Two Ways to Achieve Your Summer Goals

Summer Goals 2017When you think of setting goals what comes to mind? Do you think it’s a bunch of ‘woo woo’? Do you think it’s only for the ultra-motivated athlete or business person? Do you think setting goals sets you up for failure?

In my mid-twenties I landed my first management gig at a large retail chain. I was responsible for almost 20 people and a multi-million dollar operation. This position required me to set goals for the sales of our store as well as each individual team member. So, I read everything I could from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People in hopes of leading my team and store to success. I learned a lot from books, my mentors and life. Thankfully I was able to string together some goals that we not only achieved but blew away.

Those lessons have evolved over the years and I’ve applied them to multiple areas of my life including my health. I’ve realized that when I set goals I’m more likely to try and achieve them. As Wayne Gretzky has been quoted over and over, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Having goals gives me something to take a shot at.

Over 150 days have gone by this year. Did you have resolutions 151 days ago? How are those going? Is it time for a reset? Is it time to renew?

There are hundreds and thousands of ways to approach goal setting. There’s a flavor for everyone and no wrong way; if it helps you then go for it.

Here’s how I’ve set and achieving goals.

Small Goals

This goes against my nature and probably your nature. A few years ago I would set the goal of losing 30 pounds in 30 days. I would say this is the week I’m going to hit the gym every day. My goal would be to not eat any sugar for the next 30 days.

The problem for each of those was that they were totally unrealistic. For 45 years I had developed habits that were totally opposite. Think about that; I thought that by setting a goal was going to magically turn around 45 years of bad choices. The goal needs to be realistic and 30 pounds in 30 days isn’t very realistic, especially if you are making a lifelong commitment to health. If you are making a lifelong commitment then the next 30 days are a drop in the bucket, they are important but they aren’t the end goal.

48 Hour Goals

I took the approach of making two day goals. The next 48 hours seemed much more achievable than 7 days or 30 days. Out of those 48 hours I would be sleeping at least 12-16 so that left only 32-36 hours that I needed to manage. It’s not that I didn’t have goals that were further out, it was that I was focusing on achieving more immediate goals.

Wins Create Momentum

Getting some early wins keep you motivated to go after more wins. Achieving goals can easily take on a snowball effect. And when you start getting wins you start creating momentum and that is priceless to your success.

 

 

 

 

 

Disruptions and Transitions

At the beginning of this year, one of the words I chose to frame my year was DISRUPTION. Little did I know when I chose that word that it would raise its head and present itself so quickly and with such force.

When disruption shows up at your door it doesn’t knock and ask if it can come in. No, it kicks the door down and stands in the center of your living room with its head held high. Disruption is not considerate. It does not ask for your permission. Disruption isn’t aware of time – it comes and goes as it pleases. It doesn’t consider your current circumstance or comfort level. Disruption doesn’t care who it impacts or what kind of chaos it causes.

Disruption requires you to change and respond in ways that leave you feeling vulnerable and not totally in control of your life. Disruptions lead to and demand you to transition into something new.

For me, the disruption that recently arrived at my doorstep has come in the way of a new job. This week I’m in transition from a company I’ve thoroughly enjoyed to a new company that has me extremely excited about the future.

Ryan Holiday said, “Don’t be afraid to make a change, a big one.”

When you embrace disruption and change TRANSITION begins. And transition brings about its own unique experiences.

Even if the transition is a good one it will come with a variety of emotion. You might experience a level of depression as you leave behind relationships. It’s normal to be anxious as you transition into something new and in some cases unfamiliar territory.

Transition means one chapter or season of your life is ending and a new chapter or season is beginning. When you can mentally acknowledge and accept this you are in a much better place for the transition to go more smoothly.

Maintaining a positive attitude and looking at the transition as an opportunity for better things in your life is extremely important. You have to keep a vision for the good that the transition can provide. Having realistic expectations during a transition is also critical, don’t expect everything to go as planned. And while some circumstances are out of your control, your attitude and response are totally within your control.

When disruption comes into your life and transition happens to you, embrace it and look forward to the journey.

 

 

Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

One of the top reasons I started getting serious about my health a couple of years ago was because I was becoming less and less effective at my job. My position is very demanding and requires a lot of mental and physical stamina. I’m involved in the online marketing world which requires you to continually learn and adapt to new things and if you aren’t totally engaged you fall behind. My employer hired me and was paying me to deliver, but because of my extremely poor diet and lack of exercise I was unable to keep my end of the deal.

I felt terrible and honestly had a lot of guilt because my choices impacted my employer in a negative way. My choices made me overweight with zero energy to perform my job.

Brain Fog

The effect that my diet and lack of exercise had on my brain was noticeable, not only to me but others including my bosses. For too many years I brushed off the impact that the food I was eating was having on my brain. For the majority of my professional career my days began with the ritual of stopping at a convenience store or fast food joint. I remember when I would begin my days with a slice of breakfast pizza and a Diet Coke. The initial taste and rush that food would bring was great. Seriously, the taste and feeling it would give me was amazing. But, within two hours I would crash hard, I was no good to myself or anyone else.

In a recent Harvard research study the following was reported

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.

When your digestive system is filled with the wrong foods it impacts everything. For me, my brain was in a literal fog by the time I would get to work. It was extremely hard for me to concentrate on the tasks at hand. I would sit in meetings and at times be in a stupor, not engaging or contributing because my brain was in such a fog.

Wrong Fuel In The Tank!

When you start to pay attention to the fuel (the food) you put in the tank (your body) you start to realize just how much it impacts every part of your life. I began removing sugars (carbohydrates) and processed foods and within days started to notice a difference. When I started to eat a “clean diet” I started to reap the benefits of more energy and clear thinking within a few weeks.

Three Reasons Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

  1. They pay you to do a job and deliver results; poor health = poor results.
  2. They provide you with health benefits – the less you have to use your health insurance the better for everyone.
  3. They are connected with your current and future success – the healthier you are, the better you perform and the better their bottom line is and the more you are rewarded.

There are more than three reason, and I’ll talk more about those in the future, but for now those three will do.

So, what are you going to do? Are you going to become healthier so that your career and employer are better?

Your employer deserves your best and you deserve the results of doing your best.

So…do it!

Success Isn’t Convenient: Career Edition

Success Isn't Convenient: Career Edition

This line came to me last week as I was sweating my butt off in the gym which definitely seems like an appropriate place to think something like that. But it’s a truth that applies to every area of our lives. If you want to be successful in anything the path won’t be convenient.

There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is no guarantee that your college degree will land you a job, let alone your dream job making a load of money. The road to a successful career is filled with inconvenience. Whether you are an entrepreneur, executive leader, manager or working in a cube your journey to success won’t be convenient.

You may have to make a geographic move to take a position with another company to advance your career. My career has consisted of several moves that have included four states and five cities. Each time I moved it was inconvenient; it was inconvenient for me and my family. You may have to make the hard choice to leave behind friends and family.  Sometimes, many times, when you grow in your career there are times of loneliness.

Nothing is easy. Nothing ever comes as quickly as you want it too. If you are going to accomplish anything worthwhile you are going to face challenges and you will have to fight.

As you move to a new level in your career you will encounter things you don’t know how to do. You will experience things that will cause you to be anxious and sometimes fearful. You will find yourself in situations, personally and professionally that are inconvenient and uncomfortable.

It’s during the inconvenient moments that the familiar things of your past will tap you on the shoulder and tempt you to return to where you came from. When things become inconvenient you have two choices – embrace the challenge and grow OR back down from the challenge and return to your previous level of success. To move forward you have to overcome the fear of letting go of the past.

Don’t let inconvenience rob you of the next level of your career.

Say NO! to giving up – keep grinding so that tomorrow you won’t have any regrets.

 

 

Get Serious About Being Curious

The old saying goes ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

It seems the older we get the less curious we become. Maybe it’s because the very nature of being curious means there is risk involved. And as we get older and take on more responsibilities the less we risk.

As much as I would love to hop on a BMX bike or grab a skateboard and join my boys at the skate park this Saturday, for me, the risk outweighs the reward. Why? Because I need to show up Monday morning with my body fully intact 🙂

You don’t need to be a Red-Bull-drinking-extreme-sports-athlete to live life to its fullest. But, if you are going to truly experience life — you need to be CURIOUS!

7 ways to become more curious today

  1. Try something new. It sounds obvious but try something new and it doesn’t need to be anything huge. Listen to a style of music you wouldn’t necessarily listen too, Spotify has plenty to choose from. Try a new toothpaste flavor. Do jumping jacks in the middle of the afternoon. Eat some bugs instead of chips. Take a different route to work — the road less traveled is sometimes the best road.
  2. Embrace change. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, ‘the only thing that is constant is CHANGE’. As a curious person you can’t fear change.
  3. Challenge yourself and step totally out of your comfort zone. As a curious person you have to get comfortable with doing things afraid. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. As the famous Thomas Edison quote puts it, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Or, as Mr. Edison also said, “I failed my way to success.”
  4. Vanilla and chocolate aren’t the only flavors — open the door wide and welcome variety into your life.
  5. Become a lifelong learner, develop new skills, read and explore more.
  6. Ask questions like who, what, when, where, why and how.
  7. Write ideas. Take James Altucher’s advice and write 10 ideas every day.

Curious people solve problems.

Curious people are interesting.

Curious people are introverts and extroverts.

Curious people discover and invent things.

Curious people come in all shapes, sizes and ages.

Cultivate curiosity and become a better spouse, parent, employee and person.

STAY CURIOUS my friend!

 

Fear This

This post was inspired by Andy Frisella. Andy is the CEO and founder of Supplement Superstores (and other companies) which has its world headquarters here in my amazing city of St. Louis, Missouri.
As I was I sweating my butFive Things You Should Feart off on the elliptical machine at Golds Gym this past Friday morning I was listening to Andy’s podcast on the things we should and need to fear. Within 15 minutes he plowed through five fears that have always been top of my mind for me when it comes to my life.  Over the past 48 hours I haven’t been able to get these five things off my mind. I catch glimpses of Jerry Maguire writing his mission statement in his hotel room.
There’s no silver bullet here, but there’s definitely a cannon ball that will rock your world if you let it. Let down your guard and allow these five things to sink in. Fear these things and you will live the life you were created to live. Ignore these things and you will settle for much less.

Fear Mediocrity 

Dictionary.com defines mediocre or mediocrity as; only ordinary or moderate quality; neither good nor bad; barely adequate: not satisfactory; poor; inferior. Is there any part of your being that wants to be mediocre? Do you want to be a mediocre husband or wife, father or mother, business owner or employee? Absolutely NOT!!
If living an ordinary or moderate quality of life is what you are about you need to spend time reflecting on your life. You were definitely not created to just get by and trudge along until you are six feet under. You were created and purposed for much more than that.

Fear Insignificance

No matter who or what you do, the bottom line is..you are significant. Deep inside each of us is a longing to make a difference, to contribute to our world. Most people want their lives to count for something. A father wants to know that he loved, provided, cared, protected and built a legacy for his children. A mother wants to know that she nurtured, loved, taught and inspired the sons and daughters she was entrusted with. An owner, manager, supervisor and employee wants to know they have given their best to their organization.
When you fear insignificance you are saying you will do whatever it takes to be significant. You will do what it takes to make a positive impact on everyone and everything around you. When you fear being insignificant you will rise early and stay up late doing whatever it takes to live a passionate life of purpose.

Fear Living a Life That Doesn’t Offend Anyone

 
It’s been said that if you aren’t offending someone that you probably aren’t doing or saying anything important. I don’t subscribe to that totally but I do believe that if we aren’t speaking truthfully with our friends, family, bosses, peers and those who report to us that we aren’t doing the best we can.
I do subscribe to the practice of telling someone that they have booger on their nose if they have one there. If you care about someone, your business or organization you are going to speak up when you see something that should or shouldn’t be there – boogers shouldn’t be there.

Fear Regret

 
If there is something that I struggle with on a continual basis its this thing of regret. It is absolutely a two-edged sword. From one side it’s living from the perspective of “if only” and from the other side its living from the perspective of being able to let things go.
Regret is a curious thing. It’s something that gets into your soul. Its something that magnifies the things we have or haven’t done or accomplished. And if we are living from the place that we fear it, that we fear regret, then it can be fuel to live a life that isn’t defined by regret.

Fear of Dying Alone

 
I want a lot of people at my funeral. I do. I don’t just want my wife, kids, grandkids and family members at my funeral, I want the people who feel I have deposited something into their life at my funeral. Seriously, I don’t want people showing up to look at my dead body just because they feel it’s the right thing to do. I want people showing up, looking at my lifeless self and thinking to themselves, “this guy inspired, encouraged, provoked and deposited something into me that changed me.”

Fear Not Fearing What You Should Fear

 
These aren’t the only things we should fear. I’m sure that as you read this post you started to create your own list of things you should fear. Let fear fuel you to live a life you and others will never forget.

How Do I Help You Grow Your Career?

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want - Zig Ziglar

Photo found at http://www.ziglar.com/quotes/you-can-have-everything-life-you-want

When our first priority is helping others amazing things can happen. As you focus on serving others, your organization and your customers good will come your way.

One of my favorite life quotes comes from the great Zig Ziglar who said,  “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Since landing my first job at 13 years old delivering newspapers (remember those) for the Detroit Free Press to filling Vice President and President roles at different organizations I have been learning priceless career lessons. From education, resume writing, interviewing, management and everything in between I’ve been a part of it all.

So, how can I help you grow your career? Here’s where to start.

Start with your mindset

If you are always trying to figure out the next move to climb up the corporate ladder or positioning yourself for the next promotion chances are you will miss out on establishing a strong foundation. Approach everything you do with the mindset of serving, adding value and putting others first.

Always be networking

Networking doesn’t always mean cocktails at a mid-week meet up (although that’s not a bad idea). Connecting with co-workers in your department and outside of your department is critical to your success. Don’t underestimate the power of inviting someone to lunch or out for a cup of coffee.

Coaching – receive AND give it

No one ever arrives. It doesn’t matter how much education we have accumulated or how many awards we have won we can all benefit from having a coach or mentor in our life. Nothing beats having someone you can connect with for feedback and counsel. But if you can’t meet with someone in person there blogs, podcasts, books and an Internet full of  “virtual coaches and mentors”.

Truthful and transparent communication

Careers live and die on communication. Where truthful and transparent communication are a priority relationships thrive and your career is strengthened. It doesn’t matter if you are an extrovert or introvert you can be a great communicator.

 

 

Role Models, Mentors & YOU

A long time ago I realized I didn’t have all of the answers. Its not that I didn’t try to have them all or at least give the impression that I had them all.

My Unique Voice

Image courtesy of http://singfreely.com/blog/919979-you-have-a-unique-voice-that-we-all-want-to-hear/

This realization led me to looking to others who knew more than me. I found  role models and mentors through books, in the organizations I was a part of and in my own family.

Early on I wanted to be just like those I looked up too. And I do mean “just like them” – I practiced talking like them, wearing the same clothes, listening to the same music, doing my hair like them, watching the same movies and multiple other things. My aspirations became what I saw them succeed at.

None of this was wrong, by seeing how other people “do it” we learn how to “do it”.

Where I missed out though was in developing my own voice. Because I wanted, so much, to be like those I looked up too I spent a lot of time and energy on imitating and becoming a copy. I should have spent that time and energy on discovering my unique gifts, talents and voice.

If we are to grow and mature we must have role models and mentors. Its essential for us to have those in our life that help us push forward, stretch and go beyond what we thought we could. A good role model and mentor helps you discover your uniqueness and equips you to speak with your voice.

Have you discovered your own unique voice? How did you do it?

 

 

Its Never Not Our Department

 

not my job

Image Credit: http://bottomlineideas.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/make-sure-the-left-hand-knows-what-the-right-hand-is-doing/

  • Our desk may not be located in the lobby but its our job to make sure the first impression is amazing.
  • Our desk may not reside in the finance department but its our job to be good stewards of our organizations resources.
  • Our desk may not sit in the HR department but its our job to build teams through strong relationships.
  • Our desk may not be located in the customer service department but every customer or potential customer is our responsibility.
  • Our desk may not be located in the bathroom or the break room but its our job to pick up the paper towel off of the floor and empty our lunch container, aka science experiment gone bad, out of the refrigerator.

Our department and our responsibility is wherever and whenever we find ourselves.

When Departments Work Together

No matter what the internal structure is, acquiring and retaining loyal customers need to be the number one goal of any organization.  With that in mind here are keys that I believe are necessary for success.

1. Strong, effective and ongoing communication of goals and expectations from the top down. It’s one thing to communicate goals—but employees also need to hear how achieving those goals will benefit them. Let them know what you expect, and how they will be rewarded by meeting those goals.

2.    The linkage between the business objectives, departmental objectives and their underlying KPIs need to be clearly identified, defined and measured.

3.    Guarding against insulating from other teams and departments.

4.    Robust project management systems that give everyone a view of what’s happening

5.    Frequent team meetings (teleconference, web-meetings, internal blogs, or face to face) to keep everyone within the organization on the same page. Use this time to report on the top goals.

1.    Every functional head needs to make cross functional activity part of every employees responsibilities. Encouraging and organizing cross-team and cross-boundary meetings at all levels, so that within and across lines of business, the whole corporate structure can take advantage of mutually known best practices to continue to do the best thing for the customer

2.    Setting time aside each month or so to create bridges between teams, or even create a cross-functional team, to share successes, breakthroughs, and new ideas.

3.    A close analysis of approval chains so that as many low value – added steps as possible – are eliminated and putting as much responsibility as possible at the most effective operating level.

4.    Ensuring every employee has received training and receives training on an ongoing basis to continue to grow and add value.

As for the silos within the organizations, it boils down to plain WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) thought process, the way organizations measure performance and the type of behaviors they encourage. Translate the “expected action” into an “incentivized action.

Focus on building bridges between the silos. While “organizational silos” is most often spoken as a negative term, it doesn’t have to be. Respecting and valuing structure while creating opportunities for leveraging the talent in organizations can be the single most effective thing that can be done to gain competitive advantage.

Employees want to understand organizational goals, because they want to come to work and make a difference. They want to affect the bottom line, and they want to see the organization succeed.