Recently, I once again got to experience the excitement of having a new book of mine released. My new book is entitled The Art of Optimism and may be the most powerful among all of my more than 40 previous titles.
In this era, a brand is more than the product or services that are provided to your customers. A brand is an emotional connection, perception, and memory of your company. Every interaction that a customer, prospective customer, or supplier has with an employee, product, or service reinforces trust in your reputation. As a business leader, everything that you and your staff do is a touchpoint that leaves an imprint on the heads, hearts, and hands of your customers.
Not too long ago, The Washington Post published a report on the findings of a study Google conducted in 2013 on the most valuable traits in its top employees. Called Project Oxygen, this study examined all of Google’s hiring, firing, and promotion data since 1998. The result? Not what you might expect—and not what Google, founded on the idea that “only technologists can understand technology,” expected either: in terms of the eight most important qualities that determined the success of its employees, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) expertise was not first, second, or even third in importance—it was dead last. The top seven determinants of success were all what are traditionally called “soft skills”—communication and other people skills that require social and emotional intelligence.
Far too often, small business owners find themselves in a position where they are spending more time working in their business than on it. They aren’t able to expand or develop their organization because they are losing too much time to the day-to-day tasks that should be delegated to other employees. They miss important family experiences because they have not automated their business operations. They feel like they are chained to their organization, unable to enjoy the freedom that should come along with owning your own business.
Today I am going to address a topic that very few people are talking about right now. I have a unique perspective because I do about 100 training programs a year. Here is what I am seeing. In class, I will ask, “Who has read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?” Out of a group of thirty people, one hand will go up. I am not asking about an obscure book but one that has been on the business bestseller list for thirty years. The rest of the class has never heard of it.
There’s probably nothing more misunderstood in our society than the acquisition and use of money. Nothing can take the place of money in the things that money does, but outside of the small scope where money is useful, it has little or no value. When it comes to your health, family relationships, or personal well-being, money is of little importance.
For most individuals, it’s much easier to think of ways something can’t be done versus how it can be done. Many of us have a series of excuses that we can pull out of a hat at a moment’s notice. We make excuses mostly to protect ourselves and to justify our current circumstances. But these limiting beliefs limit our chances for success. Consider these excuses and commit to the solutions:
I am a professional speaker, and I get many chances as I travel around the country to see other people give presentations. When I see professional speakers give presentations, they’re always very well done and professional. Of course these presentations should be great because they are delivered by professional speakers. Sadly, in most cases, I see exactly the opposite with others—terrible presentations that are boring, dull, dry, and go on way too long. You know what I’m talking about because you have seen it.
Every great professional understands the difference between information and presentation. We all live in the information age and regularly deal with the advantages and the challenges that it offers us. If you only want to deliver information, a memo, e-mail, or even a text may suffice, but if you want to deliver emotion, attitudes, and impact, you need to employ the art of presentation.
Successful freelancers often juggle multiple clients and projects simultaneously. Without an effective organizational system, freelancers risk falling behind on work, missing deadlines, and working at less-than-desirable times to compensate for poor planning. Below are some tips inspired by chapter 6 of Rachael Doyle’s Organize Your Business—Organize Your Life (2017) to help you better manage your freelance projects.
All employees need to reconfigure their mindset to see themselves as self-employed employees. Corporations love talent, but they are no longer committed to keeping employees on the payroll for the sake of the good of the company. They’re now looking at how they can shave costs or increase their margins to grow a healthy bottom line. If that something means hiring the best talent that is available at the best time, for whatever length of time, they will do it.
There are certain aspects of success that involve chance or luck. For instance, someone you know has a personal relationship with a hiring manager of a company that you want to join. They provide a referral, and you are able to bypass the cumbersome online application process and receive an immediate interview. That’s a benefit of chance.
Almost every year, each of us has a friend or family member who loses a loved one. It is a sad fact of life that everyone is going to face it. According to the CDC, 2,596,993 people die in the United States each year.
The job of the Chief Happiness Officer is to encourage wellness and well-being on the front end. Invite people to think about things like: Are they eating properly? Are they taking mental breaks? Are they getting enough rest? (Arianna Huffington has written a plethora of articles and devoted a whole book to the idea of a “sleep revolution” that shatters the exaltation of the sleep-deprived executive. Huffington argues that sleep is the new competitive edge, and she encourages everyone to get more sleep in order to succeed in work and life.)
I hate to be the one to give you the bad news, but life is not fair. Life is great, it’s grand, and it’s wonderful, as well as being the only game in town—but it’s not fair. We don’t always get what we want, need, or even deserve, but we will always eventually get what we expect.
I just finished reading Cait Flanders’s The Year of Less (Hay House, 2018), which is an incredibly moving memoir about the year the author put herself on a shopping ban, decluttered and gave away 70 percent of her belongings, left her corporate career to pursue her freelance writing work full time, and attempted to locate her authentic self—without the fillers of consumerism, alcohol, and toxic relationships.
In life there are moments that create a cause for a pause. Here’s one that I just had to share with you.
A while back, I was sitting in a board meeting for one of the non-profit organizations I serve, and the president and founder posed this question: “In business, which one is more important—character or strategy?”
Most people achieve success one experience at a time. Leaders from Bill Gates to Barbara Corcoran attest that they were able to reach their career goals by individual steps or small wins.
We live in a world that is obsessed with having more things. One of the fastest growing industries in our society is the storage business. We are buying so much stuff we can’t hold it all. We have to rent places to put our stuff. There is nothing wrong with having things as long as the things don’t really have you.
As the mother of a toddler, I have been reading a lot of parenting books lately, and I have been struck by a notion introduced in a few of them—that of the importance of creating a daily rhythm.
I started to wonder: How might a daily rhythm be beneficial to my adult life—and more specifically, to my adult work life?