You Failed...Or Did You?

I love sports. But I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of watching professional sports. I played a lot of basketball in high school and really enjoy the sport, but I might have watched 2-3 of the NBA playoff games in their entirety this year. 

It dawned on me that what really appeals to me about sports is how they apply to many things you come across in life. They force you (in most cases) to deal with failure. Hardly any team, in any sport, has a perfect season. 

"Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - Shakespeare

So much more is learned from your losses than you do your wins. I was talking to my old basketball coach from high school a few months ago and he shared a story about a loss his team experienced in the playoffs this past year. He was telling me about how he explained to his team that by losing, it forced them to spend several hours talking about why they lost and how they would fix it at the next game. The winning team was not likely analyzing anything about the game they just played. They were out celebrating. Lack of analyzation and therefore preparation put them at a disadvantage during their next game.

When you succeed, you don't hardly ever analyze why you succeeded - you gladly celebrate and accept it. But when you fail, you tend to analyze every single move to determine why. 

A success or failure is determined by thousands of things leading up to the end result. You can choose to look at failure as bad and you can choose to embrace failures as learning experiences you wouldn't have experienced otherwise if you had succeeded. It's your choice. 

Perspective is reality. More specifically, YOUR perspective is YOUR REALITY. What perspective will you choose to take on your life's failures? Will you take advantage of the learning experience you can gain from them? Comment below with anything you feel has helped you overcome your failures. I'd love to hear them!

Are You An Overly Entitled Boss?

Our generation has often been called the “entitlement generation” - for many more reasons that just one. I have to say I agree with that. Too many people expect things to be given to them…whether it’s a certain amount of pay, respect, a job, etc. 

People (and when I say people I mean the news) tend to focus on the group that is looking for jobs and not the group that is employing those people that are looking for jobs. 

Entitlement can go from top to bottom as well. Have you ever caught yourself saying “because I’m the boss” to justify what you you’d like an employee to do? Think about that line from an employee’s standpoint. Things need to be done a certain way and you have every right to expect that - I get it. But when you use the fact that you’re “the boss” to justify your reasoning, it shows very little respect towards your employee. Have you ever demanded respect from someone, simply because you were their boss? It could be hurting your reputation as a leader.

Asking yourself these three questions will help you determine if you are overly entitled boss or not:

  1. Do you expect things of your employees that are beyond what you would ever expect of yourself? I heard the term “rubbing shoulders” quite a few years ago and I still use it. Sometimes you have to get in there and show your employees that you can do the hard stuff too. Make cold calls with them if you’re in sales. Wait on a few tables with them if you’re a manager in a restaurant. Your employees will love it and it’ll show them that you’re not above doing it. If you expect your employees to show up to work early and stay late, set the example! If you work hard, they’ll work hard. People respect other people’s action more than they’re words. Make it a focus to rub shoulders with your employees one time this week.
  2. Do you show your appreciation to your employees? When was the last time you thanked an employee for his or her hard work? Buying a gift card isn’t enough because it doesn’t really take any of your time. Giving them a handwritten note or taking them out to lunch and getting to know them better are two examples that require your time. Giving your time to someone else is the ultimate form of respect you can give to them. Show one of your employee’s this week that you appreciate them. 
  3. How do you talk about your employees to others? You can tell a lot about a person by the way they talk about others. How do you talk about your employees with other employees? Telling them to keep a secret or implying any favoritism at all doesn’t make you a "cooler boss." It makes you a "less trusted boss." People aren’t stupid. They know that anytime you say something to them it’s likely what you say to others. The truth always makes its way around. Make it a point not to show favoritism to any employees. Don’t say anything about an employee that you wouldn’t say to their face. 

What did you find when you asked yourself these questions? Are you an overly entitled boss? If so, work on these three things this week and let me know your findings! 

Here's A Different Twist On The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, was coined by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto back in the early 1900’s. He noticed in Italy that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. He found that this principle also applied to many other aspects of life and business as well. I’m sure you’ve heard that the top 20% of America controls over 80% of the nation’s wealth (it’s actually more extreme than that). 

This all sounds fine and dandy, but what if you aren’t in business for yourself or worried about economics? You can apply this same principal to your life as well. By doing the exercise below, I’ve noticed…

  • I’m much less stressed on a day to day basis
  • I feel refreshed every day
  • I’m happier than I’ve ever been
  • I feel like my life has a more clear purpose and direction than it has ever had
  • I have closer relationships than I’ve ever had with the people in my life I consider most important to me

Maybe I was just really naive in the past, or just ignorant. But this helped me so I figured it could help you!

Here’s the exercise, and it’s simple:

Schedule a 30 minute, biweekly reoccurring event in your calendar titled “80/20 Exercise.” Set a reminder so you don’t forget. In the description, put the five questions listed below. Write your answers in a journal, online journal like Evernotel or a word document so you can have them for later. 

  • Who is contributing the most happiness to my life right now?
  • Who is causing the most stress in my life right now? 
  • What am I doing that is contributing the most to my success right now?
  • What am I doing that is causing the most stress in my life right now? 
  • Is there one thing I know I should be doing on a daily basis to create more happiness for myself? 

Take 10 minutes to do that right now. Ok, got it? The most important part comes next: the action. 

  • Who did you put down that is contributing the most to your happiness right now? Make it your goal this week and every week after to build a closer relationship with that person. Talk to them more often. Call them more often. Do things to show them that they’re not only loved, but that they’re special. Double your interaction with that person or persons. 
  • Who did you put down that was causing the most stress in your life right now? Eliminate that person from your life. It doesn’t have to be awkward. You can still talk to them. Just don’t be around them any more than you have to. It’s selfish, but hey…it’s your life. If someone is making you unhappy, get the hell away from them. I’ve seen too many people subject themselves to unhappiness by not taking control of who they CHOOSE to spend their time with. The keyword here is choose. It’s your choice. 
  • What did you put down for what is contributing the most to your success right now? Is it a particular skill you’ve been looking to develop? Is it a job? Is it a networking event you’ve been attending? Make it a point to focus more attention in that area. Sit down and figure out what it is that’s working and do more of it. It sounds simple, but just do more of what’s already working. Focus more of your time, energy, focus and money in the areas that are working well. 
  • What did you put down for what is causing the most stress for you right now? Try to eliminate it if possible. Is it a job that’s causing lots of stress for you? Find another job. Start doing interviews. Is it your housing situation? Save up to move somewhere else. It’s your choice! If you’re not happy, make a change. Take charge!
  • What did you put down that was the one thing you know you should be doing to create more inner happiness? Is it exercising more? Eating better? Make a plan of action and start small. If you eat 21 meals per week. Start by just making sure that 10/21 are healthy. Then add a meal per week. Is it exercising more? Start with walking around the block for 15 minutes once or twice per week and then slowly build up. Some action is better than no action. 

This exercise will 30 minutes of your time every two weeks out of the total of 20,160 minutes (.14%) in a two week period. I guarantee you it’ll give you a different perspective on how you decide to spend your time over the next two weeks. Good luck! Let me know if this helped you at all! 

3 Effective Ways You Haven't Thought of to Boost Your Personal Productivity

If you’re paid on salary or commission you understand the importance of productivity at work. The number of hours you work doesn’t directly increase your pay. Your results determine your pay. 

Instead of thinking about what you make over the course of the entire year, think about how many hours you have to work in order to make your yearly income. The person that works 25 hours per week to make $80,000 per year is a lot better off than the person that works 40 hours per week to make $100,000. 

25 hours / week @ 50 weeks / year @ $80,000 = $64 / hour

40 hours / week @ 50 weeks / year @ $100,000 = $50 / hour

It’s all about efficiency. The less time it takes you to accomplish your tasks the more time you can spend doing other things…like not working. Productivity is not about doing more things simultaneously (multitasking). It’s about limiting the things that are a WASTE OF TIME. The countless hours you spend each day during work on things that don’t increase your income decrease your value. In the examples below, I'm assuming you work 2,000 hours per year, which is 50 weeks at 40 hours per week. 

  • Responding to unimportant emails for an hour every day (250 hours / year)
  • Browsing the Internet for things unrelated to work for 30 minutes every day (125 hours / year)
  • Getting on social media at work for 30 minutes every day (125 hours / year)
  • Socializing with coworkers about things unrelated to work for an hour each day (250 hours / year)
  • Deleting emails you never read for 15 minutes every day (16-17 hours / year)
  • Answering unimportant, not urgent phone calls for an hour every day (250 hours / year)

All of those things might not seem like much, but they add up to a little over 750 hours per year, which is literally a month’s worth of time wasted each year. You’re losing an entire month (a full 24 hours each day) by wasting time doing the things listed above. This is not only time you could be spending doing things that will make you more money, but it’s also time that you could have just taken off!

Here are 3 major tips to help you increase your personal productivity. Control your day or your day will control you. 

  1. Limit interruptions at your desk or at your cubicle. I always like to use the headphone trick when working in an office. Put your headphones in, even if you aren’t listening to music, when you’re working so people won’t distract you. The number one distraction in the work place is your coworkers. Every office has the guys and gals that just walk by and bug everyone. Don’t let that person ruin your productivity. Just politely ignore them with your headphones on. If they try to talk to you while your working, ask them if it’s urgent. If it’s not, let them know you are swamped with other work at the moment. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. This one thing alone could save you 1-2 hours every day. 
  2. Stop responding to emails. Limit the amount of time you spend on emails. Make it a rule of thumb to check emails once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon. Responding and reading emails is the biggest time waster of the day. You may feel like you’re working and keeping busy, but it’s limiting you from finishing more important tasks. Emails are hardly ever urgent and should not dictate how you spend your day. Keep your email program closed when you are not actively responding to emails so you are not tempted to respond to them. This obviously doesn't apply to a job that requires you to respond to emails all day, like a customers service position.
  3. Turn off notifications. You need absolute focus while you’re working on important tasks. Turn off text and email notifications on your phone. Don’t even let your phone vibrate. Just the vibration of your phone alone is enough to disrupt your concentration. Turn email notifications off on your computer. These distractions are not urgent and extremely disruptive to your productivity. iPhones have a customizable notification feature so that can control what type of notifications you get for each type of app. Just turn them all off when your phone is in silent mode and keep your phone on silent mode when you’re working. Just try this for a week. You'll be amazed at how liberated you'll feel.

Using these three productivity principles will save you 2-3 hours every single day. Even if you decide not to reinvest those hours back into work, it will amount to 20-30 full days at the end of the year. Think about what you could do with all of that time the next time you let a coworker distract you. 

Have a happy, productive work week!