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Archive for the ‘Uncommon Business’ Category

There’s Only So Much to Go Around

March 26th, 2012

I’ve just returned from a much-needed family sojourn to the Gulf of Mexico to celebrate Spring Break. Lots of long walks and talks mixed in with some intense writing time.

All this moodling, talking and walking gave rise to a single common theme for everyone in our family: we are each trying to do too much. The Young Turk was the first to pipe up with this observation about himself. “Can I stop doing so much every day, Mom? I just want time to hang out at home without feeling rushed.”

Wise words for a nine-year old, don’t you think?

The more we talked about his desires, the more I realized I wanted the very same thing. Time to just hang out and be. It seemed like an impossible desire to fulfill considering the sudden take-off of my new thing, Fierce Loyalty. I’m writing a book, crafting guest posts, speaking at events, conducting interviews and a million other things that take up precious time.

And guess what? None of them are getting the proper time and attention. I’m moving so fast that I’m not doing anything well. And since I am the source of all this creation, I’m squandering the resource by spreading it to thin.

So, starting this week, I’m cutting back. I have to if I want to produce my very best work. What does that look like?

1. I’m paring down my coaching clients so I can give my best to a small group.

2. I’m cutting back on my blog posting. Not forever but until I get some other major writing projects out of the way.

3. My social media time is getting loped to a minimum. I still show up most days, but I don’t camp out on Twitter like I used to.

4. My newsletter will go out every other week now. Since I put it together myself, I want what I send to be rich and meaningful rather than something I dash off because it is “Newsletter Day”.

5. I’m building in “do nothing” time for every single day. The more I tap my creativity, the more I’ve got to have this time to re-fill the well.

Oh – and I’m making calls and cutting back on The Young Turk’s commitments, too. He is a creative and an empath just like me. I want him to learn to value Do Nothing time as a way to re-fuel and re-charge now before the world teaches him that it’s a waste of time. :-)

What about you? Are you feeling spread to thin? In need of some carved out Do Nothing Time so you can bring your best self back to the task at hand?

I’d love to hear about it. :-)

 

 

28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Series Now a Free E-book

March 14th, 2012

Whew!

After figuring out how to hurdle a number of technological hurdles, I’ve finally converted the entire 28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Guest Blog Series into an e-book. You can grab it for free and with no opt-in required at my new site, Fierce Loyalty.

Click HERE to go straight to the download page. 

How I Get So Much Stuff Done

March 12th, 2012

I’ve written about this topic before but I’ve gotten a ton of questions lately about how I get so much stuff done while still being a good mom to the two small turks and a decent wife to Turk Senior. So I’m writing about it again. :-)

Please note: I am not a big organizational freak and this is the only “system”, if you will, that gives me enough structure and enough flexibility to tame the wildness that is my life.

If you find it useful – yay! If not, that’s okay too. :-)

Monday: Admin Day. This is the day I meet with my team, pay bills, all things paperwork related. This is also the day I look over the coming week, month, 90 Days to think about and plan for upcoming business opportunities.

I pre-write my Monday blog post so all I need to do is edit a just a bit. 

I make a master Task list for the week. I just split a piece of paper into two columns, one labeled Work and one labeled Home. then I brain dump everything that needs to get done in the week. Then I build my daily to-do lists from this master list.

Tuesday: Focus Day. These are the days that I concentrate on my high-payoff business activities.  For me, focus days are for coaching clients, leading classes, speaking, writing, going to appointments, etc.

Focus days are also for communicating with prospective clients about coaching, speaking opportunities, guest blog post opportunities, etc.  The point is that I’m doing what needs to be done to generate revenue, either now or sometime in the future.

Wednesday: Focus Day

Thursday: Focus Day

Friday: I alternate this between Admin and Focus depending on what needs the most attention at the time. If Monday was a school holiday, this is my catch up day.  And if I’ve been super super productive – I get to take Friday off and have a Play Day. :-)

Again – these definitions aren’t rigid. But I have found that if I start blurring the lines between how I define my days, they all start to become one big blur. By focusing my energy, I actually give myself the gift of momentum and can get a good bit accomplished in a short amount of time.

Am I able to stick to all of this 100% of time? Absolutely not! But I figure if I can stick to it about 70% of the time, I’m doing pretty well.

I’d love to hear how you organize your time so that it serves you. :-)

5 Reasons Doing a Guest Blog Series is Awesome for Your Big Idea

March 5th, 2012

Wow that was fun! People always ask me if doing a month-long guest series is worth all the time and energy it requires of me. After just completing my fourth one, I can tell you that YES! it is totally worth it!!

In fact, one of the things I encourage each of my private clients to do is put together their own guest blog series. It’s not because I want them to be like me, it’s because there are hard business objectives that a blog series can accomplish for you. Here are my top 5:

1) By choosing the right theme for your series (I highly recommend choosing your Big Idea), you can carve out expert space for yourself and be seen as a leader in that field. For example, I chose Building Fierce Loyalty as my theme this time around because I want my name associated with that idea. It was an excellent lead up to launching my Fierce Loyalty site.

2) You get to partner with peers and influencers who can help you spread the word. No one is going to send out a stand alone email to their list about writing for your series. Most, however, will use their social media channels on the day they post to your series. Both the influencers and their audiences will start connecting your name to your Big Idea.

3) Your tribe, community – whatever you call it – will connect you with the Big Idea behind your theme. The more people who connect your name to your big Idea the better. And it gives you room to expand on your Big Idea with your tribe listening.

4) Done correctly, traffic, SEO, Google searches, etc., will all go up, meaning that even more people see your name and your Big Idea in the same place.

5) (And my VERY favorite) You get to build incredible relationships with your tribe because of the prolonged conversations that are happening around your Big Idea. And to be clear, your tribe includes you subscribers, your commentors, your lurkers, your guest authors, your social media audiences. Reactions, discussions, conversations around your Big Idea will give it layers, nuance, and depth. Plus, building relationships is just a really awesome thing to do. :-)

So there you go. Five reasons doing a guest blog series is awesome for your Big Idea. And just so you know, every participant at my Live Entrepreneur Expedition gets my Blog PowerUp Playbook that walks you through EXACTLY how to do a guest blog series. Read about the Expedition here and the Playbook here.

Now, what are some other ways to spread your Big Idea?

Everything I Needed to Know About Building Community, I Learned from a College Dorm

January 30th, 2012

In last week’s post, Building a Community Starts with a Decision, I promised to share the community building strategies I stumbled upon in my very first job out of college. I was a “Community Development Coordinator” in the St. Louis University residence hall system, charged with building and fostering community under less than ideal circumstances.

Through a steep learning curve of trial and error, I learned what worked and what didn’t work. And these lessons have stayed with me for the past 20 years, informing everything I’ve ever done. (And for the record, everything I’ve ever done involved building a community. Quite honestly, I think it’s part of what everyone does if they want to be successful.)

 

Everything I Needed to Know About Building Community, I Learned from a College Dorm

#1 Give them ownership of the community, even when you think they are totally going to mess it up.
There were no RA’s living on each floor of the residence hall to keep everyone in line. Instead, each floor was given the authority to design and enforce their own rules (with a little guidance of course). With that privilege came the responsibility of paying for any damage that occurred on their floor.

I’ll never forget standing in the stairwell one Friday night listening to a girl totally dress down three drunk boys who thought they were going to knock out a light fixture when no one was looking. She was fierce and she wasn’t backing down. AND her floormates came out of their rooms to support her. It was awesome.

#2 Find the thing that will motivate them to participate in self-governance.
Each floor was allocated a small “social fund”. I decided to tie the receipt of that social fund to participation in a Hall Council which governed the entire dorm. A floor representative had to attend 75% of the meeting in order to get their check.

#3 Give them a group project to work on together.
Each floor was allowed to design and paint a hall theme each year. We supplied the paint and everything else they needed. We even held a contest which turned into a fierce competition (lots of floors kept their designs a secret, barring anyone who didn’t live there from coming onto the floor).  I was after, and got, two results 1) They accomplished something as a community and 2) they turned a run down building into something that felt like home.

#4 Connect them with mentors.
I gave each floor the challenge of asking a faculty or staff member to become their Floor Mentor. A mentor’s job was basically just to hang out, socialize, offer guidance when needed and just be there. It was fun to watch as the mentors started showing up for intramural games, helping with the Floor Personalization Contest and handing out in the dorm dining hall. Most of them had never interacted with students outside the classroom and they loved it. The students loved having a “go-to” adult other than me when they were trying to figure something out.

#5 Believe that they are capable, really capable of stepping up to the challenge.
This is the secret sauce and it took me the longest to learn. My students would step up only as far as I believed they could. No more. No less. My job was to equip them, help them, and support them. But if I ever gave them the impression I thought they couldn’t do it, they would prove me right every single time.

These aren’t the only strategies that I used, but they are absolutely my Top 5. They are the ones I pull out again and again and again because they stand the test of time and because they apply universally.

I hope you find these helpful and I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

OH – and if you want to continue the conversation about Community and Fierce Loyalty. 28 days to Building Fierce Loyalty start this Wednesday, February 1. Join this free blog series here: http://bit.ly/FierceLoyalty

Building a Community Starts with a Decision

January 25th, 2012

My first job out of college was at St. Louis University (Go Billikens!).  They hired me to be a Community Development Coordinator in their residence hall system. That was right up my alley. I’d started organizations in college, worked in a residence hall, and loved the idea of strengthening a student community.

However, there were a few unanticipated challenges.

Challenge #1 – Most of the students who lived in my particular residence hall lived in the St. Louis area. They viewed their dorm room as simply a convenient place to sleep, not as a “home away from home.”

Challenge #2 – The physical building of this particular residence hall was old and worn. Poor lighting, poor plumbing, poor windows, small rooms, no common space – all barriers to creating a warm feeling.

Challenge #3 – I was young, fresh out of college, with no real idea of what I was doing.

(Mercifully, Challenge #3 became a huge asset because I didn’t know enough to know what an uphill battle I was fighting.)

Isn’t that true with most businesses and organizations, though? I mean, if we step back and look at trying to create a community, don’t the seemingly insurmountable challenges start to rise up in front of our eyes?

Challenges like – how on earth are we going to find, much less connect with such a far-flung group of people? What are we going to talk about once we run out of our standard marketing messages? How do we draw a group together and foster a true feeling of community that sticks? The daunting list could go on and on.

The only solution I found in my first job and in every other community-building situation I’ve ever been in is that building a community is a decision we make. Just like any other kind of relationship, we have to decide every single day that we want to build a community – no matter how difficult it might seem.

I decided every single day for two years that building a community out of college students was worth it. Worth the frustration, worth the long hours, worth the mistakes, worth it all.  And bit by bit, day by day, I watched this thing called community take shape and grow stronger. Pride developed. Trust developed. Passionate commitment developed.

In fact, by the end of my two-year commitment, the students were so invested in the well-being of their community that they sent a representative to interview the candidates for my replacement to ensure he or she would be a good “fit”.

All of this evolved, in spite of the daunting liabilities I listed above.

In another post, I’ll talk about the specific strategies I stumbled into that worked. These strategies apply to college residence halls, Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and small businesses. It’s exciting stuff, really.

For now, though, you’ve got to decide that you want to build a community. And you’ve got to be prepared to make that decision every single day. Are you in?

P.S. If you want to go much, much deeper into what it takes to build a fiercely loyal community, join me for my annual guest blog series starting Feb. 1. http://bit.ly/FierceLoyalty

 

The Secret to Happiness

January 23rd, 2012

(This was my newsletter article last Thursday. I got so many emails from people who really enjoyed it that I thought I would share it with everyone. Not a newsletter subscriber? Handle that here: http://bit.ly/EscapeNotes.)

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of the Happiness Research that’s being published. There is a wealth of insight into what makes us tick as human beings AND into what we need to do to incorporate happiness into our business models.

My biggest takeaway from the research, and the thing I am focusing on is this fact:

More than money, more than the pursuit of pleasure, it is connection and engagement that most impacts our feelings of happiness.

For me that means that:

1)  I feel happiest when I feel connected and engaged with others.

2)  My clients feel happiest when they are connected and engaged both with me and with each other.

3)  My community feels happiest when we are all connected and engaged with each other.

A big part of my job, then, is to facilitate this connection and engagement. Yay! I love adding this to my job description!

I’ll be rolling out opportunities to connect and engage with me and with each other throughout 2012, starting with my Annual February Guest Blog Series. This year’s theme is Building Fierce Loyalty.

http://bit.ly/FierceLoyalty

You are going to love the experts I’ve lined up for you and the community of participants that always gathers around this series. SO fun. :-)

How can you create opportunities for people to connect and engage with each other as part of your business? Would love to hear your ideas!

A Very UNmediocre Contest for You

January 16th, 2012

Win a Dell 3330dn Printer

I rarely do sponsored contests. Usually the contest is too complicated. Or turns into some sort of popularity contest. Or the prize is totally lame.

This contest is different. Awesomely different. :-)

I’m partnering with Zocalo and Dell to give away a Dell 3330dn printer. And this isn’t some teeny wimpy printer, either. This is a KILLER printer that will increase your a) efficiency and b) your professional image. Two things I really really want for you. :-)

Just so you get a feel for how impressive this printer is, here it is:

Dell 3330dn Laser Printer

Advanced Performance, Productivity & Value

The Dell 3330dn Laser Printer delivers stunning performance, low total cost of ownership and the flexibility to expand along with your business.

  • Standard Duplexer: Save time and paper with automatic 2-sided printing.
  • Blazing Print Speeds: Reduce waiting time with print speeds of up to 40 pages per minute (letter) (actual print speed will vary with use) and first print-out time as fast as 7 seconds.
  • Sharp, Professional-Quality Prints: Native print resolution of up to 1200dpi x 1200dpi for exceptionally crisp, clear text and graphics.
  • Expandable Capacity: Meet even higher print demand with optional additional memory power, USB font card and 550-sheet paper feeder.

So, how do you win such a cool addition to your home office?

I’ve posted the OFFICIAL RULES below so that there is no room for confusion. :-)  BUT, here’s the short answer:

Starting THIS Thursday January 19 at 9 am EST, simply tweet me ( @SarahRobinson) your BEST answer to this question: “How do you stay efficient while avoiding being mediocre?” and use the hashtag #printsecrets.

You can tweet your answer a maximum of three times during the contest period  (see rules below) and you’ll be entered to win once for each tweet. The contest ends at 5 pm EST, Friday, January 20.

I’m telling you about the contest now, so you can start crafting your very best tip and be ready to rumble on Thursday. :-)

While I ordinarily LOVE for you to respond in the comments and to send me emails, the only way to enter this contest is on Twitter.

And last but not least, in the interest of full disclosure, I am receiving compensation for holding the very cool contest.

And now, for the Very Official Rules:

Escaping Mediocrity Dell Printer Promotion
Official Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT
IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
Promotion may only be entered in or from the 50 United States, the District of Columbia
and entries originating from any other jurisdiction are not eligible for entry.  This
Promotion is governed exclusively by the laws of the United States.   You are not
authorized to participate in the Promotion if you are not located within the United States.

1.  How to Enter. During the Promotion Period, visit http://www.escaping-mediocrity.com
(“Administrator’s Website”) to receive instructions on how to enter the Promotion. Prior
to doing so, you will be prompted to sign into your Twitter account.  If you do not have
an account, visit www.twitter.com to create one.
Twitter accounts are free.  Once logged
into your Twitter account, follow the instructions to become a follower of
@SarahRobinson. You automatically will receive one (1) entry into the Promotion for
each message you post that answers the question, “how do you stay efficient while
avoiding being mediocre?” and includes the hashtag #printsecrets.

By entering, each entrant warrants and represents the following with respect to
their Twitter message: (a) entrant is the sole and exclusive owner of the message;
and (b) the message is entrant’s own creation and will not infringe on any rights of
any third parties. Dell (“Sponsor”) and Administrator reserve the right, in their sole and
absolute discretion, to disqualify any messages that are inappropriate for any reason,
including without limitation, for depicting or mentioning sex, violence, drugs, alcohol
and/or inappropriate language.

Limit: Each entrant may enter a total of three (3) times during the Promotion Period. If
you post updates to or receive updates from twitter.com via SMS from your wireless
phone, your wireless-service provider may charge you for each text message you send
and receive.  Please consult your wireless-service provider regarding its pricing plans.
You must be an active holder of a non-private Twitter account and be a follower of the
@SarahRobinson account to be eligible to enter this Promotion. All terms and conditions
of  twitter.com apply.  Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the  same  Twitter
account.  Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of entries by
using multiple/different twitter accounts, identities, registrations and logins, or any other
methods will void that entrant’s entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Use of any
automated system to participate is prohibited and will result in disqualification.  In the
event of a dispute as to any Twitter account, the authorized account holder of the email
address used to register at twitter.com will be deemed to be the entrant. The “authorized
account holder” is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access
provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email
addresses for the domain associated with the submitted address.  Each potential winner
may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder. All entries become
the sole and exclusive property of the Sponsor and Administrator, and
receipt of entries will not be acknowledged or returned. Sponsor  and Administrator are
not responsible for lost, late, illegible, stolen, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, postagedue,
misdirected, technically corrupted or garbled entries, which will be disqualified, or
for problems of any kind whether mechanical, human or electronic.  Proof of submission
will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by Sponsor.   By entering the Promotion,
entrants fully and unconditionally agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of
the judges, which will be final and binding in all matters relating to the Promotion.

2. Start/End Dates.   Promotion begins at 9:00AM EST on January 19, 2012 and ends at
5:00PM EST on January 20, 2012 (“Promotion Period”).

3. Eligibility. Participation open only to legal residents of the fifty United States, the
District of Columbia, who are 18 or older as of date of entry.  Void outside of the 50
United States, the District of Columbia, and where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law.
Employees, officers and directors of  Sponsor  and its parent company, subsidiaries,
affiliates, partners, advertising and promotion agencies, manufacturers or distributors of
promotion materials and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings, spouse) or
members of the same household (whether related or not) of such employees, officers and
directors are not eligible to enter.  You are not authorized to participate in the Promotion
if you are not located within the United States or the District of Columbia.  All federal,
state and local laws and regulations apply.

4.  Random Drawing/Odds. Winners will be selected in a random drawing from all
eligible entries received on or about January 20, 2012.  Odds of winning depend on the
number of eligible entries received for the drawing.  Drawing will  be conducted by
Administrator. By entering the Promotion, entrants fully and unconditionally agree to be
bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges, which will be final and binding in
all matters relating to the Promotion.

5. Prizes.  One winner  will receive  a Dell™  3330dn printer.  Approximate retail  value
(“ARV”) of prize: $600.00.   Prizes are non-transferable.  No substitutions or cash
redemptions.  In the case of unavailability of  any prize, Sponsor reserves the right to
substitute a prize of equal or greater value.  All expenses not specifically listed herein are
the responsibility of winners.

6. Notification. Potential winner will  receive a direct message from  Administrator
through the Twitter account used to enter the Promotion on or about January 20, 2012.
Potential Winner will be required to respond to the direct message and complete the Prize
Disclosure Agreement and W-9 form within  3 (three)  days of receipt.  If a potential
winner does not respond to direct message or complete the Prize Disclosure Agreement
and W-9 within the required timeframe, prize will be forfeited and awarded to the next
runner-up.  Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of
these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements.  Potential
winner will be required to sign and return, where legal, an Affidavit of Eligibility,
Liability/Publicity Release and/or rights transfer document within 3 (three) calendar days
of prize notification.  If any potential winner is considered a minor in his/her jurisdiction
of residence, Affidavit of Eligibility and/or Liability/Publicity must be signed by his/her
parent or legal guardian.  If a potential winner cannot be contacted, or fails to complete
and respond to the direct message within the required time period, if any prize or prize
notification is returned as undeliverable, if any potential winner rejects his/her prize or in
the event of noncompliance with these Promotion rules and requirements, such prize will
be forfeited and may be awarded to the entrant with the next highest score.  Upon prize
forfeiture, no compensation will be given.

7. Conditions. BY PARTICIPATING, ENTRANTS AND WINNERS AGREE TO
RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS SPONSOR,  ADMINISTRATOR TWITTER,
AND THEIR ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION AGENCIES AND THEIR
RESPECTIVE PARENT COMPANIES, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, PARTNERS,
REPRESENTATIVES, AGENTS, SUCCESSORS, ASSIGNS, EMPLOYEES,
OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, FROM ANY AND ALL LIABILITY, FOR LOSS,
HARM, DAMAGE, INJURY, COST OR EXPENSE WHATSOEVER INCLUDING
WITHOUT LIMITATION, PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY AND/OR
DEATH WHICH MAY OCCUR IN CONNECTION WITH, PREPARATION FOR,
TRAVEL TO, OR PARTICIPATION IN PROMOTION, OR POSSESSION,
ACCEPTANCE AND/OR USE OR MISUSE OF PRIZE OR PARTICIPATION IN
ANY PROMOTION-RELATED ACTIVITY AND FOR ANY CLAIMS BASED ON
PUBLICITY RIGHTS, DEFAMATION, INVASION OF PRIVACY, COPYRIGHT
INFRINGEMENT, TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT OR ANY OTHER
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY-RELATED CAUSE OF ACTION.  Any and all federal,
state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners.  Participation in Promotion
and acceptance of prize constitutes each winner’s permission for Sponsor to use his/her
name, address (city and state), likeness, photograph, picture, portrait, voice, biographical
information, and/or any statements made by each winner regarding the Promotion or
Sponsor for advertising and promotional purposes without notice or additional
compensation, except where prohibited by law.  Entrants who do not comply with these
Official Rules, or attempt to interfere with this Promotion in any way shall be
disqualified.  Sponsor  and Administrator are  not responsible if Promotion cannot take
place or if any prize cannot be awarded due to travel cancellations, delays or interruptions
due to acts of God, acts of war, natural disasters, weather or acts of terrorism.

8. Additional Terms. Any attempted form of entry other than as set forth above is
prohibited; no automatic, programmed; robotic or similar means of entry are permitted.
Sponsor, Administrator, their affiliates, partners and promotion and advertising agencies
are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, telephone or other communications
malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, web
site, Internet, or ISP availability, unauthorized human intervention, traffic congestion,
incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of cause) or failed,
incomplete, garbled, jumbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit one’s
ability to enter the Promotion, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any
other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in this Promotion or
downloading any materials in this Promotion.  Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion,
to cancel, terminate, modify, extend or suspend this Promotion should (in its
sole discretion) virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes
beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper
conduct of the Promotion. In such case, Sponsor may select the winners from all eligible
entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Sponsor. Sponsor
reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds, in its sole
discretion, to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Promotion or
web site.  Sponsor may prohibit an entrant from participating in the Promotion or
winning a prize if, in its sole discretion, it determines that said entrant is attempting to
undermine the legitimate operation of the Promotion by cheating, hacking, deception, or
other unfair playing practices (including the use of automated quick entry programs) or
intending to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other entrants or Sponsor
representatives.
CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY
WEB SITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE PROMOTION
MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN
ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES
FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

9.  Use of Data.  Sponsor and Administrator will be collecting personal data about
entrants online, in accordance with Sponsor’s privacy policy.  Please review Dell’s
privacy policy at:
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/policy/en/policy?c=us&l=en&s=g
en&~section=000.
By participating in the Promotion, entrants hereby agree to Sponsor’s collection and
usage of their personal information and acknowledge that they have read and accepted
Sponsor’s privacy policy.

10. List of Winners. To obtain a list of winners, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope
by March  31, 2012 to:  Escaping Mediocrity Dell Printer Contest Winners, c/o Zócalo
Group, 200 E. Randolph Street, 42nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60601.
11. Sponsor. The Sponsor of the Promotion is Dell US SMB Marketing, One Dell Way,
Round Rock, TX 78682.

Finish. Or What I Learned from Nick Saban.

January 11th, 2012

I come from a long line of Alabama fans. I grew up watching the Paul Bear Bryant show every Sunday afternoon and can still see the Golden Flake potato chips and Coca-Cola signs hanging behind that hounds-tooth hat as he re-hashed the game.

My husband never watched much college football until he married me. Now he is a fierce a fan as I am.  And both my sons learned to say Roll Tide as we watch every kickoff. (And the mini-turk has a Big Al costume he wears on game day. Precious!)

Our intestinal fortitude as fans was put to the test as we approached the BCS National Championship game this week. LSU was the anointed favorite. We’d already lost to them in a heart-breaking game earlier in the season.  Lots and lots of people didn’t even think we belonged in the game in the first place.

The chips, it seemed, were stacked against us.

While we all nursed queasy stomachs, our formidable leader – the often maligned, fiery-tempered Nick Saban – seemed the relish the challenge. And he held us, and his team steady under extraordinary pressure.

Watching the Crimson Tide literally shut down the team everyone proclaimed to be the best in the land was the stuff of legends.  They never lost focus. They never forgot what they were supposed to do. They conducted themselves with an unruffled class from start to finish.

How did they do this under such immense pressure? I think the announcers hit it when they said again and again  “THAT is the sign of a well-coached team.”

So what was the coaching secret Nick Saban shared with his players to produce such an incredible performance?

Here’s what I heard him say (this is a rough paraphrase): 

“I told them to go out there and finish.”

Finish? Really? That’s all they had to do? Finish?

Then I started thinking about what that actually meant. Here’s what I came up with:

1) Finish what you’ve been practicing to do. You don’t need to learn anything new.

2) Finish each and every play. Even when it looks like things aren’t going as planned. Even when you mess up.

3) Finish each quarter. And then start the next one.

4) Finish the game in way that will make you proud – no matter what the score.

5) Finish the season knowing you played your heart out because you love the game.

Finish.

What does “Finish” mean to you?

 

Mapping Out 2012

January 9th, 2012

Surprise!! The beginning of a new year is underway!

Maybe the arrival of 2012 didn’t catch you off guard and maybe you did all your planning and strategizing last October so you started off the year completely composed and focused. If you are one of these people, good for you. We like you. We really do. We just need to catch up with you. :-)

For the rest of us, I have a process to share so that we can join the ranks of the composed and focused. :-)

Mapping out 2012

Step 1. Print out a calendar page for each month of 2012. D0n’t think you can do this by looking at one month at a time on Google calendar. You can’t. Print them out. I’ll wait.

Step 2. Lay them out in order on the floor or on a table so that you can see them all at the same time.

Step 3. Mark off the weeks you will take vacation. Yes, this comes first. If you wait until you “have time”, you will never have time. Don’t know what the kid’s fall school break schedule is? No problem. Use this year’s as a guide and adjust it when the new calendar comes out.

Step 4. Mark off the days of each week that you will not work and will focus 100 % of your time and attention to those you love. Yes. This comes second. Don’t give the people you love your leftovers. It works best for everyone involved if these are the same days each week. Spouses, significant others, children and dogs can take just about anything as long as they have predictable time scheduled with you.

Step 5. Mark off the days of each week you will spend doing support work (ie work that has to get done that does not directly generate revenue). Even if you have a support team, you still need to have days when you do your part. Stuff like: paying bills, planning out the next 30, 60, 90 Days, exploring new speaking or writing opportunities, making changes to your blog theme, cleaning off the top of your desk, etc.  Yep, you’ve got to commit at least one day a week to making these tasks your primary focus. It keeps things from catching on fire. You are many things, but a fireman is not one of them.

Step 6. Mark off the days of each week that you will focus solely on the revenue generating activities of your business. That could be speaking, coaching, writing, holding workshops – whatever it is you DO to earn money. Don’t have any revenue generating activities to schedule? Spend these days making sales calls or whatever it is you need to do to get these activities scheduled.

Step 7. Now transfer what you’ve put together onto whatever calendar system you use most regularly.

TA-DA!! You now have a rough map to help guide you through the coming year. Of course it isn’t perfect or foolproof (run from anyone who says they have a foolproof system for mapping out your life. They don’t.) But it does give you something to work with. A net for catching your days so that they don’t get away from you.

When you get lost, or bogged down and can’t seem to find your way, pull out your map. Figure out where you are. Figure out where you want to go. Adjust your compass and head out.

Don’t just read this article and bookmark it for later. Later will never come. And I know this because I’ve waited for it often.

Print this out and commit to doing one step each day so that 2012 will be the year you get it done. :-)

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Are you doing it? Are you getting stuck? Do you have questions? Let’s talk about it in the comments!