March 20, 2017
That’s how long someone has to capture our attention.
So why are we inundated with requests like:
- Follow me on Twitter
- Please like my Facebook page
- I would love for you to check out my new website
See the theme?
Me. My. I.
Everyone is so busy talking about themselves that they fail to stop and ask a crucial question: “What does my audience care about?”
It’s the misstep of promoting vanity over value.
Posting information about you provides no value to your reader.
People care about what’s interesting, inspiring, thought provoking, important, or helpful, to them.
Give them a reason to follow you on Twitter, like your Facebook page, or check out your new website.
It’s not about you…it’s always about them.
Drop the vanity and give your reader the value they deserve.
March 13, 2017
Seasoned travelers are selective about what items make it to their suitcase.
Effective communicators are as selective about what words make it to their vocabulary.
Here are 3 dead-weight words to leave behind:
- But: (The eraser) obliterates anything positive that comes before it. Case in point: “You’re a really nice person but we should break up.” Either say what comes before the b-word, or what comes after it. You can’t have it both ways.
- Just: (The reducer) minimizes whatever follows it. We all know, “I just need a moment of your time” or “Oh, I just threw dinner together…no trouble at all” shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead of downplaying your needs or accomplishments, state them plainly.
- Try: (The delayer) creates a diversion from the inevitable (sometimes awkward) truth. Let’s be real… “I’ll try to give you a call” is code for, “Don’t expect to hear from me.” Next time you say, “I’ll try…” compare it to your inner monologue. The disparity may be eye opening.
Words matter. Unpack the dead-weight that erases, reduces, and delays.
March 7, 2017
…and, those failures don’t have to define the truth about you.
Easy enough to believe when we feel confident. Difficult to embrace when we feel anxious and intimidated.
This concept comes to life when our clients invest in coaching to improve their presentation skills. Speaking in front of others has a way of magnifying self-criticism. It’s tempting to define ourselves through past experiences and fixate on the time when:
- our mind went blank in front of a group of executives
- we didn’t know how to respond to an audience question
- we felt inadequate in front of our listeners
As clients journey through our coaching, they begin to have new experiences and inevitably, they:
- discover, embrace, and utilize the unique strengths they possess
- acknowledge and accept their imperfections and become more authentic
- create and deliver a powerful message that moves their audience to action
Ultimately, there is a choice of what to carry forward: past failures or new discoveries.
We all wrestle with competing truths.
It’s time to view ourselves through a new lens, wiped clean of old worn-out failures.
Who we were, and who we could be are in fierce competition for our allegiance.
Which one will it be?
February 27, 2017
The pursuit of convenience gets in the way of our pursuit of happiness.
Convenience would like us to believe that life gets better when the things we care about are: Close. Fast. Easy.
The truth is… life gets good when the things we care about most inspire us to go farther, move slower, and work harder.
Pick your top three:
- Lasting partnerships
- Trusted friendships
- Personal growth
- Ideal health
- Inspiring work
- Memorable moments
- Financial wellbeing
- Emotional healing
- Family bonds
The people, experiences, and accomplishments that make life fulfilling are far from convenient. Our pursuit of happiness is inconvenient – and oh, so worth it.
Be honest about what you really value in this life…
Do they mean enough to you to be inconvenienced?
February 20, 2017
No one can give you a skill.
A hammer in your hand is only a tool.
Skill comes later. It’s earned.
The path from tool to skill is ugly. It involves mistakes, failure, pain, and self-doubt.
As you learn how to swing that hammer…it won’t be pretty.
Julia Cameron said it best in the Artist’s Way, “It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time.”
Transforming a tool into a skill requires practice, coaching, humility… and time. Lots of time…
It’s worth it.
Finely tuned skills empower us to communicate more persuasively, lead more effectively, and serve more meaningfully.
Getting tools of the trade is easier than acquiring skills of the art.
That’s why tools are abundant and skills are rare.
What tool are you ready to develop into a skill this year?
February 13, 2017
Inspire. Influence. Move others to action.
Your words have the power to do it all.
Fail to speak with intention and your communication becomes uninspiring, insignificant and indecisive.
Three phrases that reduce the power of your message are: I Think, I Believe, and I Hope.
These are safety-net phrases. They weaken your point and diminish the confidence listeners have in your message:
- “I think choosing this direction will give us the results we’re after.”
- “I believe this product will allow you to finally reach your target market.”
- “I hope our partnership will provide the support needed to grow your business.”
Hear the difference:
- “Choosing this direction will give us the results we’re after.”
- “This product will allow you to finally reach your target market.”
- “Our partnership will provide the support needed to grow your business.”
The fact that you are saying it implies that you think, believe, or hope it. No need to state the obvious.
People follow those who communicate with conviction.
Make sure your words demonstrate the power you want your listeners to feel.
Words matter: communicate with power.
February 6, 2017
We’ve all heard it:
- “I wish my team would do a better job listening to our customers.”
- “People just aren’t loyal to a company anymore.”
- “Millennials are so distracted.”
It is a reasonable expectation to have a team that listens, made up of people who are loyal and present.
However, reasonable doesn’t always translate to realistic.
To make that leap, every leader must wrestle with a single question:
How do I demonstrate what I desire?
Wouldn’t it be strange if I complained about not having any tomatoes if I never planted any?
It’s a reasonable expectation for tomatoes to grow in a garden.
It’s only a realistic expectation once the seeds are planted.
So it is in business.
No leader is above the law of sowing and reaping:
- If it’s listening you seek: Be an effective listener.
- If it’s loyalty you want: Demonstrate what loyalty looks like.
- If it’s presence you crave: Live and lead in the moment.
It’s only realistic to expect your team to give what they get.
January 30, 2017
Why do most people talk in terms of what they sell?
Customers hear in terms of what they buy.
What you sell and what people buy are not the same thing. Not even close.
This applies to products, services, and ideas:
- A retailer sells outdoor equipment and apparel
- Their customer buys freedom and adventure
- A consultant sells LinkedIn profile design
- His client buys a compelling professional brand for networking and career growth
- An executive sells an idea to serve customers more efficiently
- Her team buys a balanced and productive workload
Selling is about you.
Buying is about them.
Want people to be intrigued with your products, services, and ideas?
Speak their language.
Sell what they buy.
January 23, 2017
You’re almost a month into the year.
Did you start chasing your goals at a sprint?
I’ve finally started running my years like I run my races.
Here’s what happens…every time:
- Gun goes off
- Race begins
- Runners pass me by
Immediately, I drop to the back of the pack.
My mind starts taunting… How are you gonna feel coming in last?
I have a choice: stick with my unglamorous pace or rush ahead in a blur of glory.
I stay the course.
As the miles pass by, guess who reappears?
Those same runners who sprinted ahead at the start.
One by one I pass them.
They aren’t having much fun. They’re struggling. Hurting.
Victims of their start.
Finishing strong is a lot better than starting fast.
So, if in the early dawn of the year you’re already out of breath, have a cramp in your side, and the road ahead seem daunting…
Perhaps you started too fast.
Allow yourself to recalibrate your pace.
You’re less than one-twelfth of the way through…
Slow down. Enjoy the journey. Finish strong.
January 16, 2017
If corporate America were a pro sports team, most people would be injured.
The best coaches provide their team with ample time for recovery after intense performance. The best leaders should too…
High performance on the field requires the same discipline as high performance in the office:
Balancing work with rest.
When the scales are off for too long, diminishing returns from the mind, body, and spirit are inevitable.
Leaders who apply balance cultivate innovation, creativity, and energy.
Leaders who push their team to the point of exhaustion end up with people who are stagnant, unimaginative, and burnt out.
Our culture at large values hyper-activity and scoffs at the idea of rest.
Perhaps that’s why levels of workplace well-being have plummeted over the last decade.
Don’t take the bait. Make it a priority to schedule intentional rest periods for yourself and your team.
That means actually utilizing your personal days or simply taking that lunch hour you have a habit of skipping…
Put yourself on your calendar. Rest works.