associate checking Facebook with good feelings, as opposed to the guilt I might feel if I’m doing it instead of what I’m supposed to be doing. The better I feel, the stronger my will is to continue with good habits and abstain from bad ones.

 

I encourage you to evaluate whether you have been a good boss or bad boss to yourself. Perhaps you have been too hard on yourself, or perhaps you have not been expecting enough of yourself. Give to yourself what you feel you have been missing. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Once you learn how to set and enforce high expectations of respecting yourself, you will be much more capable of training others, including your next boss, to treat you with the same level of respect.

 

Four Experts Agree: Smart People Engage Coaches

Time is Money

Time is Money

 

If I had a nickel for every time a client told me…

“I would ask them what they think of my new resume, but I don’t want them to think I’m crazy for spending the money to have it professionally written.”

Or

“I don’t know if my spouse is going to go for this. I mean, I need a job, and what I’ve been doing isn’t working, and he/she definitely wants me back to work, but what if we need that money to pay bills if I wind up still looking for a job three months from now.”

Or…

“I would really love to give you a testimonial. You did a fantastic job, but I don’t know if they know I didn’t get here on my own.”

Of course, my clients have every right to keep our relationship confidential, and I completely respect that.

However, in response:

If you haven’t landed or come close to an offer three months after engaging me and you took advantage of everything that I proposed (through a formal proposal process), you get your money back. That is my guarantee.

Also, smart people engage experts, and the experts will tell you that they got where they are because they engaged other experts to help teach them.

Here are four experts who advise that if you want to achieve your goals, don’t spend eight hours doing adequately what an expert can do well in half the time.

 

“The only difference between a rich person and poor person is how they use their time” -Robert Kiyosaki, businessman and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

“Today is your day to take total control of your future! Everyone needs a great mentor!” -Bill Walsh, business coach, CEO and founder of Powerteam International.

“Time well spent results in more money to spend, more money to save, and more time to vacation.” – Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, salesman and author of Better Than Good.

“Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals.” -Tim Ferriss entrepreneur, public speaker and author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

 

Time is money, especially when you are in transition. Every week you spend unemployed or without a job is another week spent without optimal income. I know that it is scary to spend money when you do not know how long that money will last. But if the money you spend in transition is not increasing your chances of bringing in income in the future, then once it is spent, it is gone.

I really do not mind at all if a client wants to take all the credit and keeps me a secret. It is ultimately their wise decision to invest in their success and they were smart enough to choose me.