Category Archives: Finances

See How Easily You Can Improve Your Children’s Behavior

Remember air travel in the 1960s and 1970s, or perhaps earlier? People dressed up to fly on an airplane. Even for frequent travelers, who could have been blasé about the experience, men wore suits and ties and women wore stylish dresses, hats, and gloves. Passenger rage was unheard and poor service was uncommon.

See How Easily You Can Improve Your Children’s Behavior

Yesterday while waiting to board a flight I spoke to a fellow passenger who complained that she had to endure an eight-year-old child crying and sassing her mother during a five-hour flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles. I empathized with her, especially later when I approached an airline counter to get my seat assignment and was curtly told by the ticket agent that she was handling a different flight.

Air travel today is so different than my first airplane ride in 1966, as a six-year-old, when I flew from Phoenix to Kansas City. I wore a red blazer and tie. It never occurred to me to misbehave.

The way you dress matters. A 2009 survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com showed that 41 percent of employers admitted to promoting people who dressed professionally. Licensed Professional Counselor and retired public educator and counselor Carole Bell sums up numerous studies that show dress affects how children behave. Being dressed up impacts your mental state. It turns an everyday occurrence into a special event or makes you feel that your conduct has to rise to the level of the way you are attired.

Half a century ago, it was understood that more formal dress led to better manners. While it is unlikely that suits and dresses for air travel, let alone daily activities, will make a comeback, perhaps with greater attention to attire behavior can be improved.

Question – Do you think people should strive for the refinement of prior decades? How would you bring it about? Please leave a comment below.

Learn How to Love the Tasks You Hate

Life works the way you ate as a kid. The chicken was probably good but Brussel sprouts, are you kidding me? Yet you put up with them to get to dessert. Whatever you are doing: working, exercising, running a business, being married or in a relationship, earning a degree, you still want to rush through the meal to get to the ice cream. But your parents were right. The sugar high of the dessert cannot sustain you without the foundational elements of the meal: the soup, salad, and main course.

Learn How to Love the Tasks You Hate

I was struck by this idea while trying to expand the list of non-dessert foods my five-year-old daughter will eat. Currently, they can be listed on two hands and one foot. And she will only eat cucumbers if they are slathered in salad dressing. As I sat there frustrated she asked me what foods I hated when I was a boy. She had me nailed dead to rights.

There are three types of tasks you need to do to be successful: those you already know you like, those you already know you hate, and those you have not done because you are afraid to try. It is no problem getting motivated to do the tasks you like to do. But the other two categories are a challenge.

For tasks you dislike, you have five choices:

  1. Do not do them and be content with the level of success you have already attained.
  2. Force yourself to do them, which means you probably will not muster up much enthusiasm to do them well.
  3. Farm them out. But you'll still need to know how to do them well enough that your can train and monitor the person handling them.
  4. Make them a part of some other task you like to do. For example, when I first started cold calling one of the things I did was listen carefully to try and detect an accent and then see if I could accurately identify where the person came from and learn about other places.
  5. Do them so often you learn to love them.

For tasks you are afraid to try, identify the source of your fear. Perhaps the activity stirs up memories of a particularly difficult event in the past. Remember, your taste buds matured as you got older and you now like a broader range of foods.  So too your ability to handle unfamiliar tasks is much greater than you think. Maybe the one you are afraid to try will become a favorite. And if not, you can always use option three or four above and slather it with something you love.

There is one difference between life and eating as a kid is unlike a meal.  Without learning to do all the tasks necessary for success, thoughts of wealth, fame, or whatever else you seek may make you salivate, but you will not achieve them. Without the foundational elements that nourish and sustain you, dessert will elude you.

Question – How do you motivate yourself to do the tasks you dislike or are afraid to try? Please respond below.

If You Don’t Research Being an Entrepreneur Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Homework. As much as you may have hated it when you were in school, it is essential for entrepreneurship.

If You Don’t Research Being an Entrepreneur Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later

Currently, I am considering getting into a new enterprise. While excited by the possibilities, I am tempering my enthusiasm while investigating the industry and assessing the financial risks. An inc.com article published today pointed out that British entrepreneurs are about four times less likely than the general population to describe themselves as adventurous and over half said they have at least one risk-averse characteristic.

When I evaluate risk, I gather facts, draw my conclusions, bounce them off of people whose judgment I respect, then reassess. I also network to find people with experience in the industry from whom to learn.

So before deciding if entrepreneurship is right for you, some research is in order. With the Internet, it is easier than ever. Here are five of my favorite resources on entrepreneurship and business and why I like them.

Inc. Magazine Online Edition – a treasure trove of articles on starting and running a business, many written by star bloggers whose work is worth following.

One More Customer - remember Fran Tarkenton? This is his venture for promoting small business. Take his Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test.

Kauffman Foundation - a wealth of encouragement, information, and statistics to get you thinking and acting as an entrepreneur.

Michael Hyatt’s Intentional Leadership blog - if you want to build a social media platform from which to market yourself and/or your business Michael Hyatt wrote the book, literally. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World takes you step by step through the process. And there is tons of great material on his website.

Patrick McFadden’s Indispensable Marketing blog - if your mind is hungry, Patrick McFadden will feed it with thoughtful and useful advice on marketing for small businesses.

You have your assignment. Don’t worry, I am not checking spelling and grammar.

Question - What resources do you use to learn about entrepreneurship and business? Please respond below.

What Decisive People Know About Success that You Don’t

Which is better - drilling down to perfect your idea before execution or getting a solid plan outlined then acting on it? Just about everyone knows that a plan is essential for success, but as General George S. Patton, Jr. said, “a good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” Since business, like battles, rarely goes according to plan, in a planning versus performance face-off, default to performance.What Decisive People Know About Success that You Don’t

Remember in grade school when the teacher asked a question and you were brimming with enthusiasm to answer, squirming in your chair until called on to speak? Now think about how bad you felt when that answer was wrong. Is it any wonder that after a few times getting crushed by giving an incorrect answer you became much more skittish about speaking up unless you were absolutely sure you were right? Unfortunately, that lesson works against your success in business.

Patrick Lencioni argues that clarity about your plan is more important than perfecting it. Especially when working with a team, success comes from each member being clear about his part. Tom Hopkins says you should “put a little GOYA into your daily routine.” What is GOYA? Get Off Your Backside (polite word for Anatomy.)

Even if it turns out you made the wrong decision or had a bad plan, the experience and information you will gain by executing it will help you make adjustments as you move forward. You can only get to your goal by taking action. In most cases, as long as the next two or three steps are reasonably clear, you do not need to see a well-defined path all the way to your objective to get there.

Get moving, encounter obstacles, push beyond them. After a while, look back. You will be amazed how far you have come.

Question – How do you know when a plan you have formed is ready for execution?

You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below

Take the Plunge: Action = Improvement and Success

“You know Facebook? Well, I had the same idea way before Zuckerberg.” I bet you have heard someone make a similar claim. So if it is true, the person is worth $1 billion, right?

Take the Plunge: Action = Improvement and Success

When I started my first business too often I found competitors had gotten clients I wanted. After a short time, I realized that I was spending too much time preparing. I needed to act, even though my scripts and skills were not perfect. Here is the rub. Even when I thought I was properly prepared, frequently I found the situation going in an unanticipated direction, making many of my preparations useless. I finally realized that I was placing too much emphasis on each potential client rather than on the process itself. In reality, there are always more prospects.

There are only three states of mind in business: we are sure we are ready, we are uncertain about our state of preparedness, or we know we are not prepared. We have to be careful not to use the last two as excuses to procrastinate. Preparation can be an infinitely long process. How do you avoid this pitfall? Here are some steps:

  1. Prepare by improving skills so you can work the process better – If you want to be successful in business you have to be superior to your competition. If you want to make money in sales you have to learn to prospect.
  2. Remember the perfect is the enemy of the good and of moving forward – Perfection is an illusion. For example, do not be fooled into thinking that if you wait until you are in the right frame of mind you will prospect better. Most of business is a numbers game: the more people with whom you interact the more successful you will be. Consistently acting will get you closer to perfection than any other thing you can do.
  3. Unless you are certain more preparation is crucial, ACT! NOW! – Not sure you are ready. Move forward. You will never figure out if you are ready by waiting. Think your sales script needs improvement? The only way to know is to work it. Are people ready for your fantastic business idea? You will have to take a leap of faith at some point to find out. No amount of research will be conclusive.

Question: What do you do to prod yourself to take action?

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